Games to Watch October 26, 2012

Peter Sblendorio

No. 5 Notre Dame vs. No. 8 Oklahoma

Notre Dame has beaten three ranked opponents so far, but Oklahoma presents the Irish with their toughest test. The Sooners boast the nation’s fifth highest scoring offense, averaging 44.7 points per game, and their defense has also been strong in limiting opponents to 15.3 points per contest. Landry Jones has shaken off a rough start to the year to put up an impressive stat line that includes 1,644 passing yards and 12 touchdowns. The Sooners’ running game, led by Damien Williams and backup quarterback Blake Bell, has accounted for 20 touchdowns. Oklahoma is yet to face a defense like Notre Dame’s, though, as the Irish are second in the nation in allowing just 9.4 points per game. Offensively, the Irish have been consistently good enough to win, and the news that quarterback Everett Golson has been cleared to play following a concussion should give Notre Dame a boost.

Game at 7:00 CT on ABC

No. 11 Mississippi State vs. No. 1 Alabama

Alabama has had little trouble this year in establishing itself as college football’s best team. The Crimson Tide is allowing a national-best 8.3 points per game. Offensively, Alabama is 14th in the nation in scoring at 41 points per game, and quarterback A.J. McCarron has come into his own this season, passing for 1,476 yards and 16 touchdowns without an interception. Mississippi State, the only other undefeated team in the SEC West, could very well end up being Alabama’s toughest foe this season. The Bulldogs are one of the nation’s most balanced teams, averaging 36.7 points per game while holding opponents to just 14.4. They will have to be up to the task to continue their upstart year Saturday, though, as Alabama’s smallest margin of victory in their undefeated season is 19 points.

Game at 7:30 CT on ESPN

No. 2 Florida vs. No 10 Georgia

The other major matchup in the SEC this week will pit the top two teams in the conference’s East division against each other. Florida continued its impressive season last week with a 44-11 drubbing of No. 7 South Carolina and this came just two weeks after its statement victory over then No. 4 LSU. The Gators’ defense is fourth in opponent scoring, allowing just 12.1 points per game. The offense has also been surprisingly steady behind mobile quarterback Jeff Driskel, and it should have its chances to score against an underperforming Bulldog’s defense. That said, the Bulldogs have been able to outscore opponents in most instances this year. Georgia is averaging 5.3 yards per carry on the ground and has scored 20 rushing touchdowns, and quarterback Aaron Murray has impressed with 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions. The winner of this game will claim first place in the SEC East, making this one a must-watch.

Game at 2:30 CT on CBS

No 14 Texas Tech at No. 3 Kansas State

Kansas State has been the most complete team outside of Alabama this year. The Wildcats have averaged the 10th-most points in the nation on offense at 42.9 per game and defensively they have limited the opposition to just 16.1 points per contest. Quarterback Collin Klein has emerged as a legitimate Heisman contender, as he leads the team with 10 passing touchdowns and 14 more on the ground. The Red Raiders, too, have had a strong season and they are coming off of back-to-back wins over ranked opponents. Quarterback Seth Doege has put up prolific passing numbers, throwing for 2,209 yards and 28 touchdowns in seven games. This one has significant Big 12 implications, and while Kansas State enters as a seven-point favorite, the Red Raiders have had a knack for upsets in the past few years.

Game at 2:30 CT on FOX