Crunch time is upon the season, and the schedule sees the potential for an early bloodbath before we even get to the afternoon and primetime national games. This is the best end-to-end schedule I’ve seen all season.
Lot to get through this morning, so, dispensing with the preamble, here’s your schedule for the entire day — all times Eastern:
|#10 Ohio State at Michigan State||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Carolina at #11 Florida||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Navy at #12 UCF||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|TCU at #13 West Virginia||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Wisconsin at #14 Penn State||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Ole Miss at #20 Texas A&M||12:00 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|Akron at Eastern Michigan||12:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Tulsa at Memphis||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|SMU at UConn||12:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas at Kansas State||12:00 PM||Fox Sports Net||FoxSportsGo.com|
|BYU at UMass||12:00 PM||Eleven/NESN||UMassAthletics.com|
|Lafayette at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Vanderbilt at Missouri||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Illinois at Nebraska||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Maryland at Indiana||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|North Carolina at Duke||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Troy at Georgia Southern||1:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|North Texas at Old Dominion||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|UCLA at Arizona State||2:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Charlotte at Marshall||2:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Liberty at #25 Virginia||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Middle Tennessee at UTEP||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Bowling Green at Central Michigan||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#18 Mississippi State at #1 Alabama||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#5 Michigan at Rutgers||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Oklahoma State at #7 Oklahoma||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#8 Washington State at Colorado||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#9 Kentucky at Tennessee||3:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Northwestern at #16 Iowa||3:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Baylor at #24 Iowa State||3:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|New Mexico at Air Force||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Purdue at Minnesota||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|San Jose State at Utah State||4:00 PM||None|
|Appalachian State at Texas State||4:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|East Carolina at Tulane||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic||5:00 PM||Stadium||WatchStadium.com|
|Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Georgia State at Louisiana||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|UL Monroe at South Alabama||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Oregon at #15 Utah||5:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Auburn at #6 Georgia||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Miami at Georgia Tech||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida Intl at UTSA||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Rice at Louisiana Tech||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Temple at Houston||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|South Florida at Cincinnati||7:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#3 LSU at Arkansas||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida State at #4 Notre Dame||7:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|#17 Texas at Texas Tech||7:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Southern Mississippi at UAB||7:30 PM||beIN Sports||beINSports.com|
|#2 Clemson at #22 Boston College||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at Stanford||9:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|California at USC||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|UNLV at San Diego State||10:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Colorado State at Nevada||10:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
I don’t think you can in good conscience turn your back on any of the early ranked-vs-unranked games. But, pay particular attention to these:
No. 10 Ohio State travels to face a team they’ve had problems putting away lately, the Michigan State Spartans. Sparty has played a lot better down the stretch while the Bucks have looked worse in most weeks since Urban’s return. With UM looming for the Buckeyes, this isn’t one they can simply out-talent either.
I’m curious as to how No. 12 UCF’s war crime of a running defense will fare against the Navy Midshipmen. Navy’s secondary is appalling, but they can legitimately run for 700 yards today. This may be a shootout from hell. Navy is just 2-7, but the game is about matchups, ya’ know? And with USF and Cincinnati still on tap, UCF is finally being pressed.
I have no idea how three-loss Florida is still at No. 11, but they host South Carolina in the Swamp. If the Gators of the last three weeks show up, they’ll lose this one. Feliepe Franks is Nick Fitzgerald-bad. This game will probably be cringe-worthy viewing, especially with the other great noon eastern kicks.
Wisconsin can legitimately win at No. 14 Penn State today — nothing about the Nittany Lion run defense inspires confidence. Then again, not much about the Badgers secondary does either. This one will probably come down to the PSU passing game and Penn State-versus-themselves. They’ll win one matchup, but that haven’t won the latter in three years.
Two of the worst SEC secondaries face off in College Station this morning when the Ole Miss Rebels face the No. 20 Texas A&M Aggies. The Ags are leaps better across both lines and can run the ball. That should settle the game in their favor — assuming Jimbo doesn’t commit coaching malpractice again.
I hate recommending a PAC12 game to you, but what if I told you the fighting Herms at Arizona State control their destiny the South? In an awful division, they are probably the second-best coached team. They’re also one of the least consistent. This is a must-win against UCLA.
BEDLAM: Oklahoma State can compete up front with the Sooners. This is the first competent and consistent pass rush OU has faced all year, so Kyler Murray’s numbers may take a hit today. One doubts the Pokes can match score for score, so they’ll need to play sound defense and take advantage of an OU secondary that is as generous as a ten-cent hooker on nickel night.
No. 18 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama, for obvious reasons. The Tide has tended to play like crap in the game historically. But, I don’t think we’ve seen an Alabama team this generally healthy and well-rested either: Playing one-half of 9 games has that effect. I have no idea where the Bulldogs are going to get their offense from, even if the defense morphs into the ‘85 Bears.
No. 9 Kentucky at Tennessee — the Wildcats can’t let the Bulldogs beat them twice in a row. Last week the ‘Cats never gave up the fight, but they still very much looked like Kentucky. The deficiencies were on display for all to see. Can the Vols exploit that secondary and shut down Benny in this bitter rivalry? The line is close for a reason.
Two games today will (mostly) decide Michigan’s dance partner in the BIGCG — Purdue travels to Minnesota. The Gophers can score in scads on bad defenses, and the Road Boilers are a bad defense. This isn’t one Purdue can overlook (man, I hate 2018 for making me type that.) The other of consequence is Western-leading Northwestern at No. 16 Iowa. I still have no idea why the Hawkeyes are this high. They’ve drubbed scrubs and lost to three quality teams. The Wildcats are a solid team, especially on defense. Purdue is rooting hard for the home Hawks.
The No. 7 Washington State Cougars have played with fire for six weeks, and it’s been glorious watching this team improbably march into the playoff rankings. They best get their heads right. Colorado’s wide receivers will test that secondary, and the altitude is always tough on visitors.
If you think you know what’s going to happen with the Oregon Ducks travel to No. 15 Utah, you’re lying. Utah was playing like an absolute machine for a month until getting blasted by ASU last week. The altitude will help them, but their wilting in the face of a passing offense and a billion blitzes inspired no confidence.
When Auburn goes between the Hedges tonight to meet the No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs, one gets the feeling Auburn Jesus will not be bestowing any miracles. This won’t be very competitive, but it will be hilarious. I hope UGA bites someone...again.
No. 6 LSU has their own hangover game, and it comes when they play for the Golden Boot: Arkansas traditionally takes their bye to watch LSU-Bama murder each other for four hours and then reaps the benefits a la Mississippi State. LSU should pulverize this team. But one simply doesn’t know how the Tigers will regroup, especially after Orgeron threw his team under the bus last week.
Let’s get weird in Lubbock: No. 17 Texas travels to face a team that really really hates them, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. You get the feeling the longhorns could run the Raiders off the field with a conservative ball control game plan. You also get the feeling that Tom Herman is too-clever-by-half to do the smart thing here. TTU has no quarterbacks and this will still probably be close.
No. 2 Clemson travels to face the No. 22 BC Eagles. The Eagles defense hasn’t been very good this year, and that bodes poorly. But, they do have an offense that when healthy has one of the nation’s best running backs and a pretty good passing game. The problem is, it’s not healthy. Clemson should be able run the ball 70 times and go home with a solid win.
I’m kind of looking forward to seeing Miami’s soft run defense play Bitter Paul Johnson’s Georgia Tech too. Mark Richt seems to have literally lost control of the Hurricanes and the quarterbacking may be the worst among the Big 3 Florida programs — and that says a whole lot.
Remember Catholics versus Convicts in 1993? Tonight’s FSU-No. 3 Notre Dame game won’t be that. It will be a surgical excision under the lights and the watchful gaze of Touchdown Jesus. Brian Kelly does unchristian things to the Seminoles tonight.
Today’s Unwatchable Filth...
There’s literally not one game on here that I couldn’t find a reason to watch or some angle that makes it interesting. But, if I were going to pick one, I’d go with BYU at UMass. The Cougars can’t score. The Minutemen can’t stop anyone from scoring. These two teams are just plain bad too. But, for all that, which matchup wins is kind of intriguing. Hell, I’d even watch a CSU-Nevada shootout late tonight.
What do you think?