There are five college football games apiece on Thursday and Friday this week, including three matchups featuring ranked teams. Here’s a reason why you should watch each game.
Baylor at No. 13 West Virginia, 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, FS1
West Virginia is still very much alive in the College Football Playoff hunt. The Mountaineers are tied with Oklahoma and Texas Tech for second place in the conference, one game behind Texas.
West Virginia already owns a head-to-head win over Texas Tech, and it still has to play the Longhorns and Sooners (the latter in a regular season finale at home). Let’s be honest, the Mountaineers’ remaining schedule is a gauntlet, but at the same time it could be very opportunistic.
After hosting Baylor, they play at Texas, against TCU, at Oklahoma State and against Oklahoma. It might only take one loss to knock them out of the playoff conversation, but if they manage to run the table, West Virginia could contend for a top-four spot. Right now, West Virginia’s playoff hopes are alive.
Watching a top-15 team should be enough of a sell on a Thursday night, which is basically viewed as a bonus day of football outside of the typical Saturday-Sunday routine.
Ball State at Ohio, 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, CBSSN
We can’t promise you the chance to watch a potential playoff contender when Ball State travels to Ohio, but we can give you scrambling quarterbacks and points. Both quarterbacks – Ball State’s Riley Neal and Ohio’s Nathan Rourke – are one of the top two rushers on their respective teams.
Rourke is averaging seven yards per rush on 70 carries, giving him a team-high 492 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Neal is at 337 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns.
Bobcats wide receiver Papi White is on pace for a 1,000-yard season with 632 yards and six touchdowns through seven games. He’s averaging more than 18 yards per reception, which ranks among the top 40 nationally.
Toledo at Western Michigan, 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, ESPN2
With a 6-2 record (4-0 MAC), Western Michigan could be one of the better Group of Five teams. Their only losses were against Syracuse and at Michigan.
Depending on how the Broncos fare the rest of season, especially in their regular-season finale against MAC West co-leader Northern Illinois, they could be a team to watch come bowl season.
This game has an over/under of 68 points so get ready for a shootout between the country’s 17th- and 27th-highest scoring offenses – Toledo (39.3 points/game) and Western Michigan (36.4 points/game).
No. 25 Appalachian State at Georgia Southern, 7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, ESPNU
Just think about this: In 2013, neither of these teams competed at the FBS level. Now, Appalachian State is ranked in the AP Top 25 for the first time in program history, Georgia Southern has already clinched bowl eligibility, and the winner of this game will be in position to contend for the Sun Belt Championship.
If you’re a fan of explosive rushing attacks, you’re going to want to tune in because both teams rank in the top seven nationally in rushing with at least 265 yards on the ground per game.
Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m. ET, Thursday, Oct. 25, ESPN
The last 10 meetings in the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech series have been decided by six, 10, two, three, seven, three, 11, seven, five and three points. The spread favors the Hokies by three points, so we’re pretty confident in predicting there will be another competitive game on Thursday.
Plus, this game could have ACC Championship Game (and therefore, College Football Playoff) implications. The Hokies have a half-game lead over Virginia and one-game lead over Miami (FL) and Pitt in the ACC Coastal division race that will likely decide who plays Clemson in the conference championship.
Louisiana Tech at Florida Atlantic, 6:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 26, CBSSN
Florida Atlantic running back Devin Singletary shares the national lead for rushing touchdowns with 14 through seven games. While the Owls’ offense has fallen off from last season, scoring roughly 10 fewer points per game, Singletary has been a bright spot for FAU (3-4).
He’s tied with Boise State’s Ian Johnson for 15th all-time with 58 career rushing touchdowns, and it would only take three more scores to crack the top 10. Singletary is potentially an all-time great college running back, so let’s make sure to appreciate him in the moment.
Miami (FL) at Boston College, 7 p.m ET, Friday, Oct. 26, ESPN
If you’re looking for singularly impactful defensive players, may we introduce you to the Boston College defense? Senior defensive end Wyatt Ray is tied for third in the country with 8.5 sacks, including four at Wake Forest and three against Louisville. He can take over a game like few players in the country.
On the back end of the Eagles’ defense, Hamp Cheevers has four interceptions, including an 81-yard touchdown return in Week 2.
Miami’s defense also has a pair of ball hawks in defensive backs Sheldrick Redwine and Trajan Bandy, who have three interceptions each.
Indiana at Minnesota, 8 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 26, FS1
There’s a decent chance you haven’t heard of Minnesota wide receiver Tyler Johnson and an even better chance you haven’t seen him play. The 6-2 junior is the Big Ten’s second-leading receiver with 705 yards and five 100-yard games in the Gophers’ seven games.
Here are some of his best stat lines this season:
- 5 receptions, 100 yards, 2 touchdowns vs. New Mexico State
- 9 receptions, 133 yards, 3 touchdowns vs. Miami (OH)
- 6 receptions, 107 yards, 1 touchdown vs. Iowa
- 8 receptions, 119 yards vs. Ohio State
- 11 receptions, 184 yards vs. Nebraska
Tune in. You’ll thank us later.
Wyoming at Colorado State, 10 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 26, CBSSN
Former Washington quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels transferred to Colorado State for his final season of eligibility and has been extremely productive for the Rams this season. He’s seventh nationally with 2,172 passing yards and 18 touchdowns this season.
Colorado State has a top-15 passing offense with an average of more than 300 passing yards per game. Carta-Samuels only has a handful of games left in his college career, so here’s your chance to watch him without too many other games competing for screen time.
No. 23 Utah at UCLA, 10:30 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 26, ESPN
It may have taken slightly longer than expected to get rolling, but the Chip Kelly era at UCLA is starting to look brighter after the Bruins lost their first five games of the season. They’ve won two in a row as junior running back Joshua Kelley has exploded with four straight 100-yard games.
Quarterback Wilton Speight, who transferred from Michigan, has returned to the field after suffering an injury in the season opener. He led UCLA to a 31-30 win over Arizona last week with 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
We know how exciting and explosive Oregon’s offense was with Kelly. Now in the second half of his first season at UCLA, we’re starting to see the transformation of the Bruins’ offense.
Plus, who can resist #Pac12AfterDark?