5 Things to Know: Welcome back 'Bama
The appetizers were delicious, but hoped you left room for the rest of this week's football feast. After indulging on Stanford's Nerd Nation domination and the electricity of a Baylor blackout on Thursday night, there is plenty left to be settled in Week 11 of the college football season.
Five things to know about Saturday's slate.
WELCOME BACK `BAMA.
It only seems as if the top-ranked Crimson Tide hasn't played in a month. Alabama spent October stomping around the South like Godzilla through Tokyo, smashing puny opponents who had no chance. Well, King Kong comes to Tuscaloosa on Saturday. No. 10 LSU has already lost twice, but the Tigers have maybe the best pair of receivers in the country (Odell Beckham and Jarvis Landry) to attack Alabama's cornerbacks the way Texas A&M did. Zach Mettenberger is no Johnny Manziel though. The Tide is 4-3 against LSU under coach Nick Saban. Average margin: about a touchdown.
THE AMERICAN WAY
Consider this your weekly reminder that the American Athletic Conference, formerly the Big East, has an automatic bid to the BCS. No. 19 UCF vs. Houston will go a long way in determining who gets that bid. The Cougars are under appreciated at 7-1, but can earn a little love, as well as first place in the conference, with a win.
Minnesota has overcome a leave of absence for coach Jerry Kill, who is dealing with epilepsy, to go 7-2. The Gophers play Penn State at home and a win would give them four straight Big Ten victories for the first time since 1973.
No. 22 Northern Illinois is off this week so the BCS buster spotlight is directly on No. 17 Fresno State. The bulldogs visit Wyoming, home to one of college football's best under-the-radar quarterbacks in Brett Smith - and one of the nation's worst defenses. The Bulldogs, who have won three overtime games, do tend to keep things interesting.
Texas A&M is having another fine season under second-year coach Kevin Sumlin, and quarterback Johnny Manziel is very much in the hunt for a second Heisman Trophy. But with two loses and little chance of winning an SEC title, the most fascinating story over the next two months in College Station will be whether Sumlin will stick around. There have been reports that Southern California is interested. He drew interest from NFL teams after last season and there could be more of that to come, too. No. 11 A&M plays Mississippi State at home.