College Football Predictions Week 11: Picking Saturday's 10 Biggest BCS Games
Week 11 promises to be even bigger and better than last week's LSU Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide's Game of the Century.
Many key matchups affecting conference championships and BCS rankings litter the schedule, including the No. 7 Oregon Ducks facing the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal.
Will LSU continue its dominance or have a letdown? Can Alabama bounce back?
Just some simple clicks will give you the answers...
10: Florida at No. 13 South Carolina
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The SEC is full of big matchups as the Florida Gators will face the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks.
The Gators (5-4, 3-4 SEC) have suffered a four-game losing streak to Alabama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia. Florida then rebounded last week with a key 26-21 victory over Vanderbilt.
Senior quarterback John Brantley is definitely no Tim Tebow, as Brantley has 3,421 yards with 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions since taking over. The offense is scoring just 26 points a game (72nd).
The Gators defense picks the team up, as it allows 19.7 points a game (20th).
For the Gamecocks (7-2, 5-2 SEC), they lost a tough 44-28 game to No. 8 Arkansas. That loss affects South Carolina in the SEC East standings, putting them a loss behind Georgia.
The Gamecocks lost sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore to injury and have since gone 1-1.
Despite the injury, expect South Carolina to feed off the crowd and escape with a victory.
Prediction: South Carolina 24, Florida 20
9: No. 20 Auburn at No. 15 Georgia
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An even bigger SEC matchup is the No. 20 Auburn Tigers traveling to face the No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs.
The Tigers (6-3, 4-2 SEC) have lost to top competition all year. LSU, Clemson and Arkansas all defeated Auburn.
Without Cam Newton at the helm, the Tigers have been led by sophomore running back Michael Dyer. Dyer has 989 rushing yards (5.3 yards a carry) and nine touchdowns.
Auburn's defense is not that strong, giving up 27.7 points a game (68th).
The Bulldogs (7-2, 5-1 SEC) now lead the SEC East after South Carolina lost 44-28 to the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks.
Georgia has gotten this far because its defense has limited opponents to 19.9 points a game (23rd).
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones is the Bulldogs' best player. The sophomore has 54 tackles (14 for loss), eight sacks and 21 quarterback hits.
Expect Jones and the Bulldogs' tough run defense (91.2 yards a game) to slow down Dyer to notch a win.
Prediction: Georgia 20, Auburn 17
8: Wake Forest at No. 9 Clemson
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Now moving to the ACC, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons will take on the No. 9 Clemson Tigers.
The Demon Deacons (5-4, 4-2 ACC) are coming off two tough losses to North Carolina and Notre Dame. With a win, though, Wake Forest can move ahead of Clemson in the ACC Coastal standings and set to possibly play in the conference championship game.
Rushing is definitely not the Demon Deaons' strength at 108th (104.7 yards a game). Wake Forest sophomore quarterback Tanner Prince (2,154 yards, 15 touchdowns) will air it out to junior wide receiver Chris Givens.
Givens is one of the nation's top receivers, pulling down 58 catches for 985 yards and eight scores.
For the Tigers (8-1, 5-1 ACC), they lost their chance to compete for a national championship when the team lost 31-17 to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Clemson will now concentrate on snagging an ACC title as a consolation prize.
Clemson's offense is potent, ranking 13th in passing (303.7 yards a game) and 14th in scoring (38 points a game). The Tigers also rush for about 170 yards a contest too (48th).
The Tigers are led by sophomore quarterback Tajh Boyd (2,674 yards, 25 touchdowns) and freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins (978 yards, 10 touchdowns).
Wake Forest's below average secondary (235.67 yards a game for 78th) will be the team's undoing.
Prediction: Clemson 30, Wake Forest 21
7: Tennessee at No. 8 Arkansas
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The SEC shows up again as the Tennessee Volunteers will face the No. 8 Arkansas Razorbacks.
The Volunteers (4-5, 0-5 SEC) have been dreadful in conference play. They lose to conference opponents by an average of 18.2 points a contest.
Tennessee's offense is not impressive, ranking 118th in rushing (86.8 yards a game) and 95th in scoring (22.6 points a game). Its secondary, though, ranks 17th (186.87 yards a game),
However, the Razorbacks will pay attention to sophomore wide receiver Da'Rick Rogers (780 yards, seven touchdowns).
The Razorbacks (8-1, 4-1 SEC) defeated the No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks 44-28 in a game overshadowed by the Game of the Century.
Arkansas will rely on its passing game, which ranks ninth (318.7 yards a game). Junior quarterback Tyler Wilson (2,626 yards, 15 touchdowns) will air it out to wide receivers Jarius Wright, Joe Adams and Cobi Hamilton.
The Razorbacks also boast a strong secondary, with senior safety Tramain Thomas (54 tackles, three interceptions) and sophomore safety Eric Bennett (53 tackles, three interceptions) leading the effort. Arkansas ranks 32nd in passing defense (199.11 yards a game).
With Arkansas scoring 37 points a contest and Tennessee having an average defense, the Razorbacks should overwhelm the Volunteers.
Prediction: Arkansas 35, Tennessee 21
6: No. 19 Nebraska at No. 12 Penn State
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The Big Ten has a key matchup as the No. 19 Nebraska Cornhuskers go to face the No. 12 Penn State Nittany Lions.
The Cornhuskers (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten) are coming off a terrible 28-25 loss to Northwestern. That loss put them a game behind Michigan State (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) in the Legends standings.
Nebraska will rely on sophomore quarterback Taylor Martinez (712 yards, nine touchdowns) and junior running back Rex Burkhead (951 yards, 13 touchdowns) to establish a strong run game as the passing game is atrocious (101st with 174.6 yards a game).
The Cornhuskers are 13th in the nation with 237.7 rushing yards a game and 27th in scoring (34.7 points a game).
Defensively, Nebraska gives up 23.1 points a game (41st) as senior linebacker Lavonte David (87 tackles, two interceptions, two sacks) and senior safety Austin Cassidy (47 tackles, two interceptions) lead the unit.
For the Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-0 Big Ten), their offense is bad as they score 21.8 points (100th) and pass for 194.2 yards a game (88th).
Their one decent area is their rushing offense, ranking 56th nationally (162.4 yards a game). Sophomore running back Silas Redd (1,006 yards, seven touchdowns) will get the majority of carries.
The Nittany Lions' bread and butter is their defense. Penn State is third in points allowed (12.4 a game), 24th in rush defense (111.89 yards a game) and seventh in pass defense (170.44 yards a game).
Penn State is led by senior defensive tackle Devon Still (47 tackles, 15.5 for loss, four sacks), junior linebacker Gerald Hodges (77 tackles, 4.5 sacks) and junior defensive lineman Jordan Hill (51 tackles, 3.5 sacks).
With Penn State being rocked by scandal and firings this week, the Cornhuskers will be primed to upset a distracted team.
Prediction: Nebraska 17, Penn State 13
5: TCU at No. 5 Boise State
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The Mountain West Conference gets into the action as the TCU Horned Frogs face the No. 5 Boise State Broncos.
The Horned Frogs (7-2, 4-0 Mountain West) have won four straight and are currently leading the conference standings.
TCU has a strong offense as it is 10th in scoring (41.7 points a game) and 16th in rushing (227.6 yards a game). Running backs Waymon James (652 yards, four touchdowns) and Matthew Tucker (532 yards, nine touchdowns) will be huge in a run-focused attack.
In the air, the Horned Frogs have a good quarterback in sophomore Casey Pachall (1,940 yards, 19 touchdowns) who will look for sophomore wide receiver Josh Boyce (704, six touchdowns) to be open.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs give up 22.3 points a game (34th), 123.44 rushing yards a game (32nd). TCU has an average secondary that allows 225.22 yards a game (61st). Sophomore defensive end Stansly Maponga (37 tackles, six sacks) frustrates opposing offensive lines.
Boise State (8-0, 3-0 Mountain West) still has BCS title hopes and will come out firing. Senior quarterback Kellen Moore (2,229 yards, 29 touchdowns) heads another explosive offense that scores 43.9 points a game (seventh) while passing for 295.6 yards (16th).
Moore's weapons include senior running back Doug Martin (756 yards, nine touchdowns), senior wide receiver Tyler Shoemaker (601 yards, 11 touchdowns) and freshman wide receiver Matt Miller (433 yards, six touchdowns).
The Broncos' defense is an extremely underrated group. The unit allows 12.8 points (12th) and 162.5 passing yards a game (fifth). Senior defensive ends Shea McClellin (35 tackles, five sacks) and Tyrone Crawford (33 tackles, 5.5 sacks) are two players to watch.
Boise State can be run on, as the Broncos surrender 140.38 yards a contest (51st).
This will be a close game but don't be surprised if TCU pulls out an upset with a superior run game.
Prediction: TCU 38, Boise State 35
4: No. 3 Alabama at Mississippi State
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The No. 3 Alabama Crimson Tide look to stop the bleeding in a road contest against SEC rival—the Mississippi State Bulldogs.
The Crimson Tide (8-1, 5-1 SEC) are a bit shaken after falling 9-6 to the LSU Tigers in overtime.
Alabama will try to keep its BCS title hopes alive by relying on junior running back Trent Richardson (1,078 yards, 17 touchdowns).
Richardson will be frequently used against the Bulldogs rush defense that allows 161.22 yards a game (66th).
Alabama will probably stray away from the pass as sophomore quarterback A.J. McCarron (1,863 yards, 10 touchdowns) struggled against a challenging LSU secondary. The Bulldogs' (5-4, 1-4 SEC) secondary is 19th (188.11 yards a game) as junior cornerback Johnathan Banks (five interceptions, 13 pass breakups) has been solid.
The Crimson Tide's defense is nothing to sneeze at, as Alabama ranks first in points allowed (7.1), passing (130.67 yards) and rushing (56.33 yards).
For the Bulldogs, they will rely on senior running back Vick Ballard (790 yards, seven touchdowns) for their offensive production. Mississippi State does not have a good passing game, ranking 77th (213.2 yards a game) as no receiver having more than 380 yards and three touchdowns.
Mississippi State's defense gives up 18.7 points a game and has good players in junior linebacker Cameron Lawrence (78 tackles, six pass breakups) and junior defensive lineman Fletcher Cox (36 tackles, four sacks).
Even though Mississippi State has a tough defense, it's not as tough as LSU's. Plus, Richardson would not let his team loss twice.
Prediction: Alabama 20, Mississippi State 10
3: No. 2 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
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The No. 2 Oklahoma State Cowboys look to keep its place in the BCS national championship game with a win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders.
The Cowboys (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) blows away opponents with an amazing offense. Oklahoma State scores 50.1 points (second) and passes for 387.6 yards a game (second). Senior quarterback Brandon Weeden (3,212 yards, 26 touchdowns) will throw to junior wide receiver Justin Blackmon (1,039 yards, 12 touchdowns).
The Cowboys' running game is also solid, going for 169.8 yards a game (47th). Sophomores Joseph Randle (915 yards, 18 touchdowns) and Jeremy Smith (502, seven touchdowns) lead the way.
Oklahoma State's defense gives up 28.6 points (75th) while allowing 461.33 yards a game (110th).
For the Red Raiders (5-4, 2-4 Big 12), three out of their four losses were against ranked opponents in Texas, Texas A&M and Kansas State. However, Texas Tech beat then No. 3 Oklahoma 41-38.
Texas Tech's offense scores 36.8 points (18th) and 362 passing yards a game (sixth). Junior quarterback Seth Doege (3,160 yards, 24 touchdowns) will pass to junior wide receiver Alex Torres (585 yards, four touchdowns) and sophomore wide receiver Eric Ward (567 yards, nine touchdowns).
On the ground, the Red Raiders will turn to junior running back Eric Stephens (570 yards, eight touchdowns).
Defensively, Texas Tech has a bad unit as well, giving up 34.2 points (105th) and 453.67 total yards a game (108th).
In this shootout, the Cowboys just have too many weapons to lose.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 45, Texas Tech 38
2: Western Kentucky at No. 1 LSU
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The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers try to play spoiler when they travel to face the No. 1 LSU Tigers.
The Hilltoppers (5-4, 5-1 Sun Belt) are not impressive offensively, as they score 21.6 points a game (101th). Their lone offensive weapon is senior running back Bobby Rainey (1,169 yards, nine touchdowns).
Defensively, Western Kentucky allows 24.1 points (49th) and 373.22 yards a game (53rd). Sophomore linebacker Andrew Jackson (90 tackles, 2.5 sacks) and senior defensive back Derrius Brooks (38 tackles, four interceptions) pace the group.
The Tigers (9-0, 6-0 SEC) are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.
LSU scores 35.9 points (20th) and rushes for 184.4 yards a game (38th). Junior wide receiver Rueben Randle (657 yards, seven touchdowns) is the offense's most talented player.
LSU is stacked defensively. Allowing just 10.9 points a game (second), the Tigers have star players in sophomore cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (48 tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups), senior safety Brandon Taylor (53 tackles, two interceptions) and sophomore defensive end Sam Montgomery (33 tackles, six sacks).
This one won't even be close as the Tigers roll to an easy victory.
Prediction: LSU 35, Western Kentucky 14
1: No. 7 Oregon at No. 4 Stanford
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Finally, we reach the game of the week as the No. 7 Oregon Ducks face the No. 4 Sanford Cardinal.
The Ducks' (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) lone loss this year was to the No. 1 LSU Tigers in Week 1. Since then, the Ducks have won eight straight and won two without junior running back LaMichael James (1,069 yards, nine touchdowns).
Junior quarterback Darron Thomas (1,549 yards, 19 touchdowns) leads a unit that scores 46 points (5th) and runs for 298.4 yards a game (fifth). Freshman wide receiver De'Anthony Thomas (382 yards, five touchdowns) and senior wide receiver Lavasier Tuinei (360 yards, seven touchdowns) are his favorite targets.
The Ducks actually have a solid defense. Oregon gives up 20.8 points a game (26th). Senior linebacker Dewitt Stuckey (58 tackles, three sacks) and senior safety Eddie Pleasant (40 tackles, three interceptions) are some defensive standouts.
For the Cardinal (9-0, 7-0 Pac-12), senior quarterback Andrew Luck (2,424 yards, 26 touchdowns) is a Heisman Trophy candidate and leads a potent offense that scores 48.2 points a night (third).
Junior running back Stepfan Taylor's accomplishments are overshadowed by Luck. He has 891 yards (6.1 yards a carry) and eight touchdowns.
The Cardinal's defense is also god, giving up 16.6 points a game (11th). Standouts include senior safety Michael Thomas (44 tackles, two interceptions) and senior linebacker Chase Thomas (12.5 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, four forced fumbles).
The game will come down to if Stanford can stop Oregon's running attack. The Cardinal give up 78.89 rushing yards a game (third). The Ducks, though, will be too much as James and junior running back Kenjon Barner (601 yards, eight touchdowns) prove to be the difference.
Prediction: Oregon 31, Stanford 27