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.
Thursday, October 3rd
UCLA at Utah (9:00 pm/Fox Sports 1) – UCLA is undefeated and on the brink of the top 10. As discussed regularly on this space, Thursday night road games are never gimmes. Both teams are coming off bye weeks which should give the edge to the better team, UCLA in this case. Could be a nice shootout to kick off the weekend though.
Friday, October 4th
Nevada at San Diego St. (8 pm/ESPN) – Not the best WAC match-up for a Friday night, but good enough to have on if you are bored.
Saturday, Ocotber 5th
Maryland at Florida St. (11 am/ESPN) – Seems unlikely anyone outside of the state of Maryland would have bet both of thees teams would be ranked and undefeated for this game. Jameis Winston is trying to stay relevant in the Heisman race, and Maryland is looking for a season-changing upset. Florida St. has lost games they should have won in recent years and Maryland is coming off a bye week. FSU also has Clemson next (after a bye week). On the surface, this looks like a classic “look ahead” trap game.
Illinois at Nebraska (11 am/ESPNU) – Regional bias gets this one on the second screen. Both of these teams have been surprises early. Nebraska went from “serious Big Ten contender” to “their coach might get fired” really fast. Illinois has already equaled their win total from a year ago after some thought Tim Beckman was on the hot seat. Nathan Scheelhaase is having a breakout year, and flying under the radar. Another big game from him and people will take notice. If Illinois pulls off the upset, people have to take them seriously. If Nebraska loses, the “Fire Pelini” chatter will get really loud.
Air Force at Navy (10:30 am/CBS) – With all the nonsense going on this week this game might not even happen, but if it does, it’s all the more reason to watch. Add to it, that these are two of the few schools left who run pure option football, and it’s so fun to watch.
Georgia at Tennessee (2:30 pm/CBS) – Georgia survived their brutal early season run (Clemson, South Carolina, LSU) and emerged 4–1 and #6 in the country. They now must survive Tennessee, Missouri and Vanderbilt before their bye week and showdown with Florida. They can’t get caught in a “letdown” trap game against a Tennessee team whose best win is Western Kentucky.
Clemson at Syracuse (2:30 pm/ABC or ESPN2) – Everyone is waiting for Clemson to lose a game they shouldn’t, and this week and next week look like good possilbilites. This week they are playing a 2–2 Syracuse team, whose best win is against Tulane. Clemson has Boston College at home next week before the big showdown with Florida St., so losing one of these two games would be typical Clemson.
Georgia Tech at Miami (FL) (2:30 pm/ESPNU) – My house will probably have the Michigan/Minnesota game one of the screens, but this i slikely going to be a better game. Before Georgia Tech lost to Virginia Tech last week it looked like one of the games of the week. Miami has to keep winning against these middle tier ACC schools if they want to to keep people talking about them.
Ohio St. vs Northwestern (7 pm/ABC) – GameDay hadn’t been to Evanston since 1995, and Norhtwestern hasn’t beaten Ohio St. since 2004 (losing 5 times since then). This is a major gutcheck for the Wildcats as they try to make a name for themselves this season. Braxton Miller looked solid in his return last week, and Ohio St. looks, by far, like the best team in the Big Ten. Night road games are tough. Of course, I saw Northwestern lose a night game at home to Duke in 2007.
Washington at Stanford (9:30 pm/ESPN) – Second screen billing only because it starts late. It is probably the game of the day. Washington is quietly 4–0 and about to embark on a three game run (against Stanford, Oregon and Arizona St) that if they emerge from 7–0 could possibly leave them in the top 2 or 3 in the country. Stanford is a great, well-coached team, and more importantly, the home team. This should be a great game.
Arizona St. at Notre Dame (6:30 pm/NBC) – The third game is strictly a matter of preference. There are a lot of ranked teams playing, but no obvious choices. This game is a chance for a one-loss ASU team to add a big road win their resume. Meanwhile Notre Dame is trying deperately not to fall to 3–3.
Did I miss any games you will be watching?