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Linebacker Reggie Ragland, left, and Alabama's defense will face a big test in LSU running back Leonard Fournette.
Mickey Welsh / The Montgomery Advertiser
Linebacker Reggie Ragland, left, and Alabama’s defense will face a big test in LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

Minnesota (4-4, 1-3 Big Ten) at No. 1 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0, No. 3 CFP)

Time/TV: 6 p.m., KMGH (7)

Line: Ohio State by 23.

What’s at stake

Both teams have made critical changes. Minnesota will play its second game for interim head coach Travis Claeys since Jerry Kill resigned Oct. 28 because of health reasons. The Gophers lost 29-26 to No. 16 Michigan last week. Top-ranked Ohio State’s starting quarterback J.T. Barrett serves a one-game, team-imposed suspension after being cited on a misdemeanor of driving while impaired last week. Cardale Jones returns to the role he held the first seven games.

Key matchup

Jones will face an experienced secondary led by cornerbacks Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray. The Gophers rank 16th nationally in passing yards allowed (176.3) and only once since 2011 (Nebraska in 2012) have they given up more than 300 yards passing to a Big Ten team. Minnesota will try to force Jones to throw and how well he responds with the occasional deep ball will determine the effectiveness of that strategy.

No. 17 Florida State (7-1, 5-1 ACC, No. 16 CFP) at No. 3 Clemson (8-0, 5-0, No. 1 CFP)

Time/TV: 1:30 p.m., KMGH (7)

Line: Clemson by 12.

What’s at stake

A Florida State victory would cost Clemson its No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings and probably its chance at an ACC title. The Seminoles would gain control of the ACC Atlantic with their fourth straight win over the Tigers.

Key matchup

Clemson QB Deshaun Watson against Florida State’s secondary. Watson leads the ACC in total offense (290 yards a game), passing yards (242 per game) and touchdowns (20). The Seminoles defensive backs are physical and quick. CB Jalen Ramsey is among the league leaders in pass breakups and heads a group planning to slow down Clemson’s passing attack.

No. 4 LSU (7-0, 4-0 SEC, No. 2 CFP) at No. 7 Alabama (7-1, 4-1, No. 4 CFP)

Time/TV: 6 p.m., KCNC (4).

Line: Alabama by 6 ½ .

What’s at stake

The winner moves one step closer to making the playoffs and claiming an SEC West title. The Crimson Tide would be all but eliminated from both with a loss to the Tigers, the last remaining unbeaten team in the SEC. LSU controls its own destiny but closes with four straight league games, including one against fellow division contender Mississippi.

Key matchup

Alabama’s front seven vs. LSU RB Leonard Fournette. One of the best fronts in the country takes on the nation’s leading rusher and Heisman Trophy candidate. Fournette has steamrolled opposing defenses with seven straight games of 150-plus yards but might not face a tougher test this season. Alabama ranks third nationally against the run. Linemen Jarran Reed and A’Shawn Robinson and LB Reggie Ragland are the leaders of a big front seven with a deep bench.

No. 5 TCU (8-0, 5-0 Big 12, No. 8 CFP) at No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0, No. 14 CFP)

Time/TV: 1:30 p.m., KDVR (31).

Line: TCU by 5.

What’s at stake

Both teams are pushing for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Both still have to play No. 2 Baylor and No. 14 Oklahoma, and they would like to be unbeaten heading into those marquee matchups. A loss would be almost impossible to overcome this late in the season.

Key matchup

Oklahoma State QB J.W. Walsh vs. TCU’s defense: Walsh, the backup quarterback, plays mostly in the red zone because he’s a dual threat. Oklahoma State ranks No. 6 nationally in red zone offense, largely because Walsh’s stats look like something off a video game — he’s 18-for-23 for 296 yards with nine touchdowns and no interceptions, good for a 315.5 passer rating. He also has seven rushing touchdowns on just 35 carries.

No. 6 Michigan State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten, No. 7 CFP) at Nebraska (3-6, 1-4)

Time/TV: 5 p.m., ESPN.

Line: Michigan State by 5.

What’s at stake

Michigan State cannot afford a slip-up against the struggling Cornhuskers if it hopes to play out coach Mark Dantonio’s “Reach Higher” mantra to the College Football Playoff. The Spartans should be fresh after a week off, and they’ve won 12 consecutive Big Ten road games. Nine games into Mike Riley’s first season at Nebraska, and coming off an embarrassing 55-45 loss at Purdue, athletic director Shawn Eichorst expressed his support for the coach in a letter to fans this week. A win here would do wonders for a program engulfed in a crisis of confidence.

Key matchup

Michigan State QB Connor Cook against Nebraska’s porous pass defense. One of the most polished quarterbacks in the country, Cook is throwing for almost 260 yards a game and leads the Big Ten with 17 touchdown passes. The Huskers are 125th out of 128 FBS teams in pass defense. They get back CB Jonathan Rose from suspension and S Byerson Cockrell, who missed the Purdue game because of a death in his family.

No. 8 Notre Dame (7-1, No. 5 CFP) at Pittsburgh (6-2)

Time/TV: 10 a.m., KMGH (7).

Line: Notre Dame by 7 ½ .

What’s at stake

The Fighting Irish’s chances to stay in the mix for the College Football Playoff. The selection committee had Notre Dame a surprising fifth when the initial standings were released this week. Any misstep, however, and the school’s shot of working its way into the final four disappears.

Key matchup

Pitt’s secondary vs. Notre Dame WR Will Fuller. The Panthers were hit for a series of big plays in last week’s loss to North Carolina and face an even stiffer challenge against Fuller, who is averaging 20.2 yards per reception and already has nine touchdowns, six of them of 30 yards or more.

No. 10 Iowa (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten, No. 8 CFP) at Indiana (4-4, 0-4), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Time/TV: 1:30 p.m., ESPN

Line: Iowa by 7.

What’s at stake

Iowa leads the Big Ten West and could sneak into College Football Playoff picture if it avoids a stumble. The Hawkeyes probably have the easiest path of any conference team to a perfect regular season with home games against Purdue and Minnesota and a trip to Nebraska — following the trip to Indiana. The Hoosiers are trying to snap a four-game losing streak and get within one win of becoming bowl eligible for the first time since 2007.

Key matchup

Iowa’s stingy defense against Indiana’s potent offense. The Hoosiers are about to face a defense that is ranked in the top 10 nationally against the run, in points allowed, time of possession and in the red zone.

Vanderbilt (3-5, 1-3 SEC) at No. 11 Florida (7-1, 5-1, No. 10 CFP)

Time/TV: 10 a.m., ESPN

Line: Florida by 21.

What’s at stake

Florida can clinch the league’s Eastern Division and its first trip to the Southeastern Conference title game in Atlanta since 2009.

Key matchup

Vanderbilt RB Ralph Webb vs. Florida’s stout defense. The sophomore grew up in Gainesville and will have plenty of friends and family members in the stands for his homecoming. He ran 16 times for 83 yards against the Gators last year in Nashville.

No. 13 Utah (7-1, 4-1 Pac-12, No. 12 CFP) at Washington (4-4, 2-3)

Time/TV: 5:30 p.m., KDVR (31).

Line: Washington by 1½.

What’s at stake

Utah is still in control of the Pac-12 South and holds an outside shot of getting back into the College Football Playoff conversation but cannot afford a slip-up in the first of two straight road games. Washington already has one win over a ranked opponent this season and is coming off its most impressive conference win in two seasons with a 49-3 rout of Arizona.

Key matchup

Utah pass defense vs. Washington QB Jake Browning. Utah has the top rushing defense in the Pac-12 allowing 113.1 yards per game on the ground. But the Utes pass defense has been susceptible at times. Browning is coming off one of the best games of his freshman season, throwing for 264 yards and four touchdowns and running for another in the Huskies blowout of Arizona. It was the first time Browning topped 200 yards passing in Pac-12 play.

Iowa State (3-5, 2-3 Big 12) at No. 14 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1, No. 15 CFP)

Time/TV: 3 p.m., ESPNU

Line: Oklahoma by 25 ½ .

What’s at stake

Oklahoma has won three straight games by a combined margin of 180-34 after its shocking loss to Texas. The Sooners still have legitimate Big 12 title hopes, and face the conference’s undefeated No. 2 Baylor, No. 5 TCU and Nov. 12 Oklahoma State in the weeks ahead. Iowa State is coming off a 24-0 win over Texas following three consecutive losses and an offensive coordinator change.

Key matchup

Oklahoma’s potent offense, which has averaged 60 points and 631 yards per game over its last three contests, against Iowa State’s defense, which had given up an average of 52 points per game in three straight losses before posting a shutout last week against Texas. Last week against Kansas, OU piled up 710 total yards of offense, with quarterback Baker Mayfield completing 27 of 32 passes for 383 yards and four touchdowns before leaving the game after one possession of the second half. Iowa State is seventh in the Big 12 and 97th in the nation in total defense, averaging 432.5 yards allowed per game.

Navy (6-1, 4-0 AAC) at No. 15 Memphis (8-0, 4-0 AAC, No. 13 CFP)

Time/TV: 5 p.m. ESPN2

Line: Memphis by 8½.

What’s at stake

Memphis debuted at No. 13 in the inaugural College Football Playoff ranking, and Tigers cannot afford a loss down the stretch. Navy may not be ranked, but the Midshipmen are tied with both Memphis and Houston atop the West in the American.

Key matchup

Navy’s rushing offense vs. Memphis defense. Navy ranks fourth nationally rushing for 319.7 yards per game, and the Midshipmen average 34 points per game. Memphis ranks 22nd nationally against the run, allowing only 118.8 yards per game.

Rutgers (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) at No. 16 Michigan (6-2, 3-1, No. 17 CFP)

Time/TV: 1:30 p.m., BTN.

Line: Michigan by 21½.

What’s at stake

Michigan must win to keep its hopes of finishing in at least a tie for first in its division. Rutgers needs a victory to improve its chances of earning a fifth straight bowl bid and of coach Kyle Flood keeping his job.

Key matchup

Michigan’s secondary against Rutgers QB Chris Laviano. In the previous two games, the Wolverines gave up 645 yards passing, two touchdowns and didn’t pick off a pass. Over the first six games, they allowed an average of 116 yards passing, a total of two scores through the air and had seven interceptions. Laviano connected on a mere 41 percent of his passes over the last two games — both blowout losses — for an average 74 yards without no TDs and two interceptions. When Rutgers was 3-3, Laviano was completing 69 percent of his passes and averaging 231 yards passing, two TDs and one interception per game.

Cincinnati (5-3, 2-2 American Athletic Conference) at No. 18 Houston (8-0, 4-0 AAC, No. 25 CFP)

Time/TV: 12:30 p.m., ESPN2.

Line: Houston by 8

What’s at stake

With a victory, Houston will remain undefeated and keep its hopes of a New Year’s Day bowl alive heading into the Nov. 14 matchup against Memphis. The Cougars were ranked 25th in the first College Football Playoff poll Tuesday. With a win, Cincinnati will become bowl eligible and remain in the hunt for the AAC East championship.

Key matchup

Cincinnati’s passing game against the Houston secondary. Bearcats QB Gunner Kiel is coming off a record-setting day against Central Florida where he was 15 of 15 for 319 yards and five touchdowns. It was the most completions without an incompletion in the last 20 years. Kiel has completed 82 percent of his passes for 646 yards and seven touchdowns in his last two games. Houston has intercepted 12 passes as a team, with cornerbacks Adrian McDonald and William Jackson III leading the team with four and three, respectively. Jackson also is third in the nation with 17 passes defended. Houston as a unit allows 236 yards per game through the air.

Arkansas (4-4, 2-2 SEC) at No. 19 Mississippi (7-2, 4-1, No. 18 CFP)

Time/TV: 1:30 p.m., KCNC (4).

Line: Mississippi by 11.

What’s at stake

Ole Miss continues to control its own fate in the SEC’s Western Division, but almost certainly has to win its final three regular season games to earn the title. Arkansas would love to spoil those aspirations and earn its first marquee victory of the season.

Key matchup

The Ole Miss defensive line vs. Arkansas’ offensive line: The Rebels have struggled with the Razorbacks’ physical style of play in the past — especially during last year’s 30-0 loss in Fayetteville. Ole Miss will try to alter that trend with DT Robert Nkemdiche and DE Marquis Haynes, who leads the team with 11 tackles for a loss and 7½ sacks. Arkansas has allowed only six sacks this season, which leads the SEC.

Duke (6-2, 3-1 ACC) at No. 21 North Carolina (7-1, 4-0, )

Time/TV: 10 a.m., ESPN2.

Line: UNC by 7½.

What’s at stake

North Carolina has won seven straight to climb into the Top 25 and sit alone atop the ACC’s Coastal Division. Duke is coming off an officiating-botched loss to Miami, but still controls its destiny in the division race.

Key matchup

UNC RB Elijah Hood vs. Duke S Jeremy Cash. When UNC’s offense is rolling, Hood is moving the chains with a tackler-punishing style. He’s run for 744 yards and eight touchdowns while averaging 6.2 yards per carry on the year. And Duke’s defense will need a big day from Cash, who leads the ACC with 15½ tackles for loss, to keep Hood in check.

No. 22 UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12, No. 23 CFP) at Oregon State (2-6, 0-5)

Time/TV: 2:30 p.m., PAC12MT.

Line: UCLA by 18.

What’s at stake

Amid all the tumult in the Pac-12, UCLA is wary of the Beavers, who remain the lone winless team in the conference. The teams haven’t met since 2012, when unranked Oregon State visited the Rose Bowl and defeated the then-No. 19 Bruins 27-20. But while the Beavers made a habit of upsetting ranked teams — especially at home — under former coach Mike Riley, new coach Kevin Andersen’s team is still learning a new system with young quarterbacks.

Key matchup

UCLA’s rushing offense against Oregon State’s rushing defense. The Bruins are averaging 186.1 yards on the ground a game, paced by junior Paul Perkins, the fourth-leading rusher in the league with an average of 109 yards a game and nine total touchdowns. Oregon State’s rushing defense is ranked ninth in the league, allowing an average of 192 yards a game.

Auburn (4-4, 1-4 SEC) at No. 25 Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2, No. 19 CFP)

Time/TV: 4:30 p.m., SEC.

Line: Texas A&M by 7 ½.

What’s at stake

Texas A&M looks to build on last week’s victory over South Carolina that snapped a two-game skid and Auburn will try to end a two-game losing streak.

Key matchup

Texas A&M QB Kyler Murray against Auburn’s secondary. Murray will face a defense that is allowing more than 252 yards passing a game in his second start of the season after Kyle Allen was benched. Murray threw for 223 yards against the Gamecocks and is also a major running threat and had 156 yards rushing last week.

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