There are Saturday’s during the fall when you can half-watch the screen, checking in occasionally to see if there are any close games coming down to the wire.
This Saturday is not one of those fall days.
The college football slate is loaded with meaningful and potentially fantastic games.
There are four top-25 matchups — including two top-10 matchups — and No. 1 Alabama will “welcome back” Lane Kiffin to Tuscaloosa when his No. 12 Ole Miss Rebels take on the Crimson Tide.
I’ve been excitedly discussing the upcoming college football Saturday for the past week, and the day has finally arrived.
Let’s take a look at the games of the day. It’s time to lock in.
No. 2 Georgia vs No. 8 Arkansas – 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Who would have thought that Sam Pittman would have his Razorbacks in the top-10 just two years into his tenure in Fayetteville? Not many.
Arkansas heads to Athens, Georgia, with an upset on their minds after taking down Texas A&M in week four. It’s the first top-10 vs top-10 matchup for Arkansas since 2011.
The problem? The Razorbacks are dealing with an injury to quarterback KJ Jefferson. Jefferson hurt his knee against A&M, though he is expected to play.
Georgia has its own injuries to deal with, with quarterback JT Daniels suffering with a lat issue.
“His oblique is fine,” Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said earlier in the week. “He’s been having a little bit of a lat issue that bothered him some last week. He’s done a good job. He’s sharp, watches all his tape and gets all his reps and does a good job. We’re hoping he can stay that way.”
Expect both defenses to shine, as Georgia’s defense has allowed the fewest yards per game in the country and Arkansas is no slouch defensively, holding Steve Sarkisian’s Texas offense to just 256 yards of offense in week two.
“We have to play hard. We have to be us,” Pittman said. “We can’t give up any type of big plays on them. That stadium will go crazy, you know. We have to make them earn everything.”
“To be honest with you, I told the team yesterday we have to be the best tacklers that we’ve been all year. We have to be able to get these big backs on the ground. We’re going to be in some one-on-one situations and we’ve got to get them on the ground.”
The Razorbacks are 18.5 underdogs as gameday approaches.
No. 9 Notre Dame vs No. 7 Cincinnati – 2:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The game of the year for both programs, as a loss for either school ends their College Football Playoff hopes.
Notre Dame is coming off their best win of the year after beating Wisconsin 41-13, and Cincinnati has had a week to prepare for the Irish after a bye week.
The Bearcats have a chance for their second road win over a Power Five school, which would at least make the selection committee think twice about them come playoff time.
“It is definitely a measuring stick,” Cincinnati head coach Luke Fickell said. “When you play Georgia, you’re playing a top-10 program. When you play Notre Dame, you’re playing a top-5 program. There’s nobody that’s been historically —and I don’t mean over 100 years, I mean in the last five years — in the playoffs and things like that, one of the best teams in the country.”
“It’s a very big game. Control the emotions of things. But it’s an ultimate measuring stick.”
Notre Dame has won 26 consecutive home games, and Cincinnati is 0-23 in its program’s history against AP Top-10 teams on the road.
“This is clearly, from our perspective, the best team that we played up to this point,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said.
Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan suffered an ankle injury against Wisconsin in the third quarter and didn’t return. He’s split time with Drew Pyne during practice this week.
“He’s ahead of where I thought he would be,” coach Brian Kelly said of Coan.
No. 1 Alabama vs No. 12 Ole Miss – 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Welcome back, Lane. Don’t expect a standing ovation from the Alabama faithful.
Kiffin returns to Tuscaloosa five years after he was dismissed before the National Championship game after taking the head coaching job at Florida Atlantic.
In his career, Alabama head coach Nick Saban is 23-0 against his former assistant coaches — including 1-0 against Kiffin — but Ole Miss has the current Heisman favorite in quarterback Matt Corral and the top offense in the country. Though, there is a reason that Alabama rarely loses.
“Nick Saban,” Kiffin said. “Alabama has been around a long time. They haven’t won like this for a long time. It’s not like it’s just the school. It’s one person. He’s been able to maintain it through tons of different players, tons of different coaches. More coaching turnover than I bet anyone has ever had.”
Last year, the two squared off in Oxford, and the two teams put on an offensive show with Alabama winning 63-48. Kiffin’s offense put up more yards than any other team against Alabama’s defense, and he has his offense rolling again. They’re averaging 53 points a game, albeit against three defenses that aren’t scaring anyone.
Matt Corral and No. 12 Ole Miss face Bama tomorrow. So far QB1:
🔥 Is 3-0 as starter
🔥 Has 14 total TDs, 0 INT on the year
🔥 Has finished with 300+ YDS in each game
🔥 Is leading nation’s top offense with 635.3 total YPG
Hotty Toddy have a chance vs. the reigning champs 👀 pic.twitter.com/kvlsdQzdch
— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) October 1, 2021
But this is Alabama, not Louisville, Austin Peay, or Tulane.
All eyes will be on Tuscaloosa Saturday afternoon.
Other games of note:
No. 19 Oklahoma St. vs No. 21 Baylor – 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
No. 4 Penn State vs Indiana – 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Kentucky vs No. 10 Florida – 6:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
LSU vs No. 22 Auburn – 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
No. 20 UCLA vs Arizona State – 10:30 p.m. ET, PAC 12 Network
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to email@example.com.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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