[4] Miami at N.C. State

7:45 p.m., ESPN

Think the Wolfpack is kicking itself for that loss two weeks ago at North Carolina? You bet. Had N.C. State (4-2, 3-1 ACC) won that one, this would be for sole possession of first place in the ACC. As it is, this is a chance for the Wolfpack to show it belongs in the upper echelon of the restructured league -- which, for now, is Miami, Florida State, and a cesspool of also-rans. The Wolfpack's defense is the best in the nation against the pass (97.5 yards per game) and overall (203.7). It will have to shut down a rejuvenated Brock Berlin, who threw for 308 yards last week against Louisville, his most in 13 games. Key for N.C. State: Will perpetually banged-up tailback T.A. McLendon -- a game-time decision because of a bad hamstring -- be able to run effectively?

[13] Michigan at [12] Purdue

3:30 p.m., pay-per-view

A Wolverines fan base that collectively trembled a month ago now has very legitimate Rose Bowl hopes, largely because a pair of freshmen -- quarterback Chad Henne and tailback Michael Hart -- have developed so quickly. Coming off a 40-carry, 234-yard performance against Illinois, Hart has a touchdown in each of his last four games. Henne has thrown four interceptions the past two weeks, and can't be as careless today. The game will be a test for Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton; Michigan's defense leads the Big Ten against the run, but has been shaky against the pass. If Orton wants to get back in the Heisman race, and in turn reinsert Purdue in the run for the Rose Bowl, he needs to do it here. This is the only matchup between ranked teams this week.

Fresno State at [19] Boise State

10:15 p.m., ESPN2

This was supposed to be the BCS Bid Bowl, with a pair of unbeatens battling for the Western Athletic Conference crown and a chance to crash the BCS party. Instead, Fresno botched its part of the deal. After opening the season with wins at Washington and at Kansas State -- who, by the way, are a combined 3-9 now -- the Bulldogs lost consecutive games to Louisiana Tech and UTEP and are now last in the WAC. To upset Boise's bid for an unbeaten season, the Bulldogs must stop the Broncos' balanced offense. Boise scores more points than any team in the nation (46 per game) and does it with the run (206 yards per game) and the pass (290.8 yards per game). Boise will be without dangerous return man Chris Carr because of a shoulder injury.

Alabama at [11] Tennessee

3:30 p.m., WUSA-9, WJZ-13

The Crimson Tide's season was supposed to crumble when quarterback Brodie Croyle suffered a season-ending injury. But Alabama (5-2) came up with a solution: stop throwing. After quarterback Marc Guillon, a transfer from Miami, threw for just 120 yards in two games, junior Spencer Pennington took over. Pennington has averaged just 10 passes in his two starts, but the Tide won both -- over Kentucky and previously unbeaten Southern Miss. Now, Alabama (5-2) plays its biggest game of the year against the Volunteers, who control their fate in the SEC East.