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2011 Nov 11
Week 11 has that feeling of a season soon coming to a close. Outside of the proceedings in State College, there are some very good games out there, as well as a few more coaches on the hot seat, not to mention one burned to a full crisp. As always before we look to the future, we must pull a Marty McFly and go back in time. Last week’s ups and downs were as follows -
Houston: The Cougars has quietly gone undefeated and quarterback Case Keenum has made his case for the Heisman. Look for more attention to come their way if they keep winning.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks took on South Carolina in a game that was anticipated to be rough and made their way through to set their sights on a hard-hitting matchup with LSU.
LSU: Went 15-plus rounds in a slugfest with Alabama and came out on top. Sometimes you’d rather be lucky than good. The Tigers were both on Saturday night thanks to the Crimson Tide’s fantastic special teams.
Oklahoma State: Also a survivor of a surprising belt-to-bell bout. It’s hard to not wonder if they can stay focused enough to get all the way to Bedlam without a loss. If they do, their chances at a national title bid get significantly better.
UCLA: The Bruins notched an unexpected win against Arizona State. The prize is an outside chance to attend the Pac-12 title game and save Rick Neuheisel’s job.
Alabama: Defense played very well, but too many blown opportunities doomed the Tide. Now there’s more than likely no chance to go to Atlanta to represent the SEC West.
Arizona State: Such a bad game played last week. Now the Sun Devils need hope the Pac-12 South title isn’t out of reach. Assuming they don’t keep dropping games, of course.
Michigan: Had the Legends division by the you-know-what’s, and now... welp...
Missouri, Arizona State, Pittsburgh:
On to this week’s festivities! All are times are Central:
No. 20 Auburn at No. 15 Georgia – (2:30 PM, CBS)
This week’s nationally-televised afternoon SEC battle has Gene Chizik’s gang heading between the hedges to take on the revitalized Bulldogs who are looking to punch their meal ticket to Atlanta.
For Auburn, a sloppy passing attack and the inability to win outside Alabama makes this game difficult. Georgia’s offense has been good this year, but their defense has performed surprisingly well, giving up less than 20 points per game.
Bulldog quarterback Aaron Murray has shown the ability to dissect any defense that comes into the Dawgs’ house. Considering how Auburn has played on the road this year on the road, look for the Bulldogs to cruise and set up a game with Kentucky. The game would be a mere formality between Georgia and the SEC West title.
No. 7 Oregon at No. 4 Stanford - (7:00 PM, ABC)
"Game of the Week" status hovers over Northern California again, as Chip Kelly’s Ducks fly into Palo Alto to take on the steamrolling Cardinal. While Stanford has gone unblemished, Oregon has been grinding through their schedule ever since the debacle in Arlington against the No. 1 LSU Tigers.
This game features two of the top five scoring offenses in America, with players on both sidelines that are top-notch. You know about Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck and the Oregon Duck duo of quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James for the Ducks. The Cardinal defensive is only giving up 11 points per game, while Oregon is No. 26 nationally giving up almost 20 per game.
With the game at home, Stanford looks like the more comfortable team. However, Oregon’s ability to control the tempo of a game so quickly and efficiently, this Pac-12 fight is a tossup. It seems that Stanford has the edge, but with the way that Oregon shut down Stanford last year in the second half, it’s a tough call.
Other games of note include:
No. 17 Michigan State at Iowa – If the Spartans wins against the Hawkeyes, it looks like they can punch their ticket to Indianapolis.
No. 16 Texas at Missouri – A measuring stick for the Longhorns. Texas has looked comfortable lately, but going to Columbia will test that comfort level.
TCU at No. 5 Boise State – The Broncos’ last true test to pass with flying colors to get into the national title picture.
Miami at Florida State – Remember when this game appeared to be a treat at the beginning of the season?
Maryland at Notre Dame – Come for the uniforms, stay to see if the Irish stay on course. Try not to go blind.
Arizona State at Washington State – A huge game for the Devils’ conference title hopes.
Now for some of the coaches that have pants which could defrost an iced-over pond:
Houston Nutt, Ole Miss – Finally! Be gone! Nutt isn’t going to be retained by the university after this year. While there are some who aren’t fans of that, it’s refreshing to see that the Rebels athletic administration finally got sick of Nutt after losing 10 SEC games in a row.
Houston wants you to think that his oversigning is the true problem and the lack of quarterback maturation isn’t. Someone will trust Nutt with their program. Here’s hoping they realize what they are getting.
Paul Wulff, Washington State – Had a great start to this year, but the wheels have come off. Beating Arizona State would be help his cause, but parting ways with the Cougars may be a foregone conclusion.
Turner Gill, Kansas – Held Iowa State to 13, but couldn’t do more than that? Baylor is going to pummel you hardcore at home. Then again, it’s the last home game in Lawrence this year. Hopefully the Jayhawks can finally say “goodbye”.
Randy Edsall, Maryland – They fired Ralph Friedgen for you? The uniform combinations are what you’re known for at this point.
Jon Embree, Colorado – The Buffs fired Hawkins for this?
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