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National Games to Watch: Week 11

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Northwestern Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

November has not been kind to the Utes in recent years, and with the recent injuries to Tyler Huntley and Zack Moss, the November curse bit extra hard this season. The loss to Arizona State took the Utes out of the CFP rankings and morale around the fan base seems to be relatively low even though the Utes are still very much in the hunt for a PAC-12 South title (although they no longer control their own destiny) and have any number of promising bowl match-ups to look forward to. While the PAC-12 picture is more critical at this juncture, there are still some national games to pay attention to this weekend that could impact the Utes.

BYU vs UMASS Saturday 10:00 AM - BYUTV

BYU’s defense currently ranks 27th nationally, which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone familiar with Kalani Sitake, making Utah’s recent injuries on offense all the more worrisome when it comes to the final game of the season. The Cougars defense will be tested however when they matchup with Andy Isabella, the nation’s top receiver with 77 grabs and 1,394 yards to his name. Seeing how BYU’s defense handles Isabella should make for an interesting morning and will give Utah fans a little insight of what to expect Thanksgiving weekend.

#24 Auburn vs #5 Georgia Saturday 5:00 PM - ESPN

Auburn has successfully snapped their two-game losing skid and are making their way back up the rankings after a 28-24 win over Texas A&M last week. Their rise may be short lived however, as they face the top team in the SEC East, the Georgia Bulldogs. Currently a +14 point underdog, the Tigers have been given a mere 13.7% chance to topple the Bulldogs, which would likely bump them out of the rankings once again, making room for the Utes to jump in if they are able to handle their business against Oregon.

Florida State vs #3 Notre Dame Saturday 5:30 PM - NBC

It’s no secret Florida State is bad. They carry a 4-5 record and what few wins they have managed have been uninspired victories over dreadfully awful opponents. What’s key here is the Seminoles have managed 36 straight bowl appearances, and with three games left to secure two more wins, their chances of becoming bowl eligible are becoming increasingly slim. It’s very possible we see a more inspired Seminoles squad in the final weeks of the season as they aim to keep their bowl streak alive. Helping that matter, Notre Dame will be without starting quarterback Ian Book who is recovering after sustaining a rib injury against Northwestern. Replacing him is senior Brandon Wimbush, who started the season as the starting quarterback for the Fighting Irish but hasn’t thrown a pass since week three. An FSU upset would help Washington State climb their way into the coveted top four, making Utah’s possible Rose Bowl berth slightly easier to navigate.