September 30, 2011
TODAY’S TV GAMES
NOON
Noon Navy vs. Air Force WUSA-9, WJZ-13
Noon Arkansas vs. Texas A&MESPN
Noon Illinois vs. Northwestern ESPN2
Noon Indiana vs. Penn State ESPNU
Noon Michigan vs. Minnesota Big Ten Network
Noon Kansas vs. Texas Tech Comcast SportsNet
Noon Syracuse vs. Rutgers MASN
Noon Army vs. Tulane CBS Sports Network
Noon Georgia vs. Mississippi State pay-per-view
Noon Temple vs. Toledo pay-per-view
12:20 LSU vs. Kentucky pay-per-view
12:30 Boston College vs. Wake Forest WDCA-20, WBFF-45
12:30 Tennessee vs. Buffalo pay-per-view

So Air Force beat Navy last season for the first time since 2002. Then the Falcons beat Army about a month later to win the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, also for the first time since 2002. Air Force was so excited about that — instead of waiting for Navy to slap a few stamps on the trophy and drop it in the mailbox — it sent a truck to Annapolis to claim it the night of the Army win.

Not cool, Air Force, not cool.

Now Navy hosts Air Force with some motivation. If the Mids win and then beat Army in December, the academy should send an aircraft carrier to Colorado Springs to reclaim the trophy. . . .

Arkansas-Texas A&M is a peculiar little matchup, if only because it’s two ranked Midwestern-ish teams playing at noon, a time usually reserved either for decidedly unranked teams from the Northeast (see: Syracuse-Rutgers) or the dregs of the Big Ten’s schedule (see: Indiana-Penn State). The 14th-ranked Aggies will get a preview of what life in the Southeastern Conference will be like with their game against the No. 18 Razorbacks and the JerryDome. Texas A&M gave up 438 passing yards to Oklahoma State last weekend; Arkansas ranks 18th nationally in passing offense.

AFTERNOON
2:30 Boise State vs. NevadaVersus
3:30 Maryland vs. Towson Comcast SportsNet
3:30 Soutern California vs. Arizona Comcast SportsNet Plus
3:30 West Virginia vs. Bowling Green MASN
3:30 South Carolina vs. Auburn WUSA-9, WJZ-13
3:30 Ohio State vs. Michigan State ESPN
3:30 North Carolina State vs. Georgia Tech WJLA-7, WMAR-2
3:30 Texas Christian vs. Southern Methodist CBS Sports Network
3:30 Miami vs. Bethune-Cookman ESPNU
3:30 Kansas State vs. Baylor pay-per-view
3:30 Connecticut vs. Western Michigan pay-per-view
3:30 Louisville vs. Marshall pay-per-view

Yeesh, not exactly a murderer’s row of games here. Only six ranked teams, none of them playing each other. It’s almost enough to drive the casual sports fan to the Diamondbacks-Brewers baseball playoff game.

Almost. Let’s not do anything rash here.

I guess Boise State-Nevada is okay, if only to see how many touchdowns Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore and the revenge-minded Broncos will put up against the Wolf Pack, which last season ended Boise State’s undefeated season. Nevada ranks 78th nationally in pass defense; Moore has thrown 12 touchdown passes, often in only about 2.5 quarters of work per game. . . .

Not sure what Arizona did to anger the schedule-makers. After opening with Northern Arizona, the Wildcats have played — and lost handily to — Oklahoma State, Stanford and Oregon, three teams currently in the top 10. Now Arizona travels to USC, which at one time was also ranked this season. Wildcats quarterback Nick Foles has been sacked 10 times in the past two games.

With nearly unstoppable running back Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina hasn’t had much use for its passing game, but it’s still strange to see a Steve Spurrier-coached team ranked 99th nationally in passing offense. But the Gamecocks’ opponent, Auburn, is giving up more than 250 passing yards per game.

NIGHT
6 Virginia Tech vs. ClemsonESPN2
7 Utah vs. Washington Comcast SportsNet
7 Iowa State vs. Texas FX
7 Florida International vs. Duke ESPNU
7 Louisiana Tech vs. Hawaii MASN
7:30 Southern Mississippi vs. Rice Comcast SportsNet Plus
8 Florida vs. Alabama WUSA-9, WJZ-13
8 Wisconsin vs. Nebraska WJLA-7, WMAR-2
8 Purdue vs. Notre Dame ESPN
8 East Carolina vs. North Carolina CBS Sports Network
9:15 Fresno State vs. Mississippi ESPN2
11 Stanford vs. UCLA (joined in progress) Comcast SportsNet

No. 13 Clemson has yet to play on the road; No. 11 Virginia Tech has yet to play anybody. So one will make some sort of statement when the Tigers visit the Hokies. Apart from beating Florida State in last season’s ACC title game, Virginia Tech has not done well in recent spotlight games, losing to Boise State in the 2010 opener and getting smoked by Stanford in the Orange Bowl. . . .

Four of the SEC’s top 10 running backs will be on display when Florida hosts Alabama. The Gators boast Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps, who rank fourth and eighth in the conference in rushing. The Crimson Tide has Trent Richardson (second in the SEC) and Eddie Lacy (seventh). Demps averages 9.4 yards every time he is handed the ball, while Lacy averages 8.9 yards. . . .

Nebraska received 3,000 tickets to the eighth-ranked Cornhuskers’ first-ever Big Ten game, at No. 7 Wisconsin. The school received 21,000 requests for tickets. Something tells me Syracuse may have a hard time matching that number for its first ACC game at Byrd Stadium.

— Matt Bonesteel

*Check with your cable or satellite provider; the Big Ten Network televises multiple games in the same time slot, but not all cable and satellite providers air them.

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