By Stewart Mandel
November 12, 2010
College Football Pickoff: Week 11
Saturday, Nov. 13
7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 22 South Carolina (6-3) at No. 24 Florida (6-3)
Florida is hot, while South Carolina is coming off an embarrassing loss to Arkansas. But consider the competition. Florida's rejuvenated offense will face a much tougher test this week than it did against Georgia and Vandy, and the Gators aren't likely to throw all over the Gamecocks like Arkansas did. Behind a healthy Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina finally wins the SEC East.
7:15 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 17 Mississippi State (7-2) at No. 11 Alabama (7-2)
After spending a week in the news for off-field reasons, Mississippi State plays its biggest game in years. The Bulldogs have a chance to reach eight regular season wins and attain a seventh straight win for the first time in more than a decade. But don't expect Nick Saban's team to lie down after last week's season-crushing LSU loss. The Bulldogs' 60th-ranked offense won't be able to keep up.
7:30 p.m. ET (Versus) No. 1 Oregon (9-0) at Cal (5-4)
On the bright side, Cal is 4-0 at home. On the less-bright side, Cal has yet to beat a team with a winning record. What's more, the Bears barely beat Washington State last week in quarterback Brock Mansion's first start. The Ducks have yet to be remotely challenged, and you know life is good when the biggest concern at this point in the season is that the backup quarterback is out for the year.
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) Georgia (5-5) at No. 2 Auburn (10-0)
Obviously, there's the question of how Cam Newton responds to the considerable distractions of the past week. Then there's the fact that Auburn's 95th-ranked pass defense leaves it susceptible to any foe with a decent offense; Georgia is averaging 42.8 points over its past five games. Expect another Auburn shootout and another close call, but for Newton to put the Tigers over the top yet again.
4 p.m. ET (Versus) San Diego State (7-2) at No. 3 TCU (10-0)
The Horned Frogs can't afford a letdown, but the Aztecs, who nearly won at Missouri earlier this season, present a legit threat. Freshman tailback Ronnie Hillman is the nation's ninth-leading rusher (116 yards per game). But TCU can stuff the run. Even if Andy Dalton and the offense step off the gas pedal a bit, the nation's top defense will keep doing what it does best.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) Penn State (6-3) at No. 8 Ohio State (8-1)
Penn State's offense has improved considerably over the past few weeks, especially since Matt McGloin took over at quarterback. But now the Nittany Lions are running into a much tougher defense, and one that will only get better with the return of star LB Ross Homan from injury. Playing at home, Terrelle Pryor will serve a friendly reminder that he's the nation's fifth-rated passer.
Noon (ESPN) No. 13 Iowa (7-2) at Northwestern (6-3)
The Wildcats have held a hex over the Hawkeyes recently, winning four of the past five meetings, including last year's upset over then 9-0 Iowa. Some Hawkeyes fans are understandably nervous about this one. But while Northwestern QB Dan Persa is a formidable threat, Iowa's Ricky Stanzi (20 TDs, three INTs) is the most overlooked passer in the country this year.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 16 Virginia Tech (7-2) at North Carolina (6-3)
After rolling off seven straight victories over largely unimpressive opponents, the Hokies hit the toughest stretch of their season, heading to UNC and Miami. Led by surprising QB T.J. Yates, the Tar Heels have hung tough despite a rash of injuries and suspensions. But RB Johnny White's season-ending injury leaves UNC with nearly no possibility of exploiting the Hokies' less-than-stellar rushing defense.
8 p.m. ET (ABC) No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-1) at Texas (4-5)
Someone still thinks Texas is going to wake up soon, because Oklahoma State is only a 5.5-point favorite over the woeful 'Horns. Kansas State routed Texas last week with a completely one-dimensional attack, and OK-State is the ultimate two-headed monster. This might seem like the week for Texas' offense to get untracked, but the Cowboys' D has been playing well. It's not an even matchup.
3:30 p.m. ET Maryland (6-3) at Virginia (4-5)
UPSET SPECIAL: It was fun while it lasted for the Terrapins, who started 6-2 and came within 37 seconds of winning at Miami last weekend. But Maryland, with its 101st-ranked offense, has little margin for error. Virginia, which posted a breakthrough win against Miami two weeks ago and put up 48 points on Duke last week in defeat, is well suited to winning a low-scoring contest.
Record Last Week: 6-4               Record This Season: 72-28

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