5 Top 25 Teams with the Best Chance to Make a Move in Week 11

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IINovember 6, 2012

5 Top 25 Teams with the Best Chance to Make a Move in Week 11

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    Ten weeks of college football are in the books, and the BCS national championship picture is beginning to form as fans across the country begin preparing for some pivotal Week 11 matchups that could potentially have a big impact on several teams come December.

    Who are the teams with the most to gain from potential victories this weekend? Click ahead to find out!

Northwestern Wildcats

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    Current BCS Ranking: No. 24

    Week 11 Opponent: at Michigan Wolverines

    Although the Michigan Wolverines are no longer in the Top 25, a win at the Big House this weekend would validate the Northwestern Wildcats' 7-2 record and current ranking in the BCS standings.

    Venric Mark has been the biggest surprise this season for the Wildcats. The junior running back has rushed for over 100 yards in five of Northwestern's last six games. The Wildcats are 5-1 this year when Mark eclipses the century mark on the ground.

    The matchup to watch in this game will be Northwestern's quarterbacks, sophomore pocket-passer Trevor Siemian and junior dual-threat Kain Colter, against Michigan's defense.

    If the Wolverines are able to contain Mark, the Wildcats will need to get outstanding performances from Colter and Siemian through the air in order to leave Ann Arbor with a victory and solidify themselves as a legitimate Top 25 team.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

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    Current BCS Ranking: No. 21

    Week 11 Opponent: at No. 7 LSU Tigers

    After being blown out by the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide and No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies in back-to-back games, the No. 21 Mississippi State Bulldogs will head to Baton Rogue in search of their first quality win of the 2012 season.

    The Bulldogs do not deserve to be in the Top 25 right now, but Mississippi State could silence all of the critics this weekend with a victory over the No. 7 LSU Tigers.

    In order for the Bulldogs to top the Tigers, their defense will need to slow down LSU's potent rushing attack and find a way to force quarterback Zach Mettenberger into making some bad decisions to help Mississippi State win the turnover battle.

    Additionally, Mississippi State's offense needs to get back on track after being held under 100 yards rushing in consecutive weeks.

Texas A&M Aggies

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    Current BCS Ranking: No. 15

    Week 11 Opponent: at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide

    Johnny Manziel continues to carry the No. 15 Texas A&M Aggies to victories. The redshirt freshman quarterback will have to be on top of his game against the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide this weekend.

    The Aggies scored 101 points over the last two weeks against the Auburn Tigers and Mississippi State Bulldogs, and are No. 4 among all Football Bowl Subdivision programs in scoring offense, but will be facing one of the nation's elite defenses at Bryan-Denny Stadium on Saturday. 

    Alabama's defense looked vulnerable against the No. 7 LSU Tigers in Week 10, and if Manziel can break off a couple of long runs, the Aggies may be able to pull off the upset.

    Texas A&M has the most to gain out of all the Top 25 teams in action in Week 11. The only problem for the Aggies is that they are not on the same level as Alabama right now and are unlikely to leave Tuscaloosa with their eighth win of the season.

Stanford Cardinal

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    Current BCS Ranking: No. 14

    Week 11 Opponent: No. 11 Oregon State Beavers

    The No. 14 Stanford Cardinal have won four of their last five games and may have found a new starting quarterback after freshman Kevin Hogan completed 18-of-23 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns against the Colorado Buffaloes last Saturday. 

    Hogan led the Cardinal on six straight scoring drives after replacing Josh Nunes in Stanford's 48-0 rout of the Buffaloes.

    This weekend is the start of a pivotal home stretch for the Cardinal as they have to face ranked opponents in each of their next three games, which makes this Saturdays tilt with the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers important if Stanford hopes to set the tone for how they plan to finish the 2012 campaign.

    Stanford's senior running back Stepfan Taylor will look to get back on track after two straight sub-100 yard rushing efforts and help the Cardinal upset Oregon State.

    Wins over nationally ranked opponents always help when it comes to poll voting and computer rankings, and a victory over the Beavers will move Stanford closer to a top 10 ranking. 

Oregon State Beavers

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    Current BCS Ranking: No. 11

    Week 11 Opponent: at No. 14 Stanford Cardinal

    On the flip side of the previously mentioned matchup, the No. 11 Oregon State Beavers are looking to pad their computer rankings with a road victory over the No. 14 Stanford Cardinal.

    Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz will have a tough time moving the football consistently against Stanford's defense, but if Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton are able to get loose for a few big plays, the Beavers should be able to improve to 8-1 on the year and potentially climb back into the Top 10 of the BCS standings.

    The Beavers will lean on their defense to slow down Stepfan Taylor and pressure Stanford's unproven quarterbacks into making mistakes.

    While Oregon State does not have as much to gain as some of the other Top 25 teams in action this weekend, the Beavers are in need of a victory over the Cardinal to keep control of their destiny in the Pac-12 North.