By Stewart Mandel
November 08, 2012
College Football Pickoff: Week 11
Saturday, Nov. 10
3:30 p.m. ET (CBS) No. 15 Texas A&M (7-2) at No. 1 Alabama (9-0)
Texas A&M sensation Johnny Manziel is averaging 102.4 rushing yards per game. However, the last time he faced a top-10 foe, Oct. 20 against LSU, he managed just 27 rushing yards and coughed up four turnovers. The Tide may allow a few big gains on busted plays, but they'll force Johnny Football to beat them with his arm. That seems unlikely.
3 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 13 Oregon State (7-1) at No. 16 Stanford (7-2)
There's an element of mystery surrounding this game with Stanford tapping a new starting quarterback in redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan. He gives the Cardinal a new dimension with his ability to run the read-option. But the Beavers' top-15 rushing defense (3.2 yards per carry) should be unfazed, while receiver Markus Wheaton will help open things up against Stanford's tough defense.
7 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 22 Mississippi State (7-2) at No. 9 LSU (7-2)
After starting 7-0, Mississippi State has endured a humbling couple of weeks, losing 38-7 to Alabama and 38-13 to Texas A&M. The Bulldogs could make this one interesting, though, especially if LSU has a hangover after last week's heartbreaker against the Tide. But eventually, running back Jeremy Hill and the Tigers will wear down Mississippi State's overmatched defensive front.
7 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 3 Kansas State (9-0) at TCU (6-3)
Obviously, the outlook changes considerably if Wildcats star Collin Klein cannot play. But even if he does, this could be the week K-State's offense struggles, particularly with TCU's Devonte Fields (eight sacks) providing pressure. Still, opponents can't afford to turn the ball over against the Wildcats, which have only lost four all year (No. 1 nationally). TCU, on the other hand, has lost 23 (110th).
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2) Penn State (6-3) at No. 18 Nebraska (7-2)
Both teams are 4-1 in the Big Ten with their sole losses coming to Ohio State. Nebraska's sloppy play (it ranks 106th nationally in turnover margin) has turned nearly every game into a nail-biter, whereas Penn State has only lost eight turnovers. That discrepancy, along with the Nittany Lions' strong rushing defense, could catch up to the Huskers this week.
Noon ET (ESPN) Northwestern (7-2) at Michigan (6-3)
Denard Robinson's status remains a mystery for Michigan, but it might not matter whether he or Devin Gardner gets the start. The Wolverines should be able to win this one with defense. Northwestern running back Venric Mark (119.7 yards per game) is explosive, but Michigan's top-10 defense (4.5 yard per play) will contain Wildcats dual-threat quarterback Kain Colter.
Noon ET (ESPN2) Wisconsin (6-3) at Indiana (4-5)
The winner here takes control of the Big Ten's Leaders Division. Really. With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible, the Badgers (3-2 in conference) and Hoosiers (2-3) are the sole contenders. Wisconsin may be breaking in its third different starting quarterback, Curt Phillips, and its offense may struggle, but its defense has not allowed more than 16 points in a game since September.
3:30 p.m. ET (ABC/ESPN2) West Virginia (5-3) at Oklahoma State (5-3)
For West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, this game will be like looking in the mirror. Oklahoma State runs an offense that Holgorsen installed there in 2010. Mind you, the Cowboys are down to their third-string quarterback, Clint Chelf, but that offense always seems effective behind running back Joseph Randle. Geno Smith and the Mountaineers, on the other hand, are stuck in a rut.
Saturday, Noon ET (ABC) No. 11 Louisville (9-0) at Syracuse (4-5)
Last year, the Orange went 5-7 but pulled off one out-of-nowhere upset of eventual Big East champ West Virginia. This year's squad, not lacking for offensive talent with quarterback Ryan Nassib and wideouts Alec Lemon and Marcus Sales, is due for one of its own. The Cardinals have been living dangerously for some time, nearly losing to USF and Cincinnati.
Thursday, Nov. 8
7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 8 Florida State (8-1) at Virginia Tech (4-5)
There's always the possibility of an upset on a Thursday night at Lane Stadium, but this Virginia Tech team has provided little evidence of how it'd pull one off. The Seminoles' stifling pass rush does not bode well for mistake-prone Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (12 interceptions). Meanwhile, 'Noles running back Devonta Freeman could slice up Virginia Tech's defense.
Record Last Week: 5-5               Record This Season: 58-42

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