If you’re a night owl, it’s a great weekend for college football. You get a matchup of CUSA’s best vs. the AAC’s best, and conference play begins in the Pac 12 and Big 10.
Here’s what we’ve got and why to watch it (all times Central).
FAU at NO. 17 UCF (-13 1⁄2 ) 6:00 ESPN: The Lane Train travels to Orlando to pit his high-powered offense against another one of the nation’s very best — I was wrong, Josh Heupel has made the lethal Knights offense even more wide open. This game may make the Ghost of Bill Oliver weep; defense will not exist. But it should be one helluva ride...at least until UCF’s superior talent takes over...if it can.
No. 10 Penn State at Illinois (+27) 8:00 FS1: For two games, Lovie Smith was the toast of the town in Urbana-Champaign. The Fighting Illini had gotten off to a 2-0 start before a close loss to undefeated USF last week. But, the fact that it was a close loss, and that the Illini have looked good on defense, are definite positives to take into this one. PSU’s Trace McSorley is incredibly fun to watch. He has zero compunctions about little things like “down and distance” or “ball security” — the mad Gael will let ‘er rip. And it usually works out. PSU has gotted off to a slow starts this season, and James Franklin’s PSU has historically played poorly on the road. With the Buckeyes looming next week, have the Nittany Lions get caught looking ahead? We’ll see.
Washington State (+4.5) at USC 9:30 ESPN: It’s not quite time to hit the panic button in Troy, but it’s close. At least on paper, Stanford and Texas are respectable or even good losses. Then you realize that Stanford can’t score and Texas can barely play defense, and you wonder what’s going on at Heritage Hall. Fans have completely turned on just about every coach in scarlet and gold. Their visitor tonight is the under-the-radar Washington State Cougars. Coming in at 3-0, and having looked really good in all phases of the game, the Cougs led briefly-Alabama-commit Gardner Minshew face their first real test. For whatever reason, it is the USC games that Mike Leach really gets up for. And unless the Trojans’ secondary has tightened up from last week’s debacle, USC could be in for a long night.
It’s a really good night for college football. Watch it with us.