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TNIAAM college football Saturday open thread

Syracuse played last night, so now you just get to enjoy Saturday’s games.

NCAA Football: Syracuse at Western Michigan Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps you’re still processing last night’s Syracuse Orange victory after outlasting Western Michigan, 55-42. Or maybe you’re dissecting Dino Babers’s commentary about why the hell he left Eric Dungey on the bench for so long last night (I’m not satisfied and I doubt you are either).

Nonetheless, there are QUITE a few more games today, of varying importance to SU fans. Hopefully you’re watching at least a few. If you’re wondering what to prioritize, here’s the rundown of which games are worth paying attention to:

(all times ET)

ACC/Notre Dame

James Madison Dukes at N.C. State Wolfpack, noon (ESPNU)

JMU’s really good and won an FCS national title two seasons ago. NC State lost its entire front four and has a habit of dropping games like this occasionally, but also has Ryan Finley back. Not a bad appetizer to the day, in any case.

Furman Paladins at Clemson Tigers, 12:20 p.m. (ACC Network/WatchESPN)

Clemson’s loaded once again, and should make quick work of nearby Furman. Kelly Bryant gets the start, but you’ll likely see a good deal of five-star QB Trevor Lawrence, too. Should Bryant get injured at some point this year, there are no excuses for the Tigers this time around (as they continue to complain about his absence in last year’s loss to SU).

Alcorn State Braves at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, 12:30 p.m. (ACC Network/WatchESPN)

Do you like the option? One-sided wins that feel like a slog? Here you go...

NCAA Football: Boston College at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

UMass Minutemen at Boston College Eagles, 1 p.m. (ACC Network/WatchESPN)

Boston College is getting overdone top 25 talk. UMass scored 63 points against Duquesne last week. If you want to see just how good AJ Dillon is, this is a good time to do it. You won’t love it when he puts that talent on display against the Orange in late November (unless Steve Addazio’s already run him into the ground by then).

Albany Great Danes at Pittsburgh Panthers, 3:30 p.m. (ACC Network/WatchESPN)

Pitt trades out its typical struggle versus Youngstown State for a game against Albany. Is Pitt’s secondary better? Is Kenny Pickett for real? Go Great Danes.

North Carolina Tar Heels at California Golden Bears, 4 p.m. (FOX)

Cal’s seemingly on an upward trend after a savvy coaching change last year in Justin Wilcox, plus a smart offensive coordinator hire (former Eastern Washington head coach Beau Baldwin). UNC was ravaged by injuries last year and has various suspensions to deal with. Larry Fedora’s done well with the Heels, but could be coaching for his job by October if Carolina gets off to a slow start. This game may not do him any favors.

Michigan Wolverines at Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 7:30 p.m. (NBC)

Michigan has one of the country’s top defenses, and it’ll be interesting to see how they contain Brandon Wimbush and the dynamic Notre Dame rushing offense. Both are top-15 teams this year, so should end up being a fun battle to watch tonight. If the Irish struggle, not sure we can really make many assumptions about the Syracuse game, though, given how much better the Wolverines’ defense is.

Richmond Spiders at Virginia Cavaliers, 6 p.m. (ACC Network/WatchESPN)

UVA made a bowl game last year, though struggled down the stretch. So will the Hoos more resemble that early effort (which included an upset over Boise State), or the later one? This game won’t give many hints, though we’ll get a glimpse of how functional this offense is with a new QB.

Louisville Cardinals vs. Alabama Crimson Tide, 8 p.m. (ABC/WatchESPN)

HAHAHAHAHAHA. Enjoy watching ‘Ville get stomped.

NCAA Football: Boca Raton Bowl-Florida Atlantic vs Akron Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Other games of interest

Florida Atlantic Owls at Oklahoma Sooners, noon (FOX)

The Lane Train pulls into Norman, Okla. and tries to pull an upset over the Baker Mayfield-less Sooners. If you believe FAU could challenge for the Group of Five’s access bowl spot, how they play here could provide some validation (or not).

Ole Miss Rebels at Texas Tech Red Raiders, noon (ESPN/WatchESPN)

Ole Miss is bowl banned and has nothing to lose. Texas Tech doesn’t play great defense. This will be points-y as hell. Watch this instead of NCSU.

Washington Huskies vs. Auburn Tigers, 3:30 p.m. (ABC/WatchESPN)

My game of the day, due to my own affinity for the Pac-12. This matchup goes a long way toward dictating the College Football Playoff picture later in the year. A Washington win likely has them on an inside track, provided they win the conference with one or fewer losses.

Boise State Broncos at Troy Trojans, 6 p.m. (ESPNEWS/WatchESPN)

This game’s going to be fun as hell. Troy’s great, and Boise’s ranked. Trojans coach Neal Brown could put himself on the short list for every eventual P5 job opening with a victory here.

BYU Cougars at Arizona Wildcats, 10:45 p.m. (ESPN/WatchESPN)

This is going to be a blowout, but you want to watch Khalil Tate and are probably half-drunk at the very least by this point, so it’s fine.


Enjoy your Saturday. Football is back!