There are zero matchups featuring two top 25 teams on Saturday, an unfortunate schedule quirk that happens a couple of times per season. But there’s still reason to hope for a fun day: The same scenario popped up four years ago during Week 8 of the college football season and three top 10 teams ended up losing to unranked teams. Syracuse, which would finish the year 4-8, upset No. 2 Clemson (an eventual College Football Playoff semifinalist). California, bound for a 5-7 season, beat No. 8 Washington State (by 34 points!). Arizona State, which eventually would part ways with Coach Todd Graham after a Sun Bowl loss to N.C. State, upended No. 5 Washington.

So chin up! Chaos can happen when we least expect it.

Time
Game
TV
Noon
Northwestern at No. 6 Michigan
Fox
Noon
Illinois at No. 7 Penn State
ABC
Noon
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas
ESPN
Noon
No. 2 Cincinnati at Navy
ESPN2
Noon
Northern Illinois at Central Michigan
ESPNU
Noon
Arkansas Pine Bluff at Arkansas
SEC Network
Noon
Massachusetts at Florida State
ACC Network
Noon
Kansas State at Texas Tech
Fox Sports 1
Noon
No. 16 Wake Forest at Army
CBS Sports Network
12:30
Syracuse at Virginia Tech
MASN
3
Wisconsin at No. 25 Purdue
Big Ten Network
3:30
Richmond at Stony Brook
NBC Sports Washington Plus
3:30
No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State
Fox
3:30
No. 10 Oregon at UCLA
ABC
3:30
LSU at No. 12 Mississippi
CBS
3:30
Clemson at No. 23 Pittsburgh
ESPN
3:30
Maryland at Minnesota
ESPN2
3:30
Western Michigan at Toledo
CBS Sports Network
3:30
Colorado at California
Pac-12 Network
3:30
BYU at Washington State
Fox Sports 1
4
Mississippi State at Vanderbilt
SEC Network
4
Boston College at Louisville
ACC Network
4
East Carolina at Houston
ESPNU
7
Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama
ESPN
7
No. 22 San Diego State at Air Force
CBS Sports Network
7
Nevada at Fresno State
Fox Sports 2
7:30
No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana
ABC
7:30
USC at No. 13 Notre Dame
NBC
7:30
South Carolina at No. 17 Texas A&M
SEC Network
7:30
No. 18 North Carolina State at Miami
ESPN2
7:30
Georgia Tech at Virginia
ACC Network
7:30
West Virginia at TCU
ESPNU
7:30
Utah at Oregon State
Pac-12 Network

There are only two games in the early television window that feature two teams with winning records: Northern Illinois-Central Michigan in a battle for directional-school supremacy in the Mid-American Conference West and Wake Forest-Army. Coach Dave Clawson has turned the Demon Deacons into an unexpected paragon of steadiness, with a program-record five straight bowl bids and another one coming this year even though Wake Forest was picked to finish fifth in the ACC Atlantic in the conference’s preseason poll. The Demon Deacons instead are the ACC’s only remaining undefeated team at 6-0, reaching that mark for the first time since 1944. Meanwhile, Army opened with four straight wins — against teams that are a combined 8-19 — but has since dropped two straight. Last week, Wisconsin held the run-first, run-always Black Knights to 179 rushing yards, but opponents are averaging 4.4 yards per carry against the Demon Deacons, the third-worst mark in the ACC (Wake Forest has allowed 562 rushing yards total in its past two games). …

Oklahoma State’s recipe for success this season has been pretty simple: stifle the run on defense (the Cowboys have allowed only 14 rushes of at least 10 yards, which trails only Wisconsin) and let running back Jaylen Warren wear down the opposition (he had 33 carries for 193 yards in last weekend’s win over Texas, with 154 of them in the second half). Warren only had 20 combined carries in Oklahoma State’s first two games, but now only five running backs in the nation have more attempts this season. Iowa State, which hosts the Cowboys on Saturday, has been a little snakebit this season: It nearly doubled Iowa’s yardage but committed four turnovers in a 27-17 loss Sept. 11 and outgained Baylor by nearly 1.2 yards per play (a fairly sizable number) in a 31-29 loss Sept. 25, when the Cyclones were doomed by a failed two-point conversion attempt late in the game. … LSU travels to Mississippi in its first game since the Tigers and Coach Ed Orgeron agreed to part ways at the end of the season, less than two years removed from a national title. LSU went 5-5 in pandemic-stricken 2020 and is 4-3 this season after getting decimated by injuries, but last weekend’s upset of Florida showed that the Tigers’ overwhelming talent still can carry the day when needed. Rebels quarterback Matt Corral, a Heisman contender, took a beating in last weekend’s win over Tennessee, when he ran the ball 30 times for 195 yards. Coach Lane Kiffin said this week that Corral is “not in very good shape” and that he’s “not feeling really good” about Corral’s chances of playing. …

Alabama took out its frustrations on Mississippi State last weekend, holding the Bulldogs to minus-one yard rushing in a 49-9 cakewalk to rebound from its loss at Texas A&M. Now the Crimson Tide hosts Tennessee, a team it has defeated 14 straight times, with the last five wins coming by a combined score of 235-68. The Vols most recently were seen giving up 510 yards to Mississippi in a loss that had their fans throwing mustard and golf balls toward the Rebels’ sideline. Tennessee’s offense might be able to move the ball against the Crimson Tide but only if quarterback Hendon Hooker is healthy enough to play. Hooker left last weekend’s game in the fourth quarter with what looked to be a pretty bad leg injury, and Coach Josh Heupel said Wednesday that his starting quarterback is “day-to-day,” though he has been able to practice a bit this week.