Screen Plays: College football games to watch

  • Updated: October 5, 2012 - 8:22 PM

NO. 8 WEST VIRGINIA AT NO. 11 TEXAS

6 p.m. on Ch. 9

Records: West Virginia 4-0, 1-0 Big 12; Texas 4-0, 1-0

The skinny: The winner gets the early label as favorite to win the Big 12. West Virginia QB Geno Smith can fire up the Heisman Trophy talk with another big game passing and another victory in the Mountaineers' first Big 12 road game in front of 100,000 screaming fans and a national TV audience. The Longhorns pass rush, led by ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Alex Okafor, will need to disrupt Smith, who has two excellent targets in wide receivers Stedman Bailey (41 catches, 635 yards, 10 TDs) and Tavon Austin (48 catches, 560 yards, 7 TDs).

The stat: The Longhorns have surrendered five touchdowns of 44 yards or longer this season. Smith had four touchdown passes of 39 yards or longer against Baylor just in the second half of the Mountaineers' 70-63 victory last week.

Line: Texas by 6 1/2

NO. 24 NORTHWESTERN AT PENN STATE

11 a.m. on ESPN

Records: Northwestern 5-0, 1-0 Big Ten; Penn State 3-2, 1-0

The skinny: Back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2008, Northwestern is trying for its first 6-0 start since 1962. Beat a streaking Penn State team on the road and the Wildcats might need to be taken more seriously as a Legends Division title contender. Penn State is trying for its fourth consecutive victory under new coach Bill O'Brien.

The stat: Northwestern leads the Big Ten in red zone offense with a 92 percent conversion rate (13 touchdowns); Penn State leads the league in red zone defense (61 percent, six TDs).

Line: Penn State by 2 1/2

NO. 4 LSU AT NO. 10 FLORIDA

2:30 p.m. on Ch. 4

Records: LSU 5-0, 1-0 SEC; Florida 4-0, 3-0

The skinny: Up for grabs in this SEC battle is a perfect record, top-10 ranking and a spot atop the East Division. Other than that, not much. Regardless of the outcome, both teams have much bigger games ahead. LSU still plays top-ranked Alabama in a game that could decide the West Division, and Florida faces East rivals No. 5 South Carolina and No. 6 Georgia later this month.

The stat: LSU has won five of the past eight meetings, including two in a row.

Line: LSU by 2 1/2

MIAMI (FLA.) VS. NO. 9 NOTRE DAME

6:30 p.m. from Chicago on Ch. 11

Records: Miami 4-1, Notre Dame 4-0

The skinny: The Fighting Irish are looking to take another step in showing they are legitimate contenders for a national championship, trying to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2002. Miami, which also is trying to move its program back among the college football elite, is looking for its biggest victory since a 21-20 triumph over No. 8 Oklahoma three years ago.

The stat: Linebacker Mani Te'o has played a role in seven of the 13 turnovers forced by the Irish, including three interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He leads the Irish with 38 tackles.

Line: Notre Dame by 14

NO. 23 WASHINGTON AT NO. 2 OREGON

9:30 p.m. on ESPN

Records: Washington 3-1, 1-0 Pac-12; Oregon 5-0, 2-0

The skinny: Washington proved its mettle in its last game, a 17-13 victory over then-No. 8 Stanford. But the Huskies have lost the past eight against the Ducks in the heated rivalry. Oregon's winning streak is the longest for either side in the history of the series, which dates to 1900.

The stat: The Huskies are second in the Pac-12 in total defense, allowing an average of about 315 yards and 19.8 points a game. The Ducks average more than 52 points and 550 yards of offense.

Line: Oregon by 25

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