Things to Watch: Unbeaten Owls on center stage against Irish
It’s break time for five of the top 10 teams, making this the perfect time for Temple to command the national spotlight.
The unbeaten and 21st-ranked Owls host No. 9 Notre Dame in prime time Saturday in the only game matching Top 25 teams.
No. 1 Ohio State, No. 2 Baylor, No. 4 LSU, No. 6 Michigan State and No. 7 Alabama all have open dates this week.
What to watch for in Week 9 of the college football season:
HOW ABOUT THOSE OWLS
Biggest game ever for Temple? Some would say so. It’s a special occasion any time Notre Dame comes to your stadium. On Saturday night, the Irish (6-1) visit sold-out Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia as a College Football Playoff contender, and they’re going against a Temple team that has won its first seven games for the first time in the program’s 121-year history. The Owls insist this game is a nice diversion but not as important as American Athletic Conference games. A big one is coming up in three weeks when No. 16 Memphis visits.
BE CAREFUL, COUGARS
Another AAC team, No. 18 Houston (7-0), will try to keep its record perfect against Vanderbilt (3-4). The Cougars must be careful here. The Commodores just got done beating Missouri, and they’ve played Mississippi and South Carolina close. Tom Herman will try to join John Jenkins (1990) as the only first-year Houston coaches to start 8-0.
No. 3 Clemson (7-0, 4-0 ACC) is the nation’s most celebrated team this week following its 58-0 dismantling of Miami on the Hurricanes’ home field. Now the Tigers prep for next week’s showdown with Florida State with a trip to North Carolina State (5-2, 1-2).
Can you say trap game?
Clemson has won 35 straight games over unranked teams.
The last unranked team to beat the Tigers was – you guessed it – NC State in 2011.
HOT TEAM IN PULLMAN
Washington State (5-2, 3-1) goes into its home game against No. 8 Stanford on its first three-game Pac-12 win streak since 2003. Coach Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense has averaged 597 yards during the streak and Luke Falk has thrown at least five TDs each game.
Stanford (6-1, 5-0) has won six straight for its longest streak since 2012 and has won seven in a row against the Cougars. The Cardinal also take to Pullman the Pac-12’s top defense and one of the nation’s all-purpose yards leader in Christian McCaffrey.
SEC EAST SHOWDOWN
The stakes are high when Georgia (5-2, 3-2) and No. 11 Florida (6-1, 4-1) get together for their annual game in Jacksonville. Florida and first-year coach Jim McElwain, with a win, will move a step closer to its first appearance in the SEC title game since 2009. Georgia, with an upset, would pull even with the Gators in the East and be in position for its first trip to the conference championship game since 2012.
The Bulldogs should be motivated. Last year they lost 38-20 after coming into the game ranked No. 9. The double-digit-underdog Gators rushed for 418 yards, the second-most Georgia has ever allowed.
AP college football website: www.collegefootball.ap.org