With only two teams taking a bye, Week 11 of the 2022 college football schedule serves up 65 games, the most we’ve enjoyed since Week 5. Included in the goodness are four ranked vs. ranked matchups, one of which includes one of the Top 4 teams in the latest CFP rankings.
With only three weeks remaining until conference championship weekend, Week 11 is the first installment in a three-part series that will make the postseason picture clearer, and then clearer still. It’s win or fall out of the Playoff race, win or fade from the league title conversation and, win or cease and desist from packing your bags for a bowl game.
According to Vegas the top contenders most at risk to fall from grace are the No. 4, No. 15, and No. 19 members of the CFP rankings – all underdogs to either a lower ranked or unranked opponent. Beyond that, No. 7 and No. 10, while not on the wrong side of the spread, are only three-and seven-point favorites respectively.
This is not the time to go shopping for your Thanksgiving giblets.
Here’s Week 11’s mental checklist:
(1). MACtion is back with a vengeance this week with three games apiece on both Tuesday and Wednesday – coverage begins at 7pm ET each night.
(2). Thursday night is home to two quality Group of 5 matchups both with spreads of seven points or fewer and both with start times of 7:30pm ET on ESPN and ESPNU.
(3). Friday night offers three contests with kickoff times stretching from 8pm to 10:30pm ET. Though the No. 8 team in the land is in action at 9:30pm ET, the most competitive of the selections is the early game.
(4). While the early time slot on Saturday is devoid of a ranked vs. ranked matchup, it is home to (7) LSU at unranked Arkansas (Noon ET, ESPN), with the Tigers favored by a mere 3 points. After that, the must-see games are spread evenly between the afternoon and evening. At 3:30pm ET, No. 9 visits No. 11 on CBS while No. 22 calls on No. 17 on ESPN2. Then at 7pm No. 25 is at No. 6 on FOX and, 30 minutes later, No. 4 visits No. 18 at 7:30pm ET on ABC.
(5). If you’re up late, the No. 13 and No. 12 clubs – both Pac-12 members – are in action at 10 and 10:30pm ET on ESPN and FOX respectively.
Tuesday, Nov. 8
7pm ET – CBSSN – Eastern Michigan at Akron – Eastern Michigan won 34-28
7:30pm ET – ESPN2 – Ohio at Miami Ohio – Ohio won 37-21
8pm ET – ESPN – Ball State at Toledo – Toledo won 28-21
Wednesday, Nov. 9
7pm ET – ESPNU – Northern Illinois at Western Michigan
7pm ET – ESPN2 – Buffalo at Central Michigan
7pm ET – CBSSN – Kent State at Bowling Green
Thursday, Nov. 10
7:30pm ET – ESPN – Tulsa at Memphis
7:30pm ET – ESPN2 – Georgia Southern at Louisiana
To get back to .500, 4-5 Louisiana will have to contain a Georgia Southern passing attack ranked No. 4 in the entire nation. The good news is where the Cajuns gave up, on average, 265 passing yards to its first four FBS opponents, it’s improved to a 186 mark in its last four outings. It’s a trend that includes limiting a Troy offense averaging 289 passing yards per game (No. 26 in the FBS) to 228 last week, also the best air attack Louisiana has faced this season. Keep an eye on GSU senior QB Kyle Vantrease (#6), the No. 2 passer in our great land. Bonus coverage: Vantrease has thrown 13 interceptions thus far, the most of any QB in the FBS ranks. Double bonus: The Ragin Cajuns’ D is tied for the third-most interceptions in college football (14).
Friday, Nov. 11
8pm ET – ESPN2 – East Carolina at Cincinnati
This pairing offers a quality strength vs. strength matchup between East Carolina’s passing attack – ranked No. 17 in the FBS – and Cincinnati’s defense, ranked No. 18 nationally vs. the pass. Players to watch include ECU senior QB Holton Ahlers (#12), No. 14 in the FBS in passing yards per game and No. 9 in completion percentage, ECU senior WR Isaiah Winstead (#11), the No. 10 receiver in the nation, and Cincinnati senior LB Ivan Pace Jr. (#0), No. 1 in the FBS in sacks and tackles for a loss.
9:30pm ET – FS1 – Colorado at (8) USC
One of only two Power 5 clubs who’ve only managed one win in 2022, Colorado’s epic struggles aren’t limited to one facet of the game. No indeed, the Buffaloes have the dubious distinction of being ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in both scoring offense and scoring defense. Though there’s a lot of stuff that could go wrong vs. USC, most concerning is Colorado’s D managing a Trojans’ passing attack ranked No. 12 in the FBS and stacked to the gills with talent. In its last three outings, USC has cranked out 1,152 air yards and 14 passing TDs.
10:30pm ET – CBSSN – Fresno State at UNLV
Saturday, Nov. 12
Noon ET – CBS – Missouri at (5) Tennessee
Noon ET – FOX – Indiana at (2) Ohio State
Noon ET – ABC – (20) Notre Dame at Navy
Noon ET – ESPN – (7) LSU at Arkansas
Despite knocking off mighty (9) Alabama with a gutsy two-point conversion in OT last Saturday night, LSU is only a 3-point favorite over 5-4 Arkansas this week. The common thread in LSU’s two losses this season is a struggle to establish the running game, rushing for, on average, 208 yards in its’ seven wins vs. 97 in the pair of defeats. The Razorbacks’ D is ranked a middle-of-the road No. 6 in the SEC vs. the run, allowing 141 yards per game. It’s no coincidence that three of their four worst performances vs. the run resulted in three of their four losses: allowing 192 ground yards to a Texas A&M offense averaging 125 (No. 99 in the FBS), a season-high 317 to an Alabama attack averaging 203 (No. 23) and 162 to a Mississippi State group averaging 81 (No. 128).
Noon ET – ESPN2 – Purdue at (21) Illinois
Noon ET – ACC Network – Pitt at Virginia
Noon ET – FS1 – Oklahoma at West Virginia
Noon ET – ESPNU – SMU at South Florida
After pumping out 379 air yards and a record-setting nine TDs in its 77-63 defensive juggernaut win over Houston last Saturday, this week SMU (the No. 5 ranked passing attack in the USA) draws South Florida, a one-win club with no head coach and the No. 124 ranked pass defense in the FBS. Only seven teams in the nation have been more generous through the air. Yikes!
3:30pm ET – CBS – (9) Alabama at (11) Ole Miss
The common denominator in each of Alabama’s two losses this season is an inability to shut down the run. The Tide’s rush D is ranked No. 11 in the nation allowing, on average, 104 yards per game. It’s a unit that’s only given up 100-plus ground yards on three occasions – 187 in the 49-26 win at Arkansas, 182 in the 52-49 loss at (5) Tennessee and then 185 in the 32-31 overtime loss at (7) LSU. Cue up Ole Miss – which just so happens to be ranked No. 3, in the world, in rush offense (a.k.a. the best ground game the Tide have faced this season) – and this one is rated “TCGRI” for “this could get really interesting”. PS Alabama hasn’t lost three regular-season games since 2010 and hasn’t lost back-to-back regular-season games since 2007, Nick Saban’s first in Tuscaloosa.
3:30pm ET – ESPN – Louisville at (10) Clemson
3:30pm ET – ABC – Nebraska at (3) Michigan
Is it just me or does it seem like I’m on a weekly binge of cranking out far-fetched scenarios where Michigan gets upset? Maybe it’s because the Wolverines – who’ve only played one ranked opponent and only three that are currently above .500 – have yet to be severely tested. This week it’s 3-6 Nebraska, which despite being ranked No. 108 in the FBS vs. the run is fresh off limiting an (21) Illinois ground game averaging 193 yards (No. 33 in the FBS) to 188 and a Minnesota squad averaging 212 (No. 16) to 125. It’s a developing strength that pairs well with a Michigan offense ranked No. 4 nationally in rushing yards per game vs. a No. 93 rank in passing. Tune in next week when I breakdown the No. 21 Illini’s big potential upset over the Wolverines…#UGH
3:30pm ET – FOX – Maryland at (14) Penn State
3:30pm ET – FS1 – Wisconsin at Iowa
3:30pm ET – ESPN2 – (22) UCF at (17) Tulane
Tulane’s historic 8-1 run – its best since going 12-0 under Tommy Bowden in 1998 – has been largely underpinned by its defense, ranked No. 11 nationally in scoring and No. 16 in total D. This week the Green Wave draws UCF, the No. 27 ranked scoring offense in the FBS which has an elite rushing attack (No. 8 nationally) and a middle of the road passing attack (No. 43). Not only are the Knights the best ground game Tulane’s defense has faced this season, but it’s also only the second that is ranked in the top third of the FBS. The other? Well, that was (19) Kansas State, the No. 15 unit, averaging 218 ground yards per game. The Waves held the Wildcats to 186 rushing yards in a 17-10 win, its first over a current Power 5 member since edging Rutgers 17-14 in 2010. Tulane hasn’t beaten a ranked opponent since Oct. 6, 1984, nipping then (19) Vanderbilt 27-23 in Nashville.
3:30pm ET – Pac-12 Network – Arizona State at Washington State
3:30pm ET – ESPNU – Iowa State at Oklahoma State
3:30pm ET – ESPN+ – Appalachian State at Marshall
3:30pm ET – Stadium – North Texas at UAB
4pm ET – SEC Network – South Carolina at Florida
7pm ET – ESPN – (1) Georgia at Mississippi State
After holding a (5) Tennessee air attack averaging 336 yards (the second most in the FBS) to a season-low 195 yards last Saturday, this week Georgia’s defense gets Mississippi State, ranked No. 8 in passing offense, averaging 326 yards per game. UGA’s D has only allowed one opponent more than 215 passing yards this season giving up 271 to a Florida attack averaging 221 (#85). Georgia is a 16.5-point favorite over MSU but cannot afford a hangover in Starkville. I’m not an expert, but wouldn’t you think that hangovers are common in Starkville? Other stuff you need to know: A win over Mississippi State clinches the SEC East crown for Georgia.
7pm ET – FOX – (25) Washington at (6) Oregon
Oregon is a two-touchdown favorite in this one, but did you know that its’ defense is ranked a dismal No. 117 in the nation/No. 11 in the Pac-12 vs. the pass? Though the Ducks have played some above-average passing offenses, they’re the same guys who gave up 375 air yards to a Washington State attack averaging 266, 328 to a Cal group averaging 276, and most recently 247 to a Colorado unit averaging 189. Enter stage left Washington – which is No. 1 in the entire nation in passing yards per game – and is it just me or is that the scent of an upset gently wafting through the air?
7pm ET – FS1 – (19) Kansas State at Baylor
7pm ET – ESPN+ – Kansas at Texas Tech
7:30pm ET – ABC – (4) TCU at (18) Texas
Texas has successfully converted 47 of its 114 attempts on third down this season, earning it an average of 41.23 percent – No. 51 in the FBS/No. 7 in the Big 12. It’s also the statistic that can indicate whether the Longhorns won or lost a game without even looking at the final score. Where UT averaged a 49.42 percent success rate on third down in its six wins, it dropped to a 25.32 percent mark in its three losses – also its worst three performances on third down. TCU is a middle-of-the road No. 5 in the Big 12 in stopping opponent’s third down attempts, allowing 52 conversions in 137 tries for a 37.96 percent success rate. The Horned Frogs’ worst performance came vs. West Virginia, allowing 9 of 17 attempts for a 52.94 percent success rate in a 41-31 win. Their best outing came in last week’s 34-24 win over Texas Tech, squelching the Red Raiders by allowing just three conversions in 16 tries for an 18.75 percent mark. If Texas can convert 35 percent or more of its third down tries, minus any catastrophic mistakes, it ought to take down the Frogs and, well, maybe even, be back. Right?
7:30pm ET – ESPN2 – (15) North Carolina at Wake Forest
Despite dropping two-straight games and losing its spot in the CFP Top 25, Wake Forest is a field goal favorite over the one-loss Tar Heels. Whether the lack of confidence from Vegas stems from the fact that UNC has won three of its last four games by a combined total of nine points (only one of which was vs. a team with a winning record) or that it’s dropped three-straight in Winston-Salem is a mystery. What we do know is that where the Tar Heels have been tearing it up through the air (No. 6 nationally in passing yards per game), they’ve struggled to limit opponent’s passing games (No. 120 in the FBS vs. the pass). It all adds up to Wake Forest – No. 14 in the nation in pass offense – being an interesting dance partner for UNC. The Deacons are fresh off hanging up 397 air yards on a (16) NC State defense giving up, on average, 218. Other stuff worth knowing: With a 5-0 record in ACC play, a win over Wake would clinch the ACC Coastal title for UNC.
7:30pm ET – SEC Network – Texas A&M at Auburn
7:30pm ET – ESPNU – Coastal Carolina at Southern Miss
8pm ET – ACC Network – (23) Florida State at Syracuse
10pm ET – ESPN – Stanford at (13) Utah
10:30pm ET – FOX – Arizona at (12) UCLA
Even though Arizona has been dazzling through the air, averaging 328 passing yards per game (No. 7 in the FBS), its’ defense has been super-porous vs. the run, ranked a dismal No. 125 nationally. Only six clubs have been more generous! Add UCLA – the No. 7 rushing offense in America – into the equation and this one could turn 100 shades of ugly. Where the Bruins spent last Saturday hanging up 392 ground yards and five scores on Arizona State, the Wildcats coughed up 306 rushing yards and five touchdowns to (13) Utah. Keep an eye on UCLA senior RB Zach Charbonnet (#24), No. 3 in the nation in yards per game and No. 6 in yards per carry. Note: Charbonnet missed last week’s game due to an “unspecified injury” and, as of the publication of this report, it’s unclear whether he will play vs. Arizona.
10:30pm ET – FS1 – San Jose State at San Diego State
OFF THIS WEEK (2)
- C-USA: UTEP
- Independents: BYU
FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (3)
- Army at Troy
- Southern Miss at Coastal Carolina
- UMass at Arkansas State
7: Texas Tech has won 7-straight home games over Kansas (last loss there in 2001)
9: Oklahoma has won 9-straight over West Virginia (last loss in the 2008 Fiesta Bowl)
9: Virginia Tech has won 9-straight AT Duke (last loss there in 1981)
9: Air Force has won 9-straight home games over New Mexico (last loss there in 2000)
26: (2) Ohio State has won 26-straight over Indiana (last loss in 1988)
- Colorado has NEVER beaten (8) USC (0-15)
- Louisville has NEVER beaten (10) Clemson (0-7)
- Rice has NEVER beaten Western Kentucky (0-3)
- Texas State has NEVER won AT South Alabama (0-3)
- West Virginia has NEVER beaten Oklahoma at home (0-4) or in Big 12 play (0-9)
HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS
THE ANNIVERSARY AWARD – Kent State at Bowling Green – Wednesday, 7pm ET, CBSSN – series started in 1920 – Bowling Green leads 60-23-6 but Kent State has won four-straight, its longest winning streak in the history of the series.
The Anniversary Award dates to 1985 when the alumni associations of both schools established a traveling trophy to commemorate the 75th anniversary of each institution. Both were founded in 1910 in northern Ohio – Bowling Green in the west and Kent 150 miles to the east. The Falcons have won 25 Anniversaries vs. the Golden Flashes’ 11.
THE BRONZE BOOT – Wyoming at Colorado State – Saturday, 7pm ET, CBSSN – series started in 1899 – Colorado State leads 59-49-5 but Wyoming has won five of the last six.
Awarded to the winner of the “Border War” since 1968, the Bronze Boot is, as advertised, a bronzed jump boot formerly worn by Colorado State alum and Vietnam veteran Jeff Romero, Sr. In one of the coolest traditions associated with a rivalry game, the two schools’ ROTC detachments meet at the Wyoming/Colorado border each year after the contest with the game ball. The school scheduled to host the next meeting runs the ball back to its stadium. The Cowboys have captured the Boot 29 times vs. the Rams’ 25.
THE CANNON – Purdue at (21) Illinois – Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN2 – series started in 1890 – Purdue leads 46-45-6 and has won the last two and five of the last six.
One of the three FBS rivalry cannons, the tale of the Big Ten edition of the Cannon stretches back over 100 years ago to 1905. That’s when Purdue students brought the scaled-down firearm to Illinois with hopes of firing it off after a win. Illini fans found the weapon, hidden near their stadium, and captured it. It was retained by one of the students involved in its confiscation until 1943, when he offered it up to be used as a traveling trophy. The Boilermakers have recaptured the Cannon 38 times vs. Illinois’ 30. The 1956 and 1959 games ended in ties.
THE DON SHULA TROPHY – Florida Atlantic at Florida International – Saturday, 7pm ET, Stadium – series started in 2002 – FAU leads 15-5 and has won five-straight.
The Shula Bowl and Trophy 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 game and trophy are named in honor of legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula who was a mentor of the first coaches at each school: Howard Schnellenberger (FAU’s head coach from 2001-11) served as Shula’s offensive coordinator at Miami during the 1970s, including the Dolphins’ perfect season in 1972. Don Strock (FIU’s head coach from 2002-06) was a quarterback for Shula’s Dolphins from 1974-87.
THE GOLDEN BOOT – (7) LSU at Arkansas – Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN – series started in 1901 – LSU leads 42-23-2, Arkansas’ win last year snapped a five-game losing skid.
Though the series dates to over 100-years ago, the Golden Boot (formed by combining the two states geographically) wasn’t introduced until 1996, Arkansas’ fifth season in the SEC. The trophy is a 24-karat gold whopper—four-feet high and weighing in at 200 pounds. LSU has won the Boot 17 times vs. the Razorbacks’ nine.
THE HEARTLAND TROPHY – Wisconsin at Iowa – Saturday, 3:30pm ET, FS1 – series started in 1894 – Wisconsin leads 49-44-2 and has won five of the last six.
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 ten times vs. Iowa’s six.
THE RIP MILLER TROPHY – Navy vs. (20) Notre Dame (at Baltimore, Md.) – Saturday, Noon ET, ABC – series started in 1927 – Notre Dame leads 78-13-1 and has won four-straight and nine of the last ten.
Edgar “Rip” Miller was a member of Notre Dame’s Seven Mules, the line that blocked for the legendary Four Horseman from 1922-24. Miller went on to serve as an assistant at Navy from 1925-30, taking over the head job in 1931. After going 12-15-2 in three seasons, he stepped down and returned to his role as an assistant coach. In 1947 Miller was named an assistant athletic director in Annapolis, a job he kept until his retirement in 1974. His dual connection with Notre Dame and Navy made Miller a key part of the effort to establish an annual game between the two programs. The trophy bearing his name debuted in 2011 – the Irish have won nine Miller’s vs. the Midshipmen’s one, a 28-27 victory in Jacksonville, Fla. in 2016.
In a rare scheduling twist, two of the three Boots awarded in FBS rivalries are up for grabs this Saturday with (7) LSU and Arkansas dueling for the Golden Boot at Noon ET on ESPN followed by Wyoming and Colorado State battling for the Bronze Boot at 7pm ET on CBSSN. The only footwear left out is Louisiana and ULM’s Wooden Boot which had it not been deactivated, the Warhawks would have worn home after edging the Cajuns 21-17 in Week 4.
The only other occurrences in 2022 where similar rivalry trophies are on the line during the same week are upcoming: Week 12 is home to both the battle for the Bedlam Bell between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State and USC and UCLA’s version of a Victory Bell. Week 13 features all three FBS rivalry games with a Governor’s Cup on the line – (1) Georgia and Georgia Tech, Louisville and (24) Kentucky, and Kansas and (19) Kansas State.