The Woody: No. 11 Michigan State (6-1) at no. 14 Nebraska (6-1), noon EST, ESPN
Appeals To: Duffy Daugherty, Bob Devaney
Here come the Spartans again: Six times in the 2000s, they started a season either 3-0 or 4-0 or 6-1 or 7-1, and never did they end up with more than nine wins. Last year, Michigan State won its first eight games, then lost to Iowa and later Alabama by a combined score of 86-13. I have no idea if this is a real team, and you don’t either; the Spartans are the creepy and inscrutable uncle of the Big Ten family, which means they will either win this game by 30 or lose by 28.
Grantland Rating: 7.9
The Markbreit: Air Force (3-4) at New Mexico (0-7), 2 p.m., The Mtn.
Appeals To: Walter White, Jesse Pinkman
Are you aware that New Mexico has won two football games in the past three seasons? Of course you aren’t, because you are most likely not a subscriber to the official television network of the Mountain West Conference. (Phone your local cable provider: I WANT MY MTN.*.) The Lobos have already fired coach Mike Locksley (who once slugged his own assistant coach), and lost 69-0 to TCU last week, after which interim coach George Barlow declared that his team “didn’t play very well.” I imagine Vince Gilligan is one sideline altercation away from utilizing this football program as a metaphor for his characters’ sordid moral choices.
*Is the period really necessary?
Grantland Rating: 0.1
The Woody: No. 9 Oklahoma (6-1) at no. 8 Kansas State (7-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Appeals To: Snyderheads
In which we continue to determine the solidity of K-State coach Bill Snyder’s pact with Old Nick. If he wins, I expect him to sprout a pair of bat wings and soar out of his postgame press conference while reciting Slayer lyrics.
Grantland Rating: 8.5
The Markbreit: No. 22 Georgia (5-2) at Florida (4-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS
Appeals To: SEC Apologists, Lundquist Lovers
Neither of these teams are very good, but at least there will be cocktails.
Grantland Rating: 6.8
The Woody: No. 6 Stanford (7-0) at USC (6-1), 8 p.m., ABC/ESPN3
Appeals To: Kiffinologists, Luck
This is the most important game of USC coach Lane Kiffin’s career. If he wins, USC will go 11-1, and Kiffin will be hired as the coach of the Miami Dolphins, where he will draft Andrew Luck. If he loses, USC will go 6-6 and Kiffin will be fired in 2013, after which he will fall back on his degree from Fresno State in leisure service management and take a job as a greeter at the Cheesecake Factory in Mission Viejo.
Grantland Rating: 8.9
The Markbreit: Kansas (2-5) at no. 24 Texas (4-2), 7 p.m., The Longhorn Network
Appeals to: Longhorns, Networks
I am obliged by my employer to note that this game will be shown exclusively on The Longhorn Network. Did I mention that Mack Brown Longhorn Network Longhorn Network? LONGHORN NETWORK!
Grantland Rating: 6.410.0!
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