Penn State running back, #26
Coming off a bye week, Barkley and the Nittany Lions jump right back into the action against No. 19 Michigan. They begin a slew of ranked matchups, including games against No. 6 Ohio State and No. 18 Michigan State.
As long as the Nittany Lions can control the football, expect Barkley to have a big day — the junior back averages almost eight yards per carry on first down, and keeping the ball moving will open up the field for Penn State. The only thing that stands between Barkley and another breakout game is the Wolverine run defense, which allows only 85 yards per game on the ground.
With ESPN’s College GameDay rolling into Happy Valley, the atmosphere will be palpable, and the eyes of the nation will be on Barkley and the No. 2 Nittany Lions.
Stanford running back, #20
A 150-yard game for a running back may be one for the ages, but for Bryce Love, it’s just another day in the office. A 147-yard performance against Oregon helped the No. 22 Cardinal cruise to a 49-7 victory last weekend.
The junior back extended his streak of games with 100 yards or more to nine and leads the Pac-12 in rushing yards, yards per game and touchdowns. Love now also has a run of 50-plus yards in every game this season, helping set the Cardinal up with good field position on a consistent basis.
The Cardinal will play at Oregon State this weekend in what looks to be a favorable matchup for Stanford.
Oklahoma quarterback, #6
Mayfield and the Sooners bounced back in a big way this weekend, as the redshirt senior took care of business in his last Red River Rivalry game with a 29-24,
come-from-behind win over Texas.
While Mayfield did not impress with the box score numbers this weekend, his leadership down the stretch spoke volumes to his importance to the team. The Sooners didn’t crumble after blowing a 20-point lead, and Mayfield was right there to guide them back.
The revitalized No. 9 Sooners will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on a slumping Kansas State team. While the Sooners open as two-touchdown favorites, nothing can be guaranteed against a Wildcat team known for playing spoiler.
Oklahoma State quarterback, #2
Rudolph continued the Cowboys’ aerial attack this season, throwing for 459 yards and three touchdowns in a 59-16 romp of winless Baylor. Rudolph’s passing effort Saturday contributed to a school-record 747 yards of total offense.
After a crushing loss to TCU earlier in the season, the senior quarterback seems to have righted the ship. Expect Rudolph to continue his pace, especially with his partner in crime senior wide receiver James Washington, who ranks second in the country in receiving yards.
The No. 10 Cowboys will travel down I-35 this Saturday to take on Texas. With Oklahoma State opening up as 7-point favorites, expect a close game between the two sides in what could turn out to be a game of chess between Rudolph and a strong Longhorn defense.