College football in 2020 has been through its toughest week yet. As the COVID-19 pandemic worsens throughout practically the entire country, it’s no surprise that numerous games have been postponed or canceled altogether. This week alone, 12 games will not go on as scheduled (as of publishing on Friday morning). Among the teams that will not play Saturday are No. 1 Alabama (at LSU), No. 3 Ohio State (at Maryland) and No. 5 Texas A&M (at Tennessee). With all 10 conferences up and running, however, there’s still plenty of football to play.
In particular, there are some big games in the ACC, Big Ten and Pac-12. Two top-10 teams — No. 9 Miami (FL) and No. 2 Notre Dame — are on the road. In the Big Ten, No. 10 Indiana heads to Michigan State while No. 23 Northwestern and Purdue battle in a West Division game with major implications. Out west, No. 11 Oregon and No. 20 USC, the preseason picks to meet in the Pac-12 title game, head on the road for the first time this year, too.
There’s a lot to get to, so be sure to turn on multiple screens if you have ’em to take in all that Week 11 of the college football season has to offer.
The biggest games
No. 9 Miami (FL) at Virginia Tech — noon, ESPN and fuboTV (Try for free): This could be the game to watch in the noon time slot. Miami, a top-10 team, has been playing on the edge over the past two games and Virginia Tech is coming off a dramatic loss to Liberty. And yet, the Hokies are two-point home favorites. Bookmakers seem to be on to something here. With so many offensive weapons on the field on both sides, the entertainment value should be high.
No. 2 Notre Dame at Boston College — 3:30 p.m., ABC and fuboTV (Try for free): Coming off of a season-defining win over Clemson, Notre Dame is rewarded by going on the road against upset-minded Boston College in their Red Bandana game. Eagles quarterback Phil Jurkovec is a Notre Dame transfer, so there’s an extra level of drama and want-to on the side of the home team here. Can BC pull the outright upset? They have the offensive weapons to do it and the defense is one better units in the ACC. Notre Dame could be in for a survive and advance type of day.
Arkansas at No. 6 Florida — 7 p.m., ESPN and fuboTV (Try for free): The Hogs will be without coach Sam Pittman, who is isolating due to a positive COVID-19 test. Defensive coordinator Barry Odom, who most recently was the head coach at Missouri, will lead the Razorbacks into the Swamp. The Gators are three-score favorites, but the scrappy Razorbacks have been cover machines this year. This also marks the return of Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks to his former stomping (or, should I say, “chomping”) grounds. Florida has a clear path to the SEC Championship Game after beating Georgia, but it can’t afford a letdown.
No. 11 Oregon at Washington State — 7 p.m., FOX and fuboTV (Try for free): After comfortably beating Stanford in its opener, Oregon heads on the road for the first time to play Washington State. All eyes will be on Ducks quarterback Tyler Shough as he makes his first road start. This is the trickiest early-season game for Oregon until things really pick up schedule-wise in December.
No. 13 Wisconsin at Michigan — 7:30 p.m, ABC and fuboTV (Try for free): This Big Ten cross-divisional battle is layered in storylines. Will Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz be available after going through COVID-19 protocol? Is Wisconsin sharp after having two weeks off due to cancellations? Can Michigan get right and save its season? The desperate Wolverines are only 4.5-point dogs at home in a primetime matchup.
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Other big games
No. 10 Indiana at Michigan State — noon, ABC and fuboTV (Try for free): Folks, say it with me: it’s time to start talking about undefeated and top-10 Indiana. The Hoosiers are in a bit of a trap situation facing a Michigan State team that already upset Michigan. The game is in East Lansing, too, one week before Indiana is set to travel to Ohio State for a game that will likely decide the Big Ten East race. It’s an early kick and the Spartans are only touchdown dogs. Careful, Hoosiers.
Penn State at Nebraska — noon, FS1 and fuboTV (Try for free): Normally, games between winless teams doesn’t command this level of attention. But it’s Penn State and Nebraska, and the overall slate is pretty lean. This is a desperation game for both sides. The mental aspect of each team is going to be fascinating, both on Saturday and moving forward.
No. 20 USC at Arizona — 3:30 p.m., FOX and fuboTV (Try for free): The Trojans are lucky to walk away from their season opener against Arizona State with a win. Up next is a road trip to the team picked last in the Pac-12 South preseason poll. This is Arizona’s first game of the season after the Utah game was canceled due to COVID-19.
No. 19 SMU at Tulsa — 7 p.m., ESPN2 and fuboTV (Try for free): The Mustangs are the ranked team, but the Golden Hurricane are the slight (-2.5) home favorites. This is another one of those oddsmaker games to keep an eye on. Tulsa gave Oklahoma State everything it could handle and upset UCF already. SMU should be on alert as a top-25 opponent.
No. 23 Northwestern at Purdue — 7:30 p.m., Big Ten Network: Because of the time and TV channel, this Big Ten game flies under the radar a bit. However, this is a huge matchup for the West Division race. The Wildcats and Boilermakers are undefeated, though they’ve been in some tight games so far. The matchup between Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell and this feisty Wildcats defense is going to be fun.