Week 11 of the college football season brings us only two ranked matchups. With most of the playoff contenders playing un-ranked foes, is there a possible upset somewhere?
*All rankings reflect the College Football Playoff rankings.
Baylor at #11 Oklahoma, noon on ABC/ESPN2
After two early season, out of conference defeats, Bob Stoops’ Sooners are in the driver’s seat in the Big 12. Though it would take many major upsets for Oklahoma to qualify for the playoff, they are in good position for a New Year’s Six Bowl. A six game win streak has taken them to the top of the conference. A lot of their success can be attributed to QB Baker Mayfield. An early season Heisman contender, Mayfield struggled out of the gate, but since the loss to Ohio State, he has 24 touchdowns and four INTs in six games.
Baylor was ranked inside the top ten only two weeks ago. A road upset at Texas and a home humiliation by TCU has put them outside the top 25 and maybe for good. After a 6-0 start, the Bears, along with West Virginia, looked like the Big 12’s only playoff hope. A late defensive letdown against Texas and a complete no-show against TCU has put them on the verge of a losing streak. In the 62-22 loss to TCU, Baylor gave up 431 yards on the ground and 688 in total. If numbers like that happen again, they may take another forty point loss in Norman.
#9 Auburn at Georgia, 3:30pm, CBS
Following South Carolina-Florida on CBS will be the South’s Oldest Rivalry. After some early offensive struggles, Gus Malzahn has steered Auburn to a possible playoff season. Meanwhile Kirby Smart is looking for his first big win at Georgia, as his is still looking for his first home win against an FBS opponent. Georgia’s only home win was the nail biter against Nicholls, they lost to Tennessee and Vanderbilt at home. This game starts a three game home-stand for the Bulldogs, looking to get bowl eligible. Freshman QB Jacob Eason has gone three straight games without an INT, he will need to take care of the ball against Auburn to give them a good shot on Saturday. He engineered the game winning drive in Kentucky last week in Georgia’s 27-24 win.
Auburn offensive struggles appeared again last week after QB Sean White could not start the game, through injury, for the Tigers. Transfer QB John Franklin III only threw four passes the first half as Auburn trailed at home to Vanderbilt by three. White came out to start the second half and immediately improved things. He was 10-13 for 108 yards and a touchdown in the 23-16 win. A big blow for Auburn is the injury to RB Kamryn Pettway. Pettway has gone for over 100 yards in six of seven games played this year. He pulled up with a muscle injury on a potential game-clinching run in the final minutes against Vandy. He is a 50/50 shot to play according to Gus Malzahn, who said he’d make the trip and they would go from there. If Auburn can avoid the upset here, only Alabama A&M stands in there way from making the Iron Bowl a play-in game for the SEC Championship.
#24 LSU at #25 Arkansas. 7pm on ESPN.
The first of two ranked matchups of the day is the Battle for the Golden Boot as LSU travels to Arkansas. Both teams have no hope to make it to the SEC Championship game after defeats to both Alabama and Auburn but LSU still has yet to qualify for a bowl game. After losing their FCS game later next week because of the Florida re-schedule, the Tigers must win at Arkansas, vs. Florida, or at Texas A&M to qualify for a bowl game. This game has always been tricky for LSU, losing the last two meetings. After the 10-0 loss to Alabama, Ed Orgeron needs wins if he wants to remove the interim tag at LSU. Another loss to Arkansas would likely kill the little chance he has.
For Arkansas, they routed Florida last week after having two weeks to stew over the humliation at Auburn. Bret Bielema usually has the Hogs playing well in November. This is also senior day in Arkansas, as their last two games are on the road at Mississippi State and Missouri. RB Rawleigh Williams III rebounded last week with 148 yards and two touchdowns against Florida. He’ll be looking for his sixth 100 yard game on Saturday. A win for the Hogs would make it three boots in a row for Bielema, also keeping them alive for his first 10-win season at Arkansas.
#20 Southern California at #4 Washington. 7:30pm on FOX.
After spending a week outside of the top four, Washington moved into playoff position after Texas A&M’s upset loss last week. They’ll have a tough home game on their hands this week as a red-hot USC travels to Seattle. The Huskies took care of business on the road last week at California with a 66-27 win. After the Cal cut the lead to 21-20 early in the second, Washington went on a 38-0 run over the rest of the second quarter and into the third. QB Jake Browning continued his dark-horse Heisman campaign with 378 yards and six touchdown passes.
Southern California has rebounded well after a 1-3 start. Losing to Alabama and road games to Stanford and Utah was almost expected but the Trojans are 5-0 since then. The streak has put them within one game of Colorado for first in the Pac-12 South, while owning a win over the Buffs. A major key to their newfound success has been the emergence of redshirt freshman QB Sam Darnold. After getting the start against Utah, Darnold is 5-1 with 18 touchdowns and three INTs. They have also gotten the ground game rolling. RB Ronald Jones II has 394 yards and five touchdowns in the last two games. Darnold and Jones must have success against the Huskie defense if they are to pull off the upset and keep their Pac-12 Championship game hopes alive.
Other games to watch:
#10 Penn State at Indiana. Noon on ABC/ESPN2.
Kentucky at Tennessee. Noon on the SEC Network.
#16 West Virginia at Texas. Noon on Fox Sports 1.
Ole Miss at #8 Texas A&M. 7:30pm on the SEC Network.
#12 Colorado at Arizona. 10pm on Fox Sports 1.