As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
- Louisville @ Miami (ABC): As multiple outlets have noted, this week is not exactly the best. Let’s consider this game, which is relatively close to a marquee matchup compared to everything else. As such, I’ve also thrown in some FCS rivalries, including at least one that will probably be worth figuring out ESPN+ for. As for this one? Well, I don’t think the Cardinals are that good, but I don’t trust the canes.
- Michigan @ Maryland (FOX): By far one of the most amusing things to come out of the Harbaugh in-game-only suspension is the fans of multiple other fanbases that wish their head coach could be banned from the sideline on gameday. Oh and the Wolverines will roll. Whether or not we’ll do another week of acting like Jim Harbaugh is dead is TBD.
- Oklahoma @ Brigham Young (ESPN): Ordinarily, this is where I would say traveling to Provo is a good way to get knocked around but… yeah the Sooners are going to be okay.
- Southern Methodist @ Memphis (ESPN2): Okay this one could well actually be a banger. Sure, Memphis isn’t actually good, but they can score some points when they want to, and are more than capable of getting the Mustangs a game. I don’t think it’ll be enough to win, but there it is.
- Rutgers @ Pennsylvania State (FS1): Penn State will presumably be saddled with James Franklin for the foreseeable future, in which case they are probably elated that they will no longer have to play both Michigan and Ohio State every year. After all, if you’re always going to go to 10-2, why not spice it up with some USC or Oregon?
- Purdue @ Northwestern (BTN): Northwestern just elevated their interim to the head coaching job, as since they’re sitting on 5 wins it’s reasonable to say that maybe this job isn’t as hard as the previous coach was making it look? (It totally is, though.) Also they’ll probably get to a bowl!
- Michigan State @ Indiana (BTN): I don’t have to watch this game and you can’t make me. Also, uh, Hoosiers?
- East Carolina @ Navy (ESPNEWS): Navy?
- Louisiana-Monroe @ Mississippi (SEC): Lane Kiffin teams failing to climb the mountain and beat the SEC teams that are obviously better than them (like Bama and Georgia) is almost Franklin-esque at this point. Suffice it to say they’ll be fine here.
- Coastal Carolina @ Army (CBSS): Army is completely baffling to me, so I guess they could win this, but I don’t think they will.
- Harvard @ Yale (“The Game”; ESPNU)
- Tulane @ Florida Atlantic (ESPN+)
- Abiliene Christian @ Texas A&M (ESPN+)
- Southern Mississippi @ Mississippi State (ESPN+)
- Tennessee-Chattanooga @ Alabama (ESPN+)
- Lafayette @ Lehigh (“The Rivalry”; ESPN+)
1:00: Massachusetts @ Liberty (ESPN+)
- Hawaii @ Wyoming (Team1Sports)
- Appalachian State @ James Madison (ESPN+)
- Louisiana Tech @ Jacksonville State (ESPN+)
- Texas-El Paso @ Middle Tennessee State (ESPN+)
- Kent State @ Ball State (ESPN+)
- Rice @ Charlotte (ESPN+)
- Montana State @ Montana (“Brawl of the Wild”; ESPN+): Watch this. Seriously.
- Arizona @ Utah (Pac12): Zona is better than anyone expected, yes, but after a brief 1-week swoon against the Ducks Utah is apparently rejuvenated. I mean, they’re still super hurt, but they’re back to their normal “making you feel like you got hit by a ton of bricks” selves.
- Cincinnati @ West Virginia (ESPN+)
- Duke @ Virginia (The CW): Duke’s quarterback situation still makes me hesitant to pick them, but yeah they should totally beat UVA here.
- Nevada @ Colorado State (MWN)
- Texas State @ Arkansas State (ESPN+)
- North Texas @ Tulsa (ESPN+)
- Temple @ Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN+)
- Wake Forest @ Notre Dame (NBC): Sam Hartman will play against his old team, and presumably also completely rip them to shreds.
- Georgia @ Tennessee (CBS): As said elsewhere, if this is the week where the Joe Milton deep ball finally pays off for the Vols this could be interesting. Alas, it probably won’t be.
- California-Los Angeles @ Southern California (ABC): Everyone’s favorite color-on-color game will be a fantastic demonstration of both “unstoppable force meets immovable object” and “very stoppable force meets extremely movable object”. UCLA plays pretty good defense and is a non-entity on offense, whereas USC is absolutely all gas and no brakes. I know USC lost last week to Utah, but even on their 3rd-string QB Utah is still, like, capable on offense. I don’t think UCLA will be able to keep up with USC, even with plenty of help from USC’s “defense”.
- North Carolina @ Clemson (ESPN): By using advanced statistical and analytic methods (read: how my team fared against these teams), I’ve determined Clemson will by approximately one million points.
- Illinois @ Iowa (FS1): Nah.
- Louisiana @ Troy (NFLN): This is normally a marquee matchup on the west side of the Sun Belt, but, well, the Cajuns aren’t especially Ragin’ this year.
- North Carolina State @ Virginia Tech (ACCN): Virginia Tech has been playing better, and I think they’ll get to a bowl, but it won’t be this week, as the Wolfpack need to fulfill their 8-4 destiny.
- Nevada-Las Vegas @ Air Force (CBSS): We’ve gotten reports that the issue with Air Force is that they “really like giving the other team the ball” to explain their bizarre losses the past couple of weeks. Suffice it to say, the team that would winthe “comeback team of the year” award, if such thing existed, will likely be more than happy to continue to assist.
- Baylor @ Texas Christian (“The Revivalry”; ESPN+)
- Sam Houston State @ Western Kentucky (ESPN+)
- Bethun-Cookman @ Florida A&M (“Florida Classic” @ Orlando, FL; ESPNU)
- Oregon @ Arizona State (FOX): Ducks.
- Oklahoma State @ Houston (ESPN2): Houston is… not good, but by all indications Oklahoma State just decided they won the season by beating Oklahoma. I’m still going to pick them, but the fact I have to question this at all is an indictment.
- Minnesota @ Ohio State (BTN): Buckeyes.
- New Mexico State @ Auburn (SEC): Quick shout out to the Aggies here, who are also having a season no one saw coming. Even if (when) they get pulverized by Auburn, they still have plenty to feel good about.
- Central Florida @ Texas Tech (FS2): Texas Tech is sneakily very okay, and I think they’ll give UCF plenty of trouble.
- Marshall @ South Alabama (ESPN+)
6:00: Old Dominion @ Georgia Southern (ESPN+)
- North Alabama @ Florida State (The CW)
- California @ Stanford (“The Big Game”; Pac12): Stanford is bad bad, but I just have no read on this Cal team. Cal should win, to be clear, but this is very much the kind of game where everything weird that can happen happens.
- Kansas State @ Kansas (“The Sunflower Showdown”; FS1): With KU on their third quarterback, the intrigue level of this game has dropped somewhat, but anytime this game is actually good it’s fun. And it should be fun.
- Boise State @ Utah State (CBSS): Boise isn’t Boise this year, but Utah State is also very much in the “bad bad” zone.
- Washington @ Oregon State (ABC): And finally, the game of the day. And what a game it should be. UDub hasn’t looked quite right since they beat Oregon, but they’re still undefeated. Oregon State as just been quietly knocking the heads off the bottom half of the Pac-12 all season long. Oregon Sate is actually favored here by “our friends in the desert”, and the home environment in Corvallis for a night game is one of the best, and that’s before you start to consider things like “Washington killed the Pac-12 and left us to rot”. I’m still picking Washington here. But they can get got here, for sure.
- Nebraska @ Wisconsin (NBC): Nebraska’s quarterback situation is more-or-less a disaster, and it’s not really because of injuries, they’re just… not good. Wisconsin meanwhile has been suffering their own growing pains under a first-year head coach. I still like the Badgers at home, but, well, this won’t be the same kind of game the one in Corvallis will be, that’s for sure.
- Florida @ Missouri (ESPN): I don’t know what’s wrong with Florida, other than they’re going to lose by 20 to Mizzou here.
- Florida International @ Arkansas (ESPNU): Hogs should have this one.
- Kentucky @ South Carolina (SEC): This could be the one game this season where Spencer Rattler Figures It Out, but it seems more likely Kentucky is just going to run over and around South Carolina all night long.
- Texas @ Iowa State (FOX): Here’s a sneaky co-headliner for you. Texas is, of course, is sitting on one-loss and very much fancies themselves a playoff contender. Iowa State, of course, has shaken off some very dire play back in September to reel off some wins against the bottom of the Big 12. They’re playing better, but better enough to beat a Texas team with a hurt starting QB? I don’t think so, but it may be worth keeping an eye on.
- Georgia State @ Louisiana State (ESPN2): LSU’s defense is still the greatest instance of defensive malpractice this side of USC, but they’ll be fine here.
- Syracuse @ Georgia Tech (ACCN): Okay, so we all know the deal here. Everything that went well against Virginia more or less went exactly the opposite against Clemson, both disrupting the odd week think and the “playing to the level of our opponents” thing. The main theme of the season has been inconsistency. While the play has been better at times, there’s still a lot of little mistakes that can add up in a hurry when you play teams that have more talent than you (or, in the Bowling Green case, less talent). This has still been a much more fun football product than the last four seasons combined, and I’m just hoping we can see it out these last two weeks.
- New Mexico @ Fresno State (FS1): I still haven’t gotten a good explanation for how Fresno got absolutely walloped by San Jose State last week. That said, no worries here for the Bulldogs.
- San Diego State @ San Jose State (CBSS): So apparently SJSU is awesome this year, they just hadn’t shown it until last week against Fresno. I expect them to follow that up in similar fashion against a bad SDSU team with a now lame-duck head coach.