Actual football abounds in Week 6, and with a little prior planning, you can make sure you get to all the good parts.
What's the best part of a pan of brownies? You got that right — the edges, where delicious brownie batter abuts white-hot metal and, like volcanic lava oozing into the ocean, creates a delighful, crispy counterpoint to molten fudgy goodness. You've got to do a little cheating if you want those edge pieces, though. Similarly, there's plenty of excellent college football to be had this weekend (a refreshing contrast to the shitshow of Week 5), you've just got to employ some clever remote-control strategy if you want to hoover up all the good parts. This week's viewers' guide aims to help you do precisely that. (All times EDT, as usual.)
What you'll be watching: USC at Utah (ESPN, 9 p.m.)
Weird things happen on Thursday nights on ESPN, and nowhere is this more true than in the Pac-12 — take USC's shocking loss at Oregon State in 2008, or hell, Stanford's loss to Washington just last week. There's every opportunity for the same thing to happen this week, what with USC looking nothing like the juggernaut they were built up to be in the preseason; only problem is you'll probably have to sit through three hours of busted plays and offensively challenged football before it happens.
What you should be watching instead: Arkansas State at Florida International (ESPNU, 7:30 p.m.)
Hear us out on this one: Tune in to the U at 7:30, enjoy a few hours of wildly-entertaining-even-if-not-necessarily-for-the-right-reasons SUN BELT MADNESS as Gus Malzahn and Mario Cristobal go at each other hammer and tongs — and when it's over, you can flip over to ESPN just in time to see USC miss the game-winning field goal and Utah's students bum-rush every building in SLC in celebration. HAVE YOUR CAKE AND STORM ONTO IT TOO!
What you'll be watching: Utah State at BYU (ESPN, 10:15 p.m.)
Sure, you could watch Pitt-Syracuse instead of this, but Friday night is FOOTBALL NIGHT IN UTAH! And surely you don't want to miss the final leg of the battle for supremacy in the Beehive State. The Aggies (that's Utah State, FYI) have already snatched away the "Beehive Boot" from the Utes (that's Utah), and if they win tomorrow night, they'll take the "Old Wagon Wheel" from BYU as well — meaning they'll have knocked off both of their in-state rivals for the first time since 1974. As per state tradition, this would entitle them to a visit to the Utah governor's mansion and the right to enjoy caffeinated beverages for ONE FULL YEAR.
What you'll be watching: Arkansas at Auburn (ESPN2, noon)
CRIPPLEFIIIIIGHT! In their first two SEC games this season, the Razorbacks looked surprisingly competent in the very early going, only to give up one big play and then basically lose all desire to live from there on out. Which will be the play that breaks Arkansas' spirit entirely, a ridiculously improbable long bomb from Kiehl Frazier (note: "long bomb" for Kiehl Frazier is approximately 16 yards)? Maybe Onterrio McCalebb fields a kickoff from the fourth row of end-zone seats at Jordan-Hare and takes it to the house anyway? And will it happen in the first or the second quarter? Whenever it happens, Arkansas' imminent collapse means you can confidently switch to . . .
What you should be watching instead: Northwestern at Penn State (ESPN, noon)
Don't laugh: Both of these teams are still undefeated in the Big Ten. And Northwestern is the league's last remaining undefeated team that's still eligible for the postseason (thankee kindly, Ohio State!). When the Wildcats defeat Illinois in Indianapolis a couple months from now to claim their first Rose Bowl trip in 17 years, trust me, you'll want to say you were there when it all started.
What you'll be watching: LSU at Florida (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)
We shouldn't have to explain to you why this game will be a blazing good time for all involved. Even in the unlikely event that the score gets out of hand in one team's favor, you'll still be able to place prop bets on what insane thing Les Miles will do that will have everybody talking at the water cooler Monday morning. My guess: Upset with his team's 51st-in-the-nation punt-return average, Miles charges onto the field, shoves Odell Beckham out of the way, and catches a punt. It'll be called back due to 12 men on the field, of course, but he'll return it inside the Florida 20 because, well, he's Les Miles and that's the kind of thing Les Miles would do.
What you should be watching instead: Michigan at Purdue (Big Ten Network, 4 p.m.)
Sike! Michigan has a bye this week.
What you'll be watching: Georgia at South Carolina (ESPN, 7 p.m.)
Be honest: You're pissed that Todd Grantham didn't have the big blow-up against Vanderbilt coach James Franklin that everyone was expecting, and you're hoping it happens against Spurrier. That's not the most outlandish idea, as one of the two is almost certain to go absolutely freaky-deaky bat-shit insane at some point during this game — with Grantham it'd be because Marcus Lattimore leaves cleat prints across his linebackers' faces for the third year in a row; with Spurrier it'd be because one of his quarterbacks did something stupid. (And not necessarily something on the field, either — maybe just brought him the wrong color Gatorade.) Or maybe Grantham and Spurrier get crossways with each other and burn Williams-Brice to the ground through the power of sheer cussedness.
What you should be watching instead: West Virginia at Texas (Fox, 7 p.m.)
Geno Smith can't possibly do that two weeks in a row. Can he? . . . Can he? Someone better spot Texas D-coordinator Manny Diaz at all times and keep him away from sharp objects and prescription drugs, just to make sure.
What you'll be watching: Washington at Oregon (ESPN, 10:30 p.m.)
Not a whole lot of options here, unless you've got the Pac-12 Network and thus have the privilege of watching Jim Mora Jr. put the final nail in the coffin of the Jeff Tedford era. Anyway, this is another chance to work your schedule-fu on your remote control. As SB Nation's Bill Connelly has explained, Oregon has made a habit of making you think they're going to allow an actual game to occur for about 30 minutes, until they make a series of brilliant halftime adjustments that result in their opponent being blasted into pieces approximately the size of the cereal dust you find at the bottom of the Corn Flakes box. Watch Huskies-Ducks until that happens, then switch over to either "Groundhog Day" on Bravo or "30 for 30: The Best That Never Was" on ESPN Classic. Boom! Your Saturday is complete.