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College football on TV: What to watch on Saturday

Among the games: No. 11 Michigan visits No. 23 Michigan State; No. 1 Louisiana State travels to Tennessee; and No. 9 Oregon plays host to No. 18 Arizona State.

October 13, 2011|Chris Dufresne
  • Michigan running back Michael Shaw carries the ball against Minnesota on Oct. 1. The Wolverines will look to stay undefeated on the season against Big Ten rivals Michigan State on Saturday.
Michigan running back Michael Shaw carries the ball against Minnesota… (Kirthmon F. Dozier / MCT )

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. 11 Michigan (6-0) at No. 23 Michigan State (4-1)

9 a.m., ESPN

Maybe Brady Hoke should run for president, because this guy can turn anything around. Hoke made Ball State better, San Diego State better and has made instant winners at Michigan out of Rich Rodriguez's leftovers. OK, so why is Michigan State favored? The Spartans' only loss came against a Notre Dame team that Michigan defeated. Las Vegas, though, sees Michigan State as the more battle-tested team, having already played in South Bend, Ind., and Columbus, Ohio. Michigan's first road game was last week … at nearby Northwestern.

Indiana (1-5) at No. 4 Wisconsin (5-0)

9 a.m., ESPN2

Rise and shine, all you heartless ambulance chasers. Indiana has improved enough this season to be only a 40-point underdog on the road. Wisconsin won last season, 83-20, in Bloomington and raised eyebrows when it continued to throw passes with the game well in hand. Wisconsin is better this year with Russell Wilson at quarterback, and Indiana might be worse. A win by the Hoosiers would rank among the biggest upsets in college football history.

No. 20 Baylor (4-1) at No. 21 Texas A&M (3-2)

9 a.m., FX

What a letdown for those of us so looking forward to Baylor serving Texas A&M with subpoena papers during the coin flip. Question: "Heads or tails?" Answer: "Excuse me, Your Honor, Mr. Back Judge, while I hand this to the Aggies." It turns out the Big 12 is going to survive after all, negating Baylor President Kenneth Starr's need to sue Texas A&M for joining the Southeastern Conference.

9 a.m.: Utah at Pittsburgh, ESPNU; Purdue at Penn State, BTN

9:30 a.m.: Miami (Fla.) at North Carolina, Channel 13

11 a.m.: Nevada Las Vegas at Wyoming, CBSSN

MIDDAY

No. 1 Louisiana State (6-0) at Tennessee (3-2)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Is LSU loaded, and lucky, and on its way to the national title … or what? You might know that LSU won the BCS titles after the 2003 and 2007 seasons when the game was played in New Orleans, and that this season's title game also will be in New Orleans. Last week, LSU played host to Florida a week after the Gators' top two quarterbacks were injured. This week, Tennessee's starting quarterback, Tyler Bray, was injured just as LSU was making its way toward Knoxville. Tennessee is looking for Volunteers.

No. 6 Oklahoma State (5-0) at No. 22 Texas (4-1)

12:30 p.m. Channel 7

Texas owns Oklahoma State — well, except for last year, when Texas couldn't beat a lamp post. Don't be shocked if Mack Brown turns last week's odorous Oklahoma frown upside down with a solid rebound effort. Texas is 22-3 all-time against Oklahoma State and hasn't lost a game the week after playing Oklahoma since 1997.

Ohio State (3-3) at No. 16 Illinois (6-0)

12:30 p.m., ESPN

Illinois is 6-0 for the first time since 1951, and Ohio State is 3-3 because it deserves to be after a nonstop barrage of tattoos, resignations, scandal and bizarre statements flowing like a river from the school president's mouth: "We are the poster child for compliance." Illinois earned a Rose Bowl berth in 2007 after shocking top-dog Ohio State in Columbus. An Illini win this year wouldn't be shocking at all.

Noon: Florida State at Duke, FS West

12:30 p.m.: Central Florida at Southern Methodist, Prime; No. 12 Georgia Tech at Virginia, ESPNU

AFTERNOON

No. 2 Alabama (6-0) at Mississippi (2-3)

3 p.m., ESPN2

The speed limit on the Ole Miss campus is 18 mph (Archie Manning's number), but Alabama will being going twice that fast. Many are coming around to the fact that Alabama, not Oklahoma, should have been preseason No. 1. Ole Miss Agony indicator: Mississippi lost by 23 points to a Vanderbilt team that Alabama defeated, 34-0, last week. There's nothing, though, like a pregame picnic in "The Grove."

Florida (4-2) at No. 24 Auburn (4-2)

4 p.m., ESPN

This is better than it looks. Florida's losses have come against AP No. 1 (LSU) and No. 2 (Alabama); Auburn's losses were to AP No. 8 (Clemson) and No. 10 (Arkansas).

4 p.m.: No. 17 Kansas State at Texas Tech, Prime; No. 8 Clemson at Maryland, ESPNU; Northwestern at Iowa, BTN

4:30 p.m.: No. 7 Stanford at Washington State, Versus

Evening

No. 3 Oklahoma (5-0) at Kansas (2-3)

6:15 p.m., ESPN2

Think "Indiana at Wisconsin," but in front of fewer people.

No. 18 Arizona State (5-1) at No. 9 Oregon (4-1)

7:15 p.m., ESPN

Ever try eating Duck soup with a pitchfork? It's a very difficult task, as will be this game for the visiting team. Arizona State has the luxury of playing in the weaker South Division, so a loss won't kill the Sun Devils' chances of possibly returning to Oregon for the inaugural Pac-12 title game. Oregon probably will be without star runner LaMichael James, who dislocated an elbow last week against California. Don't feel sorry for the Ducks. Kenjon Barner basically is tailback 1-A on Chip Kelly's flow-chart track team, and James' absence could mean more touches for freshman De'Anthony Thomas.

5 p.m.: Alabama Birmingham at Tulsa, CBSSN

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

twitter.com/dufresnelatimes

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