Though there are a few “firsts” this week, the most important thing to remember in Week 11 of the college football schedule is to plan on tuning in early on Saturday.
Yes, while this is the first week of the MAC’s annual onslaught of mid-week games and the first week of play after the release of the initial CFP rankings, there are a pair of blockbuster showdowns between undefeated Power teams both set to start before primetime rolls around on Saturday.
The week kicks off with three MAC games – two on Tuesday night and one on Wednesday. If you’re channel surfing, there is a contest on ESPN2 both nights at 8pm EST.
Thursday and Friday feature two games apiece. Tune in on Thursday night at 7:30pm EST on ESPNU to see Louisiana’s rushing attack – ranked No. 3 in the nation in yards per game – try and keep things rolling vs. a Coastal Carolina defense ranked No. 80 vs. the run. On Friday, check out Washington at Oregon State at 10:30pm EST on FS1 – the Huskies are fresh off back-to-back losses to ranked teams and the Beavers have a chance to win five games in a single season for the first time since 2014.
As advertised, the meaningful action on Saturday requires your early attention – (4) Penn State (8-0) visits (17) Minnesota (8-0) at Noon EST on ABC while (12) Baylor (8-0) tries to remain the only perfect team in the Big 12 at TCU over on FS1.
Things get even more thrilling in the mid-afternoon time slot with (2) LSU at (3) Alabama at 3:30pm EST on CBS. Though all eyes will be on that one, don’t sleep on (18) Iowa at (13) Wisconsin, which kicks off 30 minutes later, on FOX.
During what in comparison could be billed as “primetime light” (6) Georgia hosts Missouri at 7pm EST on ESPN, (5) Clemson is at NC State at 7:30pm EST on ABC and Iowa State visits (9) Oklahoma at 8pm EST on FOX.
As a note, from this week onward we’ll switch from using the AP Top 25 rankings to the CFP Top 25 rankings.
RANKED vs. RANKED (3)
- (4) Penn State at (17) Minnesota – Saturday, Noon EST, ABC
- (2) LSU at (3) Alabama – Saturday, 3:30pm EST, CBS
- (18) Iowa at (13) Wisconsin – Saturday, 4pm EST, FOX
OFF THIS WEEK (32)
- American: Houston, (21) Memphis, (24) Navy, Tulane
- ACC: North Carolina, Pitt, Syracuse
- Big Ten: Indiana, (14) Michigan, Nebraska, Rutgers
- Big 12: Kansas, (23) Oklahoma State
- C-USA: Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Rice
- MAC: Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Northern Illinois
- MWC: Colorado State, UNLV
- Pac-12: Arizona, (7) Oregon, UCLA, (8) Utah
- SEC: (11) Auburn, Mississippi State, Texas A&M
- Sun Belt: Arkansas State
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (3)
- Charlotte at UTEP
- Liberty at BYU
- Western Kentucky at Arkansas
REUNITED…And it feels so good
- Appalachian State at South Carolina (last played in 1988)
7: (5) Clemson has won 7-straight over NC State (last loss in 2011)
7: Washington has won 7-straight over Oregon State (last loss in 2011)
8: (3) Alabama has won 8-straight over (2) LSU (last loss in 2011)
11: Toledo has won 11-straight home games over Kent State (last loss there in 1977)
- Louisville has NEVER won AT Miami Fla. (0-4)
- Maryland has NEVER beaten (1) Ohio State (0-5)
- UCF has NEVER won AT Tulsa (0-3)
- UConn has NEVER won AT (20) Cincinnati (0-8)
- Wyoming has NEVER won AT (22) Boise State (0-6)
(19) Wake Forest at Virginia Tech (Saturday, 3:30pm EST, ACCN)
At 7-1, Wake Forest is off to its best start since 2006 when it finished 11-3 and won the ACC championship. What’s powered the success is a passing attack ranked No. 9 in the nation and No. 1 in the ACC. It is a strength that pairs well with Virginia Tech’s biggest defensive weakness, a secondary that is currently No. 110 in the FBS vs. the pass. The Hokies have given up an average of 361 yards through the air in its last four outings – 469 at Miami Fla., 286 to FCS Rhode Island, 348 to North Carolina and 341 at (15) Notre Dame. Players to watch include Wake Forest junior QB Jamie Newman (#12), No. 12 in the FBS in yards per game (294.1) and sophomore WR Sage Surratt (#14), No. 4 in the FBS in yards per game (118.5).
Georgia State at ULM (Saturday, 5pm EST, ESPN+)
The biggest statistical mismatch in Week 11, tune in to this one to see Georgia State’s No. 10 ranked rushing attack take on ULM’s No. 125 ranked rushing defense. Only nine teams in the entire nation have averaged more rushing yards than has GSU this season (257.25, just ahead of Oklahoma’s 252.13) while only four have allowed more ground yards than have the Warhawks (235.25). Keep an eye on Panthers’ senior RB Tra Barnett (#5), not only is he No. 10 in the FBS in yards per game (116), he’s rushed for 100-plus in each of his last four outings including ringing up 242 yards and two scores vs. Troy.
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
The Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy – San Jose State at Hawaii – series started in 1936 – Hawaii leads 21-19-1 and has won three-straight.
Established in June of this year, this brand-new rivalry trophy honors Dick Tomey, who passed away from lung cancer at the age of 80 in May. Tomey served as the head coach at Hawaii from 1977-86 (63-46-3) and at San Jose State from 2005-09 (25-35). He was also the head man at Arizona from 1987-2000 (95-64-4).
The Don Shula Trophy – Florida International at Florida Atlantic – series started in 2002 – FAU leads 12-5 and has won three of the last four.
The Shula Bowl and Trophy – named in honor of former Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula – kicked off in 2002, the first year the two schools (located only 60-miles apart in South Florida) met on the gridiron. FAU first fielded a football team in 2001, FIU followed in 2002.
The Governor’s Victory Bell – (4) Penn State at (17) Minnesota – series started in 1993 – Penn State leads 9-5 and has won five of the last six.
Established by the governors of the states of Minnesota and Pennsylvania in 1993, this version of a rivalry bell was unveiled for the first-ever game between the two schools, on Sept. 4, 1993. It was also the inaugural Big Ten contest for Penn State. The two haven’t played since 2016 and the Golden Gophers haven’t taken home the prize since 2013, a celebration so hearty that it broke the Bell.
The Heartland Trophy – (18) Iowa at (13) Wisconsin – series started in 1894 – Wisconsin leads 47-43-2 and has won six of the last seven.
The Heartland, a bronze bull, wasn’t introduced until 2004 when the two schools decided to honor their then 110-year old rivalry by offering a traveling prize. Why a bull? According to the Hawkeyes, it “symbolizes the kind of games that have been typical when the schools meet.” The Badgers have grabbed the bull by the horns eight times vs. Iowa’s five.
The Textile Bowl Trophy – (5) Clemson at NC State – series started in 1899 – Clemson leads 58-28-1 and has won seven-straight.
The Textile Bowl Trophy was first introduced in 1981, a “part of a joint marketing effort by the textile commissions of both North Carolina and South Carolina…State and Clemson boast two of the largest, most respected textile schools in the country and have similar academic missions.” The Tigers have captured the weavers’ prize 28 times vs. the Wolfpack’s 10.
When (3) Alabama hosts (2) LSU this Saturday it will mark only the second time it’s faced an opponent ranked in the AP Top 25 this season. The Tide beat then (24) Texas A&M in College Station on Oct. 12, making their game vs. the Tigers also the first-time they’ve faced a Top 20 team in 2019.
Compare that to LSU, which has already played – and beaten – then (9) Texas (45-38 on Sept. 7 in Austin), then (7) Florida (42-28 on Oct. 12 in Baton Rouge) and then (9) Auburn (23-20 on Oct. 26, also in Baton Rouge). If you add in this weekend’s game with Alabama – the Tigers will have played four Top 10 teams in 11 weeks. The good news is, none of LSU’s remaining three regular-season foes are currently ranked.
As far as how the other frontrunners in the debut CFP rankings stack up. (1) Ohio State beat then (25) Michigan State (34-10) on Oct. 10 and then blasted (13) Wisconsin (38-7) on Oct. 26. They still have (4) Penn State (Nov. 23) and (14) Michigan (Nov. 30) looming ahead. While that’s four Top 25 squads, only one even has the possibility of being a Top Ten opponent at game time. And who knows if the Wolverines will still be ranked by the time the two play.
That leaves (5) Clemson, which has played only one ranked team in 2019 – hosting then (12) Texas A&M on Sept. 7 and winning 24-10. The only remaining opponent it has which is also currently in the rankings is (19) Wake Forest on Nov. 16.