Week 11 Preview

Games of Note:

Arizona State @ #10 Oregon

Scott- Last season, the Sun Devils ended Oregon’s Playoff hopes with a thriller in Tempe last November. This year, UO is out for revenge on Friday night, and looking for a little more respect from the Playoff committee. The Ducks have won 7 straight, but only climbed five spots after their initial downfall after the Ohio State blowout loss. The country’s 12th ranked defense has led the way, but the offense is starting to pick up the slack, scoring more than 40 in their last 3 wins. ASU has won 5 straight themselves, and lead the South by a full game. They are looking for some national respect themselves, but are still weighed down by a couple of bad early losses. In a possible preview of the Pac-12 Championship, I’ll take the Ducks to avenge last season’s loss. Oregon 31, Arizona State 18

Gavin- The Sun Devils have quietly been one of the hottest teams in the country, winning five straight Pac 12 games after a very sketchy start (including an inexplicable loss to the now 2-8 UNLV!) As Scott said, Oregon have also been on a roll since an early loss. Their average result since that Ohio State embarrassment is a 35-12 win! Although ASU has a division lead to protect and the recent history on their side, I think this Oregon team will be too much for them on the road. Oregon 38, Arizona State 24

#17 Baylor @ #20 Iowa State

Scott- College Gameday heads to Ames by a de facto method of there not being any outstanding matchups this week, but don’t get me wrong. This is a huge game in the Big XII race. With both teams at 4-2 in conference play, the winner stays alive to try to catch one of either Texas or Oklahoma to earn a spot in the conference championship game. ISU still has a matchup with the Longhorns, so they have more of a realistic shot. They did themselves no favors last week, when they fell at TCU. Baylor is coming off an impressive win over OK State. Conference race aside, if one of these teams gets hot and wins out, a New Year’s Six bowl game is well within reach. Those would be huge boosts for both of these programs. I think Matt Campbell’s team will play their best game this season after last week’s disappointment, and sets up a huge game with Texas next week. Iowa State 30, Baylor 14

Gavin- Neither team is out of the running for a Big 12 title game spot, but neither team is in control of their own destiny either. In order to hold on to hope, this game is a must-win for both teams. That sets up a huge game in what has recently been a very tight series. I think the difference could come down to defense, where Iowa State edges out the Bears. Iowa State 31, Baylor 24

TCU @ #13 Texas

Scott- Forget the first two weeks of the 2020 season, and Texas is a top 5 team in the country. That’s how good the Longhorns have looked the last two months. After 7 straight wins, the Horns control their own destiny to win the conference and see if any chaos happens around the country. The schedule is challenging down the stretch, but Texas has the talent advantage. Enter the Frogs into the conversation, fresh off a upset of 14th ranked ISU, showing they can trip up contenders. But can they do it against the conference’s best is the question. They have won 5 of 6 against the Longhorns, but did lose their last trip to Austin. A Texas win and a Baylor win means the Horns clinch a bid in the title game. I think Sam Ehlinger and the nation’s 10th ranked offense paces this game from the get-go. Texas 40, TCU 21

Gavin- I talked about Arizona State being one of the hottest teams in the country under the radar. Well Texas is perhaps THE hottest team in the country, and there is no under the radar about it. The Longhorns have put themselves right back on the map and in New Year’s Six contention, and also sit in the driver’s seat in the Big 12. Although TCU pulled off an impressive upset last week, don’t expect more of the same here. Texas 45, TCU 24

South Carolina @ #4 LSU

Scott- LSU lost a heartbreaker at home to rival Alabama, as the Tigers do not control their destiny to repeat anymore. The 24 game win streak is over, but LSU can’t feel sorry for themselves. They still sit within the top 4, and there are a lot of big matchups to be played in the SEC. At the very least, LSU can win out, and an 11-1 Tiger team with a nine-point loss to Alabama looks like a pretty good resume given wins over Texas and Florida, and potential wins over Auburn, Texas A&M, and this solid Gamecock team. This brings me to South Carolina. They were dominated by Georgia last week, but still sit at 6-3 and have shown they can upset a major player in the West. After a loss to a rival, expect an angry team. With cupcake Wofford next on the schedule, expect Carolina to give their best effort and go all out. This game is ripe for an upset. LSU is off a letdown, and looking ahead to Auburn. That being said, the Tigers will have just enough in the tank on senior day. LSU 35, South Carolina 33

Gavin- As Scott said, LSU still has plenty to play for. An SEC title is now unlikely, but at #4 still, the Tigers are in contention for a playoff spot despite last week’s loss. South Carolina were blanked by Georgia last week, and I don’t think the Gamecocks have the firepower to compete with LSU either. LSU 45, South Carolina 17

Kansas State @ #11 Oklahoma

Scott- The message for the Sooners is simple: Win out and you most likely get your shot at revenge with your hated rival and you will for sure play for your sixth straight championship. Any chaos that happens nationally is just bonus for OU at this point. The Sooners have a very manageable schedule, with only the bottom three in the conference left to play. Everything looks rosy now, especially with K-State coming to Norman. The Wildcats have lost 3 in a row, and 4 of 5, and the wheels look to be falling off. However, this is exactly the situation KSU thrives in, and they gave the Sooners their only regular season loss last year. Also, a little desperation could be just what Chris Klieman’s team needs. They still need a win to get to a bowl game, and the schedule remaining is challenging. At the end of the day, I think there is just too much offense from the Sooners, and this will not be a repeat of 2019. (Or 2020 in real life) Oklahoma 42, Kansas State 22

Gavin- This matchup has been disastrous for Oklahoma as of late. despite what many will expect to be a cruise to the finish for the Sooners, they will know that K-State is not to be taken lightly. That being said, the ‘Cats have dropped 4 of the last 5, and don’t look anything like a team that will compete in this game. For history’s sake, I’ll predict a close game. But a K-State win is just too much. Oklahoma 38, Kansas State 35

#21 Nebraska @ Iowa

Scott- To start off this prediction, PUT THIS GAME BACK ON BLACK FRIDAY. Okay, I had to get that out of the way early. I know Gavin can attest to this, but the Big Ten struck gold and found a hidden, but massive rivalry by adding UNL to the conference. These teams and fanbases genuinely do not care for one another. The Hawkeyes have had a bit of a disappointing year, but can still salvage it with some wins down the stretch, and get Iowa into a pretty decent bowl game. Also, this one would make the fans very happy. We all knew Nebraska’s schedule would ramp up towards the end, and they have lost back to back games to top 5 opponents from the East. This could be a turning point for the Huskers. Will they continue into freefall? Or can they stop the slide and take care of business and play for the division? Time will tell, but Kinnick is always a tough place to escape unscathed. Make it six straight for the Hawkeyes over Nebraska. Iowa 28, Nebraska 24

Gavin- I’ll second that Scott: PUT THIS GAME BACK ON BLACK FRIDAY. Yes this is a huge rivalry with plenty of hatred on both sides. A disappointing Iowa season would feel infinitely worse with the first loss to the rivals out west in six matchups. Meanwhile, an ever optimistic Cornhuskers fanbase has once again been slapped awake by the reality that their team is not a contender these last two weeks. A loss to Iowa would feel like a fatal blow. It doesn’t make up for the rest of the season, but the Hawks will at least find some solace in knowing that they remain the superior corn producing football state. Iowa 35, Nebraska 24

Missouri @ #6 Florida

Scott- Make no doubt about it. Florida is the better team here. However, the Gators need to be able to fight complacency. The division is wrapped up, but they will need to continue to have that competitive edge to their game if they want to stay firmly in the Playoff conversation. Missouri is a solid opponent though, and ended a 2 game skid last week with an impressive defensive showing in Starkville to clinch a bowl berth. An upset win here should give them momentum to win out against lesser competition. These are two great defensive teams, but UF will be locked in and the fans in the Swamp will be very appreciative of their newly-earned division crown. Florida 27, Missouri 9

Gavin- Florida have clinched the division, now they are playing for something more. The Gators have their sights set on a playoff berth, and they will know that in order to get there they can’t afford any slip-ups. A suffocating Florida defense should have no troubles with what has been a fairly inept Missouri offense. The Missouri defense has also been solid overall, but has not really showed up to big games this year. This should be one-way traffic from the start. Florida 35, Missouri 3

#15 Notre Dame vs. Georgia Tech

Scott- One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2020 season has been the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. Geoff Collins in Year 2 has already gotten to 6 wins, earning GT a bowl game after just a 3-9 season a year ago. Collins has reconstructed this offense from former head coach Paul Johnson’s triple option. The Jackets have players at new positions all over the field and has it ever paid off. GT is averaging over 32 PPG, but face three stingy defenses to close out the year, starting with the Fighting Irish. ND is coming off a loss at home to national power Clemson, effectively knocking them out of Playoff contention for good. This is when it gets tough for ND. Without a conference, it is Playoff or bust, so now it’s Brian Kelly’s job to motivate his team. A New Year’s Six Bowl is very much in play, and this would be a solid resume builder, especially because ND’s resume has a lot of holes in it. ND will benefit from the neutral site, with this game being at the home of the Falcons, rather than Bobby Dodd. Notre Dame 44, Georgia Tech 23

Gavin- One thing that you said in particular stands out to me, Scott, “ND’s resume has a lot of holes in it.” That it does indeed. The Irish do not own a win over a ranked team, and may only have one more chance at such a win. (next week against Louisville) Perhaps they will get caught looking ahead against a resurgent Georgia Tech? I’m not confident enough to make the pick, but don’t be surprised if the Yellow Jackets keep it close. Notre Dame 31, Georgia Tech 24

Upset Picks:

Scott- Wyoming @ Nevada

Two of the more solid teams in the Mountain West here in a game that will go largely unnoticed due to these teams being second tier contenders in the conference. Wyoming is projected as a 61.3% favorite here on the road in Reno. But like Gavin, I like the Wolf Pack here, (albeit different spelling). Nevada is 7-3 and to me, seems just as solid of a team as the Cowboys. Nevada has won four straight, and I think the home field advantage is the difference. Nevada 36, Wyoming 31

Gavin- NC State @ Syracuse

This is a thoroughly unexciting game between two dreadful teams, so why not go with the underdog? It worked out SO well for me last week. Well, this week I am feeling significantly more confident. Why? Because Syracuse is probably the worst P5 team in the country, and don’t deserve to be favored over almost anyone in the FBS, regardless of whether they play at home or not. NC State isn’t drastically better, but a win over Boston College last week has me believing that the Wolfpack will cruise here. NC State 41, Syracuse 24

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