Must-see and meh time frames Saturday for college football:
Lamest time window: Noon, although No. 10 Oklahoma State is on upset watch at Texas.
Noon: Louisville QB Lamar Jackson against a talented Florida State defense? Yes, please.
3:30: Syracuse will try to upset a second straight top-10 team (No. 8 Miami), and Navy hosts No. 20 UCF in one of the best Group of Five matchups of the season.
7: It’s not saying much, but Tulane is the biggest test so far for No. 16 USF.
7:30: No. 2 Penn State tries to avenge last year’s blowout loss to No. 19 Michigan, and loser of No. 11 USC-No. 13 Notre Dame is probably eliminated from the College Football Playoff conversation.
5. Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick: One of the most well-rounded defensive players of the Nick Saban era — which is, obviously, saying a lot.
4. Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield: Five 300-yard games already with a shot at a sixth against a decent Kansas State defense.
3. Louisville QB Lamar Jackson: Leads the nation in total yards (3,012); it’s not his fault his supporting cast regressed.
2. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley: He has a chance to impress voters (again) by cracking a top-10 Michigan rushing defense in prime time.
1. Stanford RB Bryce Love: Only 28 teams in the country have rushed for more yards than Love (1,387), and only four have more explosive runs.
Eye on the NFL draft
USC doesn’t have its most talented defensive front, but it does rank seventh nationally with 22 sacks. That’s enough to create big showcases for two first-round talents — Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson — who will try to protect banged-up QB Brandon Wimbush.
Barkley’s buzz overshadows one of the biggest reasons why Penn State is undefeated: Its defense. The Nittany Lions are allowing only 4 yards per game (No. 4 in the country) and haven’t given up more than 19 points in a game all season. It’s hard to see QB John O’Korn and Michigan’s below-average offense cracking it, especially in Happy Valley.