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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

Need to Know

The Best Saturday Ever! (Until Nov. 10)

It’s official: Alabama’s trip to L.S.U. on Nov. 3 will be in prime time. Surprise, surprise. All that’s left is to find a seat and cancel any and all previous engagements — and now might be a good time to start laying the groundwork for a cold, if you’re one of the unlucky few due to make an appearance at a wedding on the first Saturday of November.

That’s not all that’s cooking on Nov. 3. There’s another date between Oregon and U.S.C., this time in the Coliseum, which should likewise be under consideration for an 8 p.m. start on the East Coast. There’s Missouri at Florida. Nebraska at Michigan State. Oklahoma State at Kansas State. Among others. It’s the best weekend of the college football season.

Spencer Hall says that Nov. 4 has been cancelled. I’m fine with that. Every day of the coming season builds up to Nov. 3; every day from here on out pales in comparison to that Saturday, when all eyes focus on Baton Rouge, Los Angeles, Gainesville, East Lansing, Manhattan…

An aside: Every Saturday is the biggest day in college football history until it is replaced by the following Saturday, which is then replaced by the following Saturday. Games grow in importance the closer you move towards January, as you’re all aware. You’re still free to get excited.

Alabama-L.S.U., Ducks-Trojans, Missouri-Gators, Cornhuskers-Spartans, Cowboys-Wildcats. Oklahoma heads to Iowa State, and you know that the Cyclones are going to upset one heavily-favored Big 12 foe at home. Virginia at N.C. State. E.C.U. hosts Houston. Washington State at Utah.

T.C.U. at West Virginia! That’s a prime-time game on any Saturday other than Nov. 3. S.M.U. at U.C.F. in a game with enormous Conference USA implications. Pittsburgh at Notre Dame. Washington heads to California on Friday. Miami (Fla.) hosts Virginia Tech on Thursday. There’s a triple-header on Thursday, by the way, and yes, one is a MAC game.

All that’s left is to cement the broadcast times. With Alabama-L.S.U. at 8 p.m., ESPN could theoretically push Oregon-U.S.C. back to 10:30, though that would certainly mean that the majority of fans on the East Coast — not to mention those individuals who vote in the polls — wouldn’t stay up to watch. A better idea would be to put both games on at 8 p.m. and force viewers to flip back and forth.

Michigan State and Nebraska at noon. T.C.U. and West Virginia at 3:30 or 7:30. Missouri and Florida as the midday SEC appetizer. Oklahoma State and Kansas State at 7:45 or 3:30, depending on which game the Big 12 and ESPN would prefer to have on in the evening.

Nov. 4 won’t be cancelled. We’ll just miss it, lost in a post-Nov. 3 college football haze. And what about Nov. 10, you might ask? Try this: Georgia at Auburn, Penn State at Nebraska, West Virginia at Oklahoma State, Texas A&M at Alabama, Utah at Washington and Arkansas at South Carolina. The beat goes on and on and on.

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  1. Matt Rob says:

    I am so glad WVU got into the Big 12. Even a 4-8 season this year would be amazing to see, with that awesome home slate.

  2. HM says:

    Flying from Canada to see this game. Also watching Miss St. the weekend before in Tuscaloosa. Haloween in NOLA in between. Going to be a fun trip!

  3. Hokieshibe says:

    I miss college football… So much

    Paul: I know. You know what’s really sad? We’re all looking forward to Nov. 3, but by the time it comes, there’ll be only four weeks left in the season. It takes so long to get to the year but then it goes by so fast.

  4. Josh H. says:

    In the mean time, I just keep playing my NCAA Football ’12 :-P

  5. ZZZ says:

    It’s too bad that this is the last year that this week can be so awesome in college football, since you know, the playoff is going to destroy the excitement of the regular season and all…

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