The college football season is entering the fourth quarter and teams are looking to make that one last push for a BCS bowl. Week 11 includes many terrific matchups that will help determine who really has what it takes to play for a crystal football.
Some of those marquee games include Stanford-Oregon, Baylor-Oklahoma and Alabama-LSU. How can you not be excited? But while this is a time to stay home and stuff your face with football all weekend, it's also when crazy stuff happens and everything you thought you knew about college football gets turned upside down.
This is why we must bring you the bold predictions.
A couple of national championship contenders will fall and a popular head coach will officially end up on the hot seat.
Note: These are bold predictions. Meaning that very few are supposed to be taken seriously. Relax.
We get it!
Marcus Mariota is the greatest Oregon quarterback ever, Jameis Winston is a freak of nature and will soon dominate the NFL, and Johnny Manziel is still amazing and should be considered for a second Heisman.
But what about Bishop Sankey?
The 5'10" running back has 1,162 rushing yards and 13 total touchdowns. He's topped 100 rushing yards in six games and is coming off a 241-yard performance against Cal. With his average of 5.8 rushing yards per carry, he's easily deserving of the award.
Washington will now play Colorado, a team that allows nearly 199 rushing yards per game. Once Sankey has his third 200-yard performance of the year, his name will begin buzzing with Heisman voters.
Arizona State's offense is finally showing some consistency. Quarterback Taylor Kelly is fresh off a seven-touchdown performance against Washington State, running back Marion Grice is still ridiculous and the Sun Devils have topped 50 points in three straight games.
Make it four.
Utah used to be a great defensive team but appears to have mailed in the season after losing three of its last four games. The total defense is ranked ninth in the Pac-12, allowing 393 yards per game. The sad part is that USC and UCLA, teams the Utes have already lost to, don't have nearly the same offensive firepower as Arizona State.
It's going to be a long day for Utah.
It's tough to pick Michigan to win anything with the way it has struggled all season. The Wolverines have lost two of their last three games and could have easily lost to Indiana, Connecticut or Akron.
But they will finally get back on track against Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are coming off an emotional victory against Northwestern that took a Hail Mary to complete, and like Michigan, they also aren't playing the best football in the world.
Michigan has to put together a complete game at some point, right? Why not a home game against a team that has won two of the last three meetings? For the first time all season, the Wolverines will look like a Big Ten contender and get the job done in a big way.
The reason Michigan will win big is because of quarterback Devin Gardner. Remember when this guy was thrown into Heisman conversations and expected to be the next great Michigan quarterback? It really wasn't that long ago.
Anyway, he's only completing 59.9 percent of his passes and has thrown 11 interceptions to 13 touchdowns. He isn't the dazzling quarterback we saw last season who made jaw-dropping plays with his athleticism and strong arm.
But Michigan fans will be treated to that type of performance against a Nebraska defense that is allowing 400 yards per game. The Cornhuskers allowed more than 500 yards to Brett Hundley and UCLA, and it's easy to believe Gardner and a more complete Michigan offense could top those numbers.
Want to see video game numbers?
Just throw one of college football's most prolific passers against one of the worst defenses in the nation.
That's basically what's going to happen when Rakeem Cato and Marshall face off against UAB. Marshall is averaging close to 41 points per game and is ranked 30th in passing yards, while UAB is allowing 469 yards per game and is ranked dead last in the C-USA in pass defense.
Cato just threw for five touchdowns in a monster win over Southern Miss, a team that has a much better defense than the Blazers. Expect another big performance from the junior quarterback, as the Thundering Herd will become bowl eligible with a victory this week.
Unless Texas can build on its recent success, it will continue to be looked at as a fluke. The Longhorns just don't win five games in a row anymore.
How about six?
It'll happen if Mack Brown and his guys can go into Morgantown and beat West Virginia for the first time in program history. Texas should be able to get the job done. The team is finally playing well on both sides of the ball and is starting to play with confidence that seemed to be lacking the last couple of years. Meanwhile, West Virginia has lost four of its last six games and plays inconsistent each week.
Look for the Longhorns to win their seventh game of the year and keep those slim Big 12 title hopes alive.
Tennessee may have a losing record (4-5), but there seems to be something in the air when it plays at home recently. The Volunteers nearly upset Georgia a few weeks ago and were able to finish the job against South Carolina.
That's two straight quality SEC teams that Tennessee held its own against.
Auburn is the next to fall victim to a motivated Tennessee team that is coming off back-to-back road losses. The Tigers are just now getting national attention this season and still seem to be a little inconsistent defensively. The offense is great, but the team can be a little shaky at times.
This is where Tennessee capitalizes and the home crowd takes advantage. It won't be pretty, but the Vols will win their fifth game of the season.
One of the most underrated games of Week 11 is when UCF hosts Houston. The Knights are 6-1 and hoping to make a statement for a BCS bowl, while the Cougars are 7-1 and need a win over a ranked opponent to turn some heads.
Forget about it!
In case you aren't aware, UCF is 100 percent legit. We're talking about a team that beat Penn State in Happy Valley, upset Louisville and had South Carolina on the ropes. The defense is nasty and the offense has playmakers such as quarterback Blake Bortles and running back Storm Johnson.
Houston has had a nice season but has yet to play anybody like UCF. This game won't be as close as you may think.
Arizona and UCLA are capable of scoring with the best of them. Ka'Deem Carey, Brett Hundley, Devin Fuller?
And while the offenses are full of playmakers, the defenses have been a little shaky at times. UCLA is extremely athletic but also a very young team that has allowed big plays throughout the year. Arizona has improved its defense from a year ago but did allow big numbers to Washington, USC and Cal.
Last year's meeting produced a combined 76 points in a lopsided affair. Regardless of who wins this contest, there will be plenty of points from both sides.
Notre Dame appears to be ripe for the picking for an upset. The defense is banged up and Tommy Rees showed last week that he hasn't turned the corner completely when it comes to turnovers. The Irish nearly lost to Navy. Navy!
Pittsburgh has a lot more talent than the Midshipmen. Quarterback Tom Savage has shown flashes of being a solid player, while Tyler Boyd and Devin Street form one of the better wide receiver duos in the country. Defensively, lineman Aaron Donald has 19.5 tackles for loss and should give Notre Dame's offensive front all it could handle.
The Panthers hung with Notre Dame last season but lost on a few questionable calls. They'll get the job done this time.
There's another quarterback to watch when Mississippi State battles Texas A&M. His name is Dak Prescott.
At 6'2", 230 pounds, the sophomore quarterback has everything an NFL scout would go crazy over. His athleticism is off the charts, he has a strong arm and has also displayed above-average accuracy. This season, he's thrown for 1,393 yards and five touchdowns, while also rushing for 568 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Against a Texas A&M defense that allows 443 yards per game?
Prescott should have his best game yet and it'll be good enough to get the college football world talking about him.
Virginia Tech could lose to the lousiest team on any given week. It just takes about 16 interceptions thrown by Logan Thomas to call it a day.
But one thing the Hokies can always count on is playing Miami tough. They've won five of the last seven meetings against the Hurricanes, including three of the last four. Although Miami does have the better record and is at home, close games against North Carolina and Wake Forest are red flags. Not to mention getting blown out by Florida State and losing star running back Duke Johnson for the season.
Virginia Tech's front seven will harass Miami's offense and Thomas will surprisingly make one or two plays to put Virginia Tech on top.
Wisconsin and BYU are both severely underrated teams hoping to make a late splash for a BCS bowl. The loser of this weekend's matchup will probably be removed from any consideration.
The only thing the Cougars can hang their hat on is an aggressive defense that plays pretty much flawless each week. However, Wisconsin has a massive offensive line and dominating running game that should counter BYU's strength. As for the Badgers defense, it's the second best in the Big Ten and should be able to hold the Cougars to less than 10 points.
Wisconsin will get it done in a big way and the win will move the program up in all of the polls.
The Commodores may be 4-4, but they fight hard each week. Just ask Ole Miss, South Carolina and Georgia. We can't say the same for Florida, a team that has lost three games in a row and four on the season.
The defense is missing many key players and the offense, well, let's just say it has yet to improve in the second season under offensive coordinator Brent Pease. The Gators really have nothing left to play for this season other than a trip to a bowl nobody cares to show up at. Vanderbilt will play its usual role as the underdog and give an honest shot on the road.
It's celebration time!
Vanderbilt will beat Florida for the first time since 1988.
You lose four games in a row at Florida and you're on the hot seat. You lose to Vanderbilt, a school known for having a wonderful medical program, and you better start printing up copies of your résumé.
If the bold prediction of Florida losing to Vanderbilt actually comes true, fans will have no choice to begin the rally cries for Urban Meyer. Oh, he's not coming back? Well, then the fans will then turn their attention to anybody who could get this program back on top.
Come up with all the excuses you'd like, there's no reason to lose four straight games, five on the year and have an offense ranked 105th in the country. There's also no reason to lose to Vanderbilt at home.
Muschamp will feel the pressure after this week.
Remember the game Marqise Lee had last year against Arizona? The one where he caught 16 passes for 345 yards and a couple of touchdowns?
He'll have a similar performance this week against Cal.
The Golden Bears are dreadful defensively, allowing 529 yards per game and almost 43 points. Lee should be licking his chops, especially after returning last week from injury against Oregon State and looking like his usual self with 105 receiving yards and one touchdown.
USC players are finally playing with passion and starting to click. Just throw it up there for Lee and he'll go get it.
Forget Stanford-Oregon, Oklahoma-Baylor or whoever Alabama is playing, the matchup between Arkansas and Ole Miss will be the best game of the weekend.
Although neither is ranked and combined they provide an 8-9 record, they both play extremely hard for 60 minutes and have a chip on their shoulder. The Razorbacks and the Rebels are two teams that believe they are the future of the SEC. Both young teams with solid coaching staffs and a truckload of underrated talent, they're not only fighting to become bowl eligible, but they also have a point to prove to the rest of their conference peers.
This will be a highly entertaining game and could go into overtime.
Fresno State nearly lost to Nevada and will now put its undefeated record on the line against Wyoming. No need to worry, the Cowboys defense is one of the worst in the country, so the Bulldogs should win.
However, Brett Smith is the quarterback you should be watching in this MWC showdown. The junior is completing 63.6 percent of his passes for 2,367 yards and 19 touchdowns. He's also rushed for 431 yards and three touchdowns.
Like Derek Carr, Smith is also getting attention from NFL draft scouts and has had an extra week to prepare for the Bulldogs defense. Expect to see 300 passing yards and four touchdowns from the Wyoming quarterback.
Florida State has solidified itself as a national championship contender and may have the Heisman winner on its side in quarterback Jameis Winston. But even great teams and players fall victim to the trap game once in a while.
The Seminoles are coming off two tremendous victories over Clemson and Miami. They can taste an ACC title and possible national championship berth. But as they have learned in the past, looking ahead always gets you in trouble.
Despite the Demon Deacons' 4-5 record, they do have four losses by two touchdowns or less. They have also won four of the last seven meetings against Florida State. This weekend's matchup won't result in a win, but they will make it interesting.
Connecticut may be the best 0-7 team in college football history. OK, that's not really saying much. But still, the Huskies were a bounce away from beating Maryland, Michigan and South Florida. Speaking of the Michigan game, it was a home game for Connecticut under the bright lights on national television.
This Friday, the Huskies will be in a similar situation against Louisville. Everybody watching, a chance to prove yourself to the world. Players and teams seem to wake up for games like this and tend to pull off some crazy things.
Connecticut does have talent on its roster and Louisville hasn't been as dominant as expected the last few weeks. Teddy Bridgewater and the Cardinals will go down for the second time this season.
Don't bother telling me anything about Oklahoma having the best defense in the Big 12. It's like being the best singer in the Spice Girls. Uh, yeah, you're still lousy compared to the rest of the country.
This prediction is all about Baylor, a team that knows its strengths and uses them well. The Bears are an offensive machine, averaging nearly 64 points per game and topping 70 four times already. Quarterback Bryce Petty is playing out of his mind, Lache Seastrunk leads a potent running game, and receivers Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese have combined for 16 touchdowns.
Every defense is good until it plays this offense. Oklahoma will be just another victim on Baylor's road to a BCS bowl.
Minnesota hasn't beaten Penn State since 2004. That will change when the two Big Ten teams square off this weekend in TCF Bank Stadium.
The Golden Gophers are on a roll as of late, winning three games in a row and qualifying for a bowl game for the second straight season. The offense has improved under quarterback Philip Nelson and the defense has one of the best front sevens in the Big Ten. Penn State has been hot and cold all year and could have easily lost four consecutive games if it weren't for overtime wins over Michigan and Illinois.
For once, Minnesota is hot and feeling good about itself. The winning streak will continue for at least another week.
One of the juiciest storylines this season is the lack of defense in the SEC. There are only two teams (Alabama and Florida) that aren't allowing more than 350 yards per game. It looks like offense is what's winning in college football.
Alabama and LSU are no different. The Crimson Tide have turned it up on this side of the ball, averaging more than 40 points per game and scoring no less than 45 in the last four games. LSU is also an offensive juggernaut under offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, as the Tigers are fourth in the SEC with 480 yards per contest.
You can usually expect a defensive bloodbath when these two teams meet. However, with both offenses firing on all cylinders, an offensive explosion should take place in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
LSU has a point to prove after losing two heartbreakers to Georgia and Ole Miss. You get the feeling that both teams should be undefeated heading into this matchup.
Although the Crimson Tide are the heavy favorite, they have yet to really be tested this season. Besides Texas A&M, who was able to score at will, Alabama hasn't run into much competition leading up to this conference rivalry. Alabama is also pretty much the same team LSU has faced in the past, while LSU is still great defensively but has also drastically improved offensively.
It's also worth noting that no team has won three straight games in this rivalry since LSU in 2005-07. The Tigers will find a way to knock off the two-time defending national champions.
While upset week continues, Oregon will fall to Stanford on Thursday night.
Haven't we seen this movie before?
Oregon scores a ton of points and gets off to a fast start. People fall in love and consider it to be the greatest team in the world. And then it happens. The Ducks run into a defensive powerhouse that's capable of slowing them down and eventually clips their wings. It happened against Auburn in the national championship, LSU in 2011 and Stanford last season.
Any team that can dominate in the trenches and bully Oregon wins the game. Stanford is still the most physical defense outside of the SEC and will shock the world for the second straight season.