Viewers Guide, Picks: Week 11

We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 11 of the college season.

Alabama's A.J. McCarron, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel square off on Saturday

I am glad to finally say last week was my best week yet.

I ended up 16-6 straight-up and 15-7 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 185-59 SU and 119-114-1 ATS. I went from three games under .500 ATS to five games over.

In Big Ten games, I was 5-0 straight-up and 4-1 ATS. Through 10 weeks, I am 64-15 straight-up and 39-32 ATS.

Ranked teams will collide in three match-ups, including Texas A&M-Alabama, Mississippi State-LSU and Oregon State-Stanford. Plus, there are some other tasty match-ups like Kansas State-TCU, Penn State-Nebraska and Northwestern-Michigan.

Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 11 of the college football season:

Wednesday’s Game

* Bowling Green at Ohio (-2 ½) – I tried to get a leg up on Wednesday. I picked OU to win 34-24 on the Big Ten Board, so I am opening the week 0-1 on both accounts (SU and ATS).

Thursday’s Game

* Florida State (-13 ½) at Virginia Tech, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – At 4-5 and losers of four of their last five games, Virginia Tech’s season is circling the drain. A win over rival Florida State would maybe turn things around. FSU is 13-2 all-time vs. Tech, but the Hokies won the last meeting in the 2010 ACC title game (44-33). FSU had won three straight prior to a bye week and are looking for a big finish. A win here would catapult the Noles into the ACC title game. Tech’s defense has been a mess and FSU is seventh nationally in total offense (524.6 ypg). Florida State 33-21

Friday’s Game

* Pittsburgh (-3 ½) at Connecticut, 8 p.m. (ESPN2) – Pitt gave Notre Dame a scare last week, but in the end it was another painful loss. UConn is winless (0-4) in Big East play. Pitt is 3-1 all-time against UConn and won 35-20 at home last year. The Huskies downed Pitt 30-28 two years ago at UConn, though. Pittsburgh 27-20

Saturday’s Games

* Arkansas at South Carolina (-14), noon (CBS) – South Carolina resumes play following a bye week and the loss of star RB Marcus Lattimore to a knee injury. The Razorbacks have won three in a row and five of the last six against the Gamecocks. After a 1-4 start, Arkansas has won three of its last four games. But this will be a big step up in class after last week’s 19-15 win over Tulsa. South Carolina 24-19

* Louisville (-3) at Syracuse, noon (ABC) – Louisville, unbeaten at 9-0, has won its last six road games. The Cardinals also have three straight wins over SU, including 27-10 last year. Louisville just keeps rolling. Should be a fun one. Louisville 31-24

* Iowa State at Texas (-10 ½), noon (Longhorn Network) – Texas has won eight of the last nine in the series, but ISU won in Austin in 2010 (28-21). The Longhorns won 37-14 last year at Ames. Texas has won three straight, including last week’s 31-22 win at Texas Tech. Iowa State has lost three of its last four, including a 35-20 decision to Oklahoma last week. Should be a solemn scene at UT fans salute legendary coach Darrell Royal, who passed away this week. Texas 30-23

* Northwestern at Michigan (-11 ½), noon (ESPN) – Michigan needs a win to stay in pace with Nebraska in the Big Ten Legends Division, while Northwestern can notch a huge eighth win with an upset at The Big House. This should be an offensive shootout between UM’s Denard Robinson (who should be back after his elbow injury) and NU’s Kain Colter. First one to 325 yards total offense wins it. UM leads the all-time series 53-15-2 and has won nine of the last 11, including a 42-24 decision last year in Evanston. Should be a good one. Michigan 40-35

* Wisconsin (-7) at Indiana, noon (ESPN2) – Wisconsin can clinch the Leaders Division spot in the Big Ten title game with a win, while Indiana can keep its hopes of winning that bid and getting to just its second bowl in 19 years with a win in what could be the biggest game in Bloomington in decades. It seems that Curt Phillips will make his first career start at quarterback for UW, which lost Joel Stave to a season-ending injury. He will get plenty of practice giving the ball to Montee Ball. Indiana’s dueling QBs, Nate Sudfeld and Cameron Coffman, can keep them in any game at this point. UW leads the all-time series 38-18-2 and has taken home wins over IU by margins of 83-20 and 58-7 the last two years. Wisconsin was off last week after losing at home to Michigan State (16-13, OT). I think this goes down to the wire and IU somehow gets it done. Indiana 33-30

* Miami (Fla.) at Virginia (-1), noon (ABC) – Miami can take a step closer to the ACC title game with a win over the Coastal Division cellar dweller, Virginia. Miami snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Virginia Tech last Thursday. After a 2-0 start (with a win over Penn State), Virginia lost its next six games before rolling over host N.C. State 33-6 last week. Which Miami team will show up? Which Virginia team will show up? Miami 27-24

* Purdue at Iowa (-4 ½), noon (Big Ten Network) – Two of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten meet in Iowa City. Purdue is winless in Big Ten play (0-5), while Iowa (4-5 overall) needs two wins in its last three games just to qualify for a bowl. Rumors are rampant that Danny Hope will be out at Purdue. Purdue leads the all-time series 45-34-3, although Iowa won 31-21 at Purdue last year. Iowa 26-19

* Missouri at Tennessee (-3 ½), 12:20 p.m. (SEC Network) – Both teams are 4-5 and need a win to keep their bowl hopes alive. Mizzou has one SEC win and Tennessee is still looking for its first one. If UT loses this one, Derek Dooley can probably pack his bags. He gets a stay of execution for one more week. Tennessee 34-24

* Kent State (-6 ½) at Miami (Ohio), 1 p.m. (ESPN3.com) – Kent has won seven straight and stands alone atop the MAC East. But Miami dealt Ohio its first league loss in Oxford two weeks ago as well. Kent State 37-25

* Oregon State at Stanford (-4), 3 p.m. (FOX) – If we believe Oregon is headed to the national title game, the winner of this match-up could be the league’s suitable substitute in the Rose Bowl. Oregon State bounced back from its loss at Washington by defeating Arizona State 36-26. Stanford has rolled through the likes of Cal, Washington and Colorado the last three weeks and this is a step up. But the Cardinal also beat USC at home 21-14 in Week 3. Stanford has won the last two meetings (with Andrew Luck, remember) 38-0 in 2010 and 38-13 last year. Should be one heck of a game. Stanford 31-28

* Arizona State at USC (-9 ½), 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) – USC has not lost three games in a row since 2001, while ASU is in the midst of its own three-game losing streak. ASU won 43-22 last year in Tempe. These teams, with three Pac-12 losses, trail UCLA by a game in the loss column in the South Division and must win to keep pace. USC 44-30

* Texas A&M at Alabama (-14), 3:30 p.m. (CBS) – After escaping LSU with a 21-17 win last week, Alabama must get back up to play the surging Aggies at home in Tuscaloosa. The Tide gave up over 400 yards to the Tigers last week and must now contend with red hot A&M freshman QB Johnny Manziel. But A.J. McCarron and the Tide ain’t losing at home. Alabama 27-19

* Baylor at Oklahoma (-21 ½), 3:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) – With RG3 at the controls, Baylor defeated Oklahoma 45-38 to snap an 0-20 losing streak to the Sooners. They meet again in Norman, where Baylor is 0-10 all-time. OU is playing for a BCS at-large bid and keeps rolling. Oklahoma 51-33

* Maryland at Clemson (-31 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ESPNU) – Maryland will start a freshman linebacker, Shawn Petty, at quarterback. For Clemson, QB Tajh Boyd is playing his best football. He helped the Tigers crush Duke 56-20 for their fifth straight win last week. Clemson 38-10

* Penn State at Nebraska (-7 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – Nebraska needs a win to maintain at least its tiebreaker edge in the Big Ten Legends Division. The all-time series is tied 7-7 with Nebraska winning the schools’ first-ever Big Ten meeting last year in State College (17-14). Great QB match-up between NU’s Taylor Martinez and PSU’s Matt McGloin. PSU rebounded from its home loss to Ohio State by rolling past Purdue (34-9). Nebraska has won three straight with two close calls at Northwestern (29-28) and at Michigan State (28-24). This one could go down to the wire, provided Penn State can establish the run and somehow contain NU’s running attack. I think All-American kicker Brett Maher wins it at the end. Nebraska 27-24

* West Virginia at Oklahoma State (-7 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional, ESPN2 outer market) – WVU was the toast of the nation after its 5-0 start. But three straight losses have dropped the Mountaineers out of the rankings and Geno Smith out of the Heisman race. WVU coach Dana Holgorsen was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator for Mike Gundy in 2010. The Cowboys come in off a 44-30 loss at Kansas State and have not lost back-to-back regular season games since 2007. This has shootout written all over it. Oklahoma State 44-42

* Minnesota (-3 ½) at Illinois, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – Minnesota is 1-4 in Big Ten play, but can clinch a bowl berth with a win over the lowly Illini who have lost six straight by an average of 27 points a game. Minnesota leads the all-time series 34-28-3 and won 27-7 at home last year. Minnesota 27-17

* Kansas State (-7 ½) at TCU, 7 p.m. (FOX) – Kansas State QB Collin Klein is questionable this week after his wrist (or was it his head?) injury last week against Oklahoma State. K-State is sitting No. 2 in the BCS standings this week, but must keep impressing to hold off hard charging Oregon. TCU rolled the dice with a two-point conversion in the second overtime last week at West Virginia. The Horned Frogs got it and the win (39-38) after losing three of their four previous games. TCU leads the all-time series 3-2, but the teams have not played since 1986. Here’s a stat: Since a Klein interception against North Texas on Sept. 15, the Wildcats have not turned the ball over. That is a span of 6-1/2 games! K-State doesn’t beat itself and just keeps churning them out. Kansas State 33-20

* Georgia (-16) at Auburn, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – Georgia can clinch a return trip to the SEC title game and the Eastern Division title with a win on The Plains. Auburn is still looking for its first SEC win and would love nothing better than to ruin the Bulldogs’ season. Georgia won 45-7 last year. This is the SEC’s oldest rivalry, dating to 1892, and Auburn holds the slightest of edges (54-53-8). Auburn snapped a five-game losing streak with last week’s feel-good 42-7 win over New Mexico State. Yes, that New Mexico State, the one that is now 1-8. Georgia 35-24

* Mississippi State at LSU (-14 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPN) – Two teams licking their wounds collide. Mississippi State was 7-0 before lopsided losses to Alabama (38-7) and Texas A&M (38-13). LSU comes in off its deflating home loss to Alabama. LSU has won 10 straight home games over MSU since 1991 and won 19-6 at Starkville last year. LSU 27-19

* Notre Dame (-18 ½) at Boston College, 8 p.m. (ABC) – The year was 1993 and BC knocked off unbeaten Notre Dame 41-39 to knock the Irish out of the national title hunt. Fast forward 19 years and it’s November and ND is 9-0 for the first time since that year in 1993. But this BC team is a dismal 2-7. The Eagles won’t be able to play with the Irish, right? But ND scraped by Pittsburgh in triple overtime last week (29-26) at home. ND leads the all-time series 12-9 and has won three straight. Notre Dame 41-17

* Oregon (-28 ½) at California, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Oregon has become the greatest show on Earth with its offense, which rolled up opponent school records of 62 points and 730 yards in last week’s win at USC. Kenjon Barner had 321 yards rushing and five TDs in that win. Cal has lost three straight and seems to be playing out the string for embattled coach Jeff Tedford. Oregon 55-25

* UCLA (-14 ½) at Washington State, 10:30 p.m. (ESPN2) – UCLA suddenly has control of its own destiny in the Pac-12 South, but the Bruins – who just knocked off Arizona (66-10) last week – can’t afford a letdown at Pullman, where the Cougs are still looking for their first Pac-12 win. UCLA 37-17

And in case you missed it:

Our Big Ten Blast for the week

ESPN Experts Handicap Big Ten Basketball Race

Who Should Play For National Title?

Quickie Bowl Projections

We will try and update these each week. Here goes absolutely nothing:

* BCS National Title Game (at Miami) – Alabama vs. Oregon (Oregon is sitting behind Kansas State now, but most indicators have the Ducks moving up; Alabama has deathgrip on No. 1 after win at LSU)

* Rose Bowl – Stanford vs. Nebraska (Huskers took another step with huge win at Michigan State; Stanford, with a win over Oregon State this week, could be the survivor to replace Oregon in the Rose)

* Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Louisville (This seems etched in stone)

* Fiesta Bowl – Kansas State vs. Notre Dame (It’s not the national title game but still a great match-up for two very deserving teams)

* Sugar Bowl – Florida vs. Oklahoma (If Gators win out and finish 11-1, not sure how they can be denied … unless Georgia upsets Alabama in SEC title game)

* Capital One Bowl – Georgia vs. Michigan

* Outback Bowl – South Carolina vs. Wisconsin

* Cotton Bowl – Texas A&M vs. Texas (There will be a huge push for this in the Lone Star state)

Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!

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