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Game Day: September 19

A rundown of what's on TV.


a.k.a. 11 AM Central

Best Game: Boston College at Clemson, Raycom

The Eagles were supposed to fold this year after losing their coach, two quarterbacks, and Mark Herzlich. Instead, they've blown out their cupcakes in a more authoritative fashion than just about any other ACC team has performed against overmatched opponents. This is their first real test against a Clemson team that gave Georgia Tech a great game last week.

Prediction: BC keeps it interesting for a while, but eventually wears down in the heat. Clemson wins, 27-24.

Next Best Game: Cal at Minnesota, ESPN

This game is kicking off at 9:00 Pacific, and the last time the Bears did that, they suffered an inexplicable loss at Maryland last season. Jeff Tedford had them leave a day early for Minnesota to combat any jet lag. Minnesota meanwhile has played two close games, edging out Syracuse and Air Force. Perhaps the time and a little Gopher magic will make this one close too?

Prediction: It will take some time for Cal to wake up, but once it does, Minnesota is toast. Cal wins 38-14.

SEC Games

Louisville at Kentucky, ESPNU: join the Wildcats in their new annual tradition of beating down the Cardinals.

North Texas at Alabama, SEC Network: the Tide won't start slow again this week.


Best Game: Nebraska at Virginia Tech, ABC, 3:30 ET

This one has the best combination of overall quality and closeness of competition. Nebraska could make a big statement by winning this one on the road, while VT is looking to avoid a 1-2 start.

Prediction: The mystical Blacksburg Vortex of Mediocrity swallows the Cornhuskers upon arrival, forcing them to inexplicably play below their potential like so many visiting teams that play there. Tech wins a slugfest 19-17.

Next Best Game: Tennessee at Florida, CBS, 3:30 ET

This one is the next best solely because of the story lines. From a football standpoint, it should be ugly and over before halftime. Several teams last year hoped great defense would overcome bad offense and keep them in games against Florida. Most went home losers with scores like 42-14, 56-6, and 63-5. Even if you ignore the subplots and focus on football, Tennessee should get waxed.

Prediction: Tennessee keeps it close for a quarter, but the dam breaks in the second. Florida rolls 52-3.

Honorable Mentions

There are no other SEC games besides the CBS Game of the Week, but these could be interesting enough to take a look at if you get bored with the above two games.

Michigan State at Notre Dame, NBC, 3:30

USC at Washington, ABC, 3:30 (not sure, but this might be on your ESPN2 if you get Neb-VT on ABC)

Utah at Oregon, ESPN, 3:30 ET


Best Game: Georgia at Arkansas, ESPN, 7:45 ET

One week they're a low scoring defensive team. The next, they're a high scoring no defense team. Anyone know which Georgia team will show up against Arkansas? I'd sure like to know. This is also the first test for the Razorbacks, who got some love for their offense in the preseason. Bobby Petrino versus Mark Richt. Rennie Curran versus Michael Smith. There's a lot to like in this game.

Prediction: Georgia plays tough, but Arkansas end up outscoring the Bulldogs 31-27.

Next Best Game: Texas Tech at Texas, ABC, 8:00 ET

I personally think Tech is better than everyone is giving them credit for right now, and that they'll give a surprisingly uptight Texas team a run for their money. I don't think the Red Raiders will win, mind you, but they'll make the Longhorns sweat and it's always interesting when Mike Leach is around.

Prediction: Texas Tech keeps pace with Texas for three quarters, at which point the Longhorns will pull away 42-30.

Honorable Mention: West Virginia at Auburn, ESPN2, 7:45

I really don't think West Virginia is as good as most people think, but at the same time, this is the first pretty good team Auburn has played. If the Tigers have even 70% the success they've had in their first two games running the ball, this one will be over quickly.

Prediction: Auburn will start slowly as it figures out West Virginia will push them back pretty hard. Eventually they'll get rolling and outlast the Mountaineers 26-17.

Other SEC Games

UL-Lafayette at LSU, ESPNU, 7:00 ET: you'll laugh indeed as LSU finally lets it rip against someone and wins big.

Mississippi State at Vanderbilt, FSN Regional, 7:00 ET: this one ends up more high scoring than you think, but Vandy takes it.

SELA at Ole Miss, CSS, 7:30 ET: there's no reason to watch this bloodbath unless you're a Rebel fan.


Honorable Mentions

The televised night games all suck, so I won't even go so far as to call one the "best game." The only one between two Big Six teams is Kansas State at UCLA, but that's not even remotely interesting. If you need football to be on your TV, go with Hawai'i at UNLV (MTN/CBS College Sports) at 11:00 ET, because James Bates is calling the game and he's a hoot.