No. 12 Michigan at Penn State
9:00 A.M., ABC
I’m going to take you behind the curtain a little bit: I haven’t been able to get through more than a quarter of any game Penn State has played this year. The Nittany Lions are, like most Big “Ten” teams, absolutely dreadful to watch, and their bad quarterback Christian Hackenberg was for some unknown reason thought to be some kind of NFL prospect. Somehow they are 7-3 right now, which is stunning only until you consider that they’ve lost by a combined 47 points to the only three teams they’ve played that have even sniffed the rankings this year. Their wins have come over Buffalo, Rutgers, San Diego State, Army, Indiana, Maryland, and Illinois — ALL OF WHICH WERE AT HOME. Seriously. They are only going to play four road games this year, and they’ve already lost the first three. Michigan’s defense hasn’t been looking very elite lately, but some particularly strong two-ply could effectively defend against Penn State’s offense at this point in the season.
Michigan 23, Penn State 13
UCLA at No. 13 Utah
12:30 P.M., FOX
Josh Rosen is going to win two Heismans.
UCLA 27, Utah 24
No. 15 LSU at No. 22 Ole Miss
12:30 P.M., CBS
You know what would give me some context on these SEC teams, and whether or not they are hot, cold, or merely lukewarm garbage? If they actually played anyone in the non-conference season! Instead, LSU gave us key data points against Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucky, and Syracuse, while Ole Miss played something with the abbreviation UTM, Fresno State, New Mexico State, and then managed to lose to Memphis. Anyway, both of these former top five teams have lost in recent weeks to four-loss Arkansas, so it’s probably safe to say they were, like all SEC teams in perpetuity, wildly overrated this year. None of you should watch this game.
Ole Miss 17, LSU 14
Arizona at Arizona State
12:30 P.M., Fox Sports 1
I’ve heard Todd Graham describe this upcoming game as the most epic battle for fourth place in a division in the history of college football.
ASU 31, Arizona 17
No. 24 USC at No. 23 Oregon
12:30 P.M., ESPN
You know what would cap this wildly stupid Pac-12 season? If Oregon beats USC on Saturday, UCLA beats Utah, Cal beats Stanford (which then loses to Notre Dame), Oregon wins the North, USC beats UCLA to win the South, and we see a rematch of this game in which 4-loss USC beats 3-loss Oregon to win the Pac-12 to leave the Pac-12 with no ranked teams at the end of the year. We’ll call that the Pac-12 Nuclear Scenario.
Anyway, there seems to be a chance that USC will actually retain Clay Helton as the head coach after this season, which is a double-edged sword. Yeah, Helton might not be a great coach for USC, but don’t you kind of want to see what Pat Haden pulls out of his bag of awful decisions this time?
Oregon 38, USC 24
No. 20 Northwestern at No. 25 Wisconsin
12:30 P.M., Big Ten Network
Everything we said about Penn State above? Say it about Wisconsin here. It might be the softest 8-2 Power Five team in the history of the sport, with zero good wins and two home losses to the only two real teams the Badgers have played. Northwestern is getting no respect here, which is probably due to the Wildcats also being kind of poopy ever since beating Stanford, but 10 points is still a lot for a team to cover that couldn’t score more than six against Iowa.
Wisconsin 23, Northwestern 20
No. 9 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State
12:30 P.M., ABC
Ohio State -13.5
If Michigan State were in the Pac-12, either division, the Spartans would be hovering somewhere around 7-3 or 6-4 right now. Ohio State is an elite team that has been bored to near-death by the awful competition in the league, and we’ll bet on the Buckeyes getting up for this one against a team that is at least perceived to be good.
Ohio State 41, Michigan State 24
Washington at Oregon State
3:00 P.M., Pac-12 Network
If the Pac-12 is ever considering an 11 PM time slot to compete against lumberjack competitions on ESPN, I’ve got the PERFECT game for it.
Washington 24, Oregon State 3
No. 10 Baylor at No. 6 Oklahoma State
4:30 P.M., FOX
Oklahoma State -1
Mike Gundy, 48, man, is sneakily a pretty damn good coach. Oklahoma State, located in a place called, no joke, Stillwater, should be a bottom-tier program, sucking in the dregs that Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Iowa, Texas A&M doesn’t want, but instead, Gundy has the Cowboys two games away from a very likely Playoff berth. Baylor, according to the last reports, could be without starting quarterback Jarrett Stidham in this one, who was himself starting for injured Seth Russell. For all we know, Tracy Pierson will start for the Bears on Saturday.
Oklahoma State 42, Baylor 28
No. 18 TCU at No. 7 Oklahoma
5:00 P.M., ABC
I’ll be straight with you — I really want the Big 12 to get into the Playoff this year, mostly because it’ll mean Notre Dame gets left out (most likely) and I still harbor a lot of negative feelings toward that entire program after Jeff Samardzija ran a stake through my heart in 2006. Since the Pac-12 is basically done unless something crazy happens, that means we really want Oklahoma State and Oklahoma to go into next week relatively unscathed. Good thing that TCU is basically the opposite of scathing at this point, with quarterback Trevone Boykin possibly out and star receiver Josh Doctson for sure out for the Horned Frogs. TCU’s defense has sucked for a good portion of this year, and it really sin’t up to the challenge of dealing with the Sooners without a big assist from the offense. Expect a stomping.
Oklahoma 45, TCU 21
California at No. 11 Stanford
7:30 P.M., ESPN
You had one job, Stanford! This is why the Pac-12 can’t have nice things. The Cardinal managed to goof away a victory against Oregon last week thanks to a couple of late fumbles from senior quarterback Kevin Hogan, who brought his entire repertoire of I’m-currently-not-playing-UCLA skills to the table against the Ducks. Jared Goff threw six touchdowns against Oregon State last week, but at this point, even someone as noodle-armed as Cody Kessler could probably do that. Stanford’s defense hasn’t been elite this year, and Cal winning would be good for the chaos scenario, but we just can’t see it.
Stanford 31, California 21
Colorado at Washington State
7:45 P.M., ESPN2
Washington State -15
This would be the traditional spot in the season for Washington State to Coug it pretty hard. Not saying, but just saying.
Washington State 38, Colorado 17
Season to date ATS: 70-67-1, Last week ATS: 9-5, UCLA ATS: 8-2