1. Judgment day for the Big Ten: That might sound ominous, but the conference has a chance Saturday to make a statement with three marquee nonconference games that could resonate with the College Football Playoff selection committee in December.
The signature game is No. 7 Michigan State at No. 3 Oregon. Michigan State won the Big Ten last year and has national title aspirations. Commissioner Jim Delany has said this game has potential to be “disproportionately important” for the perception of the conference.
“I don’t downplay the game, it takes on an added dimension,” Delany told SI.com earlier this week. “I think all the emphasis on these games is merited. They’re potential pivot points for the decision-making.”
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Also, Michigan travels to No. 16 Notre Dame, and No. 8 Ohio State hosts Virginia Tech.
2. Star is born: Now we know why Johnny Football left early – there was no guarantee he was going to start at Texas A&M, either. Kidding (we think), but what a debut by freshman Kenny Hill last week, breaking Manziel’s school record for passing yards, on the road at South Carolina, no less. Not long after Manziel tweeted “KENNY FOOTBALL,” Hill told reporters he doesn’t really like that nickname.
3. So long, good buddy: Saturday marks the last game scheduled between Michigan and Notre Dame because the Irish needed to clear some room on their schedule to accommodate the new ACC relationship. Surely, those future games against Wake Forest and Syracuse will be just as exciting.
Tracking the Top 25
Saturday’s games ... comments where deserving.
No. 1 Florida State (1-0) vs. The Citadel (0-1), 7:30 p.m.: Last time Noles faced a team from South Carolina, they won 51-14. And that opponent was ranked No. 3 at the time.
No. 2 Alabama (1-0) vs. FAU (0-1), noon: FAU is better off canceling this game and having lawyers argue it is the worst program in the country.
No. 3 Oregon (1-0) vs. No. 7 Michigan State (1-0), 6:30 p.m.: Dear Big Ten fans, at least it’s not an SEC power. Ducks battling their own stereotypes, that they can’t play physical.
No. 4 Oklahoma (1-0) at Tulsa (1-0), noon
No. 5 Auburn (1-0) vs. San Jose State (1-0), 7 p.m.
No. 8 Ohio State (1-0) vs. Virginia Tech, 8 p.m.: Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer says Virginia Tech’s defensive line might be the best Ohio State faces this season. Cue the soft schedule jokes in 3 ... 2 ... 1.
No. 9 Texas A&M (1-0) vs. Lamar (1-0), 7:30 p.m.: Aggies jumped 12 spots in AP poll after last week’s win. A similar move next week and they’ll be ahead of the Texans in the AFC South.
No. 10 Baylor (1-0) vs. Northwestern State (0-1), 7:30 p.m.
No. 11 UCLA (1-0) vs. Memphis (1-0), 10 p.m.: A good opportunity to ponder: Lew Alcindor vs. Keith Lee. Reggie Miller vs. Derrick Rose. The Wizard vs. John Calipari.
No. 12 LSU (1-0) vs. Sam Houston State (1-1), 7:30 p.m.
No. 13 Stanford (1-0) vs. No. 14 Southern Cal (1-0), 3:30 p.m.: In a storybook ending, Trojans corner Josh Shaw returns from injury and suspension, intercepts a pass, weaves through the Stanford band for game-winning TD. Then rescues John Elway, who fainted.
No. 15 Mississippi (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1), 4:30 p.m.
No. 16 Notre Dame (1-0) vs. Michigan (1-0), 7:30 p.m.: For all of the hype, Irish have played more games against Purdue.
No. 17 Arizona State (1-0) at New Mexico (0-1), 7 p.m.
No. 18 Wisconsin (0-1) vs. Western Illinois (1-0), Noon: Throw the records out the window.
No. 19 Nebraska (1-0) vs. McNeese State (0-0), Noon
No. 20 Kansas State (1-0) at Iowa State (0-1), Noon
No. 21 North Carolina (1-0) vs. San Diego State (1-0), 8 p.m.
No. 21 South Carolina (0-1) vs. East Carolina (1-0), 7 p.m.: Ball Coach has lost consecutive games just two times in past four seasons.
No. 23 Clemson (0-1) vs. S.C. State (1-0), 12:30 p.m.: Dear Dabo, it’s the other South Carolina state university you need to beat.
No. 24 Missouri (1-0) at Toledo (1-0), Noon: Tigers coach Gary Pinkel returns to the place he coached from 1991-2000. He joked that when he agreed to the game, he figured he’d be fired by the time it was played.
No. 25 Louisville (1-0) vs. Murray State (1-0), 7 p.m.: That Miami beatdown was so thorough, it’s not a stretch to see Louisville 8-0 and solidly in the top 10 for its Oct. 30 showdown against Florida State.
Number to know
1,786 Combined victories between Michigan (first with 911) and Notre Dame (third with 875).
“I just wanted to get the first press conference over with. I get nervous up here.”
Texas A&M freshman QB Kenny Hill after throwing for 511 yards and three TDs against South Carolina.