This edition of the SVG is brought to you by my latest bout of insomnia. Yes, the timestamp is correct. I'm posting this, wide awake, at 3:45 AM.
However, my choices below are perfectly sane. It's the first afternoon game of the season for Arizona State, which frees you up to actually watch, live, a good slate of evening action before you hit the town on Saturday night.
Folks, this really is the first weekend this season where I've taken a look at the schedule and the listings and said to myself, "Damn, there are some really good games." So enjoy it, PFN.
The Morning Slate
#6 Penn State at Purdue (9:00 AM, ESPN): Is this the game where the Nittany Lions emerge as the favorite in the Big Ten? Or will we have to wait until later Saturday night to figure that out? As Oregon can attest, trips to West Lafayette can quickly become a struggle.
Duke at Georgia Tech (9:00 AM, ESPNU): Yes, folks. I'm telling you to watch Duke. Duke football. Stop laughing. Duke is surprisingly 3-1, having won their first ACC game in three seasons last week at home against Virginia, and they neutralized Navy's triple option pretty darn well a couple weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets, at home, will try to legitimize themselves as an ACC title contender after blowing that 17-3 lead to VA Tech two weeks ago.
Set The TiVo (AKA While you're watching ASU/Cal, 12:30, ABC)
Kentucky at #2 Alabama (12:30 PM, CBS): The Crimson Tide shot up to the two-hole in the coaches poll after their stirring road win over Georgia last week and shouldn't face a tremendous challenge from the Wildcats. However, it'll be interesting to see how Nick Saban's team, in an 8-day period where five top-10 teams have lost, responds to their lofty ranking.
Illinois at Michigan (12:30 PM, ESPN [maybe?]): Check the listings; hopefully this will be the alternate ABC game that we get on ESPN or ESPN2. Illinois put up a respectable fight in brutal conditions in Happy Valley despite losing last week, while we all saw what the Wolverines were able to pull off at the Big House against Wisconsin. This game should decide who will be the token pesky team that everyone will make their trendy upset pick when OSU/Wisconsin/Penn State rolls around.
After The Devils Are Done
#13 Auburn at #19 Vanderbilt (3:00 PM, ESPN): Well hot dang, those Commodores are on top of the SEC East! Yes, THAT SEC East! They've rocketed into the top 25 and even the gang from Gameday are making their first appearance in Nashville. They'll get another stiff test from Auburn, who is still smarting from barely getting by middling Tennessee at home.
#24 Connecticut at North Carolina (4:00 PM, ESPN2): Before the season, I said Connecticut could pound the ground as well as anyone and North Carolina was a sleeper pick to take the weak Coastal Division of the ACC. I'm looking pretty good right now and these teams clash in a non-conference matchup in Chapel Hill. Both are on backup quarterbacks though; Tyler Lorenzen and T.J. Yates are both out long term, but that wont take away from what should be an entertaining game.
Before You Hit Mill Avenue
#23 Oregon at #9 USC (5:00 PM, ABC): Seriously, no explanation needed here.
#14 Ohio State at #18 Wisconsin (5:00 PM, ESPN2): Both of these teams have stunning losses on their record this year; one because of how lopsided the loss was and the other because of the incredible choke job they pulled off. Now, they face off in what will be a wild Camp Randall Stadium, and the winner gets the title of "the team that will challenge Penn State for the Big Ten title." Which of course, carries as much weight as, you know, "Vice President of the United States."