By Chris Carlson
Week 10 saw Alabama and Michigan sending strong messages to the Playoff Committee with dominant performances versus ranked opponents. On the other side of the spectrum both high-profile Big-12 games came down the wire and were highly entertaining to the end.
In Week 11 Alabama, Clemson, and Ohio State face ranked conference foes with the Tigers and Buckeyes hitting the road, plus a plethora of matchups that seem harmless on paper, but could be very damaging at this point in the season.
#1 Alabama vs. #16 Mississippi State: The Crimson Tide looked every bit the part of the #1 team in the country with a bullet by shutting out LSU on the road. The Bulldogs are built to run the ball and play great defense, a defensive unit that leads the country in fewest touchdowns given up. Mississippi State’s senior QB Nick Fitzgerald will have to make some plays through the air to go along with a potent running attack.
The Alabama defense thrives on one-dimensional offenses so it’s difficult to see the Crimson Tide giving up over 150 rushing yards. The hangover effect after a dominant display in Death Valley is probably the only way Bama loses, and that’s beyond a rarity under legendary coach Nick Saban. The only saving grace for the Bulldogs could be a stiff or sore knee of Alabama’s star QB Tua Tagovailoa.
The Pick: Alabama 26 Mississippi State 9
#2 Clemson vs. #17 Boston College: The Tigers hit the road for an ACC Atlantic matchup against an interesting opponent in Boston College. The Eagles have improving over the last few weeks yet still a 20-point home underdog according to the Las Vegas books. Clemson can expect a full dose of AJ Dillion out of the Boston College backfield but he can’t carry the whole offensive load. The Tigers defensive line is the best in the nation and Saturday’s game will prove just that. BC quarterback Anthony Brown will need to produce the game of his life to pull off the upset. Clemson is peaking as November hits, this Saturday in prime time on ABC the Tigers stay on track to in hopes of qualifying for a National Semifinalist spot.
The Pick: Clemson 33 Boston College 16
Under The Radar
#10 Ohio State at #18 Michigan State: The Spartans could sneak up on a sleeping giant of a program in Ohio State. The Buckeyes can score with the best of them but are mediocre at best on the defensive side of the ball. Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer will have his troops ready for this rivalry game and as bad as Ohio State has looked, this hack-of-a-scribe believes it will be their best showing thus far. Michigan State’s defense is better but the advantage at quarterback for Ohio State will be the ultimate decider.
The Pick: Ohio State 33 Michigan State 23
#23 Fresno State at Boise State: A pair of quality quarterbacks Brett Rypien and Marcus McMarion, go head-to- head in a highly important Non-Power 5 matchup flying under the radar between Fresno and Boise. Fresno State has managed to reel off 7 straight victories since losing to Minnesota in the closing moments. The Broncos didn’t shown up in a high-profile matchup early this year versus Oklahoma State can they prove their worth at home?
The Pick: Fresno State 27 Boise State 23
Saturday Upset Special
Oregon scores a nice road victory with a minor upset as a field goal road dog to Utah. The Utes are missing QB Tyler Huntley and RB Zach Moss.
Northwestern at Iowa: The Hawkeyes are looking in from the outside of the Big Ten West divisional race but can play spoiler to a visiting Northwestern squad that leads the pack at the moment.
#19 Texas at Texas Tech: Sure this Big-12 firefight has lost a little luster from recent setbacks on both sides but that won’t stop this league contest from being a great one with all that firepower on the field.
Against The Spread
Oklahoma State will definitely lose to #6 Oklahoma but look for the Cowboys to cover as a 20.5-point road underdog.
(Honorable Mention: Northwestern keeps it close enough to lose by less than the 11-points Las Vegas is giving Iowa at home.)
Take it to the window #11 Kentucky making a repeat appearance will be victorious as a favorite by 5.5-points over
Take it to the window #8 Washington State will cover as a 6-point favorite against Colorado.
Quick Hits Recap & My Top-4 Plus 3 More
-My Top 4: #1 Alabama #2 Clemson #3 Notre Dame #4 Michigan #5 Georgia #6 Oklahoma #7 Washington State
-The far and away #1 team in all of the land is Alabama as the Tide slowly steamrolled LSU by a 29-0 margin to achieve their 900th victory in school history, only 4 programs have reach 900.
-#4 Michigan continued their Revenge Tour by absolutely destroying Penn State by a score of 42-7. The Wolverines held the Nittany Lions to just 186 yards, the lowest output in 12 years.
-Washington State QB Gardner Minshew threw a TD-pass with 32 seconds left to defeat California 19-13. Minshew had 334 passing yards and a touchdown.
-Mississippi State dual threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald put up some mind blowing numbers in a 45-3 blowout over Louisiana Tech to the tune of 4 passing TD’s and 107 rushing yards
-The Missouri Tigers were 0-4 in SEC play before knocking off Top-25 Florida.
-WR Andy Isabella of the University of Massachusetts had an astounding 9 receptions for 303 yards and 2 TD’s in a victory over Liberty.
-The UTEP Miners hung on to beat Rice 34-26 finally winning a game after suffering through a 20-game losing streak the longest in the nation.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ ropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio