College Football Championship Saturday Viewing Guide

Everyone pat yourselves on the back. You made it through another college football regular season safe and sound. I’m proud of each and every one of you. You look at the schedule – 14 weeks – and think, “wow that’s not a whole lot of time I have had like three relationships longer than this.” But by Week 10 your eyes are glazed over, your arteries are clogged, you forget which state you’re in and what day Monday is, and your team is 3-8.

“How did we get here?” you ask, over a plate of nachos you made six hours ago. The cheese is congealed. They’re cold. You take another bite anyway. This is the life you chose. You may as well live it the best you can.

Then Week 14 comes along, and you know bowls are around the corner. Something perks you up. The Playoff is almost decided. A tiny ray of sun peeks out. And everything is okay. This is our week to celebrate everything we did during the college football season, and watch a little bit more along the way.

Celebrate it. You’re all great. I really mean that.

Here’s this week’s viewing guide (all times are in Eastern).


Noon: Temple at Houston (-6) (ABC)

The American comes down to this. Houston already won this week, getting Tom Herman to sign a new deal and likely keeping him around at least until the end of next season. This is huge for the Cougars, who promised him necessary program upgrades to what is already one of the best Group of Five jobs in the country (and a job which is better than a lot of the lower tier Power Five jobs right now). But it’s not over yet. This 11-1 Houston team can make a New Year’s Six bowl with a win over Temple, and home field advantage certainly helps. Temple’s a darn good team, too, having a magic season of its own. The Owls won’t make things easy.

Noon: Southern Mississippi at Western Kentucky (-8) (ESPN2)

C-USA football is good. You should watch more of it. Here’s your chance to do so in what most assuredly will be a fun and entertaining and wholly bonkers game between two very good teams.


2 p.m.: Georgia State at Georgia Southern (-21) (ESPN3)

Let’s go to it me, college football cohost and 2011 Georgia State grad Robby Kalland for this one:

“It’s actually a pretty good rivalry. Neither fan base particularly likes each other. It’s like a super mini Georgia-Georgia Tech where Georgia Southern is Georgia and Georgia State is Georgia Tech. Georgia State is fighting for a bowl game, and Georgia Southern is a big favorite. It’s going to be pretty solid.”

Dog Day Afternoon


3:30 p.m.: Alabama (-18) vs. Florida (CBS)

On paper it doesn’t look like Florida has a chance at all in this one. Especially after the Gators scored a whopping 2 points (SAFETIES UP) against Florida State a week ago. This is the SEC Championship, and with that little extra something to play for, maybe Florida wakes up a little bit and makes it a game. This, of course, has major playoff implications before the craziness of the night slate, so enjoy Alabama’s battering ram offense sounding like road work outside your apartment window. You can either let it drive you nuts, or allow it to lull you into a meditative state. It’s your choice.


4:30 p.m.: West Virginia (-5.5) at Kansas State (Fox Sports 1)

The Mountaineers rallied after a four-game losing streak to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Baylor, and TCU all in a row earlier this season to enter the final weekend having rattled off four straight wins. They can make it five with a win over the Wildcats in Manhattan, but Kansas State is fighting for that ever-elusive bowl-eligible six wins. Can K-State muck it up enough to keep West Virginia’s offense grounded, or will the Mountaineers run away with it?

Under The Lights


8 p.m.: Michigan State (-3.5) vs. Iowa (FOX)

A Playoff spot is on the line here. And this game should move pretty quickly. And you get Gus Johnson. This one has everything.

7:30 p.m.: North Carolina vs. Clemson (-4.5) (ABC)

Depending on who you believe or who you’re talking to, a place in the Playoff might just be in play here as well. The Committee hasn’t respected North Carolina yet, but the Tar Heels haven’t played (and possibly beaten) the No. 1 team in the country yet either.

Clemson is in if it wins, and there’s some reason to believe the Tigers wouldn’t drop all the way out of the Top 4 if they lost to North Carolina, although putting Clemson in over the team that just beat them would be dangerous ground for the Committee. As would putting an Ohio State team in which didn’t even reach its conference title game and whose best win would be worse than UNC’s best win if the Tar Heels pull off the upset. So there’s chaos looming. Which makes for an even more critical matchup of what was already a super promising showdown.


7:45 p.m.: USC vs. Stanford (-4.5) (ESPN)

Kudos to USC for taking a pretty impossible situation and still managing to get to the Pac-12 title game. Clay Helton has had the interim title stripped and is now the full-time head coach, and what a way to get that official tenure started than by playing a physical and deep Stanford team that is right in the thick of the Playoff conversation. Stanford needs an awful lot of help, but the Committee is showing the Cardinal a lot of respect with their ranking this week. A conference championship to add to that list of accolades would only serve to make them a more enticing pick.

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