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College Football: Week 5 Viewing Guide

After last week’s debacle in Austin, any hopes the Longhorns had of making it to the national title game went out the window. Nonetheless, there is still the prospect of playing in a BCS bowl game and for the Big 12 title. With this week’s game against ou, and Nebraska in two weeks, Texas has the ability to redeem themselves in a hurry. The ‘Horns have fallen considerably in both polls, to #21 and #16 in the AP and Coaches polls, respectively, but those rankings mean little when you’re out of the title hunt.

At this point it’s all about conference domination, but just for fun, we can hope for a late season run and focus on all the help we’ll need along the way. With more teams to root against, the rest of the season should be interesting.

The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

Now let’s get to it. Put on your “hater” hat and follow the week 5 viewing guide.

Saturday, October 2
12:00 PM ET
Louisiana-Monroe at #10 Auburn (ESPNU)

Auburn should handle business at home against an inferior team, but this game will do little to move the needle for them.

No. 16 Miami, FL at Clemson (ESPN2/ESPN3D)
Both of these teams will be playing their first conference game of the season. Expect this to be a good game with Clemson trying to make a statement at home.

3:30 PM ET
#21 Texas vs. #8 oklahoma (ABC/ESPN)

The Horns’ path to redemption begins in Dallas this weekend. Reference EyesOfTX’s game preview here. Note: This game will not be shown on TV in the mid- and south Atlantic regions. Check the coverage maps to see where you can find it in your area.

Virginia Tech at #23 North Carolina State (ABC)
Another regional coverage game. A Tech loss here only weakens Boise State’s case for their lofty ranking.

#11 Wisconsin at #24 Michigan State (ABC/ESPN)
The final of the regional trio this week has highly-ranked Wisconsin going on the road. Michigan State is getting a lot of credit for the way they’ve played the last few weeks, and they’ll prove they’re worthy of it if they knock off the Badgers. Their head coach Mark Dantonio will be coaching from the booth as he returns from the mild heart attack he suffered two weeks ago.

Tennessee at #12 LSU (CBS)
Keep an eye on what’s happening in Baton Rouge and hope for a major upset. LSU head coach Les Miles is beginning to take a lot of criticism, let’s hope it’s merited.

#19 Michigan at Indiana (ESPNU)
Michigan is finally getting on track for the first time since head coach Rich Rodriguez took over the team. A conference road game could be just what we need to see them lose their way again.

8:00 PM ET
#7 Florida at #1 Alabama (CBS)

This should be one of the better games of the season. From the standpoint of a Texas fan, there is no good scenario with this game. Both teams will remain ranked higher than Texas despite who wins here or what happens in Dallas. That said, the lesser of two evils would be for Alabama to roll on and knock Florida back a few slots, leaving the status quo at the top of the SEC for now and hoping for some other spoiler down the road.

#9 Stanford at #4 Oregon (ABC/ESPN2)
This is a similar situation to the aforementioned game, and ‘Horns fans should take the same position as before and hope for the higher ranked team to hold on to that position for the time being. The PAC-10 is usually a cluster, so it’s foreseeable that both of these teams will lose at least one more time as well.

Washington at #18 Southern California (ESPN2)
Ah, USC, how we’ve loved to hate you for these last few years. But now that you’re bowl ineligible, you can play hero. By wreaking havoc throughout the conference, USC can determine the fates of many teams this year, without taking a bowl spot for themselves. Let’s hope for an undefeated Trojans season going into their final game against UCLA on December 4th and then getting crushed.

8:05 PM ET
#22 Penn State at #17 Iowa (ESPN)

It would be easy to hope that Penn State could knock of Iowa on the road thereby removing one higher-ranked team from Texas’ path, but a victory like that would be one to vault the Nittany Lions over Texas in the rankings. For the time being that might be acceptable, being that the Big Ten has a way of knocking off all of its teams on its own. With this game, Iowa begins a four game stretch of ranked opponents and then still has to face Ohio State in late November. Penn State’s competition is more spread out and their one loss to-date was on the road at #1 Alabama. Hope for Iowa to win this one knowing that they’ll likely fall again in the next few weeks.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing weekly viewing guide contributions to EyesOfTX.

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College Football: Week 2 Viewing Guide

Whew! The first week of the college football season has come and gone – thank you for five straight days, college football gods! – and with it, so are most of the cupcake teams that pad the schedules of the big boys early in the season. Tell the JV team to go put their summer dresses back in the closest.

That said, there were more than a few surprises in week one – Jacksonville State’s win in Oxford over a stunned Ole Miss squad (Do you think troublemaker QB transfer Jeremiah Masoli felt “robbed” in this one?), North Dakota State’s barn-burner over Turner Gill’s debut for the Jayhawks, oklahoma struggling against the Aggies of the not-Big 12 – Utah State (which always makes ‘Horns fans smile), not to mention the epic battle at FedEx Field between Boise State and Virginia Tech on Monday night.

With week two through the end of the season, fans will get more important and impactful games, and definitely more watchable contests. Let’s hope for plenty more thrilling nail biters from here on in – heck, ESPN’s deemed this weekend “Monster Saturday.” Maybe that refers to the IV drip of Monster energy drinks you’ll need to get through this week’s line-up. Yum, breakfast.

As always, the rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS poll begins in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games. Let’s get to it, shall we? Here is your college football week 2 viewing guide (all times Eastern):

Friday, September 10
#23 West Virginia @ Marshall (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)
West Virginia is the only ranked team in the Big East and Marshall didn’t put up much of a fight against Ohio State last week. But, this is an in-state rivalry, and the coaches have a long history, so it’s somewhat compelling for a Friday night game.

Saturday, September 11
San Jose State @ #11 Wisconsin (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.)
Wisconsin is heavily favored and taking on San Jose State at home. Cupcakes gone, right? Maybe a game against a wheel of cheese (fitting for the state of Wisconsin) follows a cupcake; EyesOfTx isn’t even mad. Let’s face it, as one of the best in the Big 10, they’re worth keeping an eye on.

#22 Georgia @ #24 South Carolina (ESPN2, 12:00 p.m.)
This should turn out to be a more interesting matchup in this time slot. Both of these teams could be dangerous opponents to the other top teams (i.e. Alabama, Florida) in the Stuck-up Elitist Conference…er, SEC…as the conference schedule progresses.

This week’s regional games on ABC/ESPN2 are unfortunately two of the better games of the day. Check the coverage maps to see which game is on which channel in your area:

Iowa State @ #9 Iowa (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)
The Iowa-Iowa State rivalry is always intriguing and Iowa has really come on as a serious contender. But, head coach Paul Rhoads has Iowa State headed in the right direction, and they’re also one of the Longhorns’ Big 12 North opponents this year; worth scouting if you can pull your eyes away from the oklahoma-Florida State game.

#17 Florida State @ #10 Oklahoma (ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.)
In the other regional game, ou hosts Florida State and “new” coach Jimbo Fisher – can anyone remember when Bobby Bowden wasn’t the coach of the Seminoles? oklahoma QB Landry Jones was mediocre last week, who had a closer game than expected against Utah State, although RB DeMarco Murray had a field day as one of the conference’s top backs in week one. Gag. FSU, on the other hand, looked better than expected in their opener. This will be a telling game, will have BCS implications, and is definitely a must-watch.

#12 Miami (FL) @ #2 Ohio State (ESPN/ESPN3D, 3:40 p.m.)
Here’s another great game in the mid-afternoon slot. We get our first look at the Buckeyes, and Heisman-hopeful QB Tyrell Pryor, on the national stage. Both teams feature highly-touted quarterbacks, with Miami’s Jacoby Harris leading the way for the Hurricane offense. Unfortunately for the ‘Canes, four players were injured in the week one against Florida A&M and won’t play in Columbus.

Wyoming @ #5 Texas (FSN, Comcast Sports, 7:00 p.m.)
Texas had a slow start against Wyoming in the altitude of the high plains last year, before taking a 3 point lead just before halftime in to a rout in the second half, but playing in Austin should be a different story. Hopefully, the Longhorns broaden the playbook, get remaining jitters and hitches out of the system, and fine tune the details in a win before starting conference play at Texas Tech next week – luckily, offensive-minded Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen’s offense is a perfect litmus test for the ‘Horns highly-ranked secondary.

More importantly than the game, however, EyesOfTX offers its condolences to the family and friends of Wyoming linebacker Ruben Narcisse who lost his life earlier this week in a car accident. Best wishes for a quick recovery to the other three Cowboys players who were hurt in the incident.

#18 Penn State @ #1 Alabama (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)
A decent consolation if you’re not able to get the Texas game. Both teams cruised to victories last week, including Penn State’s true freshman QB debut, but both better be ready for this brutal challenge. The Crimson Tide playing at home with a bevy of veterans looks to be an easy favorite on paper (despite being without Heisman Trophy winner RB Mark Ingram, who continues to recover from knee surgery), but Penn State is a team you can never count out. Head coach Nick Saban doesn’t have an easy return to the BCS title game, as the Nittany Lions are the first of six ranked opponents Alabama faces this year.

#7 Oregon @ Tennessee (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m.)
A third top 10 team playing in this slot will get you burning up your remote. Oregon has to carry the Pac-10’s “legitimacy hopes” this year, so going on the road against an SEC team will be a barometer for the rest of their season. Is Tennessee the best SEC barometer? Probably not, but its better than Vanderbilt. Under a new head coach, the Vols aren’t the cream of the SEC crop, and they have some key injuries, but they played well last year against some of the top teams even with “crazy Lane” Kiffin as coach. Oregon, meanwhile, comes off a dismantling of New Mexico, in which their back-up running back had five TDs. At halftime. And, they return their starting RB – the “other La” – LaMichael. Let’s look for two things: 1) How well the Zeroes play away from Autzen, at a real college football stadium; and, 2) What crazy uniforms they bring to play against the always-conservative SEC.

#25 Stanford @ UCLA (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)
The nightcap game this week is a Pac-10 showdown at the Rose Bowl. Stanford comes in with a fresh top 25 ranking to their credit, and the Bruins – expected to finish in the bottom three of the conference – reeling from an opening game loss to Kansas State (well, to Wildcats RB Daniel Thomas, really…not sure the rest of KSU’s team showed up). UCLA comes to Austin in two weeks for redemption game for the Longhorns after the never-forgettable 66-3 beat down in the late 1990s at home, so now is the time to see what the ‘Horns will be up against in a key non-conference match-up.

Thanks to “Lil Pete” for his ongoing weekly viewing guide contributions to EyesOfTX.

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Thoughts: Week 1 in College Football

It was an exciting five days of college football to open the 2010 season, and more frequently than not, additional beverages, food, DVR space, and beverages (and perhaps a brief nap) were needed to keep pace with the torrent of games hitting the airwaves. It was a football nirvana that exists only once a year, and that is nearly orgasmic for any college football fan…no matter your allegiances.

Before we look ahead to week two, let’s take a look at some highlights and lowlights, as well as some perspectives on the ‘Horns after their 34-17 win over Rice in Houston.

Of the “contenders,” no team lost in week one that shouldn’t have. While Virginia Tech might argue, it was clear Boise State was the better team throughout Monday’s contest. You saw it here first, Boise State will play for the BCS National Championship in January 2011.

FBS schools Jacksonville State and North Dakota State made some noise with victories over BCS conference teams Ole Miss and Kansas, respectively. Not the way Turner Gill wanted to re-load in Lawrence…give him time, though.

sooners QB Landry Jones

oklahoma struggled. And we loved every minute of their metal-row-stadium-seat-squirming in Norman. While RB Demarco Murray looked in mid-season form, QB Landry Jones played mediocre at best. If you’re Texas offensive coordinator Greg Davis, the ‘Horns throw the ball on every play against the sooners and run up the score in October at the Cotton Bowl.

Don’t read much in to Oklahoma State or Texas A&M’s victories in week one. The Cowboys might as well have played the local high school’s JV team for a more competitive match-up than they had with Pac-10 bottom-dweller Washington State. And the Aggies – who did show more defensive prowess in their new 3-4 scheme than at any time in 2009’s campaign – had less rushing yards on more carries (55 carries for 192 yards) against a lesser opponent than did Texas against Rice (46 carries for 197 yards). Yep, you read right.

The Tuberville era began in Lubbock, and despite the victory, QB Taylor Potts didn’t look that spectacular and the defense was mediocre at best against SMU’s defense. All-in-all, it wasn’t a performance to write home about. What did look familiar was the half-empty stands at Jones Stadium from the third quarter through the end of the game – with the game’s outcome still in question. Time for the afternoon drunken pass out in the West Texas plains.

While Kansas State eeked out a victory over recognizable-name UCLA at home on Saturday, it was unimpressive. UCLA is dragged down by head coach Rick Neuheisel (“Hey Rick, who do you have in the national semifinals of the 2011 NCAA tourney bracket?”), so they basically don’t count. Plus, the Wildcats remain a big question mark without the legs of RB Daniel Thomas. Yep, he’s a stud.

The ‘Horns, while racking up 197 rushing yards, looked unimpressive and flat on offense. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis needs to reset fans’ expectations of the running game – it’s not going to change overnight – but it did look better than any point last year. But, it was also Rice. The defense hasn’t missed a beat – they looked solid (after the first series in a base scheme) – but need to hold on those picks for TDs. Solid, but unenthusiastic…there is work to be done. Rice is going to rebound big time from last year’s 2-10 record, they looked solid in a week one game against a top contender.

Finally, it’s 12:24 a.m. Pacific time and ou still sucks. Week two represents a big weekend for a lot of the top 25 – perhaps determining 2010 BCS legitimacy – so rest up, my legions, and get focused.

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College Football: Week 13 Viewing Guide

It’s Thanksgiving week, which is also Rivalry Week. We’ll be light on commentary this week, because most of these games speak for themselves. Many of these rivalries are sullied this year with dominant teams facing off against their historic opponents in rebuilding years. However, for those teams with nothing else to play for, these match-ups will be their “championship” because it would bring a team – like Auburn or Texas A&M – no greater pleasure than to spoil the BCS title hopes of their nemeses. So, don’t be surprised to emotional play lead to some surprising upsets this weekend.

Remember to check the TV coverage maps, and note that all rankings are the current BCS standings. Enjoy your leftovers and save room to indulge in your week 13 viewing guide.

Thursday
8:00 PM ET
#3 Texas 49 v. Texas A&M 39
This was…unusually close. Despite the loss, the Aggies might have played their best game of the year – at least offensively. QB Jerrod Johnson looked fantastic, and will continue to be a threat to Texas in the next couple of years. Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp will be irate after the way the defense played Thursday night, but my guess is that emotion and momentum kept the Aggies in the game much longer than expected because the ‘Horns offense clicked most of the game. If you’re running behind on Eyes Of TX content, the in-depth game preview can be found here. There is no asterisk as division champs this year, as Texas has plowed their way to the Big 12 Championship game against Nebraska on December 5th.

Friday
11:00 AM ET
Rutgers at Louisville, ESPN2
Exciting! Not. But, football season’s almost over….let’s feast while we still can.

12:00 PM ET
Illinois at #5 Cincinnati, ABC
One final test for the Bearcats. Rumor has it former starting QB Pike will make the start this week. Eyes Of TX says, “why mess with a good thing?” Hope that doesn’t backfire for Cincinnati, but an upset sure would make the BCS happy.

2:30 PM ET
#2 Alabama at Auburn, CBS
Can ‘Bama overcome their biggest rival to give themselves a shot at #1 Florida, the SEC championship and the national championship? We’ll see how Auburn gets up for this game after a killer start, but a late season let-down. If head coach Gene Chizik pulls off the upset, sadly, he will be enshrined as the best coach ever at Auburn.

3:30 PM ET
Nebraska at Colorado, ABC
Nebraska has clinched the Big 12’s North division and will face #3 Texas on December 5th for the Big 12 conference title. This will be the last opportunity to see what Bo Pelini’s squad has to offer, in particular his offense, and while most thought it will be Colorado’s last chance to help head coach Dan Hawkins keep is job, the university confirmed that he would be coaching in Boulder again next season. The NCAA might as well give CU the “death penalty” because they’ve definitely rolled over this year.

7:00 PM ET
#9 Pittsburgh at West Virginia, ESPN2
Does anyone else think Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt has a funny mustache?

10:00 PM ET
Nevada at #6 Boise State, ESPN2
Close out the night with this late game. Boise State could be shut out of the BCS this year despite being #6 and undefeated. It’s too bad their weak schedule didn’t allow us to see just how good they can be, and perhaps Oregon helped them look better than they actually are… With #5 Cincinnati and #4 TCU as mid-major schools ahead of them in the BCS, it will be a disappointment for the home of the blue turf.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
Both of these games are intriguing for the in-state bragging rights implications. Neither matchup is particularly compelling but in the context of Rivalry Week, they’re definitely worth watching.

#18 Clemson at South Carolina, ESPN
The ‘ol Ball Coach tries to make a stand in Columbia against a ranked opponent. Win or lose, they could keep Clemson RB C.J. Spiller from winning some post-season awards if they can hold him to a sub-par performance.

North Carolina at North Carolina State, ESPN2
If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around, does it make a sound? In the shadows of the Appalachian mountains, its basketball season folks.

12:21 PM ET
#25 Mississippi at Mississippi State, check local listings
If you can find this, see the same reasons as above. If anything, Texas fans can relish in the fact that when the pressure was on to deliver a big year for Ole Miss, former Longhorn back-up quarterback Jevan Snead fell flat in 2009.

12:30 PM ET
#12 Oklahoma State at oklahoma, Comcast Sports Net
Another one that will be hard to find, unfortunately, because it’s always nice to watch ou struggle. With this year’s ‘Pokes team rolling to a potential BCS at-large bid, it’s hard to imagine them dropping this one, even though they’re away from home.

3:30 PM ET
Florida State at #1 Florida, CBS
Florida’s won the last 21 games of this series, if memory serves. For Seminoles head coach Bobby Bowden, the good thing is he’s old enough to forget each game. Florida wins big, and sets up the ultimate SEC Championship match-up of #1 v. #2 Alabama for the right to play in the national championship.

#14 Virginia Tech at Virginia, ESPN
Virginia is an absolute debacle this year. Expect the Hokies to roll the ‘Roos at home.

#17 Miami at South Florida, ABC
This might actually be interesting, as South Florida started out the year strong, as did Miami. We’ll see what the ACC has to offer up the bowl committees besides a surprising Georgia Tech. Can Miami step up?

(Also in this slot on ABC is Arizona at Arizona State, and Missouri at Kansas.)

5:00 PM ET
#21 Utah at #19 BYU, CBS College Sports
A great in-state matchup between two of the best non-BCS conference teams.

7:00 PM ET
Arkansas at #15 LSU, ESPN
LSU has found out they weren’t quite as good as they thought, in part due to horrible coaching by Les Miles last week. Arkansas has been inconsistent, but could pull off the upset. Unfortunately, Death Valley isn’t an easy place to play, especially the week after an LSU loss.

8:00 PM ET
Georgia at #7 Georgia Tech, ABC
Who would have thought the best team in Georgia would be out of Atlanta? Georgia Tech’s triple-option has proven surprisingly successful this year. Go Yellowjackets!

Notre Dame at Stanford, ABC
What could be head coach Charlie Weis’ last game at Notre Dame will be shown in most of the country. Meanwhile, Stanford will try to stamp their ticket with another win against a big-time program.

Thanks again to LilPete for his 2009 season viewing guides.

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College Football: Week 10 Viewing Guide

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be much to be excited about in week 10 of the college football season, save for the big matchup in the SEC. But, the potential for some serious chaos looms. There are quite a few early games this weekend worth watching, and the evenings will feature several games regionally, so check the coverage maps to see what’s available in your area. All rankings are the current BCS standings.

Now let’s get to the games – here is your Week 10 viewing guide.

Thursday
7:30 PM ET
#23 Virginia Tech 16 v. East Carolina 3
Overcoming the “blackout” at East Carolina, and avoiding a three-game skid, the Hokies hit the spread of 13 points behind 179 yards rushing by freshman Ryan Williams, who gave up a late fumble last week to allow North Carolina to win on a last second field goal, to win 16-3. Too much too late for Frank Beamer and team, as their big bowl game hopes are already over.

Friday
8:00 PM ET
#7 Boise State at Louisiana Tech, ESPN2
Boise State is poised to go undefeated and make a serious claim for a spot in the title game if some of the top teams suffer defeats. Despite their opening game win over Pac-10 leader Oregon, there are still questions about their strength of schedule. If you’re able to catch this game, take a look and judge for yourself if they deserve a shot at the BCS’ crystal ball.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
Central Florida at #2 Texas, FSN/Comcast Sport Net
Texas is out of the limelight for the week as they take on Central Florida in late-season non-conference matchup. The Knights nearly pulled off an upset the last time they met, but Texas’ offense is now rolling now and it won’t be the same coming into DKR-Memorial Stadium.

Northwestern at #4 Iowa, ESPN
Iowa keeps finding a way to win. They’ve nearly been upset the last two weeks, but have come alive in the fourth quarter to keep their unbeaten record intact. Their final big test will come next week at Ohio State, so they may be caught looking ahead.

12:30 PM ET
Kansas at Kansas State, Versus
Kansas State currently leads the Big 12’s North division, while Kansas has reverted to their norm at the bottom of the conference standings. If K-State can keep up the pace, they’ll be in line to meet Texas in the Big 12 title game and Kansas comes to Austin in a few weeks so this might be worth a look for scouting purposes.

2:30 PM ET
Navy at #22 Notre Dame, NBC
Navy always gets up for these high profile games and nearly took down Ohio State in Columbus in Week 1. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see the Irish fall at home to the Midshipmen? Front-butt coach Charlie Weis will have to help Heisman-hopeful QB Jimmy Clausen keep the winning ways going in South Bend.

3:30 PM ET
#9 LSU at #3 Alabama, CBS
This is the game of the week and the Tide is vulnerable. If LSU pulls off the upset on the road it could set up quite a you-know-what storm in the BCS. The implications are huge but we won’t focus on “what ifs.” The Tigers have suffered only one defeat, at home to Florida in a hard-fought game. Alabama is coming off of a near loss to Tennessee but has had two weeks to prepare for LSU to come to town. This is must watch.

#16 Ohio State at #11 Penn State, ABC/ESPN2
This is the premier matchup for ABC’s regional coverage. Both these teams started the year with high hopes to make a run at a national title, and both have fallen off course. They still have time to stake the claim of best in the Big 10 should Iowa drop one of their remaining games.

(Also in this slot on ABC or ESPN2 are #19 Oklahoma State at Iowa State and Wake Forest at #10 Georgia Tech.)

7:30 PM ET
Vanderbilt at #1 Florida, ESPN2
Florida shouldn’t have much trouble here, even without Brandon Spikes on the field, but you wouldn’t want to miss this if it turned out to be an upset. This will also fill in the gap before the later games and it’s better than a seventh game in the World Series.

8:00 PM ET
UConn at #5 Cincinnati, ABC
Cincinnati finally gets a spotlight game, at least for part of the country. ABC should send notes of apology to everyone on the West coast forced to watch another pitiful USC outing. The Bearcats seem in control of their season with very few challenges left, yet they are still likely to be left out of the BCS title game as long as there are at least two more undefeated teams from the big conferences. Fortunately for Texas, the Longhorns are positioned to benefit (for once) from the messed up BCS system, though the nightmare scenario for the BCS is to have undefeated teams from the Big 10, Big 12, Big East, and SEC, a scenario that doesn’t seem all that unlikely with the way things are going now. If this is in your region, check out this game to see just how worthy Cincinnati really is.

(Other games in this slot on ABC are #12 USC at Arizona State, and #24 oklahoma at Nebraska.)

Thanks again to LilPete for his viewing guide contribution.

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NCAA Football: Week 9 Viewing Guide

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.

Thursday
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.

Friday
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.

Saturday
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.

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NCAA Football: Week 7 Viewing Guide

NCAA FootballIt’s time. The biggest game of the season is upon Texas Longhorn and oklahoma sooner fans, but don’t blow your tops too soon because there’s a lot to look forward to this weekend across the college football agenda. Find some Shiner Bock, kick back, and enjoy the ride because the slate of games this weekend doesn’t get much better than this. Here’s your week 7 viewing guide.

Thursday
7:30 PM ET
#8 Cincinnati at #21 South Florida, ESPN
This is a meeting of the best in the Big East. That sounds like a joke, honestly. Both teams are unbeaten and 1-0 in conference play and have never before played with both teams ranked in the top 25. This game should decide the BCS representative from the conference.

Friday
9:00 PM ET
Bed time, er, Pittsburgh v. Rutgers
It’s going to be a long day for Big 12 fans on Saturday, so get your beauty sleep. Oh, Pitt is playing Rutgers. Choose sleep.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
#3 Texas vs. #20 oklahoma, ABC
Game of the week for the nation, game of the year for Longhorns. oklahoma QB Sam Bradford looked like his old self in his first game back from the injury to his throwing shoulder last weekend, so this won’t be the cakewalk that ou’s losses to BYU and Miami might lead you to believe. Both defenses are ranked in the top 10 nationally and the Texas offense has been sluggish at times, most notably their two offensive touchdown effort last week against an inferior Colorado team. Hopefully, the ‘Horns shake off the rust for good and take this one to Big Game Bob and the land thieves north of the border.

3:30 PM ET
#6 USC at #25 Notre Dame, NBC
Follow up the fireworks in Dallas with another huge rivalry game that has massive implications for both teams, as this game is essentially do-or-die for both teams. The Trojans are going on the road to South Bend and desperately need to leave with a victory in order to keep their BCS dreams alive. For the Irish to have any chance of climbing back into the BCS picture, they need this upset on their resume.

6:00 PM ET
#4 Virginia Tech at #19 Georgia Tech, ESPN2
The Techs square off! Virginia Tech’s only loss to-date was in week 1 to then-#5 Alabama. Since then, the Hokies have been on a roll. However, they return to Atlanta (the site of their opening week loss) this weekend to face the Yellowjackets who could lock up a three-way tie in the ACC’s Coastal division between themselves, Virginia Tech, and Miami if they come away with the win. Either way, something tells me the ACC has a more logical tiebreaker than the Big 12. Eyes Of TX predicts a Tech win, and the Vegas odds will good on that.

8:00 PM ET
#22 South Carolina at #2 Alabama, ESPN
Alabama isn’t playing like the #2 team in the country right now; they’re playing like the #1 team. South Carolina will have their hands full going on the road to Tuscaloosa for this one. Fortunately for Spurrier’s Gamecocks, his defense is ranked #15 in the nation. Unfortunately for them, Alabama’s defense is #2.

9:15 PM ET
#16 oklahoma State at Missouri, ESPN2
Close out the night with another Big 12 matchup. Missouri fell from the top 25 this week after their loss to Nebraska at home, and Okie State has stagnantly remained in the teens since their inexplicable loss to Houston, but sit comfortably at 1-0 in conference play. The Tigers still have a decent shot at competing for the Big 12 North title with both Kansas and Nebraska, but those teams also face precarious games against Texas and Oklahoma respectively in the coming weeks. The Tigers need to take this one in Columbia to keep those hopes alive. The Pokes are going to have a run for their money, especially if star WR Dez Bryant remains ineligible to play.

Thanks to LilPete for his ongoing contributions to the weekly viewing guide for Eyes Of TX.

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