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6 College Football Games to Watch (When Penn State Isn’t Playing)

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Some games to watch before and after, rather than in lieu of, the Nittany Lions.

TCU v Oklahoma Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

We make a huge leap this week - instead of watching games to fill a Saturday devoid of Penn State Football, we now will be looking at other games to watch before and after the Nittany Lions face off with Indiana at 3:30 p.m. ET. As a reminder, I generally attempt to avoid games with the same kick time as Penn State, as well as Big Ten games since they are already covered in the conference preview but may cheat to include one of each depending how the schedule shakes out, as was the case for this week.

(#23)NC State at (#14)North Carolina
Noon, ESPN

Start off your college football viewing day with an in-state battle between two ranked foes. The Wolfpack come in on a three-game wining streak after suffering an early season defeat against Virginia Tech. North Carolina is trying to recover from a massive upset against Florida State last Saturday night after reaching #5 in the polls. It will be a difficult task for the Tar Heels to put all that behind them and turn around and face a motivated Wolfpack team with a noon kick.
NC State-23, North Carolina-20

Oklahoma at TCU
Noon, ABC

The Big 12 season has not gone well for its conference members, but fortunately for the rest of us, it’s been entertaining as hell. This could turn out to be another classic Big 12 shootout with optional defense, unfortunately meaning this game may end well after Penn State’s 3:30 kick time.
Prediction: Oklahoma-45, TCU-39

Auburn at Ole Miss
Noon, SECN

This is far from a must-see, but it should be a competitive, entertaining game to help pass the time until 3:30 p.m. Ole Miss is just 1-3, but somehow managed to give Alabama a rare regular season scare. Auburn has fallen all the way from the top 10 out of the rankings after dropping to 2-2 thanks to an upset loss at South Carolina last week. This one will probably go to whoever comes out more focused and motivated.
Prediction: Auburn-30, Ole Miss-27

(#3)Notre Dame at Pitt
3:30 p.m., ABC

Keep an eye on the score on the ticker during the Penn State game. While Notre Dame is a heavy favorite, Pitt has a way of playing to the level of its opponents and is good for one massive upset nearly every season. Notre Dame struggled to get past a 1-4 Louisville squad, so they may be ripe for an upset that will sending them crashing down in the rankings.
Prediction: Notre Dame-27, Pitt-23

(#18)Michigan at (#21)Minnesota
7:30 p.m., ABC

This game easily gave me the most difficulty when making predictions for this week’s BSDegenerates. While Michigan is far too often misplaced with the college football elite, they’re a tough team that has an impressive collection of talent. I also believe that Minnesota will continue to build and has a solid chance of taking the next step and winning the West Division this season. My gut feeling is that Minnesota will make a statement to kick off the season, but expecting a tight contest that can go either way.
Prediction: Minnesota-30, Michigan-28

(#9)Cincinnati at (#16)SMU
9 p.m., ESPN2

I’m excited for this game for two reasons - the most obvious one is that it should be a wildly entertaining game between two quality non-5 teams. The other is that I’ve been patiently waiting for late night kickoffs to start for the joy of watching college football well after midnight (FYI — there are three other games kicking off after this one, with Air Force-San Jose State likely concluding sometime after 2 a.m. ET.) Both teams are undefeated with a win against a ranked opponent under their belts (Cincinnati beat Army, while SMU took down Memphis). This will be a huge game for both teams who have dreams of making the NY6. Prediction: Cincinnati- 38, SMU-31