Last Updated: 2017-11-07
Week 11 of the college football season showcases more elimination type games for playoff consideration. The Big 12 lead will be on the line. The Big Ten West lead will be on the line as well. In fact, the SEC may be highlighting their conference championship game if one team earns an upset. The best part of the weekend is there are huge games in each conference. Meaning, ramifications and conference supremacy will be one step closer to getting settled. Here are five Top 25 games to watch.
- TCU Horned Frogs vs Oklahoma Sooners -7
The winner between the TCU Horned Frogs and Oklahoma Sooners are almost guaranteed a spot in the Big 12 title game. Depending on the outcome of other conference games, the loser will remain in second on third place in the standings. Both teams have defeated the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Both teams have lost to the Iowa State Cyclones. Imagine that, the Cyclones have decleated a pair of Top 10 teams vying for one of the spots in the College Football Playoff berth. No matter what happens, these teams may still face each other down the road, so the Big 12 is not out of the loop for missing the College Football Playoff again. They have already been absent 2 of the first 3 years. The Sooners are the only Big 12 team make an appearance (2015).
The quarterback matchup should turn out to be a memorable one. Baker Mayfield vs. Kenny Hill. We all know about Mayfield’s prolific passing stats in 2017. He has 28 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, while completing over 71 percent of his pass attempts. The Horned Frogs’ defense should be Mayfield’s toughest test of the conference season. They are giving up 14 points per game this season. The Sooners are scoring 45 points per game.
Meanwhile, Hill has 15 touchdown passes and 5 interceptions. However, he is completing 68 percent of his pass attempts. Furthermore, Hill is facing a team that’s giving up 262 passing yards per game. He will also have a chance to utilize his legs in the battle for the Big 12. So far, he only has 154 rushing yards this season. This might be the perfect time to breakout the explosive run plays.
Early-on the the Sooners are a slight touchdown favorite. Let’s pay close attention to how the line moves through the duration of the week. Remember, the Sooners’ only loss came at home.
- Georgia Bulldogs vs Auburn Tigers +2.5
The Georgia Bulldogs are less than a field goal road favorite against the Auburn Tigers. The Bulldogs will likely remain the No. 1 team in college football on Tuesday night. So, they will continue to be the hunted team in the SEC. Interestingly enough, this may be a preview of the SEC Championship game if the Tigers pull off the impossible. In addition to hosting the Bulldogs, they end the season against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl. Furthermore, if the Tigers win the SEC West, it means they would have defeated a pair of No. 1 teams if form holds.
Auburn has become a run-heavy team this season, averaging 236 yards on 47 carries. However, the Bulldogs only give up 89 rushing yards per game. In fact, the Bulldogs have the No. 3 scoring defense at 11.7 points per game. Only the Missouri Tigers have scored over 20 points against the Bulldogs this season. Therefore, Auburn will need to have a steady passing game to control tempo of the game. Unfortunately, opponents are only completing 55 percent of their passes against the Bulldogs for 165 yards. That’s why Georgia has had an easy time in the first nine weeks of the season.
Offensively, they have the best 1-2 punch at the running back position. Nick Chubb and Sony Michel have combined for 18 rushing touchdowns. Michel leads the way with 7.9 yards per carry, while Chubb is at 6.2 yards per rush. They have also combined for 1,577 yards in limited action. Keep in mind, the Bulldogs are beating teams by 25 points per game. Jake Fromm has stepped up with 15 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions.
- Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Miami Hurricanes +3
Well, the Miami Hurricanes stepped up to the challenge against Virginia Tech last week. Now, they have a chance to cement their College Football Playoff positioning with another home victory over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Although the Hurricanes are underdogs, they showed that doesn’t mean much when both teams take the field.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Irish need a healthy Josh Adams if they are to remain in the top four. Adams only carried the ball five times in the win over Wake Forest. He comes into Week 11 with 1,191 yards and 9 touchdowns. Nobody has been able to stop him. Unfortunately, concussion protocol may cause the Fighting Irish to look elsewhere on the offensive side of the ball. The Fighting Irish still ran for 380 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win over Wake Forest.
The Hurricanes are letting up 172 rushing yards per game, defensively. Yet, they held the Hokies to a season-best 102 rushing yards on 43 rushing attempts. If the Hurricanes can hold Notre Dame to 2.4 yards per carry on Saturday, they will remain undefeated. However, the Fighting Irish are producing 7.0 yards per carry. Their only loss came when Georgia held them to 1.5 yards per rushing attempt.
Quarterbacks Brandon Wimbush and Malik Rosier have made all of the plays for their respective teams. Rosier is not a volume passer. However, he does have the capability to make big plays. His 43-yard touchdown connection with Christopher Herndon IV highlighted their explosive offense in Saturday’s win.
The Fighting Irish also played their worst defensive game of the season. In eight weeks, they never gave up more than 20 points in a single game. Well, the Demon Deacons dropped 37 points in a high scoring affair.
When it’s all said and done, this game will come down to the Miami turnover chain. The Fighting Irish are giving up less than a turnover per game. Wimbush has only thrown two interceptions this season. The Hurricanes force 2.5 turnovers per game. Which units will be able to take control of ball security? Like the prior two games, this will be a battle of Top 10 teams.
- Washington Huskies vs Stanford Cardinal +7
This game lost a lot of luster after Stanford’s loss to Washington State Cougars. However, the Washington Huskies still have plenty to play for. More importantly, they may be in the perfect position to steal their second straight College Football Playoff berth. They’ve been under the radar due to a six point loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils. Yet, plenty of Top 10 losses last week have the Huskies just waiting to pounce. They have the No. 2 scoring defense, giving up 11.1 points per game.
Meanwhile, Stanford’s offense has not been the same since Bryce Love suffered an ankle injury against the Oregon Ducks. Love missed the following win over Oregon State. He returned for the big game against the Cougars, but was held in check for most of the game. The Cardinal were held to 93 rushing yards and were held below 100 yards for the second week in a row. Will Love return to form for this high profile matchup?
It may not matter to the Huskies if quarterback Jake Browning hits stride. A year after throwing 43 touchdown passes, Browning has 16 touchdown passes with three games left. Yet, Browning is completing a career high 67.8 percent of his passes this season. Browning also has a career high five touchdown runs in 2017.
The Huskies are 7 point road favorites. Furthermore, they are (5-3) against the spread, including the outright upset to the Sun Devils. As a result, the Huskies should be able to accept the challenge that’s coming on Friday night. Otherwise, their College Football Playoff hopes will be dashed. In turn, the entire PAC-12 playoff hopes would be dashed as well.
- Alabama Crimson Tide vs Mississippi State Bulldogs +14.5
Yes, the Crimson Tide are undefeated this season. However, they have not been nearly as impressive against the spread. One reason, the Crimson Tide have rarely had an opportunity to open up the offense. Maybe they aren’t built like that. Still, they are outscoring teams by 31 points per game.
Jalen Hurts comes into Week 11 with 10 touchdowns and one interception. If the Crimson Tide don’t make mistakes how can the Mississippi State Bulldogs complete the upset? Well, they will need Nick Fitzgerald to play his best game. So far, Fitzgerald has 13 touchdown passes and 10 interceptions. That looks like a recipe for disaster. However, Fitzgerald has scored 12 rushing touchdowns in 2017.
The Bulldogs also need to stop the run. The Crimson Tide are averaging 6.1 yards per carry. They are running for 278 yards per game, while scoring over three rushing touchdowns per contest. However, the Bulldogs should matchup with a stout defense. They are limiting opponents to 124 yards per game. Still, they must play a great game for an entire 60 minutes. Keep in mind, the Crimson Tide are giving up one touchdown per game. Opponents are scoring 9.8 points per game. Five opponents have scored in single digits. Therefore, the Bulldogs can’t only play tough defense, they need to create points on Saturday. That might be too tough to ask. However, their homefield advantage may breed some confidence.