October is the best - fall weather is here (with the exception of Southern California, which has been bolstering temperatures north of one hundred degrees), Halloween is right around the corner, we have all the major sports in full motion, and college football games carry more importance as the season comes to a close. Here are some games you should pay attention to this weekend:
Top 25 Games
#11 Oklahoma State @ #22 West Virginia, (9:00am PT, ABC)
As I have said before and I will say again - Mike Gundy’s mullet alone is good enough for me to pay attention to any OK State game. No one is really sure what to expect with this game: both the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys are undefeated on the home and on the road, respectively; both teams are 3-1, and both teams are a combined 1-3 against top 25 opponents. OSU and WVU will both need help from other teams down the stretch if they have any shot at keeping pace with the Oklahoma Sooners and catching up with TCU - it all starts with this game, though. I’m fully hoping for a shootout in this one.
#2 Penn State @ #6 Ohio State, (12:30pm PT, FOX)
The Penn State Nittany Lions, powered by the proverbial Heisman-favorite Saquon Barkley, hit the road for a game which could shift the power in the Big Ten as they face Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Even if you don’t have a rooting interest here, Barkley is reason-enough to tune in - he will someday be running over NFL defenders.
#4 TCU @ #25 Iowa State, (12:30pm PT, ABC/ESPN2)
TCU is 7-0, playing well in all three phases of the game, and will give the Iowa State Cyclones every bit of speed they can take. It’s going to be tough for ISU to slow down the likes of Kenny Hill as he has shown that he has control over just about every aspect of this offense. TCU ranks first in the Big 12 in scoring defense (14.9 ppg), first in rushing defense (80.7 ypg) and first in pass defense (210.6 ypg). Look for them to solidify their case for a potential berth in the College Football Playoff.
#14 NC State @ #9 Notre Dame, (12:30pm PT, NBC)
Being a Trojan fan, I would like nothing more than to see the boys in South Bend fall to the NC State Wolfpack - with a top 25 matchup like this, anything is possible. NC State faces Clemson next week in a bout that may very well decide who will come out on top in the ACC’s Atlantic division. Notre Dame will look to continue to improve upon their 6-1 record on the year and bolster their resume for any postseason considerations.
UCLA @ #12 Washington, (12:30pm PT, ABC/ESPN2)
If the Washington Huskies want to be considered for the College Football Playoff then they will need to win out and win out impressively - mostly thanks to a 13-7 loss to Arizona State in week 7. Whenever you face a team with a stud at quarterback like the Bruins have in Josh Rosen then you need to make sure you bring your “A” game. If UCLA wins out and gets some help with other teams losing then they may very well find themselves in the thick of things in terms of a PAC-12
#15 Washington State @ Arizona, (6:30pm PT, PAC12)
The Arizona Wildcats face a tough test as WSU comes to town looking to continue the roll that they’ve been on all year. Head coach Mike Leach has his guys playing some inspired football as they find themselves in step with Washington and Stanford in the PAC-12 North. WSU lost to Cal two weeks ago (37-3), so Wazzu will need everyone to show up in this tough matchup; starting quarterback Luke Falk has had success against the Wildcats, so look for him to continue that on the road.