We’re used to it by now: the weekend before Rivalry Weekend is a little bit of a pit stop. Some teams save their FCS opponents for mid-November, and plenty of powers play non-powers. Some games that looked big in July have fizzled along the way.
Still! Look beyond just the FBS schedule — which is fine on its own, IMHO — and you’ll see this is a totally enjoyable weekend of college football, like all the others.
Below, the Watch Grid attempts to sort your weekend by watchability, with viewing info for each game.
You probably do not need to watch Buffalo-Ball State (7 p.m. ET, CBSSN/CBSSports.com) or Tulsa-USF (7:30, ESPN/WatchESPN), so watch FCS No. 2 Jacksonville State host Tennessee State (7, WatchESPN) or playoff hopeful Nicholls at rival Southeastern Louisiana (7:30, WatchESPN).
MTSU-Western Kentucky (8 p.m. ET, CBSSN/CBSSports.com) and UNLV-New Mexico (9:30, ESPN2/WatchESPN) are televised. The former has Conference USA standings relevance. I didn’t say every day of this weekend is actually good.
Who said Week 12 is bad??
Once you add in some nationally viewable FCS rivalries, some of them with playoff stakes, this group is packed with games that have plenty chance to entertain. The Big Ten’s highest-ranked team is playing its biggest game of the regular season, backed by a whole lot of potentially interesting football, including a decent challenge for the country’s likeliest Playoff team. I ranked my own alma mater’s Big South title game in the right column; that’s how crowded things are here!
Any complaints about this group of games can be forwarded to the recycle bin.
OK, now I see your point! Times are pretty tough here, but Notre Dame’s bounceback game against a feisty traditional rival is something. If not, watch Lamar Jackson tee off against a defense that just gave up 64 to Wake Forest.
The afternoon-ish section is actually fine, because it also includes UAB maybe beating Florida and LUMBERJACKS VS. THUNDERBIRDS FOR CONTROL OF THE BIG SKY CONFERENCE.
The night is a pile of total oddity, from Mizzou’s sudden hot streak to the LSU-Tennessee Bare-Armed Interim vs. Bare-Armed Former Interim Bowl to the November Sunshine State rivalry between actual good teams to Khalil Tate vs. a likely hopeless defense to … yeah, I guess UCLA-USC has to get top billing here, despite the Bruins doing the whole Bruins thing this year.
Anyway! This is a good Saturday!