After Week 4's fantastic slate of primetime games, Week 5's Saturday TV schedule may leave college football fans wanting. It's not that a day of games topped by Michigan State and Ohio State clashing in Urban Meyer's first taste of conference play as a Big Ten coach is boring; it's just that that game and Baylor's trip to West Virginia represent the only two games between ranked teams on Saturday, and it feels like this week may have cashed its This Game Will Be Better Than You Think chit on Washington's upset of Stanford on Thursday night.
Nevertheless, Control Your Remote is here to help you figure out what to watch.
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)
First Choice: West Virginia vs. Baylor (noon, FX). West Virginia's closer-than-it-should-have-been win over Maryland last week and Baylor's closer-than-it-should-have-been tussle with Louisiana-Monroe leaves both of these Big 12 teams in need of rebounds in their conference opener. Good news: it is unclear whether either team's defense is worth even half of a tinker's damn, so there should be points aplenty in this one.
Last Button Options: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (noon, SEC Network/ESPN3). Texas A&M is going to get its first SEC win, but, more importantly, we're all going to get to see Johnny Manziel again. The Aggies' budding star at quarterback has thrown for 641 yards and seven touchdowns and run for 262 yards and five scores in just three games, and his (and A&M's) only loss came to a Florida team that couldn't figure him out for a half. Arkansas, which just got aerated by Rutgers, stands no chance.
Know The (Channel) Numbers: Miami vs. North Carolina State (noon, ESPNU): the 'Canes look to build on a come-from-ahead-then-behind win over Georgia Tech; Northwestern vs. Indiana (noon, Big Ten Network): Wildcats aim for 5-0.
Cover The Spread: There is nothing wrong with sleeping in, then going to brunch and planning to get back for the second half of Baylor-West Virginny. Nothing.
Who's got the most to prove this week?
Late Afternoon Block (3 to 7 p.m. Eastern)
First Choice: Michigan State vs. Ohio State (3:30 p.m., ABC). Meyer's Buckeyes haven't been the death machine some hoped they would be; instead, they rely on above-average defense and the athleticism of Braxton Miller to win games. But Michigan State has been awful since a season-opening win over Boise State, scoring just three points against Notre Dame and struggling to put away Eastern Michigan. This game will almost certainly be a low-scoring slobber-knocker, but the Big Ten's versions of those games in 2012 don't promise much.
Last Button Options: Georgia vs. Tennessee (3:30 p.m., CBS). The Bulldogs may be the class of the SEC East; the Volunteers look like spoilers and nothing else after their second-half implosion against Florida. Tyler Bray's still got talented options in the passing game, but he'll probably need to be accurate to keep pace with a Georgia offense that has put up 41 or more points in each outing in 2012, even though that offense might have a distracted offensive coordinator Mike Bobo calling plays, given his recent punishment for a recruiting violation. Or ... that could just give Bobo more time to devise ways to decimate defenses.
Know The Number: Boston College vs. Clemson (3:30 p.m., ESPN2): could this be a letdown game for Tajh Boyd and company?
Cover The Spread: If Michigan State-Ohio State is boring, just go eat dinner. Have a normal-ish Saturday and then have the college football Saturday you wanted in the evening.
Evening Block (7 to 11 p.m. Eastern)
First Choice: Oklahoma State vs. Texas (7:50 p.m., FOX). Texas has been under-the-radar in 2012, but the Longhorns' hydra-headed quarterback system and Manny Diaz' punishing defense have made this team a legitimate top-15 outfit. Oklahoma State's offense is about the only thing to recommend the Cowboys, but it should at least be a challenge for the 'Horns.
Last Button Options: USF vs. Florida State (6 p.m., ESPN). Three years ago, in 2009, B.J. Daniels helped South Florida get its first win over the Seminoles in Tallahassee. In this return trip for that game, the 'Noles look like national championship contenders, and the Bulls like one of the worst teams in the Big East. Expect revenge and a lot of points from the crew in garnet and gold.
Nebraska vs. Wisconsin (8 p.m., ABC). Nebraska might be legitimately good, but hasn't played an opponent of note yet; Wisconsin has been underwhelming in 2012, so it might not even count. But the real reason to watch this game is for the bizarre uniforms both teams will wear that look alternately like togs from the 2110s and the 1920s.
Know The (Channel) Numbers: SMU vs. TCU (7 p.m., FSN): it's a rivalry!
Cover The Spread: Order a pizza. The pizza delivery person may thank you for getting him/her out of the store and away from the guy who cannot stop folding boxes and/or the person who keeps mimicking the "Pizza! Pizza!" noise, in which case you might feel compelled to not tip him/her; do not do this, as pizza delivery people subsist on tips.
Late Night Block (10 p.m. Eastern onward)
First Choice: Alabama vs. Ole Miss (9:15 p.m., ESPN). Alabama is going to win this game by 30 points, but it's a chance to see if barely-removed-from-high-school Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze does something stupid to try to avert that. So, hey, first choice?
Last Button Option: Washington State vs. Oregon (10:30 p.m., ESPN2). RIYL: offense, Oregon wearing weird colors, Mike Leach frowning, splatter porn.
Cover The Spread: Ice cream, as usual.
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