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College football on TV: What to watch on Saturday

The morning begins with a Big Ten matchup between No. 19 Nebraska and No. 12 Penn State, which will play without legendary coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday.

November 10, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Joe Paterno, left, will not be on the sideline Saturday when Penn State plays Nebraska. Tom Bradley, right, will be the interim coach.
Joe Paterno, left, will not be on the sideline Saturday when Penn State plays… (Carolyn Kaster / 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:

MORNING

No. 19 Nebraska (7-2) at No.12 Penn State (8-1)

9 a.m., ESPN

You thought nothing could top the drama surrounding last week's buildup to No. 1 Louisiana State at No. 2. Alabama? Well, try this one. Penn State plays the game without legendary coach Joe Paterno, who was fired Wednesday night in the aftermath of a child sex-abuse case scandal that has engulfed his program. Students took to the streets in protest and now interim Coach Tom Bradley must try to somehow get his team focused. Penn State has a two-game lead in the Big Ten Leaders division with road games left at Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Pennsylvania (5-3) at Harvard (7-1)

9 a.m., Versus

Take a break from the 24-7 news coverage of kids overturning news trucks in State College and watch a Pennsylvania team not under national scrutiny. Football doesn't get any more pure than the Ivy League, which does not even allow its champion to compete in the postseason.

9 a.m.: Florida at South Carolina, Channel 2; Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, Channel 7; Texas at Missouri, FX; Wake Forest at Clemson, ESPNU; Michigan State at Iowa, ESPN2; Ohio State at Purdue, Big Ten Network; Kentucky at Vanderbilt, KDOC.

MIDDAY

Arizona (2-7) at Colorado (1-9)

11: 30 a.m., FS West

Families of players on both teams anxiously await this battle of 1-6 vs. 0-6 in Pac-12 play. This is no doubt Colorado's best shot to pick up its first win in league history. "It means a lot to the kids," Colorado Coach Jon Embree said this week. "We're running out of opportunities for these seniors."

No. 24 Auburn (6-3) at No. 14 Georgia (7-2)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

It's back to the 12:30 slot for Verne and Gary as they take an announcing team step down from LSU vs. Alabama. The story line here is Georgia has won seven straight since opening losses to Boise State and South Carolina and controls its destiny in the Southeastern Conference East Division. Georgia winning the East could help Boise State's national title hopes.

Texas Christian (7-2) at No. 5 Boise State (8-0)

12:30 p.m., Versus

Boise State's shocking loss at Nevada last year allowed TCU to qualify for the Rose Bowl and defeat Wisconsin. Boise hasn't lost a home conference game since 1998 but needs to keep it that way to stay in contention for a spot in the national title game. This game was switched from TCU to Boise after the Horned Frogs announced they were bolting the Mountain West.

12:30 p.m.: Texas A&M at Kansas State, Channel 7; Michigan at Illinois or Miami at Florida State, ESPN; Rutgers vs. Army, CBSSN; Wisconsin at Minnesota, BTN.

12:45 p.m.: Washington at USC, FX.

AFTERNOON

Tennessee (4-5) at No. 8 Arkansas (8-1)

3 p.m., ESPN2

Arkansas is the third wheel behind LSU and Alabama in the SEC West but can't be counted out of the BCS national hunt. The Razorbacks can clinch the division if they win out — which would include a victory over LSU on Nov. 25 — and Alabama loses at least one more time.

No. 4 Alabama (8-1) at Mississippi State (5-4)

4:45 p.m., ESPN

Does this game ring a cowbell? It will be shocking if Alabama doesn't come out flat after last week's heartbreaking overtime loss to LSU. Mississippi State started the season ranked but has been one of this year's most underachieving teams.

3:30 p.m.: UCLA at Utah, Prime.

4 p.m.: Western Kentucky at Louisiana State, ESPNU.

4:30 p.m.: Maryland at Notre Dame, Channel 4.

EVENING

No. 6 Oregon (8-1) at No. 3 Stanford (9-0)

5 p.m., Channel 7

Let's hope this is as good as USC vs. Stanford in Saturday night prime time. Stanford handed Oregon its only conference loss two years ago at Palo Alto but got smoked in Eugene last year after blowing an early 21-3 lead. The winner stays in the national title hunt and the loser could earn a BCS at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl.

Arizona State (6-3) at Washington State (3-6)

7:30 p.m., Versus

Arizona State is in a three-way tie with USC and UCLA in the Pac-12 South, but the Sun Devils are still in decent shape to claim the crown. USC is ineligible this season and UCLA still has USC left to play. Washington State has lost five straight after a 3-1 start.

5 p.m.: Central Florida at Southern Mississippi, CBSSN.

6:15 p.m.: Idaho at Brigham Young, ESPN2.

7:15 p.m.: Hawaii at Nevada, ESPNU.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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