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Weekend Game Guide: Time to step forward

Michigan and other Big Ten teams have significant opportunities this weekend

Rutgers v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

With week six upon us, the college football season is rapidly approaching the halfway point. Conference races are beginning to shape up, and teams that hope to be contenders are beginning to face do or die games.

B1G Games to Watch

No. 14 Iowa vs No. 19 Michigan. This is Michigan’s second test of the season, and the Wolverines need to win this one to get the season moving in the right direction again. We’ll have more in-depth looks at Iowa and this matchup, but this game strikes me as a test for both sides of the ball for Michigan. Iowa has a balanced offense, throwing for about 250 yards per game and rushing for about 220 yards per game. Don Brown’s squad will have to disrupt both the air and ground attacks to knock Iowa off their roughly 35 points per game pace. On the offensive side, Shea Patterson will have to contend with a Hawkeye defense that’s ranked No. 22 in the SP+. We’ll find out how well both do on Saturday at Noon on Fox.

Northwestern vs Nebraska. This matchup between the Northwestern Wildcats and Nebraska Cornhuskers doesn’t have Big Ten title implications, but it should be a good back-and-forth game. If it’s possible to have a good loss, Northwestern had one last week in their matchup with Wisconsin. Meanwhile, Nebraska will be motivated after they were embarrassed last week by Ohio State. Neither team boasts high-powered offenses, but both teams are porous at times on defense. Which team will rise to the occasion? We’ll find out on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. on Fox.

No. 25 Michigan State vs No. 4 Ohio State. The other Big Ten matchup featuring two Top-25 teams this weekend likely portends bad things for Michigan State. Ohio State has been on a tear recently, and Michigan State’s offensive struggles are well documented at this point. The Spartans only chance is their defense, which is currently ranked No. 2 in the SP+. But of course you have to score to win, and that will be a tall order for the often hapless Spartans. File this one in the category of ‘likely schadenfreude’ and consider tuning in on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.

National Games to Watch

No. 18 UCF vs Cincinnati. At first glance, this game looks like nothing special but I think it will be a great way to welcome in the weekend. Despite Cincinnati’s blowout loss to Ohio State, they actually look like a pretty decent team this year. The Bearcats check in at No. 38 in the SP+ and they have looked solid in their three wins so far this year. UCF too has looked good this year, recent loss to Pittsburgh notwithstanding, and they are ranked No. 14 in the SP+. If you’re looking for a watchable game on Friday night, this will be your best bet. It starts at 8:00 p.m. on ESPN.

No. 7 Auburn vs No. 10 Florida. The only matchup of two Top-10 teams this weekend, this game between Auburn and Florida promises some fireworks. Both teams feature SP+ Top-25 offenses and defenses, and both teams have started their seasons with five straight wins. Auburn already boasts two wins over Top-25 teams this year, while Florida is looking for its first. Florida has looked good in all its games since the opening matchup against Miami, but Auburn is a slight favorite as of writing (-3). This game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be on CBS.

The Grid

Just because we’ve highlighted the five games above doesn’t mean they’re the only ones on TV this weekend. Below, we have a list of every Big Ten and Top-25 game taking place this weekend. All games take place on Saturday, unless noted.

Big Ten

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Purdue vs No. 12 Penn State 12:00 p.m. ESPN
No. 14 Iowa vs No. 19 Michigan 12:00 p.m. Fox
Kent State vs No. 8 Wisconsin 12:00 p.m. ESPNU
Maryland vs Rutgers 12:00 p.m. BTN
Illinois vs Minnesota 3:30 p.m. BTN
Northwestern vs Nebraska 4:00 p.m. Fox
No. 25 Michigan State vs No. 4 Ohio State 7:30 p.m. ABC
Maize n Brew

Top-25 (Friday)

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
No. 18 UCF vs Cincinnati 8:00 p.m. ESPN
Maize n Brew

Top-25 (Saturday)

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Utah State vs No. 5 LSU 12:00 p.m. SECN
No. 6 Oklahoma vs Kansas 12:00 p.m. ABC
No. 21 Oklahoma State vs Texas Tech 12:00 p.m. FS1
No. 7 Auburn vs No. 10 Florida 3:30 p.m. CBS
Bowling Green vs No. 9 Notre Dame 3:30 p.m. NBC
No. 11 Texas vs West Virginia 3:30 p.m. ABC
No. 3 Georgia vs Tennessee 7:00 p.m. ESPN
Tulsa vs No. 24 SMU 7:30 p.m. ESPNU
California vs No. 13 Oregon 8:00 p.m. Fox
No. 15 Washington vs Stanford 10:30 p.m. ESPN
No. 16 Boise State vs UNLV 10:30 p.m. CBSS
Maize n Brew

What games will you be watching this weekend? Sound off in the comments with the game and why.