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What To Watch: Top-10 Matchup Between Michigan, Penn State Leads Slate Of Week 11 Games

By November 11, 2023 (9:00 am)Football

Four games take place this week between ranked teams following the second unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings on Tuesday, but none are bigger than No. 10 Penn State’s hosting of No. 3 Michigan in Beaver Stadium.

That will draw most of the eyes on Saturday, but here’s a look at some games to check out during the slate of contests:

No. 10 Penn State at No. 3 Michigan (12 p.m., FOX): One of the biggest games of the season will kick off in a sleepy noon time slot tomorrow, but there should be no shortage of excitement with all the storylines and questions surrounding this one.

It currently isn’t even known if Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be on the sidelines, as the Wolverines are reportedly pursuing legal options to allow him to coach after the Big Ten handed down an in-game coaching suspension for the rest of the regular season. But regardless of whether Harbaugh is on the sidelines, it has all the makings of a game with serious Big Ten implications.

On paper, the Wolverines come into Happy Valley as the much better team, boasting a 9-0 record and generally one of the strongest week-to-week performances this season. But there’s no way of telling what impact the results of the last few weeks will have on Michigan, so the Wolverines could be ripe for an upset.

If Michigan does lose? Time to start looking at tiebreakers, because Ohio State could be on the way to the Big Ten Championship Game regardless of what happens in Ann Arbor on Nov. 25. I’m sure that nobody will be mad about that if it happens.

No. 18 Utah at No. 5 Washington (3:30 p.m., FOX): After you’ve settled down from an exciting game between the Wolverines and Nittany Lions, keep it on the same channel to check out Washington’s continued quest for an undefeated season.

The Huskies have looked mortal over the past few weeks, with their last five wins – the key point being wins – all coming by 10 points or less, and Utah has been as up-and-down as they come this season, with their last three games a 34-32 win over USC, a 35-6 loss to Oregon and a 55-3 shellacking of Arizona State.

It’s hard to know what you’re getting from the Utes until you’re there, so it could make for another precarious outing. But even with Washington losing some styles points, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. has continued his push for the Heisman Trophy, completing 69.4 percent of his passes for 3,201 yards and 26 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. The Huskies have gone as Penix has this season, and they are going to need his best against a plucky Utah squad.

No. 9 Ole Miss at No. 2 Georgia (7 p.m., ESPN): Georgia escaped Missouri last week, and also received some good news in that tight end Brock Bowers – who has been out since Oct. 14 but remains the team’s leading receiver by 169 yards – could potentially make his return against the Rebels.

It would be a massive boost for the Bulldogs, and one that comes at the perfect time with Georgia in the midst of a three-game run against ranked teams, with No. 14 Tennessee up next in Neyland Stadium next week. The Bulldogs have looked vulnerable at times with Bowers out of the lineup, so if he’s back, Georgia might going back to being viewed as the far-and-away title favorite.

As for Ole Miss, the Rebels were beaten soundly – 24-10 – when it faced Alabama earlier this season, and despite a solid season from quarterback Jaxson Dart (65.6 percent, 2,467 yards, 16-4 TD-INT) and a defense allowing just 365.7 yards per game, these are the types of contests that Ole Miss has often failed to show up for under Lane Kiffin, so it’s hard to imagine a sudden shift that has them competing with the Bulldogs late into this one.

Other notable games on the schedule include:

  • Texas Tech at No. 16 Kansas (12 p.m., FS1)
  • No. 8 Alabama at Kentucky (12 p.m., ESPN)
  • No. 21 Arizona at Colorado (2 p.m., P12N)
  • Miami (Fla.) at No. 4 Florida State
  • No. 15 Oklahoma State at UCF
  • Rutgers at No. 22 Iowa (3:30 p.m., BTN)
  • Minnesota at Purdue (3:30 p.m., NBC)
  • No. 13 Tennessee at No. 14 Missouri (3:30 p.m., CBS)
  • Michigan State at No. 1 Ohio State (7:30 p.m., NBC)
  • No. 7 Texas at TCU (7:30 p.m., ABC)
  • Florida at No. 19 LSU (7:30 p.m., SECN)
  • USC at No. 6 Oregon (10:30 p.m., FOX)
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