All times Central
For the foreseeable future my Saturdays in the fall are consumed by college football. I often include a second, and sometimes third screen in my day, and this year will be no exception. Be that as it may, I figured a good way to preview the college football weekends would be to go through the day and say what I plan to watch on each screen.
Friday, November 1st
USC at Oregon St. (8 pm/ESPN) – Going into the season this game looked like it was going to be important. Then Oregon St. lost on opening week to Eastern Washington, and USC lost multiple times. Then Oregon St. rattled off a bunch of wins, creeped into the top 25 and then lost to Stanford. Barring one of these teams getting a lot of help, neither is winning the Pac 12, but it’s still two top 40 programs and the only game on.
Saturday, November 2nd
Ohio St. at Purdue (11 am/BTN) – As the season wears on and more and more teams fall out of the conference/national championship race, the games get thinner and thinner. Ohio St. is the only top 5 team playing in the morning. Purdue is probably the worst team in the Big Ten. This one won’t be close.
Mississippi St. at South Carolina (11:21 am/ESPN3) – When Dan Mullen got the Mississippi St. job a few years ago he was one of the hottest names out there. MSU was going to be a quick stop before he got a truly elite job. Now MSU is 4–3, 1–2 in the SEC and about to start a stretch of three games that includes this one, Texas A&M and Alabama. If MSU is 1–5 at the SEC at that point, Mullen may get the heave hoe.
Illinois at Penn St. (11 am/ESPN) – For all the people that hate themselves. This one will be ugly.
Michigan at Michigan St. (2:30 pm/ABC) – Things really don’t get a whole lot better in the afternoon. Before you scoff, realize that this is just one of three games on Saturday featuring two top 25 teams. The winner controls their own destiny in the Big Ten Legends division, and Michigan St. pretty much locks up a trip to Indianapolis if they win. Michigan needs this game badly to put themselves back on the road for redemption.
Georgia vs Florida (2:30 pm/CBS) – Raise your hand if you thought both of these teams would be unranked for this one. Georgia has lost two in a row, and even as injuries have ravaged them the Mark Richt Hot Seat Watch is likely underway. Florida has lost two straight but because they play in the Alabama-less SEC East, they still have a shot at making the SEC championship.
Clemson at Virginia (2:30 pm/ESPN) – As Georgia continues to lose, that opening weekend victory by Clemson doesn’t look as good. But their only loss was to a Florida St. team that looks downright ridiculous. The problem for Clemson is that they share a division with FSU, so getting to the ACC championship is unlikely. But if they run the table, which would include beating South Carolina on the road the last day of the season, they could grab an at-large bid.
Miami at Florida St. (7 pm/ABC) – Easily the game of the day, but Vegas doesn’t think it’s as close as those rankings would have you believe. Florida St. is favored by 22 (!!!!). To put that into perspective, Ohio St. is favored by 31.5 over Purdue and Texas is favored at home by 27.5 against Kanas, whose only two wins are South Dakota and Louisiana Tech. I mentioned in preview podcast that the last four Heisman winners were all guys who came out of nowhere to win it. Jameis Winston looks like that guy this year.
Oklahoma St. at Texas Tech (7 pm/Fox) – Pretty much the second game by default. Texas Tech couldn’t beat Oklahoma lat week, and an earlier loss for OK St. has left both of these teams trailing Baylor and Texas in the Big 12 race. The loser is essentially eliminated from the Big 12 conversation, and that is a much bigger blow to Oklahoma St. who was a preseason top 20 team.
Nevada at Fresno St. (9:30 pm/ESPNU) – Stay up late to watch David Carr’s brother Derek lead the undefeated Bulldogs against a bad Nevada team. Fresno St. is the last hope of the AQ schools to truly bust the BCS. And it seems unlikely, but they are a fun team to watch.
Did I miss any games you will be watching?