Break out the chips and cold drinks, but let Chris Dufresne handle the remote. The Times’ national college football writer handicaps what’s worth watching, and skipping, on Saturday’s menu of games:
No. 3 Ohio State (9-0) at Illinois (3-6)
9 a.m., ESPN
If you sleep in until noon you will have missed Ohio State tying the school record with its 22 straight win and Illinois losing its 20th consecutive Big Ten Conference game. The Buckeyes are 21-0 under second-year coach Urban Meyer and needing one more victory to match the winning skein posted by the great Woody Hayes teams of 1967-69. Ohio State should have no trouble then breaking the mark next week in Columbus against Indiana.
9 a.m.: Iowa State at Oklahoma, FS1; Indiana at Wisconsin, ESPN2; Troy at Mississippi, ESPNU; Cincinnati at Rutgers, ESPN News; Purdue at Penn State, BTN; West Virginia at Kansas, FS West.
9:15 a.m.: Kentucky at Vanderbilt, KDOC.
11 a.m.: Washington State at Arizona, Pac-12.
Syracuse (5-4) at No. 2 Florida State (9-0)
12:30 p.m., ESPN2
It’s never good news when TMZ starts covering your team, so this was not a good week for Florida State. What should have been a romp over a mediocre opponent has been clouded by news that a sexual-assault complaint filed last December could involve star quarterback Jameis Winston. Details are sketchy at this point, but at best this is an unwelcome distraction for a team trying to win its first national title since 1999.
No. 25 Georgia (6-3) at No. 7 Auburn (9-1)
12:30 p.m., Channel 2
Georgia has played a brutal schedule but could foul up Auburn’s national title dreams with an upset win on the Plains. Auburn gets a shot at No. 1 Alabama later this month.
No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1) at No. 23 Texas (7-2)
12:30 p.m., Channel 11
Baylor is No. 5 in the Bowl Championship Series standings but isn’t even leading the Big 12 Conference. That honor (for now) goes to the beaten-down Mack Browns, who are 6-0 in league compared to 5-0 for Baylor. Texas has won six straight games since it became common knowledge that Brown was going to be replaced at the end of the season. The streak has been accomplished without several key starters lost to injury, yet the hard work starts here. Texas also has remaining games against Texas Tech and Baylor.
No. 24 Miami (7-2) at Duke (7-2)
12:30 p.m., ESPNU
Miami, which has lost two straight since a 7-0 start, has to face Duke without the services of star back Duke Johnson, who broke his ankle in the Florida State loss. This is a key game in the Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal division, with the winner gaining the edge to play Florida State in the conference title game in Charlotte.
12:30 p.m.: Michigan State at Nebraska, Channel 7; Michigan at Northwestern, BTN; South Alabama at Navy, CBSSN; Texas Christian at Kansas State, FS West.
1 p.m.: Utah at Oregon, FS1.
2:30 p.m.: California at Colorado, Pac-12.
4 p.m.: Louisiana Tech at Rice, CBSSN; Texas Tech vs. Baylor at Arlington, Channel 11; Florida at South Carolina, ESPN2; Houston at Louisville, ESPNU.
4:45 p.m.: Alabama at Mississippi State, ESPN.
No. 5 Stanford (8-1) at USC (7-3)
5 p.m., Channel 7
How many more games does interim coach Ed Orgeron have to win before he should be seriously considered for the permanent job? Answer: This one. A win over Stanford on a national stage would keep USC undefeated in Pac-12 play since Orgeron replaced Lane Kiffin.
Oregon State (6-3) at No. 24 Arizona State (7-2)
6:30 p.m., Pac-12
Arizona State cannot afford to look ahead to next week’s Pac-12 South showdown against UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Oregon State is not a powerhouse, and but any team that has the pass-catch combination of Sean Mannion and Brandin Cooks is a threat to win on any Saturday.
Wyoming (4-5) at Boise State (6-3)
7:15 p.m., ESPN2
This game has BCS implications but not for Boise State. The Mountain West team in the hunt, Fresno State, is locked in a battle with Northern Illinois for a berth in the Fiesta Bowl. Fresno State probably wants Boise State to win this game and then the Broncos to win the Mountain West Mountain division. A rematch victory against Boise State in the Mountain West title game would probably benefit Fresno State more in a close BCS standings race against Northern Illinois.
7:30 p.m.: San Diego State at Hawaii, CBSSN; San Jose State at Nevada, ESPNU.