Saturday Meal Plan: Your Week 5 TV Viewer's Guide
The Saturday Meal Plan fills you in on what to watch, when to watch and where to watch every Saturday during the college football season.
Congratulations to you, college football fan. You survived last Saturday's horrid slate of college football games, and you're a stronger fan for it. If there was a Purple Heart or Medal of Honor for being a college football fan, you'd earn it. But there isn't. Nor will there be a national holiday in your memory.
Instead you'll just have to make do with something far more rewarding. A healthy Saturday of good college football games. While there are your huge matchups that will garner most of your attention and no doubt impact the national title picture, there are also other games on the docket worth your time this week.
So let's find out what your options are and why you should consider each one.
No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys State" data-canon="Oklahoma Sooners" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at West Virginia Mountaineers -- ESPN, Noon (All times Eastern)
Remember when West Virginia put up 70 on Clemson Tigers in the Orange Bowl and then started 2012 5-0 and we all thought the Mountaineers were destined for greatness? Yeah, well that seems like a long time ago as Dana Holgorsen's team has now lost eight of its 12 games since then, and is fresh off a 37-0 loss to Maryland. The offense is dreadful, but perhaps facing the school whose offense Holgorsen used to run will get the Mountaineers offense started again.
No. 12 South Carolina Gamecocks at UCF Knights -- ABC, Noon
This game is a somewhat popular upset pick based on the fact UCF just beat Penn State on the road a couple weeks ago and its at home this week. Plus quarterback Blake Bortles could be one of the best quarterbacks in the country you just don't know much about. Of course, while beating Penn State on the road is nice, taking on South Carolina is an entirely different challenge. This game will be worth your time.
No. 15 Miami at South Florida Bulls " data-canon="Florida Gators" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> -- ESPNU, Noon
In-state rivalry! Seriously, the Willie Taggart Era is off to a rough start at South Florida, and I'm not expecting things to be all that different on Saturday. But this is college football and anything is possible.
Northern Illinois Huskies " data-canon="Illinois Fighting Illini" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at Purdue Boilermakers -- ESPN2, Noon
It's never a good feeling to be a Big Ten team that's considered an underdog at home against a school from the MAC, though it's certainly understandable in this case. Northern Illinois has already beaten a Big Ten team on the road ( Iowa Hawkeyes ) and Purdue, aside from its game against Notre Dame Fighting Irish , has not looked good this season. However, Northern Illinois did struggle at home against Eastern Illinois last week, so it's not like the Boilermakers are dealing with a juggernaut here.
Southern Methodist Mustangs at TCU Horned Frogs -- Fox Sports 1, Noon
The Horned Frogs have had a rough start to the 2013 season considering that some thought this team might make a run at a Big 12 title this year. Simply put, TCU needs to put together an impressive performance against a bad SMU team or it's going to be a long season.
Miami (Ohio) RedHawks at Illinois -- Big Ten Network, Noon
In a season that has seen its share of bad football teams, Miami (Ohio) is certainly making its case to be the worst. The Redhawks have scored 21 points in their first three games, though that could improve this week against a porous Illini defense. There probably isn't much reason to watch this one unless you're an alum of either of these schools. Or if every other game is at commercial, but even then, some commercials are entertaining.
Colorado Buffaloes at Oregon State Beavers State" data-canon="Oregon Ducks" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> -- Pac-12 Network, 3 p.m.
Oregon State is a team that hasn't really played as well as its record suggests. We all know about the season opening loss to Eastern Washington Huskies , but the Beavers also struggled against a bad San Diego State team last week. Meanwhile Colorado is off to a nice 2-0 start, but it hasn't played in three weeks because of a bye and flooding in the Boulder area. This one could get weird.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons at No. 3 Clemson -- ESPNU, 3:30 p.m.
I honestly can't remember the last time I watched a Wake Forest game that I enjoyed. It's possible Clemson's performance alone would make this one worth it, but I wouldn't tune in expecting there to be much drama.
No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 22 Notre Dame -- NBC, 3:30 p.m.
This is an interesting game not just because it features two ranked teams, but because it'll tell us a lot about how the rest of the season will fare for both. If Oklahoma is truly a Big 12 title contender, then it should go into South Bend and beat a Notre Dame team that really hasn't looked all that great this season. On the other side, is Notre Dame a better team than it has shown so far? Well, we'll find out.
No. 6 LSU Tigers at No. 9 Georgia Bulldogs -- CBS, 3:30 p.m.
The only top ten matchup of the week is quite intriguing. You've got an LSU team that looks like a legit threat to get to the BCS title game this season going against a Georgia team that cannot afford another loss if it wants to compete for an SEC title. There's also the side story of LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger returning to the school that dismissed him a few years ago, and where his mother still works. As has been the case a lot lately, I'm expecting another SEC shootout in Athens.
No. 8 Florida State Seminoles at Boston College Eagles -- ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.
At first glance this looks like a game that you probably won't have to pay much attention to, but then you realize that this is a top ten Florida State team going on the road against an unranked ACC opponent. Nothing strange ever happened in this situation before! Seriously, focus on LSU-Georgia, but keep an eye on the score here because it's always possible something insane will happen.
Iowa at Minnesota Golden Gophers -- ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.
This game really doesn't translate to a national audience, but believe me when I tell you that these two fanbases don't like each other very much. It's a fun rivalry, even if it may not be all that important of one.
Army West Point Black Knights vs. Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (in Dallas) -- Fox Sports 1, 4 p.m.
It's the Heart of Dallas Classic in the Cotton Bowl! How could you pass that up?
No. 21 Ole Miss Rebels at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide -- ESPN, 6:30 p.m.
How good is Ole Miss this season? Is Alabama's sluggish start -- when comparing to Alabama -- something folks should be concerned about? I think we'll get the answers to both of these questions in this game. Personally I think Alabama will be just fine, but if something unexpected happens here, I wouldn't be all that shocked, either.
No. 10 Texas A&M at Arkansas Razorbacks -- ESPN2, 7 p.m.
I know that Arkansas lost on the road against Rutgers last week, but here's something you should probably consider before dismissing their chances in this game. The Razorbacks are averaging over five yards per carry and 250 rushing yards per game so far this season. The Aggies defense is giving up nearly six yards per carry and 218 yards per game. The best way to stop Johnny Manziel and the A&M offense is keeping it off the field, and Arkansas' ground game will give it a chance to do that on Saturday night.
Arizona Wildcats at No. 16 Washington -- Fox, 7 p.m.
Arizona crushed Washington 52-17 last season, but I get the feeling things will be a lot closer this time around. This game will be the toughest test either of these teams has faced this season, and if you're a fan of points being put on the board, this one could satisfy your craving.
No. 20 Florida at Kentucky Wildcats -- ESPNU, 7 p.m.
Florida won last week but it suffered a pair of big losses in Jeff Driskel and Dominique Easley . So it's possible that this game could be interesting, though I feel the need to inform you that Florida has won the last five meetings by a combined score of 238-36. Seriously. My favorite score was the 63-5 Florida win in 2008.
No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers at No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes -- ABC, 8 p.m.
A game so important that LeBron James will be in the house. Wisconsin is a crew of terrible Pac-12 officials away from being 4-0 coming into this game just like Ohio State is, and this game is basically a de facto Leaders Division Championship. Odds are Braxton Miller will return for the Buckeyes this week, so watching him and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon take turns running with the ball should be pretty darn entertaining.
LATE NIGHT SNACKS
No. 5 Stanford Cardinal at Washington State Cougars (in Seattle) -- ESPN, 10 p.m.
It seems like the turnaround under Mike Leach has begun as the Cougars find themselves 3-1 on the season and playing surprisingly well on defense to start the year. Seriously, they're ranked in the top ten in yards against and yards per play against. However, they have not faced an offense quite like Stanford's just yet, so we'll find out on Saturday night just how seriously we should take this Washington State start.
Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles at Boise State Broncos -- ESPNU, 10:15 p.m.
It feels strange to see Boise State with two losses already, doesn't it? I'm sure the Broncos are hoping that an 0-3 Southern Miss team is just what the doctor ordered to help get things right again.
California Golden Bears at No. 2 Oregon -- Pac-12 Network, 10:30 p.m.
I don't expect this game to be all that competitive, but Oregon's offense is always worth checking out, even if only for a quarter.
If either of these teams wants to win the Pac-12 South this season they can't afford a loss in this game. Of all these late night games I think this one has the best chance to be interesting at the end.
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