We have finally reached the biggest week of the season of the month. It’s Ohio State – Nebraska week. There is no other week like it. Two great legacy programs meeting on the same field — both with over 900 wins. What more could you want?
As Ohio State annually plays programs who were once thought to be great and are now only seen as disappointments, it is good to have a flourishing rivalry with Nebraska right now. Everybody knows the Huskers are on their way back up. It is only a matter of time before Scott Frost has this program flying high.
Ryan Day, meanwhile, isn’t doing so badly either. He has won a career-high four games this season and looks primed to put that former three-win record well out of the picture.
But that’s not the only game on the docket this weekend that will impact the Buckeyes. There are plenty of others, and we’ll let you know who to root for in every single one of them. And we’ll also tell you exactly what you need to know about those matchups.
Friday September 27
Teams: #12 Penn State (3-0, 0-0) at Maryland (2-1, 0-0)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Penn State
Way back in the day, James Franklin was Maryland’s head coach in waiting, but he eventually made the reluctant move to Vanderbilt. But you know — every single day — he looks at where he is and then looks at that Maryland job, and his kicks himself for leaving a good thing. Now he’s at Penn State and must deal with expectations, which he’s not great at. With the Terps, he could have won 7-8 games a year and made $3 million per year and worked maybe 30 hours a week. At Penn State, however, he’s expected to win more than he’s capable of doing. We’ll see how things go in this one. It’s a very interesting matchup between two productive offenses — assuming the productive Maryland offense is even playing this week. We’ll see what the Nittany Lion defense has for the Terps running game. I’ll be watching Micah Parsons once we hit Council Bluffs, Iowa for the night.
Penn State 38 – Maryland 27
Teams: Arizona State (3-1, 0-1) at #15 California (4-0, 1-0)
Time (TV): 10:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Arizona State
California has a 14-point win over UC-Davis, a 1-point win over Washington, a 6-point win over North Texas, and an 8-point win over Ole Miss, and for this we are supposed to respect them? Not me. But we all know I’m just a hater. Arizona State, meanwhile, lost a heartbreaker to Colorado for their only loss this season. I think Cal is fake good, while the Sun Devils are real decent, but I don’t like picking road teams to win games out west. In fact, I don’t like picking home teams out west either.
Arizona State 13 – California 9
Saturday September 28
Teams: Texas Tech (2-1, 0-0) at #6 Oklahoma (3-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: Texas Tech
Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts is throwing for nearly 300 yards per game and rushing for another 130 or so. The last time Texas Tech stopped anybody it was Mike Leach and his concussion clinic. Oklahoma is going to name this score and its middle name will be Dean and its first name will be Joe and it’s second middle name will be Lee, but everybody will just call it ‘Bub.’
Oklahoma 52 – Texas Tech 27
Teams: Northwestern (1-2) at #8 Wisconsin (3-0, 1-0)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Wisconsin
Let’s see, Northwestern is worst in the Big Ten in scoring, averaging 15.7 points per game, and the Badgers are leading the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 4.7 points per game. I’d say this is a mismatch, but Wisconsin gave up 14 points to Michigan last week, so how damn good can they be? Northwestern may end up with negative points in this one.
Wisconsin 31 – Northwestern 7
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Iowa
You are cheering for Iowa because we’ll be staying in this wonderful state tonight. We don’t need to do anything untoward regarding our true feelings about this state and the people who live inside of it. Instead, we’ll all watch this game and see how the Hawkeyes do against Middle Tennessee and then compare it to how Michigan did against the Blue Raiders earlier in the season. That will then tell us if Michigan is about the third-best team in the Big Ten West too.
Iowa 38 – Middle Tennessee 10
Teams: Rutgers (1-2, 0-1) at #20 Michigan (2-1, 0-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Michigan
You’re rooting for Michigan because at this point even you are starting to get uncomfortable watching this. Jim Harbaugh is essentially saying everything is fine while he’s shaving his head and applying copious amounts of lipstick to his face. You can no longer make eye contact with him. You simply stop by athletic director Warde Manuel’s suite in the press box and say, “Hey, if there’s anything I can do to help, I’m here for you.” And when he says, “Do you know Matt Campbell’s number,” you tell him you do not and then when you leave you immediately text Campbell to warn him.
Michigan 31 – Rutgers 17
Teams: #23 Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1) at Arkansas (2-2, 0-1)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Arkansas
Texas A&M and Arkansas have had an ongoing rivalry since 1913 when the Chancellor of Texas A&M told the President of Arkansas that he “smelt of a frog pond – and that’s NOT a compliment.” The clarification was needed because the Arkansas President absolutely thought it was a compliment. The two of them then had a 3-day fistfight that was ultimately decided by Fayetteville’s best chicken, Reginald. R. Roundhouse. (Did I mention I am writing this Tip Sheet without the internet?)
Texas A&M 27 – Arkansas 17
Teams: #1 Clemson (4-0, 2-0) at North Carolina (2-2, 1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: North Carolina
This is one of the last games for Clemson where their opponent has a working knowledge of what football is. Everybody else on the schedule thinks they are starting a temp job on the Clemson campus.
Clemson 48 – North Carolina 13
Teams: Ole Miss (2-2, 1-0) at #2 Alabama (4-0, 1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Cheer For: Ole Miss
You are cheering for Mississippi because people are trying to make three SEC teams in the playoffs happen and an Alabama loss to a team as bad as Ole Miss, combined with another loss and possibly a third loss somewhere down the line would virtually guarantee that Alabama would only then need to lose in the SEC Championship Game in order to eliminate them from the playoffs.
Alabama 56 – Ole Miss 24
Teams: #18 Virginia (4-0) at #10 Notre Dame (3-1, 0-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (NBC)
Cheer For: Virginia
You might want to root for Virginia just to get Notre Dame their second loss and really eliminate them from the CFP picture. I doubt the Irish will lose this one. Virginia may be 4-0, but those games have come against Pitt, William & Mary, Florida State, and Old Dominion. This will be their first game against a team that didn’t accidentally tie their cleats together in the locker room. Notre Dame is favored by 12.5 points, which feels right because what the hell do I know about ACC football? Actually, the one thing I do know is that UVA quarterback Bryce Perkins is a dangerous player when he is on and he could keep them in this game for all four quarters.
Notre Dame 27 – Virginia 20
Teams: #21 USC (3-1, 2-0) at #17 Washington (3-1, 0-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (FOX)
Cheer For: USC
I don’t think it really matters who you root for here because it’s not like either of these two teams is only going to lose one game. And even if Washington does end up doing it, they won’t get the benefits of any doubt from the committee members. The Huskies are favored by 10.5 in this one, which seems like a lot, especially given the positive momentum USC has right now following their win over previously unbeaten Utah. Still, the Trojans are 0-1 on the road this year and Washington can be a tough environment for soft teams.
Washington 30 – USC 27
Teams: Indiana (3-1, 0-1) at #25 Michigan State (3-1, 1-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (BTN)
Cheer For: Michigan State
Michigan State’s defense is so good that some people don’t even care that they gave their offense away at a neighborhood garage sale. The one person who does care, however, is Mark Dantonio. Three weeks ago he was outside his house and asked his wife if she had seen his Jim Bollman. His wife said, “That old thing? I gave that to the neighbors.” Dantonio was immediately upset until he saw what the neighbors did with it last week – they scored 14 against Wisconsin.
Michigan State 24 – Indiana 13
Teams: Iowa State (2-1, 0-0) at Baylor (3-0, 0-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Iowa State
You are cheering for Iowa State because you want to see Baylor lose. But you don’t want to see Iowa State do so well that Michigan fires Jim Harbaugh and hires Matt Campbell before the Buckeyes and Wolverines play in November. This could be the most entertaining game of the day, but since it’s just Big XII football, nobody will be watching.
Baylor 31 – Iowa State 23
Teams: Minnesota (3-0, 0-0) at Purdue (1-2, 0-0)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ESPN2)
Cheer For: Minnesota
The Gophers have three wins this season and all three have been by one score. They have found ways to win against mediocre opponents. Purdue, meanwhile, is a mediocre opponent who has found ways to lose games against mediocre teams. This one has all the makings of a Minnesota win. The Gophers are even favored, which is why they’re gonna blow it. Eventually Purdue must start looking decent.
Purdue 34 – Minnesota 31
Teams: Mississippi State (3-1, 1-0) at #7 Auburn (4-0, 1-0)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN)
Cheer For: Mississippi State
Auburn has a pretty good defense, so the Mississippi State offense is going to be tested. Expect a big traveling contingent from the Bulldog faithful because the first 10,000 fans in attendance get 50 empty aluminum cans to take home and strew about their yards.
Auburn 35 – Mississippi State 14
Teams: #24 Kansas State (3-0, 0-0) at Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-1)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN+)
Cheer For: Oklahoma State
Do you want to know where you stand as a program and as a conference? Well, when you have an undefeated team playing on the road against another decent team and that game is only available on the internet, you have a pretty good idea of where you stand. Oklahoma State is favored by 4.5. If new Kansas State coach Chris Klieman wants to make a statement and never be shown just on the internet again, one way to make that happen is to get this win on Saturday.
Oklahoma State 41 – Kansas State 27
Teams: #5 Ohio State (4-0, 1-0) at Nebraska (3-1, 1-0)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (ABC)
Cheer For: Ohio State
You are cheering for Ohio State because in order for Ohio State to make the College Football Playoffs, they can’t “pull an Ohio State” and lose big to a Big Ten West team that they shouldn’t even lose to. The good news for you is that the Buckeyes have the advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball and that won’t change if the weather is bad. In order for Nebraska to win this game, they will need to be flawless, which is something they haven’t come close to being this season. I expect they will be as clean as they can be, but Chase Young is still on the field, so things won’t stay pretty for long. The Buckeye offense should also put on a show, weather permitting.
Ohio State 45 – Nebraska 28
Teams: Washington State (3-1, 0-1) at #19 Utah (3-1, 0-1)
Time (TV): 10:00 pm (FS1)
Cheer For: Washington State
I don’t think it matters who you root for, so just root for whoever you want. Hell, root for six overtimes and a game that displays the heights of sportsmanship. Or – and equally as entertaining – root for non-stop fights. Root for ejections like you never have before. Root for things to get so out of control, the National Guard has to come in to restore order and ref the fourth quarter of the game. When it comes to games where you have no rooting interest, always root for the best thing of all – chaos.
Utah 38 – Washington State 35