Games to Watch: Week 11

Steve Helwick

No. 13 Michigan State at No. 11 Ohio State

Saturday, 11 a.m., FOX

After a chaotic Week 10 in the Big Ten, the entire conference — with the exception of Wisconsin — possesses multiple losses. But there is still plenty on the line for Michigan State and Ohio State, who will battle for a likely Big Ten Championship Game berth on Saturday morning. The Spartans, led by quarterback Brian Lewerke, have vastly improved from their 3–9 record from a season ago and have knocked off two top-10 teams this season en route to a 7–2 record. Ohio State, also 7–2, collected its second loss after getting annihilated in Iowa by a feisty Hawkeyes team. The Buckeyes’ 31-point defeat stands as their worst loss since last year’s College Football Playoff, but they will look to rebound at the Horseshoe on Saturday with quarterback J.T. Barrett leading the high-powered offense.

No. 2 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn

Saturday, 2:30 p.m., CBS

It’s the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry, an SEC tradition dating back to 1892. Second-year head coach Kirby Smart and his defensive mind have vaulted the Bulldogs near the top of the rankings, and the Bulldogs look to stay perfect on the road in this rivalry game. Auburn last downed Georgia in 2013, when the Tigers completed a miracle pass on fourth-and-18 to win the game on a 73-yard touchdown pass. Given Georgia’s dominance this year, Auburn might need a little luck again, but the Tigers have been a whole different animal at home this season and remain undefeated at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The 9–0 Bulldogs look to break this trend, equipped with star running back Nick Chubb on the offense.

No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami (FL)

Saturday, 7 p.m., ABC

The 1988 game between the two traditional powers, both in the top 10 at the time, was dubbed “Catholics vs. Convicts.” The Fighting Irish won by one point and rode the momentum to a national championship. Ranked at No. 3, Notre Dame once again has sights of a national title on its mind, pulverizing its competition by double-digits in all eight victories this season. Running back Josh Adams — 1,191 rushing yards — has been one key factor in Notre Dame’s quick turnaround into a contender. But Miami’s defense stifled Virginia Tech last week and has forced 20 turnovers this season. The player that perpetrates the turnover is rewarded with a gold “Turnover Chain,” a piece of jewelry Mark Richt’s defenders all hope to don at Hard Rock Stadium this Saturday night.

No. 8 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma

Saturday, 7 p.m., FOX

Oklahoma scored 62 points last weekend, while TCU allowed just 7. Either Oklahoma’s dominant offense or TCU’s stout defense will have to give in this Big 12 showdown — a potential preview of the upcoming Big 12 Championship Game. The Sooners earned another statement victory in Stillwater, Oklahoma, sliding past their archrival Oklahoma State by a score of 62-52, with a Heisman-esque performance from redshirt senior quarterback Baker Mayfield. If there’s any unit that can put a damper on Mayfield’s Heisman campaign, it’s the TCU defense. Led by outside linebacker Travin Howard, the Horned Frogs are sixth in the nation in both yards allowed per game (284) and points allowed per game (13.9).