Cincinnati and BYU are the non-power conference schools receiving the most buzz this season as both have entered the top 10 amid undefeated starts. But they aren’t the only teams outside the Power Five having great seasons. At 6-0, No. 16 Marshall is just four wins away from completing an undefeated regular season during a season for the program that already carries special significance.
Leg one of that stretch run will begin Saturday on CBS Sports Network when the Thundering Herd host Middle Tennessee on a special day for the Marshall program. Though commemorations of the event have been ongoing throughout the season, Saturday marks 50 years since an airplane crash that killed 75 members of the program, supports and flight crew. Those who died in the crash will be honored in several ways during the game, including with a moment of silence before kickoff.
The Marshall-MTSU game is just one of five games on CBS Sports Network during Week 11 of the college football slate as league title races tighten and the jockeying for bowl bids continues.
Akron vs. Ohio
Storylines: A pair of intrastate rivals will meet Tuesday night to kick off Week 11 of the college football season when Ohio hosts Akron on CBS Sports Network in the second week of the MAC schedule. Both teams are searching for the first win after disappointing starts to the season last week, but Ohio will have history on its side as the Bobcats have won seven straight at home against the Zips. Second-year Akron coach Tom Arth is still looking for his first victory as a head coach after an inaugural 0-12 campaign last season. Ohio needs a victory to avoid jepoardizing its streak of 11 straight seasons of .500 or better under veteran coach Frank Solich.
Eastern Michigan vs. Ball State
Storylines: Neither team is expected to compete for a league title this season, and both enter at 0-1. That’s why this game is particularly critical, since both programs should view it as a winnable game during a truncated season. Ball State won 10 of 11 games in the series from 2005 through 2015 before Eastern Michigan rattled off three straight from 2016 to 2018. Last year, Ball State got back to its winning ways in dramatic fashion by rallying from a 23-14 deficit to win 29-23. Both teams lost single-possession games in their openers, so don’t be surprised if this one is also close.
Florida Atlantic vs. Florida International
Storylines: FAU dominated this rivalry known as “The Shula Bowl” during Lane Kiffin’s three seasons as coach. The Owls won the three meetings by a combined score of 138-45. Kiffin is gone now, but there is little indication the Panthers are ready to make it a competitive series again as they enter with an 0-3 record, with their last loss coming on Oct. 23 against Jacksonville State of the Football Championship Subdivision. FAU is quietly putting together a nice season under well-traveled new coach Willie Taggart as the Owls stand at 3-1 entering Saturday’s game courtesy of some great defense.
Middle Tennessee vs. Marshall
Storylines: MTSU leads the series 4-3 since the teams started playing annually in 2013, but it’s going to take a herculean effort for the Blue Raiders to keep their current two-game winning streak in the series alive Saturday. The No. 16 Thundering Herd have not attracted the national attention of BYU or Cincinnati this season. But they have been just as dominant as anyone in the Group of Five as their 6-0 start has included six double-digit victories.
Southern Miss vs. Western Kentucky
Date: Saturday, Nov. 14 | Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
Location: Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium — Bowling Green, Kentucky
TV: CBS Sports Network [Channel finder]
Live stream: CBSSports.com | Mobile: CBS Sports App
Storylines: After an impressive 9-4 start to the Tyson Helton era last year, Western Kentucky is reeling a bit in the second season of his tenure. The 2-6 Hilltoppers’ lone win over an FBS foe came in a close game against a struggling MTSU squad. Fortunately for WKU, the 2-5 Golden Eagles are arguably in worse shape as they are now on their third coach of the season. After Jay Hopson’s abrupt departure, Scotty Walden took over until landing the Austin Peay job. Now Tim Billings is in charge after beginning the season as defensive coordinator.