FOX Sports South’s college football writers and guests offer a weekly preview of the upcoming slate. This week, Zach Dillard, Cory McCartney and Jay Clemons look at one of the biggest ACC matchups in years, Missouri-Florida, another top-15 Pac-12 showdown and more.
Matchups to Watch
No. 5 Florida State at No. 3 Clemson: In the fourth top-five matchup in ACC history — the first since No. 5 Miami met No. 3 Virginia Tech in 2005 — the Seminoles and Tigers are primed to play the conference’s proclaimed “Game of the Century.” With two high-scoring offenses, two unblemished records and two Heisman-quality quarterbacks (Tajh Boyd, Jameis Winston), there’s plenty at stake. But for the first time in quite a while, the ACC will assuredly watch a conference member walk out of a big game in prime national title contention.
No. 22 Florida at No. 14 Missouri: How many injuries are going to hit the SEC East? With Mizzou quarterback James Franklin and Florida running back Matt Jones the latest names added to the injury report, this game looks like a defensive battle in the making, which would be a rarity this season in the SEC.
No. 9 UCLA at No. 13 Stanford: Coming off the biggest upset of the season to date (falling to unranked Utah), what will the Cardinal have in store for the Bruins? This is the start of a two-game stretch that will define UCLA’s 2013 campaign: road trips to Stanford and Oregon.
UCF at No. 8 Louisville: After an unimpressive showing against a lackluster Rutgers team, can Heisman candidate Teddy Bridgewater get the Cardinals offense back on track before underrated UCF steals a win?
No. 24 Auburn at No. 7 Texas A&M: Did anyone miss the Manziel Show in Oxford? No worries. The next show is scheduled for Saturday in College Station. If the Aggies do not shore up their defense before Gus Malzahn’s offense comes to town, Johnny Football will need to continue putting up monster offensive numbers.
Jameis Winston, Florida State: Is the redshirt freshman really this good? Racking up 1,400-plus passing yards and 19 total touchdowns, he’s decimated college competition so far. But playing in Death Valley against Tajh Boyd will be a different type of challenge. Is he up for it?
Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: The senior has passed for 18 touchdowns to just two interceptions thus far, so is there any concern with the Cardinals’ offensive production against Rutgers?
Trent Murphy, Stanford: The Cardinal likely want to keep UCLA’s Brett Hundley in the pocket on Saturday … that way Murphy and the rest of Stanford’s pass rushers can keep pressure on the dual-threat QB, and preferably make him one-dimensional.
TCU at No. 21 Oklahoma State: How dangerous is this Oklahoma State team? In the wide-open Big 12, would this really be a surprise?
No. 10 Miami at UNC: There’s a history of trouble for Florida teams in Chapel Hill, but the Tar Heels have struggled plenty in Larry Fedora’s second season. The bye week better have worked wonders for the Tar Heels’ defense with Stephen Morris and Duke Johnson coming to town.
No. 20 Washington at Arizona State: After two difficult losses to Stanford and Oregon, respectively, will the Huskies stumble for the third-consecutive week?