Each week our national college football writer describes how he would handle the television remote Saturday, handicapping what’s worth watching, and skipping:
No. 13 Georgia (4-1) at No. 23 Missouri (4-1)
9 a.m., Channel 2
This game is living proof there is another division besides the West in the Southeastern Conference. The winner becomes the front-runner in the East and will be the team that loses to the West champion in the conference title game. Georgia won’t have star running back Todd Gurley, who has been suspended indefinitely by the school while it investigates a possible NCAA rules violation.
Texas (2-3) vs. Oklahoma (4-1)
9 a.m., Channel 7
Shocker: the Red River Rivalry (formerly Shootout) at the Cotton Bowl is only the third-best college football game in Texas on Saturday, after Texas Christian at Baylor and Mississippi at Texas A&M. There might also be a couple of better in-state high school games.
Northwestern (3-2) at Minnesota (4-1)
9 a.m., Big Ten Network (BTN)
It is time to acknowledge there are other good teams in the Big Ten besides Michigan State, Rutgers and Maryland. Northwestern is 2-0 in league play after losing nonconference games to California and Northern Illinois. Minnesota’s only loss is to Texas Christian, which just defeated Oklahoma.
9 a.m.: Florida State at Syracuse, ESPN; Illinois at Wisconsin, ESPN2; Cincinnati at Miami, FS West; Middle Tennessee State at Marshall, Prime; Tulsa at Temple, ESPNews; Rice at Army, CBS Sports (CBSSN); West Virginia at Texas Tech, FS1; Indiana at Iowa, ESPNU; Louisiana Monroe at Kentucky, SEC Network (SEC).
9:30 a.m.: Duke at Georgia Tech, KDOC.
No. 2 Auburn (5-0) at No. 3 Mississippi State (5-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 2
This is part of ESPN GameDay’s travel series “How to eat in Mississippi on $20 a day.” Saturday’s popular college football pregame show pays a first visit to Starkville, one week after paying its first visit to Oxford. There is little chance ESPN will mention the game is on CBS.
No. 9 Texas Christian (4-0) at No. 5 Baylor (5-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 7
TCU had a record of 6-12 in its first two years in the Big 12 Conference, but it seems to be comfortable now after rocketing into the top 10 after last week’s win over Oklahoma. These are the last two undefeated teams in a conference that probably needs an unbeaten champion to make the four-team playoff.
No. 12 Oregon (4-1) at No. 18 UCLA (4-1)
12:30 p.m., Channel 11
Both teams, coming off bitter home losses, try to regain mojo and protect their quarterbacks. Marcus Mariota of Oregon and Brett Hundley of UCLA have been sacked a combined 23 times in their last two games. A one-loss winner of the Pac-12 Conference is still likely to get a playoff spot, but neither team appears capable of winning out.
Washington (4-1) at California (4-1)
3 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Cal is the most surprising 4-1 team in the nation also likely to cause its fan base a collective coronary. The Bears’ only loss was to Arizona on a last-second Hail Mary. Their last two games have been victories by scores of 59-56 — in two overtimes — and 60-59.
12:30 p.m.: North Carolina at Notre Dame, Channel 4; Michigan State at Purdue, ESPN2; Boston College at North Carolina State, FS West; Virginia Military Institute at Navy, CBSSN; William & Mary at New Hampshire, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN); Louisville at Clemson, ESPNU.
1 p.m.: Tennessee Chattanooga at Tennessee, SEC.
4 p.m.: Penn State at Michigan, ESPN2; Houston at Memphis, CBSSN; East Carolina at South Florida, ESPNU.
No. 3 Mississippi (5-0) at No. 14 Texas A&M (5-1)
6 p.m., ESPN
Mississippi is ranked No. 3 for the first time since 1963 but may be ripe for an upset in the emotional aftermath of last weekend’s surprise win over Alabama. Texas A&M has won the last two in the series by scores of 30-27 and 41-38. The experts would note the Aggies had Johnny Manziel playing quarterback in those games.
USC (3-2) at Arizona (5-0)
7:30 p.m., ESPN2
Hail, Hail, the gang’s all here: So you wonder how USC can be favored in this game? Consider: All five road teams won last week in games involving Pac-12 matchups. The road record for all Pac-12 matchups this season is 11-3. Each team has had a game decided by a Hail Mary. Arizona won on a last-second fling to defeat Cal; USC lost on a last-second pass by Arizona State. USC also had a Hail Mary at the half to help it defeat Oregon State.
7:15 p.m.: Air Force at Utah State, ESPNU; Charleston Southern at Vanderbilt (tape delay), Prime; Colorado State at Nevada, CBSSN.