This is a big prove-it weekend, led by Missouri from the "Show-Me State."
Truth serum injections would probably reveal SEC fans don't want Missouri to win the SEC East because it would undermine some of league's credibility. How could a team that never won the Big 12 win in the SEC in two years?
Missouri hasn't won any league title since sharing part of what was then the Big Eight Conference in 1969.
The Tigers have a recent history of not closing deals. They were ranked No. 1 in 2007 before losing to Oklahoma, and 7-0 in 2010 before losing two straight.
You know the SEC nation is pulling for Mississippi on Saturday because that would clinch the division title for South Carolina. The Gamecocks have completed SEC play at 6-2 and hold the tiebreaker over Missouri thanks to their miraculous double-overtime win at Columbia, Mo.
Missouri has to show it's ready for this: The Tigers have stood up to Georgia, Vanderbilt and Florida and have withstood the loss of quarterback James Franklin, who sustained a shoulder injury Oct. 12. Franklin is expected to play Saturday, and Coach Gary Pinkel has said, "He looks just like he left off."
Mississippi is 7-3 and has won four straight.
Other prove-it story lines:
Voters have been looking for reasons not to vote for the Texas A&M star because he stumbled into the season looking like a spoiled brat with his hand out.
These days, he is not the only Heisman candidate in trouble. Jameis Winston of Florida State would be clearing off a shelf for the trophy had he not been accused of sexual assault.
Manziel has put together another remarkable season and closes with huge road games at Louisiana State and Missouri. The Heisman Trophy no one wanted to hand to him again may have to be handed to him.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was excused from consideration after a loss at Stanford.
•Show us, Ed Orgeron, you deserve to be named USC's permanent coach. Let's see whether you can prevent the hangover we all see coming at crummy Colorado only one week after a dramatic win over Stanford. The weather in Boulder will be bone cold and your Trojans will have every reason to act disinterested the week before UCLA.
More than Stanford, this is the kind of game that shows you have control of hearts and minds.
•Show us, Baylor Bears, you deserve to pass Ohio State in the Bowl Championship Series standings and become next in line if Alabama loses or Florida State implodes. Show us with your first win at Oklahoma State since 1939.
Show us with consecutive Big 12 wins at Stillwater and at Texas Christian, then at home against Texas.
• Show us, Arizona State Sun Devils, that you are the best team in the Pac-12 South by taking down UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Show us you can slow down UCLA freshman two-position star Myles Jack, who was born in Scottsdale and once had Arizona State on his recruiting short list. Show us, Coach Todd Graham, you are in Tempe for the long haul and won't bolt for Texas if Mack Brown gets fired.
• Show us, Idaho Vandals, you can shake off that loss to Old Dominion and cover the 57-point spread at Florida State.
• Show us, Chattanooga Mocs, you are the best paycheck opponent Alabama will play this season. You defeated Georgia State, 42-14, in September, and Alabama defeated Georgia State, 45-3, in early October.
• Show us, 10-1 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (those are roosters), you can give South Carolina an in-state scare at Columbia. South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier says it's a big game that counts just as much on the schedule as Clemson. Give ESPN a reason to lead coverage with a carry-off of your coach, Joe Moglia, a former chief executive of TD Ameritrade who left Wall Street to pursue his coaching dream.