The final week of September is upon us. We are now a quarter into the college football season and three games deep into the NFL. Both have been filled with upsets (USC last night?!), nail biters, teams doing surprisingly bad, and teams doing surprisingly good.
Last week, I gave you LSU-Auburn and Steelers-Eagles as the top two games to watch. I'd say that each turned out pretty good.
I know you can’t watch all of the games, but take my advice and use this list to guide you to make the best possible choice on your much needed Saturday and Sunday hours of football.
10. Maryland (3-1) @ No. 20 Clemson (3-1) – NCAA
Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN360
Why Watch? After Maryland’s humiliating loss to Mid. Tenn St., airwaves went haywire with UMD fans calling for Head Coach Ralph Friedgen’s head. But for some reason, the Terps football team seems to play their best when they feel it’s them against the world.
The Terps have won two of their last three in Clemson, including a 13-12 win over the 19th ranked Tigers in 2006. Will they make it three of four?
9. Minnesota (1-2) @ Tennessee (3-0) – NFL
Sunday, 1:00 PM on FOX
Why Watch? So the Vikings saved their season by the skin of their teeth with a win over Carolina last week, but they’re not in the clear just yet. The Titans bring a nasty defense to the table and an unforeseen level of confidence. A loss to the Titans drops the Vikings back in the deep hole at 1-3. Can Frerotte save them from falling off the cliff?
8. Cleveland (0-3) @ Cincinnati (0-3) – NFL
Sunday, 1:00 PM on CBS
Why Watch? Never in the history of lists has there been a game to watch showcasing two winless teams, but hear me out. Cincinnati played a pretty good game on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champs last week and took them to overtime. Cleveland is giving Derek Anderson a couple of drives to start the game before they decide to pull the plug.
This WILL be the first time you see Brady Quinn in 2008 and whether you love him or hate him, he alone offers one reason to watch.
7. Virginia Tech (3-1) @ Nebraska (3-0) – NCAA
Saturday, 8:00 PM on ABC
Why Watch? The Hokies leave the comforts of Blacksburg, VA to take on an undefeated Nebraska squad that is looking to garner some respect. A win for the Hokies might propel some momentum into the season; momentum that was sucked out with the week one loss to ECU. Nebraska could hop into the top 25 win a win.
6. Green Bay (2-1) @ Tampa Bay (2-1) – NFL
Sunday, 1:00 PM on FOX
Why Watch? The battle of the bays. Green Bay is coming off a disappointing loss to the Cowboys while the Bucs experienced a thrilling comeback win in Chicago. Aaron Rodgers will look to stay sharp, but it’s never easy to win in Tampa Bay.
5. Arkansas (2-1) @ No. 7 Texas (3-0) – NCAA
Saturday, 3:30 PM on ABC
Why Watch? Losing 49-14 to No. 8 Alabama last week will either send this team spiraling downward, or provide them with the spark to come out and play a tough Texas team. If the Razorbacks come out mad, Texas could find their hands full. A blowout is possible, but I have a feeling this game will surprise many and go down to the wire.
4. Baltimore (2-0) @ Pittsburgh (2-1) – NFL
Monday, 8:30 PM on ESPN
Why Watch? The Ravens haven’t beaten anyone with a win yet, but Pittsburgh is coming in after having their offense manhandled by Philadelphia on national television. The Ravens defense will try to emulate the Eagles’ blitz packages and Ben Roethlisberger could be in for another long night. Look for a low scoring, AFC North slugfest that should be interesting into the fourth quarter.
3. No. 22 Illinois (2-1) @ No. 12 Penn State (4-0) – NCAA
Saturday, 8:00 PM on ABC
Why Watch? Penn State has looked very good on both sides of the ball through the first four games of the season, granted they haven’t really played anyone yet. Illinois won’t be an easy out as they bring the second best offense in the Big 10 behind only, sure enough, Penn State. Illinois’ defense has been a problem giving up 30 points per game. If they can control the ball long enough and get some stops early, the Fighting Illini have a chance...maybe.
2. Washington (2-1) @ Dallas (3-0) – NFL
Sunday, 4:00 PM on FOX
Why Watch? It pains me to have to put this classic NFL rivalry second on the list but I have to. Maybe when they meet again later in the season, I’ll have it at the one spot. But for now, the Cowboys offense seems like it is a few steps too far ahead of the Redskins’ defense. While the game should be entertaining, look for a dominating performance from Terrell Owens en route to another Cowboys’ victory.
Hatred will not be missing however, so tune in for some hard hitting and outright acts of dislike between the two storied rivals in their final matchup at Texas Stadium.
1. No. 8 Alabama (4-0) @ No. 3 Georgia (4-0) – NCAA
Saturday, 7:45 PM on ESPN
Why Watch? If there is anything that we learned from last week’s thrilling matchup between LSU and Auburn, it’s that you do NOT miss a night clash of two SEC teams ranked in the top ten. I would be shocked if the ratings for Saturday's game don't top those from last week's.
Georgia dominated Arizona State in the desert while Alabama thrashed SEC rival Arkansas. Both teams are feeling sky high but one will feel grounded after Saturday. With USC's surprising upset last night, both programs have focused in even more on the top spot in the country and will do everything to knock each other out of the race.
There is no reason you should miss this game. None.
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