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College football on TV: What to watch on Saturday

Nebraska at Michigan starts the day with a strong matchup, USC at Oregon is the highlight and Cal at Stanford wraps up the week.

November 17, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint carries the ball during the Wolverines' victory over Illinois on Saturday.
Michigan's Fitzgerald Toussaint carries the ball during the Wolverines'… (Jonathan Daniel / Getty…)

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. 17 Nebraska (8-2) at No. 20 Michigan (8-2)

9 a.m., ESPN

Two legendary programs partnered in the recently formed Big Ten something-or-other division meet for only the seventh time. See, money-grubbing conference reconfiguration is also about meeting new friends. Nebraska severed its relationship with Oklahoma by leaving the Big 12 but now gets to bond with a similar helmet icon. Nebraska even has a coach named "Bo."

Harvard (8-1) at Yale (5-4)

9 a.m., Versus

Yale quarterback Patrick Witt's interview for a Rhodes Scholarship fell on the same day — though in Atlanta — he was expected to lead his team against archrival Harvard. What's a scholar to do? Witt chose home over the Rhodes. He chose teammates over himself. If you're sick of the Penn State story, tune in Versus and root for Yale.

Kentucky (4-6) at No. 13 Georgia (8-2)

9:21 a.m., KDOC

The person who set this 9:21 kick time must be a German train conductor. Are the referees really going to stand at midfield in Athens, look at their watches and tell the kicker: "Sorry, son, we can't start yet, it's only 9:20"? Georgia seeks its ninth straight win as it tries to clinch the Southeastern Conference East Division. That would earn the Bulldogs the right to be dog-pounded — probably by Louisiana State — in the SEC title game.

9 a.m.: No. 15 Wisconsin at Illinois, ESPN2; Kansas at Texas A&M, FS West; Cincinnati at Rutgers, ESPNU; Indiana at No. 12 Michigan State, Iowa at Purdue or Minnesota at Northwestern, BTN.

9:30 a.m.: Georgia Tech at Duke, Channel 13.

MIDDAY

No. 21 Penn State (8-2) at Ohio State (6-4)

12:30 p.m. Channel 7

You'd have been laughed out of Happy Valley or Columbus if you said a year ago the coaching matchup would be Tom Bradley versus Luke Fickell because Joe Paterno would be fired in disgrace and Jim Tressel would be forced to resign for lying to the NCAA. Some story lines you just can't make up.

Southern Methodist (6-4) at No. 11 Houston (10-0)

12:30 p.m. Prime

Houston gets its date with destiny as all-powerful and agenda-setting ESPN sets up its "College GameDay" crew to weigh in on a non-AQ darling not named Boise State. Houston is a pinball machine with record-setter Case Keenum at quarterback, but SMU was talented enough to beat the Texas Christian team that just beat Boise.

11:30 a.m.: Florida A&M at Bethune-Cookman, ESPN Classic.

12:30 p.m.: No. 7 Clemson at North Carolina State, ESPN; Miami at South Florida, ESPNU.

1 p.m.: Boston College at No. 24 Notre Dame, Channel 4.

Noon: Tulsa at Texas El Paso, CBSSN.

AFTERNOON

No. 1 Louisiana State (10-0) at Mississippi (2-8)

4 p.m. ESPN

This was going to be a Rebel wreck before Mississippi's quarterback and running back were suspended for the game. Ole Miss Coach Houston Nutt is on his way out of Oxford and LSU is passing through on its way to the Bowl Championship Series title game.

Colorado (2-9) at UCLA (5-5)

4:30 p.m., Versus

As incredible as it sounds, a win over Colorado means UCLA will play USC next week with a chance to represent the South Division in the first Pac-12 championship game. Rick Neuheisel said in the spring, "There can only be one first-time Pac 12 champion and it might as well be the Bruins." Nobody believed him then … or now.

4 p.m.: Central Florida at East Carolina, FS West; Vanderbilt at Tennessee, ESPNU.

4:30 p.m.: Virginia at No. 23 Florida State, ESPN2.

EVENING

No. 18 USC (8-2) at No. 4 Oregon (9-1)

5 p.m., Channel 7

Matt Barkley didn't think this was Oregon's best team until he "watched the film" and recited from a script handed to him by Lane Kiffin explaining how Oregon was actually the best "green" team playing football outside of Green Bay. We're guessing Oregon fans heard only what USC's quarterback said first and are ready to make Autzen Stadium crazier-loud than it was two years ago when Barkley played like a true freshman in a horrifying Halloween loss.

California (6-5) at No. 8 Stanford (9-1)

7:15 p.m., ESPN

Stanford tries to recover from a post-Oregon hangover as it goes from "big game" to "The Big Game." The Cardinal needs to win and hope Oregon loses twice to win the Pac-12 North, but closing wins over Cal and Notre Dame would all but clinch a BCS at-large berth.

5 p.m.: No. 16 Kansas State at Texas, FX; No. 10 Boise State at San Diego State, CBSSN.

6:30 p.m.: Arizona at Arizona State, Prime.

7:15 p.m.: New Mexico State at Brigham Young, ESPNU.

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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