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College football games on TV today: Good thrill hunting

Alabama probably isn’t losing this week, and even if it did, does anyone really think a one-loss Tide team will be left out of the playoff? Clemson, meanwhile, travels to a Boston College team that might be missing one of the nation’s top running backs, Notre Dame hosts floundering Florida State and Michigan plays Rutgers. Chaos-hunters might want to sit this one out.

All times Eastern.

Time Game TV
Noon No. 10 Ohio State at No. 18 Michigan State Fox
Noon Wisconsin at No. 20 Penn State ABC
Noon Mississippi at Texas A&M CBS
Noon South Carolina at No. 15 Florida ESPN
Noon Navy at No. 12 Central Florida ESPN2
Noon Tulsa at Memphis ESPNU
Noon Vanderbilt at Missouri SEC Network
Noon Illinois at Nebraska Big Ten Network
Noon Maryland at Indiana Big Ten Network
Noon Kansas at Kansas State MASN2 (in D.C. area)
Noon TCU at No. 9 West Virginia Fox Sports 1
Noon Lafayette at Army CBS Sports Network
12:20 North Carolina at Duke WDCA-20 (in D.C. area)
2 Rhode Island at James Madison MASN (in D.C. area)
3:30 No. 16 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama CBS
3:30 Oklahoma State at No. 6 Oklahoma ABC
3:30 Northwestern at No. 21 Iowa Fox
3:30 No. 8 Washington State at Colorado ESPN
3:30 Purdue at Minnesota ESPN2
3:30 Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh ESPNU
3:30 No. 11 Kentucky at Tennessee SEC Network
3:30 No. 4 Michigan at Rutgers Big Ten Network
3:30 Baylor at No. 22 Iowa State Fox Sports 1
3:30 New Mexico at Air Force CBS Sports Network
4 East Carolina at Tulane ESPNews
5:30 Oregon at Utah Pac-12 Network
7 No. 24 Auburn at No. 5 Georgia ESPN
7 Miami at Georgia Tech ESPN2
7 South Florida at Cincinnati ESPNU
7 Temple at Houston CBS Sports Network
7:30 Florida State at No. 3 Notre Dame NBC
7:30 No. 19 Texas at Texas Tech Fox
7:30 No. 7 LSU at Arkansas SEC Network
8 No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College ABC
10:30 California at Southern Cal ESPN
10:30 UNLV at San Diego State ESPN2
10:30 Colorado State at Nevada ESPNU

Michigan State trailed only Alabama in rushing defense last season, allowing just 95.3 rushing yards per game, and perhaps would have secured the top spot had it not been for a 48-3 loss to Ohio State, when Buckeyes running backs Mike Weber (162 yards on only nine carries) and J.K. Dobbins (18 carries for 124 yards) both exceeded that mark by a wide margin (as a team, Ohio State finished with 335 rushing yards, the most ever allowed by a Mark Dantonio defense). The Spartans lead the country in rushing defense this season in terms of yards per game (71.7) and rank second in rush-defense efficiency, but here comes Ohio State again, and Weber and Dobbins haven’t gone anywhere. They combined for 254 rushing yards in last weekend’s win over Nebraska, nearly abandoning the run-pass option plays that had proven unsuccessful all season and relying on a more straight-ahead approach. Michigan State, meanwhile, held Maryland to just 26 rushing yards last week, and the Terrapins are (or at least were) one of the stronger rushing teams in the country. …

With the much-hyped, barely competitive meeting with LSU in the books and the annual Iron Bowl matchup with Auburn looming in a few weeks, Alabama’s sandwich-spot matchup with Mississippi State might have some anticipating a Crimson Tide letdown. Last year, when the Alabama-Mississippi State game occurred in a similar time frame and situation, the Crimson Tide needed a touchdown with 35 seconds left to secure a 31-24 win in Starkvegas. But here’s one reason why that might not happen: In their two losses this season, the Bulldogs have converted on just 25.9 percent of their third-down chances (in victories, that number rises to 54.7 percent). Alabama’s defense is giving up third-down conversions at just a 30 percent clip, which ranks 11th nationally. Here’s another: Thanks mainly to shaky punting-kicking-return play, Mississippi State is a national bottom feeder in terms of both average starting field position (26.5-yard line, ranking 122nd) and opponent’s average starting field position (31.8-yard line, 109th). Alabama ranks 22nd and 12th, respectively. Giving the Crimson Tide’s offense ample opportunities and a short field does not sound like a recipe for success. …

ESPN’s “College GameDay” set up shop in Chestnut Hill ahead of the Boston College-Clemson game, which isn’t exactly a place you’d normally find the network’s traveling roadshow in early November. The Eagles haven’t been ranked so highly since 2007 — heck, they went nine straight seasons without being ranked at all before this season — but it’s a pretty blah slate this week and Clemson is Clemson so here we are. BC might have its hands full keeping up with a team that dropped 77 points on Louisville last week if running back AJ Dillon misses the game with an ankle injury that has nagged him all year. Coach Steve Addazio danced around the question of Dillon’s status earlier this week, saying “he was bouncing around, a good smile on his face” but also admitting he’s “dinged up.” Dillon is averaging nearly 130 rushing yards per game and has scored eight times, but Clemson is allowing just 90.4 rushing yards per game and ranks first nationally in terms of rushing-defense S&P+, an opponent-adjusted measure of efficiency.

Read more:

College football betting Week 11: If there’s a good time to fade Alabama, it might be Saturday

Maryland fires athletic trainers who had been on leave in wake of Jordan McNair death

John Feinstein: The next Maryland football coach should be Navy offensive coordinator Ivin Jasper

Michigan replaces LSU in College Football Playoff top four as Notre Dame moves up

Northeast America is somehow about to become college football relevant

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