Moved out of Philadelphia for 2020, the annual Army-Navy game remains the one to watch
The rivalry, which has been played 89 times in Philly, moves to West Point this year so that the nearly 9,000 members of the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen can attend without restrictions.
With the pandemic granting no favors, the college football world must do Saturday without the annual Michigan-Ohio State game, one of 10 contests at last count canceled due to the coronavirus.
With the matchups in four Power 5 conference championship games locked in, the best game, as usual, is Army-Navy, which comes with a twist this season.
Navy at Army, 3 p.m., CBS3
The annual service academy rivalry this year is not at its home base in Philadelphia, where it has been contested 89 times, but is contested at West Point for the first time since 1943. The move was to ensure that the nearly 9,000 members of the Corps of Cadets and the Brigade of Midshipmen -- the only spectators -- would be allowed to watch the game in person without restrictions.
The Black Knights (7-2) have had an outstanding season. They are third in the nation in rushing (296.7 yards per game) and average 5.0 yards per carry. They also are ninth in points allowed (16.3 per game) and have given up just five rushing touchdowns. Senior linebacker Jon Rhattigan, a Bednarik Award semifinalist, leads the defense.
The Midshipmen (3-6), who broke a three-game losing streak in the series with a 31-7 win last year at Lincoln Financial Field, have struggled, with their three wins coming by a total of nine points. Senior fullback Nelson Smith leads the offense with 622 rushing yards and eight TDs, and junior linebacker Diego Fagot is their top tackler.
LSU at No. 6 Florida, 7 p.m., ESPN
The likely main goal for the Gators (8-1) is to try to avoid any injuries as they await next Saturday’s SEC championship game against No. 1 Alabama. With Kyle Trask (3,243 passing yards, 38 touchdowns) throwing against one of the worst pass defenses (313 yards allowed per game) in college football, they shouldn’t have any trouble scoring.
The Tigers (3-5) had yet another player opt out this week, increasing that total to nine along with seven who have decided to transfer. With all those losses, LSU decided to self-impose a one-year ban on postseason play in response to an NCAA investigation on alleged rules violations.
No. 1 Alabama at Arkansas, noon, ESPN
The Crimson Tide (9-0) wrap up their regular season carrying a 97-game winning streak against unranked teams into Fayetteville. Senior Mac Jones has put together an outstanding season with 27 touchdown passes, and his 3,113 yards passing has broken Tua Tagovailoa’s program record for a single season.
While they have struggled with pass defense, the Razorbacks (3-6) are third in the nation with 13 interceptions. A big name offensively is sophomore wide receiver Treylon Burks, who gained 206 yards receiving last week against Missouri, and has 49 catches for 804 yards on the season.
No. 25 Wisconsin at No. 19 Iowa, 3:30 p.m., FoxSports1
This would have been the best game in the Big Ten this week even if Ohio State and Michigan had played. The Hawkeyes (5-2) have won five straight but quarterback Spencer Petras must be sharp against a Badgers defense that leads the nation in fewest yards allowed rushing, passing and total. After scoring 94 points in its first two games, both wins, Wisconsin (2-2) has managed just 13 in losing its last two.
No. 20 North Carolina at No. 9 Miami, 3:30 p.m., 6ABC
The two best ACC quarterbacks not named Trevor Lawrence or Ian Book put their talents on display in a game where a win will help a team’s bowl position. D’Eriq King of the Hurricanes (8-1, 7-1 ACC) has completed 64% of his passes and has accounted for 24 touchdowns – 20 throwing, four rushing. Sam Howell of the Tar Heels (8-3, 7-3) leads the conference in passing efficiency, throwing for 3,129 yards and 26 TDs.
No. 12 Georgia at Missouri, noon, SEC Network
The defense of the Bulldogs (6-2), which is second in the SEC in points allowed at 20.6 per game, will have its hands full with the Tigers (5-3) and an offense that has scored 91 points in their last two games. USC transfer quarterback J.T. Daniels, who returned last month after recovering from surgery on a torn anterior cruciate ligament, has passed for 540 yards and six touchdowns in his two starts for Georgia.
Expatriates of the Week
A pair of Archbishop Wood High School graduates will be playing on the offensive line for their respective academies in Saturday’s Army-Navy game. Sophomore Connor Bishop is the starting center for the Black Knights, anchoring a unit that has rushed for 296.7 yards per game. Senior Kurt Stengel has come off the bench in all nine of the Midshipmen’s games, filling in at either tackle slot.