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Will this week live up to the hype?
Let’s check out the best matches to watch until Saturday…
Program for week 11
From docile to formidable
Implications for the College Football Playoff
Noon: No. 3 Michigan (9-0, 6-0 Big Ten) at No. 10 Penn State (8-1, 5-1), Noon, Fox: It’s time for the Wolverines’ season to begin! Hopefully Penn State is different than the one against Ohio State, because they desperately need this win. The Wolverines have passed the eye test, but can they finally pull off a victory? Of course, the sign-stealing saga looms over every Michigan game.
Afternoon: No. 18 Utah (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) at No. 5 Washington (9-0, 6-0), 3:30 p.m., Fox: The Huskies were criticized after some unspectacular wins against Arizona State and Stanford. But after losing 52 points to USC — which was followed by the firing of Trojans defensive coordinator Alex Grinch — Washington has a chance to break into the top four in the College Football Playoff rankings with a comeback opportunity against the Utah and Oregon State (No. 12). on the bridge.
Prime time: No. 9 Ole Miss (8-1, 5-1 SEC) at No. 2 Georgia (9-0, 6-0), 7 p.m., ESPN: We have the impression that this one went unnoticed for no good reason. The Dawgs will face the best offense they have seen this season, led by QB Jaxson Dart and RB Quinshon Judkins.
Spot group of 5
Early: Old Dominion (4-5) at Liberty (9-0), 1 p.m., ESPN+: Old Dominion lost last week after Coastal Carolina scored a touchdown with 23 seconds left. It was the Monarchs’ eighth straight game decided by a single score. ODU only lost by a field goal to G5 darling James Madison, but can that scare a Liberty offense that ranks in the top five nationally in yards per game?
Afternoon: Texas State (6-3, 3-2 Sun Belt) at Coastal Carolina (6-3, 4-2), 3:30 p.m., ESPN+: Coastal Carolina will likely be without quarterback Grayson McCall, and backup Jarrett Guest is questionable. But Ethan Vasko did very well in leading the Chanticleers to a come-from-behind victory last week.
Evening (Friday): Wyoming (6-3, 4-2 MWC) at UNLV (7-2, 4-1), 10:45 p.m., FS1: The Rebels earned a 56-14 win over New Mexico last week and lead the Mountain West with 36.7 points per game. The Cowboys reached bowl eligibility by snapping a two-game loss last week. (More on UNLV coming soon.)*
Good sneaky games (Plus: An action meter ranging from tame 🤯 to great 🤯🤯🤯🤯)
Noon: No. 8 Alabama (8-1, 6-0 SEC) at Kentucky (6-3, 3-3), ESPN: The hype is back for the Crimson Tide, and Jalen Milroe took a big step forward in a 42-28 win over LSU last week. Can the Tide take the fight to the CFP? First, they’ll have to beat a Kentucky team that’s proven against Georgia, Missouri and Tennessee. Action counter: 🤯
Afternoon: No. 13 Tennessee (7-2, 3-2 SEC) at No. 14 Missouri (7-2, 3-2), 3:30 p.m., CBS: The Vols have won the last four games against the Tigers, winning last year’s game by a score of 66-24. This one probably won’t have much of an impact on the SEC title race, but it certainly looks like one of the most exciting games of the weekend. And imagine if it was 2024. Action counter: 🤯🤯🤯🤯
Prime time: USC (7-3, 5-2 Pac-12) at No. 6 Oregon (8-1, 5-1), 10:30 p.m., Fox: Maybe the Trojans will feel more settled after the Grinch is fired. They’ll need to be ready against an Oregon offense that leads the nation in scoring. But then again, USC is right behind the Ducks, scoring 45.5 points per game. I expect both QBs to light it up. Action counter: 🤯🤯🤯
*And speaking of that Wyoming-UNLV game…the Rebels are sailing under Barry Odom. The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman spoke to the UNLV coach about the Mountain West’s after-the-fact turnaround to one of the season’s most intriguing teams.
Next player mentality fuels UNLV
Since 2000, UNLV has only had one winning season, and that was ten years ago. The Rebels haven’t won more than eight games in a season since 1984, when Harvey Hyde led them to an 11-2 season while playing in the Pacific Coast Athletic Association.
- In Odom’s first season, UNLV emerged as one of the best stories of the season. Despite all sorts of injuries, including those to their starting quarterback earlier this year and their two best defensive players three weeks ago, the Rebels have continued to roll.
- Odom has evolved quite a bit since his first stint as head coach at Mizzou. He said Athleticism that he learned from his days working at Arkansas for Sam Pittman, who took some lessons he learned from Kirby Smart at Georgia on how to practice and truly cultivate a next player culture.
“Everyone in our program got equal reps,” Odom said. “It doesn’t matter if you are a member of the first team or the fourth team.”
Another layer of this next-man-up mentality occurred on Odom’s staff when Bobby Petrino fled a few weeks after being hired by Odom to become Texas A&M’s offensive coordinator.
- Odom spun around and hired Brennan Marion, the architect of what he calls the Go-Go Offensive. The Rebels’ backup QB, Freshman Jayden Maiava shinedcompleting 65 percent of its passes with a TD-INT ratio of 10-4, and a program that has never scored more than 40 points in three straight games has done so four times in a row and just scored 56 during a game in New Mexico. .
- It should be noted that Marion’s offense far surpasses Petrino’s at A&M. Both OCs had to rely on backup QBs, although Petrino’s QB, Max Johnson, was already a starter in the SEC at LSU.
- THE The Rebels are 16th in the country in scoring after ranking 76th in 2022. They are 16th in the race70 places above last year. UNLV is fifth in the country in third-down offense, against 116th last year, and No. 17 in red zone attack, up from No. 59.
The next two weeks will be quite a test to see how much the Rebels have improved. They face Wyoming on Friday, then visit 8-1 Air Force next weekend.
Week 10 through Saturday Upset Special: Indiana (+6.5) 24, Illinois 17. Illinois’ one-point win over Minnesota last week was uninspiring. Meanwhile, the Hoosiers beat Wisconsin 20-14 (Illinois lost to Wisconsin by four points) to knock the Badgers off the Big Ten West perch. Neither defense is very good, but I side with Indiana’s momentum. Upset Special Disc: 2-8. (Go Hoosiers, go for it!)
Stewart Mandel: BYU 17 (+7.5), Iowa State 14, 10:15 p.m., ESPN
Bruce Feldman: Nebraska 23 (+2.5), Maryland 20, Noon, Peacock
Ari Wasserman, David Ubben and Stewart Mandel make their Week 11 Picks on the podcast Until Saturday.
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