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BRING US THE CHAOS! Bye Week viewing guide, schedule, and why-to-watch

Let madness reign!

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Penn State Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

The bye week is sometimes one of the best weeks of the year.

A lot of teams have this 9th week off, including Alabama, but sometimes, as today, the Saturday is an excellent one full of playoff elimination games. Better yet, we have a 0% chance of watching Alabama be defeated today by a once-in-a-lifetime quarterbacking performance, unmotivated left tackles, or elebenty fluke turnovers.

So, let sweet madness reign. Deliver unto us heartbreak. Let there be wailing and gnashing of teeth as those who can reckon see the sundering of their dreams. Bring the votive offerings of surrender cobras. Sup upon than endless chalice of lamentation. Conjure forth #MadOnline.

It’s bye week time!

College Gameday is in Columbus (filed under “no s***”) if that’s your thing. Below is your schedule for today in Eastern time, and here’s what we’re watching and why you should care.

Arkansas at Ole Miss (-3) 12:00 EST

Remember how bad Ole Miss was? They’re favored...without Shea Patterson. If Bret Bielema gives the vaguest of a damned about keeping his job, this is an improbable “upset” Arkansas must have. We’ll see how the Hogs are prepared for a clue as to his future, but it may be too late already.

No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 22 West Virginia (+8) 12:00 EST

Buzz around the Cowboys has faded after they laid an egg in Fort Worth. But, the Pokes can begin to get back in the picture with a road win in the Big 12’s most hostile stadium, against one of its better defenses. The ‘Eers finally picked off a ranked team last week ago, after two narrow brushes on the road. They are a different, more formidable foe at home. Do they eliminate Okie Lite from the playoff picture today?

No. 4 TCU at No. 25 Iowa State (+7) 3:30 EST

The point spread alone is a testament to how far the Cyclone have come under Matt Campbell. There’s no way the 37-year old, second-year head man is not the Coach of the Year at this point in the season. TCU has done its heavy lifting at home. This is the first real road test for the Frogs. Ames is going to be hopping as their ‘Clones try to play way above their heads for a fourth straight week. A loss here, all-but ends the Horned Frogs ‘ chances for the playoffs. Meanwhile, a win adds to TCU’s solid resume.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Georgia (-13.5) vs. Florida (JAX) 3:30

Want to shed that choker label, ‘Dawgs? The best team Athens has seen in five years must get it done today in the WLOCP. UGA has done a great job of playing up in big games this season. Is the possibility there that a loose, nothing-to-lose Gator team can catch a tense, mistake-prone Georgia squad? This is usually one of the worst games of the SEC schedule. I don’t recall the last time these two played a good game against one another. Expect no differently today.

No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State (-7) 3:30 EST

Huge, huge game. Penn State may be able to afford a loss; but Ohio State cannot afford to not win. The Buckeyes, pegged as a preseason contender, have looked far more competent since they’ve simplified things on both sides of the ball. But, they’ve not necessarily played a team with a pulse after getting blasted by Oklahoma. Urban Meyer admitted that revenge is on his team’s mind — now, let’s see if that translates to preparation, adjustment, and execution. He’s one of the best in the business. Prove it.

Houston at No. 17 South Florida (-10.5) 3:45 EST

Houston has one of the AAC’s better defenses. This one could easily go off the rails for the Bulls and stymie the goodwill that Charlie Strong has gained in his South Florida redemption tour. Can Major Applewhite get a signature road win and take some of the blush off the anticipated USF-UCF showdown?

No. 15 NC State at No. 9 Notre Dame (-7) 3:30 EST

NC State has had two weeks to scheme ways to stop the potent Irish running game. Notre Dame has had the deserved national spotlight this week and is coming off a victory over one of its two archrivals. Is this the week, as against Georgia, the Irish passing game lets them down? Like TCU, a ND win adds to its playoff case. For NC State, it’s a chance to enter the conversation in a serious way.

No. 16 Michigan State at Northwestern (+2.5) 3:30 EST

Don’t actually watch this game. It will be terrible. But, not only will the Big 10’s playoff case take a black eye if the Spartans lose this one, but in fact I think it’s more than 50-50 that they do.

Mississippi State at Texas A&M (+2.5) 7:15 EST

Two 5-2 SEC West teams vying to stay relevant as divisional runner-up. A win gets the Bulldogs back on track in the national conscious. For A&M, it is another opportunity to show that the UCLA game was just a fluke. The wildcard will be how often and how well Nick Fitzgerald is called upon to pass. Otherwise, with Aeris Williams, Trayveon Williams, and Keith Ford -- along with two mobile quarterbacks -- this should be a good old-fashioned #RTDB special and a pretty good game.

SOMEONE’S GETTIN’ FIRED: Tennessee at Kentucky: To say that Stoops and Butch are on thin ice is to underrate how perilously rotten the frozen water beneath their feet really is. Kentucky has been putrid, despite its 5-2 record. Tennessee has the record it could have reasonably anticipated, but has played poorly getting there. The loser of this game, a rivalry no less, is gone. If it’s Butch, playing with a freshman QB and without its sole offensive playmaker, he could be fired before he gets back on the bus tonight.

BIG 12 UPSET SPECIAL? Texas Tech travels to No. 10 Oklahoma to face the nation’s worst pass defense. This game should be weird.

BONUS: Pac 12 Upset Specials in the Grand Canyon State: Arizona State can knock off reeling No. 21 USC at home and No. 15 Washington State travels to surprisingly competent 5-2 Arizona, where they can absolutely lose. Losses by both of these squads tonight effectively eliminates the PAC 12 from the playoffs, no matter how well Washington finishes down the stretch. Wins by the favorites here can really help the playoff fortunes for the winner of the Apple Cup.


Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Buffalo at Akron 11:30 AM CBSSN
#5 Wisconsin at Illinois 12:00 PM ESPN
#8 Miami at North Carolina 12:00 PM ESPN2
#11 Oklahoma State at #22 West Virginia 12:00 PM ABC
Rutgers at Michigan 12:00 PM BTN
Arkansas at Ole Miss 12:00 PM SEC Network
Texas at Baylor 12:00 PM ESPNU
Louisville at Wake Forest 12:20 PM ACC Network
Virginia at Pittsburgh 12:30 PM ACC Network
California at Colorado 2:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Florida Intl at Marshall 2:30 PM None
Kansas State at Kansas 3:00 PM FS1
Air Force at Colorado State 3:00 PM CBSSN
San Jose State at BYU 3:00 PM None
#2 Penn State at #6 Ohio State 3:30 PM FOX
#3 Georgia at Florida 3:30 PM CBS
#4 TCU at #25 Iowa State 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2
#14 NC State at #9 Notre Dame 3:30 PM NBC
UCLA at #12 Washington 3:30 PM ABC/ESPN2
#16 Michigan State at Northwestern 3:30 PM ESPN
Georgia Southern at Troy 3:30 PM None
Appalachian State at UMass 3:30 PM NESN/Eleven
Louisiana Tech at Rice 3:30 PM None
Indiana at Maryland 3:30 PM BTN
Houston at #17 South Florida 3:45 PM ESPNU
Vanderbilt at South Carolina 4:00 PM SEC Network
Florida Atlantic at Western Kentucky 4:30 PM Stadium
Austin Peay at #18 UCF 5:00 PM None
Louisiana Monroe at Idaho 5:00 PM None
Utah at Oregon 5:45 PM Pac-12 Networks
Texas State at Coastal Carolina 6:00 PM None
Missouri at Connecticut 6:30 PM CBSSN
Old Dominion at North Texas 6:30 PM None
Minnesota at Iowa 6:30 PM FS1
UAB at Southern Mississippi 7:00 PM None
Mississippi State at Texas A&M 7:15 PM ESPN
Duke at #13 Virginia Tech 7:20 PM ACC Network
New Mexico at Wyoming 7:30 PM ESPNU
Tennessee at Kentucky 7:30 PM SEC Network
Nebraska at Purdue 7:30 PM BTN
Georgia Tech at #7 Clemson 8:00 PM ABC/ESPN2
Texas Tech at #10 Oklahoma 8:00 PM ABC/ESPN2
UT San Antonio at UTEP 8:00 PM KMYS
Arkansas State at New Mexico State 8:00 PM None
#15 Washington State at Arizona 9:30 PM Pac-12
UNLV at Fresno State 10:00 PM AT&T SportsNet None
Boise State at Utah State 10:00 PM CBSSN
#21 USC at Arizona State 10:45 PM ESPN
San Diego State at Hawai'i 11:15 PM ESPN2