Fans of high-octane, high-speed offenses are in for a treat Saturday, when Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Mariota and No. 2-ranked Oregon visit the Keith Price-led No. 16 Washington Huskies in Week 7's top game.
Mariota is coming off his best performance yet, a scoring bonanza against Colorado in which he threw five touchdown passes and rushed for two more in a 57-16 beatdown. The Huskies were valiant in suffering their first defeat of the season last week against No. 5 Stanford, and Price was especially impressive, throwing for 350 yards and two touchdowns while nearly leading Washington back from a fourth-quarter deficit.
Also on the Week 7 slate, SEC rivals Florida and LSU square off in a game filled to the brim with top draft prospects.
Here are the top 10 games in the seventh week of college football.
10. Baylor at Kansas State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox
The skinny: Maybe lumpy hotel pillows and a lousy continental breakfast will be enough to slow down the record-setting pace of Baylor's offense, which hits the road for the first time this season. The Bears have 19 plays of 40 yards or longer, and while the Wildcats rank in the middle of the Big 12 in points and yards allowed, they have allowed only three such big plays this season. The Kansas State defense will have to prevent those explosive strikes from running back Lache Seastrunk and wide receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese, create a turnover or two, and hope to grind out a win with its running game.
9. Stanford at Utah, Saturday, 6 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network
The skinny: The Cardinal didn't play particularly well on offense in its 31-28 win over Washington, with quarterback Kevin Hogan looking uncharacteristically rattled. Hogan and running back Tyler Gaffney will have to get back on track to hold off the Utes, who nearly overcame six turnovers against UCLA. Utah wide receiver Dres Anderson has topped 100 receiving yards in four straight games but faces an underrated group of Stanford cornerbacks, including Usua Amanam in the slot.
8. Arizona at USC, Thursday, 10:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The skinny: Ed Orgeron is the first interim head coach in the history of USC football but will probably have to pursue his first win without wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee) and outside linebacker Morgan Breslin (hip). Both teams will load the box to make the suspect passing games win the game: The Trojans must contain Arizona star running back Ka'Deem Carey, and the Wildcats must contain the trio of Tre Madden, Justin Davis and the returning Silas Redd.
7. Rutgers at Louisville, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: This is one of the biggest games of the season in the AAC. Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater has to be salivating: He will be going against a secondary that surrendered 484 passing yards to SMU, 456 to Fresno State and 335 to Eastern Michigan, just the third time in 51 games that Eastern Michigan had 300 yards passing. Rutgers WRs Leonte Carroo (6-1, 200), a sophomore, and Brandon Coleman (6-6, 220), a junior, have combined for just 29 catches, but nine have gone for TDs. Louisville has one of the nation's best safety duos in senior SS Hakeem Smith (6-1, 179) and junior FS Calvin Pryor (6-2, 208). Louisville DEs Marcus Smith (6-3, 260) and Lorenzo Mauldin (6-4, 243) have combined for 8.5 sacks, and Rutgers has allowed 14. Rutgers' linemen are much better blocking for the run. Keep an eye on junior LG Kaleb Johnson (6-4, 305), who can be a road-grader when blocking for the run. Rutgers' best defense in this one will be controlling the ball with its rushing attack and keeping Bridgewater off the field. Rutgers' physicality along both lines could bother Louisville.
6. Texas A&M at Ole Miss, Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: For pure offensive fireworks, this may be the most fast-paced game of the SEC season. Both teams run hurry-up, no-huddle offenses and have the talent to do quick damage. Both defenses have struggled, particularly Texas A&M's. Top prospect matchups include Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel against Rebels linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche, a strong open-field tackler who will be heavily counted on when Manziel runs. Ole Miss defensive end C.J. Johnson against either left tackle Jake Matthews or right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, should be an NFL futures battle. The game also features two of the college game's top receiver prospects in Mike Evans of A&M and Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss.
5. Northwestern at Wisconsin, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC regional/ESPN2
The skinny: Each team has one league loss, and Ohio State is responsible for both. Wisconsin sophomore TB Melvin Gordon (6-1, 207) has skyrocketed up draft boards with his performance this season, and he and senior TB James White (5-10, 195) will be going against a defense that wore down last week against Ohio State. Badgers senior WR Jared Abbrederis (6-2, 190) faces a solid secondary headed by junior SS Ibraheim Campbell (5-11, 210). Northwestern senior DE Tyler Scott (6-4, 265) vs. Wisconsin junior OT Rob Havenstein (6-8, 327) is a matchup of guys looking to impress NFL scouts. Active Wisconsin senior LB Chris Borland (5-11, 246) will spend a lot of his time trying to track down Northwestern senior RB Venric Mark (5-8, 175). Northwestern's passing attack can exploit Wisconsin's secondary.
4. Oklahoma vs. Texas (at Dallas), Saturday, noon ET, ABC
The skinny: Sputtering Texas is a heavy underdog to Oklahoma, not a surprise, considering how Sooners coach Bob Stoops has dominated the embattled Mack Brown, posting a 9-5 record with four wins by 38 points or more. The Longhorns' struggling front seven will have to play its best game of the season to contain a versatile OU rushing offense that features a stable of talented running backs and quarterback Blake Bell's punishing short-yardage scampers. If UT can slow Bell and company down, running back Johnathan Gray might be able to wear down an OU defense that is without linebacker Corey Nelson (torn pectoral).
3. Missouri at Georgia, Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, ESPN
The skinny: Georgia's Aaron Murray has gone head to head with some very talented quarterbacks this season, and Missouri's James Franklin will be another. Franklin is enjoying a strong senior season and has a pair of huge receivers on the edges to make things easier. One of those, Dorial Green-Beckham, is a future NFL player at 6-6, 225 pounds. Georgia's best cornerback prospect, Damian Swann, at just 5-11, will have his hands full with Green-Beckham. Georgia's interior offensive line gets a test from Tigers defensive tackle Kony Ealy, who is Missouri's top defensive prospect. Star Georgia running back Todd Gurley is questionable to play with an ankle sprain.
2. Florida at LSU, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
The skinny: For sheer NFL talent on a college field, this might be the top game of the week in the nation, not just in the SEC. In years past, the best battles to watch would be with Florida's offense against LSU's defense, but this season, that's reversed. Florida has NFL talent on all three defensive units, particularly at cornerback, where Marcus Roberson, Loucheiz Purifoy and star freshman Vernon Hargreaves will square off with two explosive junior receivers in LSU's Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry. NFL-bound quarterback Zach Mettenberger will be trying to get them the ball before one of the SEC's most talented pass rushes reaches him, led by linebacker Dante Fowler. And, oh yeah, LSU left tackle La'El Collins is another future NFL player who will be pass-protecting against Fowler. You want more? Watch LSU weakside linebacker Lamin Barrow, along with defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, working against Florida's offensive line, particularly guard Jon Halapio and center Jonotthon Harrison.
1. Oregon at Washington, Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1
The skinny: Against Stanford last week, Washington's defense showed signs it might be able to slow down the prolific Oregon offense, tackling very well in space. But the biggest key will be capitalizing on quarterback Marcus Mariota's propensity to start slowly. If Mariota is not accurate early and the Huskies can take advantage, how will the Ducks respond if they're dragged into a four-quarter affair? Oregon buckled in its last two close games, against USC in 2011 and Stanford last season, and both games were at home. With Husky Stadium sure to be raucous and UW quarterback Keith Price and running Bishop Sankey playing the best ball of their college careers, that's a proposition Oregon can't afford to test.