Far from being a fluffy night of Sunbelt-on-Sunbelt violence, Friday night’s games all have a reasonable degree of high stakes involved.
Here’s your schedule and why to watch:
#14 Miami at Duke
7:00 PM ESPN / WatchESPN.com
+6.5, o/u 56
Miami is undefeated; that’s not a surprise. Duke is undefeated; that is more suprising. We were so enamored of the four P5 wins by the 4-0 Blue Devils that we even ranked them this week (valedictory, early season returns, whatnot.) This is shaping up to be a quality ACC Coastal contest. For the rusty ‘Canes (2 games in a month,) it’s also their first road trip of the season. It wouldn’t be too much of an upset if the Dookies pull it off at home -- Cutcliffe hasn’t forgotten how to coach. BONUS: Only Clemson and Duke have 3 conference wins. That’s astonishingly well-done, Devils.
Nebraska at Illinois
8:00 PM FS1 / FoxSportsGo.com
+5.5, o/u 46.5
Mike Riley’s season-long march to a forced retirement continues with a very winnable road game against the awful Illini. That said, Nubber struggled with a worse team last week at home (Buttgers) and lost to another one the week before (Northern Illinois.) AD Shawn Eichorst’s ouster at NU almost certainly means the end for Riley at Nebraska in 8-9 more contests: Will the ‘Huskers play like it? Gun to my head? Give me Lovie’s Illinois team at home. They’re terrible; they’re young; but they play hard. The Cornhuskers meanwhile are waiting for Sister Prejean to walk this coaching staff to the metaphorical gurney.
BYU at Utah State
8:00 PM CBSSN / CBSSports.com
+1, o/u 47.5
Okay, I may have lied. There’s not a meaningful game in every time zone. Unless you’re a Mormon or work in Utah and have to s**-talk a coworker, there is absolutely no reason to watch this game. Utah State has beaten San Jose State by 51 and lost to Wake Forest by 36. BYU has one win in four tries, a closer-than-it-looked opener vs. Portland State. It’s not just bad football in Provo, it’s boring football. I’m honestly not sure which is the greater offense. It tells you something that Vegas sees this as a near pick’em. Seriously, don’t watch this game. America is the loser.
#5 USC at #16 Washington State
10:30 PM ESPN / WatchESPN.com
+4.5, 0/u 76.5
Shoot this one right into my veins. Wazzu at home with Luke Falk and an improved defense vs. a USC team that has played fairly poorly outside of whacking Stanford? Darnold on the road? Two secondaries that can give up oodles of yards and points just as easily as they can strangle you? Mike Leach has a habit of letting us down in big games, but he’s generally coached ‘em up really well against the Men of Troy. When last these teams met in 2014, USC whacked the Cougars at home 44-17 (thanks to Saman, of the Traveler Hates Thursday podcast for the historical info!) Perhaps it’s time for revenge while USC still isn’t running on all cylinders? This one is 95% likely to be worth staying up for. Seriously, I’m stoked about some Friday night #PAC12AfterDark