Week 11 preview: Upset awareness weekend; Foreman rolling
Call it Upset Awareness Weekend in college football.
With only one game matching ranked teams – No. 25 Baylor is at No. 9 Oklahoma – the possibility exists for some unlikely results. The only Top-25 team not favored by odds makers against its unranked foe heading into Week 11 is No. 11 West Virginia, a two-point underdog at Texas.
Five things to know for a week with potential for surprises – or a lot of status quo.
GAME OF THE WEEK
Southern California at No. 4 Washington
If any of the teams in playoff position are going to go down, the Huskies are most likely. If you haven't seen USC since its 1-3 start, this team does not look much like that one. The Trojans have won five straight and quarterback Sam Darnold is quickly establishing himself as a star.
The Huskies got some bad news this week with the injury to pass rusher Joe Mathis (foot surgery). Still, Washington would appear to have an advantage on the lines of scrimmage, where USC has had to piece it together on both sides because of depth issues and injuries.
D'Onta Foreman of Texas has run for 591 yards in his last two games to take over the national rushing lead from San Diego State star Donnel Pumphrey.
Those are staggering numbers but they come with one qualifier: Foreman ran for 341 yards last week against Texas Tech, and the Red Raiders' defense is so bad that there has to be at least a little bit of a mark down. Still, Foreman has been tremendous and the Heisman hype is rightfully starting to come his way.
This week West Virginia and a defense that has been legit good come to Austin. If Foreman can go for big numbers against the Mountaineers, he'll validate the hype.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
82 – The number of gains of 10 yards or more from scrimmage No. 2 Michigan has allowed this season, second-fewest in the nation. The Wolverines visit Iowa. The Hawkeyes' offense has 102 plays of at least 10 yards, tied for 117th in the nation.
50 – Oklahoma State has averaged half a hundred during its seven-game winning streak against Texas Tech. The Cowboys have scored at least 45 points in each of their last five games against the Red Raiders and gone over 50 four times.
39 – The number of victories Nick Saban has while coaching a team that is ranked No. 1. All those victories have come during his 10-year run with Alabama, and with another one this week against Mississippi State, he'll match Woody Hayes and Bobby Bowden for the most wins with a top-ranked team by any coach.
UNDER THE RADAR
Rutgers goes to Michigan State in a battle (or something) for last place in the Big Ten East. The Scarlet Knights and Spartans are both 0-7 in the conference and 2-7 overall.
Not surprising that Rutgers is in this predicament in a rebuilding season under first-year coach Chris Ash. Michigan State's downfall is one of the most startling developments of the season.
Under coach Mark Dantonio, the Spartans have won two of the last three Big Ten titles and at least 11 games in five of the last six seasons.
COACH IN NEED OF A WIN
The season started with speculation about Kevin Sumlin's job security at Texas A&M. The Aggies (7-2) jumped out to a 6-0 start and that pretty much went away. Even after a loss to top-ranked Alabama, Texas A&M fans had reason to be feeling good.
Now, all of a sudden, Sumlin could use a victory Saturday against Mississippi to keep everyone calm. He'll have to get it with backup quarterback Jake Hubenak filling in for Trevor Knight (shoulder), who is out for the season. Ole Miss has its own problems with star quarterback Chad Kelly (knee) now out for the season.
Lose this one and A&M would go into its regular-season finale against LSU on a three-game SEC losing streak.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP