The Saturday Agenda

AP Photo/Richard Shiro

The most intriguing televised contests of your college football Saturday, collated into the somewhat obvious (The Manning) and the somewhat less obvious (The Leaf):

Act I

The Manning: North Carolina (5-2) at no. 7 Clemson (7-0), noon EST, ESPN

Appeals To: Tobacconists, Homer Jordan

Always at this time of the season, there is at least one undefeated major-conference team that the entire SEC fanbase deems unworthy of cozying up to their elitist fête. This year, it just happens to be a team that always seems like it should be playing in the SEC. I expect Clemson will survive this week, and then keep surviving, and then lose the final game of the season when The Head Ball Coach extracts an unwarranted miracle from his posterior whilst benching every quarterback on his roster.

Grantland Rating: 7.7

The Leaf: No. 11 Kansas State (6-0) at Kansas (2-4), noon, FSN

Appeals To: Sam Brownback, Wicked Witches

Or sometimes there are two teams who won’t go away. Is it a coincidence that Bill Snyder has risen at the same time as The Walking Dead? I think not.

Grantland Rating: 6.8

Act II

The Manning: No. 20 Auburn (5-2) at no. 1 LSU (7-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS

Appeals To: Amateur Herbalists, Panthera tigris

This looked like an overhyped trifle, until LSU’s best defensive player and top running back were suspended for reportedly inhaling convenience-store incense. Now it’s probably still a trifle, but a potentially more interesting one, unless this dude passes back through town, in which case, it’s a real (non-synthetic) party.

Grantland Rating: 8.0

The Leaf: Air Force (3-3) at no. 5 Boise State (6-0), 3:30 p.m., Versus

Appeals To: Beleaguered Grocery Sackers

You may choose, in this time slot, second-rate clashes in the Big Ten, or the Big 12, or the Atlantic Coast Conference. I will choose Kellen Moore, who has a quarterback rating of 179.7 this season. There are probably too many undefeated major-conference teams for Boise State to overcome, which is a shame, because they really might be one of the two best teams in the country this time around. And they have just as many crazy-eyed marijuana distributors as Baton Rouge does.

Grantland Rating: 7.0


The Manning: No. 6 Wisconsin (6-0) at no. 16 Michigan State (5-1), 8 p.m., ESPN

Appeals To: Cheap-Shot Artists, Disappointment Artists

The first game in a two-week test that I expect Wisconsin to fail miserably, because this is what the Big Ten does best: Inflate your expectations, then smother them with a pillow.

Grantland Rating: 9.1

The Leaf: Southern Methodist (5-1) at Southern Mississippi (5-1), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports Network

Appeals To: Geographic Name Enthusiasts

A crucial showdown in the league formerly known as Conference USA, which has now merged with the Mountain West to form a mega-conglomerate that seems to have elevated us to the zenith of nonsensical conference-realignment fuckery. The important thing is to remember amid all this confusion is that June Jones is our homeboy.

Grantland Rating: 7.8

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Filed Under: Auburn, Boise State, Clemson, College Football, Kansas, Kansas State, LSU, Michael Weinreb, Michigan State, North Carolina, Wisconsin