College Football Week 11 – Preview

College Football Week 11 – Preview
Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Week 11 of College Football may not have the marque match-ups of last week. But there are still some very intriguing and season-defining games ahead.

TCU (4) @ Texas (18)

Image Credit: 247Sports

This battle for the state of Texas, should be an intriguing affair. Can the upstart TCU overcome the powerhouse Texas?

TCU has had an amazing season so far. Specialising in come-from-behind wins (in 6 of their wins they have trailed at some stage). As well as being spectacular on offence, currently ranked 4th  in both yards per game, and points per game.

The main spark behind their offence has been senior QB, Max Duggan. He was largely unknown outside the Big 12 and 2nd string QB before the season started. He has now played himself into Heisman contention. A great attribute it that he never knows when he is beaten and loves the long bomb. As shown by his 2407 yards and 24 TDs. Alongside his ranking of 2nd in yards per attempt amongst all QBs. His main target is WR Quentin Johnston who size 6’4″ and his speed has grabbed the attention of NFL scouts. The Horned Frogs are equally impressive on the ground. RB Kendre Miller is fast and elusive and already is over the 1,000-yard mark on the season. 

The defence has been very much ‘bend but don’t break’ and relies on the offence to outscore opponents. A typical Big 12 defensive philosophy. They have conceded over 30 points to mediocre offences such as SMU and W Virginia. Not to mention to Kansas and Oklahoma State. Look out for LB Dee Winters who leads the team with 6.5 sacks.

Texas has been inconsistent. Great in a very close loss to Alabama and thrashing Oklahoma. Yet somehow disappointing in losses to Oklahoma State and Texas Tech. As well as failing to impress against Iowa State. They could still win the Big 12 with an unbeaten finish. Although this seems unlikely with Baylor and Kansas still to come. They will though want to show TCU who is best, in the state of Texas. 

Image Credit: USA Today

Much of their inconsistency can be put down to QB Freshman Quinn Ewers. He looked the real deal in wins over Oklahoma and Iowa State, but threw 3 INTS v Oklahoma State. Ewers is extremely good at avoiding sacks, having been caught only twice. He has also spent some time on the sideline injured, which has hindered his development. Running the ball the Longhorns have one of the best in the whole of college football in RB Bijan Robinson. Whose 1,129 yards is ranked 5th in the country. He is a big powerful back, who can through defenders, and has the speed to run past them. 

The defence, as in past seasons, has been the weakest part of the team. Their best players being LB’s Jaylan Ford and DeMavion Overshown.

TCU hasn’t always had the respect or recognition from the playoff committee. They will want to prove a point as well as confirm a place in the Big-12 title game. Texas will be keen to put their inconsistencies behind them and show they have the most talented players in the state of Texas. Much will depend upon Ewers and Robinson, maintaining top form in a high-scoring game. Particularly fascinating is that Texas have a habit of jumping out to early leads. While TCU is known for its late comebacks.   

Texas by 4

UCF (22) @ Tulane

Image Credit: 247Sports

This game will go a long way to defining the 2 teams in the AAC title game. And even the Power of 5 representatives in the New Year’s 6 Bowl.

UCF came into the game one loss behind Tulane in the AAC conference. But, a win would give them the tie-break advantage and put them point them in pole position. Especially as they have beaten the conference’s other one-loss team – Cincinnati.

Their star on offence has been dual-threat QB John Rhys Plumlee. Who has thrown for 1,883 yards and also leads the team in rushing with 532 yards. His one downfall has been a tendency to throw INTs, so far 6 on the season. However, he suffered a concussion two weeks ago in the match v Cincinnati. His replacement Mikey Keene has done a good job filling in. But is much more of a pure pocket passer, which may impact the Knights’ balance of attack. They may have to turn to their two very good RBs Isaiah Bowser and R J Harvey. Who between them form one of the best dual combinations in the country. 

The defence began the season in fine form, limiting opponents to an average of below 15 points a game. But, recently cracks have started to show, they gave up 34 points to an average E Carolina team. 

Tulane has had an outstanding season, with the best turnaround of any team after going 2-10 last year. Their only loss was by 3 points to S. Mississippi, and their wins include Kansas State and E Carolina (who beat UCF).  Their high-powered offence is led by little-known QB Michael Pratt who has thrown for 1,843 yards to a whole array of receivers. The main rushing threat comes from RB Tyjae Spears who has 745 yards.

The Green Wave owe a lot of their improvement to their defence. Which is currently ranked No 11 in scoring defence, and has one of the best secondaries in the country led by impressive safeties Larry Brooks and Macon Clark. Who have 4 INTs between them.

UCF’s style of offence will be dictated by John Rhys Plumlee’s fitness. Assuming he plays, the Knights’ offence will be too strong, and put a dampener on the Green Wave season.

 UCF by 7

Nebraska @ Michigan (3)

Image Credit: Michigan Wire

Nebraska has been on a long-term decline since their glory days of the 90s when they won 3 national titles. They have developed an unfortunate habit of losing a close game. Which cost head coach Scott Frost his job after their 1-2 start. There were signs of improvement, as new coach Mickey Joseph won 2 of his first 3 games. But they are currently on a 4-game losing streak. And are already eliminated from any conference title game, even in the mediocre Big 10 West.

To make matters worse starting QB Casey Thompson is out with an injured arm. Backup Chubba Purdy has looked shaky, and as a team, they have more INTs than passing TDs. Their defence doesn’t fare any better. They are near the bottom in several rushing defence categories, which is the very strength of Michigan.

Michigan have continued their fine form from last year, they are the reigning Big 10 champions, and base their brand of winning on good old smash-in-the-mouth football, featuring a powerful running game and an overwhelming defence.

The star of the offence is RB Blake Corum, who has 1,187 yards which is 5th best in the nation and 16 TDs which is the best. His form has been so good, he is now mentioned in Heisman talk, but unlikely to win given the prominence placed on QBs. Corum also has a very capable change-of-pace backup in Donovan Edwards who would be a starter on most teams. QB J J McCarthy is a solid if not spectacular game manager and most importantly a winner.

The Wolverine’s defence has been dominating college football, only once allowing more than 17 points in a game, the front 7 have been particularly good with 29 total team sacks and they feature two of the best interior linemen Mazi Smith and Kris Jenkins. But, they have so much talent they can substitute without any loss in performance and get better as games go on.  

Michigan will surely win this game with some ease, with their impressive rushing game, and overwhelming defence, but they are not the sort of team to rack up a huge victory margin and the Cornhuskers aren’t quitters. 

Michigan by 24

Thanks to Andy Normile for producing the College Football Week 11 preview. We are thrilled to have him on board and you can see more of his work here in the Future!

If you want to know where to watch College Football action this weekend you can check out our College Football TV Guide here

Image Credit: Michigan Daily

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