South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore breaks through the line for… (Gerry Melendez / McClatchy-Tribune )
Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. Each Friday, the Times' national college football writer handicaps what's worth watching, and skipping, on Saturday's menu of games.
No. 15 Texas (4-1) vs. No. 13 Oklahoma (3-1) at Dallas
9 a.m., Channel 7
The Longhorns and Sooners go on a carnival elimination ride at their annual State Fair of Texas showdown at the Cotton Bowl. Texas lost at home last week to West Virginia; Oklahoma dropped an earlier home game to Kansas State. This is the 14th time coaches Mack Brown and Bob Stoops have squared off in the series and the first time since 2007 both teams enter with a conference loss. Texas has lost eight straight games against ranked teams since defeating No. 5 Nebraska in 2010.
No. 6 Kansas State (5-0) at Iowa State (4-1)
9 a.m., FX
This is an official watch-out Wildcats warning: Iowa State has a history of ruining perfect seasons. Last year, the Cyclones knocked Oklahoma State out of the national title game with a stunning win in Ames. Iowa State is coming off an upset win at Texas Christian.
8 a.m.: Louisville at Pittsburgh, ESPNU.
9 a.m.: Iowa at Michigan State, ESPN; Northwestern at Minnesota, ESPN2; Wisconsin at Purdue, BTN; Alabama Birmingham at Houston, FS West; Kent State at Army, CBSSN; Brown at Princeton, NBCSN.
No. 1 Alabama (5-0) at Missouri (3-3)
12:30 p.m., Channel 2
At last check, there was no law against being the nation's top team and catching a few breaks. Alabama's potentially tricky trip in to Columbia got easier because Missouri quarterback James Franklin will miss the game with a knee injury. Alabama already has faced Michigan without star running back Fitz Toussaint (suspended) and Arkansas without quarterback Tyler Wilson (head injury). Missouri is seeking its first Southeastern Conference win and is 0-12 all-time against top-ranked opponents, including a 1978 defeat to Alabama.
No. 17 Stanford (4-1) at No. 7 Notre Dame (5-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 4
Memo to headline writers: It will not be a "shock" if Stanford wins this important game in South Bend. Chroniclers made that mistake earlier this year when Stanford "stunned" USC with its fourth straight win over the Trojans. Stanford similarly has won three straight against Notre Dame, so why would the Cardinal winning another fourth be a big deal?
No. 10 Oregon State (4-0) at Brigham Young (4-2)
12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Oregon State will be without starting quarterback Sean Mannion, who injured his knee in last week's 19-6 win over Washington State. This was going to be a tough test with Mannion in the lineup, but backup junior Cody Vaz is no slouch, having nearly won the starting job in 2010. Vaz, though, has thrown only 17 passes in college and has not started a game since high school.
11:30 a.m.: North Carolina at Miami, ESPNU.
Noon: Utah at UCLA, Channel 11; Maryland at Virginia, Prime; Nevada at Nevada Las Vegas, TWCSN.
12:30 p.m.: Illinois at No. 25 Michigan, ESPN; Oklahoma State at Kansas, FS West; Bucknell at Harvard, CBSSN; Fresno State at No. 24 Boise State, NBCSN.
No. 4 Florida (5-0) at Vanderbilt (2-3)
3 p.m., ESPNU
This has all the makings for a Florida letdown as the Gators go on the road a week after upsetting Louisiana State in Gainesville. History suggests a Florida victory over Vanderbilt, as the Gators have won 21 straight in the SEC series. But South Carolina could vouch for how tough Vanderbilt is in Nashville after the Gamecocks squeaked out a 17-13 win earlier this season.
2:30 p.m.: Boston College at No. 12 Florida State, ESPN2.
3:30 p.m.: Colorado State at San Diego State, TWCSN.
4 p.m.: No. 11 USC at Washington, Channel 11; Texas Christian at Baylor, FS West; Kentucky at Arkansas, Prime.
No. 3 South Carolina (6-0) at No. 9 Louisiana State (5-1)
5 p.m., ESPN
Now we find out: Is South Carolina, coming off a dominating 35-7 home win over Georgia, a legitimate national title contender? A two-week SEC road swing through LSU and Florida should answer that question. Now we find out: does LSU have anything more than a strong defense? The Tigers must win this game to make sure Alabama's Nov. 3 arrival in Baton Rouge has national implications for both schools.
No. 22 Texas A&M (4-1) vs. No. 23 Louisiana Tech (5-0) at Shreveport, La.
6 p.m. ESPNU
Hurricane Isaac forced the postponement of this game from Labor Day weekend, but now it's a good-looking matchup with national implications. Texas A&M's only loss came at home to Florida; undefeated Louisiana Tech has wins over Illinois and Virginia. A win for Louisiana Tech would give the Bulldogs an outside, but not impossible, chance to earn an automatic Bowl Championship Series bid.
5 p.m.: No. 8 Ohio State at Indiana, BTN; Southern Mississippi at Central Florida, CBSSN.
6 p.m.: Tennessee at No. 19 Mississippi State, ESPN2.
7:30 p.m.: California at Washington State, Pac-12.