The Southwest Classic between longtime rivals Arkansas and Texas A&M has been one-sided, with the Aggies having won nine straight. Before the season, the teams’ SEC opener looked like just another game Saturday.
Turns out, it’s a Top 25 matchup in CBS’ prime afternoon time slot at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The national stage provides an opportunity for the 16th-ranked Razorbacks to show they’re the real deal after being picked second to last in the SEC West and that their impressive win over Texas two weeks ago was no fluke.
For No. 7 Texas A&M, it’s a chance to calm fans made nervous by a harder-than-it-should-have-been tussle with Colorado two weeks ago and having Zach Calzada take over at quarterback for the injured Haynes King.
The Aggies are 5 1/2-point favorites, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
No. 18 Wisconsin vs. No. 12 Notre Dame at Soldier Field in Chicago. The teams were supposed to meet at Lambeau Field in Green Bay last year, but the game was canceled because of the pandemic.
This will be the teams’ first meeting since 1964, and the first when both are ranked.
The game has an intriguing backdrop with Notre Dame quarterback Jack Coan playing against his old teammates. Coan left the Badgers last year after Graham Mertz was named the starter. Mertz is yet to live up to the lofty expectations that came with him being ranked as the best pocket passer coming out of high school in 2019.
Kenneth Walker III, RB, Michigan State
The Wake Forest transfer has gone from anonymity to national rushing leader over three games and is a big reason the No. 25 Spartans unexpectedly have become a factor in the Big Ten East.
Walker creates excitement with his shiftiness — he forced 20 missed tackles against Miami last week, according to Pro Football Focus — and he’s averaging 8.7 yards per carry.
He goes against Nebraska at home this week.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
2 — Consecutive wins by Texas Tech at Texas’ Darrell K. Royal-Memorial Stadium. The Red Raiders head there in search of their first 4-0 start since 2013.
17-1 — Boise State’s record against Utah State since 1998. The Aggies are 3-0 for the first time since 1978 and are hosting a Boise team that’s lost two of its first three for the first time since 2005.
100 — The number of times SMU and TCU will have met after Saturday’s game in Fort Worth. TCU leads the series 51-41-7.
114 — Clemson’s national ranking in total offense. The Tigers finished 10th in 2020.
1,051 — Michigan’s nation-leading rushing yards total, the Wolverines’ highest through three games since at least 1997.
UNDER THE RADAR
No. 14 Iowa State at Baylor
The Cyclones got all they could handle from Baylor at home last year, and they’re looking to build on last week’s easy win at UNLV. Baylor is 3-0 against extremely light competition.
No. 24 UCLA at Stanford
The Bruins, coming off a loss to Fresno State, are playing the Stanford team whose win at Southern California got Clay Helton fired two weeks ago. The Cardinal beat UCLA in a 48-47 two-overtime thriller last year.
Indiana at Western Kentucky
The Hoosiers have lost two games to ranked teams after coming into the season with high expectations. With a loss here, the season really goes south.
Second-year Florida State coach Mike Norvell is 3-9 with a loss to Jacksonville State and a 21-point loss to Wake Forest on his tab. The Seminoles enter their home game against Louisville with the possibility of starting 0-4 for the first time since 1974.
Athletic department finances might buy Norvell time. The school will be paying more than $3 million to the previous coach, Willie Taggart, each of the next two years. There could be hesitancy to cut bait on a coach who is only in his second year of a $26.5, six-year contract.
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