Adam Kramer's College Football Locks and Top Bets for Week 11

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterNovember 12, 2020

Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen sits on the bench during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Central Florida in Orlando, Fla., Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019. Central Florida won 44-29. (Photo/Willie J. Allen Jr.)
Willie J. Allen Jr./Associated Press

Jim Harbaugh and I share something in common. No, we don't both make $8 million a year. And no, we don't both average 25-under in Golden Tee. However, both of us had incredibly forgettable Saturdays.

That's putting it mildly. For as hot as the weekly college football picks against the spread have been around these parts, well, Saturday didn't hold up. It wasn't a complete disaster, but it wasn't up to my expectations. Harbaugh knows the feeling. 

I'm sorry. I know we've all made money this past month, but I owe it to you all to be better. And better I will be.

The overall tallies for the year are still solid, even after a 3-5 week. We're 25-18 on the season, with plenty of room for growth. Before we dive into this week's picks, let's look at the good and the bad from the week that was.

The Good, Iowa: If I'm being honest, we don't have a great deal to pick from here. However, if you're going to pick an 0-2 team as a touchdown-ish favorite, this is how you do it. Iowa absolutely manhandled Michigan State in one of the strongest letdown angles imaginable, and it worked out fabulously. Iowa was easy money. Just wish there was more of it. 

The Bad, Plenty of Options But Let's Go with Michigan: The idea going into this game, with Michigan as the chalk, was that the oddsmakers had faith in the Wolverines and thus I should as well. That plan backfired, and it was pretty clear early on it wasn't going to get better. Michigan played poorly. Indiana played great. And not only did the Wolverines not cover, but they really weren't competitive. 

This week, we're getting back to excellence. I can feel it. Here are the Week 11 selections, using point spreads provided by DraftKings.


Virginia Tech (-1.5) vs. Miami

Don't do it. Don't simply bet the nation's No. 9-ranked team because it is getting points. I implore you not to fall into a trap that has bested so many.  

Sure, Virginia Tech is coming off a loss to Liberty. In most years, that would be a terrifying thing to say before you explain why you're backing a team. But this year, not so much. Liberty is good. (Also, if you didn't see Virginia Tech call a timeout before blocking the game-winning field goal and running it back for a touchdown that didn't count, you should. It was wild.)

Regardless of that outcome, I like the Hokies. Miami hasn't been the same since its blowout loss to Clemson, and the Hurricanes needed a heroic finish to avoid a loss to North Carolina State last Friday.

Betting against D'Eriq King is never fun. The quarterback for Miami is electric. But the Hokies are poised to rally, and a Top 10 team is poised to fall.

(As a bonus play, I like the over. There are going to be some touchdowns here.)


Tulsa (-2.5) vs. SMU

Laurence Kesterson/Associated Press

Oh, I'm not done. Not in the least. Picking against one ranked team isn't enough for this weekly party. I have another one lined up, and I love Tulsa against SMU, currently ranked No. 19, this weekend.

SMU has played well the last two weeks after being blown out by Cincinnati. However, this is a fascinating roadblock. Since losing a competitive opener to Oklahoma State, Tulsa has been excellent. 

The highlight, a win over Central Florida on October 3 as nearly a three-touchdown underdog, is one of the bigger upsets of the year. And the season and overall record would look much different if not for the run of postponements the Golden Hurricane have been dealt. This will be only the second home game Tulsa has played this year, although I have a feeling it'll make the most of it.

The big story in this game? Tulsa's defense. The offense will do its part, but the defense will control the game, limit SMU's potent output and be the deciding factor in the win. 


Houston (-14.5) vs. South Florida

The last two games have not been kind to Houston. The Cougars lost outright and against the spread to Cincinnati and UCF—outcomes that weren't particularly close. 

That changes now. If you have an emphatic sound effect, this would be the perfect time to play it.

South Florida nearly pulled off an upset against Memphis. In fact, South Florida should have pulled off an upset at Memphis. Instead, the Bulls gave away the lead and will now head to Texas to play a team looking to get right. 

This feels like that opponent. And sure, it can be easy to fixate on Houston's recent struggles, although those struggles came against a) a team currently ranked No. 7 in the AP poll and b) one of the hottest quarterbacks and most productive offenses in the country.

Let's not overreact. Let's properly react. Grab a Red Bull, or nine, just like Dana Holgorsen will, and lay the points. Houston BIG.


Texas Tech (-1.5) vs. Baylor

Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

Like Houston, the 2020 season has been rough on Baylor head coach Dave Aranda. The Bears were unable to play the first couple of weeks because of COVID-19, walloped Kansas and have now lost four consecutive games. In Baylor's defense, these outcomes have been mostly close. The team has shown heart, and last week it nearly upended Iowa State in Ames.

But that loss might linger as the Bears once again are on the road, this time in Lubbock. That's good news for the Red Raiders after the last two weeks. Let's not talk about what happened against Oklahoma and TCU. It wasn't great.

In many ways, this game is all about disappointment. Two teams in a rut, with one team set to find its way out. Texas Tech will respond, and we'll see a team closer to the one that upset West Virginia roughly three weeks ago. Red Raiders by a touchdown.


Other Plays on the Card

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

West Virginia (-3.5) vs. TCU: This will mark the third week in a row that I am including West Virginia in some fashion. Two weeks ago, we won easy against Kansas State. Last week, I picked Texas, and the Mountaineers cost me. I'm back on against TCU in Morgantown. Couches beware. 

Northwestern at Purdue (Over 50.5): This is a hugely important game in the Big Ten, one in which the offenses will be more active than some might expect. This could also be wide receiver Rondale Moore's first game of the year for Purdue, which would certainly help the cause when it comes to points. Regardless, we could have a doozy of a game here. 

Western Kentucky (-4.5) vs. Southern Miss: Oh, how Western Kentucky cost me a couple of weeks back against BYU. Targeting calls. Penalties. Undisciplined play. But the offense showed signs of life, and the team moved the ball against an elite opponent at times. We are on the Hilltoppers again, hoping for cleaner play and better outcomes. If you're going to watch this game, you need action.  

San Diego State (-11.5) vs. Hawaii: San Diego State scored only 17 points against San Jose State last weekend in a loss. While that would scare many away from investing in the team the following week, we're all about buying low. Brady Hoke, I believe in you and also in a big bounce-back at home.


Adam Kramer covers college football for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter: @KegsnEggs. Lines accurate as of 4 p.m. ET Wednesday.  

If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

 21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.