College football viewers’ guide: Three games feature matchups between top-10 teams

Nick Fitzgerald
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald draws a crowd against Massachusetts on Nov. 4.
(Rogelio V. Solis / 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:



No. 9 Washington (8-1) at Stanford (6-3)


7:30 p.m., FS1

The country’s top-ranked defense (Washington, 240.9 yards allowed per game) takes on the nation’s No. 1 running back (Stanford’s Bryce Love, 182 yards per game). Last week, Washington’s Dante Pettis set an NCAA Division I record with his ninth punt return for a touchdown; he has four this year.

4 p.m.: Temple at Cincinnati, ESPN2.

5 p.m.: Dartmouth at Brown, NBC Sports Network.


7:30 p.m.: Brigham Young at Nevada Las Vegas, ESPN2.


No. 12 Michigan State (7-2) at No. 13 Ohio State (7-2)

9 a.m., Channel 11

Ohio State followed a big win over then-No. 2 Penn State with a lopsided loss to Iowa. Michigan State, a 27-24 winner over Penn State last week, hopes to avoid a similar fate this week. The winner takes sole possession of first place in the Big Ten East.

No. 15 Oklahoma State (7-2) at No. 21 Iowa State (6-3)

9 a.m., Channel 7

Both teams are 4-2 in the Big 12 and coming off tough losses. A win this week, along with previous victories over Texas Christian and Oklahoma, would put Iowa State in good position for a spot in the conference championship game; Oklahoma State would still need some help.


9 a.m.: Rutgers at No. 14 Penn State, Big Ten Network (Big Ten); Connecticut at No. 18 Central Florida, ESPNU; Arkansas at No. 24 Louisiana State, ESPN; No. 23 North Carolina State at Boston College, ESPN2; Duke at Army, CBS Sports Network (CBSSN); Louisiana-Lafayette at Mississippi, SEC Network (SEC); Florida at South Carolina, Channel 2; Nebraska at Minnesota, FS1.

9:15 a.m.: No. 17 Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, KDOC.

9:30 a.m.: Texas Tech vs. Baylor at Arlington, Texas, 9 a.m.


No. 1 Georgia (9-0) at No. 10 Auburn (7-2)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

All Auburn has to do to win the Southeastern Conference West is beat the Bulldogs, then do the same to No. 2 Alabama in two weeks. Simple, right? Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson has 15 rushing touchdowns in only seven games; Georgia’s defense gives up only 11.7 points per game.

Florida State (3-5) at No. 4 Clemson (8-1)


12:30 p.m., ESPN

This isn’t the powerhouse matchup that was envisioned when the schedule came out. But Clemson is clinging to a College Football Playoff spot and can’t afford to slip up against a Florida State team looking to avoid missing a bowl game for the first time since 1981.

No. 20 Iowa (6-3) at No. 8 Wisconsin (9-0)

12:30 p.m., Channel 7

The biggest knock against Wisconsin is its weak schedule. The Badgers would likely have to win the Big Ten with an undefeated record to have any shot at making the CFP, and they’re up against an Iowa team that put an end to Ohio State’s playoff hopes with an upset victory last week.

No. 11 USC (8-2) at Colorado (5-5)

1 p.m., Channel 11

Senior running back Phillip Lindsay has been a bright spot during a disappointing season for Colorado, rushing for 1,334 yards and 12 touchdowns. His USC counterpart, Ronald Jones II, has run for 1,082 yards and 13 touchdowns. A win will seal the Pac-12 South for the Trojans.

No. 2 Alabama (9-0) at No. 16 Mississippi State (7-2)

4 p.m., ESPN

Mississippi State has won four straight and is 5-0 at home. Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has passed for 13 touchdowns and rushed for 12 more. But he’s up against an Alabama defense that gives up just 9.8 points a game, fewer than any other Football Bowl Subdivision team.

Noon: Wake Forest at Syracuse, FSWest.

12:30 p.m.: Virginia at Louisville, ESPNU; Michigan at Maryland, Big Ten; West Virginia at Kansas State, ESPN2; Southern Methodist at Navy, CBSSN.

1 p.m.: Kentucky at Vanderbilt, SEC.

2:30 p.m.: No. 19 Washington State at Utah, Pac-12.

3:30 p.m.: Western Kentucky at Marshall, beIN1.

4 p.m.: Purdue at No. 25 Northwestern, ESPN2; Tulane at East Carolina, CBSSN; New Mexico at Texas A&M, ESPNU.

4:30 p.m.: Tennessee at Missouri, SEC.


No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) at No. 7 Miami (8-0)

5 p.m., Channel 7

Miami got a quality win last week over Virginia Tech and now has a chance to add another one to its CFP resume. Josh Adams (132.3 rushing yards per game) missed most of Notre Dame’s win over Wake Forest but is expected to play against the Hurricanes.

No. 6 Texas Christian (8-1) at No. 5 Oklahoma (8-1)

5 p.m., Channel 11

These teams stand atop the Big 12 with one conference loss each. TCU has the country’s best defense against the run (69.7 yards per game) — but that won’t be much help against Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield and the nation’s top passing offense (395 yards per game).

6:30 p.m.: Arizona State at UCLA, Pac-12.

7 p.m.: Oregon State at Arizona, ESPN2.

7:15 p.m.: Wyoming at Air Force, ESPNU.

7:30 p.m.: Boise State at Colorado State, CBSSN.

Twitter: @chewkiii

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