After winning its first two games for the second straight year, Indiana football gets its bye week very early in the season. This is as good a time as any to roll out our latest weekly segment, highlighting five college football games that deserve your attention. Let's get into it.
North Dakota State at #13 Iowa
Usually when a team’s toughest non-conference game is against an FCS school, its schedule is laughable. But NDSU is no slouch. The Bison have won 8 of 11 against FBS schools, including their last five in a row. Sophomore Easton Stick (10/10 football name) has taken over for departed signal-caller Carson Wentz and should provide a good test for the Hawkeye defense.
The Hawkeyes have looked dominant in routing J. Crew U and rival Iowa State. A two-headed rushing attack of LeShun Daniels Jr. and Akrum Wadley and a defense led by Desmond King and Josey Jewell have Iowa looking even stronger than last season. NDSU’s streak against FBS teams will come to an end.
Pick: Iowa 30, North Dakota State 21
#2 Florida State at #10 Louisville
If they gave out Heisman trophies in September, Lamar Jackson would be the clear winner. The Louisville sophomore quarterback has already accounted for 1,015 yards of offense and 13 total touchdowns. He’s dominated against the likes of Charlotte and Syracuse, but still.
While Louisville’s offense is packed with firepower, the biggest mismatch appears to be FSU’s offense vs. Louisville’s defense. Deondre Francois has been phenomenal out of the gate, Travis Rudolph has been great on and off the field, and the Seminoles haven’t even gotten the best from Heisman hopeful Dalvin Cook. Both offenses will put up points but FSU should win this track meet.
Pick: Florida State 49, Louisville 40
#1 Alabama at #19 Ole Miss
In what is becoming a yearly tradition, Alabama will lose to Ole Miss, 1,000 thinkpieces on the end of Saban’s dynasty will be written, and then the Crimson Tide will run roughshod over the rest of the SEC.
Pick: Ole Miss 38, Alabama 35
#12 Michigan State at #18 Notre Dame
The second-best team in the state of Indiana will look to keep its slim playoff hopes alive against the defending Big Ten champs. If you do watch (7:30 ET on NBC), be prepared to hear countless references to the 1966 “Game of the Century” between these two teams. It sounds prestigious until you realize there were no fewer than 10 “Games of the Century” in the 20th Century, four of which involved Notre Dame!
As for the game itself, if Notre Dame’s defense can get just a few stops for DeShone Kizer and the offense, the Irish will win comfortably. Of course, as Texas proved, that is a huge if.
Pick: Notre Dame 28, Michigan State 17
Game of the Week: #3 Ohio State at #14 Oklahoma
It’s crazy how good Ohio State looks when Urban Meyer consistently starts a quarterback who can actually pass. After two emphatic wins against overmatched foes, we’ll get a better sense of just how good Ohio State is when it takes on Oklahoma. J.T. Barrett, Mike Weber, and Curtis Samuel will have to continue to dominate for this young Buckeye team to walk out of Norman with a win. If not, Bob Stoops will get a small measure of revenge against Meyer for the 2008 BCS Championship Game.
Pick: Ohio State 31, Oklahoma 27