Florida-LSU headlines weekend full of high-profile matchups
Life as a Southeastern Conference title contender means you have a chance to make a statement every week but rarely get a chance to breathe.
Consider the stretch No. 7 Florida is facing now.
Florida won one matchup of unbeaten teams last week with a 24-13 victory over Auburn that dropped the Tigers from seventh to 12th in the Top 25. Now the Gators get another undefeated team, this time on the road against No. 5 LSU under the lights in Baton Rouge.
The Florida-LSU showdown headlines a week full of high-profile pairings. Other matchups of Top 25 teams have No. 6 Oklahoma facing No. 11 Texas, Alabama visiting No. 24 Texas A&M and No. 17 Iowa hosting No. 10 Penn State. And that doesn’t even include No. 9 Notre Dame’s rivalry renewal with unranked Southern California.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Florida (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at LSU (5-0, 1-0)
LSU has the nation’s highest-scoring offense, while Florida offers one of college football’s most fearsome defenses. This game could come down to how well Jon Greenard and his Florida teammates pressure LSU quarterback Joe Burrow.
A few of the nation’s top quarterbacks face their toughest challenges of the season in a week that could narrow down the Heisman Trophy race.
Burrow faces a Florida team that leads all Football Bowl Subdivision teams with 12 interceptions and is tied for third nationally with 26 sacks. Burrow leads the nation in completion percentage (.784) and ranks second in passing yards per game (372.8) and third in passing efficiency .
Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts leads the nation in passing efficiency and has rushed for 499 yards, but he could have a much tougher time this week against Texas, the first Top 25 opponent on the sixth-ranked Sooners’ schedule.
Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa has thrown 23 touchdown passes without an interception this year after finishing second in last season’s Heisman balloting. Alabama faces its first ranked opponent Saturday at Texas A&M.
4 - No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 10 Penn State, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 17 Iowa give the Big Ten the nation’s four top scoring defenses. Wisconsin has allowed an FBS-low 5.8 points per game. The Badgers are followed by Penn State (7.4), Iowa (8.8) and Ohio State (8.8).
6 - No. 19 Wake Forest is seeking its first 6-0 start since 1944 when it hosts Louisville this week. The Demon Deacons started 7-0 in 1944 and went on to finish 8-1. Wake Forest currently is 5-0 for just the fourth time ever, joining the 1944, 1987 and 2006 squads.
23 - Oklahoma has scored at least one touchdown in 23 consecutive quarters, a streak that started late last season.
26 - No. 2 Clemson has played an FBS-leading 26 consecutive games without allowing a player to rush for 100 yards. Clemson puts that streak on the line Saturday as it attempts to slow down Florida State’s Cam Akers, whose 582 yards rushing rank second in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
UNDER THE RADAR
Hawaii (4-1, 1-0 Mountain West) at No. 14 Boise State (5-0, 2-0): Hawaii is coming off a 52-3 blowout at Nevada and now faces a major nemesis. Boise State has beaten Hawaii six straight times and has won each of the last five meetings by at least 35 points.
No. 23 Memphis (5-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) at Temple (4-1, 1-0): This game features two talented young running backs in Memphis redshirt freshman Kenneth Gainwell (76 carries, 620 yards, 6 TDs) and Temple true freshman Re’Mahn Davis (84-503-4).
HOT SEAT WATCH
Southern California coach Clay Helton has plenty at stake Saturday when his Trojans (3-2) visit Notre Dame (4-1).
Helton occupied arguably the hottest seat in college football heading into the season. USC has produced some quality wins over Utah and Stanford this year while dealing with quarterback injuries, but a loss to Notre Dame would drop the Trojans to the .500 mark at the midway point of the season. That’s not good enough at USC.
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