After a wild (and elongated) opening week, college football returns with a vengeance this Saturday. There’s no shortage of marquee games, but the main event is extra-special: The No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes host the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners at 7:30 PM ET on ABC. When these two powerhouses met last year in Norman, a school-record 87,979 fans packed Memorial Stadium and watched in horror as the Buckeyes (–2) prevailed 45-24. Will the Sooners get their revenge in front of an even bigger crowd at the Horseshoe?

The odds aren’t on their side. Oklahoma is a 7.5-point underdog at press time, holding steady since last Sunday’s open. This matchup does figure to be a high-scoring affair with a total of 65 points; Buckeyes’ QB J.T. Barrett is a Heisman Trophy candidate (+1400) with a talented corps of receivers to throw at, while Sooners QB Baker Mayfield (+700) gets to operate behind one of the best offensive lines in the country. The onus is on Oklahoma’s defense to step up in their first big game under rookie head coach and former Sooners offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley.

California Dreamin’

Fans of the Pac-12 will argue that Saturday’s matchup (8:30 PM ET, FOX) between the No. 14 Stanford Cardinal and the No. 6 USC Trojans is even more important. This rivalry dates back to 1905, and Saturday’s game could end up determining who goes to the College Football Playoff. The Trojans are 6-point home favorites after opening at –6.5. They’ve got a potential No. 1 NFL Draft pick in QB Sam Darnold (+600 to win the Heisman), but the defensively stout Cardinal have covered each of their last three meetings.

Then you have the defending National Champions. The No. 3 Clemson Tigers have a big home game this Saturday (7 PM ET, ESPN) against the No. 13 Auburn Tigers; just like the Trojans, Clemson has dipped from –6.5 to –6, and while they were able to beat Auburn 19-13 last year at Jordan-Hare Stadium, it was the home team cashing in as 9.5-point underdogs. Can new Clemson starting QB Kelly Bryant match Deshaun Watson’s title-winning 2016 performance while staring down Auburn’s defensive line? If so, Bryant could be a steal at +10000 on the Heisman props market.

There’s one game of note that’s flying a bit under the radar: It’s the battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa usually comes out on top in this rivalry, but Saturday’s game (noon ET, ESPN) should be a close one: The Hawkeyes are 3-point road favorites, up from –2.5 at the open, and the total is relatively low for college football at 48 points. Watch for Iowa State QB Jacob Park to out-duel his Iowa counterpart, Nathan Stanley – unless the Hawkeyes’ defense does something about it.


*Odds as of September 8, 2017