Here are 10 things I'm buzzing about at the outset of a huge day on the college gridiron:
1. Oklahoma likes the first-round knockout. In their first five games of the season, the Sooners have outscored their opponents 103-3 in the first quarter. But it's hard to imagine OU jumping too far ahead in the first 15 minutes today. No, this should be a shootout -- just like this rivalry game's real name. But which gunslinger will reign supreme: Sam Bradford or Colt McCoy? I'll opt for the former.
2. Some folks seem to think it's utterly impossible for Wisconsin to start the Big Ten at 0-3. But with Penn State's high-octane offense (and underappreciated defense) rolling into town, that's a very real possibility. Just ask Wisconsin CB Allen Langford. "They're a great team and they have a great quarterback, a great corps of receivers that can run," Langford said. "They have a great tight end and two good running backs." So what are Wisco's realistic chances of pulling off the upset? Not great.
3. News flash: Defensive linemen crave harmful collisions with opposing quarterbacks. It was a sad week for sports media, as many scribes overindulged in Ricky Jean-Francois' unremarkable comments about Tim Tebow leading up to tonight's LSU-Florida clash. (A situation made even sadder when Jean-Francois felt the need to clarify his comments in a token "misinterpretation" release.) Must our trench warriors handle opposing quarterbacks with kid gloves? What ever happened to good old-fashioned carnage? Isn't that why we love this game?
4. In a weekend featuring OU-Texas and Florida-LSU, it's easy to completely forget about Missouri-Oklahoma State. But for those who fancy scoring, the Tigers (53.4 points per game) and Cowboys (52.6) rank second and third nationally. Admittedly, I will not be the least bit surprised if the Chase Daniel-led Tigers cover that 14-point spread. At the same time it's hard to totally discount the Pokes, who feature a bevy of explosive playmakers of their own. QB Zac Robinson, RB Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant make quite the trio.
5. The last time Nebraska traveled to Lubbock, Texas Tech throttled the Cornhuskers 70-10 -- the worst loss in Big Red history. So I guess that somewhat explains the alarming 20.5-point spread. If the Huskers want to keep this one respectable, they'll need to keep Texas Tech's offense off the field by establishing a productive ground attack. Has anybody seen Marlon Lucky?
6. After tossing two interceptions in each of his first three games of the season, Notre Dame QB Jimmy Clausen has thrown six touchdown passes and zero picks in ND's past two contests. But today he faces North Carolina, which leads the nation with 12 interceptions. Will Notre Dame's hyped signal-caller continue to grow or will he revert to Bad Jimmy?
7. Northwestern and Vanderbilt both boast immaculate 5-0 records, and by the end of today, the geeks could both be bowl eligible! But it's definitely not a given. Hosting No. 23 Michigan State, the Wildcats enter the game as a 1.5-point underdog. The Commodores travel to Mississippi State, and even though the Bulldogs are just 1-4, it's never easy to win in Starkville.
8. Unsolicited advice of the day: Kentucky must give RB Derrick Locke more touches. With his sub-4.3 speed and pass-catching ability, Locke has the makeup of a Reggie Bush-like playmaker. Facing a stout South Carolina defense today, Rich Brooks would be wise to get the ball to No. 20.
9. David Johnson is salivating as you read this. At 8 p.m. tonight, the Tulsa QB faces SMU. Did I mention that the Golden Hurricane boast the nation's No. 1 scoring offense (56.4), while the Mustangs rank 115th in scoring defense (41.3). Johnson's already thrown six touchdown passes on two separate occasions this season. Three's a charm.
10. UCLA takes on Oregon in the night cap on Fox Sports Net. If we can make it through the broadcast without quarterback going down, everyone's a winner.