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FSU football fan rooting guide, TV listings: Week 5

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There’s a great batch of games this weekend. Which results should FSU fans be rooting for? Plus, TV listings.

NCAA Football: Florida State at South Florida Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

The ‘Noles got back to their winning ways last Saturday against South Florida, and look to continue that this weekend for their ACC home opener against the North Carolina Tar Heels. FSU fans are excited to finally have another home game, but perhaps even more excited for a 3:30 kickoff.

For the Seminole fans who won’t be in Doak Campbell Stadium this Saturday, there are plenty of other good games on the Week 5 slate that can and will affect Florida State’s season. Everyone is obviously aware of the importance of the top-five bout in Clemson this weekend, but there are also other Saturday games of noted importance that will affect both the ‘Noles’ conference standings and, potentially, FSU’s ability to get back in the playoff race. There are three top-ten matchups this weekend that headline a good week of games overall.

Without further ado, let’s get to those games. Times listed are EST.

ACC

Notre Dame at Syracuse, 12:00, ESPN: Syracuse. How bad have things gotten in South Bend? The Irish managed to lose to Duke (in football) last weekend, and defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder ended up being the fall guy. Greg Hudson, a familiar name to FSU fans, now takes over as the Irish defensive coordinator. Will this change turn around Notre Dame’s 1-3 start? FSU fans should root for the Irish’s struggles to continue. The ‘Noles play Syracuse in November, so another ND upset at the hand of a divisional mate would help FSU’s strength of schedule and either solidify the ACC’s reputation, or further hurt Notre Dame’s, a team that FSU runs up against fairly often in recruiting.

No. 14 Miami at Georgia Tech, 12:00, ESPN2: Miami. FSU plays Miami next week. For strength of schedule purposes, the ‘Noles should hope Miami gets through Georgia Tech this Saturday. They certainly don’t have to look good doing it, but a Miami loss on Saturday would hurt FSU’s strength of schedule. We all love watching our rivals lose, but it would not be ideal to watch Miami lose to a mediocre Yellow Jackets team the week before playing the ‘Noles. For selfish purposes, Florida State fans should hope Miami gets through Georgia Tech...by 1.

Buffalo at Boston College, 1:00, ACCN: Boston College. Buffalo is coming off an overtime win over Army, and Boston College is coming off a win over Wagner. FSU plays BC in November so FSU fans should be rooting for the Eagles for strength of schedule purposes.

Wake Forest at NC State, 3:30, ACCN: Wake Forest. The Deacs are 4-0 and the ‘Noles will play them at home in two weeks. Meanwhile, NC State sits at 2-1 with a loss to an East Carolina team that was blown out by Virginia Tech last week. At this point, if Wake Forest can beat NC State on Saturday and Syracuse next week, they will roll into Tallahassee at 6-0 and potentially be ranked. FSU obviously plays both Wake Forest and NC State, but they play Wake Forest sooner. For Florida State, the potential strength of schedule upside with an undefeated and possibly ranked Wake Forest outweighs the strength of schedule downside with another mediocre NC State loss. Therefore, FSU fans should root for Wake to get to 5-0 on Saturday.

No. 3 Louisville at No. 5 Clemson, 8:00, ABC: Clemson. This game is vitally important to FSU’s season as well as the Seminoles’ standing in the ACC and College Football Playoff race. The ‘Noles badly need Clemson to beat Lamar Jackson and the Louisville Cardinals on Saturday, or they can kiss any chance at a divisional or conference title goodbye. The best hope for FSU is that Clemson manages to beat Louisville in Death Valley on Saturday, followed by Florida State beating Miami and Clemson, creating a 3-way tie at the top of the ACC Atlantic. FSU has to have Clemson win on Saturday, and ‘Noles fans should be pulling for the Tigers accordingly.

American

South Florida at Cincinnati, 7:00, ESPNU: South Florida. With the USF game now behind the ‘Noles, FSU still has a vested interest in how the Bulls play throughout the remainder of the 2016 season. South Florida might be the second best team in the American. Saturday will go a long way toward determining that. If the Bulls can beat Cincinnati, they’ll be well on their way to winning the AAC East and potentially cracking the AP Top 25 down the road. They also benefit from not playing Houston during the regular season. FSU fans should be rooting for USF to finish as well as possible, both for FSU’s strength of schedule, and to potentially upset Houston in the AAC Championship Game in case the need arises for that in December.

Big 12

No. 13 Baylor at Iowa State, 12:00, FS1: Iowa State. Baylor is the highest ranked team in the Big 12 and the Bears are ranked only one spot behind Florida State. The Big 12 continues to struggle greatly collectively, and the struggle of the Big 12 creates a clearer path for the other conferences. The more the Big 12 struggles, the more likely it is that another conference could get two teams into the College Football Playoff. Therefore, FSU fans should root for the Big 12 struggle to continue by pulling for the unlikely Iowa State upset on Saturday.

No. 22 Texas at Oklahoma State, 12:00, ABC: Oklahoma State. Texas is one of three ranked teams in the Big 12 and Oklahoma State already has two losses, including a bad one to Central Michigan. Texas has Oklahoma on tap in the Red River Shootout next weekend. FSU fans should root for Okie State on Saturday.

Oklahoma at No. 21 TCU, 5:00, FOX: Oklahoma. TCU is the third ranked team in the Big 12 and Oklahoma’s 1-2 start has Bob Stoops’ seat feeling a little toasty in Norman. As mentioned above, Oklahoma has the Red River Shootout next weekend. Meanwhile, TCU won’t play another ranked team until November 5th. If you need a less rational reason to pull against TCU, here’s their atrocious alternate blackout helmets they’ll be wearing on Saturday that would make Oregon blush. For the chaos to continue in the Big 12, FSU fans should root for Oklahoma on Saturday.

Big Ten

No. 8 Wisconsin at No. 4 Michigan, 3:30, ABC: Wisconsin. This is an interesting matchup to have a vested rooting interest in. The Badgers are coming off a 30-6 drubbing of Michigan State last week. They play Michigan in Ann Arbor this weekend, take their bye week, and then have Ohio State coming to Madison the following week. And if they win the Big Ten West, they’ll have to play likely either Michigan or Ohio State a second time in Indianapolis.

The thought process goes that, at some point, Wisconsin is going to lose. Probably more than once.

Big Ten West-member Wisconsin beating Big Ten East-member Michigan on Saturday would be the preferable outcome for FSU fans. If Michigan wins, they’ll really only have to survive a trip to East Lansing in October before they go to Columbus for all the Big Ten East marbles at the end of the year. At this point, the Big Ten East is the ACC Atlantic’s biggest competition to get more than one team into the College Football Playoff. A nightmare scenario at the end of the season involves FSU being stuck in a potential 3-way tie for the ACC Atlantic but still having both Ohio State and Michigan ranked ahead of the ‘Noles even after their head-to-head matchup, with Wisconsin also lurking. At least one team from the Big Ten is going to the College Football Playoff. FSU fans should hope that they don’t get a second team in. Rooting for Wisconsin on Saturday is the clearest route to that end.

If Michigan loses to Wisky on Saturday, chaos can reign in the Big Ten. Wisky can lose to Ohio State, maybe twice, and Michigan can lose again or beat Ohio State, and the process really doesn’t matter so long as two of the three teams are essentially eliminated from playoff contention by the end of the year.

This scenario, coupled with the fact that Wisconsin is more than likely not running the table, is why FSU fans should be rooting for the Badgers to beat Michigan on Saturday.

Illinois at No. 15 Nebraska, 3:30, ESPN2: Illinois. Nebraska is ranked just three spots behind Florida State, and the Big Ten West already has Wisconsin in the AP Top Ten. A second Big Ten West team in the AP Top Ten would be bad news for the ACC, since the Big Ten is likely the ACC’s biggest competition to get two teams into the playoff. And don’t forget: the Big Ten West is the worse of the two Big Ten divisions. FSU fans should pull for Lovie Smith’s Fighting Illini (sorry Bucs fans) to pull off the unlikely upset over the Huskers in Lincoln on Saturday.

No. 17 Michigan State at Indiana, 8:00, BTN: Indiana. Michigan State came out totally flat last week against Wisconsin, managing to score only 6 points at home against the Badgers. They fell to No. 17 in the AP Poll, but they don’t play another ranked team for another month and could potentially play spoiler down the road in the Big Ten East. FSU fans should root for the Indiana upset on Saturday, but a month from now ‘Nole fans could be rooting hard for some Michigan State havoc in the Big Ten East.

Pac 12

No. 7 Stanford at No. 10 Washington, Friday, 9:00, ESPN: Washington. Want to hear something crazy? If the status quo holds in the Pac 12 from here on out, Washington is the last ranked opponent Stanford will play during the regular season. The only ranked team in the Pac 12 South currently is Utah, and Stanford didn’t draw them as a Pac 12 South opponent and wouldn’t play them until the Pac 12 Championship Game.

That Stanford-Notre Dame matchup everyone was raving about in the preseason? Hot garbage. Hell, after Washington, the toughest game left on Stanford’s schedule is probably the November 12th tilt in Eugene against Oregon, who just dropped back-to-back games to Nebraska and Colorado.

Washington doesn’t have it much tougher, but they do have to go to Utah at the end of October and, for what it counts, they also drew USC.

Did you know Christian McCaffrey has never recorded a rushing touchdown in a true away game during his entire career to date? Sounds like a Heisman shoo-in to me.

FSU fans should be watching this game intently Friday night, and rooting hard for Wershingten. A Huskies win will guarantee Stanford a loss on their weak schedule and probably move the Cardinal out of FSU’s way in the AP poll, assuming a ‘Noles win on Saturday. The Pac 12 is relatively weak, and if they can cannibalize each other, the odds of another conference getting a second (or even third) team in improves.

No. 18 Utah at Cal, 6:00, PAC12: Cal. Utah remains undefeated and ranked. They moved up six spots in the AP Top 25 for beating Southern Cal, and as I mentioned last week, they don’t play a ranked opponent for another five weeks. The Pac 12 is wacky. A potentially undefeated Utah could cause havoc in the College Football Playoff rankings when they come out, and FSU has enough undefeated teams in front of them to maneuver without having to worry about ones behind them right now. Florida State fans should root for Cal on Saturday.

SEC

No. 11 Tennessee at No. 25 Georgia, 3:30, CBS: Georgia. Goodness gracious Georgia looked terrible last weekend in Oxford. If they can rebound at home against the Volunteers on Saturday, FSU fans would greatly appreciate the Dawgs knocking Tennessee out of FSU’s way in the AP Poll. Tennessee is coming off an emotional win over Florida, so how will they respond to playing Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama over the next three consecutive weeks?

No. 9 Texas A&M at South Carolina, 4:00, SECN: Sakerlina. Texas A&M is the surprise of the SEC so far this season, looking solid against Arkansas last weekend in Arlington. Naturally we all have to wonder when the Aggies might slip up. Will it be this Saturday in Columbia against Muschamp’s Gamecocks? Probably not...South Carolina just lost to a bad Kentucky team last weekend. That being said, FSU fans should still be rooting for a South Carolina upset over TAMU on Saturday.

Memphis at No. 16 Ole Miss, 7:00: Ole Miss. The better the Rebs play, the better FSU’s marquee 2016 win looks. That’s not a bad feather in the cap beating a team that stole Georgia’s man card last week. Ole Miss is also out for revenge against Memphis for upsetting them last season. FSU fans should root for Ole Miss on Saturday.

TV Listings