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WEEK SIX: Bedtimes and Other Obstacles

Bid adieu to the nonconference slate from here on out. For the most part -- with the exception of a rivalry game here and a scheduling quirk there -- we are into conference competition for the rest of the season. This week's lone straggler -- with any import, at least -- is Oregon State at Utah, a 9 p.m. ET Thursday (Oct. 2) event that currently has no TV home. Versus is possible.

On ESPN, it will be Pittsburgh at South Florida, as two darlings battle for a challenger's seat in the Big East. That prime time tilt kicks off at 7:30 p.m., presumably so Craig James can get to bed on time.

Stops making sense after ... well, after he wakes up, really.

On Saturday, more of the Big East picture clears up when Rutgers travels to West Virginia. The game is scheduled for a noon kickoff, but a TV destination has yet to be chosen.

The last day of the week also brings with it a leg of the race for the Commander in Chief's Trophy, as Navy takes on Air Force at 4 p.m. Again, no television home yet -- nor any assurance, really, that it will be televised.

The ABC Saturday Night Football Selections are pretty much carved in stone. Ohio State visits Wisconsin in a major Big Ten tilt scheduled for 8 p.m. For the Pac-10, all eyes will be on Oregon at Southern Cal, to see if the Ducks can challenge the Trojans' West Coast supremacy.

Everything else is TBA -- par for the course this far out. Illinois at Michigan will show one team used to running the spread facing off with a team adapting to an offense that, for the Wolverines, might as well be from Mars. At this point, Michigan fans hope, the offense will be starting to get it.

Florida State at Miami is intriguing almost as much because of what it likely will not be -- relevant to the conference or the national picture -- as for what it will be -- a sign of which of these teams is on track to correcting its deep-seated problems.

A conference game? When did we join the Big East?

Missouri at Nebraska will be relevant to the Big XII conference, and perhaps to the national picture. This will be the Tigers' first conference game and, if all goes according to plan, only their second true challenge.

Arizona State at Cal, as yet unscheduled and untelevised, is another major conference showdown on the West Coast. If the Byzantine conference television rules of the Pac-10 allow it to be seen nationally, the match-up could keep us all up past our bedtime.