College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

Brian PedersenFeatured ColumnistNovember 7, 2013

College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

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    Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

    Let's be honest: Most weeks in a college football season are so full of mismatches and laughter, any schmo could get 70 percent of the picks right. The 2013 season is no different, and for the most part that rule of thumb has held true.

    (Even though we somehow managed to get only 35 of 49 correct last week, that's still a 71.4 percent accuracy rate, so we're not fired. Yet.)

    Then comes Week 11, with so many quality matchups that two of them—maybe the two biggest—had to get shifted over to Thursday night to make sure Saturday's slate wasn't too awesome.

    Too bad a handful of good Mid-American teams took the TV money to play on Tuesday and Wednesday night this week, or else they'd be included in this mix as well.

    Click through the slideshow to see our choices for this big weekend of college football, and then tell us how you really feel about those picks in the comments section.

    (Note: Rankings used reflect teams' place in latest BCS standings.)

Vanderbilt at Florida

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: Florida beat Vanderbilt 31-17 last season, its 22nd straight victory over the Commodores.

    What to watch for: Vanderbilt (4-4, 1-4 SEC) just can't beat Florida. Year in and year out, the Commodores get knocked off by the Gators. But last year's 14-point loss awoke something in them, and Vandy went on a seven-game win streak that included a bowl victory. This season's Commodores haven't been very impressive outside of the upset of Georgia and need this game to keep bowl hopes alive.

    Florida (4-4, 3-3) has its own bevy of issues, most due to injury. But the Gators have struggled to move the ball and score no matter who is on the field, and their stout defense has started to wear down from being on the field so much. The 23-20 loss to Georgia showed some signs of life, though, like a collective realization occurred that something needs to change or there will be no bowling.

    The Gators are much better at home, so look for the streak to run to 23 wins over Vandy.

    Prediction: Florida 23, Vanderbilt 13

    **Update: Vanderbily 34, Florida 17

TCU at Iowa State

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    Cooper Neill/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Snoozefest

    Last meeting: Iowa State won 37-23 over TCU, snapping a three-game losing streak to the Horned Frogs.

    What to watch for: TCU (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) has gone from being inconsistent to just plain inefficient. Three straight losses have all but killed any chance of a bowl game, with last week's overtime loss to West Virginia serving as the coffin nail. The Horned Frogs continue to struggle on offense, and of late their defense has become porous.

    Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) was a hard-luck story earlier this season, with so many narrow losses. Now the Cyclones are just plain bad, getting thumped by an average of 43 points the last three games. There's no heart left out there, and it's probably going to mean the end of Paul Rhoads' five-year tenure in Ames.

    But before that happens, look for the Cyclones to make one last (fruitless) push to save their coach's job.

    Prediction: Iowa State 28, TCU 23

    **Update: TCU 21, Iowa State 17

No. 8 Missouri at Kentucky

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    Dak Dillon-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Missouri won 33-10 over Kentucky last October.

    What to watch for: Missouri (8-1, 4-1 SEC) looks like it's shaken off the memories of the overtime loss to South Carolina, a necessity seeing as the Tigers need to keep winning to hold onto the East Division lead and get into the SEC title game. The offense hasn't been as explosive since Maty Mauk stepped in for James Franklin, but it's doing well enough to get the job done.

    Kentucky (2-6, 0-4) got its feel-good win over FCS Alabama State last week, but otherwise the Wildcats have been quite bad in Mark Stoops' first season in Lexington. Their last two home games against league foes were hard to watch, with little to be hopeful about for the future.

    This will be Kentucky's third straight ranked league foe to come into town and the third straight to whoop the Wildcats.

    Prediction: Missouri 34, Kentucky 14

    **Update: Missouri 48, Kentucky 17

Penn State at Minnesota

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    Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Penn State beat Minnesota 33-21 in 2010, its fourth straight victory over the Golden Gophers.

    What to watch for: Penn State (5-3, 2-2 Big Ten) tried to give away last week's game against Illinois, needing a last-minute field goal and overtime to win. The Nittany Lions aren't good enough to sit on a lead, one of many off-putting things about how this season has gone. Even more disturbing is how bad they've looked away from home, losing by 20 at Indiana and 49 at Ohio State.

    Minnesota (7-2, 3-2) got the kind of lucky bounce that teams of destiny get last week when it recovered a muffed lateral with 25 seconds left as Indiana was either going to tie it with a field goal or punch it in for a game-winning touchdown. The Golden Gophers are doing their best to aid on-leave coach Jerry Kill's recovery and have a great shot at their first 10-win season in a decade.

    The Gophers will get their fourth straight victory relatively easily.

    Prediction: Minnesota 30, Penn State 19

    **Update: Minnesota 24, Penn State 10

No. 2 Florida State at Wake Forest

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    Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Florida State won 52-0 last year, but the last game played in Winston-Salem resulted in a 35-30 win for Wake Forest.

    What to watch for: Florida State (8-0, 6-0 ACC) got its resume-boosting win over Miami last Saturday, but now the Seminoles have to do two things to stay in the BCS title hunt: avoid complacency and stomp the life out of all remaining opponents. FSU has only looked off once this season, but that was before the hype machine got churning, and this club looks determined.

    Wake Forest (4-5, 2-4) is an enigma, going from nearly beating Miami on the road to laying a complete egg at Syracuse. Literally a goose egg, as it was the third time in the past two seasons the Demon Deacons have been shut out. Wake is the worst offensive team in the ACC, which doesn't bode well when going up against the league's most explosive team.

    Expect FSU to jump out to a big lead early...and not let up after that.

    Prediction: Florida State 48, Wake Forest 13

    **Update: Florida State 59, Wake Forest 3

UAB at Marshall

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: UAB won 38-31 last season.

    What to watch for: UAB (2-6, 1-3 Conference USA) had a chance for a confidence-building win last week against Middle Tennessee, but after tying the game with under two minutes left the Blazers let the Blue Raiders go down the field with ease to kick a game-winning field goal. It's those type of drives that have defined UAB's season, which is on pace for the ninth straight of the losing variety.

    Marshall (5-3, 3-1) has been dominant at home, winning by more than 41 points per game in Huntington. That includes a 61-13 victory last week over Southern Mississippi that got the Thundering Herd back on track following a last-second loss to Middle Tennessee the game before. The Herd are 13th nationally in scoring and like to push the tempo all game long—as they will against poor UAB.

    Prediction: Marshall 52, UAB 17

    **Update: Marshall 56, UAB 14

Western Kentucky at Army

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    Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for: Western Kentucky (5-4) has had a very uneven season, starting with a rousing win over in-state rival Kentucky but also losing badly to Tennessee and against FBS newcomer South Alabama. But the one thing the Hilltoppers have done well this year is defend the triple-option, suffocating Navy's ground game earlier this season. WKU also has its own impressive runner in Antonio Andrews, who leads the nation with 1,290 yards.

    Army (3-6) is the country's top rushing team, but the Black Knights are giving up too many points to make that run attack be enough. Army has allowed 37 points per game during a 1-3 stretch, including 42 at one-win Air Force last week.

    Army's bowl eligibility will go down the toilet with this one.

    Prediction: Western Kentucky 30, Army 27

    **Update: Western Kentucky 21, Army 17

SMU at Cincinnati

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    Jim Cowsert-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for: SMU (3-4, 2-1 American) is playing like how you'd expect a June Jones-led team to play, with lots and lots of passing and not much defense. The Mustangs are fifth in passing offense but at the same time are allowing a pathetic 42 points per game. Garrett Gilbert needed to throw for 538 yards for SMU to beat one-win Temple last time out.

    Cincinnati (6-2, 3-1) has quietly put together a decent season, though to this point the Bearcats haven't faced any of the teams in the top half of the AAC. Brendon Kay has done well at quarterback, but he's been the only consistent piece of the offense.

    This smells like an upset.

    Prediction: SMU 43, Cincinnati 39

    **Update: Cincinnati 28, SMU 25

Iowa at Purdue

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    Byron Hetzler-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Snoozefest

    Last meeting: Purdue won 27-24 last season.

    What to watch for: Iowa (5-4, 2-3 Big Ten) has looked relatively uninterested in most of its games this season, other than at Ohio State. The effort shown in that 10-point loss hasn't been seen since, as the Hawkeyes needed overtime to beat Northwestern then got dominated by Wisconsin, both at home. 

    Purdue (1-7, 0-4) isn't having a problem of interest but rather ability. The Boilermakers are not good, and even when they manage to hold Michigan State to 14 points they get shut out. And their last three home games have been particularly painful for fans, losing by an average of 41.3 points per contest.

    Iowa will win this, but it won't be a pretty game.

    Prediction: Iowa 30, Purdue 13

    **Update: Iowa 38, Purdue 14

No. 9 Auburn at Tennessee

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    Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Auburn won 26-22 in 2009, the Tigers' fifth straight victory over Tennessee.

    What to watch for: Auburn (8-1, 4-1 SEC) hasn't had a letdown since its win at Texas A&M, furthering the likelihood first-year coach Gus Malzahn will win the league's Coach of the Year honor. Even with the Tigers having a relatively sluggish offensive effort last week at Arkansas, they're beating everyone they're supposed to without much incident.

    Tennessee (4-5, 1-4) has played its last two games either like its upset of South Carolina never happened or it was enough of an achievement that further wins aren't necessary. Granted, the Volunteers have played at Alabama and Missouri since that upset victory, but the opponents only partly contributed to the poor results.

    Maybe playing in Knoxville will reinvigorate the Vols, but not enough to take out Auburn.

    Prediction: Auburn 35, Tennessee 21

    **Update: Auburn 55, Tennessee 23

Kansas State at No. 25 Texas Tech

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: Kansas State crushed Texas Tech 55-24 last season.

    What to watch for: Kansas State (4-4, 2-3 Big 12) had a very tough start to league play, both matchup- and performance-wise, but the past two weeks have enabled the Wildcats to get healthy and gain some confidence for the stretch run and a bowl bid. K-State has been in every game this season but hasn't been able to take down a quality opponent.

    Texas Tech (7-2, 4-2) has hit a wall after a 7-0 start, thanks to improved competition but also breakdowns on defense. The Red Raiders are still throwing the ball prolifically, but in the last four games they've allowed 38 points per contest and haven't been able to match that production on their end.

    Tech should get back on track, but it will be a tough game all the same.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 37, Kansas State 31

    **Update: Kansas State 49, Texas Tech 26

Arkansas at Ole Miss

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    USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12:21 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Ole Miss beat Arkansas 30-27 last October.

    What to watch for: Arkansas (3-6, 0-5 SEC) is having a disastrous season, losers of six straight due to a bad combination of poor offense and porous defense. The Razorbacks tried trick plays to beat visiting Auburn last week and still lost by 18 points.

    Ole Miss (5-3, 2-3) got a much-needed break after facing four top league opponents, then the Rebels got a week off after destroying Idaho two weeks ago. Hopefully all the rest was worth it, because Ole Miss plays four games in a 19-day stretch starting with this one.

    Arkansas will clinch back-to-back losing seasons for the first time since 1996-97.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 37, Arkansas 17

    **Update: Ole Miss 34, Arkansas 24

Appalachian State at Georgia

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for: Appalachian State (2-7) is making its last season in the FCS a forgettable one. The Mountaineers have won or shared the Southern Conference title seven of the last eight seasons, winning the FCS title three years in a row from 2005-07, but their last season has been a rough one to this point.

    Georgia (5-3) held off a late charge to beat Florida in its rivalry game last week, ending a two-game losing streak in the process. The Bulldogs got Todd Gurley back, helping to provide more balance to an offense that had become too much about Aaron Murray. The defense is still suspect, though.

    Georgia should roll in preparation for next week's game at Auburn.

    Prediction: Georgia 47, Appalachian State 20

    **Update: Georgia 45, Appalachian State 6

Virginia at North Carolina

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    Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 12:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: North Carolina won 37-13 last season, its third straight victory over Virginia.

    What to watch for: Virginia (2-7, 0-5 ACC) has the worst defense in the league to go with an offense that's not very good. As a result, the Cavaliers have been just bad enough to lose most weeks. And coming off a 49-point loss at Clemson, the confidence isn't there either.

    North Carolina (3-5, 2-3) is playing with much more fire and effectiveness the last few weeks, turning the disappointment of a near-upset of Miami (Fla.) into two good wins to keep bowl eligibility alive. The Tar Heels were dealt a major blow when quarterback Bryn Renner was lost for the year with a shoulder injury, but backup Marquise Williams has looked good in limited action and should keep the team moving forward.

    It'll be the Tar Heels in a romp.

    Prediction: North Carolina 38, Virginia 17

    **Update: North Carolina 45, Virginia 14

Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan

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    David Banks/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 1 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Snoozefest

    Last meeting: Eastern Michigan beat Western Michigan 29-23 last season.

    What to watch for: Western Michigan (1-8, 1-4 Mid-American) has a one-point win over a one-win team. The rest of the Broncos' season includes being a whipping boy to three Big Ten schools and suffering a 33-0 home loss.

    Eastern Michigan (1-8, 0-5) didn't bother with separating good from bad because it's been the same as in most years. This is the 17th year out of 18 that will end with a losing record, with this season's only victory coming in the opener to an FCS team that is 3-6.

    This might need five overtimes to declare a winner by default.

    Prediction: Western Michigan 21, Eastern Michigan 20

    **Update: Eastern Michigan 35, Western Michigan 32 (OT)

Tulane at UTSA

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    Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sp

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 2 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Never

    What to watch for: Tulane (6-3, 4-1 Conference USA) was probably the worst six-win team in FBS even before losing 34-17 to a Florida Atlantic team that had just seen its coach quit amid drug-use allegations. Yet the Green Wave also have wins over two of the leagues better teams, North Texas and East Carolina, so who knows what to make of this unit.

    UTSA (4-5, 3-2) is making a late push for bowl eligibility after starting 2-5 against a slate that included Arizona, Houston and Oklahoma State. The Roadrunners, still transitioning to FBS, can only make a bowl if no other eligible teams have yet to be chosen, but even without an extra game this season can be a success.

    Look for the Roadrunners to score a third straight victory.

    Prediction: UTSA 30, Tulane 23

    **Update: UTSA 10, Tulane 7

USC at California

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: USC beat California 27-9 last September.

    What to watch for: USC (6-3, 3-2 Pac-12) has come back from the brink of embarrassment to put together a relatively good season, especially considering the injury issues the Trojans have faced. They've won three of four under interim coach Ed Orgeron, that only loss heavily the result of having about a dozen players go down mid-game. USC won at Oregon State last week and can win every game left on the schedule.

    California (1-8, 0-6) had its closest Pac-12 result yet last week but still fell 33-28 at home to Arizona. The Golden Bears have shown small flashes but never for a long enough time to have a chance to win much. Many stars are young, so this team is at least a year away from competing.

    Expect USC to continue its upward movement.

    Prediction: USC 30, California 16

    **Update: USC 62, California 28

Nevada at Colorado State

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    Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Nevada won 51-6 in 2010, just its second win in 11 meetings with Colorado State.

    What to watch for: Nevada (3-6, 2-4 Mountain West) has had its season fall apart with four straight losses, all in the league, to make it very likely it will miss a bowl for the first time since 2004. The Wolfpack have a talented quarterback in Cody Fajardo, but the run game they've had in years past hasn't been there.

    Colorado State (4-5, 2-2) is already a success in Jim McElwain's second season as head coach, but the Rams want much more. They've squandered some leads in games, including early at Tulsa and last week against Boise State, or else we might be talking about which bowl they'd go to rather than if they will. With 13 games, CSU needs to win at least seven—starting with this one.

    Prediction: Colorado State 37, Nevada 28

    **Update: Colorado State 38, Nevada 17

Illinois at Indiana

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    Reid Compton-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Points, points, points!

    Last meeting: Indiana beat Illinois 31-17 last year.

    What to watch for: Illinois (3-5, 0-4 Big Ten) made a great comeback at Penn State, then in a blink of an eye lost in overtime when Nathan Scheelhaase was intercepted on the first play after PSU scored a touchdown. The second-half effort of the Fighting Illini was promising and bodes well for breaking that Big Ten losing streak at some point.

    Indiana (3-5, 1-3) blew its own chance for a big win but in a much more embarrassing way. The Hoosiers had an overtime-sending field goal in the bag against Minnesota, but they tried to score a TD instead and muffed a lateral. Mistakes like that can't happen for a team with no defense to speak of.

    Defense is probably going to be optional in this one.

    Prediction: Indiana 45, Illinois 41

    **Update: Indiana 52, Illinois 35

     

Syracuse at Maryland

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    Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Syracuse beat Maryland 21-16 in 1994.

    What to watch for: Syracuse (4-4, 2-2 ACC) is a peculiar club. A week after losing 56-0 at Georgia Tech it turned around and shut out Wake Forest at home. The Orange have bounced back and forth from looking good to bad all season, with no players stepping up on a regular basis.

    Maryland (5-3, 1-3) hasn't won in four weeks, and that was a scant one-point victory over league doormat Virginia. The Terrapins just aren't the same team with all the injuries that have piled up, not just to quarterback C.J. Brown but all over the field.

    Maryland has looked better lately, at least enough to take this one.

    Prediction: Maryland 27, Syracuse 24

    **Update: Syracuse 20, Maryland 3

Nebraska at Michigan

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    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: Nebraska won 23-9 last season.

    What to watch for: Nebraska (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten) needed a Hail Mary to beat Northwestern at home last week, the latest in a series of strange occurrences for this year's Cornhuskers team. Ameer Abdullah has been running great, but a rotation of quarterbacks has made for an overall inconsistent offense. With Taylor Martinez out, Nebraska is uneven.

    Michigan (6-2, 2-2) is coming off its worst rushing performance in school history, finishing with minus-47 yards against Michigan State. In their previous game, the Wolverines posted 63 points against Indiana.  

    Neither team can afford to lose this game, but someone has to.

    Prediction: Michigan 34, Nebraska 27

    **Update: Nebraska 17, Michigan 13

Boston College at New Mexico State

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    Ed Wolfstein-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for: Boston College (4-4) continued its trend of playing well against the better teams in the ACC, upsetting Virginia Tech after having played Clemson and Florida State close earlier in the year. The Eagles have almost as many rushing yards from Andre Williams that they have from their passing game.

    New Mexico State (1-8) found a way to blow a 21-0 first-quarter lead and still lose by two touchdowns last week at Louisiana-Lafayette. The Aggies still haven't beat an FBS opponent in almost two years, a span of 22 games.

    NMSU isn't going to break that streak against a BCS-conference opponent.

    Prediction: Boston College 41, New Mexico State 21

    **Update: Boston College 48, New Mexico State 34

Mississippi State at No. 15 Texas A&M

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    Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Texas A&M won 38-13 last November.

    What to watch for: Mississippi State (4-4, 1-3 SEC) has had one of those chalk-like seasons, beating whom it should and losing to whom it isn't expected to defeat. Some results have been closer than expected, but otherwise it's been the status quo.

    Texas A&M (7-2, 3-2) has been very exciting to watch, but a closer look at the Aggies' results indicates they have lost their two toughest games, and both at home. A&M's best win was a last-team-to-score-wins shootout at Ole Miss; otherwise the victories have been lopsided as expected.

    This one should fall into the lopsided column.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 44, Mississippi State 24

    **Update: Texas A&M 51, Mississippi State 41

UTEP at North Texas

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: North Texas won 35-15 over UTEP in 1980.

    What to watch for: UTEP (1-7, 0-4 Conference USA) is getting tired of being beat up by in-state opponents. The Miners have lost to UTSA, Rice and Texas A&M by an average of 35.7 points per game, though the results haven't been much better against non-Texan teams.

    North Texas (6-3, 4-1) is bowl-eligible for the first time since 2004, and the Mean Green are in a three-way tie for first place in C-USA's West Division. On a four-game win streak with three winnable games left, the Green could reach 10 wins for the first time in school history.

    And UTEP will be part of that win total.

    Prediction: North Texas 43, UTEP 17

    **Update: North Texas 41, UTEP 7

BYU at No. 24 Wisconsin

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    Matthew Holst/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: BYU beat Wisconsin 28-3 in 1980, the only other time they've played.

    What to watch for: BYU (6-2) lost two of three to start the season before figuring out what kind of team it wanted to be. The Cougars center everything around dual-threat quarterback Taysom Hill, who has 2,860 yards of total offense and eight rushing touchdowns. But where Hill has most improved is with his pass selection, as the sophomore has completed at least 65.9 percent of his throws in four of the last five games after being under 40 percent during the 1-2 start.

    Wisconsin (6-2) has had little trouble dispatching three league foes—two on the road—since losing at Ohio State a month ago. The Badgers are scoring points, gaining yards and stopping opponents in a way that makes them one of the more dangerous teams in the country right now, likely among the best that won't get a conference title shot.

    Having this nonconference test so late in the season is critical for Wisconsin to see just how much it's improved, and it should be a fun one to watch.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 33, BYU 20

    **Update: Wisconsin 27, BYU 17

Hawaii at Navy

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Points, points, points!

    Last meeting: Hawaii beat Navy 24-17 in 2009.

    What to watch for: Hawaii (0-8) had a couple of close calls midway through the season, but last week's 37-point loss at Utah State shows the Warriors aren't going to be ending their long skid on the road.

    Navy (4-4) couldn't pull off the upset at Notre Dame last week, but now the Midshipmen have to focus on getting bowl-eligible. They're home the next two weeks against very beatable teams, so the key is to just stick to their potent triple-option run game and let it take care of business.

    Against Hawaii, though, that won't require much effort.

    Prediction: Navy 44, Hawaii 21

    **Update: Navy 42, Hawaii 28

     

     

     

     

Tulsa at East Carolina

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    David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 3:45 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: East Carolina beat Tulsa 51-49 in 2010.

    What to watch for: Tulsa (2-6, 1-3 Conference USA) has lost five of six, the only thing saving it from a worse stretch coming in the form of a win over UTEP last month. The Golden Hurricanes are scoring just over 20 points per game, far below the production of past teams, and allowing 31 points per game.

    East Carolina (6-2, 4-1) has methodically breezed through its conference schedule, other than an overtime loss at Tulane. The Pirates have a couple more easy weeks before finishing with games at North Carolina State and Marshall, and quarterback Shane Carden will be the focal point in all of those games.

    The Pirates should have no trouble winning this one. 

    Prediction: East Carolina 42, Tulsa 17

    **Update: East Carolina 58, Tulsa 24

     

North Carolina State at Duke

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Duke beat North Carolina State 49-28 in 2009, ending an 11-game skid to the Wolfpack.

    What to watch for: North Carolina State (3-5, 0-5 ACC) is on a six-game league losing streak, its worst  skid since dropping nine straight in 2006-07. The Wolfpack have played a little better at home but not well enough to be able to beat anybody in the conference.

    Duke (6-2, 2-2) is hoping to avoid doing what it did last year, when it got to six wins after eight games and then lost the rest. The Blue Devils have won four in a row, most recently a 13-10 upset at Virginia Tech, the kind of signature victory that makes this season look like it'll be different than last one.

    The seventh win will come right away for Duke.

    Prediction: Duke 28, North Carolina State 20

    **Update: Duke 38, North Carolina State 20

     

Kansas at No. 14 Oklahoma State

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    John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Oklahoma State won 20-14 last October.

    What to watch for: Kansas (2-6, 0-5 Big 12) hasn't broken 20 points since the season opener and hasn't done so against an FBS opponent since last November. The Jayhawks have dropped 24 straight in the Big 12 and haven't beat a current league member since October 2009.

    Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1) has made its late September loss at West Virginia seem more and more anomalous, especially after dismantling Texas Tech on the road last week. A vastly improved defense has been as much a part of the Cowboys' winning formula as their evolving run game.

    Expect OSU to roll, with Kansas rolling over quite quickly.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 53, Kansas 13

    **Update: Oklahoma e 42, Kansas 6

     

No. 22 Arizona State at Utah

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Upset alert

    Last meeting: Arizona State beat Utah 37-7 last September, its ninth straight win over the Utes.

    What to watch for: Arizona State (6-2, 4-1 Pac-12) has rolled through its last four league games, averaging 56 points per game in those contests. With an offense that can run and throw efficiently, the Sun Devils are nearly impossible to shut down, let alone outscore.

    Utah (4-4, 1-4) has seen its offense fall apart the last two games, with quarterback Travis Wilson's hand issues only part of the problem. The Utes have a solid defense, but without any production on the other side of the ball they can't hang with the league's high-scoring powers.

    This will be ASU's biggest test in a month, but it should pass. And run.

    Prediction: Arizona State 36, Utah 26

    **Update: Arizona State 20, Utah 19

     

Florida International at Middle Tennessee

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Middle Tennessee won 34-30 over Florida International last season.

    What to watch for: Florida International (1-7, 1-3 Conference USA) is a one-point win over winless Southern Mississippi from staring down a second 0-12 season in school history. The Golden Panthers lost each of their three most recent home games by increasingly larger margins and have managed 13 or fewer points six times.

    Middle Tennessee (5-4, 3-2) has four victories by a touchdown or less, while most of the Blue Raiders' losses have been much more lopsided. They do just enough to win or not enough to get close, but the schedule is lined up for them to finish with at least seven victories and get a bowl game in their first year of C-USA play.

    This shouldn't be very close.

    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 44, Florida International 14

    **Update: Middle Tennessee 48, Florida International 0

     

Tennessee-Martin at Memphis

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    Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 4:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Snoozefest

    Last meeting: Tennessee-Martin won 20-17 at Memphis to open the 2012 season.

    What to watch for: Tennessee-Martin (6-3) is a mid-level FCS team from the Ohio Valley Conference that has already helped fund its athletic program with a 63-14 loss at Boise State in September. The Skyhawks would like to win this one, but it's evident they're in it mostly for the paycheck.

    Memphis (1-6) will take a win, any win, to gain some confidence heading into the final half of its first season in a major conference. The Tigers are 0-4 in the American Athletic Conference, but they've faced only teams from the better half of the league, so it might be more about competition than performance.

    Thankfully, the competition won't be as tough this time around.

    Prediction: Memphis 27, Tennessee-Martin 17

Old Dominion at Idaho

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    Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 5 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Points, points, points!

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for: Old Dominion (6-3) will be playing mostly FBS opponents next year when it transitions into Conference USA, but for now it's been mostly FCS foes for the Monarchs. The three FBS teams they've faced (East Carolina, Maryland and Pittsburgh) have provided their losses.

    Idaho (1-8) managed to clip Temple at home midseason, but otherwise the Vandals have struggled mightily in this season of forced independence. They're losing by an average of 44-17 and still have to go to Florida State later this month.

    I'll give a small edge to the Vandals. 

    Prediction: Idaho 32, Old Dominion 30

Texas at West Virginia

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Upset alert

    Last meeting: West Virginia won 48-45 over Texas last season.

    What to watch for: Texas (6-2, 5-0 Big 12) has had the good fortune of opening league play against four of the worst teams in the lineup along with the rivalry game against Oklahoma in Dallas. The Longhorns defense has led the charge, along with a strong run game, but the competition hasn't been there outside of the Sooners.

    West Virginia (4-5, 2-4) might have turned a corner with its overtime win at TCU last week, and the Mountaineers have a relatively favorable schedule down the stretch, so a bowl game is very possible. The offense is still a work in progress compared to in years past, but at home the Mountaineers are a tough out.

    Texas is going to slip up on this long road trip.

    Prediction: West Virginia 28, Texas 27

Houston at No. 21 UCF

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: Central Florida won 40-33 in 2010.

    What to watch for: Houston (7-1, 4-0 American) has actually played better away from the cavernous confines of Reliant Stadium, especially in its only league road game, a 35-point win over Rutgers. The Cougars offense is starting to take flight and resemble the teams of Kevin Sumlin, but the defense is far better than it was in the past.

    UCF (6-1, 3-0) stormed onto the national stage with its upset of Louisville, and now everyone is delving into what makes the Knights tick. A big part of the gear process is associated with quarterback Blake Bortles, who has been quietly efficient and effective, though UCF's defense (19.3 points per game) has been equally integral to the start.

    This one should go down to the wire.

    Prediction: Houston 34, Central Florida 30

Southern Mississippi at Louisiana Tech

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Snoozefest

    Last meeting: Southern Mississippi beat Louisiana Tech 19-17 in 2011.

    What to watch for: Southern Mississippi (0-8, 0-4 Conference USA) has lost 20 straight, and only one has been close. That came to another winless team, in early October, and since then the Golden Eagles have lost by an average of 43.3 points per game.

    Louisiana Tech (3-5, 2-2) didn't get to play in a bowl game last year despite a 9-3 record, a political mess that was exacerbated by Sonny Dykes leaving for California. This season the Bulldogs aren't anywhere near as good but could find themselves getting a bowl invite if they can avoid a bad loss in the final month of play.

    Prediction: Louisiana Tech 30, Southern Mississippi 16

Virginia Tech at No. 11 Miami (Fla.)

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    Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Upset alert

    Last meeting: Miami beat Virginia Tech 30-12 last November.

    What to watch for: Virginia Tech (6-3, 3-2 ACC) has had the wheels off what had been looking like a pretty good season, laying an egg at home to Duke and then falling at Boston College. The Hokies can't seem to play good offense and defense in the same game.

    Miami (7-1, 3-1) lost at Florida State in last week's big showdown, but the news was worse afterward when it was revealed star running back Duke Johnson broke his ankle and is done for the year. In a small time frame the Hurricanes went from being part of the national championship picture to now no longer a lock to win their division.

    This game is setting up to be one of those last-play-of-regulation doozies, and it feels like a Hokie takedown.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 21, Miami 19

Arkansas State at Louisiana-Monroe

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    Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: Arkansas State won 45-23 last November.

    What to watch for: Arkansas State (4-4, 2-1 Sun Belt) has struggled under its third coach in as many seasons, and that lack of consistency has had its biggest impact on the offense. The Red Wolves have produced only 24 points in their last two games. 

    Louisiana-Monroe (5-4, 3-1) has seen its offense soar since Kolton Browning returned from injury, and the quarterback is once again pacing a high-octane attack. The Warhawks took their lumps early, losing 34-0 at Oklahoma and 70-7 at Baylor, but in the Sun Belt they're a force to be reckoned with.

    The Sun Belt has been the hardest league to predict, but the coin landed on the home team.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 33, Arkansas State 22

No. 23 Notre Dame at Pittsburgh

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    Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Good but not great

    Last meeting: Notre Dame won 29-26 in overtime last season en route to the BCS title game.

    What to watch for: Notre Dame (7-2) had a much harder time beating Navy last week than was expected. It's uncertain if the Fighting Irish didn't properly prepare for the option game or if the prospect of getting a really bad bowl game unless they make the BCS started to put pressure on the players.

    Pittsburgh (4-4) has managed just 33 points in its last three games against BCS-conference opponents, a complete reversal from some high-scoring early-season outputs. The Panthers have become sluggish and mistake-prone and have a schedule that's going to make getting to a bowl difficult.

    Notre Dame is the better team, and it will show.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Pittsburgh 21

Colorado at Washington

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Washington beat Colorado 38-3 last season for its fourth straight win over the Buffaloes.

    What to watch for: Colorado (3-5, 0-5 Pac-12) has struggled to do anything other than score on some big plays, which isn't enough to get by without a defense that can make stops. Paul Richardson is a major deep threat, but he has no help.

    Washington (5-3, 2-3) will be going to a bowl this December, but after the 4-0 start the Huskies were hoping for a chance to play one in January. But a tough mid-part of the Pac-12 schedule killed that and masked what's been an otherwise good season with strong efforts on both sides of the ball.

    After getting Stanford and Oregon back-to-back, Washington now gets to feast on the league's bottom feeders in succession.

    Prediction: Washington 43, Colorado 20

No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama

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    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: Alabama beat LSU 21-17 last November, nine months after beating the Tigers 21-0 in the 2012 BCS title game.

    What to watch for: LSU (7-2, 3-2 SEC) hasn't fared well on the road this season, dropping two of three true away games to league opponents. And neither is as good as Alabama. The Tigers aren't thumping and rolling teams like in the past, and keeping opponents close has led to both losses. And this is despite one of the best offensive trios (Zach Mettenberger, Jeremy Hill and Odell Beckham) to play in Baton Rouge in years.

    Alabama (8-0, 5-0) is at the pinnacle of the college game, its normal place the last few years, and this season there have yet to be any real hiccups. The only close result, 49-42 at Texas A&M, was mostly controlled by the Crimson Tide after the first quarter, and since then it's been a series of laughable walkover games.

    You'd think the lack of competition the past two months would be a concern for Alabama. It is, but not enough to matter.

    Prediction: Alabama 31, LSU 24

Utah State at UNLV

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    Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sp

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 8 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: Utah State beat UNLV 35-13 last year.

    What to watch for: Utah State (5-4, 4-1 Mountain West) has done surprisingly well since Chuckie Keeton was lost for the season, but it's been more than just strong quarterback play that has kept the Aggies in sight of another bowl appearance. Albeit against lesser foes, Utah State has allowed only 10 points to each of its last two opponents.

    UNLV (5-4, 3-2) hasn't been able to beat any of the MWC's good teams, which shouldn't keep the Runnin' Rebels from getting into a bowl game. But to really make this a successful season, UNLV will have to show its offensive trio of Caleb Herring, Tim Cornett and Devante Davis can knock off someone of substance.

    Here's that chance.

    Prediction: UNLV 27, Utah State 23

No. 19 UCLA at Arizona

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    Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: UCLA crushed Arizona 66-10 last season.

    What to watch for: UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) still showed some lingering effects of having played (and lost to) Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks during its most recent game against Colorado, and overall the Bruins just haven't been the same the past month. Getting tailback Jordon James back at full strength will help the run game and take pressure off quarterback Brett Hundley.

    Arizona (6-2, 3-2) has vastly improved on offense the last month, becoming more than just a one-dimensional run team. Though FBS rushing leader Ka'Deem Carey and quarterback B.J. Denker continue to run effectively, it's been Denker's development as a passer that's been the key to the Wildcats' resurgence and current three-game win streak.

    Arizona has been home just once since Sept. 14, but it will give its patient fans something worth waiting that long for.

    Prediction: Arizona 34, UCLA 28

No. 16 Fresno State at Wyoming

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    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10:15 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Upset alert

    Last meeting: Fresno State beat Wyoming 42-14 last season.

    What to watch for: Fresno State (8-0, 5-0 Mountain West) has pulled ahead of Northern Illinois in the BCS buster race, but to stay there it needs to keep winning. The flashiness of the victories don't seem to matter since voters are asleep by the time the Bulldogs are done playing, but that doesn't meant Derek Carr won't keep putting up major passing numbers.

    Wyoming (4-4, 2-2) looked promising early behind Brett Smith's rushing and passing prowess, but in the past month the Cowboys have fallen apart. The offense has sputtered at times, while the defense has been pasted for 50-plus points the last two games.

    Laramie is a tough place to play no matter how Wyoming is playing. Fresno will get a major test to its perfection plan.

    Prediction: Fresno State 47, Wyoming 45

San Diego State at San Jose State

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Nov. 9, 10:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: San Jose State beat San Diego State 38-34 last season.

    What to watch for: San Diego State (4-4, 3-1 Mountain West) has seen each of its last six games decided by 10 points or fewer, winning four of them. The two losses, though, were against the best of the lot, an indication the Aztecs might not be good enough to win against top competition. That doesn't bode well with three of four on the road to end the season.

    San Jose State (5-3, 4-1) has won four in a row, three of which were on the road, while the Spartans' only home game in that span was a last-minute shootout victory over Wyoming. David Fales is one of the country's most underrated quarterbacks, helping to pace an offense that has averaged 39 points per game during the win streak.

    This should be a competitive game, but give the edge to the home team.

    Prediction: San Jose State 37, San Diego State 27

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: Oklahoma beat Baylor 42-34 last November after Baylor had earned its first-ever victory in the series in 2011.

    What to watch for: Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) played its best game of the season before its bye week, downing previously unbeaten Texas Tech at home. But the Sooners are still struggling to find a consistent offensive approach, and though Blake Bell is playing decently at quarterback, it's hard to imagine them being able to play from behind.

    Baylor (7-0, 4-0) has faced only members of the league's bottom half, with little resistance other than against a respectable Kansas State squad on the road. It's still unclear whether the Bears can truly handle the adversity that comes from playing a top-notch opponent on a national stage, but with the offense they can generate they may never have to be in that position.

    The road to perfection is far from over for Baylor, but it will stay on the unbeaten track for at least another week.

    Prediction: Baylor 41, Oklahoma 30

    **Update: Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12

Troy at Louisiana-Lafayette

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    When: Thursday, Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Better than you'd think

    Last meeting: Louisiana-Lafayette beat Troy 37-24 last September.

    What to watch for: Troy (5-4, 3-2 Sun Belt) won twice on the road in league play, then inexplicably lost at home a few days later on national television, a trend that seems to prevail in the Sun Belt Conference. The Trojans have a talented senior quarterback/receiver tandem but not much else to get exited about.

    Louisiana-Lafayette (6-2, 3-0) has looked, to this point, like the cream of the Sun Belt crop. But then there was that fall behind by 21 points in the first quarter to New Mexico State business last week that caused some head-scratching. The Ragin' Cajuns came back to win rather comfortably, but they likely won't be able to afford to do so again.

    Look for ULL to get off to a much better start and move closer to wrapping up another Sun Belt crown.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 30, Troy 24

    **Update: Louisiana-Lafayette 41, Troy 36

No. 3 Oregon at No. 5 Stanford

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    When: Thursday, Nov. 7, 9 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Appointment television

    Last meeting: Stanford beat Oregon 17-14 in overtime last November in Eugene, a game that knocked the Ducks out of the national championship picture.

    What to watch for: Oregon (8-0, 5-0 Pac-12) has its national title hopes resting on this game, knowing there are too many teams ready to overtake it if it falters. The Ducks have weathered the few challenges they've faced this year and continue to show a splendid balance of explosive offense and opportunistic defense.

    Stanford (7-1, 5-1) has returned to its blend of methodical offense and hard-nosed defense the last few weeks, making that loss at Utah in October seem more and more anomalous. The Cardinal aren't going to be as flashy as their opponent, but they could be more fundamentally sound in key situations.

    Stanford crushed Oregon's hopes last year, but this is a better Oregon team and not as good of a Cardinal unit.

    Prediction: Oregon 33, Stanford 24

    **Update: Stanford 26, Oregon 20

No. 20 Louisville at Connecticut

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    When: Friday, Nov. 8, 8:30 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Won't be pretty

    Last meeting: Connecticut won 23-20 in overtime at Louisville last November.

    What to watch for: Louisville (7-1, 3-1 American) will be scoreboard-watching this weekend, hoping that Houston knocks off UCF to keep the league a three-team battle for the BCS berth. Before that, though, it will have to put in at least a little effort to get past one of the American Athletic Conference's many doormats.

    Connecticut (0-7, 0-3) played some tough visitors close earlier in this season, but even with the midyear firing of Paul Pasqualoni, the Huskies have looked completely uninterested the past few games. They can't stop anyone, much less outscore anyone, so their best bet is trying to keep this game as low-scoring as possible.

    But that will play right into the hands of Louisville's defensive strategy.

    Prediction: Louisville 31, Connecticut 10

    **Update: Louisville 31, Connecticut 10

Air Force at New Mexico

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Friday, Nov. 8, 9 p.m. ET

    Matchup type: Points, points, points!

    Last meeting: Air Force beat New Mexico 28-23 last season, its fifth straight win over the Lobos.

    What to watch for: Air Force (2-7, 0-5 Mountain West) caught lightning in a bottle—get it? The Falcons have a lightning bolt on their helmets—with last week's runaway win over Army, getting a huge game from running back Anthony LaCoste. But it's been an otherwise bleak year for the Falcons, whose only other win is against an FCS opponent.

    New Mexico (2-6, 0-4) hasn't done much better and of late hasn't done well at all. The Lobos have lost three straight despite having the third-best rushing game in the country, but that hasn't always been the best thing when they find themselves trailing and can only really run effectively.

    Thankfully for the Lobos, Air Force won't build a big lead to overcome.

    Prediction: New Mexico 41, Air Force 31

    **Update: New Mexico 45, Air Force 37