A rather weak slate of games has a few gems, including Johnny Football's visit to Tuscaloosa and a top-15 PAC12 showdown.
As fun as last weekend was (unless you were a faint-of-heart Irish/Tide supporter or Pitt/LSU fan), this weekend was going to have a hard time living up to it with the best of slates. As it stands, we don't have anything near that. Due to running perilously low on sleep from a busy few days of work, this will be one of our briefer Viewers' Guides. Fear not, however, as we'll go all out again tomorrow.
Thursday, November 8th:
#10 Florida State at Virginia Tech, 7:30pm, ESPN: Florida State can wrap up their division* with a win here and next week at Maryland or a loss by Clemson. This is the worst Virginia Tech team in a long, long time, and now the interest switches to next season, to see whether this is an aberration for BeamerBall or the sign of an older coach running out of steam.
* I follow college football to an unhealthy degree, and eight years since the ACC went to divisions and a championship game, I still cannot tell you who is in what division, and sometimes I can't even tell you what they're called. I know certain teams are in different divisions because they played each other in the title game (VT and FSU, for example), but that's the extent of it. #goacc
Friday, November 9th:
Pittsburgh at Connecticut, 8:00pm, ESPN: For the sake of my sanity (and ND's BCS ranking), I hope Pitt comes out and blows the doors off of the Huskies.
Saturday, November 10th:
Wisconsin at Indiana/#24 Northwestern at Michigan, 12:00pm, ESPN2/ESPN: Incredibly important match-ups in the Big Ten race, where the winner of Wisconsin/Indiana will control their own destiny for the title game, while the Northwestern/Michigan winner will still need a stumble from Nebraska. You can still hold out hope for that Oregon State/Indiana Rose Bowl.
#9 Louisville at Syracuse, 12:00pm, ABC: Louisville is undefeated but on the road with a young team, plus it's the weird early start time in the dome. The Orange are not good, but it wouldn't be that surprising to see some weirdness early here.
#11 Oregon State at #14 Stanford, 3:00pm, Fox: Huge game for Notre Dame's strength of schedule and chances of going to the Rose Bowl. (If Oregon makes the title game and there's no qualified PAC12 participant - which their might not be if OSU drops one here - then the Irish would likely head to Pasadena.)
#15 Texas A&M at #1 Alabama, 3:30pm, CBS: Your game of the day, as Johnny Football faces off against a Tide team that was face-to-face with their football mortality at LSU. Manziel is probably the best quarterback Alabama has faced since the start of last season, which is less of a compliment when you look at all the quarterbacks Saban's team has faced. (They're not good.) This is Alabama's last test before the SEC Championship game [Western Carolina (!) and Auburn], so acing it would put them that much closer to a BCS title game appearance.
#21 Mississippi State at #7 LSU, 7:00pm, ESPN: I'm not sure how the Bulldogs are still ranked, but considering the difficulty I had filling out the bottom of the BlogPoll this week, I won't be too spiteful. MSU has played exactly two good teams this season and has had their asses handed to them an equal number of times. There might be a hangover from Les Miles losing his mind on Saturday night with a bunch of really, really weird decisions, but I think the Tiger talent will trump the Bulldogs.
#2 Kansas State at TCU, 7:00pm, Fox: This game became a lot more interesting last week when Collin Klein was dinged up in the Wildcats' win over Oklahoma State and TCU prevailed in Morgantown. The Wildcats will likely get passed by Oregon if both teams win out, but pasting the Horned Frogs to impress voters could only help their cause.
#4 Notre Dame at Boston College, 8:00pm, ABC: Boston College is just so, so awful that anything less than absolute domination would be unacceptable from the Irish. I'm attending, which is my first trip to Chestnut Hill for a game. My expectations are not high.
#3 Oregon at Cal/Utah at Washington/#18 UCLA at Washington State, 10:30pm, ESPN/PAC12/ESPN2: A bevy of late-night games, one of which will likely end up being interested, although the underdogs in each game have not been playing well at all. UCLA seems like a potential letdown victim, but Mike Leach's squad has just not learned the pirate way yet.