The past three weekends of Southeastern Conference football have provided intrigue, but on a very limited basis.
This Saturday should be different, as most SEC teams have matchups of notable interest, even beyond the Notre Dame-Georgia and Tennessee-Florida pairings.
When No. 8 Auburn faces No. 17 Texas A&M in College Station, it will be more than an early survival to keep pace with No. 2 Alabama and No. 4 LSU in another loaded SEC West. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was Auburn's offensive coordinator when Patrick Nix was the Tigers' quarterback during the 1993 to '95 seasons, but now he'll be trying to stop Nix's son, Bo, a freshman who has been far from perfect statistically but has his team perfect through three games.
"Bo is an excellent player who won state championships," Fisher said Wednesday. "He can run. He can throw. He's the son of a coach and the grandson of a coach, so he's been around all the intangibles that you have to have and that other people don't always get exposure to.
"He's going to be an outstanding player before he leaves Auburn and one of the best players in the country. He's got great bloodlines, that's for sure."
Ole Miss 20, California 17
Arkansas 35, San Jose State 28
Utah 24, Southern California 23
Wisconsin 31, Michigan 24
Syracuse 42, Western Michigan 19
Wake Forest 38, Elon 15
Ohio State 56, Miami (Ohio) 6
Central Florida 49, Pittsburgh 21
Florida State 23, Louisville 20
North Carolina 27, Appalachian State 22
Miami 45, Central Michigan 16
Virginia 48, Old Dominion 9
N.C. State 41, Ball State 10
Clemson 52, Charlotte 7
Texas 41, Oklahoma State 32
Oregon 28, Stanford 25
Washington State 34, UCLA 13
While the loser of Auburn-Texas A&M will have a tough time winning the West, the Kentucky-Mississippi State loser will be 2-2 and facing very long odds of getting back to a Sunshine State bowl game. The Wildcats won 10 games last season and still could duplicate that with a loss in Starkville, given that No. 3 Georgia is the only ranked team left on their schedule.
Mississippi State, upset by visiting Kansas State last Saturday, has four ranked teams remaining.
The South Carolina-Missouri game is not only the battle of Columbia campuses but pits Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp against the familiar face of Kelly Bryant. A former Clemson quarterback, Bryant guided the Atlantic Coast Conference's Tigers to a 34-10 win over Muschamp's Gamecocks in 2017.
"I think he's throwing the deep ball better, and he's extremely accurate," Muschamp said. "Overall, he's completing close to 70% of his passes, which is outstanding, but he has been very accurate down the field."
The Alabama-Southern Miss and LSU-Vanderbilt games should get out of hand, but don't sleep on No. 23 California at Ole Miss. The Rebels lost to the Bears two years ago in Berkeley in a game that kicked off at 7:30 p.m. local time, which translated to 9:30 for Ole Miss.
This week in Oxford, the favor will be returned with an 11 a.m. Central kick, which is normally 9 for Cal.
"I think these kids are more resilient than we give them credit for," Ole Miss coach Matt Luke said. "They've probably practiced in the morning before. It may play some factor, but once the game kicks off, I don't think anybody will be thinking about what time it is."
Southern Miss at Alabama: The Crimson Tide will collect their 16th consecutive regular-season win by at least three touchdowns. Crimson Tide 48, Golden Eagles 7.
LSU at Vanderbilt: The Tigers not only have scored at least 45 points in each of their first three games for the first time as an SEC member, but they are 21-for-21 in red-zone scoring opportunities with 17 touchdowns. Tigers 45, Commodores 10.
Tennessee at Florida: The Gators already have 29 tackles for loss this season, including 16 sacks. Gators 30, Volunteers 23.
Auburn at Texas A&M: These two coaches will combine to make $14.3 million this year. That's slightly above the median income nationally. Tigers 27, Aggies 24.
James Madison at UTC: The No. 2 Dukes are the highest-rated nonconference foe ever to visit Finley Stadium. Dukes 31, Mocs 19.
Kentucky at Mississippi State: There are some really close series records among the SEC's permanent cross-division matchups, but none more than this one that's knotted at 23-23. Bulldogs 24, Wildcats 20.
South Carolina at Missouri: Barry Odom's Tigers are nearing the middle of a five-game homestand, which is the longest for Mizzou since 1908. Tigers 27, Gamecocks 26.
Notre Dame at Georgia: Jake Fromm has completed 73.4% of his passes in Sanford Stadium games with 30 touchdowns and three interceptions. Bulldogs 34, Fighting Irish 23.
Last week: Winners — 20; injured quarterbacks — 5.
Pasquali is 62-13 overall (82.7%) this season.