College football on TV: What to watch on Saturday

Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. Each week, the Times’ national college football writer handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on Saturday’s menu of games:


Air Force (1-1) at Navy (2-1)

9 a.m., Channel 2


The Big East is reportedly trying to lure schools with catch phrases like, “Be all you can be” and “You won’t ever be stationed in Syracuse.”

No. 14 Texas A&M (2-1) vs. No. 18 Arkansas (3-1)

at Arlington, Texas

9 a.m., ESPN

Texas A&M gets accepted by the Southeastern Conference on Sunday and is already playing its first conference game? Actually, it’s just a scheduling quirk, sort of like California and Utah playing an out-of-league game this year even though both are members of the Pac-12. Story lines for Aggies versus Razorbacks: Both lived up to their second-banana status last week, losing games to real national title contenders.

9 a.m.: Kentucky at No. 1 Louisiana State, KDOC; Northwestern at No. 24 Illinois, ESPN2; Texas Tech at Kansas, FS West; Penn State at Indiana, ESPNU; Minnesota at No. 19 Michigan, BTN; Tulane at Army, CBSSN.

9:30 a.m.: Wake Forest at Boston College, Channel 13


Nevada (1-1) at No. 4 Boise State (3-0)

11:30 a.m., Versus

Picture a big brother sitting on his little brother’s chest until he cries “Uncle.” The soft drink of choice will be Blue Crush. Boise State will never get to replay the end of last year’s dagger defeat at Nevada. It cost the Broncos a trip to the Rose Bowl. Nevada is in rebuilding mode, without star quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and Boise is in vengeance mode. If Oregon scored 69 points on the watered-down Wolf Pack, what might Boise do?

Michigan State (2-1) at Ohio State (2-1)

12:30 p.m., Channel 7

It’s probably halftime in Boise. Auburn and South Carolina are playing on CBS but Auburn’s best player is starting for the Carolina Panthers. Good time to sneak out to the market or a kid’s soccer game. Michigan State versus Ohio State is a game Duffy Daugherty and Woody Hayes would love. Based on the points-allowed-per-game index, Michigan State will win, 15-11. The Spartans allow 3.27 yards and a cloud of dust per play and rank first nationally in total defense. Ohio State ranks No. 16 on defense but scored only 27 against Toledo. Syracuse put up 33 on Toledo, even though it should have been 29. For full story, read Big East’s apology.

12:30 p.m.: Auburn at No. 10 South Carolina, Channel 2; No. 21 Georgia Tech at North Carolina State, ESPN; Mississippi State at Georgia (delayed), FS West; Arizona at USC, Prime; Bethune Cookman at Miami, ESPNU; Southern Methodist at No. 20 Texas Christian, CBSSN.


No. 13 Clemson (4-0) at No. 11 Virginia Tech (4-0)

3 p.m., ESPN2

There’s no question which team is more tested. Clemson defeated Auburn and Florida State to rise from unranked to a sleeper national title contender. Virginia Tech started No. 13 and warmed up for October with wins against bluegrass-festival sites: Appalachian State and Arkansas State. Focus on Clemson frosh receiver Sammy Watkins, who had 17 catches for 296 yards against Auburn and Florida State.

No. 17 Texas (3-0) at Iowa State (3-0)

4 p.m., FX

Mack Brown called last year’s home loss to Iowa State the low point in the Longhorns’ subterranean 5-7 season. It was the first of five straight Big 12 losses to close the season, earning Texas its own $300-million network deal with ESPN. And you wonder why Texas A&M left? Brown said he worked his Longhorns hard through the bye week — which shocked some people who remember when Iowa State was a bye week.

4 p.m.: Washington at Utah, FS West; Duke at Florida International, ESPNU.


No. 3 Alabama (4-0) at No. 12 Florida (4-0)

5 p.m., Channel 2

First-year Florida Coach Will Muschamp was an assistant under Nick Saban at Louisiana State and with the Miami Dolphins. Saban, who can be prickly, once chewed Muschamp’s mother out over the phone for not returning a fax request fast enough. Saban, it turns out, gave her the wrong number.

No. 8 Nebraska (4-0) at No. 7 Wisconsin (4-0)

5 p.m., Channel 7

Blood type N vs. Blood type W: Do not adjust your TV sets. Invading and football-cerebral Nebraska fans may wear black to distinguish themselves from possibly inebriated fan base doing something primordial called “Jump Around.”

Mississippi (1-2) at Fresno State (1-2)

6:15 p.m., ESPN

Grits meet grapes. Mississippi has played football for 106 years. Trains had already been around for decades when the Wright brothers introduced air travel in 1903. The Panama Canal was completed in 1914. This is Mississippi’s first football game in California.

5 p.m.: Notre Dame at Purdue, ESPN; North Carolina at East Carolina, CBSSN.

7:30 p.m.: UCLA at No. 6 Stanford, Prime.