It seems like yesterday that the college football season started. We are now in week eleven of the season, and have our first CFP rankings in front of us. I was just fine with the top three of Ohio State, LSU and Alabama. Penn State at number four? I don’t think so. The Lions will get a chance to warrant that ranking on Saturday when they travel to undefeated Minnesota. The loser of the Alabama/LSU game should also tumble from the rankings, creating an opening for Clemson. This weeks card is lacking any real tasty side treats, but the BIG 12 will be fun to watch. Below are insights and predictions for all the big games.
THIS WEEKENDS FEATURED GAMES
No.2 LSU (8-0) AT No.3 ALABAMA (8-0) I’ve gone back and forth on this game all week. I think it’s nearly impossible to handicap this game with all the uncertainty of the health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. I can’t see how the Alabama quarterback can be anywhere close to 100%. The Tide have simply owned this series. However they haven’t played a LSU team that has had a decent quarterback in years. Joe Burrow is far better than just decent! He has the ability to match the magic of Tagovailoa. I believe Alabama will try to lean on their running game to keep the ball out of Burrow’s hands. The key for the Tigers, and I believe the game, will be the pressure the Tigers can apply on Tagovailoa. If they get after him, they win. THIS PICK COMES FROM MY HEART, NOT MY BRAINS. BAYOU BENGALS 27-24.
No.4 PENN STATE (8-0) AT No.17 MINNESOTA (8-0) I want so bad to pick Minnesota in this game. Head coach P.J. Fleck has just signed a big contract extension and he deserves every penny of it. I just can’t overlook the fact, that the Gophers have played a ridiculously easy schedule. The seven FBS opponents the Gophers have played have combined to go 26-35. The Lions are very experienced in these big games and have already beaten Iowa and Michigan State on the road. Penn State was shockingly ranked in the fourth spot by the CFP committee on Tuesday night. I think this gives head coach James Franklin added incentive to run up the score, for style points if given the chance. LIONS PREY ON GOPHERS, 30-17.
No.16 KANSAS STATE (6-2) AT TEXAS (5-3) This BIG 12 showdown will determine if Kansas State is a contender or pretender. The Wildcats are on a three game emotional win streak over TCU, Oklahoma and rival Kansas. The win over Oklahoma stunned many, including myself. That win also captured the attention of the rest of the teams of the conference. Quarterback Skylar Thompson is the straw that stirs the drink, in the Wildcats offense. Thompson has accounted for 17 of the teams touchdowns. The Wildcats don’t do anything exceptional, but they are very good in all aspects of the game. Texas enters this game off another lackluster effort, in a loss to TCU. They have the advantage of coming off a bye week, which was much needed to get a few defensive starters healthy. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger will be the best player on the field Saturday. Head coach Tom Herman has said he has put a couple new wrinkles into the offense. This series had been dominated by the home squad, (14-5) of late. HOOK EM, 35-28.
WYOMING (6-2) AT No. 22 BOISE STATE (7-1) I’ve been waiting for this game for weeks. I was glad to see Bronco quarterback Hank Bachmeier return from injury last week. We now have two good teams, that are healthy and squaring off for a possible Mountain West, Mountain Division championship. I think Wyoming has over achieved so far this season. They are undefeated at home and own an outright upset of Missouri to start the season. The only two losses have come on the road at Tulsa (3 point) and San Diego State (4 point). The Cowboys love to run the football. Quarterback Sean Chambers has only attempted 121 passes all season. Chambers and tailback Xazavian Valladay both average over five yards per carry. The Broncos are good against the run. They will try to make Chambers beat them through the air. A healthy Bachmeier should have some solid success picking apart the Pokes secondary. Boise has never lost to Wyoming at home (6-0). POKES CAN’T LASSO BRONCOS, 36-20.
No.18 IOWA (6-2) AT No.13 WISCONSIN (6-2) These two schools play for the Heartland trophy, which Wisconsin has won six of the last seven. I have a hard time watching Iowa play football. Boring! However head coach Kirk Ferentz has made a fortune playing boring football. The Hawkeyes will try to play ground and pound to keep the ball away from Wisconsin tailback Jonathan Taylor. That will work until the Badgers grab a double-digit lead. Then Iowa will be forced to do, what they don’t do well. Play catch up. This game virtually eliminates the loser from playing in the BIG-10 championship game. Camp Randall will be rocking. HOME SWEET HOME FOR THE BADGERS, JUMP 31-13.
WESTERN KENTUCKY (5-4) AT ARKANSAS (2-7) This game is loaded with intrigue. Arkansas has been a train wreck all season long, and the alums want second year coach Chad Morris out. The administration would love to make that happen, but they are already paying Bret Bielema $365,000 a month to coach the defensive line of the New England Patriots. Morris has decided to give the starting quarterback reigns to Jerry Jones grand son John Stephen Jones this Saturday. I doubt even Jerry can save Chad’s job. Jones can’t be any worse than his predecessors Nick Starkel and Ben Hicks, or can he? Jones first order of business was to run his mouth, stating that the best any of the Hilltopper players could hope for, would be to work for his grand father someday. OUCH. The Razorbacks are a very bad football team and throwing shade on a Western Kentucky team that has plenty to play for is bad idea in my book. Let’s add a little more intrigue to the pot. The Hilltopper quarterback is a kid named Ty Storey. Storey started nine game for the Razorbacks last year before transferring to Western Kentucky. I’m guessing he will have a little more incentive to stick it where the sun don’t shine. TOPPERS AND ALL THEIR KINFOLK RISE TO THE OCCASION, 33-28.
SUPER SIX PACK: SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
WASHINGTON STATE (4-4) AT CALIFORNIA (4-4) Two words for this game. Anthony Gordon. BUTCH TO QUICK FOR THE BEAR, 41-20.
GEORGIA SOUTHERN (5-3) AT TROY (3-5) Eagles flying high after beating Appy. NO LETDOWN HERE, EAGLES 34-28.
APPALACHIAN STATE (7-1) AT SOUTH CAROLINA (4-5) The Moutaineers dreams were shattered last week. GAMECOCKS NEED A WIN FOR A BOWL GAME, 31-21.
USC (5-4) AT ARIZONA STATE (5-3) This will be a fireworks show. KEDON SLOVIS GOES HOME AND DELIVERS, TROY 45-42.
No.12 BAYLOR (8-0) AT TCU (4-4) Bears struggled to beat West Virginia last week. THAT STRUGGLE WILL GIVE THE BEARS ADDED FOCUS, 35-20.
FLORIDA STATE (4-5) AT BOSTON COLLEGE (5-4) This is “Red Bandana” week in Chestnut Hill. The Red Bandana Game is an annual event in which the Boston College football program celebrates the life of Boston College graduate Welles Crowther, a hero of 9/11 who lost his life saving people trapped in the World Trade Center. The people who he helped escape remembered him by his trademark red bandana he wore, and since 2014 when Boston College defeated then ranked USC, it has become a tradition for the program to honor him. EAGLES GET BOWL ELIGIBLE WITH 30-17 WIN