June 7, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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The college football fan’s guide to Week 11 games

We’re onto Week 11 of the college football season, which sees No. 2 Notre Dame hitting the road to face dangerous Boston College one week after the Irish knocked off top-ranked Clemson. But there’s more to keep an eye on as we approach mid-November.

Here’s a look at what’s ahead for Week 11.

Week 11 preview: Top games to watch

No. 2 Notre Dame (7-0) at Boston College (5-3) | 3:30 pm Saturday | ABC

Notre Dame hasn’t lost to BC since 2008, but the Eagles have a history of ruining perfect Irish seasons. In 1993, one week after Notre Dame beat top-ranked Florida State, Boston College shocked No. 1 Notre Dame. In 2002, 8-0 Notre Dame was No. 4 when BC again upset the Irish, 14-7. This season, 5-3 Boston College has already put a scare into Clemson and will need a huge game from QB Phil Jurkovec. How will the Irish follow up last week’s wild win against Clemson?

No. 19 SMU (7-1) at Tulsa (3-1) | 7 pm Saturday | ESPN2

The AAC continues to be one of the more exciting conferences when it comes to the championship race. Unbeaten Cincinnati looks like the biggest beast of the bunch, but SMU is also ranked and Tulsa is undefeated in the conference. Mustangs QB Shane Buechele leads the nation with 2,581 passing yards.

FBS NEWS: Schedules, updates related to COVID-19

No. 13 Wisconsin (1-0) at Michigan (1-2) | 7:30 pm Saturday | ABC

A lot has changed in a few weeks. Because of COVID positives, Wisconsin had to cancel its last two games. As for Michigan, the Wolverines plummeted outside the national rankings after back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Indiana. Something to watch is at quarterback. Freshman QB Graham Mertz, who was 20-for-21 for 248 yards and five touchdowns against Illinois, may or may not be back after his positive COVID test.

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No. 23 Northwestern (3-0) at Purdue (2-0) | 7:30 pm Saturday | Big Ten Network

Believe it or not, this is the only Big Ten game between undefeated teams. Northwestern, which went 3-9 last season, has already matched the win total this fall. Purdue’s David Bell has 243 receiving yards and four scores after only two games, stepping up with Rondale Moore. Now Moore could be back to add more spice to the game.

Big Week 11 questions

Are we looking at a two-bid ACC?

The SEC got two teams into the CFP semifinals in 2017: Georgia and Alabama – and they ended up playing for the national title. Since then, the SEC and the Big Ten often get propped up as conferences with the best chances to make up half the CFP field.

This year, it’s the ACC. Or it could be.

With Notre Dame playing in a conference for the first time ever, the Irish haven’t wasted that chance. Saturday’s OT win against then-No. 1 Clemson created the perfect situation for the ACC. Not only was the game thrilling, but the Irish are only four games away from going into a likely rematch at 11-0. Be competitive there, and Notre Dame may end up in the top 4, even with a loss.

Clemson’s road is also simple. DJ Uiagalelei played well with star QB Trevor Lawrence out (COVID-19), among other injuries, so the committee likely won’t have any problem slotting the Tigers into the CFP should they win out and beat Notre Dame in the ACC Championship Game.

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Things often do not work out as cleanly as expected, however. Though Lawrence is working his way back and the Tigers have three seemingly easy games remaining (at Florida State, vs. Pitt, at Virginia Tech), Notre Dame has three road games to go (at Boston College, at North Carolina, vs. Syracuse , at Wake Forest).

RANKINGS: All major college football polls

What’s next for Florida?

Much like Notre Dame, Florida has to worry about a possible letdown this week. The Gators ended the rivalry slide against UGA by rocking the Bulldogs 44-28. Kyle Trask looked like a superstar, passing for 474 yards and four touchdowns while also tossing a pick.

Not it’s not all perfect. TE Kyle Pitts is recovering after a concussion. The offense that looked unstoppable in the first half scored only six points in the final two quarters. And major questions remain about the defense. Except for the loss to Texas A&M, the Gators have simply outscored their foes while averaging almost 500 yards per game. However, UF is allowing 402 yards per game – a concerning number as a likely date with Alabama is ahead next month.

Before then, Florida has five more games to play to lock up the SEC East and get better. And the next one may be the most interesting: Feleipe Franks, the former UF quarterback, is now with Arkansas. The Gators might be able to score enough again, but there could be worries about the Gators’ ceiling if they can’t make more stops.

College football rankings: Top 25 for Week 11

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