Notre Dame will face Air Force this Saturday in what should be the least stressful game of the season for the Fighting Irish. With Navy next on the slate this will also be the first of two back-to-back games against Service academies that feature option attacks.
The rest of the college football schedule for this weekend is relatively uninteresting which means that we will certainly get another handful of upsets that nobody sees coming!
Does anyone else get annoyed about the polls as much as I do? When I was going through all of the rankings this week I was reminded just how annoying the polls can be. My real pet peeve with the polls is the way that the preseason rankings are such a big part of how the rankings play out for the rest of the season. That always contributes to individual team rankings at this point in the season that make zero sense to me.
Here is a perfect example. UCF beat Louisville last weekend and both teams now have one loss. Per the latest Sagarin rankings Louisville's strength of schedule is ranked 106 and UCF's strength of schedule is ranked 41. So despite playing a tougher schedule, and beating Louisville head to head, UCF is ranked #25 and Louisville dropped to #16. Really?
As far as I'm concerned there shouldn't be any rankings until at least halfway through the season. As long as you have rankings of any kind they aren't going to be perfect, but the lingering ripple effect from the preseason rankings annoys me more than anything else. Mini rant over. Let's look at the games.
If any of you are looking for full TV schedules I suggest the link below.
*All times listed are EST.
Rankings are per the USA Today Coaches Poll.
Thursday October 24th
Kentucky (1-5) at Mississippi State (3-3) 7:30 ESPN
These two SEC bottom feeders will duke it out on Thursday night. I can't wait to hear about how incredibly deep the SEC is for 3 1/2 hours.
Friday October 25th
Boise State (5-2) at BYU (5-2) 8:00 ESPN
Hey check it out BYU is on National TV again.
Saturday October 26th
#21 Nebraska (5-1) at Minnesota (5-2) 12:00 ESPN
Is anyone really interested in this game? I still think that Nebraska should have stayed put in the Big 12.
#16 Louisville (6-1) at USF (2-4) 12:00 ESPN2
Charlie Strong and Teddy Bridgewater will look to get back on track against a hapless USF squad.
Houston (5-1) at Rutgers (4-2) 12:00 ESPN News
Houston finally dropped a game in a shootout with BYU last weekend. This game might be equally entertaining.
Wake Forest (4-3) at #6 Miami FL (6-0) 12:00 ESPNU
Miami had a narrow escape at North Carolina last Thursday and got handed some relatively minor sanctions from the NCAA yesterday. Can Wake catch the Canes while they are distracted and pull off the upset?
Pittsburgh (4-2) at Navy (3-3) 1:00 CBS Sports Network
Two for one scouting opportunity!
#9 Texas Tech (7-0) at #12 Oklahoma (6-1) 3:30 FOX
Texas Tech has been a nice little story en-route to a 7-0 record, and a Top 10 ranking, but this trip to Norman kicks off a tough 5 game stretch that will likely serve as a dose of reality. After this game Coach Kliff and the Raiders will still have to face Okie Light, Kansas State, Baylor and Texas. I think they take their first loss in Norman this weekend.
Tennessee (4-3) at #1 Alabama (7-0) 3:30 CBS
Can the Vols ride the momentum from an upset of South Carolina to an even bigger upset in Tuscaloosa? Nah.
Michigan State (6-1) at Illinois (3-3) 3:30 ABC/ ESPN2
This matchup couldn't be less interesting. Hey who beat Michigan State anyway?
NC State (3-3) at #3 Florida State (6-0) 3:30 ABC/ ESPN2
Who wants to play Florida State right now? Jameis Winston and the Noles just completely dismantled Clemson last weekend in Death Valley. This game will be ugly.
#10 Clemson (6-1) at Maryland (5-2) 3:30 ESPN
How do you lose 51-10 at home and stay in the Top 10? It would be sweet if the Fighting Dabo's would just go ahead and lose to the Terps too. Sadly that probably isn't likely.
Duke (5-2) at #19 Virginia Tech (6-1) 3:30 ESPNU
The Hokies lost to Alabama 35-10 in week 1 and as I just mentioned Clemson got blown out by Florida State last weekend. Of course VT still trails Clemson by 9 spots in the polls. The Hokies have what might be the best defense in the country right now and will likely ride that defense until they play Miami for the ACC Coastal championship on November 9th. That will be a good game when the time comes.
Notre Dame (5-2) at Air Force (1-6) 5:00 CBS Sports Network
Who has CBS Sports Network in their cable package? I'm going to have to subscribe to some garbage sports package for $9.99 a month to watch this one. It's annoying but I'll do it. As for the game itself the Irish are coming off of a gutsy win against USC that required a stellar second half defensive performance after Tommy Rees was knocked out of the game.
Rees has been cleared to play but if the staff wants to limit him there couldn't be a better time for it. Air Force is terrible and hasn't won a game since picking up a week 1 victory over Colgate. Andrew Hendrix obviously has some things to work on and this game should be a good opportunity for him to do that. Full previews from the staff are on the way. Get ready to talk about some option football!
#11 UCLA (5-1) at #2 Oregon (7-0) 7:00 ESPN/ ESPN2
I wonder if Oregon defensive coordinator Nick Aliotti will get mad if the Bruins keep playing for four quarters too?
#20 South Carolina (5-2) at #7 Missouri (7-0) 7:00 ESPN/ ESPN2
No matter what happens in this game the announcers will definitely beat the "SEC is soooooo deeeeep" drum throughout the broadcast. Mizzu currently has a 2 game lead over South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the SEC East. The Tigers have already beaten Georgia and Florida but will they make it a clean sweep and beat Spurrier and the Gamecocks too? Who had Mizzu going to the SEC Championship game in the preseason?
#5 Baylor (6-0) at Kansas (2-4) 7:00 ESPNU
Art Briles and the Bears got back to scoring 70+ points again last weekend with a 71-7 pasting of Iowa State. Next up Chuck Weis and the Jayhawks. This is going to be ugly. Real ugly. Baylor is similar to Texas Tech in that all of their best opponents are on the back end of their schedule. After they run rule Kansas the Bears have remaining games against Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Okie Light, TCU and Texas. I don't see them running through those 5 games undefeated. Then again who can keep pace with them?
Texas (4-2) at TCU (3-4) 7:30 Fox Sports 1
The Horned Frogs are having a rough go of it this year. Gary Patterson's crew will have to find a way to knock off the Horns to get back to .500. If they can't pull it off bowl eligibility is in serious jeopardy.
Penn State (4-2) at #4 Ohio State (7-0) 8:00 ABC
Does Kirk Herbstreit need a police escort to get back into Columbus? I really don't think that Ohio State is all that good. Definitely not BCS Championship good. Perhaps the Nittany Lions will do us all a favor and hand Urban Meyer his first loss in Columbus.
#8 Stanford (6-1) at Oregon State (6-1) 10:30 ESPN
This is an interesting game. The Beavers are a dangerous team with a high flying passing attack. Will the Trees be able to keep them in check? I expect this one to end up looking a lot like the 42-28 Cardinal win over Arizona State a few weeks ago.
#18 Fresno State (6-0) at San Diego State (3-3) 10:30 ESPN2
Fresno State is likely going to run the table. When they do will they get a trip to the BCS as an at-large or will they end up in the Las Vegas Bowl against Pac-12 #5?
Cal (1-6) at Washington (4-3) 11:30 Fox Sports 1
U Dub has dropped 3 straight games to Stanford, Oregon, and Arizona State. The hapless Bears will likely be just what the doctor ordered in Seattle.
What else should we be trying to keep an eye on? See you in the open threads on Saturday.