Once again, the game of the week in college football is an SEC showdown. But one of the nice things about Week 7's slate is that there's a must-see game in every window from the noon block to the evening. (Late night is kind of barren; yes, Oregon is off.) As always, Control Your Remote is here to guide your viewing on Saturday and navigate the college football TV schedule.
Your guide to the guide: First Choice means this is a must-see game in that block; Last Button Option means you should have that "last" or "return" button on your remote ready to flick back during commercials; Know The (Channel) Numbers runs down games you'll want to find when Twitter tells you something nutty happened; Cover The Spread is a suggestion for how to feed yourself. All times listed are Eastern.
Early Block (noon to 3 p.m. Eastern)
Wesley Hitt, Getty
First Choice: Oklahoma vs. Texas (noon, ABC). It's the rare year when neither of these teams looks like even the second-best squad in the Big 12, but West Virginia's stellar Big 12 debut is making this year a little unusual. Oklahoma can pass, and Texas struggles to stop the pass; Texas has really been struggling to stop offense the past few weeks. Oklahoma sputtered in its loss to Kansas State, but has gotten back on the horse and is the favorite to win the Red River Rivalry for the third straight year.
Last Button Option: PIttsburgh vs. Louisville (11 a.m., ESPNU). I know, I know: there's a game at 11 a.m.? Are both teams even going to be awake? Unfairness of the current Big East television contract aside, though, this is a game that could decide the Big East race: Louisville's undefeated, and the conference's best BCS hope, and Pittsburgh might just be the toughest game left on the Cardinals' schedule due to potential trap game status.
Iowa State vs. Kansas State (noon, FX). Kansas State just doesn't lose as a favorite when Bill Snyder's roaming the sidelines, and this game against a better-than-you-think Iowa State squad (it handled top-20 team TCU last week, albeit with TCU's quarterback dealing with a suspension for a DUI) should go according to plan.
Know The (Channel) Numbers: Minnesota vs. Northwestern (noon, ESPN2). This could have been a showdown for leadership of the Legends Division in the Big Ten, but both Minnesota and Northwestern have lost conference games after starting 4-0 and 5-0, respectively.
Cover The Spread: It's going to be tough to pull yourself away from the TV until the late night window, so getting things on the smoker or getting the itinerary of delivery orders down is critical.
Week 7 picks: LSU to take down South Carolina
Late Afternoon Block (3 to 7 p.m. Eastern)
Ezra Shaw, Getty
First Choice: Notre Dame vs. Stanford (3:30 p.m., NBC). If you want smashmouth football, this is your game of the week, and it might just be the game of the year. Notre Dame's defense is phenomenal, and Stanford's is pretty good, but both teams have limited offenses and like to run the ball; if there are 40 points scored in this game, total, it'll be a bit of a shock. You want to watch Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o: he's almost certainly the best defensive player in college football, and will be a top pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. This is your chance to establish your Hipster Te'o Cred!
Last Button Options: Texas Tech vs. West Virginia (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN). West Virginia's passing attack has been unstoppable with Heisman front-runner Geno Smith making the throws (he hasn't thrown an interception on any of his last 258 passes!), but Texas Tech had the nation's best pass defense before meeting Oklahoma last week ... and still has the nation's best pass defense. It stands to reason that Smith might either stumble or burnish his Heisman credentials in this game.
Know The Number: Missouri vs. Alabama (3:30 p.m., CBS): Another splatter film directed by Nick Saban, given that senior Missouri quarterback James Franklin is out; BYU vs. Oregon State (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN3): The Beavers try to stay on a roll despite their October slate looking much easier than the September one they got through unscathed.
Cover The Spread: Fortuitously, there's just one good game starting at 7 p.m. Eastern and no games of any note starting at 7:30; if you must make a food run, ducking out at the end of a snoozer in this window would probably work well.
Evening Block (7 to 11 p.m. Eastern)
Kevin C. Cox, Getty
First Choice: LSU vs. South Carolina (8 p.m., ESPN). LSU faces its second SEC East titan in two weeks, and looks to restart its offense after mustering just six points and one third-down conversion against Florida. That's not going to be easy against South Carolina, which has an imposing front seven led by freakish defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, who is a sophomore and the front-runner to be the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Steve Spurrier's offense isn't what you remember from his days at Florida, as South Carolina's likely to ride Marcus Lattimore, but there's no reason to quibble with the results: this may be the best team in Gamecocks history.
Last Button Options: Washington vs. USC (7 p.m., FOX). The Trojans should be able to dump the Huskies, but, then, that's what most said about Stanford before it rolled into Seattle and lost. FOX reliably puts on the most exciting game of Saturday night, with Gus Johnson yelling his way through the call, and if this one's close, you could definitely end up watching the fourth quarter of it while the third quarter of LSU-South Carolina wraps up.
Louisiana Tech vs. Texas A&M (9 p.m., ESPNU). If you like passing and points, this is your game of the week: Lousisana Tech is third in scoring offense, and Texas A&M eighth, and both teams average better than eight yards per pass attempt. A&M's Johnny "Johnny Football" Manziel is the guy you probably know, a whirling dervish in maroon, but the Bulldogs' Colby Cameron is the guy you don't, despite his 13 touchdowns to zero interceptions (he's one of three QBs with 10+ TDs and no picks, joining WVU's Smith ... and Alabama's A.J. McCarron).
Know The (Channel) Numbers: Mississippi State vs. Tennessee (9 p.m., ESPN2): Have you been waiting for Derek Dooley to get fired? If his team gets blown out by Mississippi State, the SEC West's dark horse, his seat's going to be very, very warm come Sunday. That might be a good thing if it were literal, because Dooley's recovering from hip surgery this week and will coach the game from the press box.
Cover The Spread: If you play a drinking game for points in the Louisiana Tech-Texas A&M game, you will probably die, so be careful.
Late Night Block (10 p.m. Eastern onward)
First Choice: Washington State vs. California (10:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network). Really, your first choice should be going out to a bar or sleeping or something else.
Last Button Option: The power button.
Cover The Spread: Ice cream, unless you are at a bar, in which case a float of some sort. Be the coolest person at your bar! Order a Guinness with a scoop of vanilla! (Don't do this.)
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