We’re back to preview another week of college football, separating the winners from the losers, the watchables from the unmentionables! I can’t wait to get started! Let me just take a glance at what’s on TV.
Look, I’m not going to sugarcoat this: based on my initial look-see, there ain’t too much worth watching this weekend. And most of the entertaining stuff is front-loaded. If you have some charity ball or gala or something and you have to forego the Night/Late Night slate of games all together, don’t worry. You probably won’t miss anything memorable.
However! I will still be tweeting up a storm at @WatchingCFB, keeping you up to date this Saturday. And stick around on Sunday, where I offer my hottest takes from the weekend and urge you to do the same. On Tuesday, I’ll release my latest Tier Rankings for every Power 5 conference. Then you can tell me how very, very dumb I am for thinking [insert team here] is better than [team you like]. So yeah, please follow! That’s the first ground rule out of the way.
Rule number two: if your team’s playing, watch away. Ignore anything and everything I say about what should be on your Big Screen. And finally, rule three: all times below are in God’s Time Zone (CST, obviously).
We start with a blessing: another weekend with good football that isn’t on Saturday. Small miracles! Settle in for an excellent American showdown in UCF vs. Cincinnati (7p, ESPN). The Bearcats’ strong point has absolutely NOT been their offense. But UCF’s has. They lead the sport on that side of the ball. Cincy’s got a staunch D that only really struggled to hold down Ohio State. If UCF can overwhelm them too, they’ll win handily.
Big Screen: Iowa vs. Michigan (11a, FOX) leads off, and I don’t expect this to be pretty or delightful or even all that entertaining, if you like points. Both teams rely on stalwart defense and run-leaning offense to compete. But Michigan needs a victory. They can’t keep losing to top-tier Big Ten talent. And they know it. Expect Harbaugh to get desperate. It’ll make for high drama for your biggest TV.
Second Screen: A secretly decent Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech (11a, FS1) tilt should occupy your alternate screen of choice during this block of games. The Cowboys often have some trouble away from their claustrophobic home stadium. The Raiders don’t seem like they’re in position for an upset right now, but they are known to explode now and then.
Watch the Score: TCU vs. Iowa State (11a, ESPN2)
Big Screen: Auburn vs. Florida (2:30p, CBS) is objectively the best game of the weekend by far, featuring two top 10 teams in striking distance of the SEC crown. Bo Nix and Kyle Trask both enter the game with doubters (I’m one of them). This may come down to which offense game-plans better, because both defenses have chinks in the armor.
Second Screen: Baylor vs. Kansas State (2:30p, ESPN2) contains multitudes of questions. Is KSU’s run defense alright? Can Baylor avoid a letdown from last week’s defense-heavy last-second comeback? And can either the Wildcats or the Bears show any spark of a possible challenge to Oklahoma and Texas?
Watch the Score: Arizona vs. Colorado (3:30p, PAC12N), Texas vs. West Virginia (2:30p, ABC)
Big Screen: It’s Ohio State vs. Michigan State (6:30p, ABC). This season’s Buckeyes best resemble a remorseless inhuman force of nature, an F5 tornado that leaves Saturday nights barren of anything resembling entertainment with its overwhelming devastation. But this is the only truly good game with stakes this evening. So pray that Sparty will at least crumple before the storm in an interesting way.
Second Screen: Oregon vs. Cal (7p, FOX) would have been really interesting had Cal’s starting QB not been injured last week. Devon Modster, his backup, looked lackluster. Oregon has the #7 defense in the country by yards allowed. You see where I’m going with this.
Watch the Score: Pitt vs. Duke (7p, ACCN)
Big Screen: Washington vs. Stanford (9:30p, ESPN) is honestly probably not all that good. The Huskies will probably dominate as the Cardinal keep rotting away, losing more of their leaves the further we get into fall. (Get it? Because their logo is a tree! I’m very funny.) But weird things happen in #Pac12AfterDark. So keep an eye on this one.
That’s it for now! Remember, you can find me on Twitter here. Happy watching!