Conference rivalries highlight week 11 of college football

Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) picks up a few more yards as Missouri Tigers linebacker Will Ebner (32) hangs on for reinforcements in the fourth quarter at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri, Saturday, October 13, 2012. Alabama beat Missouri, 42-10. Photo by Shane Keyser/Kansas City Star/MCT

Chris Ginley

Alabama vs. Texas A&M

After last Saturday’s dramatic, come-from-behind victory over LSU, Alabama head coach Nick Saban immediately directed his players to start preparing for another challenge in SEC-newcomer Texas A&M.

This game will be the Aggies first visit to Tuscaloosa as a member of the SEC. The Aggies bring a high-flying offense, which is averaging 44.7 points per game, and freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Manziel has thrown for 2,527 passing yards and 16 passing touchdowns while rushing for 922 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns.

Alabama will be led by quarterback AJ McCarron, who has thrown for 1,849 passing yards and 19 touchdowns. McCarron will look to continue his streak of nine games without throwing an interception.

The Aggie defense, who is averaging 21.0 points allowed per game, will have a tough time defending the Alabama rushing attack, which features two tough, hard-nosed running backs in T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy.

Yeldon has rushed for 725 yards and seven touchdowns while Lacy has rushed for 679 yards and eight touchdowns. This will be Alabama’s last true test of the season, as their next two opponents (Western Carolina and Auburn) have a combined record of 3-16.

My Prediction: Alabama clinches the SEC West Division title with a 28-14 win.

Beavers square-off against the Cardinal in PAC-12 clash

Oregon State will face Stanford Saturday, in a game that has PAC-12 Championship implications.

Both of these teams still have to face Oregon and the winner of this game will be Oregon’s biggest threat in their run to the National Championship. Oregon State and Stanford both feature quarterbacks that weren’t supposed to start in an important game this late in the season.

Oregon State quarterback Cody Vaz is coming off a game where he was 14 for 33 in passing attempts, throwing for 267 yards and three touchdowns with one interception against Arizona State.

Stanford will counter with Kevin Hogan, who came on in relief of quarterback Josh Nunes during last Saturday’s 48-0 win over Colorado. Hogan was 18 for 23 in passing attempts, throwing for 184 yards and two touchdowns versus the Buffaloes to earn his first start this Saturday.

Can Cody Vaz lead the Oregon State offense against a Stanford team that is undefeated at home this season?

My Prediction: Stanford defends their home turf and wins a close game 27-21.

Tigers look to bounce back against Bulldogs

While the LSU Tigers failed to get revenge for their 21-0 loss in last January’s BCS National Championship, they better get over the loss quickly, as they have another big test this week in the #21 Mississippi State Bulldogs.

LSU will be led by quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who is coming off his best performance of the season against Alabama. Mettenberger has thrown for 1,717 passing yards and eight touchdowns this season.

Mississippi State will have the upper hand in the passing game, as they will counter with quarterback Tyler Russell, who has thrown for 1954 passing yards and 16 touchdowns on the season.

The LSU secondary will also have to keep an eye on Chad Bumphis, who leads the Mississippi State receiving corps with 536 receiving yards and seven touchdowns.

LSU’s strong rushing game, led by running backs Jeremy Hill, who has 429 rushing yards and six touchdowns and Kenny Hilliard, who has 420 rushing yards and six touchdowns, will help Mettenberger carry the load for the Tiger offense.

Can the LSU Tigers get back on track after last week’s heartbreaking loss to Alabama? It will be a stretch for Mississippi State to beat LSU, considering the Tigers have not lost back-to-back home games since 2001.

My Prediction: LSU wins 27-14.

Contact Chris Ginley at [email protected].