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College football viewers' guide: Top 25 matchups highlight the schedule

College football viewers' guide: Top 25 matchups highlight the schedule
Penn State's Saquon Barkley pulls in a touchdown pass against Michigan on Oct. 21. (Chris Knight / Associated Press)

Need some help deciding which college football games to watch? Look no further. Times contributor Chuck Schilken handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on the weekend’s menu of games:

FRIDAY EVENING

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5 p.m.: Tulane at No. 24 Memphis, CBS Sports Network (CBSSN); Florida State at Boston College, ESPN. 6 p.m.: Tulsa at Southern Methodist, ESPN2.

SATURDAY MORNING

No. 11 Oklahoma State (6-1) at No. 22 West Virginia (5-2), 9 a.m., Channel 7

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph leads the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing yards per game (378.6), and he’s already led the Cowboys to victory over the Mountaineers twice in his college career. West Virginia’s Will Grier, meanwhile, has passed for a FBS-best 26 touchdowns.

8:30 a.m.: Buffalo at Akron, CBSSN. 9 a.m.: No. 5 Wisconsin at Illinois, ESPN; No. 8 Miami at North Carolina, ESPN2; Rutgers at Michigan, Big Ten; Arkansas at Mississippi, SEC Network (SEC); Texas at Baylor, ESPNU. 9:15 a.m.: Louisville at Wake Forest, KDOC. 9:30 a.m.: Virginia at Pittsburgh, Prime. 11 a.m.: California at Colorado, Pac-12.

SATURDAY AFTERNOON

No. 2 Penn State (7-0) at No. 6 Ohio State (6-1), 12:30 p.m., Channel 11

Penn State’s Saquon Barkley enhanced his Heisman Trophy qualifications last week against then-No. 19 Michigan, going 69 yards for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball. Ohio State’s J.T. Barrett averages three touchdown passes a game; Penn State’s defense has given up three touchdowns all season.

No. 3 Georgia (7-0) at Florida (3-3), 12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Florida has lost its last two games by a total of three points and coach Jim McElwain says there have been death threats against him and Gators players.

No. 4 Texas Christian (7-0) at No. 25 Iowa State (5-2), 12:30 p.m., ESPN2

Texas Christian gives up fewer points, rushing yards and passing yards per game than any team in the Big 12 Conference; Iowa State is second in the first two categories and fourth in the latter. TCU hasn’t given up a touchdown since a 31-24 win over West Virginia on Oct. 7.

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No. 14 North Carolina State (6-1) at No. 9 Notre Dame (6-1), 12:30 p.m., Channel 4

North Carolina State has committed just three turnovers, the fewest in the FBS, and is one of two teams that has yet to have a pass intercepted. Notre Dame has one of the best turnover margins in the nation; 17 gained, seven lost.

Mississippi State (5-2) at Texas A&M (5-2), 4:15 p.m., ESPN

Texas A&M has recovered nicely from an epic collapse against UCLA in its opener. The Aggies are facing the nation’s second-best defense against the pass — Mississippi State gives up an average of 153.6 yards per game through the air — but are used to relying on their running game.

Noon: Air Force at Colorado State, CBSSN; Kansas State at Kansas, FS1. 12:30 p.m.: UCLA at No. 12 Washington, Channel 7; No. 16 Michigan State at Northwestern, ESPN2; Indiana at Maryland, Big Ten Network (Big Ten). 12:45 p.m.: Houston at No. 17 South Florida, ESPNU. 1 p.m.: Vanderbilt at South Carolina, SEC. 2:45 p.m.: Utah at Oregon, Pac-12 Networks (Pac-12). 3:30 p.m.: Missouri at Connecticut, CBSSN; Minnesota at Iowa, FS1. 4:30 p.m.: New Mexico at Wyoming, ESPNU; Tennessee at Kentucky, SEC; Nebraska at Purdue, Big Ten.

SATURDAY EVENING

Georgia Tech (4-2) at No. 7 Clemson (6-1), 5 p.m., ESPN

Clemson has had two weeks to recover from its stunning loss to Syracuse and prepare for Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense. Yellow Jackets quarterback TaQuon Marshall has rushed for 704 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he’s one of three Georgia Tech players with touchdown runs of 60 yards or longer.

No. 15 Washington State (7-1) at Arizona (5-2), 6:30 p.m., Pac-12

Arizona, which has the nation’s fourth-best rushing attack, has run for 28 of its 37 touchdowns, including seven by quarterback Khalil Tate. Washington State, which is fifth in passing, has thrown for 25 of its 30 touchdowns.

No. 21 USC (6-2) at Arizona State (4-3), 7:45 p.m., ESPN

Each team has one conference loss, and the winner here has the inside track to winning the Pac-12 South. Arizona State has won its last two games, including an upset of then-No. 5 Washington. USC must rebound from a blowout loss against No. 9 Notre Dame.

5 p.m.: Texas Tech at No. 10 Oklahoma, Channel 7. 7 p.m.: Boise State at Utah State, CBSSN. 8:15 p.m.: San Diego State at Hawaii, ESPN2.

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