All eyes are on LSU-Alabama this week.
It's the first matchup of Nos. 1 and 2 teams in The Associated Press Top 25 since the Tigers and Crimson Tide met in 2011. LSU and Alabama are 2-3 behind Ohio State, and ahead of Penn State, in the first College Football Playoff rankings released this week.
The stakes in Tuscaloosa are high, but not as high as they could be. Imagine if this were an elimination game for a spot in the four-team playoff. As it is, the loser still would have a path to the playoff if it wins out and a one-loss Georgia (No. 6 CFP) falls in the Southeastern Conference championship game.
The other big game Saturday is in Minneapolis, where fifth-ranked Penn State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) plays No. 13 Minnesota (8-0, 5-0). The Nittany Lions have two wins over ranked teams. This is by far the toughest opponent for the Gophers, who have won eight straight to start a season for the first time since 1941.
No. 18 Iowa (6-2, 3-2, No. 18 CFP) visits No. 16 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2, No. 13) in the other Top 25 matchup. The winner will be in the best position to run down Minnesota in the Big Ten West.
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 1 LSU (8-0, 4-0 SEC, No. 2 CFP) at No. 2 Alabama (8-0, 5-0, No. 3)
Chances are good this won't be the defensive slog that defined the 2011 meeting when the teams were 1-2 in the AP poll. LSU won that one 9-6 in overtime. Alabama won the rematch 21-0 in the BCS title game two months later.
This game pits two of the highest-scoring teams in the nation, and the Tide is a touchdown favorite to win a ninth straight in the series. LSU's Joe Burrow, with 30 touchdown passes against four interceptions, would all but lock up the Heisman Trophy with a strong performance and a win. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tua Tagovailoa, coming off a high-ankle sprain, would be a game-time decision. Tagovailoa will re-energize his Heisman bid if he plays, outperforms Burrow and, of course, wins.