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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: Week 10 Guide to College Football

This week we’re taking your calls, Keith from Goshen.

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Clark County Election Officials Continue Vote Tabulation Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Ho hum, another week we shouldn’t be playing football, another week I run down the big ol’ schedule of college football games.

Take a quiz on MAC upsets, too, if you haven’t already.

It’s worth noting that, as of today, the Chicago Bears closed their practice facility because of players testing positive for COVID-19. At least those tough NFL men aren’t living in fear, amirite?

Earlier this week, when the wisconsin-Purdue game was canceled, I too had some thoughts.

This article might have struck some of you as sensationalist, perhaps a little knee-jerk or hot-taek; that’s certainly fine. You have a right as an AMERICUN PAY-TREE-UT, goddamnit, to disagree with me—as some of you did, which was weird, because that article got front-paged by SBNation’s main site. That’s doubly odd, because we honestly didn’t know that they were aware of our existence.

If you’ve just joined: Hi! Super-serious journalists at work here, getting those scoops and beating those beats. I once shared a cab with a Medill graduate! Take THAT, Bleacher Report!

Anyway, feedback. You guys had it, and I loved all those new subscribers to Off Tackle Empire! Why use those SBN platforms to beam out any writing we do on previewing the Big Ten, or our own teams, or the community we’ve built here? Send us the crazies!

I’d just like to take this opportunity to thank four of those crazies in particular:

I have been Well and Truly Burned...but I would like you, reader, to tell me which of these brilliant raconteurs did it best.


Best feedback?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    Aggrieved, middle-aged white guy #1
    (17 votes)
  • 41%
    Aggrieved, middle-aged white guy #2
    (50 votes)
  • 36%
    Aggrieved, middle-aged white guy #3
    (44 votes)
  • 8%
    Aggrieved, middle-aged white guy #4
    (10 votes)
121 votes total Vote Now

My inbox is ALWAYS open to such wit and wisdom. Thanks to all who participated. For your troubles, you’ve been signed up to receive emails and one free horoscope per month from the Marianne Williamson campaign.

Onto the games.


Don’t Watch This

{NFL} Green Bay Packers at San Francisco 49ers [7:20pm, FOX/NFL]

{Copa Sudamericana} Estudiantes Merida vs. Coquimbo Unido [4:15pm, beIN]
{CONCACAF} Waterhouse vs. Arcahaie [5pm, FS2]
{Copa Sudamericana} Bahia vs. Melgar [6:30pm, beIN]
{CONCACAF} Herediano vs. Real Esteli [7:15pm, FS2]
{CONCACAF} Olimpia vs. Managua [9:30pm, FS2]

Watch That

Utah State Aggies at Nevada Wolf Pack

6pm | FS1 | Nev -18 | O/U 56

Wyoming Cowboys at Colorado State Rams

8pm | CBSSN | Wyo -3.5 | O/U 54

I once skipped driving to Laramie to watch the BORDER WAR between the ‘Pokes and the Rams. I opted to watch the 2017 Northwestern-Nebraska game in the basement of reader/commenter/Xs and Os guy MountainTiger instead. This happened in Laramie:

I have regrets.

Anywho, these ROTC programs from the visiting school runs the game ball about 65 miles from one campus to the other. They play for a big-ass Bronze Boot that Wyoming has won three consecutive years. And they’re still running that football, safely and socially-distanced, across the border:

I love this stupid game.


HELLO IT’S THURSDAY! What’s on, sports fans?

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    (48 votes)
  • 31%
    I’ll take COVID-riddled Green Bay at really-shitty San Francisco—GIMME NICK MULLENS AND MEDIOCRITY
    (25 votes)
  • 8%
    South and Central American soccer never looked so good.
    (7 votes)
80 votes total Vote Now


Don’t Watch This

{Turkey} Gaziantepspor vs. Besiktas [11am, beIN]
{EPL} Brighton & Hove Albion vs. Burnley [11:30am, Peacock] — there being nothing else on at this time tells you how fucking bad it’s gonna be
{Bundesliga} Werder Bremen vs. 1. FC Koln [1:30pm, ESPN+]
{Serie A} Sassuolo vs. Udinese [1:45pm, ESPN+]
{Scottish Cup} Alloa Athletic vs. Dundee [1:45pm, ESPN+]
{La Liga} Elche vs. Celta de Vigo [2pm, beIN]
{Liga MX} Puebla vs. Atletico San Luis [7:30pm, TUDN]
{Liga MX} Juarez vs. America [9:30pm, TUDN]

Watch That

#11 Miami Fluoride Hurricanes at N.C. State Wolfpack

6:30pm | ESPN | M-FL -10.5 | O/U 59

San Jose State Spartans at San Diego State Aztecs

8pm | CBSSN | SDSU -9 | O/U 47.5

#9 BYU Cougars at #21 Boise State Broncos

8:45pm | FS1 | BYU -3 | O/U 61

Daytime Soccer

{EFL} Cardiff City vs. Bristol City [12pm, ESPN+]
{FA Cup} Harrogate Town vs. Skelmersdale United [1:45pm, ESPN+ IF FOR THE NAMES ALONE]
{EPL} Southampton vs. New Castle United [2pm, Peacock]

It feels a little unfair to put all three games under “Watch That”—rest assured that Miami Fluoride-at-N.C. State only makes the list because it’s the only game on.

But I can’t pick between the evening games. BYU-Boise State is everything Mountain West football (and, yes, independent football) aspires to be, and San Jose-San Diego is everything it actually is.

The Spartans are veering dangerously close to DWT;WT Team of Choice territory, with Brent Brennan’s Spartans playing ball that’s just ugly enough to work. LOOK AT THAT DUDE. He is your 6th grade basketball coach who runs a motion offense and teaches you to slap the floor on defense. He’s the investment banker who wears tennis shoes under a suit.

I aspire to be him someday. And damn, he’s got San Jose playing.

Do the Spartans run the ball?

Reader, they do not do it well. A listed wide receiver, Isaiah Holiness—WHAT A NAME, to go with K Matt Mercurio—is their leading 16 carries for 49 yards. Their long run on the year is 10. The Spartans have run the ball 58 times for 166 yards and no TDs.

Thankfully it DOESN’T MATTER, because QB Nick Starkel makes this team run. Relying on WRs Bailey Gaither and Tre Walker, SJSU makes no bones about how it’s going to move the ball through the air, and so far Starkel has answered the call, torching Air Force and New Mexico to the tune of 56/76 (73.7%), 693 yards, and 7 TDs to 1 INT.

That’ll get tested tomorrow against the Brady Hoke-led Aztecs, who have allowed a total of 13 points in two games. Oh, and San Diego State is right back to its tricks on offense, pounding the rock at a 7.0 ypc clip, with Greg Bell leading the way but slashers Chance Bell and Kaegun Williams right behind him.

Is San Jose State for real? Maybe not. But a showing against the Aztecs could have me believing that Brennan’s actually on an upswing in San Jose—they sniffed a bowl game in 2019 at 5-7 and could be bowl-bound this year.

BYU-Boise State will feature at least 5 unsportsmanlike penalties, and I’m setting the over/under at .5 nut punches. Even odds both ways. Admit it: You have no idea which way to bet here.


BYU-Boise O/U: 4.5 unsportsmanlike penalties

This poll is closed

  • 57%
    (35 votes)
  • 42%
    (26 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now


BYU-Boise O/U: .5 nut punches

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    (22 votes)
  • 8%
    (5 votes)
  • 54%
    It’s not a nut punch, they’re just checking to see if you’re wearing the magic underwear
    (32 votes)
59 votes total Vote Now


Friday night! Pick your poison(s):

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    (16 votes)
  • 14%
    Just Miami-NC State, oddly
    (8 votes)
  • 10%
    Just BYU-Boise
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    Just San Jose State-San Diego State
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    (2 votes)
  • 3%
    ACC + BYU/Boise
    (2 votes)
  • 36%
    what is happening
    (21 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats (-3.5, O/U 55) [11am, BTN]
Michigan State Spartans at Iowa Hawkeyes (-6.5, O/U 46.5) [11am, ESPN]
#18 SMU Mustangs (-17.5, O/U 62.5) at Temple Owls [11am, ESPN+]
Arizona State Sun Devils at #20 USC Trojans (-10.5, O/U 57.5) [11am, FOX]
West Virginia Mountaineers at #22 Texas Longhorns (-6.5, O/U 55) [11am, ABC]
#25 Liberty Flames at Virginia Tech Hokies (-14.5, O/U 67.5) [11am, ACCN]
South Florida Brahman Bulls at Memphis Tigers (-17.5, O/U 64.5) [11am, ESPN+]
North Carolina Tar Heels (-10.5, O/U 63.5) at Duke Blue Devils [11am, ESPN2]
ULM Warhawks at Georgia State Panthers (-18, O/U 58.5) [11am, ESPN3]
Arkansas State Red Wolves at Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (-14, O/U 66.5) [11am, ESPNU]
Troy Trojans (-3, O/U 55) at Georgia Southern Eagles [12pm, ESPN3]

{EPL} Everton vs. Manchester United [6:30am, NBCSN]
{EFL} Reading vs. Stoke City [6:30am, ESPN+]
{EPL} Crystal Palace vs. Leeds United [9am, NBCSN]
{EFL} Nottingham Forest vs. Wycombe Wanderers [9am, ESPN+]
{EPL} Chelsea vs. Sheffield United [11:30am, NBC]

Watch That

#23 Michigan Wolverines at #13 Indiana Hoosiers

11am | FS1 | Mich -3.5 | O/U 54

Air Force Falcons at Army Black Knights

10:30am | CBS | Army -6 | O/U 40.5

Tulane Green Wave at East Carolina Pirates

11am | ESPN+ | Tulane -5 | O/U 61

{Bundesliga} Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayern Munich

11:30am | ESPN+

A moment to consider how absolutely batshit stupid it is that the Pac-12 is playing football at 9am PT just to try and get East Coast cameras on its product—particularly this year, of all years.

RIP to the BIG NUDE SATURDAY crowd, too, which is aswarm with COVID. I’m worried about the “competitive advantage” the pregame show will have relative to other, actually decent pregame shows. Thank goodness no one on the panel has heart conditions. Ts and Ps.

You’re just watching Michigan-Indiana to see how the Hoosiers’ heart gets ripped out this time. I’m gonna get out ahead of the lazy sportswriters, though, just in case the Hoosiers do the damn thing this time.

On October 24, 1987, Anthony Thompson and the 15th-ranked Hoosiers beat #20 Michigan:

  • A gallon of gas was 90 cents.
  • Michael Jackson’s “Bad” hit No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts.
  • Robert Bork’s bid for the Supreme Court was front-page news, having gone down by a 58-42 vote in the Senate the day prior.
  • Soybeans were at $5.39. (That one’s just for Joni.)

Please be sure to credit Off Tackle Empire Dot Com with that hot scoop, Bloomington Journal-Gazette or Muncie Messenger or Pawnee Sun.


Your Saturday viewing?

This poll is closed

  • 35%
    (39 votes)
  • 24%
    (27 votes)
  • 20%
    (22 votes)
  • 5%
    Air Force-Army
    (6 votes)
  • 13%
    literally anything else
    (15 votes)
109 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

Maryland Terrapins at Penn State Nittany Lions (-25, O/U 64.5) [2:30pm, BTN]
Boston College Eagles (-14, O/U 52.5) at Syracuse Orange [1pm, ESPN3]
North Alabama Lions at Southern Miss Golden Eagles [2pm, ESPN3]
Appalachian St. Mountaineers (-17.5, O/U 56.5) at Texas State Bobcats [2pm, ESPN+]
#8 Florida Gators at #5 Georgia Bulldogs (-3.5, O/U 52.5) [2:30pm, CBS]
Houston Cougars at #6 Cincinnati Bearcats (-13.5, O/U 54) [2:30pm, ABC]
Kansas Jayhawks at #19 Oklahoma Sooners (-38, O/U 63.5) [2:30pm, ESPN]
UTSA Roadrunners at Rice Owls (-5, O/U 46.5) [2:30pm, ESPN3]
Vanderbilt Commodores at Mississippi State Bulldogs (-19, O/U 46.5) [2:30pm, SECN]
Fresno State Bulldogs (-11.5, O/U 58) at UNLV Rebels [2:30pm, CBSSN]
Arizona Wildcats at Utah Utes (-14, O/U 57) [2:30pm, ESPN2]
#14 Oklahoma State Cowboys (-12.5, O/U 46.5) at Kansas State Wildcats [3pm, FOX]
Pittsburgh Panthers at Florida State Seminoles (-2, O/U 50) [3pm, ACCN]

{EPL} West Ham United vs. Fulham [2pm, Peacock]

Watch That

Minnesota Golden Gophers at Illinois Fighting Illini

2:30pm | BTN | Minn -7 | O/U 61.5

Massachusetts Minutemen at #16 Marshall Thundering Herd

1:30pm | ESPN+ | Marshall -45 | O/U 55.5

Charlotte 49ers at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

2:30pm | ESPN+ | Charlotte -4 | O/U 66

Texas Tech Red Raiders at TCU Horned Frogs

2:30pm | FS1 | TCU -9.5 | O/U 61.5

This is an afternoon where it’s good to clean your house or mow the lawn or do literally anything else. Woof. The only thing making Minnesota-Illinois worth tuning in for is that I’m not sure either team can actually stop the other. We’ll set the O/U around 325 yards rushing combined between these two teams.

UMass football is the snuff film I just can’t stop watching.


Dear God.

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    I know.
    (18 votes)
  • 17%
    (17 votes)
  • 23%
    Maryland-Penn State
    (23 votes)
  • 4%
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    Charlotte-MTSU is a game that’s already been played 4 times this year; you can’t fool me
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Texas Tech-TCU?
    (1 vote)
  • 17%
    World’s Largest Outdoor COVID Party
    (17 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
  • 1%
    Appalachian State is HOT HOT HOT
    (1 vote)
  • 6%
    Let’s check in on the Pac-12
    (6 votes)
  • 8%
    West Ham-Fulham should make MNW plenty sad; I’ll watch that out of spite for this poll.
    (8 votes)
99 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Florida Atlantic Owls (-6.5, O/U 39.5) [5pm, Stadium?]
#7 Texas A&M Aggies (-10, O/U 59) at South Carolina Gamecocks [6pm, ESPN]
Baylor Bears at #17 Iowa St. Cyclones (-14, O/U 47.5) [6pm, FS1]
UCLA Bruins (-6.5, O/U 56.5) at Colorado Buffaloes [6pm, ESPN2]
#1 Clemson Tigers (-5, O/U 51.5) at #4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish [6:30pm, NBC]
Stanford Cardinal at #12 Oregon Ducks (-9, O/U 51) [6:30pm, ABC]
Tennessee Volunteers (-1.5, O/U 52.5) at Arkansas Razorbacks [6:30pm, SECN]
South Alabama Jaguars at #15 Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (-18, O/U 55.5) [7pm, ESPNU]

Watch That

Rutgers Scarlet Knights at #3 Ohio State Buckeyes

6:30pm | BTN | OSU -38 | O/U 64.5

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at North Texas Mean Green

6pm | CBSSN | UNT -1.5 | O/U 72

I would rather watch Rutgers gamely try to hang with Ohio State—get that revenge, Schiano—than listen to the constant drumbeat of “WITHOUT Trevor Lawrence, Clemson tries...”

LaTech-North Texas will have points. You don’t need any more explanation.



This poll is closed

  • 44%
    (42 votes)
  • 4%
    LaTech-UNT and the points and some cocaine too for good measure
    (4 votes)
  • 2%
    TAMU-SCar — consult your doctor before using Tamuscar
    (2 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    Iowa fan here, checking in on Iowa State just because, no reason, DEFINITELY not obsessing
    (8 votes)
  • 8%
    Stanford-Oregon could be dumb fun
    (8 votes)
  • 4%
    Watching my RANKED CHANTS, thank you
    (4 votes)
  • 26%
    ...fine, Notre Dame-Clemson
    (25 votes)
95 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

Washington Huskies (-1, O/U 43) at California Golden Bears [9:30pm, ESPN]

Literally an hour before I posted this. BuT CoLLeGe AtHLeTeS WiLL bE FiNe; StOp TeSTiNg

Watch That

Washington State Cougars at Oregon State Beavers

9:30pm | FS1 | Oregon State -1.5 | O/U 65.5

New Mexico Lobos at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

10pm | Team1Sports (phone/TV only) | UH -15.5 | O/U 62.5

Nick Rolovich—who, turns out, may not be the Fun Divorced Dad Living on the Islands I had hoped he really was but actually pretty shitty about player-led social justice movements—has been a social media maven for the Cougs, posts plenty of stadium sunrise pics, possibly a hat guy now?

Odd, but when Dad leaves the lei behind he’s still gotta have A Thing.

Regardless, the Run’n’Shoot makes its way back to the mainland, this time at an ostensibly Power-5 program with the recruits and pieces to make it work. RB Max Borghi is back for Wazzu, and while the Cougs might trot out a true frosh QB in Jayden de Laura, if there’s any natural-born transfer of head coaches, it’s probably Mike Leach to Nick Rolovich.

And hey! We learned two years ago that Rolovich has no problem beating Oregon State.

As for the Beavs? Their 5-win season in 2019 was their best since 2014. Really. Jonathan Smith’s rebuild is going to be slow and painstaking, particularly after QB Jake Luton graduated, but it’s former Nebraska QB Tristan Gebbia at the helm now for OSU III along with stud RB Jermar Jefferson.

Still missing that Hawaii fix? We’re gonna learn together. I’m not sure what Team1Sports is, still, or if it works at all, but the Hawaii Athletics page swears this game will be available for free on the mainland on the Team1Sports smart TV app.

If they’re right? HAWAII FOOTBALL.

If not? We send MNW an angry email.



This poll is closed

  • 26%
    (18 votes)
  • 23%
    (16 votes)
  • 10%
    (7 votes)
  • 5%
    (4 votes)
  • 32% i passed out hours ago
    (22 votes)
67 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the games, everybody. Here’s your open thread for Thursday and maybe, just maybe, Friday night’s football.