We did it! We went perfect with our picks! Straight up at least. Going 6-4 against the spread feels just as good going 10-0 straight up. Also nailed the upset of the week again. On a roll now!
Nothing much to say except for all the over-analyzing of another Playoff committee ranking going on the media this week. No need to add on. It sure seems like we are in a lull of good match ups. The first month or so had awesome match ups every week. The past few weeks has been a struggle to find some stuff to talk about. No glut of major upsets happening. Just a lot of order to the season so far.
On to the Week 11 guesses.
Teams on bye: Kansas State, TCU, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Temple, Florida International, Central Michigan, Ohio, Fresno State, San Jose State, South Alabama
#16 West Virginia
The Charlie Strong job security roller coaster continues on this season. After weeks of talk where it was all but a done deal that he was out after this year, they go on a 2 game winning streak including a win over then #8 ranked Baylor. Now the talk is that maybe the defense is turning it around with him calling the plays. If he can get to 8 or 9 wins then they are making progress. It's got to be exhausting for him to hear it all the time. I'm tired of hearing about it. Let the season play out. We don't need a day-by-day analysis of it. Now 16th ranked West Virginia comes to town. I said it before and I'll say it again. I'm not really sure what they have done to prove they deserve a ranking this high. Their best win is against TCU? Texas Tech on the road? Vegas shows what faith they have in them by making them an underdog to the soap opera-ish Longhorns. And I agree with them. Texas will run all over the Mountaineers and keep this winning streak going. PICK: Texas 30, West Virginia 26
And here comes another coach with constant hot seat chatter, Gus Malzahn. He's going against a coach who is already drumming up hot seat talk in the middle of his first year, Kirby Smart. I'm just going to say it. I'm sick of all the "hot seat" talk. There are lists going into the season about what coaches are on it, and it is analyzed after every single week that coach's team plays. I don't know why this obsession of hot seat talk has taken over. People are so ready to always run their coach out of town. Here's a question they never consider. Who are you going to get that is such a significant upgrade? And is it really a good idea for a program to have to rebuild every 3-4 years? How about some analysis for this game. Auburn is running the ball like crazy. Georgia is a steaming pile of mediocre this year. Road win for Auburn on the way to an unexpected top 10 Iron Bowl showdown in a few weeks. PICK: Auburn 35, Georgia 17
Big game in the Sun Belt. While many expected Appalachian State to be at the top of the conference, the same was not expected of Troy. Troy is coming off of 2 seasons where they combined to win 7 games. They have that many already this season. Maybe it wasn't such a fluke that were almost able to knock off Clemson early in the year. Both these teams have good defenses as App State holds opponents to 16.9 ppg and Troy hold foes to 21.3 ppg. Troy is much better on offense though. So it's going to be strength versus strength in this game. It's hard for teams to come off such down years and all of a sudden jump to the top of a conference, especially going undefeated in conference play. So based on that narrative, I am going to go with Appalachian State on the road in a pick 'em. PICK: Appalachian State 24, Troy 17
#2 Clemson (-20.5)
Pittsburgh has come unhinged a little bit the past couple weeks. They have given up 45 ppg in a 2 game losing streak. I think it more has to do with Pitt being Pitt. They are the same value every year in the Jacknife leagues and they give you the same result every year. They are honestly one of the most predictable teams out there. Their point totals from Jacknife scoring system the past 5 years: 469, 503, 397, 494, 361. That is maddeningly consistent. In fact, I remember Phil Steele's preseason blurb on them was that every single one of his power rankings called for Pitt to win exactly 8 games. He was astounded that happened. What am I trying to say here? They only have 3 games left and they need to win them all to get to 8 wins. I don't think it will happen. Clemson is too good, but Pitt is right on track for another 7 win season and somewhere in their historical narrow window of points. PICK: Clemson 42, Pittsburgh 28
#25 Arkansas (+7)
Here we are again. Arkansas part of the picks of the week. They have to be the team that has shown up the most this year in this column. Talk about a roller coaster of a year. Two weeks after losing 53 to Auburn, they show back up in the top 25 after beating #11 Florida by 21. I don't know what the heck to make of this team. I know they now get to go against a tough LSU defense. LSU is coming off a very physical game with Alabama. This is an ideal spot for the body blow theory to come into effect. It might not matter that LSU is probably the better team, they are going on the road after going against their most hated rival. This is a let down-body blow combo going on here. I think Arkansas could pull this out just based on that. But Arkansas is horrendous against the run and LSU has an angry Leonard Fournette coming to town. I'm so confused. Let's ride angry Fournette to victory. PICK: LSU 21, Arkansas 19
#8 Texas A&M (-10.5)
My, how things can can change in a week. We had the best QB in the SEC with Swag Kelly - he's gone for the season. And the biggest surprise QB in the SEC, Trevor Knight - he also gone! Texas A&M is well known for starting out hot and crapping the bed the last 6 weeks. This year looked different for A&M. They were balanced, had a quality defense, and had an offense that could take time off the clock. All of that is gone now after Mississippi State pulled a shocker to beat A&M while knocking Trevor Knight out for the rest of his CFB career. A&M just delayed the inevitable 2nd half crash, now it begins. Which means no one has any idea what will happen this Saturday. Anyone that knows anything in college football betting will not touch this game with a 10 foot pole. Ole Miss has the next big thing QB with Shea Patterson. He was supposed to redshirt this season, but now I don't see a reason to do so. If Shea is as good as they say he is, he'll be gone in 3 years regardless. I'm going to predict that they don't redshirt him to keep Hugh Freeze's job from getting hot. If they don't, then you can expect Ole Miss to lose out. Regardless of the QB outcome I think A&M is more prepared to match Trevor Knight's productions with Jake Hubenak. Chad Kelly is hard to reproduce. A&M has the much better D, no matter who the Ole Miss QB is. A&M will bring the heat from the corners all night long. Texas A&M wins this one simply because Swag Kelly isn't there. PICK: Texas A&M 24, Ole Miss 17
#4 Washington (-8.5)
This game, ladies and gents, will be the most important and entertaining game this week. Be sure to grab your beer and plop your butt down to watch this game. USC is going to make a run at Washington, you better believe it. The bad thing for USC is that their O-Line is less than desirable and Washington has the best D in the PAC12. On the flip side, USC QB Sam Darnold is a tough dude to take down in the backfield. He's the main reason why USC has turned things around since Week 4, super accurate and way too mature for a true freshman. He's single handedly saved Clay Helton's job. Washington certainly looks like the real deal for the PAC12 and should get in the Playoff, unless Washington St. plays the spoiler, which I think will be the biggest game for Washington since 1991. Washington is far too dominant at this point to let USC beat them at home. The spread is 8.5. I think that will be taken care of by the Huskies. If Sam Darnold gets rattled then it might end up a blowout. I'll go in between a blowout and the spread. The Huskies pass the eye test for the Playoff and could very well make it to the final depending on their matchup. Just watch out for Washington St. in the end. PICK: Washington 38, USC 20
I'm gonna keep this one short and sweet folks. Michigan has the 2nd best D in the land behind Bama, with a formidable offense, going against a slow-moving, unimpressive Iowa team that likes to play games 14-7. The only way Iowa has a chance is if their D plays out of their mind or Michigan loses 8 starters on offense. This game is going to be a blowout. Take Michigan with whatever points are out there. The Wolverines are on a crash course with Ohio State. Michigan real big. PICK: Michigan 48, Iowa 17
#23 Washington St. (-15)
What a fun matchup this will be. Get ready for 100 passing plays in this one. Cal is smoking their expectations coming into the season thanks to transfer QB Davis Webb. Washington St. started off slow as usual and found their groove on offense. Washington St. has a much better D compared to Cal, which isn't saying a whole lot. The Cougars look to be the most dangerous team in the PAC12. Think of them like the Arkansas of the PAC12, no one wants to play these guys late in the season. The spread is 14.5 in favor of Washington St. These teams play a similar style and I don't think either one of them will be able to pull away by more than 2 TDs. So I'm going to go with Washington St. still winning, but Cal will cover in the end. The O/U is 83.5.....that is crazy enticing. When O/U's are set that high it'll somehow be a 30 to 24 game. Take the under, close your eyes and duck. PICK: Washington State 40, Cal 38
#19 Nebraska (-7)
Is Nebraska still together? Someone should check on them....but no one is willing to drive up there to check. That game was reminiscent of Ohio St. beating Wisconsin 59-0 to get into the Playoff and win the whole damn thing. If OSU could just lose early then kill everyone along the way, it would be so much easier. Nebraska QB was rocked last week and everyone figured he was out this week. Rumor now has it that he might play. We'll see about that. I think that Nebraska just had their back broken and I wonder if they'll recover this season. On the other hand, Minnesota opened up on offense the last four games and look to have turned things around after the Iowa defeat. I think this game is a fact of Nebraska having a broken QB and Minnesota's stock going up quickly. This is Minnesota's game to win...it'll be close since it's in Lincoln. I'm going with Minnesota by a FG. That makes this the Upset of the Week! PICK: Minnesota 34, Nebraska 31
Season Record - Straight Up: 63-36
Season Record - Versus Spread: 45-54
Upset of the Week: 4-6