If the idea of battling throngs of coffee-fueled shoppers just to get that incredible deal on a comforter set or bargain-basement laptop makes you feel like slamming your TV-remote hand in a car door over and over, then you will find this guide to this year’s Black Friday (November 25th) college football action worthwhile.
I’ve worked retail, and as someone who has seen both sides of the chaos known as “Black Friday” I can tell you that there are few places I’d rather avoid than the massive lines and crowds of deal-obsessed customers in stores this weekend. Instead, I’ll be plopped on my couch watching some of the interesting matchups the NCAA has to offer as the conference races wind down.
Here is a look at every nationally televised game we’ll have to watch, starting with the hugely consequential Arkansas-LSU game and then going in chronological order of kickoff time.
Black Friday College Football Schedule
#3 Arkansas at #1 LSU
- Arkansas-LSU Date: Friday, November 25th
- Arkansas-LSU Kickoff Time: 2:30 PM EST
- Arkansas-LSU TV: CBS
- Arkansas-LSU Point Spread: LSU -13
- Arkansas-LSUOver/Under: 52
Now this is what I’m talking about.
As a midwesterner (hence my writing for Midwest Sports Fans), I do get sick of the domination of the SEC in football, but this game has potential to be great. Most media members have assumed LSU’s ticket to the national championship game is a foregone conclusion, but Arkansas presents a solid challenge.
Averaging nearly 40 points per game, and with a loss to Alabama in Tuscaloosa as their only blemish, Bobby Petrino’s dynamic Razorbacks will attempt to unseat the top-ranked Tigers.
Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson has thrown for 3,215 yards and 21 touchdowns to lead the pass-heavy Arkansas offense. He will certainly face a test and the freakish LSU defense will be in his face all afternoon Friday.
With one of the toughest, most hostile home fields in all of sports, it wil be fun to watch the Tigers try to cement their status further as the nation’s best team.
Eastern Michigan at Northern Illinois
- Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois Date: Friday, November 25th
- Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois Kickoff Time: 11:00 AM EST
- Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois TV: ESPNU
- Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois Point Spread: Northern Illinois -19.5
- Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois Over/Under: 64.5
Eastern Michigan-Northern Illinois Preview:
This game has MAC championship implications as NIU (8-3, 6-1 MAC) enters tied with Toledo for tops in the MAC West. NIU will bring their high-powered offense (41.5 points per game, 9th in FBS) into this one, and former Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English, now the head coach at Eastern Michigan, will have his hands full trying to stop it.
NIU’s Jasmin Hopkins needs just 159 yards to join Huskies quarterback Chandler Harnish in the 1000-yard club this season.
Louisville at South Florida
- Louisville-South Florida Date: Friday, November 25th
- Lousiville-South Florida Kickoff Time: 11:00 AM EST
- Lousiville-South Florida TV: ESPN2
- Lousiville-South Florida Point Spread: South Florida -3
- Louisville-SouthFlorida Over/Under: 43
Louisville-South Florida Preview:
Despite being only 6-5 overall and 4-2 in Big East play, Louisville is still in the thick of the race for the Big East title. They have allowed over 30 points only once this season (35 to West Virginia), so they will lean on their defense on the road in this one.
If South Florida quarterback B.J. Daniels can’t play due to a right shoulder injury, the Cardinals will have a good chance to pull the (slight) road upset.
Lousiville hasn’t won in South Florida in their last 4 trips.
Iowa at #21 Nebraska
- Iowa-Nebraska Date: Friday, November 25th
- Iowa-Nebraska Kickoff Time: 12:00 PM EST
- Iowa-Nebraska TV: ABC
- Iowa-Nebraska Point Spread: Nebraska -9.5
- Iowa-Nebraska Over/Under: 53.5
Nebraska will be happy to be back in Lincoln after getting pummeled 45-17 in Ann Arbor. The Huskers are eliminated from the Big Ten championship race, but they still have bowl position to play for.
Iowa will try to win their third straight game, as they have beaten Purdue and Michigan the last two weeks.
For Nebraska, watch for Rex Burkhead (1108 yards, 14 touchdowns) to try to get back on track after struggling last week. For Iowa, expect steady doses of Marcus Coker (1297 yards, 14 touchdowns) and receiver Marvin McNutt (1240 yards and 12 touchdowns). Coker and McNutt are among the most talented rushing/receiving combos in the Big Ten.
Boston College at Miami
- Boston College-Miami Date: Friday, November 25th
- Boston College-Miami Kickoff Time: 3:30 PM EST
- Boston College-Miami TV: ABC
- Boston College-Miami Point Spread: Miami -14.5
- Boston College-Miami Over/Under: 44
Boston College-Miami Preview:
If you’re in the mood for some mediocre ACC football, this game is right up your alley. Miami, plagued by off the field issues and under a self-imposed bowl ban, will host the Eagles, who have struggled mightily on offense this season.
Miami senior quarterback Jacory Harris will lead the Hurricanes in the final home game for the recruiting class of 2008. That class, under then-head coach Randy Shannon, was considered one of the best in the nation, but the Canes have largely underachieved during that span, with Shannon being fired and replaced by Al Golden as head coach.
Pittsburgh at West Virginia
- Pittsburgh-West Virginia Date: Friday, November 25th
- Pittsburgh-West Virginia Kickoff Time: 7:00 PM EST
- Pittsburgh-West Virginia TV: ESPN
- Pittsburgh-West Virginia Point Spread: West Virginia -7
- Pittsburgh-West Virginia Over/Under: 57
Pittsburgh-West Virginia Preview:
West Virginia will already know their Big East chances by the time the game starts, as they need a Louisville loss to South Florida to be able to win the conference. They hold the advantage over Rutgers and Cincinnati by virtue of head-to-head wins over both, but their loss to Louisville has them unable to fully control their own destiny.
For Pittsburgh, this game will be tough. They lost starting running back Ray Graham to a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. They will now rely on Zach Brown (269 yards, 4 touchdowns) to lead their offense, along with quarterback Tino Sunseri (2037 yards, 9 touchdowns passing).
The Mountaineers have been fantastic on offense, with quarterback Geno Smith tallying 3497 yards and 24 touchdowns so far. West Virginia averages nearly 40 points per game, so Pittsburgh will have a tough time slowing them down.
This game will be extremely interesting if South Florida handles Lousiville early in the day.
California at Arizona State
- Cal-Arizona State Date: Friday, November 25th
- Cal-Arizona State Kickoff Time: 10:15 PM EST
- Cal-Arizona State TV: ESPN
- Cal-Arizona State Point Spread: Arizona State -5.5
- Cal-Arizona State Over/Under: 53.5
Cal-Arizona State Preview:
To finish out a long day of college football, we have a matchup between two middle of the pack, yet bowl-eligible Pac-12 programs.
The Golden Bears come into this one having narrowly lost to #9 Stanford last week. Cal’s Isi Sofele (1121 yards, 8 touchdowns) will try to chew up the clock and keep Arizona State’s potent passing offense, led by Brock Osweiler (3377 yards, 21 touchdowns) off the field. Arizona State, meanwhile, will try to snap a 3-game losing streak and finish the regular season on a positive note.
So, there you have it. If you’re not out shopping this Friday, you know what your football viewing options are.