The Week 11 college football roundup. The 5 things that matter, winners and losers, overrated and underrated, and what it all means.
College Football Week 11 Roundup
CFN 1-130 Rankings | Bowl Projections
Early Week 12 Line Lookahead
Rankings: AP | USA Today Coaches | FWAA
– Chad Morris fired: 5 possible options
– Predicting Second CFP Rankings
– Predicting every remaining game, conference race
Quick Thoughts: Big Ten | Big 12 | SEC
– 10 Quick Thoughts On LSU 46, Alabama 41
5. Winners & Losers From Week 11
Winner: Ohio State’s defense
The offense might be hanging up ridiculous numbers, but the defense – with or without Chase Young – has been more impressive. The Buckeyes lead the nation in total defense, allowing just 215 yards per game. To put this into perspective, Wisconsin is second, giving up 231 a game. No defense since 2011 Alabama has finished a season allowing fewer than 250 yards per game.
Loser: Missouri’s offense
This got bad, fast. QB Kelly Bryant has been less than 100%, and he was out in the loss to Georgia. Now, the Mizzou offense that came up with 400 yards or more in five of its first six games hasn’t hit the 300-yard mark in any of its last three.
Getting stuffed and shutout by Georgia is one thing, but the Tigers have scored a total of 21 points over the last three weeks playing Vanderbilt and Kentucky before going to Athens. However, they’re 5-0 at home, 0-4 on the road, and they host Florida this weekend.
Well would you look at that. Tennessee, after starting 1-4 with losses at home to Georgia State and BYU along the way, has ripped off wins in four of its last five games to get to 5-5. And now, after all the pain, and all the suffering, it just has to win one of its last two games at Missouri or at home against Vanderbilt to go bowling. As a warning, thought, the Vols were 5-5 last year before playing Mizzou and Vandy, too, and were outscored 88-30 in the two losses.
Kentucky is keeping it all together with Scotch tape and bubble gum, but the lack of offensive punch has now become a problem. It had its shot late in the 17-13 loss to Tennessee, but couldn’t get into the end zone. Now, after failing to score 14 points in four of its last six games, it has two win two of its last three to go bowling. At Vanderbilt, UT Martin, Louisville – beat the Commodores, or else.
And they did it with room to spare. Not three weeks ago, the Illini were done. The Lovie Smith era was a disaster, there was no hope for anything positive, and the idea of going to a bowl game for the first time since 2014 and the second time since 2011 seemed ridiculous. And then it beat Wisconsin, rolled by Purdue and Rutgers, and last week, took down Michigan State on the road to get to six wins with two games to go. It also helped that …
Loser: Michigan State collapsed
There was the 12-men on the field debacle in the 10-7 loss to Arizona State. There was the blowout loss at Ohio State. There were the losses to Wisconsin and Penn State by a combined score of 66-7. There was the suspension of heart-and-soul LB Joe Bachie to a PED test.
But everything was back on track with a 31-10 lead against Illinois going into the fourth quarter, and then … it was the biggest comeback win in Illini history. Now MSU has lost four straight and has to win two of its last three against at Michigan, at Rutgers, and Maryland to get bowl eligible.
Winner: Florida program bowl projections
USF is the one team probably out of the hunt – needing to win two of the last three games against Cincinnati, Memphis and at UCF to get to six wins – and FIU has to win one of its last two games against Miami or Marshall, but everyone else in the Sunshine State will get a vacation.
UCF became bowl eligible a few weeks ago, and so did Florida. Florida Atlantic is all but locked in with seven wins. After a win over Louisville, Miami is set, and now … Florida State is there. After the win at Boston College – despite the loss of head coach Willie Taggart – all the Noles have to do is beat Alabama State and it gets to start a new bowl streak.
Loser: The Pac-12 bowl projections
The Pac-12 needs some crazy things to happen in a hurry to get more teams bowl eligible. Arizona, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington State and UCLA are all 4-5 and need to win two of their last three games. Arizona State is no lock, needing to win just one more with at Oregon State, Oregon, and Arizona to go, and 4-6 Colorado has to beat both Washington and Utah. Cal is 5-4, and it has to win one of its last three against USC, at Stanford and at UCLA.
Winner: SMU 59, East Carolina 51
1,280 yards of total offense. 912 yards of passing. Just four penalties, one turnover each, and a finish that went down to the wire. Both teams are incapable lately of playing uninteresting games.
There was some thought that UCF was going to rip through the rest of its schedule, catch a big break, and get right back to a New Year’s Six bowl game. And then the O came to a complete stop with just three points in the second half of the 34-31 loss to Tulsa.