Just a reminder - Big Ten games aren’t included here since they appear in Thursday’s Big Ten Preview, as well as games during Penn State’ timeslot.
UNLV at (#22)Fresno State
10 p.m., CBSSN (Friday)
Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener became a star last week while we were watching Penn State-Auburn. Haener had a huge day as he helped lead the way for a stunning upset of #13 UCLA. UNLV is playing their third ranked opponent in as many weeks, and while they may put up a fight, you can check out the buzz surrounding Haener.
Prediction: Fresno State-45, UNLV-24
(#7)Texas A&M vs. (#16)Arkansas
3:30 p.m., CBS
This game will help sort things out in the SEC, as Arkansas has been vastly better than expected, while Texas A&M has been rather unimpressive for a team that started out in the top five. The Razorbacks will want to prove they are for real as the schedule becomes increasingly difficult, with four games against teams currently ranked in the top 13, as well as contests with #23 Auburn and LSU. While they will stumble along the way, I think Arkansas pulls off a close one at home.
Prediction: Arkansas-27, Texas A&M-24
(#9)Clemson at NC State
3:30 p.m., ESPN
Clemson had me fooled. I thought at this point they could just reload regardless of who they lost and be a surefire playoff team. It could still happen, but for now their offense is a disaster. NC State is one of those programs that are never quite contenders, but regularly pull off massive upsets. I could see the Tigers coming out hot after only putting up a measly 14 points to squeak past Georgia Tech, but this game will sort out whether or not their problems on offense are fixable. It could be a blowout, but screw it, I’m going for the upset. Prediction: NC State-16, Clemson-13
Tennessee at (#11)Florida
7 p.m., ESPN
The ‘90s are back, but they didn’t bring this rivalry with them. This was once THE game of the college football regular season, but it’s now about as meaningful on a national scale as Ohio State-Michigan. I’m including it for one reason thought - to see how Florida recovers after a total heartbreaker against Alabama in their biggest game of the season. Don’t be surprised if they come out flat and allow Tennessee to make things interesting.
Prediction: Florida-28, Tennessee-21
West Virginia at (#4)Oklahoma
7:30 p.m., ABC
Last week I mentioned that West Virginia games are almost always interesting thanks to their tendency to play to the level of their opponent. This week will be no exception, as the Mountaineers will try to make a statement in front of a huge audience. Meanwhile, the Sooners have not been close to as dominant as expected, especially considering many pundits had them in the championship game, with some taking Oklahoma to win it all.
This feels like one of those games where West Virginia will pull it out, but I’ll take the Sooners getting the job done in a nail-biter.
Prediction: Oklahoma-31, West Virginia-28