With Red River Rivalry and No. 1 Alabama hosting Texas A&M this weekend, naturally, College GameDay heads to Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday.

Just a few weeks ago, this might have seemed like a typo: the #19 Jayhawks are welcoming not only GameDay, but the newly ranked TCU Horned Frogs. The game features two of the most exciting stories of the season to date, and while many will be chained to Oklahoma and Texas in Dallas, the matchup will give the Big 12 a second big game in early October.

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Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fischer and Alabama’s Nick Saban will finally meet after a long offseason, exchanging words – both good and not so good – but only Alabama comes into the game by rankings. Tennessee rides to LSU in its latest SEC test, while out west UCLA faces defending Pac-12 champion Utah in a litmus test of its own.

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This week’s list is loaded with important games as the conference picks up pace. Here are the main storylines of the upcoming weekend.


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No. 17 TCU Horned Frogs at No. 19 Kansas Jayhawks (Saturday, Noon ET, FS1)

TCU was ranked seventh in the “Big 12” pre-season media poll; Kansas was selected to finish 10th. So it makes sense that both teams are unbeatable ahead of their Saturday game, with College GameDay heading to Lawrence, Kansas for the first time.

Stories like these remind us all of why we love college football so much.

“There might be a point where you need to pinch yourself a little,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold said at his weekly press conference. “It also says something about TCU – a matchup like this will probably surprise a lot of people across the country, but it has to be a great game.”

This is the first top 20 game at Lawrence since October 25, 2008, when No. 19 Kansas hosted No. 8 Texas Institute of Technology. Kansas is 5-0 for the first time since 2009; Meanwhile, Sonny Dykes is the first coach to win his first four games in TCU since Francis Schmidt in 1929.

Kansas wide receiver Luke Grimm described the atmosphere during the week at Lawrence as “with a lot of hype behind it.” He has about 30 friends and family who traveled to the game from Raymore, Missouri.

“A lot of people are boarding the KU football train,” he told Sportzshala.com in a phone interview. “It’s great to be the change that’s happening right now and leaving a mark on the history of KU football. We all believed we could make it and the fact that we are now is really fun.”

This game features two of the best crimes in the country. TCU, which suffered a 55-24 upset in Oklahoma last week, is averaging 549.5 yards per game, second in the nation behind quarterback Max Duggan. On the other hand, quarterback Jaylon Daniels is averaging 41.6 points per game, 12th overall in the nation. The quarterback game is one of the most intriguing in the game.

But so is the fact that both of these schools are invincible right now, when not many gave them a chance to be in this position.

“It’s nice to have a crowded stadium and a lot of noise whenever you play or one of your brothers plays and you see them glow with joy when you hear those screams and shouts for you,” Grimm said. “It’s nice to show that we’re building a great football team here.” — Andrea Adelson


Tennessee Volunteers #8 at #25 LSU Tigers (Saturday Noon ET Sportzshala/Sportzshala App)

As disappointing as Brian Kelly’s LSU debut was in a season-opening upset 24-23 loss to Florida State in the Superdome, the Tigers bounced back well.

And while no one predicts LSU will be in contention for the SEC West crown in Kelly’s first season, the Tigers have a chance to go 3-0 in the SEC on Saturday if they can defeat the beloved Vols. It’s the kind of start to the league that any player on the Bayou would have made to see the Tigers make a lot of mistakes in the first game and then bounce back from a two-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter, only to block an extra point. no time left.

Tennessee coach Josh Hupel reiterated this week what much of the league probably thinks that LSU is “getting better and better,” meaning the Vols could get a better version of the Tigers under Kelly.

Kelly has seen his team learn to play together and find ways to win despite some of their own challenges and limitations. LSU is still not very dynamic on offense, which is a serious concern compared to the Tennessee team, which is tied for second in the national rankings in offensive scoring (48.5 points per game). The fast paced and explosive nature of Vols tends to tire teams out. They already have 16 30+ yard scrimmage rallies in just four games.

“It all comes down to one-on-one matches. We must be absolutely healthy,” Kelly said.

The Tigers could use big play outside of star linebacker BJ Ojulari, who would be the most devastating cornerback the Vols have faced this season. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior has 4.5 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, and five quarterback pressures in just three games. Freshman Harold Perkins Jr. is just as devastating as outside linebacker.

Putting pressure on Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is difficult because he’s always a threat to take off and run and get the ball out quickly. Since becoming the Vols’ starting quarterback in Week 3 last season, Hooker has amassed 45 touchdowns, 69% passing percentage and just two interceptions.

There were no wolves last week, and the timing was perfect. Receiver Cedric Tillman had ankle surgery the week before the Florida game and is questionable for the game. In addition, Hooker suffered a shoulder injury during the Florida win.

This will be the SEC’s first road game in Tennessee of the season, and while it’s not a “Saturday night at Tiger Stadium,” LSU had a hard time beating the 11:00 a.m. CT games. Since 2000, the Tigers have been 8-0 in games starting before noon.

The last time Tennessee won their first five games was in 2016, when the Vols started 5-0, but lost the next three games and fell to Vanderbilt at the end of the season, missing out on the Sugar Bowl.

As big as the victory in Florida two weeks ago was (the Vols have lost 16 of their last 17 games in the series), Hoepel echoed a familiar theme.

“You’re only as good as your next player in this game,” he said. — Chris Low


Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners at Cotton Bowl, Dallas (Saturday Noon ET ABC/Sportzshala App)

Texas and Oklahoma will meet at the unranked Cotton Bowl this year for the first time since 1998. However, when two teams have been playing for 117 years, it doesn’t matter. There are no guarantees in the Red River rivalry.

Sure, Oklahoma is 3-2 and lost a total of 96 points in consecutive defensive flops against Kansas State and TCU. Of course, Texas is 3-2 and lost to Texas Tech on his last trip outside of Austin. But when the buses drive through the Texas State Fair with fans screaming at them, it all fades into the background.

Since 2010, the Sooners have lost 10-3 to the Longhorns, but according to Caesars Sportsbook, the Longhorns are favorites to touchdown.

Neither team is hinting at who will be the quarterback. Dillon Gabriel of Oklahoma is on concussion protocol after being hit in the head during a late hit on the slide against TCU. Texas starter Quinn Ewers is still recovering from a sprained collarbone against Alabama, although Hudson Card had his best outing as a Longhorn against West Virginia last weekend, scoring 21 of 27 for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

Oklahoma allows 198.2 yards per game, which worries Texas running back Bijan Robinson, who has rushed the 100-yard mark in each of his last three games, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and scoring at least one touchdown. in each of the Longhorns’ first five games that year.

Last year, Texas coach Steve Sarkeesian met the rivalry rough as the Sooners, down 28-7 after the first quarter, rallied to score 48 points in the next three, including 25 in the fourth alone, to win 55-48. This week he said he was ready for another round.

“The last time I checked this morning, when I entered our building, the Golden Hat was not there,” Sargsyan said. “We have a lot to prepare for.”

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables, meanwhile, is hoping his Sooners will stay consistent and treat this game like any other.

“Hopefully we’re not more excited about this game than anyone else,” he said.

I guess the fans – and maybe the players – think a little differently. — Dave Wilson


No. 11 Utah Yutes at No. 18 UCLA Bruins (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, Fox)

Year 5 quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will happily brief you – as he said he reads and follows what people have to say about his team – few people expected the Bruins to be here 5-0 for the first time. since 2013 after defeating Washington and headed to the decider against the reigning Pac-12 champion at home.

“The guys, I think, have felt what success is now, and now we are hungry for it, we are trying to get addicted to winning,” Thompson-Robinson said in training this week. “So I think that’s where we’re heading right now. We know what it takes.”

At least in the case of the double-threat quarterback who ignited the Rose Bowl last Friday for 368 yards and four touchdowns (three in the air, one on the ground), five long years for him and the coach. Chip Kelly to turn continuity into strength, especially with the unit that protects it.

“They worked really well, they have a lot of continuity,” Kelly said of the offensive line, which added Ryckwon O’Neal from Rutgers in the offseason. “Everyone played for us last year except for Raikwon and you bring in a guy who had 30 Big Ten starts so his transition was really natural.”

Adding passes like wide receiver Jake Bobo of Duke (363…