College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

Brad Shepard@@Brad_ShepardFeatured Columnist IVNovember 9, 2022

College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

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    TCU's Max Duggan
    AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez

    After AP No. 1 Georgia beat No. 3 Tennessee and LSU shocked the world with a tantalizing overtime home win over Alabama to provide the bread of last week's stunner sandwich, Notre Dame's drilling of Clemson added the meat.

    What's Week 11 going to do for an encore?

    The College Football Playoff picture is far from clear, and teams such as Texas (vs. AP No. 4 TCU), Mississippi State (hosting top-ranked Georgia) and defensive-minded Missouri (traveling to No. 5 Tennessee with a potential UGA hangover looming) could play the proverbial role of child with an open pack of crayons.

    Washington won't be a pushover for sleeper Oregon, either.

    It's college football. You know there will be some surprises. But will any of the favorites go down, or will the drama be reserved for the second tier of contenders? Here is the full slate of this week's games with predictions for each.

    There aren't a lot of big-time matchups, but some wild ones are upcoming.

    All AP Top 25 games Saturday unless otherwise noted.

AP Nos. 25-21

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    Illinois' Chase Brown
    AP Photo/Matt Marton

    No. 25 Florida State at Syracuse, 8 p.m. ET

    These teams were heading in opposite ACC directions just three weeks ago. At that time, the Seminoles had endured their third consecutive loss (Wake Forest, NC State and Clemson), and Syracuse was on top of the world.

    Now, it's the Orange who have crashed back to earth after a 6-0 start. Their three-game losing streak to Clemson, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh revealed the stark reality that this is a team with deficiencies on both sides of the ball.

    The 'Noles have beaten two bad teams in a row to climb back into the rankings, and they'll make it three with a big road win to keep 'Cuse reeling.

    Prediction: Florida State 31, Syracuse 23

    No. 24 Washington at No. 6 Oregon, 7 p.m. ET

    See No. 6 Oregon for prediction.

    No. 23 Kansas State at Baylor, 7 p.m. ET

    Even with quarterback issues the past few games amid injury trouble for Adrian Martinez, Kansas State has maintained its edge, staying competitive during a grueling stretch. However, close losses to TCU and Texas sandwiched around a 48-0 domination of Oklahoma State has been tough to stomach.

    Coach Chris Klieman's team is still having a strong year, and Baylor has reeled off three straight wins over Kansas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, so the Bears are back in the Big 12 mix too. This will be a very good game at McLane Stadium between a pair of 6-3 teams.

    The Wildcats defense is going to force some key turnovers, and the Bears will have a hard time keeping pace in what could shape up for a big mover-and-shaker game in the Big 12.

    Prediction: Kansas State 31, Baylor 28

    No. 22 UCF at No. 16 Tulane, 3:30 p.m. ET

    See No. 16 Tulane for prediction.

    Purdue at No. 21 Illinois, Noon ET

    The Boilermakers were about as discombobulated as you'll ever see a Jeff Brohm-coached team in a 24-3 loss to Iowa a week ago. Getting beaten by Wisconsin the week before spiraled them down the Big Ten West ranks.

    They could catapult right back into the mix with a win over the Illini this weekend. Was a loss to Michigan State last weekend a bump in the road to a dream season or a sign of things to come for the 7-2 Illini?

    Bret Bielema has done great things this year in his second season with Illinois, but the West has been wild all year. Look for that to continue as Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell takes his self-professed struggles to heart and helps turn around the offense just enough to give Purdue surprise W.

    Illinois' defense is great, but you can't expect Brohm to look clueless calling plays two weeks in a row.

    Prediction: Purdue 22, Illinois 20

AP Nos. 20-16

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    Notre Dame head coach Marcus Freeman
    AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

    No. 20 Notre Dame vs. Navy, Noon ET (at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland)

    What an odd year for Notre Dame. Who would have thought the same team that lost at home to Marshall earlier this season would knock Clemson from the ranks of the unbeaten?

    The Fighting Irish are looking a lot better, settling in with Drew Pyne at quarterback and starting to take on the mentality of head coach Marcus Freeman on defense while playing steady, sound football.

    Navy hasn't been good at all this year. While there probably won't be a ton of points scored in this one, most of them will come from the Irish. The 3-6 Midshipmen are never easy to prepare for, but Notre Dame is too good.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 33, Navy 10

    No. 19 Liberty at UConn, Noon ET

    These are two of the most surprising non-Power Five programs in the nation for very different reasons, but both of them are positive.

    In the Flames' case, coach Hugh Freeze continues to prove just how exceptional of an X's and O's coach he is, getting his program's biggest win of the season a week ago by going on the road and handling Arkansas. They have just one loss, and nobody would have expected that after former star QB Malik Willis headed off to the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

    Liberty has a quality football program, building toward being good every year.

    On the other hand, Jim Mora Jr.'s first season at UConn has been a revelation. This was arguably the FBS' worst program, and the 5-5 Huskies could become bowl-eligible with a win. It won't be this week.

    Prediction: Liberty 31, UConn 13

    No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas, 7:30 p.m. ET

    See No. 4 TCU for prediction.

    Boston College at No. 17 North Carolina State, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Wolfpack fans have to be feeling like they threw away a win over Syracuse in mid-October with coach Dave Doeren's reluctance to play true freshman quarterback MJ Morris and going with 25-year-old Jack Chambers instead.

    NC State has been a much different team with Morris under center over the past two weeks, both wins. The Pack aren't as good offensively as they were before Devin Leary went down with a torn pec, but they are much more efficient.

    While winning the ACC Atlantic is out of the question, having a strong season is far from a lost cause. This team could run the table, and this is a big week to get Morris more confidence against an awful Eagles team.

    Prediction: NC State 36, Boston College 9

    No. 22 UCF at No. 16 Tulane, 3:30 p.m. ET

    The battle for the AAC driver's seat will be waged in New Orleans this weekend in the Group of Five game of the season.

    Whether you've paid much attention to the Knights and the Green Wave or not, they both have darn good teams. They aren't 2021 Cincinnati good, but these are two quality programs that have a lot of buzz as they battle for a New Year's Day bowl. The loser is likely out of that conversation.

    While Tulane's Willie Fritz is the best coach you likely haven't heard of and Tyjae Spears has been a star runner this year, UCF has the best player on the field in John Rhys Plumlee, who leads the team in rushing and passing. The Knights have plenty of running back weapons too.

    That's why I like them to go on the road and win a very evenly matched game against Tulane.

    Prediction: UCF 38, Tulane 33

AP Nos. 15-11

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    Utah defensive end Connor O'Toole
    AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

    No. 15 North Carolina at Wake Forest, 7:30 p.m. ET

    I'm not sure there are enough backup light bulbs for the scoreboard in Winston-Salem to keep up with the number of points in this game.

    The over/under is around 76.5 points, per DraftKings, and that seems low. While the Demon Deacons have struggled in back-to-back losses to Louisville and NC State, scoring just 42 total points and turning the ball over 11 times, they are better than that.

    North Carolina has a top-10 scoring offense, and the Tar Heels are in firm control of the ACC Coastal. But neither one of these teams play a lick of defense. This will be a barn-burner. Give me Drake Maye and the Heels.

    Prediction: North Carolina 48, Wake Forest 44

    Maryland at No. 14 Penn State, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Had this game been a week ago, I may have picked the Terrapins to pull an upset, even though this one is in Happy Valley. But after last weekend's 23-10 loss to Wisconsin in which it got pushed around, Maryland doesn't look ready to compete with the big boys in the Big Ten.

    And the Badgers aren't exactly in the top tier of the conference either.

    Penn State, on the other hand, is. The Nittany Lions are running the football much better this season, and while quarterback Sean Clifford doesn't show up in the biggest games, this is the type of matchup he will thrive in. This will be closer than some expect, but the Lions will pull away late at home.

    Prediction: Penn State 30, Maryland 21

    Stanford at No. 13 Utah, 10 p.m. ET

    The injury bug has hit the Utes hard all year, but they still find themselves right in the Pac-12 mix with a 5-1 record (7-2 overall). Quarterback Cameron Rising played last weekend against Arizona, so he's back and healthy after a one-game absence.

    While Jaylon Glover and Ja'Quinden Jackson have been shouldering the load at running back, Tavion Thomas also saw action a week ago against the Wildcats. Could he be on his way to getting more in the running back rotation?

    It won't matter this week against the Cardinal. You have to wonder if coach David Shaw's hot seat is the next to tip over, as Stanford isn't much of a threat to put up a fight this week. It may get ugly.

    Prediction: Utah 41, Stanford 10

    Louisville at No. 12 Clemson, 3:30 p.m. ET

    It's hard to believe Louisville was on the cusp of firing coach Scott Satterfield earlier this season. While he's not out of the woods just yet, the Cardinals have stormed back to win four consecutive games (against Virginia, Pitt, Wake Forest and James Madison) and are 6-3.

    This weekend could be massive for the trajectory of their season.

    Clemson is struggling offensively and searching for an identity after losing last week to Notre Dame in lopsided fashion. Everything says take the Tigers at home this weekend, but this feels like one of those situations where one loss could turn into two.

    Louisville is better than you think and can score. How about an upset?

    Prediction: Louisville 27, Clemson 23

    No. 10 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m. ET

    See No. 10 Alabama for prediction.

AP Nos. 10-6

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    Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin
    AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

    No. 10 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m. ET

    The Crimson Tide are used to competing for national titles, so with that out of the question following last weekend's overtime loss to LSU for their second setback of the year, you've got to question how motivated they'll be.

    The Tide still have Bryce Young at quarterback, the nation's most talented player. And Ole Miss is terrible on defense. But the Rebels are coming off a bye week, and you know Lane Kiffin wants to join the parade of those kicking Nick Saban's team while it's down.

    Oxford will be rocking, and while Jaxson Dart isn't on the same planet as Jayden Daniels or Hendon Hooker this year, the Ole Miss QB will make enough plays to let the Rebels hang around.

    I'm just not sure they've got enough. But the line being around two touchdowns in 'Bama's favor is ridiculous.

    Prediction: Alabama 37, Ole Miss 34

    Arizona at No. 9 UCLA, 10:30 p.m. ET

    Speaking of struggling defenses: Ladies and gentlemen, let us present the Arizona Wildcats.

    In four consecutive losses to Oregon, Washington, USC and Utah, they've allowed an average of 47 points. Now, they continue their grueling gauntlet, completing the run through the conference's five best teams by traveling to L.A. to play the Bruins.

    It won't go well.

    While Arizona has some exciting young talent on offense, it simply doesn't have the horses yet to hang with the top teams defensively. Jedd Fisch has things moving in the right direction, but this will continue an ugly stretch that will show the defense is still two to three years away from competing. Bruins QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Co. are going to go off.

    Prediction: UCLA 48, Arizona 31

    Colorado at No. 8 USC, 9:30 p.m. ET Friday

    While we're on Pac-12 bloodbaths, the first Friday showdown on this list will give the nation another look at Lincoln Riley's USC Trojans.

    They're playing the worst team in the conference in front of a national TV audience in a standalone time slot, so look for Trojans QB Caleb Williams to go off. It's even possible they get Jordan Addison (leg) and Mario Williams (undisclosed injury) back, and if they do, that's going to be even more ugly for the Buffs.

    This is a team that fired coach Karl Dorrell earlier this year, and things haven't gotten any better under interim coach Mike Sanford. The USC defense has been far from stellar, but seeing Colorado is a welcome sign. This one won't be close.

    Prediction: USC 44, Colorado 14

    No. 7 LSU at Arkansas, Noon ET

    How do you come back down from beating Alabama with a guts-and-glory two-point conversion in a do-or-die moment in front of the home folks last weekend? LSU will have to.

    Coach Brian Kelly has this team playing at an extremely high level after some early-season struggles that included a disappointing loss to Florida State and getting dominated by Tennessee.

    Now, the Bayou Bengals are the SEC West favorite. This is a definite trap game where they have to come back down from the cloud, travel to play a down-but-dangerous Arkansas team and find a way to pull out a win and remain the top dog in the division. Daniels will get it done.

    Prediction: LSU 33, Arkansas 24

    No. 24 Washington at No. 6 Oregon, 7 p.m. ET

    I see this being a shootout, despite how well the Ducks are playing. When the Huskies have it moving in the right direction, Washington can put up points too.

    This may be a better ballgame than many are giving it credit for, especially considering the rivalry they have.

    Ducks QB Bo Nix is playing at an extremely high level and may be the dark horse to win the Heisman Trophy after pedestrian performances from Hendon Hooker, C.J. Stroud and Bryce Young a week ago.

    What a first season it's been for head coach Dan Lanning and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham, and they'll keep it rolling this weekend—but it won't be easy.

    Prediction: Oregon 33, Washington 27

AP Nos. 5-1

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    Michigan's Blake Corum
    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Missouri at No. 5 Tennessee, noon ET

    While the heartbreak the Volunteers suffered in Athens was worse than the 27-13 score indicated, they still have everything in front of them and the potential to make the College Football Playoff.

    But Tennessee has to avoid all hiccups between now and then, and it has to be impressive enough in its wins to keep the attention of the selection committee.

    Having to regroup against a good Missouri defense won't be easy, but the Vols will be at home, and they have quality senior leadership on both sides of the ball. The Tigers are going to try to ugly up the game, but Tennessee will win convincingly.

    Prediction: Tennessee 41, Missouri 20

    No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas, 7:30 p.m. ET

    This is the biggest showdown of the weekend, and it's one that will hold the eyes of fans around the nation.

    Time after time, TCU has shown it's for real in coach Sonny Dykes' first season. Like the Vols, the Horned Frogs have gotten a sterling performance from a senior quarterback, Max Duggan, who has thrived under the new regime. And while they've had to come from behind far too often, they've gotten the job done.

    This weekend is going to be tough in Austin. Quinn Ewers is flinging the ball around and running back Bijan Robinson is running the ball like one of the top backs in the country, so Texas is a seven-point favorite. It's the more talented team.

    But are the Longhorns better? We'll find out.

    Prediction: Texas 37, TCU 35

    Nebraska at No. 3 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. ET

    This has been a forgettable season for the Cornhuskers, who have turned the page from the worthless Scott Frost era and are up in the air about what's going to happen next. Nothing would salvage this season like going to the Big House and knocking down Big Blue.

    The only problem with that is it simply isn't going to happen.

    Michigan isn't the sexiest team out there. It won't wow you by posting a ton of points, and while it has playmakers on both sides of the ball, running back Blake Corum is the only one who gets much national hype.

    That yeoman's mentality serves Michigan well. The Wolverines just come to the field with their lunch pail and beat you with it. It's going to happen again.

    Prediction: Michigan 41, Nebraska 16

    Indiana at No. 2 Ohio State, noon ET

    How sick are you of hearing about Ohio State's massive excuse of the wind and rain at Northwestern?

    The bottom line is that the Wildcats are terrible, and no matter how bad the weather was, the Buckeyes had no business winning only 21-7. But even the best teams have bad games and bumps in the road. They just hope they get those clunkers out of the way.

    The Hoosiers are running into a buzz saw, heading to the Shoe when the Buckeyes are looking to regain that swagger they had before their feelings were hurt a week ago. The guess here is C.J. Stroud and his dynamic receiving corps will get things churning again, and this one will be an annihilation.

    Prediction: Ohio State 47, Indiana 13

    No. 1 Georgia at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. ET

    Georgia geared up a week ago and played a defensive game for the ages against Tennessee. Now, it has to go to Starkville to play a completely different type of pass-happy attack.

    Coach Mike Leach's team hasn't been as sharp recently as it started, and nobody is giving Mississippi State much of a chance to pull this shocker, even at home. Will Rogers is going to throw a lot of passes, but this probably is going to go much the same way the Bulldogs' game against Alabama did.

    Kirby Smart's Dawgs aren't going to wow you with beauty, but Stetson Bennett, Brock Bowers and a cast of no-name offensive players get the job done. They're going to do it again this weekend in an ugly win.

    Prediction: Georgia 33, Mississippi State 13

Best Unranked Clashes

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    Wisconsin running back Isaac Guerendo
    AP Photo/Andy Manis

    East Carolina at Cincinnati, 8 p.m. ET Friday

    If you like the AAC, there's going to be a very good one Friday night between the Pirates and Bearcats.

    It's a big benefit for Cincinnati to have the game at Nippert Stadium, as it is trying to climb back into the conference race. The Cats need a win, Tulane to beat UCF on Saturday, a win over Temple on Nov. 19 and then to beat Tulane on Nov. 25.

    That's the path for coach Luke Fickell's team to get back to the championship game for the fourth straight year. But quarterback Holton Ahlers and ECU stand in the way, and they whipped UCF a few weeks ago. This isn't going to be easy.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 28, ECU 25

    Wisconsin at Iowa, 3:30 p.m. ET

    Do you like watching ink dry? Is your favorite pastime reading the phone book? Are you fond of passing time by looking at the night sky, waiting on a falling star?

    If so, this Wisconsin-Iowa game is for you.

    Seriously, though, it actually has plenty of Big Ten West subplots, if you can believe that. In a nobody-wants-it division, there is a path for Iowa, which can win out and with two Illinois losses make the Big Ten title game, horrific offensive season be darned.

    Jim Leonhard's team is a 1.5-point favorite at Kinnick Stadium, and it will spoil any hopes for an Iowa run.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 23, Iowa 20

    South Carolina at Florida, 4 p.m. ET

    Everything seemed so hunky-dory for Billy Napier when Florida started the year with a massive home win over Utah. Since then, though, things have been up and down.

    The Gators hope they're in an up cycle after beating Texas A&M handily, and now they get to play the struggling Gamecocks at home. South Carolina may be the most unimpressive 6-3 team in the country, and coach Shane Beamer and Co. need a strong outing with Tennessee and Clemson looming.

    Don't expect it. Florida is a better team, and Anthony Richardson is going to make several more plays than Spencer Rattler. Look for the Gators to put up a late score and win this quality mid-tier SEC showdown.

    Prediction: Florida 31, South Carolina 23

    Kansas at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. ET

    Somebody break up the Jayhawks! They're bowl-eligible for the first time since the last economic collapse in 2008 after they beat Oklahoma State a week ago.

    While Jalon Daniels could come back after a month's absence, backup Jason Bean has been sterling for coach Lance Leipold's team. No matter who plays in Lubbock, Kansas will be in good hands.

    This is an interesting game. The Red Raiders are 4-5, but they've been competitive. It's puzzling that they are 3.5-point favorites against a team that is playing as well as ever. I don't buy it. Ride Leipold's bunch on the road.

    Prediction: Kansas 38, Texas Tech 31

    San José State at San Diego State, 10:30 p.m. ET

    San Diego State has owned the Spartans in recent years, winning eight of the past nine showdowns.

    But this feels different. Coach Brent Brennan's team is led by Hawai‘i transfer Chevan Cordeiro, but the difference is the defense, which ranks 10th nationally in allowing 16.4 points per game.

    Considering the Aztecs are averaging only 16.8 points at home against FBS opponents, this leans toward a defensive slugfest. Assuming Fresno State beats UNLV, the Spartans will need to win to stay even with the Bulldogs, though Fresno holds the tiebreaker by virtue of a win over SJSU.

    This is going to be a good game—but probably not for those who love points. The Aztecs are 29th nationally in scoring defense (21.3 ppg), too, and that's been their MO under coach Brady Hoke.

    Prediction: San José State 24, San Diego State 16

Rest of the Slate

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    San José State wide receivers Elijah Cooks and Justin Lockhart
    AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron


    Northern Illinois at Western Michigan, 7 p.m. ET: Northern Illinois 27, Western Michigan 24

    Buffalo at Central Michigan, 7 p.m. ET: Central Michigan 30, Buffalo 21

    Kent State at Bowling Green, 7 p.m. ET: Kent State 36, Bowling Green 25


    Tulsa at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. ET: Memphis 34, Tulsa 31

    Georgia Southern at Louisiana, 7:30 p.m. ET: Georgia Southern 28, Louisiana 20


    Fresno State at UNLV, 10:30 p.m. ET: Fresno State 41, UNLV 27


    Vanderbilt at Kentucky, noon ET: Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 20

    Oklahoma at West Virginia, noon ET: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 34

    Rutgers at Michigan State, noon ET: Michigan State 27, Rutgers 10

    Virginia Tech at Duke, noon ET: Duke 40, Virginia Tech 24

    Pittsburgh at Virginia, noon ET: Pittsburgh 23, Virginia 13

    SMU at South Florida, noon ET: SMU 48, South Florida 31

    Louisiana-Monroe at Georgia State, 1 p.m. ET: Georgia State 36, Louisiana-Monroe 28

    James Madison at Old Dominion, 1 p.m. ET: James Madison 30, Old Dominion 27

    Lamar at New Mexico State, 2 p.m. ET: New Mexico State 27, Lamar 6

    Rice at Western Kentucky, 2 p.m. ET: Western Kentucky 37, Rice 30

    UMass at Arkansas State, 3 p.m. ET: Arkansas State 29, UMass 21

    Temple at Houston, 3 p.m. ET: Houston 50, Temple 27

    Arizona State at Washington State, 3:30 p.m. ET: Washington State 36, Arizona State 27

    Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 3:30 p.m. ET: Oklahoma State 26, Iowa State 23

    Army at Troy, 3:30 p.m. ET: Troy 27, Army 17

    Northwestern at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. ET: Minnesota 38, Northwestern 13

    Miami at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m. ET: Miami 27, Georgia Tech 24

    New Mexico at Air Force, 3:30 p.m. ET: Air Force 30, New Mexico 9

    Appalachian State at Marshall, 3:30 p.m. ET: Marshall 31, Appalachian State 30

    Charlotte at Middle Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET: Middle Tennessee 38, Charlotte 33

    Louisiana Tech at UTSA, 3:30 p.m. ET: UTSA 48, Louisiana Tech 30

    North Texas at UAB, 3:30 p.m. ET: UAB 34, North Texas 20

    Texas State at South Alabama, 5 p.m. ET: South Alabama 40, Texas State 17

    Wyoming at Colorado State, 7 p.m. ET: Wyoming 33, Colorado State 22

    Florida Atlantic at Florida International, 7 p.m. ET: Florida Atlantic 40, Florida International 20

    Texas A&M at Auburn, 7:30 p.m. ET: Texas A&M 27, Auburn 23

    Southern Mississippi at Coastal Carolina, 7:30 p.m. ET: Coastal Carolina 37, Southern Mississippi 27

    California at Oregon State, 9 p.m. ET: Oregon State 27, California 20

    Boise State at Nevada, 10:30 p.m. ET: Boise State 31, Nevada 13

    Utah State at Hawai‘i, 11 p.m. ET: Utah State 40, Hawai‘i 26