College Football Week 11 - What to Watch: A big week for the Big Ten

J.J. Regan

Maryland goes after top-ranked Ohio State, Penn State meets Minnesota in a battle of unbeatens, Virginia will look to build momentum against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech looks to upset a surprising Wake Forest team.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

Maryland at No. 1 Ohio State

When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
How to watch: FOX

This game may look like a mismatch on paper, but Maryland came within a two-point conversion from shocking the Buckeyes last season. Can the Terps finish the job in the Horseshoe?

Read the full preview here.

No. 4 Penn State at No. 17 Minnesota

When: 12 p.m. Saturday
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minn.
How to watch: ABC

Everyone is talking about Alabama-LSU, but Penn State-Minnesota is another battle of undefeateds with major Big Ten implications.

The Golden Gophers are one of the most surprising teams this season. Their biggest tests remain in front of them starting with this game against the Nittany Lions. Because of that and a number of narrow wins over teams like South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern, Minnesota definitely enters this game with something to prove as is evidenced by their ranking at No. 17 despite being an undefeated Power Five team.

But don't make the mistake of thinking the Gophers are going to be pushovers. This is a team that is very much hitting its stride. Minnesota has held each of its last four opponents to 17 points or fewer and won its last four games by a combined score of 168-41.

This looks to be a defensive battle as both teams rank in the top 15 in total defense, For Penn State, their strength is against the run as the Nittany Lions rank second in the nation. Minnesota, meanwhile, excels against the pass with the 9th ranked pass defense.

Virginia vs. Georgia Tech

When: 12:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, Va.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Virginia will look to build some momentum after a big win last week over North Carolina. Every time it looks like Cavaliers have earned a leg-up over the Coastal Division, they end up suffering a tough loss. This week, however, they welcome a woeful Yellow Jackets team to Charlottesville that has won only two games this season.

The biggest issue facing Virginia in recent weeks has been the play of its offensive line. This should be a get right week for that unit against a Georgia Tech team that ranks tied for 105th with just 13 sacks this season. Getting points on the board has also been a struggle for the Yellow Jackets who rank 122nd with 17.1 points per game. That's a favorable matchup for UVA's 17th ranked defense.

Virginia Tech vs. No. 19 Wake Forest

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
How to watch: ACCN

Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame, Virginia Tech will look to rebound against a Wake Forest team with only one loss on the season to defending national champion Clemson.

The Demon Deacons have proven themselves to be one of the top teams in the ACC this year, but after going toe-to-toe with Notre Dame in Southbend, a confident Virginia Tech team will take to the field and this matchup could prove to be much closer than many anticipate.

The Hokies have looked like a more confident team on both sides of the ball after the quarterback switch first to Hendon Hooker and then to Quincy Patterson.  It was thought Hooker would be ready to play in last week's game, but he was ultimately held out. It is unclear iif he will be ready to go for this pivotal matchup.

A loss in this game will leave Virginia Tech with only three games remaining and still two wins away from reaching bowl eligibility and keeping its vaunted bowl streak alive. 

Game of the week: No. 3 Alabama vs. No. 2 LSU

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium, Tuscaloosa, Ala.
How to watch: CBS

The next Game of the Century? It certainly looks that way. Alabama is doing Alabama things again this season, but a revamped LSU offense has the Tigers poised to overthrow the Crimson Tide for SEC West supremacy.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa will be a game-time decision after missing the last game due to an ankle injury, but it is expected that he will play. If he does, that will pit two of the best quarterbacks in the nation against one another with Joe Burrow leading the way for LSU.

The winner of this game will certainly be in the driver's seat to win the division and earn a spot in the College Football Payoff. The loser will be faced with having to battle their way back into contention. A loss certainly would hurt Alabama more on Saturday. While the committee does take injuries into consideration and an injury to a starting quarterback certainly qualifies, Alabama's out of conference strength of schedule is not great and they lack a signature victory yet unlike LSU who has a win at Texas plus home wins against Florida and Auburn.

On NBC Sports Washington

Winston-Salem State vs. Fayetteville State

When: 2:00 p.m., Saturday
Where: Bobby Bowman Gray Stadium, Winston-Salem, N.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Other local teams

Richmond at Villanova, 1 p.m. Saturday
William & Mary vs. Rhode Island, 1 p.m. Saturday
Morgan State vs. North Carolina A&T, 1 p.m. Saturday ESPN3
VMI at Furman, 1 p.m. Saturday ESPN
Howard at South Carolina State, 1:30 p.m. ESPN3
Old Dominion vs. UTSA, 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Norfolk State at North Carolina Central, 2 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Towson at Stony Brook, 2 p.m. Saturday
JMU vs. New Hampshire, 3:30 p.m. Saturday 
Hampton at Charleston Southern, 6 p.m. on ESPN3
Liberty at BYU, 7:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPNU


College Football Week 11 - What to Watch: A big week for the Big Ten originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington