With the biggest games on the college football schedule this week having already taken place on Thursday night in Stanford, Calif., and in Waco, Texas, the ESPN College GameDay crew had no other choice but to head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., for its show on Saturday.
According to the show's official Twitter account, No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama is the feature game of this weekend.
The game is almost as big as No. 3 Oregon at No. 5 Stanford was and as big as No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 6 Baylor will be. It isn't as if one of the Southeastern Conference's biggest rivalries isn't a major draw. Every year, the Tide's road to the BCS title game includes a battle with LSU. This year will be no different.
LSU Looking to Play Spoiler
If Bama loses, the game will still have an enormous impact on the national championship picture. Losing this late in the season could drop Bama too low to overcome the remaining undefeated teams in the nation.
If you take out Bama's 21-0 win over LSU in the 2012 BCS National Championship Game the programs have split the last six regular-season meetings and those games have been decided by an average of just 5.3 points per game.
Perhaps this contest will break the string of blowouts that have coincided with the College GameDay crew coming to town. Take a look at this statistic from ESPN Stats:
LSU is playing for a spot in a BCS bowl game after its realistic national championship hopes were dashed in a Week 8 upset loss to Ole Miss. Now, the Tigers get a chance to play spoiler against the team they likely hate the most in their conference.
Quarterback AJ McCarron and the Crimson Tide have been tested just once this season. Bama knocked off Texas A&M, 49-42, in College Station, Texas, but the team has only faced one other ranked team all season.
The Tide defeated Ole Miss when the Rebels were ranked 21st in the nation in Week 4, but they have only smashed through primarily weak SEC opponents over the last four weeks.
Aside from Alabama's potential opponent in the SEC title game—should it make it that far—this game figures to be one of two tough impediments to block the Tide from a second straight undefeated regular season.
Of chief concern for LSU on Saturday will be its vulnerability against top-notch running games. As ground attacks go, there are few as formidable as that of the Tide. Alabama is averaging 210 yards per game on the ground this season.
Usually, the front seven is a strength of the Tigers, but in 2013, that hasn't been the case. LSU ranks just 49th in the nation against the run. It is allowing 148 yards rushing per contest in eight games this season.
The Rebels ran for 176 yards against LSU, and the Tigers' inability to slow the Rebels on the ground was the biggest reason they were upset. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger's three interceptions didn't help matters either.
Heading into a battle with a team like Alabama that runs the ball well and ranks in the top 10 on defense against the run and pass, the Tigers are in for a long night in Tuscaloosa.
Look for Bama to win convincingly, 35-17.
Here's a look at two other important matchups, as well as the entire schedule and predictions for Week 11.
Can No. 2 Florida State and No. 9 Auburn avoid Upset Bug
The Noles Won't Flinch
The Seminoles have played and won three humongous games against ranked opponents over the last four weeks. Most recently, the Seminoles proved themselves to be the kings of Florida by thrashing Miami, 41-14, in Week 10.
On Saturday, the Noles will travel to Winston-Salen, N.C., to take on Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons almost upset the Canes on Oct. 26, but ultimately fell, 24-21, after a late touchdown. Can Wake Forest stand firm at home against one of the most talented squads in the country?
Winning would be a difficult task for Wake Forest with all of Florida State's weapons. When you factor in the absence of injured wide receiver Michael Campanaro, who will miss four-to-six weeks with a broken collarbone, per Heather Dinich of ESPN.com, it is difficult to see the Demon Deacons scoring enough points to keep pace with the Noles.
Jameis Winston and Co. haven't scored less than 41 points in a game this season while the Demon Deacons' modest attack has topped out at 34 points. Without Campanaro, that attack should be even less deadly. Winston will continue his march towards a Heisman Trophy, as the Noles will win big, 42-17.
What About the Tigers?
Auburn has one loss, but if it can make it past Tennessee on Saturday and Georgia in Week 12, the Tigers still have legitimate national championship hopes. The stakes may be high for the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30 if Auburn and Alabama hold form until then.
Perhaps the Tigers' biggest challenge is not looking past the Tennessee Volunteers.
The Vols proved they can be tough at home after they upset then-No. 11 South Carolina, 23-21, on Oct. 19, but the Noles have proven they are even tougher than the Canes.
The running game will again be a key in this contest.
The Tigers are averaging 306.2 yards per game rushing behind the three-headed monster of Tre Mason, Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne. Expect the Tigers to take the Vols crowd out of the game early by dominating the time of possession.
Auburn will keep its national championship hopes alive with a 44-20 win on the road.
Here's a look at the entire Week 11 college football schedule, complete with predictions.
|Saturday, Nov. 9|
|12:00 PM||No. 2 Florida State at Wake Forest||Florida State|
|12:00 PM||No. 8 Missouri at Kentucky||Missouri|
|12:00 PM||No. 9 Auburn at Tennessee||Auburn|
|12:00 PM||Kansas State at No. 25 Texas Tech||Texas Tech|
|12:00 PM||Vanderbilt at Florida||Flordia|
|12:00 PM||TCU at Iowa State||TCU|
|12:00 PM||Penn State at Minnesota||Pen State|
|12:00 PM||UAB at Marshall||UAB|
|12:00 PM||Western Kentucky at Army||Army|
|12:00 PM||Southern Methodist at Cincinnati||Cincinnati|
|12:00 PM||Iowa at Purdue||Iowa|
|12:21 PM||Arkansas at Ole Miss||Ole Miss|
|12:30 PM||Appalachian State at Georgia||Georgia|
|12:30 PM||Virginia at North Carolina||Virginia|
|1:00 PM||Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan||Western Michigan|
|2:00 PM||Tulane at UTSA||Tulsa|
|3:00 PM||USC at California||California|
|3:30 PM||Mississippi State at No. 15 Texas A&M||Texas A&M|
|3:30 PM||Brigham Young at No. 24 Wisconsin||Wisconsin|
|3:30 PM||Nevada at Colorado State||Nevada|
|3:30 PM||Illinois at Indiana||Indiana|
|3:30 PM||Syracuse at Maryland||Maryland|
|3:30 PM||Nebraska at Michigan||Michigan|
|3:30 PM||Boston College at New Mexico State||New Mexico State|
|3:30 PM||UTEP at North Texas||North Texas|
|3:30 PM||Hawaii at Navy||Hawaii|
|3:45 PM||Tulsa at East Carolina||East Carolina|
|4:00 PM||Kansas at No. 14 Oklahoma State||Oklahoma State|
|4:00 PM||No. 22 Arizona State at Utah||Arizona State|
|4:00 PM||North Carolina State at Duke||N.C. State|
|4:00 PM||Florida International at Middle Tennessee||Florida International|
|4:30 PM||Tennessee-Martin at Memphis||Memphis|
|5:00 PM||Old Dominion at Idaho||Idaho|
|7:00 PM||Virginia Tech at No. 11 Miami (FL)||Miami (FL)|
|7:00 PM||Houston at No. 21 UCF||UCF|
|7:00 PM||Texas at West Virginia||Texas|
|7:00 PM||Southern Miss at Louisiana Tech||Southern Mississippi|
|7:00 PM||Arkansas State at Louisiana-Monroe||Louisiana-Monroe|
|8:00 PM||No. 13 LSU at No. 1 Alabama||Alabama|
|8:00 PM||No. 23 Notre Dame at Pittsburgh||Notre Dame|
|8:00 PM||Colorado at Washington||Washington|
|8:00 PM||Utah State at UNLV||Utah State|
|10:00 PM||No. 19 UCLA at Arizona||UCLA|
|10:15 PM||No. 16 Fresno State at Wyoming||Fresno State|
|10:30 PM||San Diego State at San Jose State||San Diego State|
|Brian Mazique's Predictions|
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