With only a few weeks to go, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of the college football season. While it looks like the Alabama Crimson Tide have passed their biggest tests and should be heading for the BCS national championship game again, their opponent is still to be determined. Kansas State, who is currently No. 2 in the BCS standings, will have to prove their mettle against TCU this week and they might have to do it without their Heisman-contending quarterback.
Here is a look at the most important games for Week 11:
Kansas State Wildcats at TCU Horned Frogs
This is a game that has been given a fresh injection of intrigue. Kansas State’s Heisman Trophy candidate Collin Klein (the leader in the race right now, too) was seen shaking his right wrist in the third quarter of last Saturday’s win over Oklahoma State. Klein didn’t play the final 25 minutes, though, and since he did complete a few passes after dinging up his wrist, a lot of speculation has emerged in which a concussion is being viewed as a possible source of Klein’s benching. If he has indeed suffered a concussion, Kansas State has to be very careful about how it handles Klein.
Moreover, if Klein does play, he might not display the sharp decision making that college football pundits have come to expect. The lines for this game are not available yet because of Klein’s clouded status. Kansas State has had a phenomenal season to date but Saturday could serve as a real landmine if Klein can lead them into battle.
Texas A&M Aggies at Alabama Crimson Tide
Line: Alabama -13.5
In one of the more fascinating contrasts of styles this season, the Aggies will take their spread passing game into Tuscaloosa to face the premier smashmouth defense of the Crimson Tide.
Texas A&M has a new-age coach, Kevin Sumlin, a man who has tried to maximize avant garde concepts and use both speed and field spacing to his advantage. Alabama head coach Nick Saban is a disciple of old-school football, in which the stronger and more physically imposing team wins games by brute force at the line of scrimmage, knocking the blocks off the opponent.
Texas A&M is a younger and less-proven team but the Aggies will have a chance to throw the ball against Alabama’s secondary, which performed poorly against LSU this past weekend. Football pundits will be very eager to see how this matchup shakes out.
Oregon State Beavers at Stanford Cardinals
Line: Stanford -5.5
This is a huge game in the Pac-12 and the BCS bowl picture. The winner stays in the hunt while the loser will fall out of the chase. Both teams still have to play Oregon later this season, which means that another loss is quite possible and even likely. Winning here is a must if either team wants to play in a top-shelf bowl game at a destination worthy of a great regular season.
Mississippi State Bulldogs at LSU Tigers
Line: LSU -14
The LSU Tigers outgained Alabama last weekend and moved the ball better on the Crimson Tide than any other team in college football this season. LSU carried a lead into the final three minutes with possession of the ball. They needed just one more first down to salt away the win and gain full control of the SEC West race. So many goals and hopes and aspirations for LSU were within reach. However, Alabama snatched victory from the Tigers’ grasp with an electrifying last-minute touchdown drive.
LSU has to get over that setback in short order or else a stumbling Mississippi State team could capture their biggest win of its season. LSU still has a BCS bowl to play for. The Tigers must refocus quickly.