The weekend is here…and that means FOOTBALL! Here are the games that I think will be the ones to watch:
#1 ALABAMA (8-0) AT #5 LOUISIANA STATE (7-1) 6 p.m. on CBS
Last year, these two teams gave us the two most anticipated games of the year, and this season isn’t much different. Alabama and LSU boast two of the top defenses in the game, ranking first and third, respectively, in total defense. The Crimson Tide have a slight edge on offense, with quarterback A.J. McCarron leading the nation in pass efficiency. However, while Alabama has blown away the opposition by an average of over 37 points per game, they have played just one ranked team and aren’t as battle-tested as an LSU squad that is playing its fourth consecutive ranked opponent and has had a bye week to prepare. Last year’s matchups turned on key mistakes (Alabama’s missed field goals in the first game and LSU’s fourth-quarter fumble that set up a Trent Richardson touchdown in the BCS title game). With both defenses playing at such a high level, this game could once again come down to which offense makes the fewest mistakes.

#2 OREGON (8-0) AT #18 SOUTHERN CAL (6-2) 5 p.m. on FOX
Oregon is undefeated since last season’s home loss to USC, and the Ducks have both revenge and national title hopes on their mind. In last week’s loss to Arizona, the Trojans surrendered a season-high 222 rushing yards, but things aren’t likely to get any easier against the nation’s seventh-best rushing offense and top scoring offense. Kenjon Barner and De’Anthony Thomas have combined for almost 1,500 yards and 21 touchdowns despite sitting in the second half of most of Oregon’s blowout wins. However, USC has the ability to compete in a shootout, with receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods putting up over 1,700 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns. This is the ninth straight time the two teams have met when both were ranked. Oregon has won 12 straight road games.

TEXAS (6-2) AT #20 TEXAS TECH (6-2) 1:30 p.m. on ABC/ESPN2
Despite a shaky showing last weekend, David Ash will again start for the Longhorns. Ash was just 8/16 for 63 yards and two interceptions in last week’s game against Kansas before being pulled in favor of Case McCoy, who led the game-winning drive in the game’s final minute. But the Longhorns’ bigger concern might be a porous defense that has given up almost 33 points per game (97th in the nation) going against the Seth Doege (2,540 yards and 30 touchdowns this season) and the nation’s third-best passing attack. The Red Raiders defense has been stout this season (12th in total defense), but was lit up with eight straight scoring drives in a big second half by Kansas State. Texas has won three straight over the Red Raiders.


Carolina Panthers (1-6) at Washington Redskins (3-5) 11a.m. on FOX
My two fantasy football quarterbacks meet at FedEx Field. Carolina hopes second-year starter Cam Newton can find his targets against a Redskins defense that ranks last in the NFL against the pass. Washington sends Robert Griffin III out to attack the Panthers’ defense. The Redskins can be very effective when Griffin and Alfred Morris are create pressure on the defense with the running game.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) at N.Y. Giants (6-2) 2:25 P.M. on FOX
Pittsburgh sends quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and the seventh-ranked passing offense in the league against the Giants’ 26th-ranked pass defense. The Giants have recorded 21 sacks, and Big Ben is a big target. New York has posted an NFC-high 29.3 points per game thanks to the productive passing of quarterback Eli Manning. The Steelers have the NFL’s best pass defense, giving up just 182.6 yards per game.

Dallas Cowboys (3-4) at Atlanta Falcons (7-0) 6:20 P.M. on NBC
If quarterback Tony Romo didn’t have 15 turnovers, Dallas would be happier with its third-ranked pass offense averaging 297.3 yards per game. The Falcons defend the pass better than the run, so Cowboys’ running back Felix Jones could help take the pressure off Romo. Atlanta is difficult to stop when quarterback Matt Ryan stretches the field with Julio Jones and Roddy White. The Cowboys’ third-ranked pass defense matches up well against the Falcons’ talent.

Enjoy the games!