NCAA Football Picks ATS – Week 11
No. 7 Georgia Tech at Duke (-12 ½)—Georgia Tech looks for its first eight-game winning streak in 43 years and will do so against a Duke team still fighting for bowl eligibility. The Yellow Jackets will continue to showcase their dominant rushing attack (second in FBS yardage) against the Blue Devils whom they have beaten five straight times.
Duke is coming off a loss to rival North Carolina and looks to avenge a 27-0 demolition at the hands of Georgia Tech last season. Duke QB Thad Lewis is second in the ACC in passing yardage and will need to exploit the Tech passing defense, which ranks 10th in the conference. This one could get ugly since it clinches the ACC title game appearance for Tech. Georgia Tech 38, Duke 20.
Tennessee at Mississippi (-5)—both teams come in to this contest at 2-3 in the SEC and will look to scratch their way to .500 by game’s end. It could be argued that Mississippi’s 6-3 season is a major disappointment while the Vols’ 5-4 season during a rebuilding year has been every bit as competitive as one should have expected.
Rebels’ QB Jevan Snead will need to be better than his last couple of outings and help his defense which is ranked 12th in the FBS in points allowed. The Vols have been on a bit of a roll with the exception of a heartbreaking loss to Bama three weeks ago, dominating three of their last four foes. Expect that roll to continue, I like the Vols in an upset. Tennessee 20, Mississippi 16.
No. 1 Florida at South Carolina (+15 ½)—Despite criticism after nearly every game this season the Gators stand here at 9-0, ranked No. 1 in the country, and looking to complete the SEC slate undefeated for the first time in 13 years. The Gators’ defense is tops in the nation and has helped during some less than impressive days for Tim Tebow and the rest of the offense. South Carolina has lost three of their last four thanks to a sputtering offense that averaged only 12.3 points during those contests. Florida is looking to run their winning streak to 20 games and the Gamecocks are in the way, about to be chomped. Florida 31, South Carolina 10.
Stanford at No. 9 USC (-10 ½)—The PAC-10 was thought to be locked up before last week’s surprise upset by Stanford over Oregon which has thrown the entire conference title into limbo – and leaves USC and Stanford still breathing. Stanford will travel to Los Angeles with a Top 20 offense that has averaged over 500 yards for their last three contests. USC and QB Matt Barkley will look to get back on track offensively having scored only 34 points in their last two games. USC will find a way to win this game but the score is likely to be unpredictable. USC 28, Stanford 20.
No. 10 Iowa at No. 11 Ohio State (-16)—Iowa dodged quite a few bullets before last week’s loss to Northwestern and Ohio State pulled a off a huge road win to make this the game of the year in the Big 10. Hawkeyes’ QB Ricky Stanzi will be out for this game in Columbus, which will make it even tougher to score on the Buckeyes’ fourth-ranked scoring defense.
Conversely, Ohio State QB Terrelle Pryor will need to find a way to get in the end zone against Iowa’s staunch defense that ranks in the top 15 in the FBS. This will be a low-scoring slugfest to determine who sits in the catbird seat in the Big 10 and I don’t see OSU giving it up at home despite Iowa’s six straight road wins. Ohio State 24, Iowa 10.
No. 14 Miami (FL) at North Carolina (+3 ½)—the ‘Canes are looking to stay alive in the ACC Coastal battle and UNC is trying to salvage a season which has not gone as expected. Truth be told, Georgia Tech will likely have locked up the ACC Coastal division by game time and knocked Miami out of the race but the ‘Canes are still pushing for a Top 10 finish and a great bowl berth including a BCS possibility.
They have balanced out their offense as of late helping ease the burden on QB Jacory Harris and grinding out the yardage with tailback Graig Cooper. UNC boasts one of the top defenses in the country, which allows less than 250 yards per contest; it’s the Heels’ offense that has created issues throughout the year. The Tar Heels have actually taken the last contest between these squads and the Canes are 0-3 all-time in Chapel Hill…that ends this week. Miami 24, North Carolina 20.
No. 17 Arizona at California (-2)—Arizona enters the game about as under-the-radar as any ranked team in the entire country. They control their destiny to win the PAC-10 title but there are still four tough games to go beginning with Cal this weekend.
Arizona’s run-stuffing defense will NOT have to face Bears’ All-American candidate Jahvid Best who is out with a concussion, a huge blow to Cal who has benefited greatly from the shifty back with 16 TDs. Cal has lost three straight conference games and will have their hands full at home this week despite having beaten the Wildcats three times in a row at Berkeley. Arizona is on a nice roll, which I do not expect to stop this weekend. Arizona 27, Cal 20.
No. 16 Utah at No. 4 TCU (-20)—Fort Worth, Texas will be the center of attention this week in college football as the TCU Horned Frogs try to continue an unprecedented run. Their No. 4 ranking is the highest ever for a non-BCS conference team and they have done it on both sides of the ball. The Horned Frogs rank third in defense, eighth in offense, and will look to repeat a similar run that the Utes made last year on the way to beating Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.
Ironically, it was TCU who nearly upended Utah last season before succumbing in the final minute to lose 13-10. Utah is also on an impressive run after losing to Oregon in September having won six straight and not allowing 20 points in any contest. This should be an old-school ‘slobberknocker’ kind of game and I think TCU will get it done but not in the grand fashion that the spread suggests. TCU 27, Utah 19.
Texas Tech at No. 19 Oklahoma State (-4)—The Cowboys will be looking for revenge at home in Stillwater after the Red Raiders trounced them 56-20 in last year’s meeting between the then-top-10 squads. Texas Tech brings their signature aerial attack into the game with some controversy surrounding who will play QB but they will throw early and often whether it’s Taylor Potts, Seth Doege or Steven Sheffield.
Okie State is without WR Dez Bryant for the remainder of the year but they lead the Big 12 in rushing yards behind Keith Toston and Kendall Hunter. Whenever offenses like this get together, it is a lot of fun to watch and tough to see how it’s going to go but I see this being close to the end. Oklahoma State 30, Texas Tech 27.
Notre Dame at No. 12 Pittsburgh (-7)—Pitt still has yet to play a ranked team but they have gotten the job done putting themselves in position for the Big East title if they win out their last two conference games. The matchup this weekend will help to raise their national profile if they can pull out a win; this is already their highest ranking in 20 years. Notre Dame Head coach Charlie Weis is seeing major scrutiny yet again after a shocking loss to the Naval Academy last week; he likely needs to win out to secure his job in South Bend.
The game will feature two great QBs in ND’s Jimmy Clausen and Pitt’s Bill Stull along with other great skill players like ND WR Golden Tate and Pitt RB Dion Lewis. This really is a massive game for both teams and while ND’s defense has failed them often this season I think Pitt’s soft schedule has not prepared them for a desperate team with this kind of offensive firepower. Notre Dame 28, Pitt 24.
Last week: 2-8
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