Lamar Jackson and No. 3 Louisville go from playing the main event last week to the side stage this week.
The Cardinals head to Marshall after jumping into the national title race by tearing up Florida State at home last week. Louisville certainly isn't the first team to play a huge game and then hit the road to play a lesser opponent, but it is not too often you see a team in a Power Five conference go from hosting GameDay to playing at a Group of Five school a week later.
Jackson and the Cardinals are talented enough to avoid a letdown, but it should be interesting to see how they respond to being the hunted in Huntington, W.Va., where a salty crowd should be revved up for an 8 p.m. kickoff at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. CBS Sports Network is airing the game.
At No. 3, Louisville matches the highest ranking of any team to visit the Thundering Herd. Marshall has just two victories against ranked teams since joining FBS in 1997, the last in 2003 when the Herd beat No. 6 Kansas State. More relevant, Marshall is coming off a 65-38 loss to Akron. So it should be another stat-padding game for Jackson.
No. 13 Florida State faces a similar and likely more challenging road test Saturday. The Seminoles play unbeaten South Florida from the American Athletic Conference in Tampa.
The showcase games Saturday are mostly in the Southeastern Conference, with three matchups of ranked teams, and over in the Big Ten where No. 11 Wisconsin faces No. 8 Michigan State.
THURSDAY NIGHT MADNESS
No. 5 Clemson (minus 91/2) at Georgia Tech
The Tigers have won three of the last five, but the Yellow Jackets have scored at least 24 points in each game and averaged 29 ... CLEMSON 35-24.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
Southern California (plus 3) at No. 24 Utah
USC makes a quarterback change to freshman Sam Darnold. One more loss and the season is in full-blown spiral for the Trojans ... USC 24-20.
SATURDAY MAIN EVENTS
No. 11 Wisconsin (plus 51/2) at No. 8 Michigan State
Badgers are still trying to sort out starting quarterback and have banged up running backs ... MICHIGAN STATE 28-20, BEST BET.
No. 10 Texas A&M (minus 61/2) vs. No. 17 Arkansas at Arlington, Texas
Aggies and Razorbacks have won four straight meetings since joining the SEC, the last two in overtime ... TEXAS A&M 31-27.
No. 12 Georgia (plus 7) at No. 23 Mississippi
The third ranked opponent already for the Rebels, but second straight road game for the Bulldogs ... MISSISSIPPI 30-21
No. 19 Florida (plus 61/2) at No. 14 Tennessee
The Volunteers have lost 11 straight in the rivalry and the Gators' quarterback is hurt. Tennessee has key injuries on defense, but still: If not now when, Vols? ... TENNESSEE 23-14.
No. 3 Louisville (minus 26) at Marshall
Upset alert might be a bit strong here ... LOUISVILLE 48-21.
No. 13 Florida State (minus 6) at South Florida
Big chance for the Bulls to steal some national attention away from Houston, the current Group of Five darling ... FLORIDA STATE 28-20.
Penn State (plus 181/2) at No. 4 Michigan
Injuries at linebacker make an already suspect Nittany Lions defense even more vulnerable ... MICHIGAN 40-24.
No. 7 Stanford (minus 3) at UCLA
The Cardinal have won eight straight against the Bruins, routinely pummeling UCLA. Has to end sometime ... UCLA 28-24, UPSET SPECIAL.
No. 9 Washington (off) at Arizona
Quarterback issues for Wildcats ... WASHINGTON 33-21.
Oklahoma State (plus 8) at No. 16 Baylor
Cowboys WR James Washington is averaging 21 yards per catch ... OKLAHOMA STATE 42-38.
No. 18 LSU (minus 3) at Auburn
Auburn facing the possibility of a 1-3 start, with all the games at home. The heat on coach Gus Malzahn would be searing ... LSU 24-18.
No. 20 Nebraska (minus 71/2) at Northwestern
The Wildcats are averaging 4.8 yards per play. No other Big Ten is averaging less than 5.1 ... NEBRASKA 31-17.
BYU (plus 7) vs. West Virginia at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland — (at)joshcopen
The Cougars have struggled to move the ball under new offensive coordinator Ty Detmer ... WEST VIRGINIA 21-16.
Georgia Southern (plus 7) at Western Michigan — (at)ChrisVannini
The Eagles' triple-option ran over the Broncos in a 43-17 victory last season ... WESTERN MICHIGAN 31-21
Colorado (plus 101/2) at Oregon — (at)ScoobySnacks22
Improved Buffaloes could be missing QB Sefo Liufau (ankle); Ducks lost LT Tyrell Crosby (foot) and WR Devon Allen (knee) for the season last week ... OREGON 38-30.
California (plus 4) at Arizona State — (at)brandonharaway
Odds makers have set the over/under on this game at 821/2 points — and 4 hours and 30 minutes ... ARIZONA STATE 45-30.
Duke (plus 201/2) at Notre Dame — (at)bbrownjd
Blue Devils and Fighting Irish have met four times, with Duke winning once in 1961 ... NOTRE DAME 41-17.
Boise State (minus 131/2) at Oregon State — (at)LoqueBSU
The Broncos and Beavers have split six games since 2003 ... BOISE STATE 31-23.
Record: Last week 18-3 straight; 10-10 vs. points.
Season: 42-12; 26-26-1.
Upset specials: 1-2.
Best bets: 0-3.