Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly and his offensive unit will need to find a way… (Julian H. Gonzalez / McClatchy-Tribune )
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 Saturay's menu of games:
North Texas (2-1) at No. 9 Georgia (1-1)
9 a.m., KDOC
Any wonder why the Southeastern Conference is No. 1? While the Pac-12 Network and DirecTV continue to hold subscribers hostage with their impasse, the SEC continues to spread its superiority ideology to the SoCal market via local access cable.
Betting tip: Do not wager your kid's college tuition on the school with the better record. North Texas has had a nice season, and is getting 32 1/2 points in Las Vegas sports books, but don't forget the Mean Green has lost 34 straight games to ranked schools since beating San Diego State in 1974.
Also don't forget: "Mean" Joe Greene hasn't played for North Texas since 1968.
Georgia lost to No. 3 Clemson and defeated No. 12 South Carolina and will use this tune up for next week's SEC showdown against No. 6 Louisiana State at Athens.
9 a.m.: Wake Forest at Army, CBSSN; North Carolina at Georgia Tech, ESPN; Louisiana Tech at Kansas, FS1; San Jose State at Minnesota, ESPN2; Florida A&M at Ohio State, BTN; Marshall at Virginia Tech, ESPNU; Western Michigan at Iowa, BTN1; Vanderbilt at Massachusetts, ESPN News.
Tennessee (2-1) at No. 19 Florida (1-1)
12:30 p.m., Channel 2
And Tennessee thought Lane Kiffin made some strange moves when he was in Knoxville? The Vols thought it was wise to schedule back-to-back games in two of the most inhospitable venues in college football. Last week, Tennessee jumped out to a 7-0 lead at Oregon's Autzen Stadium before allowing 59 unanswered points in a 59-14 defeat.
Now, the Vols head south to Florida's notorious Swamp, where yards are tossed around like manhole covers. The Gators had a week off to stew over their loss at Miami and will be chomping to win their ninth straight game in the series. Tennessee, which won the first Bowl Championship Series title in 1998 but eventually grew tired of coach Phil Fulmer, has lost 17 straight games against ranked opponents and is 1-23 since 2008.
Michigan State (3-0) at No. 22 Notre Dame (2-1)
12: 30 p.m., Channel 4
Somebody send out a search team for Notre Dame's defense. The Irish returned eight starters from last season's team that finished No. 2 nationally in scoring defense behind Alabama.
Through three games, Notre Dame is giving up nearly twice as many points as last year's 12.8 average.
The best defense on the field in this one will be Michigan State's, ranked No.1 this week and giving up only 12 points per game. Of course, the Spartans have only had to stop Western Michigan, South Florida and Youngstown State.
This has always been a bruising game. Last year, Notre Dame held Michigan to 50 yards in a 20-3 win at East Lansing.
Noon: Houston at Rice, FS West; Idaho State at Washhington, Pac-12.
12:30 p.m.: West Virginia at Maryland, ESPNU; South Dakota at Nebraska, BTN2; Maine at Northwestern, BTN1; Kent State at Penn State, BTN2; Arkansas at Rutgers, ESPN; Utah State at USC, Channel 7; Purdue at Wisconsin, ESPN2.
1 p.m.: Louisiana-Monroe at Baylor, FS1.
Colorado State (1-2) at No. 1 Alabama (2-0)
4 p.m., ESPN2
This has all the makings for an Alabama letdown as the sandwich game between Texas A&M and next week's big game against Mississippi in Tuscaloosa.
The game could almost be considered a nonconference "friendly" between Nick Saban and second-year Colorado State Coach Jim McElwain, the Crimson Tide's former offensive coordinator.
A forecast of heavy showers could muddy the aesthetics but won't affect the outcome. Alabama by 39 might be a little high if the weather turns and Saban elects to go easy on his former assistant.
No. 23 Arizona State (2-0) at No. 5 Stanford (2-0)
4 p.m., Channel 11
If the Pac-12 refs screw up the end of this game involving Arizona State at least it will only irritate one commissioner, not two. It's nice to see a league game this big that doesn't involve USC or Oregon. The schools haven't played since 2010 but this could be worth the wait.
4 p.m.: Southern Methodist at Texas A&M, ESPNU; Texas State at Texas Tech, Prime.
4:30 p.m.: Oregon State at San Diego State, CBSSN.
4:45 p.m.: Auburn at Louisiana State, ESPN.
5 p.m.: Missouri at Indiana, BTN; Kansas State at Texas, Channel 7.
Utah (2-1) at Brigham Young (1-1)
7:15 p.m., ESPN2
Utah is coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Oregon State in which quarterback Trevor Wilson played magnificently in defeat as he mourned the death of former high school teammate Nick Pasquale. BYU is off to a weird start, following a road loss to Virginia with a home win over Texas.
7:15 p.m.: Wyoming at Air Force, ESPNU.
7:30 p.m.: New Mexico State at UCLA, Pac-12; Troy at Mississippi, Prime.