Lamest time window: Early. This is the first full weekend we’ve had, so it’s a nice, full slate. If you must run errands, make sure you’re settled in by 3 p.m.
Noon: No. 13 Indiana has already knocked off one big-name program, Penn State. Can the Hoosiers do it again to another (No. 23 Michigan)?
3:30: The defacto SEC East title game (No. 8 Florida vs. No. 5 Georgia) is the main game. Houston at No. 6 Cincinnati is worth watching during commercials.
4: Florida State-Pitt and No. 14 Oklahoma State at Kansas State are both intriguing games with teams I haven’t figured out yet.
7:30: No. 1 Clemson outlasted Boston College without Trevor Lawrence. Can the Tigers keep it going against No. 4 Notre Dame?
8: No. 15 Coastal Carolina is fun to watch, even against South Alabama.
10:30: Washington will try to rebound from last year’s down 8-5 season against Cal in the return of Pac-12 After Dark.
Local of the week
Georgia tight end Tre' McKitty (Tampa Catholic/IMG Academy)
The grad transfer from Florida State has started the last three games and shown flashes of emerging as a receiving target. UF’s defense gave up five catches each to tight ends from Ole Miss and Texas A&M, so the Wesley Chapel native could have more opportunities for a big play or two in Jacksonville.
Eye on the NFL draft
Florida’s offense is loaded with NFL talent (including quarterback Kyle Trask, tight end Kyle Pitts and receivers Trevon Grimes and Kadarius Toney). Georgia’s depleted defense is still one of the best in the nation with prospects like end Malik Herring and cornerback Tyson Campbell. This is the type of matchup NFL teams will be dissecting in the offseason as they figure out their draft boards.
The obvious focus on Clemson is how freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei will handle the biggest game of his young career. But the matchup could come down to his star teammate, running back Travis Etienne. If Etienne can crack the Irish’s top-15 rushing defense or break off an explosive play or two as a receiver, the Tigers have a good chance of continuing their perfect season.
First-year AAC coaches
USF’s Jeff Scott and Memphis' Ryan Silverfield are good friends who have a lot in common as first-year coaches:
First head coaching job: Won a state title at South Carolina’s Blythewood High at age 25
Last boss: Dabo Swinney, Clemson’s two-time national championship coach
Long-time Florida ties: Born in Arcadia
First head coaching job: Took over Georgia’s Memorial Day High at age 24
Last boss: Mike Norvell, who was Memphis' head coach before leaving for FSU
Long-time Florida ties: Played and coached at Jacksonville Bolles, a prep powerhouse
Pitt and FSU don’t have much of a history (nine matchups before this weekend), but two of the past three games were noteworthy. The last time the Seminoles hosted the Panthers, Dan Marino threw a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes in a 37-17 victory in 1982. And seven years ago, FSU’s march to the national title began with Jameis Winston’s dazzling, 25-of-27 debut in a 41-13 triumph that spoiled Pitt’s first game in the ACC.
Say this for Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh: He usually responds well to his losses. Harbaugh is 8-1 after a loss during the regular season. That includes a 27-20 win over Indiana the week after losing to Michigan State in 2017. And the only defeat was, of course, his traditional loss to Ohio State in 2017.
The No. 6 Bearcats are deserving of College Football Playoff consideration thanks to a great defense and a true dual-threat quarterback. Desmond Ridder is eighth nationally among all players at 8.8 yards per rush. He should be able to pad that figure against Houston.
A brief guide to the Pac-12, which opens today
Top team: Oregon. Led by former top recruit Kayvon Thibodeaux, the Ducks return most of a defense that helped them win the Pac-12 last year.
Most interesting team: USC. The Trojans could win the conference or finally get coach Clay Helton fired. Or somewhere in between. Nothing would be a surprise here.
Coaches to know: Remember when the Gators wanted Chip Kelly? He’s 7-17 in two years at UCLA and will try to turn it around with promising quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Herm Edwards isn’t a joke at Arizona State, but 15-11 isn’t great, either. Nick Rolovich has some personality traits in common with his Washington State predecessor, Mike Leach. We’ll see if he can put up points the way Leach did while keeping the Cougars relevant.
Tampa ties: Oregon defensive tackle Jordon Scott (Pinellas Park High) has started 37 of the past 38 games for the Ducks and has NFL talent. Washington State’s Travell Harris (Tampa’s Jesuit High) was one of the conference’s top returners last season and caught 47 passes for 536 yards last year. First-year Washington coach Jimmy Lake had two stints as a Bucs defensive assistant (2006-07 and 2010-11).
By the numbers
4 — Consecutive games with one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown by FSU quarterback Jordan Travis. That’s the longest streak in school history
19:47 —Total time Notre Dame has trailed all season
1993 — Last time the Irish knocked off a No. 1 team (a 31-24 win over Florida State in one of the Games of the Century)
144 — Consecutive passes thrown by No. 7 Texas A&M without allowing a sack. Can Will Muschamp’s Gamecocks change that this week?
49 — First downs gained by Northwestern, its most through two games since 2013. That’s a credit to new offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian (the Bucs' quarterbacks coach from 2015-18)
2001 — Last time Penn State started 0-3. The Nittany Lions need to beat Maryland to avoid that mark
556.8 — Yards per game allowed by Memphis, which ranks third-to-last nationally and could bode well for the Bulls' offense