Roll Tide, fellow crimson critters.
There are 54 games on hand today after a busy weekday slate that featured nine games of varying degrees of relevance.
College Gameday is in Baton Rouge today, and while I understand the choice, it really seems that Kentucky would have been the better option. Top-10 battles between Alabama and LSU are fairly regular occurrences. A Top 10 Kentucky team that will be playing for a shot at the SEC East title? Unique.
Anyway, here’s your early schedule and why-to-watch: it’s a shockingly good early schedule. We’ll be back later with your afternoon / evening schedule and viewing guide. Roll Tide.
All Times Eastern.
|Louisville at #2 Clemson||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisville at #2 Clemson||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Nebraska at #10 Ohio State||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#19 Syracuse at Wake Forest||12:00 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Texas A&M at Auburn||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#24 Iowa State at Kansas||12:00 PM||FSN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|South Carolina at Ole Miss||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Rutgers at Wisconsin||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Michigan State at Maryland||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Oklahoma State at Baylor||12:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Air Force at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Memphis at East Carolina||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan||12:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Georgia Tech at North Carolina||12:15 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas State at Georgia State||2:00 PM||ESPN+||WatchESPN.com|
|San Jose State at Wyoming||2:00 PM||AT&T SportsNet||WatchStadium.com|
|South Alabama at Arkansas State||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Georgia Southern at UL Monroe||3:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Marshall at Southern Mississippi||3:00 PM||None||Facebook.com|
Auburn (-4) hosts No. 20 Texas A&M, as we get some Breakfast with the Barn — the Tigers’ third straight 11:00 game. This one isn’t on the Ocho, rather it’s ESPN’s national morning game. These two offenses are going to flail about pitiably, though both have good defensive lines. It really comes down to whether even Jarrett Stidham can exploit a bad Aggies secondary, or whether even Kellen Mond can exploit a bad Auburn secondary. Derp shall abound! Both teams come into this one off a loss, and both are trying like hell to avoid spending Christmas in Nashville, Memphis, or Shreveport. This was almost the Unwatchable Filth of the morning. Think about this as this game devolves into full-on, hold-my-beer stupidity: no matter how awful it is , there are 17 years and $119 million of guaranteed contracts between the two coaches.
South Carolina at Ole Miss (PK). — Want to know why this is a pick’em? Because one team is downright dreadful on defense but good on offense, and the other is simply blandly average at everything. Look at South Carolina’s rankings in rushing, passing, defense if you don’t believe me. Something has to give today: Can a pedestrian South Carolina offense move the ball on one of the most despicable defenses in the SEC? Can Ole Miss outscore a team that has a difficult time putting points on the board? It’s almost firin’ season, and the loser of this one is going to start feeling some heat: Both teams have been disappointing in 2018, neither have good energy at the moment, they’re both going the wrong direction, and worse, they are both lagging way behind in recruiting for the NSD19 class. This game will be as bad as Auburn-A&M for very different reasons, but it’s far more important for the composition of the SEC in 2019.
No. 18 Syracuse (-6) at Wake — If Auburn - A&M makes you long for some completed passes, this one is probably more up your alley. The Orange are rebounding nucely under Dino Babers and are relevant for the first time in a decade. But, the downside is that Babers name is starting to crop up in connection with other jobs. Can ‘Cuse keep up the momentum against a Wake team with a collapsing defense and a wide open Clawfense — on a sloppy, muddy field, I add. Alongside East Carolina - Memphis and UNC-Georgia Tech, this one has the best possibility to turn into an insane track meet.
Keep an Eye on These:
Be ready to turn to Fox if the No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes are having a defensive collapse against a Nebraska Cornhuskers (+19.5) offense that has been lighting up teams like the Feast of Eid the last six weeks. UNL has many problems: Throwing up 500+ yards of offense and 30+ PPG ain’t one of them. I have no idea why the spread is this large.
Oklahoma State (-6.5) at Baylor — The Cowboys are feeling really good after smacking around Texas last week. But, like their brethren in West Virginia, the Pokes have a hard time stringing together back-to-back good games. Possible meltdown material in Waco if OSU doesn’t come out focused.
Army (-7) is at home vs. Air Force. The Cadets can, by process of elimination, wrap up the Commander in Chief Trophy today. Those of you with a service background may want to keep an eye on CBSSN. This feature some sexy, sexy triple option football. Though one suspects the Knights are just too good. And, unlike their peers at AFA and Navy, they can throw the ball if they must.
Michigan State (-2.5) travels to Maryland, where the Terps have dealt with far more emotional roller coasters in one week than 85 college kids should. If Matt Canada can pull off another top tier home win for the 5-3 Turtles, just give him the job and the AP Coach of The Year award. This team could have collapsed by the season’s opening whistle, and they have not. Even if he doesn’t get this job, the work Canada’s done team-building and actually fielding a good unit has more than earned him a HC job somewhere. But, if the Terps do fall flat to Sparty, you can sympathize: there are only so many distractions and so much adversity these guys can face in one season. Worse, it has been the supposed adults that have screwed this up every step of the way.
Speaking of Firing Time, keep an eye on UNC as they host the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (-5 1/2). Tech can’t stop the pass and the ‘Heels can’t stop the run. It’s been a weird year for both of these young teams, though both are improving with varying degrees of effectiveness as the season wears on. The difference is that Paul Johnson isn’t likely to be fired: Larry Fedora is.
This Morning’s Unwatchable Filth:
There were several tempting options this morning. Do we pick the Death Star that is the Clemson defense hosting the godawful Louisville Cardinals (another Firin’ Time special if there ever were one?) Yeah, bet on that game, don’t watch it. What about another complete mismatch when Rutgers, the worst Power 5 team in the nation has breakfast in Madison with the Badgers? Tempting, but no.
Instead, this morning’s unwatchable filth is a Sunbelt snoozer between the we-try-so-hard Georgia State Panthers hosting the Withers-is-so-very-fired Texas State Bobcats. Neither of these teams belong in major college football, to be honest. In Georgia State’s case, they don’t even have a history: like Athena from the head of Zeus, they pulled a South Alabama and just decided they want yet another major college football program in Atlanta. At least San Marcos’ Bobcats has an excuse: they’ve been around for over a century and it’s actually a fairly large, established university — and the area is quite lovely too...for Texas.
Talent militates in favor of the Panthers, but Texas State has played a little better, though it doesn’t reflect it on the scoreboard. And none of that matters. This game is bad and you should feel bad for watching it: It’s going to have more awful bull*** than a political ad.