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.
No. 5 Notre Dame (7-1) at Pittsburgh (6-2)
9 a.m., Channel 7
Notre Dame debuted at No. 5 in the first College Football Playoff ranking. What could go wrong now? In 2012, Notre Dame nearly saw its undefeated run to the title game end at Pittsburgh. The Irish rallied from a 20-6 fourth-quarter deficit and won in triple overtime. Pittsburgh’s kicker missed a field goal attempt in overtime that would have saved Notre Dame from getting crushed by Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game.
Duke (6-2) at North Carolina (7-1)
9 a.m., ESPN2
Some years the football game involving these two basketball franchises is also worth watching. Duke, with a win, can cause a three-way tie in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division with North Carolina and Pittsburgh.
No.11 Stanford (7-1) at Colorado (4-5)
10 a.m., Pac-12 Networks
Stanford needs a new booking agent. After two straight 7:30 kickoffs, one on Thursday and the other on Saturday, the Cardinal get moved to an AYSO time slot of 10 a.m. Don’t forget to bring orange slices for halftime — and the alarm clock. Stanford’s only defeat was a season-opening 9 a.m. Pacific time kickoff at Northwestern.
9 a.m.: Vanderbilt at Florida, ESPN; Penn State at Northwestern, ESPNU; Central Florida at Tulsa, ESPNews; Texas Tech at West Virginia, FS1; Florida Atlantic vs. Western Kentucky, Prime; Illinois at Purdue, Big Ten Network; Kentucky at Georgia, SEC Network; Akron at Massachusetts, CBS Sports Network.
No. 16 Florida State (7-1) at No. 1 Clemson (8-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Clemson can’t play the no-respect card in advance of one of the biggest games in school history. The Tigers are No. 1 in the first CFP ranking and are double-digit favorites over the defending ACC champions. Expect Florida State Coach Jimbo Fisher to play up his team’s rare position as underdog. Florida State is in the same No. 16 spot Ohio State held in the first CFP ranking of 2014.
No. 8 Texas Christian (8-0) at No. 14 Oklahoma State (8-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 11
The CFP committee put the Big 12 Conference on notice by basically saying it needs more information. The four Big 12 schools in the ranking —Baylor, TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma — are a combined 30-1 but have an average CFP ranking of 10.75.
No. 23 UCLA (6-2 ) at Oregon State (2-6)
1:30 p.m., Pac-12
UCLA is a longshot to make the four-team playoff but controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 South Division. The Bruins still have two potential chances to knock off high-ranked opponents. UCLA plays current CFP No. 12 Utah on Nov. 21 in Salt Lake and could get a rematch against No. 11 Stanford in the Pac-12 title game.
No. 12 Utah (7-1) at Washington (4-4)
4:30 p.m., Channel 11
This is a dangerous game for Utah, which, since its loss to USC, has not received much love despite early wins over Michigan and Oregon — the Ducks by 42 points. Washington is much improved under second-year Coach Chris Petersen and is coming off a 49-3 win over Arizona.
Noon: Richmond at New Hampshire, NBC Sports Network.
12:30 p.m.: Arkansas at Mississippi, Channel 2; Iowa at Indiana, ESPN; Cincinnati at Houston, ESPN2; Army at Air Force, ESPNU; Arizona State at Washington State, FS1; Rutgers at Michigan, BTN; Utah State at New Mexico, CBSSN; Marshall at Middle Tennessee State, Prime.
1 p.m.: South Carolina at Tennessee, SEC; Connecticut at Tulane, ESPNews.
4 p.m.: Michigan State at Nebraska, ESPN; Navy at Memphis, ESPN2; Iowa State at Oklahoma, ESPNU.
4:30 p.m.: Auburn at Texas A&M, SEC; South Florida at East Carolina, CBSSN.
No. 2 Louisiana State (7-0) at No. 4 Alabama (7-1)
5 p.m., Channel 2
Prediction: The Tigers and Tide will try to re-create 2011 and run the ball up the middle at each other in the hopes of producing a 9-6 result that will prove to everyone why the Southeastern Conference is the toughest conference of them all.
Arizona (5-4) at USC (5-3)
7:30 p.m., ESPN
There is intrigue at both head coaching positions. Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez probably will be a candidate for several jobs, most notably Virginia Tech now that Frank Beamer has announced he will retire at the end of the season. Clay Helton is 2-1 as USC’s interim coach and must keep winning to be considered for the permanent position.
California (5-3) at Oregon (5-3)
7:30 p.m., ESPN2
A battle of 5-3 teams going in different directions. Cal has lost three straight after a 5-0 start; Oregon has won two straight after a 3-3 start. The over/under of 75 points might be low. The Bears and Ducks have dynamic offenses, but the defenses are giving up a combined 915 yards a game.
5 p.m.: Minnesota at Ohio State, Channel 7.