Games to watch: Power of will tested in Death Valley

Clark Dalton

No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU

CBS, 2:30 p.m.

Joe Burrow’s case as a Heisman front-runner grows stronger with every touchdown. The hype could continue to increase if the senior quarterback pulls off his third victory against a top 15 team. Auburn’s playoff hopes are hanging by a very thin thread after falling to Florida. However, there is still hope if they can knock off an undefeated LSU team in Death Valley. The matchup also has huge consequences in the SEC West as the winner is likely to arise as the biggest challenge to Alabama. Both teams stack up evenly, so it may come down to who can win a one-possession game.

No. 13 Wisconsin at No. 3 Ohio State

FOX, 11:00 a.m.

Prior to Week Eight, the sky was the limit for Wisconsin. Lofty ambitions toppled down after a loss to unranked Illinois. This week, the Badgers try to recuperate in Columbus, Ohio, against Ohio State, who is currently ranked third in the AP Top 25 poll. The Buckeyes have rolled over Big Ten opponents, scoring an average of 50 points per game. Junior defensive end Chase Young has demolished backfields with 23 total tackles and 9.5 sacks. Wisconsin plans to counteract this with junior running back Jonathan Taylor. Taylor has joined special company, rushing for 5,000 yards in less than three seasons. The Badgers will need another great performance to get back in the chase. It would also mark the first stand against the Big Ten favorite.

No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 Michigan

ABC, 6:30 p.m.

After a tough road loss in Happy Valley, the Wolverines return to the Big House. Notre Dame arrives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a chip on its shoulder. The Fighting Irish are seeking a win against a ranked opponent. The Notre Dame defense has been stout, allowing only 16 points per game. However, its Achilles’ heel has been its failure to stop the run game, where they allow 151 yards per game. Meanwhile, the Wolverines’ offense averages 154 rushing yards per game. Both teams go into this matchup having nothing to lose, so viewers can expect 60 minutes of smashmouth football.

Washington State at No. 11 Oregon

ESPN, 9:30 p.m.

Oregon narrowly escaped Spokane with a victory over rival Washington. Senior quarterback Justin Herbert is putting together an excellent campaign. Herbert has thrown 21 touchdowns and only one interception. On the other side, Washington State’s senior quarterback Anthony Gordon is the NCAA’s leading passer, throwing for 2,981 yards. With two quarterbacks playing at a high level and a pair of offenses averaging over 400 yards per game, a high-scoring game could be on the horizon. However, Oregon’s defense may be able to slow down the Cougars’ air raid offense. Either way, Oregon gets a chance to slowly edge its way back into the national conversation.

Oklahoma State at No. 23 Iowa State

FS1, 2:30 p.m.

Despite having talented players like junior running back Chuba Hubbard, Oklahoma State is sinking to the bottom of the Big 12. Iowa State has overcome early difficulties behind the strong play of sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy. Purdy has thrown for 2,185 yards, which is the fifth best total in the NCAA. The Cyclones have the home field advantage as well. Oklahoma State’s offense can match the Cyclones, though, as they average nearly 520 yards. If the Cowboys can pull off the upset, they could be poised for a turnaround.