The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 11.
Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.
Oregon will be the No. 1 team in the nation
The Ducks and Florida State Seminoles have been flip-flopping for No. 2 nationally ever since the first release of the BCS. However, after Oregon visits No. 5 Stanford on Thursday night, the Ducks will not only put the Noles in the rearview but No. 1 Alabama as well. The Ducks are better on both sides of the ball this year and Stanford has been wildly inconsistent on offense. It will be a great game but Oregon will pull away in the second half. Meanwhile, the Tide could struggle against LSU — a team that is 6-1 in its last seven trips to Tuscaloosa. Should Alabama struggle, or even lose to the Bayou Bengals, then Oregon has a chance to be the No. 1 team in the nation come Sunday evening.
Auburn will rush for 400 yards in Knoxville
The Tigers lead the SEC in rushing offense at 306.2 yards per game this season. The Volunteers are dead last in the SEC in rushing defense at 201.7 yards allowed per game. Put those two together and add a freshman quarterback for Tennessee and odds are Auburn rolls up a big number on the ground. Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall has been dinged up but tailback Tre Mason has picked up the slack. He carried a career-high 32 times for a career-high four touchdowns and posted his second-best career rushing total of 168 yards last week against Arkansas. Mason is leading the SEC in rushing TDs (13) and is No. 3 in rushing (921 yards).
Oklahoma will hold Baylor to half its scoring average… and still lose
The Bears lead the nation in scoring and total offense with 63.9 points and 717.3 yards per game. Oklahoma is a top 10 team and has lost only once to Baylor in school history. That, of course, came in 2011 when Robert Griffin III won the Heisman by leading Baylor past the Sooners in dramatic fashion. Bryce Petty has a similar opportunity this Thursday night. Baylor will score no more than 31 points against the best defense it has faced all season but will still win as OU struggles to score once again. It won’t be enough to win Petty a stiff-armed trophy but it keeps Baylor in the national title hunt.
Arizona and UCLA will combine for 10 rushing TDs
Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker is fifth in the Pac-12 with 11 rushing touchdowns after scoring five times on the ground during Arizona’s three-game winning streak. His backfield mate Ka’Deem Carey, the nation’s leading rusher, is sixth in the league with 10 rushing scores. UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley is 11th in the Pac-12 with six rushing touchdowns and Bruins tailback Jordan James, who returned last week, is 13th in the league with five rushing scores. Don’t be shocked in a high-scoring game if these two teams don’t combine for double-digit rushing touchdowns.
Logan Thomas and Stephen Morris will throw eight INTs
Virginia Tech and Miami square off in Coral Gables this Saturday in a Coastal Division elimination game. Both have extremely talented signal-callers who have fallen on hard times. Thomas has turned the ball over eight times in the last two games — both Tech losses — including six interceptions. Morris has thrown eight interceptions in the last three games. Thomas leads the ACC with 12 INTs and Morris is tied for second with Virginia’s David Watford with 10 on the year. Together, they average 2.5 interceptions per game, but with two solid defenses, don’t be surprised if the duo combines for seven or eight turnovers.
Minnesota will be 8-2 this year
Seriously, read that again. With a win at home against a three-loss Penn State team this weekend, the Minnesota Golden Gophers will move to 8-2. Four of those wins will have come without the services of head coach Jerry Kill. The Gophers haven’t won eight games in a season since 2003 and haven’t posted a winning record since '08. This after starting Big Ten play with two losses to Iowa and Michigan by a combined score of 65-20. Read that headline again: Minnesota will be 8-2. Bill O’Brien must be asking himself: "In order to conquer him, I have to think like an animal, and whenever possible, to look like one. I got inside this dude’s pelt and crawl around for a few days. Who is the gopher’s eye?”
Houston will be the only unbeaten in AAC play
This would easily be one of the most outrageous predictions had it been made in the summer. Louisville has already been upset by UCF, leaving the Knights and the Cougars as the lone unbeatens in AAC play left this fall. And Houston will face the Knights this weekend in Florida. Houston has scored a point in all 32 quarters it has played this season and has scored at least 35 points in three consecutive games. Houston and star freshman quarterback John O’Korn will top Central Florida and Georgia O’Leary to remain as the league’s last unbeaten team in league play. The Cougars also will score in each quarter, pushing their miraculous streak to 36 quarters with at least one point.
Arizona State will score 50 points for the fifth straight Pac-12 game
The Sun Devils have been cruising on offense of late. Arizona State scored 62 against USC and got Lane Kiffin fired. It followed that up with 54 against Colorado, 53 against Washington and 55 against Washington State. In it’s last two home games, however, Utah has gone toe-to-toe with two of the best teams in the Pac-12 in UCLA and Stanford, including a win over the then-No. 5 Cardinal the last time the Utes played at home. Utah allowed just 260 yards of offense last weekend but won’t be able to stop ASU. Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly has been on a tear of late, scoring seven times last weekend, and torched the Utes for 326 yards and three touchdowns last season in Tempe. Look for ASU to impress on the road in a tough place to play against a solid defense.