As always when the Syracuse Orange football team either plays on a week day or against the Bye Week Fightin’ Byes, you get a Saturday open thread that directs you to the games you’ll probably want to watch instead of SU — if you haven’t sworn off college football entirely by this point.
We’ll get to some of the nonsense that transpired on Friday later on (read: something I publish on Sunday). But for now, let’s laugh at other college football teams’ problems.
(all times ET)
Clemson Tigers (6-0, 4-0) at Louisville Cardinals (4-2, 2-1), noon (ABC)
Clemson certainly seemed to get back on track a week ago by running through Florida State, 45-14. Louisville’s looked surprisingly improved, but I don’t think that necessarily means they can spring an upset on the newly motivated Tigers. Trevor Lawrence should be able to carve up a Cardinals’ passing defense ranked 105th in the country by way of yards allowed per game).
N.C. State Wolfpack (4-2, 1-1) at Boston College Eagles (3-3, 1-2), noon (ACCNX)
The Pack looked pretty terrible against SU last week, even in a win. But Boston College isn’t exactly at full strength with Anthony Brown out for the season. AJ Dillon’s up for carrying the load a bit, so that should make it interesting for BC. Still think the Pack do enough to pull away. If not, the Eagles are in the same boat we are.
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (1-5, 0-3) at Miami Hurricanes (3-3, 1-2), noon (ACCN)
The Virginia Tech loss remains a bit weird, but Miami hasn’t really been in a bad game all season. Meanwhile, the Wreck have lived up to their game, aside from a random win over USF. That grants a reasonable opportunity for Miami to snag a victory here and at least right the ship on paper with a second straight conference win (following an upset over UVA). The ‘Canes have enough to beat Georgia Tech with Jarren Williams and DeeJay Dallas. Could still be interesting for a half, however.
North Carolina Tar Heels (3-3, 2-1) at Virginia Tech Hokies (4-2, 1-2), 3:30 p.m. (ACCNX)
Tech’s defense has been a sham all season, even in wins like ODU (31-17) and Rhode Island (34-17). Considering that UNC’s looked pretty feisty all year and has displayed an ability to compete with more talented squads like Miami and Clemson, this seems like a potential opportunity for them to really assert themselves in a messy ACC Coastal race.
Duke Blue Devils (4-2, 2-1) at Virginia Cavaliers (4-2, 2-1), 3:30 p.m. (ACCN)
Based on what we’ve seen so far, these two teams would seem like the most likely to compete for a Coastal title, and yet... the loser of this one’s 2-2 and in peril of fading into the crowded pack. Virginia’s lost two straight while Duke is a bad late drive away from being 5-1. The Hoos are a better defense, and Bryce Perkins hasn’t looked as proficient against good defenses. This one should be competitive throughout.
Florida State Seminoles (3-3, 2-2) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (5-1, 1-1), 7:30 p.m. (ACCN)
The ‘Noles had appeared to be “back” on track before getting stomped out by Clemson, but a loss to the Tigers is hard to classify as a referendum on a season. Meanwhile, Wake’s defense finally crapped out against Louisville in a 62-59 loss — still their offense certainly showed up and should continue to. FSU’s season hangs in the balance here, potentially, but a road spot (even at Wake) is a tough place for a bounce back. Should be an intriguing night game.
Florida Gators (6-1, 3-1) at South Carolina Gamecocks (3-3, 2-2), noon (ESPN)
As always, this will come down to what Kyle Trask can or can’t do for the Gators. South Carolina’s defense looked great against a very good Georgia team last week in an upset, and now get to stay at home vs. a Gators team desperate for a rebound. UF could very well steamroll here. But last week’s games say otherwise.
Oregon Ducks (5-1, 3-0) at Washington Huskies (5-2, 2-2), 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
A win for Oregon here puts them in the definitive driver’s seat for the Pac-12 North title, but an upset victory for Washington gets them right back into the thick of the conversation. Though Jacob Eason’s put up some nice numbers for the Huskies (1,692 yards, 13 TDs), he’s also looked inconsistent at times. Oregon’s been a freight train since the early loss to Auburn. This one’s either down to the wire or over by the half.
Temple Owls (5-1, 2-0) at SMU Mustangs (6-0, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Temple’s been weird all season, and SMU’s been an offensive juggernaut that provides entertainment if nothing more. Their close call vs. Tulsa won’t necessarily inspire confidence, but the Owls have both lost to Buffalo and beaten a very good Memphis team. If Temple takes this one, the AAC is virtually theirs. SMU could stake their claim to a West title with a victory of their own, however.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (4-2, 2-0) at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (5-1, 2-0), 3:30 p.m. (NFLN)
It’s not often we’re spotlighting C-USA games in this space, but the regional rivalry that could dictate who wins the West division is worth tuning into. It’ll be pointsy, weird and an entertaining look at USM QB Jack Abraham, who’s about to surpass 2,000 passing yards on the season.
Baylor Bears (6-0, 3-0) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-2, 1-2), 4 p.m. (FOX)
If nothing else, Chuba Hubbard’s one of the country’s top running backs and carries the ball like a pro already. But whatever you think about Baylor, the Bears are unbeaten and have made it work against okay squads to this point. OK State’s their top opponent to-date and a win in Stillwater would point to what could be a special Bears season.
Arizona State Sun Devils (5-1, 2-1) at Utah Utes (5-1, 2-1), 6 p.m. (Pac-12N)
Eno Benjamin’s a quality running back, and the ASU defense has been an impressive unit all season to the tune of allowing just 17.7 points per game. Utah is not the same sort of surprise this season, and has the talent and expectations to make you believe a little more, especially home in Salt Lake City. If you get Pac-12 Network, the game will be low-scoring and a big part of who wins the South division.
Tulane Green Wave (5-1, 2-0) at Memphis Tigers (5-1, 1-1), 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Don’t listen to Gameday, this is the game of the week. Tulane’s already in an advantageous spot in the AAC West and would solidify that with a win over the favored Tigers. As you already know, Tulane’s worth ranking and also a fun offense to watch as they’ve drifted away from the option a little.
Michigan Wolverines (5-1, 3-1) at Penn State Nittany Lions (6-0, 3-0), 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
Neither team’s looked all that impressive on offense lately, and that’s not the makings of an exciting game. However, Penn State’s displayed at least a little more offensive firepower to this point and UM’s shown themselves largely unable to move the football well against quality teams. So, it’ll be something.