4. Northwestern at Nebraska: Both these teams could use good news. The Wildcats have gone from a top 25 ranking to four consecutive defeats. Pat Fitzgerald, one of the hottest coaching names in the land, had a worse October than the person in charge of the Obamacare website. The Cornhuskers just lost to Minnesota for the first time since 1960, and Bo Pelini’s job security rating may not be exactly A-plus.
5. Ohio State at Purdue: Is there any reason to believe the Buckeyes will not blow through West Lafayette like a November cold front? Location. For whatever reason, Ohio State visiting Ross-Ade Stadium is a bug visiting a spider web. The Buckeyes have been beaten in four of their last six trips. Alas for Purdue, more pertinent than recent history is the fact the Boilermakers have scored 17 points in three Big Ten games.
6. Tennessee at Missouri: Is a week long enough for Missouri to forget blowing a 17-0 lead in the fourth quarter against South Carolina? The Tigers still lead the SEC East, but they can have no further mishaps, especially against a Tennessee team that just lost its quarterback.
7. Georgia vs. Florida in Jacksonville: This is only the second time since 1980 that neither team is ranked; a symbol of the disappointments for both. A win here helps ease the pain for somebody.
8. North Carolina at North Carolina State: North Carolina ended a five-game losing streak last season against its in-state rival with a 74-yard punt return touchdown with 13 seconds left. That’s hard for the victim to forget. With three alums now playing pro quarterback, North Carolina State claims nearly 10 percent of the starting QBs in the NFL.
9. Virginia Tech at Boston College: What do you do after losing to a team for the first time in 32 years, despite having the ball 19 more minutes, and holding the opponent to 0-for-11 in third-down conversions. If you’re Virginia Tech coming off the Duke disaster, you’d better beat Boston College.
10. Auburn at Arkansas: Wisconsin was so much more fun for Bret Bielema. His first Arkansas team has dropped five in a row, the last three by a score of 134-17. Now he faces Arkansas native son Gus Malzahn, who is 7-1 his first year at Auburn. Think Razorback fans will notice the contrast?