You know we're getting into the meat of the season when all the big games involve the SEC. Sooner or later, it always happens. This week we'll see some season-changing outcomes for a few teams. We'll find out if South Carolina is for real. We'll find out if a Big East team, any Big East team, can beat a BCS opponent on the road. We'll find out a lot about the ACC, who's for real and who's bearing down on 6-6. And we'll know a lot more about football in the state of Arizona.
Enough chatter. Let's find out what looks tasty and what might be worth pushing to the side of your plate in this weekend's college football buffet. (All times are Eastern.)
GIVE ME A HEAPING HELPING
No. 1 Alabama @ No. 11 Arkansas (CBS, 3:30 p.m.) - Arkansas fans have plenty of reasons to hate Alabama. This rivalry-in-the-making is expected to have another big game. Stay hydrated, these two teams have gone to double overtime twice in the last eight years.
No. 15 South Carolina @ No. 14 Auburn (ESPN/ESPN3D, 7:45 p.m.) - It's going to be an emotional one. Auburn is coming off a thrilling overtime victory that tested their fans' faith. South Carolina is trying to make the leap as a program but they'll have Kenny McKinley on their minds all day.
No. 21 West Virginia @ No. 12 LSU (ESPN2, 9 p.m.) - The Tiger offense will have the spotlight Saturday, as fans continue to wait and see if it gels. West Virginia has a knack for winning games like this, but regardless of the outcome it might be worth watching simply for the insane coaching decisions that come out of it.
I'LL HAVE A SCOOP OF THAT, PLEASE
Virginia Tech @ Boston College (ACC Network/GamePlan, 12 p.m.) - The Hokies will be without star running back Ryan Williams when they open ACC play against Boston College this weekend. A lot of folks think the road to the ACC title starts with the winner of this game.
Temple @ No. 20 Penn State (BTN, 3:30 p.m.) - You know, Temple doesn't look half bad these days. And if there was ever a time for them to pull off the upset, this is it. It would be nice change of pace, considering the Lions lead the series 35-3-1 and haven't lost since 1941.
Oregon State @ No. 3 Boise State (ABC, 8 p.m.) - The GameDay crew is coming to Boise this weekend and Bronco fans are getting ready. OSU fans don't know what to make of this one or their team's chances.
I'LL TASTE IT FIRST...
NC State @ Georgia Tech (ESPN, 12 p.m.) - Georgia Tech can ground it out with the option but the Wolfpack have a chance to shut down the Jackets in the air. On the other side of the ball, the Tech defense will key in on NC State's running attack, which leaves something to be desired.
Nevada @ BYU (The Mtn., 6 p.m.) - BYU QB Riley Nelson is done for the year, putting serious doubts in whether or not the Cougars can run the table. This game is just one more chance for Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick to get you to know his name.
Fresno State @ Mississippi (CST, CSN-Philly/GamePlan, 7:30 p.m.) - Ole Miss' early-season woes could catch up with them this weekend. Fresno is no pushover and the Rebels are reeling.
California @ No. 16 Arizona (FSN-AZ+/CSN-BA+/FCS-Pacific, 10 p.m.) - The last time Cal saw an offense air it out like Arizona has, it was Mike Leach's Texas Tech passing all over them. The Wildcats are on a high but need to prove they're legit, the Bears are coming off a loss to Nevada and don't want to fade away...expect a battle.
I'LL KEEP THAT IN MIND FOR THE NEXT TRIP
No. 5 TCU @ Southern Methodist (ESPN, Friday 8 p.m.) - Last week the Frogs might have only been playing Baylor, but the fact that they trounced a BCS team 45-10 speaks volumes. SMU is better than Baylor, but only slightly.
Bowling Green @ No. 22 Michigan (ESPN2, 12 p.m.) - After last week's game, Michigan fans are all a little more nervous about this one than they'd care to admit. Bowling Green will be without Matt Schilz, so they're not feeling too chipper.
UCLA @ No. 4 Texas (ABC/ESPN/GamePlan, 3:30 p.m.) - Bruins fans are expecting the worst from their squad in Austin. The Horns aren't invincible, however, they're still working out the kinks on offense.
Wake Forest @ Florida State (ABC/GamePlan, 3:30 p.m.) - For FSU, it's been Christian Ponder and the passing game that have been causing them problems. Wake has won two-straight at FSU, they'll try to make it three.
I DON'T KNOW...SMELLS KINDA FUNNY...
Ball State @ No. 18 Iowa (BTN, 12 p.m.) - Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God has been out in full-force this season against the Hawkeyes. Iowa fans fear he can strike at any time and are taking the proper precautions.
Northern Colorado @ No. 23 Michigan State (BTN, 12 p.m.) - Mark Dantonio won't be coaching the game this weekend, though he is out of the hospital following his heart attack. Interim coach Don Treadwell gets the perfect game to get it together before a big Wisconsin match next week.
Buffalo @ UConn (Big East Network/GamePlan, 12 p.m.) - UConn's supposedly-magical season could take another turn for the worse this week. They'll be without star RB Jordan Todman. Buffalo does have statistics on their side, the Huskies are 0-1 against MAC teams so far this year.
Florida International @ Maryland (ESPNU, 12 p.m.) - Maryland fans are wondering how important this game is? If this team wants to do something this season, they have to win this game. If they don't...well...
Miami (OH) @ No. 24 Missouri (TBD, 2 p.m.) - Miami of Ohio has done well this season, even giving Florida a scare. Still, Mizzou fans do not expect to lose this game.
Air Force @ Wyoming (The Mtn, 2 p.m.) - This one features two polar opposite offenses. The Falcons feature the nations #1 rushing attack while the Cowboys are dead last in the FBS for run offense at just 24.3 yards per game.
USC @ Washington State (FSN-PT, FSN-NW, 3 p.m.) - The grades have not been good for WSU so far this season. Folks in Eastern Washington should revel in the chance to host USC, they won't get to do it as often once realignment kicks in.
Georgia @ Mississippi State (FSN-Regional/GamePlan, 7 p.m.) - Fittingly the Bulldogs wore all-black last week as LSU gave them a proper funeral. Still, don't count them out against a Georgia team that's 0-2 in the SEC for the first time in forever.
Northern Illinois @ Minnesota (BTN, 8:30 p.m.) - The Gophers will be without WR Troy Stoudamire, who was suspended from the team. Northern Illinois is hoping the law of averages means the Huskies are due to beat a BCS opponent this weekend.
NO THANKS, PLATE'S FULL
Austin Peay @ No. 10 Wisconsin (BTN, 12 p.m.) - Both Nick Toon (turf toe) and Davild Gilreath (concussion) aren't likely to play when the Badgers take on Austin Peay. Something tells me it won't make much of a difference.
Central Michigan @ Northwestern (BTN, 12 p.m.) - Hey, remember when Central Michigan was really good last year? Yeah, not so much anymore...
Toledo @ Purdue (BTN, 12 p.m.) - Given their injuries and the impending bye week, this is a critical game for the Boilermakers to win.
UAB @ Tennessee (SEC Network/GamePlan, 12:21 p.m.) - Tennessee is turning to the only place one can these days for inspiration to beat UAB...Led Zeppelin.
Army @ Duke (ESPN3.com, 3 p.m.) - Duke is looking to rebound after their embarrassing loss to Alabama last week. They won't get a pushover in Army, who is coming off their first win of the season.
Eastern Michigan @ No. 2 Ohio State (ABC/ESPN, 3:30 p.m.) - Yes, Eastern Michigan is a real team; and yes, they do play football. But barely.
Colgate @ Syracuse (ESPN3.com, 3:30 p.m.) - This was once the fiercest rivalry that Syracuse football had. And to give some perspective, Colgate still leads the overall series by two games.
South Dakota @ No. 7 Nebraska (FSN-PPV, 7 p.m.) - You know how you know you're a big Nebraska fan? You pay to watch this game on PPV.
Akron @ Indiana (BTN, 7 p.m.) - Indiana's schedule so far this season has been so bad, it's almost impressive. Akron won't make it any better.
New Mexico State @ Kansas (FCS-Central, 7 p.m.) - Which Kansas team will show up for this game? And will they be able to run the ball?
Western Kentucky @ South Florida (MASN/SNY/GamePlan, 7:05 p.m.) - The Bulls will try to shake off their loss to Florida with an easy win this weekend. WKU's Bobby Rainey, who has 444 yards and 5 touchdowns so far, will try to prevent that.
San Jose State @ No. 13 Utah (TBD, 8 p.m.) - San Jose State's schedule of death continues after games against Alabama and Wisconsin.