The important thing storylines for TCU-Kansas, Texas A&M-Alabama and the remainder of Week 6’s largest video games

With the Purple River Rivalry and No. 1 Alabama internet hosting Texas A&M each going down this weekend, naturally School GameDay is heading to Lawrence, Kansas, on Saturday.

In what would have appeared like a misprint just some weeks in the past, the No. 19 Jayhawks welcome in not solely GameDay however the freshly ranked TCU Horned Frogs. The sport options two of essentially the most thrilling tales of the season to this point, and whereas many eyes will probably be on Oklahoma-Texas in Dallas, the matchup offers the Huge 12 a second marquee recreation in early October.

Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Alabama’s Nick Saban will lastly meet after a protracted offseason of buying and selling phrases — each good and not-so-nice — however solely Alabama comes into the sport ranked. Tennessee travels to LSU in its newest SEC take a look at, whereas out west UCLA faces Pac-12 defending champion Utah in a litmus take a look at of its personal.

This week’s slate is loaded with vital video games as convention play kicks into excessive gear. Listed here are the important thing storylines for the weekend forward.


No. 17 TCU Horned Frogs at No. 19 Kansas Jayhawks (Saturday, midday ET, FS1)

TCU was picked to complete seventh within the Huge 12 preseason media ballot; Kansas was picked to complete tenth. So it makes good sense that each groups are undefeated headed into their matchup Saturday — with School GameDay headed to Lawrence, Kansas, for the primary time.

It’s tales like this that remind us all why we love school soccer a lot.

“There’s in all probability a second you have to pinch your self slightly bit,” Kansas coach Lance Leipold mentioned at his weekly information convention. “It says one thing about TCU as nicely — to get the sort of matchup might be stunning to lots of people across the nation, however it must be an incredible recreation.”

That is the primary top-20 matchup in Lawrence since Oct. 25, 2008, when No. 19 Kansas hosted No. 8 Texas Tech. Kansas is 5-0 for the primary time since 2009; in the meantime, Sonny Dykes is the primary coach to win his first 4 video games at TCU since Francis Schmidt in 1929.

Kansas receiver Luke Grimm described the ambiance all through the week in Lawrence as one which has “numerous hype behind it.” He has about 30 family and friends members making the drive to the sport from Raymore, Missouri.

“Lots of people are getting on board the KU soccer practice,” he instructed ESPN.com in a cellphone interview. “It feels actually good to be the change that’s taking place proper now and placing a footprint in KU soccer historical past. All of us believed we might do it, and the truth that we’re proper now’s actually enjoyable to see.”

This recreation pits two of the perfect offenses within the nation. TCU, off its 55-24 upset over Oklahoma final week, averages 549.5 yards per recreation, No. 2 within the nation, behind quarterback Max Duggan. On the opposite aspect, quarterback Jalon Daniels has the Jayhawks averaging 41.6 factors per recreation — No. 12 within the nation. The quarterback matchup is likely one of the most intriguing within the recreation.

However so is the very fact each these colleges are undefeated proper now, when not many gave them an opportunity to be on this spot.

“It is good to have a packed stadium, and numerous noise everytime you make a play or one in every of your brothers makes a play, and also you see them gentle up with pleasure once you hear these screams and yells for you,” Grimm mentioned. “It is good to indicate we’re constructing an incredible soccer staff right here.” — Andrea Adelson


No. 8 Tennessee Volunteers at No. 25 LSU Tigers (Saturday, midday ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

As disappointing as Brian Kelly’s LSU debut was in a dysfunctional season-opening 24-23 loss to Florida State within the Superdome, the Tigers have rebounded properly.

And whereas no one is predicting that LSU goes to problem for the SEC West crown in Kelly’s first season, the Tigers have an opportunity to go to 3-0 within the SEC on Saturday if they will knock off the favored Vols. That is the type of begin in league play that anyone on the Bayou would have taken after seeing the Tigers commit a slew of errors within the opener, then storm again from a two-touchdown deficit within the fourth quarter, solely to have the additional level blocked with no time remaining.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel echoed this week what a lot of the league might be pondering, that LSU is “getting higher and higher,” which implies the Vols may very well be getting the perfect model of the Kelly-led Tigers but.

Kelly has seen his staff studying to play collectively and discovering methods to win regardless of a few of its self-inflicted points and limitations. LSU continues to be not overly dynamic offensively, which is a big concern in opposition to a Tennessee staff tied for second nationally in scoring offense (48.5 factors per recreation). The Vols’ fast-paced tempo and explosiveness are likely to put on groups down. They have already got 16 performs from scrimmage of 30 yards or longer in simply 4 video games.

“It comes right down to one-on-one matchups. We now have to be basically sound,” Kelly mentioned.

The Tigers might use an enormous recreation out of star exterior linebacker BJ Ojulari, who would be the most disruptive edge defender the Vols have confronted this season. The 6-foot-3, 250-pound junior has 4.5 tackles for loss, together with 3.5 sacks, and 5 quarterback pressures in simply three video games. Freshman Harold Perkins Jr. is equally disruptive from his exterior linebacker spot.

Placing stress on Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker is tough as a result of he is at all times a menace to take off and run and likewise eliminates the ball rapidly. Since taking up because the Vols’ beginning quarterback in Week 3 final season, Hooker has accounted for 45 touchdowns, accomplished 69% of his passes and thrown simply two interceptions.

The Vols had been off final week, and the timing could not have been higher. Receiver Cedric Tillman underwent ankle surgical procedure the week earlier than the Florida recreation and is iffy for this recreation. Additionally, Hooker banged up his shoulder within the Florida win.

This will probably be Tennessee’s first SEC highway recreation of the season, and regardless that it is not “Saturday evening at Tiger Stadium,” LSU has been laborious to beat within the 11 a.m. Central time residence video games. Since 2000, the Tigers are 8-0 in video games beginning previous to midday.

The final time Tennessee was favored in its first 5 video games was 2016, when the Vols began out 5-0 however misplaced their subsequent three video games and fell to Vanderbilt on the finish of the season to squander a possibility to play within the Sugar Bowl.

As large because the Florida win was two weeks in the past (the Vols had misplaced 16 of the previous 17 conferences within the collection), Heupel has repeated a well-known theme.

“You are solely pretty much as good as your subsequent one on this recreation,” he mentioned. — Chris Low


Texas Longhorns vs. Oklahoma Sooners on the Cotton Bowl, Dallas (Saturday, midday ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Texas and Oklahoma are heading into this yr’s feud on the Cotton Bowl unranked for the primary time since 1998. But when two groups have performed for 117 years, that does not appear to matter. There are not any ensures within the Purple River Rivalry.

Positive, Oklahoma is 3-2 and has given up a complete of 96 factors in consecutive defensive meltdowns in opposition to Kansas State and TCU. Positive, Texas is 3-2 and misplaced to Texas Tech in its most up-to-date journey away from Austin. However when the buses roll by the State Honest of Texas with followers screaming at them, all that falls by the wayside.

The Sooners are 10-3 in opposition to the Longhorns since 2010, however the Longhorns are a landing favourite in line with Caesars Sportsbook.

Neither staff is hinting who will begin at quarterback. Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel is in concussion protocol after taking a blow to the top on a late hit on a slide in opposition to TCU. Texas starter Quinn Ewers continues to be recovering from a clavicle sprain suffered in opposition to Alabama, although Hudson Card had his finest outing as a Longhorn in opposition to West Virginia final weekend, going 21-of-27 for 303 yards and three touchdowns.

Oklahoma is permitting 198.2 dashing yards per recreation, which is a priority going through Texas working again Bijan Robinson, who has gone over the 100-yard mark in every of the previous three video games, is averaging 5.9 yards per carry and has scored a minimum of one landing in every of the Longhorns’ first 5 video games this yr.

Final yr, Texas coach Steve Sarkisian bought a impolite welcome to the rivalry because the Sooners, down 28-7 after the primary quarter, rallied to attain 48 over the following three, together with 25 within the fourth alone, to win 55-48. He mentioned this week he was prepared for one more go-round.

“Final time I checked this morning once I walked in our constructing, the Golden Hat wasn’t there,” Sarkisian mentioned. “We have loads to get ourselves ready for.”

Oklahoma coach Brent Venables, in the meantime, is hoping his Sooners will preserve it regular and deal with this recreation like another.

“Hopefully we’re no more excited to play this one than any person else,” he mentioned.

This is guessing the followers — and doubtless the gamers — really feel slightly in another way. — Dave Wilson


No. 11 Utah Utes at No. 18 UCLA Bruins (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)

As fifth-year quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will gladly inform you — since he mentioned he reads and retains up with what individuals are saying about his staff — not many individuals anticipated the Bruins to be right here: 5-0 for the primary time since 2013 after taking down Washington and headed into what’s now an important matchup with the defending Pac-12 champion at residence.

“Guys I feel have tasted what success seems like now and now we’re hungry for it, we’re making an attempt to be hooked on profitable,” Thompson-Robinson mentioned at apply this week. “So I feel that is the place we’re going proper now. We all know what it takes.”

What it has taken, a minimum of within the case of the dual-threat quarterback who ignited the Rose Bowl with 368 whole yards and 4 touchdowns (three within the air, one on the bottom) final Friday, is 5 lengthy years for him and coach Chip Kelly to show continuity right into a energy, particularly with the unit that’s defending him.

“They’ve meshed rather well, there’s numerous continuity there,” Kelly mentioned of the offensive line, which added switch Raiqwon O’Neal from Rutgers within the offseason. “All people performed for us final yr aside from Raiqwon, and also you’re plugging in a child who had 30 begins within the Huge Ten so his transition has been actually pure.”

The addition of transfers like large receiver Jake Bobo from Duke (363 receiving yards and three touchdowns thus far) have helped elevate UCLA on either side of the ball, however the course of that Kelly and DTR have been going by since they each arrived in Westwood 5 years in the past is lastly beginning to pay true dividends.

“You possibly can see him getting higher and higher. He is enjoying his finest soccer proper now from my vantage level,” Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham mentioned of DTR on Monday. “Chip [Kelly] has performed an incredible job of growing him and, not that he wasn’t actually good earlier than, however he is actually taken his recreation to a different degree. He appears to be very poised, makes performs, takes care of the ball, and he is a twin menace, which is the most important subject for us.”

This week, the Bruins and DTR will not be sneaking up on anyone, together with the Utes, who current their hardest matchup but. And now that UCLA has a rating subsequent to its identify, Kelly, for his half, has been eager on not permitting the staff to take that as an ethical victory.

“You do not get a trophy, you aren’t getting one thing handed to you, you gotta return to work,” Kelly mentioned. “We all know we beat Washington final week due to our preparation throughout the week. We all know if we’ll beat Utah, it will be due to our preparation throughout the week. Issues do not simply occur to you; hope is not a technique.” — Paolo Uggetti


Texas A&M Aggies at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, CBS)

Imagine it or not, the defining matchup of No. 1 Alabama vs. Texas A&M won’t be the top coaches. Nick Saban and Jimbo Fisher had their disagreement throughout the offseason, however they’ve since walked it again.

Fisher went from calling Saban a “narcissist” in Could to telling reporters Monday that Saban is a “super coach” that “individuals say he is arguably probably the greatest ever or the perfect ever.” Saban, for his half, has repeatedly mentioned he has “no points or issues with Jimbo.”

In order that’s settled, a minimum of publicly, and we are able to transfer on to what is going to truly decide the end result of the sport: the quarterbacks.

Each starters — Alabama’s Bryce Younger and Texas A&M’s Max Johnson — are thought-about day-to-day as they cope with accidents.

Younger, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, sprained the AC joint in his shoulder throughout final Saturday’s win at Arkansas. And whereas there is no expectation the harm could have any long-term affect, there’s some query about how rapidly he’ll get again to 100%.

On Wednesday, Saban alluded to how cautious they’re being, saying, “No determination goes to be made till [Young] decides and we determine from a medical workers standpoint whether or not he can go on the market and functionally do his job.”

The truth that backup Jalen Milroe performed so nicely, throwing for 65 yards and a landing and working for 91 yards and a rating, offers Alabama some respiration room if it needs to be cautious with Younger.

Texas A&M, which fell out of the highest 25 after dropping at Mississippi State, may not be so fortunate, although. If Johnson, who injured his hand, cannot play, the Aggies must flip to both Haynes King or Conner Weigman.

King, who threw a pair of interceptions in opposition to Mississippi State, has been a turnover machine this season. Weigman, alternatively, is a whole unknown. The previous No. 1-ranked pocket passer is simply a freshman and has but to try a move in school. — Alex Scarborough

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