Happy Homecoming! It’ll be a sloppy, soaking wet affair in Tuscaloosa. The Tide are staring down a bye before face their biggest challenge of the year in two weeks; they are without their starting quarterback; and have been fighting a series of nagging injuries and position shuffling off and on throughout the season.
If Alabama were playing an actual SEC opponent today, you might worry about a letdown or the proverbial trap game. But, well...yeah...it’s Chad Morris’ brand of Arkansas football.
So, let’s see if there are actually good games on today, shall we? Here’s your schedule for today. All times Eastern.
Homecoming CFB Schedule
|#13 Wisconsin at #3 Ohio State||12:00 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|#5 Oklahoma at Kansas State||12:00 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#20 Iowa at Northwestern||12:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|#21 Appalachian State at South Alabama||12:00 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Miami at Pittsburgh||12:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|San Jose State at Army||12:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Mississippi State at Texas A&M||12:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Illinois at Purdue||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Liberty at Rutgers||12:00 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Bowling Green at Western Michigan||12:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|Southern Mississippi at Rice||1:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Nevada at Wyoming||2:00 PM||AT&T Sportsnet||TheMW.com|
|Ohio at Ball State||2:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Western Kentucky at Marshall||2:30 PM||None|
|New Mexico State at Georgia Southern||3:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|#9 Auburn at #2 LSU||3:30 PM||CBS||CBSSports.com|
|#6 Penn State at Michigan State||3:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#15 Texas at TCU||3:30 PM||FOX||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Maryland at #17 Minnesota||3:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Oklahoma State at #23 Iowa State||3:30 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UConn at UMass||3:30 PM||NESN||FloFootball.com|
|North Texas at Charlotte||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Florida International at Middle Tennessee||3:30 PM||NFL||NFLNetwork.com|
|Florida Atlantic at Old Dominion||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Syracuse at Florida State||3:30 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Virginia at Louisville||3:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arizona at Stanford||3:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Indiana at Nebraska||3:30 PM||BTN||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Tulane at Navy||3:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Central Michigan at Buffalo||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Eastern Michigan at Toledo||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Miami (OH) at Kent State||3:30 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Akron at Northern Illinois||3:30 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|South Florida at East Carolina||12:45 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Hawai'i at New Mexico||4:00 PM||Spectrum Sports|
|Duke at North Carolina||4:00 PM||ACCNX||WatchESPN.com|
|South Carolina at Tennessee||4:00 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Arkansas at #1 Alabama||7:00 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|Texas Tech at Kansas||7:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|UCF at Temple||7:00 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Memphis at Tulsa||7:00 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
|Texas State at Arkansas State||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Troy at Georgia State||7:00 PM||ESPN+||ESPN+|
|Boston College at #4 Clemson||7:30 PM||ACC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|#8 Notre Dame at #19 Michigan||7:30 PM||ABC||WatchESPN.com|
|#24 Arizona State at UCLA||7:30 PM||Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12.com|
|Colorado State at Fresno State||7:30 PM||ESPNU||WatchESPN.com|
|Missouri at Kentucky||7:30 PM||SEC Network||WatchESPN.com|
|Louisiana Tech at UTEP||8:00 PM||ESPN3||WatchESPN.com|
|California at #12 Utah||10:00 PM||FS1||FoxSportsGo.com|
|Utah State at Air Force||10:15 PM||ESPN2||WatchESPN.com|
|Washington State at #11 Oregon||10:30 PM||ESPN||WatchESPN.com|
|San Diego State at UNLV||10:30 PM||CBSSN||CBSSports.com|
No. 9 Auburn at No. 2 LSU (-14.5) — This is the first competent defense that LSU has faced. But, we said that about Florida too. Though the secondary has given up big plays this year, AU has not been allowing the YAC yards that LSU’s offense thrives off of. And, like Alabama, the home Tigers throw to set up the pass. Defensively, this is as mortal an LSU defense as you’ve seen in a quite a while too — also like Alabama. For Ed O, it’s a helluva’ swing against some quality-but-flawed teams: Florida, road game, home vs. a Charmed Barn, bye, then at Alabama. Can he run that gauntlet? If Auburn can tackle in space, exploit some of LSU’s glaring weaknesses, and make the other Tigers play conservative, possession football, then Gus could nail down one of the season’s biggest wins. This game is usually close. Expect more of the same today. Winner very probably takes home SEC COTY and has a winner-take-all meeting against the Tide for the West.
Duke at UNC (+3) — Ye Olde Timey coaches meet in a modern game where they have adapted quite well. The rebuilding Blue Devils are again respectable, while you can see what Mack Brown’s Tarheels will be doing in the years to come. And there is a lot to like for these ACC second-tier programs. Throw in a nasty institutional rivalry, two deans of the professions, and just how close these two teams are on the field, and we’ve got the potential for an under-the-radar great game. I normally wouldn’t advise ACC football under any circumstances, but we can make an exception for Mack Brown and David Cutcliffe — two of Alabama’s native sons.
No. 3 Ohio State (-14.5) vs. No. 13 Wisconsin — Last week we saw the two-decade problem with the Badgers resurface: lack of consistency. No matter the coach, no matter the year, Wisconsin will find ways to underachieve. But there is another tradition that UW hopes will stay true to form too: playing the Buckeyes close. Five of the last six have been decided by a touchdown or less. This is the first decent defense (at least on paper) that OSU has played or the first power running team its defense has faced that is dedicated to winning the line of scrimmage. Will more weaknesses appear for the Badgers today, or will they expose any sort of weaknesses in an OSU team that looks to be nigh invincible through three months? It’s going to be 55 degrees and storming in Columbus. That is perfect weather for the throwback Badgers. We’ll have to see how the quick-hitting tOSU passing game responds on a sloppy track.
Caveat Emptor: Of all the must-see games today, this one also has the potential to turn real ugly real quick. Illinois exposed Wisco a bit last week. And these Buckeyes have not had a weakness appear on film yet. Or are the Buckeyes Smaug-like, just waiting for the one arrow in the quiver that can take them down?
No. 8 Notre Dame at No. 19 (PK): Vegas played this one wisely: Notre Dame is the better team, but the Merchandising National Champion Walmart Wolverines are gonna’ load up on the home team under the lights. The home team has won the last five in this on-again-off-again rivalry between two of CFB’s royals. Not like the lights in the Big House will matter here: Ann Arbor can’t trot out anything remotely anything like ND has ever seen. Samford and the 100,000 barking Dawgs fans under the LEDS are a greater existential threat than the least intimidating large venue in the nation. You figure both teams will play it close to the vest in 50-degree rain — not like they wouldn’t have done so in either event. In that case, we turn to the line play. Defensively, it seems a wash — ND can shut down the run and UM excels at getting into the backfield. UM has the better offensive line, but it also has the far more erratic quarterback. You get the feeling this will be some error-prone football with tons of turnovers that comes down to two things. 1. Brian Kelly scheming his slot wideout against a Don Brown defense that has never been able to cover one, and 2. a late Shea Patterson mindfart that will eventually doom the Wolverines. A win here puts the Irish back in the playoff discussion (it’s a weak field, yo). But a Meatchicken win saves a season that has been 90% disappointment and 10% moral victory. Huge game, to say the least.
Be Ready To Grab the Remote:
Oklahoma (-24.5) at Kansas State — The Sooners are riding a Top 5 ranking, a Heisman frontrunner, a pillowy-soft schedule, and a seven-game winning streak in Manhattan. The Wildcats have an awful running defense but a Top 20 secondary. If Lincoln Riley tries to force balance or if KSU can make Jalen Hurts throw to win, this could get uncomfortable. There should not be enough ammo in the clip for Kleiman’s cats, but stranger things have happened.
No. 7 Penn State at Michigan State (+4) — This spread is very narrow for a reason. Franklin has many deficiencies as a coach, and among them is losing the mental game to Dantonio’s Spartans. MSU loves to make the game ugly, conservative, and then rely on opponents to make mistakes — usually they oblige. After falling into an early hole last week, this was the exact formula that Michigan used to nearly-spring the upset in Happy Valley. Franklin’s game management is akin to Les Miles with slightly better PR. This one is in East Lansing, where Franklin is winless and where it’s going to be a cold, windy, rainy one — Mark Dantonio’s paradisaical football weather. It wouldn’t be an upset either.
No. 15 Texas (-1) at TCU — The Frogs offense is languishing, but the defense has been solid most of the year (the whooping by SMU aside.) Texas’ offense has been solid, but the defense is a war crime. So, this is setting up for someone to faceplant spectacularly when its chief weakness rears its ugly head. The talent disparity should mean a cozy margin for the ‘Horns. But no one, literally no one, trusts Tom Herman to coach and prep a dozen solid games in one full season. This is exactly the kind of game Texas has lost under him the last three seasons. Like PSU/MSU, there’s a reason the spread is so close.
Troy (+1) at Georgia State — This is a big game in the CUSA Group B standings. And, it has the added benefit of almost certainly being a shootout. The loser is eliminated from contention. Troy is so very close to matching up with Appalachian State, while the Panthers have one of the better G5 wins of the season. A win by GSU here can set up an 11/16 meeting with App. State for the division. A win by Troy keeps them in striking range. This will be a very good game. If the big boys let you down, these two probably won’t.
South Carolina (-4.5) at Tennessee: Gross. Just don’t. I mean, unless you like watching Will Muschamp and Jeremy Pruitt coach some also-ran SEC East teams in the rain, and in that case knock yourself out. I’m not here to kink-shame anyone.
Washington State at No. 11 Oregon (-14): Have you seen Mike Leach’s road record against? And not just losses, bad ones against bad teams? These Ducks are emphatically not a bad team. I’m not sure if Cristobal is a good coach, but I’m damned certain Leach is a far worse one when he hits the road.
Mizzou (-9.5) at Kentucky: Kentucky is still Kentucky. Mizzou has lost two games this year, both on the road, and both badly: Vanderbilt and Wyoming. Both of these coaches could be fired by Christmas.
Week’s Year’s Unwatchable Filth
Welp. Time to lay this column to rest. We’ve found it: The very worst game of college football you’ll ever see.
UMass vs. UConn is up there with the classic 2008 Apple Cup in terms of awfulness. But, it will be so much worse. You take the quality of that pair (both 1-6), play it in New England where the talent is lower in any event, and then make it between a team that is so bad it got kicked out of the MAC. The other is so bad that it kicked itself out of the AAC...the bad division of the AAC.
It goes without saying that neither team has beaten a P5 team. UConn’s lone victory? A 24-21 home “win” over 1-6 FCS Wagner. UMass? A one-score “win” over 0-7 Akron.
But, enough of the superlatives, let’s get to the tale of the tape to truly illustrate this one:
FEI: UMass (130) vs. UConn (125)
Adj. Offense: UMass (126) vs. UConn (128)
Scoring Offense: UMass (116) vs. UConn (124)
Adj. Defense: UMass (130) vs. UConn (119)
Scoring Defense: UMass (130) vs. UConn (125)
Special Teams: UMass (104) vs. UConn (99)
Sacks Allowed: UMass (112) vs. UConn (113)
Sack Yards Allowed: UMass (77) vs. UConn (79)
F+: UMass (130) vs. UConn (126)
S&P+: UMass (130) vs. UConn (126)
Ordinarily, we expect the Unwatchable Filth to have some awful qualities. But we’ve never seen a game where two teams are uniformly and competitively assy in every phase of the game. From talent, to locale, to defense, to offense, to special teams, to coaching — yuck.
The “best” part here? UConn is a double-digit favorite. As bad as these two teams are are, Vegas doesn’t even think it’ll be close.
The Unwatchable Filth of the Decade is going to serve up more full-contact butt than Nicki Minaj leg-wrestling Kim Kardashian.