Welcome to the biggest week of the college football season this month. There are enough big games this weekend to break some hearts, which is actually the best thing about college football. We all love to see other people in pain. It’s the only way to find joy in our miserable lives.
There are three games this weekend between ranked (AP) opponents, and there are three other games with ranked teams on the road.
Somebody is going down this weekend and the postgame interviews are going to feature some very uncomfortable coaches.
I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.
Before we get to the games, however, we have to get to the Tip Sheet. Who should you be rooting for this weekend in order to get the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoffs? This is the only place you can go to find out. Don’t try to find this information on your own. And whatever you do, don’t check YouTube for a how-to video on coming up with your own Tip Sheet.
Please leave this stupid junk to the professionals.
Now let’s get to the insighting.
Friday September 20
Teams: #10 Utah (3-0, 0-0) at USC (2-1, 1-0)
Time (TV): 9:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: USC
Ever since other people once said that a true freshman starting quarterback will cost you at least one game, I also started saying it, and I have been saying it for years. Last week, USC freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis proved me right by throwing three interceptions in the Trojans’ 30-27 overtime loss at BYU. He is still completing passes at a high clip, so I don’t know that he’s actually Clay Helton’s biggest concern at the moment. USC has won eight in a row against Utah at home. Make it nine.
USC 31 – Utah 23
Teams: Air Force (2-0, 0-0) at #20 Boise State (3-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 9:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Air Force
This may be the lesser of the two games on Friday night, but it could end up the better game pretty easily. A shootout would not be a surprise, given Boise State’s offense and the difficulty in contending with Air Force’s option attack. I’ll have this on the second television, which means I will be watching through my Roku and the game will be a minute behind the live action. I ask that you do not call me or text me with updates of this game as I would prefer to get those updates “plausibly live” with my own eyes. If you feel the need to tweet at me or call me or text me or email me or drive by my home honking the score, I’d ask you to reconsider because “honking the score” sounds like some type of euphemism and I don’t want to ever have to type it out again.
Boise State 38 – Air Force 27
Saturday September 21
Teams: Southern Mississippi (2-1) at #2 Alabama (3-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Southern Mississippi
Alabama is bribing students and tracking their phones to get them to go to their games this year. (That’s not a joke.) This wouldn’t happen if Nick Saban bothered scheduling teams that might make a game interesting. Instead, they schedule three-and-a-half nobodies and then bask in the glow of the media’s adoration for their convincing wins. People like him make me sick. Imagine if I took the easy way out all the time. Like, imagine if I posted a Tip Sheet on Friday night when I usually try to get them posted on a Thursday night. That would be ridiculous and lazy, just like Nick Saban.
Alabama 63 – Southern Mississippi 14
Teams: Tennessee (1-2) at #9 Florida (3-0, 1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Tennessee
You’re cheering for Tennessee because you just feel bad for Vols fans at this point. You also feel bad for starting quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, who signed with Tennessee over Ohio State in 2016. How could he have known that a program with 49 wins over the previous eight seasons would suck this bad? He’s not a psychic. Florida will be starting a new quarterback in this one, but since he is an actual quarterback and not, like, a plumber or something, the Gators will be fine.
Florida 34 – Tennessee 16
Teams: #11 Michigan (2-0, 0-0) at #13 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
This is a possible Big Ten Championship Game preview. Stop laughing. I mean it. Yeah, it was a great joke, but we’ve got to move on. Fine, I will come back to this game later when you have composed yourself.
Teams: #23 California (3-0) at Ole Miss (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPNU)
Cheer For: California
Normally, you’d be cheering for the undefeated team to lose, but you don’t need to give the SEC any more cred than they’re already going to get just for getting out of bed in the morning. Plus, if California goes undefeated, I’ll eat your hat. And not the nice one that you wear to impress your bosses. You know, the one that you tell people was given to you by Lee Iacocca’s nephew Rocky. Deep down inside, however, you know that Rocky never gave you that hat — he left it on the counter at the same diner you would always frequent because they didn’t give you crap for only ordering water while you stared out the window all morning sobbing about Rachel. You saw Rocky forget his hat at the counter by the checkout after he paid and then walked out. You then quickly ran over to the counter and said loudly, “Oh, there’s my hat.” But that’s always been your way of claiming stuff that doesn’t belong to you. “Oh, there’s my half-eaten Reuben sandwich! I can’t believe somebody put it out here at the bus stop.” No, I’m talking about your worst hat. The one that is meant for winters but you wear during summers. The one that actually sweats. I will eat that hat if Cal goes undefeated.
Ole Miss 27 – California 23
Teams: Boston College (2-1) at Rutgers (1-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Rutgers
If you are in the path of this football game, please seek shelter. Get to your basements. If you do not have a basement, find an interior room with as few televisions as possible. If you have to, climb into a bathtub and put a mattress over the top of you for protection. If you are still able to hear your television, turn on your bathroom fan. If you do not have a bathroom fan, stuff wet towels into your ears. Do not make the same mistake that hundreds of thousands of others have made already this season — do not watch Boston College or Rutgers.
Rutgers 24 – Boston College 20
Teams: UConn (1-1) at Indiana (2-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Indiana
Yeah, I’m not going to waste any time trying to come up with something to write about for this game. My neighbor has a German Shepherd that barks at me but I know that we could be good friends if he just gave me a chance. Me and the dog, that is. I don’t think I’ll ever get along with the neighbor because it appears he has trained his dog to bark at me. If you don’t want people stealing your tomatoes, don’t plant them in the backyard where nobody can see them being stolen. That’s on you. Be smarter about that, stupid.
Indiana More – UConn Less
Teams: Michigan State (2-1, 0-0) at Northwestern (1-1, 0-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Michigan State
You’re rooting for Michigan State because you don’t need Northwestern having designs on being a Big Ten contender. You want them nice and docile when Ohio State comes to town. The over/under for this game is 37 points and the Spartans are a nine point favorite, which means Vegas is expecting a score of 23-14. As crazy as it sounds, that still seems too high. My recommendation for those of you who have to watch this game is to see if the Rutgers people who have “gone to the mattresses” have any extra room in their bathtubs.
Northwestern 16 – Michigan State 15 (3OT)
Teams: #11 Michigan (2-0, 0-0) at #13 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
I don’t know about you guys — and please don’t tell me, because I don’t care — but I just don’t see Michigan being able to stop Wisconsin’s running game for all four quarters. Their best hope is to throw a bunch of haymakers and connect in the first half and go up big early and force the Badgers to throw the ball more than they’d like. They have the receivers to make some plays, but do they have the quarterback(s)? If this is a four-quarter game, I don’t think Michigan has the depth on the defensive line to not fall apart in the final 15 minutes. Shea Patterson will need to play a great game. If he does, maybe the Wolverines can pull off the upset, which is something that they don’t normally do. Michigan has lost their last 12 games as the underdog, and 18 of 19. I will be surprised if they make it 18 of 20.
Wisconsin 27 – Michigan 20
Teams: Miami (OH) (1-2) at #6 Ohio State (3-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Ohio State
You’re cheering for Ohio State because the best way for Ohio State to make the College Football Playoffs is by winning all of their games, and since this is one of their games this year, it would be best if they chose to win it. The Buckeyes are currently favored by 38.5 points, but when these two schools get together you can throw the records out the window because Ohio State will put 50 on them no matter anybody’s record. The goal here is to put as many points on the board in the first half and then give Justin Fields one or two more series in the third quarter before sitting him for the rest of the game. If this ends up being a shootout that Ohio State loses 55-49 because Fields didn’t play in the fourth quarter, you’ll just have to live with that because you need him healthy for Nebraska.
Ohio State 52 – Miami (OH) 0
Teams: #8 Auburn (3-0, 0-0) at #17 Texas A&M (2-1, 0-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Texas A&M
I have long said that starting a true freshman quarterback will eventually cost you a game, and as far as I know, I’m the only person who has ever recognized this trend. Freshman Bo Nix almost accomplished the feat in the season opener against Oregon, but instead actually led the Tigers’ comeback. I don’t think that’s going to happen here. I’m not sure if he’ll be the reason Auburn loses, but let’s not pretend like they’re going 11-1 this year. Be ready for the Aggies (the Texas ones, not the Alabama ones) to get a lot of credit for beating a Top 10 Auburn team.
Texas A&M 31 – Auburn 27
Teams: Central Michigan (2-1) at Miami (1-2)
Time (TV): 4:00 pm (ACCN)
Cheer For: Central Michigan
It’s the MAC’s Central Michigan against the ACC’s Central Michigan. Those bathtubs in New Jersey are probably too full at this point. Oh well. No loss.
Miami 38 – Central Michigan 14
Teams: Oklahoma State (3-0, 0-0) at #12 Texas (2-1, 0-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Texas
Tom Herman is 0-2 against Oklahoma State as the Texas head coach, losing both games by three points each. He’s almost as bad against an OSU as Jim Harbaugh. The line opened with the Horns being 9.5-point favorites, but that’s been bet down to 6.5 points. You should probably expect a shootout here. Both teams are scoring over 40 points per game and giving up over 24 points on defense. As slap fights go, this might be the meatiest one of the year. Texas is giving up just 87.3 yards rushing per game, but they’ll be welcoming in the nation’s leading rusher in Chuba Hubbard, who is averaging 173.7 yards rushing per game and 7.9 yards per carry. Add in redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders and his 207 yards passing and 73 yards rushing per game, and I’ll take the road dog in this one. At least to cover.
Texas 41 – Oklahoma State 38
Teams: #7 Notre Dame (2-0) at #3 Georgia (3-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Georgia
I would have rated this interest as a 5 if I thought Notre Dame had a shot in hell to win. I’ll be getting home in the fourth quarter of this one, but I don’t expect there to be any drama at that point. Georgia opened up as a 10.5-point favorite, but the line is now up to -14.5 for the Bulldogs. I just don’t think Notre Dame has enough offense for this one and I expect their defensive line to get worn down over four quarters as Georgia throws running backs on the field like they’re adding spices to a chili on the stove. This game will end Notre Dame’s playoff hopes unless there are a bunch of 2-loss teams in the top seven this year.
Georgia 31 – Notre Dame 17
Teams: Nebraska (2-1, 0-0) at Illinois (2-1, 0-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Nebraska
Could Nebraska get caught looking ahead to next week’s night game against Ohio State? I don’t think the Huskers know how to win just quite yet, so they better be focused on this one. If they are, they’ll be fine. If they’re careless, Illinois will move the ball and score on them. Nebraska is 6-0-1 against the spread in their last seven games, so I guess I’ll go with the Huskers to win. I’ll also go with them because they are better, but Illinois running back Reggie Corbin can be very, very dangerous. I’m not sure the Huskers cover.
Nebraska 37 – Illinois 27
Teams: Colorado (2-1, 0-0) at #24 Arizona State (3-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (Pac12)
Cheer For: Colorado
You’re cheering for Colorado because you want Arizona State to fall from the ranks of the unbeatens. However, you secretly desire the Sun Devils to win their first eight or nine games so that Herm Edwards can be asked about the College Football Playoffs and he can do a cover version of Jim Mora’s “Playoffs?!?” rant before going into his greatest hit of “You Play To Win The Game.”
Arizona State 30 – Colorado 20