This weekend's slate of collegiate gridiron action features some intriguing matchups for ranked teams.
Most ranked teams are wrapping up their final tune-up game before jumping headfirst into a conference schedule, but a select few in the Top 25 are facing tough games this weekend before the rest.
Notre Dame is an interesting team to watch in a matchup with Michigan State that is anything but a given. The highest ranked team in serious action is No. 5 Stanford Cardinal who welcomes No. 23 Arizona State to town this weekend.
Below is a full prediction for each ranked game with three highlight matchups. Enjoy.
|9/21||7 p.m.||Colorado State||No. 1 Alabama||Alabama|
|9/21||noon||Florida A&M||No. 4 Ohio State||Ohio State|
|9/21||7 p.m.||No. 23 Arizona State||No. 5 Stanford||Stanford|
|9/21||7:45 p.m.||Auburn||No. 6 LSU||LSU|
|9/21||noon||Florida International||No. 7 Louisville||Louisville|
|9/21||6 p.m.||Bethune-Cookman||No. 8 Florida State||Florida State|
|9/21||12:21 p.m.||North Texas||No. 9 Georgia||Georgia|
|9/21||7 p.m.||SMU||No. 10 Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|9/21||10:30 p.m.||New Mexico State||No. 13 UCLA||UCLA|
|9/21||8 p.m.||No. 15 Michigan||Connecticut||Michigan|
|9/21||7 p.m.||Savannah State||No. 16 Miami (FL)||Miami (FL)|
|9/21||3 p.m.||Idaho State||No. 17 Washington||Washington|
|9/21||3:30 p.m.||Maine||No. 18 Northwestern||Northwestern|
|9/21||3:30 p.m.||Tennessee||No. 19 Florida||Florida|
|9/21||4 p.m.||Louisiana-Monroe||No. 20 Baylor||Baylor|
|9/21||3:30 p.m.||Michigan State||No. 22 Notre Dame||Notre Dame|
|9/21||3:30 p.m.||Purdue||No. 24 Wisconsin||Wisconsin|
|9/21||7 p.m.||Texas State||No. 25 Texas Tech||Texas Tech|
Chris Roling's predictions
No. 24 Wisconsin Slips By Purdue
The Badgers find themselves in a bit of a tailspin after a wild ending against Arizona State that cost the team its perfect record.
Which team wins?
Blemish on the record or not, Wisconsin still boasts one of the nation's top rushing attacks thanks to the three-headed monster of Melvin Gordon (477 yards and four scores), James White (297 yards and two scores) and freshman Corey Clement (297 yards and two scores).
Keep in mind those statistics are only from three games. Purdue is in a state of transition with new head coach Darrell Hazell and has begun the season with a 1-2 record. The Boilermakers struggle to run the football with the No. 113 ranked attack and it will cost them the game against Wisconsin as the Badgers will control the pace of the game with ease.
Prediction: Badgers 45, Boilermakers 28
No. 22 Notre Dame Outlasts Against Michigan State
Notre Dame is struggling to find itself on defense.
Which team wins?
The Fighting Irish rolled over Temple in Week 1 before giving up 41 points to Michigan in a loss—the most in a regular season game since 2009. Last week the aforementioned Purdue kept things close before Notre Dame pulled away for a 31-24 win.
Now Notre Dame has a matchup against a Michigan State offense that rushes for 210 yards per game. The Spartans are undefeated after a 55-17 waxing of Youngstown State behind the arm of Connor Cook's 202 yards and four scores.
Last year Notre Dame had little issue with the Spartans rushing attack, holding Michigan State to just 50 yards. A big part of that effort was courtesy of star linebacker Manti Te'o, who now resides in the NFL with San Diego.
Notre Dame will pull out a win as the more talented team, but don't expect a 17-point victory like last year.
Prediction: Fighting Irish 32, Spartans 27
No. 5 Stanford Crushes No. 23 Arizona State
Not only is this the best game of the week, it's the only matchup between two ranked teams and is the Pac-12 opener for both squads.
Which team wins?
Arizona State is a team riding high after a shocking upset over Wisconsin last week, but it needs a near-perfect effort to upset the Cardinal.
Stanford is riding high as a title contender after wins over San Jose State and Army. The defense encounters one of its toughest tests of the season with an Arizona State offense that ranks in the top 10 in passing yards with 358.5 per game.
The Cardinal only surrenders 16.5 points per game and has won eight of nine at home against ranked opponents. Arizona State struggled and needed help to get past Wisconsin, but the well runs dry here. Stanford is too talented and has a major advantage at home.
Prediction: Cardinal 45, Sun Devils 35
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling