It’s Maryland football’s bye week, which means your Saturday should diverge from its usual pattern. It’s a great time to go outside, especially as the sadness of winter creeps ever closer.
But if you’re planning on digesting the whole enchilada of college football this weekend, as I would suggest you do every Saturday, this represents an opportunity to sit back and enjoy the completely random world of the sport in a realm free from worry. A few games you should bookmark:
(all times eastern)
West Virginia-Texas Tech, noon, ESPN2
This game has nothing Maryland-related, which is exactly how you should start your Saturday. Wash the Terps right off your palate with an absolute crap ton of points from offenses S&P+ ranks at No. 6 and No. 12 up against defenses that rank 90th and 49th.
Temple-Boston College, noon, ESPNU
Want to see if Temple, the team that burst out of nowhere to steamroll Maryland in Week 3, is for real? Let’s check out how the Owls do against a BC team that was on fire until an underrated Purdue dump trucked them in Week 4.
Syracuse-Clemson, noon, ABC
Phenom Trevor Lawrence is Clemson’s starting QB now, and you’ll want to get a glimpse of him. Plus, Syracuse could actually be good, and an attempt to repeat last year’s stunning upset of the Tigers is as good a test as they’ll get all season. Would recommend watching the first quarter of this one and switching away if/when Syracuse fades.
Purdue-Nebraska, 3:30 p.m., BTN
A Big Ten West matchup that probably intrigues me more than most people due to my secret obsession with the Boilermakers. Nebraska’s first season under Scott Frost is looking like one fans are going to want to fast-forward through, while Purdue is looking to prove what the stats said the whole time: that 0-3 record was not indicative of their play.
Really, this is the time to get out of the house. Go do something. This afternoon slate is weak.
Michigan-Northwestern, 4:30 p.m., FOX
Maryland plays Michigan next week. It’ll be a chance to see up close what kind of destruction this year’s Wolverines team is bringing. On second thought, maybe don’t watch this one...
Ohio State-Penn State, 7:30 p.m., ABC
Oh hell yes.
This was probably the game of the regular season last year, and this version is shaping up to awesome. Each team comes in with a top-10 ranking in the AP Poll and a top-6 ranking in S&P+. Both teams have excellent offenses (yep, Dwayne Haskins is Ohio State’s QB and he’s really good, so get used to that). The stakes are high, as the winner would be undefeated with Michigan seeming to be the only roadblock in the way of a playoff bid (The loser won’t be out of playoff contention either, to be fair.) Alex Kirshner has a primer on the series here, where he correctly states that it’s the highest-quality series going in the Big Ten right now.
(It’s also a peek at the opponents Maryland will face back-to-back at the end of the season, but that’s a less pleasant thought.)
Notre Dame-Stanford, 7:30 p.m., ABC
Super cool to have the two best games by a mile on at the exact same time. Cool cool cool.
Anyway, Notre Dame is very good and hosts a good Stanford team that somehow slipped out with a win against Oregon in Week 4’s best game. Would recommend.
Ole Miss-LSU, 9:15, ESPN
Ole Miss has a completely bonkers offense, and LSU has a top-10 defense. Why is this game on at 9:15? I have no earthly idea. Could result in a weird finish after the 7:30 games end, though. Pay precisely zero attention to this game while those two are on, then decide whether this one is worth it.
Oregon-Cal, 10:30, FS1
This game is the pick for potential weirdness at the end of the night when you’re getting home from a night of partying (read: when you wake up from an accidental couch nap at 1 a.m.). Oregon should have beaten Stanford last week, while Cal pairs an atrocious offense with a defense befitting that of head coach Justin Wilcox’s prior job as Wisconsin defensive coordinator. Any result is on the table here.
One final game to note:
I’m not advising you to watch this. I’m not even listing the time or TV channel. Please don’t. It’s likely going to be a slog between a low-scoring team and a squad that appears to be The Darkest Rutgers Timeline. If you’re looking for some takeaways on what this game means for Maryland, it probably won’t be much. Just check the box score when it’s over instead of keeping track in real time. Knowing all you can about Maryland’s opponents ain’t worth it.