With a Saturday night game on tap for the Cardinals, there is plenty of opportunity for fans to watch around the college football world and hope for some falling down in front of them.
Wake Forest at #5 Louisville (7 PM, ESPN2)
Favorite: Louisville by 35
#2 Clemson v. Pittsburgh (3:30 PM, ABC)
Favorite: Clemson by 20.5
Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was injured last week, so his health may be a point to watch this game. Pittsburgh’s defense hasn’t been up to snuff at this point, but their physical style and underrated running game might give Clemson a scare that they experienced at Auburn and NC State, earlier in the year. A Clemson win will clinch the ACC Atlantic Division title for the Tigers, ending Louisville’s hope of a conference championship bid. If Pitt has a shot to get the upset bid, expect RB James Conner to be the difference maker.
#3 Michigan at Iowa (8:00 PM, ABC)
Favorite: Michigan by 21.5
Consider this a “Grade-A road game,” as Michigan finally gets its first road game at night. The Wolverines have looked as good as any team in the nation up to this point, but a road game at Iowa could prove challenging for a Wolverines team that hasn’t experienced many quality road games at all. Iowa’s defense is loaded with playmakers like cornerback Desmond King, who can give Iowa an opportunity to make it four losses in a row for Michigan at Kinnick Stadium. This is also a good opportunity to look at Jabrill Peppers, who is widely considered to be Lamar Jackson’s biggest threat to the Heisman Trophy race. Wilson Speight and Jake Butt are two quality players on Michigan’s offense worth watching as well.
#4 Washington v. USC (7:30 PM, Fox Sports 1)
Washington by 8.5
This is a classic “upset” game that can happen: a top-five team hosting a college football blue blood that is on a hot streak, and looking to validate themselves again. USC has been rolling since switching to new quarterback Sam Darnold. In their five-game winning streak, Darnold has thrown a 6:1 TD-INT ratio, and their offensive firepower might be enough to put a scare in the Huskies — or worse, upset them and seriously compromise their playoff bid. Do keep an eye on the John Ross v. Adoree Jackson matchup, which pair two of the Pac-12’s best at receiver and cornerback, respectively.
#8 Texas A&M v. Ole Miss (7:30 PM, SEC Network)
TAMU by 10.5
It might not be watchable due to Louisville’s own game on ESPN2, but this game is at least worth keeping tabs on. How A&M is still #8 after losing at Mississippi State is mind-blowing, but with both Trevor Knight and Chad Kelly both out, it will be interesting to see how both teams play this game. A&M might be theoretically out of the playoffs with two losses, but their standing in the CFP rankings is still worth noting. Another loss for the Aggies would assuredly eliminate them as a potential threat to Louisville’s wild-card bid as a CFP contender.
#12 Penn State at Indiana (Noon, ABC/ESPN2)
Penn State by 7
This early Saturday game might be the best pick, out of all the noon games on tap. A rising Penn State team gets a big road test at Indiana, who has provided multiple scares in the last couple of seasons to ranked teams. Saquan Barkley is still a solid running back in the Big Ten, and if Penn State wins out, they could position themselves for a potential Orange Bowl bid against Louisville, if the Cardinals do not get into the playoff. For Indiana to pull off the upset bid, Indiana’s offense has to get going with Devine Redding and Nick Westbrook, who are flirting with 1,000 yard seasons rushing and receiving, respectively. A win would give the Hoosiers their first back-to-back bowl bids for the first time since 1991.
Other Top 10 Games:
#5 Ohio State at Maryland (3:30 PM, ESPN)
Favorite: Ohio State by 29
Miss State at #1 Alabama (Noon, ESPN)
Favorite: Alabama by 30
Illinois at #7 Wisconsin (3:30 PM, ESPN2)
Favorite: Wisconsin by 26.5
#9 Auburn at Georgia (3:30 PM, CBS)
Favorite: Auburn by 10.5