Kentucky-Ole Miss, Alabama-Arkansas, NC State-Clemson and more

We’re fully into conference schedules across the country, and that’s usually when real contenders start to emerge and teams are tested more frequently.

Alabama’s No. 2 is part of that group this week with a trip to face Arkansas’ No. 20. It’s one of five ranked vs. ranked matchups scheduled for the weekend, including two big ones in the ACC Atlantic. There’s potential for plenty of upset, especially with several other ranked teams on the road to face unranked conference foes, starting with the No. 15 Washington’s trip to UCLA on Friday night.

It should be a really fun weekend.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

Time: Noon | Television: ESPN | Line: Ole Miss -7 | Overall: 53.5

Off to a 4-0 start and ranked No. 7 in the nation, Kentucky picks up one of its best players for a road showdown with No. 14 Ole Miss. Chris Rodriguez, the team’s top running back, is back after a four-game suspension. Rodriguez could provide a jolt for an offense that has disappointed a bit at this stage of the season. On the other side, Ole Miss is second in the SEC with 13 sacks. Offensively, Ole Miss opted to trade USC Jaxson Dart at quarterback after splitting reps with Luke Altmyer earlier this year. After a 4-0 start, the Rebels relied on their running game and are averaging 5.8 yards per carry as a team.

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: CBS | Line: Alabama -17.5 | Overall: 60.5

We haven’t heard much from Alabama since they nearly lost to Texas in Week 2. After escaping Austin with a 20-19 win, the Crimson Tide have won back-to-back victories at home against UL Monroe and Vanderbilt. The Tide needs to find some consistency at receiver as SEC play resumes, starting with Saturday’s trip to Fayetteville. Arkansas opened the year 3-0 with wins over Cincinnati and South Carolina before dropping a heartbreaker against Texas A&M last week. Sam Pittman’s group will have to turn the page quickly with Alabama visiting Razorback Stadium.

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: Fox | Line: Baylor -2.5 | Overall: 56.5

Last year, Baylor took issue with a Big 12 title and a potential berth in the College Football Playoffs for Oklahoma State. The two met in the conference title game, but Baylor’s defense came up with a clutch goal line to win in spectacular fashion. Turning the page to 2022, Oklahoma State got off to a 3-0 start and looked good on offense, albeit against lackluster competition. OSU really hasn’t been tested so far this year, but just pulled out of this showdown in Waco. Baylor, meanwhile, is coming off an impressive road win over Iowa State to improve to 3-1.

Time: 3:30 p.m. | Television: ABC | Line: FSU-7 | Total: 64

Florida State is back in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2018 thanks to a 4-0 start. So far, FSU has won victories over LSU, Louisville and Boston College and hosts Wake Forest in Tallahassee on Saturday for a showdown with the ACC Atlantic. FSU quarterback Jordan Travis has been fantastic so far this season and the Seminoles rank 13th nationally in rushing offense, averaging 227 yards per game. FSU got off to a slow start under head coach Mike Norvell, but now looks like a potential contender in the ACC.

Time: 7:30 p.m. | Television: ABC | Line: Clemson -6.5 | Overall: 41.5

Elsewhere in the ACC is another showpiece Atlantic Division game. And while FSU and Wake Forest may avoid most of Hurricane Ian’s impact, heavy rain appears imminent for NC State’s trip to Clemson. Last year, NC State snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Tigers, who failed to win the ACC title for the first time since 2014. This year, both teams are gone at 4-0. The win over Wake Forest seemed to show that Clemson’s attack has made great strides, but the defense may not be as solid as it has been in recent years.

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