There’s something awfully bittersweet about Rivalry Week in college football. Yes, we usually get a bunch of great games packed with bad blood and playoff implications, but it’s also the last week with a full slate of games this side of September.
But struggle on we must, with Thanksgiving Thursday and Black Friday giving us four straight days with a full evening’s football action (not forgetting MACtion on Tuesday). This week is, ultimately, all about the Horseshoe at 5pm on Saturday, with honourable mentions to a number of other games that we won’t actually get to see by legal methods.
The Apple Cup on Friday (at 8.30pm) will be on Fox, as will Utah @ Colorado (Midnight, Saturday).
Well… Well… Where to begin? Let’s start with some fool saying that last week and this are just a “holding pattern” waiting for Thanksgiving weekend. So of course the #2, #3 and #4 lose all on the same day for the first time since 1985.
I’ll be making no such pronouncements about Week 12, kicking off with MACtion on Tuesday and Wednesday, though the biggest playoff implication this week may actually come on Thursday.
Lamar Jackson and Louisville got bumped all the way up to #3 by the AP this week (the CFP rankings aren’t out at time of writing), so must consider themselves as the non-champion best positioned to slip into the playoff. They have to overcome a Houston side that had playoff aspirations of their own in September, but are now on a slide.
Friday’s game sees a Boise State team who must be kicking themselves for their slip-up against Wyoming. They’ve been dominant in all their other games this season, so are playing for style points and hoping the other Broncos at Western Michigan slip up.
And speaking of Kalamazoo, it plays host to GameDay this week (2pm, BTS ESPN, ESPN Player) which should be a bunch of fun. Not Saturday’s best game – that honour belongs to Oklahoma @ West Virginia – but it’s great to see Group of Five teams getting the chance to host.
The end of the regular season is scarily close now, and separation games are actually pretty few and far between. Alabama are clearly the class of the field and only have the Iron Bowl in Week 13 stopping them; Michigan and Ohio State are similarly tied together until Week 13; Washington, at least, have some tougher games but all are on Fox.
So, as you can tell, we’re pretty much in a holding pattern for the next two weeks. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a ton of exciting games out there this week, but playoff implications? Maybe look elsewhere.
God, I love November. September is always a month of intrigue, as we get our first looks to see if teams are as good as we thought they were; October is a month of settling down, as conference play takes hold; but it’s November where the excitement really ratchets up a notch or two.
Oh, and did I mention that November means we get football seven nights a week? No sooner has the NFL Monday Night game finished, you start looking forward to the next week beginning with Tuesday Night MACtion, then Wednesday SunBelt games and off to the races all over again.
This week’s MACtion game even involves a ranked team! But it’s not the game of the week, which happens on Saturday night in Baton Rouge:
As a public service announcement – this week’s blog is being written a week early because I’m on holiday. Keep your eyes on http://www.gameviewingguide.com for the latest US listings. A week out, it looks like BT Sport are making up for last week’s dearth of games. Here’s the week 8 UK TV listings:
You know what I said last week about the MLB not reducing the number of games on TV this year? I take it back. This week, over five BT Sport channels the 8.30 slot has “Cage Warriors”, a European Cup rugby union game, a Serie A soccer game, the MLB playoffs, and an advert (on Showcase).
Sorry, BT Sport viewers, you only get two games this week. If you’ve not had your free week of ESPN Player yet, this might be the week to do it. Also, get yourself a VPN to watch the Bama @ Tennessee game. Here’s this week’s full listings:
Football in Week 6 actually began last night (Wednesday) with the Sun Belt’s midweek in-conference slate starting. If you have ESPN Player, you can go back and watch it if you really want to. I’ve not checked the box score, so it may end like this:
In other news, the Pac-12 Network on Eversport has now gone behind a paywall of $14.95 a month. If you think the 2nd best game in the 4th best conference is worth that, then you must be a Washington fan.
Normally, week six is when we start losing out on coverage to baseball games, but with BT Sport having more channels now the MLB Playoffs are exclusively on a channel untouched by college football. That, coupled with some other sports ending for the winter, means BT viewers actually get more games this week:
Holy moly, what a week we have in store. So far, we’ve not had a bad week of games for excitement, but in terms of pre-game hype the odd-numbered weeks have definitely had the edge over the evens. Of course, we probably won’t get a finish like this again:
This week we get, not one, not two, but THREE all-top-10 matchups, plus another ranked vs ranked game (though how the hell Georgia are still ranked is a mystery). LSU’s first game without Les Miles, however, is an unranked in-conference clash. The full listings for this week:
I can’t really put another Louisville clip here after using the hurdle play last week, so here’s something else instead. Hopefully we get through this week without any frickin’ lasers:
There’s just three all-ranked games this week, two of which are on the BT family with the third free on Eversport, and five ranked teams have a bye this week. Here’s this week’s full listings:
For all the threat of damp squib, last week’s games still provided a thrill or two for those prepared to game-hop a little, not least Clemson struggling to put Troy away and Georgia’s hanging on against FCS Nicholls State.
This week, we get 2016’s first all-top-10 encounter (well, not including the playoffs back in January). Following on from their #4 vs #11 game against Ole Miss in week one, Florida State are possibly surprised to find themselves ranked #2, and even more surprised to find Louisville ranked #10. Let’s face it, Lamar Jackson is ranked #10:
And with your appetites whetted, here’s the rest of this week’s slate, including seven games on the BT Sport family of channels, and three of the four all-ranked games: