Top Five Games to watch
5 No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 9 LSU » Both teams are reeling from a Crimson Tide hangover. After a 7-0 start, Mississippi State (7-2) has lost two straight, getting outscored 76-20 by Alabama and Texas A&M. LSU (7-2) saw its national title hopes evaporate in last week's loss to Alabama despite the long-awaited arrival of talented quarterback Zach Mettenberger. (Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN)
4 No. 4 Notre Dame at Boston College » Sure, this one could be a dud as struggling BC (2-7) is considering a coaching change. But who would have thought Pittsburgh could have taken Notre Dame to triple overtime in one of the best games of the season? The Eagles have history on their side, toppling Fighting Irish teams that were 10-0 in 1993 and 8-0 in 2002. (Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC)
3 No. 3 Kansas State at TCU » The school most associated with defense in the pass-happy Big 12, TCU, tries to bring down the national title hopes of the Wildcats and the Heisman candidacy of quarterback Collin Klein. But will the nation's pass efficiency leader play after suffering an head injury in a win over Oklahoma State? If not, freshman Daniel Sams will get the call. (Saturday, 7 p.m., Fox)
2 No. 13 Oregon State at No. 16 Stanford » With the Beavers (7-1, 5-1) and Cardinal (7-2, 5-1) tied, this one is for survival in the Pac-12 North behind unbeaten Oregon. It's a big test for Stanford freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan (Gonzaga High), who replaced struggling Josh Nunes last week in a 48-0 romp at Colorado and went 18-for-23 for 184 yards and two touchdowns. (Saturday, 3 p.m., Fox)
1 No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama » After last week's emotional peak at Death Valley, is this time for a letdown for Alabama? Playing at home should help the Tide defense deal with freshman dual-threat quarterback Johnny Manziel, a likely Heisman contender in 2013. With Western Carolina (1-9) and Auburn (2-7) left, this is Alabama's final roadblock before the SEC championship. (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS)
Miami at Virginia
When » Saturday, noon
Where » Scott Stadium,
TV/radio » ABC, ESPN 570
A 33-6 victory over N.C. State was a much-needed boost for Virginia (3-6, 1-4 ACC) after six straight defeats. The Cavaliers hope to roll with their new defensive identity sparked by freshman defensive end Eli Harold, freshman cornerback Maurice Canady and sophomore defensive tackle Chris Brathwaite. Miami (5-4, 4-2) is the leader in the ACC Coastal after an uplifting win over Virginia Tech snapped a three-game skid. Freshman Duke Johnson rushed for 100 yards in the win.
Maryland at No. 10 Clemson
When » Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
Where » Memorial Stadium,
TV/radio » ESPNU, ESPN 980
Maryland (4-5, 2-3 ACC) closes with a brutal stretch -- at Clemson (8-1, 5-1), vs. No. 8 Florida State (8-1, 5-1) and at North Carolina (6-3, 3-2) -- an especially tough way to go considering the Terps are down to their fifth quarterback, linebacker Shawn Petty, and have lost top tackler Demetrius Hartsfield to a torn ACL. The Tigers bring perhaps the nation's most complete arsenal of weapons in quarterback Tajh Boyd, running back Andre Ellington and wide receivers Sammy Watkins and DeAndre Hopkins. Freshmen standouts Stefon Diggs and Wes Brown will sit with injuries for the Terrapins.
Howard at Georgia Southern
When » Saturday, 2 p.m.
Where » Paulson Stadium,
In the first meeting between the teams, this is a tough assignment for the Bison (6-3), who have clinched their first winning season since 2004. Georgia Southern (7-2) has won more FCS titles (six) than any school in the nation and currently leads the Southern Conference. Coached by former Navy assistant Jeff Monken, the Eagles run the triple-option offense and lead the nation in rushing (387 yards per game). Howard will counter with All-American tackling machine Keith Pough.
Bucknell at Georgetown
When » Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where » Multi-Sport Field
After a 20-17 victory at Lafayette and a week off, Georgetown (4-5, 1-2) tries to snap its four-game losing streak against Bucknell (2-7, 0-4). The Hoyas have had a revolving door situation at quarterback this year, but freshman Kyle Nolan steadied the offense at Lafayette, completing 15 of 32 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Cameron Gamble sealed the win with the first interception of his career, one of seven turnovers forced by Georgetown.