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.
Listen, when it comes to Top 25 games this week the schedule is weak. With conference play right around the corner for everybody, most of the top teams in the country are eating light this week so as not to wear themselves out for the real show. However, that doesn't mean there aren't quite a few games out there worth your time and attention.
While the early games are bleaker than last week's episode of Breaking Bad, there are some interesting matchups sprinkled throughout the rest of the day that you will want to check out. So if that means sleeping in on Saturday morning or getting some errands done before the real games start, well, in the words of the late Hank Schrader, do what you gotta do.
<img style=Florida" data-canon="Florida Gators" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> A&M at No. 4 Ohio State -- Big Ten Network, Noon (All times Eastern)
Braxton Miller might play, he might not. We don't know. What we do know is that Carlos Hyde returns from his suspension this week and that this game is going to be a blowout that's likely over before the second quarter.
A huge Coastal Division clash! All right, no it isn't, but compared to the rest of the games in this time slot it's an oasis in the desert. You may not have ever planned on watching the Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels do battle, but I bet you find yourself tuning in. Though if you're expecting a repeat of last season's 68-50 game you'll likely be disappointed.
An SEC team is going on the road to face a MAC team because I have no earthly idea. Maybe somebody in the UMass athletic department is a Vanderbilt alum? As for the game itself, since joining the MAC last season the Minutemen have played five games against schools from BCS conferences. The Minutemen are 0-5 in those games, losing by an average score of 45-5. So this game should be great.
There could be an upset here, as there are some questions as to whether or not Minnesota quarterback Philip Nelson will be able to play. Though the early start could have an adverse effect on the Spartans.
Tune in to marvel at Virginia Tech's camouflage uniforms this week. Also tune in because Marshall is capable of putting up some points and stranger things have happened.
Last week Stanford came to West Point and this week it's Wake Forest. The difference is that this week Army has a legit chance of getting a win.
The bad news for Western Michigan this week is that Iowa has already filled its loss to MAC teams quota for the 2013 season. The worse news is that the Broncos gave up 332 rushing yards against Northwestern last week and Iowa isn't going to bother throwing the ball if it doesn't have to.
Finally, that Skip Holtz-Charlie Weis coaching matchup we've spent all our lives waiting for.
Idaho State at No. 17 Washington -- Pac-12 Network, 3 p.m.
So the Huskies offense looks to be very much for real, which is nice because it could make the Pac-12 North even more interesting. However, this game will not be interesting.
Maine at No. 18 Northwestern -- Big Ten Network, 3:30 p.m.
Remember the days when Northwestern would be hosting a team like Maine and you couldn't be sure that Northwestern was going to win? These are not those days.
Tennessee at No. 19 Florida -- CBS, 3:30 p.m.
Hooray, an interesting game! And I'm not just saying that because it's on CBS, I'm saying it because the wild card that is Jeff Driskel makes it impossible to know how this game is going to go. Also, somebody may find true love.
It's a little weird that these two are opening Big Ten play a week before the rest of the conference, isn't it? I'm not sure why that happened. What I am sure of is that if I was Purdue I couldn't think of a worse week to be playing the Badgers considering what happened to them in Tempe last week. They're mad, and they want somebody to take it out on.
Listen, these two teams may not play the prettiest football in the world, but generally when they get together the games are interesting. Furious fourth quarter comebacks, overtimes, fake field goals leading to heart attacks for the winning coach, this series has had it all in recent years.
State" data-canon="Utah Utes" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at Southern California -- ABC/ESPN2, 3:30 p.m.
This is one of those interesting matchups I was talking about at the top of the post, because make no mistake, it's entirely possible that Utah State could pull off an upset in this game. It has one of the most exciting players in the country in quarterback Chuckie Keeton, and sometimes that's all you need. Could you imagine the kind of reaction if USC were to lose at home to Utah State?
Another interesting game because Maryland is off to a 3-0 start to the season, but has done so against weak competition. While West Virginia isn't exactly a world-beater, the Mountaineers will be a good barometer for just how good these Terps might be in 2013. On the flip side, this game could tell us about West Virginia as well.
South Dakota State at Nebraska -- Big Ten Network, 3:30 p.m.
Nebraska will be without Taylor Martinez this weekend which adds a bit of intrigue to this game, but I can't promise it will add much. Personally I'd only tune in for the off-chance Bo Pelini goes full on WWE heel, grabs a microphone and starts referring to Nebraska fans as "you people."
Another one of those under-the-radar matchups this week. I don't know if this game will be "good" but it could be entertaining, and it should be close throughout.
I think this game would be a lot more interesting if Dri Archer were playing for Kent State, but he's not so it probably won't be.
Oh the fun that could be had in this one. We've got two coaches who aren't afraid to try new things on offense going against one another, and in last year's contest we saw 89 points, 1,109 yards of offense and 12 touchdowns. So if you're looking for some video game football on a Saturday afternoon, this will be the game you want to watch.
<img style=Colorado State" data-canon="Colorado State Rams" data-type="SPORTS_OBJECT_TEAM" id="shortcode0"> at No. 1 Alabama -- ESPN2, 7 p.m.
I suppose there's a chance for an Alabama letdown here, but I wouldn't say there's much of one. First of all, it's Alabama's home-opener, and it's hard to suffer a letdown in your first game at home. Second of all, former offensive coordinator Jim McElwain is now running the show with Colorado State. Third of all, Nick Saban.
No. 23 Arizona State at No. 5 Stanford -- Fox, 7 p.m.
Our only matchup of ranked teams this week. Arizona State got away with one last week at home, but this week it's traveling to Palo Alto to face a team that's pretty similar to Wisconsin. I don't know that the Sun Devils will catch those same breaks this week, though with a potent offense, you can never really rule them out either. A bounce of an oblong ball one way or another and we could have an upset on our hands.
Listen, I don't mean to disrespect SMU or anything, but the last we saw the Mustangs they were edging past Montana State 31-30 at home. Now this week they get to play a Texas A&M team coming off a loss at home against Alabama. I'm generally a fan of these old SWC matchups, but this one is going to be over fast.
There hasn't been a whole lot of talk about LSU this season despite the team's strong start, and although it feels odd to say a team ranked No. 6 is flying under the radar, I think that's exactly what's happening here with the Tigers. Maybe that'll change if LSU can take care of an Auburn team that definitely seems to be back on the path to respectability.
No. 15 Michigan at Connecticut -- ABC, 8 p.m.
How large is the Michigan fan base? It's so large that ABC actually chose to move this game to primetime. Oh sure, there's a chance that the Huskies could pull off the upset and knock off Michigan, but there was also a chance that the Huskies could have beaten Towson on opening weekend too. How'd that work out?
Kansas State at Texas -- ABC, 8 p.m.
Of the two regional matchups on ABC Saturday night, this is far and away the most interesting one. So I guess it's a good thing that I live in Chicago and will be forced to watch Michigan and Connecticut instead. Neat. Seriously, though, Texas has had trouble stopping teams that can run the ball and mobile quarterbacks. So Kansas State is a bit of a nightmare matchup this week, isn't it?
For a time there a lot of people thought this would be a future Big Ten matchup. Instead it's just another boring Big Ten-SEC matchup. And by boring I mean it's a game that is fully capable of putting so many points on the board. Don't be shocked if you find yourself flipping over to this one on Saturday night.
LATE NIGHT SNACKS
Utah at Brigham Young -- ESPN2, 10:15 p.m.
In three of the last four meetings between these schools the outcome hasn't been decided until the very end. Last year in Salt Lake City the MUSS prematurely rushed the field around 40 times, which only adds to the drama. Are BYU students better at clock management than Utah students? You'll have to tune in to find out.
This game will make for suitable commercial fodder during the Utah-BYU game.
Watch the Utah-BYU game.