Matt Zemek's Final Thoughts
Posted Nov 9, 2012

Matt Zemek's Final Thoughts before the Week 11 games

By Matt Zemek
E-mail Matt Zemek

LOUISVILLE-SYRACUSE: Syracuse isn't the 36-point underdog it was in 2007 when it upset Louisville, but the Orange could actually hurt the Cardinals far more this time around. Louisville must win this "Orange" bowl before it can play in the Orange Bowl.

WISCONSIN-INDIANA: The worst Wisconsin team in several years meets Indiana… and a Big Ten Championship Game slot is very much on the line. Gene Smith, this is your fault.

MIAMI-VIRGINIA: It would be so ACC of Miami to lose in this situation. The Hurricanes should beat Virginia, but "should" is a word the ACC doesn't normally treat with kindness. (The Weekly Affirmation is still picking Miami.)

OREGON STATE-STANFORD: This is a legitimately huge game – there's no need to deny as much. However, the winner of this game still has to play Oregon. (The loser does as well, but the point of emphasis is on the winner.) The Pac-12 and its commish, Larry Scott, need Oregon State to win this game, for only then could Oregon State finish 10-2 and become a somewhat credible at-large choice as a BCS bowl team, quite possibly in the Rose if Oregon makes the national championship game. A Stanford win could cost the Pac a cool $18 million. Big game? Yeah.

ARIZONA STATE-USC: The loser of this game will be… wait for it… deflated. The winner stays in the Pac-12 South Division hunt, pursuing UCLA. USC doesn't have to be brilliant in this game. The Trojans are in the midst of a month-long project: Step 1: survive long enough to get to the Pac-12 Championship Game. Step 2: Beat Notre Dame. Step 3: see step 1.

TEXAS A&M-ALABAMA: New-age offense versus old-school defense. No, Texas A&M isn't savvy enough, tough enough, or just plain good enough to stay on the same field as Alabama. Not now. In the future, though, this could become an A-list game on the college football scene. Kevin Sumlin sure hopes that will be the case; on Saturday, though, he should simply take notes and keep track of all the ways in which Alabama will outclass his Aggies. A teachable moment awaits the improved version of A&M.

PENN STATE-NEBRASKA: Bo Pelini should win a conference championship. Just let that statement sink in on several different levels.

WYOMING-NEW MEXICO: Why include this game on the week 11 list? It's New Mexico's moment of truth, the game the Lobos have to win if they want to make a bowl this season under Bob Davie.

KANSAS STATE-TCU: This is the potential ambush for Purple Kansas. It's not just that Collin Klein might not be ready to play his best brand of ball; TCU is confident, and the Horned Frogs – who have become ambush masters over time (Oklahoma, 2005; Boise State, 2011; West Virginia, last week) – thrive in this kind of setting. If ever there was a time for a national-title contender to wobble this weekend (and for an underdog to smell blood), it's at 6:10 p.m. Central on Saturday in Fort Worth.

GEORGIA-AUBURN: Georgia doesn't have to beat 2010 Auburn to clinch a second straight SEC East title. Heck, the Dawgs don't even have to beat 2009 or 2011 Auburn, either. They just have to beat 2012 Auburn. The table is ready for Mark Richt.

MISSISSIPPI STATE-LSU: Remember Mississippi State in 2012. Remember the 2012 Bulldogs for a long, long time when discussing unbeaten teams in October. Make sure to look at schedules before 7-0 teams are given lavish amounts of praise.

OREGON-CALIFORNIA: I swear, if the Golden Bears hold Oregon to 15 points and miss a chip-shot field goal in a narrow loss...