NO. 14 N.C. STATE (6-1) AT No. 9 NOTRE DAME (6-1)
2:30 p.m. (Ch. 11)
When Notre Dame plays host to North Carolina State on Saturday, it pits the nation's sixth-ranked rushing offense against the sixth-ranked rushing defense. The Irish rush for 317.9 yards per game, the Wolfpack surrender just 91.3 yards on the ground.
"A great head-to-head heavyweight battle right there," N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said.
It's not one that many thought could have national championship implications before the season started. Really, the strongest connection between the schools is that both were coached by Lou Holtz.
But here they both are. The first College Football Rankings will be announced Monday, and the loser of this game figures to be out of the picture with two losses.
Notre Dame, 4-8 in 2016, is fresh from its fifth consecutive victory, a 49-14 pasting of archrival Southern California. North Carolina State, refreshed following a bye week, comes in with six consecutive victories, including stunners over Atlantic Coast Conference Atlantic Division rivals Florida State (27-21) and Louisville (39-25).
"They are deserving of their ranking," Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. "They can play with anybody."
The Irish has produced 17 takeaways this season, including three against the Trojans, and are 12th in the nation in points against at 16.4 points per game. But the Wolfpack has surrendered the ball only three times, all on fumbles, as QB Ryan Finley has yet to throw an interception.
The N.C. State offense also features a pair of all-purpose players in running back Nyheim Hines and H-back Jaylen Samuels. The 5-9 Hines is an All-America track sprinter who had an 83-yard TD run and a 92-yard punt return at Pittsburgh on Oct. 14. The 5-11 Samuels has 10 TDs (seven rushing) and has caught 54 passes for 453 yards.
On defense, 6-4, 275-pound defensive end Bradley Chubb already has 6½ sacks and 14 tackles for loss. He is one of nine Wolfpack seniors who start on D.
Notre Dame, meanwhile, rides Heisman Trophy hopeful Josh Adams, who is seventh nationally with 967 rushing yards and second in yards per carry at 9.21, and dual-threat quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who has totaled 1,410 yards and 18 touchdowns.
NO. 5 WISCONSIN (7-0) AT ILLINOIS (2-5)
11 a.m. (ESPN)
The Badgers roll into town unbeaten, stomping toward a Big Ten West title and with College Football Playoff hopes. Illinois is looking for any signs of hope in Year 2 under coach Lovie Smith. Wisconsin has won seven in a row vs. the Illini, and this could get ugly, with Jonathan Taylor averaging 7.8 yards per carry and 158 yards per game for the Badgers and the Illini last in the conference in rushing defense.
NO. 11 OKLAHOMA STATE (6-1) AT NO. 22 WEST VIRGINIA (5-2)
11 a.m. (Ch. 5)
These programs bring two of the nation's top scoring and passing offenses. They are tied for second place in the Big 12, and a loss would put a major crimp in one team's hopes of reaching the conference title game. West Virginia QB Will Grier leads the nation with 26 TD passes, including a nation-best 15 to David Sills V. Cowboys QB Mason Rudolph has an FBS-best 2,650 passing yards.
NO. 3 GEORGIA (7-0) VS. FLORIDA (3-3)
2:30 p.m., Jacksonville, Fla. (Ch. 4)
Georgia puts its unbeaten record on the line against a Gators team that has won 21 of the past 27 meetings, including three in a row. This year's Georgia team ranks 10th nationally in rushing at 282.9 yards per game and is averaging 43 points per game in SEC play, but the only other time Georgia was a double-digit favorite in this game in the past 40 years was in 2014, when the Bulldogs lost 38-20.
NO. 4 TEXAS CHRISTIAN (7-0) AT NO. 25 IOWA STATE (5-2)
2:30 p.m. (Ch. 5)
A TCU loss would leave the Big 12 without an unbeaten team heading into November and put Iowa State, back in the Top 25 for the first time in 12 years after being picked to finish ninth in the preseason poll, into a tie for first place. Both teams have given up a league-low 61 points in four conference games. The weather is supposed to be nasty, with temperatures in the upper 30s and wind gusts approaching 30 mph.