By my count, 20 college football games can be seen on the tube in the Columbus area, and assuredly there might be some others depending on your area of the country. We'll simply break down all of the games available in Columbus for your viewing pleasure, but keep in mind other contests should be on the air depending on your locale.
BIG TEN GAMES
Northwestern at No. 20 Minnesota, Noon, ESPN2: Believe it or not, this one has implications on the Big Ten race because the Golden Gophers are among three teams tied with one loss. This is also a chance to scout the Wildcats before the Buckeyes' trip to Evanston next weekend. See how NU can survive without Tyrell Sutton and if Minnesota can continue to cause turnovers and post wins.
Wisconsin at No. 22 Michigan State, Noon, ESPN: This one looks a little better than it did last week because both teams are coming off of big wins. Both squads prefer to make their way on the ground, which means this should be a quick one to kick off the day after "College GameDay." A number of Ohioans also will be in the contest, highlighted by MSU tailback Javon Ringer. This one was a 37-34 final in favor of the Badgers last year, so it might be an entertaining one.
Michigan at Purdue, Noon, Big Ten Network: Given Indiana's win over Northwestern last weekend, this might be the battle of the most incompetent teams in the Big Ten. The Wolverines have lost four in a row, and the three against Big Ten teams all have been by 14 or more points. Purdue, which has lost to every conference team by double digits, has two injured quarterbacks and has started sniping amongst itself. This might be the last chance at a win for each of these teams.
Central Michigan at Indiana, Noon, Big Ten Network: This one will require an overflow channel for many, but it could be the most entertaining of the league games this week. Indiana has shown a prolific offense at times, and quarterback Kellen Lewis is expected to return. Meanwhile, 6-2 Central Michigan has its own explosive offense, though outstanding quarterback Dan LeFevour still is dealing with an ankle injury that could limit him.
Iowa at Illinois, 3:30, ABC/ESPN: This might be the first chance for many to check out Iowa, which has put together a decent season behind tailback Shonn Greene and a mostly anonymous defense which has been stopping teams all season long. Illinois' Juice Williams is a sight to behold but Illinois' mistakes have doomed the team to a .500 record. Sadly, this is a pretty skeleton crew of games if this is the 3:30 ABC broadcast.
OTHER COLLEGE GAMES
Air Force at Army, Noon, ESPNU: Fans of service academy football will want to check out this installment in the battle for the Commander-in-Chief's trophy, which Navy has a leg up thanks to an early win over the USAFA. Air Force enters as the favorite at 6-2 and 4-1 in the Mountain West with freshman Tim Jefferson running the team's triple-option offense with efficiency. Army is just 3-5 but is 27th in the nation in total defense.
Brown at Penn, Noon, Versus: Some more smart kids will be on the tube on Versus in this Ivy League matchup, and this one has some implications: the two schools currently are tied atop the league with identical 3-0 conference records.
West Virginia at Connecticut, Noon, Ohio News Network: This battle matches up the highlight-reel offense of Patrick White and Noel Devine for West Virginia, which leads the Big East at 2-0, and UCONN, which is a half-game behind at 2-1. The Huskies boast one of the nation's best runners in Donald Brown, who has 1,324 yards and 14 scores on the season.
Kansas State at Kansas, 12:30, Fox Sports Net: Watch this one because of the possibility that the two offenses go crazy. Kansas' Todd Reesing completes 69.0 percent of his passes and has 19 touchdowns, while KSU signal caller Josh Freeman has 15 touchdowns through the air and 13 more on the ground. Plus, the teams combined to allow 121 points last week.
Pittsburgh at Notre Dame, 2:30, NBC: Neither team is ranked but each is receiving votes from the AP. This contest will go a long way in determining how "for real" each team's 5-2 start is. And, hey, this one always has interest to OSU fans because of the Notre Dame factor.
No. 5 Florida vs. No. 8 Georgia, 3:30, CBS: This is one of two top-10 matchups, and the Cocktail Party usually delivers. Last year's game, in which Georgia sent its entire team off the sideline to celebrate after its first score on the way to a blowout win, was must-see TV, and the bad blood between the schools should keep this one interesting. Plus, these are two pretty good teams.
No. 16 Florida State at Georgia Tech, 3:30, ABC/ESPN: The ACC usually isn't much to watch, but I'll be interested to see Paul Johnson's offense at work. This one will be on ESPN in Columbus. Other ABC regional games that will be seen in other parts of the country include No. 23 Oregon at Cal and Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma State.
Clemson at Boston College, 3:30, ESPNU: Interim Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney was yelled at by his athletic director on the sideline during his first game in charge. This dysfunctional family could have a similar relapse. Otherwise, there's not much reason to check out this ACC clash. Did you know that five of the 12 teams in the league are 2-2 in conference play? How soon will this league simply have all teams finish 4-4?
Ohio Northern at Baldwin Wallace, 4 (tape delay), STO: Those in Ohio can check out Jim Tressel's alma mater playing at Tressel Field. Each team sits 3-3 in the Ohio Athletic Conference.
Louisville at Syracuse, 7, ESPNU: Cardinals quarterback Hunter Cantwell has started to kick into gear, leading an upset of South Florida last week. Those who want to see how far a once-proud Syracuse program have fallen need only tune in to see a half-empty Carrier Dome and dead coach walking Greg Robinson on the sideline.
Tennessee at South Carolina, 7, ESPN2: Years ago, coaches Phil Fulmer and Steve Spurrier battled for SEC titles that usually went to Spurrier's Florida team, leading to his legendary crack about how you couldn't spell Citrus (Bowl) without "UT." Now, each coach pilots an unranked team, and Fulmer is rumored to be on the way out. Call this "Humbled Bowl 2008."
No. 1 Texas at No. 6 Texas Tech, 8, ABC: This is the crown jewel of the college slate because this one should have it all. Two of the best teams in the nation? Check. Two explosive offenses that will test the scoreboards? Check. A Heisman contender or two? Check. A crazy coach who is prone to off-the-wall statements being interviewed on national television? Come on down, Mike Leach! Seriously, this one should be a good old time. Can Texas win its fourth straight against a top-12 team while keeping the Red Raiders' spread offense at bay? That will be the big question in the South Plains.
Nebraska at No. 4 Oklahoma, 8, ESPN: Oklahoma's offense has been nearly unstoppable this year, so if anyone wants to see a clockwork unit, this is the place to be. Sam Bradford already has thrown for 29 touchdowns while tailbacks DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown have combined for 17 on the ground. Plus nostalgic OSU fans can see former Buckeye Bo Pelini stalking the Cornhusker sideline.
John Carroll at Mount Union, 10, Sports Time Ohio: In another tape-delayed broadcast, the powerful Purple Raiders of MUC, who are the unanimous No. 1 in the Division III poll, host rival John Carroll. Be sure to tune in right around 10, as this one should be well over shortly afterward thanks to the unstoppable nature of the program built by Larry Kehres.
Arizona State at Oregon State, 10:30, FSN: The last time most fans watched Oregon State, the Beavers were upsetting then-No. 1 USC on national TV. There surely will be some highlights from that one shown during this game.
OTHER SPORTING EVENTS
Yes, there's more than college football on the tube on Saturdays, even if it doesn't seem like it's worth watching. But here are a few other sporting events, most with Ohio ties, that might be of interest to those with an itchy trigger finger on the remote.
Lakewood St. Edward at Cleveland St. Ignatius, 7, Sports Time Ohio: This live high school football broadcast is northeast Ohio's version of the Holy War, and it takes place in the first round of the Division I playoffs. Iggy (9-1) is the favorite, having secured the No. 1 seed in Region 1, while St. Ed's sits at 6-4 and will be trying to avenge a 34-12 loss to the Wildcats last weekend.
Columbus Crew at Kansas City Wizards, 8, ONN/HDNet: Ohio State is not the only winning team in Columbus. The Columbus Crew, the No. 1 seed in the MLS playoffs, opens its postseason with the first game of a two-game aggregate series at Kansas City. Columbus was the best team in MLS during the regular season and looks to earn its first-ever MLS Cup. Kansas City has former OSU Buckeye Roger Espinoza on the roster.
Also of note to soccer fans like myself – sorry, humor me – will be two matchups of England's Big Four on Fox Soccer Channel as Chelsea hosts Sunderland at 11 a.m. and Liverpool, who sits atop the table, travels to face Tottenham Hotspur, fresh off of a stunning 4-4 draw against Arsenal in the North London Derby, at 1:30 p.m.
Ohio State at Michigan, 7:30, NHL Network: Most people won't have this channel, but those who do can get a Buckeye fix as Ohio State takes on rival Michigan from Ann Arbor. This one is worth a few seconds just to watch the creative and enthusiastic fans in Yost Ice Arena, plus it's always fun to watch Ohio State and Michigan compete.
Chicago Blackhawks at Columbus Blue Jackets, 7, FSN: The Jackets try to turn around what's been a tough start to the 2008-09 campaign against a divisional rival featuring young superstars in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
Cleveland Cavaliers at New Orleans Hornets, 8, Local 24 in Columbus, FSN Ohio otherwise: LeBron vs. Chris Paul is a tasty matchup as far as the NBA goes.
Mike Tyson vs. Buster Douglas (1990), 7, ESPN Classic: The formerly interesting channel is running a Tyson marathon in the afternoon, the highlight of which is his stunning loss to Douglas in one of the seminal moments of sports history.