Your college football viewing guide for October 6th:
Wisconsin at Illinois: Your college football weekend will kick off bright and early at 11:00 AM with the Badgers heading to Champagne. In case you haven't noticed, the great recruiting has been paying off for Ron Zook in 2007, and he now has his Illini at 4-1 after a big win over Penn State. Wisconsin is a top five team, but they have been squeaking by all year and most don't believe that they are that good. Case in point... the Illini are a 2.5 point favorite in this one. This could really be a game that not only dethrones another top team, but also a game that puts Ron Zook and Illinois back on the map. Tune to ESPN after immediately after Gameday goes off the air for this one.
Miami at North Carolina: The Hurricanes will be headed North to take on the man who put them back on the map, Butch Davis, at 11:30 on ESPN2. No word on whether or not the Hurricane faithful are as hateful to the man that put them back on the map as are the LSU faithful to the man that put them back on the map, but moving on... Things aren't going well for Davis and his Tar Heels, to put it mildly. They are currently 1-4, losing four straight, and haven't beaten a Division 1-A team all year long. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes are surprisingly good at 4-1, and look to further move on towards a potential appearance in the ACC Championship Game.
Vanderbilt at Auburn: The Commodores go down to the Plains at 11:30 on Lincoln Financial Sports. The Commodores are a surprising 3-1, and if they want to become bowl-eligible a win here might be just what it takes to push them over the top. Auburn continues to be hampered by injuries, as star defensive end Quentin Groves will miss a few weeks with three dislocated toes, and Tristan Davis is likely out for the majority of the year after breaking his foot. Linebacker Merrill Johnson may or may not play, as well. On the good side for Auburn, Brad Lester will return from academic suspension, but apparently he is not going to start. And oh yeah, Auburn will be wearing throwback uniforms to commemorate their 1957 national championship team.
UAB at Mississippi State: It's homecoming in Starkville, and the Bulldogs look to move to 4-2. Don't be surprised if this is one is closer than you think, though. UAB isn't exactly terrible, though they aren't much better, and it looks like MSU is going to be totally SOL on the QB front now that Josh Riddell is out for the year with a torn ACL that was suffered last week against South Carolina. Michael Henig will return this week, but will only play in emergency situations, so that's good news for Dawg fans.
Houston at Alabama: It's homecoming for the Tide, as well, and Houston could very well spoil that. It seems unlikely that Bobby Greenwood will play, and Brandon Deaderick will take his place at defensive end. Tide wide receiver D.J. Hall is now only three receptions away from breaking the all-time record at Alabama. Marlon Davis missed a couple of days of practice due to a death in the family, and while Saban has a very strict "no practice, no play" policy, he'll likely make an exception here. The Tide will look to avoid a three game losing streak and get ready to head to Oxford to take on Ole Miss next week.
Oklahoma at Texas: Ah, the Red River Shootout, and suddenly a game that doesn't seem anywhere near as importance as it did a week ago thanks to Kansas State and Colorado. Colt McCoy suffered a concussion last week, but he will play this week, though that's a touchy subject. Nevertheless, the Sooners are expected to roll, as they are an eleven point favorite over the 'Horns. Tune into ABC at 2:30 for this one.
Georgia at Tennessee: Now this is the one that gets interesting for the SEC lovers, and it kicks off at 2:30 on CBS. A loss here by either team almost certainly eliminates them from contention in the SEC East, and a win is a must for both teams. For Georgia, Kregg Lumpkin is going to return this week, but we don't know in what capacity. The Dawgs will likely also be looking to attack the young and inexperienced Tennessee secondary, as even Jonathon Hefney, who was expected to be all-world this year, has stunk it up. Oddly enough, though, somehow the Vols are favored in this game. A loss here for Fulmer, though, might spell the end for him. That will put him at 3-3 with games against Alabama, MSU, South Carolina, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Vandy remaining. With that, I don't think he can do enough to return for another year. This is, in that sense, one of the biggest games the Fat One's career.
Virginia Tech at Clemson: Virginia Tech has looked like crap, and Clemson hasn't looked much better. Which team out-sucks the other? Tune into ESPN at 5:00 to find out.
Chattanooga at Arkansas: The Hogs look to move about .500 again and get tuned up for the incoming Auburn Tigers next week. Darren McFadden just might run for 80 million yards in this one. It's possible.
Florida at LSU: The Gators head down to the Bayou to take on LSU at 7:00 on CBS. LSU has a few key injuries: Early Doucet will not play, and Will Arnold will also not play. Matt Flynn will continue to be hobbled to a degree by his high ankle sprain, and you'll continue to see the two quarterback system. The Gators have some good news on the injury front, with Andre Caldwell returning to the offense. On the downside, cornerback Markihie Anderson -- out since the Tennessee game -- will likely not play. Earlier in the week, Florida safety Tony Joiner was arrested, but now the felony charge has been dropped (victim didn't want to press charges) and he is going to travel to Baton Rouge and is likely to play. Injuries and arrests aside, after squeaking by Ole Miss and losing to Auburn in the Swamp, LSU is deservedly a fairly large favorite over the Gators. At the moment, LSU is eight point favorites, and that has held steady all week.
Ohio State at Purdue: The surprising Buckeyes hit the road this week to take on Purdue in a game that could separate themselves as the clear and definite favorite to win the Big Ten. This, too, could be an opportunity for Joe Tiller to put his program on the national stage, but I'm not so sure it can happen. Purdue won last week at home over Notre Dame, but almost choked it away late against arguably the worst team in the country. We'll see at 7:00 on ABC. Oh, and apparently the Buckeyes are still stunned at that ass-whooping that Florida laid on them nine months ago.
Cincinnati at Rutgers: The Bearcats have been surprisingly good this year, and this game will establish the de facto number two team in the conference behind South Florida. Apparently Rutgers' fans think that Ray Rice should get the ball more. That said, don't expect to see much of this with LSU v. Florida going on.
Notre Dame at UCLA: Can the worst year in the history of Notre Dame football get even worse? We'll see when the Irish travels to LA to take on the Bruins. Don't be shocked if you see an upset here, though, this is the same Bruin team that lost to Utah 44-6, and they do have Bob Connelly on the staff. Personally, my money is on 0-6 for the Irish. It's just getting fun at this point.
Nebraska at Missouri: In a game that will play a major role in deciding the Big 12 North, the Cornhuskers head on the road to take on Missouri at 8:15 on ESPN. The Tigers are trying to prove that they can break the chains of mediocrity, and Chase Daniel is trying to overcome a meltdown in this game a year ago. And oh yeah, Gary Pinkel has a 1-15 record against ranked teams at Missouri, can you say question marks? Making the match-up even more interesting, Nebraska star tailback Maurice Purify is questionable after his girlfriend died in a car accident in Los Angeles. It looks like he'll play, but who knows how that can affect a player psychologically? Either way, once LSU v. Florida is either over or long-since decided, whichever comes first, feel free to switch it over to ESPN to fill your midnight football craving.