Game of the week
LSU at Auburn
The BCS-niks are saying that if the victor wins out, it will reach the BCS national championship game, scaling such obstacles as an undefeated Oklahoma and Boise State. We'll see. Don't forget, both have to face Alabama. What we have in this Tiger-on-Tiger matchup is the delicious challenge of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, the Heisman flavor of the week, against the SEC's best defense in LSU. This should be the SEC at its heart-stopping best. Auburn won't come close to the 63 it put up last week against Arkansas. But these Tigers will get enough to top the Bayou Bengals.
Upset of the week
Northwestern over Michigan State
The upset pick rides a two-game winning streak. Making it three would spoil the Spartans' perfect record. But it could happen. Northwestern won't be able to move it on the ground, so the Wildcats will have to get it done through the air with quarterback Dan Persa, who ranks fourth nationally in passing efficiency and is good enough to pick apart any defense if given time to throw.
Others worth watching
Wisconsin at Iowa
This game defines trench warfare. The Badgers' offensive line dominated Ohio State last week, and Iowa's defensive line might be the nation's best. Which of the team's offensive top offensive weapons will come up bigger? Wisconsin running backs John Clay and James White have combined for 1,356 yards, the best of any tandem in the nation. Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi has thrown 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Badgers quarterback Scott Tolzien looks for a better outing against Iowa this season than last, when he threw three interceptions.
North Carolina at Miami
Still trying to figure out what Miami is about. The Hurricanes looked solid against Pittsburgh and Clemson but got blown out at home by Florida State. Is this a division contender? The record says so, but Miami needs to beat a solid North Carolina squad to remain in the hunt. The Tar Heels have pushed through the distractions and are riding a four-game winning streak. But this will be North Carolina's toughest challenge in the run.
Washington at Arizona
Starting next year, this is a division game in the Pacific-12. Saturday, it's about two teams with 2-1 records in the Pac-10 trying to stay alive for a Rose Bowl berth.
On the horizon: Oct. 30 games
Michigan State at Iowa
Slate gets progressively tougher for Spartans
Missouri at Nebraska
One of these two has been Big 12 North winner the last four years
Oregon at Southern California
Ducks have won two of previous three
Utah at Air Force