Jim Harbaugh and Michigan can't afford another loss. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and Ohio State have resided in the Associated Press’s top four for five straight weeks now. This is boring. Please send chaos.

All times Eastern.


Time Game TV
7:30 Georgia Southern at Texas State ESPNU
7:30 Texas Tech at TCU ESPN

Texas Tech and TCU both enter Thursday night’s game with quarterback issues. The Red Raiders' Alan Bowman — No. 4 nationally at 336 passing yards per game — suffered a collapsed lung during a 42-34 loss to West Virginia on Sept. 29 and spent four nights in the hospital, meaning Coach Kliff Kingsbury may turn to the more mobile Jett Duffey, who has led Texas Tech in rushing during two games this season. Horned Frogs quarterback Shawn Robinson, meanwhile, took a big hit to his already injured non-throwing shoulder that same day against Iowa State. TCU Coach Gary Patterson said this week that Robinson should play but might not start, with Penn transfer Michael Collins perhaps getting the call.


Time Game TV
7 No. 23 South Florida at Tulsa ESPN
9 Air Force at San Diego State CBS Sports Network
10 Arizona at Utah ESPN

The Legend of Khalil Tate began around this time last season, when he rushed for 327 yards — the most by a quarterback in FBS history — in a 45-42 win over Colorado. Games of 230, 137 and 146 rushing yards followed in October 2017 before defenses started to scheme specifically to stop him. That continued into 2018: Tate has yet to top 40 rushing yards in a game this season, in part because of what defenses are doing to stop him and in part because of an ankle injury suffered in a loss at Houston on Sept. 8. Utah, which will host Arizona on Friday night, held Stanford to just 42 rushing yards on 28 carries in an upset road win last weekend, but the Cardinal was without injured star Bryce Love.


Time Game TV
Noon Nebraska at Northwestern ABC
Noon No. 14 Florida at Vanderbilt ESPN
Noon Iowa at Indiana ESPN2
Noon Oklahoma State at Kansas State ESPNU
Noon Tennessee at No. 21 Auburn SEC Network
Noon Rutgers at Maryland Big Ten Network
Noon Minnesota at No. 3 Ohio State Fox Sports 1
12:20 Duke at Georgia Tech WDCA-20 (in D.C. area)
12:30 Louisville at Boston College NBC Sports Washington (in D.C. area)
2:30 Pittsburgh at No. 5 Notre Dame NBC
3:30 Elon at Delaware NBC Sports Washington Plus (in D.C. area)
3:30 No. 2 Georgia at No. 13 LSU CBS
3:30 No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon ABC/ESPN2 (check local listings)
3:30 No. 10 Central Florida at Memphis ABC/ESPN2 (check local listings)
3:30 Baylor at No. 9 Texas ESPN
3:30 Army at San Jose State ESPNU
3:30 No. 22 Texas A&M at South Carolina SEC Network
3:30 Michigan State at No. 8 Penn State Big Ten Network
3:30 Temple at Navy CBS Sports Network
3:30 Purdue at Illinois Fox Sports 1
7 Missouri at No. 1 Alabama ESPN
7 No. 16 Miami at Virginia ESPN2
7 Virginia Tech at North Carolina ESPNU
7 No. 6 West Virginia at Iowa State Fox Sports 1
7 Houston at East Carolina CBS Sports Network
7 UCLA at California Pac-12 Network
7:30 No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan ABC
7:30 Mississippi at Arkansas SEC Network
10:15 Hawaii at BYU ESPN2
10:30 No. 19 Colorado at Southern Cal Fox Sports 1
10:30 Wyoming at Fresno State ESPNU
10:30 Boise State at Nevada CBS Sports Network

Few teams have controlled field position better this season than Florida, which will visit Vanderbilt. In last week’s win over LSU, the Tigers started from better than their 27-yard line just twice in 15 drives. The first, started at the LSU 42, resulted in one yard gained and a punt. The second, from the Florida 42, resulted in only 18 yards gained and a field goal. Alternately, the Gators converted their one drive started in LSU territory into a touchdown. A week earlier in a win at Mississippi State, all four of the Bulldogs' fourth-quarter drives started from inside their own 20. Florida ranks 14th nationally in offensive field position, starting their drives at their 33.4-yard line on average. On defense, the Gators' foes have started drives at their own 24.3-yard line on average, which ranks fourth nationally. That approximately nine-yard difference has given Florida a huge edge in their past two games, both of which it won by single digits. Vanderbilt’s offense, by contrast, ranks 90th nationally in average starting field position (the 29-yard line). . . .

Like Florida, LSU also has done well to give opposing offenses a long field, with foes starting their drives from the 24.8-yard line on average (fifth nationally). But the Tigers' offense has struggled to move the ball. In last week’s loss to the Gators, their opening touchdown drive, spanning 75 yards, accounted for 20 percent of their yardage for the game and LSU would score just 12 more points after that. The Tigers rank 93rd nationally in IsoPPP, a measure of explosiveness. Georgia, LSU’s opponent Saturday, ranks second nationally in stopping said explosive plays. . . . Washington has beaten Oregon by a combined 108-24 in their past two meetings, including a 70-21 humiliation two years ago in Eugene which saw Huskies quarterback Jake Browning account for eight touchdowns. Though Browning is back again for Washington — it’s his fourth year as a starter — things perhaps will be different Saturday because of Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert, who’s considered a contender to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft. Herbert missed last year’s game against the Huskies after suffering a broken collarbone earlier in the season but this year ranks eighth nationally in quarterback rating and has 15 touchdowns to just five interceptions. . . .

The Wisconsin-Michigan loser can all but stop making plans for the College Football Playoff. The Badgers could still conceivably play for the Big Ten title with a loss, sure, by virtue of their perch in the lesser Big Ten West division, but the playoff isn’t taking a two-loss Badgers team considering that one of those defeats was at home to BYU, a team that has not looked particularly strong since then. Michigan’s lone loss this season came in the opener against Notre Dame, and the Wolverines still have games against Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State remaining (two of them on the road). Chances are they have another loss on their schedule pending already. The game will pit one of the nation’s most steady offenses (Wisconsin ranks eighth in offensive S&P+, an overall measure of opponent-adjusted efficiency) against one of its more stout defenses (Michigan ranks second in the defensive version of S&P+).

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