College football TV schedule: Alabama-Texas takes center stage

Is it too much to ask that we have a game a week like last Saturday’s North Carolina-Appalachian State event, which featured 489 fourth-quarter yards (!) and 62 fourth-quarter points (!!)? . Only one. Put U. connector on it, it doesn’t matter. College football is best when it’s inexplicably absurd, and we got a lot of that in Week 1.

Alabama is a 20-point favorite over Texas As of this writing, one scenario in which Nick Saban-coached Crimson Tide teams typically thrive: They’re 26-0 as road favorites with at least 20 points under Saban, winning by more than seven points in 25 from them. The only really close game was last year’s crazy 24-22 Iron Bowl win at Auburn. Last year also saw Saban lose to a former assistant for the first time (to Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M) and the second time (to Kirby Smart and Georgia in the college football playoff title game), and the Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian served under Saban for three seasons, the last two as his offensive coordinator. Texas closed in on Louisiana Monroe last weekend, prompting some gasps of “Texas is back,” but Alabama dealt a probably more impressive 55-0 damage to Utah State, which unlike the Warhawks could be pretty decent this year. The Longhorns haven’t beaten an Associated Press top-five team since a 20-13 win over No. 5 Nebraska in 2010 and last beat a top-ranked team in 2008, when they defeated Oklahoma at Red River. Rivalry. …

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Tennessee travels to Pittsburgh at the Johnny Majors Classic, with both teams fielding intriguing passers. Volunteer quarterback Hendon Hooker, who filled in for the injured Joe Milton in last year’s loss to the Panthers and hasn’t relinquished the starting job since, threw for two runs and rushed for two more in the 49-point rout of Tennessee over Ball State last weekend. Pittsburgh introduces Kedon Slovis, the transfer from Southern California who replaced Kenny Pickett, who is now in the NFL. Slovis completed 16 of 24 passes for 308 yards and a touchdown in Backyard Brawl’s heartbreaking win over West Virginia last week, when the Panthers tied the score late, went ahead with pick-six MJ Devonshire with 2:58 remaining and then they held on as the Mountaineers’ last-gasp touchdown drive fell short. …

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The night board features two late games that can trump going to sleep. BYU hosts Baylor in a matchup of future Big 12 ranked rivals, with the Cougars scheduled to join the conference next season. The Bears won last year’s matchup, rushing for 303 yards in a 38-24 victory. It was the first of four games in which BYU allowed at least 210 rushing yards in their last seven games (although they went 5-2 in that stretch). Baylor rushed the ball 41 times for 259 yards and seven rushing touchdowns in the season-opening demolition of Albany, so it appears their plan of attack hasn’t changed much. … Fresh from his surprise at the disconcertingly bad state of San Diego, Arizona hosts the state of Mississippi with some pep in his step after going 1-16 in his previous two seasons. The Wildcats limited the perennially limited rushing Aztecs to just 62 passing yards on 16 attempts, but they won’t face anything remotely similar to Mike Leach’s Bulldogs, who got 450 passing yards and five touchdowns (for five players) from the quarterback. Will Rogers field in one season. -Opening win over Memphis.

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