Your perfect Saturday: The ultimate TV guide to Week 8 in college football
Everybody give yourselves a round of applause. We've reached the midway point of the season, and as much as I want to write about the surprises, disappointments and highlights so far, there's no time for that. We'll have plenty of opportunities for reflection on those cold, dark winter nights when we have no football at all. There are more surprises and disappointments and highlights to come, and some of them will happen this Saturday.
That's the beauty of the season in general; it is evolving faster than any of us can keep up with. Just when we think we have it figured out, it takes on a new form. We'll see another stage of evolution this week and be left to marvel at the results.
This is Your Perfect Saturday for Week 8.
The early slate
If you like watching football players hit other football players really hard, this game will be for you. Kansas State and Oklahoma both have mean, nasty defenses, and points might be hard to come by in this one. It's an added bonus that this has serious conference implications -- the Big 12 picture will get a little bit clearer some time after 3 p.m. eastern.
We might as well call the noon slate The Big 12 Super Showdown Funtime Hour. For as tough as scoring will be in the Kansas State-Oklahoma game, all those unused points should find their way over to Morgantown. We're likely to see another shootout one week after West Virginia and Baylor combined to score 98 points on Texas Tech and TCU, respectively.
Second screen specials
These are games that are tailor-made for your tablet, extra laptop, giant phone or any other device you use to stream things. Go crazy.
This week's edition of the ACC Coastal soap opera features the Cavaliers against the Blue Devils. There are sure to be more twists and turns than in an episode of "General Hospital." So don't be surprised if we find out that David Cutcliffe has an evil twin brother who is also a surgeon and has secretly been harboring resentment towards Duke for years waiting for his chance to bring it all down.
Dog day afternoon
Just a couple of weeks ago, this looked like a much bigger game. But those are the breaks in the SEC West. Two weeks can feel like an eternity. Can Texas A&M stop its losing streak? Can Alabama get its offense back on track?
Here's another big tilt in the Big 12 on deck in Week 8. If you've been sleeping on the conference, now's your chance to binge watch and catch up so you can talk about it with all your friends Monday morning. You'll get around to watching Season Two of "House of Cards" sooner or later.
Second screen special
As much as I want to recommend UCLA-Cal (on ABC/ESPN2), it's just too early for all that Pac-12 madness. I prefer a nice, calm SEC game in my 3:30 slot, one that should account for upwards of 600 rushing yards.
This game is Saturday's undisputed main event. Quarterback play should be the story here as Jameis Winston and Everett Golson both try to take care of the football and make big plays. Notre Dame has a real chance to silence those who have looked for an opportunity to discredit the Fighting Irish's accomplishments so far this season, while Florida State needs this one due to what is shaping up to be a lighter than expected ACC.
With Jake Fisher back on the offensive line last Saturday, Oregon was finally able to keep Marcus Mariota safe. That is critical for the Ducks against a Washington defense that is opportunistic, likes to pressure the quarterback and features one of the top defensive players in all of college football in Shaq Thompson.
Second screen specials
You can watch Missouri-Florida, Tennessee-Ole Miss, Kentucky-LSU or Nebraska-Northwestern if you want, but those teams are all on TV a lot. I'm a lot more intrigued by this Mountain West showdown between two of the conference's better teams. Sometimes you just have to change it up a bit.
Late night theater
Stanford's defense gives the Cardinal a chance in just about every game, but the offense may need to show up for at least a scoring drive or two against an Arizona State team that hasn't missed a beat offensively since quarterback Mike Bercovici stepped in for the injured Taylor Kelly.
Second screen special
Because football is football and you can watch SNL on demand or on Hulu later anyway.