Welcome back to The Professor, a weekly guide to what we learned in college football. For more from Week 10 in college football, catch up on scores here and check out our five takeaways from Saturday night.

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Arguing that college football is better when "Team X" is a national power has become a college football cliché, so allow me to slightly alter the wording: It's great that Miami is playing in big games again. It's great for the sport, it's great for the media and it's great for college football fans who want interesting games to happen.

When nationally relevant, few teams are capable of being as interesting as Miami, and although Miami is not all the way back yet -- The U is not The U we once knew -- Mark Richt has the Hurricanes in the playoff conversation right now and on the path toward sustained national prominence in the future in just his second season coaching his alma mater.

On Saturday night, Miami beat Virginia Tech 28-10 in an important statement victory. The win served many purposes for the Hurricanes: It made them the overwhelming favorite to win their first division title in the 13th season of ACC Coastal play. Because of Florida State's disappointing season, it gave the Canes their first quality win over a top-25 opponent. It also happened to be a win by 18 points after four straight single-digit wins created skepticism that placed them No. 10 in the first playoff top 25 despite being one of four remaining Power Five undefeated teams.

On a national stage, Miami proved that it belongs in the playoff conversation by decisively beating the Hokies with big plays on both sides of the ball. The game thus produced one more important result: It set up a huge top-10 showdown with Notre Dame next Saturday night.

There are no ACC title implications involved, but it feels like Miami's biggest game since it joined the ACC in 2004. Given the history between the two programs, it feels like a fitting matchup for Miami to announce its return to relevance.

There was a time, of course, when Miami was regularly a part of top-10 showdowns. From 1999-2005, the Hurricanes participated in 13 games in which both teams were ranked in the top 10 of the AP poll. They went 10-3 in those games as they recaptured some of the magic of their run of national dominance in the 1980s and early '90s.

But upon joining the ACC, that run of success ended. From 2006-16, a span of 11 seasons, Miami played in only one top-10 game: a 2013 blowout loss, as the No. 7 team, to No. 3 Florida State. That Miami team proved to be vastly overrated, starting 7-0 and moving up that high in the rankings almost by default, with a top-25 win over Florida that proved to be unimportant because the Gators finished 4-8. Miami finished 9-4.

Yes, some parallels can be drawn between 2013 and 2017, but the win over a good Hokies team showed that this is a different Miami, one ready for the spotlight.

Quarterback Malik Rosier's play has been inconsistent, but he's repeatedly come through with big plays in big moments. And although the defense is susceptible to big plays on the ground -- which could be a problem against the Irish -- it is among the nation's most disruptive, averaging a national-best 8.8 tackles for loss per game. The Canes rank 11th in yards per play on offense and 14th in yards per play allowed on defense, making them one of only four teams -- along with Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State -- to rank in the top 20 in yards per play on both sides of the ball. They've won 13 games in a row dating back to last season, when they played better than their 9-4 record indicated.

This year's team is a fast, athletic and talented Miami that is playing with intensity, confidence and, yes, even a little bit of the old-school Canes swagger.

After so many years of disappointments and unmerited hype, this feels like a turning point for Miami, a promising start to a season that isn't a false start. That doesn't mean the Canes will beat Notre Dame, in what could prove to be an unfavorable matchup for them, but they're in the national title conversation for the first time in years, on track for their first trip to the ACC title game and likely to make their first major bowl appearance as an ACC member. And while all that is happening, Richt is having a fantastic year on the recruiting trail that will only be bolstered by the team's success.

Saturday confirmed that this Miami team is worthy of its top-10 ranking. Next Saturday will show us if Miami is truly a playoff-caliber team. In between, a positive national spotlight will be back shining on the Canes after so much time away.

Love them or hate them, it can't help but be fun for college football.

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Lessons Learned in Week 10

Ohio State loss adds perspective to Nick Saban's dominance

Days like Saturday are not supposed to happen to Ohio State, but they've been surprisingly frequent recently, at least by Buckeyes standards. The past 10 Ohio State games have featured a 31-0 playoff loss to Clemson (the first shutout loss of Urban Meyer's career and the Buckeyes' first since 1993), a 31-16 loss to Oklahoma (worst Ohio State home loss since 1999) and now a devastating 55-24 loss at Iowa (worst Ohio State loss since 1994, worst loss to Iowa, most points allowed by a Meyer team).

Ohio State had done a terrific job bouncing back from the Week 2 Oklahoma loss behind the best stretch of J.T. Barrett's career and typical dominance by the defensive line, but the latest defeat turned the Buckeyes into a playoff long shot. Iowa's superlatives on Saturday were seemingly endless, as it aggressively attacked Ohio State, forcing mistakes and capitalizing on them and putting up a season-high average of seven yards per play.

Ohio State's letdown performances in the past 11 months are disheartening, but nobody should overreact. As I wrote in the spring, Meyer's first five years in Columbus rank among the greatest starts to a tenure by any coach ever. Even with two losses this year, Meyer is 68-8 (.895 winning percentage) in nearly six seasons at Ohio State, and Saturday marked only his fourth loss in Big Ten play.

There are undeniably problems for Meyer and the Buckeyes to fix, but Saturday also served as another reminder of just how far ahead of everyone else the one coach who's been more successful than Meyer in recent years is: Nick Saban has not lost a game at Alabama by more than 14 points. That covers nearly 11 seasons, and it includes a rebuilding 2007 debut in which the Crimson Tide went 7-6 but stayed within a touchdown of everybody they lost to.

After Ohio State lost by 31 to Iowa, Alabama went out and had a forgettable performance against LSU in which it didn't run the ball particularly well and dealt with injuries on defense. It still won 24-10, in a game it was never going to lose.

Meyer set such a high standard for himself that any loss feels like a big failure, which makes a 31-point loss to Iowa feel like a crisis. But this is college football. Horrible letdowns like Saturday happen to even the best coaches.

Except Saban, who barely knows what it feels like to lose by more than a touchdown.

Line play unravels Penn State's biggest goals

Coming into the season, consensus predictions had Ohio State winning the Big Ten and Penn State finishing 10-2 with a major bowl bid. There's a good chance that's exactly what will happen. And yet the past two weeks couldn't help but make Nittany Lions fans feel squeamish. After all, Penn State blew a double-digit fourth-quarter lead at Ohio State, then struggled at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in their rain-delayed loss on a last-second field goal at Michigan State. The Lions couldn't generate any sort of push up front to create room for Heisman candidate Saquon Barkley, and they couldn't generate pressure on Michigan State quarterback Brian Lewerke, who threw for 400 yards against a defense that didn't give up more than 200 passing yards until getting burned by J.T. Barrett last week.

Penn State ultimately lost two games by a total of four points on the road. It's the type of stretch that can be chalked up to bad luck in some respects. But in addition to the self-inflicted wounds -- particularly a dropped pass on a fourth down and a roughing the passer on a third down that combined to put the Spartans in position to win -- the past game and a half illustrated some clear problems for Penn State to overcome.

James Franklin is improving Penn State's status on the recruiting trail, but the depth chart hasn't reached a national championship-caliber level yet. The Lions have a ton of talent, of course, which is why they could win 10 games for the second year in a row and have been so close to perfection, but depth issues have been exposed on both lines. The defense couldn't get to Barrett or Lewerke in key moments, putting too much responsibility on the defensive backs, and a lack of running room has potentially put an end to Barkley's campaign for the Heisman. Barkley still ranks seventh nationally in yards from scrimmage per game and second in all-purpose yards, but he's been held under 100 yards rushing/receiving in four of the past five games, mostly because of images like this:

Given where Penn State was only a couple years ago, the big picture still couldn't look much better for where the Franklin era has headed. Back-to-back double-digit-win seasons and back-to-back major bowls are well within reach. But given that Penn State went from blowing out Michigan to seeing its playoff hopes, Big Ten title hopes and Heisman hopes all broken up in heartbreaking fashion in a matter of eight days, the season can't avoid feeling like a missed opportunity.

Oklahoma continues to survive its lack of defense

Since losing to Ohio State in September 2016, Oklahoma has allowed 40-plus points five times. It has won all five of those games.

That includes last year's ridiculous 66-59 win over Texas Tech in which both teams had 854 total yards, and it includes Saturday's Bedlam shootout in which the Sooners beat Oklahoma State 62-52 with 785 total yards, including a school-record 598 passing yards from Baker Mayfield, who has been responsible for leading the Sooners to wins in all of those games in which the defense struggled.

Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma's five wins in games in which it allowed over 40 points are two more than anybody else (UL Monroe, Navy and Tulsa have each won three such games). Before this streak, the Sooners had been a more normal 4-15 when allowing 40-plus points since 2000, according to Sports-Reference, but apparently there's no lackluster defensive performance that Mayfield can't overcome. All of which makes him an obvious frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy after finishing in the top four two years in a row.

This year's Sooners rank 88th in yards per play allowed nationally and 103rd in defensive passer rating. A strong argument can be made for the Sooners to be ranked No. 4 -- that's where I have them on my AP ballot -- based on what they've accomplished, but the defensive struggles make next week's TCU showdown even more interesting. The Horned Frogs rank first nationally in yards per rush allowed and fifth in yards per play allowed, and they've allowed a total of 27 points in their past four games.

Schedule grind holds back N.C. State in a different way than expected

Believing that N.C. State could be a dangerous sleeper in the preseason made plenty of sense. The Wolfpack returned an underrated quarterback in Ryan Finley, a terrific versatile weapon on offense in Jaylen Samuels and a loaded defensive line. But the competition in the ACC Atlantic seemingly stood in the way. After all, the Wolfpack haven't been a top-20 team in over a decade, and they shared a division with defending national champion Clemson, preseason No. 3 Florida State and defending Heisman winner Lamar Jackson.

Florida State and Louisville ended up not being the challenges that were expected, and N.C. State beat both to thrust itself into the spotlight. But its nonconference schedule has been far more difficult than usual, with two Power Five opponents -- South Carolina and Notre Dame, as part of the ACC's scheduling agreement with the Irish -- after playing just one Power Five nonconference opponent in the previous four seasons combined. The Wolfpack doubled up South Carolina in total yardage but lost 35-28 in Week 1. Meanwhile, last year's game against Notre Dame was played in a hurricane against a 4-8 team; this year's was on the road against a playoff contender, and Notre Dame pummeled the Wolfpack 35-14.

A true breakthrough season thus required a win over Clemson to send the Wolfpack to the ACC title game. They put forth an admirable effort in Saturday's 38-31 loss, but they allowed a 77-yard punt return and an 89-yard touchdown run, threw two fourth-quarter interceptions and committed an illegal shift penalty to negate a fourth-down conversion on their final drive. Now, N.C. State needs a Clemson loss to be able to win the Atlantic, and it's sitting at 6-3 with a pair of tougher-than-expected road games at Boston College and Wake Forest next. This is the best N.C. State team in several years, and yet finishing in the top 25 won't be easy, for a program that just can't seem to get all the right breaks in a season.

Snow football has arrived

The end of Daylight Saving Time fittingly brought with it the first snow football of the year. Washington State's 24-21 home win over Stanford -- in which it held Heisman candidate Bryce Love to just 69 rushing yards -- was played in light snowy conditions, making for the first time that Stanford has played a snow game since 1936 at Columbia. Under coach Tiny Tornhill, Stanford lost that season-ending game 7-0 at what the Brooklyn Daily Eagle referred to as the "Polar Grounds." The only points of the day came when Columbia returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown. Stanford's offense fared better this time, but the Cougars snapped the Cardinal's five-game winning streak anyway and dealt a serious blow to Love's Heisman campaign.

The snowflakes in the air in Pullman paled in comparison to the snow-covered field in Laramie, Wyoming. Wyoming beat Colorado State 16-13 thanks to a Kellen Overstreet TD run with 4:21 left on a white field at War Memorial Stadium:

Washington reemphasizes newfound dominance over Oregon

It's not just that Oregon beat Washington every year. It's that Oregon embarrassed Washington every year. From 2004-15, the Ducks beat the Huskies 12 times in a row. The first 11 in that streak were by at least 17 pointes each, and three of 12 were by at least 30 points. Washington closed the gap with a 26-20 loss in 2015. The past two seasons? It has taken out over a decade of frustration on the Ducks to assert a new Pac-12 North pecking order.

Saturday wasn't quite as lopsided as last year's 70-21 Washington win in Autzen Stadium, but the Huskies crushed the Ducks at home 38-3. Without QB Justin Herbert again, the Ducks were held to 31 passing yards -- their fourth straight game under 75 -- and a one-dimensional offense was hopeless against one of the nation's stingiest defenses. Jake Browning threw for 204 yards on only 11 completions, Myles Gaskin rushed for 123 yards and Dante Pettis set the career FBS record with his ninth punt return touchdown.

After so many years of Oregon dominance, Washington has recorded its two biggest wins over Oregon since 1977 in consecutive years.

College football's best new rivalry trophy belongs to UNLV

Creating new rivalry trophies is tricky, because they often feel forced and the trophies are often bland or forgettable. So credit to UNLV and Hawaii for the Ninth Island Showdown and its glorious golden pineapple trophy, which the Rebels claimed thanks to a 31-23 win:

Northwestern is the best team in college football … in overtime

Overtime has existed in college football for two decades, and Northwestern now owns a record: It is the first team to win three straight overtime games in three consecutive weeks.

After a 2-3 start to the season, Northwestern is 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten -- good for second place in the West Division -- thanks to back-to-back-to-back OT wins. On Oct. 21, the Wildcats outlasted Iowa 17-10. On Oct. 28, the Wildcats outlasted Michigan State 39-31 in three overtime periods. And, finally, on Saturday the Wildcats earned their first road OT win of the three, adding to Nebraska's 2017 misery by beating the Cornhuskers 31-24 in an extra period. Consider it some more revenge for Nebraska's 2013 Hail Mary win over the Wildcats in Lincoln.

Iowa State's rise to power hit a snag in Morgantown

Iowa State has been one of the best stories of the season, and it will continue to be one of the best stories of the season. After all, the Cyclones haven't been to a bowl since 2012, and they've made their first top-25 appearance since 2005 thanks to wins over Oklahoma and TCU -- tripling their all-time total of top-five wins. Those wins and a 6-2 record earned Iowa State a No. 15 ranking in the first playoff top 25, but it wasn't hard to see Saturday coming.

After a week of hype and attention following the TCU win, with another big home game against Oklahoma State looming, the Cyclones made a tough sandwich road trip to West Virginia as a slight underdog despite their ranking. Will Grier completed 20 of 25 passes, and the Mountaineers held on for a 20-16 win despite not scoring in the second half. The loss drops Iowa State to 4-2 in the Big 12, in a three-way tie for third place with West Virginia and Oklahoma State, behind Oklahoma and TCU. The Cyclones will need to topple Oklahoma State at home next week to keep those Big 12 title game dreams alive.

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All-America Team of the Week

QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma. A couple turnovers didn't matter in the end: Mayfield threw for 598 yards on only 24 completions, averaging 16.6 yards per attempt with five touchdowns to win Bedlam.

QB: Ahmad Bradshaw, Army. Two quarterbacks make the team this week: a passer and a runner. Bradshaw literally did not throw one pass in Army's 21-0 win over Air Force. He did not need to. In the team's third win in which it had zero passing yards, Bradshaw ran 23 times for 265 yards and one TD. Army is 7-2, and the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy will be on the line when it plays Navy on Dec. 9.

RB: Ronald Jones II, USC. In a potential showcase game for Arizona QB Khalil Tate, Jones stole the show. He ran 27 times for 194 yards and three TDs, caught three passes for 39 yards and put the game away with 52-yard run to set up a TD after a late Tate interception.

RB: Devin Singletary, Florida Atlantic. Singletary has driven the Owls' 5-0 run through Conference USA play. In a win over Marshall, he had 28 carries for 203 yards a TD, his seventh straight 100-yard game and second straight 200-yard game. If that wasn't enough, Singletary caught two passes for 72 yards with a 60-yard TD catch. Despite all that, FAU won by only five … thanks to an intentional safety at the end of the game that inadvertently allowed Marshall to cover the spread.

WR: Marquise Brown, Oklahoma. Brown played the biggest role in Mayfield's huge passing day, catching nine passes for 265 yards, including touchdowns of 84 and 77 yards.

WR: Felton Davis, Michigan State. Despite playing in terrible weather, Michigan State QB Brian Lewerke burned Penn State for 400 yards and several big third-down throws. Davis had 12 catches for 181 yards and a TD.

OL: Iowa. Last week, Ohio State's excellent defensive front shut down Saquon Barkley in the second half. This week, the Buckeyes had just one sack and three tackles for loss. Iowa averaged seven yards per play and rushed for 243 yards.

DL: Clelin Ferrell, Clemson. Ferrell made a living in the N.C. State backfield with five tackles for loss and 12 total tackles.

DL: Cedric Wilcots, New Mexico State. The Aggies beat Texas State for their fourth win of the season -- tied for their most in a season since 2004 -- and got three sacks and three forced fumbles from Wilcots.

DL: Ben Banogu, TCU. Banogu had three of TCU's 12 tackles for loss in a dominant team defensive effort in which the Horned Frogs held Texas to nine rushing yards and seven points.

LB: Treyvon Williams, FIU. Butch Davis has the Golden Panthers 6-2 in his first season. They beat UTSA 14-7 on Saturday behind Williams, who had 13 tackles, four tackles for loss and two sacks.

LB: Justus Rogers, Washington State. Wazzu gave up a 52-yard TD run to Bryce Love but still held him to just 69 rushing yards. Rogers, a freshman, had six tackles and 2 ½ tackles for loss.

LB: Khaleke Hudson, Michigan. The hybrid LB/DB enjoyed a breakout performance in Michigan's win over Minnesota, racking up 6 ½ tackles for loss and a forced fumble as the Wolverines held the Golden Gophers to 164 total yards. Hudson's performance may have been even better statistically than originally thought:

LB: Roquan Smith, Georgia. Might as well put him here every week. Smith has been the nation's best linebacker this season, and he had another big game against South Carolina with nine tackles and 1 ½ tackles for loss.

DB: Josh Jackson, Iowa. Jackson was already having a great season, but his performance in the blowout win over Ohio State may have locked up an All-America spot. He intercepted J.T. Barrett three times, including a spectacular one-handed pick near the goal line.

DB: Jalen Young, Florida Atlantic. Young's first two interceptions led to 14 of Florida Atlantic's 30 points against Marshall. His third pick came with Marshall trying to mount a game-tying drive late.

DB: Jaquan Johnson, Miami. Johnson had a team-high seven tackles and a one-handed interception to lead the Canes' 28-10 win over Virginia Tech.

DB: Derwin James, Florida State. James has had a relatively quiet year because of Florida State's struggles but he had his first interception of the season and four pass breakups in the Seminoles' win over Syracuse.

AP: Ray-Ray McCloud, Clemson. McCloud didn't have a catch on offense, but he filled in as a cornerback on defense and had a 77-yard punt return touchdown that may be the best return of the season.

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Report Card: Grading The Week In College Football

A+: UAB. In 2014, Bill Clark guided UAB to six wins and bowl eligibility, only the third time in 19 FBS seasons the Blazers didn't have a losing record. But the Blazers didn't go bowling; instead, their team got shut down and didn't play for two years. They returned to the field this season and, improbably, are off to a 6-3 start to get to bowl eligibility again. The Blazers crushed Rice 52-21 and are 4-2 in Conference USA play, a game behind North Texas in their division.

A: Wisconsin and UCF. Two of the five remaining undefeated teams did what they were supposed to do by quietly taking care of business on the road. Wisconsin, the Big Ten's last playoff hope, started slowly but got 183 rushing yards from Jonathan Taylor and pulled away to crush a solid Indiana defense 45-17. And against an explosive SMU team, UCF got 412 passing yards from McKenzie Milton, 145 rushing yards from Adrian Killins and enough stops on defense to escape Dallas with a 31-24 win. Both felt like possible upset spots, but the Badgers and Knights move on unblemished.

A-: Michigan. The Wolverines didn't need to ask quarterback Brandon Peters to do much in his first start. Peters completed 8 of 13 passes for 56 yards as Michigan claimed the Little Brown Jug against Minnesota, 33-10, behind 371 rushing yards. Karan Higdon had 200 yards and Chris Evans had 191. Michigan ran only 50 plays and averaged 10 yards per rush; Minnesota ran 56 plays for 164 yards.

B+: USC. Khalil Tate's remarkable four-game run, which propelled Arizona into the Pac-12 South title race, hit a wall against USC. Despite a rough first half, Tate did nearly lead an Arizona comeback, with 161 rushing yards, 146 passing yards and three total TDs. But he averaged only 4.7 yards per pass attempt and was intercepted on Arizona's last two possessions. The Wildcats couldn't afford the mistakes on offense, as their defense allowed 311 passing yards to Sam Darnold, 194 rushing yards to Ronald Jones II and 122 rushing yards to Aca'Cedric Ware. USC held on, 49-35, and appears to be a lock for a spot in the Pac-12 title game.

B: Georgia. With a big rivalry trip to Auburn on deck, Georgia avoided getting tripped up at home against a South Carolina team that may be the second-best in the SEC East. The Gamecocks put some pressure on the Bulldogs, but ultimately Georgia got a stellar performance from QB Jake Fromm -- 16 of 22 for 196 yards and two TDs -- and its defense was its usual self, intercepting Jake Bentley twice and holding South Carolina to 43 rushing yards.

B-: Notre Dame. Wake Forest is significantly improved on offense, but the grade here can only go so high when the Fighting Irish surrendered 37 points, 587 total yards and 34 first downs. It was nevertheless an impressive performance by the Irish offense. Despite missing star tailback Josh Adams for much of the game -- he's expected to be ready for next week's game at Miami -- and quarterback Brandon Wimbush getting banged up, too, Notre Dame averaged a season-high 8.5 yards per play, piling up 380 rushing yards. Wimbush threw for 280 yards and rushed for 110.

C+: Mississippi State. It was a forgettable 34-23 win over UMass in which the Minutemen put pressure on the Bulldogs for the entire game. Both Nick Fitzgerald and Aeris Williams rushed for over 100 yards, but this was still a sleepy performance in a sandwich game after last week's blowout win at Texas A&M and before next week's showdown with Alabama.

C: Old Dominion 6, Charlotte 0. We can't ignore this magnificent result. Old Dominion scored 46 fewer points than it did last year against Charlotte, and yet it still won. Prior to Saturday, the lowest winning score of the season was 13. The Monarchs join Wake Forest (which did it twice) as the only teams in the past five seasons to win a game with six or fewer points. The game featured 14 punts, two missed field goals, two made field goals and zero touchdowns with, remarkably, only one turnover.

C-: Arkansas. Consider Coastal Carolina's resume: 1) It's in its first season of FBS play. 2) It has one win, which came in Week 1. 3) It lost to Western Illinois, an FCS team, by 42, and Texas State, one of the worst FBS teams, by 20. And then there was Saturday: The Chanticleers led at Arkansas for nearly the entire second half. The Razorbacks escaped, 39-38, with a Cole Kelly touchdown and PAT with 1:55 left. Arkansas won, but the game only added more warmth to Bret Bielema's hot seat.

D+: Texas A&M. For the second week in a row, the Aggies were run off their home field. They were blown out by Mississippi State last week, and they lost to Auburn 42-27 this week. The passing game continues to be a problem, and the defense allowed 268 yards and three TDs to Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham and 145 rushing yards to Kerryon Johnson. Texas A&M has lost three of its past four games, and it had only 10 first downs and kicked four field goals in that one win at Florida.

D: UCLA. To be fair to the Bruins, star quarterback Josh Rosen didn't play because of a concussion. Without Rosen, the Bruins hard a horrendous Friday night, as Utah snapped a four-game losing streak by blowing out UCLA 48-17. The nation's worst run defense was bludgeoned again, allowing 153 yards to Zack Moss, and Utah dominated the game from start to finish to drop the Bruins to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Pac-12. They have to win two of three against Arizona State, USC and Cal to reach bowl eligibility.

D-: Texas. Losing to a top-10 team on the road isn't inexcusable, but it's hard to overstate how poorly TCU joining the Big 12 has gone for the Longhorns. Texas is supposed to be the most powerful program in the state, but upon joining the Power Five conference, TCU has won five of six against the Longhorns, including Saturday's 24-7 win in Fort Worth. In fact, TCU hasn't just won against Texas, it has embarrassed the Longhorns by a total score of 153-33 in the past four meetings. Texas had won 28 of 29 games between the two from 1968-2007.

F: Florida. It's hard to know how a team will react to an in-season coach firing. Some rally around the interim coach and finish with an impressive win or two. Others do like Florida did and fold. In the first game under Randy Shannon after Jim McElwain was ousted, the Gators went to Missouri, which had been 0-4 in the SEC, and lost 45-16. With Malik Zaire starting at quarterback, Florida fell behind 28-6 in the first half and couldn't recover. The Gators are 3-5, have lost four in a row and need to win out against South Carolina, UAB and Florida State to get to six wins.

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Week 11 Syllabus

1. Notre Dame at Miami. It's not the late '80s all over again, but a top-10 showdown with playoff implications is quite a story, given what these teams have been through over the past decade-plus.

2. TCU at Oklahoma. Oklahoma just beat Oklahoma State in a playoff elimination game. This looks like one, too, as the Horned Frogs and Sooners are the Big 12's last one-loss teams. It could also be a preview of the Big 12 title game.

3. Georgia at Auburn. An SEC title showdown between undefeated Georgia and Alabama teams has felt inevitable, but Auburn gets a shot at both of them in rivalry games in the next three weeks.

4. Michigan State at Ohio State. The actual unofficial Big Ten East title game, thanks to Michigan State's win over Penn State.

5. Alabama at Mississippi State. The Bulldogs have scored more than 10 on Alabama just once in the past nine tries.

6. Iowa at Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes just stunned Ohio State by 31 points. Can they go on the road and derail more playoff dreams?

7. Washington at Stanford. Washington needs a win to stay in the playoff hunt in a game that kicks off at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

8. Florida State at Clemson. Florida State can salvage some pride in its most disappointing season ever if it can somehow upset Clemson.

9. Oklahoma State at Iowa State. Both teams are 4-2 in the Big 12, so consider this an elimination game in the chase for a spot in the conference title game.

10. Toledo at Ohio. Some excellent Wednesday #MACtion: Toledo is 8-1 and averages 39 points per game. Ohio is 7-2 and averages 41 points per game.

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Contact Matt at matt.brown5082@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @MattBrownCFB and Facebook.