It brings me an immeasurable amount of joy to bring the Viewer's Guide back for another year. Enough has been written about the pandemic and football, so we will try to keep it as much to lighthearted analysis of the weeks best games as possible. Let's dive in.
- Illinois @ #14 Wisconsin (8:00 BTN) - Almost exactly one year ago today the fightin' Lovies pulled one of the shockers of the season, upsetting Wisconsin 24-23. Wisconsin loses Jonathan Taylor after 45 years to the NFL but should be just fine on offense. They seem to find three-star running backs with regularity under rocks, so as long as one of them emerges, Graham Mertz should have the offense humming with their play-action. I doubt Illinois has the horses to pull another upset, but with this being the official kickoff of the Big Ten season, it's worth tuning in to.
- Louisiana @ UAB (8:00 CBSSN) - Your backup plan if Wisconsin-Illinois gets out of hand is a very solid Group of 5 matchup that features two teams off to hot starts. Until last week's loss to now nationally-ranked Coastal Carolina (yes you read that correctly), Louisiana was ranked #21, even with the close loss two weeks after upsetting Iowa State. UAB has reeled off three straight wins after losing a fairly close game to Miami back in September. Expect a lower scoring, but close game.
- Nebraska @ #5 Ohio State (12:00 FOX) - I might watch every second of this game for the sole purpose of watching Nebraska's arrogance dissipate on the field before my very eyes. For those of you who are likely too online, Nebraska fans have been flaunting and strutting about with the "we saved the conference!" for the better part of a month now, and it's going to be fun to watch them get boat raced on Saturday.
- #23 NC State @ #14 North Carolina (12:00 ESPN) - I am fairly certain that NC State is not for real, but half the country hasn't really played yet, so this becomes a ranked matchup. I am interested to see how North Carolina responds after laying an absolute egg in Tallahassee last week. I do think North Carolina is quite good, and the ACC needs that. If they are going to get back on track to challenge Clemson, it needs to start with a big bounce-back win against an in-state rival this week.
- Kansas @ #20 Kansas State (12:00 FS1) - This game is on here only to remind you that this rivalry is called the Sunflower Showdown.
- Georgia Southern @ #25 Coastal Carolina (12:00 ESPNU) - Just a reminder in case you forgot, Coastal Carolina is ranked. Georgia Southern should give them a challenge though, so it may not last long.
- Oklahoma @ TCU (12:00 ABC) - Honestly, TCU is probably better than their record suggests, and Oklahoma has been struggling mightily, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Yes, Spencer Rattler has five interceptions through four games, but the defense is surrendering nearly 250 yards per game through the year this year and 30 points per game. Max Duggan has proved really solid this year for TCU, and if Oklahoma isn't careful, could be staring down a sub .500 record five games into the season.
- #2 Alabama @ Tennessee (3:30 CBS) - As Jarrett Guarantano threw his second pick-six against Kentucky last week, the boos rolled in from the stands in Neyland. I can't imagine it will get better this week and Tennessee yet again comes violently crashing back to earth after coming into the season with massive expectations.
- #3 Notre Dame @ Pitt (3:30 ABC) - There is no bad outcome to this game. Either Notre Dame rolls as they should and Pitt loses, or Pitt wins their one super bowl per year and it's hilarious because it's Notre Dame. Win-win.
- #17 Iowa State @ #6 Oklahoma State (3:30 FOX) - I am going to be completely honest I have watched college football every weekend since kickoff in September and I completely forgot Oklahoma State was playing this year. They haven't played in two weeks, but before then seemed to be all systems go offensively as is an annual tradition. Iowa State has bounced back nicely since an early-season surprise loss to Louisiana, taking out TCU, Oklahoma, and West Virginia to jump back into the top 25. If they are going to pull the upset, their defense will have to step up. So far in 2020, they are giving up 27.5 points per game, which doesn't bode well against Oklahoma State's offense.
- #18 Michigan @ #12 Minnesota (7:30 ABC) - Of all the years Jim Harbaugh has been at Michigan, this one is the most intriguing to me. He is finally starting his own quarterback recruit, and the offense returns a lot of skill-position talent in year two under Josh Gattis. At times last year, the offense seemed to be finding their stride, but they will need to replace four of the five offensive linemen from last year and a lot on the defensive side of the ball. Minnesota on the other hand returns their starting quarterback and one of the best offensive weapons in college football in Rashad Bateman. We should learn a lot about both teams Saturday night.
- #9 Cincinnati @ # 16 SMU (9:00 ESPN2) - This game should give some clarity to what is becoming a crowded AAC race. Shane Buechele is still the best quarterback in the state of Texas and has SMU's offense moving as always. Cincinnati will match strength versus strength with their stout defense. That should be a fun matchup to watch.
- Texas State @ #12 BYU (10:15 ESPN) - Texas State stinks, but tune in to this game to watch Zach Wilson. It's a name that come draft time you will hear a lot of. Through five games he is completing an amazing 78% of his passes and figures to be the second-best quarterback in this year's draft.
|primary tv||backup tv||mobile device|
|nooner? I hardly know 'er!||NC State @ North Carolina (ESPN)||Oklahoma @ TCU (ABC)||Nebraska @ Ohio State (FOX)|
|i need about 3:30||Penn State @ Indiana (FS1)||Iowa State @ Oklahoma State (FOX)||Notre Dame @ Pitt (ABC)|
|prime time/late night||Michigan @ Minnesota (ABC)||Cincinnati @ SMU (ESPN2)||Texas State @ BYU (ESPN)|