Coaches Bobby Petrino of Arkansas and Steve Spurrier of South Carolina… (Photos from Associated…)
Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. Each Friday, the Times' national college football writer handicaps what's worth watching, and skipping, on Saturday's menu of games:
No. 13 Michigan (7-1) at Iowa (5-3)
9 a.m., ESPN
Michigan, if it's looking for motivation, might not want to read this. Minnesota lost to New Mexico State and North Dakota State but somehow defeated Iowa last week in Minneapolis. All three of Iowa's defeats have been away from Kinnick Stadium. The Hawkeyes have not scored fewer than 31 points in five home-cooking victories.
Texas Tech (5-3) at Texas (5-2)
9 a.m., FX
No team had a more monumental momentum collapse than Texas Tech, which lost at home to Iowa State a week after beating Oklahoma on the road. Texas is coming off a 43-0 win over Kansas and moved up to No. 21 in this week's BBCS (Bevo Bowl Championship Series) standings.
9 a.m.: Vanderbilt at Florida, Channel 56; Minnesota at No. 15 Michigan State or Indiana at Ohio State, BTN; Syracuse at Connecticut, ESPNU.
9:30 a.m.: North Carolina at North Carolina State, Channel 13.
Texas A&M (5-3) at No. 7 Oklahoma (7-1)
12:30 p.m., ESPN2
Norman seemed like a tough place to play until Texas Tech rode in two weeks ago and ended Oklahoma's 39-game winning streak at Owen Field. The troubling trend in Texas A&M's three defeats has been blowing double-digit leads at halftime.
No. 4 Stanford (8-0) at Oregon State (2-6)
12:30 p.m., Channel 7
We know what you're thinking. Beavers, hunting season, dams, wood … trap game? Stanford probably doesn't need to call Sacramento State to ask for pointers on how to beat the Beavers in Corvallis, but the Cardinal does not want to get caught looking back to last week's thrilling win over USC or forward to next week's showdown against Oregon in Palo Alto.
Noon: Duke at Miami, FS West.
12:30 p.m.: Army at Air Force, Channel 2; Texas El Paso at Rice, Prime; Northwestern at No. 9 Nebraska, BTN; Troy at Navy, CBSSN; Colorado State at Texas Christian, Versus; Mississippi at Kentucky, ESPNU.
No. 14 Houston (8-0) at Alabama Birmingham (1-7)
4 p.m., CBSSN
What a quirky week. We get the rare calendar palindrome "11022011" three days before undefeated Houston plays an hour before the start of Louisiana State-Alabama in Tuscaloosa. That puts three of the nation's six undefeated teams within a couple of Winn-Dixie stores.
Here's another weird thing: The best quarterback playing in Alabama on Saturday will be at Birmingham's Legion Field, when Houston's Case Keenum puts his record-setting right arm into action against UAB.
No. 10 South Carolina (7-1) at No. 8 Arkansas (7-1)
4:15 p.m., ESPN
Also being billed as "Not LSU-Alabama," "Triple-A SEC," and "Chickens vs. Pigs," this crossover between SEC East and West is a shadow game with important implications. South Carolina needs the win to stay clear of Georgia in the East race, and an Arkansas victory keeps the Razorbacks' national title hopes alive leading to a Nov. 25 showdown with LSU.
No. 20 Arizona State (6-2) at UCLA (4-4)
4:30 p.m., Versus
"Run for Your Life" starring Kevin Prince picks up with the UCLA quarterback being asked to rush for another 100-plus yards at the Rose Bowl in the ongoing and desperate effort to save the Bruins' season and Coach Rick Neuheisel's job. Prince should have GPS in his helmet to track Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict, a local product who returns to terrorize another local quarterback.
4 p.m.: Missouri at Baylor, Prime; No. 23 Cincinnati at Pittsburgh, ESPNU.
No. 1 Louisiana State (8-0) at No. 2 Alabama (8-0)
5 p.m., Channel 2
CBS pulled strings to move the season's most-anticipated game into prime time. Lead announcer Verne Lundquist thinks this game could be as exciting as Olympic ice dancing compulsories and easily the best No. 1 vs. No. 2 game since Nebraska and Oklahoma in 1971. It's almost impossible for a game like this to match the pregame hype, but this one has a chance.
No. 6 Oregon (7-1) at Washington (6-2)
7 p.m., Prime
Oregon fans actually hate Washington more than they hate Oregon State, and Washington fans hate Oregon more than they hate Washington State.
It's not the Civil War or the Apple Cup. It's more like the Spittoon Cup. This is the last game at 92-year old Husky Stadium before it undergoes major renovations. Steve Sarkisian already has a jump on rebuilding the team.
5 p.m.: No. 17 Kansas State at No. 3 Oklahoma State, Channel 7; Notre Dame at Wake Forest, ESPN2.
7:30 p.m.: No. 5 Boise State at Nevada Las Vegas, CBSSN; Louisiana Tech at Fresno State, ESPNU.