Can I tell you a secret? I'm excited about this week's games. There isn't much sex appeal as far as huge matchups are concerned, but if you dig a little deeper into the schedule, there are a lot of exciting matchups.

What's strange is that the primetime schedule might be the weakest of the day, which goes against the norm. The early and mid-afternoon slates offer a lot of games that will give us a better idea who a lot of teams are in 2017.


No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State, ESPN, 3:30 p.m.: This is the biggest game of the week. Oklahoma State has been very impressive through its first three games, racking up yards and points at an exceptional rate. Mason Rudolph has claimed his stake as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, and a lot of people are whispering about the Cowboys being a College Football Playoff contender. This week, they'll face a TCU team that looks like it has rebounded from a down 2016. A couple of weeks ago, the Horned Frogs had an impressive win on the road against Arkansas, and now they get an even tougher test in Stillwater.

No. 17 Mississippi State at No. 11 Georgia, ESPN, 7 p.m.: The Battle of the Bulldogs. Mississippi State grabbed the college football world's attention last week when it crushed LSU 37-7, and now it's taking that momentum east to Athens,Georgia. Nick Fitzgerald has been a rock at quarterback and helped keep the cowbells clanging -- even without Dak Prescott in town -- since last season. And while Fitzgerald gets a lot of attention, Mississippi State also boasts a solid defense.

It's a defense it's going to need if it wants to contain Georgia's running back duo of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Georgia picked up a big road win over Notre Dame two weeks ago and looks like it's the team to beat in the SEC East. A win over Mississippi State on Saturday night would only drive that point further home.


Texas A&M vs. Arkansas (in Arlington, TX), ESPN, Noon: A college football game in Jerry World? What are the odds? Arkansas will be wearing Dallas Cowboys-themed uniforms this week because Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is an Arkansas alum, and Jerry Jones loves to make sure you think about Jerry Jones. As for the game, this is a big game for both teams. Life in the SEC West is going to be rough enough, and a win here is crucial to both.

NC State at No. 12 Florida State, ABC/ESPN 2, Noon: It feels like we've gone through another offseason since we last saw Florida State, but the Seminoles will finally be back on the field for the first time since losing to Alabama on Labor Day weekend. It's our first chance to see how the Noles move on from Deondre Francois. As for NC State, there were high hopes before the season, but the Wolfpack hasn't played great to start. A win over the Noles would be a great way to change the narrative in Raleigh, North Carolina.

No. 1 Alabama at Vanderbilt, CBS, 3:30 p.m.: The SEC on CBS game is in Nashville, Tennessee! For a Vanderbilt game! Such is life in the SEC right now where Alabama reigns supreme and everyone else just seems to be there. The Commodores have proven to be quite stingy this season, allowing only 13 points in three games, but Alabama is another kind of monster entirely.

No. 4 Penn State at Iowa, ABC, 7:30 p.m.: Fun fact about this match is that Penn State has been upset each of the last three times it has faced Iowa as a ranked team. It was No. 3 in 2008 and lost, No. 5 in 2009 and lost, and No. 23 in 2010 when it lost again. What I'm saying is that Iowa loves to ruin Penn State's day, so don't be too quick to write off the Hawkeyes in this matchup.


Texas Tech at Houston, ABC/ESPN 2, Noon
No. 5 USC at California, ABC, 3:30 p.m.
No. 8 Michigan at Purdue, Fox, 4 p.m.
Notre Dame at Michigan State, Fox, 8 p.m.
No. 7 Washington at Colorado, FS1, 10 p.m.