The Bears have one of the more difficult November stretches in the country.
For a handful of college football teams, November may just prove to be the hardest month.
Whether it’s a tough contest on the road, or a matchup against a highly ranked opponent, these teams will be fighting for their lives this month. It certainly doesn’t help to have more than one of these kinds of games on the schedule.
Regardless, conference, BCS and national title hopes alike will all be put at risk in the month of November.
Here are five such teams in for a bumpy ride.
It's going to be a difficult closing stretch for Orgeron and his Trojans.
-Nov. 1 at Oregon State (6-2)
-Nov. 9 at Cal (1-7)
-Nov. 16 vs. No. 5 Stanford (7-1)
-Nov. 23 at Colorado (3-4)
-Nov. 30 vs. No. 20 UCLA (5-2)
Interim head coach Ed Orgeron has survived his first three weeks with the Trojans. However, November could prove to be a little more difficult.
It all starts with back-to-back meetings against two of the nation’s Top 10-ranked passing attacks.
Cal should prove little trouble, but Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion could be a little too much to handle.
In the only two home contests, USC takes on two ranked teams. It’d be tough to imagine the team’s subpar offense keeping up with the likes of the Cardinal and the Bruins—who should have Jordon James back in the lineup by then.
All in all, three more losses is a very realistic end result for this stretch.
McCoy will need to find some consistency if he hopes to maneuver the Longhorns through November.
-Nov. 2 vs. Kansas (2-5)
-Nov. 9 at West Virginia (3-5)
-Nov. 16 vs. No. 18 Oklahoma State (6-1)
-Nov. 28 vs. No. 15 Texas Tech (7-1)
After losing two of their first three contests, the Longhorns are on one heck of a roll. That even includes topping rival Oklahoma back on Oct. 12—a game where they were heavy underdogs.
However, November may have other ideas.
Although the first two games of the month shouldn’t give Texas problems, it’s hard to tell given the inconsistent play of quarterback Case McCoy. That’s followed up with a pair of games against ranked opponents.
Both games are likely to be high-scoring affairs. It’ll be interesting to see if McCoy—who has just five touchdowns on the season—can find that extra gear to keep up with both those teams.
Don’t even get us started on the matchup with No. 6 Baylor in December.
Things could get rough for the Longhorns before the season is up.
It's going to be a tough finishing stretch for the Wolverines.
-Nov. 2 at No. 22 Michigan State (7-1)
-Nov. 9 vs. Nebraska (5-2)
-Nov. 16 at Northwestern (4-4)
-Nov. 23 at Iowa (5-3)
-Nov. 30 vs. No. 4 Ohio State (8-0)
If the Wolverines had trouble with the likes of Akron, Connecticut and Indiana, the team must be shaking in its boots when they take a look at the November slate.
Sure, Michigan may only play two ranked opponents. However, those other teams are no picnic either.
In fact, the five teams have a combined record of 29-10.
It’s very likely that the Wolverines could have trouble in all three of their remaining road games. If you recall, this is a team that struggled immensely in its two road games thus far—a 24-21 win over Connecticut and a 43-40 loss to Penn State.
Facing the Cornhuskers—a team many think could win the Legends division—and the Buckeyes don’t make the home contests any easier.
With no weeks off, it’s a pretty daunting road ahead for a Michigan team that has been largely inconsistent throughout 2013.
Manziel will have to be at the top of his game in November.
-Nov. 2 vs. UTEP (1-6)
-Nov. 9 vs. Mississippi State (4-3)
-Nov. 23 at No. 13 LSU (7-2)
-Nov. 30 at No. 9 Missouri (7-1)
With two losses already, the Aggies can’t afford another one if they have any hopes of sneaking into a BCS bowl.
The first two matchups of the month shouldn’t be too tough. Especially given that they are both at College Station.
However, two road trips against Top 15 opponents is no joke.
Not only is winning at Baton Rouge darn near impossible, but slowing down LSU’s offense could be even tougher. That’s because Texas A&M gives up over 32 points and 473 yards per game.
The same thing could be said about facing a Missouri team that will likely have starter James Franklin back. A dual-threat quarterback could provide nightmares for the Aggies defense.
Quarterback Johnny Manziel should expect to bring a heaping amount of Manziel magic to these two games.
Briles will have to do one heck of a coaching job to get his Bears through November unscathed.
-Nov. 7 vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1)
-Nov. 16 vs. No. 15 Texas Tech (7-1)*
-Nov. 23 at No. 18 Oklahoma State (6-1)
-Nov. 30 at TCU (3-5)
*Game played at neutral location
After running up a 7-0 record against teams with a combined record of 25-29, things get a little tougher for the Bears.
If playing three straight Top 20 opponents wasn’t tough enough, the team also plays just one game inside the friendly confines of Floyd Casey Stadium. Not to mention, those four teams have a combined record of 23-8.
Fortunately, Baylor plays the toughest opponent (Oklahoma) at home. However, the Sooners have a staggering 20-1 record in the head-to-head series.
Throw in a date with suddenly surging Texas (5-2) in December, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Bears drop two games by the end of the year.