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College Football Season

Week Eleven Preview

by Mike Mitchell and Dave Congrove
November 3, 2008

There is no rest for the new beasts of the Big 12. After a huge win over Texas last week, Texas Tech climbed to 2nd in the BCS Standings and now gets to host 9th-ranked Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Red Raiders then get to visit Oklahoma after taking a week off, and finish the season in Lubbock against Baylor.

Each of the last six games in the Oklahoma State-Texas Tech series has been won by the home team.

This week's 54-game schedule begins Tuesday and ends Saturday.

Buffalo, tied for 1st in the MAC East, hosts Miami (Ohio) on Tuesday night. The Bulls are 7-5 in their last 12 MAC games after winning just 8 of the first 56 games they played in the conference.

Two more MAC games will be played on Wednesday night.

Akron, the co-leader with Buffalo in the MAC East, takes to the field for a home game against Toledo. ESPN was announcing Sunday night that head coach Tom Amstutz will step down at the end of the year. He is 57-38 in 8-2/3 seasons with four bowl appearances.

Undefeated Ball State, coming off an open weekend, hosts a Northern Illinois team that is on a 3-game winning streak and has won 5 of its' last 6.

The Mountain West stages a huge showdown on Thursday night when undefeated and 8th-ranked Utah hosts a one-loss and 12th-ranked TCU team. The Utes lead the series 4-1 with the only loss coming in 2005 at TCU when the Horned Frogs snapped Utah's 18-game winning streak.

Also on Thursday, Virginia Tech (5-3, 2-2) will try to halt a 2-game slide when it hosts ACC Atlantic leader Maryland. Even though they have lost two conference games, the Hokies are the only team that still controls their own destiny in the ACC Coastal division race. The Terrapins (6-2, 3-1) are the only ACC team with fewer than 2 conference losses.

On Friday night, Fresno State entertains Nevada in a WAC contest. In the preseason, Fresno State looked like it would be a strong contender for the WAC title, but that's not the case now. The Bulldogs are coming off a 38-35 loss at Louisiana Tech that dropped them to 5-3 overall, 2-2 in the WAC. The Wolf Pack is also 2-2 in the WAC, 4-4 overall.

Saturday brings us the week's biggest game with Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, but there is a handful of other games that should grab your attention, as well.

Nick Saban returns to LSU with his undefeated and top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide (9-0, 5-0), and can clinch the division title by beating his former team. Saban was the head coach at LSU from 2000-2005, winning the 2003 National Championship. This is his first trip to LSU since taking over at Alabama last season. The Tigers won 41-34 in Tuscaloosa last year. For LSU (6-2, 3-2), a win keeps it mathematically alive for the division title. LSU has won 5 straight in the series, and seven of the last eight. Alabama has lost the last two meetings in Baton Rouge, and three of the last four. Alabama last played in the SEC title game in 1999.

California (6-2, 4-1) can all but clinch the PAC-10 in the next two weeks. It goes to USC (7-1, 5-1) this week, then visits Oregon State (5-3, 4-1). The Golden Bears, Trojans and Beavers are at the top of the PAC-10 with one conference loss apiece. USC has taken four straight from Cal, and 6 of the last 7.

Cincinnati (6-2, 2-1), tied for 2nd with Pitt in the Big East, visits conference frontrunner West Virginia (6-2, 3-0). Each team is coming off big wins as the Bearcats beat USF 24-10 last Thursday, and the Mountaineers won 35-13 at UConn on Saturday. Cincinnati is 1-10 against WVU since 1969. It's only win ever came in 2003 at Morgantown.

Georgia Tech (7-2, 4-2) visits North Carolina (6-2, 2-2) with both teams looking to stay in the tight ACC Coastal division race. Every team in the division except Duke has two conference losses (Duke has three).

Every game is big for undefeated Penn State. This week, the Nittany Lions (9-0, 5-0) head to Iowa (5-4, 1-4). Last year, Penn State won 27-7 at home to end a five-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes, but it hasn't won in Iowa City since 1999.

Also of interest:
Kansas (6-3, 3-2) at Nebraska (5-4, 2-3) - Kansas hung 76 on Nebraska last year. The Jayhawks are only 1.5-point favorites, but the computer likes them by 7.18. The computer is a crazy 50-4 in picking the winner of games involving teams from Big 12 North.

Purdue (3-6, 1-4) at Michigan State (8-2, 5-1) - A loss eliminates Purdue from bowl consideration for just the second time since 1997.

Virginia (5-4, 3-2) at Wake Forest (5-3, 3-2) - Each needs a win to become bowl eligible. Cavs are still in the thick of the Coastal division race.

Notre Dame (5-3) at Boston College (5-3) - The Holy War rivalry between the only catholic schools playing football in the FBS. The series, which began in 1975 at Foxboro, is led 9-8 by Notre Dame. However, the Eagles have won 5 in-a-row and 6-of-7. The Fighting Irish are 3-2 in games played at Chestnut Hill, but have lost the last two.

Clemson (4-4, 2-3) at Florida State (6-2, 3-2) - No more "Bowden Bowl" due to Bobby's son, Tommy, stepping down on October 13. For Bobby, that's probably a good thing since his son beat him in four of the nine meetings. All of Tommy's wins came in the last five years.

Wyoming (3-6, 1-5) at Tennessee (3-6, 1-5) - A loss would eliminate the Vols (3-6) from the bowl season for just the second time since 1989. The computer favors Tennessee by 24.26 points over the Mountain West's 7th-place team.

6 teams remain undefeated: Alabama, Ball State, Boise State, Penn State, Texas Tech, and Utah.

Only Hawaii made it through the 2007 regular season unscathed, and the Warriors were blown out 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It was the first season since 2002 that no team recorded a perfect record.

Boise State was the only team to finish the entire 2006 season undefeated, while Texas did it in 2005. Auburn, USC and Utah all had unblemished records in 2004.

Washington is the only remaining winless team.

Last season, FIU beat North Texas in its final regular season game to avoid being the only winless team. FIU was one of two schools to go winless in 2006 (Duke was the other).

4 teams have yet to defeat a FBS school: SMU, Washington, Washington State and Western Kentucky.

FBS vs. FCS:
The divisions were re-named late in 2006. 1-A was given the new moniker of Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) while 1-AA was labeled the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

Auburn hosts Tennessee-Martin in the only game this week that matches FBS and FCS teams.

FBS teams are 82-2 (.976) against FcS teams this season, and 372-37 (.910) since 2003.

Here are the losses by the FBS so far this season:
Cal Poly 29, San Diego State 27 (Week 1)
New Hampshire 28, Army 10 (Week 2)

This year, 82 different FBS teams will participate in a total of 87 games that will pit the FCS against the FBS. Clemson, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Texas Tech and Western Kentucky each play two such games.

ACC teams have more games versus FCS schools than any other conference. Here is the number of FCS games for each conference:

Conference Teams In Conf. Games vs. FCS Avg. Per Team
ACC 12 14 1.167
Big East 8 7 0.875
Big 12 12 10 0.833
Big 10 11 9 0.818
MWC 9 7 0.778
WAC 9 7 0.778
SEC 12 9 0.750
Independents 3 2 0.667
MAC 13 8 0.615
CUSA 12 7 0.583
Sun Belt 9 5 0.555
PAC-10 10 2 0.200
Totals 120 87 0.725

Texas Tech has won 11 straight games. The Red Raiders host Oklahoma State.

Alabama has won 10 straight games. The Tide visit LSU.

Penn State has won 10 straight games. The Nittany Lions visit Iowa.

Utah has won 10 straight games. The Utes host TCU on Thursday.

Boise State has won 47 consecutive regular season home games, and the Broncos have a perfect home record against their fellow WAC conference members (30-0). Overall, they have won 36 straight conference home games since losing to Idaho in the final game of the 1998 season in the Big West. Boise State hosts Utah State.

Oklahoma has won 22 straight home games. The Sooners visit Texas A&M.

Washington has the longest losing streak in the nation at 10 games. The Huskies host Arizona State.

SMU has dropped 18 straight games to FBS teams, and 7 overall. The Mustangs host Memphis.

NEW COACHES: The 2007 season featured 24 new head coaches. Nine led their team to a bowl game. This year, there were 18 coaching changes in the offseason, and one more took place when Tommy Bowden stepped down from Clemson on October 13.

Two teams with new coaches have yet to defeat an FBS school - SMU, and Washington State.

Colorado State, Hawaii, Houston, Northern Illinois, SMU, Southern Miss, and Washington State have yet to defeat a team from one of the "big 6" conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 10, Big 12, PAC-10 or SEC).

Arkansas 4-5 Bobby Petrino 11/8, at South Carolina
Baylor 3-6 Art Briles 11/8, at Texas
Colorado State 4-5 Steve Fairchild 11/8, at Air Force
Duke 4-4 David Cutcliffe 11/8, vs. N.C. State
Georgia Tech 7-2 Paul Johnson 11/8, at North Carolina
Hawaii 4-5 Greg McMackin 11/8, at New Mexico State
Houston 4-4 Kevin Sumlin 11/8, vs. Tulane
Michigan 2-7 Rich Rodriguez 11/8, at Minnesota
Mississippi 5-4 Houston Nutt 11/15, vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Navy 6-3 Ken Nuimatalolo 11/15, vs. Notre Dame (at Baltimore)
Nebraska 5-4 Bo Pelini 11/8, vs. Kansas
Northern Illinois 5-3 Jerry Kill 11/5, at Ball State
SMU 1-8 June Jones 11/8, vs. Memphis
Southern Miss 3-6 Larry Fedora 11/8, at UCF
Texas A&M 4-5 Mike Sherman 11/8, vs. Oklahoma
UCLA 3-5 Rick Neuheisel 11/8, vs. Oregon State
Washington State 1-8 Paul Wulff 11/8, vs. Arizona
West Virginia 6-2 Bill Stewart 11/8, vs. Cincinnati

Midseason Change:      
Clemson 1-1 Dabo Swinney 11/8, at Florida State


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