It's hard to imagine the possibilities for a more exciting game than having Johnny Manziel on one side of the field and the often unpredictable Les Miles on the other sideline. Perhaps the top player in the country as a sophomore after winning the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman, Manziel has carried the Aggies to eight wins this season along with top target Mike Evans. Completing 73 percent of his passes for 3,313 yards and adding 611 rushing yards, Manziel has accounted for 39 touchdowns this season.
With a defense allowing 30.9 points per game (88th in the nation), Texas A&M will try to outscore LSU in Death Valley, but it won't be easy. Averaging 37.9 points per game this year behind senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger and running back Jeremy Hill, LSU has shown it can score points in bunches as well. While LSU's defense is statistically the better of the two, they'll have to create turnovers or try to outscore Johnny Football and he's been good on the road. In nine career road games he has yet to lose.
The red-hot Sun Devils roll into the Rose Bowl looking for their sixth-straight win, but in a battle of 8-2 teams it's hard to imagine having more momentum than the Bruins right now. Dropping back-to-back games to Stanford and Oregon in October, Jim Mora Jr.'s team has won three in a row over Colorado, Arizona and Washington behind the play of super freshman Myles Jack. A talented linebacker from Washington, Jack has pulled double-duty the last three weeks and the results have been extraordinary. Carrying the ball a total of just 19 times this year, Jack has 179 yards and five touchdowns for the Bruins. Throw in defensive end Anthony Barr and UCLA likely has two of the top players in the country regardless of classification.
Arizona State counters with Todd Graham's version of Gus Malzahn's offense. The head coach at Tulsa when Malzahn was the offensive coordinator, Graham has adapted to the hurry-up no-huddle and is making it work in the Pac 12. Quarterback Taylor Kelley (2,800 yards and 24 touchdowns) leads the offense while running back Marion Grice (901, 14 TD's) provides the punch on the ground. Defensively big Will Sutton is one of the top interior linemen in the country and will cause problems for UCLA's talented quarterback Brett Hundley.
Quarterback James Franklin returns to the starting lineup for the Tigers this week and with him comes experience and a hot hand to start the year for Gary Pinkel's club. Completing 132-195 passes for 1,547 yards and 15 touchdowns with only three interceptions, the veteran takes back over after redshirt freshman Maty Mauk did a solid job in relief for the Tigers. Running back Henry Joseph leads a potent ground game with 760 yards and 10 touchdowns, but it's outside where Missouri is tough to defend. Big receivers L'Damian Washington and Dorial Green-Beckham have combined for 76 catches, 1,259 yards and 18 touchdowns this season. Defensively end Michael Sam is one of the best in the country, leading the SEC with 16 tackles for losses and 10 sacks. As a team the Tigers have 17 interceptions and are third in the league in scoring defense.
The Missouri defense will present a tough challenge for an Ole Miss offense that is playing well under the leadership of junior quarterback Bo Wallace. With 2,664 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season while throwing only five interceptions, Wallace teams with Barry Brunetti for a solid one-two punch for the Rebels. On the ground Ole Miss has five players with at least 200 yards rushing this season as Hugh Freeze has used the by-committee approach to perfection. Outside at receiver freshman Laquon Treadwell and big Derrick Moncrief have 97 catches and 10 touchdowns between them this season. With weapons on both sides this game could come down to line play on both sides of the ball and that stacks up in Missouri's favor, but playing in Oxford at night in front of a rowdy crowd could just be the thing to push the Rebels over the top and knock the Tigers off their perch in the SEC East.
If ever there was a recipe for a shootout then this game in Stillwater has all the makings for just that. While Oklahoma State is always a capable offense, this is the season you don't want to have to outscore the Baylor Bears. Entering Saturday night's game Baylor has scored more than 60 points in six games in 2013 and leads the nation in scoring offense by a wide margin at 61.2 points per game. Ninth in the nation in rushing offense (300.3 yards per game) and third in passing offense (384.4 ypg), the Bears are led by quarterback Bryce Petty and he's putting together a season for the ages. Leading the nation in passing efficiency, Petty has completed 152-233 passes for 2,992 yards and 24 touchdowns with only one interception. This week he'll be facing an Oklahoma State defense that leads the nation with 19 picks.
Tenth in the country, averaging 40.4 points per game, Oklahoma State is no slouch when it comes to putting points on the board. Quarterback Clint Shelf's 11 touchdown passes combined with nine from J.W. Walsh give the Cowboys a pair of capable players at the position. While the numbers look great from the outside, this is an Oklahoma State offense that was held to 21 points by Mississippi State and West Virginia this season. Facing a surprisingly good Baylor defense, Coach Mike Gundy's squad better be clicking on all cylinders Saturday or it could be a long night for the home crowd. One thing the Cowboys have going for them however is Baylor's futility on the road. The Bears have lost 36 straight games away from home to Top 25 teams and the key will be to stay in the game and not let Baylor run off and hide. Baylor has outscored opponents 354-76 in the first half of nine games. Their average halftime score is 39.3 to 6.4.