The good news: After a bit of a lull, college football fans get four games between ranked teams this week.
The bad news: Three of those four games will kick off at the same time.
If you have multiple screens, you’re set. If not, here’s some help to decide which games to watch in the ninth full week of the 2017 season:
No. 11 Oklahoma State at No. 22 West Virginia, Noon, ABC/Ch. 7
Oklahoma State still has a shot at the Big 12 title and the College Football Playoff, but that won’t last if they play like they did a week ago. Against Texas, a typically potent offense managed just 13 points as the Cowboys scraped by with an overtime victory in Austin. Still, OSU has the most yards per game and third most points per game in the country, led by the college football’s most prolific passer in Mason Rudolph, who has torn up the Mountaineers in each of the last two seasons. West Virginia ranks fifth nationally in yards per game. If the Cowboys don’t solve their issues from the Texas game, they’ll have a tough time keeping up with the Mountaineers.
No. 2 Penn State at No. 6 Ohio State, 3:30 p.m., Fox/Ch. 5
Ohio State nearly had a perfect regular season in 2016. Nearly. A loss at Penn State in the middle of the year ruined the Buckeyes chances at a 12-0 mark and kept them out of the Big Ten title game (though they still reached the playoffs). But this season, with an early loss to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes can’t afford a repeat of last year’s matchup with the Nittany Lions. Penn State RB Saquon Barkley remains the best playmaker in college football, but a tough Ohio State front might be the best he’s faced in his career. If Barkely shines, Penn State should have enough to keep its perfect record intact.
No. 4 TCU at No. 25 Iowa State, 3:30 p.m., ABC/Ch. 7 (ESPN2 on West Coast)
There are a handful of schools that seem to find themselves in the rankings at some point each season due to their reputation. Iowa State will never be one of those teams, and that No. 25 next to its name is well deserved. After a 2-2 start, the Cyclones have won three straight, including road upsets against Oklahoma and Texas Tech, to earn its first AP Top 25 ranking since 2005. TCU remains among the Big 12’s best shots at a College Football Playoff spot, but without a marquee non-conference win on its resume, it may not be able to survive an upset in Ames.
No. 14 NC State at No. 9 Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC/Ch. 4
NC State has its highest AP ranking since 2003 when Philip Rivers was the QB. Now, it’s Ryan Finley throwing passes and he’s done that quite well. Finley hasn’t thrown an interception since late last season, a run of 313 pass attempts. The Irish have been rather adept at forcing takeaways this season, ranking eighth in the nation with 17 and third in turnover margin with +12. If the Irish can disrupt Finley, they should keep their playoff hopes alive.