Need some help deciding which college football games to watch? Look no further. Each Friday, Times contributor Chuck Schilken handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on the weekend’s menu of games:
5 p.m.: Virginia at Boise State, ESPN2.
7:30 p.m.: Utah at Arizona, FS1
Nevada Las Vegas (1-1) at No. 10 Ohio State (2-1), 9 a.m., Big Ten Network (Big Ten)
UNLV was on the losing end of the biggest point-spread upset in college football history, when 45-point underdog Howard defeated the Rebels 43-40 on opening weekend. Three weeks later, UNLV has the opportunity to pull an epic upset of its own against 40-point favorite Ohio State.
Texas A&M (2-1) at Arkansas (1-1), 9 a.m., ESPN
It’s been a while since either team has won against an opponent from a Power Five conference — Texas A&M has lost six such games in a row, a streak that dates back to October; Arkansas has lost three of them since defeating Mississippi State in November. Something’s got to give in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams.
9 a.m.: North Carolina State at Florida State, Channel 7; Kent State at Louisville, Prime; Texas Tech at Houston, ESPN2; Army at Tulane, CBS Sports Network (CBSSN); Massachusetts at Tennessee, SEC Network (SEC); West Virginia at Kansas, ESPNU.
9:15 a.m.: Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech, KDOC.
No. 1 Alabama (3-0) at Vanderbilt (3-0), 12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Vanderbilt and its Football Bowl Subdivision-best defense are on a roll following a win over then-No. 18 Kansas State. And maybe the Commodores are getting the nation’s No. 1 team at the right time — two Alabama defenders called for a players-only meeting after giving up 23 points and 391 yards to Colorado State.
No. 5 USC (3-0) at California (3-0), 12:30 p.m., Channel 7
Then-defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox was one of four assistants fired by USC coach Clay Helton after the Trojans allowed 262 rushing yards and 417 total yards in a loss to Stanford in the 2015 Pac-12 championship game. Wilcox is off to an impressive start as California’s head coach but faces his toughest test yet.
No. 16 Texas Christian (3-0) at No. 6 Oklahoma State (3-0), 12:30 p.m. ESPN
Oklahoma State has won each of its games by at least 35 points and has outscored its opponents 59-0 in the first quarter. TCU has been challenged a bit more, pulling away from Arkansas with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns and coming back from 12 points down against Southern Methodist.
No. 8 Michigan (3-0) at Purdue (2-1), 1 p.m., Channel 11
This is a big game for Purdue, with the largest crowd in four seasons expected at Ross-Ade Stadium to cheer on a Boilermakers team that led during the fourth quarter of it’s only loss of the year, to then-No. 16 Louisville. Michigan has one of the top defenses in the country but has yet to establish an identity on offense.
No. 17 Mississippi State (3-0) at No. 11 Georgia (3-0), 4 p.m., ESPN
Mississippi State is seen as a legitimate challenger in the SEC West coming off a 37-7 dismantling of then-No. 12 Louisiana State. Georgia needed a late field goal to get past Notre Dame earlier this month and now faces a defense that is giving up just 206 yards and 9.3 points a game.
San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny leads the FBS in rushing, averaging 196 yards a game. Air Force has the country’s No. 7 ground game, with seven players accounting for the Falcons’ seven rushing touchdowns. But both teams defend the rush fairly well — San Diego State allows 91.5 yards a game to Air Force’s 122.5.
No. 20 Florida (1-1) at Kentucky (3-0), 4:30 p.m., SEC
Will the Florida captains shake hands with their Kentucky counterparts? They’d better. The Wildcats say a snub by the South Carolina captains before last week’s game provided extra motivation in their win over the previously undefeated Gamecocks. Florida downed Tennessee on a last-second Hail Mary pass last week.
Noon: Central Florida at Maryland, FS1.
12:30 p.m.: Boston College at Clemson, ESPN2; Rutgers at Nebraska, Big Ten; Duke at North Carolina, ESPNU; Louisiana Tech at South Carolina, SEC; Cincinnati at Navy (CBSSN).
3 p.m.: Nevada at Washington State, Pac-12.
3:30 p.m.: Oklahoma at Baylor, FS1.
4 p.m.: Syracuse at Louisiana State, ESPN2.
4:30 p.m.: Penn State at Iowa, Channel 7; Auburn at Missouri, ESPNU.
5 p.m.: Notre Dame at Michigan State, Channel 11.
UCLA (2-1) at Stanford (1-2), 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Stanford running back Bryce Love could cause problems for the Bruins. He’s the nation’s No. 2 rusher, with 524 yards and four touchdowns, and UCLA is giving up 275 yards a game on the ground. Meanwhile, the Bruins have been unable to come up with much of a running attack of their own.
7 p.m.: Oregon at Arizona State, Pac-12.
7:15 p.m.: Hawaii at Wyoming, ESPN2.
9 a.m.: East Carolina at Connecticut, ESPNU.