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Don’t Watch This; Watch That: Your Week 12 Guide to College Football

Featuring World Cup teams, but as college football teams. Or something. I dunno. The kid won’t go to sleep.

NCAA Football: Minnesota at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Note: This article is purely to inform you of the time, TV, odds, line, spread, betting, and general vibe of the college football schedule. Any learning you do, entertainment you draw, or commentary you glean from the words that follow is purely coincidental and not the intent of sports blog nation dot com.

Next week, in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar, thirty-two nations from around the world descend on soccer stadia built with exploited labor and the deaths of hundreds of migrant workers to watch games at which we’re not quite sure if fans will be allowed to consume alcohol or take pictures of signs on walls at the airport, but definitely sure they’re not allowed to be LGBTQ+. It was a really cool decision made by FIFA, an organization whose corruption and incompetence make the NCAA look like an order brother who declares himself “Banker” steals a couple extra $500 bills out of the kitty while dealing out the Monopoly money, then tells Mom and Dad the reason his little brother is upset is because he never wins.

That’s just, like, me speculating. Never actually happened. No sir.

Soccer is the world’s game, but it’s a corrupt-as-hell sport. I don’t really have an answer for “Should I watch?” or “Will I watch?” or anything, except to note that it will probably drag out of me the hypocrisy that underpins some (many?) of our decisions to keep watching college football.

In the very college football-esque spirit of “putting my fingers in my ears and pretending I don’t see anything,” here are all 32 World Cup teams, but as NCAA football squads. You can determine how accurate these are and, perhaps, find a non-America rooting interest from the bunch.

Group A


After 60 years of trying and failing to qualify for the World Cup, La Tri finally made it out of the CONMEBOL meat-grinder for the first time in 2002. They’ve appeared at four of the sixth since then, but controversy surrounded them in 2022, when they allegedly used an ineligible player.

They suffered no consequences for it.

North Carolina.


Flashy, fast, make you question your own sartorial decisions. Really good, but have never won the whole thing.



Shouldn’t be here. Corrupt petrostate. Hate LGBTQ+ people.



Since being freed from the shadow of France, the Lions of Teranga finally burst onto the scene in South Korea in 2002, making the quarterfinals. Lots of legitimate stars here, like FW Sadio Mane and defender Kalidou Koulibaly, and just won their first Africa Cup of Nations title. Unfortunately, Mane’s hurt.

A mid-major with some promise but an injured quarterback? Fresno State.

Group B


Same as it ever was — won in the 60s, tons of fans who make a lot of noise, are going to come up short no matter what. Something something realignment, something something Brexit.

Notre Dame.


Shit, did I already use Liberty?

Legitimate tragedy at home makes this one a lot tougher to joke about, really. But Team Melli has a well-respected but old-school coach who’s defensively-minded and a goalkeeper who literally just set a Guinness World Record for longest throw:

Iowa, come on down.

United States

After going a little walkabout in the 2010s, they re-emerged with a team that wants to be in the conversation but is going to underwhelm you in the end. UCLA.


Haven’t been here since the 60s. A grateful lover with a talented superstar who’s going to go for it all and probably come up short? It IS the year of Kansas, after all...

Group C


Emerge from a tough conference schedule with your biggest rival, then probably fall short and waste a generational talent? Well hey, Michigan!


Seven straight exits in the Round of 16. SEVEN! You can handle the guppies in the small pond that is CONCACAF, but on the international stage you’re just another never-was.

Good afternoon, wisconsin. Or Oklahoma State. Either’s good, really.


An aging superstar in Robert Lewandowski and a passive, reactive squad whose best days date back to communism? That’s Miami enough for me, thanks.

Saudi Arabia

You’re...uh...well, you’re here, huh? Not going to score many goals, but definitely going to have fans that travel well? BYU feels close enough.

Group D

God, this was a mistake.


Almost always in the conversation now, ever since the Socceroos changed conferences from Oceania to the Asian qualifying path. It’s never going to be pretty and they’re likely not going far, but they’re good for some amusement every once in a while—like when goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was substituted into Australia’s qualifying shootout against Peru, acted the fool, and won:

Let’s just say San Diego State and move on, huh?


Having overcome a huge health scare with their star midfielder, Christian Eriksen, the Danes should be able to qualify for the knockout round in part because there’s really no one else standing in their way from finishing second in Group D. Kinda explains why I have to keep talking about UCF in the G5.


The defending champions. The only ones that can beat them are themselves. Kylian Mbappe is a truly transcendent talent. Half their team might be injured? Who’s to say, but they’re going to put up some damn points. Georgia.


Oh! Right. You’re here. I’m sure it won’t be for long. Hope you can play for those 0-0 ties. Illinois.

Group E

Costa Rica

One of the things I love about CONCACAF soccer is that USMNT trip to San Jose when it’s going to be raining and 100 degrees and fucking Bryan Ruiz—how is he still eligible and playing?—just kinda shithouses around and scores.

The weather might be the opposite, but the “How the fuck are they here?” sentiment is not, because I watched you start Hank Bachmeier for a whole month, Andy Avalos. Boise State.


I don’t know, they should probably win. But probably won’t. Recently struggled with Oman, but the weather might’ve had something to do with it. Ohio State.


A dark horse spoiler who had a chance to reach the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals and just kinda came up short. Cincinnati it is.


It is so goddamn infuriating to watch Spain play WHY ARE YOU SO GOOD IT SHOULDN’T WORK THAT WAY and also you’ve just got the one title and I’m tired of talking about you. Texas.

Group F


All the superstars. They’re always here. Will they put it together with their golden generation? I doubt it! USC.


WELL LOOK WHO IT IS! Speaking of golden generations, this Canada squad is a lot of damn fun and will get overshadowed anyway. Tulane.


Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic are here, of course, but The Checkered Ones—no, stop it, I’m not making a lazy Tennessee analogy—had just never quite seemed to put it all together until making their way to the finals in 2018, falling just shy. Weird, rowdy fans. This could be their best shot. TCU.


Hakim Ziyech is a legitimately exciting frontline star for the Atlas Lions. Walid Regragui is a homegrown coach and a nice story.

So, of course, Morocco plays the ugliest anti-soccer imaginable, hoping the ball will stay out of bounds for as much time as possible while the clock runs down:

Sounds like Kentucky to me.

Group G


Probably pretty good, not that you want them to be. In-fighting appears to be the biggest challenge. Have been humiliated by rivals in their recent memory, but perhaps ascendant again. Tennessee.


The Indomitable Lions haven’t won a World Cup game since 2002. Yet their former star and now federation president, Samuel Eto’o, predicts they’re going to face Morocco in the final. Unless Karl Toko Ekambi scores about a thousand goals, I wouldn’t bet on it.

All the confidence in the world and none of the offense—something you used to expect out of them? Why, West Virginia, I think we’ve found a fit for you.


I have rock. I beat you with rock.

That’s not fair to Serbia, which has played more attractive soccer under Dragan Stojkovic, but it’s tough to shake that reputation...and tough for the Serbs to make it out of the group stage, which they haven’t done since they were Yugoslavia.

Oh, and weirdly nationalistic conflicts with groupmates Switzerland?

Good for you, Texas A&M.


Swiss keeper Yann Sommer is an odd dude, but he’s the backbone of the Swiss attack, which has a solid spine and forces its opponents to beat it on the wings as diminutive Xherdan Shaqiri patrols the field.

The Swiss became particularly famous for one of their fans losing his shit in the Euro 2020 round of 16 game against France:

The underdog-plus-defense-plus-weird-fans combo feels very Appalachian State to me.

Doesn’t feel like this bodes well for A&M.

Group H


Really good until they have to play anyone. LOVES to feast on mid-majors, though. Hi, Maryland.


Fading star of championships past? Not someone you want to support? Clemson, c’mon down.

South Korea

One pretty transcendent talent in Son Heung-min—who’s injured—to go with the high expectations of “maybe it’s finally our year”? Uh-oh, Purdue...


After firing their longtime, legendary coach, a younger and more fiery coach has brought them back to new heights. There will be some mind games when La Celeste is involved, but the expectations weigh heavy. So...Minnesota?

MNW’s Lightly Plagiarized Trivia

  1. At least three FBS college football rivalries have a trophy or official rivalry named for an interstate highway. Name any two for a half-point each.
  2. What rock-and-roll artist had his first hit in 1955 with a song inspired by an Italian ice cream flavor?
  3. What rain shadow desert is created by its proximity to the Himalayas?
  4. What alkali metal and key component of table salt has an atomic number of 11?
  5. The Quenya and Sindarin languages are two of the roughly 20 fictional languages invented by what South Africa-born author?

Thursday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers [7:15pm, probably BezosVision?]

Watch That

SMU Cocaine Ponies at #21 Tulane Green Wave

6:30pm | ESPN | Tulane -3.5 | O/U 65.5

SE Louisiana Lions at Nicholls Colonels

6pm | ESPN+ | The River Bell Classic


SE Louisiana Athletics

Now, because this is so late, I can already see Tulane leading the Cocaine Ponies 28-7 in the second quarter. But I had ALREADY planned to recommend to you the Lions visiting the Colonels in a battle of usually-competitive Southland foes. It’s 30-17 at halftime, so there should at least be some more points.


hi professor mnw do you accept late work

This poll is closed

  • 29%
    cocaine ponies-green wave
    (18 votes)
  • 13%
    river bell classic, you beauty
    (8 votes)
  • 22%
    too late i’m already watching the nfl
    (14 votes)
  • 34%
    something else since i had no idea what to watch
    (21 votes)
61 votes total Vote Now

Friday Evening

Don’t Watch This

USF Brahman Bulls at Tulsa Golden Hurricane (-13.5, O/U 58) [8pm, ESPN2]
San Diego State Aztecs (-14.5, O/U 36.5) [8:45pm, FS1]

Watch That

Maybe take a nice walk in the woods

I think this might be the first time I’ve been completely at a loss. But there is nothing in either of these games that suggests they’re worth a moment of your time. USF is horrific, and somehow New Mexico is even horrific-er.

Instead, let’s watch some college basketball—tomorrow, from 4am CT until about 10:30pm, you can conceivably be watching college basketball with only one morning interruption:

  • 4am: Rider vs. Stetson in Dublin [ESPNU]
  • 10am: Central Arkansas vs. Niagara in Dublin [ESPN3]
  • 11am: Penn State vs. Virginia Tech in Charleston [ESPN2]
  • 1pm: La Salle vs. Wake Forest in Jamaica [CBSSN]
  • 2:15pm: Howard vs. Wyoming in the Virgin Islands [ESPN3]
  • 3:30pm: Georgetown vs. Loyola Marymount in Jamaica [CBSSN]
  • 4pm: Temple vs. Rutgers in Connecticut [ESPNU]
  • 5pm: #12 Indiana at Xavier [FS1]
  • 6pm: Semifinal, Myrtle Beach Invitational (likely Boise State-Loyola) [ESPNU]
  • 7pm: Villanova at Michigan State [FS1]
  • 8:30pm: #19 Illinois vs. #8 UCLA in Las Vegas [ESPNU]

Or just go for a nice walk. Tell your family you love them. Whatever.


what. a. friday.

This poll is closed

  • 2%
    USF-Tulsa for me.
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    San Diego State-New Mexico. Let’s see Brady Hoke win this 17-0.
    (6 votes)
  • 42%
    College basketball, hell yeah
    (31 votes)
  • 46%’re waiting to kill me in the woods, aren’t you?
    (34 votes)
73 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Morning

Don’t Watch This

Navy Midshipmen at #20 UCF Citronauts (-16, O/U 53) [10am, ESPN2]
Illinois Fighting Illini at #3 Michigan Wolverines (-18, O/U 40.5) [11am, ABC]
Northwestern Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers (-18.5, O/U 43.5) [11am, FS1]
#4 TCU Horned Frogs (-2.5, O/U 57) at Baylor Bears [11am, FOX]
Austin Peay Governors at #8 Alabama Crimson Tide [11am, ESPN+]
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at #19 Florida State Seminoles (-24, O/U 52) [11am, ESPN3]
East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Mississippi State Bulldogs [11am, ESPN+]
UMass Minutemen at Texas A&M Aggies (-33.5, O/U 47.5) [11am, ESPN+]
Florida Gators (-14, O/U 57.5) at Vanderbilt Commodores [11am, SECN]
Virginia Tech Hokies at Sportswashing U (-10, O/U 46.5) [11am, ESPN+]
wisconsin badgers (-10.5, O/U 39.5) at Nebraska Cornhuskers [11am, ESPN]
Indiana Hoosiers at Michigan State Spartans (-10, O/U 47.5, HOCHHHHHH-PTOO) [11am, BTN]
Duke Blue Devils at Pittsburgh Panthers (-7.5, O/U 49.5) [11am, ACCN]
UTSA Roadrunners (-13, O/U 56.5) at Rice Owls [12pm, ESPN+]
Penn Quakers at Princeton Tigers [12pm, ESPN+]

Watch That

UConn Huskies at Army Black Knights

11am | CBSSN | Army -10 | O/U 43.5

Yale Bulldogs at Harvard Crimson

11am | ESPNU

Today I got to be home for the first morning all week—hanging with my wife and infant daughter on the former’s last day of maternity leave. I have a 12-week old now. She’ll be three months on Black Friday. What the hell.

But this morning I got to witness and participate in Tummy Time, where the kid is tortured not only by being forced to exercise, but the wife reads her a book of varying quality.

This morning the chose was a selection from Home Body, a book by Joanna Gaines.

This poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.


gooood morning what’s on

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    (6 votes)
  • 8%
    (6 votes)
  • 38%
    My Big Ten team is playing at this time, and I’m watching out of obligation
    (29 votes)
  • 22%
    My Big Ten team is playing at this time, and I’m watching out of genuine excitement
    (17 votes)
  • 12%
    /twirls mustache, watches soccer
    (9 votes)
  • 10%
    it’s college basketball season
    (8 votes)
75 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Afternoon

Don’t Watch This

#15 Kansas State Wildcats (-7.5, O/U 54.5) at West Virginia Mountaineers [1pm, ESPN+]
Washington State Cougars (-4, O/U 63) at Arizona Wildcats [1pm, Pac-12]
North Alabama Lions at Memphis Tigers [1pm, ESPN+]
Georgia State Panthers at James Madison Dukes (-9, O/U 52) [1pm, ESPN+]
#23 Oregon State Beavers (-8, O/U 54) at Arizona State Sun Devils [1:15pm, ESPN2]
Boston College Eagles at #18 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (-21, O/U 43) [1:30pm, NBC]
Old Dominion Monarchs at Appalachian State Mountaineers (-16, O/U 51) [1:30pm, ESPN+]
Idaho Vandals at Idaho State Bengals [2pm, ESPN+, BATTLE OF THE DOMES]
#1 Georgia Bulldogs (-22.5, O/U 49) at Kentucky Wildcats [2:30pm, CBS]
#2 Ohio State (-27.5, O/U 64) at Maryland Terrapins [2:30pm, ABC]
Miami Fluoride Hurricanes at #9 Clemson Tigers (-19, O/U 48) [2:30pm, ESPN]
#11 Penn State Nittany Lions (-19, O/U 45) at Rutgers Scarlet Knights [2:30pm, BTN]
#24 NC State Wolfpack at Louisville Cardinals (-4, O/U 44.5) [2:30pm, ESPN3]
Akron Zips at Buffalo Bulls (-14, O/U 44) [2:30pm, CBSSN] — WEATHER WATCH!
Utah Tech Trailblazers at BYU Cougars [2:30pm, ESPN3]
South Alabama Jaguars (-7.5, O/U 45) at Southern Miss Golden Eagles [2:30pm, NFLN]
UL Monroe Warhawks at Troy Trojans (-15, O/U 48) [2:30pm, ESPN+]
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (-2.5, O/U 48) at Charlotte 49ers [2:30pm, ESPN+]
Florida Atlantic Owls (-6, O/U 51.5) at Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders [2:30pm, ESPN+]
#25 Cincinnati Bearcats (-17, O/U 51) at Temple Owls [3pm, ESPNU]
FIU Sunblazers at UTEP Miners (-14, O/U 51) [3pm, ESPN+]
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Auburn Tigers (-5.5, O/U 52.5) [3pm, SECN]
Arkansas State Red Wolves at Texas State Bobcats (-6, O/U 51) [4pm, ESPN3]
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at #13 North Carolina Tar Heels (-21, O/U 63) [4:30pm, ESPN2]
Stanford Cardinal at California Golden Bears (-5, O/U 46.5) [4:30pm, Pac-12]

Watch That

Houston Cougars at East Carolina Pirates

1pm | ESPN+ | ECU -6 | O/U 67.5

#12 Montana Grizzlies at #4 Montana State Bobcats

1pm | ESPN+ | BRAWL OF THE WILD (Gameday)

Texas Longhorns at Kansas Jayhawks

2:30pm | FS1 | Texas -9 | O/U 63.5

Truly Blessed BRAWL OF THE WILD to you all:

Seek Professional Help

Iowa Hawkeyes at Minnesota Golden Gophers

3pm | FOX | Minnesota -2.5 | O/U 31.5


realizing your heart was never in watching this awful big ten football, you switch to...

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 6%
    (6 votes)
  • 5%
    (5 votes)
  • 18%
    ...another big ten game
    (17 votes)
  • 58%
    not just any big ten game, give me minnesota-iowa YESSSSS
    (54 votes)
  • 10%
    basketball. it’s gotta be basketball.
    (10 votes)
92 votes total Vote Now

Saturday Evening

Don’t Watch This

Marshall Thundering Herd (-4.5, O/U 52.5) [5pm, ESPN+]
#5 Tennessee Volunteers (-21.5, O/U 66) at South Carolina Gamecocks [6pm, ESPN]
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Iowa State Cyclones (-3.5, O/U 47.5) [6pm, FS1]
Ole Miss Rebels (-2.5, O/U 64) at Arkansas Razorbacks [6:30pm, SECN]
New Mexico State Aggies at Missouri Tigers (-29, O/U 46.5) [6:30pm, ESPNU]
Syracuse Orange at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (-10, O/U 56) [7pm, ACCN]

Watch That

Boise State Broncos at Wyoming Cowboys

6pm | CBSSN | Boise -14 | O/U 44

#22 Oklahoma State Cowboys at Oklahoma Sooners

6:30pm | ABC | OU -7.5 | O/U 66

#7 USC Trojans at #16 UCLA Bruins

7pm | FOX | USC -2.5 | O/U 76!!!

So...who’s gonna let the Trojans and Bruins know, at their orientation, that this “points total of 76” shit isn’t going to fly in the Big Ten?

No, give me a crisp late afternoon in Laramie with Craig Bohl and the ‘Pokes hoping they can bludgeon Boise State to death. I sure hope they can.


needing a cigarette and a therapist after the 13-9 slobberknocker for floyd of rosedale, you turn on...

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    boise-wyoming’s clearly the answer
    (4 votes)
  • 23%
    a little bedlam never hurt
    (15 votes)
  • 50%
    i’m definitely scouting for future big ten seasons, not trying to just catch a glimpse of some capable and talented offensive players
    (33 votes)
  • 20%
    something else
    (13 votes)
65 votes total Vote Now

It’s late and I’m drunk...

Don’t Watch This

UAB Blazers at #6 LSU Tigers (-15, O/U 52.5) [8pm, ESPN2]
Colorado Buffaloes at #17 Washington Huskies (-31, O/U 64) [8pm, Pac-12]
Colorado State Rams at Air Force Falcons (-22, O/U 42.5) [8pm, FS2]
Fresno State Bulldogs (-22.5, O/U 54) at Nevada Wolf Pack [9:30pm, CBSSN]

Watch That

San Jose State Spartans at Utah State Aggies

8:45pm | FS1 | EVEN | O/U 51

#10 Utah Utes at #12 Oregon Ducks

9:30pm | ESPN | Utah -2 | O/U 60

UNLV Rebels at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

10pm | Team1Sports (phone or tablet only) | UNLV -11 | O/U 55.5

THAT’S an evening slate. Wild to see Oregon as a home dog. Go San Jose.


It’s late! I’m drunk! What’s on?

This poll is closed

  • 4%
    (3 votes)
  • 40%
    (28 votes)
  • 7%
    (5 votes)
  • 0%
    other football
    (0 votes)
  • 4%
    college basketball
    (3 votes)
  • 2%
    (2 votes)
  • 5%
    whatever the bar has on
    (4 votes)
  • 35%
    lol i passed out hours ago
    (25 votes)
70 votes total Vote Now

Enjoy the games, you monsters.

MNW’s Lightly Plagiarized Trivia Answers

  1. UCF-USF (the War on I-4); NMSU-UTEP (the Battle of I-10); Bowling Green-Toledo (the Battle of I-75)
  2. Little Richard
  3. Gobi Desert
  4. Sodium
  5. J.R.R. Tolkien