We’re fully into conference schedules across the country, and that’s usually the time the real contenders start to emerge and teams get tested on a more frequent basis.
No. 2 Alabama is among that group this week with a trip to face No. 20 Arkansas. That’s one of five ranked vs. ranked matchups on tap this weekend, including two big ones in the ACC Atlantic. There is the potential for plenty of upsets, especially with several other ranked teams going on the road to face unranked conference foes, beginning with No. 15 Washington’s trip to UCLA on Friday night.
This should be a really fun weekend.
(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)
Time: Noon | TV: ESPN | Line: Ole Miss -7 | Total: 53.5
Off to a 4-0 start and ranked No. 7 in the country, Kentucky is getting one of its best players back for a road showdown with No. 14 Ole Miss. Chris Rodriguez, the team’s top running back, is back after a four-game suspension. Rodriguez could provide a jolt for an offense that has underwhelmed a bit to this point in the season. On the other side, Ole Miss is second in the SEC with 13 sacks. Offensively, Ole Miss has settled on USC transfer Jaxson Dart at quarterback after he split reps with Luke Altmyer early in the year. Off to a 4-0 start, the Rebels have leaned on their running game and are averaging 5.8 yards per rush as a team.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: Alabama -17.5 | Total: 60.5
We haven’t heard much from Alabama since it nearly lost to Texas back in Week 2. After escaping Austin with a 20-19 win, the Crimson Tide posted back-to-back blowout home wins over UL Monroe and Vanderbilt. The Tide need to find some consistency at receiver as SEC play picks up, beginning with Saturday’s trip to Fayetteville. Arkansas opened the year 3-0 with wins over Cincinnati and South Carolina before dropping a heartbreaker to Texas A&M last week. Sam Pittman’s group is going to have to turn the page quickly with Alabama visiting Razorback Stadium.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: Fox | Line: Baylor -2.5 | Total: 56.5
Last year, Baylor stood in the way of a Big 12 title and a potential College Football Playoff berth for Oklahoma State. The two met in the conference title game, but Baylor’s defense came up with a clutch goal line stand to win in dramatic fashion. Turning the page to 2022, Oklahoma State is off to a 3-0 start and has looked good on offense, albeit against lackluster competition. OSU really hasn’t been tested so far this year, but is coming off a bye headed into this showdown in Waco. Baylor, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive road win over Iowa State to improve to 3-1.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: FSU -7 | Total: 64
Florida State is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2018 thanks to a 4-0 start. FSU has wins over LSU, Louisville and Boston College under its belt so far and welcomes Wake Forest to Tallahassee on Saturday for an ACC Atlantic showdown. FSU quarterback Jordan Travis has been fantastic so far this season and the Seminoles rank No. 13 nationally in rushing offense, averaging 227 yards per game. FSU got off to a slow start under head coach Mike Norvell but is now looking like a potential contender in the ACC.
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: Clemson -6.5 | Total: 41.5
Elsewhere in the ACC is another marquee game out of the Atlantic Division. And while FSU and Wake Forest may avoid most of the impact coming from Hurricane Ian, heavy rains appear imminent for NC State’s trip to Clemson. Last year, NC State snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Tigers, who failed to win the ACC title for the first time since 2014. This year, both teams are off to 4-0 starts. The win over Wake Forest seemed to show Clemson’s offense has made major strides but the defense may not be quite as strong as it has been in recent years.