While the late afternoon and evening games are both going to feature undefeated teams facing strong opponents, with talent all over the field, the early slate is less exciting. Here's a quick breakdown of some of the early games so you can pick one that interests you:
No. 8 Ohio State at No. 25 Minnesota - 12:00 on ABC and ESPN3
You want to see redshirt sophomore TE #88, Maxx Williams, who leads the Golden Gophers in receiving and receiving touchdowns. He's on the small side for a tight end, but has great hands and is a solid blocker. You're interested in Minnesota RB #27 David Cobb, who has 1200 rushing yards so far this year. You want to watch senior defenders Damien Wilson (LB #5) and Cameron Botticelli (edge setter #46), who power a strong run defense. You want to watch #97 Joey Bosa, the freakish Ohio State edge rusher who is still only a true sophomore, but has piled up 14.5 tackles for loss and ten sacks on the season, and defensive tackle #63 Michael Bennett. You want to watch if senior TE #5 Jeff Heuerman gets any serious targets.
No. 19 Clemson at No. 22 Georgia Tech - 12:00 on ESPN and WatchESPN
You want to see #15 De'Andre Smelter and #88 Darren Waller, two large receivers who pace the Georgia Tech passing attack, when it's used. You want to see some option play on a heavily run-focused team, spearheaded by sophomore QB/RB #5 Justin Thomas. You're intrigued by freshman QB #4 Deshaun Watson, who returns to action for the Tigers this week. Edge rusher #3 Vic Beasley, who has 12.5 tackles for loss this season and has gotten Von Miller comparisons, interests you. You want to see LB #42 Stephone Anthony, who does a little of everything on the defensive side of the ball.
Virginia Tech at No. 21 Duke - 12:00 on ESPNU and WatchESPN
You're interested in senior QB #7 Anthony Boone as a late round option, and his top receiving target, small possession receiver #3 Jamison Crowder. You want to watch junior safety #16 Jeremy Cash, who finds himself around the ball a good amount. You see the 18 quarterback hurries Hokie edge rusher #90 Dadi Nicholas has piled up on the season and wonder if the junior might go pro.
Other early options:
Temple at Penn State - 12:00 on ESPN2 and WatchESPN
Army at Western Kentucky - 12:00 on CBS Sports Network
Iowa at Illinois - 12:00 on BTN
South Carolina at Florida - 12:00 on SEC Sports Network and WatchESPN
No. 1 Mississippi State at No. 5 Alabama
Is this the day we see Mississippi State's unbeaten run end? Today they travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Nick Saban's juggernaut. It won't be easy, but they have a Heisman Trophy candidate to assist them. QB #15 Dak Prescott has been an effective signal caller, making tough throws and full field reads with efficient passing numbers. The redshirt junior's also incredibly dangerous on the read option, already amassing nearly 800 rushing yards and eleven touchdowns on the season. Of course, it helps that he has an equally good running back to carry the ball the rest of the time. Junior #13 Josh Robinson has 11 touchdowns of his own and nearly 1000 yards with a 6.7 yards per carry average. He's the kind of runner that you can't bring down with just one guy. #1 De'Runnya Wilson is only a sophomore, but the 6'5" receiver leads the team in receiving and has 6 touchdowns on the year.
Defensively, the Bulldogs have played well this season, and they have a few good prospects on that side of the ball. LB #50 Bernardrick McKinney is huge and athletic, although still a bit unpolished. DS #9 Justin Cox is big and hits hard, but has had a couple on and off injuries this year. You'll also want to watch for two edge rushers: Senior #91 Preston Smith has seven sacks this season, and junior #48 Ryan Brown has three and a half. Both are long, 6'6" 265 type rushers.
Even with all those talented players, it's possible that Alabama's squad is better. Start with #9 Amari Cooper. The receiver is on track to break every record in the books at his school, and has 79 receptions for 1215 yards and ten touchdowns in nine games this season. Given that the last receiver to set some of those records was Julio Jones, you should be paying attention wherever Cooper goes. Junior #4 TJ Yeldon and sophomore #27 Derrick Henry are both big, powerful backs (although Yeldon's a little faster, a little less physical, and has fumbleitis) worth watching. LG #77 Arie Kouandjio is a potential option for the mid rounds if Buffalo wants to reunite the brothers. You'll also want to pay attention to safety #26 Landon Collins - he's the latest safety since Mark Barron and Ha ha Clinton-Dix to get first round hype from Alabama.
No. 3 Florida State at Miami (FL)
In another game featuring an unbeaten team, Florida State faces their most difficult remaining opponent in cross-state rival Miami. There are two great quarterbacks playing in this one - #5 Jameis Winston, as much of an idiot as he can be off the field, is head and shoulders above any other QB on the field in the NCAA. On the other side, true freshman Brad Kaaya (#15) is on pace to break Bernie Kosar's freshman school passing records. He leads the ACC in touchdowns and YPA. The running back battle is going to be worth it too - #8 Duke Johnson has been ridiculous this season, rushing for 1213 yards and 9 touchdowns on 158 carries (that's 7.7 yards per carry), and Florida State has a good prospect on their end in #9 Karlos Williams. Want a tight end? We have two of those, too - Miami's Clive Walford (#46) will be on the field a bunch, and while he'll block plenty for Johnson, he also has a team-leading six touchdown catches. Florida State can counter with #35 Nick O'Leary. He's down from his averages last season, which could be partially attributed to recovering from a motorcycle accident sustained before the season, but this is another tight end who sits on the short side but is an able blocker and receiver. If the wide receiver matchups are more your thing, no problem: Miami's Phillip Dorsett (#4) is a speed demon with 30.1 yards per reception, and Rashaad Greene (FSU #80) has almost pulled in 1000 yards receiving on the year.
For the defenses, be sure to check out linebackers #52 Denzel Perryman and #34 Thurston Armbrister for Miami. For Florida State, ER Mario Edwards (#15) has ten tackles for a loss this season, cornerbacks PJ Williams (#26) and Ronald Darby (#3) are worth following, and LB #24 Terrance Smith has given me vibes like a skinny Nigel Bradham (the one we drafted, not the one we have now) at times. Also watch for defensive tackle #90 Eddie Goldman, who leads the Seminoles in sacks so far.