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TTUN vs. Michigan State leads thin slate of college football action

Not a ton of great games on Saturday, which means something nutty will probably happen.

Michigan State v Michigan Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Perhaps it is the chaos that erupted last weekend, or the odd emotions surrounding tonight’s road game against Purdue, but I’m having a tough time getting excited for the rest of today’s college football action, outside of the Buckeye’s game in primetime.

Obviously, we will all be watching the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0) play under the lights for the third time this season as they travel to West Lafayette, Ind. to take on the resurgent, upset-minded Purdue Boilermakers (3-3, 2-1) at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

However, the rest of the CFB slate leaves a bit to be desired. Fortunately, the day will get off to an interesting start at least, with Michigan and Michigan State squaring off in the Big Ten’s only ranked-versus-ranked game of the week. But other than that and the Buckeye game in the evening, it might be a good time do something other than watch football on a fall Saturday... oh, who am I kidding, the most exciting weeks of college football are usually the ones in which nobody expects anything. So, bring on the mayhem!

Let’s checkout the other major games that you should be keeping your eyes on today:

Early Window

No. 6 Michigan at No. 24 Michigan State | FOX | noon ET

For me, outside of the OSU vs. Purdue game, this is the only game that I’m actually really excited to watch this weekend. Over the last few weeks, TTUN has seemed to steady its ship and is playing like the team that everyone in the national media has hoped it would since Jim Harbaugh returned to Ann Arbor.

However, after defeating the Big Ten West paper tiger that is the No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers, the Wolverines’ next two games are against ranked teams— sandwiched around a bye week. If they can escape contests with MSU and Penn State unscathed, it should set up an epic edition of The Game on Nov. 24 (assuming the Buckeyes take care of business as well).

The No. 24 Michigan State Spartans can take a big step forward to putting the pieces of their season back together following inexplicable losses to Arizona State and Northwestern if they pull off their fifth win against their rival in the last six years.

Following last week’s thrilling comeback against No. 18 Penn State, we are starting to see the traditional Mark Dantonio late-season turn around. These mitten-state foes have two of the four stingiest defenses in the B1G (UM- 1st, MSU- 4th), so yards could be hard to come by.

Ironically, the normally run-heavy Spartans have the second worst running yards per game in the conference, so they will need to rely on quarterback Brian Lewerke to beat Don Brown’s defense. And, even if he doesn’t, maybe we can get a replay of this:

Afternoon Window

No. 16 NC State at No. 3 Clemson | ESPN | 3:30 p.m. ET

Not gonna lie, I’m only recommending this game out of obligation. It will likely be borderline unwatchable. Yes, we are at least guaranteed that there will be one fewer undefeated team left in the country, but let’s be honest, Clemson isn’t going to lose this game, especially coming off of a bye, in which Dabo Swinney had extra time to get freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence ready to go against the Wolfpack.

Yes, NC State’s 2018 record is still unblemished, but their game against West Virginia was cancelled due to the threat of Hurricane Florence in September. So, without that ranked team on their schedule, the Pack has beaten James Madison, Georgia State, Marshall, Virginia, and Boston College.

Now, I’m not convinced that Clemson is all that good either, but they aren’t likely to lose to NC State at home coming off of a bye.

I’d suggest taking a nap during the afternoon window, so that you are completely ready for the Ohio State-Purdue game in the evening.

Evening Window

No. 12 Oregon at No. 25 Washington State | FOX | 7:30 p.m. ET

Obviously we are all going to be watching the Buckeyes and the Boilermakers, but if you have a second screen handy, it might be worthwhile to put it on this Pac-12 matchup. As of now, there are no Pac-12 teams undefeated on the season, and— believe it or not— there are only three teams in the league with only one loss: No. 12 Oregon, No. 25 Washington State and (Others Receiving Votes) Colorado.

The Buffalos will travel to Seattle to take on No. 15 Washington, where they are a 17.5 point underdog. So, assuming that goes according to Hoyle, the winner of the game in Pullman, Wash., will be the last, best chance for the conference to get a team in the College Football Playoff.

Now, that already seems like a longshot, given the league’s volatile nature thus far, but there is something exciting to me about the thought of a Mike Leach team in the CFP. When you factor in that ESPN’s “College GameDay” is finally visiting Wazzu, this could be a great test to see if Mario Cristobal has the Ducks back flying high or not.

No. 22 Mississippi State at No. 5 LSU | ESPN | 7:00 p.m. ET

For those still stanning Joe Burrow, this is a second-screen option as well, but I don’t think that it will be as conducive to the “on mute, only paying attention when something big catches your eye” treatment as the Pac-12 game above will be. The Bulldogs are giving up the fewest yards per game in the SEC thus far, and both LSU’s offense and defense are just middle of the conference at this point. So, while there’s certainly a sentimentality reason to check out the game, it’s probably not going to be extremely aesthetically pleasing as a second option to the Bucks and Boilers.

Pac-12 After Dark

I got nothing here. The best Pac-12 games of the week are 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. local time kicks, so unless you are a true degenerate with money on San Jose State at San Diego State or Nevada at Hawaii, it’s probably ok to call it a night after the Bucks and Boilers.

Check Saturday’s full slate of games here:

Week 8 Saturday Schedule

Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (PT) TV Streaming
#6 Michigan at #24 Michigan State 12:00 PM FOX
#9 Oklahoma at TCU 12:00 PM ABC
Maryland at #19 Iowa 12:00 PM ESPN2
#20 Cincinnati at Temple 12:00 PM ESPNU
Illinois at #23 Wisconsin 12:00 PM FS1
Buffalo at Toledo 12:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Tulsa at Arkansas 12:00 PM SEC Network
Auburn at Ole Miss 12:00 PM ESPN
Northwestern at Rutgers 12:00 PM BTN
Miami (OH) at Army 12:00 PM CBSSN
North Carolina at Syracuse 12:20 PM ACC Network
Virginia at Duke ACC Network
Idaho State at Liberty 2:00 PM None
Bowling Green at Ohio 2:00 PM None
Utah State at Wyoming 2:30 PM AT&T SportsNet
Florida Atlantic at Marshall 2:30 PM None Facebook
Charlotte at Middle Tennessee 3:00 PM None
Eastern Michigan at Ball State 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Western Michigan at Central Michigan 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
#1 Alabama at Tennessee 3:30 PM CBS
#16 NC State at #3 Clemson 3:30 PM ESPN
Colorado at #15 Washington 3:30 PM FOX
#18 Penn State at Indiana 3:30 PM ABC
Coastal Carolina at UMass 3:30 PM Eleven/NESN+
Houston at Navy 3:30 PM CBSSN
SMU at Tulane 3:30 PM ESPNU
Akron at Kent State 3:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Louisiana at Appalachian State 3:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
UTEP at Louisiana Tech 3:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Wake Forest at Florida State 3:30 PM ESPN2
Minnesota at Nebraska 3:30 PM BTN
Kansas at Texas Tech 3:30 PM FS1
Memphis at Missouri 4:00 PM SEC Network
California at Oregon State 4:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Georgia Southern at New Mexico State 6:00 PM Eleven/FSN Aggievision
#22 Mississippi State at #5 LSU 7:00 PM ESPN
#10 UCF at East Carolina 7:00 PM ESPN2
UConn at #21 South Florida 7:00 PM CBSSN
UTSA at Southern Mississippi 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Texas State at UL Monroe 7:00 PM None
#2 Ohio State at Purdue 7:30 PM ABC
#12 Oregon at #25 Washington State 7:30 PM FOX
Vanderbilt at #14 Kentucky 7:30 PM SEC Network
Fresno State at New Mexico 7:30 PM ESPNU
Rice at Florida Intl 7:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
North Texas at UAB 7:30 PM beIN Sports
Old Dominion at Western Kentucky 7:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
USC at Utah 8:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Arizona at UCLA 10:30 PM ESPN2
San Jose State at San Diego State 10:30 PM CBSSN
Nevada at Hawai'i 11:59 PM Spectrum Sports PPV