Break out the chips and cold drinks but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. Each Friday, The Times’ national college football writer handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on the upcoming menu of games.
Tulsa (2-0) at No. 16 Oklahoma (2-0)
9 a.m., FS1
Coach Bob Stoops is back beaming after Oklahoma’s huge comeback last week at Tennessee. That thrilling, double-overtime victory provided a preamble party in advance of his 100th home game as Oklahoma’s coach. Tulsa is playing its first season as a member of the American Athletic Conference and is coached by Philip Montgomery, formerly the offensive coordinator at Baylor. The Golden Hurricanes have lost six straight games against ranked opponents, three of those to Oklahoma.
Nevada Las Vegas (0-2) at Michigan (1-1)
9 a.m., Big Ten Network (BTN)
Michigan needs be more alert for this potential upset than Coach Jim Harbaugh was on this week’s Big Ten Conference coaches’ call. Harbaugh’s seven-minute segment may have been the biggest recorded snoozer since the Beatles’ “White Album” track of “Revolution No. 9.” Last year at this time, Harbaugh was leading the San Francisco 49ers; UNLV’s Tony Sanchez was coaching Las Vegas Bishop Gorman High.
No. 23 Northwestern (2-0) at Duke (2-0)
9:30 a.m., KDOC
Northwestern, which has already defeated Stanford, can complete the College Academic Quiz Bowl with a win over Duke at the Research Triangle.
9 a.m.: Illinois at North Carolina, ESPN2; Connecticut at Missouri, ESPN; South Florida at Maryland, ESPNU; Air Force at Michigan State, Channel 7; Nevada at Texas A&M, SEC Network (SEC); Wake Forest at Army, CBS Sports (CBSSN). 9:30 a.m.: Central Michigan at Syracuse, FS West. 11 a.m.: Georgia State at Oregon, Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12).
No. 18 Auburn (2-0) at No. 13 Louisiana State (1-0)
Noon, Channel 2
A win is a win is a win? Auburn needed overtime to survive Jacksonville State last week and dropped 12 spots in this week’s Associated Press media poll. However, a win at LSU would restore Auburn’s national reputation. LSU’s ranking is based on preseason estimates, a canceled game against McNeese, and a close win at Mississippi State.
No. 14 Georgia Tech (2-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (2-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 4
No one can accuse these programs of playing creampuffs. Georgia Tech probably has the nation’s toughest remaining schedule: Notre Dame, Clemson, Florida State, Miami and Georgia. Notre Dame has Clemson, Navy, USC, Temple and Stanford.
California (2-0) at Texas (1-1)
4:30 p.m., Channel 11
It’s been more than a decade since these programs became embroiled in the ugliest chapter of the Bowl Championship Series era — a points battle for a Rose Bowl bid in 2004 that resulted in unseemly lobbying, the Associated Press pulling out the BCS standings formula, and the coaches voting in the USA Today poll having to reveal their final ballots. Cal may have its football house in order, boasting a star quarterback in Jared Goff. Meanwhile, at Texas, a program in disarray took another turn this week with the firing of athletic director Steve Patterson.
Florida (2-0) at Kentucky (2-0)
4:30 p.m., SEC
It’s already been a rough week for the head coaches. Rutgers’ Kyle Flood was suspended three games for meddling with faculty about the academic progress of one of his players. Florida’s first-year coach, Jim McElwain, apologized — sort of — for publicly berating running back Kelvin Taylor on the sidelines. “I’m not proud of it, and neither is my mother,” McElwain said. Things could get loud again if the Gators lose at Kentucky.
Noon: Louisiana Tech at Kansas State, Prime. 12:30 p.m.: Texas San Antonio at Oklahoma State, FS1; Northern Illinois at Ohio State, Channel 7; Nebraska at Miami, ESPN2; East Carolina at Navy, CBSSN; Virginia Tech at Purdue, ESPNU; Troy at Wisconsin, BTN. 1 p.m.: Western Kentucky at Indiana, ESPNews; Northwestern State at Mississippi State, SEC. 2 p.m.: Utah State at Washington, Pac-12. 3 p.m.: South Carolina at Georgia, ESPN. 4 p.m.: Texas Tech at Arkansas, ESPN2; Western Carolina at Tennessee, ESPNU; Colorado at Colorado State, CBSSN. 5 p.m.: Pittsburgh at Iowa, BTN; San Jose State at Oregon State, Pac-12; Southern Methodist at Texas Christian, Prime; Stanford at USC, Channel 7; Iowa State at Toledo, ESPNews.
No. 15 Mississippi (2-0) at No. 2 Alabama (2-0)
6:15 p.m., ESPN
One powerhouse team won last season’s game at Oxford, Miss., and has opened 2015 by scoring a Southeastern Conference-record 149 point in its first two games. The other team is Alabama. ESPN’s Power Football Index gives Mississippi a 56% to win this one, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. In the old days, Ole Miss only had a snowball’s chance in you-know-where. Warning: Alabama Coach Nick Saban is 9-1 against teams that defeated him the previous season.
Northern Arizona (2-0) at No. 20 Arizona (2-0)
8 p.m., Pac-12
Northern Arizona defeated Arizona, 7-6, in 1932. Arizona has won the last 11 games by the combined score of 402-65. Northern Arizona boasts one of the best names in college football, quarterback Case Cookus, who has completed 71% of his passes for 528 yards and five touchdowns.
7:30 p.m.: Brigham Young at UCLA, FS1; Utah at Fresno State, CBSSN.