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OPEN THREAD: FIRST SHIFT

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STAND UP IN A CLEAR BLUE MORNING

No Coast Bias

Good morning, and welcome back to College Football Saturday. We're rounding the home stretch of the 2015 season, and while there's a lot of ball left to be played, we're starting to get clarity on the major storylines left to play out.

Today's got a few big games on the slate; Alabama heads to Starkville in the 3:30pm CBS game, and several important conference races will come a lot closer to resolution this evening. #21 Memphis heads to #24 Houston in The American, and one of the Big XII's pseudo-semifinals will take place between #12 Oklahoma and #6 Baylor in Waco. #5 Iowa looks to move to 10-0 for the first time in program history as they welcome reeling Minnesota, still seeking their first win under no-longer-interim head coach Tracy Claeys.

The early slate, as always, gives us a little time to stretch our legs, pour some coffee, eat a late breakfast and ease into the day. Pittsburgh and Duke face off in a race that looked a bit more intriguing a few weeks ago, but that given the participants, could still surprise. #3 Ohio State heads to Illinois and attempts to settle its ongoing quarterback drama once again as JT Barrett returns from a one-game suspension for the Buckeyes' last "easy" game on the schedule.

Texas and West Virginia is going to happen and no one, not you, not I, not the Angry Football Gods themselves have any idea how it will unfold.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention the news yesterday that longtime Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel will be stepping down after 15 seasons in Columbia due to serious health concerns. The college coaching fraternity loses another of its pillars, adding to the already-established losses of titans Frank Beamer and Steve Spurrier and could've-been-one-in-a-better-world Jerry Kill.

We wish Coach Pinkel the best in his recovery.