College football TV Week 5 gets early Thursday cowbells

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A month into this thing already, and No. 1 USC has played but twice.
No wonder they’re (practically) untouched in the rankings. This is all starting to sound like the Ohio State theory: Play less, win out, let everyone else knock each other around.
But you can only do that for so long.
The TV gods will mess with the Trojans’ this week by treating them like a desperate Big East wannabe. Make ‘em play Thursday. On ESPN. That’ll teach ‘em.

Hitch up the covered wagon today. There may be no midweek planes going to Corvallis, Ore., without a layover at Mt. Shasta.

(Some day, we’ll get used to watching college football on Thursdays … Thanksgiving Day, OK. A Christmas Day every six years, fine. But why is this such a regular thing? Because here, it gives Pete Carroll another free Friday to recruit?)

What games you’ll be able to watch this week — and weekend — with a regular TV set (and a slightly more expensive distribution network):

THE LOCALS:

Thursday, 6 p.m., ESPN: USC at Oregon State (with Chris Fowler, Craig James, Jesse Palmer and Erin Andrews) There are only so many post-game hangouts that Andrews can find in Corvallis, and half of them end with “Watering Hole.” Start camping out now with your cellphones cocked. There can’t be any flights out of there Thursday night.

Saturday, 12:30 p.m., KABC/Channel 7: Fresno State at UCLA (with Terry Gannon and David Norrie) The former UCLA quarterback, Norrie, is already listed No. 3 on Neuheisel’s depth chart for this contest.

THURSDAY:

==5 p.m., CBS College Sports: SMU at Tulane (with Carter Blackburn and Aaron Taylor)
==5 p.m., ESPNU: Mississippi Valley State at Alabama State (with Charlie Neal and Jay Walker)

FRIDAY:

==5 p.m., ESPN2: Connecticut at Louisville (with Bob Wischusen, Brock Huard and Rob Stone)

SATURDAY:

==7 to 9 a.m., ESPN “College GameDay” from Athens, Ga., site of the Alabama-Georgia contest (later on ESPN, not CBS). It means Kirk Herbstreit has to leave afterward and take the Disney jet north to State College, Pa.

==9 a.m., ESPN: Michigan State at Indiana (with Pam Ward and Ray Bentley)
==9 a.m., ESPN2: North Carolina at Miami (with Dave Pasch and Andre Ware)
==9 a.m., ESPN Classic: Northwestern at Iowa (with Dave Lamont and Shaun King)
==9 a.m., ESPNU: Virginia at Duke (with Dave Armstrong and Larry Coker)
==9 a.m., Big Ten Network: Minnesota at Ohio State (with Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Glen Mason and Charissa Thompson)
==9:30 a.m., Versus: Army at Texas A&M (with Ron Thulin, Kelly Stouffer and Lewis Johnson)

==12:30 p.m., KCBS Channel 2: Tennessee at Auburn (with Verne Lundquist and Gary Danielson) So if CBS is supposed to be the network of the SEC, how is it that ESPN is getting the best matchups each week so far?
==12:30 p.m., KNBC Channel 4: Purdue at Notre Dame (with Tom Hammond and Pat Haden, plus Alex Flanagan assisting Charlie Weis to the sidelines)
==12:30 p.m., ESPN: Wisconsin at Michigan (with Brad Nessler, Bob Griese, Paul Maguire and Stacey Dales) So if the Big Ten Network is supposed to be the network of the Big Ten, how is it that ESPN is getting the best matchups each week so far?
==12:30 p.m., ESPN PPV: Colorado at Florida State (with Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore and Todd Harris)
==12:30 p.m., ESPN PPV: Arkansas at Texas (with Ron Franklin, Ed Cunningham and Jack Arute)
==12:30 p.m., CBS College Sports: Houston at East Carolina (with Tom Hart and Trev Alberts)
==12:30 p.m., Versus: Florida A&M vs. Tennessee State in Atlanta
==12:45 p.m., ESPNU: Navy at Wake Forest (with Doug Bell and Charles Arbuckle)

==2 p.m., FSN Prime Ticket: Morehouse vs. Prairie View A&M from the Coliseum (Angel City Classic) (with Michael Eaves and Petros Papadakis). Repeats at 11 p.m.

==4 p.m., FSN West: Texas Christian at Oklahoma (with Joel Meyers, Dave Lapham, Gary Reasons and Jim Knox)
==4 p.m., ESPN2: Mississippi State at LSU (with Mark Jones and Bob Davie)
==4:30 p.m., ESPNU: South Florida at N.C. State (with Clay Matvick, David Diaz-Infante and Melissa Knowles)
==4:45 p.m., ESPN: Alabama at Georgia (with Mike Patrick, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe)
==5 p.m., KABC Channel 7: Illinois at Penn State (with Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Lisa Salters) See comment above attached to Wisconsin-Michigan game.
==5 p.m. ESPN PPV: Virginia Tech at Nebraska (with Sean McDonough, Chris Spielman and Erin Andrews)
==5 p.m., CBS College Sports: Central Florida at UTEP (with Carter Blackburn, Aaron Taylor and Rocket Ismail)

==7 p.m., MTN: Nevada at UNLV (with James Bates and Todd Christensen)
==7:30 p.m., FSN West: Stanford at Washington (with Kevin Calabro, Mack Strong and Nicole Zaloumis)

LOOKING AHEAD:

TUESDAY, SEPT. 30:
==5 p.m., ESPN2: Florida Atlantic at Middle Tennessee (with Todd Harris and Ray Bentley)
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 1:
==5 p.m., ESPN: Louisiana Tech at Boise State (with Joe Tessitore and Rod Gilmore)

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