A shark can detect blood in only 1 part per million of water. That’s a drop of blood in your average sized swimming pool.
This incredible sense of smell makes them one of the most efficient and fearsome predators on the planet, so fearsome that Discovery Channel devotes a week of programming to them in some sort of ritual yearly appeasement of angry shark god wrath.
Why am I beginning this article, which is ostensibly about college football, by bloviating about sharks?
Well, like a good shark, I smell blood in the water.
So many games this week appear poised for chaos. Like disaster-movie, barroom-brawl, Elmo-fire-GIF level CHAOS. Whether it’s sneaky good upstarts against teams riding high on their own fumes, or just two really punchy midweights ready for a fight, this slate of matchups strikes me as spoiling to explode.
Or not. That’s the thing about chaos. Sometimes the bonfire doesn’t catch fire, no matter how many industrial-grade blowtorches you use. (Not like I know from experience or anything.) But trust me, this week has a higher chance of combustion than usual.
Below I’ll break down Saturday’s games, letting you know what you should watch on your big ol’ TV and second screen of choice, along with a bunch to keep your eye on.
If you want more sweet college football content, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @WatchingCFB. Every Sunday you’ll also see my hottest takes from the games before, and I’ll let you know who’s still in the running for the College Football Playoff based on my foolproof formula. No joke, it’s predicted the Playoff correctly every year. Then on Tuesday, look out for my Tier Rankings, a great way to make sense of where every team stands.
Also, if your team’s playing, they should go on the Big Screen. Also also, all times below are in God’s Time Zone (CST). Let’s get goin’!
Big Screen: After the first Friday of the year with nothing terribly pressing on, Florida vs. South Carolina (11a, ESPN) leads us off on college football Saturday. The Gamecocks come off a stunning upset of Georgia ready for more top-tier meat, and they’ve got a good meal of alligator coming to town. Florida suffered an emotionally exhausting defeat against LSU last week, and who knows how ready they’ll be for the spoiler-minded Gamecocks. Kyle Trask may be in deep water with Will Muschamp’s vaunted D before he knows it.
Second Screen: Iowa State vs. Texas Tech (11a, FS1) brings together two Big 12 teams who’ve shown plenty of fight early in the year seeking to separate from the mid-conference pack. While the Cyclones are more balanced, Tech still leans more heavily on its offense, and they’re probably hopping mad after a close loss against Baylor last week.
Watch the Score: TCU vs. Kansas State (1:30p, FSN)
Big Screen: Oregon vs. Washington (2:30p, ABC) is for all the PAC-12 marbles, probably. If Oregon wins, the conference likely still has a Playoff shot. And the Ducks have invested a ton in rebuilding a championship-caliber squad over the past few years. But the Huskies are no slouch. The key question: can Oregon’s historically great D sufficiently stifle Washington?
Second Screen: Baylor vs. Oklahoma State (3p, FOX) earns this spot as a prime candidate for that aforementioned CHAOS. Baylor’s undefeated, but they lost their crucial starting LB to a torn ACL this week. The game’s in the notoriously difficult environs of Stillwater, OK. And Baylor’s been prone to slow starts on offense of late. If Spencer Sanders opens up the Pokes’ offense on the Bears early, look out.
Watch the Score: Temple vs. SMU (2:30p, ESPN2), LSU vs. Mississippi State (2:30p, CBS), North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech (2:30p, CBSSN)
Big Screen: Penn State vs. Michigan (6:30p, ABC) is a make or break game for the Wolverines’ head ball coach. Jim Harbaugh’s in the middle of another frustrating season, and he needs a convincing win over a conference power. Penn State’s got dreams of a big year, though. Playoff big. And they’d very much like to send Harbaugh packing, full suitcase of pressed khakis in tow.
Second Screen: Arizona State vs. Utah (5p, P12N) kicks off a tad earlier than usual for the nighttime block. Maybe both teams are trying to minimize #PAC12AfterDark weirdness as much as possible. Not sure it’ll work, though. The Utes will do their level best to avoid Herm Edwards’ trademark wiliness. The winner rises to the top tier of the PAC-12.
Watch the Score: Tulane vs. Memphis (6p, ESPN2), Florida State vs. Wake Forest (6:30p, ACCN), Arizona vs. USC (8:30p, P12N)
Big Screen: Boise State vs. BYU (9:15p, ESPN2) is a potential roadblock for the Broncos, who (from where I sit) currently sit in the drivers’ seat for the Group of 5’s New Year’s Six bowl berth. BYU has been sneaky good all year. Never count out the magic of the Mormon Manziel, Zach Wilson – if he plays. That’s right, we’ve got some starting QB intrigue for the Cougars.
Second Screen: Man, a second straight week with two solid late night games? We are truly blessed, friends. Air Force vs. Hawaii (10p, CBSSN) is set to get real silly, as an option-running service academy clashes with the spasmodic hurricane that is current-year Hawaii football. Cole McDonald’s just as likely to throw a silly pick as he is to pick you apart with his capable receivers. And if that fails, he can just go back to the farm he has. E-I-E-I-O.
Are you ready for another spectacular Saturday of college football? I sure am! Remember to follow me at @WatchingCFB, and happy watching!