This is going to feel weird, innit? Getting to watch a whole day, an unadulterated nine hours of college football before Alabama notches its 13th straight against the hated Vols? It’s like Christmas in October.
So, what’s on today? Well, wonder no more — and you’ll be pleased to note that I wasn’t feeling so lazy and actually changed this table to Central time.
Week 8 CFB Schedule
|#3 Clemson at Louisville||11:00 AM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|West Virginia at #5 Oklahoma||11:00 AM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#6 Wisconsin at Illinois||11:00 AM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#9 Florida at South Carolina||11:00 AM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#11 Auburn at Arkansas||11:00 AM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Purdue at #23 Iowa||11:00 AM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Iowa State at Texas Tech||11:00 AM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Georgia Tech at Miami||11:00 AM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|NC State at Boston College||11:00 AM||ACCNX||WatchESPN.com|
|Houston at UConn||11:00 AM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Kent State at Ohio||11:00 AM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Toledo at Ball State||1:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Central Michigan at Bowling Green||1:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Oregon State at California||1:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Northern Illinois at Miami (OH)||1:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|TCU at Kansas State||1:30 PM||Fox Sports Net||FoxSportsGo.com|
|New Mexico at Wyoming||2:00 PM||AT&T SportsNet||None|
|Coastal Carolina at Georgia Southern||2:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|#2 LSU at Mississippi State||2:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#12 Oregon at #25 Washington||2:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Temple at #19 SMU||2:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Minnesota at Rutgers||2:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Tulsa at #21 Cincinnati||2:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|UL Monroe at #24 Appalachian State||2:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Buffalo at Akron||2:30 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|South Florida at Navy||2:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Indiana at Maryland||2:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Duke at Virginia||2:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|North Carolina at Virginia Tech||2:30 PM||ACCNX||WatchESPN.com|
|Southern Mississippi at Louisiana Tech||2:30 PM||NFL||None|
|#18 Baylor at Oklahoma State||3:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#22 Missouri at Vanderbilt||3:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Middle Tennessee at North Texas||3:00||Stadium||WatchStadium.com|
|Old Dominion at UAB||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Charlotte at Western Kentucky||3:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Kentucky at #10 Georgia||5:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|#17 Arizona State at #13 Utah||5:00 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Maine at Liberty||5:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Rice at UTSA||5:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Kansas at #15 Texas||6:00 PM||Longhorn Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Army at Georgia State||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Colorado at Washington State||6:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|UTEP at Florida International||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|San Diego State at San Jose State||6:00 PM||None|
|East Carolina at UCF||6:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Tulane at Memphis||6:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan||6:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|#16 Michigan at #7 Penn State||6:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas A&M at Ole Miss||6:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Florida State at Wake Forest||6:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Tennessee at #1 Alabama||8:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at USC||8:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|#14 Boise State at BYU||9:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Nevada at Utah State||9:15 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Air Force at Hawai'i||10:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
No. 14 Michigan at No. 7 Penn State (-9) — What do we really know about Penn State? The road win at Iowa last week was a huge one for James Franklin, who had been winless on the road against ranked B1G teams. But was that really that good of a win? And, for that matter, even if the Nittany Lions smack around this bland Wolverines team, what will we have learned? Can Harbaugh get some measure of respectability on a season that has already disappointed? If there’s a worse road team in the Big 10 than Penn State, it’s Road Harbaugh. Still, this is a huge one in terms of the national picture — to say nothing of the Big 10 race.
Southern Miss (-1.5) at Louisiana Tech — Like Duke-UVA and Temple-SMU, this is another game no one is talking about that should be nip and tuck all the way and have tremendous ramifications for the CUSA. The winner almost certainly will face UAB for the division title. It also has the benefit of being a nice little rivalry close to home between two talented, well-coached midmajors. This could be the best game of the day, to be honest.
TCU at Kansas State (+3.5) — Two of the better defenses in the Big 12 tee it up in the Little Apple. But “better” in this context is qualified. Both are in the top 20 in passing defense. The Frogs are also in the Top 20 in rushing defense. The problem comes on the other sideline, where Kansas State’s rushing defense is downright putrid (99th). The Frogs are the better team, but you get this sense this one is apt to be a low-scoring tossup against Klieman’s K State team desperate for a win. Fans of hard hitting are in for a treat.
Washington (+2.5) vs. Oregon — Hands down the nastiest rivalry in the P12 between two teams with outstanding home field advantages and two coaches that have baffled this season. The Huskies should be better than 4-2 going into it...just as the Ducks should be worse than 5-1. If the Doogs entertain any hope of making the P12CG, then they need this one. Badly. The Ducks sit 2-games-up on the rest of the field, but they can’t overlook a talented UW team at home that is far better than their .500 conference record suggests. And the noise at scenic Husky Stadium, goodness the noise...130+ decibels.
Air Force -3 at Hawaii — A big early game for the Mountain West between two 4-2 squads who got there by very different means. For the Falcons, it’s been their defense and the option — the nation’s 2nd best rushing attack. For the Warriors, it’s been their lights-out passing attack, the 4th best in the country. I’m such a sucker for these clash-of-style games, and so you are. Even better, both teams are competitive, this is a meaningful game, and it’ll be a great nightcap to an even better Third Saturday.
Be Ready to Grab the Remote:
Temple (+9) at SMU — Call the odds on this one the product of ranking disparity. The Temple Owls are in first place in the AAC East, sitting at 5-1, and you wouldn’t know it. The ranked SMU Mustangs haven’t beaten a team with a winning record, and they’re suddenly being hailed as juggernauts. Don’t buy it. The Owls defense can muck this one up, while the Ponies’ defense can make even a conservative Temple offense look wide-open. This screams upset alert.
Duke (+2.5) at Virginia — Remember when these teams were ranked at various points in the season? Two weeks ago was a helluva’ drug. As bad as the ACC is, these two 4-2 squads are tied in the Coastal vying for the right to get smacked around by Clemson in December. With their throwback defense-first coaches, the wet field conditions, and general ACC grotesqueness, this one is likely coming down to the final drive. It’s an oddly compelling game, and especially so for Alabama fans.
Toledo at Ball State (-1.5) — This has the potential to be one of the more entertaining events on this week’s schedule, with the two squads trending in opposite directions. The Rockets are again a MAC power — but a shaky one — and that’s expected. But, I don’t think anyone saw the BSU Cardinals lighting up scoreboards and storming out to a tie for first in the MAC West. Given Ball State’s tur’ble defense, and Toledo’s road play of late, you can easily see a game played in the 40s. Last one with the ball wins.
You say you want hard-hitting and low-scoring? Then, friends, I give you the matchup that will determine the P12 South winner. The 5-1 No. 17 Arizona State Sun Devils traveling to play the No. 13 Utah Utes. Somehow, someway, the Fighting Herms just keep finding ways to win, from shootouts to turnover-filled slop to power ball and defense. The Utes, meanwhile, have one of the most formidable home field advantages in college ball and, for my money, the most consistent team in the P12. For that reason, things could get out of hand, as they are wont to do for visitors in Rice Eccles. But, if ASU can survive the storm, we’re likely in for a treat.
Arizona State and Utah will get the press, but the other two teams tied atop the South also meet today: Arizona at USC (-10). You find it hard to believe that USC is two-score favorite over anyone at this point. But, Kevin Sumlin makes everything weird. This could go down to the wire or be a one-sided whooping...by either team. Truly, have the remote on hand to find out which.
This Week’s Unwatchable Filth
There were many — o, so many! — to choose from this week...and just in the SEC alone. Look at this turdburger of a slate:
- LSU at Mississippi State
- Missouri at Vanderbilt
- Georgia vs. Kentucky
- Auburn at Arkansas
- Tennessee at Alabama
- Texas A&M at Ole Miss.
But, alas, there can be just one. And, though that looming koala fight between Bo Nix and Nick Starkel will make your eyes bleed, the honor this week must go to the one game that will soar to new levels of ineptitude: No. 9 Florida (-5) at South Carolina, a game that has a historically pathetic backstory to pair with the dismal play we’ll see on Saturday.
This series is, at least in the minds of younger Gamecocks fans, a rivalry of sorts. It’s not hard to see why either. A lot like Alabama-Mississippi State, you have a historical have-not, an insignificant divisional opponent with far more hate than competence annually striving to show itself ready for the big stage. Then, when all eyes are on the upstart, when they persistently demand our attention such that they finally receive it, then they face plant in spectacular slapstick fashion. The 800-pound gorilla reminds the wannabes why the natural order is in fact called the natural order.
Alongside its heart-wrenching little brotherism and a desperation so thick you can taste it mingling with the stygian Sakerlina humidity, comes the simple fact that as with so many things in the Midlands, the best things in life for the Gamecocks have been borne of incest. Oh, sure, George Rogers’ Heisman was nice, and so was that lone conference title in 1969. But, for all practical purposes (and at least in the last 35 years), the biggest moments for Sakerlina have come courtesy of Gator castoffs.
It is not an exaggeration to say, that aside from Lou Holtz putting the program on the SEC map for the first time, in its not-so-storied SEC football history, all that USC has, it owes to Florida: The Gamecocks have won one SEC division title, produced two program-defining wins, made 12 of their 23 bowl appearances, notched six of their nine bowl victories, and had their only three 11-win seasons come by way of Gata’s sloppy seconds.
Knowing that you are the recipient of dumpster diving has to hurt. Knowing that you went pawing through the dumpster to get a Will Muschamp has to be worse.
On the field, expect the pathetic. Last week we saw three outrageously bad coaching performances in the SEC. And two of them came by way of Dan Mullen and Will Muschamp, today’s cuddle buddies. Do you want to start with talent evaluation? Then I give you this: for reasons known only to them, both men watched backup quarterbacks in practice for months — with Ryan Hilinski and Kyle Trask flashing the potential to be stars — and still decided that Feleipe Franks and Jake Bentley were better options.
And the injuries, my god the injuries: Hilinski may start, but he likely won’t finish the game. He’s been on one leg for weeks, and then was knocked out last Saturday. But Boom better hope Hilinski can go, even on one leg, because USC’s only other option is its third-stringer, Dakereon Joyner...who also has a hamstring injury...and is also a Freshman. Whoever is under center won’t be helped much up front, either. The offensive line is without its starting RT for another week. And this on an offensive line that has allowed the SEC’s second-most TFL. But, hey, at least the Gamecocks were already perfectly average in every SEC offensive category.
Against that dreck comes the Florida Gators, who allegedly had the best defensive line and DB corps in the SEC. This paper tiger led the league in sacks and interceptions...until last week. In the biggest game of their season, they proceeded to get no pressure on Jake Burrow, surrendered 23 of 26 through the air, got gashed for huge play after huge play on the ground. And now, two of its starting linemen are out this game as well.
For an “offensive guru,” Dan Mullen’s team has shown striking promiscuity with the ball, giving it away like a A O Pi swap. They are impressively dedicated to shooting themselves in the foot: leading the league in both interceptions (12) and fumbles lost (8). Their opposite isn’t much better — USC has surrendered 15 turnovers themselves.
And, on top of all that, this game will also be played in a tropical storm. Throw all that in a blender with the aggressive blech of the coaches, the climate, the Big Dumb Muschamp factor, Clownshoes trying to one-up him, and both teams being hungover following the biggest win (and loss) of their seasons, and you have the potential for an all-time SEC stinker.
This is an important game, but it damned sure ain’t gonna’ be a good one.
Here’s your thread for the day. We’ll be back later with ‘Bama-Tennessee. Roll Tide.
What games are you looking forward to today?