The Syracuse Orange don’t kick off until Saturday. But as is customary for the final full weekend of the college football season, there are quite a few games on Black Friday to tune into.
Even in a season where much has gone according to script (save SU being in the top 25, of course), rivalry/hate week allows for one last shot at randomness, and that’s something worth celebrating.
So if you’re avoiding holiday shopping crowds and saddling up to the television screen all day (as I will be), here are the big games you’re probably watching — though feel free to chat about any other football action that’s on, too.
(all times ET)
Houston Cougars (8-3, 5-2) at Memphis Tigers (7-4, 4-3), noon (ABC)
Houston’s far and away the most talented team in the AAC’s West division, but that hasn’t meant clinching it just yet. A Cougars win would seal the deal and probably cool down the Major Applewhite hotseat talk. Should Houston lose, Memphis would take the title via head-to-head wins over UH and SMU (if needed).
Virginia Cavaliers (7-4, 4-3) at Virginia Tech Hokies (4-6, 3-4), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
For the first time in a long time (2003), the Hoos stand a real chance to win the Commonwealth Cup. UVA’s yet to win the annual contest with Tech since the Hokies joined the ACC, but Tech’s defense is horrendous this year and the offense hasn’t looked much better. Lucky for Virginia, the Hokies aren’t a 16-seed, otherwise they’d be doomed from the start.
UCF Knights (10-0, 7-0) at USF Bulls (7-4, 3-4), 4:15 p.m. (ESPN)
UCF’s march to another unbeaten season moves onto Tampa and rival USF. The Bulls have been in a tailspin of late (lost four straight), while the Knights have just been batting opponents around for fun. UCF can probably afford to lose a game at this point and still make an access bowl. It’s best for that to happen here, though, versus the AAC championship (since the G5 autobid requires a conference title).
Oklahoma Sooners (10-1, 7-1) at West Virginia Mountaineers (8-2, 6-2), 8 p.m. (ESPN)
OU still has an outside shot at the College Football Playoff if they win out and something weird happens in the top four. West Virginia’s completely out of the Playoff picture, but can still win the Big 12 regular season title (via tiebreaker) and guarantee a trip to the conference title game.... against Texas, assuming the Longhorns beat Kansas.
Washington Huskies (8-3, 6-2) at Washington State Cougars (10-1, 7-1), 8:30 p.m. (FOX)
UW was supposed to be the class of this division, and still may be if they beat the rival Cougs in the Apple Cup. Washington State has very slim College Football Playoff chances, but that requires winning out. The Huskies can’t say the same, though obviously a Pac-12 title gets them to the Rose Bowl. Wazzu could potentially still make an access bowl with a loss, but it’s far from a guarantee.