Oregon's trip to Stanford is the Game of the Week
By Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
Here's a look at every game of the Week 11 college football schedule.
No. 59 South Florida at No. 73 Syracuse
These two teams are a combined 1–7 in Big East play, with the only win, by Syracuse, coming over West Virginia by 26 points. Go figure.
South Florida 24, Syracuse 20
No. 89 Western Kentucky at No. 1 LSU
Western Kentucky has won five straight games, two in overtime and another one by a single point. Their winning streak will end on Saturday.
LSU 44, Western Kentucky 7
No. 2 Oklahoma State at No. 50 Texas Tech
The Red Raiders have been outscored 93–27 since their historic win over Oklahoma in Norman. Oklahoma State will be playing its first game as the No. 2 team in the BCS standings.
Oklahoma State 48, Texas Tech 27
No. 6 Oregon at No. 3 Stanford
It’s dangerous to put too much stock in a game that was played last season, but Oregon’s speed overwhelmed Stanford in the Ducks’ 52–31 win in Eugene last fall. Stanford’s incredible run of 17 straight wins — all but two decided by 10 points or more — is in serious jeopardy.
Oregon 37, Stanford 31
No. 4 Alabama at No. 51 Mississippi State
Alabama is no longer unbeaten, but the Crimson Tide still have the nation’s top defense. They are allowing only 187.0 yards per game — 63 fewer than the nation’s second-ranked defense, Michigan State.
Alabama 27, Mississippi State 6
No. 33 TCU at No. 5 Boise State
TCU is having a solid season at 7–2 overall and 4–0 in the MWC, but the Horned Frogs have clearly taken a few steps back in 2011. They don’t really have a quality win, and their two losses have come against teams (Baylor and SMU) not ranked in the top 25.
Boise State 37, TCU 24
No. 53 Tennessee at No. 8 Arkansas
Arkansas has had its issues away from home, but the Razorbacks have been dominant in Fayetteville. This is a very tough start for Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley, a true freshman who will making his first start on the road.
Arkansas 31, Tennessee 14
No. 47 Wake Forest at No. 9 Clemson
Clemson’s hopes at a perfect season were dashed in Atlanta two weeks ago, but the Tigers still have plenty to play for, most notably their first-ever trip to a BCS bowl.
Clemson 38, Wake Forest 20
No. 11 Michigan State at No. 42 Iowa
Stopping Marcus Coker will be the top priority for the Spartans. Michigan State boasts some gaudy defensive numbers — No. 2 in the nation in total defense, No. 8 in scoring defense — but has not been as stout in recent weeks. Minnesota had Big Ten-season highs of 415 yards and 24 points in a 31–24 loss to MSU in East Lansing on Saturday.
Iowa 24, Michigan State 17
No. 12 Wisconsin at No. 83 Minnesota
Minnesota is playing better of late, but it’s safe to say that Paul Bunyan’s Axe will remain in Madison for at least one more season.
Wisconsin 41, Minnesota 10
No. 35 Texas A&M at No. 12 Kansas State
What does Kansas State need to do to get some respect from the boys in Vegas? The Wildcats are 7–2 overall, with the two losses coming to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, yet find themselves as a 4.5-point underdog at home to a Texas A&M team that is 5–4 overall and has lost two straight games.
Kansas State 37, Texas A&M 34
No. 31 Auburn at No. 14 Georgia
Winners of seven straight games, Georgia can take a giant step toward its first SEC East title since 2005 with a win over Auburn Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs are one game up on South Carolina and have two league games remaining — Auburn and Kentucky, both at home.
Georgia 24, Auburn 20
No. 27 Washington at No. 15 USC
Washington is potent on offense — led by quarterback Keith Price and tailback Chris Polk — but there is no indication that the Huskies are good enough on defense to slow down USC enough to win this game.
USC 35, Washington 24
No. 20 Nebraska at No. 17 Penn State
The national spotlight is on Penn State this weekend — and not because the Nittany Lions are 8–1 overall and 5–0 in the Big Ten. We have no idea how the players will deal with the distractions, but the guess here is that we won’t see Penn State at its finest this week.
Nebraska 20, Penn State 10
No. 36 Florida at No. 18 South Carolina
Who would have thought that a game that featured Steve Spurrier and Charlie Weis calling the plays would have a quarterback matchup of Connor Shaw vs. John Brantley?
Florida 23, South Carolina 17
No. 19 Texas at No. 34 Missouri
Just when you thought that Missouri had righted the ship — after an overtime win at Texas A&M — the Tigers gave up an astounding 686 yards of total offense in a 42–39 loss at Baylor. Mizzou dropped 27 spots in the national total defense rankings in one week, from 62nd to 89th. That is very hard to do this late in the season.
Texas 33, Missouri 24
No. 21 Ohio State at No. 61 Purdue
With a true freshman (Braxton Miller) starting at quarterback, the Buckeyes are turning toward the running game. In their win over Indiana last week, three Buckeyes, including Miller, rushed for at least 100 yards.
Ohio State 30, Purdue 17
No. 30 Miami (Fla.) at No. 23 Florida State
For the seventh time in seven years, we will not have a Florida State vs. Miami showdown in the ACC Championship Game. Maybe one day these two programs, who dominated in the ‘80s and ‘90s, will return to elite status.
Florida State 24, Miami (Fla.) 22
No. 24 Michigan at No. 41 Illinois
Illinois raced out to a 6–0 start, averaging 34.7 points along the way. Since, the Illini are 0–3 and have scored a total of 28 points.
Michigan 28, Illinois 20
No. 49 West Virginia at No. 25 Cincinnati
Winners of six straight games, Cincinnati is one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Bearcats return home for a huge game with West Virginia after taking two huge road games, at South Florida and Pittsburgh.
Cincinnati 34, West Virginia 31
No. 26 Notre Dame at No. 87 Maryland (Landover, Md.)
Maryland’s nightmare season took another bad turn last week, with a lethargic 31–13 loss at home to Virginia. Randy Edsall, in his first season with the Terps, has lost at home to Temple, Boston College and Virginia (as well as Clemson).
Notre Dame 41, Maryland 17
No. 28 Arizona State at No. 80 Washington State
Arizona State slipped into a tie with UCLA in the Pac-12 South, and the Bruins, by virtue of their win over ASU last week, own the tiebreaker. The Sun Devils probably need to win their final three games to reach the title game.
Arizona State 37, Washington State 20
No. 84 UCF at No. 29 Southern Miss
At least when SMU was blatantly cheating back in the day, the Mustangs were winning big. UCF, on the other hand, is 4–5 with a brutal loss to UAB on its resume.
Southern Miss 38, UCF 21
No. 32 Baylor at No. 93 Kansas
Baylor rolled up 686 total yards last week against Missouri. The Bears should aim for 1,000 against Kansas.
Baylor 56, Kansas 24
No. 74 Duke at No. 37 Virginia
The Cavs have very quietly won four of their last five games and are bowl-eligible under second-year coach Mike London. With Florida State and Virginia Tech looming, they better grab win No. 7 this week.
Virginia 33, Duke 24
No. 38 UCLA at No. 48 Utah
Left for dead just three weeks ago after a 48–12 loss at Arizona, UCLA has played its way into contention in the Pac-12 South with consecutive wins over Cal and Arizona State.
Utah 24, UCLA 20
No. 63 Marshall at No. 39 Tulsa
First-year Tulsa coach Bill Blankenship has his team playing extremely well. The Golden Hurricane have won five straight, highlighted by a 38–7 win over fellow C-USA West contender SMU and a 24–17 road win vs. UCF.
Tulsa 37, Marshall 20
No. 95 Rice at No. 43 Northwestern
This is how crazy college football can be: The same Northwestern team that lost to Army in Week 3 beat Nebraska, 28–25, in Lincoln. The Wildcats now return home for a season-ending three-game homestand.
Northwestern 41, Rice 24
No. 58 Pittsburgh at No. 44 Louisville
Freshman quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is living up to the hype for the red-hot Louisville Cardinals. The Florida native completed 21-of-27 passes for 246 yards to lead the U of L to a stunning 38–35 win at West Virginia last week.
Louisville 27, Pittsburgh 22
No. 107 Army vs. No. 45 Rutgers (Yankee Stadium)
Army’s hopes of playing in a bowl game for a second straight season are on life support. The Black Knights are 3–6 with Rutgers, Temple and Navy still on the slate.
Rutgers 28, Army 14
No. 81 Kentucky at No. 52 Vanderbilt
Vanderbilt is 1–5 in the SEC, but the Dores last three losses — to Georgia, Arkansas and Florida — have come by an average of 4.3 points.
Vanderbilt 27, Kentucky 17
No. 54 NC State at No. 85 Boston College
NC State boss Tom O’Brien is 1–3 vs. his old team, and his two losses in Chestnut Hill have come by an average of 26 points. That will change.
NC State 30, Boston College 14
No. 71 Navy at No. 55 SMU
Navy, like its military rival Army, must win its final three games to become bowl-eligible. This trip to SMU is clearly the Middies’ toughest test. A trip to San Jose State and the clash with Army remain.
SMU 33, Navy 20
No. 76 Oregon State at No. 56 California
Oregon State will have losing records in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-98, which coincided with Mike Riley’s first tour of duty in Corvallis.
California 27, Oregon State 14
No. 112 Idaho at No. 57 BYU
It’s been a tough first season in the post-Nathan Enderle era at Idaho, but the Vandals did pick up their first win vs. an FBS opponent last week, knocking off San Jose State, 32–29, on the road.
BYU 31, Idaho 10
No. 60 Arizona at No. 94 Colorado
Both teams are struggling in conference play this season, but at least Arizona has shown signs of life on offense. The Cats have scored 27 points or more in five of seven Pac-12 games. Colorado has scored 27 points once, in a loss at home to Washington State.
Arizona 37, Colorado 20
No. 79 Hawaii at No. 62 Nevada
Nevada, at 3–0 in the league, controls its own destiny in the Boise State-less WAC. The Wolf Pack’s two toughest tests are in the next two weeks, both at home — Hawaii and Louisiana Tech.
Nevada 41, Hawaii 34
No. 82 UL-Lafayette at No. 66 Arkansas State
Arkansas State, winners of six straight, can all but wrap up their first Sun Belt title and a trip to the New Orleans Bowl with a win over UL-Lafayette. This is the game of the year in the Sun Belt.
Arkansas State 31, UL-Lafayette 24
No. 67 Wyoming at No. 69 Air Force
Wyoming followed up its upset at San Diego State with a respectable 31–20 loss to TCU. The Cowboys now head to Air Force to play a team that is a surprising 1¬–3 in league play.
Wyoming 24, Air Force 23
No. 68 San Diego State at No. 111 Colorado State
It’s been a struggle for the Rams this season. CSU is 3–5 overall, but one win came against New Mexico and the other vs. Northern Colorado. Steve Fairchild’s job could be in jeopardy.
San Diego State 31, Colorado State 20
No. 70 Louisiana Tech at No. 86 Ole Miss
Ole Miss steps out of conference this week in the first game since the school announced that Houston Nutt will not be back next year. Louisiana Tech will be a tough test. The Bulldogs have won four straight and are coming off an impressive 41–21 win at Fresno State.
Louisiana Tech 24, Ole Miss 21
No. 75 East Carolina at No. 97 UTEP
Twice this season, UTEP has scored 37 points or more and lost — at Houston (49–42) and last week at Rice (41–37). The Miners will have to score at least 40 to win this weekend.
UTEP 41, East Carolina 40
No. 96 San Jose State at No. 78 Utah State
Finally, after a season of heartache, Utah State won a close game, edging Hawaii, 35–31, on the road. The Aggies’ two previous wins were by 34 points and 44 points, while their five losses were all by 10 points or less.
Utah State 31, San Jose State 20
No. 118 FAU at No. 92 FIU
FAU is one of two winless teams in the nation (New Mexico is the other). The Owls will still be winless after this weekend.
FIU 27, FAU 10
No. 98 Fresno State at No. 110 New Mexico State
Fresno State is 17–0 in this series, including a 6–0 mark since New Mexico State joined the WAC. The pain, however, is about to end for the Aggies.
New Mexico State 34, Fresno State 31
No 99 North Texas at No. 108 Troy
Troy’s demise has been one of the biggest surprises in college football this season. The Trojans dropped to 2–6 overall last week with a 42–14 loss at Navy.
North Texas 33, Troy 21
No. 103 Buffalo at No. 104 Eastern Michigan
Eastern Michigan came up just short last week in its attempt to get that elusive sixth win, falling to Ball State, 33–31 at home. Now Buffalo, a team that has only one win vs. FBS competition, comes calling. Take the artists formerly known as the Hurons.
Eastern Michigan 27, Buffalo 24
No. 113 Middle Tennessee at No. 105 UL-Monroe
UL-Monroe is 2–7 overall, but three of the Warhawks’ last four losses have come by five points or less. This team is better than its record indicates.
UL-Monroe 34, Middle Tennessee 26
No. 106 UNLV at No. 120 New Mexico
At one point, this looked like a decent opportunity for New Mexico to pick up its first win of the season. But UNLV is playing relatively well of late. The Rebs beat Colorado State, 38¬–35, two weeks ago, and hung around with Boise State for a half last week.
UNLV 41, New Mexico 17
No. 109 UAB at No. 116 Memphis
This is not Conference USA at its finest. Both of these teams are bad — really bad.
Memphis 21, UAB 20
No. 114 Kent State at No. 119 Akron
Kent State is actually playing pretty well of late. The Golden Flashes have won two straight, beating Bowling Green and Central Michigan at home. Akron is searching for its first win vs. an FBS foe this season. The search continues.
Kent State 13, Akron 10
Last week — 33–17
Season — 414–101