We are now entering Week 11 of the college football season. As the league continues to fight the rising COVID-19 cases across the nation, it has been quite the unusual season. But it appears that (for the most part) things are running smoothly this week. There are plenty of great games to keep an eye on this Saturday, even from the AAC, so in this week’s preview we’ll highlight the best games for you to watch as a prequel to your regularly scheduled NFL Sunday.
No. 2 Notre Dame vs. Boston College:
Picked to finish 11th in the NCAA’s preseason rankings, the Fighting Irish have turned some heads thus far. Coming off back to back games where they won by a combined 60 points, Notre Dame snuck away with another huge win against a Trevor Lawrence-less Clemson to remain the only undefeated team in the ACC. Led by Kyren Williams on the offensive end, the Fighting Irish have one of the best rushing attacks in the game, as his 740 yards and 10 TDs both rank in the top eight among all RBs. Where they have really impressed, however, is on the defensive end, ranking No. 9 in total yards allowed and No. 4 in rushing yards allowed per game. Momentum is surely on their side after the big win over Clemson, but their opponent, Boston College, is no slouch either.
BC is a mediocre 5-3 and is coming off a pretty choppy win against Syracuse last week, but they could very easily find themselves in a better position had a couple plays gone their way. Against a Trevor Lawrence-less Clemson, the Eagles kept it shockingly close on the back of QB Paul Jurkovec, and even led 28-13 at halftime before the Tigers ultimately came back to win. Jurkovec has led the way for BC, and in particular has shown a great rapport with Zay Flowers to the tune of 600 yards and six touchdowns. Notre Dame’s weakness lies in its safeties, so the Eagles have a path to victory, they just have to take advantage of their opportunities.
Come game time, I think Notre Dame’s momentum is simply too much for BC to overcome in what will surely be a high scoring affair.
No. 13 Wisconsin vs. Michigan:
Wisconsin hasn’t played competitive football in two weeks due to COVID-19 cases on their roster, so they sit at just 1-0 so far in the year. But boy did they look good in that one game. Freshman Graham Mertz looked like the real deal in their lone game against Illinois, completing 20 of 21 passes for 248 yards and five touchdowns. His status for this game remains questionable, however, as he continues to recover from COVID-19. If he can play, expect another great outing against a struggling Michigan team.
Speaking of the Wolverines, this was not the start to the season we expected from this group, as their back-to-back losses against Michigan State and Indiana put them at 1-2 for the season. We’ve seen what this team is capable of in their 49-24 blowout over Minnesota, but the offense has struggled mightily to create points despite the efforts of QB Joe Milton, who has thrown for a combined 667 yards and six touchdowns in his last two games. Unfortunately for them, the defensive intensity won’t get any easier against a Badgers defense that allowed just 218 yards in their opening game.
Wisconsin is going to come into this game with something to prove having not played in two weeks, and if Mertz gets the greenlight, they are going to coast to victory in this one and send Michigan on a shocking three-game losing streak.
No. 6 Florida vs. Arkansas:
If not for anything else, watch this game for Kyle Trask. The Florida QB is currently No. 4 on the Heisman Watch and is leading one of the most exciting offenses we have seen in recent memory. Last week against a tough Georgia team, Trask threw for a career-high 474 yards and four touchdowns, his fifth consecutive game finding the endzone that many times. With Trask leading the way, the Gators rank third in passing yards among teams that have played at least five games, totaling nearly 370 per game, and are putting up an insane 42 points per game. The defense leaves a bit to be desired, giving up over 400 yards per game, but with an offense like they have, they don’t necessarily have to fix it. Even still, unranked Arkansas could provide a tougher test than people think.
The Razorbacks have had a bit of an up-and-down season, never achieving a winning or losing streak in their six games thus far but have looked more convincing in their last few matchups. QB Feleipe Franks has thrown for 200+ yards and three TDs in consecutive games, while thunder and lightning duo Trelon Smith and Rakeem Boyd continue to split touches at RB effectively. The Razorbacks have given up an average of 36 points per game in the matchups against ranked opponents, including 37 to the same Georgia team the Gators beat last week, but two of them remained close throughout, meaning this could be the one Arkansas finally sneaks out of with a win.
While it’s fair to be hopeful that the Razorbacks can pull something out, it doesn’t look like they have anything to stop Trask and Florida’s offense. The Gator’s come out on top in this one big time, but even so, you’ll want to see what Trask can do with your own eyes.