Week 11 of the college football season lived up to its billing. We’ve got you covered on all the day’s Top 25 action, with plenty of analysis and highlights from Saturday’s action.
What’s next for the new Top 25
No. 1 LSU
You want to keep doubting these Tigers? As if beating Texas and Florida and Auburn wasn’t enough, they went into Bryant-Denny Stadium and walloped Alabama in a game that likely knocked the Tide out of playoff contention. Once again, Joe Burrow proved he’s a legitimate Heisman Trophy front-runner, throwing one beautiful pass after another, and running for crucial yards when he had to. With those receivers and a defense that bends but doesn’t break, there may not be a team in the country that has proved more than Ed Orgeron’s bunch. –– Alex Scarborough
No. 2 Ohio State
The Buckeyes handled Maryland easily even without top defender Chase Young, who sat out while the Buckeyes conduct an investigation into a potential NCAA violation. If Young has to sit against Penn State and Michigan as well, it makes those two games more interesting, but the Buckeyes have plenty of depth on defense to help fill that void. Either way, Ohio State has shown very few weaknesses and is still looking like the top team in the country heading down the stretch. — Tom VanHaaren
No. 3 Clemson
The biggest news of the day for Clemson didn’t come on the field at NC State, where the Tigers, unsurprisingly, dominated. Instead, it was Wake Forest’s loss at Virginia Tech, which likely drops the Demon Deacons from the rankings and takes much of the luster off the Tigers’ matchup with the ACC’s second-best team next week. On the other hand, with Clemson’s win and Wake’s loss, the Tigers officially secured the ACC Atlantic and punched their ticket to the ACC championship game. — David Hale
No. 4 Alabama
Where do the Tide go from here? After losing like that at home to LSU, it’s fair to ask whether the season is effectively over. A late-game push may mean there’s still hope. But there are still some serious questions about this team. Tua Tagovailoa felt the pressure and committed too many mistakes, turning the ball over twice. And the defense, which had been held together with duct tape and string, crumbled under the pressure of a top-notch quarterback and a talented group of receivers. Both were exposed, and it may be too late to doing anything about it. — Alex Scarborough
No. 5 Georgia
Georgia’s defense posted its third shutout of the season and still hasn’t allowed a rushing touchdown after a big goal-line stand in the fourth quarter against Missouri. It’s the first time since 1981 that the Bulldogs had three shutouts in the same season. Georgia is also the first FBS team in at least the past 20 seasons to not allow a rushing touchdown in its first nine games, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Georgia’s offense sputtered at times against the Tigers, especially after losing star receiver Lawrence Cager (shoulder) and starting center Trey Hill (ankle). Their availability for next week’s trip to Auburn wasn’t immediately known. — Mark Schlabach
No. 6 Oregon
The Ducks’ path to the Pac-12 championship game does not include a team with a winning record in conference play (Arizona, at Arizona State, Oregon State). That’s both good and bad. On one hand, it means it would take a fairly significant upset for the Ducks not to reach the conference title game with an 11-1 record. On the other, there aren’t any opportunities to enhance their resume for consideration in the College Football Playoff until a potential date with Utah. Oregon is a much different version of itself than the one that dropped a narrow game against Auburn to open the season and will be rooting for the Tigers to close the SEC season strong – especially in the Iron Bowl against Alabama. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 7 Minnesota
Start rowing. P.J. Fleck’s Gophers validated their 8-0 start with an electric performance against Penn State. Minnesota put itself on the CFP radar behind emerging star quarterback Tanner Morgan, playmaking safety Antoine Winfield Jr. and one of the nation’s best wide receiving corps. Sophomore Rashod Bateman set a TCF Bank Stadium record with 203 yards on seven catches, as he consistently got behind a confused Penn State secondary. Morgan showed he could match the moment with 339 pass yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. — Adam Rittenberg
No. 8 Utah
After debuting at No. 8 in the playoff rankings, Utah enters the final stretch with everything to play for. The Utes are one of two teams in the Pac-12 South that can win the division by winning out. The other, surprisingly enough, is UCLA, which travels to Salt Lake City next week. Since starting the season 1-5, UCLA has run off three straight wins and stand as the biggest hurdle between Utah and the Pac-12 title game. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 9 Penn State
Penn State’s time in the top four will be short-lived, as it looked nothing like a playoff contender or a team that can challenge No. 1 Ohio State in two weeks. The Nittany Lions had been road-tested (Iowa, Michigan State) but struggled from the start on both sides of the ball. Although Sean Clifford‘s first-half struggles put PSU in a hole, the Lions’ issues on defense were most baffling. They couldn’t generate much pressure and hemorrhaged yards after entering the game ranked in the top 10 in most major categories. PSU still can win the East Division but showed little Saturday to indicate it can keep pace with the Buckeyes on Nov. 23. Minnesota, meanwhile, is firmly in control of the Big Ten West Division and could be the biggest threat to Ohio State in the league. — Adam Rittenberg
No. 10 Oklahoma
The Sooners’ slim playoff hopes nearly evaporated late when a three-touchdown lead over Iowa State shrank to one point in the final minute, but a Parnell Motley interception (and perhaps missed pass interference call) on a two-point conversion saved Oklahoma’s season. The Sooners looked good for much of the night but didn’t finish strong. Alex Grinch’s defense is still trying to find a way to get takeaways, having not recorded one since September. Awaiting Oklahoma is a pivotal showdown with Big 12 leader Baylor in Waco that could serve as a playoff elimination game for the losing team. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 11 Florida
The Gators bounced back from a deflating loss to Georgia last weekend by trouncing Vanderbilt 56-0 at the Swamp. Florida got off to a slow start, failing to convert a fourth down, missing a field goal attempt and throwing two interceptions in the first half. The Gators rolled after halftime with 28 points in the third quarter. Quarterback Kyle Trask threw for a career-high 363 yards with three touchdowns. Florida’s defense shut down the Commodores, who had only 128 yards of offense and turned the ball over three times. Vanderbilt was 3-for-15 on third down. The Gators will have to beat Missouri on the road next weekend and hope Georgia loses its final two SEC games, against Auburn and Texas A&M, if they’re going to reach the SEC championship game in Atlanta. — Mark Schlabach
No. 12 Baylor
It was ugly and at times painful to watch (until the end) but the Bears kept their outside shot at the playoff alive and their Big 12 record unblemished with a 3-OT win over TCU. Here’s the issue: In the last eight quarters of regulation, against West Virginia and TCU, Baylor has scored a combined 26 points (it wasn’t until OT that the offense found the end zone). That’s not gonna cut it, especially with high-powered Oklahoma coming to Waco in Week 12. The defense has been spectacular, but asking it to keep the Sooners under 20 may be asking too much. Charlie Brewer and Co. will have to figure things out in a hurry to stay in the Big 12 driver’s seat, but being 9-0 is still way better than anyone – even Matt Rhule – expected coming into the season. –– Sam Khan Jr.
No. 13 Auburn
The Tigers are going to need help to climb back into the CFP race, but they can spoil two of their rivals’ hopes by knocking off Georgia and/or Alabama at home down the stretch. That’s exactly what Auburn tried to do in 2017, when it crushed then-No. 1 Georgia 40-17 at Jordan-Hare Stadium (then the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 28-7 in the SEC championship game to reach the CFP). Last season, Auburn gave up 303 rushing yards in a 27-10 defeat at UGA. The Tigers should have back leading rusher JaTarvious Whitlow, who had only three carries in the previous three games because of a knee injury. Safety Jeremiah Dinson (virus) and defensive end Marlon Davidson (back) should also return after a bye week. — Mark Schlabach
No. 14 Michigan
Michigan had a bye this week to rest up for what is sure to be a physical game against Michigan State. Michigan’s offense has shown a lot of improvement over the last few weeks and the defense has been suffocating. The Spartans have been on an opposite trajectory, struggling over its last few games, so if Michigan can get through Michigan State unscathed, it will have a shot to make it to the Ohio State game at 9-2 and a chance at another 10-win season. Beating Ohio State will be difficult, but Michigan can change the way this season is viewed by finishing strong in these last few games. — Tom VanHaaren
No. 15 Wisconsin
The Badgers are still alive in the West Division, but need to win out AND hope Minnesota loses at either Iowa or Northwestern over the next two weeks. ESPN’s FPI gives Minnesota less than a 40% chance to win at Iowa on Nov. 16 and at home against Wisconsin in the regular-season finale on Nov. 30 (36%). It’s still possible for Wisconsin to face Ohio State again in the Big Ten championship game. –– Heather Dinich
No. 16 Notre Dame
The Irish continue to impact playoff contenders, as their win against Duke both helped Georgia and hurt Alabama. Georgia’s win over Notre Dame is one reason the No. 6 Bulldogs are ahead of No. 7 Oregon, and five-loss Duke is Alabama’s best nonconference win. Notre Dame next faces Navy in a game that could impact the Midshipmen’s chances of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl. If Navy can win the AAC and beat Notre Dame along the way, it could emerge as the highest-ranked Group of 5 team. — Heather Dinich
No. 17 Cincinnati
Cincinnati might have needed a bye week after last week’s track-meet win over ECU. The Bearcats got the next best thing. Quarterback Desmond Ridder got to head to the bench one drive into the second half, and the defense pitched a shutout until the backups gave up a late score. They’ll take a two-game (in the loss column) division lead to St. Pete to face USF next week. The AAC East title is in sight. — Bill Connelly
No. 18 Memphis
The Tigers are in great position to earn the Group of Six bid to the Cotton Bowl, but now they have to finish strong, starting at Houston next Saturday. Memphis is hopeful that running back Patrick Taylor will be able to return after hurting his foot in the season opener against Ole Miss and missing the last eight games. Among the other keys to watch is the defense, which has given up 89 points over the last two games. They will have to tighten up there over the next three games, most especially for the regular-season finale against Cincinnati, which will have huge conference championship game and New Year’s Six implications. –– Bill Connelly
No. 19 Boise State
After winning in a shootout last week, Boise State grinded out an overtime win against Wyoming without quarterback Hank Bachmeier to remain undefeated in Mountain West play. The win keeps the Broncos in contention for the Cotton Bowl as the best Group of 5 team in the country, but they’ll need to play better over the next month to impress the playoff selection committee. The offense with backup Chase Cord — against BYU and Wyoming — just hasn’t functioned at the same level as it does with Bachmeier under center. The Broncos have New Mexico, Utah State and Colorado State left on the schedule. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 20 SMU
SMU’s homecoming crowd certainly got a show, but it was probably more of one than they would have preferred. The Mustangs put up 636 yards but allowed 644, and they needed a late fumble recovery to set up the winning points. Still, they survived a must-win game, and their AAC title hopes remain intact. And after back-to-back track meets, they get a bye week to prepare for another do-or-die game: a trip to Navy. — Bill Connelly
No. 21 Navy
Navy’s final bye week came at a pretty good time, as the Midshipmen got to collect themselves before an absolutely enormous final month of action. Over the next four weeks, they face rivals Notre Dame and Army, with two games in between that might decide the AAC West title (SMU, at Houston). The stakes are high, and Navy’s got a chance to show off just how far it’s come since the 3-10 rut of 2018. — Bill Connelly
No. 22 Texas
Another last-second field goal against a team from Kansas, this time against the Wildcats, has the Longhorns back in the Top 25. It hasn’t been easy, as Tom Herman’s crew has alternated wins and losses for the past five games, and now it heads into Ames to take on an Iowa State squad that came up just short against Oklahoma. After that, the Longhorns will face undefeated Baylor before closing out the season at home against Texas Tech.
No. 23 Iowa
The three-loss Hawkeyes will sink in the committee’s top 25 on Tuesday after their offense was held to under 100 rushing yards and converted just 1-of-9 third downs. The question is if Iowa can rebound to play the role of spoiler on Saturday against undefeated Minnesota. ESPN’s FPI gives the Hawkeyes a 61.7% chance to win at home. So far this season, though, Iowa has lost to every ranked team it has faced. — Heather Dinich
No. 24 Indiana
After winning four consecutive Big Ten games for the first time since 1993, the Hoosiers were dealt a bad blow when they lost starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to a season-ending injury. Penix, the first Indiana freshman to start at quarterback in an opener since Antwaan Randle El in 1998, underwent surgery Monday to repair a clavicle injury. The good news is that junior Peyton Ramsey has a played a lot this season while Penix was recovering from other injuries. Ramsey has completed 72% of his attempts for 1,302 yards with nine touchdowns and three interceptions. He is expected to start against Penn State next weekend. The Hoosiers are 1-21 against the Nittany Lions, with their only win coming in 2013. — Mark Schlabach
No. 25 Oklahoma State
With games against Kansas and West Virginia on tap, the Cowboys have a chance to carry a four-game winning streak into Bedlam this year. It’s been an up-and-down year for Mike Gundy’s squad in 2019, but the chance to ruin a potential playoff bid for the Sooners, would be a perfect cap to the season.
The best of the week
Baby Fleck doot doot doo doo doo doo
This miniature P.J. Fleck is elite.
P.J. Fleck has a tiny doppleganger ? pic.twitter.com/sVDAzPMn3s
— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 9, 2019
I knew Minnesota’s coach was young but this is just ridiculous pic.twitter.com/1jLraEfKT6
— Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) November 9, 2019
Just another day at the office
The win over Alabama was all in a day’s work for LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw a little shade on Saturday night.
— Joey Burrow (@Joe_Burrow10) November 10, 2019
There’s only one person capable of reaching this pass during the TCU-Baylor game, and, alas, Mr. Cowboy isn’t up for the challenge.
CATCH THE DAMN BALL pic.twitter.com/OlsC9tlRbj
— nick pants (@stnap_kcin) November 9, 2019
Florida State’s D.J. Matthews completes a 60-yard reception with a dive for the pylon and a TD as the Seminoles get a win for interim coach Odell Haggins.
D.J. Matthews makes the catch and takes it all the way down the sideline as he dives over the pylon to give Florida State a late 31-24 lead.
Duke’s Michael Carter II comes up with an interception on a couple of deflections, including one off the Notre Dame receiver’s helmet.
Ian Book’s pass is knocked down and bounces off a helmet as Michael Carter II slides in to scoop it up for an unlikely Duke interception at the one yard line.
Big Shaq gets you ready for the big game
This LSU hype video narrated by Tigers alum Shaquille O’Neal will get you ready to suit up and hit somebody.
Win your battle. Win your match.
Impose your will. One on one.
Winner Take All. pic.twitter.com/IWnJncYGPs
— LSU Football (@LSUfootball) November 7, 2019
Way back in Big D
SMU’s record looks like it did in the 1980s, and SMU’s video team is bringing it all back to when the TV show “Dallas” ruled prime time.