The state of Iowa, of all places, is college football central this week.
The Iowa-Iowa State game has been played 67 times since 1884, always for nothing more than bragging rights. That changes this year.
The national spotlight is on Ames on Saturday with the Big Ten’s Iowa coming in ranked No. 10 and the Big 12’s Iowa State No. 9. Never before have the teams met when both were ranked, let alone in the top 10.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 are matched up in two games.
The big one is in Columbus, where No. 3 Ohio State hosts No. 12 Oregon in the only other Top 25 matchup. The Buckeyes still have much to prove on defense, and Oregon will put stress on all three levels.
The other game between the venerable conferences, Washington at Michigan, lost some of its luster after the Huskies dropped their opener to FCS member Montana.
Fans feeling nostalgic will want to tune in to see No. 5 Texas play Arkansas in a renewal of rivalry that was at its hottest in the 1960s and ‘70s when the Longhorns’ Darrell Royal and Razorbacks’ Frank Broyles ruled the old Southwest Conference.
This will be the teams’ first meeting since Arkansas won 31-7 in the 2014 Texas Bowl in Houston.
No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State
Iowa was a Week 1 revelation with its dominant win over Indiana. While Ohio State is the favorite to win a fifth straight Big Ten title, the Hawkeyes certainly are the team to beat in the West. A win in this nonconference showdown is a must if the Hawks dare to dream big (read: becoming part of the College Football Playoff conversation).
Iowa State struggled to beat FCS member Northern Iowa last week in what has become a habitually slow-starting Cyclones program. All the high expectations for ISU remain intact, but the Cyclones must be much sharper to end the Hawks’ five-game win streak in the series.
Cincinnati QB Desmond Ridder
Road games against Indiana next week and Notre Dame on Oct. 2 will determine Ridder’s viability as a Heisman candidate. For now, expect him to put up big numbers against Murray State on Saturday.
The third-year starter was 20 for 25 and matched his career high with four touchdown passes in last week’s 49-14 win over Miami (Ohio). It was the second time Ridder has completed at least 80% of his passes. An 81-yard TD pass to Tyler Scott on the Bearcats’ second play from scrimmage was the longest pass of Ridder’s career.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
5 — Houston’s number of fourth-down conversions in a loss to Texas Tech.
19-0 — Texas A&M’s record when leading at the end of the first quarter under Jimbo Fisher.
31 — Corrected tackle total for Fordham linebacker Ryan Greenhagen against Nebraska last week. Greenhagen originally was credited with 30, but one was added to his total on Monday. He now owns the Division I record.
100 — Career wins for Dan Mullen if Florida beats South Florida. Mullen is in his 13th season as a head coach.
300 — Boise State’s streak of games without being shut out. The Broncos are among nine teams all-time to go that many games in a row without being held scoreless.
UNDER THE RADAR
Pittsburgh’s game at Tennessee is the teams’ first meeting in 38 years and billed as the Johnny Majors Classic. The Panthers’ defense will have to adjust to the pace of Josh Heupel’s offense.
Kentucky unveiled some new weapons last week in Penn State transfer quarterback Will Levis and Nebraska transfer receiver Wan’Dale Robinson. The Wildcats should get a better gauge of their offense when they host Missouri, whose defense held them to 145 yards last year.
No. 21 Utah goes for its 10th straight win over BYU. The game in Provo marks the 101st all-time football meeting between the schools separated by 45 miles.
The temperature gets turned up on Nebraska coach Scott Frost if Buffalo leaves Lincoln with a win. The Bulls are 13.5-point underdogs, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Support for Frost took a big hit with the season-opening loss at Illinois, and the Huskers impressed no one while tussling with FCS Fordham deep into the second quarter last week.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25