Chances are, the diehard college football fan has already come to a conclusion on the debate that casual fans will have on Saturday night at 8 p.m.: should I watch Alabama-LSU or Oregon-USC? The good news for casual fans is that Control Your Remote has the answer to that question -- and the rest of your queries about the Week 10 college football TV schedule -- somewhere on this page. (Hint: read from left to right and then down.)
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: Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M (noon, ESPN). Texas A&M has played Florida and LSU already in its first SEC season; Mississippi State had ducked every big name in the conference up until last week, when Alabama floored Dan Mullen's previously undefeated bunch. Watching A&M's Johnny "Football" Manziel is always fun, but I do sort of wish we got to see legions of Aggies fans from College Station try to figure out whether Starkville has more or less culture.
Last Button Option: Florida vs. Missouri (noon, ESPN2). This is like the reverse of Miss State-A&M: Columbia's relatively urbane Tigers fans get to come to a quintessential college town, Gainesville, and see if their proud-of-beating-Kentucky squad can pull a monumental upset over a Florida team that is likely very mad about losing to Georgia last Saturday.
Know The (Channel) Numbers: Louisville vs. Temple (noon, ABC): Temple is a letdown game for Louisville, and just go ahead and ponder that; Iowa State vs. Oklahoma (noon, ABC): the Cyclones take another cut at pulling an upset over a team from Oklahoma after upending Oklahoma State in Ames in 2011.
Cover The Spread: Temps are finally diving into the 60s and below all over Tailgate Nation, so make sure you have a blanket to cover your spread legs (get it!?) and maybe have some hot chocolate on hand. (Do people tailgate with Keurigs? Please respond.)
Late Afternoon Block (3 to 7 p.m. Eastern)
First Choice: Georgia vs. Ole Miss (3:30 p.m., CBS). Georgia's fortune: the Bulldogs don't play Alabama, LSU, or Texas A&M from the SEC West, while Florida and South Carolina both had to tangle with the Tigers and the Gators had both LSU at home and a trip to A&M to deal with. So Georgia got to play a game for the SEC East reins against Florida last Saturday, won it, and now faces no more imposing a conference foe than Ole Miss from here on out. The Bulldogs should be able to ease past a Rebels squad with far less talent, but Mississippi's been feisty this year, and Aaron Murray's inconsistency can be maddening at times for Dawgs fans. If this one's not immediately a blowout, it could be a close, tense game.
Last Button Options: Texas Tech vs. Texas (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2). How low can Texas go? Losing to Tech in Lubbock would be the Longhorns' 10th straight loss to a ranked team. (Their last was a win over an incredibly overrated Nebraska team in 2010.) How Texas Tech is only a 2.5-point favorite in this game, I don't know: the Red Raiders actually play defense, unlike their counterparts, and have shown the ability to put up points on a bad defense (cough, West Virginia, cough) before.
West Virginia vs. TCU (3 p.m., FOX). Since giving up 104 points in two weeks, West Virginia has ... not played, and snuck back into the top 25 by virtue of losses by teams in front of it. There's no doubt that the Mountaineers' defense still has uncorrected flaws despite two weeks to work on them, and TCU's shown an ability to score with a good offense, as evidenced by a triple-OT 56-53 win over Texas Tech. This game could be a lot of fun.
Know The Number: Michigan State vs. Nebraska (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2): perfect for those who mix white wine and Natty Lite; Notre Dame vs. Pittsburgh (3:30 p.m., NBC): Pittsburgh had no chance, and then Pittsburgh had three players, including leading rusher Ray Graham and leading receiver Devin Street, arrested for assault on Thursday.
Cover The Spread: Hot dogs! They keep you hot. Dog. (Look, my advice is better than Spilly's and it is free.)
Evening Block (7 to 11 p.m. Eastern)
First Choice: LSU vs. Alabama (8 p.m., CBS). Look, there's an argument for the aesthetic appeal of the Pac-12 shootout: Oregon is the nation's most fun team, and USC has a bunch of players on offense who you will watch on Sundays if you enjoy the passion-deficient corpo-sport that is the NFL. But that game means a lot less (USC is out of the national title race; Oregon's likely to blow out the Trojans) and is going to be played on a much smaller, less Shakespearean stage than the cauldron of roiling humanity that is Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night. Even if Alabama's significantly better than LSU, LSU will not lay an egg in front of their home crowd, which takes to night games like bats to darkness. Expect a tight, hard-won Alabama victory, but expect this to be the best-played game of the day by far.
Last Button Option: USC vs. Oregon (7 p.m., FOX). Just as in the LSU-Alabama rivalry, the road team scored a surprising win in 2011, and now must defend home turf as an underdog in 2012. The difference is that USC, still navigating the treacherous waters of NCAA sanctions that include scholarship reductions, has less talent and depth than an Oregon team that might be the best in school history, and that Chip Kelly's proclivity for running up the score cannot hurt the Ducks in the polls or the computers at this point. You'll be able to catch at least an hour of this game -- long enough for up to 28 Oregon points -- before LSU-'Bama, too.
Know The (Channel) Numbers: Duke vs. Clemson (8 p.m., ESPN2): because Clemson falling to the only bowl-eligible Duke team since 1995 would be the ultimate Clemsoning; Kansas State vs. Oklahoma State (8 p.m., ABC): in which the improving Cowboys get a shot at a K-State team that has shown no signs of weakness; USF vs. UCo ... okay, I was just making sure you were still reading.
Cover The Spread: Corn dogs! Because LSU fans smell like them, so you will be honoring them, and because I have already advised you to drink hot chocolate and eat hot dogs, and there's no way my ideas get worse.
Late Night Block (10 p.m. Eastern onward)
First Choice: Oregon State vs. Arizona State (10:30 p.m., ESPN2). Oregon State missed out on the first 8-0 start in school history based mostly on a hurricane wiping out an early gimme game, and Arizona State's been decent in its first year under Todd Graham. Your other choices are a not-very-good Boise State team and an interesting Arizona-UCLA game that is hidden on the Pac-12 Network.
Cover The Spread: Hot chocolate again. You thought I was going to go ice cream, didn't you? WRONG.
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