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College Football Picks: Predicting Every Game in Week 11

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The Week 11 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by a huge battle in the SEC (unbeaten Georgia visits Auburn) and a throwback to a great rivalry in the 1980s (Miami hosts Notre Dame in a game with huge national implications). Here is every game on the Week 11 slate.

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Thursday, Nov. 9

Ball State at Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois’ chances to win the MAC West are remote after its 27–17 loss last week to Toledo. The Huskies are now one game behind Toledo with three to play — and obviously do not have the tie-breaker by virtue of their head-to-head loss. Northern Illinois 51, Ball State 13

Georgia Southern at Appalachian State

Appalachian State has hit a rare rough patch, losing consecutive games (to UMass and ULM) for the first time since 2014 (its first season in the FBS ranks). Georgia Southern remains one of only two winless teams in the nation (UTEP is the other). Appalachian State 44, Georgia Southern 11

North Carolina at Pittsburgh

North Carolina, 0–6 in the ACC, hasn’t gone winless in league play since 1989, Mack Brown’s second season in Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have two chances to break into the win column — Thursday night in Pittsburgh or Nov. 25 at NC State. Pittsburgh 28, North Carolina 20

Friday, Nov. 10

Temple at Cincinnati

Both programs are coming off surprising wins: Temple beat Navy 34–26 (in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates), and Cincinnati snapped a five-game losing streak with a 17–16 victory at Tulane. Temple is the better team. Temple 27, Cincinnati 23


BYU is showing signs of life. One week after a 41–20 win over San Jose State — the school’s first victory over an FBS opponent in 2017 — the Cougars lost at Fresno State by “only” seven points. UNLV, which opened the season with a loss at home to Howard, has won two straight and is making a late-season charge toward bowl-eligibility. UNLV 24, BYU 14

Washington at Stanford

Washington has rebounded nicely from its 13–7 loss at Arizona State by beating UCLA and Oregon by a combined scored of 82–

26. The Huskies remain the Pac-12’s best hope to reach the College Football Playoff. Washington 27, Stanford 13

Saturday, Nov. 11

Arkansas at LSU

Arkansas avoided what would have been perhaps the program’s worst loss in program history — yes, worse than the 1992 loss to The Citadel — by rallying to beat Coastal Carolina 39–38 in Fayetteville. LSU put up a good fight at Alabama … but lost to the Tide for the seventh straight time. LSU 34, Arkansas 21

Duke at Army

Army last week won at Air Force 21–0 despite not attempting a single pass. And it was the fifth-straight win for the surging Black Knights, who are now 7–2 on the season. Duke, on the other hand, has lost five straight games after opening the year with four consecutive wins. Army 21, Duke 20

Florida at South Carolina

Florida’s season hit rock bottom — we think — with a 45–16 loss at Missouri. The Gators have lost four straight and have failed to score more than 17 point in any of the four games. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, fired at Florida after the 2014 season, would love to prolong the Gators’ misery. South Carolina 28, Florida 17

Indiana at Illinois

Both teams are 0–6 in the Big Ten. It’s not a surprise that Illinois is winless, but Indiana has been a disappointment. Yes, the schedule has been tough — the Hoosiers have played Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin — but this team is too good not to have at least one league win. That will change soon. Indiana 41, Illinois 13

Louisiana at Ole Miss

Shea Patterson’s injury hasn’t slowed down the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels have scored 37 points in each of the two games started by Jordan Ta’amu — an excruciating 38–37 loss at Arkansas and a thrilling 37–34 win at Kentucky. Ole Miss 48, Louisiana 21

Michigan State at Ohio State

It’s no surprise that Ohio State is tied for the Big Ten lead as we hit the stretch run of the 2017 season. It is, however, rather shocking that Michigan State — not Michigan or Penn State — is the team tied with the Buckeyes. The Spartans, 3–9 last season, already have wins over Michigan and Penn State on their résumé. A win in Columbus would likely send them to the Big Ten title game. Ohio State 23, Michigan State 20

NC State at Boston College

Boston College was one of the hottest teams in the nation heading into its bye week. The Eagles have won three straight, at Louisville, at Virginia and vs. Florida State. To make it four straight they will have to knock off a very talented NC State team that went toe-to-toe with Clemson last week. It’s fair to question what mental state the Wolfpack will be in for this visit to Chestnut Hill after the emotionally draining loss to Clemson. NC State 24, Boston College 21 

Nebraska at Minnesota

This is not a good formula for success: Minnesota averaged 2.0 yards per carry last week and gave up 10.0 yard per carry. The result, a 33–10 win by Michigan, was not surprising. Minnesota 24, Nebraska 17

Oklahoma State at Iowa State

Both teams saw their hopes of a regular-season Big 12 title take a hit over the weekend. This is a huge swing game for Iowa State, which closes the season with trips to Baylor and Kansas State after hosting Oklahoma State. It’s unlikely, but a 6–6 record isn’t out of the question for the Clones. Oklahoma State 38, Iowa State 30

Rutgers at Penn State

Rutgers has won three Big Ten games after going 0–9 in 2016. That’s significant progress in Year 2 of the Chris Ash era. Penn State is only one game ahead of the Scarlet Knights in the league standings but is obviously a far superior team — as the point spread (30.5 points) indicates. Penn State 38, Rutgers 13

Texas Tech vs. Baylor

Texas Tech let one slip away last week, losing a late lead to Kansas State before falling in overtime. That loss dropped the Red Raiders to a disappointing 1–5 in the Big 12. Baylor broke through with its first win of the season, rolling past Kansas 38–9 in Lawrence. Both of these teams are looking for their first league win against a team not named Kansas. Baylor 41, Texas Tech 40

Connecticut at UCF

UCF improved to 8–0 with a 31–24 win at SMU. It was the Knights’ first game that was decided by fewer than 10 points. That won’t happen this week. UCF 48, UConn 10

Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

Virginia Tech saw its chance of winning the ACC Coastal Division evaporate with a 28–10 loss to Miami. It was a disappointing performance considering what was on the line. It will be interesting to see how this team responds against a Georgia Tech team that lost at Virginia last week. Georgia Tech 24, Virginia Tech 20

Middle Tennessee at Charlotte

Charlotte played in the lowest-scoring game of the season last week, losing 6–0 at Old Dominion. Middle Tennessee regained the services of quarterback Brent Stockstill, who had not played since a Week 2 injury in a win at Syracuse. His return could propel the Blue Raiders toward bowl eligibility. Middle Tennessee 28, Charlotte 10

Wake Forest at Syracuse

Syracuse suffered heartbreak on Saturday in Tallahassee when Cole Murphy missed a 43-yard field goal as time expired in the Orange’s 27–24 loss at Florida State. Quarterback Eric Dungey missed some time due to injury but is expected to get the start this weekend. Syracuse 31, Wake Forest 28

FAU at Louisiana Tech

The Owls have won five straight and remain in control of the C-USA East race. Louisiana Tech, meanwhile, is 4–5 overall and 2–3 in the league; it’s been quite a drop for a team that went 20–4 in C-USA from 2014-16. FAU 30, Louisiana Tech 20

Florida State at Clemson

In the Athlon Sports 2017 preview magazines, we ran a story detailing how the Florida State-Clemson game was now the most important regular-season game on the college football calendar. Not so much in 2017. Clemson 24, Florida State 13

Iowa at Wisconsin

Iowa has won 86 games in Kirk Ferentz’s 18-plus seasons at the school, but I’m not sure there has been a victory as surprising as what occurred at Kinnick Field on Saturday. Beating Ohio State was not expected — especially after the Buckeyes’ big win over Penn State the previous week. Scoring 55 points and winning by 29 points were unthinkable. Can the Hawkeyes keep the magic going? The guess here is no. Wisconsin 27, Iowa 20

Michigan at Maryland

Maryland’s Week 1 win at Texas seems like a very long time ago. The Terps are 3–5 since and last week lost to Rutgers to fall to 2–4 in the Big Ten. There have been some key injuries, as usual, but it’s not what Maryland fans were expecting in Year 2 of the DJ Durkin era — especially after the win at Texas. Michigan 20, Maryland 10

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SMU at Navy

Navy’s 5–0 record has turned into a 5–3 record after Thursday’s 34–26 loss at Temple. The Midshipmen were held to 136 yards rushing on a 2.6-yard average — both season lows (by far). SMU’s three-game winning streak was snapped by UCF, but the Mustangs played well in a seven-point loss — well enough to give them hope that they can win in Annapolis this week. SMU 38, Navy 34

Georgia at Auburn

Georgia has cruised to a 6–0 start in SEC play with an average margin of victory of 39–10. This will, however, be the Bulldogs’ biggest test (in SEC play) by far. Auburn has two losses but remains in the hunt for a CFB Playoff spot due to what this team could accomplish in the next month — two wins over Georgia and a win over Alabama. It’s a longshot … but it’s possible. That possibility, though, ends if the Tigers don’t win this week. Georgia 24, Auburn 21

Southern Miss at Rice

There’s been no announcement, but you’d have to believe that this is the end of the David Bailiff era at Rice. The Owls are 1–8 and have lost seven straight games. Southern Miss 37, Rice 15

Virginia at Louisville

Virginia, 3–2 in the ACC, is one win away from securing its first non-losing conference record since 2011, when the Cavs went 5–3 in Mike London’s second season. If they don’t get the win this week, they will have to beat either Miami or Virginia Tech in the final two weeks of the regular season. Louisville 35, Virginia 31

West Virginia at Kansas State

West Virginia won a game in which it scored fewer than 38 points for the first time this season, holding off Iowa State 20–16 in Morgantown. The Mountaineers now head to Manhattan, where they could be facing Skylar Thompson, a redshirt freshman QB making his first career start. West Virginia 37, Kansas State 27

Georgia State at Texas State

Georgia State is one of the surprises of the Sun Belt. The Panthers are 4–1 in the league and play their final two games at home after this very winnable trip to Texas State. Georgia State 17, Texas State 13

Maine at Massachusetts

UMass lost its first six games of the season, all by 10 points or fewer, and then broke through with wins over Georgia Southern and App State. The Minutemen battled Mississippi State into the second half on Saturday before losing 34–23. This is a pretty good two-win team. UMass 38, Maine 13

San Jose State at Nevada

The struggle continues in the Silicon Valley. San Jose State dropped to 1–9 with a 52–7 loss at home to San Diego State. The Spartans have not lost a game by fewer than 11 points. Nevada 44, San Jose State 30

Kentucky at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt has won four of the past six in the series, including three straight in Nashville. The winning team hasn’t scored more than 22 points since 2012, when the Commodores won 40–0 in Lexington. There figure to be a lot of points scored Saturday. Vanderbilt 31, Kentucky 27

USC at Colorado

It might be related more to the quality of the opponent, but the USC offense appears to be hitting its stride. The Trojans have scored 97 points the past two weeks — wins at Arizona State and vs. Arizona — and should keep it rolling against Colorado on Saturday and UCLA the following week. USC 44, Colorado 28

Troy at Coastal Carolina

Coastal Carolina almost pulled off a stunning upset last weekend, losing a late lead en route to a 39–38 loss at Arkansas. True, Arkansas is not good — but neither is Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers are 1–8 overall, with the one win coming in Week 1 over UMass. Troy 28, Coastal Carolina 20

Arkansas State at South Alabama

Arkansas State took a huge step toward an outright Sun Belt title last weekend — and the Red Wolves didn’t even play. Appalachian State, the only other undefeated team in league play, lost at ULM, leaving Arkansas State in control of its own destiny. Win the final four games, and the championship trophy heads to Jonesboro. Arkansas State 30, South Alabama 13

UTEP at North Texas

It’s the best (North Texas) vs. the worst (UTEP) in Conference USA’s West Division. This will not go well for the Miners. NorthTexas 41, UTEP 0

Washington State at Utah

Washington State still controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 North. If the Cougars can beat Utah in Salt Lake City, they will head to Seattle for a winner-take-all Apple Cup. Utah is hoping to salvage its season with a strong closing stretch. The Utes snapped a four-game losing streak by beating UCLA 48–17 last weekend. They need to win one of the final three games to become bowl eligible. Washington State 28, Utah 23

Kansas at Texas

It’s tough to find signs of progress at Kansas. The Jayhawks are 0–8 against FBS teams after losing 38–9 at home to Baylor, a team that had not previously won a game. Texas 34, Kansas 7

Western Kentucky at Marshall

Western Kentucky is a relatively soft 5–4 (the wins are over EKU, Ball State, UTEP, Charlotte and Old Dominion), and the Hilltoppers have significant injuries on both sides of the ball. Marshall 34, Western Kentucky 21

Alabama at Mississippi State

Alabama continues to look like the best team in the country, but the Crimson Tide will have to play well to win their final two SEC games — at Mississippi State this week and at Auburn on Nov. 25. MSU is 7–2 overall, with its two losses on the road at Georgia and Auburn. This is a good team. Alabama 33, Mississippi State 17

New Mexico at Texas A&M

All of the positive momentum gained from its 3–1 start in league play (with the one loss a respectable defeat to Alabama) is gone after Texas A&M lost at home to Mississippi State and Auburn the last two weeks by an average of 18 points. It now seems inevitable that the school will be looking for a new head coach. Texas A&M 34, New Mexico 17

Old Dominion at FIU

FAU and Lane Kiffin are stealing the headlines, but FIU is also playing very well under a first-year head coach (Butch Davis). The Panthers have become bowl eligible after consecutive wins over Tulane, Marshall and UTSA — three solid teams. FIU 26, Old Dominion 17

Purdue at Northwestern

Northwestern edged Nebraska on Saturday and became the first FBS team to win three straight games in overtime. The Wildcats shouldn’t need overtime this week. Northwestern 27, Purdue 17

Tulane at East Carolina

It’s been a rough stretch for Tulane. Since improving to 3–2 with a surprisingly easy 62–28 win over Tulsa on Oct. 7, the Green Wave have lost four straight games to drop to 3–6 on the season. They should win this week at ECU, but it’s tough to envision them beating both Houston and SMU to reach bowl eligibility. Tulane 34, East Carolina 13


UAB’s remarkable first season back in action will now include a trip to a bowl game. The Blazers are 6–3 overall with trips to UTSA and Florida followed by a home date with winless UTEP. UAB 34, UTSA 31

Tennessee at Missouri

It was a bit surprising to see Missouri listed as a three-point favorite over Florida last week. Well, the boys in Vegas knew what they were doing; the Tigers rolled to an easy 45–16 win over the Gators to win their third straight. Now, they are an 11-point favorite over Tennessee, a team that has failed to score more than 26 points since Week 2. Missouri 34, Tennessee 21

Notre Dame at Miami (Fla.)

Raise your hand if had this circled as a game with College Football Playoff implications back in August. Miami is one of four undefeated teams from a Power 5 conference remaining. Notre Dame has only one loss, at home by one point to undefeated Georgia. The winner will remain very much in the thick of the national title race; the loser’s chances of reaching the CFB Playoff will be slim. Notre Dame 27, Miami 25

TCU at Oklahoma

The four-team tie atop the Big 12 standings has been whittled down to two teams (for now) — and those two teams meet this week in Norman. Both teams will be a strong favorite to win their final two games (TCU plays at Texas Tech and hosts Baylor; OU visits Kansas and hosts West Virginia), so the winner of this one will emerge as the likely regular-season champ. This is strictly a home-team pick. Oklahoma 34, TCU 27

Arizona State at UCLA

UCLA has been ranked in the top 25 at some point in each of Jim Mora’s six seasons on the job — including in the top 10 in three seasons — yet he is only 27–25 in the Pac-12 during that time. Arizona State 30, UCLA 27

Oregon State at Arizona

Khalil Tate had his worst game since breaking into the lineup, and the Wildcats’ quarterback still threw for 146 yards and rushed for 161 in a 49–35 loss to USC. Expect a big day against Oregon State. Arizona 44, Oregon State 17

Wyoming at Air Force

Air Force won three straight over UNLV, Nevada and Colorado State and scored a total of 124 point in the three games. Then last week, the Falcons lost at home 21–0 to an Army team that did not attempt a single pass. Good luck trying to figure out what’s going to happen in college football. Wyoming 21, Air Force 20.

Boise State at Colorado State

This was shaping up to be the Game of the Year in the Mountain West Mountain Division … until Colorado State lost consecutive games to Air Force and Wyoming. Boise State 30, Colorado State 24

Fresno State at Hawaii

Fresno State remains in control of the Mountain West West Division but cannot afford to slip up at Hawaii. The Bulldogs are one game up on San Diego State (and own the tie-breaker) with three to play. Fresno State 30, Hawaii 17