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How To Football: Week 11

LSU and Alabama main event the college football regular season. Again.

NCAA Football: Florida at Louisiana State Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

It sneaks up on me every single year, but we are on Day 5 of 33 straight days with college and or pro football on.

This is a joyous time to celebrate, but it wreaks havoc on the HTF football schedule. So we’ll be splitting it into two parts: the midweek games and the weekend games. Check back on Friday for the Saturday breakdown.

Return Of The MAC Shift

  • Kent State-Toledo: Football on 33 straight days means there has to be football on Tuesday, and football on Tuesday has to mean there is #MACtion. The perfectly imperfect midweek group of five football returns TONIGHT. The first game up is 3-5 Kent State at 5-3 Toledo. Both teams are 2-2 and technically not out of the race for their respective division titles, but a loss will do them in for sure.
  • Ball State-Western Michigan: Everybody, including Western, is chasing the 4-4 Cardinals who are 3-1 inside MAC play. The MAC is kind of a mess like that this year, where so far one team is bowl eligible: Central Michigan, who are 4-2 so far in league play.

THE Miami Of Ohio at Ohio (OH) Shift

  • Miami (OH)-Ohio: Only one offering on Wednesday night, and it’s an important one. The two teams tied for the lead in the MAC West with identical 4-4, 3-1 records square off for the catbird seat heading down the home stretch.

Dan Dreiberg Shift

  • Temple-USF: We might get a sneakily good game out of the AAC on Thursday. This game should finish somewhere inside the mid-20s, giving a balance of good defense and good offenses.
  • ULL-Coastal Carolina: #FunBelt made its debut a few weeks ago when App State made the trip to Lafayette. Now the Cajuns continue playing in midweeks, this time taking the trip to Conway, South Carolina to play the upstart Chanticleers. Unfortunately, they shouldn’t struggle much here.

Underdog Shift

  • UCF-Tulsa: On paper this is a blowout for UCF, but the Golden Hurricane have given AAC favorites fits all season long: they took SMU to overtime, made Cincinnati work, lost on a missed field goal against Memphis and made a late charge against Tulane. They’re not a good team, but they’ve got spunk.
  • Oregon State-Washington: Fun fact: Oregon State is ahead of Washington in the PAC-12 North standings. No, it’s true. Google it. I don’t think anybody is arguing that they’re the better team, but results have the Beavers out front. SP+ projections haven’t been released yet but FPI is saying that the Beavers are going to keep it within a touchdown, meaning we might actually get a good game late Friday.

SATURDAY

Undercard Shift

  • Penn State-Minnesota: Two of the Big Ten’s three undefeated teams square off in the undercard to LSU-Alabama. While it’s true that the Golden Gophers have had a pretty easy road to 8-0, that doesn’t mean they’re a bad team in disguise. Minnie is 10th in SP+, boasting the 8th best offense and 22nd best defense to boot. This is going to be a really good game in all likelihood.
  • Baylor-TCU: This used to be one of the best “new blood” rivalries in the first half of the decade but has since been put on the back burner by Baylor getting rocked by the scandal. But Matt Rhule has completed the rebuild of the Bears and brought them back to respectability, at least on the football field, they currently are undefeated and the 15th best team in the nation. TCU on the other hand has been sliding a bit and currently sit at 30th, their traditionally vaunted defense 35th. The Horned Frogs have won four straight but that could very well end Saturday. Is a rivalry role reversal in the works?
  • Western Kentucky-Arkansas: Okay so I’ve had actual football reasons to watch the first two games. This is a game to watch for the trainwreck factor. Some stage blocking for said trainwreck: 1) Arkansas is 2-7. 2) Arkansas is 100th in SP+. 3) Arkansas is 101st in offensive SP+. 4) Chad Morris is an offensive coach. 5) Chad Morris is 4-17 at Arkansas. 6) Arkansas had a quarterback named Ty Storey, but he transferred to Western Kentucky under Morris. 7) Western Kentucky is 86th in SP+. 8) Western Kentucky has the 42nd best defense. 9) Storey has lead Western Kentucky to a 4-0 record as a starter. 10) Western Kentucky is favored this weekend, in Fayetteville. 11) Arkansas has fired coaches on the field before.
  • Texas Tech-West Virginia: Two of the bottom teams in the Big 12 going through a rebuild have at it. The Red Raiders are favored by under a touchdown, and they desperately need this win for a last gasp charge toward bowl eligibility given how they have TCU, Kansas State, and Texas remaining while the Mountaineers get the same teams with Oklahoma State swapped in for Texas.
  • Vanderbilt-Florida: Look man, I don’t know what to really tell you here.

#ANDNEW Shift

  • LSU-Alabama: Like I need to sell you on this game.
  • Kansas State-Texas: This Tuesday we found out how much the playoff selection committee values what Texas has done on the year. If you care about that type of stuff and are bullish on LSU’s odds in Tuscaloosa, you probably need to be pulling pretty hard for the Longhorns. The issue is that while Texas is ranked 33rd, Kansas State is ranked 32nd. Home field advantage flips it into the Longhorns’ favor, but it’s still effectively a toss-up.
  • Iowa-Wisconsin: Iowa and Wisconsin have identical 6-2 (3-2) records, but this game is still pretty huge for the Big Ten West. For starters, a loss all but eliminates both teams from the race to Indianapolis. But a win keeps them alive with two losses because both have yet to play Minnesota, who may very well lose this weekend. Tiebreakers are fun!
  • USC-Arizona State: The winner of this game reaches bowl eligibility. I don’t have much else apart from that.
  • Wake Forest-Virginia Tech: Believe it or not, this is the first time the two sides play since the now-infamous Wakeyleaks Game where Virginia Tech, with the Demon Deacon playbook, had to go to overtime tied 0-0. Frank Beamer was pleased, creating an image that has endured on past his tenure. Wake Forest won that game 6-3, by the way.

Press Your Luck Shift

  • Tennessee-Kentucky: So Tennessee hasn’t become the flaming dumpster we all though they would. That’s good! They might even get to bowl eligibility, also good! That’s all to say that all the good will Jeremy Pruitt gained back in October can be viciously undone by losing to Kentucky, something that really just doesn’t happened to Tennessee. The Vols lead the all-time series 80-25 and have only lost two games dating back to 1985. The Volunteers are still favored, but it’s looking like this one will be a tossup seeing as they’re only favored by two points. Jeremy Pruitt cannot lose this game.
  • App State-South Carolina: Sakerlina steps out of SEC play to welcome in App State, which is most unwise. The Mountaineers (36th) rank ahead of the Gamecoks (38th) and sport a much better offense (32 vs. 72) but SCAR does have a better defense (24 vs. 50).
  • Washington State-Cal: Washington State has really lived up to their billing as a random number generator this year, and while it’s been fun it makes it really hard to sell this game. Cal’s offense is abhorrent (113), but Wazzu doesn’t care much for playing defense as well. I assume at some point this will break in the Coogs’ favor, but this is one of those things where we won’t know until we tune in.
  • Utah State-Fresno State: Year one of the Gary Andersen retread at Utah State hasn’t really gone as well as it probably should have, but regardless The Good Aggies need two wins against Fresno, Wyoming, Boise, and New Mexico to go bowling. That’s a tough but doable stretch with one gimme, two toss-ups, and one likely loss. This is one of the toss-ups. The matchup here is the Bulldog offense (47) vs. the Aggie defense (58).
  • Iowa State-Oklahoma: I’m not saying, I’m just saying, if anybody in the Big 12 can go punch for punch with Oklahoma it’s Brock Purdy. He’ll need some help around him, but it can happen.

Spam and Shots Shift

  • Wyoming-Boise State: The late night shift is lacking not just P5 games, but also any real interest or intrigue. If any team can take Boise’s body blows it’s Wyoming, but I don’t exactly trust their offense to light it up on the blue turf.
  • Nevada-San Diego State: The Aztecs should be able to cruise here comfortably.
  • San Jose State-Hawaii: Hawai’i can clinch bowl eligibility the proper way: by kicking off at 10 p.m. CST with the game being broadcast on The Facebook Facebook FACEBOOK called like only our large and very much in charge friend Robert Kekaula can call a game.