College Football Rankings 2012: Upper-Echelon Teams on Upset Alert in Week 11

Ian Hanford@Ian_HanfordFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2012

MANHATTAN, KS - NOVEMBER 03: Quarterback Collin Klein #7 of the Kansas State Wildcats gets up slowly after being hit on a running play against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the third quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium on November 3, 2012 in Manhattan, Kansas. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Being ranked at this point in the college football season is a great accomplishment, but it also paints a gigantic target on your back. For some teams, that target becomes a little too much to handle. It's difficult not to get worn down as the season moves along, and factors besides pure physical talent come into play.

Week 11's games feature a handful of potential upsets, three of which involve upper-echelon teams. Those teams should emerge unscathed, but it won't be as easy as many people may think.

Let's take a look at three teams that better come ready to play on Saturday.


No. 1 Alabama

The Crimson Tide were this close to suffering their first loss of the season Saturday night:

But dynamic freshman T.J. Yeldon bailed them out with a wonderful 28-yard run after catching the screen pass from A.J. McCarron.

That win is either going to help Alabama against Texas A&M in Week 11, or hinder them. If the Crimson Tide don't show up ready to go, don't sleep on Johnny Manziel and an underrated Aggies defense.

Manziel is one of the most exciting players in the country, capable of breaking a big play at any time with either his arm or his legs. He put together a dazzling performance against Mississippi State in Week 10, with a few big runs that you can see here:

The Aggies aren't better than Alabama, but they're a pesky team. If Damontre Moore is able to get in McCarron's face and make Alabama's offense one-dimensional, this game will be closer than expected. Manziel has played well in big moments, and he will bring his best stuff on Saturday.


No. 5 LSU

The Tigers lost a heartbreaker to Alabama Saturday night which will impact them one of two ways. LSU is either going to be angry, or it will be shell shocked.

Expect Zach Mettenberger and the Tigers to be reeling just enough for the Bulldogs to hang around in this one. Mississippi State has lost two games straight, and it's looking for some respect. Pouncing on a discouraged LSU team is the perfect opportunity.

Mettenberger played well enough to beat the Crimson Tide Saturday night, but a loss is a loss. Suddenly, Death Valley doesn't look like the impenetrable fortress that it usually is.

Tyler Russell and Ladarius Perkins still won't find a lot of room to work for the Bulldogs, but the defense also shouldn't be gashed like it has been in the past two weeks. Manziel killed them with his legs, but that's something that Mettenberger doesn't have.

LSU could show up and blow this team out of the water, but the way it lost the game Saturday night could go a long way. Don't be surprised if this game is much closer than anticipated.


No. 2 Kansas State

Going on the road without a Heisman Trophy frontrunner would be tough for anyone, but losing Collin Klein for the trip to Texas Christian would suddenly make Saturday's game very interesting.

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel has the latest on Klein's status:

Source: KState's Collin Klein was taken out Saturday over concerns of a possible concussion. Didn’t know he just scored TD. Story coming

— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) November 4, 2012

That doesn't necessarily sound good. Any slight possibility of a concussion could rule Klein out for Week 11, something that will damage the Wildcats' offense and his Heisman hopes. 

A home game would make the possible transition easier, but heading to Amon Carter Stadium won't be an easy task. Trevone Boykin has proven himself to be capable behind center for the Horned Frogs, and the Wildcats will have a bevy of receivers to worry about as well.

A solid defense and John Hubert's running ability will still favor Kansas State, but losing Klein could be really bad from a physical and emotional standpoint. TCU may not be ranked, but don't sleep on the upset here.

On the other hand, if Klein plays, expect another easy win.