By Ryan Mayer, CBS Local Sports
Last week was fun. TCU, considered in the preseason to be a favorite to make the College Football Playoff, went down to Oklahoma State in Stillwater. Alabama asserted their dominance by holding Leonard Fournette to 31 yards on their way to a 30-16 victory. Ole Miss lost to Arkansas in OT. The games made more of a mess of the top 10 and more of the same may be coming this weekend. Three key games to watch.
Saturday 3:30pm ET (CBS) – #2 Alabama vs #17 Mississippi State
The Bulldogs title hopes were dashed by the Tide last season when Nick Saban’s group handed them their first loss of the season in mid-November. They have a chance to try and exact some revenge with the roles flipped this year. QB Dak Prescott has quietly had a fantastic season completing 66% of his passes for 2,351 yards and 18 TD’s with just 1 INT. He’s also the leading rusher on his team with 86 carries for 418 yards and 7 TD’s. Can he keep up that efficiency against a Tide defense that looked ferocious and just physically dominated LSU last week? We’ll find out.
Saturday 7pm ET (ESPN2) – #21 Memphis at #24 Houston
Memphis lost to Navy last week, taking their fate out of their own hands in the American Athletic Conference West division. Houston and Navy currently sit atop the standings in that division. Memphis will want to win this one bad to get back in that division title race. The biggest bonus of this game? Offense. The over/under is set at 71 points. Yeah, that should give you some idea of what to expect. Plus, you’ve got a rising draft prospect at the QB spot in Paxton Lynch. Lynch is a guy that many draft analysts have now moved to the top of this year’s QB class. Here’s your chance to watch him in prime time.
Saturday 8pm ET (ABC) – #12 Oklahoma at #6 Baylor
The Big 12 schedule is back-loaded, so you’re probably going to see at least one Big 12 game featured here each week the rest of the way. The Bears got a solid performance out of freshman QB Jarrett Stidham in his debut last week against Kansas State, but the Oklahoma defense is a different animal. The Sooners have three players with 5 or more sacks this season. Eric Striker (7.5), Charles Tapper (5) and Charles Walker (5) all put significant pressure on the QB, and the defense as a whole is 2nd in the country in sacks with 34 on the season. Expect Sooners defensive coordinator Mike Stoops to send plenty of pressure to rattle the young Stidham. On the Bears side, if you haven’t seen WR Corey Coleman play this season, you need to. He leads the country with 20 receiving touchdowns and is generally just an unstoppable force outside. If Stidham can keep his head in the pocket, Coleman could have another big day.
Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.