Two of college football‘s remaining seven unbeaten teams face their most difficult tests to date in Week 11. No. 6 Baylor hosts No. 10 Oklahoma and No. 3 Oregon plays at No. 5 Stanford on quite possibly the best ever Thursday night lineup.
These games figure to go a long way in determining the Big 12 and Pac-12 titles, as well as the BCS national championship race. Both also represent a critical juncture for the nation’s best two offenses.
So far, Oregon and Baylor have been absolutely torching opposing defenses. These two mean green scoring machines have been cruising through the season at a blistering pace, and you can’t help but wonder if any team can slow down the two most prolific offenses. The Bears lead the country in scoring offense with 63.9 points per game, and the Ducks are No. 2 with 55.6 points.
Both teams are on pace to break the record for most offensive yards per game, which was set by Houston in 1989 with 624.9 yards. Baylor is averaging 718.4 yards and has surpassed 700 yards in all but two contests. Meanwhile, Oregon averages a whopping 632.1 yards of offense per game.
However, the two have put up these mind-boggling numbers against mostly less-than-spectacular defenses. The six FBS foes Baylor has faced have an average rank of 73 in scoring defense, while Oregon’s seven FBS foes have an average rank of 84.
But both of these high-octane machines are fast approaching red brick walls in Stanford and Oklahoma. The Sooners and Cardinal both rank among the top 20 nationally in scoring defense, allowing 18.8 points and 19.4, respectively.
In addition to a solid defense, Baylor will have overcome its forgettable history against Oklahoma. The Bears are a woeful 1-21 all-time against the Sooners. While Stanford leads the all-time series with Oregon 45-30-1, the Ducks have won 10 of the last 13 meetings. Still, Oregon is looking to overcome last year’s loss to Stanford, which effectively eliminated the Ducks from national title contention.
The question: Do the Ducks and Bears have the toughness to break through these brick walls and continue their undefeated journey toward conference and national titles? Or will the speedsters crash and burn on Thursday night?
The answer will help reveal whether the Baylor and Oregon offenses are really as good as the numbers indicate or if their record-setting offensive paces are more a result of inferior competition.
So far, both teams have been fashionable on the field and on the runway, dazzling fans with electrifying offense while sporting a myriad of uniform designs and combinations. But Thursday night’s games will be more about substance than style, fight not flare.