College football: What to watch Saturday on TV

Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. The Times' national college football writer handicaps what's worth watching, and skipping, on Saturday's menu of games:


No. 13 Michigan State (9-1) at Northwestern (4-6)

9 a.m., ESPN

First place meets last place in the Big Ten Legends Division in this story of programs going in opposite directions. Michigan State has won six straight on its way to an inevitable, league-title collision against Ohio State. Northwestern's six-game losing streak started with a fourth-quarter collapse against Ohio State in Evanston, Ill.

No. 22 Oklahoma (8-2) at Kansas State (6-4)

9 a.m., FS1

Don't look now, but Bill Snyder's Wildcats have won four straight since a three-game skid against Texas, Oklahoma State and Baylor. Snyder gets bonus class points for penning a personal letter to Texas Tech star tight end Jace Amaro, who was injured during last Saturday's loss to Baylor. "Admire how hard you play and the innate toughness you display to help your team," Snyder wrote. This certainly isn't helping Snyder's Grumpy Old Man reputation.

Harvard (8-1) at Yale (5-4)

9 a.m., NBCSN

Harvard and Yale were major powers long before Boise State ever thought of putting down a blue field, but de-emphasized football in an effort to refocus on what's really important about going to college. The Ivy League doesn't even participate in the FCS playoffs.

9 a.m.: Duke at Wake Forest, ESPN2; Cincinnati at Houston, ESPN News; Michigan at Iowa, BTN; Virginia at Miami, ESPNU; Illinois at Purdue, BTN1.

9:15 a.m.: Mississippi State at Arkansas Little Rock, KDOC.


No. 5 Oregon (9-1) at Arizona (6-4)

12:30 p.m., Channel 7

Stanford's loss to USC put Oregon back in control of the Pac-12 North. Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota has thrown 285 passes without an interception yet has fallen out of the Heisman Trophy race for reasons no one has satisfactorily explained.

No. 9 Texas A&M; (8-2) at No. 18 Louisiana State (7-3)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Johnny Manziel can put down his claim on a second Heisman with a strong performance against a quality Southeastern Conference team on the road. Meantime, fellow Heisman contenders AJ McCarron of Alabama and Jameis Winston of Florida State get to run up meaningless statistics against Chattanooga and Idaho.

California (1-10) at No. 10 Stanford (8-2)

1 p.m., FS1

It is technically still the "Big Game" even though Cal's only big win this year came against FCS Portland State. Stanford's national title hopes were flushed by its loss to USC.

No. 19 Arizona State (8-2) at No. 14 UCLA (8-2)

4 p.m., Channel 11

Arizona State can clinch the Pac-12 South with a win; UCLA needs to win Saturday and next week against USC to clinch a third straight trip to the conference title game.

No. 8 Missouri (9-1) at No. 24 Mississippi (7-3)

4:45 p.m., ESPN

Missouri isn't getting much play as a national title contender, but the Tigers can make their case with closing wins against Ole Miss, Texas A&M; and then Alabama (or Auburn) in the SEC title game.

12:30 p.m.: Idaho at Florida State, ESPNU; Indiana at Ohio State, ESPN2; Wisconsin at Minnesota, ESPN; Brigham Young at Notre Dame, Channel 4; Nebraska at Penn State, BTN; Utah at Washington State, Pac-12; James Madison at Towson, NBCSN; Colorado State at Utah State, CBSSN.

1 p.m.: New Mexico at Fresno State, ESPN News.

2:30 p.m.: Old Dominion at North Carolina (taped), FS West.

4 p.m.: Kentucky at Georgia, ESPNU; Tulsa at Louisiana Tech, CBSSN; Vanderbilt at Tennessee, ESPN2.


No. 3 Baylor (9-0) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (9-1)

5 p.m., Channel 7

This game of the year (so far) in the Big 12 pits the team picked to win the league against surprising Baylor, which is rewriting record books with its 61 points-per-game average. Baylor hasn't won at Oklahoma State since 1939, but this team has a better offense.

Boise State (7-3) at San Diego State (6-4)

7:30 p.m., CBSSN

Boise State dropped off the national map with an opening loss to Washington but has recovered to position itself for another conference title. Chris Petersen's Broncos lead the Mountain West's Mountain Division with eyes on avenging a one-point loss to Fresno State with a rematch in the first Mountain West championship game.

5 p.m.: Kansas at Iowa State, FS1.

6:30 p.m.: USC at Colorado, Pac-12.

7:30 p.m.: Washington at Oregon State, ESPN2.

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