Now that the initial BCS standings have been released, the stakes are as high as they have been all season in college football.
Several showdowns featuring teams in those coveted Top 25 slots are on tap in this week's action, but the threat of an upset elsewhere is perpetually palpable on any given Saturday.
Two of the more surprising undefeated programs of 2013 are 10th-ranked Texas Tech and No. 5 Missouri. The Red Raiders travel to Norman to take on the Oklahoma Sooners, while the Tigers play host to another more established football powerhouse in Steve Spurrier's South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Heisman Trophy front-runner, according to ESPN.com's list, is Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, whose Ducks were bested by Florida State for the No. 2 spot in the BCS, behind only top-ranked Alabama.
Below is a closer look at Mariota and another contender for the sport's most coveted individual award and what they face in Week 9.
Heisman Contenders to Watch
Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The sophomore signal-caller has not slowed down at all this year, but he has to light it up against the Ducks' toughest test yet in the 12th-ranked UCLA Bruins.
If Mariota wants to push the Ducks past the Seminoles and maintain an edge in the Heisman race, he needs a virtuoso performance in this one to keep Oregon undefeated. A close call or any reason for momentum to halt would be detrimental ahead of next week's road trip against another Pac-12 rival in Stanford.
Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
Coming in at No. 2 on ESPN.com's Heisman list is Winston, who is playing beyond his years in his first action under center for Florida State.
Winston dismantled Clemson last week, throwing for 444 yards and three touchdowns in a 51-14 win. The only negative that could come of such an ecstatic victory is a letdown in the subsequent game, which the Seminoles are susceptible to.
Alabama should continue to reign supreme in the BCS' top spot, but Winston and Co. can make a big statement by blowing out North Carolina State at home, fortifying the Seminoles' second-place standing.
Not to mention, another standout game from Winston would make the Heisman race all the more compelling.
Stay tuned throughout the day for updates on the biggest developments in college football, from high-profile games to upsets, with instant analysis included.