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What to watch today

No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama

7 p.m. from Arlington, Texas, Ch. 5

2014 records: Wisconsin 11-3, Alabama 12-2

The skinny: The Badgers have a chance for a big opening statement in their debut under coach Paul Chryst. Alabama, meanwhile, has used prominent neutral-site openers like this to catapult the team to big seasons, including national titles in 2009 and 2012. That's the Crimson Tide's goal again.

The stat: These are two of the five programs to average at least 10 wins over the past six seasons. Alabama is tops with 72 wins and the Badgers have won 60 games in that span.

The line: Alabama by 12

No. 21 Stanford at Northwestern

11 a.m., ESPN

2014 records: Stanford 8-5, Northwestern 5-7

The skinny: Stanford is trying to show that a strong finish in 2014 was a sign of things to come and not just an aberration in a difficult season. The Cardinal won its final three games for an 8-5 record after winning at least 11 games and reaching a BCS bowl the previous four years. Northwestern is trying to rediscover the formula that led to five straight bowl appearances and a 10-3 mark in 2012 before back-to-back 5-7 seasons.

The stat: Stanford QB Kevin Hogan has 24 wins as a starting quarterback, trailing only Ohio State's Braxton Miller (26) among active FBS players.

The line: Stanford by 11 ½

Louisville vs. No. 6 Auburn

2:30 p.m. from Atlanta, Ch. 4

2014 records: Louisville 9-4, Auburn 8-5

The skinny: Auburn is trying to live up to the preseason hype as one of the favorites to win the Southeastern Conference. Louisville wants a strong start with two of its first three games against ranked teams. The Cardinals also host No. 12 Clemson on Sept. 17.

The stat: Bobby Petrino returns to the home stadium of the Atlanta Falcons, the NFL team he coached for only 13 games in 2007 before leaving to take over at Arkansas. And there's more Petrino intrigue. He also was the target in a clandestine attempt by Auburn higher-ups to replace Tommy Tuberville during his previous stint at Louisville.

The line: Auburn by 10 ½

Brigham Young at Nebraska

2:30 p.m., Ch. 5

2014 records: BYU 8-5, Nebraska 9-4

The skinny: In BYU, the Cornhuskers face their most challenging opening opponent in more than a decade. BYU has gone to a bowl for 10 consecutive seasons.

The stat: BYU is starting a season against an opponent from a Power Five conference for the ninth time in 11 years. The Cougars are 5-3 in those openers.

The line: Nebraska by 7 ½

No. 15 Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

6 p.m. from Houston, ESPN

2014 records: Arizona State 10-3, Texas A&M 8-5

The skinny: In the first meeting between the schools and only game between the Pac-12 and SEC this season, the Sun Devils look to get their first-ever win over an SEC team. They are 0-6.

The stat: Arizona State WR D.J. Foster had at least one reception in each game last season to extend his streak to 40 straight games, which leads the nation.

The line: Texas A&M by 3 ½

Texas at No. 11 Notre Dame

6:30 p.m., Ch. 11

2014 records: Texas 6-7, Notre Dame 8-5

The skinny: The Fighting Irish can't afford an early slip against an unranked team. The Longhorns want to re-establish themselves as an elite team, and a win against a ranked team would be a good start.

The stat: Notre Dame is 28-5-1 against current Big 12 teams, its best record against any Power 5 conference.

The line: Notre Dame by 9 ½

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