After a week of being sick, to the point that this is my first post of the week, I’m ready for some football. We have a solid lineup of games to kick off the meat of the season.
Texas and Oklahoma renew the Red River Shootout Rivalry, or, as it has been known in recent years, the Red River Slaughter. If this one is lopsided we might see Mack Brown get ‘Kiffined.’
The Big Ten and Pac-12 will be in the spotlight again with some very intriguing match-ups. By far the biggest is Oregon facing their toughest test to date against a pesky Washington club.
As much as we would love to park ourselves in front of the tube for 24 hours of football, it simply isn’t possible. This list will help you efficiently navigate a clustered landscape of game. In honor of that autumn crisp to the air, I suggest something pumpkin flavored. A lot of breweries are putting out pumpkin flavored beer these days and, as we all know, you can never go wrong with beer. [Editor’s note: We recommend Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin Ale]
Note: All times Eastern
Must See: Rutgers at Louisville – The undefeated Cardinals took down the Scarlet Knights, but were hardly impressive. Rutgers has played some good ball this year, though Louisville was expected to dominate. With the national spotlight on them, Teddy Bridgewater and Louisville failed to live up to the hype. They took a hit in public perception.
Sleeper: Memphis at Houston – The Tigers have been a pesky team this year, playing a lot better than their 1-3 mark indicates. Meanwhile, Houston is one of the stranger undefeated teams in the nation with two tight wins and two blowouts. It will be interesting to see which Cougar team comes to play against Memphis. 12:00 pm, ESPN News / WatchESPN app
Avoid: USF at UConn – A combined 1-8 slop-fest up in Storrs.
Must See: Pitt at Virginia Tech – The Panthers have played pretty well since their opening day loss to FSU. In fact, Pitt sits at 2-1 in the ACC, just behind Miami and VT in the Coastal. A Pitt win would further muddle the wide-open division race. For Tech it will be another case of which shows up. They have yet to play a complete sixty minutes of football, but are still 5-1. It will be interesting to see if they can keep winning with such inconsistent play. 12:00 pm, ESPNU / Watch ESPN app
Sleeper: Navy at Duke – Each team averages in the 30s, but the Midshipmen have shown a little bit more muscle on defense than the Blue Devils. Each have 3 wins but still face tough games ahead, especially Duke. A victory would really help each team’s bowl hopes. 12:30 GamePlan / ESPN3
I am also curious to see how long BC can hang at Clemson. The Eagles have been playing better than many expected this season, but this is a difficult road trip, to say the least. 3:30 pm, ABC / ESPN 2
Avoid: Syracuse at NC State – The teams enter a combined 0-3 in ACC play and, following that hiccup against Wake, I’m not sure what NC State has going for them at this point. The Orange are coming off a blowout to Clemson in their ACC debut. All these storylines scream, ”stay away!”
Must See: Oklahoma vs Texas – One of college football’s best rivalries finds two teams hungry for different reasons. This one needs no hype. 12:00 pm, ABC
Sleeper: Baylor at Kansas State – When you average 70 points a game like Baylor, all your games become interesting. 3:30 pm, Fox
Avoid: Kansas at TCU – Always a safe bet to turn off any Kansas game, unless it is played on the hardwood.
Must See: Northwestern at Wisconsin – Northwestern played very well against OSU, but still came up short. All is not lost, as they can still win their division and set up a potential rematch; however, dropping 0-2 in the league will be a huge hole. Wisconsin also wants to avoid an 0-2 league start. Despite being a very solid team, the loser of this game is all but done in the league race. 3:30 pm, ABC / ESPN 2
Sleeper: Indiana at Michigan State – IU has the 12th best scoring offense in the land, but MSU has the 7th best scoring defense. Both look to get to 2-0 in league play. Indiana still faces major hurdles on its path to the Big Ten Football Championship Game, regardless of the outcome. A Spartans win will be a big one, considering the Legends Division is more wide open. 12:00 pm, ESPN2 / WatchESPN app
Avoid: Nebraska at Purdue – The Boilermakers are…awful. Nebraska is a very quiet 4-1 with the lone loss to a stellar UCLA team. Uh-oh.
Must See: Oregon at Washington – The Ducks haven’t been tested all year but the Huskies present a good challenge. Washington has beaten a good Boise team, a nice Illinois club and took down Arizona. They also played very well against Stanford last week. If being battle tested helps you prepare for an upset bid, the Huskies are more than ready to shake up a season yet to see a major upset. This should be a fun one. 4:00 pm, Fox Sports 1
Sleeper: Oregon State at Washington State – These teams are a combined 8-3 (4-1 in conference) but you wouldn’t know it. They are under the radar, even in Pac-12 country. For the Beavers, a win would keep them perfect in Pac-12 play, though they still have to face Washington, Oregon and Stanford in the difficult North. WSU has their sights set on a more manageable goal – a postseason trip. A home win here would put them at five, yes FIVE victories, just one shy of locking down a bowl. 10:30 pm, ESPNU / WatchESPN app
Avoid: Cal at UCLA – Despite phenom freshman qb Jared Goff, Cal has been getting blasted left and right. Expect more of the same against a Bruin team knocking on the top-ten door.
Independent and Non AQ
East Carolina at Tulane – Each club enters with 4 wins and identical 2-0 league starts. ECU’s season has been more publicized, thanks to its drubbing of North Carolina. However, this is Tulane’s best start in years, and a huge game for the rebuilding program. 3:30 pm, no national tv listed
Bowling Green at Mississippi State – The Falcons are flying high (sorry, I couldn’t resist) at 5-1, but thanks to Northern Illinois no one seems to be talking about them in MAC land. Meanwhile, Dan Mullen’s team has been a disappointment, sits under .500 for the season, and has yet to win an SEC game. With a woe-is-me attitude from the Fighting Cowbells and an aggressive mindset by Bowling Green, an upset could happen down in Starkville. 7:30 pm, GamePlan / ESPN 3
Akron at Northern Illinois – Speaking of that nationally ranked NIU team, they get the Zips this week. The Huskies should handle the 1-5 team easily, but when you’ve been king of the league for the last year and a half, you get everyone’s best shot. 5:00 pm, ESPN 3