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Red River Shootout! Battle in the Bayou! Trees vs. Leprechauns! All of that and more await us this week.
The only bad thing about last weekend's ridiculously fun weekend of college football is that it used up the "Aw, Florida State just got upset and knocked out of the national title race" loss that we were all looking forward to so much. Yeah, it was fun, but now it's over and we've got a little less to look forward to in our lives. After a couple weeks where all the good stuff was in primetime, this Saturday's schedule is a little more spread out, so you'll need to be buckled up from the start of College GameDay (live from South Bend, Indiana, if you happened to miss that announcement).
Onward and upward, with all time Eastern:
Thursday, October 11th:
Arizona State at Colorado, 9:00pm, ESPN: Not a great one this week, you guys. Todd Graham's dream job performance has the Sun Devils at 2-0, but the first rule of competing for a conference title is "DO NOT LOSE TO COLORADO," especially with Oregon coming to town the following week. Arizona State is on Thursday night two weeks in a row, and while there is a great "NBC canceled series" joke here, I'm going to be nice and not make it.
Friday, October 12th:
Navy at Central Michigan, 8:00pm, ESPN2: Yikes. I guess we root for Navy here for strength of schedule? Maybe Ricky Dobbs and Dan LeFevour can arm wrestle at halftime, just so both sides can remember the good times.
Saturday, October 13th:
#18 Louisville at Pitt, 11:00am, ESPNU: Poor Pitt, they can't put people into Heinz Field with a noon start. If you're starting a game before noon, you sure as hell better allow overnight tailgating, and I can absolutely guarantee you Pittsburgh (the city and the university) is not letting that happen. It would suck so, so much to have an off-campus stadium. Imagine if you had to get on a bus, hungover as all hell, every home Saturday morning? Puking in a bush on the way to drink all day at a tailgate is an American right. On the football front, Louisville has been a little shaky one the road and Pitt seems less terrible than they did at the beginning of the season, so this might be an acceptable appetizer.
#6 Kansas State at Iowa State, 12:00pm, FX: Ames is where undefeated seasons go to die, as long as you only look back at the past twelve months, when the Oklahoma State Cowboys suffered their only black mark of the season at Iowa State. Is Bill Snyder's zombie wizardry capable of overcoming Paul Rhoads' immense pride in his team? Let's find out in what should be a legitimately fun game.
#15 Oklahoma vs. #13 Texas, 12:00pm, ABC: First off, if you call this the Red River Rivalry you are history's greatest monster. This is the Red River Shootout, and will forever be known as that. This is basically an elimination game as far as the Big XII title goes, as both would fall two games behind Kansas State and West Virginia. Can young gun David Ash unseat old horse Landry Jones? Will Mack Brown wear his finest track suit? What will be the most entertaining fried thing they'll show during the broadcast? Tune in and find out!
Wisconsin at Purdue, 12:00pm, Big Ten Network: Either Purdue, Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois are going to play in the Big Ten Title Game. Wisconsin can essentially win the division here, which is hilarious and sad and so perfectly Big Ten.
North Carolina at Miami (FL), 2:30pm, ESPNU: Dozens of fans will show up to watch two programs who may get blown off the map by NCAA sanctions in the coming months. This is college football at its degenerate finest.
#17 Stanford at #7 Notre Dame, 3:30pm, NBC: I find myself not that worried and very excited for this game, so it will almost assuredly be a Notre Dame loss. Sorry, folks.
#1 Alabama at Missouri, 3:30pm, CBS: What's the record of teams playing the nation's number-one ranked squad the week after losing to Vanderbilt? I'm managing to guess not great. If the Tigers thought hosting Georgia was rough last month, they haven't seen anything yet.
#10 Oregon State at BYU, 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN3: Essential toggling for Notre Dame fans, as next week's opponent takes on a top-ten squad missing their starting quarterback. The Cougar defense has been exceptional in some really, really ugly games against not necessarily inspirational opponents. This will be their stiffest test of the season and should provide some insight into what the Irish will see next Saturday.
#5 West Virginia at Texas Tech, 3:30pm, ABC: Oh, if only Mike Leach were still captain in Lubbock, this would be must-see television. The Red Raiders' defense, statistically inflated by their September of cupcakes, was regressed very forcibly to the mean by Bob Stoops' offense last week. I see no reason to think that Geno Smith won't continue to plant his flag across the state of Texas, but this line seems low at less than a touchdown and makes me very, very wary of Vegas knowing something we don't.
Boston College at #12 Florida State, 5:30pm, ESPN2: This is hilarious for so many reasons, including the start time. What will the crowd be like? Will the Seminoles bounce back from last week's mess? This will probably be a miserable blowout, but if it's not? Must-see television.
#4 Florida at Vanderbilt, 6:00pm, ESPNU: The Commodores played South Carolina tough at home and beat Missouri there and the Gators may have a bit of a hangover from their 12-round bout with LSU, so keep an eye on this one. I think Florida rolls, but it's tight for a while.
#11 USC at Washington, 7:00pm, Fox: Washington has been mauled by Oregon and LSU on the road and beat Stanford at home, so at least they're getting the Trojans in the friendly confines. The Husky offensive line is just so, so bad, there's just no reason to believe they'll be able to score with Barkley and his terrifying array of receivers.
#3 South Carolina at #9 LSU, 8:00pm, ESPN: Your Game of the Week, by a wide margin. If LSU falls here, it would almost lock up the SEC West for Alabama, while South Carolina is attempting to stay above the East fray. The Gamecocks play at Florida next week, so even if they win this, their path to the national title game is just grueling.
Tennessee at #19 Mississippi State, 9:00pm, ESPN2: The Bulldogs are undefeated but they haven't played anybody yet, meaning Tyler Bray's bombs-away-but-hey-here-are-some-turnovers offense will be their stiffest test of the season. Also, 8:00pm local kickoff in StarkVegas? Stay safe out there, kids.
#22 Texas A&M at #23 Louisiana Tech, 9:00pm, ESPNU: If the Bulldogs can fend off the Aggies, they would be lined up for an undefeated season with victories over three BCS conference foes (Illinois, Virginia, A&M) and a path to the BCS. This is the biggest game in Shreveport in a long, long time, and will definitely be worth your time as there's a strict "Check your defense at the door" policy in play here.