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The Miami–Notre Dame Rivalry Is Back — College Football Week 11 Preview

Miami v Notre Dame
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The Miami–Notre Dame game is the biggest game of the 2017 season thus far. Here’s a preview of Week 11’s most interesting college football games:

Saturday, November 11

Will Ohio State Rebound?

Ohio State v Iowa
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(13) Michigan State at (11) Ohio State | Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio: Noon (ET) on Fox

Fresh off an embarrassing loss to unranked Iowa, 11th-ranked Ohio State (7–2, 5–1 Big Ten) hosts red hot No. 13 Michigan State (7–2, 5–1). The Spartans are on the upswing, having defeated Penn State on a last-second field goal this past Saturday.

All is not lost for the Buckeyes; they can still win the Big Ten title and hope that a lot of the teams ahead of them get knocked off over the next three weeks. Their vaunted defensive line will have to play better against MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke, who has been outstanding over the last two games. OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett is under the microscope, too. He needs to regain the form that helped his team beat Penn State two weeks ago.

Can Auburn Upset Georgia?

Mercer v Auburn
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(2) Georgia at (10) Auburn | Jordan-Hare Stadium, Auburn, Ala.; 3:30 p.m. (ET) on CBS

Pollsters are really high on both Georgia (9–0, 6–0 SEC) and Alabama, but it’s 10th-ranked Auburn (7–2, 5–1) who has the biggest say in which SEC teams make the conference title game and the College Football Playoff. The Tigers face the undefeated Bulldogs this Saturday and the unbeaten Crimson Tide on November 25.

If Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham continues to play well over the next three games, the Tigers could insert themselves in the SEC and CFP picture — and maybe knock Georgia and Alabama out. If Auburn can’t control the tempo with Stidham’s passes and gashes from running back Kerryon Johnson, the Bulldogs’ backfield tandem of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel plus quarterback Jake Fromm will likely wear them down, and out of the title pictures.

Alabama Faces Another Ranked Opponent

LSU v Alabama
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(1) Alabama at (18) Mississippi State | Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, Miss.; 7 p.m. (ET) on ESPN

Top-ranked Alabama (9–0, 6–0 SEC) is rolling towards yet another appearance in the College Football Playoff. This week, the undefeated Crimson Tide visit Starkville to face No. 18 Mississippi State (7–2, 3–2) — their second consecutive conference game against a ranked team. Head coach Nick Saban has his team focused enough to expect that they’ll keep winning right through the SEC title game on December 2.

Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald could change all that. If he’s on, Fitzgerald has the sort of talent that has given ‘Bama problems in the Saban era. The Tide defense got very banged up against LSU last Saturday and could be ripe for a letdown game on the road. This could come down to Jalen Hurts and the Alabama offense outscoring Mississippi State in a Big 12–style track meet.

Miami & Notre Dame Play a CFP Elimination Game

Miami v Notre Dame
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(3) Notre Dame at (7) Miami | Hard Rock Stadium, Miami; 8 p.m. (ET) on ABC

It’s not quite a ‘Catholics vs. Convicts‘ era clash, but the rivalry between third-ranked Notre Dame (8–1) and seventh-ranked Miami (8–0) is back. This Saturday’s prime time showdown between the Fighting Irish and the Hurricanes is essentially a College Football Playoff eliminator, with the losing team likely out of national title contention.

The Notre Dame defense is weaker against the pass than the run, so Miami quarterback Malik Rosier must play well, extend drives and control the clock. The Fighting Irish offense can be explosive. The Hurricanes must find a way to bottle up running back Josh Adams, the nation’s ninth-leading rusher, and keep Notre Dame from piling up an early lead. This game has the makings of a classic battle.

TCU & Oklahoma Battle for the Big 12

Oklahoma v Oklahoma State
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(8) TCU at (5) Oklahoma | Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla; 8 p.m. (ET) on Fox

Can’t we just call this Saturday’s battle between No. 8 TCU (8–1, 5–1 Big 12) and No. 5 Oklahoma the Big 12 title game? Or a College Football Playoff qualifier? That’s what’s at stake in this week’s Horned Frogs–Sooners game.

The key matchup is Oklahoma Heisman Trophy candidate Baker Mayfield against the stingy TCU defense. If Mayfield can move the ball and find the end zone, the Sooners should win. If he can’t, Horned Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill doesn’t make mistakes and knows how to use the clock while scoring points. This game likely won’t be as high scoring as last week’s Bedlam Rivalry between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, but it’s likely to end with the same result: a narrow Sooners victory.

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