Stanford-Oregon, USC-UCLA Top Slate
Seven SEC Teams Play FCS Opponents
After several key games in the SEC over the last few weeks, that conference is essentially taking the week off. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas A&M all tackle opponents from the Football Championship Subdivision with five of those games projected by the Congrove Computer Rankings to end in 47-point or greater routs. Only Auburn and Kentucky are under that number at 31.50 and 20.90, respectively.
With games like Mississippi-LSU, Arkansas-MIssissippi State, Syracuse-Missouri, and Tennessee-Vanderbilt leading the SEC slate, other conferences get to rise up and take notice.
The 61-game schedule begins Wednesday with a pair of MAC games as Ball State gets a slight 0.54-point home edge over Ohio. But the bigger matchup is Toledo at Northern Illinois where the Huskies are forecasted to win by 11.98 to clinch the MAC West. Meanwhile, Kent State would clinch the East with a road win at Bowling Green on Saturday, but the Golden Flashes are a 3.25-point computer underdog. BGSU represents the East if beats Kent State this week and then takes down Buffalo at Columbus Crew Stadium next week.
Thursday, bowl ineligible North Carolina visits Virginia in the 117th edition of the South's Oldest Rivalry which is led 58-54-4 by the Tar Heels. The computer gives UNC a 4.25-point nod to increase that historical gap.
On Friday, Hawaii flies to Air Force and FIU faces off with FAU in what is practically a crosstown rivalry.
When Saturday finally does arrives, we are served a small sampling of marquee games that feature critical PAC-12 matchups that could decide each of the division titles. Oregon can claim the North division with a win at home over Stanford, and UCLA can secure the South division with a home victory over USC. The computer likes the Ducks to deliver by 12.97 points, but it projects the Trojans by 6.01 over the Bruins in the Los Angeles rivalry.
Florida State should wrap up the ACC Atlantic when it visits Maryland as a 24.56-point pick. The Coastal is still up for grabs with Duke and Miami in control of their own destiny, but others in contention.
The Big East has had a 3-way tie for first each of the last two seasons and we could be headed there again this year. This week, 1st-place Rutgers (4-0) visits Cincinnati (3-1) as a 4.87-point underdog which would give the Scarlet Knights, Bearcats and idle Louisville a single loss in the conference.
Wisconsin has clinched the Big Ten Leaders and Nebraska has the upper-hand in the Legends. A 'Husker home win over Minnesota, coupled with a Michigan loss to Iowa, would send Nebraska to Indianapolis. Alas, both Nebraska and Michigan are favored by at least 21 points.
The Big 12 is Kansas State's to lose and the Wildcats visit Baylor this week as a 10.59-point computer pick. The Bears have just one conference win and that came against last-place Kansas.
The result of this week's UCF-Tulsa game could determine which of those teams will host the other in the Conference USA championship game. A Golden Hurricane loss would open the door for SMU which hosts Tulsa next week. The Golden Knights effectively have a 2-game lead in the East and have UAB at home in their regular season finale.
Among Independents, Notre Dame gets a home date with a Wake Forest team that needs a win this week or next (vs. Vanderbilt) to become bowl eligible. Last year's game in Winston-Salem was a 24-17 nail-biter in which the Irish prevailed after trailing 17-10 at halftime.
The Mountain West is a 3-way battle between Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State which are all 1-1 vs. each other. Boise is the only one of those three to see action this week. The Broncos are a 26.59-point home favorite over Colorado State.
Arkansas State and MTSU are the top two teams in the Sun Belt and will collide in Jonesboro on December 1. But Troy still has a say and can clinch the conference's top bowl bid with a home win this week over the Red Wolves and another victory next week at MTSU. However, the computer has the Trojans as a 5.45-point underdog this week.
The WAC will likely come down to the winner of this week's game between Louisiana Tech and Utah State. Both are undefeated in conference play and the Bulldogs and are a slim home favorite to stay that way with a 4.22-point computer edge.
FBS vs. FCS:
FBS teams are 90-10 (.00) on the year vs. FCS teams and are 728-65 (.918) in such games since 2003.
Seven such games will be played this week, all of which involve SEC teams.
This year, 101 FBS teams play a total of 108 games against FCS foes. UTSA is in its first year of transitioning from the FCS and plays 4 such schools. Cincinnati, Florida State, Pittsburgh and Texas A&M each play two such games.
Here are the results of the FBS losses to FCS schools this season:
9/29: Stony Brook 23, Army 3
9/15: Cal Poly 24, Wyoming 22
9/8: Sacramento State 30, Colorado 28
9/8: North Dakota State 22, Colorado State 7
9/8: Illinois State 31, Eastern Michigan 17
9/8: Northern Arizona 17, UNLV 14
9/1: Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17
9/1: Tennessee-Martin 20, Memphis 17
8/30: McNeese State 27, Middle Tennessee 21
8/30: Eastern Washington 20, Idaho 3
Oregon - Won 13 straight overall and 15 straight road games. Hosts Stanford on Saturday.
Northern Illinois - Won 14 straight conference games (MAC), 20 straight home games and 9 straight overall. Hosts Toledo on Wednesday.
LSU - Won 41 straight nonconference games. Hosts Ole Miss on Saturday.
Michigan - won 13 straight home games (2nd-longest in nation). Hosts Iowa on Saturday.
Southern Miss - Lost 10 straight overall. Hosts UTEP on Saturday.
Akron - Lost 25 straight road games, 21 straight FBS games and 15 straight conference games (MAC). Idle this week. Visits Toledo next Tuesday, 11/20.
Kansas - Lost 19 straight FBS games, 19 straight conference games and 18 straight road games. Hosts Iowa State on Saturday.
UNLV - Lost 21 straight road games. Hosts Wyoming on Saturday.
28 teams have a new college football coach in the FBS ranks this season. See how they are faring versus their predecessor.
Here are this week's games for each new head coach:
||Terry Bowden (1-10)
||Idle this week. Tuesday, 11/20 at Toledo
||Rich Rodriguez (6-4)
||Saturday at Utah
||Todd Graham (5-5)
||Saturday vs. Washington State
||John L. Smith (4-6)
||Saturday at Mississippi State
||Gus Malzahn (7-3)
||Saturday at Troy
||Jim McElwain (3-7)
||Saturday at Boise State
||Carl Pellini (3-7)
||Friday vs. FIU
||Tim DeRuyter (8-3)
||Idle this week. Saturday, 11/24 vs. Air Force.
||Norm Chow (1-8)
||Friday at Air Force
||Tony Levine (4-6)
||Saturday at Marshall
||Tim Beckman (2-8)
||Saturday vs. Purdue
||Charlie Weis (1-9)
||Saturday vs. Iowa State
||Charley Molnar (1-9)
||Saturday vs. Buffalo
||Justin Fuente (2-8)
||Saturday at UAB
||Hugh Freeze (5-5)
||Saturday at LSU
||Bob Davie (4-7)
||Saturday vs. Nevada
||Larry Fedora (6-4)
||Thursday at Virginia
||Urban Meyer (10-0)
||Saturday at Wisconsin
||Bill O'Brien (6-4)
||Saturday vs. Indiana
||Paul Chryst (4-6)
||Idle this week. Saturday, 11/24 vs. Rutgers
||Kyle Flood (8-1)
||Saturday at Cincinnati
||Ellis Johnson (0-10)
||Saturday vs. UTEP
||Kevin Sumlin (8-2)
||Saturday vs. Sam Houston State (FCS)
||Matt Campbell (8-2)
||Wednesday at Northern Illinois
||Curtis Johnson (2-8)
||Saturday vs. East Carolina
||Garrick McGee (3-7)
||Saturday vs. Memphis
||Jim Mora (8-2)
||Saturday vs. USC
||Mike Leach (2-8)
||Saturday at Arizona State