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Best college football games this weekend

1:37 PM, Sep 7, 2012   |    comments
Mizzou football uniform (Credit: Mizzou Athletics/Mizzou Athletics)
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By Mike Foss, USA TODAY

Back by semi-popular, mildly curious demand, the couch potato's TV guide is giving you the highs, lows, and what else you want during college football Saturday:

11 a.m. Pick

No. 20 Kansas State vs. Miami, Noon/FX

What you need to know: The spread says Kansas State by 7. But Miami is one breakout run by freshman Duke Johnson away from covering and pulling the upset. The Hurricanes are counting on the veteran arm of Stephen Morris to steady the offense if Johnson flounders in his second career game. K-State senior quarterback Collin Klein wasn't tested in his first game of the year, throwing 169 yards and two touchdowns while possibly sleepwalking.

Reason to watch: K-State struggled for three quarters against FCS opponent Missouri State last weekend, leading 16-9 going into the fourth quarter. That game ended 51-9. So where does that leave the Wildcats? Miami is a perfect opponent to answer that question. The Hurricanes dropped 41 on Boston College, with Johnson posting 135 yards and two touchdowns on 7 carries.

What's on the other channel: Probably the hardest question since FX is usually good for a Two And A Half Men rerun right around this time. Penn State's first road game of the year happens against Virginia on ABC.

Potatoes: 2.5 out of 4

Others at 11 a.m. 

Central Florida vs. Ohio State (ESPN2): It's hard to care about Ohio State when there isn't a postseason in play.

Penn State vs. Virginia (ABC): At some point, the Nittany Lions will win their first game without Joe Paterno and we'll have to decide how that makes us feel.

Auburn vs. Mississippi State (ESPN): Just some old-fashioned, middle of the road SEC football. Someone is going to win by a field goal, and Cam Newton isn't playing.

2:30/3 Pick

No. 23 Florida vs. Texas A&M, ESPN

What you need to know: The Aggies are making their SEC debut. They were supposed to have a nice, easy opener against Louisiana Tech which was cancelled thanks to Hurricane Isaac. So welcome to the big time, Texas A&M, hope you're wearing big boy pants. Florida coach Will Muschamp is standing by sophomore quarterback Jeff Driskel for now. Texas A&M coach is putting the ball in the hands of redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel.

Reason to watch: Texas A&M was 7-6 in 2011. Five of six losses came at the hands of ranked teams. Four of five losses were by fewer than four points, and two came in overtime. Saturday would be a good time to get 2012 off on the right foot. Florida is ranked, A&M is not, yet the Gators are coming in as a one-point underdog.

What's on the other channel: There are a lot of ranked teams with disinteresting matchups and The Princess Diaries is on ABC Family. Just saying, maybe skip the halftime show.

Potatoes: 3 out of 4

Others at 2:30/3

No. 2 USC vs. Syracuse (2:30/ABC): Biggest question is whether USC will win by 28 or 35.

No. 11 Michigan State vs. Central Michigan (2:30/ESPNU): This could be least compelling matchup featuring a Michigan team this weekend.

Air Force vs. No. 19 Michigan (2/2:30ABC)

No. 22 Notre Dame vs. Purdue (3:30/NBC): Irish quarterback Tommy Rees is trying to win back his job from Everett Golson after getting suspended for Notre Dame's first game. Make no mistake, Rees is the backup, but Golson hasn't done much to set himself apart.

No. 13 Wisconsin vs. Oregon State (4/FX): Will Montee Ball rush for 100 or 200 yards?

6/7 pick

No. 7 Georgia vs. Missouri, 7:45/ESPN2

What you need to know: Missouri is hosting its first ever SEC game against seventh-ranked Georgia in front of a sellout crowd. Georgia is a two-point favorite. Missouri has everything to prove. Little can be said of either team's ability. Both battered far lesser opponents in their season openers.

Reason to watch: Despite Missouri's sellout crowd, high expectations, and SEC debut, the pressure is on Georgia. This is a team that could contend for a National title, facing the first hurdle of that journey. There is plenty of junior quarterback Aaron Murray after a so-so performance against Buffalo. Murray found four receivers in that game for 258 yards. However, he failed to hit a single tight end or running back. Playing on the road, Murray needs to find those quick outlets.

What's on the other channel: Nebraska vs. UCLA is the best bet if you're craving some football variety. If you're feeling frisky, the U.S. Open women's final is on CBS. If you're feeling country, Blue Collar Comedy Tour is on CMT.

Potatoes: 3.5 of 4

Others at 6/7:

No. 4 Oregon vs. Fresno State (6:30/Pac-12): Rather than watch an Oregon blowout, watch the Oregon Duck's parody of Gangam Style on YouTube 100 times. It will be far more rewarding (and entertaining).

No. 3 LSU vs. Washington (7/ESPN): LSU allowed the fewest yards of any SEC team last weekend and were rewarded by getting demoted to No. 3 in the USA TODAY Top 25 coaches poll. Bad news for Washington.

No. 10 Arkansas vs. La-Monroe (7/ESPN): The most interesting piece of this game is that Arkansas coach John L. Smith filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy last Thursday.

No. 14 Nebraska vs. UCLA (7:30/FOX): The Jim Mora era continues against Taylor Martinez and one of the best middle-America names in football: Rex Burkhead.

9:30 pick

No. 16 Oklahoma State vs. Arizona, Pac-12

What you need to know: Oklahoma State won by 84 points over Savannah State last weekend. Arizona won by 7 points in overtime against Toledo.

Reason to watch: Despite beating Arizona twice in the past two years, there are some hurdles Oklahoma needs to get over this weekend. One, the Cowboys are taking freshman quarterback Wes Lunt to his first road game. Two, Lunt played in four offensive series against Savannah State, who we have already established are not very good at defense. Playing on the road, Murray needs to find those quick outlets. Three, Oklahoma State's defense can't take Arizona lightly. The Wildcats produced 624 yards of total offense last weekend.

What's on the other channel: No. 21 Stanford goes up against Duke. Role Models is on FX. Maybe pick up a book or learn how to crochet if you're not planning on going out late Saturday.

Potatoes: 1.5 out of 4

Others at 9:30

No. 21 Stanford vs. Duke, Pac-12: This is a far more compelling academic battle, or basketball matchup. Watching Duke football is equivalent to taking a pottery class. It could be fun, but why risk it?

USA TODAY

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