The college football spotlight will shine brightly on College Station this Saturday as the potential game of the year unfolds between the Texas A&M Aggies and Alabama Crimson Tide. If you can’t make it to the game, check out the other marquee matchups taking place across the collegiate landscape this weekend.
*AP Top 25 rankings for Week of Sept. 8
No. 6 Texas A&M vs No. 1 Alabama | Kyle Field, Sept. 14
The game that college football fans have been waiting for is finally here. Alabama has likely had this game circled on its calendar since Johnny Manziel and Texas A&M stunned the top-ranked Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last fall. Having not played since an impressive season-opening victory over Virginia Tech at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 31, Nick Saban and Co. have a full week of extra preparation before they visit College Station to seek revenge against the Aggies. The storylines for the game are endless, and the atmosphere at Kyle Field should be unrivaled, as the “12th Man” will be at its best in order to try to give Texas A&M the edge.
No. 23 Nebraska vs No. 16 UCLA | Memorial Stadium, Sept. 14
Although this game between ranked unbeatens has received less hype than the Alabama-Texas A&M tilt, it could have an equally significant impact on the BCS picture. These non-conference opponents squared off in Pasadena in 2012, a year in which both teams narrowly missed out on BCS berths, as they both fell in their respective conference championship games. This year, the stakes are considerably higher, as both teams are highly ranked and considered major contenders in the title race. With star QBs Brett Hundley and Taylor Martinez lighting up the scoreboard for the Bruins and Cornhuskers, respectively, Lincoln’s Memorial Stadium could be in store for a shootout.
No. 2 Oregon vs Tennessee | Autzen Stadium, Sept. 14
Something has to give in Eugene Saturday, when two historic programs will meet up for only the second time in history when the Tennessee Volunteers visit Autzen Stadium to take on the Oregon Ducks. Oregon dropped 59 points on a quality Virginia team last week and is third in the nation in points per game with an average of 62.5. On the other side, the Vols sport a top-15 scoring defense, posting a shutout in their first game before forcing seven turnovers in a victory over Western Kentucky last week. The Tennessee defense will need its most inspired effort of the year if it hopes to bottle up Marcus Mariota, De’Anthony Thomas, and the rest of the Ducks’ dynamic offense.
Texas vs No. 25 Ole Miss | Darrell K. Royal – Texas Memorial Stadium, Sept. 14
One of the youngest teams in the country in Ole Miss will have to grow up quickly this week, as they are set to take on one of the most experienced teams in the country in a hostile environment in Austin. Although young, the Rebels are not lacking in talent, as they are led by stud freshmen on both ends of the field in tight end Evan Engram and defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, both of whom have already put their vast skillsets on display in the team’s two wins thus far. Behind quarterback David Ash, the Longhorns will look to buck the current trend of SEC dominance over Big 12 opponents—the Big 12 has not had a winning record against the SEC in any season since 2002.
Cal vs No. 4 Ohio State | California Memorial Stadium, Sept. 14
Stops could be at a premium when two of the most prolific offenses in the country battle during this inter-conference showdown in Berkley. The Cal Bears own the nation’s top passing attack through the first few weeks of the season, having averaged an astounding 470 yards through the air in their first two games of the year, while the Buckeyes prefer to do their damage on the ground, having rumbled for over 260 yards in each of their first two contests. Both teams’ high-powered attacks are led by quarterbacks; freshman Jared Goff pilots Cal’s aerial attack, while Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller engineers the OSU ground game.