Across the Country – Week 11

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

Virginia Tech at No. TBA Miami (FL) (Sun Life Stadium – Miami Gardens, Fla., TBA p.m. CT, ABC/ESPN)

Miami was handed its first loss of the season last week to Florida State but are still in good shape to face the Seminoles in a rematch in the ACC title game having already played the tougher part of its schedule. However, the Hurricanes still face at least one potential roadblock with a game against Virginia Tech. Though the Hokies are coming off two straight bad losses, with quarterback Logan Thomas and the offense continuing to struggle as they have for much of the season, the defense remains as good as any in the country, which is enough to give them a chance. The Hokies will also benefit from one of the nation’s leading rushers in Duke Johnson being out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle.

No. TBA Nebraska at No. TBA Michigan (Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor, Mich., 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC/ESPN)

Nebraska is coming off a last-second Hail Mary victory over Northwestern last week, while Michigan is reeling after dropping two of its last three games. The Cornhuskers have one of the best kept secrets in college football in junior running back Ameer Abdullah, who currently ranks fifth in the nation in rushing with 1108 yards on the year, but the Wolverines coincidentally have a top-15 rush defense nationally. Nebraska still has a shot at the Big Ten Legends title, but must win out in order to do so.

No. TBA Houston at No. TBA UCF (Bright House Networks Stadium – Orlando, Fla., 6 p.m. CT, ESPN2)

Any talk that the American Athletic Conference is a one-team league should be put to rest by now. Both Houston and UCF have just one loss each, entering this must-win showdown that has BCS bowl implications on the line. Statically speaking, Houston freshman John O’Korn and UCF junior Blake Bortles match up fairly evenly at quarterback, though with a higher-rated defense, the Knights may hold the edge.  A UCF victory can essentially wrap up the conference title, having already defeated Louisville this season.

No. TBA UCLA at No. TBA Arizona (Arizona Stadium – Tucson, Ariz., 9 p.m. CT, ESPN)

Despite having two losses already, both teams still have a chance at reaching the Pac-12 Championship game with a win. Arizona will rely heavily on arguably the nation’s best running back this season in Ka’Deem Carey against a UCLA defense that allows 168 rushing yards per game. The Wildcats also have one of the few defenses on the Bruins’ schedule with the potential to slow down dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley.

No. TBA Auburn at Tennessee (Neyland Stadium – Knoxville, Tenn., 11 a.m. CT, ESPN)

With a record of 8-1, Auburn has proved that they are a completely different team from last season’s dismal 3-9 mark. The Tigers still have an outside chance at an SEC West title, but must first avoid a potential trap game against Tennessee. The Volunteers are just 4-5 on the year, but have been tough at home this season against ranked opponents, with a narrow loss to Georgia in overtime followed by a last-second win over South Carolina. The key for the Vols will be finding a way to slow down Auburn’s high-powered rushing attack led by running back Tre Mason, who had 168 yards and four touchdowns last week against Arkansas.

No. TBA BYU at No. TBA Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium – Madison, Wis., 2:30 p.m. CT, ABC/ESPN)

Wisconsin and BYU are both on a roll entering this contest, with both teams bouncing back from two early-season losses to stand at 6-2 on the year. Both teams are run-first teams with the Badgers relying heavily on running backs Melvin Gordon and James White, and the Cougars with running back Jamaal Williams and quarterback Taysom Hill, who is also the team’s leading rusher. Wisconsin, however, has the fifth-rated rush defense in the country, which may be the difference maker if it can hold its own against BYU’s ground game.

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