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College Football: Week 4 Viewing Guide

Last week’s viewing guide went to press too late to make it online, but it’s back and there are some great games to tune in for this weekend. The rankings listed here are from the AP poll until the BCS rankings begin in mid-October. Check your local listings for channel availability, and also these coverage maps for the mid-Saturday regional games.

If you’re like Eyes Of TX, forget the countdown to Monday Night Football, you’ve been looking forward to Saturday. Now, grab a frosty mug and pour yourself an manly drink, you deserve it. Let the week 4 viewing guide lead your way. Cheers!

Thursday, September 23
#19 Miami (FL) at Pittsburgh (7:30 PM ET; ESPN)
Finally, a decent Thursday night game. Can the Hurricanes recover from the tsunami that occurred in Columbus in week 3?

Friday, September 24
#4 TCU at SMU (8:00 PM ET; ESPN)
Take this opportunity to see TCU in prime time with nothing else to distract you. And remember, there’s a frying pan on the line.

Saturday, September 25
Bowling Green at #21 Michigan (12:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
The early games this week are a little soft, but Michigan (or at least their QB) is showing promise for the first time in years.

Central Florida at Kansas State (12:30 PM ET; FSN, Comcast Sports)
Tune in to see one of Texas’ future 2010 Big 12 North opponents in K-State.

#1 Alabama at #10 Arkansas (3:30 PM ET; CBS)
This is the game of the week. Alabama has their first difficult road game in what seems like years and Arkansas has a chance to prove that they’re among the elite of SEC teams.

For the regional ABC/ESPN games below, check the coverage maps to see where you can find it in your area. Of note, Texas hosting UCLA is one of your regional matchups this week and won’t be shown in the mid- and south Atlantic regions.

UCLA at #7 Texas (3:30 PM ET; ABC/ESPN)
What could have been an annual game, is now just another good non-conference match-up. With a soggy forecast expected in Austin, the running game could be even more important to the ‘Horns success in week 4.

Eastern Michigan at #2 Ohio State (3:30 PM ET; ABC/ESPN)
Coming off a solid win against Miami, the Buckeyes get to beat down on the worst team in the MAC.

Wake Forest at Florida State (3:30 PM ET; ABC)
It’s a regional treat of two unranked ACC teams. Time for another beer.

#8 oklahoma at Cincinnati (6:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
This is ou’s final tune up before the Red River Rivalry next weekend if you care to see how they look. It’s also their first road game of the season. Cincinnati has dropped off considerably since former coach Brian Kelly jumped to Notre Dame, so don’t expect much of a fight.

#12 South Carolina at #17 Auburn (7:45 PM ET; ESPN/ESPN3D)
Both of these teams have exceeded expectations so far this season and despite their middle of the pack rankings, either team could play a huge part in determining how the SEC championship is decided. With the SEC champ as a presumptive entrant into the BCS title game, everything that happens among the big boys of that conference is important to keep an eye on.

Oregon State at #3 Boise State (8:00 PM ET; ABC)
A few weeks ago, this was a must-watch game, but now the luster has worn off of Boise State thanks to Virginia Tech’s BCS suicide. Expect the Broncos to handle the Beavers easily and try to put up a big score in the hopes of winning style points.

#22 West Virginia at #15 LSU (9:00 PM ET; ESPN2)
Due to the staggered kickoffs of the prime time games, you should be able to check in on all of them when your game of choice is on a break. This one should provide some intrigue as the night goes on, unless LSU has run away with it before half time.

#5 Oregon at Arizona State (10:30 PM ET; FSN, Comcast Sports)
Your night cap this week has the top five-ranked Ducks going on the road for their first conference game. Both of these teams have put up some big points, and ASU stuck with #11 Wisconsin last week losing by only a point on the road, so there is long-shot the Sun Devils could give Oregon a tough time in the Valley of the Sun.

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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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 11 Viewing Guide

Only a few weeks remain before the conference championship games. Some teams still have some tough games ahead while others just have to maintain and avoid a stumble. The most important game this weekend is arguably Utah at TCU, with the Horned Frogs in position to turn the BCS on its head. But, there’s lots of other goodies too. As always, check your coverage maps, and all rankings are the current BCS standings. Now, here’s your week 11 viewing guide!

Coverage Maps: http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?page=coveragemaps2009
BCS Rankings: http://espn.go.com/college-football/bcs

Thursday
7:30 PM ET
#24 South Florida at Rutgers, ESPN
Remember that year the Rutgers were good? South Florida gets a break by taking on the Scarlet Knights after three straight games against ranked opponents. Wonder if the Rutgers students will storm the field if they win?

Friday
8:00 PM ET
West Virginia at #5 Cincinnati, ESPN2
Cincinnati held on to win last week and may have been exposed. The Bearcats are facing some of the toughest competition in the Big East right now and will have to find a way to hold off the overlooked Mountaineers. There are only six unbeaten teams left, and the Bearcats are sitting at the bottom of that list.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
#3 Texas at Baylor, FSN and Comcast Sports Net
Check your listings to see where this one will be broadcast. It should be a sat-padding throttling yet no team should be overlooked, even one that has lost 11 straight to the ‘Horns and wears diarrhea colored uniforms.

#7 Georgia Tech at Duke, ESPN2
Not much else to get excited about with the early games, so if you can’t find Texas game, check this out. Georgia Tech is the best in the ACC, though not by much. It’s kind of like being the coolest guy at Comic Con.

12:30 PM ET
Missouri at Kansas State, Versus
Mizzou has taken a fall this season, but this game has major implications on the Big 12 North race with K-State leading the standings and Nebraska right on their heels.

3:30 PM ET
#1 Florida at South Carolina, CBS
Steve Spurrier gets to take on his former team at home. South Carolina has already taken down one top five team at home this season, and even though they got waxed by Alabama, you can bet that this is the game they’ve been looking forward to all year.

#10 Iowa at #11 Ohio State, ABC/ESPN
This is the game for all the marbles in the Big 10. The winner will be the presumptive rep in the BCS this year. Woo hoo. Cincinnati, this is your complaint if you don’t get in a big post-season game.

(Also in this slot on ABC/ESPN are #14 Miami at North Carolina, while Nebraska at Kansas will be on ABC. Check the coverage map for your area.)

7:00 PM ET
#2 Alabama at Mississippi State, ESPN
Mississippi State shouldn’t be overlooked, they’ve played spoiler before. The Tide have also looked vulnerable, and without the incompetence of Lane Kiffin and the benefit of some horrible calls, they likely wouldn’t remain unbeaten. The Tide’s time will come. Mark my words.

7:30 PM ET
#16 Utah at #4 TCU, CBS College Sports
How did ESPN not pick up this game with the way they’ve been giving TCU a verbal lap dance for the last few weeks? This is arguably the toughest game on TCU’s schedule and the last road bump on what could be a BCS appearance. Although Mike Wilbon would have you believe that early season wins at Virginia and Clemson are a barometer for a worthy national title contender, this game coupled with their win over BYU are the true tests of their worth. With TCU’s new uniforms this week, wouldn’t you be intimidated?

8:00 PM ET
Texas Tech at #19 Oklahoma State, ABC
No team has gotten a raw deal like the one Okie State has. Their only two losses have come from current #3 Texas and #15 Houston (teams with a combined record of 17-1), yet they will likely miss out on an at large BCS bowl bid despite the opportunity to finish with only one Big 12 loss. Consider this: LSU actually went UP in the polls after their loss to Alabama last weekend, and USC continues to rise while they’ve lost to two teams with a combined record of 10-8. Only those in Big 12 country will get to see this one; everyone else will have to suffer through Notre Dame at #12 Pittsburgh.

10:15 PM ET
Arizona State at #13 Oregon, ESPN
A little Pac-10 night cap to carry you over into next week.

Thanks to LilPete for his ongoing contribution of the weekly viewing guide.

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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 5 Viewing Guide

NCAA FootballThe top two NCAA football teams – #1 Florida and #2 Texas – are off this week, as many teams are beginning to get in to their conference schedules, but there are still plenty of games to keep the masses entertained this weekend. Unfortunately, the TV schedule this week is top loaded on the evenings with a lot of regional coverage, so check your local listings and decide which games have the biggest impact on your 2009-2010 expectations.

For reference, here’s the NCAA football week five TV viewing guide.

Thursday
7:30 PM ET
Colorado at West Virginia, ESPN
Both teams are down this year, which is too bad, but this will still be an entertaining matchup for a Thursday night. The winner could turn it around this season, the loser is going to be seriously down and out.

Friday
8:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh at Louisville, ESPN2
Friday night game, watch if you must. Or, go to happy hour. Best part of college sports? Highlights. While at the bar. Perfect.

Saturday
12:00 PM ET
Arkansas State at Iowa, ESPN2
Curious to see if Iowa is for real, or if Penn State was once again just overrated in their loss last weekend? Arkansas State shouldn’t put up much of a fight, so we’ll see if the Hawkeyes can put up some big numbers and make the Big 10 Conference look good.

3:00 PM ET
Kansas State at Iowa State, FCS Central
Take a look and see what’s happening in the Big 12 Conference’s North Division. Or, go watch paint dry. This could seriously end in a 0-0 tie. Eyes Of TX should have some Cyclones’ game analysis from some guest bloggers attending the game in Kansas City next week.

3:30 PM ET
Penn State at Illinois, ABC
We’ll see how Joe-Pa and Penn State rebound, going on the road, following a tough loss at home to Iowa. Are they as good as the pre-season hype? Did they just have an off week? How “juiced” will Illinois be? Get it?

8:00 PM ET
USC at California, ABC
A week ago, this would have been must-see game, but now it’s relegated to ABC’s “B team” and will likely only be seen on the West coast. Still, this is a compelling matchup despite Cal’s precipitous fall down the standings after the absolute debacle at Autzen Stadium at the hands of Oregon. USC needs to continue to rebound in Pac-10 play after the disappointing loss to Washington. The winner places itself in pole position to climb back in to the BCS hunt, while it’s “better luck next year” for the loser.

oklahoma at Miami, ABC
The real game of the week. Or, it should be. Head coach Bob Stoops has managed to weasel ou back in to the top 10 rankings (after the opening week loss to BYU) quicker than anyone would have imagined thanks in large part to the poor play and exposure of so many top-ranked teams last week. That, and the fact that just about every pollster slurps Stoops so much you wish they would get it over with and just ask him to the prom already. On Thursday, Stoops announced back-up quarterback Landry Jones would start in place of the injured Sam Bradford, and Miami’s Jacory Harris needs to bounce back after the loss to Virginia Tech to keep his name in the Heisman Trophy discussion.

Thanks to LilPete for this weekly contribution.

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