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Saturday TV - Alabama at LSU tonight

LSU and Alabama square off today in an emotional battle with SEC title hopes and national championship dreams on the line. You've also got Oregon and USC as well as Oklahoma State and Kansas State today. There's no shortage of quality games.

All times are eastern.

NFL:

No games

College:

Air Force at Army - 12 - CBSSN

Missouri at Florida - 12 - ESPN2

Temple at Louisville - 12 - ABC

Tennessee State at Murray State - 12 - FCSA

Towson at Delaware - 12 - NBCSN

Texas A&M at Mississippi State - 12 - ESPN

Vanderbilt at Kentucky - 12 - ESPNU

Michigan at Minnesota - 12 - BTN

Syracuse at Cincinnati - 12 - Big East Network

Troy at Tennessee - 12 - ESPN3

Tulsa at Arkansas - 12:21 - SEC Network

New Mexico State at Auburn - 12:30 - ESPN3

Yale at Brown - 12:30 - YES

Georgia Tech at Maryland - 12:30 - ESPN3

Virginia at North Carolina State - 12:30 - ESPN3

Western Michigan at Central Michigan - 1 - ESPN3

Stanford at Colorado - 2 - FX

Illinois State at Indiana State - 2 - CSNC

Akron at Kent State - 2 - ESPN3

TCU at West Virginia - 3 - FOX

Pitt at Notre Dame - 3:30 - NBC

Ole Miss at Georgia - 3:30 - CBS

Charleston Southern at Liberty - 3:30 - Flames Sports Network

Montana at Weber State - 3:30 - RSRM

Texas at Texas Tech - 3:30 - ABC

Nebraska at Michigan State - 3:30 - ABC

Iowa at Indiana - 3:30 - BTN

Boston College at Wake Forest - 3:30 - ESPN3

Illinois at Ohio State - 3:30 - ESPN

Florida Atlantic at Navy - 3:30 - CBSSN

Penn State at Purdue - 3:30 - ESPNU

UTSA at Louisiana Tech - 4 - ESPN3

McNeese State at Nicholls State - 4 - SLCTV

Tartleton State at North Alabama - 4 - ESPN GamePlan

San Jose State at Idaho - 5 - ESPN3

Oregon at USC - 7 - FOX

Clemson at Duke - 7 - ESPN2

Connecticut at South Florida - 7 - ESPNU

Southern Methodist at UCF - 7 - CBSSN

Alabama at LSU - 8 - CBS

Oklahoma State at Kansas State - 8 - ABC

Arizona State at Oregon State -10:30 - ESPN2

San Diego State at Boise State - 10:30 - CBSSN

Arizona at UCLA - 10:30 - Pac 12 Network

High School:

No games

 

What We're Watching - Week 10

Two months of the 2012 college football regular season are gone, and only one remains. Here's what we'll be keeping an eye on throughout another packed Saturday. 

Oklahoma at Iowa State (12 p.m. ET, ABC). Since Paul Rhoads first roamed the sidelines in Ames it has not been safe to be a power program in Iowa State's line of sight. It started with the 9-7 win over Nebraska in 2009, continued with the 52-38 win over Texas Tech and the 28-21 defeat of Texas in 2010, and rolled into the 44-41 triumph over Iowa and the 37-31 stunner over Oklahoma State last season. Other than the 27-21 near miss versus Kansas State on Oct. 13, Oklahoma is the only power program that hasn't been bitten by Rhoads' Cyclones. Oklahoma has won 19 straight regular season games following a loss but not all losses are as emotional as the prime time defeat to Notre Dame, and not all games after losses call for a trip to Ames for a morning kickoff. Iowa State won't have Oklahoma's talent, but the Sooners had better come out ready to play.

Texas A&M at Mississippi State (12 p.m. ET, ESPN). If the de facto SEC West championship is Saturday night at Baton Rouge, then consider this the de facto SEC West consolation game. These BCS top 20 teams have just one top 25 win between them, so the winner claims the right to the biggest challenger to Alabama and LSU. Mississippi State will try to produce a carbon copy of Florida and LSU's game plans, making the dynamic Johnny Manziel beat them with his arm and therefore keep the score in the 20's. Kevin Sumlin and Kliff Kingsbury will try to do what they couldn't in their two losses - break Manziel loose. Manziel averages 138 rushing yards per game in the Aggies' six wins and 42 yards per game in their two setbacks. Not coincidentally, Texas A&M scores 55 points per game in wins and 18 points per game in losses.

Temple at Louisville (12 p.m. ET, ABC). With all due respect to everything else on the schedule, this game may be the most interesting chess match as former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, the current Louisville head coach, squares off with former Florida offensive coordinator and current Temple head coach Steve Addazio. Temple has allowed more yards and gained fewer yards than any team in the Big East. After a 2-0 start in the league, the Owls have dropped back-to-back games to Rutgers and Pittsburgh. This game should be close, though, as the Cardinals tend to play to the level of their competition. Despite the 8-0 record, five of their last six games have been decided by a touchdown or less.

Pittsburgh at Notre Dame (3:30 p.m. ET, NBC). As long as Notre Dame, Oregon, Kansas State and Alabama, every one of the Fantastic Four's games become appointment television. Notre Dame football can't run a play without hearing the phrase "wake up the echos" but for this Saturday the Irish will hope a few echos remain asleep. In 1993 Notre Dame suffered a 31-24 setback to Boston College following a defeat of No. 1 Florida State that moved the Irish to 10-0, and in 2002 Notre Dame again fell to Boston College, 14-7, after the Irish topped No. 16 Florida State to improve to 8-0. Pittsburgh gone 4-2 after a very slow start to the Paul Chryst era, but a two-game winning streak over Buffalo and Temple won't scare Brian Kelly's team. Notre Dame has played four games decided by seven points or less, and all four occurred at Notre Dame Stadium. 

Texas at Texas Tech (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2). The struggles of the Texas defense have been well-publicized, but nothing sums up the season that Texas has had more than this: the Longhorns have allowed an opposing rusher to set a career high in all five Big 12 games this season. Texas Tech will never be confused with Navy or Air Force, but the Red Raiders do run the ball for 4.6 yards per carry, led by Kenny Williams' 6.19 yards per rush on 83 carries. When Texas has the ball, the Big 12's No. 3 rushing offense will square off against the Big 12's No. 3 rushing defense. If this preview seems heavy on rushing anecdotes, especially since both offenses rank in the nation's top 20 in passing efficiency, consider this: the team that rushes for more yardage has won every Texas-Texas Tech game since 1990. 

Nebraska at Michigan State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2). Michigan State's last five games have been decided a sum of 13 points. Unfortunately for Mark Dantonio, his team has come down on the right side of things just twice in that handful of games. The Spartans have struggled to score this season, ranking No. 108 nationally at 19.2 points per game and registering less than 20 points six times in nine games, including three straight. That's not good news as Michigan State prepares to host the Big Ten's best offense. Nebraska leads the conference in total offense, scoring offense, rushing offense and passing efficiency. Pat Narduzzi's defense has put the clamps down on some proficient offenses this season, though, holding Ohio State to 17, Michigan to 12, and an improved Wisconsin offense to 16 points and 19 rushing yards. 

Oregon at USC (7 p.m. ET, FOX). Oregon has thoroughly feasted on a relatively soft schedule to this point, but now things get real for Chip Kelly's squad. The Ducks close the year with three top 20 foes in the final four games, starting with a chance to avenge last season's 38-35 loss, the only setback Oregon has suffered in its last 27 Pac-12 games. USC's most scrutinized unit, its defensive line, has played productive run defense this season but all of that is for naught unless it can find a way to slow down Oregon's light-speed avalanche of an offense. The Ducks have run for 34 scores this season, more than USC, Utah, Oregon State and Washington State combined. In light of Alabama's dominance, it's somewhat startling to remember that it was the Trojans who were the AP's preseason No. 1 as USC faces the possibility of its third loss of the season with Notre Dame and a much-improved UCLA team still ahead.

Oklahoma State at Kansas State (8 p.m. ET, ABC). The shoe was on the other foot last season when the 14th-ranked Wildcats challenged No. 3 Oklahoma State, 52-45, with Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein throwing into the end zone as time expired. The close loss marked the only setback Bill Snyder's team has suffered in its last 11 games decided by seven points or less. In a conference that boasts four of the nation's top six passing offenses, it is Kansas State that leads the Big 12 in scoring at 44.4 points per game. The Wildcats accomplish that by producing almost no negative plays - they complete more than 70 percent of their passes (No. 3 nationally in passing efficiency), endured only 32 tackles for loss in eight games (tied for sixth nationally) and have allowed only four turnovers (second-least in the FBS). Oklahoma State has sacrificed last season's high risk, high reward style of defense (No. 1 in turnovers forced, No. 107 in yards allowed) in favor of a more steady and consistent approach (No. 109 in turnovers forced, No. 42 in yards allowed). The results have shown that the Cowboys are three points per game better in scoring defense, but let's see where they stand after facing the Big 12's most punishing offense.

LSU at Alabama (8 p.m. ET, CBS). It's without a doubt the most anticipated game of the 2012 regular season. In lieu of my preview, a series of tweets from FootballScoop President Scott Roussel and ESPN's Brett McMurphy will tell you all you need to know about the Battle in the Bayou.

 

A few notes about tonight's game

Washington visits California tonight at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. Here's what stands out to us gametime approaches. 

Two-faced Huskies: Washington has been stout at home this season. The undefeated seasons of Stanford and Oregon State came to an end in Seattle. Add in wins over San Diego State and Portland State and the Huskies are 4-1 in their home kennel, with the lone setback coming 24-14 to USC. Going on the road, however, is a completely different story. Washington is 0-3 and has been outscored 145-38 away from home. The competition in the first three games (LSU, Oregon and Arizona) is tougher than what Steve Sarkisian's team will face tonight, but the Huskies haven't beaten anyone away from Seattle in 13 months. 

In between a rock and a hard place: California enters tonight at 3-6, which means the Golden Bears must win out to avoid missing a bowl game for the second time in three seasons. Nevermind the fact that Jeff Tedford's next two games after tonight come against BCS No. 4 Oregon and BCS No. 11 Oregon State, the Bears will doom themselves to an extra-early hibernation (Cal's regular season ends on Nov. 17) without a win tonight. 

When the Huskies throw: Washington has struggled to throw the ball this year, standing ahead of only Colorado in the Pac-12 and 109th in the country in passing efficiency. Washington passers throw for a conference-worst 5.73 yards per attempt with a total of eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Meanwhile, Cal's defense has picked off eight passes in their last four games.

The Tosh Bowl: Tonight marks the first time Washington defensive line coach/defensive run game coordinator Tosh Lupoi returns to Berkeley after a dozen years in the Cal program as a player, graduate assistant and defensive line coach. Lupoi has his work cut out for him in retooling a unit that ranks last in the Pac-12 in sacks and tackles for loss.

Turnovers tell the story: Washington has not lost a game in which it won the turnover battle. Conversely, the Huskies have not won a game in which they did not force more turnovers than their opponent. (LSU and Washington tied the turnover battle, 1-1). On the opposite sideline, USC's win over Cal stands alone as the only time a team that lost more turnovers than it gained managed to win the game in the Golden Bears' nine outings this season. In the 17 combined games of Cal and Washington's season, only one time has a team lose the turnover battle and win the game. 

Video of Oregon's white on white uniform

...Just when you thought Oregon had every uniform combination covered, they come out with this white on white on white version for their match up tomorrow against USC. Very smooth looking.

The futuristic themed video breaks down all of the features. 

 

 

Video: ESPNU Ole Miss All-Access

ESPNU cameras honed in on Hugh Freeze and his Ole Miss Rebels on Tuesday, Oct. 16.  The show lasts a full 23 minutes, so instead of simply providing the video, we decided to point out what stood out to us in the peek behind the curtain of Freeze's program. The Worldwide Leader had good timing, as Ole Miss was fresh off a 41-20 win over Auburn. 

The show opens with Freeze and his staff in the meeting room. The staff is reading through "The One Year Uncommon Life Daily Challenge" by Tony Dungy. Today's passage focuses on the importance of expressing love to your children. Moments like that won't help Ole Miss gain a schematic edge over their next opponent, but they will help the staff pull together when the Rebels find themselves down by five on the road with two minutes to play. 

Oddly enough, watching Ole Miss All-Access made me realize the far-reaching impact that Oregon has had on college football. At the 8:30 mark, Freeze explains how important it is for his program to "Win the Day." The phrase is plastered on the wall in Ole Miss' football facility, and it's even on the front end of the golf cart Freeze drives through campus to make sure his players attend class.  

Freeze also subscribes to another Oregon staple - short, efficient practices.

"We don't practice long," said Freeze. "The shorter practices for us are sometimes the better ones. You've got to be on top of your details to do that and you have to have great energy and coach on the run, becuase we're not going to have any time to correct on the field. We do that in the film room."

Freeze's assistants are the stars of the show. ESPN cameras take viewers in the film room with offensive line coach Matt Luke, cornebacks coach Wesley McGriff and special teams coordinator/linebackers coach Tom Allen. The coaches are clear, effective communicators that clearly have the respect and attention of their players.

"Our assistant coaches are invaluable," Freeze explained. "They really are where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. Every single person in this building was faced with one tasked when they were hired by me and that is to capture the hearts and minds of our players."

Freeze spent the majority of his attention on the offensive backfield working with quarterbacks on the timing, fundamentals and decision-making of the Rebels' spread offense.

Freeze is in his first year as the Rebels' head coach but not his first go-round in Oxford. He served as an assistant in the Ole Miss program from 2005-07. He remembers the tradition of Ole Miss football - and thinks he can lead them back there.

"It's not that long ago that this program was competing for the (SEC) West championship," Freeze told the ESPN cameras (21:30 mark). "Certainly there's been a few lean years here but there's no reason it can't be restored."

The show closes with Freeze motivating his team for the short term, to stay focused during their off week, and the long term, to keep improving throughout the season.

"Don't be satisfied with where we are," Freeze said. "Let's keep it moving forward. Keep building until the end of the year."

So far, so good. The Rebels defeated their next opponent, Arkansas, 30-27. 

 

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