Welcome to TV Party, a weekly segment where we preview ten of the week’s most exciting match-ups in college football so you know when to grab some beer and ignore the outside world.
This week: The Red River Shootout is bringing a fried ball of Takis, Twinkies and bacon along with a burning papier mache cowboy. We don’t care; we’ll take it. Ugh, the SEC East is here again. Baylor says that TCU might report them to the Homeowner’s Association and they are really just okay with that. Hawaii wants to stay up late so we will oblige with beer, snacks and the new Flying Lotus album for this after dark experience to The Other Side of football.
GAME 1: HOW SOON IS NOW FOR CONNOR HALLIDAY
Washington State is everything that the California Golden Bears are without a 4-1 record. Connor Halliday breaks NCAA passing yard records and still comes up short. His heroic efforts are only bested by the universal constant of COUG’D IT. With a defense that is as sparse as the area surrounding Pullman and the tragicomedy of Halliday’s play, Wazzu’s Thursday night match with Stanford seems like a foregone Cardinal conclusion. Stanford’s bruising defense is going to be at odds with a team that is on pace to break every scale of offensive production. This could be closer than skeptics would like to think provided that COUG’D IT does not rear it’s ugly head early.
Washington State at No. 5 Stanford kicks off at 9 on Thursday on ESPN.
GAME 2: SAM PECKINPAH WOULDN’T CALL THIS A SHOOTOUT
The Red River Shootout used to be one of the biggest games in the Big 12. It’s now merely table scraps with potentials of breading something to be dipped into a fryer. Last year, a crippled Texas team found a way to destroy Oklahoma’s national championship chances at the Cotton Bowl. I am inclined to say that a repeat might be in order given how much this game means to these two teams. The Sooners, however, are bouncing back after a loss and Bob Stoops has not lost back-to-back games since 2003. This could be just another opportunity to watch someone cuss on camera.
Texas plays No. 11 Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl at 12 on ESPN.
GAME 3: YEAH, SURE
The most complete team in the SEC East has a bad relationship with road losses already this season. That singular L in the column for Georgia looks increasingly bad given that the team who benefited from that transaction lost to Missouri and Kentucky. Make or break is the theme for this game. A Georgia win would make the Dawgs division leaders; a loss would lift a team who lost to Indiana. Given how the SEC East has been scratching itself, I do not want to even look at the rash that will be left should Missouri win.
No. 13 Georgia travels to No. 23 Missouri at 12 on CBS.
GAME 4: A GAME IN WHICH GARY DANIELSON WILL TRY TO TALK OVER COWBELLS
Mississippi State is tied for third on the AP poll with their sworn enemy, Ole Miss. They are hosting College Gameday which will focus on the inverse of The Grove’s atmosphere. Imagine the limited knowledge you have of the Grove but with all the pomp and circumstance caked in mud, run over by a tractor tire and given a tramp stamp. Now imagine that coupled with a ranking of number three. Welcome back to Starkville, Auburn!
Verne and Gary will be on the call at 3:30 for No. 2 Auburn at No. 3 Mississippi State.
GAME 5: THE TWO BEST TEAMS IN TEXAS NOT NAMED TEXAS
Insular, stubborn comments aside, the Big 12’s two biggest teams do not reside in Austin. One is inside the Dallas Metroplex while the other is out among the weeds in Waco. Both teams have a chance to establish the new Big 12 hierarchy with a meet in McLane Stadium this Saturday. The back end of the schedule for both could prove treacherous down the stretch so a loss could spell trouble for playoff hopes even though the conference championship would still be in play. Bryce Petty and Trevone Boykin’s Football Clone go toe-to-toe in what could be more of a shootout than what goes on at the Texas State Fair.
No. 9 TCU will be welcomed by No. 5 Baylor at 3:30 on ESPN2.
GAME 6: A QUEST FOR NORMALCY
Predicting Pac 12 Championship contenders is like trying to Battleship with no vessels on the board. There are no direct hits. Everything is a miss. Oregon and UCLA, two teams that were surely poised for a rematch at Levi Stadium now stand with 4-1 records and neither team has yet to play the Cardinal ogre known as Stanford. The Bruins are struggling to keep Bret Hundley upright and the same could be said for the Ducks’ paltry offensive line. Myles Jack and swarming UCLA defense could prove to be the difference, but there I go trying to play Battleship without any pieces on the board again.
No. 12 Oregon comes to the Rose Bowl to play No. 18 UCLA. Coverage is on FOX at 3:30.
GAME 7: NICK SABAN THINKS BRET BIELEMA IS THE KIND OF GUY YOU COULD GO BOWLING WITH
What these two coaches lack in persona similarities, they make up for in philosophy. Before Bielema came along, Saban had engineered a program whose main ambition was to punish. It wanted to squeeze the life out of you within four quarters through a suffocating run game that produced a Heisman trophy winner. Control the ball – win the game. Now, the Crimson Tide have become a little too pass happy for people who hang portraits of The Bear in their living room. A meeting with Bielema may prove to be the smash mouth antidote for those suffering from TJ Yeldon withdrawals.
No. 7 Alabama travels to Arkansas. Game begins at 6 on ESPN.
GAME 8: DR. BO TAKES HOUSE CALLS IN KYLE FIELD
Ole Miss is playing at unparalleled levels of greatness unseen since the early 1960s. The biggest question mark is if they can sustain this against Texas A&M, or if the win over Alabama messed with their headspace. The Rebels have one of the best defenses in the SEC, anchored by Robert Nkemdiche. They are mean, fast and are known for wreaking havoc in the backfield and in the secondary. If there’s one team that does not do well when disrupted, it is A&M. Ole Miss proved its place in the Top Four, but will it stay there after the 12th Man finishes with it?
No. 3 Ole Miss travels to College Station to take on No. 14 Texas A&M. Coverage begins at 9 on ESPN.
GAME 9: RICH ROD CRUISES INTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
Rich Rodriguez was ran out on a rail from Michigan and it looked like he was toxic by the time he left. In his third year at Arizona, it looks something substantial is starting to form that manifested itself in last Thursday night’s win against Oregon. The Wildcats are 3-0 in conference play and could take the lead in the South division with a victory over USC, who were on the receiving ends of one of the craziest finishes in Arizona State history. USC is fielding a decent offense but Arizona boasts a defense that took an elephant gun to Marcus Mariota’s dream of a Heisman.
No. 10 Arizona travels to the Los Angeles Coliseum to take on the Trojans. Kickoff is slated for 10:30 on ESPN2.
GAME 10: SUNDAY MORNING FOOTBALL IN THE ALOHA STATE
This game is obligatory. It doesn’t matter the level of competition. It’s a college football game being played at midnight if you’re on the East Coast. You will be staying up until the 4:00, recapping the previous day in your head and questioning whether or not Norm Chow knows what he’s doing. College football is a train with no brakes; a flight with no destination. Why stop at 2 in the morning? The best way to prime yourself for this late night experience is to listen to Coast to Coast AM, a radio call-in show that focuses on conspiracy theories, UFO sightings and strange occurrences. It will help to keep you awake through the early morning hours.
Wyoming will be at Aloha Stadium for the midnight kickoff against Hawaii.