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Week 6 afternoon viewing guide, why-to-watch and open thread

Anything has to be better than the morning slate, eh?

LSU v Florida Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

What a stinker of a morning slate, eh? With the exceoption of the OU-ISU game, there’ve not been many surprises in the Top 25. As this goes to press, Iowa State leads 31-24 in Norman early in the 4th quarter. The good news is that the afternoon and evening promise to be better -- or at least more nationally relevant — great games abound from the 2:30 CBS ‘cast all the way through some #PAC12AfterDark

Below is the schedule in Eastern time, and here’s what we’re watching and why we’re watching it:

LSU at No. 22 Florida (-4.5 to -1.5) 3:30 EST

We hit on this Thursday, but there may be no bigger game in the nation than this one. Florida is an unsteady and heavily criticized 3-1 while LSU limps in at 3-2 with a blowout loss to State and inexcusably getting bullied by Troy en route to a home loss. Fortunately for the Tigers, dominating the lines isn’t in the 2017 Gators’ playbook. And Luke Del Rio’s ghastly injury sees the return of ineffectual Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks. For LSU’s part, Derrius Guice is again probably “limited” (i.e., saving it for the combine -- you can thank Leonard Fournette for this precedent.) Talking to ATVS folks close to the LSU program, they’re glad this one is in Gainesville: Baton Rouge is toxic these days. Must-win for both programs.

No. 23 West Virginia at No. 8 TCU (-13.5) 3:30 EST

Not much respect for the ‘Eers from Vegas in this one. These two teams have the Big 12’s best defenses, though Holgo’s West Virginia has a history of underwhelming on the road. The strength for both squads on that side is in the secondary. Whoever can establish a running game probably takes this one. For TCU, a win vaults it further into the playoff discussion in three weeks. For West Virginia, it establishes itself with the Sooners as a team to beat in the Big 12...for this week.

Florida State v Miami Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Minnesota at Purdue (-4) 3:30 EST

Minnesota is 4-1 but coming off a biblical butt-whipping by the Terps. Purdue continues its renaissance under the Brohm clan. This would be a great measuring stick win for the Boilermakers and is likely a must-win for both to 1. make a bowl, and 2. avoid December in Shreveport. #FlavorCountry

No. 13 Miami (PK to -3) at Florida State 3:30 EST

This would be a good week for the Seminoles to start playing football. The running game has disappointed; the secondary sleepwalks; and freshman QB Blackman is too physically limited to move the offense. The Special Teams weren’t just bad on Labor Day against the Tide, they’ve been bad all year. For Miami, this is a chance to get into the Playoff discussion and show how far the ‘Canes have come under their pimp daddy alumnus, Evil Richt. The quarterbacking hasn’t missed a beat either, though you suspect Brad Kaaya would have this offense routinely hitting 45-50 on the scoreboard. This is going to probably be a low-scoring, hard-hitting slog with more penalties than points. Hated rivalries with this much future NFL talent usually are.

Air Force at Navy (-7.5) 3:30

Not the well-publicized enmity of Army-Navy, but Navy-AFA may actually be even more heated on the field than that venerable game. Good to see SB Nation get in on this one. Do you love the option? Of course you do. Winner most likely takes the Commander in Chief Trophy. #GoNavyBeatAirForce

Maryland at Ohio State (-31.5) 4:00 EST

I have no idea why Maryland is an underdog, much less a five-score underdog. The Terps have road wins at Minnesota and Texas...and that’s still more than Ohio State’s resume. Two things are going to happen: Either the Buckeyes get it together and romp, or the Terps hurt a lot of feelings (or, at least wallets.)

SMU at Houston (-7) 7:00 EST

What if I told you that both teams were 4-1? For Chadd Morris, it’s been a heckuva’ rebuild for the Mustangs. For the Cougars, it’s a matter of Major Applewhite not tinkering with a winning formula...too much. This should be a good ole’ fashioned SWC shootout. The over/under is 110, and I don’t think that’s high enough TBH.

Kansas State at Texas (-6.5) 7:00 EST

Most of the LSU-Florida analysis applies here: first-year coach at a traditional football power has stunk it up so far, and the fans are getting restless. Texas can’t stop the run and Kansas State can’t pass. This is a must-win for the Wildcats to keep pace in the Big 12. For the ‘Horns it’s a must-win to quiet an early revolt in Austin.

Michigan State at Michigan (-12) 7:30 EST

Rivalry game traditionally dominated by Big Brother, though Sparty has evened it up a bit the last two decades. Can the Wolverines’ offense get on-track in the Big House? How far along has the deep rebuild come in East Lansing? This game screams “old school Big 10 football,” as the passing offenses for both squads are impotent-to-inept at times.

No. 11 Washington State -3 at Oregon 8:00 EST

This is the first real road test for the Cougars, who have played lights out at home en route to an undefeated start. Oregon has done a great job shoring up the defense (for the Pac 12) under Jim Leavitt. It’s not great, but it’s not historically bad as it was the past few years. And Royce Freeman is a monster. USC exposed Wazzu’s soft run defense when Ronald Jones went berzerk in Pullman. Oregon has to be chomping at the bit to #RTDB. At Autzen, under the lights, this game has the hallmarks of classic-in-waiting.

Stanford at No. 16 Utah +4 (10:15 EST)

The Utes are undefeated but find themselves an underdog to the two-loss Cardinal. Why are the Trees favored? Because the Utes probably play the most conservative brand of football in the PAC 12 outside of Palo Alto. In a game that will be played close to the vest, with tons of work on the ground, the dynamics (and individual talent) favor Stanford. Ignore the rankings and records: ‘Furd is the favorite here for a reason.

2017 College Football Schedule, Week

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Wake Forest at #2 Clemson 12:00 PM ESPN2
Iowa State at #3 Oklahoma 12:00 PM FOX
#4 Penn State at Northwestern 12:00 PM ABC
#5 Georgia at Vanderbilt 12:00 PM ESPN
Ole Miss at #12 Auburn 12:00 PM SEC Network
Temple at East Carolina 12:00 PM ESPNU
Eastern Michigan at Toledo 12:00 PM CBSSN
Illinois at Iowa 12:00 PM BTN
Texas Tech at Kansas 12:00 PM FS1
Duke at Virginia 12:20 PM ACC Network
Pittsburgh at Syracuse 12:30 PM ACC Network
Central Michigan at Ohio 2:00 PM None
Bowling Green at Miami (OH) 2:30 PM None
Louisiana Monroe at Texas State 3:00 PM None
Florida Intl at Middle Tennessee 3:00 PM None
#23 West Virginia at #8 TCU 3:30 PM FS1
#13 Miami at Florida State 3:30 PM ESPN
#21 Notre Dame at North Carolina 3:30 PM ABC
LSU at #21 Florida 3:30 PM CBS
Minnesota at Purdue 3:30 PM ESPN2
New Mexico State at Appalachian State 3:30 PM None
Ball State at Akron 3:30 PM None
Air Force at Navy 3:30 PM CBSSN
Kent State at Northern Illinois 3:30 PM None
Western Michigan at Buffalo 3:30 PM None
Charleston Southern at Indiana 3:30 PM BTN
Maryland at #10 Ohio State 4:00 PM FOX
Oregon State at #14 USC 4:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Tulsa at Tulane 4:00 PM ESPNU
Arkansas at South Carolina 4:00 PM SEC Network
Louisiana Tech at UAB 4:00 PM None
Colorado State at Utah State 4:30 PM AT&T SportsNet None
Louisiana at Idaho 5:00 PM None
Marshall at Charlotte 6:00 PM WCCB None
Florida Atlantic at Old Dominion 6:00 PM WTVZ
Army at Rice 6:30 PM beIN Sports None
Georgia State at Coastal Carolina 6:30 PM None
SMU at Houston 7:00 PM CBSSN
Kansas State at Texas 7:00 PM FS1
Southern Mississippi at UT San Antonio 7:00 PM KMYS Facebook
#1 Alabama at Texas A&M 7:15 PM ESPN
#16 Virginia Tech at Boston College 7:15 PM ESPN2
Michigan State at #7 Michigan 7:30 PM ABC
Missouri at Kentucky 7:30 PM SEC Network
Fresno State at San José State 7:30 PM None
#9 Wisconsin at Nebraska 8:00 PM BTN
#11 Washington State at Oregon 8:00 PM FOX
#25 UCF at Cincinnati 8:00 PM ESPNU
Western Kentucky at UTEP 8:00 PM None
Arizona at Colorado 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Stanford at #20 Utah 10:15 PM FS1
Hawai'i at Nevada 10:30 PM CBSSN
California at #6 Washington 10:45 PM ESPN
#19 San Diego State at UNLV 10:45 PM ESPN2
Joe Piechowski, Bruins Nation