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A week after facing mentor Nick Saban, new Florida coach Will Muschamp brings the Gators to Death Valley in what could be a make-or-break moment for both teams. Or, Les Miles will have navigated early tests with Oregon, Mississippi State and West Virginia and have a top-five team to go with his grass-chomping glory.

Oct. 15:Michigan at Michigan State

It’s not a weekend of great games, so a contest of substantial local intrigue is worth checking out. The Wolverines need a win to avoid matching their longest skid ever against the Spartans (four). Meanwhile, Michigan State will be in the midst of a brutal schedule stretch and could be in search of a life preserver for its season.

Oct. 22: Oklahoma State at Missouri

The Cowboys and the Tigers belong somewhere on the schedule, thus the presence of a de facto Big 12 title eliminator. Both teams will have made difficult road trips by this point (Oklahoma State to Texas A&M and Texas, Missouri to Oklahoma) and possess superb offenses. Defensive purists can take a pass if they choose.

Oct. 29: Wisconsin at Ohio State

It’s back to Big Ten country for what could amount to a Leaders Division title game. Even though the Buckeyes might have a few losses, they’ll be as dangerous as at any point in the season. Ohio State will have its four suspended (and tattooed) players back and an extra week to prepare for the only team that beat it a year ago.

Nov. 5: Texas A&M at Oklahoma

The Aggies seem to be a trendy top-10 pick, but they’ll be fairly tested at this stage. It will only be their second venture outside of Texas (after a trek to Iowa State), and it sets up as their most difficult game. But beware a rout: Oklahoma has won five of the teams’ past six meetings in Norman by at least three touchdowns.

Nov. 12: Texas Christian

at Boise State

The one-year overlap between the Horned Frogs and Broncos in the Mountain West sets up this showdown on the blue turf of Boise. If the Broncos make it out of Atlanta with a defeat of Georgia in the opening week, they should be unbeaten and looking to crash the BCS - and maybe make a push for a spot in the top two.

Nov. 17: North Carolina at Virginia Tech

A visit to Blacksburg is best done on a Thursday night, and this could wind up being the Hokies’ Coastal Division clincher. First-year starting quarterback Logan Thomas should be settled in nicely by then for Virginia Tech, which has a chance to be perfect through 10 games as it prepares to face the Tar Heels’ talented defense.

Nov. 19: Southern California at Oregon

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