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College football on TV Saturday

Chris Dufresne tells what's on and, more important, what's worth watching Saturday.

September 20, 2012
  • Two seasons ago, quarterback Denard Robinson led Michigan to a 28-14 victory over Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Two seasons ago, quarterback Denard Robinson led Michigan to a 28-14 victory… (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

Maryland (2-1) at No. 8 West Virginia (2-0)

9 a.m., FX

Meet quarterback Geno Smith, the quarterback who replaces Matt Barkley this week as the nation's leading Heisman Trophy candidate. Smith has more touchdowns, 10, than incomplete passes. Hey, didn't Baylor's Robert Griffin III have a stat like that early last year? Yep. Didn't RGIII go on to win the Heisman? Yep.

Mississippi (2-1) at Tulane (0-2)

9 a.m., FS West

Ole Miss catches its breath after holding Texas to 66 points and 676 yards a few days before CBS' Gary Danielson pronounced on a radio show that "yards don't come cheap" against Southeastern Conference defenses. This could be a statistical checkmate: Tulane's No. 117 scoring offense vs. Ole Miss' No. 98 scoring defense.

9 a.m.: Texas El Paso at Wisconsin, ESPN2; Bowling Green at Virginia Tech, ESPNU; Alabama Birmingham at Ohio State or Central Michigan at Iowa, Big Ten Network; Lafayette at Bucknell, CBSSN. 10 a.m.: Yale at Cornell, NBCSN.

MIDDAY

Missouri (2-1) at No. 7 South Carolina (3-0)

12:30 p.m., Channel 2

Columbia travels to Columbia for Missouri's SEC road debut. How do you like the league so far? Missouri lost its conference home debut to Georgia two weeks ago and now faces another East division test. Wait until you see the two teams the SEC has in the West.

Colorado (0-3) at Washington State (2-1)

1 p.m., FX

Only ambulance chasers will want to monitor the horrid happenings of what could be the worst Colorado team ever assembled. Colorado spotted Fresno State 35 points in the first quarter last week and lost, 69-14. Jon Embree's team ranks No. 173 in the ratings Jeff Sagarin submits to the BCS Standings formula. That's about 50 more than play at the FBS level.

Noon: Miami at Georgia Tech, Prime. 12:30 p.m.: Oregon State at UCLA, Channel 7; Temple at Penn State, ESPN2; East Carolina at North Carolina, ESPNU; Eastern Michigan at Michigan State, Idaho State at Nebraska or South Dakota State at Northwestern, Big Ten Network; Virginia Military Institute at Navy, CBSSN.

AFTERNOON

Rutgers (3-0) at Arkansas (1-2)

4 p.m., ESPNU

A rotten year (so far) for Arkansas will only get worse should the Razorbacks lose their third straight game in a season that started with national title aspirations. Interim Coach John L. Smith implored everyone this week to turn their frowns upside down, only to have bankruptcy records released that show he has personal debts of more than $25 million. Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson has been cleared to play.

No. 18 Michigan (2-1) at No. 11 Notre Dame (3-0)

4:30 p.m., Channel 4

This is Notre Dame's best start since 2002, when the Irish ripped off eight straight wins under first-year coach Ty Willingham before making the mistake of donning their green jerseys for Boston College. Notre Dame has lost three straight to Michigan but looked Rockne solid in last week's big win at Michigan State. Will this be a magical third year for Brian Kelly? Knute Rockne was 9-0 his third year, in 1920, and Frank Leahy, Ara Parseghian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz all won national titles in their third seasons.

No. 10 Clemson (3-0) at No. 4 Florida State (3-0)

5 p.m., Channel 7

Clemson took last year's game when freshman receiver Sammy Watkins got loose too many times behind Seminole lines. Florida State has looked unstoppable so far, outscoring three opponents, 176-3. The problem is the wins were against Murray State, Savannah State and Wake Forest. Florida State and Texas Christian are the only schools that have yet to give up a touchdown this season.

1:30 p.m.: Harvard at Brown, NBCSN. 3 p.m.: California at USC, Pac-12 Networks. 4 p.m.: Louisiana State at Auburn, ESPN; South Carolina State at Texas A&M, Prime. 4:30 p.m.: Kansas State at Oklahoma; Channel 11. 4:45 p.m.: Vanderbilt at Georgia, ESPN2. 5 p.m.: Syracuse at Minnesota or Louisiana Tech at Illinois, Big Ten Network; Fresno State at Tulsa, CBSSN.

NIGHT

No. 22 Arizona (3-0) at No. 3 Oregon (3-0)

7:30 p.m., ESPN

Remember the final scene of "Blazing Saddles," where the fight spills off screen and into other back-lot productions? This game, featuring two of the nation's highest scoring offenses, could bulldoze through the set of "Saturday Night Live" and interrupt Sunday morning sunrise services. Arizona and Oregon average a combined 1,201 yards a game. Oregon averages 54 points to Arizona's 46 and both teams play at a hummingbird's pace.

7:30 p.m.: Nevada at Hawaii, NBCSN.

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