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Weekend Games Guide: Long road back

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Michigan may have a bye, but there are a couple colossal matchups this weekend

Michigan v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

The first edition of the College Football Playoff rankings have been released, and that means we’ll be seeing more big games in the weeks ahead as teams play rivalry games and fight for conference titles. In the Big Ten, the West Division will begin to get much clearer as Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa all have games against ranked opponents. Quite simply, something’s gotta give.

B1G Games to Watch

No. 4 Penn State vs No. 17 Minnesota. The undefeated Minnesota Golden Gophers are in the midst of their best season in some time, but things get real starting this week with their matchup against the Penn State Nittany Lions. Minnesota has thus far not played anyone of note, and their perfect 8-0 record reflects that. Over the next four weeks, the Gophers play three ranked teams: Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin. How they do in these games will decide who wins the Big Ten West, and, given Ohio State’s ranking in the initial CFP Poll, probably which Big Ten team will represent the conference in the Rose Bowl. This game kicks off at Noon on ABC.

Illinois vs Michigan State. Both the Illinois Fighting Illini and Michigan State Spartans are looking to win enough games in November to become bowl eligible, but only Illinois can do it with a win in this game. If Illinois is able to win this game, they’ll be eligible for a bowl game for the first time during the Lovie Smith era—and for the first time since 2014. Michigan State, on the other hand, is coming off three losses and needs to win multiple games this month to reach the bowl season. Both teams have a lot to fight for and should be well motivated. This game gets underway at 3:30 p.m. on FS1.

No. 18 Iowa vs No. 13 Wisconsin. The other matchup of ranked Big Ten teams this weekend, the Iowa Hawkeyes and Wisconsin Badgers are fighting to stay alive in the Big Ten West. The loser will likely be relegated to at least third in the division standings, while the winner will be in line to seize the division title with a win over Minnesota—who is on both teams’ schedules later this month. Wisconsin is coming off two straight losses, one inexplicably to Illinois, while Iowa is coming off two straight wins after consecutive losses to Penn State and Michigan. This game kicks off at 4:00 p.m. on Fox.

National Games to Watch

No. 2 LSU vs No. 3 Alabama. It’s No. 2 vs No. 3 in this titanic SEC matchup between the LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide. LSU and Alabama both bring bonafide Heisman contenders to this battle with Joe Burrow and Tua Tagovailoa helming their respective offenses. Notably, only LSU comes into this matchup with a win over a ranked team this season—meaning that this will be Bama’s first test of the year. With that being said, they still come into this one as seven-point favorites. The SP+ also favors the Tide by approximately the same margin. This one kicks off 3:30 p.m. on CBS, and this surely will be one of the games that I am watching in this time slot.

The Grid

Just because we highlighted the 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 Matchup. All games take place on Saturday unless otherwise noted.

Big Ten

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
No. 4 Penn State vs No. 17 Minnesota 12:00 p.m. ABC WatchESPN.com
Maryland vs No. 1 Ohio State 12:00 p.m. Fox FoxSportsGo.com
Purdue vs Northwestern 12:00 p.m. BTN FoxSportsGo.com
Illinois vs Michigan State 3:30 p.m. FS1 FoxSportsGo.com
No. 18 Iowa vs No. 13 Wisconsin 4:00 p.m. Fox FoxSportsGo.com
Maize n Brew

Top-25

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Vanderbilt vs No. 10 Florida 12:00 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN.com
No. 12 Baylor vs TCU 12:00 p.m. FS1 FoxSportsGo.com
East Carolina vs No. 25 SMU 12:00 p.m. ESPNU WatchESPN.com
No. 2 LSU vs No. 3 Alabama 3:30 p.m. CBS CBSSports.com
No. 16 Kansas State vs Texas 3:30 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN.com
No. 19 Wake Forest vs Virginia Tech 3:30 p.m. ACCN WatchESPN.com
Connecticut vs No. 20 Cincinnati 3:30 p.m. CBS CBSSports.com
Missouri vs No. 6 Georgia 7:00 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN.com
No. 5 Clemson vs North Carolina State 7:30 p.m. ABC WatchESPN.com
No. 15 Notre Dame vs Duke 7:30 p.m. ACCN WatchESPN.com
Iowa State vs No. 9 Oklahoma 8:00 p.m. Fox FoxSportsGo.com
Wyoming vs No. 22 Boise State 10:15 p.m. ESPN WatchESPN.com
Maize n Brew

Think we missed a game that we should have highlighted? What games are you watching this weekend. Chime in down in the comments below.