College Football Picks: Week 11 Predictions for Every Game
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 side—theoretically, at least—none 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
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
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 weakness—the secondary—is 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
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
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 Hooker—who beat the 'Canes last season—has 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 foes—which includes high-scoring Army, SMU and Memphis offenses—to 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 Franks—a Florida transfer—can connect on some deep shots, he can swing the result in Arkansas' favor.
Prediction: Florida 34, Arkansas 27
AP Nos. 5-1
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
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)
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)
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