College football schedule Week 11
Week 11 has a fully-loaded schedule and nearly every game has increased in importance to some degree. Even teams that aren’t going to a bowl game are playing for pride or the future when they take the field, though loyalty in college football is a thing of the past, both for coaches and for players. So, maybe the “future” doesn’t matter as much in some instances, but nobody likes to lose.
But, there are also games that have attributes that are much more obvious when it comes to looking at situational spots. We’ve got plenty this week and will have a lot more moving forward as the regular season draws to a close.
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(Games sorted by Kickoff Time; odds as of November 6, 7:30 p.m. PT)
Saturday, Noon ET
It has taken 11 weeks, but Michigan will finally get tested. The Wolverines have played the 71st-ranked schedule in college football per Jeff Sagarin and have not played against a top-30 team per his rankings yet. They are the only team in the top 22 to have not played an opponent that qualifies. North Carolina is the only other team in the top 33 to have not played one and the list only stops there because South Dakota State is No. 34. Penn State is the fifth-ranked team in the nation per Sagarin, despite only having really played Ohio State and that game didn’t go so well. But, the Wolverines step up big time here and that’s the takeaway.
Saturday, Noon ET
It was easy for Lance Leipold to preach to his team about avoiding a letdown going on the road to take on Iowa State right after beating Oklahoma. The message may not resonate as much this week taking on Texas Tech, but as the line implies, this is no walk in the park for the Jayhawks. Sometimes the game after the game in question becomes the tougher spot (see James Madison/Old Dominion) and that could be the case here in Lawrence.
Saturday, Noon ET
One would hope that service academies are immune to bad spots, but Army just went on the road and scored arguably the biggest win in recent program history outside of the rivalry games against Navy. The Black Knights went to Denver and took it to a ranked Air Force team, winning 23-3. Now they’ll be laying a number against Holy Cross, who nearly beat Boston College this season and comes in with a 6-3 record and a 4-1 mark in Patriot League play. Army better be buttoned up early in this one.
Saturday, 2 p.m. ET
Troy could easily be in a letdown spot after beating South Alabama last week to take full control of the Sun Belt West Division. With wins over Texas State and Arkansas State, Troy is in really good shape with a one-game lead and the tiebreakers. But, here’s the thing about this game. The Trojans exacted some revenge on UL-Monroe last season with a 34-16 win after suffering one of the biggest upset losses of 2021 as more than a 20-point favorite against the Warhawks. Covering 21.5 after a huge win is still a lot, but Troy is on some extra prep here after playing on Thursday night last week.
Saturday, 3 p.m. ET
The pressure is off for Sam Houston in that they won’t go winless this season, but they are still winless against FBS competition in their first season as a Division I-A team. It was far from pretty, though, as Sam Houston State never led the game until kicking a game-winning field goal with no time left on the clock. With seven losses and nothing to play for but pride, Louisiana Tech will have Senior Day on Saturday, but they’ve lost four in a row and the Sonny Cumbie tenure in Ruston is not going well at all. Could the Bearkats be more invested this week and secure that first FBS win?
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Washington and USC played what looked like 7-on-7 last week in the 52-42 win for the Huskies. Washington faces a far more physical opponent this week in Utah, who decimated Arizona State by a 55-3 count this past Saturday. As an undefeated team, the pressure mounts each and every week for Washington and that’s especially true here, as they have Oregon State and the Apple Cup left for the regular season. This is definitely a scary game against a very well-coached Kyle Whittingham squad.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
Oklahoma State won the rivalry game at home against Oklahoma and now heads to Orlando for the first time to face UCF. These two teams have never played before and it is a weird thing to go play a conference game in Florida as a member of the Big 12. The Cowboys are now a top-25 team and have been riding quite a high, but this line sure does tell a story, doesn’t it? UCF just beat Cincinnati for their first conference win in the Big 12 and they’re under a field goal pup at home? Hmmm.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
For the second straight week, we’ll have a football game on a baseball field. Iowa and Northwestern played to a 10-7 slobberknocker and we’ll see what Pitt and Syracuse do in the Bronx. On novelty alone, this game may draw some spectators, but these are two pretty bad teams and this game has little meaning. Pitt won’t make a bowl game. Syracuse still has a chance and needs two wins in the final three games to get there, but they are 0-5 in ACC play to this point.
Saturday, 4 p.m. ET
Arkansas hasn’t had many bright spots this season, but last week’s win over Florida was certainly one of them. Now Arkansas draws an Auburn team that has won a couple of games in a row and is looking for that magical sixth win. They should get it against New Mexico State next week if it doesn’t come here, but the Razorbacks really haven’t had many positive moments and last week had to feel good. They need to win out for a bowl game, which likely won’t happen, but this spot is a little tricky off of an overtime win and some close, emotional games prior to that with one-score losses to Ole Miss, Alabama and Mississippi State.
Saturday, 5 p.m. ET
South Alabama’s goals for this season are no longer attainable. They’ve squandered a lot of returning talent and production and still have a chance at a bowl game, but they wanted a conference title. Meanwhile, Arkansas State, who looked beyond awful at the start of the season, has found something with QB Jaylen Raynor and they’re knocking on the door of bowl eligibility with a 5-4 record. They will be a dog in every game going forward, but they have a chance here against a sulking South Alabama team to pull off a big upset and keep riding a positive wave. This is not a good spot for the Jags off a Troy loss given that rivalry.
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
There are so many games that could apply, but I’m trying to be somewhat selective. This game makes the cut because Cincinnati is winless in the conference against Big 12 foes and has this game, Houston, and Kansas left. The Bearcats have had a couple of close calls lately and have badly outgained UCF and BYU, but lost those games anyway. There has to be a little bit of desperation settling in now. The Bearcats won’t be going bowling, so now the goal is just to beat a Big 12 opponent and this is the best shot left on the schedule.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Texas barely survived against Kansas State, needing overtime after blowing a big fourth-quarter lead. The Longhorns may not have what it takes to get into the College Football Playoff with the Oklahoma loss getting more and more penal with each passing week, but in order to have any chance, they have to keep winning. That includes this week in what is a really tough spot after a hard-fought, physical game against Kansas State. This is TCU’s Super Bowl, as the Horned Frogs have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse, as they may not even make a bowl game after being in the National Championship game last season.
Saturday, 11 p.m. ET
The late-night chase game features a bummed-out Air Force team that saw the dreams of a perfect season and an outright Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy go down last week. Air Force would still retain the title if Navy beats Army, but they won’t have earned it. They’ll have simply held on to it. But, now they’re laying a huge number on the road at Hawaii with long travel. At least they get away from snowy Colorado and head to paradise, which may be a bit of a distraction here. Hawaii won on the mainland last week up in Reno and they’ll be looking for an upset here.
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