Week 9 of the college football season isn’t filled with dramatic games around the TV schedule, but as usual, there are several good ones and one in particular will bring some clarity to the race for the Big 12 championship and an automatic bid to the Fiesta Bowl.
Texas Tech is #10 in the current BCS standings and undefeated. The Red Raiders join Baylor as unlikely undefeateds in the Big 12. But the other thing those two teams have in common is that they haven’t been tested by the powers-that-be in the conference. At least for Texas Tech that comes to an end on Saturday, when they head to Norman for a game with Oklahoma (3:30 PM ET, Fox).
Oklahoma is still in position to make a run to Tempe, but with their loss to Texas, the Sooners can’t afford to give up any more ground, and that makes this game must-win. All of it adds to making OU-Texas Tech the game of the day on Saturday.
Another game that can make the same case is UCLA-Oregon. The Bruins’ loss last week to Stanford and the continued absence of running back Jordan James have made UCLA a 23-point underdog in Eugene, but this game remains a likely preview of the Pac-12 Championship Game, and a UCLA upset puts them back in the national picture.
The entire college football Saturday TV schedule is broken down below, starting with the early games, moving though the late afternoon, on into prime-time and then topping it off with a good late-night game. TheSportsNotebook’s college football coverage will use this post to outline the day, and the links to each of the five power conferences are below.
Nebraska-Minnesota (Noon, ESPN)
Louisville-South Florida (Noon, ESPN2)
Wake Forest-Miami (Noon, ESPNU)
Comment: The usual dry slate for the early window. Nebraska does need to win their game on the road in a packed Big Ten Legends Division race, and while Taylor Martinez is healthy, the Cornhusker quarterback is not expected to start.
Texas Tech-Oklahoma (3:30 PM ET, Fox)
Tennessee-Alabama (3:30 PM ET, CBS)
Clemson-Maryland (3:30 PM ET, ESPN)
N.C. State-Florida State (3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Michigan State-Illinois (3:30 PM ET, ABC/ESPN2)
Duke-Virginia Tech (3:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
Comment: Tennessee’s near-miss against Georgia and upset win over South Carolina last week in the SEC’s version of Black Saturday mean we can’t overlook the Vols, even if asking them to win at ‘Bama seems a bit much.
UCLA-Oregon (7 PM ET, ESPN)
South Carolina-Missouri (7 PM ET, ESPN2)
Baylor-Kansas (7 PM ET, ESPNU)
Texas-TCU (7:30 PM ET, Fox Sports 1)
Penn State-Ohio State (8 PM ET, ABC)
Comment: Missouri already has control of the SEC East, with a two-game lead, and they can virtually lock down a trip to Atlanta with a win over South Carolina, a victory that would combine with earlier Ws over Georgia and Florida. I’m not real optimistic about Penn State’s chances of even competing in Ohio State, so I think the Brent & Herbie broadcast duo got the short end of the straw on an otherwise interesting prime-time card.
Stanford-Oregon State (10:30 PM ET, ESPNU)
Comment: Oregon State is still undefeated in Pac-12 play, and shares the North division with Stanford and Oregon. The Cardinal already has one conference loss and needs to keep themselves in position to beat Oregon and catch them on a tiebreaker.