Don’t let people lie to you: it’s a good week for football games, y’all. There are several meaningful ones, trap games, and ones with huge playoff and conference implications. Sure, in the Big 10, Big 12 and SEC, the main course is next week. Nevertheless, there are entertaining things to watch.
Alabama has the early shift, so keep an eye on that one. But feel free to give these others your attention. (NB: The Big Game between Cal-Stanford has been cancelled until 12/1, owing to the catastrophic wildfires ravaging the Golden State. Be safe over there, West Coast Gumps.)
|The Citadel at #1 Alabama||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#10 Ohio State at Maryland||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Idaho at #13 Florida||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|#14 Penn State at Rutgers||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Middle Tennessee at #17 Kentucky||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas at #21 Mississippi State||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#22 Northwestern at Minnesota||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Florida at Temple||12:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Colgate at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Michigan State at Nebraska||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|TCU at Baylor||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Pittsburgh at Wake Forest||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|NC State at Louisville||12:20 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#19 Utah at Colorado||1:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#23 Utah State at Colorado State||2:00 PM||AT&T SportsNet||WatchStadium.com|
|Florida Intl at Charlotte||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|VMI at Old Dominion||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#12 Syracuse at #3 Notre Dame||2:30 PM||NBC||NBCSports.com|
|UTSA at Marshall||2:30 PM||None|
|Georgia State at Appalachian State||2:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Western Carolina at North Carolina||3:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UL Monroe at Arkansas State||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#9 West Virginia at Oklahoma State||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Boston College at Florida State||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Tulsa at Navy||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Texas State at Troy||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Louisiana Tech at Southern Mississippi||3:30 PM||Stadium||WatchStadium.com|
|Wisconsin at Purdue||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Bowling Green at Akron||3:30 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Virginia at Georgia Tech||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Miami at Virginia Tech||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Tech at Kansas State||3:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Iowa at Illinois||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Missouri at Tennessee||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|USC at UCLA||3:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Indiana at #4 Michigan||4:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UMass at #5 Georgia||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Liberty at Auburn||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Air Force at Wyoming||4:00 PM||ESPNews||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at #18 Washington||4:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Georgia Southern at Coastal Carolina||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|South Alabama at Louisiana||5:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Nevada at San Jose State||5:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Duke at #2 Clemson||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|UConn at East Carolina||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|UAB at Texas A&M||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas at #6 Oklahoma||7:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Rice at #7 LSU||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Ole Miss at Vanderbilt||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Stanford at California||PPD (Smoke)||N/A||N/A|
|Chattanooga at South Carolina||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at Western Kentucky||7:30 PM||beIN Sports||beINSports.com|
|#24 Cincinnati at #11 UCF||8:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#16 Iowa State at #15 Texas||8:00 PM||Longhorn Network||WatchESPN.com|
|New Mexico State at BYU||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at #8 Washington State||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|San Diego State at Fresno State||10:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Arizona State at Oregon||10:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|UNLV at Hawai'i||11:00 PM||Spectrum Sports PPV||Stadium (App only)|
Keep an Eye on These:
Maryland + 14 vs. No. 10 Ohio State — This is absolutely a game that the Buckeyes can lose. The Terps have tended to play quite well at home. This is the weakest OSU team we’ve seen since 2011. Matt Canada is coaching for a permanent job, and his Terrapins — who’ve seen a ton of adversity this season — are playing for a post-season bid in this, their final home game of a trying 2018.
Michigan State at Nebraska -1.5 — One of the underreported stories of the last month is how well the Cornhuskers have rebounded. Playing in a weaker division filled with paleoball, Scott Frost’s uptempo style is putting up a ton of points and yards. They’re favored at home here for a reason.
Arizona at No. 8 Washington State -11 — Like Nebraska, the Wildcats have also rebounded the last month as Mazzone is calling better games and the defense is playing a little better. There is literally nothing to lose here for ‘Zona. Meanwhile, the Cougars have next week’s Apple Cup on their mind. This could be an upset.
No. 9 West Virginia - 7 at Oklahoma State — All eyes are on the Oklahoma-West Virginia game for next week. But that won’t matter unless the ‘Eers can get this one on the road...and it won’t be easy. The Cowboys could make this a very competitive game, and a win wouldn’t be that unexpected. A WVU loss also creates a hot mess for the second spot in the B12CG game.
Don’t miss these:
Fresno State -13 vs. San Diego State — The two best defenses and the two most physical teams in the MWC meet for the MW-West Division crown. The Bulldogs dropped a heartbreaker vs. Boise last week. But, they can’t let up the intensity this week: San Diego State is a very good team.
No. 16 Iowa State at No. 15 Texas -3 — The Big 12’s hottest team, led by a feisty defense and freshman wunderkind Brock Purdy, travels to Austin with both tied for 2nd in the conference and sitting at 5-2, both mathematically alive for a B12CG berth. This should be a really good game, and probably not a gross one with 1200 yards and 110 combined points — there will be some pads popping.
No. 24 Cincinnati at No. 11 UCF -7 1⁄2 — This is the best defense the Knights have faced all season. This is the most explosive offense the Bearcats have seen all year. If UC wins, don’t call it an upset. If UCF continues their AAC reign of terror, their lofty playoff ranking starts to get some traction. Appointment viewing.
No. 3 Notre Dame -10 vs. No. 18 Syracuse — Is this a Big East basketball game in the Garden? Nope. Those rankings are right...in football: The Orange are relevant and dangerous. The Irish can all-but seal a playoff appearance if they just get by this one last test (c’mon, get real, they’re going to drag USC next week.) Ian Book will play for ND, but like our beloved Tua, he’s a little beat up too. If Dino Babers makes this one a shootout can the 2018 Irish play that game?
Surely not, right?
Arkansas at No. 21 Mississippi State -21 — Do the Bulldogs let Alabama beat them twice? Can Mississippi State score 21 on anyone? Can the Hogs salvage their season? This would be a nice pelt for Chad Morris to hang his hat on.
No. 17 Kentucky -16 1⁄2 vs. Middle Tennessee State — The Blue Raiders have shaken off some early season inconsistencies and are playing really well. They’ll be up for this one a lot more than the Wildcats. UK didn’t show up last week in Knoxville — we speculated that very thing may happen after the disappointment vs. Georgia. Now, it’s time to rally ‘round and hold the rest of a good season together, Stoops.
Duke + 28 at Clemson — Duke is not that bad, y’all, and Cutcliffe can coach his butt off. If this were in Durham, I’d like a better tussle. The Tigers talent should win out, but Dabo has dropped games just like this before. A Blue Devils win throws everything into chaos.
UAB + 17 at No. 24 Texas A&M — Have you seen the Aggies’ secondary? Have you seen UAB’s passing attack? Lost in this matchup is that the Blazers also are 7th in the country in adjusted yards per play — they can play defense. With A&M looking forward to LSU next week, does the inconceivable happen? Bill Clark can write his check to a really good P5 job with an upset.
Indiana + 28 at No. 4 Michigan — The Hoosiers have tended to give the Wolverines fits, coming very close to upsets but not quite able to seal the deal. Is the the same ole’ Michigan team or has the athletic upgrade on defense, and a more modern offense, finally allowed Go Blue to turn the corner. Ohio State is next week — it’s understandable that UM will be looking ahead. But how far?
This Week’s Unwatchable Filth:
Man, take your pick — there’s more ass this week than a Poison concert in 1988. A lot of people are getting fired: 1-9 UTEP travels to 1-9 Western Kentucky. 1-9 UConn hits the road to face 1-10 East Carolina. 5-5 Ole Miss has to go to Nashville to meet 4-6 Vanderbilt. But, we’re going to select 3-7 Western Carolina at 1-9 North Carolina.
Plenty of teams regret giving offseason extensions (cough, Auburn.) But, seriously, no one regrets an extension quite like the folks in Chapel Hill. Not only are the Tar Heels a bad team, but they’re a badly coached team, a poorly-disciplined one, and Larry Fedora has mismanaged the hell out of this roster. You suspect that if UNC struggles in this one, or god forbid loses, all the patience and budgetary concerns in the world won’t matter — the ‘Heels will come up with the money for that unconscionable $14 million buyout.
In any event, don’t watch a single snap of this hot garbage.