— Do whatever you need to do and clear your Saturday schedule. Bargain, beg, if necessary, bolt.
There’s no room for anything besides college football’s finest day of the season. It’s staring us right in the face on Saturday and we’ve got to think this through and properly tackle it head-on.
First of all, make sure you’ve paid your cable/satellite bill, and maybe even give them a call and fork over more of your money for another service or package. Having the largest possible 'family of networks' on this day will come in quite handy.
Knowing that this is going to be a long day and night, I suggest sleeping in as long as possible.
9 a.m. ET
You'll need the rest, so skip the early extra hour of 'College GameDay' (ESPNU). It’s just more of the same and Erin Andrews doesn’t have as big a role on that show as was initially promised.
(After seeing all the previous airings, we certainly know why.)
10 a.m. ET
In another time saving maneuver, fire up your DVR to record the real 'College GameDay' (ESPN). Don’t worry, there’s nothing time sensitive on there and this allows you to start watching your recording a half hour later. By the time you zip through all the commercials between the blather, you’ll catch up to real time just before Lee Corso’s headgear silliness. (When you’ve spent as many years as I have living on the West Coast, this procedure is virtually law.)
That brings you up to the early games, which are good, but merely an undercard to the main events coming up later.
Start off with No. 16 Miami (2-1) at Clemson (2-1) on your big screen (ESPN2) and get ready for a little bit extra. The three previous games in this series have required at least one overtime period to settle the matter. Hurricane fans, who had to endure the Tigers’ 40-37 upset victory last year, are happy to know that the visitors won each of those three previous thrillers.
Put No. 2 Ohio State (4-0) at Illinois (2-1) on your picture-in-picture or spare TV (Big Ten Network). If and when it appears that a repeat of the Illini’s stunning upset of the top-ranked Buckeyes in 2007 is not brewing, switch over to Louisiana-Monroe (1-2) at Auburn (4-0) and see the highlights of all the touchdowns Tiger quarterback Cam Newton scored before being pulled (ESPNU).
2 p.m. ET
There are some amusing options before the late afternoon block of games kick off.
The MountainWest Sports Network has this week’s 'style-points special,' featuring No. 5 TCU (4-0) at Colorado State (1-3).
If beatdowns don’t float your boat, a half hour later, Versus is offering Navy (2-1) at Air Force (3-1). For me, Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy games are always worth a look.
3:30 p.m. ET
Despite what happened last week, the afternoon headliner is still No. 21 Texas (3-1) vs. No. 8 Oklahoma (4-0) in Dallas (ABC or ESPN2).
The Longhorns’ debacle at home against UCLA and the Sooners' struggles at Cincinnati aren’t the sort of lead-ups that both teams envisioned, but we’re still talking about the Red River Rivalry. The pageantry and visual spectacle of the Cotton Bowl with its 50-50 crowd split is unmatched.
The 'GameDay' crew will have refilled your head with all the numbers associated to UCLA’s physical domination of Texas and the non-existent nature of the Longhorn running game, but the least you can do is show the same undivided interest in this game that Texas unwisely showed while engaged last week with a Bruin team that had no interesting matters relating to the State Fair of Texas.
If you reside in Big Ten country, you’ll have easy access to No. 11 Wisconsin (4-0) at No. 24 Michigan State (4-0). And those along the Atlantic Coast might want to take a peek at Virginia Tech (2-2) at No. 23 North Carolina State (4-0).
Those are good options at this hour. This is where college football aficionados, who don’t already subscribe to every imaginable channel and extra service, need to consider shelling out a few bucks.
The Badgers’ visit to East Lansing is the first of a series of high-level showdowns that will thin out the contenders planning on ending Ohio State’s five-year stay at the top of the Big Ten table.
With Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio’s situation mixed into this clash of undefeateds, Spartan Stadium will be a caldron of emotion. If Sparty can channel all that energy properly to come up with the key plays, recent history points to Michigan State. The home team has won the last five games in this series and the last three matchups have been decided by a total of 12 points.
While Virginia Tech was temporarily stripped of its national significance in the first two weeks of the season, N.C. State has steadily climbed that ladder, led by the sensational play of quarterback Russell Wilson. But in terms of the ACC race, the Hokies are as they were expected to be, leading contenders in the Coastal Division until somebody proves them to be otherwise.
At the same time, the SEC on CBS provides us with our picture-in-picture pick of Tennessee (2-2) at No. 12 LSU (4-0). The Vols put a couple scares into the league’s elite last year. It’s worth an early look to see if Derek Dooley is able to come up with something in Baton Rouge.
If LSU is rolling and the games that the 'family of networks' are providing fail to live up to your personal expectations, at 6:30 p.m. ET you can switch over to Arizona State (2-2) at Oregon State (1-2), a Pac-10 matchup of teams that had their brushes with relevance last week before coming up short.
7 p.m. ET
Call your neighbor and get him to bring his set over sometime in the next hour. You’ll be needing at least two full-size TVs for the next few hours and a spare set of batteries for the remotes because ...
8 p.m. ET
Yes those schools have a combined record of 16-0.
If that isn't enough for you — what do you want? — No. 22 Penn State (3-1) is at No. 17 Iowa (3-1) on ESPN.
Also, some viewers in the Midwest and East will get Notre Dame at Boston College on ABC instead of the Pac-10 battle in Eugene.
A Boston College victory in the 'Holy War' certainly wouldn't be a major upset, unlike last year's stunner in Seattle when Washington knocked off then-No. 3 USC.
The No. 18 Trojans (4-0) finally get their shot at revenge against the 1-2 Huskies, which those out West can view on ESPN2.
But if you want to see teams with a shot at the BCS title game — remember, USC ineligible — we advise against it.
So flip back to the big games, but which one to focus on?
After seeing what the Crimson Tide are made of at Arkansas, the Gators really have their work cut out for them. The possible one-sided affair puts this SEC clash third on the late-game totem pole.
The other two games fully embody their region, adding classic nightcaps to this wonderful Saturday slate.
Those in the Midwest will fully appreciate the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes grinding it out, rather than observing the Xbox-style offensive explosions expected from the Cardinal and Ducks. And vice versa.
If you have a horse in one of Saturday’s races, best of luck to you.
If you don’t, you’re a guaranteed winner. It’s not possible that all of this action will bring disappointment.