Well people, I’ve got some good news for ya and some bad news.
Let’s start with the bad, and the bad is this: This is, umm, a relatively uninspiring week of college football. There is no Big Ten or Pac-12, the Big 12 is largely off this week, and the SEC is in the Covid-cross-hairs, with LSU-Florida cancelled, and Nick Saban coaching from his sofa against Georgia.
The good news however is this: In theory, this is the worst football Saturday we’re going to have until the end of the season. The Big Ten officially returns next Saturday with a couple marquee games (Michigan at Minnesota, Nebraska at Ohio State), the SEC is always entertaining and the Big 12 and ACC will ramp up next week too. Eventually, at some point the Pac-12, Mountain West and #MACtion will join the fun as well.
Still, even with a dearth of good college football games, let’s do what I’ve done every weekend for a while and get you your Saturday viewing guide. With Kentucky obviously picking up a win early in the day (positive vibes only) you’re going to need something to get you through the rest of your Saturday.
Here is what you need to watch.
Kentucky at No. 18 Tennessee: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, SEC Network
There is nothing to say here other than that this is a monumental game for both teams. Each came into the season with the highest expectations they’ve had in years, and one team will be looking down the barrel of a highly disappointing start, with little hope in sight. If Kentucky loses they’ll be 1-3 with Georgia next week, and Alabama and Florida still on the schedule. It isn’t any better for the Vols, who still have Alabama, Florida and a game against Texas A&M in their future.
The question for each team: What the heck do they get from their offense? Don’t let a game against Ole Miss two weeks ago for Kentucky or last week’s effort from Tennessee against Georgia fool ya, both these teams are solid on that side of the ball. The question: Will Jarrett Guarantano take better care of the ball for the Vols? And will Eddie Gran actually open up the playbook for the Wildcats?
No. 21 Auburn at South Carolina: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Kentucky-Tennessee isn’t the only SEC game on at noon ET, with Auburn-South Carolina kicking off at the same time on ESPN.
And with it, I have two questions: Is Auburn any good? And, gulp, is South Carolina not awful?
Look, I’ve been as critical of Will Muschamp (because, well, how could I not be? Have you seen the guy in action?) but they played both Tennessee and Florida tough early in the season. Want a crazy stat, or at least one that indicates that the Gamecocks might not be as bad as we think? They’ve scored 24 or more points in every SEC game this season. They didn’t score more than 24 against any SEC opponent last year.
I’m not exactly calling them the ’85 Bears here, but it’s clear there’s improvement.
As for Auburn, well everyone here kind of knows the drill. BS help from the officials helped them get a win against Kentucky, then they got smoked by Georgia, then BS help from the officials helped them get a win against Arkansas.
At some point, the karma has to swing against the Tigers, right?
If so, this seems like it might be the weekend.
No. 1 Clemson at Georgia Tech: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ABC
Now that Miami is off the schedule, the question for every Clemson game the rest of the season (except for maybe Notre Dame) is very simply this: It’s not if they win, but by how much.
Therefore, while I’d love to make up some fake reasons to be excited about this game, the best I can give you is this: Enjoy Trevor Lawrence now, before he is miserable and getting beat up behind an awful offensive line for the New York Jets next season.
Sadly, we all know it’s coming. And we can all say we remember Trevor when.
No. 8 Cincinnati at Tulsa: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Fun fact: Tulsa actually leads the series between these two teams 17-15-2. Which brings up an important second question: Why the heck have a random school from Ohio and a random school from Oklahoma played 34 times? They weren’t even in the same conference until a few years ago. Like, I need an explanation. Is Tulsa-Cincinnati some amazing college football rivalry I never knew about?
As for the game itself, well, with UCF suffering a loss the other day, Cincinnati really is the best, last opportunity for a non-Power 5 team to make the College Football Playoff. Admittedly, things aren’t looking good, and the Bearcats need to be a bit more of an explosive offense (they rank just 49th of 76 teams that have actually played this season in total offense).
But hey, if you like rooting for the little guy, the Bearcats are your best bet.
Louisville at No. 4 Notre Dame: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, NBC
If you like watching Louisville suffer, which I’m sure NONE of you do (wink, wink, nod, nod) this might just be the game for you.
We all know the Cardinals defense has been absolutely atrocious this year, and there is little reason to think they’ll be any better against a Notre Dame team that has averaged 47 points over the last two games and accumulated 554 yards last week against Florida State.
It probably won’t be pretty for the Cards.
Which I’m guessing is fine by anyone reading this.
UCF at Memphis: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Listen, every game can’t be a Mona Lisa. And on a slow Saturday at least you know this game will be entertaining.
These two teams are offensive juggernauts, and on the season have combined for over 1,000 yards of offense and 70+ points per game. Oh, and did I mention that Memphis has the worst pass defense in college football.
So yeah, if you like three yards and a cloud of dust – well grandpa, you’re going to have to wait until next week when the Big Ten comes back.
This one should be fun.
Ole Miss at Arkansas: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network
Speaking of entertaining offense and minimal defense, I present you the 2020 Ole Miss Rebels. They are basically a 7-on-7 team come to life, and I for one, love it.
Now, did this game lose a little luster when Lane Kiffin admitted that some of his players have tested positive for Covid-19? Of course. It’s hard to know exactly what this team will look like, especially if somehow, starting quarterback Matt Corral can’t play Saturday. Not to mention the Arkansas defense is legitimately good. The Razorbacks should be 2-1, after getting robbed of a win at Auburn last week.
Regardless though, Lane Kiffin is a mad scientist, and a guy that has little concern for time or score – the dude just wants to put up points.
If Ole Miss is playing, I’m watching.
No. 11 Texas A&M at Mississippi State: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Can’t lie, this game has been moved so many times because of cancellations, I can’t keep track. Pretty sure it’s changed start times at least twice and networks once. Hey, college football in 2020, y’all. Know what I’m saying?
Speaking of which, it doesn’t get more “college football in 2020” than Mike Leach finally getting to the SEC, setting a passing record in Week 1 only for the season to immediately torpedo from there. All that happened while Texas A&M barely survived Vanderbilt, went to Alabama and lost by four touchdowns… only to turn around and beat Florida home.
Again, college football in 2020, y’all.
Anyone who claims they know what will happen in this game is a liar.
No. 5 North Carolina at Florida State: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Serious question No. 1: As this game gets set to go head-to-head with Georgia-Alabama, has America ever been less interested in a 7:30 ET ABC game?
Serious question No. 2: What kind of world do we live in where North Carolina is ranked No. 5 in the country? Mercy do we need Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin back on the field – and we them STAT!!!
Serious question No. 3: What the heck is up with Florida State? They go from getting embarrassed by Miami three weeks ago, to nearly losing to Jacksonville State two weeks ago, to not looking awful against Notre Dame last Saturday? Are they back – to not being awful?
Either way, you need a second screen game for when Georgia-Bama comes on, so this might as well be it, right?
No. 3 Georgia at No. 2 Alabama: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, CBS
I mean, if you need me to hype up this game, you’ve either been living in the wild and raised by wolves until a week ago or just moved to the United States and started watching college football. Those are the only two explanations.
Regardless, even with Nick Saban coaching this game from home (hopefully he continues to be asymptomatic and recovers safely) I’m still fired up for this one. In a season where Ohio State hasn’t kicked off yet, these are the two of the three best teams we’ve seen (shout out to Clemson, who as you may have heard is pretty good as well). This is also a likely SEC title game preview and a potential playoff preview as well.
I did a full, 25-minute breakdown of this one on my podcast if you’re interested in me going more in-depth.
Otherwise, I’ll save you the time and just say: This game is going to be awesome.
Florida International at Charlotte: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPNU
This is the last kick-off on Saturday, and let me repeat what I said last week: For as much as we make fun of the Pac-12, man do we need some late night football.
Admit it, you could really go for a random Arizona-Washington State game to end your Saturday, couldn’t you?