Hard to believe it’s already week 9 of the college football season, meaning we’re more than halfway to this year’s title game. Only seven unbeaten teams remain – #1 Florida, #2 Alabama, #3 Texas, #4 Iowa, #6 TCU, #7 Boise State, and #8 Cincinnati – the latter four being a bit of a surprise. At #5, a one-loss USC team.
Riddle Eyes Of TX this: USC comes in at #5, despite a loss to conference foe, and unranked Washington on 9/19; #9 LSU is the next-best one-loss team, having lost to #1 Florida on 10/10 and who beat U-Dub to open the season; #10 Oregon is the next one-loss team, are leading the Pac-10 conference race (ahead of none other than USC), and they lost to #7 Boise State in the first game of the year. Bias in the BCS? Eyes Of TX thinks so…
This Saturday will have a lot of ranked teams on display, so settle in for an entertaining set of games. Let’s get to it, the NCAA football week 9 viewing guide.
*All ranking shown here reflect the current BCS poll standings.
7:30 PM ET
North Carolina 20 v. #13* Virginia Tech 17
FINALLY! Can we give the Virginia Tech hype a rest? Or at least those hideous uniforms? Year-in and year-out, VT gets a ton of hype coming out of the ACC, and every year they manage to blow it. This time, two weeks in a row. Anyone that has seen them play has to know that they are not at the same level as the country’s elite football programs. Sure, there’s “Beamer Ball” which preaches success in the special teams game, but any guesses as to who has had better special team success over the past 8-10 years? Hint: They come from the Big 12 Conference. That’s right, Texas. Going in to a hostile environment, the Tar Heels come out with their first conference victory on a last-second field goal, and the Hokies can now write off their season to another second-tier bowl game.
8:00 PM ET
#21 West Virginia at South Florida, ESPN2
Finally a Friday night game worth watching. West Virginia is one of three Big East teams with a perfect conference record, and South Florida is a legitimate foe, especially at home. However, the Bulls are coming off back-to-back losses to both Pittsburgh and Cincinnati, the other two teams at the top of the conference board.
12:00 PM ET
Indiana at #4 Iowa, ESPN
Iowa is flying up the rankings, despite squeaking out a win at Michigan State with some last second heroics to maintain their perfect record last weekend. It’s doubtful any team in the “Little 10” will stand in the way of an unbeaten season for the Hawkeyes, but tune in for this early game to see what they’re about.
#8 Cincinnati at Syracuse, ESPNU
The Bearcats are quietly staking a claim as one of the best teams in the country, yet they get no love and no airtime. Flip over to this one when you have a chance; if anything, you’ll get to see a former NCAA basketball player play quarterback for the ‘Cuse. It’ll be like Michael Jordan trying to play baseball. Bonus: Greg Paulus getting posterized!
3:30 PM ET
#1 Florida vs. Georgia, CBS
Despite Georgia’s struggles this year, rivalry games always pose the threat of an upset, especially on a neutral field. Florida’s offense has been down lately, though their defense continues to dominate. Mississippi State wouldn’t have kept the score as close without the help of two Tim Tebow interceptions returned for touchdowns. Georgia has a legitimate shot if the same Florida we’ve seen the last few weeks shows up in Jacksonville.
Kansas at Texas Tech, ABC
ABC’s regional coverage will include this Big 12 matchup. Kansas has fallen out of the national rankings, but could still compete for the Big 12 North title. Check in during breaks from Florida-Georgia if this is on your lineup.
Other regional coverage games in this slot on either ABC or ESPN2 include: Michigan at Illinois, Miami at Wake Forest, and California at Arizona State. Check the coverage maps here to see what’s available in your area.
4:30 PM ET
#12 Penn State at Northwestern, ESPN
The tail end of this game will likely carry us through to the prime time games. Yep, Joe Paterno is still coaching, and Northwestern is still wearing purple.
8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas at #14 Oklahoma State, ABC or ESPN2 (depends on geography)
In this case, one of these teams will be taking their first conference loss, and with so many undefeated teams remaining at this point of the season, that will likely remove any national title hopes. McCoy and the Longhorn offense seemed to hit their stride last week in Columbia, while Okie State hasn’t let the losses of RB Kendall Hunter or Dez Bryant hurt their production. Bonus: Bet the over/under on the number of mentions that these two orange teams are playing on Halloween. Let’s set it at 4.5.
#5 USC at #10 Oregon, ABC or ESPN2 (depends on geography)
Oregon is in command of the Pac-10, and their only loss came in the opening game of the season to an undefeated Boise State team on the blue turf. USC has a bad history going on the road in the Pacific Northwest, so this could get interesting. USC head coach Pete Carroll will make his team playa celebrity tournament of “Duck Hunt” on Nintendo to “lighten the mood” in the locker room this week. Not really, but that’s something he would do and ESPN would love him for it.
Thanks to LilPete for his ongoing NCAA football viewing guide blog contribution.