College Football Week 11 Preview: Biggest Stories and Games to Watch
After a spectacular Week 10 of the 2012-2013 college football season, we have three matchups between ranked opponents in Week 11.
In Week 10's matchups between ranked teams, Oregon outscored USC, Alabama edged LSU, Kansas State separated from Oklahoma State, Texas A&M destroyed Mississippi State and Texas shocked Texas Tech in Lubbock.
This week, we have Oregon State at Stanford, Texas A&M at Alabama and Mississippi State at LSU.
Let's take a look at the big storylines and games of Week 11.
Oregon State and Stanford
Oregon State is still vying for the Pac-12 title, but it still has two games to play against Stanford (this week) and in-state rival Oregon (Nov. 24).
The Beavers' last title was a Pac-10 championship back in 2000.
As for Stanford, the Cardinal could jump ahead of Oregon State in the Pac-12 North this week with a win. It last won the Pac-10 in 1999.
Texas A&M and Alabama
No. 1 Alabama is vying for its third national championship in four years, led by quarterback A.J. McCarron and a dominant running game.
Texas A&M is currently the second in line behind Alabama in the SEC West. The Aggies (7-2, 4-2 SEC) are led by freshman Johnny Manziel, who sets them up for more success down the road.
Mississippi State and LSU
Mississippi State (7-2, 3-2 SEC) is far back in the SEC West after consecutive losses to Texas A&M and Alabama.
The Bulldogs last won the SEC in 1941. They last won the SEC West in 1998.
Mississippi State marks LSU's final ranked opponent during the regular season. The Tigers went 2-2 in the last four games, beating South Carolina and Texas A&M and losing to Florida and Alabama.
LSU is ranked No. 7 in the country and is gunning for the SEC's second BCS bowl berth.
No. 11 Oregon State at No. 14 Stanford
Where: Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA
When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3 p.m. ET
Oregon State showed a lot in bouncing back last week after a tough loss to Washington.
The Beavers held an underrated Arizona State offense led by sophomore quarterback Taylor Kelly to 26 points and scored 36 points behind junior Cody Vaz, their third-highest total of the season.
Stanford has only lost to Washington and Notre Dame this season. The defense has been excellent, holding opponents to 16.6 points per game, 12th in the nation.
The question is, which offense will put up enough points?
I like Oregon State here, especially given starting running back Storm Woods and star cornerback Jordan Poyer will return for the Beavers after missing the Arizona State game, per the Oregonian.
Prediction: Oregon State 23, Stanford 20
No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, AL
When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Armed with dual-threat freshman sensation Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M has gone 7-2 (4-2 SEC) this season while averaging 5.88 yards per carry (tied for fourth in the nation) and notching 32 rushing touchdowns, per CFBStats.com.
On the other hand, Alabama is allowing 2.09 yards per carry this season (second in the nation). That includes holding LSU to 2.8 yards per carry in the thrilling 21-17 victory last week.
If the Aggies couldn't beat LSU, how are they going to beat Alabama? I still think Manziel's inexperience plays a part here against a historic SEC program.
Prediction: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 20
No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 7 LSU
Where: Tiger Stadium, Baton Rouge, LA
When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m ET
Mississippi State's glaring weakness is its run defense. The Bulldogs have gotten torched for a combined 540 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground the past two weeks against Texas A&M and Alabama.
LSU's offense runs through its, well, running game. The Tigers rank 29th in the country in rushing yards per game.
That doesn't bode well for Mississippi State in Baton Rouge.
Prediction: LSU 27, Mississippi State 13