Games to watch: Mayhem comes to Waco in a Big 12 showdown

Clark Dalton

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor

Saturday, ABC, 6:30 p.m.

It is the question that is reverberating through the college football landscape — is Baylor for real? The Bears are undefeated so far, but the victories have not come easily. The Bears scraped by West Virginia and TCU in the past two weeks, winning by six points or less in both matchups. This week they welcome a different beast into McLane Stadium: the Oklahoma Sooners. Although the Sooners have won four Big 12 titles in a row, they’ve shown cracks in their armor. The Sooners lost to Kansas State on the road, and were one two-point conversion away from a home loss to Iowa State. An upset is possible, which creates two distinct scenarios — either it’s the Bears shining en route to a Big 12 title or Oklahoma reasserting their dominance.

No. 4 Georgia at No. 12 Auburn

Saturday, CBS, 2:30 p.m.

Georgia has been foaming at the mouth waiting for an opportunity to claim its first national championship since 1980. The Bulldogs are hoping to pave the championship road as the front-runner in the SEC East. But there is one thing standing in Georgia’s way — Auburn. The Tigers are at home, where they’ve managed to pull off statement wins over the years, and the last time Georgia played in Jordan-Hare Stadium they lost 40-17. Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix is erratic, but he has had moments of greatness. Nonetheless, the Tigers will have to stop a rushing attack that is averaging 215 yards per game. One team is playing for pride while the other is trying to hold on to a dream.

No. 8 Minnesota at Iowa

Saturday, FOX, 3:00 p.m.

The Gophers shocked the nation, dethroning the Penn State Nittany Lions 31-26. Even though Minnesota controls its own destiny in the Big Ten West, not everyone has bought into the hype. Iowa hopes to squash the Gophers in Des Moines. The Hawkeyes defense remains strong under head coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes don’t have many plays fly past them. They allow 178 passing yards per game, which is the 10th best in the country. Minnesota sophomore quarterback Tanner Morgan has been a surprise, tossing 21 total touchdowns on the season. Last weekend, Morgan had three touchdowns while also completing 90% of his passes. The Gophers will need a similar effort to inch closer to a Big Ten Championship appearance.

Indiana at No. 9 Penn State

Saturday, ABC, 11:00 a.m.

Yes, Indiana is both a basketball and football school this year. The Hoosiers are 7–2, posting an exciting offense that averages 446 yards per game. The catalyst has been sophomore running back Stevie Scott III, who has churned out 737 total yards. Penn State is down, but not out. It still has an opportunity to make the Big Ten Championship. The Nittany Lions have the home-field advantage in Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, so this could mark an opportunity to rebound against an upstart Indiana team.

UCLA at No. 7 Utah

Saturday, FOX, 7:00 p.m.

Utah is trying to shock everyone by sneaking into the College Football Playoff. However, they will face a UCLA team that could slide past them. UCLA has grown by leaps and bounds this season. The Bruins are only 4–5 overall, but their four wins have all come within the Pac-12. The Bruins are currently third in the South Division. A team that is beginning to shape a new identity for a struggling program may have the Utes on upset alert.