What to watch, Week 11: Will Optimus Klein be ready?

Dr. Saturday

By keeping Collin Klein's injury a state secret all week, Bill Snyder has drawn more attention to it.

The drama over whether Klein, the Kansas State quarterback and Heisman Trophy frontrunner, will play at TCU at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday is probably the biggest storyline going into Week 11.

Snyder doesn't like to talk about anything regarding his program, especially injuries. Klein had his helmet taken away when he was knocked out of last week's game against Oklahoma State, and Yahoo! columnist Dan Wetzel reported he was taken out over fears he had a concussion.

[Watch: USC and Kansas State could be in trouble this week]

"Let's cut to the chase," Snyder said, according to the Associated Press. "Would I expect him to play? I certainly hope that's the case, and I would expect that to take place."

Kansas State was already going to be facing an interesting road test at TCU, and uncertainty about Klein doesn't help much.

Klein's availability is no small detail. Kansas State is No. 2 in the BCS standings, and Klein is No. 1 in the unofficial Heisman standings. If he misses this game, both rankings are in danger of falling.

TCU is a tough opponent. Coach Gary Patterson is good at devising defensive schemes, and the offense has scored at least 39 points in three of its last four games. If Kansas State keeps its BCS Championship Game hopes alive, it will be through a well-earned win over the Horned Frogs. It won't be an easy win whether Klein plays or not.

Here's the rest of what to watch in Week 11:

• No. 1 Alabama survived a scare last week at LSU with a last-minute, game-winning touchdown, and this week brings another tough test, against 15th-ranked Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET). The most interesting part of the matchup is Alabama's great defense against Aggies redshirt freshman Johnny Manziel. Alabama coach Nick Saban said Manziel reminds him of a former Heisman Trophy winner (Saban apparently hasn't heard our Michael Vick comparison that's sure to catch on soon):

"I've been around longer than most, and most of our players can't relate to this, but this guy reminds me of Doug Flutie," Saban said. "I played against him a long time ago, but he was a really good player and a really good competitor and that's who this guy reminds me of. He can throw it, he's not great big in stature or anything like that, he's extremely quick, he's very instinctive — has a unique ability to extend plays and seems to know when to take off and run it."

• Oregon State and Stanford square off in a game (3 p.m. ET) that could have some BCS ramifications. Oregon State is 7-1 and Stanford is 7-2. Both are 5-1 in conference play -- the only two teams in the Pac-12 with exactly one conference loss. Oregon is undefeated, and could end up in the BCS Championship Game. Rose Bowl officials told the Omaha World-Herald that it would like to take a Pac-12 team as a replacement for Oregon if one finishes in the top 14 of the BCS standings, and it would appear Saturday is an elimination game for Oregon State and Stanford.

The odd thing about both teams is despite their good records, they've both switched quarterbacks. Cody Vaz for Oregon State played well when Sean Mannion was out after knee surgery, Mannion struggled in his return so Oregon State went back to Vaz last week. The Beavers beat Arizona State 36-26, so Vaz will continue as their quarterback. Stanford decided this week that redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will start in place of Josh Nunes. Hogan has mostly been used in read-option packages off the bench.

''He's ready,'' Stanford coach David Shaw said, according to the Associated Press. ''There are times when a guy just gets it.''

• Indiana, which didn't win a conference game last year, beat Indiana State and Massachusetts to start this season and then lost five in a row. Yet, with a win on Saturday against Wisconsin (12 p.m. ET), the Hoosiers will be in the driver's seat to represent the Leaders Division in the Big Ten Championship Game.

While this leads to dozens of justified jokes about the Big Ten, Indiana deserves some respect for its two-game winning streak and unlikely contender status.

Indiana won at Illinois and beat Iowa last week, and along with Penn State and Ohio State's ineligibility and Wisconsin's issues this year, the Hoosiers are suddenly in the race. Indiana's offense has taken a big leap, despite some inconsistent quarterback play. Indiana has scored 298 points after putting up just 257 all of last season. With a win on Saturday, there's a good chance the Hoosiers have a semi-home-field advantage for the conference title game in Indianapolis.

• Clemson fans were excited for a while on Thursday night. Virginia Tech had Florida State on the ropes before the Seminoles rallied and scored a touchdown in the final minute to win. That keeps Florida State in control of its own destiny in the ACC's Atlantic Division, and leaves Clemson needing some help.

Clemson, which has only one conference loss like Florida State but won't win the tiebreaker because it lost to the Seminoles on Sept. 22, plays a Maryland team (3:30 p.m. ET) without four injured quarterbacks and leading tackler Demetrius Hartsfield, who is out with a torn ACL. The good news is Clemson should win. The bad news is, that same Maryland team is the only remaining ACC opponent left for Florida State, which can clinch a spot in the ACC Championship Game with a win over the Terps next week.

• Baylor is one of a few teams around the country that needs some urgency if it wants to become bowl eligible. Baylor is 4-4, and that's not bad, but here's the rest of the schedule: at Oklahoma, Kansas State, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. The Bears have to win two of those four. That's a tough task.

The first test is Oklahoma (3:30 p.m. ET). In Baylor's five toughest games this year, the Bears gave up at least 35 points in every one. They'll have a tough time against Oklahoma's capable offense, and Sooners quarterback Landry Jones will probably extend his streak of four straight 300-yard passing games.

• USC tries to rebound against Arizona State (3 p.m. ET) after losing at home to Oregon last week. USC could still make the Pac-12 title game and try to get revenge on the Ducks, but after watching Oregon move up and down the field with such ease last Saturday, a rematch might not turn out any better.

[Pat Forde: Another day, another scandal for Lane Kiffin]

UCLA leads the South Division at 4-2, with USC at 4-3 and Arizona State at 3-3. If USC beats the Sun Devils this week and wins at UCLA next week it will win the division, which would give the Trojans a chance to salvage what has been a disappointing season.

• In 1993 and again in 2002, Boston College upset Notre Dame to ruin a perfect season for the Irish. Notre Dame plays at Boston College (8 p.m. ET) this week, but this time the Eagles don't seem capable of pulling another shocker.

Boston College, at 2-7, is guaranteed a second straight losing season after going to a bowl game for 12 straight years before that. The Eagles' only wins this season were against Maine and a battered Maryland team. A win against Notre Dame would be an obvious highlight to a bad season, but the odds are against the Eagles repeating history.

But hey, just in case, this is what it looks like:

• LSU hosts Mississippi State (7 p.m. ET), and both teams are coming off really tough losses. The Tigers suffered a crushing last-minute loss against Alabama, and the Bulldogs were exposed in a 38-13 home loss against Texas A&M.

Mississippi State has struggled against its last two elite opponents, losing 38-7 to Alabama and 38-13 against the Aggies, and the Bulldogs will have to be much more physical in their trip to Death Valley. For LSU, the loss to the Crimson Tide was brutal, but the bright spot is that quarterback Zach Mettenberger had a breakthrough game against Alabama's strong defense. Mettenberger threw for 298 yards, by far his career best against the best defense he'll see all season. LSU will be dangerous if he can continue that momentum.

[Dan Wetzel: Texas A&M made right call with jump to SEC from Big 12]

• Penn State has been a very good road team this year. The Nittany Lions lost by a point at Virginia when they missed four field goals, and have won their three Big Ten road games by 28, 24 and 25 points. That makes some sense, considering the distractions at Penn State over the past year.

"We've been playing well on the road I'd say because it just eliminates the distractions for us," linebacker Michael Mauti said, according to the Associated Press. "Because all we need are the guys on the bus and the guys in the locker room. We create our own energy."

This will easily be Penn State's toughest road test of the season, as it plays at Nebraska (3:30 p.m. ET). The Cornhuskers have won three in a row since being blown out by Ohio State, and because of a head-to-head win against Michigan, it controls its destiny in the Legends Division.

• Michigan might have a bit of a quarterback controversy on its hands as it prepares to face Northwestern (12 p.m. ET). Denard Robinson has an injured elbow and Michigan coach Brady Hoke isn't answering many questions about his status. Last week, the Wolverines announced minutes before kickoff that Robinson wouldn't play. That allowed Devin Gardner, a quarterback-turned-receiver who moved back to quarterback with Robinson's injury, to start and shine. He played very well in a win against Minnesota. That leaves Michigan with the option of sticking with Gardner in a game that it needs to win to stay in the Legends Division hunt, or go to Robinson coming off an injury. We probably won't know who gets the nod until just before kickoff.

• Louisville keeps plugging along. led by outstanding quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, as the least discussed undefeated team in college football at 9-0. The Cardinals play at Syracuse (12 p.m. ET) this week, which is 4-5 but potentially troublesome for Louisville. Syracuse has won three of five, with losses at Cincinnati and at Rutgers. This is also a must-win game for the Orange, who need to win two of their last three to be bowl eligible, and finish the season with two road games.

"We have a very, very good football team coming in here," Syracuse coach Doug Marrone said. "They are a 9-0 team. A team that is undefeated. They are a team that is led by an outstanding quarterback. It's a great challenge for our program.  We are excited to be in that position."

• The only thing Cal might have on its side against Oregon (10:30 p.m. ET) is that the Ducks' biggest stretch of the year follows this game, and they might be looking ahead. Oregon finishes the regular season with games against Stanford and Oregon State, and if it wins both, there's a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game with a spot in the BCS Championship Game possibly on the line.

[Eric Adelson: Tiny high school saved Oregon's Kenjon Barner]

The problem for Cal is that Oregon hasn't had a bad game yet. If there's a letdown after a big win at USC last week, that might keep the Bears in the game. But Cal is a very disappointing 3-7 and will likely be without quarterback Zach Maynard (knee) and possibly star receiver Keenan Allen (knee) as well. There are eight injured Cal players who are game-time decisions, according to BearTerritory.net. If Cal wins this one, it will be one of the biggest upsets in college football in many seasons.

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