HOOOOOOO BOY EVERYTHING IS BAD. ALL OF IT.
Sorry, was just panicking in advance when I saw this week's college football schedule. And yeah, OK, I'm exaggerating a little. We have the reverse of our usual fan dilemma this Saturday: instead of too many good games to watch, thanks to seemingly every SEC team playing a Group of 5 or FCS team, how do we glean the good games from the muck?
Well, it took some hemming and hawing, but I think I've found at least some - SOME, MIND YOU - football games that are worth your precious weekend time. The two usual caveats apply:
(1) If your team is playing they go on the Big Screen, I should have put them there in the first place, and I am very sorry.
(2) All game times are in God's Time (CST).
Big Screen: Notre Dame vs. Syracuse (1:30p, NBC) is late to this college football party, arriving a full two and a half hours after the rest of the early slate. Plop it on the Big Screen when it finally makes its fashionably late appearance, though, because it's likely the last chance anyone has to prevent Notre Dame from crashing the Playoff party. Syracuse is feisty, but they've spent their whole year beating *shudder* ACC teams. But they've got a chance against the Irish and returning QB Ian Book. Never count out the possibility of early jitters after a return from injury, folks.
Second Screen: Ohio State vs. Maryland (11a, ABC) is OK. It's acceptable. The Buckeyes will probably dance all over the Terps, continuing their march to a rivalry tilt with Michigan. But who knows? Maryland beat Texas, after all. (Don't look at me like that, Horns fans. I only state facts.)
Watch the Score: Did I mention it's a bad week? There’s nothing here. Moving on!
Big Screen: Don't look now, but West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State (2:30p, ABC) may end up being one of the best games of the day. After an emotional Bedlam loss, Gundy's Cowboys have a chance to take out all their rage on West Virginia in Stillwater. Or they could play a really silly game because Bedlam is exhausting and Will Grier commands a blazing and consistent Mountaineer offense. My money's on the latter, but what do I know.
Second Screen: Indiana vs. Michigan (3p, FS1)! Sure, why not. The Hoosiers aren't anything particularly special this year, but they seem to play up to their competition, and Michigan may overlook them. If things get weird, expect plenty of Perturbed Jim Harbaugh faces, which are always funny.
Watch the Score: Also nothing here. Yuck.
Big Screen: Why does the Longhorn Network exist? To ruin the lives of all the college football fans who want to see Iowa State vs. Texas (7p, LGHN) but don't live in Texas. What? Illegal Twitch streams of the game? I would never endorse watching such a thing. Regardless of how you consume it, this is a game between two fast, fun, and flawed Big 12 teams with some decent stakes. It's a solid evening meal.
Second Screen: And this? This is your guilty pleasure junk food. Cincinnati vs. UCF (7p, ABC) has some stakes! It's the battle for the likely winner of the Group of 5 New Year's Six sweepstakes. Who get a shot at one of the big boys? My money is on UCF for the second straight year. They've just been a well oiled machine. But the Bearcats are likewise formidable. This game should be testy, with a lot of points.
Watch the Score: UAB vs. Texas A&M (6p, ESPN2), Clemson vs. Duke (6p, ESPN)
Big Screen: Yes, Arizona State vs. Oregon (9:30p, PACN) will probably be a fine instance of #Pac12AfterDark, with all the points such clashes offer. But I'm interested in this matchup for another reason: Arizona State might have a shot at winning the PAC 12 this year! In Herm Edwards' first year on the job! I really, REALLY want this to happen.
Second Screen: Arizona vs. Washington State (9:30p, ESPN) should be utter carnage. The Wildcats are a middling 5-5 and Wazzu is the *chuckle* class of the PAC12, but sometimes an obliteration is hilarious to watch. Maybe.
This Saturday follow me on Twitter here, where I'll tweet about all these games using #WatchingCFB. Feel free to chime in with your hottest football takes. And be sure to watch for another hot-take-filled article coming very soon about how this year's selection of the College Football Playoff could devolve into UTTER MADDENING CHAOS.