College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2017

College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Last Saturday eliminated a few teams from the College Football Playoff chase, but a couple of programs can earn statement wins in Week 11.

    The biggest game of the weekend happens in South Florida, where No. 7 Miami hosts No. 3 Notre Dame. The winner of that matchup will solidify itself as a Top Four team heading into the final two weeks of the regular season.

    TCU's trip to Oklahoma and Georgia's jaunt to Auburn are also critical matchups, since all four schools remain in the playoff hunt.

    We've offered a prediction for the 55 contests on the slate scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The games are ordered based on kickoff window, and ranked teams take precedence. 

         

    Note: All recent results are from Winsipedia when matchups include two schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Top Saturday Early Games

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    No. 12 Michigan State (7-2) at No. 13 Ohio State (7-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Ohio State beat MSU 17-16 last November.

    With a win Saturday, Michigan State would be a victory shy of sealing an improbable division title. However, Ohio State's disaster of a performance at Iowa should spark a turnaround for the Buckeyes, who haven't played poorly in consecutive games all year and will contain MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke.

    Prediction: Ohio State 24, Michigan State 20

                   

    Rutgers (4-5) at No. 14 Penn State (7-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Penn State beat Rutgers 39-0 last November.

    Penn State has watched its championship dreams evaporate over the last two weeks, but a New Year's Six bowl remains a possibility. That turnaround will start when the defense shuts down a Rutgers attack that's last in the league in total offense and is overwhelmed against the Big Ten's top teams.

    Prediction: Penn State 37, Rutgers 13

                   

    No. 15 Oklahoma State (7-2) at No. 21 Iowa State (6-3), noon ET

    Last meeting: Oklahoma State beat Iowa State 38-31 last October.

    If an offense isn't capable of hanging 62 points on Oklahoma State, an essential bullet of the winning formula is disrupting QB Mason Rudolph's timing. Iowa State, however, only has 15 sacks and 13 hurries on the year. The Cyclones are a great story, but they won't spring this upset.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 34, Iowa State 27

                    

    Connecticut (3-6) at No. 18 Central Florida (8-0), noon ET

    Last meeting: UCF beat UConn 24-16 last October.

    Connecticut is allowing 6.8 yards per play, which is the sixth-worst mark in the nation. Conversely, UCF has posted the second-highest offensive average at 7.9 yards per snap. Sometimes, it's best to keep things simple. Scott Frost and his Knights will cruise to 9-0 on the year.

    Prediction: UCF 52, UConn 17

                  

    No. 23 NC State (6-3) at Boston College (5-4), noon ET

    Last meeting: Boston College beat NC State 21-14 last October.

    After opening the season 2-4, Boston College has rattled off three straight impressive wins. Is anybody confident about what's going to happen in Chestnut Hill? We're leaning toward North Carolina State because its run defense was sensational before facing two of the nation's top teams, Notre Dame and Clemson, but BC might make us look silly. 

    Prediction: NC State 24, Boston College 20

                 

    Arkansas (4-5) at No. 24 LSU (6-3), noon ET

    Last meeting: LSU beat Arkansas 38-10 last November.

    Arkansas pounced on LSU in 2014 and 2015, but the Tigers avoided a post-Alabama hangover last year. That will again be the case, considering Arkansas' closest margin of defeat against a ranked team this season is 21 points (TCU). LSU will run the ball successfully early on and have little trouble dispatching the Razorbacks.

    Prediction: LSU 38, Arkansas 21

              

    No. 17 Virginia Tech (7-2) at Georgia Tech (4-4), 12:20 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia Tech beat Virginia Tech 30-20 last November.

    For just the third time in ACC Championship Game history, neither Virginia Tech nor Georgia Tech will represent the Coastal Division. However, the Hokies are still in the running for a second-tier bowl. They'll avoid repeating a four-turnover nightmare from this meeting last year and snatch a win in Atlanta.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 22

Other Saturday Afternoon Games

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    Ray Thompson/Associated Press

    Texas Tech (4-5) vs. Baylor (1-8), noon ET

    Last meeting: Texas Tech beat Baylor 54-35 last November.

    Baylor took out Kansas in Week 10 to avoid a winless campaign, but that's probably the first and only positive result the Bears will get this season. QB Nic Shimonek has posted 300 yards and four touchdowns in three of Texas Tech's last four games, and Baylor ranks 114th in yards allowed per attempt.

    Prediction: Texas Tech 45, Baylor 31

                      

    Nebraska (4-5) at Minnesota (4-5), noon ET

    Last meeting: Nebraska beat Minnesota 24-17 last November.

    Minnesota's switch to Demry Croft at quarterback hasn't gone as hoped. He's completed just 19 passes for 260 yards through three starts. Nebraska's defense isn't playing well, but Tanner Lee is serviceable under centerand wins don't have to be pretty.

    Prediction: Nebraska 20, Minnesota 17

                           

    Duke (4-5) at Army (7-2), noon ET

    Last meeting: Duke beat Army 13-6 last October.

    Whichever team earns the advantage up front should eke out a victory. Florida State and Pitt both exposed problems with Duke's run defense, and Army is designed to exploit any mistake. The Blue Devils have the talent to run efficiently, but that production hasn't showed up since the 4-0 start.

    Prediction: Army 24, Duke 23

                   

    Florida (3-5) at South Carolina (6-3), noon ET

    Last meeting: Florida beat South Carolina 20-7 last November.

    Florida has dropped four straight games, and its most recent loss was a complete collapse. Missouri hadn't won a conference matchup all season yet hung 45 points on the Gators. South Carolina has been average at best offensively since Deebo Samuel broke his leg against Kentucky on Sept. 16, but Florida doesn't inspire any trust.

    Prediction: South Carolina 24, Florida 17

                        

    Indiana (3-6) at Illinois (2-7), noon ET

    Last meeting: Indiana beat Illinois 52-35 last November.

    Although the teams' records are only separated by one game, Indiana has displayed its usual close-but-not-quite form, while Illinois has rarely been competitive. It would be surprising if the Hoosiers fail to shut down Illinois, which has tallied fewer than five yards per snap in two-thirds of 2017's games.

    Prediction: Indiana 27, Illinois 10

                 

    Louisiana (4-4) at Ole Miss (4-5), noon ET

    Last meeting: Ole Miss beat Louisiana 56-15 in September 2014.

    In two starts since Shea Patterson tore his PCL, Jordan Ta'amu has thrown for 350-plus yards both times. That's a promising sign for the Rebels, considering Louisiana has surrendered at least 300 passing yards in three games this season. Ole Miss should be able to out-offense the visitors in the nonconference tilt.

    Prediction: Ole Miss 45, Louisiana 28

                 

    Middle Tennessee (4-5) at Charlotte (1-8), 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: MTSU beat Charlotte 38-31 last November.

    Brent Stockstill returned from a six-game absence due to a shoulder injury to help Middle Tennessee smash UTEP 30-3, and the Blue Raiders suddenly have realistic postseason aspirations again. Charlotte and its 122nd-ranked offense won't be able to match Stockstill's pace.

    Prediction: Middle Tennessee 31, Charlotte 14

                 

    Wake Forest (5-4) at Syracuse (4-5), 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Wake Forest beat Syracuse 28-9 last October.

    QB Eric Dungey collected 387 total yards against Florida State, but Syracuse's late charge came up short in the 27-24 loss last week. That's been a trend for the Orange, who have four one-possession losses in 2017. Wake Forest's excellent defense will pressure Dungey into a couple of mistakes, build an early lead and hold off Syracuse in the fourth quarter.

    Prediction: Wake Forest 30, Syracuse 24

Top Saturday Afternoon Games

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    No. 1 Georgia (9-0) at No. 10 Auburn (7-2), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia beat Auburn 13-7 last November.

    When Auburn can't run the ball effectively, its passing game suffers. Georgia has surrendered a meager 3.1 yards per carry, so Tigers QB Jarrett Stidham and the receiving corps must be able to convert unfavorable third-down situations. That won't happen often enough to spring an upset on the nation's top-ranked team.

    Prediction: Georgia 27, Auburn 17

                 

    Florida State (3-5) at No. 4 Clemson (8-1), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Clemson beat FSU 37-34 last October.

    Florida State's offensive line has struggled for most of the season, and Clemson's front seven is sensational. The Tigers will live in the backfield, contain running back Cam Akers and pressure freshman quarterback James Blackman into a couple of mistakes that the Seminoles cannot afford while overmatched on the road.

    Prediction: Clemson 31, Florida State 13

                    

    No. 20 Iowa (6-3) at No. 8 Wisconsin (9-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Wisconsin beat Iowa 17-9 last October.

    Even after steamrolling Ohio State last week 55-24, Iowa is a 12-point underdog at Wisconsin, per OddsShark. The Badgers are a terrific team, and their run-stopping prowess will be the difference in the game (No. 4 in the country). But a two-possession margin of victory seems awfully generous for a slow-starting offense that will be without its top receiver, Quintez Cephus (leg).

    Prediction: Wisconsin 24, Iowa 20

                   

    Michigan (7-2) at Maryland (4-5), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Michigan beat Maryland 59-3 last November.

    Other than the horrible day at Penn State, Michigan's defense has excelled in 2017. In fact, the Nittany Lions are its only opponent to record five yards per snap or 300 total yards. To make matters worse, Maryland's now-starting-former-third-string quarterback Max Bortenschlager is a game-time decision, per Roman Stubbs of the Washington Post. Godspeed, Ryan Brand.

    Prediction: Michigan 33, Maryland 7

                 

    West Virginia (6-3) at Kansas State (5-4), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: WVU beat Kansas State 17-16 last October.

    Kansas State is a pesky team, so it's no surprise OddsShark lists West Virginia as a road underdog. However, the Wildcats have allowed 290-plus yards in six consecutive gamesand 400-plus in three straightand Will Grier is one of the nation's most prolific passers. He'll help the Mountaineers snatch a quality road win.

    Prediction: West Virginia 30, Kansas State 25

                      

    Virginia (6-3) at Louisville (5-4), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisville beat Virginia 32-25 last October.

    Virginia looked like a bigger problem for Louisville a few weeks ago, but the run defense has been a big issue lately. The Cavaliers should pressure QB Lamar Jackson, force a couple of short drives and capitalize on the ensuing field position, but his explosiveness will eventually propel the Cardinals at home.

    Prediction: Louisville 34, Virginia 26

                 

    No. 11 USC (8-2) at Colorado (5-5), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: USC beat Colorado 21-17 last October.

    In 11 all-time meetings, USC has never lost to Colorado. That streak will continue because the Buffs can't stop anyone. They've ceded at least 5.5 yards per rush in four of the last five games, and the only exception happened against Calone of the nation's least efficient rushing attacks. Ronald Jones II will lead the Trojans to a victory that clinches the Pac-12 South Division.

    Prediction: USC 41, Colorado 27

Other Saturday Afternoon Games

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    Florida Atlantic (6-3) at Louisiana Tech (4-5), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: This is the first all-time meeting.

    Regardless of the result, Florida Atlantic's most impactful remaining game is next week against Florida International. However, the Owls are on a roll that shouldn't be stopped in Ruston. Louisiana Tech has ceded five-plus yards per play in four straight games, and the offense likely won't be explosive enough to match FAU's scorching pace.

    Prediction: Florida Atlantic 37, Louisiana Tech 24

                

    SMU (6-3) at Navy (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Navy beat SMU 75-31 last November.

    The strengths of the offenses—passing for SMU, rushing for Navy—are also the other defense's weakness, so the scoreboard operator should get a workout. Besides, Navy has given up 30 points or more during the last four contests, while SMU opponents have reached the mark in three of the last four. Playing at home is typically worth three points, and that advantage will decide a back-and-forth finish.

    Prediction: Navy 41, SMU 38

         

    Southern Miss (5-4) at Rice (1-8), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Southern Miss beat Rice 44-28 last October.

    Rice has posted back-to-back 400-yard games on offense, but turnovers continue to limit the unit's upside. The Owls have lost possession three-plus times in five straight games. It's unreasonable to expect a defense to atone for those troubles.

    Prediction: Southern Miss 31, Rice 14

                

    Kentucky (6-3) at Vanderbilt (4-5), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kentucky beat Vanderbilt 20-13 last October.

    Perhaps a date with Western Kentucky solved Vanderbilt's woes in stopping the run (minus-six yards allowed). However, the Commodores have otherwise been ineffective defensively since Alabama broke the unit with 677 total yards Sept. 23. Kentucky running back Benny Snell Jr. will continue his recent hot streak and help the Wildcats edge the favored Commodores (-2.5, per OddsShark).

    Prediction: Kentucky 27, Vanderbilt 24

                     

    Georgia State (5-3) at Texas State (2-7), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia State beat Texas State 41-21 last October.

    After an unspectacular start to the season, Texas State seems to have found a rhythm offensively. QB Damian Williams and Co. have surpassed 500 total yards in the last two games. While we anticipate a weak pass defense will be an issue opposite Georgia State wide receiver Penny Hart, we also wouldn't be surprised if the Bobcats clip the Panthers.

    Prediction: Georgia State 30, Texas State 28

                   

    San Jose State (1-9) at Nevada (1-8), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: San Jose State beat Nevada 14-10 last October.

    San Jose State's defense just allowed a season-worst 648 yards to San Diego State, and 554 of those came on the ground. Nevada running back Kelton Moore, who has eclipsed the century mark in three of the last four contests, is headed for another massive day.

    Prediction: Nevada 41, San Jose State 20

                    

    Maine (4-4) vs. Massachusetts (2-7), 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Maine beat UMass 24-14 in September 2013.

    Fenway Park, home of MLB's Boston Red Sox, will host the renewal of this rivalry. Unlike the last matchup, though, this clash shouldn't be close. UMass clearly took advantage of its consecutive byes, earning two victories and sticking with Mississippi State on the road last week in a 34-23 loss. The Minutemen will win easily.

    Prediction: UMass 38, Maine 17

                

    Troy (7-2) at Coastal Carolina (1-8), 4:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: This is the first all-time meeting.

    Had Coastal Carolina been able to hold off Arkansas last week, the Chanticleers probably would've received as much attention as Troy did following its stunning win at LSU earlier this year. Now, the SEC thorns meet as Sun Belt foes. But the Trojans won't have much trouble navigating Coastal Carolina thanks to an extremely disruptive front seven.

    Prediction: Troy 31, Coastal Carolina 17

                 

    Arkansas State (5-2) at South Alabama (3-6), 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arkansas State beat South Alabama 17-7 last October.

    Arkansas State's four least-efficient outings have been on the road, and it's reflected in the running game. The Red Wolves average 196.0 yards on the ground at home but just 102.5 elsewhere. South Alabama has typically defended the run effectively, so what could be a blowout should end up being a close finish.

    Prediction: Arkansas State 31, South Alabama 24

                 

    UTEP (0-9) at North Texas (6-3), 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UTEP beat North Texas 52-24 last November.

    North Texas has turned the ball over in every game this season, and those mistakes can shape a result between evenly matched teams. However, the problematic streak won't make a huge difference when the Mean Green host UTEP. The Miners will be unable to contain running back Jeffery Wilson on the road.

    Prediction: North Texas 34, UTEP 10   

Top Saturday Night Games

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    No. 19 Washington State (8-2) at Utah (5-4), 5:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Washington State beat Utah 28-27 in September 2014.

    What should we expect out of Washington State? The Cougars have alternated horrid and tremendous performances during the last four weeks, most recently limiting Stanford to 198 yards. Utah shook a four-game skid by smacking Josh Rosen-less UCLA 48-17, but the previous issues on offense are disconcerting.

    Prediction: Washington State 31, Utah 20

               

    Western Kentucky (5-4) at Marshall (6-3), 6:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: WKU beat Marshall 60-6 last November.

    Although FAU has basically eliminated both teams from Conference USA contention, Marshall can complicate Western Kentucky's pursuit of a bowl bid. The Hilltoppers have won seven-plus games in six straight years, but an inefficient defense will be their downfallwhich sets up a near-must-win in Week 12 against Middle Tennessee.

    Prediction: Marshall 30, Western Kentucky 24

                   

    No. 2 Alabama (9-0) at No. 16 Mississippi State (7-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Alabama beat Mississippi State 51-3 last November.

    Mississippi State should keep it close for a while thanks to its defense, but Alabama's attack is too dominant. QB Jalen Hurts will eventually find some running lanes to lead a few touchdown drives, and the Bulldogs won't be able to catch up.

    Prediction: Alabama 30, Mississippi State 13

                   

    Purdue (4-5) at No. 25 Northwestern (6-3), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Northwestern beat Purdue 45-17 last November.

    Purdue will be without starting quarterback David Blough for the rest of 2017 after he dislocated his ankle, per Mike Carmin of the Journal & Courier. Elijah Sindelar has a fair bit of experience, but he's struggled to be both efficient and productive in most of his appearances. Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson will propel the Wildcats at home.

    Prediction: Northwestern 31, Purdue 20

                

    UAB (6-3) at UTSA (5-3), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: UTSA beat UAB 52-31 in October 2013.

    Bill Clark has built an excellent case to be named 2017's coach of the year, leading UAB to bowl eligibility in its first season since 2014. Adding to that resume at UTSA will be a challenge, though, because the Roadrunners have a top-10 defense. They'll notch a sixth win to solidify a place in the postseason.

    Prediction: UTSA 27, UAB 21

Other Saturday Night Games

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    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Kansas (1-8) at Texas (4-5), 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kansas beat Texas 24-21 last November.

    In 2016, the Jayhawks ended a 13-game losing streak to Texas. It was their first-ever Big 12 victory over the storied programand first since 1938 against the Longhorns, for that matter. But the Jayhawks were showing some life heading into last season's matchup. That's not the case right now.

    Prediction: Texas 34, Kansas 17

         

    New Mexico (3-6) at Texas A&M (5-4), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Texas A&M beat New Mexico 41-6 in September 2009.

    Head coach Kevin Sumlin said Nick Starkel will start for the Aggies, per Sam Khan Jr. of ESPN.com. Switching quarterbacks in mid-November typically isn't a great sign, but Starkel missed most of the season due to an ankle injury and has been steady in three appearances. Texas A&M should be in no danger of an upset.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 35, New Mexico 13

         

    Old Dominion (3-6) at Florida International (6-2), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Old Dominion beat FIU 42-28 last November.

    Although the offense protected the ball against Charlotte in a 6-0 win last week, turnovers have plagued Old Dominion all season. Meanwhile, FIU has notched seven takeaways over the last three games. The Panthers will capitalize on those opportunities and breeze by ODU.

    Prediction: FIU 30, Old Dominion 17

                 

    Tulane (3-6) at East Carolina (2-7), 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: East Carolina beat Tulane 34-6 in November 2014.

    Since neither side plays much defense, it should be a high-scoring AAC clash. Pirates QB Gardner Minshew set a school record with 52 completions last week against Houston, so we're ready to pick the upset as long as East Carolina rides the hot hand against a struggling secondary. But if the Pirates tab Thomas Sirk, we'll flip to Tulane.

    Prediction: East Carolina 37, Tulane 30

                 

    Tennessee (4-5) at Missouri (4-5), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tennessee beat Missouri 63-37 last November.

    The anger surrounding the program can be summed up in one head-shaking fact: Tennessee has dropped its most recent matchup to every SEC team except Missouri. That trend will reach completion Saturday night because of Tennessee's 126th-ranked offense.

    Prediction: Missouri 31, Tennessee 17

Saturday Evening Games

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) at No. 7 Miami (8-0), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Notre Dame beat Miami 30-27 last October.

    Miami's scattered explosiveness on offense makes this prediction especially difficult, and a couple of 50-yard gains through the air would flip this matchup in the Hurricanes' favor. But if Notre Dame's offensive line backs up its billing and stalls an aggressive front seven, Brandon Wimbush's scrambling ability will convert a couple of pivotal 3rd-and-longs and the Irish will survive.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 27, Miami 24

         

    No. 6 TCU (8-1) at No. 5 Oklahoma (8-1), 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Oklahoma beat TCU 52-46 last October.

    TCU, during its last five games, has surrendered just 51 points. Oklahoma lit up Oklahoma State for 62 points last week. This Big 12 showdown will be a fascinating battle of strengths. Most of the attention devoted to Baker Mayfield will be on his throwing, after a 598-yard explosion in Bedlam. But his mobility and improvisational skills will be the decisive factors on Saturday.

    Prediction: Oklahoma 34, TCU 27

         

    Arizona State (5-4) at UCLA (4-5), 9:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Arizona State beat UCLA 23-20 last October.

    According to Ashley Adamson of the Pac-12 Network, UCLA coach Jim Mora expects Josh Rosen to return against Arizona State. But without key targets Darren Andrews and Caleb Wilson, Rosen won't be able to compensate for the Bruins' fragile defense.

    Prediction: Arizona State 38, UCLA 27

         

    Oregon State (1-8) at Arizona (6-3), 10 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Oregon State beat Arizona 42-17 last November.

    Cal running back Patrick Laird gashed Oregon State for 214 rushing yards in Week 10. That's an ominous sign heading into a meeting with dynamic quarterback Khalil Tate. He's scampered for no fewer than 137 yards in Arizona's last five games and will extend the streak to six with relative ease.

    Prediction: Arizona 42, Oregon State 24

         

    Wyoming (6-3) at Air Force (4-5), 10:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Wyoming beat Air Force 35-26 last October.

    Air Force followed up a terrific win at Colorado State with a stinker against Army, allowing 392 rushing yards in a 21-point loss. Fortunately for the Falcons, their issues stopping the run shouldn't be a big factor Saturday night. Wyoming has tallied four yards per carry in just two contests this season.

    Prediction: Air Force 24, Wyoming 21

         

    Boise State (7-2) at Colorado State (6-4), 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Boise State beat CSU 28-23 last October.

    Each of Boise State's last four opponents have scored exactly 14 points and averaged fewer than five yards per snap. As long as Colorado State doesn't deal with a near-blizzard this week, it'll surpass the scoring mark. However, quarterback Nick Stevens tends to throw a couple of interceptions against top competition, and Boise State will capitalize on those takeaways.

    Prediction: Boise State 34, Colorado State 24

         

    Fresno State (6-3) at Hawaii (3-6), 11:00 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Hawaii beat Fresno State 14-13 last November.

    Marcus McMaryion hasn't thrown a touchdown in three straight games, but he's set to encounter one of the nation's worst pass defenses. Hawaii ranks third-worst in yards allowed per attempt (9.6) and has given up 22 touchdowns compared to six interceptions. McMaryion's streak will end in a painless Fresno State win.

    Prediction: Fresno State 38, Hawaii 24

Midweek Games

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    Ball State (2-7) at Northern Illinois (6-3), 7 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: NIU beat Ball State 31-24 last October.

    Ball State has ceded no fewer than 450 yards and 56 points in each of its last three games. Northern Illinois probably won't hang 50 on the Cardinals, but this MAC clash shouldn't be close for long. Quarterback Marcus Childers will guide NIU to a painless win.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 41, Ball State 17

         

    North Carolina (1-8) at Pitt (4-5), 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: UNC beat Pitt 37-36 last September.

    Pitt desperately needs this one to stay in the chase for a bowl bid. Fortunately for Pat Narduzzi's team, UNC has totaled just 14 points in its two ACC road games to date. As long as Pitt's defense limits the Tar Heels on the ground, the Panthers will protect home field.

    Prediction: Pitt 27, UNC 20

         

    Georgia Southern (0-8) at Appalachian State (5-4), 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday

    Last meeting: App State beat Georgia Southern 34-10 last October.

    Appalachian State has dropped its last two games, but the slide will end opposite winless Georgia Southern. The visiting Eagles haven't held an FBS offense below six yards per snap this season. Although the season hasn't gone as planned for the Mountaineers, a victory will make them bowl-eligible for the third straight year.

    Prediction: Appalachian State 31, Georgia Southern 13

         

    Temple (4-5) at Cincinnati (3-6), 7 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: Temple beat Cincinnati 34-13 last October.

    Cincinnati, which is 1-4 in 2017 when it loses the turnover battle, has notched a single takeaway since the beginning of October. Temple, on the other hand, has forced at least one turnover in every game this year. Timely defense will propel the Owls in a low-scoring affair.

    Prediction: Temple 24, Cincinnati 20

         

    No. 9 Washington (8-1) at Stanford (6-3), 10:30 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: Washington beat Stanford 44-6 last September.

    Washington hasn't given up a run of 30-plus yards this season. Bryce Love has a 50-yard gain in every appearance. This will be a fascinating clash of strengths, but the consistency of the Huskies defense will tilt the Pac-12 showdown in their favor.

    Prediction: Washington 27, Stanford 17

         

    BYU (2-8) at UNLV (4-5), 10:30 p.m. ET Friday

    Last meeting: BYU beat UNLV 42-23 in November 2014.

    BYU's rough year will continue if UNLV can control the line of scrimmage. The Rebels are 4-1 when holding opponents below five yards per carry but 0-4 otherwise. Though it happened two weeks ago, BYU has only eclipsed that standard once in 2017. 

    Prediction: UNLV 23, BYU 20