Week 11 preview: 4 ranked matchups to sort conference races

Nov 11, 2021, 12:28 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2021, 2:29 am
Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) escapes a tackle attempt by Liberty defensive tackle Henry ...

Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) escapes a tackle attempt by Liberty defensive tackle Henry Chibueze (50) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Mississippi won 27-14. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

              Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) passes during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Norman, Okla. Oklahoma won 52-21. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
              Mississippi quarterback Matt Corral (2) escapes a tackle attempt by Liberty defensive tackle Henry Chibueze (50) during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss., Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021. Mississippi won 27-14. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Four games matching ranked teams in Week 11 could start bringing some clarity to the conference races Saturday.

In the Big 12, No. 4 Oklahoma (CFP No. 8) faces No. 18 Baylor (CFP No. 13) in the first game of a difficult stretch run for the unbeaten Sooners. The Bears are coming off a loss to TCU and one more setback could put their chances of reaching the conference title game in serious danger.

No. 9 Michigan (CFP No. 6) is on the road at No. 23 Penn State. The Wolverines have lost their last two trips to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions are out of the three-team Big Ten East (Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State) race, but can still play spoiler.

No. 21 North Carolina State (CFP No. 16) is at No. 13 Wake Forest (CFP No. 12) with first place in the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Atlantic Division on the line. The winner would be really tough to catch.

In the SEC West, No. 11 Texas A&M (CFP No. 11) is at No. 12 Mississippi (CFP No. 15). Both already have two losses and need help to catch No. 3 Alabama, but the Aggies don’t need nearly as much after beating the Tide.


Oklahoma at Baylor

Lots of good ones from which to choose, but Sooners-Bears has the best combination of high stakes and entertainment value.

The Big 12’s two best offenses square off against a couple of defenses that have shown some recent vulnerabilities.

Sooners quarterback Caleb Williams has 14 touchdown passes since taking over as OU’s QB1 at halftime of the Texas game.

Baylor has maybe the best running back in the country you probably have not heard of in Abram Smith (1,055 yards and 7.33 per carry).


Matt Corral, QB, Ole Miss

Corral was getting a lot of Heisman Trophy buzz in the first half of the season, but that has tapered off as the Rebels have lost a second game.

If he’s going to have any shot to crank it up again, now is the time and Texas A&M is a good opponent to do it against.

The Aggies have the best defense in the SEC outside of Athens, Georgia.


6 — Touchdowns allowed by No. 1 Georgia. The Bulldogs face Tennessee, which scored six touchdowns last week against Kentucky, despite having the ball for only 13-plus minutes.

9 — Touchdowns scored in the last four games by Oregon running back Travis Dye, who has become the focal point of the fourth-ranked Ducks’ running game since CJ Verdell was injured. Oregon faces Washington State, the Ducks’ closest pursuer in the Pac-12 North.

22 — Number of receptions for 457 yards by Purdue receiver David Bell in the Boilermakers’ two victories against top-five teams. Purdue will go for its third victory as an unranked team against a top-10 opponent at Ohio State. Only Illinois in 1959 has done that.

37 — Points allowed by No. 20 Wisconsin during a five-game winning streak. The Badgers host Northwestern.

1992 — The only season Wake Forest and North Carolina State played when both were ranked in 113 meetings.


Colorado at UCLA

The Bruins haven’t had the breakout season that seemed to be in the works after they beat LSU. Two straight losses have UCLA at 5-4, but the closing stretch of the season is manageable, starting with Colorado.

Beat the Buffaloes, and UCLA clinches bowl eligibility for the first time in four seasons under coach Chip Kelly. Not exactly what the Bruins signed up for when they hired the former Oregon coach, but it’s a step forward.


Scott Satterfield, Louisville

The Cardinals’ coach had a rocky end to last season when he looked into the South Carolina job opening as he was finishing up a 4-7 season.

His third season in Louisville has included several close games that have left the Cardinals (4-5) two wins shy of bowl eligibility with three to play.

Syracuse comes to Louisville on Saturday as the school retires Heisman winner Lamar Jackson’s No. 8 jersey. It’s a critical game to get the Cardinals to bowl eligibility, and losing on the night the school honors its biggest star is no way for a coach to get in the good graces of fans.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com


More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25 Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Cameroon's head coach Rigobert Song arrives to the field for the World Cup group G soccer match bet...
Associated Press

Cameroon goalkeeper Onana leaves World Cup after dispute

AL RAYYAN, Qatar (AP) — Cameroon goalkeeper Andre Onana has apparently left the World Cup and is going home after being dropped from the country’s squad for disciplinary reasons. A photo posted by a Cameroonian journalist on social media shows the Inter Milan goalkeeper at the airport on Tuesday. The Cameroon team spokesman did not […]
1 day ago
Associated Press correspondent Isabel DeBre films a selfie video in front of Lusail Stadium in Lusa...
Associated Press

4 World Cup matches in 1 day? An AP reporter’s challenge

LUSAIL, Qatar (AP) — Qatar’s World Cup is the most compact in history, with all eight stadiums radiating from the capital city in a country smaller than the U.S. state of Connecticut and the two farthest stadiums barely 41 miles (66 kilometers) apart. That led to a question during the tournament’s group stage: Can a […]
1 day ago
Canada head coach John Herdman yells as Canada forward Alphonso Davies (19) looks on during the sec...
Associated Press

Canada heads home from the World Cup with work to be done

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — While Canada is understandably disappointed to be heading home following the World Cup’s group stage, in a way the team’s work is just beginning with an eye toward 2026. The Canadians will turn their attention to their preparation for the next World Cup, which they will co-host with the United States […]
1 day ago
Spain's head coach Luis Enrique walks off the pitch with the players at the end of the World Cup gr...
Associated Press

Veterans keep important role in Spain’s young World Cup team

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — After the final whistle of Spain’s 1-1 draw with Germany at the World Cup on Sunday, coach Luis Enrique went out to the field and began talking to some of his players. He spent more time with one in particular, Sergio Busquets, the only remaining member of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad […]
1 day ago
Tunisia's head coach Jalel Kadri gives instructions from the side line during the World Cup group D...
Associated Press

France can win its World Cup group, Tunisia simply must win

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Defending champion France has not won all three of its World Cup group matches since claiming its first title in 1998. Tunisia hasn’t even won three matches in its World Cup history, but the team needs to beat France on Wednesday to have any chance of advancing to the round of […]
1 day ago
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac defends...
Associated Press

Analysis: Early NBA MVP race has crowded field of candidates

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic may just be putting together his best season. It still may not be enough to get the Denver Nuggets’ big man a third straight NBA MVP. Chalk that up to MVP fatigue. Or to the glaringly good numbers of a crowded field of early candidates, including Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, […]
1 day ago
Week 11 preview: 4 ranked matchups to sort conference races