Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Mike Hiserman handle the remote. The Times’ deputy sports editor handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on this weekend’s menu of college football games.
San Diego State at Fresno State, 7 p.m. CBS Sports Network (CBSSN)
Only three Cal State universities are left playing major-college football, and two of them are matched here. San Diego State was nationally ranked for a couple of weeks, before getting upset by South Alabama. The Aztecs are actually No. 1 in one spot, though. Tailback Donnel Pumphrey is averaging a major-college best 178.2 yards per game. That’s nearly 30 yards per game better than anyone else.
4 p.m.: Duke at No. 7 Louisville, ESPN.
5 p.m.: Memphis at Tulane, ESPNU.
7:15 p.m.: Mississippi State at Brigham Young, ESPN.
No. 20 West Virginia at Texas Tech, 9 a.m., FS1
West Virginia and Baylor are the only remaining unbeaten teams in the Big 12 Conference. The Mountaineers are in for a stiff test in this one from Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who ignites the nation’s No. 2-rated offense. The Red Raiders are averaging 649.8 yards in total offense, including 544.0 via passing. Mahomes has passed for 2,274 yards and 20 touchdowns.
9 a.m.: North Carolina State at No. 3 Clemson, Channel 7; Kansas State at No. 19 Oklahoma, ESPN; Iowa at Purdue, ESPN 2; Minnesota at Maryland, ESPNU; Illinois at Rutgers, ESPNews; Vanderbilt at Georgia, SEC Network (SEC), Lafayette at Army, CBSSN; Pittsburgh at Virginia, KDOC.
9:30 a.m.: Georgia Southern at Georgia Tech, FS West.
No. 1 Alabama at No. 9 Tennessee, 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
You can bet the house (but don’t) that Tennessee will trail in this one, because it’s what the Volunteers do. The question always is, will they do enough late to catch up. Against Texas A&M last week, Tennessee trailed by 14 points with less than 3 1/2 minutes to play in regulation, forced overtime, and lost in double overtime. The Vols were bidding for their fifth win this season when trailing by as many as 10 points.
USC at Arizona, 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
The Trojans are in what is supposed to be a winnable stretch of games, and new quarterback Sam Darnold looks like the real deal. He’s passed for 963 yards and six touchdowns with one interception in the last three games. But Arizona has the type of offense, led by mobile quarterbacks, that can give USC fits. Of course, that’s also why the Wildcats have a couple of quarterbacks who are beat up.
Stanford at Notre Dame, 4:30 p.m., Channel 4
Welcome to the Not-So-Smug-Anymore Bowl. Ever notice how quietly cocky David Shaw was after a big Stanford win? Or how not-so-quietly cocky Brian Kelly was after any Notre Dame win? Yeah, we haven’t seen those attitudes in a while. The Cardinal are 3-2 after being beat up by the state of Washington. The Fighting Irish are 2-4, all the losses by eight points or less.
12:30 p.m.: Wake Forest at No. 14 Florida State, ESPN; Kansas at No. 11 Baylor, FS1; Nebraska at Indiana, ESPN2; New Mexico at Air Force, ESPNews; Northwestern at Michigan State, Big Ten Network (BTN); No. 24 Western Michigan at Akron, CBSSN.
12:45 p.m.: No. 17 Virginia Tech at Syracuse, ESPNU.
1 p.m.: No. 21 Utah at Oregon State, Pac-12 Network (Pac-12); Missouri at No. 18 Florida, SEC.
4 p.m.: No. 12 Mississippi at No. 22 Arkansas, ESPN; Tulsa at No. 13 Houston, ESPN2; Idaho State at Northern Arizona, FS West; Connecticut at South Florida, CBSSN Texas San Antonio at Rice, beIN1.
4:30 p.m.: Southern Mississippi at Louisiana State, SEC; Temple at Central Florida, ESPNU.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 8 Wisconsin, 5 p.m., Channel 7
The Badgers had a week off after a tough loss against No. 4 Michigan, and now they get the Buckeyes — but at home in Camp Randall Stadium. Wisconsin will need a strong game from quarterback Alex Hornibrook, a redshirt freshman who had three passes intercepted against Michigan and will be facing a defense that is among the top 10 in the nation in just about every major category.
Arizona State at Colorado, 5 p.m., Pac-12
These teams have each lost to USC in the last two weeks and have one other thing in common: They are co-leaders of the Pac-12 South with records of 2-1 in conference play, a half-game ahead of the Trojans. Colorado has averaged 48 points in three home games.
UCLA at Washington State, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Oh my gosh, what might UCLA look like for an entire game without Josh? Bruins fans are surely hoping they don’t find out, because the preview — a couple of spans against Arizona State last week — wasn’t pretty. Washington State opened with a loss to lower-level Eastern Washington, but then played No. 15 Boise State close before hammering Oregon and Stanford.
7:15 p.m.: Colorado State at No. 15 Boise State, ESPN2.
7:30 p.m.: Nevada at San Jose State, CBSSN.