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Alabama, Clemson face ‘tests’ from ranked opponents in Week 11

Just kidding, they’re both gonna win by a hundred.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Well, Buckeye fans, the college football Saturday gets started early for us again this week, as our No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-1, 5-1) will travel north to the state that will not be named to face off with the No. 18 Michigan State Spartans (6-3, 4-2) in a noon ET kickoff. The game will be broadcast on FOX, and is one of only a very few number of games of interest in Week 11.

The schedule is “highlighted” by a pair of contests that look like they should be exciting, but will instead likely instill an added sense of existential dread in the minds of any college football fan outside of Tuscaloosa or Clemson. Of course, in saying that, I realize that both ‘Bama and Clemson will now inevitably end up going down to the wire, which I will have no problem with, but I just don’t see that happening.

Either way, let’s check out some of the games worth watching in a thin slate of marquee matchups this college football Saturday.

Let’s checkout the other major games that you should be keeping your eyes on today:

Early Window

Navy at No. 12 UCF | 12 noon ET | ESPN2

The defending national champion Knights will play host to the Midshipmen in a battle of contrasting styles. We understand that with Ohio State, in what will likely be a grueling battle against Sparty in this window, you probably won’t be looking for another game to watch, but if you are, this one could be fun.

UCF is currently ranked third nationally in total offense, putting up 548.8 yards per game, while Navy is ranked 102nd in the country, allowing 441.4. That’s not good for Ken Niumatalolo’s squad.

The differences between the two teams will also be evident in how deliberate they are on offense. UCF has the fourth lowest time of possession in the FBS with just 26:02.88 per game. Conversely, Navy is sixth best, holding onto the ball for 34:11.78 per contest thanks to their vaunted triple-option attack.

The Knights are likely going to pick up their 22nd straight win today, but it could be a compelling watch on a second screen.

Wisconsin at No. 20 Penn State | 12 noon ET | ABC

Again, with the Buckeyes playing at the same time, you will likely be occupied watching that one, but with your free eye, you could do worse that keeping it on this one, as a loss by the Badgers (6-3, 4-2) will effectively end their chance at a Big Ten Championship appearance. Penn State (6-3, 3-3) has already likely been eliminated from B1G contention.

Afternoon Window

No. 16 Mississippi State at No. 1 Alabama | 3:30 p.m. ET | CBS

Look, I understand that S&P+ has the Bulldogs ranked 11th, and they are the third best SEC team in those rankings behind ‘Bama and UGA — 11 spots ahead of LSU and 16 spots ahead of Florida, both of whom are ranked ahead of Miss. St. in the College Football Playoff rankings.

But, with all due respect to first-year head coach Joe Moorhead, I just can’t imagine this one being close. Let’s look at the stats:

Alabama is ranked first nationally in scoring offense with 51.3 points per game. Mississippi State is ranked 66th with 29.1. That is quite the scoring advantage for the Crimson Tide.

Now, admittedly, Mississippi State is currently second in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 12.3 points per game. But, their advantage is pretty thin in that department, as Alabama is ranked seventh nationally in that category, giving up just 14.1 points.

S&P+ suggests that this will be a nearly four-touchdown victory for ‘Bama as they continue their march to college football and, eventually, world domination.

Northwestern at. No. 21 Iowa | 3:30 p.m. ET | FOX

Since that game likely won’t be all that close after the first quarter, why don’t you stick on FOX after the Buckeye game, and check out this Big Ten West contest. The Hawkeyes are the only B1G West team ranked in the latest edition of the CFP rankings, despite the fact that they currently sit in fourth place in the division.

At this point, it would take a ton of chaos for the Hawkeyes to find themselves playing for the conference crown in Indianapolis come the first of December. However, Northwestern (5-4, 5-1) doesn’t need any help to eventually take on the East division champ. All the Wildcats have to do is take care of business.

As the only West team with a single conference loss, if Pat Fitzgerald’s team can beat Iowa (6-3, 3-3) today, they will have a pretty easy route to the title game, with only games against Minnesota (4-5, 1-5) and Illinois (4-5, 2-5) remaining.

So, while they wouldn’t be able to officially punch their ticket to Indy with a win this afternoon, if NU does beat Iowa, things will look pretty good for them to take on the Buckeyes or Wolverines for the B1G title.

Evening Window

No. 2 Clemson at No. 17 Boston College | 8 p.m. ET | ABC

Remember what I wrote about the Mississippi State and Alabama game above? Yea, ditto here. This game is a contest in ranking only. Two weeks ago, the Tigers made easy work of another alleged conference challenger when they pummeled NC State, 41-7. And, the S&P+ rankings have BC and NC State ranked pretty darn close — 38th and 40th respectively — so, if you are expecting more of a fight from the Eagles than you saw from the Wolfpack, don’t hold your breath.

However, this is college football, and this is Clemson. So, since there’s not a lot of other compelling CFB action tonight, it will be worth checking out... just in case BC goes all Flutie on Dabo.

Check Saturday’s full slate of games here:

Week 11 Saturday Schedule

Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (ET) TV Streaming
#10 Ohio State at Michigan State 12:00 PM FOX
South Carolina at #11 Florida 12:00 PM ESPN
Navy at #12 UCF 12:00 PM ESPN2
TCU at #13 West Virginia 12:00 PM FS1
Wisconsin at #14 Penn State 12:00 PM ABC
Ole Miss at #20 Texas A&M 12:00 PM CBS
Akron at Eastern Michigan 12:00 PM ESPN3
Tulsa at Memphis 12:00 PM ESPNU
SMU at UConn 12:00 PM ESPN3
Kansas at Kansas State 12:00 PM Fox Sports Net
BYU at UMass 12:00 PM Eleven/NESN
Lafayette at Army 12:00 PM CBSSN
Vanderbilt at Missouri 12:00 PM SEC Network
Illinois at Nebraska 12:00 PM BTN
Maryland at Indiana 12:00 PM BTN
North Carolina at Duke 12:20 PM ACC Network
Troy at Georgia Southern 1:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
North Texas at Old Dominion 2:00 PM ESPN3
UCLA at Arizona State 2:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
Charlotte at Marshall 2:30 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Liberty at #25 Virginia 3:00 PM ACC Network
Middle Tennessee at UTEP 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Bowling Green at Central Michigan 3:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
#18 Mississippi State at #1 Alabama 3:30 PM CBS
#5 Michigan at Rutgers 3:30 PM BTN
Oklahoma State at #7 Oklahoma 3:30 PM ABC
#8 Washington State at Colorado 3:30 PM ESPN
#9 Kentucky at Tennessee 3:30 PM SEC Network
Northwestern at #16 Iowa 3:30 PM FOX
Baylor at #24 Iowa State 3:30 PM FS1
New Mexico at Air Force 3:30 PM CBSSN
Virginia Tech at Pittsburgh 3:30 PM ESPNU
Purdue at Minnesota 3:30 PM ESPN2
San Jose State at Utah State 4:00 PM None Facebook
Appalachian State at Texas State 4:00 PM ESPN3
East Carolina at Tulane 4:00 PM ESPNews
Western Kentucky at Florida Atlantic 5:00 PM Stadium
Arkansas State at Coastal Carolina 5:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Georgia State at Louisiana 5:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
UL Monroe at South Alabama 5:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Oregon at #15 Utah 5:30 PM Pac-12 Networks
Auburn at #6 Georgia 7:00 PM ESPN
Miami at Georgia Tech 7:00 PM ESPN2
Florida Intl at UTSA 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Rice at Louisiana Tech 7:00 PM ESPN+ ESPN+
Temple at Houston 7:00 PM CBSSN
South Florida at Cincinnati 7:00 PM ESPNU
#3 LSU at Arkansas 7:30 PM SEC Network
Florida State at #4 Notre Dame 7:30 PM NBC
#17 Texas at Texas Tech 7:30 PM FOX
Southern Mississippi at UAB 7:30 PM beIN Sports
#2 Clemson at #22 Boston College 8:00 PM ABC
Oregon State at Stanford 9:00 PM Pac-12 Networks
California at USC 10:30 PM ESPN
UNLV at San Diego State 10:30 PM ESPN2
Colorado State at Nevada 10:30 PM ESPNU