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2012 College Football Picks, Week 11

Alabama Over A&M, Nebraska Over Penn State

By

Nick Saban Alabama

Another week, another huge matchup for Nick Saban and Alabama.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Updated November 09, 2012

So it's pretty clear now, folks: What we've got here in the world of college football is a four-horse race for the national title (all due respect to Louisville, of course).

Over the past few weeks, four undefeated powers--Alabama, Notre Dame, Kansas State and Oregon--have clearly separated themselves from the rest of the pack, and after three of those teams ('Bama, Notre Dame and Oregon) survived close calls last week, the tension was turned up even further.

We are now in the pressure-packed stretch run, and the question on everyone's mind, of course, is how many of those four undefeateds can survive the rest of the season without a loss. My guess is that at least two of them won't--and we might see the first team stumble as early as this week.

While both the Fighting Irish (at Boston College) and Oregon (at Cal) would seem to be safe this Saturday, the Crimson Tide (at home vs. a tough, scrappy and talented Texas A&M squad) and Wildcats (on the road against Garry Patterson and TCU) face stiff tests. Can both survive?

Find out here, in this week's edition of Games Worth Watching.

Wisconsin at Indiana (Noon, ESPN2): This game had to be included this week. And there's just one reason why: With a win here, Indiana would give themselves a great shot of (wait for it) winning the Big Ten Leaders Division title. Yes, it's true, folks. If the Hoosiers can knock off a not-great Badger squad and then finish off the season with wins over Penn State and Purdue, they will be heading to Indianapolis to play for the Big Ten Championship. That basically tells you all you need to know about the Big Ten this season. Wisconsin 31, Indiana 24

No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama (3:30 p.m., CBS): I guess there's no denying it now: Yes, Texas A&M really does belong in the SEC. I had my doubts about how the Aggies would handle the transition into America's Toughest Conference, but to their credit, this team looks like they've been playing SEC ball for years now. With Johnny Manziel aka Johnny Football running the show, the Ags are putting up nearly 45 points a game, and they're scrappy and opportunistic on defense, too. Will that be enough to knock off Nick Saban and the Tide? Well, probably not. But it should be a good one nonetheless. Alabama 28, Texas A&M 24

Penn State at No. 16 Nebraska (3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2): Penn State has surprised just about everyone with their performance so far this season; in the wake of those crushing NCAA sanctions and the departure of a few key players, it would probably be an understatement to say that expectations were pretty low for this bunch. But here we are in Week 11, and the Nits are sitting at 6-3. They've been especially impressive on the road, winning three Big Ten road games by more than 24 points, but they will face a much stiffer test this week in Lincoln, where the Cornhuskers seem to have ­­found their stride after a dicey start. Look for the Huskers to pull away late. Nebraska 27, Penn State 17

No. 2 Kansas State at TCU (7 p.m., FOX): This one is pretty simple, folks. If Colin Klein plays for K-State, the Wildcats should be just fine. If he doesn't, they'll have a fight on their hands. But either way, they'll win. Bill Snyder doesn't lose games like that. Kansas State 31, TCU 17

No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 7 LSU (7 p.m., ESPN): There has been a lot of talk, and justifiably so, about 'Bama's tricky showdown against Texas A&M; after all, the Tide are coming off an emotional win in a game that many had pegged as their toughest test of the season. In such a scenario, a letdown seems inevitable, hence the talk. What we haven't heard much about, however, is the fact that LSU is facing a similar situation. Just one week after seeing what would have been a momentous win over 'Bama slip away, the Tigers have to regroup and refocus in time for a visit from the up-and-down and hard-to-figure-out Mississippi State Bulldogs. Will Death Valley still be rocking? Can Les Miles get this team up for a game that so clearly isn't as big as the one they just played? We shall see. LSU 17, Mississippi State 10

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