College football's calm-before-the-storm Saturday

BY foxsports • November 20, 2014

We interrupt this exciting college football season, the race for the first playoff and the Heisman Trophy chase, to bring you this Saturday.

By chance and by plan, this weekend's college football schedule does not have much to get excited about.

Most of the Southeastern Conference is taking its November break, playing a pushover to prepare for a rivalry game (No. 2 Alabama vs. Western Carolina and No. 15 Auburn vs. Samford) or taking the week off altogether.

In other cases the schedule just didn't pan out. No. 4 Mississippi State against Vanderbilt. Yuck. No. 3 Oregon against Colorado. Pass. No. 6 Baylor against Oklahoma State. Yawn. No. 7 Ohio State against Indiana. Ugh.

Out of the top seven teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings only one is favored by fewer than 20 points: No. 1 Florida State is minus-191/2 at home against Boston College.

There's some action in the Pac-12 South worth keeping an eye on: No. 24 Southern California is at No. 11 UCLA and No. 15 Arizona visits No. 20 Utah. All of those teams plus Arizona State are still alive to win one of the best divisions in the country.

Over in the Big Ten West, Minnesota vs. No. 21 Nebraska and No. 14 Wisconsin at Iowa will help determine a close division race, but other than watching what Badgers record-breaking star Melvin Gordon does for an encore, that's not exactly must-see TV.

If you wanted to have a fall wedding and not tick off your college football fan friends and relatives, this would be the week to do it.

''In the fall I may have a few appointments on the weekend, typically no wedding,'' said wedding planner Christina Sloan, who runs Christina Sloan Events in Birmingham, Alabama. ''This weekend I have one on Thursday, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. I've had inquiries for more, I just can't take all of them on.''

It is the kind of weekend where ESPN's ''College GameDay'' goes to Harvard-Yale. The Crimson and the Bulldogs are playing with the Ivy League title at stake for both teams for the first time since 2007. Pretty cool, but if GameDay is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on the second-to-last weekend of November it's probably a slow Saturday around the country.

One of the other candidates for GameDay this week was a trip to Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, where Lehigh and Lafayette play college football's oldest rivalry for the 150th time.

Call it the Calm-Before-the-Storm Saturday. Thanksgiving weekend is packed with rivalry games and huge matchups, starting Thanksgiving night with No. 5 TCU facing Texas.

The next weekend is Championship Weekend, featuring all the FBS conference title games and culminating with the selection of the teams to play in the first College Football Playoff. Like those SEC teams, fans can use this weekend to recharge for the stretch drive.

Of course, just because the schedule is lacking highly ranked teams playing big games doesn't mean something dramatic can't happen. Maybe one of those double-digit underdogs can pull an upset and shake things up.

If that happens, Sloan has her clients covered with a tailgate station and televisions to watch the games.

''Even though it's a slow weekend,'' she said, ''they still make sure they get their football in.''