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Oregon Visits Stanford In Conference and BCS Showdown

Virginia Tech visits Georgia Tech Thursday night

by Dave Congrove
November 8, 2011 (Updated November 10)

Week 11 of the college football season features BCS Top 25 battles between Oregon-Stanford; Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech, Nebraska-Penn State and Auburn-Georgia.

Top games on the undercard include TCU-Boise State, Wake Forest-Clemson, Miami-Florida State, Florida-South Carolina, Texas A&M-Kansas State, Texas-Missouri, Michigan State-Iowa, West Virginia-Cincinnati (Paul Brown Stadium), and Michigan-Illinois.

Games to watch outside the "Big 6" conferences feature MAC contenders Western Michigan-Toledo on Tuesday and Miami (Ohio)-Temple on Wednesday, as well as Sun Belt leaders Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State on Saturday.

In all, 57 games take this place this week with only 6 teams drawing a bye, including BCS No. 6 Oklahoma.

In games involving teams at the top of the BCS Standings, No. 1 LSU hosts Western Kentucky as a 39.23-point favorite according to the computer (Congrove Computer Rankings).

No. 2 Oklahoma State is a 15.19-point choice at a Texas Tech team that has lost to Iowa State and Texas by a combined 93-27 since upsetting Oklahoma three weeks ago.

No. 3 Alabama is a 15.47-point road pick at a disappointing Mississippi State team that, like Texas A&M, must win 1 of its last 3 games to become bowl eligible.

The winner between BCS No. 7 Oregon and No. 4 Stanford likely decides the PAC-12 North with the computer forecasting the homestanding Cardinal to prevail by 2.95 points. The home team has won the last 3 games in the series and 4 of the last 5.

No. 5 Boise State is a 15.24-point home favorite over TCU in a battle of teams that are unbeaten in Mountain West play. Something has to give as the Broncos have won 47 straight home conference games (WAC, Mountain West) and TCU has won 21 straight Mountain West games.

No. 8 Arkansas is a 16.46-point home pick over a Tennessee squad that was outscored 89-16 in its last 3 SEC games by LSU, Alabama and South Carolina. The Razorbacks can create a 3-way tie in the SEC West by defeating the Vols this week, Mississippi State next week in Little Rock and then upsetting the Tigers in Baton Rouge on November 25.

No. 9 Clemson is a 13.84-point projected winner at home over Wake Forest in a an ACC Atlantic showdown. A Demon Deacon upset win, in concert with an expected 15.09-point victory by Florida State at home over Miami, would put Wake in a 3-way tie for 1st in the division with Clemson and FSU. Clemson can clinch the division with a win and a Florida State loss to the 'Canes.

The Thursday night battle between No. 10 Virginia Tech at No. 21 Georgia Tech features two of the three teams that control their own destiny in the ACC Coastal race (Virginia is the other). The Hokies are favored by the computer by 4.37 points while UVa is a 10.33-point home favorite vs. Duke. Virginia Tech is trying to extend the nation's top road winning streak to 12 games.

No. 11 Houston, the lowest-ranked undefeated team in the BCS Standings, is a huge 26.10-point computer pick at UAB on Friday night. Cougar QB Case Keenum has set new FBS career records for TD passes, total offense and passing yards in the last three weeks.

No. 12 Penn State is a 3.39-point underdog at home to Nebraska. The Nittany Lion community is reeling from the allegations of sexual misconduct with eight minors by former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. On the field, Penn State has a 2-game lead on Wisconsin in the Leaders division while the 'Huskers are in a 3-way tie for 2nd behind Michigan State in the Legends division.

No. 13 South Carolina surrendered the SEC East lead to Georgia with its 44-28 loss at Arkansas last Saturday. This week, the, Gamecocks' Steve Spurrier hosts Florida, the school he coached for 12 years and won the Heisman Trophy with as quarterback in 1966. South Carolina is an 8.09-point pick over the Gators.

No. 15 Georgia is favored by 7.47 points at home over No. 20 Auburn as the Bulldogs try to keep a grip on the SEC East top spot.

No. 14 Kansas State draws Texas A&M and gets a 7.71-point nod from the computer. The Aggies find themselves in jeopardy of falling to 5-5 after being projected as an 11-1 team in the preseason.

16th-ranked Texas is an 8.66-point underdog to Missouri. However, the Tigers are another team that has far underperformed its preseason forecast of a 10-2 campaign. Missouri needs two wins in its last three games just to become bowl eligible.

No. 17 Michigan State is favored by 4.71 at Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 6-0 at home this season and 0-3 on the road. The Spartans are 6-0 at home and 1-2 on the road.

Navy and Army must each win this week to avoid becoming ineligible for the postseason. The Middies are 8.45-point computer underdogs at SMU and Army is a 4.19-point underdog against Rutgers at Yankee Stadium. Each had automatic bowl deals awaiting them if they only managed to win 6 games with Army committed to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco and Navy to the Military Bowl in Washington, DC. Navy last missed the postseason in 2002. Army ended a 13-year bowl drought with last year's win over SMU in the Armed Forces Bowl.

FBS vs. FCS:
No FBS team plays an FCS schools this week. FBS teams are 87-6 (.935) in such games for the year and 634-55 (.920) since 2003.

Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/24: North Dakota St. 37, Minnesota 24
9/24: Sam Houston State 48, New Mexico 45 (OT)
9/24: Southern Utah41, UNLV 16
9/17: Indiana State 44, Western Kentucky 16
9/3: Richmond 23, Duke 21
9/3: Sacramento State 29, Oregon State 28

93 FBS teams play a total of 97 games against FCS foes this year. Four schools play two such games - Air Force, Eastern Michigan, N.C. State and Wyoming.

STREAKS:
Stanford - 17 straight wins overall. The Cardinal host Oregon on Saturday.

Boise State - The Broncos have streaks of 10 overall wins, 35 home wins, 65 regular season home wins, and 47 straight conference home victories. BSU joined the Mountain West this season. The Broncos were 40-0 in home conference games as a member of the WAC from 2001-2010. Boise State's last home loss to a conference foe occurred in 1998 when they were a member of the Big West and fell to Idaho in the final regular season game. The Broncos are 7-1 in their last eight matches with BCS conference schools. The Broncos host TCU on Saturday.

Oklahoma State - 10 straight wins overall. The Cowboys visit Texas Tech on Saturday.

LSU - 10 straight wins overall. The Tigers host Western Kentucky on Saturday.

Houston - 9 straight wins overall. The Cougars visit Tulane on Thursday.

TCU - 21 straight conference wins. The Horned Frogs visit Boise State on Saturday.

Virginia Tech - 11 straight road wins. The Hokies visit Georgia Tech on Thursday night.

New Mexico - 12 straight losses overall and 20 straight road losses. The Lobos host UNLV on Saturday.

FAU - 11 straight losses overall. The Owls of Boca Raton visit nearby rival FIU of Miami on Saturday.

Colorado - 21 straight road losses. The Buffaloes host Arizona on Saturday.

Mississippi - 12 straight conference losses. The Rebels host Louisiana Tech on Saturday.

LATEST COACHING CHANGES:
Joe Paterno was fired from Penn State on November 9th. The shocking development came 11 days after Paterno won an FBS record 409th division 1 football game, passing Eddie Robinson as the all-time wins leader. The move came in the wake of a hailstorm of revelations regarding former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual abuse of minors on the Penn State campus. Paterno was targeted for dismissal for admittedly not notifying police when he was told of a 2002 incident involving Sandusky and a minor, reportedly witnessed by Mike McQueary, currently a receivers coach who was a graduate assistant at the time. He instead referred the matter to PSU administrators. Defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was named interim head coach.

It was reported on November 7th that Houston Nutt was forced to resign from Mississippi, effective at the end of the year. The Rebels have lost 12 straight SEC games.

Tulane's Bob Toledo resigned on October 18th. Named offensive line coach Mark Hutson interim head coach. The Green Wave are 0-3 under Hutson.

Mike Stoops was fired from Arizona on October 10th. Named defensive coordinator Tim Kish as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The Wildcats are 1-2 under Kish.

Mike Locksley was fired from New Mexico on September 25th. Named defensive coordinator George Barlow as interim head coach for the remainder of the season. The Lobos are 0-5 under Barlow.

NEW COACHES:
At the start of the season, 24 FBS teams had a new head coach. Last season saw 23 new head coaches, only 8 of whom matched or exceeded the W-L record of their predecessors' final season.

Stanford is the only school with a new head coach that remains undefeated. Only 16 teams with a new head coach have defeated at least 1 school from a "Big 6" conference - Ball State, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Texas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Stanford, Temple, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

Two games this week pit new head coaches against each other as Hugh Freeze and Arkansas State host Mark Hudspeth and Louisiana-Lafayette, and Don Treadwell's Miami RedHawks visit Steve Addazio and the Temple Owls. Jon Embree and Colorado host Arizona, led by interim head coach Tim Kish who, as pointed out above, took over for Mike Stoops a month ago.

Here is how each of the new head coaches is faring this season:

Team Coach Game
Arkansas State Hugh Freeze (7-2) vs. La.-Lafayette
Ball State Pete Lembo (6-4) Idle
Colorado Jon Embree (1-9) vs. Arizona
Connecticut Paul Pasqualoni (4-5) Idle
Florida Will Muschamp (5-4) at South Carolina
Indiana Kevin Wilson (1-9) Idle
Kent State Darrell Hazell (3-6) at Akron
Louisiana-Lafayette Mark Hudspeth (8-2) at Arkansas State
Maryland Randy Edsall (2-7) vs. Notre Dame at Landover, Md.
Miami (Fla.) Al Golden (5-4) at Florida State
Miami (O.) Don Treadwell (4-5) at Temple (Wednesday)
Michigan Brady Hoke (7-2) at Illinois
Minnesota Jerry Kill (2-7) vs. Wisconsin
North Carolina Everett Withers (Interim) (6-4) Idle
North Texas Dan McCarney (3-6) at Troy
Northern Illinois Dave Doeren (6-3) at Bowling Green (Tuesday)
Ohio State Luke Fickell (Interim) (6-3) at Purdue
Pittsburgh Todd Graham (4-5) at Louisville
San Diego St. Rocky Long (5-3) at Colorado State
Stanford David Shaw (9-0) vs. Oregon
Temple Steve Addazio (5-4) vs. Miami (O.)
Tulsa Bill Blankenship (6-3) vs. Marshall
Vanderbilt James Franklin (4-5) vs. Kentucky
West Virginia Dana Holgorsen (6-3) at Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium


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