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.
4 p.m.: No. 22 Navy at South Florida, ESPN2.
5 p.m.: San Diego State at Utah State, CBS Sports Network (CBSSN).
7:30 p.m.: Air Force at Fresno State, ESPN2.
No. 10 West Virginia at Oklahoma State, 9 a.m., Channel 11
West Virginia has some significant obstacles to clear on the way to an undefeated regular season, and this is one of them. Oklahoma State always has a productive passing game, and freshman running back Justice Hill makes the Cowboys a little less one dimensional. However, West Virginia’s defense put the clamps on high-powered offenses from Texas Christian and Texas Tech in its last two games.
No. 2 Michigan at Michigan State, 9 a.m., ESPN
Waiting for Michigan State to play like Michigan State this season has been a little like waiting for Chicago Cubs pitcher Jon Lester to throw over to first base. You keep think it’s going to happen, but it doesn’t. What’s worth watching is to see whether the Wolverines will attempt to stomp a typically tough rival when its down.
No. 24 Penn State at Purdue, 9 a.m., ESPN2
This would not have been on the pre-this-week watch list, but then Penn State upset Ohio State last week. How did that happen? Hey, sometimes college football gets weird. Also weird: Penn State Coach James Franklin said he got 348 text messages after the win over the Buckeyes. He counted them?
9 a.m.: No. 5 Louisville at Virginia, Channel 7; Duke at Georgia Tech, Prime; Connecticut at East Carolina, ESPNews; Central Florida at Houston, ESPNU; Kentucky at Missouri, SEC Network (SEC); Boston College at North Carolina State, KDOC.
No. 4 Washington at No. 17 Utah, 12:30 p.m., FS1
Undefeated Washington is led by quarterback Jake Browning, who at the end of the season just might be college football’s player of the year. Utah is paced by running back Joe Williams, who would be on his way to comeback player of the year if there were such an award. Williams gained 75 yards in 22 carries in two games before he quit the Utes for a month. In two games back, he gained 511 yards with five touchdowns in 63 carries. Browning is No. 2 in the nation in efficiency; he’s passed for 1,709 yards and 26 touchdowns with two interceptions.
No. 8 Baylor at Texas, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Who knows how many cameras ABC will have on hand for this one, but here’s something you can count on: one will be trained on Texas Coach Charlie Strong, and another will be panning the Longhorns faithful for their reactions every time something ugly happens on the football field. The way things have been going for Texas, those camera operators are in for a workout.
Miami at Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., Channel 4
ESPN has produced a 30 for 30 documentary on the 1988 game between these schools, known as “Catholics vs. Convicts.” Its release isn’t until December, which is too bad since it will surely be more interesting than this game. Miami has lost to every good team it has played. Notre Dame has lost to every good team it has played, plus a couple to teams that aren’t so good.
Arizona State at Oregon, 2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12)
If allegations by Washington State Coach Mike Leach and the private whisperings of others are true, and Arizona State is stealing signs, well, the Sun Devils need to do more with the information. Oregon Coach Mark Helfrich spent a lot of time answering questions about what the Ducks would do this week to disguise the plays they’re calling. Here’s a better question: “Coach, spend much practice time on tackling drills?”
No. 7 Nebraska at No. 11 Wisconsin, 4 p.m., ESPN
Nebraska is 7-0, but are the Cornhuskers really that good? The only opponent that was ranked in the top 25 at the time Nebraska played it was Oregon, which was No. 22 back in Week 3. And we know now that was at least 50 spots high. Wisconsin’s only losses came back-to-back, against Michigan and Ohio State — each by a touchdown.
12:30 p.m.: Northwestern at No. 6 Ohio State, ESPN; No. 14 Florida at Georgia, Channel 2; Army at Wake Forest, Prime; Texas Tech at Texas Christian, ESPN2; Maryland at Indiana, ESPNU; Cincinnati at Temple, CBSSN; Samford at Mississippi State, SEC.
1 p.m.: Southern Methodist at Tulane, ESPNews.
4 p.m.: Kansas at No. 16 Oklahoma, FS1; No. 13 Boise State at Wyoming, CBSSN.
4:15 p.m.: No. 18 Tennessee at South Carolina, ESPN2; No. 15 Auburn at Mississippi, SEC.
4:30 p.m.: New Mexico State at No. 9 Texas A&M, ESPNU.
No. 3 Clemson at No. 12 Florida State, 5 p.m.
Florida State’s once-proud defense was giving up an average of more than 35 points per game before the last two weeks, when it restored order in 20-19 and 17-6 wins over Miami and Wake Forest. Note to Seminoles: Clemson isn’t Miami or Wake Forest. That said, the Tigers needed North Carolina State to blow a late field-goal attempt before winning in overtime last week.
7:30 p.m.: Nevada Las Vegas at San Jose State, CBSSN.
7:45 p.m.: Washington State at Oregon State, ESPN2.
8 p.m.: Stanford at Arizona, FS1.