Every Saturday, millions of eyeballs turn towards screens of all sizes, watching the key matchups that ESPN, Fox, and CBS carry each week. These mostly P5 games are the talk of bars, smoke breaks, and group texts until the next Saturday rolls around. Then, like clockwork, millions of eyes turn toward the key matchups that ESPN, Fox and CBS carry, again. It’s a vicious cycle that keeps millions of drone-like men and women watching hours of meaningless football, when they could be watching something fun.
Each week, we’ll be bringing you info about games in time slots all Saturday long to set as the backup on the remote for all the P5 sheeple out there. When you get bored of a blowout and are tired of channel surfing, it’s totally normal to want to experience something special and more wild than you’ll ever find in the big conferences on Saturday afternoon.
The talking heads would have you believe these are the best games:
12:00 PM Eastern – Mississippi State @ Kansas State (ESPN), Duke @ Northwestern (ESPNU)
Yawn. Bored already. Mississippi State vs. Kansas State is going to be like watching a tractor pull in slo-mo on a 14 inch, black and white screen. The novelty should wear off somewhere around the start of the second quarter. Duke @ Northwestern is going to be like watching dudes scrap over Magic the Gathering cards in the parking lot of a Target – fun at first, but everyone just ends up ashamed of themselves and a little sweaty.
The enlightened, however, will know the truth:
12:00 PM Eastern – Nevada @ Vanderbilt (SECN)
Nevada put up 636 yards of offense last week vs. Portland State. Vegas has them as +8.5 and if the books have it that close, then we’re probably in for a treat. Yes, Vandy beat up on Middle Tennessee last weekend and held them to one score, but it’s not like they’re the most SEC-ey of the SEC. Nevada has a full shot here to do something they haven’t done – win a meaningful game OOC.
For those who wanna gawk like it’s an accident on the freeway:
12:00 PM Eastern – Arizona @ Houston (ABC/ESPN2)
Houston looked decent last weekend vs. Rice, but the first half wasn’t ideal. Rice put a scare in the Coogs. So, will Arizona be able to do the same after that atrocious showing vs. BYU last weekend? Kahlil Tate was supposed to be a game changer, but out of the two QB’s that’ll play in this game, Houston’s D’Eriq King put up more yards and scored more often during week 1. Pretty sure Arizona’s defense is also going to be surprised in the bad way, because it looked like Houston is actually a better football team than BYU.
Don’t fall into the trap:
3:30 PM Eastern – Colorado @ Nebraska (ABC), Georgia @ South Carolina (CBS)
Even the Mighty Cornhuskers with their new
god coach Scott Frost couldn’t stop the weather (or find enough hotel rooms for the Akron game to be postponed instead of cancelled). Instead of feasting on cupcake, now the Huskers get to open their season against an old rival. The Buffs looked great against Colorado State last weekend, but we must remember one fact: Colorado State is a really bad football team right now. Colorado is gonna get blown out. Same as South Carolina, actually. The Gamecocks might have put a whipping on Coastal Carolina, but the #3 team in the country is a whole different deal.
Sit happily with this matchup instead:
3:30 PM Eastern – Memphis @ Navy (CBSSN)
Quality group of five football. A game that should both be fun and close. Navy is coming off their a**kicking by Hawaii last weekend and should be good and annoyed with flashy offenses and stuff like the Takeaway Robe. Memphis, however, were the ones handing out the a**kicking against poor Mercer, to the tune of a brand new QB tossing 5 TD’s. This game will be fast and fun.
Or, you know, Dumpster Fire:
3:30 PM Eastern – North Carolina @ East Carolina (ESPNU)
North Carolina didn’t look half bad vs. Cal last weekend. ECU looked like a pirate ship on fiAAARRRR (Sorry. Trying to delete). But seriously tho, this game is going to be terrible and probably chippy and you should watch it just on in-state not-really-rivalry reasons alone. Who knows, maybe little brother will get their shit together and make a game of this thing.
Indulgences for sale, get yer indulgences here!
5:00 PM Eastern – Iowa State @ Iowa (Fox)
Even if we weren’t pandering f*cks, salivating for clicks here at TGS, we’d be excited for this game. El Assico, Hate Week, whatever you wanna call it – a Big 12 and B1G matchup that’s always been meaningful for fans now matters on the national stage. Matt Campbell appears to have Iowa State preparing to do something special if all the Win In The Dark stuff if that one series before the lightning last weekend means anything. The Hawkeyes are just out here doing Hawkeye things, like having an amazing defense that stifles the likes of NIU into looking like they barely understand how to football. Vegas has the line on this Iowa +4, but it still feels closer than that somehow.
7:00 PM Eastern – Clemson @ Texas A&M (ESPN)
Texas A&M put a lot of points on poor Northwestern State last weekend (it’s okay, I’m sure the payout was worth the beating) but Clemson is a much different test. Kinda like looking at a spelling test from 3rd grade vs. the LSAT. If Clemson can stop A&M on the ground, this game won’t be close. Trouble is, we’re not sure if they can do that. They let Furman get more yards than cupcakes usually are capable of in these games. This game will likely be interesting for a while, but I feel like Clemson is going to have their sh*t together just fine and end up winning by two scores.
Expand your galaxy brain:
7:30 PM Eastern – Fresno State @ Minnesota (FS1)
Under Jeff Tedford, something wonderful has happened at Fresno State. They’re dangerous again. The Bulldogs put 79 points on Idaho last weekend, coming off a Mountain West Champ game appearance. Granted, the newly FCS Vandals weren’t much of a challenge, but Fresno looked balanced and fast. That is a great combo to go stomping into the Big Ten and maybe steal a game from a team that looked okay vs. NMSU but had some turnovers and showed some weakness. This one is going to be smashmouth goodness. Come for the run plays. Stay for Fresnah’s chippy defense.
…and now for the candy:
10:30 PM Eastern – California @ BYU (ESPN2)
Cal somehow has zero hype with their 2 QB’s and close-ish victory over North Carolina, but they might be more likely to be jockeying for position at the top of the Pac at the end with that defense. BYU beat Arizona last weekend with 35 year old QB Tanner Mangum at the helm and an offense that looks like it has a real offensive coordinator instead of Uncle Rico. Expect some quality #Pac12AfterDark action to close out your evening.
11:59 PM Eastern – Rice @ Hawaii (Spectrum)
If you can find this game and are ready for hour 16 of college football, why not watch Hawaii’s amazing QB Cole McDonald put up a bajillion yards? It’s great fun and a fine way to slide into a beautiful sleep full of swaying palm trees and 60 yard touchdowns.