By Chris Carlson
Week 10 saw the Georgia Bulldogs take pole position in the SEC East, SMU fall from the unbeaten ranks, and a variety of competitive almost upsets.
Week 11 features a massive matchup in the SEC West and two important games in the Big Ten along with several interesting games under the radar especially in the Big-12.
#2 LSU vs. #3 Alabama: This SEC West rivalry is far and away the most anticipated game of the year on paper. The quarterback matchup is mouth watering matching the two best signal callers in the country Tua Tagovailoa and Joe Burrow. Normally a defensive heavy game, it’s pretty crazy to see a 63.5 over/under for this battle of the SEC titans. Although, LSU sports a 7-3 record versus Top-10 squads under Head Coach Ed Orgeron, all 3 of those losses came against Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide.
Most of the chatter among the media and fans alike beyond Tua’s ankle injury has been the Tigers defensive liabilities. It’s fair to be critical of LSU’s leakier than normal defense, but it’s not like Alabama’s defense screams dominance this year. In fact Bama’s super young d-line will be tested like never before this season, a unit that’s unperformed versus the run. It should be noted LSU’s top tackler is out with personal reasons. After 8 straight victories for Alabama, the Tigers win in the closing minutes.
The Pick: LSU 30 Alabama 26
#4 Penn State vs. #17 Minnesota: The Nittany Lions defensive line is probably the best under head coach James Franklin, which goes a long way for Penn State’s defense to slow the Gophers effective rush attack. Without a solid run game Minnesota will be forced to win this one with their QB Tyler Morgan. The Gophers wide receiver room is stacked led by senior Tyler Johnson and sophomore Rashod Bateman. The slant patterns and yards after the catch won’t come as easy for Minnesota like they have this season, meaning protection will be a key for the mid and deep routes. On the flip side the Gopher defense is more of a bend but don’t break but is very talented at linebacker and in the secondary. Although this Gophers fan believes Minny will put up a valiant effort, they will come up short at home to the Nittany Lions.
The Pick: Penn State 27 Minnesota 20
Under The Radar
#13 Wisconsin vs. #18 Iowa: An interesting tilt of 6-2 teams with winner keeping hope alive in the Big Ten West. Can Wisconsin bounce back from consecutive losses and gain momentum to get closer to being the force to be reckoned with they appeared to be thru 6 games? The offensive side of the ball has been an absolute nightmare for the Hawkeyes. Normally Iowa can ground and pound but this year average over 100-yards more passing the ball. Turnovers generally play a huge role in defensive themed games. Camp Randall and the Wisconsin faithful will their Badgers to a razor close victory.
The Pick: Wisconsin 19 Iowa 16
#16 Kansas State vs. Texas: The Wildcats beat Oklahoma two weeks ago and come into this intriguing Big-12 tilt, winners of 3 in a row. What a difference a few weeks make, Texas being the unranked opponent facing a hot and now ranked KSU. Oddly enough Las Vegas has the Longhorns as a 7-point favorite even with all of the injuries on defense and their reliance on QB Sam Ehlinger. Kansas State rushing touchdowns are way up this year and their defense is among the best in the nation which adds up to an upset in the final minute.
The Pick: Kansas State 34 Texas 31
Saturday Upset Special
Louisville will upset the Hurricanes in South Beach for the sole reason the Canes out too inconsistent to be a 6.5-point favorite.
#13 Baylor vs. TCU: The Bears eked out a wins over West Virginia and Texas Tech. TCU is due for a great showing after close road losses to Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
#19 Wake Forest vs. Virginia Tech: The Demon Deacons are in the midst of a great year but the Hokies tend to be a tough out especially at home.
Against The Spread
Iowa will lose on the road but by less than 9.5-points to Wisconsin.
(Honorable Mention: Iowa State performs better as an unranked team making it possible for the Cyclones to lose by less than 13.5 points to Oklahoma)
Take it to the window Arizona State covers as a 2-point favorite at home against USC.
Quick Hits Recap & My Top 4
-Top 4: #1 LSU #2 Ohio State #3 Penn State #4 Alabama
-The Marquee Matchups this week marks the first time two separate games on the same day involved four 8-0 teams in Associated Press Poll history.
-Clemson RB Travis Entinne put up 212 rushing yards in a beat down of Wofford, giving him a school record three 200+ rushing games. Also, Entinne‘s 48 rushing TD’s is the most ever at Clemson.
-Memphis’s do-it-all player Antonio Gibson scored touchdowns via rushing, recieving, and a kickoff return setting a program record for all-purpose yards with a 376.
-Boston College RB A.J. Dillion rushed for more than 200 yards for the 3rd time of his career, also a school record.
-QB Buckshot Calvert passed for 488 yards and Liberty out-gained UMass an astounding 740 to 230 in totals yards.
-In a losing effort to Cincinnati, East Carolina QB Holton Ahlers passed for a school record 535 yards, 5 total TD’s and WR C.J. Johnson added a FBS season high 283 receiving yards.
-#19 Wake Forest is 7-1 for the first time since 2006 with a clear victory over N.C. State.
-Appalachian State’s 13-game winning streak came to an end by the hands of Georgia Southern.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio