This hopes to be a special weekend for Ohio State football. It’s Homecoming, always an important event in Ohio State lore. It’s a night game against the defending B1G TEN Champion and BCS spot-holders from last year. The Buckeyes are unveiling their Pro Combat Nike uniforms this season, for which I still have grave reservations. It is nominally a tribute to the 1961 national champion team,1 but looks more like what Nike thinks Ohio State football would look like in a post-apocalyptic Mad Max-ian hellscape where people pray for death but death does not come because they are already dead inside. The weekend also holds Eat Too Brutus, which promises to be a treat.
Plus, it’ll be my first Buckeye football game in six years, so I’m hoping for something good. I don’t think I’ll be watching much over the weekend, but here’s what I would be watching if I could.
- Troy @ Florida International (ESPN2, 8:00pm ET). It’s Tuesday night, which begs the question, are you ready for some Sun Belt football? A Tuesday night party? Probably not. Florida International is a defending conference champion, and even has victories over North Texas, Central Florida and Boston College this year. That said, FIU has taken a step back and were waxed by ArKansas State last week. Troy does have victories over doormats Alabama-Birmingham and Middle Tennessee State, and no one else. So, yeah. All your rowdy friends are clearly not here on Tuesday night.
- Connecticut @ Pittsburgh (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). We get Wednesday night football too? Evidently the answer is yes, and holds for the weeks going forward. The Big East is a clusterfuck this year, more than it usually is. Cincitucky narrowly clinching victory from near defeat against South Florida prevented a 7-way logjam for first place in the conference. As for these two squads? Both are 3-4 overall. Both squads’ most meaningful victories were against South Florida, who has yet to win a conference game. I got nothing.
- Rice @ Houtson (CBS Sports?, 8:00pm ET). I’m not sure I had this figuratively “on paper”, but Houston was my pick to threaten to bust the BCS. Their major hurdle was Week 1 against UCLA, which they won. Minus a scare here and there, they’ve looked every bit the part of a uppity mid-major like Boise State, Utah and Texas Christian before it. I’m not sure they were favored against UCLA (nor do I particularly care), but they’re going to be favorites in every game going forward. You might want to watch them. Their quarterback, Case Keenum (who I think is ABD right now after spending 6 years in college), just surpassed Timmy Chang’s NCAA record for total offense in a career last week against Marshall.
- Virginia @ Miami (FL) (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). If you remember, last year’s installment in this series resulted in a Virginia upset, the fourth and final victory for the Hoos last year. It also basically cemented Randy Shannon’s fate. They meet again this year. It’s not the game I care about, but the good people of South Beach. Thursday night football can only mean Craig James is in town. There’s just something about Craig James being in South Beach that is horribly, horribly wrong. It could be nothing, or it could be something that will result in David Caruso kneeling over the corpse of a butchered prostitute, delivering a one-liner and putting on his sunglasses afterward. YEEEEEAHH!!!
- Brigham Young @ Texas Christian (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). This is the last former Mountain West squad on the schedule for now independent Brigham Young. Meanwhile, Texas Christian’s adventures after its decision to leave the Mountain West has ultimately led to its decision to replace Texas A&M in the more geographically reasonable Big XII. This is the third Friday night game for Brigham Young. One of these days, ESPN is going to take my advice and force the WAC to move a conference game to the late night cap on Friday night so I can watch it at the bar. Friday night football needs to be a double header.
- Michigan State @ Nebrasky (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). It seems almost likely that the winner of this game wins the whatchamacallit division (Leaders or Legends? I still can’t remember.) and plays in Indianapolis in December. This is almost undoubtedly true for Michigan State, who is one of two unbeatens left in conference play (the other being, of all squads, Penn Shtate). If they win on the road in Lincoln, they have a two game cushion on pre-season favorite Nebrasky and a tie-breaker against Michigan. They would need a November meltdown to lose that position, and the meat of the schedule is already behind them. Meanwhile, with two games left to play against Iowa and Nebrasky (both on the road), one wonders when the thorough beatdown a la Iowa last year comes for Sparty.
- Missouri @ Texas A&M (FX, 12:00pm ET). A conference game in the Big XII this year, perhaps a conference game in the SEC next year. That assumes the SEC wants Missouri, a school the B1G TEN didn’t want.
- Purdue @ Michigan (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Otherwise known as the consistently dumbest B1G TEN game of the past three years. Both are in separate divisions, but this happened to be an inter-divisional game for both for the next two years. I’m glad Michigan got Purdue instead of Penn Shtate, because Michigan-Penn Shtate is actually a game I would want to watch.
- North Carolina State @ Florida State (ESPNU, 12:00pm ET). Hey guys, remember when Florida State was everyone’s trendy pick to play for a national championship in New Orleans?2 Yeah, those were good times. And now they have a worse record than Wake Forest.
- ArKansas @ Vanderbilt (“SEC Network”, 12:21pm ET). No one’s watching this game, but it’s worth bringing up Vanderbilt having to apologize for drowning out Army’s alma mater in the conclusion of the game they played last week. No, it was piped-in music they played over Army’s alma mater, and not “ESS EEE SEE!” chants.
- Baylor @ Oklahoma State (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET). The luster has come off of Baylor. They’re still a good squad with a great quarterback, but have lost two of their last three games. Oklahoma State is still undefeated, but, I don’t know. It’s must be something about the Big XII when I don’t care to watch even their good teams play football.
- Oklahoma @ Kansas State (ESPN, 3:30pm ET). Hey, did the luster come off this game too? Maybe Oklahoma was looking ahead to this matchup of what would’ve been unbeatens. In doing so, Texas Tech took them to the cleaners last week, in Norman. It was only Stoops’ third home loss in thirteen years. Maybe they’ll be out looking for blood against Kansas State, who Bill Snyder has once again turned from a doormat into a conference power. Much respect.
- Illinois @ Penn Shtate (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET). Sometimes I overestimate my ability to analyze college football. If you had asked me about this game in August, I would’ve pegged Penn Shtate as the underachieving team that can’t stop shooting itself in the foot and Illinois as the surprise story in conference play. Whoops. Then again, it probably can’t sit well with Penn Shtate fans that adjectives of “scrappy” and “feel good” are being used to describe a team that their fans expect to be great yearly.
- Georgia vs. Florida [in Jacksonville, FL] (CBS, 3:30pm ET). I hate this game. A lot. So, I’m going to copy-paste what I wrote about it last year. Seriously, Georgia can’t even beat Florida when Florida sucks out loud.
For those unfamiliar with the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party Punch & Pie Social, you’re not missing much. This, along with Notre Dame-USC, is one of the dumbest rivalries in college football. Sure, the teams don’t like each other, but no one does. No one respects Georgia and no one likes Florida. Here, there or anywhere. Buckeye fans are not alone in this regard. Florida fans are despised in the south. It’s stupid because the rivalry itself is a century-long extension of what the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry has been in the last 20 years. It went from “Georgia always beats Florida” (5 Florida victories from 1904 to 1951; 4 Florida victories from 1971 to 1989) to “Florida always beats Georgia, badly” (3 Georgia victories since Spurrier took over 1990).
- West Virginia @ Rutgers (ABC, 3:30pm ET). I think someone is televising this game as a joke, or that this is a misprint in the guide. I expect this to be corrected by Saturday.
- Navy @ Notre Dame (NBC, 3:30pm ET). This series is kinda cool again now that Navy is no longer afraid of Notre Dame. Incidentally, if you want to read Bob Diaco — Notre Dame’s idiot defensive coordinator — absolutely get nuked by a Navy football analyst, then read (and savor) this synopsis of last year’s game.
- Iowa @ Minnesota (BTN, 3:30pm ET). In spite of actually winning last year’s matchup in Minneapolis, the Gophers are on the march to be one of, if not the, worst conference team in the B1G TEN’s 116 year history. Go-go Gadget MGoBlog, for details.
- Ole Miss @ Auburn (ESPNU, 7:00pm ET); South Carolina @ Tennessee (ESPN2, 7:15pm ET). Every Saturday night, ESPN puts on some SEC games featuring teams that, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why are worthy of being a marquee Saturday night game. Oh, didn’t see you there, Ole Miss, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee.
- Kansas @ Texas (Longhorn Network, 7:00pm ET). Yes, Longhorn Network. Does anyone actually have that?
- Clemson @ Georgia Tech (ABC, 8:00pm ET). How soon until Clemson realizes it’s Clemson? They’re playing like they, and not Florida State, should’ve been the team we were hyping in August. Georgia Tech, another trendy ACC team in September, has lost its last two games. It’s potent offense has gone limp against Virginia and Miami, of all teams. Meanwhile, Clemson keeps rolling along. If they win against Georgia Tech and Wake Forest loses to UNC, Clemson (I think) secures its spot in the ACC Championship Game.
- Stanford @ USC (ABC, 8:00pm ET). I’d love nothing more than for Stanford to slaughter the Trojans, run up the score for good measure and have Stanford’s band do it’s Tribute to OJ Simpson once more.3 However, that’s not so simple. USC will be the first team with a pulse the Cardinal see all season. They slaughtered Washington last week to be sure, but that was at home and Washington is a bit of a mid-level squad. Worse yet, it’s the best team the Cardinal have played yet. Their other games include the likes of UCLA, Colorado, Washington State and Duke, among other cupcakes.
- Wisconsin @ Ohio State (ESPN, 8:00pm ET). I have no words. You will find me in D-deck, Section 25, Row 11, cheering my head off. Go Bucks; Beat Wisconsin. Death to Michigan.