National championship hopefuls Alabama, Iowa and Nebraska hit the road for 1st time

Road games sort out the contenders from the pretenders.

Several highly ranked teams play away from home Saturday for the first time this season, including No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 Texas, No. 8 Nebraska, No. 9 Iowa and No. 10 Florida.

If last week was about marquee matchups, this week is about upsets — or at least the potential for upsets.

The Tide expects to have Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram back for its trip to Duke. The Blue Devils (1-1) have been competitive under second-year coach David Cutcliffe and quarterback Sean Renfree has thrown for 708 yards in two games this season.

"This is a very dangerous team because of their ability to throw the ball and score points," Tide coach Nick Saban said. "They scored 48 points last week on a team that has been ranked in the top 20 most of the last five years in Wake Forest."

True, but Wallace Wade Stadium is not exactly Cameron Indoor. In fact, it wouldn't be surprising if about a third of the 34,000 or so fans in the sellout crowd are rooting for the Tide. Anything less than a lopsided victory by 'Bama will be a surprise.

For some of those other national championship hopefuls, the road figures to be bumpier this weekend.

Texas visits Texas Tech (2-0) for Tommy Tuberville's first Big 12 game as Red Raiders coach. The last time the Longhorns went to Lubbock they were No. 1 in the nation, but Michael Crabtree broke their hearts with a last-second touchdown.

Nebraska goes out of conference with its first road game of 2010, traveling to Seattle to face Jake Locker and Washington. The Cornhuskers will counter with redshirt freshman quarterback Taylor Martinez, who has been excellent in his first two games. The Huskies, however, will be much tougher than Western Kentucky and Idaho.

Florida faces rival Tennessee at Neyland Stadium on Saturday. The Gators finally found some offense in the second half of their 38-14 victory against South Florida last week.

Iowa might face the toughest test of all Saturday night in Tucson against No. 24 Arizona. The Hawkeyes beat the Wildcats 27-17 in Iowa City last season in a game that wasn't as close as the score.

The picks:

No. 1 Alabama (minus 24½) at Duke

Coach K has been on a roll lately. Maybe he can come up with something? ... ALABAMA 41-14.

Ohio (plus 30) at No. 2 Ohio State

Bobcats put a scare in Buckeyes two seasons ago ... OHIO STATE 35-13.

No. 3 Boise State (minus 23) at Wyoming

Broncos need blowouts ... BOISE STATE 45-20.

Baylor (plus 21½) at No. 4 TCU

Horned Frogs QB Andy Dalton's first start was victory against Baylor in '07 ... TCU 33-21.

Portland State (no line) at No. 5 Oregon

At least Vikings don't have far to travel ... OREGON 55-3.

No. 6 Texas (minus 3) at Texas Tech

Red Raiders QB Taylor Potts tests Longhorns' stellar secondary ... TEXAS TECH 28-21.

Air Force (plus 17) at No. 7 Oklahoma

Can triple-option keep Air Force it? ... OKLAHOMA 45-17.

No. 8 Nebraska (minus 3) at Washington

Chance for Jake Locker to jump-start that Heisman campaign ... NEBRASKA 27-17.

No. 9 Iowa (minus 1½) at No. 24 Arizona

First big test for Wildcats' retooled defense ... ARIZONA 23-17.

No. 10 Florida (minus 14) at Tennessee

Gators starting to get it together ... FLORIDA 31-14.

Arizona State (plus 14) at No. 11 Wisconsin

Badgers can't afford to be sloppy against good Sun Devils D ... WISCONSIN 24-7.

No. 12 Arkansas (plus 2½) at Georgia

A second straight SEC loss would make life difficult for Mark Richt ... GEORGIA 31-24.

Furman (no line) at No. 13 South Carolina

Gamecocks tune up for road trip to Auburn ... SOUTH CAROLINA 38-10.

No. 14 Utah (minus 22½) at New Mexico

Lobos have been outscored 124-17 in two games ... UTAH 45-21.

Mississippi State (plus 8) at No. 15 LSU

Bulldogs' schedule is brutal, but they're bound to pull at least one upset ... LSU 24-17.

Clemson (plus 7) at No. 16 Auburn

Two Tigers have played 46 times, but not in regular season since '71 ... AUBURN 31-21.

No. 18 Southern California (minus 12½) at Minnesota

Gophers haven't beaten a ranked team since 2005 ... USC 24-14.

Wake Forest (plus 17) at No. 19 Stanford

Think Andrew Luck had fun watching Duke carve up Wake's D last week? ... STANFORD 41-21.

Massachusetts (no line) at No. 20 Michigan

Denard Robinson gets a week to rest ... MICHIGAN 38-10.

Maryland (plus 10) at No. 21 West Virginia

Mountaineers have won four straight against Terps ... WEST VIRGINIA 28-14.

Kent State (plus 21) at No. 22 Penn State

Nittany Lions gets back to business of developing QB Rob Bolden ... PENN STATE 35-10.

No. 23 Houston (minus 3) at UCLA

Cougars QB Case Keenum could be game-time decision ... UCLA 35-28.

Louisville (plus 19½) at No. 25 Oregon State

Beavers are 9-6 against current Big East schools ... OREGON STATE 42-17.

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Last week: 12-4 (straight); 9-10 (points)

Season: 33-5 (straight); 18-15-1 (vs. points).