Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara
Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara (12) passes the ball against Nebraska linebacker Caleb Tannor (2) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. (AP Photo/Rebecca S. Gratz)


Mike Shara

In their lifetime I saw the band R.E.M live in concert eight different times, in six different cities over a span of about 20 years. I can still remember each city – Buffalo, Toronto (three times), Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh and Detroit. Even though they were obviously one of my favorite bands, I honestly only ever thought they were…pretty good live. I’ve seen a lot of concerts in my life and only one of the eight R.E.M gigs was really exceptionally good. That was the Buffalo gig in 1996 on the Monster Tour. So why were they so particularly good that night? I think it was because their opening act that night was Radiohead, who had just released “The Bends” and played it live that night to an awestruck audience. I think the headliners from Georgia peered out from behind the curtain, realized the warm-up band was blowing folks away, and stepped up their game.

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So, what the hell is the connection of this indie nerd story to this week in college football? Well, it’s tenuous but there is one. Last week’s CFB schedule was no Radiohead – Week 8 was not a great warm-up for Week 9. Opening acts-wise, last week was more like Sparklehorse or Gene Loves Jezebel or The Cloud Room or one of the countless other relatively forgettable bands that made it easy for the headlining band to look really good.

To tie this somewhat forced connection together (finally), in comparison to last week’s slate of games, this week’s college football schedule looks really good already – and it hasn’t even walked onstage yet.

The biggest game of the week is at noon on Saturday as #6 Michigan travels to East Lansing to face #8 Michigan State, continuing a traditional in-state rivalry that is over 100 years old but one that has rarely seen both schools so highly ranked at game time. After a rest period, Saturday evening we get a second dose of big time, Big Ten Conference football when #20 Penn State takes on #5 Ohio State. Elsewhere, #10 Ole Miss has to travel to Jordan-Hare Stadium for a serious in-conference test vs. #18 Auburn and the #1 Georgia Bulldogs will head to The Swamp to face an unranked Florida squad that will doubtless still provide a tough test for the nation’s best team.

(A word of warning – this week is kind of a ‘Radiohead opening act week’ but next week’s schedule is more of a ‘Ted Nugent headlining in the afternoon at the State Fair kinda week’ – so enjoy Week 9 and worry about Week 10 next week!)

Games listed below all feature teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25. This week BYU and Iowa State have rejoined the rankings while N.C. State and Purdue’s brief dalliances with Top 25 glory have crash landed for now.


Troy#24 Coastal Carolina7:30 pmESPN


#2 CincinnatiTulane12 noonESPN2
#6 Michigan#8 Michigan State12 noonFOX
#9 IowaWisconsin12 noonESPN
Texas#16 Baylor12 noonABC
Miami#17 Pittsburgh12 noonACC
#22 Iowa StateWest Virginia2 pmESPN3
#1 GeorgiaFlorida3:30 pmCBS
Texas Tech#4 Oklahoma3:30 pmABC
Colorado#7 Oregon3:30 pmFOX
Duke#13 Wake Forest4 pmACC
#10 Ole Miss#18 Auburn7 pmESPN
#12 KentuckyMississippi State7 pmSEC
Kansas#15 Oklahoma State7 pmFS1
#19 SMUHouston7 pmESPN2
#20 Penn State#5 Ohio State7:30 pmABC
North Carolina#11 Notre Dame7:30 pmNBC
Virginia#25 BYU10:15 pmESPN2
Fresno State#21 San Diego State10:30 pmCBSSN

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