Conference championship races are heating up throughout college football with October coming to a close. This weekend's slate of games should go a long way towards separating contenders from pretenders in Week 8 as we head down the stretch of the 2021 season. A key Big 12 matchup, multiple SEC showdowns and rivalry games headline Saturday's slate.
It's also a big weekend for Heisman Trophy contenders. The wide-open race for college football's most prestigious individual award is as mysterious as ever, and multiple players can make Heisman statements on Saturday.
What should you watch? Here's a handy viewer's guide to help you navigate all of Saturday's action.
All times eastern
The big games
No. 8 Oklahoma State at Iowa State -- 3:30 p.m. on Fox: The Cowboys, seven-point underdogs on the road, aren't getting any respect. Iowa State was supposed to be one of the primary contenders for the Big 12 championship, but a couple of early-season losses have been disappointing. Both of these teams run the ball and focus on defense, so expect a slugfest in Ames.
LSU at No. 12 Ole Miss -- 3:30 p.m. on CBS: The Rebels will look to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive against an LSU team that is fresh off an upset over Florida ... but still fired coach Ed Orgeron. The Tigers finally found a running game and will look to replicate that game plan against the potent Rebels offense led by Heisman Trophy contender Matt Corral at quarterback.
No. 5 Ohio State at Indiana -- 7:30 p.m. on ABC: The Buckeyes have reemerged as a threat in the College Football Playoff race after losing to Oregon in Week 2. Quarterback C.J. Stroud has found his stride and helped this offense become one of the most dangerous units in the country. A primetime win over Indiana would further announce to the world that the Buckeyes are back.
USC at No. 13 Notre Dame -- 7:30 p.m. on NBC: The Irish still have a fighting chance at making their third CFP in four years, but the Trojans would love nothing more than to put an end to that possibility. The biggest question in this one is if Notre Dame has found its offensive identity after a week to regroup.
Other big games
No. 2 Cincinnati at Navy -- noon on ESPN2: The Bearcats are now the hunted after ascending to the second spot in the AP Top 25, but a trip to Navy to take on the triple option always presents a challenge whether the Midshipmen are at their best. How does Luke Fickell's crew handle the target on their backs for the second straight week? We'll see.
No. 3 Oklahoma at Kansas -- noon on ESPN: The Caleb Williams show will hit Lawrence as the Sooners take to the road to play lowly Kansas. This won't be a challenge for the Sooners, but it will be interesting to see how Williams performs in the second start of his career. He's been superb ever since taking over for Spencer Rattler in the Red River Showdown.
Northwestern at No. 6 Michigan -- noon on Fox: The undefeated Wolverines are creeping into the playoff race and should take care of business against the Wildcats. However, Northwestern has had a knack for making life difficult for supposedly superior teams throughout the course of coach Pat Fitzgerald's career.
Tennessee at No. 4 Alabama -- 7 p.m. on ESPN: The Volunteers suffered a heartbreaker last week to Ole Miss and now have to take on the mighty Crimson Tide in one of the best rivalries in college football. Vols quarterback Hendon Hooker was banged up last week in the final minute of the game and now has to go against a Bama defense that got back on track last weekend vs. Mississippi State.
Best of the rest
- Illinois at No. 7 Penn State -- noon on ABC
- No. 16 Wake Forest at Army -- noon on CBS Sports Network
- Wisconsin at No. 25 Purdue -- 3:30 p.m. on Big Ten Network
- No. 10 Oregon at UCLA -- 3:30 p.m. on ABC
- Clemson at No. 23 Pittsburgh -- 3:30 p.m. on ESPN
- Western Michigan at Toledo -- 3:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
- No. 22 San Diego State at Air Force -- 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network
- No. 24 UT-San Antonio at Louisiana Tech -- 7 p.m. on Stadium
- South Carolina at No. 17 Texas A&M -- 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network
- No. 18 NC State at Miami -- 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2