Good morning: It’s a bit of a light Saturday for bye week viewing — 24 teams have already played; 18 teams are on byes; and that leaves us with “just” 46 games today.
There are several SEC games that will impact both Alabama’s SOS, as well as shape the winner of the Eastern division. First, here’s your schedule, and all times are Eastern:
|#2 Clemson at Florida State||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Wisconsin at Northwestern||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Vanderbilt at Arkansas||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Tech at Iowa State||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Wake Forest at Louisville||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UMass at UConn||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Army at Eastern Michigan||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Purdue at Michigan State||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Central Michigan at Akron||12:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Bethune-Cookman at Nebraska||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|North Carolina at Virginia||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Southern Mississippi at Charlotte||2:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|Coastal Carolina at Georgia State||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|TCU at Kansas||3:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Oregon State at Colorado||3:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#9 Florida at #7 Georgia||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Kansas State at #8 Oklahoma||3:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#18 Iowa at #17 Penn State||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#21 South Florida at Houston||3:30 PM||ABC/ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona State at USC||3:30 PM||ABC/ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Illinois at Maryland||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Duke at Pittsburgh||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Middle Tennessee at Old Dominion||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Northern Illinois at BYU||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Cincinnati at SMU||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|#12 Kentucky at Missouri||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico at Utah State||4:00 PM||None|
|Rice at North Texas||4:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#15 Washington at California||6:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UNLV at San Jose State||6:30 PM||AT&T SportsNet||WatchStadium.com|
|#14 Washington State at #24 Stanford||7:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#16 Texas A&M at Mississippi State||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#22 NC State at Syracuse||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Boise State at Air Force||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Arkansas State at Louisiana||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Tulane at Tulsa||7:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at Texas State||7:00 PM||None||WatchESPN.com|
|UAB at UTEP||7:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Tennessee at South Carolina||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida Intl at Western Kentucky||7:30 PM||beIn Sports||beINSports.com|
|#3 Notre Dame at Navy||8:00 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#6 Texas at Oklahoma State||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#19 Oregon at Arizona||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Hawai'i at Fresno State||10:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|San Diego State at Nevada||10:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
No. 6 Texas at Oklahoma State +3.5 — How good is Texas, really? I don’t think we know. Is it the team that got blasted by Maryland and struggled with Baylor and Tulsa? Or is it the group that demolished Oklahoma for 53 minutes? This is a tough roadie for Tom Herman: The Pokes have a lot of talent, even if they’re in a bit of a tailspin. A win by OSU creates a 4-way logjam at the top of the B12 and sets up a huge Longhorns-Mountaineers showdown next week. It also would set up an even bigger Okie - ‘Eers showdown for the regular season B12 title.
No. 16 Texas A&M -1 at Mississippi State — The Bulldogs have disappointed to be sure: they’re wasting an SEC Title-type defense and running game with the division’s worst passing. Nick Fitzgerald has somehow gotten worse each year on campus. And, pressed into a modern offense, he’s looked terrible. The Aggies look to continue their renaissance under Jimbo with a stingy front four, a punishing running attack, and one of the conference’s better emergent young QBs. If you like defense, this is your jam.
No. 22 NCSU -2 1⁄2 at Syracuse — As iffy as the secondaries for both teams have been at times, and as dynamic as the passing games are, dare we say that there could actually be a fun game to be played in the Carrier Dome? Yes, yes we dare.
No. 18 Iowa +5 at No. 17 Penn State — This will be the first meaningful road game against a quality opponent for the Hawkeyes. For the Nitty Kitties, it’s another chance to get some sort of redemption after falling apart late against the Spartans and Buckeyes. Penn State’s offense you know about; less known is that this Iowa team is not the three-yards-and-some-sexy-punting we’ve come to associate with Ferentz Ball: PSU will have to outscore them. I look forward to seeing in what painfully stupid manner Penn State will blow this.
No. 14 Washington State +3 at No. 24 Stanford — I have no idea how the Trees are still ranked. Wazzu is one road FG away from being undefeated and have racked up several very good wins, including over Oregon and red hot Utah. This one should be one-sided, given Gardner Minshew’s lights-out passing and Stanford’s awful secondary. BUT, and there is always a but, Leach’s teams have tended to travel poorly. This may be a lot closer than it would be otherwise. #PAC12AfterDark will entertain though, that you can count upon.
Purdue +8 at Michigan State — A week after beating PSU on the road, the Spartans played another great defensive game last Saturday. Unfortunately, they were held to 96 yards of offense by the stingy Wolverines. The Boilers, meanwhile, demolished the Buckeyes’ pitiful defense in a West Lafayette rout. There’s a lot of positive regard floating around Purdue at the moment, but they have to show they can put together two good outings in a row. This is a winnable game for either team, and given the secondaries will probably be a close one too. If the Boilermakers want to keep their B1GCG and Rose Bowl hopes alive, Rondale Moore must lead the way against a banged up Sparty club desperate for a home win.
No. 9 Florida +7 vs. No. 7 Georgia — DYK: Jake Fromm is completing just 1/3rd of his passes when placed under pressure? AND he’s converting just 1/6th for first downs? What I’m saying is, Florida is going to want to make UGA’s iffy passing attack beat them. Conversely, the safe but steady Feleipe Franks looks to replicate Jake Burrow’s efforts of two weeks ago: take what the Dawgs give them — they still can’t play Cover Two — and attack a Georgia rushing defense that is just 47th in the country. This series has a ton of historical upsets, but has also been a blowout 2/3rd of the last 25 meetings. Who knows what’s going to happen today. On paper, it’s UGA’s to lose. But, something still seems off with this team. If Kirby wants to take the next step with his Big Lots ‘Bama, he can’t get outcoached by Dan Mullen. This should be a very close game, but given the way this series has usually unfolded, don’t expect the football to be consistently good: The WLOCP has a habit of being a sloppy, penalty-filled mess, with one side consistently imploding. This was almost the Unwatchable Filth of the Day.
Mizzou -7 1⁄2 vs. No. 12 Kentucky — One of the conference’s better rushing attacks hits the road to face a lowkey dirty AF Missouri Tigers defensive line that will sell out to stop Bennie Snell. That will leave it up to the SEC’s worst passing game to exploit the SEC’s worst secondary. Meanwhile, the ‘Cats hope to pressure Drew Lock enough to buy some breathing room for a secondary that has played well above its heads — while still trying to stop a ground game that averages well over 200 yards per contest. Mizzou is favored for a reason: It’s a good matchup for the Tigers, and becomes even more so if points starting hitting the scoreboard — UK probably can’t keep up. This game is huge for Kentucky: A win gives them a tie in the East with the WLOCP victor. And, if that winner is Florida, it gives Kentucky the outright lead in the East and on the inside track for the SECCG.
Keep An Eye On This:
No. 2. Clemson at FSU + 17 — This has the potential to turn into a blowout, sure. But, given the way Dabo’s teams have played on the road in conference, these are just the sorts of games he’s apt to drop. This is a very sketchy FSU team though, I don’t know how they’re going to move the ball. There are trap games down the road, but this probably isn’t one that’ll be overlooked by CU.
Tennessee at USCe -8 — USC has been maddeningly inconsistent, winning against Mizzou and looking awful against at times against UGA and Kentucky. The Vols have played really well (for them) the last two weeks, and are still very much in the hunt for a bowl game. But all paths to Nashville or Shreveport go through Columbia today. Will they let ‘Bama beat them two weeks in a row?
No. 21 South Florida +4 at Houston — The Cougs can score on absolutely anyone. It’s the defense where their problems lie. Meanwhile the undefeated Bulls have yet to pick up a quality win in a very soft early schedule. The record and defensive stats are there, but the Blake Barnett-led offense has not been, and we have no idea how good they actually are. This one will separate out some AAC contenders and probably be a fun little shootout to boot.
ASU +3 at USC — DYK: USC was technically tied for the lead in the P12 South before last night’s Utah win? To keep pace with Utes, the Trojans must have this one at home. The Fighting Herms have had some tough sledding in conference play, but this is a winnable game for the Sun Devils — and a lowkey meaningful one for both teams.
Texas Tech + 6 at Iowa State — True freshman QB Brock Purdy is the missing piece that the Cyclones were lacking. At home, this team just plays a different, and terrifying, sort of football. Tech has been a mess on the road, though they will get plenty of shots with their explosive offense. Will it be enough? A win by the Red Raiders keeps them in a tie for 1st in the B12. A ‘Clones victory vaults ISU into a two-way tie for second in the conference. Meaningful game here, and it will probably get really weird.
Today’s Unwatchable Filth
Wake Forest at Louisville -3 1⁄2 — The Demon Deacons defense has been an absolute trash fire this season. Meanwhile, everything about Louisville has been atrocious, as Bobby Petrino finds his seat increasingly hotter with each passing week. The stakes for this one? Revenge for the cheating that Bobby Petrino and crew benefited from, when Wake’s game plans were forwarded to Cardinals’ players and staff. Two awful teams, playing poorly, with a ton of hurt feelings and coaching gaffes is no recipe for high quality football — and this game will be simply dreadful to watch, even if the emotions are running high. ESPECIALLY since emotions are running so high. If Dave Clawson gets a chance, Wake will hang 80 on the Cards. And one suspects Petrino will try to one-up that if he can. No love lost, but an awful game. #goacc