By the time Week 5 rolls around, the conference wars are already well underway. But not all the quality nonconference matchups have slid away yet. And, yes, in case you're wondering, NBC is still carrying Notre Dame football for reasons that are not entirely clear.
Of course, they tried this, too.
The week starts out decently enough, with a Thursday prime time showdown: USC at Oregon State, 9 p.m. ET. The Trojans, coming off a bye week following their game against Ohio State, likely won't be ripe for their second upset in three years against the Beavers, but it's still worth keeping an eye on.
On Saturday, a midmajor contender gets its day in the sun, as Fresno State goes to UCLA for the day's only announced 3:30 p.m. game on ABC. The only other scheduled game, though it doesn't have a TV slot yet, matches Illinois against Penn State in a conference tilt between one of last year's suprise Big Ten contenders and one of this year's expected ones. Look for that as a possible ABC's Saturday Night Football contest.
The other good games are all TBA. Virginia Tech visits Nebraska in the week's most intriguing intersectional game. The Hokies are expected to have a shot at winning the weak ACC; Nebraska is expected by some (though not C&F) to contend in the Big XII.
Tennessee visits Auburn in a game that could shake up the race for Atlanta, as could Alabama at Georgia. The Tide will be looking for revenge after last year's last-minute Tuscaloosa win for the spelling-challenged Dawgs.
Also on the docket: TCU at Oklahoma and Colorado at Florida State.
At least it's better than watching Martha Stewart firing someone.