Week Eleven Predictions
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It is getting towards crunch-time, and several teams put their top-five ranking on the line this weekend. #2 Oklahoma State has a tricky game at Texas Tech, #5 Boise State hosts TCU, #3 Alabama visits Mississippi State, and #4 Stanford faces the stiffest test of Saturday hosting #7 Oregon...
#2 Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0) at Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4) – 12:00 – ABC Regional – Wow. This has upset written all-freakin-over-it. Texas Tech has already taken down Oklahoma, but that win was sandwiched between four losses. This team is dangerous, and can put points on the board (36.8 ppg), but they are struggling on D (105th nationally in ppg at 34.2). Oklahoma State will light up TTU no matter how many the Raiders are able to put up. Oklahoma State, 55-40.
#17 Michigan State (7-2, 4-1) vs. Iowa (6-3, 3-2) – 12:00 – ESPN2 – I have a tendency to choose the home team when I am not sure, and so I will go with that again. The Hawkeyes don't have a single team statistic that should make me want to go with them. But besides the odd loss to Iowa State when they gave up 44 points, they have limted opponents to an average in the low 20's (too lazy to do the math) since. I think they will play good D this weekend, and win at home. Iowa, 30-24.
Florida (5-4, 3-4) at #13 South Carolina (7-2, 5-2) – 12:00 – CBS – Connor Shaw is expected back at QB, and I think the Gamecocks show up and stay in the SEC East race. This season has not gone exactly as Coach Steve Spurrier and crew drew it up in the offseason, but they can still make an impact in the league with a win. This team has a stout defense, and I expect them to be the reason they win this game. If they do, the pressure is on UGA. But SEC division title or not, who would have imagined years ago that having Florida at home wouldn't have you ready to play your best?! South Carolina, 27-13.
West Virginia (6-3, 2-2) at #23 Cincinnati (7-1, 3-0) – 12:00 – ABC – ***Upset Special*** Usually, WVU is the team ranked here, but this year it is Cincy (who is favored by three). I will go with the visitors and their explosive offense to set the Bearcats straight. The Mountaineers can make the Big East extremely interesting with a win here. There aren't a whole lot of statistical reasons to choose WVU. But I have a gut-feeling on this one that Cincinnati will no longer be in the driver's seat of the Big East following this game. West Virginia, 40-29.
#19 Nebraska (7-2, 3-2) at #12 Penn State (8-1, 5-0) – 12:00 – ESPN – Never has there been a prediction for a game that parallels trying to pick this one. There is absolutely nothing in history to base a prediction on that had circumstances even remotely similar to what this one presents. A legendary coach removed. A fan-base in disbelief. A group of players grasping for answers. A question lingering throughout the game: does football even matter right now?.... All stats are out the window in this one and never in my life have I had more of a 50/50 feel on a game. I could go with visiting Nebraska as the home team is just not focused at all on X's and O's right now. Or I could go with the home team as they prepare to play the game of their lives for a coach they love who has just seen 46 years of college football respect go into limbo. Thankfully, this is an occurence we have never seen before and hopefully will never, ever, ever see again. In a game that will be as unpredicted on the field as what we experienced this week off the field, I think the home team wins in dramatic fashion. Who knows what is to come, but my feeling is that this thing was the work of a single sick individual. If others covered things up, shame on them and we will see in time. But for now, I think PSU rallies and wins this game. And I hope this game will bring attention to a matter that needs attention brought to it, that being children who are treated improperly....I said above that stats can be thrown out the window, but stats could actually matter in this type of situation. PSU plays very, very strong defense, and I think they will contain Husker QB Taylor Martinez and crew. The Nittany Lion offense isn't much (just 21.8 ppg), but I think if they can get to the 21-point mark, they can hold Nebraska to less. Penn State, 21-19.
Wake Forest (5-4, 4-2) at #9 Clemson (8-1, 5-1) – 12:00 – ESPNU – The Tigers have a chance to lock up the ACC Atlantic Division Title with a win, and I expect nothing short of a very enthusiastic performance to get that done. In my long memory of being a die-hard Tiger fan, I cannot think of the last time we went undefeated at home. That is another thing that could happen with a win. Running back Andre Ellington will be back to full speed, and Clemson will have had two weeks to prepare. I respect WFU and what they can do. But I think there are too many reasons to go with the home team in this one. I said in the forum that I thought a big third quarter would be the difference. I will stick with that. Clemson, 37-20.
TCU (7-2, 4-0) at #5 Boise State (8-0, 3-0) – 3:30 – Versus – I think BSU has the better team this year, and at home, trying to make a point to stay in the BCS Title Game talks, I will choose the Broncos. TCU and their fans will enjoy the trip to Idaho, but on the field, I think it will go big in the Broncos' favor. Gary Patterson is an outstanding coach, and he will develop a game plan to keep his squad in it. But in the end, Boise State will pull away as they are very, very tough at home. Boise State, 39-24.
Texas A&M (5-4, 3-3) at Kansas State (7-2, 4-2) – 3:30 – ABC Regional – Well, here is my weekly chance to get on Mike Sherman's ass. Dude can't coach college football. He will see his fifth loss of the season in this one. A week ago, I was very impressed with what KSU did on the road in Stillwater as they had several chances to win that one. Kansas State can score and I expect them to put up a good bit and put themselves in position for a solid bowl game. As for A&M, a win would be just the kind to keep Sherman around for a disappointing 2012. Kansas State, 42-31.
#20 Auburn (6-3, 4-2) at #14 Georgia (7-2, 5-1) – 3:30 – CBS – The Dawgs are on a roll, and Sanford Stadium will be ready to greet their squad this Saturday with a deafening roar. It has been a while since a game of this magnitude in Athens, as a win would all but seal up the SEC East and send them to Atlanta for the SECCG. The Tigers of Auburn have different ideas. The defending national champs know a thing or two about big games and they will be as tough as any team UGA has faced all year, fighting to up the level of bowl they attend. But I think UGA gets it done, and a surprising turn of events sees an 0-2 Georgia squad have 60 minutes between them and the BCS. Georgia, 30-23.
Florida State (6-3, 4-2) at Miami (5-4, 3-3) – 3:30 – ESPN/ABC Regional - Once the game-of-the-year nationally, this isn't even the game-of-the-year in the ACC anymore. These two teams still hate each other, though, making for great football for the rest of us! With Seminole fans filling up half of Sun Life Stadium, finally UM will play again before a sold-out home crowd. And even though half of those will be doing the chop, the 'Canes will pull out a surprising win. FSU's Jimbo Fisher has a lot on the line in this one. His team has suffered three losses already, and a loss to Miami would get a lot of folks grumbling. Miami, 38-32.
Washington (6-3, 4-2) at USC (7-2, 4-2) – 3:45 – FX – Gotta go with the Trojans in this one. They are pretty good, they are at home, and they are in position to reach a very solid bowl game. Oh yeah, they also have a better team. QB Matt Barkley and crew are putting up 33.4 ppg and I think they will surpass that at home this weekend against a Husky defense that is giving up exactly 33.4 in the opposite category. I am not a Lane Kiffin fan, but as USC's coach, he is going to go to 8-2, and have a very strong chance to finish his second season with ten wins. USC, 39-27.
Tennessee (4-5, 0-5) at #8 Arkansas (8-1, 4-1) – 6:00 – ESPN2 – If ever a team was deserving of a huge upset win, it is this UT team. They fight hard, they come up short. A theme that hurts. Injury has gotten to them as well as a daunting schedule. Arkansas is explosive and in a special season. They might not even win their division, but the Razorbacks could see a top ten year. I would love to call for a UT upset for the Vols' first win of the year, but I think Arkansas is just way too strong. Arkansas, 40-17.
Maryland (2-7, 1-5) at Notre Dame (6-3) – 7:30 – NBC – The Terrapins looked ok at the beginning of the year, but things have not gone well as the season has developed. ND has had its ups and downs, with the up being a win over Michigan State and the downs being losses to Michigan and USC. In this one, I see the Irish picking up win number seven. Notre Dame, 27-21.
#3 Alabama (8-1, 5-1) at Mississippi State (5-4, 0-4) – 7:45 – ESPN – This game in the preseason was looking like a doozie. MSU had high aspirations and was looking to do damage in the SEC West. Four confernece losses later, the Bulldogs don't appear to have much bite. I see Alabama steamrolling the home squad in a game that is never close. Dan Mullen should have jumped on one of those big job offers the last couple of years because his stock has plummeted in 2011. Alabama, 30-10.
#7 Oregon (8-1, 6-0) at #4 Stanford (9-0, 7-0) – 8:00 – ABC – Out West, this is your game-of-the-year. One of these teams will remain in the fight to reach the BCSCG. The other will not. It is as simple as that. Oregon's only loss was to LSU in week one in which they put 27 points on a defense that has proven to be a true force. If they can put 27 on that D, I think they can put 45+ on Stanford's defense. This will be a Pac-Ten shootout, and I am going to pick the Ducks to win on the road. Oregon, 47-41.
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