After a 14-year run of ranked-vs.-ranked matchups, the Alabama-LSU rivalry has now been relegated to an afterthought for two straight seasons.
The No. 3 Crimson Tide (7-1, No. 2 CFP) are again a huge favorite against the struggling Tigers (4-4). Alabama handed LSU the most lopsided defeat in the series since the 1920s last year when the Tide won 55-17 in Baton Rouge.
The rivalry returns to Tuscaloosa on Saturday, where LSU had its greatest victory — other than maybe the 2019 national championship game — under now outgoing coach Ed Orgeron two years ago.
Joe Burrow and Co. beat the Tide 46-41 to snap an eight-game losing streak against Alabama.
Alabama-LSU is just another game on the Week 10 schedule, which features only one ranked-vs.-ranked matchup, but a few intriguing upset opportunities.
Just not in Tuscaloosa.
No. 12 Auburn at No. 13 Texas A&M
Both teams are still in the SEC West race, but probably can't afford another loss if they want to catch Alabama.
The Tigers are looking for a third straight victory against a ranked SEC West rival since they were beaten by Georgia. Tank Bigsby is coming off his best game of the season (140 yards rushing on 23 carries) last week in a victory against Ole Miss.
The Aggies are on a three-game winning streak that started with an upset of Alabama.
Sam Hartman, QB, Wake Forest
The senior leads the unbeaten and 10th-ranked Demon Deacons into a nonconference games (yes, really) against North Carolina on Saturday.
Hartman isn't getting the Heisman buzz, but his numbers stack up nicely with those who are. For example: Alabama's Bryce Young is fifth in the nation in passer efficiency rating (177.10) with 2,453 yards passing, 26 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Hartman is sixth in efficiency rating (175) with 2,475 yards passing, 22 touchdowns and three interceptions. Hartman also has six rushing touchdowns to Young's two.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
2 — Iowa State’s winning streak against Texas. The Cyclones had never beaten the Longhorns (4-4) in consecutive meetings before last year and now they have a chance to make it three straight in Austin. Iowa State (5-3) is trying to hold on to feint Big 12 title hopes.
14-2 — No. 7 Oregon's record against Washington in the last 16 games. Most of them have been blowouts, even the two Huskies' victories. But the last two years, the combined margin of victory by the Ducks is seven points.
16 — Number of victories Purdue has against top-five opponents while unranked —- including against No. 2 Iowa last month —- most by any team in the country. The Boilermakers host No. 5 Michigan State.
94 — No. 8 Notre Dame and Navy play for the 94th time Saturday. The rivalry took a hiatus last season because of pandemic-altered schedules. The Irish have won three straight meetings and eight of nine, which is nothing compared to the 43-game winning streak Notre Dame had over Navy from 1964-2006.
8,752 —- The number of days since TCU played a game without Gary Patterson as a member of the coaching staff. No. 14 Baylor visits the Horned Frogs this week for TCU's first game since Patterson was pushed out after nearly 24 years as head coach and defensive coordinator.
UNDER THE RADAR
Army at Air Force.
The Falcons (6-2) can win the Commander-in-chief's trophy for the first time since 2016 by beating the Black Knights (4-3) on Saturday.
Air Force already has a win over struggling Navy (2-6).
Army has won the trophy three of the past four seasons and would at least retain it by beating the Falcons. If each team wins one game in the round-robin between the service academies it stays with the previous season's winner.
As usual, it's a matchup of two of the best running teams in the country. Air Force leads the nation at 318 yards rushing per game and Army is second at 312.
Steve Addazio, Colorado State
Addazio's short tenure at Colorado State has been rocky almost from the start and because of last year's abbreviated schedule he has only coached 12 games.
The Rams are 4-8 under him, including 3-5 this season. This is a program that aspires to one day land in a wealthier conference, but has been stuck in the second-tier of the Mountain West for awhile.
Colorado State faces a rivalry game against Wyoming this weekend, looking to break a three-game losing streak overall. Addazio needs to get this thing turned around quickly.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com
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