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EARLY GAMES OPEN THREAD

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Pulsating Playoff positioning ahoy!

whoa something is divebombing pat fitzgerald, duck and cover, pat, duck and cover!
whoa something is divebombing pat fitzgerald, duck and cover, pat, duck and cover!
Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Another week where Iowa doesn't kick off until mid-afternoon; the price (or prize?) of a high-profile means no early kickoffs, apparently.  Still, there's football to be watched while we wait for Iowa to take on the Hoosiers -- and some of the games could matter a great deal to Iowa.

Inside the Big Ten, the biggest game in this window is PSU-Northwestern.  Northwestern made the first College Football Playoff rankings this week, which has added even more shine to Iowa's dominant win over them.  A Northwestern win keeps them firmly entrenched in the committee's Top 25, which is good news for Iowa.  A Northwestern loss will kick them out of the Top 25, though, which would take away a quality win from Iowa's resume.  So in the battle of the cat-people, root for the ones wearing purple.

Outside the Big Ten, the key game is Notre Dame-Pittsburgh, which has significance on both ends for Iowa.  Pitt wasn't ranked by the committee in this week's College Football Playoff rankings, but they'd be a lock to crack the Top 25 if they could beat Notre Dame, which would add even more sheen to Iowa's win over the Panthers.  It would also hurt Notre Dame, a team listed ahead of Iowa in the current rankings.  Iowa has a lot to gain from that game, so go Panthers.

Big Ten Games
11 AM
Penn State at Northwestern (ESPNU)
Illinois at Purdue (BTN)

Games From Other, Lesser Leagues
11 AM
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh (ABC)
Vanderbilt at Florida (ESPN)
Duke at North Carolina (ESPN2)
Texas Tech at West Virginia (FS1)
UCF at Tulsa (ESPNEWS)
Kentucky at Georgia (SEC Network)
Akron at UMass (CBS Sports)

12 PM
Stanford at Colorado (Pac 12 Network)

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