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TNIAAM Saturday bye week college football open thread

Of course you’re still watching football today.

Wake Forest v Louisville Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

While the Syracuse Orange (4-4, 2-2) deal with the Bye Week Fightin’ Byes this weekend, the rest of college football has their own, more challenging matchups to handle. We’ll likely be watching a few of those that pertain directly to Syracuse. There are also some interesting games worth watching outside of our general orbit.

Whether you only watch a few of these, or all of them, here’s your guide to alcoholic beverage consumption for the afternoon and evening.

And your game guide:

(all times ET)

ACC games of interest

Louisville Cardinals (5-3, 1-3) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (4-3, 1-3), 12:20 p.m. (ACCN)

Against another strong defense, Louisville may show some real vulnerabilities. That’s not going to tell us much about what Syracuse can do to this mess of an offensive line, mind you. But a beleaguered Cardinals line is much preferred to one that appears resurgent against a reasonably good Wake team. The Deacons have shown glimpses of an offensive attack this year (and a run game!). If they can produce vs. Louisville, that’s a good sign for Syracuse.

Notre Dame v North Carolina State Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

N.C. State Wolfpack (6-1, 4-0) at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (6-1), 3:30 p.m (NBC)

This one has no consequences for the conference standings. But considering NC State’s best win so far is either against us or Louisville, this could be a better litmus test for how the Pack can finish this season. Notre Dame’s mean, can run the ball ridiculously well and should really challenge NCSU in the trenches (where they typically excel).

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4-2, 3-1) at Clemson Tigers (6-1, 4-1), 8 p.m. (ABC)

Syracuse will not be winning the ACC this year. However, if there was any ridiculous reality in which that could happen, this game is pivotal. With one loss, Clemson needs to fall once more in the last three league games to end up in a tie with Syracuse (assuming no more losses for SU). They also need to deal NC State a loss, so that game’s out. FSU is unlikely to beat Clemson, so it really comes down to Georgia Tech taking it to the Tigers if we have any outside shot (again, nope) of winning this Atlantic Division title.

Others to take a look at

Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-1, 3-1) at West Virginia Mountaineers (5-2, 3-1), noon (ABC)

Two high-flying offenses that didn’t look overly impressive vs. lesser competition last week. OK State faces Oklahoma in week 10 and despite WVU being ranked, there’s some look-ahead potential for them here. Both squads have lost to TCU, while West Virginia’s suffered a close loss to Virginia Tech as well. The winner of this one can stay in contention for the Big 12 title.

Penn State Nittany Lions (7-0, 4-0) at Ohio State Buckeyes (6-1, 4-0), 3:30 p.m. (FOX)

You’re rooting for Ohio State, because even if the Penn State-Syracuse rivalry is dead, it’s very easy to hate the Nittany Lions. This is really the last hurdle between PSU and a College Football Playoff berth, barring Michigan State jumping up and biting them. The win in this game will got to whichever defense can slow down the other’s impressive offense. Ohio State’s has showed some holes this year, though PSU’s hasn’t (yet).

TCU Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0) at Iowa State Cyclones (5-2, 3-1), 3:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2)

I always ride with the Frogs in Big 12 play, and this year’s edition is all about disrupting your gameplan and exploiting whatever your biggest weakness is. ISU’s been one of the country’s biggest surprises behind an offense that’s firing on all cylinders. I think the talent and coaching gap favors TCU here, but it’s probably going to be a closer matchup than it seems on paper. The ‘Clones are feisty this year.

Washington State Cougars (7-1, 4-1) at Arizona Wildcats (5-2, 3-1), 9:30 p.m. (Pac-12N)

Wazzu’s a very good team, but Arizona might be too, at least if recent results are to be believed. Since Khalil Tate took over the starting gig, the team’s been nearly as unstoppable as he is. The QB already has 1,289 total yards and 11 touchdowns and is near-impossible to take down in the open field. The Cougars will have their hands full, though this is a quality defense. Arizona is suddenly angling for a division title.

USC Trojans (6-2, 4-1) at Arizona State Sun Devils (4-3, 3-1). 10:45 p.m., ESPN

Like their cross-state rivals, ASU has been a different team of late — beating both Washington and Utah — and now tries to trip up an uncertain Trojans squad. USC was dominated against Notre Dame and continues to play down to their talent level. If they can’t bounce back here, this season’s going to become a disaster in a hurry. ASU, meanwhile, could surprisingly insert themselves into the South division conversation.

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Have your eye on some other games? Chime in on those too, below. I’m at a wedding later, so no late games for me, sadly.