College Football Watching Guide: Undefeated Baylor, SMU face major tests

By Zac Byrd

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Early Slate

Tune in For: Texas Tech vs. Iowa State

When: 11 a.m. Saturday on FS1 in Lubbock

Okay so you have an angry Texas Tech who was on the wrong end of an officiating blunder last weekend, taking on an efficient Iowa State offense that the jury’s still out on and to wrap it nicely, it’s Lubbock in October, what’s not to love? 

Jett Duffey’s proven to be a viable option behind center in Alan Bowman’s absence and suddenly, the Red Raiders look to still be in a good spot to clinch bowl eligibility in Matt Wells’ first season. Keep the television locked here.

Check your phone

  • Houston at UConn (11 a.m. on ESPNU): There’s not much reason to watch this game if you’re not a Houston fan. Honestly, there’s not much reason to watch it even if you are a Houston fan. Take a well-deserved week off. 

Midday Slate

Tune in For: SMU vs. Temple

When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN2 in Dallas

Saturday marks the marquee home game of the year for SMU, as the Mustangs host a Temple squad fresh off upsetting Memphis on the road. This game will be critical to 

The Mustangs have been the most fun team to watch in the state thanks to a productive James Proche-led offense and disruptive defense. Temple will try to bleed that out of them, but SMU is talented enough across the board that this will be a dogfight. 

Second Screen: Baylor at Oklahoma State

When: 3 p.m. Saturday on FOX in Stillwater, Okla.

This game is so good, you have to find a way to watch it along with the SMU game. In many ways, this game has a chance to define the season for both teams. 

On the field, many of the best playmakers in the nation will be on the same field. Denzel Mims and Tylan Wallace will play in the NFL next year. Chuba Hubbard is the nation’s most productive running back. Charlie Brewer and Spencer Sanders are legendary high school players turned college stars. Watch it. 

Keep an Eye on: TCU at Kansas State

When: 1:30 p.m. on Fox Sports Networks

This game could have gotten better TV placement if it wasn’t during a banger of a midday slot. Saturday marks a prove-it game for TCU after the debacle against Iowa State a week ago. In fact, call this the Desperation Bowl. Whoever loses this game probably isn’t making a bowl.

Check Your Phone for:

  • North Texas at Middle Tennessee (3 p.m. on Stadium Video): North Texas really needs a road win after a nightmarish performance against Southern Miss. A lot would virtually end their season. 

Late Slate

Tune in For: Texas A&M vs. Ole Miss

When: 6 p.m. Saturday on SEC Network in Oxford, Miss.

Reason to keep an eye on this one is that suddenly, this one looks like must-win for the Aggies if they want to finish 7-5. Heading into the season, we knew that Texas A&M’s ceiling was likely only 8-4 mostly due to the insanely difficult schedule, but with Auburn appearing better than we anticipated, that created another early season stumbling block. 

These next four games – at Ole Miss, then back home for Mississippi State, UTSA and South Carolina – is a crucial stretch if A&M wants to head into tough games at Georgia and at LSU to end the season with any sort of good momentum. That’s all to say that Ole Miss is a team in a worse spot than A&M and could be what the Aggies need to get rolling.

Keep an eye on: Rice at UTSA

When: 5 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3 in San Antonio

When’s the last time an 0-6 team was favored on the road against a team with two wins? That’s how bad things are at UTSA at this point. We’ve labeled Rice the best winless team in the nation and we’re not joking! Rice has one-score losses to Baylor, Army and Louisiana Tech (Combined record of 13-4) and has a semblance of an identity on offense with Mike Bloomgren’s Group of Five Stanford approach. 

The same can’t be said for UTSA. Check the score of this one and if Rice takes a one-score lead at any point, flip it over because UTSA is a team that struggles to move the ball enough to mount a comeback without Frank Harris.

Check your phone for: 

  • Kansas at No. 15 Texas (6 p.m. on LHN): Unless you’re a Texas fan there’s really no reason to watch this. Check the phone, make sure Texas is up 28-3 at halftime and keep it tuned to the other games. If it’s halftime and it’s a one-score game then maybe flip it over before Texas (hopefully) pulls away.

  • UTEP at FIU (6 p.m. on ESPN+): The Miners probably don’t have much shot on the road against a C-USA mainstay. Just keep an eye on the score in case things get frisky.

Wild Card Games

Tarleton vs. Texas A&M-Commerce

The first marquee game of the Lone Star Conference season takes place in Stephenville, Texas. The game won’t be televised, but get out there and watch a legit title contender in Tarleton take on the most established program of the last five years in TAMUC. This is where Tarleton State can prove it’s a head above the rest of the field. 

Sam Houston State vs. Nicholls (2 p.m.on ESPN+): 

This game should get heavy consideration for your TV. This game pits the preseason Southland pick against the program that has dominated this conference for the better part of a decade. If you don’t know the name wide receiver Nathan Stewart, learn it now. 

Stephen F. Austin at Abilene Christian (3 p.m. on ESPN+)

This is a game between two programs that are heading into the right direction under two fantastic Division-II national title coaches. SFA might just not have the horses as yet, but it’ll still be some well-coached football. 

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