College football on TV: Saturday's games to watch

College football on TV: Saturday's games to watch
Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott carries the ball during last week's victory over Michigan State. (Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Each week our national college football writer describes how he would handle the television remote on Saturday, handicapping what's worth watching, and skipping:



No. 8 Ohio State (8-1) at No. 25 Minnesota (7-2)

9 a.m., Channel 7

Ohio State has overcome a 14-point home loss to 4-5 Virginia Tech — what seemed a knockout punch on Sept. 6 — to climb back to No. 8 in this week's College Football Playoff ranking. Minnesota is the right fielder on your Little League team who surprised everyone to earn most improved player at the season-ending pool party.

No. 19 Clemson (7-2) at No. 22 Georgia Tech (8-2)

9 a.m., ESPN

This is tangible proof there are other decent teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference besides Florida State. This game is not helping the ACC's hard-earned reputation as "worst of all the major conferences, but there's always the chance these teams will combine for 10 fumbles and 300 penalty yards to restore the pecking order.

9 a.m.: Virginia Tech at Duke, ESPNU; Temple at Penn State, ESPN2; Army at Western Kentucky, CBS Sports (CBSSN); Iowa at Illinois, Big Ten Network (BTN); South Carolina at Florida, SEC Network (SEC).

9:30 a.m.: James Madison at Richmond, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN); Pittsburgh at North Carolina, KDOC.

Noon: Texas Christian at Kansas, Fox Sports 1 (FS1).


No. 1 Mississippi State (9-0) at No. 5 Alabama (8-1)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

This is Mississippi State's day in court. The Bulldogs have parlayed a shamefully weak nonconference schedule and charter membership in the SEC West to unprecedented heights. Mississippi State rose from unranked to No.1 on the strength of three wins over SEC West teams that now have eight losses. However, the Bulldogs could be legitimate national title contenders. Defeating Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where the Crimson Tide has been dominant, would prove Mississippi State belonged at the top all along.

No. 16 Nebraska (8-1) at No. 20 Wisconsin (7-2)


12:30 p.m., Channel 7

The winner of this game — provided Ohio State defeats pesky Minnesota — will seize control of the Big Ten West division. Nebraska has the glossier overall record but not the healthier running back in a game that features two of the best, Ameer Abdullah and Melvin Gordon. Nebraska's Abdullah averages a nation-leading 187.9 all-purpose yards but is nursing a knee injury that could make it hard for him to keep up with Wisconsin's Gordon, the nation's top rusher at 166.8 yards per game.

No. 9 Auburn (7-2) at No. 15 Georgia (7-2)

4:15 p.m., ESPN

This is a what-might-have-been matchup of SEC teams that likely botched their national title hopes with inexplicable defeats. Auburn flubbed a handoff and a center snap in the final 180 seconds last week and lost to Texas A&M; Georgia got played off its feet by a Florida program that was ready to place a classified ad in search of a new head coach.

12:30 p.m.: Northwestern at Notre Dame, Channel 4; Oklahoma at Texas Tech, ESPN; Washington at Arizona, Channel 11; Georgia Southern at Navy, CBSSN; Memphis at Tulane, ESPNU; Indiana at Rutgers, BTN.

1 p.m.: New Mexico at Utah State, ESPNews; Kentucky at Tennessee, SEC.

3 p.m.: Utah at Stanford, Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12).

4 p.m.: Nevada Las Vegas at Brigham Young, ESPNU; Rice at Marshall (tape delay), FS West.

4:30 p.m.: Missouri at Texas A&M, SEC; Texas at Oklahoma State, Channel 11.


No. 3 Florida State (9-0) at Miami (6-3)

5 p.m. Channel 7

The College Football Playoff Committee inexplicably dropped Florida State behind one-loss Oregon in this week's ranking. Miami probably will join Clemson, Notre Dame, North Carolina State and Louisville as schools that had their chances, but failed, to upset the Seminoles.

San Diego State (5-4) at Boise State (7-2)

7:15 p.m., ESPNU

Rocky Long is the first coach to defeat Boise State in consecutive seasons since Washington State's Mike Price in 2000-01. Colorado State is hoping San Diego State continues its streak and opens an avenue for the Rams to win the Mountain West Conference and earn a major bowl berth from the playoff selection committee.

No. 6 Arizona State (8-1) at Oregon State (4-5)

7:45 p.m., ESPN

This is a dangerous road test for an Arizona State team coming off an emotional home win over Notre Dame. Oregon State can take some of the sting out of a dreadful season with an upset that would knock Arizona State out of national title contention.

5 p.m.: Michigan State at Maryland, BTN; Louisiana State at Arkansas, ESPN2; South Florida at Southern Methodist, CBSSN.

7 p.m.: North Texas at Texas El Paso, FS1.