Clemson and Iowa face potential turning points less than a month into the season.
The Tigers head to Florida State with a two-game losing streak. Another loss could lead to a long season, while a second straight win over the Seminoles puts them back in the Atlantic Coast Conference title hunt.
The Hawkeyes travel to Michigan having scored only 24 points in their last two games, including a startling 44-7 loss at Arizona State. A third straight win over the Wolverines in the Big Ten opener would ease concerns in Iowa City.
The latest matchup between Clemson coach Tommy Bowden and his father, Bobby, has a familiar feel.
Last year, the Tigers were slumping when Clemson went into Florida State and beat the Seminoles. It was the younger Bowden's first victory in five tries against his dad's team, and Clemson closed the season with three more victories.
Coming off a 27-6 loss to Texas A&M, the Tigers, who began the season ranked 15th, are in need of another turnaround.
''I don't know how this year's team is going to respond yet,'' Tommy Bowden said. ''Last year's team lost some early and bounced back and had success. Right now I think most teams in college football are going to respond that way. Florida State lost their first game and responded well and came back and won.''
Bobby Bowden figures he'll be facing a desperate Clemson squad.
''They got to have this one,'' the elder Bowden said.
The Seminoles rebounded from yet another loss to Miami by easily taking care of UAB last week.
The last time the Hawkeyes visited the Big House, they handed the Wolverines a 34-9 loss -- Michigan's worst home defeat in 35 years.
''We've got two in a row, and I'm sure they'll try to even the score, like Arizona State wanted to do,'' Iowa defensive end Matt Roth said. ''That's the way it works, and we have to be ready for that.''
As for Michigan, the Wolverines followed their loss to Notre Dame by barely getting by San Diego State at home.
No. 4 Miami (minus 29) at Houston
Hurricanes never hesitate to play lesser programs on road ... MIAMI 54-16.
BYU (plus 21 1/2) at No. 21 Boise State
Broncos won 50-12 in Provo last season ... BOISE STATE 50-12.
No. 1 Southern Cal (minus 22) at Stanford
Trojans have allowed two TDs in three games ... USC 42-10.
Rice (plus 32) at No. 5 Texas
Owls have won five straight; they haven't won six in a row since 1953-54 ... TEXAS 58-14.
James Madison (no line) at No. 6 West Virginia
Dukes ranked No. 24 in Division I-AA ... WEST VIRGINIA 47-13.
Clemson (plus 17 1/2) at No. 8 Florida State
Tommy Bowden could be heading back to the hot seat ... FLORIDA STATE 27-14.
The Citadel (no line) at No. 9 Auburn
After LSU and before Tennessee, Tigers get a breather ... AUBURN 44-0.
Louisiana Tech (plus 23 1/2) at No. 11 Tennessee
Tech in middle of stretch that includes Miami, Tennessee, Fresno State and Auburn ... TENNESSEE 40-10.
Syracuse (plus 24 1/2) at No. 12 Virginia
Cavs have outscored opponents 151-38. ... VIRGINIA 47-14.
Mississippi State (plus 29) at No. 13 LSU
Bulldogs lost to I-AA Maine last week. ... LSU 45-10.
Air Force (plus 20 1/2) at No. 14 Utah
Utes QB Alex Smith for Heisman? ... UTAH 36-13.
No. 15 Purdue (minus 20 1/2) at Illinois
First of three straight on road for Boilermakers ... PURDUE 46-20.
Kentucky (plus 19) at No. 16 Florida
Gators get ideal bounce-back opponent ... FLORIDA 39-7.
Iowa (plus 13) at No. 18 Michigan
Michigan has never lost three straight to Iowa ... MICHIGAN 23-16.
Northwestern (plus 15) at No. 19 Minnesota ...
Gophers No. 2 nationally in rushing ... MINNESOTA 40-21.
Penn State (plus 3) at No. 20 Wisconsin
Badgers have won three of four against Nittany Lions ... PENN STATE 18-17.
Oregon State (plus 7) at No. 22 Arizona State
Sun Devils QB Andrew Walter leads nation with 11 TD passes ... ARIZONA STATE 36-31.
No. 23 Maryland (minus 17) at Duke
Unlike hoops, Terrapins dominate ACC rival on football field ... MARYLAND 38-17.
No. 24 Louisville (minus 7) at North Carolina
Tar Heels' D had first INT in a year last week ... LOUISVILLE 45-28.
Last week: 16-2 (straight); 11-6 (vs. points)
Season: 52-8 (straight); 30-25-1 (vs. points)
Peninsula Clarion ©2015. All Rights Reserved.