Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller drops back to pass against Purdue… (Jay LaPrete / 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.
Kentucky (1-7) at Missouri (3-4)
9 a.m., ESPNU
This is a public service announcement: Do not set your alarm for early-morning games. This matchup is suitable only for alums and zoo keepers in the feline section. The best storyline is that Missouri has a decent chance to post its first league win as a member of the Southeastern Conference. It is late October, but better late than never. The schools are a combined 0-9 in SEC play, so it's good that basketball season is fast approaching.
Texas (5-2) at Kansas (1-6)
9 a.m., FS West
Interesting only if you like watching Kansas Coach Charlie Weis suffer for thinking he's forgotten more about football than all of us combined are ever going to know. Texas is averaging 44 points per game and Kansas is giving up 31, but the Jayhawks are better at home, losing to Rice, Texas Christian and Oklahoma State by a total of 19 points.
9 a.m.: Iowa at Northwestern, ESPN2; Tennessee at South Carolina, ESPN; Indiana at Illinois, BTN; Ball State at Army, CBSSN; Delaware at Old Dominion, NBCSN.
No. 12 Georgia (6-1) vs. No. 3 Florida (7-0)
12:30, p.m., Channel 2
Weather could play a factor as Hurricane Sandy moves up the Atlantic Coast and threatens to turn neutral-site Jacksonville into a water park. Florida has won 11 of the last 14 meetings in the series, though Georgia has had recent success at the "cocktail party." Florida clinches the SEC East title with victory while Georgia, with victory, would seize control of the division.
No. 15 Texas Tech (6-1) at No. 4 Kansas State (7-0)
12:30 p.m., Channel 11
The Big 12 has been nuts. Last weekend, for the third time this season, the conference totaled more touchdowns than punts. There have been 36 plays of 50-plus yards, and this game might add to the total. Kansas State is the most balanced team in the league and should be able to control the tempo in Manhattan.
Duke (6-2) at No. 11 Florida State (7-1)
12:30 p.m, ESPNU
Who would have thought this game would be a showdown between the division leaders in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Duke is bowl eligible for the first time since 1994 but has lost 17 straight games to Florida State. The Seminoles will be playing the rest of the season without star running back Chris Thompson, who has a torn ACL.
Noon: Brigham Young at Georgia Tech, Prime; UCLA at Arizona State, FX; Colorado at Oregon, Pac-12.
12:30 p.m.: USC at Arizona, Channel 7; Michigan State at Wisconsin, ESPN2; Purdue at Minnesota, BTN; Texas Christian at Oklahoma State, FS West; Boise State at Wyoming, CBSSN; Fresno State at New Mexico, TWCSN.
No. 9 Ohio State (8-0) at Penn State (5-2)
2:30 p.m., ESPN
Comeback player of the week (year?) goes to Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, cleared to play one week after being carted off the field in Columbus against Purdue with what appeared to be a serious next injury. Neither team is bowl eligible because of NCAA probation, but Penn State has won five straight after losing its first two.
3:15 p.m.: Washington State at Stanford, Pac-12.
4 p.m.: Texas A&M at Auburn, ESPNU; Baylor at Iowa State, FS West; Massachusetts at Vanderbilt, Prime.
No. 5 Notre Dame (7-0) at No. 8 Oklahoma (5-1)
5 p.m., Channel 7
The shocker stat for these two traditional powerhouses is Notre Dame leads the series 8-1 and has never lost at Norman. The teams last met in October 1999, at South Bend, with Notre Dame handing Bob Stoops his first loss as Oklahoma's coach.
No. 13 Mississippi State (7-0) at No. 1 Alabama (7-0)
5:30 p.m., ESPN
This ranks on paper as the season's most misleading and fraudulent matchup of "unbeaten" schools. Mississippi State has reached seven wins beating the likes of Jackson State, South Alabama, Middle Tennessee and three SEC teams with a combined league record of 0-14. History buffs might know that Mississippi State shocked No. 1 Alabama in 1980 to snap the Crimson Tide's 28-game winning streak. Odds of another big upset: not good.
5 p.m.: Michigan at Nebraska, ESPN2; Central Florida at Marshall, CBSSN; Nevada Las Vegas at San Diego State, TWCSN.
No. 7 Oregon State (6-0) at Washington (3-4)
7:15 p.m., Pac-12
Cody Vaz came off the bench to lead Oregon State to wins against Brigham Young and Utah while starting quarterback Sean Mannion recovered from minor knee surgery. Mannion returns this week and tries to lead Oregon State to its first 7-0 start.
7:30 p.m.: Alabama A&M vs. Alabama State (delayed), ESPNU.