Week 11 of the college football season is here, and Ohio State, riding the nation's longest winning streak at 21 games, enters a bye week as a distant fourth in the national title race.
But even though the Buckeyes are off, they could come away as the week's biggest winner.
That's because two of the teams ranked ahead of Ohio State are playing very tough games. No. 3 Oregon travels to fifth-ranked Stanford on Thursday, and top-ranked Alabama hosts No. 13 LSU Saturday night.
Those games could produce the two upsets the Buckeyes need to vault up the BCS rankings, and as a result, into the national title game.
Both the Tide and the Ducks are double-digit favorites. Alabama is favored over LSU by 11.5 points, while Vegas expects Oregon to beat Stanford by 10, according to Sporting News.
LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. isn't worried about the spread.
“It being Alabama, it feels the way it always feels,” Beckham Jr. said, via Ross Dellenger of The Advocate. “It’s LSU versus Alabama. It doesn’t matter if it’s a three-point spread (or) a 40-point spread.”
The Tigers will need that confidence against the nation's top-ranked team, especially on the road. Oddly enough, LSU has been incredibly successful when it has traveled to Alabama, winning five of the past six matchups at Bryant–Denny Stadium.
Since 2010 Alabama is 5-4 in November games against FBS opponents. They are a combined 31-1 in August, September and October.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) November 4, 2013
Oregon, meanwhile, is confident going into its matchup with Stanford. According to ESPN, Ducks running back De'Anthony Thomas expects his team to hang "at least 40" points on the Cardinal's tough defense.
That would be a big difference from last year's matchup, when Stanford held Oregon's offense to a season-low 14 points in a three-point overtime victory. It was the Ducks' only loss of the season, one that knocked them out of the national championship race.
Buckeyes fans are hoping Stanford can do it again.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on if he'll be watching Oregon-Stanford and Oklahoma-Baylor on Thursday: "Absolutely."— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) November 5, 2013
If Stanford and LSU can come away with victories this week, Ohio State would be the biggest winners without even taking the field.
All stats via NCAA.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.