Can you believe it’s November already? Just about everyone will be playing its ninth game this season, or even their tenth if they have not had a bye yet (e.g. Ohio State). We’re so far into the regular season that much of the SEC is having its usual Sun Belt or FCS snacks right now. For example, Auburn will play New Mexico State, Tennessee will play Troy, ArKansas will play Tulsa, and Florida will play Missouri. Wait… wait, yeah, that’s correct. Elsewhere, the B1G is still firmly locked in league play. The real intrigue now is if Indiana, which just got its first B1G TEN win in two years on the eve of November, could actually represent the division in the B1G TEN title game. It could if it wins out. There are only two real games of consequence on Saturday, both evening kicks. On CBS, Louisiana State will host Alabama in the Game of the Century, 2: Electric Boogaloo. On FOX, the Oregon Ducks will travel to Los Angeles to play the Trojans, who ended Oregon’s home winning streak last year. The rest of this feature will detail your other viewing options, if you’re interested.
So, here’s what’s on.
- Virginia Tech @ Miami (FL) (ESPN, 7:30pm ET). If you want, there’s MAC and Sun Belt (or: MACBELT) action on ESPNU. Eastern State Up North travels to no-longer-undefeated Ohio for a game that starts at 6pm ET. It will be followed by a visit from Middle Tennessee to Western Kentucky at 9:15pm ET. There’s also an NFL viewing option too. Let’s focus on the ACC match here, though. That Miami is in this predicament is not surprising. The Miami Hurricanes are going to be relegated to a museum shortly, one dedicated entirely to 1980s pop culture. At 4-4 on the season, including two demolitions on the road at Kansas State and Notre Dame, Al Golden may be waiting for the NCAA to kill the Hurricanes program. Thereafter, he can walk from his contract without penalty. It’s Virginia Tech’s season that’s at least a bit surprising. The exact number eludes me, but the Hokies have lost in September while ranked in the top 15 (or something like that) every year since 2006. A trendy pick to make a move into the BCS with senior quarterback (and possible first round pick) Logan Thomas, the Hokies are 4-4 on the season as well. Bud Foster’s lunch pail has been picked clean by every team this season except woeful Georgia Tech, against whom the Hokies needed an overtime for a season-opening win. You may be able to count all the fans in attendance this game using a pencil and paper.
- Washington @ California (ESPN2, 9:00pm ET). Friday night drinking viewing options. I’m not sure if Steve Sarkisian is on the “hot seat”, but Jeff Tedford at Cal is. Remember Brendan Bigelow, who had 160 yards on 4 carries for the Bears in the game against Ohio State? He’s had about 160 yards total in the six games since. The Bears have won just two of the games since that visit to the Horseshoe (v. UCLA, @ Washington State). Meanwhile, the Huskies appear to be plateauing in Steve Sarkisian’s fourth year in the program. Some of its losses have been brutal (@ Louisiana State, @ Oregon, @ Arizona), though it weirdly has some signature wins at home against Stanford and Oregon State. I guess what I’m saying is that Steve Sarkisian’s Washington Huskies will probably be one of the last four into the NCAA tournament as an at-large. They’ll probably get placed in the East Regional.
- Missouri @ Florida (ESPN2, 12:00pm ET). Florida really needed that win last week against the Georgia Bulldogs in Jacksonville. This is the Gators’ SEC finale. Afterwards, it will play two cupcakes and travel to Tallahassee to play the Florida State Seminoles of the ACC. If Florida won last week, it would have clinched its place in Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Meanwhile, Georgia plays Ole Miss and Auburn to conclude its SEC schedule, so the Gators can’t expect any help from the two chumps of the SEC West.
- Oklahoma @ Iowa State (ABC, 12:00pm ET). I’m not sure if this is a game that Oklahoma loses, because it’s already checked out of the season, or a game that wins by 70 because Iowa State. Yes: because Iowa State. The Cyclones are 2-3 in Big XII play.
- Texas A&M @ Mississippi State (ESPN, 12:00pm ET). You will not be able to tell these teams apart this game. Both A&M and Mississippi State got uniform changes from last season with the firm aim of making them indistinguishable from each other for this game.
- Vanderbilt @ Kentucky (ESPNU, 12:00pm ET). PfffHAHAHAHAHA *changes channel*
- That Team Up North @ Minnesota (Big Ten Network, 12:00pm ET). The Wolverines are in a bit of a bind in the Legends (Leaders?) Division. It seems to the mirror image of last year’s scenario. Last year, Michigan State got beat by Nebrasky, who was smoked by the Wolverines. This sent Michigan State to Indianapolis. This year, the Wolverines beat the Spartans, but were embarrassed by the Cornhuskers in Lincoln. Right now, this again puts the Wolverines on the outside looking-in, without the tiebreaker atop the division. For this game, it should also be a bit concerned about whatever nerve damage Denard Robinson has. Their offense sucked out loud without him, mostly because the offense is him. It’s certainly not anything necessarily coherent, as MGoBlog’s Picture Pages and UFRs tend to highlight. But yeah, go Gophers.
- Stanford @ Colorado (FX, 2:00pm ET). Colorado has as many national championships in my 28 years on this planet Earth as the Ohio State Buckeyes. And now: it’s “Colorado”. Weird how that worked out. Since upsetting Mike Leach’s Washington State team in Pullman, Colorado has been outscored 213 to 52.
- Texas Christian @ West Virginia (FOX, 3:00pm ET). Remember when West Virginia was a thing? Man, September was a crazy time. Meanwhile, Texas Christian hasn’t adjusted well to losing the starting quarterback to a season-ending drug rehab (for lack of better term). The Battletoads have lost three of the last four games. At 5-3 on the season, Gary Patterson’s program is an uncharacteristic 8th place in the conference.
- Pittsburgh @ Notre Dame (NBC, 3:30pm ET). How Notre Dame would it be to lose this game? After a disastrous two game start to the season, the Panthers are winners of four of their last six. Meanwhile, Notre Dame’s front seven is essentially as good as any in the country. How good would Manti Te’o look in an Ohio State uniform about now?
- Ole Miss @ Georgia (CBS, 3:30pm ET). Oh man…
- Texas @ Texas Tech (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET). It seems like only four years ago that this was the game of the 2008 football season. Actually, it was four years ago, where a slack-jawed Chris Fowler looked on as Michael Crabtree shook a tackle and ran into the end zone with seconds to spare, handing the Longhorns its only loss on the season. As it is, this game is purely regional, devoid of any national intrigue.
- Nebrasky @ Michigan State (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30pm ET). Pursuant to our previous discussion about the game between the Gophers and the Wolverines, Big Brother really needs Little Brother to do it a solid. Both the Cornhuskers and the Wolverines are tied atop the Legends (or is it Leaders?) Division, with the Wolverines, again, on the outside looking in because of a tiebreaker. A win for Nebrasky doesn’t necessarily send them to Indianapolis, but, really, it already has tiebreakers over That Team Up North and Nerdwestern with just Penn State, Minnesota, and Iowa to go. Lowly Iowa would be the only road game of the bunch.
- Iowa @ Indiana (Big Ten Network, 3:30pm ET). How bad is the situation in Iowa City? Indiana, which just won its first B1G TEN game in two years, is favored in this game.
- Illinois @ Ohio State (ESPN, 3:30pm ET). This is what you’re watching. More on this later.
- Penn State @ Purdue (ESPNU, 3:30pm ET). I admit, I fell into the belief that Purdue would challenge Wisconsin for the title of Leaders (Legends?) Division Champion*. Now, Danny Hope is a dead coach walking. Still, it will be interesting to see how Bill O’Brien’s group responds to being brought back to reality by the Buckeyes in front of a capacity crowd in Beaver Stadium. Kawann Short will pose the same problems he did for us, and that our interior defensive line posed for Penn State’s offensive line last week.
- Oregon @ USC (FOX, 7:00pm ET). In some sense, I feel for Matt Barkley. Barkley gives all appearances as a good-hearted and approachable dude. He just happens to be coached by a walking derpface whose entire career is a fascinating case study in falling up. It seems likely, though not a given, that the Ducks and Trojans will play twice this season. Despite losing twice, and even to the Arizona Wildcats, the Trojans are still one game up in the Pac-12 South. Oregon beating them here would be great for Arizona, who I would still expect to notch another loss before the Trojans. I’m not sure if a USC victory here matters for where the Pac 12 Championship Game would be played. I think overall record matters for who, of the division champions, hosts the Pac 12 Championship Game, not head-to-head. This is, of course, silly.
- Alabama @ Louisiana State (CBS, 8:00pm ET). This game, eh? I can’t see myself watching much of this, though I guess this is “Game of the Week”. Someone is eventually going to have to bring AJ McCarron back to reality as the guy who hands the ball to Alabama’s stable of angry running backs, who run behind the best offensive line in the country. The difference from last year is indeed McCarron’s maturity. Much of the passing game for Alabama is no longer run action to set up play action in two tight end sets, but rather run action with liberal doses of three WR sets on passing downs, which still works to Alabama’s advantage. Louisiana State may have the horses to get McCarron to panic a bit in the heat of Tiger Stadium. Will it last for 60 minutes, though?
- Oklahoma State @ Kansas State (ABC, 8:00pm ET). There’s also this. I’m not sure there’s much intrigue to this game, other than the outside question of if Kansas State could actually choke in the crunch time of November. Still, if you haven’t seen Collin Klein play yet, you’re missing out. He’s a Goddamn Jeep playing quarterback. Vroom vroom!