College football on TV: What to watch this weekend

College football on TV: What to watch this weekend
Quarterback Nick Marshall (14) and Auburn spoiled Alabama's march toward a national title last season and played their way into the BCS title game. A Tigers victory this season could keep both teams out of the College Football Playoff. (Butch Dill / Associated Press)

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



Houston (6-4) at Southern Methodist (0-10)

9 a.m., CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)

SMU is two losses from completing one of the worst winless seasons in history. Why watch? The Mustangs need three points to reach 100 total points for the season. Defeat sets up next week's final loss at Connecticut.

Arkansas (6-5) at No. 17 Missouri (9-2)

11a.m., Channel 2

Arkansas, after losing 17 straight Southeastern Conference games, suddenly boasts consecutive shutouts over Louisiana State and Mississippi by a total score of 47-0. A win for Missouri clinches the SEC East, but both of the Tigers' losses this year have been at home.

Stanford (6-5) at No. 8 UCLA (9-2)

12:30 p.m., Channel 7

No one said it would be easy: UCLA needs two victories to claim the Pac-12 title and likely earn a spot in the four-team playoff. The Bruins, however, will have to beat Stanford and Oregon, which have each won their last six games against UCLA.

No. 13 Arizona State (9-2) at No. 11 Arizona (9-2)

12:30 p.m., Channel 11

The winner of the biggest Territorial Cup in years will claim the Pac-12 South if Stanford beats UCLA. The schools have not both been ranked for this matchup since 1986.

Other games:

8 a.m.: Northern Illinois at Western Michigan; ESPNU; Nebraska at Iowa, Channel 7; Central Florida at South Florida, ESPN2; Western Kentucky at Marshall, Fox Sports 1 (FS1).


12:30 p.m.: Colorado State at Air Force, CBSSN.

5 p.m.: Virginia at Virginia Tech, ESPN.

5:30 p.m.: East Carolina at Tulsa, ESPNU.


Michigan (5-6) at No. 6 Ohio State (9-2)

9 a.m., Channel 7

This ranks as one of sports' greatest rivalries, no matter how awful Michigan has played this year. Michigan can salvage Brady Hoke's last game (likely) by knocking the Buckeyes out of playoff contention.

No. 16 Georgia Tech (9-2) at No. 9 Georgia (9-2)

9 a.m., SEC Network (SEC)

Georgia will enter the game as SEC East champions only if Arkansas beats Missouri on Friday. Otherwise, Missouri wins the East and Georgia will have to refocus its goals. Georgia Tech has already clinched a spot in the Atlantic Coast Conference title game against Florida State. Georgia won last year's game, 41-34, in double overtime.

Florida (6-4) at No. 3 Florida State (11-0)

12:30 p.m., ESPN

Florida Coach Will Muschamp tries to end his disappointing tenure in Gainesville by landing a punch on No. 1 in Tallahassee. Florida State needs a victory to stay on playoff course heading to next week's ACC title game against Georgia Tech.

No. 4 Mississippi State (10-1) at No. 19 Mississippi (8-3)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Mississippi State can claim the SEC West if it beats Ole Miss and Auburn wins at Alabama. If Alabama wins, Mississippi State would then have to beat Ole Miss and hope to claim a playoff spot as a non-division winner.

No. 15 Auburn (8-3) at No. 1 Alabama (10-1)

4:45 p.m., ESPN

There is no way college football's hottest rivalry can top last year's game … can it? Last year, Auburn's Chris Davis returned a missed field-goal attempt 109 yards for the game-winning touchdown as time expired in a game that became an instant classic. The victory sent Auburn on a course to the national title and ended Alabama's quest to three-peat. This year, three-loss Auburn is out of the playoff hunt but would be thrilled if it could once again ruin Alabama's season.

No. 2 Oregon (10-1) at Oregon State (5-6)

5 p.m., Channel 7

The Civil War stakes are huge for Oregon, which needs a win to stay on track for a national title. Quarterback Marcus Mariota can also likely clinch the Heisman Trophy with a strong effort against the Beavers. Oregon State needs the win to become bowl-eligible.

Utah State (9-3) at No. 23 Boise State (9-2)

7:15 p.m., ESPN2

Boise State entered the College Football Playoff ranking this week at No. 23, one position ahead of undefeated Marshall. The committee appears to be suggesting Boise State, even with two defeats, will outrank Marshall provided both teams win out. The highest-ranked Group of Five conference school will earn a designated major bowl berth, as determined by the selection committee.

Other games:

9 a.m.: Kentucky at Louisville, ESPN2; South Carolina at Clemson, ESPN; Illinois at Northwestern, ESPNU; Cincinnati at Temple, ESPNews; North Texas at Texas San Antonio, FS West; Rice at Louisiana Tech, CBSSN; West Virginia at Iowa State, FS1; Purdue at Indiana, Big Ten Network (BTN).

9:30 a.m.: North Carolina State at North Carolina, KDOC; Syracuse at Boston College, Prime.

10 a.m.: Utah at Colorado, Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12).

11:30 a.m.: Grambling State vs. Southern, Channel 4.

12:30 p.m.: Baylor at Texas Tech, Channel 7; Michigan State at Penn State, ESPN2; San Jose State at San Diego State, CBSSN; Notre Dame at USC, Channel 11; Minnesota at Wisconsin, BTN.

1 p.m.: Connecticut at Memphis, ESPNews; Tennessee at Vanderbilt, SEC; Kansas at Kansas State, FS1.

1:30 p.m.: Brigham Young at California, Pac-12.

4 p.m.: Pittsburgh at Miami, ESPN2; Wake Forest at Duke, ESPNU.

7:30 p.m.: Nevada at Nevada Las Vegas, ESPNU; Washington at Washington State, FS1.