Friday November 9th
10:15PM #23 Fresno State at Boise State (ESPN2) – These two programs are always at the top of the Mountain West conference. Fresno State is currently leading the West division by a game over San Diego State, while Boise is one game back of Utah State in the Mountain division. Both are on a collision course with their divisional rivals, but certainly a loss for Boise would be catastrophic for their season. The Broncos were supposed to be a contender for a New Year’s Six bowl and a group-of-5 contender, but a blowout loss at Oklahoma State and a home loss to San Diego State changed the narrative. The ceiling for this team is still conference championship-or-bust but they cannot afford a slip-up, especially with Utah State surprisingly running away with the division. It should be noted that Fresno State is the only ranked team in the state of California and the second highest ranked team west of Texas. A late start makes it a hard one to stay awake for, but I promise it’ll be worth your while.
Saturday November 10th
Not a great lineup of games here at noon. It’s just a coincidence that your humble correspondent will be at the SMU-UConn (ESPN3) game during this time. If you watched any football on Sunday then you saw FOX trying to hype up the #10 Ohio State at #18 Michigan State (FOX) game, however, I don’t think that’s going to be a good game to watch. Michigan State will try to make Ohio State play in a phone booth while Ohio State will likely want to air it out and get this game over with. Either way, I’d rather do laundry (or be at SMU-UConn). A competitive game in this time slot that I think is worth a go is Wisconsin at #20 Penn State (ABC). Both teams aren’t vying for any divisional titles, but bowl pecking order and pride are on the line in Happy Valley! Wisconsin’s season had so much promise – people said they’d go undefeated, win the BigTen, make the playoff and prove that the BigTen is more than just Ohio State! That all changed with a home loss to BYU in September and a couple of crippling losses at Michigan and at Northwestern. As mentioned in last week’s Watch Guide, Penn State’s had a rough go of it in October and now, November. The Nittany Lions lost at Michigan and are 1-3 in their last four.
3:30PM #11 Kentucky at Tennessee (SEC Network) – Kentucky had their shot – they had a berth for their first ever appearance in the SEC Championship game in their grasp. Then they played the Georgia Bulldogs and got pounded. The Wildcats travel to Knoxville, where they haven’t won in 33 years! The Wildcats have already put to rest their long losing streak to Florida (31 years) this season, what’s to say they can’t finally upend the Vols at Neyland Stadium? The Vols knew this year was going to be tough, and a bowl game would have been a dream result. Tough blowout losses early to West Virginia and Florida disheartened many Vols fans (myself included), but they’ve shown life on a few surprising occasions. They won at Auburn and played Georgia and South Carolina really hard (and should have beaten South Carolina…). Those three games have Vols fans hoping their beloved team can rise to the challenge and upset the Wildcats.
Virginia Tech at Pitt (ESPNU) – Don’t look now, but Pitt leads the ACC Coastal! The Panthers are 5-4 on the year overall but 4-1 in the ACC. They rumbled their way to a victory over then-first place in the Coastal – Virginia in Charlottesville and now the Panthers host perennial Coastal division winners Virginia Tech. The Hokies are coming in after losing their third straight home game for the first time since 1994-1995. I’m not sure what to expect with this one – it seems no one wants to win this division, and if they do they might be at .500 or worse overall…
8:00PM Clemson at Boston College (ABC) – “Must Watch.” Our lone “Must Watch” this week! I really am excited for this one – I had it circled back in September! This game will determine who wins the ACC Atlantic division. Last year’s game at Clemson was 7-7 going into the fourth quarter before Clemson poured it on to a 34-7 victory. Both teams have NFL talent all over the field from BC’s RB AJ Dillon to Clemson’s entire defensive line. Can BC put it all together for four quarters? How does Freshman QB Trevor Lawrence react to the cold (kickoff to be in the high 30’s) and a hostile crowd? College Gameday is going to be in town – cannot wait!