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November 11, 2010

Primer: Plenty on the line in Week 11

Week 11 doesn't have any epic showdowns, but that certainly doesn't mean it's a bad week.

The SEC East title will be decided when South Carolina visits Florida. Auburn can clinch the SEC West if it beats Georgia. Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State can stay tied atop the Big Ten with Michigan State (which is idle) is they win this week. Oklahoma State travels to reeling Texas trying to stay on top of the Big 12 South standings. There are numerous games in the ACC that will impact the division races. Oregon travels to play California, which is unbeaten at home this season. Boise State and TCU bid to remain unbeaten.

All in all, then, it should be a fun weekend.

Here's a look at each game involving a FBS team.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

Pittsburgh (5-3) at Connecticut (4-4), 7:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Every team in the Big East is pulling for UConn to hand Pitt its first league loss. UConn is 4-0 at home and 0-4 on the road. UConn's hopes for a victory depend on how well the Huskies can run the ball. Pitt leads the Big East in rush defense, allowing just 93.8 yards per game.
THE LINE: Pitt by 5.5. THE PICK: Pitt 30-21

East Carolina (5-4) at UAB (3-6), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: UAB followed up a nice win over Southern Miss with a bad loss to Marshall and now must win out to become bowl-eligible. ECU has scored at least 35 points in five consecutive C-USA games.
THE LINE: UAB by 2. THE PICK: East Carolina 44-35

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Ball State (3-7) at Buffalo (2-7), 6 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: A Friday night game between two MAC also-rans? That's not must-see TV. These were the participants in the 2008 MAC title game, but each has tumbled a long way since then.
THE LINE: Buffalo by 3. THE PICK: Buffalo 24-19

Boise State (8-0) at Idaho (4-5), 9 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: Idaho gave up 844 total yards to Nevada last week. Yikes. Boise State has won 22 in a row overall and 11 in a row against its in-state neighbor.
THE LINE: Boise State by 34.5. THE PICK: Boise State 59-21

SATURDAY'S GAMES

Iowa (7-2) at Northwestern (6-3), noon, ESPN
THE BUZZ: Iowa was lucky to come away with a win at Indiana last week and plays host to Ohio State next week. Thus, the Hawkeyes better beware of the Wildcats. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz got his 100th career victory last week.
THE LINE: Iowa by 10. THE PICK: Iowa 28-23

Indiana (4-5) at Wisconsin (8-1), noon, ESPN2
THE BUZZ: The Badgers, who are looking good for a BCS bid, have won 11 of the past 13 in the series. In its past four meetings with Indiana, Wisconsin has averaged 305.8 rushing yards per game.
THE LINE: Wisconsin by 21.5. THE PICK: Wisconsin 44-20

Michigan (6-3) at Purdue (4-5), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: The Wolverines lead the series 41-14, but Purdue has won the past two. Michigan is looking for its 300th November win in school history; Rich Rodriguez has just two of those victories.
THE LINE: Michigan by 13. THE PICK: Michigan 41-27

Minnesota (1-9) at Illinois (5-4), noon, Big Ten Network
THE BUZZ: The Golden Gophers have lost nine in a row, and each of the past five losses has been by double-digits. Illinois, which needs one more win to become bowl-eligible, has scored 152 points in its past three games.
THE LINE: Illinois by 21. THE PICK: Illinois 45-17

Southern Miss (6-3) at UCF (7-2), noon, CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: UCF is in great shape to win the C-USA East title; indeed, if East Carolina loses Thursday, a win in this one clinches the division for UCF. If ECU wins, this is a must-win situation for Southern Miss if it wants to stay alive in the title chase. UCF is 7-2 for the first time since 1998, which was Daunte Culpepper's senior season with the Knights.
THE LINE: UCF by 10. THE PICK: UCF 37-31

Miami (6-3) at Georgia Tech (5-4), noon, ACC syndication/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Tech has lost QB Joshua Nesbitt for the season with a broken arm, putting the onus on sophomore Tevin Washington to produce. Miami could be without starting QB Jacory Harris (concussion), but freshman Stephen Morris led the Hurricanes to a last-minute win over Maryland last week. UM's rushing defense has been spotty, and that has to worry coach Randy Shannon.
THE LINE: Miami by 3. THE PICK: Georgia Tech 24-20

Ole Miss (4-5) at Tennessee (3-6), noon, CBS
THE BUZZ: If Tennessee wins this, the Vols actually might have a shot at a bowl bid, as they finish out the season against Vanderbilt and Kentucky (they've won 24 in a row over the Wildcats). Tennessee is 24-5 all-time against the Rebels in Knoxville.
THE LINE: Tennessee by 1.5. THE PICK: Ole Miss 31-27

USF (5-3) at Louisville (5-4), noon, ESPNU
THE BUZZ: The home team has won all seven games in this series. USF is 5-0 when it has scored more than 14 points this season. Louisville upset Syracuse last week despite playing without QB Adam Froman and TB Bilal Powell, both of whom were injured. But the Cardinals don't want to push their luck in that regard, especially regarding Powell.
THE LINE: Louisville by 2.5. THE PICK: Louisville 21-20

Cincinnati (3-5) at West Virginia (5-3), noon, Big East syndication/SportsNet New York/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: WVU has lost two in a row, mostly because its offense is struggling. The Mountaineers are the only team in the nation not to have allowed at least 21 points in a game, while Cincy is 0-5 this season when scoring less than 30.
THE LINE: WVU by 6. THE PICK: WVU 31-20

Boston College (4-5) at Duke (3-6), noon
THE BUZZ: Duke all of a sudden has come to life, winning two in a row. BC has a legit chance for a bowl bid, and needs to beat Duke to make that happen. This is BC's first-ever game in Durham.
THE LINE: BC by 3.5. THE PICK: BC 30-24

Vanderbilt (2-7) at Kentucky (5-5), 12:20 p.m., SEC syndication/MSG network/Comcast SportsNet California/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: UK has won seven of the past nine in the series, and a victory in this one makes the Wildcats bowl-eligible. Vandy's offense is atrocious, and the Commodores are down to their third-string tailback. Vandy has been outscored 104-28 in the past two games.
THE LINE: Kentucky by 14.5. THE PICK: Kentucky 37-16

Kansas State (6-3) at Missouri (7-2), 12:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: Mizzou has lost two in a row and needs to bounce back or risk falling further down the Big 12 bowl pecking order. K-State dominated Texas with its ground game last week, and will look to do the same to Mizzou.
THE LINE: Missouri by 12.5. THE PICK: Missouri 27-17

Iowa State (5-5) at Colorado (3-6), 1:30 p.m., Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: The Dan Hawkins era officially is over at Colorado, and the Buffs will be playing their first game under interim coach Brian Cabral, who had been linebacker coach. Iowa State needs one more win to become bowl-eligible, and the Cyclones don't want it to come down to their regular-season finale against Missouri.
THE LINE: Iowa State by 2.5. THE PICK: Iowa State 31-20

BYU (4-5) at Colorado State (3-7), 2 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: BYU has won six in a row in the series. Overall, BYU has won 14 in a row in games decided by eight or fewer points.
THE LINE: BYU by 6.5. THE PICK: BYU 30-14

Wake Forest (2-7) at N.C. State (6-3), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: This is the 104th meeting between these in-state rivals. NCSU still is in the running for the ACC Atlantic Division title and certainly can't afford a loss to a Wake team that has been horrible defensively. But Wake has won four of the past five in the series.
THE LINE: N.C. State by 18.5. THE PICK: NC State 45-23

Army (5-4) at Kent State (4-5), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Army finishes up with Notre Dame and Navy, so it might want to win this one to lock up bowl eligibility. Kent State has held seven of its nine opponents to under 100 rushing yards; if the Golden Flashes do that against Army's triple-option, they will win.
THE LINE: Pick 'em. THE PICK: Army 27-24

Eastern Michigan (1-8) at Western Michigan (3-6), 2 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Western has won 15 of the past 18 meetings in the series. Western leads the MAC in passing offense, and Eastern has allowed 24 TD passes and has just two picks.
THE LINE: Western Michigan by 18.5. THE PICK: Western Michigan 41-21

Utah (8-1) at Notre Dame (4-5), 2:30 p.m., NBC
THE BUZZ: In its most recent home game, the Irish lost to a Conference USA member; in this one, they're underdogs to a Mountain West Conference team. This is the first-ever meeting between the schools, and the psyche for each can be questioned.
THE LINE: Utah by 6. THE PICK: Utah 34-24

Memphis (1-8) at Marshall (3-6), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The Herd have a two-game winning streak and should be able to increase it to three against a Memphis team that ranks 119th nationally in both scoring offense and scoring defense.
THE LINE: Marshall by 17. THE PICK: Marshall 43-17

Western Kentucky (1-8) at Arkansas State (4-5), 3 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Arkansas State has a legitimate shot at a bowl bid if it can get to 6-6, and beating Western would get the Red Wolves one step closer. Arkansas State forced seven turnovers in beating Middle Tennessee last week.
THE LINE: Arkansas State by 12. THE PICK: Arkansas State 41-26

Penn State (6-3) at Ohio State (8-1), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Buckeyes, who were off last week, begin a difficult final regular-season stretch; they are at Iowa next week and finish up with a home game against archrival Michigan. Buckeyes coach Jim Tressel is 6-3 against Penn State.
THE LINE: Ohio State by 18. THE PICK: Ohio State 33-17

Georgia (5-5) at Auburn (10-0), 3:30 p.m., CBS
THE BUZZ: This is the 114th meeting in the Deep South's most-played rivalry. Get this: Through 113 games, the teams are separated by just 56 points (Georgia 1,778, Auburn 1,722). Georgia has won on five of its past seven trips to "The Loveliest Village on the Plains." Meanwhile, everyone in that Village is on pins and needles waiting to hear the next report concerning Cameron Newton.
THE LINE: Auburn by 8.5. THE PICK: Auburn 38-27

Syracuse (6-3) at Rutgers (4-4), 3:30 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Syracuse already has won four road games for the first time since 1996; the Orange are one of just nine FBS teams with four road wins this season. Syracuse is 10th nationally in total defense and Rutgers' offense really is struggling. But the Scarlet Knights have played well on special teams and on defense.
THE LINE: Syracuse by 3. THE PICK: Syracuse 23-17

Virginia Tech (7-2) at North Carolina (6-3), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN
THE BUZZ: The Tar Heels pulled an upset last week, winning at Florida State to remain alive in the ACC Coastal Division chase. They must beat the Hokies to stay in the race. UNC's victory last season in Blacksburg snapped Tech's five-game winning streak in the series.
THE LINE: Virginia Tech by 3.5. THE PICK: Virginia Tech 27-20

Texas Tech (5-4) at Oklahoma (7-2), 3:30 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Sooners didn't play well on either side of the ball in losing at Texas A&M last week, and they need to rebound quickly to remain in the hunt for the Big 12 South title. Tech's pass defense has been sieve-like, which should mean a big day for OU QB Landry Jones and WR Ryan Broyles.
THE LINE: Oklahoma by 14.5. THE PICK: Oklahoma 40-24

Central Michigan (4-7) at Navy (6-3), 3:30 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: With a victory, Navy would lock up its eighth consecutive winning season; that would be the program's longest such streak since 1952-61, when the Midshipmen enjoyed 10 consecutive winning seasons.
THE LINE: Navy by 15. THE PICK: Navy 44-24

Florida International (3-5) at Troy (5-3), 3:30 p.m., Sun Belt syndication/Comcast-Charter Sports Southeast/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is for first place in the Sun Belt. Troy leads the series 6-0 and has its eye on its fifth consecutive league crown.
THE LINE: Troy by 8.5. THE PICK: Troy 31-27

Maryland (6-3) at Virginia (4-5), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: The Terps remain alive in the ACC Atlantic Division race, while the Cavaliers must win out to become bowl-eligible (they have two wins over FCS programs, meaning they need to get to seven overall to go to a bowl). Virginia has won 14 of the past 18 in the series.
THE LINE: Maryland by 1.5. THE PICK: Maryland 27-21

Rice (2-7) at Tulane (3-6), 3:30 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Don't expect a defensive struggle. Rice has surrendered at least 30 points in every game this season, and the Owls have allowed 105 in their past two games. Tulane has given up 77 in its past two games.
THE LINE: Tulane by 4. THE PICK: Tulane 35-27

San Diego State (7-2) at TCU (10-0), 4 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: The Horned Frogs have won all five meetings in the series. TCU has a 23-game regular-season winning streak. The Aztecs have scored at least 21 points in 10 consecutive games, their longest such streak since 1991, but TCU has allowed 23 total points in its past six games.
THE LINE: TCU by 26.5. THE PICK: TCU 38-10

North Texas (2-7) at Middle Tennessee (3-5), 4:30 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This season has been hugely disappointing for MTSU, but the Blue Raiders still have a legit opportunity for a bowl bid, assuming they win this. One reason MTSU is struggling is that is has committed a nation's-leading 28 turnovers.
THE LINE: MTSU by 10.5. THE PICK: MTSU 33-24

Washington State (1-9) at Oregon State (4-4), 4:30 p.m., Fox Sports Net Northwest
THE BUZZ: This is the 95th meeting in a series that dates to 1903. Oregon State has won seven of the past 10 meetings. Despite its record, Oregon State takes good care of the ball: The Beavers have lost just 12 turnovers in their past 20 games.
THE LINE: Oregon State by 23.5. THE PICK: Oregon State 38-16

New Mexico (1-8) at Air Force (6-4), 6 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: The Lobos are coming in off their first victory of the season, but Air Force has won five of the past six in the series. New Mexico's rush defense is horrendous, ranking last in the nation, and Air Force's triple-option attack could have a huge day.
THE LINE: Air Force by 32. THE PICK: Air Force 52-17

Louisiana Tech (3-6) at New Mexico State (2-7), 6 p.m., Altitude2/Mid-Atlantic Sports Network/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Bulldogs have lost 10 in a row on the road. Their last road win came in 2008 -- at New Mexico State.
THE LINE: Louisiana Tech by 16. THE PICK: Louisiana Tech 44-20

Texas A&M (6-3) at Baylor (7-3), 7 p.m., Fox Sports Net
THE BUZZ: A big one in the Big 12 South, as A&M remains in the hunt for the crown with a win. Baylor's defense was shredded in last week's loss to Oklahoma State, and A&M's offense has regained its stride after coach Mike Sherman inserted Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. A&M hammered the Bears by 35 last season.
THE LINE: A&M by 3. THE PICK: A&M 41-35

UTEP (6-4) at Arkansas (7-2), 7 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Arkansas has allowed just three second-half points in the past two games. A sellout crowd of 72,000 is expected, and UTEP is 0-22 all-time when playing in front of crowds of at least 55,000. UTEP is 0-6 all-time in SEC stadiums and has scored just six TDs in those games.
THE LINE: Arkansas by 28.5. THE PICK: Arkansas 41-10

Louisiana-Monroe (4-5) at LSU (8-1), 7 p.m., ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: This is just the second meeting all-time between the schools, which are about 150 miles apart. LSU is 33-0 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt Conference. This is ULM's third SEC West opponent of the season; it already has lost to Arkansas and Auburn.
THE LINE: LSU by 32.5. THE PICK: LSU 35-7

Kansas (3-6) at Nebraska (8-1), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Nebraska owns KU, holding a 90-23-2 series lead. The Huskers expect starting QB Taylor Martinez to be back in the lineup. Kansas has been bad against the run, which means the Huskers should be able to run wild. This is KU coach Turner Gill's first game against his alma mater.
THE LINE: Nebraska by 35. THE PICK: Nebraska 56-17

Louisiana-Lafayette (2-7) at Florida Atlantic (3-5), 7 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Since the start of the 2008 season, the Cajuns are 12-2 when allowing 30 or fewer points and 2-17 when allowing at least 31. FAU has won two in a row and has its sights set on a top-four finish in the Sun Belt.
THE LINE: FAU by 8.5. THE PICK: FAU 38-24

South Carolina (6-3) at Florida (6-3), 7:15 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: This is for the SEC East title. Florida leads the series 23-4-3, and the Gators are looking to finish 5-0 against division foes for the third season in a row and for the 11th time since the SEC expanded in 1992. The Gators are going for their 12th SEC East title, the Gamecocks their first.
THE LINE: Florida by 6.5. THE PICK: South Carolina 20-17

Mississippi State (7-2) at Alabama (7-2), 7:15 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This will be the 94th meeting in the series -- the campuses are just 75 miles apart -- and the Tide leads 73-18-3, including 39-9-1 in Tuscaloosa. The Tide is coming off a loss to LSU that knocked them out of the running for the national title and also for the SEC West crown.
THE LINE: Alabama by 13.5. THE PICK: Alabama 23-14

Oregon (9-0) at California (5-4), 7:30 p.m., Versus
THE BUZZ: Cal is 4-0 at home and has played much better in Berkeley than on the road. Oregon has outscored opponents 215-48 in the second half and has allowed just seven fourth-quarter points.
THE LINE: Oregon by 20. THE PICK: Oregon 58-28

Stanford (8-1) at Arizona State (4-5), 7:30 p.m., Fox Sports Arizona/Fox College Sports
THE BUZZ: Stanford has scored at least 30 points in each game this season, the longest such streak in school history. Stanford has outscored foes 226-71 in the first half and hasn't trailed at halftime this season. Arizona State has to win to become bowl-eligible; the Sun Devils have two FCS victories, meaning they need to get to seven to be eligible for a bowl bid.
THE LINE: Stanford by 5.5. THE PICK: Stanford 40-28

USC (6-3) at Arizona (7-2), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: The Trojans lead the series 26-7, and Arizona's victory last season snapped USC's seven-game winning streak in the series. USC beat Arizona State last week and now goes for the sweep of the Pac-10's Arizona schools. This is the last Saturday game of the season for Arizona, which has a Friday game and a Thursday game left on the schedule.
THE LINE: Arizona by 4. THE PICK: Arizona 37-31

Clemson (5-4) at Florida State (6-3), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: A big one in the ACC Atlantic Division race, as Clemson faces a must-win situation to remain alive in the chase. Clemson has won five of the past seven in the series. FSU -- which has lost back-to-back games overall -- might be without starting QB Christian Ponder, who had a surgical procedure Monday to drain fluid from his right (throwing) elbow.
THE LINE: Florida State by 7. THE PICK: Florida State 24-20

Oklahoma State (8-1) at Texas (4-5), 8 p.m., ABC regional/ESPN GamePlan
THE BUZZ: Texas has lost five of its past six, and a dispirited bunch now has to face a high-powered Oklahoma State offense. The Cowboys are in the driver's seat in the Big 12 South, but they are 2-22 against Texas all-time. Oklahoma State QB Brandon Weeden has 26 TD passes and nine picks; Texas QB Garrett Gilbert has seven TD passes and 14 picks.
THE LINE: Oklahoma State by 5.5. THE PICK: Oklahoma State 34-24

Tulsa (6-3) at Houston (5-4), 8 p.m., CBS College Sports
THE BUZZ: Houston would take a big step toward winning the C-USA West title with a victory. Houston already has a victory over SMU, which beat Tulsa. The Cougars are 4-1 against Tulsa in league games. Tulsa has averaged 48.0 points in its past three games.
THE LINE: Houston by 2.5. THE PICK: Tulsa 40-35

Utah State (3-6) at San Jose State (1-8), 8 p.m.
THE BUZZ: Let's hope the hounds know the way to San Jose because this is the dog of the week. Utah State has lost four in a row on the road, while SJSU has lost six in a row overall.
THE LINE: Utah State by 4. THE PICK: Utah State 28-16

Wyoming (2-8) at UNLV (1-8), 10 p.m., The mtn.
THE BUZZ: If you're having trouble falling asleep Saturday night, chances are tuning into this one will work as well as a sleeping pill. Wyoming is 117th in the nation in total offense, and UNLV is 119th.
THE LINE: Wyoming by 5. THE PICK: Wyoming 28-20

Nevada (8-1) at Fresno State (6-2), 10:30 p.m., ESPN
THE BUZZ: Both these teams have one WAC loss, meaning they're still alive in the title race. A loss, though, and those hopes are gone. Nevada's pass defense is shaky, so a big game from Fresno State QB Ryan Colburn would make this interesting.
THE LINE: Nevada by 8.5. THE PICK: Nevada 45-34

TUESDAY'S GAME

Ohio (7-3) at Temple (8-2), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This week, a Tuesday night game basically decided the MAC West title when Northern Illinois beat Toledo. This Tuesday night game basically will decide the MAC East title. Ohio beat Temple for the division crown last season; can the Owls return the favor this season?
THE LINE: Temple by 7.5. THE PICK: Temple 27-24

WEDNESDAY'S GAME

Miami of Ohio (6-4) at Akron (0-10), 6 p.m., ESPNU
THE BUZZ: Miami won just once last season, but a victory over the woeful Zips would clinch bowl eligibility this season. RedHawks QB Zac Dysert should have a big night against the Zips.
THE LINE: Miami by 9.5. THE PICK: Miami 38-16 Bowling Green (2-8) at Toledo (6-4), 8 p.m., ESPN2
THE BUZZ: This is the second consecutive mid-week game for both, as Toledo played Tuesday and Bowling Green on Wednesday. Despite its loss to Northern Illinois on Tuesday, Toledo still is looking good for an 8-4 finish and a bowl bid.
THE LINE: Toledo by 10.5. THE PICK: Toledo 41-17

LAST WEEK

37-18 straight up, 29-23 against the spread.

YEAR TO DATE

447-141 straight up, 237-253-9 ATS (games involving FCS schools don't have a spread).

Mike Huguenin is the college sports editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at mhuguenin@rivals.com.



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