Published: Sep 12, 2012 7:15 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 13, 2012 6:34 AM EDT

The Southeastern Conference's first huge game of the season was spoiled by Louisiana-Monroe.

Instead of a top-10 matchup in Fayetteville, Ark., on Saturday, No. 1 Alabama comes to town to face an unranked Arkansas team that's still shaking off a monster upset and unsure whether star quarterback Tyler Wilson can play.

Wilson sustained a head injury in the 34-31 loss to the Warhawks, a setback that has Razorbacks fans wondering if their team's once-promising season is already shot.

If Wilson can play - coach John L. Smith said Wednesday he was more optimistic than the day before, but "I'm keeping fingers crossed as well" - it should give the Razorbacks at least a puncher's chance against the Tide.

If not? Brandon Mitchell could move back to quarterback after switching to receiver this season - to face Alabama. Not ideal.

Arkansas lost 38-14 at Alabama last season with Wilson. Home-field advantage might not be enough to compensate.

No. 2 Southern California also faces a potentially tough road test at No. 21 Stanford. The Cardinal have won three straight against the Trojans, remarkable considering the relatively one-sided history of the rivalry.

USC leads the series 59-28-3 and Stanford has never won more than three straight.

The last two meetings have produced wild games. Andrew Luck and the Cardinal beat Matt Barkley and USC 37-35 in 2010 and 56-48 in triple overtime last year.

Barkley is 0-3 as a starter against Stanford.

"It's just another game," Barkley told the Press-Telegram of Long Beach (Calif.) earlier this week. "It's the next game. It's Week 3. We're going up north for an away game. Nothing special about it."

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SATURDAY

No. 1 Alabama (minus 20) at Arkansas

Lose to ULM, then beat 'Bama? Doesn't sound possible ... ALABAMA 34-21.

No. 2 Southern California (minus 8) at No. 21 Stanford

Stanford's out of Luck ... USC 35-20.

Idaho (plus 42½) at No. 3 LSU

Do tigers eat potatoes? ... LSU 55-7.

Tennessee Tech (no line) at No. 4 Oregon

When does Oregon start playing real games? ... OREGON 62-14.

Wake Forest (plus 27½) at No. 5 Florida State

Demon Deacons have won four of last six meetings ... FLORIDA STATE 28-10.

Florida Atlantic (plus 43) at No. 7 Georgia

Jarvis Jones for Heisman? Bulldogs' LB is scary good ... GEORGIA 52-7.

UAB (plus 33½) at No. 8 South Carolina

No need for Gamecocks QB Connor Shaw to rush back ... S. CAROLINA 45-10.

No. 9 West Virginia (no line) vs. James Madison at Landover, Md.

Mountaineers shooting for 60 again ... WEST VIRGINIA 62-17.

No. 22 Notre Dame (plus 5) at No. 10 Michigan State

Irish and Spartans could see less of each other when ND goes to ACC ... MICHIGAN STATE 24-17.

Furman (no line) at No. 11 Clemson

Sammy Watkins returns for Clemson, tunes up for Seminoles ... CLEMSON 46-14.

California (plus 17) at No. 12 Ohio State

First meeting since 1972; Buckeyes are 5-1 against Bears ... OHIO STATE 28-17.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (minus 10½) at Pittsburgh

Panthers trying to avoid first 0-3 start since 2005 ... VIRGINIA TECH 28-14.

BEST BET

No. 14 Texas (minus 10½) at Mississippi

Should be best party in the Grove in a few years ... TEXAS 31-13.

North Texas (plus 28½) at No. 15 Kansas State

Rugged Wildcats QB Collin Klein is Tebow-lite ... KANSAS STATE 47-14.

No. 16 TCU (minus 21) at Kansas

First Big 12 game for Horned Frogs ... TCU 48-24.

Massachusetts (plus 46) at No. 17 Michigan

UMass has been outscored 82-6 by UConn and Indiana ... MICHIGAN 55-7.

No. 18 Florida (plus 3) at No. 23 Tennessee

Gators have won seven straight in once-great rivalry ... TENNESSEE 28-23.

UPSET SPECIAL

North Carolina (plus 3½) at No. 19 Louisville

Tar Heels hope to have RB Giovani Bernard back from injury ... NORTH CAROLINA 28-24.

Houston (plus 17) at No. 22 UCLA

Cougars have allowed 86 points in two games ... UCLA 56-35.

South Carolina State (no line) at No. 24 Arizona

Wildcats get to enjoy at least another week in rankings ... ARIZONA 62-14.

No. 25 BYU (minus 4) at Utah

Holy War has been played every year since 1946 ... BYU 20-17.

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Last week's record: 20-4 (straight); 11-8 (vs. points)

Season record: 41-5 (straight); 20-16 (vs. points)

Best bets: 0-2.

Upset specials: 1-1.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP