College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2020

College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game

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    Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

    Are you ranked in the Top 25? Congratulations! Also, you're probably hitting the road in Week 11.

    Newly crowned No. 1 Alabama's trip to LSU headlines a travel-heavy weekend for AP Top 25 teams. Of the 18 ranked programs in action, 13 of them will be on the road. On the bright sidetheoretically, at leastnone of them are facing a Top 25 opponent.

    But is the showdown-less slate basically an invitation for upsets?

    While it's likely several games will be postponed or canceled (as Auburn/Mississippi State has been), Week 11 includes more than 50 matchups. This should be the busiest week of the 2020 season so far.

AP Nos. 25-21

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    Northwestern QB Peyton Ramsey
    Northwestern QB Peyton RamseyNam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    No. 25 Louisiana (6-1) vs. South Alabama (3-4), 2 p.m. ET

    This is a strong test for Louisiana's pass defense, which has ceded only 6.2 yards per attempt this season. South Alabama wideouts Jalen Tolbert and Kawaan Baker both have at least 500 yards and five touchdowns. But the Jaguars have struggled on defense recently, giving a balanced Louisiana offense a clear advantage.

    Prediction: Louisiana 27, South Alabama 20


    No. 24 Auburn (4-2) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Tennessee (Nov. 21)


    No. 23 Northwestern (3-0) at Purdue (2-0), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Purdue star Rondale Moore hasn't yet played. This preview feels a little different if he's available, but his status is becoming "we'll believe it when we see it." The Boilers lack a good rushing attack and might not be able to unlock a terrific Northwestern secondary without Moore alongside David Bell.

    Prediction: Northwestern 27, Purdue 17


    Western Carolina (0-0) at No. 22 Liberty (7-0), Noon ET

    Because of the pandemic, Western Carolina is playing its Southern Conference slate in the spring. This is the fall debut for the Catamounts, who finished 3-9 last year. Liberty, meanwhile, just defeated Virginia Tech 38-35. You know where this is headed.

    Prediction: Liberty 48, Western Carolina 14


    No. 21 Texas (5-2) IDLE

    Next game: at Kansas (Nov. 21)

AP Nos. 20-16

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    USC WR Drake London
    USC WR Drake LondonAshley Landis/Associated Press

    No. 20 USC (1-0) at Arizona (0-0), 3:30 p.m. ET

    USC's main concerns are a shaky offensive line and run defense. While that combination will likely bite the Trojans eventually, Arizona's usual weaknessthe secondaryis a dreadful fit opposite Kedon Slovis and an excellent group of USC receivers.

    Prediction: USC 38, Arizona 28


    No. 19 SMU (7-1) at Tulsa (3-1), 7 p.m. ET

    SMU has done an excellent job of keeping the ball, giving up only eight turnovers all season. Tulsa, on the other hand, has 11 takeaways in four games. As long as the Mustangs can avoid becoming part of that trend, they'll snag a valuable road win. But it will probably be uncomfortable late; this Tulsa defense is stingy.

    Prediction: SMU 30, Tulsa 27


    No. 18 Oklahoma (5-2) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Oklahoma State (Nov. 21)


    No. 17 Iowa State (5-2) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Kansas State (Nov. 21)


    Middle Tennessee (2-5) at No. 16 Marshall (6-0), Noon ET

    Marshall hasn't allowed more than 17 points in any of its six games. It's baseless to suggest a Middle Tennessee defense that has surrendered 37.1 points per game can give an improving offense a real chance to stick with the Herd. Sure, might happen! College football is weird. But there's no evidence for it.

    Prediction: Marshall 45, Middle Tennessee 17

AP Nos. 15-11

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    Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall
    Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCallRichard Shiro/Associated Press

    No. 15 Coastal Carolina (7-0) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Appalachian State (Nov. 21)


    No. 14 Oklahoma State (5-1) IDLE

    Next Game: at Oklahoma (Nov. 21)


    No. 13 Wisconsin (1-0) at Michigan (1-2), 7:30 p.m. ET

    Michigan has surrendered back-to-back games of 300-plus passing yards and three touchdowns. That's, oh, just a massive concern as Graham Mertz and Wisconsin come to town. He threw five touchdowns in his first career start. Although the Badgers may start slowly following a three-week layoff, a reliable UW defense should hold off Michigan as Mertz and the offense settle into the game.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 27, Michigan 20


    No. 12 Georgia (4-2) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Mississippi State (Nov. 21)


    No. 11 Oregon (1-0) at Washington State (1-0), 7 p.m. ET

    Timely defense should determine this game, and the early advantage goes to Oregon. Washington State gave up four touchdowns in four red-zone trips to Oregon State, but Oregon consistently held Stanford to field-goal attempts. Although the Ducks landed an incredible string of luck with missed kicks, the bend-don't-break tendency is slightly more encouraging.

    Prediction: Oregon 31, Washington State 26

AP Nos. 10-6

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    Florida QB Kyle Trask
    Florida QB Kyle TraskJohn Raoux/Associated Press

    No. 10 Indiana (3-0) at Michigan State (1-2), Noon ET

    What should we anticipate from Michigan State? I hope you know, because seven turnovers in a loss to Rutgers, a vertical-happy offense to upset Michigan and a nightmarish 42-point beatdown at Iowa is awfully confusing. Indiana is the better team. But hey, maybe MSU decides to be competent this week.

    Prediction: Indiana 31, Michigan State 20


    No. 9 Miami (6-1) at Virginia Tech (4-3), Noon ET

    Miami quarterback D'Eriq King amassed 535 total yards and five touchdowns in a 44-41 win at NC State. That's an incredible line, for sure, but this is the kind of game Miami usually loses, Yes, Virginia Tech's defense is average at best. But dual-threat quarterbacks are often a problem for Miami, and Hendon Hookerwho beat the 'Canes last seasonhas 515 rushing yards in five games. Miami is relying on King to reverse the trend.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Miami 31


    No. 8 BYU (8-0) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. North Alabama (Nov. 21)


    East Carolina (1-5) at No. 7 Cincinnati (6-0), 7:30 p.m. ET Friday

    Cincinnati is just overwhelming. After giving up 20 points to Austin Peay in the opener, the Bearcats have limited five conference foeswhich includes high-scoring Army, SMU and Memphis offensesto a total of 50 points. East Carolina has a formidable offense but would need a perfect game to upset Cincinnati.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 42, East Carolina 17


    Arkansas (3-3) at No. 6 Florida (4-1), 7 p.m. ET

    Had Georgia completed a couple of wide-open downfield passes, the result might've changed. The problem was Kyle Trask left a razor-thin margin for error, leading the Gators to 44 points and lifting their season average to 42.4. Arkansas is more efficient than explosive, which gives Florida an edge in this SEC clash. But if Feleipe Franksa Florida transfercan connect on some deep shots, he can swing the result in Arkansas' favor.

    Prediction: Florida 34, Arkansas 27

AP Nos. 5-1

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    Ohio State QB Justin Fields
    Ohio State QB Justin FieldsJay LaPrete/Associated Press

    No. 5 Texas A&M (5-1) IDLE

    Next Game: vs Mississippi (Nov. 21)


    No. 4 Clemson (7-1) IDLE

    Next Game: at Florida State (Nov. 21)


    No. 3 Ohio State (3-0) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Indiana (Nov. 21)


    No. 2 Notre Dame (7-0) at Boston College (5-3), 3:30 p.m. ET

    Boston College has shattered most expectations in Jeff Hafley's first year. BC took North Carolina to the wire, crushed Georgia Tech and stuck with Trevor Lawrence-less Clemson to the finish. The Eagles, led by Notre Dame quarterback transfer Phil Jurkovec, play up to the competition. We're sticking with Notre Dame because the offense has performed well on key downs lately, but BC is a legitimate threat.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Boston College 24


    No. 1 Alabama (6-0) IDLE

    Next Game: vs. Kentucky

Best Unranked Clashes

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    Washington HC Jimmy Lake
    Washington HC Jimmy LakeTed S. Warren/Associated Press

    Army (6-1) at Tulane (4-4), Noon ET

    Sitting two spots outside the AP Top 25, Army has an excellent chance to join the rankings soon. Tulane may prevent the rise. The Green Wave have allowed 3.0 yards per carry, and the offense has recovered from a rough October with 561 rushing yards in the last two games. To be honest, Army's stout run defense could make an upset prediction look foolish, but Tulane is trending in the right direction. Plus, head coach Willie Fritz is 2-0 against Army.

    Prediction: Tulane 24, Army 20


    Wake Forest (4-2) at North Carolina (5-2), Noon ET

    Wake Forest boasts a stunning plus-14 turnover margin, and an advantageous defense is a great equalizer. However, the Deacs need to contain a UNC rushing attack in which Javonte Williams and Michael Carter are both averaging 100-plus yards. Wake Forest rarely gives up explosive runs but isn't an elite run defense team either. UNC will likely be content to chip away on the ground and limit the impact of Wake Forest's quality secondary.

    Prediction: North Carolina 27, Wake Forest 24


    Georgia State (3-3) at Appalachian State (5-1), 2:30 p.m. ET

    If the Mountaineers are looking ahead to Coastal Carolina next week, Georgia State has the playmakers on offense to make it interesting. The Panthers are averaging 36.7 points this season, even with a shutout loss to Coastal. That exact result, though, is reason to believe App State wins Saturday and sets up a nationally relevant Sun Belt showdown.

    Prediction: Appalachian State 34, Georgia State 17


    Oregon State (0-1) at Washington (0-0), 11 p.m. ET

    This matchup is featured mostly because it's the first look at Washington, a potential Pac-12 title contender with a new feel. From head coach (Jimmy Lake) to quarterback (?) to a revamped defense, the Huskies are in a transition year. They should be able to overpower Oregon State and its vulnerable run defense, but UW's overall performance will likely be more noteworthy than the outcome.

    Prediction: Washington 34, Oregon State 20

The Rest of the Slate (1/2)

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    Penn State QB Sean Clifford
    Penn State QB Sean CliffordBarry Reeger/Associated Press

    Florida Atlantic (3-1) at Florida International (0-3), 7 p.m. ET Friday
    Prediction: FAU 24, FIU 17

    Iowa (1-2) at Minnesota (1-2), 7 p.m. ET Friday
    Prediction: Minnesota 31, Iowa 27

    Vanderbilt (0-5) at Kentucky (2-4), Noon ET
    Prediction: Kentucky 31, Vanderbilt 10

    Penn State (0-3) at Nebraska (0-2), Noon ET
    Prediction: Penn State 27, Nebraska 20

    Illinois (0-3) at Rutgers (1-2), Noon ET
    Prediction: Rutgers 24, Illinois 21

    TCU (3-3) at West Virginia (4-3), Noon ET
    Prediction: West Virginia 31, TCU 27

    Gardner-Webb (0-0) at Charlotte (2-3), Noon ET
    Prediction: Charlotte 38, Gardner-Webb 21

    Fresno State (2-1) at Utah State (0-3), 2:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Fresno State 33, Utah State 16

    South Florida (1-6) at Houston (2-3), 3 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Houston 35, South Florida 31

    North Texas (2-3) at UAB (4-3), 3 p.m. ET
    Prediction: UAB 38, North Texas 27

    UTEP (3-3) at UTSA (4-4), 3 p.m. ET
    Prediction: UTEP 24, UTSA 20

The Rest of the Slate (2/2)

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    Colorado RB Jarek Broussard
    Colorado RB Jarek BroussardDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Colorado (1-0) at Stanford (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Colorado 27, Stanford 23

    Louisville (2-5) at Virginia (2-4), 3:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Virginia 35, Louisville 31

    Texas State (1-8) at Georgia Southern (5-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Georgia Southern 38, Texas State 20

    Southern Miss (2-5) at Western Kentucky (2-6), 3:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Southern Miss 23, Western Kentucky 20

    Baylor (1-4) at Texas Tech (2-5), 4 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Baylor 34, Texas Tech 27

    Hawaii (2-1) at San Diego State (2-1), 4 p.m. ET
    Prediction: San Diego State 28, Hawaii 27

    Nevada (3-0) vs. New Mexico (0-2), 6:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Nevada 41, New Mexico 28

    Florida State (2-5) at North Carolina State (4-3), 7:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: NC State 33, Florida State 24

    South Carolina (2-4) at Ole Miss (2-4), 7:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Ole Miss 34, South Carolina 30

    Temple (1-4) at UCF (4-2), 7:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: UCF 37, Temple 21

    Utah (0-0) at UCLA (0-1), 10:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Utah 38, UCLA 28

    Cal (0-0) at Arizona State (0-1), 10:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: Cal 27, Arizona State 24

    UNLV (0-3) at San Jose State (3-0), 10:30 p.m. ET
    Prediction: San Jose State 34, UNLV 17


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