Rob "Dr. Teeth" Akey got the axe at Idaho this past weekend, so the coaching carousel is officially off and spinning in 2012, and that means we've reached the point in the season where football serves two separate purposes. If you're the fan of a team that's doing well, obviously you're hoping to watch your team continue its march toward a conference or national championship. But if your team is sucking wind, it's audition time — time to check out those coaches you've had your eye on for a few months now and watch them in action to see if they're fit to serve your wonderful institution. The question "Would they take the job" is immaterial; your program is so storied and accomplished that they'd be fools not to take it, and besides, that guy played in the NFL with a guy whose sister-in-law's college roommate got her master's at your school, so he's practically sitting by his phone waiting for the call. Here are your options for audition viewing (all times EDT, as usual).
What you'll be watching: No. 14 Clemson at Wake Forest (ESPN, 7:30 p.m.)
"Seriously? Sheeeit, no way am I blowing off 'Parks and Rec' for that." Haaaang on, bro. You've been waiting all season for Clemson to barf up that inexplicable loss to a team they have no business losing to, and so far they've only lost once (to FSU, a loss that was quite explicable). So you should be able to see this Thursday's upset in Winston-Salem coming a mile away. But don't worry, Tiger fans, this doesn't mean you'll be sitting at home watching Florida State in the ACC title game. You'll be sitting at home watching North Carolina State in the ACC title game, and you'll be tearing your hair out for every minute of their eventual 13-10 loss to Duke.
What you'll be watching: Cincinnati at No. 16 Louisville (ESPN, 8 p.m.)
Lot of scouts will be in the stands for this one. Not NFL talent scouts, mind you — the ADs from Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Auburn, hoping against hope that they'll be the one to swipe Charlie Strong in a couple months.
What you should be watching instead: "The Social Network" (FX, 8 p.m.)
There's also Nevada-Air Force on the CBS Sports Network at the same time, but you probably don't get that channel, and it's not like anything could top Dave Christensen's F-bomb-laced rant against Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun anyway. ("Fuck you, flyboy" was my personal favorite.)
What you'll be watching: Tennessee at No. 17 South Carolina (ESPN, noon)
So many games this hour that would've been pretty decent back in 2001 — Tennessee-Carolina, UNC-N.C. State, Texas-Kannnuhh, well, no that one still would've sucked. It's a fairly dry three hours is basically what I'm saying. As long as you're OK substituting "crazy" for "competent," though, there is one bright spot you can turn to, and it is . . .
What you should be watching instead: Ole Miss at Arkansas (SEC Network, 12:21 p.m.)
And to think, just a few months ago we were all worried that the loss of Houston Nutt would suck all the crazy out of this rivalry. The Right Reverend may be gone, but we've still got John L. Smith, whose headset may very well be connected to a group of Russian mobsters in a skybox, instructing him to call in specific plays to keep the point spread "weetheen ecks-septible mar-zheen." And while I know everybody thinks Hugh Freeze is just your typical white-bread Southern churchgoer, something about him screams "I've got a platinum membership to ChristianSwingers.net."
What you'll be watching: No. 3 Florida vs. No. 12 Georgia in Jacksonville, Fla. (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)
WOOOO! GO DAWWWGS! WE KICKED MUSCHAMP'S ASS ONCE, WE GON' DO IT AGAAAAIIIN! [Pssst. Hey. Doug here. Don't listen to any of this.] THE TIDE HAS TURNED! THIS AIN'T AN AUTOMATIC WIN FOR FLORIDA NO MORE, YOU BEST BELIEVE WE GON' SEE TO THAT! [Yeah, look. I know I promised I'd put up a brave front and try to be obnoxious about this, but seriously, we all know what's going to happen.] GATORS WEAR JEAN SHORTS! MUSCHAMP IS A SISSY! [This one might, and I mean might, still be suspenseful at halftime, but don't count on it.] GO DAWWWWGS! U-G-A! U-G-A! [I promise you, watching this game will only depress you.] WOOOOOO!
What you should be watching instead: No. 15 Texas Tech at No. 4 Kansas State (Fox, 3:30 p.m.)
"Lot of scouts will be in the stands for this one. Not NFL talent scouts, mind you, but the ADs from programs all over the country, looking to hire Tommy Tuberville after this season. And why wouldn't they — Tuberville's steely determination, rock-solid defense and legendary leadership capabilities have brought Texas Tech to — " Stop, stop, stop. Dammit, that's the last time I let Tuberville write one of these for me.
What you'll be watching: No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 8 Oklahoma (ABC, 8 p.m.)
What you should be watching instead: No. 22 Texas A&M at Auburn (ESPNU, 7 p.m.)
I can't quite put my finger on it, but Notre Dame-Oklahoma just has this whiff of "Top-10 matchup that looks like it's going to be really awesome on paper but ends up with a final score of 48-17." So if I gotta watch a blowout that evening, I'll spend it tuning in to watch Johnny Football Manziel run all over Auburn so I can remind myself that Georgia wouldn't be any closer to winning a big game even if we got Brian Van Gorder back. Uhh, I mean GOOOO DAWWWWGS! WOOOOOOO!
SATURDAY LATE NIGHT
What you'll be watching: No. 7 Oregon State at Washington (Pac-12 Network, 10:15 p.m.)
What you should be watching instead: "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (ESPN, 11 p.m.)
Beavers-Huskies could actually be a pretty decent game, but if you're like me and can't get the Pac-12 Network, there's always scrappy mid-major Indiana Jones going for the threepeat against the third-ranked Nazi Empire. On an unrelated note, is it safe to start calling Cam Newton the "wrong Grail" of Auburn football? Just a thought.