About two minutes down the road from my humble abode, there’s a place I go whenever I want some really awesome Texas-style cooking.
Go at the wrong time and you’ll be waiting for a table for a spell, but once you sit down, you’re in for a treat.
I take all my friends and family there whenever they come into town. And I feel confident doing so. It’s not the most robust menu, but everything on it is good.
This week of college football has much the same quality. There aren’t as many high-profile games as last week, but the games I’ve highlighted below have epic banger potential. Let’s dive right in!
I know I just got through telling you about the watch-worthy games this week. But of all the windows, this one has the fewest marquee names facing off. So I’d plop anything you’ve gotta do, any errands you have to run, or any food prep you need to accomplish, right here. Or have a big midday meal. It feels like I’ve made a lot of brunch recommendations this year, so here’s another one: Kodiak protein pancakes topped with peanut butter are actually incredible. Try them with a side of berries and thank me later.
Syracuse at Clemson
The last two undefeated ACC squads square up in this one. Deprived of their comfy home at the JMA Wireless Dome, the Orange heads to South Carolina after handling another high-tier conference-mate in NC State last week. On paper, Garrett Shrader can exploit the Clemson pass defense. But Syracuse’s stats may be inflated by lackluster competition. Last week’s victory over NC State was by far its best win this year. And the Orange play Notre Dame next week, so there might be lookahead potential? Will Shipley’s looked amazing all year, and DJ U’s really rounded into his own.
Kansas at Baylor
I will spare you the disgusting spectacle that will be Iowa getting squished by Ohio State and instead provide this tilt, because Vegas might know something we don’t. Maybe it’s Mr. Bean at QB for Kansas, or maybe the Strip’s decided that the Jayhawk loss to the Sooners last week was all they needed to see? For some reason, Baylor’s favored here with a 3-3 record. Kansas does not play much defense, and Baylor’s backup QB Kyron Drones, who’s likely leading the Bears on this Homecoming Saturday, looked savvy against West Virginia. It’s been Baylor’s defense that’s struggled all year, especially against the pass. If Kansas can find a way to open up the throttle, that could be a problem.
Watch The Score
Cincinnati at SMU (12pm/11am, ESPN)
Iowa at Ohio State (12pm/11am, FOX)
UCLA at Oregon
Man, the Pac 12 looks pretty good at the top, huh? A resurgent USC and even a decent Washington and Wazzu make this conference interesting. Then there’s these two squads. UCLA’s offense is legitimately balanced and terrifying. The Bruins just aren’t great at holding onto the ball or defending against the pass. Oregon is similar. It heaps on the passing yards with Bo Nix, and also depends on him for its running game. What will happen when these mirror images face off, and why won’t it be overtime?
Texas at Oklahoma State
This one’s lost a touch of shine since TCU came out of nowhere to sit atop the Big 12, but it’s still two top-tier, fast-paced teams. And yes, it still has serious conference title implications. On paper, Texas is just more balanced. The Cowboys, meanwhile, have a terrifying ability to score points in bunches with a zoomy passing attack, but they don’t seem to play defense. At all. Especially not in the secondary. But don’t chalk this up as a Horns victory quite yet. The game’s in Stillwater, and that’s a tough place to play.
Watch The Score
Ole Miss at LSU (3:30pm/2:30pm, CBS)
Memphis at Tulane (3:30pm/2:30pm, ESPN2)
Kansas State at TCU
Speak of the Horned Frogs, and they shall appear! Who’d have thought this would be such a marquee game at the beginning of the season? Pity it doesn’t get FOX’s main network due to playoff baseball, but here we are. Let’s get the obvious out of the way: Kansas State is weird. The offense is basically Adrian Martinez running the ball and occasionally completing a pass. And the defense does just enough to eke out victories. It’s odd. Meanwhile, TCU’s met and exceeded every challenge thus far. Funny enough, while lots of folks think of this offense as pass-heavy, TCU ranks 14th in the country in rushing. Kendre Miller is a treat to watch. But yikes, is the other side of the ball an issue for the Frogs. They give up, on average, 400 yards a game.
Mississippi State at Alabama
It’s homecoming weekend in Tuscaloosa, where I’ll be watching this one with some buds. (Yes, if you missed last week, I went to law school at Alabama.) The big question here is how Bama reacts to last week’s crushing loss to the Vols. My guess: pretty well, because that’s what Nick Saban teams do. They just shake off the previous week and maintain dominance. There’s no reason why the Tide shouldn’t handle themselves aptly on offense, and they outclass the Bulldogs on D by every metric. We know by now what gives Saban-led Bama squads headaches: pass-happy offenses with inventive QBs that can spin it. Will Rogers and this State squad fit the bill. They can’t run the ball though. If Bama can cover up the pass, this one might be over fast.
Watch The Score
Minnesota at Penn State (7:30pm/6:30pm, ABC)