Sing to us, O Muse, of a Thursday night with three college football games, all conference matchups and one even featuring a ranked team:
Arkansas State @ Florida International
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Red Wolves and Golden Panthers kick off in Miami at 7:30 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on WatchESPN.
• What's at stake here? The chance to scrabble for glory in the presumptive top half of the surprisingly deep Sun Belt lobster pot, with the likes of Louisiana, Western Kentucky, Louisiana-Monroe and Middle Tennessee. On the flip side, the loser could be cast down with the likes of Florida Atlantic. Each squad already has one conference loss and a losing record overall.
• Who should we be watching? For the Red Wolves, Tennessee transplant David Oku at running back and latest Gus Malzahn project, Ryan Aplin, at quarterback. For the Panthers, keep an eye on tackling enthusiasts Tourek Williams at defensive end and Jonathan Cyprien at safety.
• These are very colorful mascots, not unlike the fall foliage showing its petticoats around our great nation. They are indeed, although we will still never forgive Arkansas State for not taking our kind suggestion of "The Arkansas State Vine-Ripe Pink Tomatoes" more seriously when selecting its new mascot a few years back.
East Carolina @ UCF
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Pirates and Knights kick off in UCF's Orlando bouncy castle at 8 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
• What's at stake here? It would not be a stretch to say "the fate of Conference USA," or, at the very least, its Eastern division. With every team in the league showing at least one loss (and four squads going winless into the second month of the season), and with the Pirates and Knights still unbeaten in conference play, the sky is the limit. Seeing that both ECU and UCF have already lost twice, shouldn't the Liberty Bowl be the limit? Touché.
No. 13 USC @ Utah
• What information do I, the discerning consumer, require in order to consume this game? The Trojans and Utes kick off at 9 p.m. ET in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on ESPN and streamed on WatchESPN. Are you seeing a strange and wondrous pattern of mascot pairings emerge here? WE SO ARE. We've got real-live critters (Red Wolves and Golden Panthers), heroes of legend (Pirates and Knights) and now peoples (Trojans and Utes). Nicolas Cage has hidden a treasure map inside one of these three broadcasts tonight, you just watch.
• Has noted internet muse "catlab" created any graphics commemorating tonight's game? HE HAS. • Are you going to talk about this football game at all? Not when there's a perfectly good full-length preview just hanging out over here. Besides, the Utah student section just stormed our living room and has unplugged our laptop in the rush to ... wherever they're going. Farewell!