By Chris Carlson
Week 10 featured several high profile matchups and games under the radar that produced yet another miracle play to help win a game. Trailing in overtime, on a 4th and 25, Arkansas’s RB Alex Collins somehow gathered a ball off the bounce that was heaved backwards in desperation. The first down play led to a touchdown and a successful two-point conversion to win the game 53-52.
Week 11 will be a real challenge for several teams in the SEC West, Pac-12, and a huge game in the Big-12. Another week to clarify the national picture, as each team climbs their way up the College Football Playoff ladder. Alabama and Oklahoma State made the biggest statements in Week 10. Who will be the movers and shakers in Week 11?
#12 Oklahoma at #6 Baylor
The Sooners head in to this Marquee Matchup at Waco, Texas as one of the hottest teams in the nation. After losing a rivalry game to Texas, Oklahoma has strung together 4 impressive victories and seem to have figure their identity on both sides of the ball. For most of the season Baylor has lived up to expectations even with the loss of QB Seth Russell. The problem is they haven’t faced a team that is ranked currently in the Top 25.
Last Thursday they failed to put away Kansas State and were outgained on the ground 258-103. The Golden Bears are just average versus the pass but can be down-right bad at times against the run, which bodes well for the Sooners — a very capable rushing team with stud running back Samaje Perine.
If Oklahoma can blend a pass/run combo it will increase their chances of victory by keeping the Baylor offense on the sidelines. In an offensive driven league, will find out on Saturday if being the #1 ranked defense in the Big-12 truly means something. Lord knows Oklahoma will need to make some plays on defense in the redzone to slow Baylor.
The Pick: Oklahoma 44 Baylor 41
#2 Alabama at #17 Mississippi State
The second ranked Crimson Tide goes on the road to Davis Wade Stadium to face Dak Prescott and the Mississippi State Bulldogs in a crucial SEC West tilt. Alabama was as dominate as ever last week by steamrolling then unbeaten LSU. The Bulldogs were a field goal away from beating those same Tigers early in the season.
Alabama is not the same team on offensive as they were a year ago. But still managed to be effective at what they do and it all starts with the running game. Derrick Henry and the Bama offensive line manhandled a solid defensive front last week and will look to do the same. The Bulldogs are nowhere near the talented team they were last year on both sides of the ball.
Bulldog QB Dak Prescott is having a brilliant season but he is just one man. He has the ability to run but won’t be able to singularly carry the load facing the best front seven in College Football. That and the fact the Bulldogs give up over 100 yards more on defense, will be the deciding factor in this Marquee Matchup. Dak and his solid receiver core will keep Mississippi State in the game until the Crimson Tide roll in the second half.
The Pick: Alabama 30 Mississippi State 20
Under the Radar
#21 Memphis at #24 Houston:
This is as big of game as it gets in the American Athletic Conference for 2015 thus far. With Memphis losing last week to Navy it places this matchup under the radar. If quarterbacks Paxton Lynch and Greg Ward Jr. perform that way they know how it should be a wild shootout. Both programs are geared towards the offensive side and neither team plays defense all that well.
Houston has been more consistent but Memphis has the best win in Ole Miss. Causing turnovers and limiting their opponent to field goals instead of touchdowns will be a necessary formula to get the job done. This scribe is picking Houston because their playing at home and can run the ball better than Memphis. In a track-meet style contest, the team that can run the ball and limit the run on defense tends to win most of the time.
The Pick: Houston 37 Memphis 33
Arkansas at #9 LSU
Arkansas heads into Death Valley, a place damn-near impossible to win especially after dusk. That won’t stop a scrappy club in Arkansas from trying. The Razorbacks are fresh off a miracle win at Ole Miss and have now won back to back in overtime. Not to mention a few heart-breaking losses that could have easily gone the other way.
LSU was devoured by Alabama’s ground game to a tune of 210 rushing yards from Derrick Henry alone. The Tigers better sure up their run defense otherwise it could be a long night in Baton Rouge. Arkansas is built similar to LSU with a clear advantage at quarterback in Brandon Allen. Both teams bread and butter will be pounding the rock in attempt to wear-down the defense and set up the play-action pass downfield.
Tiger RB Leonard Fournette was stifled last week by the dynamic defensive front of Alabama. This week I don’t see that happening. In fact neither team will be able to stop the run, it’s a matter of containment. LSU has a better defense but will defiantly be tested from Allen, who’s coming off a record breaking game for Arkansas. I’m grasping for straws when picking a winner and will only pick LSU because of the home field crowd.
The Pick: LSU 27 Arkansas 23
Saturday Upset Special
Miami pulls the unlikely upset on the road over #23 North Carolina: Despite the 58-0 butt-kicking that Clemson put on the Hurricanes, Miami is very capable of pulling this upset off. They’re making strides on defense and plenty of talented-skilled players to go along with sophomore QB Brad Kayaa. To be honest, this week is difficult to pick a true upset so I’m banking on a crazy-coastal division race to come to the rescue. Or at the very least the Hurricanes will cover 13-points Las Vegas is giving as a road underdog.
Hardcore Barn Burner
Utah State versus Air Force may not mean a lot to the rest of the county, but the hardcore fan will keep an eye on this contest in the second half. In fact it’s so much of a barn burner that Las Vegas agrees and has it a pick’em game at press time. Utah State will find a way to win this razor-tight matchup with better quarterback play and overall talent.
Against the Spread
Minnesota at #5 Iowa: This game has a lot riding on it in more ways than one may think. Obviously the Hawkeyes are gunning to remain undefeated and will have to be heading into the Big Ten Title game. The other item of importance is the Pig of Rosedale trophy that means a whole lot to these bordering states. The last two weeks the Gophers have come up short against better opposition in Ohio State and Michigan. Can the Gophers rise to the occasion for a third straight week? It could go either way but I do see them covering as an 11.5-point underdog in this rivalry game.
(Honorable Mention: I like New Mexico to cover as a 30.5 underdog to Boise State.)
Quick Hits & My Top 4 Plus 3 More
-My Top 4: Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, plus Baylor, Notre Dame, & Stanford.
-Alabama RB Derrick Henry dominated the LSU defense scoring 3TD’s, rushing for 210 yards, and in the process pulled into the lead for the coveted Heisman Trophy.
-Clemson QB Deshuan Watson had 404 total yards in an important win over Florida State.
-Ohio State RB Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 114-yards in a hard-earned win over Minnesota, his 14 consecutive game of at least100-yards.
-Oklahoma State WR James Washington struck again with 184 receiving yards and 3TD’s, this time it was in a high profile matchup versus TCU.
Written by Chris Carlson Producer and Owner of The College Ball Show blogtalkardio.comropeadoperadio Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio