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GAMEDAY OPEN THREAD: LEAVE 'EM IF YOU GOT 'EM

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National TV Schedule (all time Eastern)
Noon Purdue at Penn State ESPN
Noon Iowa at Northwestern ESPN2
Noon Wake Forest at Virginia LF Sports
Noon Wisconsin at Ohio State BTN
12:30 Nebraska at Kansas FSN
12:30 Vanderbilt at Florida LF Sports
12:30 Kansas State at Iowa State VERSUS
2:30 Navy at Notre Dame NBC
3:30 Cincinnati at USF ABC (map)
3:30 Michigan at Mich. State ABC (map)
3:30 Texas at OK State ABC (map)
3:30 UCLA at Arizona ABC (map)
3:30 Army at Air Force CSTV
3:45 Maryland at No. Carolina ESPNU
5:00 LSU at Alabama CBS
6:30 Missouri at Colorado FSN
6:45 Arizona State at Oregon ESPN
7:15 Rutgers at UConn ESPNU
7:30 Tulsa at Tulane CSTV
8:00 Fla. State at Boston Coll. ABC (map)
8:00 Texas A&M at Oklahoma ABC (map)
8:00 Oregon State at USC ABC (map)
8:00 So. Carolina at Arkansas ESPN2
10:00 Wash. State at Cal FSN
We officially hit the final third of the regular season today, with too much steam (and waves of mutual hate radiating from Tuscaloosa) for melancholy.

I guess they think we've seen enough of this face. Oh, how wrong they are.
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The national viewing schedule today isn't ideal: the two biggest games, Alabama-LSU and Oregon-Arizona State, overlap, so watching the second half of the former means missing the beginning of the latter, and the only other games against ranked teams - Ohio State-Wisconsin and Wake Forest-Virginia - are strictly regional options for those of us watching sans dishes and fancy pay-per-view packages. The monster we all knew was lurking in the Big Ten Network rears its ugly head for the first time in keeping the Buckeyes and Badgers away, while the rest of the country gets an Iowa-Northwestern barnburner. The Pac Ten's efforts to get its marquee game out to a national audience are really to be commended by comparison, but then, neither Arizona State nor Oregon is the national brand Ohio State is, so there's more urgency.

The other theme of the day is validation, for Arizona State and Alabama in particular, one for being undefeated without taking down a top 20 opponent that wasn't already on a two-game losing streak, the other for going overboard about the immediate impact of a coach for whom it dramatically overpaid. Both are underdogs, and both can take unexpected hold of the lead in their respective conferences or fall by the wayside like the upstarts so many people suspect they are.

Then there's Boston College and Kansas, facing their leagues' old masters-turned-serfs, Florida State and Nebraska, and still trying to prove they have the consistency to avoid stumbling in a dangerous situation, when the two more talented teams are significant underdogs.

This is, of coure, the best time of year. All games are in play. Even Notre Dame-Navy!