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Second straight week of seven ranked-on-ranked matchups signals HUGE Showdown Saturday slate

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As yet another regular season begins to quickly and swiftly wind down, there’s yet another huge weekend on tap dripping with playoff and conference implications.

Last week, for the first time since the 2006 season and just the sixth time in history, there were seven games played in which both teams were ranked in the Associated Press poll. As we enter Week 11, it’s back-to-back for that particular phenomenon as, yet again, there are seven ranked-on-ranked matchups.

All 14 of the teams involved, incidentally, currently reside in the College Football Playoff Top 25, which is obviously the poll measure with the most import and the rankings for which are used in setting up the scrumptious Week 11 menu below.

  • No. 1 Georgia at No. 10 Auburn
  • No. 2 Alabama at No. 16 Mississippi State
  • No. 3 Notre Dame at No. 7 Miami
  • No. 6 TCU at No. 5 Oklahoma
  • No. 20 Iowa at No. 8 Wisconsin
  • No. 12 Michigan State at No. 13 Ohio State
  • No. 15 Oklahoma State at No. 21 Iowa State

Georgia has already clinched the otherwise woeful SEC East, but needs a win to keep pace in the national chase. Both undefeated Alabama (with an Auburn loss) and unbeaten Wisconsin can join UGA in a division-clinching Saturday with wins, the former the SEC West and the latter the Big Ten West; the winner of the Michigan State-Ohio State matchup all but clinches the Big Ten East as well. Oklahoma and TCU enter gameday tied atop the Big 12 at 5-1 in conference play, with the winner of that matchup grabbing very firm control of one of the two spots in the league championship game renewal with two games remaining and the loser falling out of playoff contention.

The lone non-conference matchup in the group, Notre Dame traveling to Miami, could very well find the loser, much like the Pac-12 and especially if it’s the Irish, on the outside of the playoff window looking in when the regular season is all said and done.

Outside of the ranked-on-ranked matchups, CFP No. 4 and defending national champion Clemson can clinch the ACC Atlantic by dropping stumbling rival Florida State at home, while No. 11 USC can do the same in the Pac-12 South if it takes care of business against Colorado on the road. In the Group of Five portion of the program, unbeaten and 18th-ranked Central Florida will look to strengthen its hold on a potential New Year’s Six berth by taking care of UConn, with No. 22 Memphis, the only other CFP ranked G5, facing a stiff test against SMU as it tries to stay within shouting distance of UCF.

So, other than all of that, there’s really not much at stake this weekend. At all.

UCF continues to diminish, demean UConn’s ‘Civil ConFliCT Trophy’

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This continues to be one of the best under-the-radar storylines in all of college football.

In June of 2015, to the surprise — and chagrin — of UCF, UConn abruptly revealed on Twitter that there were “just 130 days until the next Civil Conflict with @UCF_Football!”  The university even had a trophy created for the “rivalry.”  All of that was news to the Knights as they stated at the time that they “have no involvement with the trophy or creating a rivalry game with UConn.”

After beating the Huskies last season, the Knights walked off the field and left the trophy. ” “UConn staffer just picked up the trophy, looked around for advice on what to do with it, and placed in on the UConn bench,” beat writer Neill Ostrout wrote on Twitter at the time.

This coming weekend, the “rivalry” will be renewed.  And, as has been the case since its creation, UCF continues to diminish, demean and downplay the “trophy game,” this time in its game notes package.

Well-played, Knights.  Well-played.

UConn’s John Robinson IV charged with DUI, suspended two games

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One UConn player’s off-field issue will come with some on-field ramifications attached to it.

Tuesday, UConn announced that John Robinson IV had been suspended by head coach Randy Edsall for the next two games. The only reason given was the standard unspecified violation of team rules.

Subsequent to that, the Hartford Courant reported that Robinson was arrested over the weekend on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and operating a vehicle while using a cell phone. From the Courant‘s report:

Robinson, 20, of Englewood, N.J., was pulled over by UConn police on Discovery Drive at 12:07 a.m. Sunday. Officer Zachary Gonzalez smelled alcohol and Robinson failed a field sobriety test, according to the arrest report. The report did not indicate whether Robinson submitted to additional testing.

The defensive back will miss this Saturday’s game against Missouri and the following weekend’s game against South Florida. At least at the moment, he’d be eligible to return for the Week 11 game against UCF.

A redshirt sophomore, Robinson has played in three games this season. He played in all 12 games for the Huskies in 2016.

Shoulder injury will sideline UConn RB Arkeel Newsome for 3-4 weeks

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UConn’s road to bowl eligibility has hit a bit of a speedbump.

During UConn’s Week 8 win over Tulsa, Akeel Newsome sustained an injury to his shoulder at the end of a 51-yard reception.  Further evaluation has determined that the clavicle issue will sideline the running back for a period of 3-4 weeks, head coach Randy Edsall confirmed Tuesday morning by way of the Hartford Courant.

At minimum, he’ll miss 3-4 UConn’s game Saturday against Missouri as well as those against No. 17 USF and No. 18 UCF.  At the long end, he’d also miss the Boston College game Nov. 18, returning for the regular-season finale against Cincinnati the following weekend.

Newsome’s absence will have a significant impact on both phases of the Huskies’ offense.

A senior, Newsome is currently second on the team in rushing yards (218) and rushing touchdowns (three).  His 407 receiving yards are tops on the team, while his 22 receptions are tied for the team lead.

No. 17 South Florida breaks AP Poll-era record of consecutive games with 30-plus points

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South Florida has been viewed by most as a bit of a disappointment this season. Such is the burden of perfection, because a so-called disappointing start still sees Charlie Strong‘s Bulls sitting at No. 16 in the AP poll with a 6-0 start and its streak of scoring 30-plus points still intact.

Correction: South Florida’s AP Poll-era record streak of scoring 30-plus points is still intact.

The Bulls beat Tulane 34-28 on Saturday, pushing the streak to 24 games. And according to ESPN’s Stats and Information department, that is now the FBS record for the AP poll era, which dates back to 1936.

For the year, South Florida is tied for ninth in FBS with a 41.6 scoring average. The Bulls are one of seven FBS teams to average more than 300 rushing yards per game, and one of just three non-triple option teams to accomplish the feat, joining Arizona and No. 13 Notre Dame.

The streak could actually be at 25 games right now if not for Hurricane Irma. The storm forced South Florida to push back at trip to Connecticut from Sept. 9 to Nov. 4 and in the process eliminated a scheduled Oct. 14 game against UMass. UConn and UMass both allow more than 30 points per game.

As it stands, South Florida has a great shot to push the record to at least 27 games. The Bulls’ next opponent, Houston, allows 24 points a game and just surrendered 42 points in one half in a home loss to No. 25 Memphis. USF visits UConn on Nov. 4, and then concludes its home schedule against Tulsa, who ranks No. 117 nationally with a 37.6 scoring defense average.

Then comes the big test: the regular season finale at No. 20 Central Florida. The Knights rank 16th nationally with 17.5 points per game allowed and have not allowed more than 23 points in a game this season (a game in which they scored 51).