There's no place like Saturday...

November 12, 2011

College Football Report - Saturday Picks - Week 11

(Game of the week…)

#7 Oregon (8-1) @ #4 Stanford (9-0)


8:00 ET ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Stanford Stadium, Stanford, CA

Who’s going to win the second half? Last season it was all Stanford to start the game. The end, however, was all Ducks in a 52-31 blowout that had the feel of a much closer affair. This season it’s about consistency once again, and speed. Consistency for the fact that both teams average over 45 points a game, but who can consistently move the ball, doing so without turnovers? The game is about speed for the fact that Oregon plays fast, maybe faster than anyone in the country. How will the Cardinal work sideline to sideline slowing that speed? The answer to both can be summed up with the play of quarterback Andrew Luck and the physicality of the Stanford defense. We saw what Auburns physical play did to the Ducks last season, now its Stanford’s turn. Ranked No. 3 in the nation in rush defense, the Cardinal have the strength to get past the Ducks. Pick: Stanford 37 – Oregon 32

#20 Auburn (6-3) @ #15 Georgia (7-2)


3:30 PM ET, CBS, Sat. Nov. 12, Sanford Stadium, Athens, GA

Remember last season when Bulldog nation was calling for dismantlement of the Dawg’s coaching staff, longtime head coach Mark Richt included? Where’s that chatter now? The Bulldogs have pulled off seven straight wins, including a 5-0 mark in SEC play in that stretch. They’ve yet to beat a ranked team, however. Quarterback Aaron Murray is playing lights out for Georgia, throwing 23 scores in nine games this season. Auburn heads into the game off its bye week, but still with a quarterback situation that shouldn’t instill confidence in consistent play. The defense is good, for the Tigers, but with Murray leading the way through the air, and freshman running back Isaiah Corwell back, the Dawg’s continue their push for an SEC East title spot. Pick: Georgia 29 – Auburn 16

#24 Michigan (7-2) @ Illinois (6-3)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Memorial Stadium, Champaign, IL

I don’t honestly want to believe that this Michigan team is like that of the last four years. Believing players were once again walking the sand bar early in the season, only to meet the drop-off with a sudden and uncontrollable fall like they have in the last three weeks. One reason I can believe its past is its defense. The Wolverines have held opponents to under 30 points in every game this season apart from Notre Dame. A key stat when looking at last year’s game against Illinois, when the Wolverines gave up an alarming 65 points. Denard Robinson will need to keep the mistakes at bay once again – which hasn’t been easy lately – but the Wolverines are, believe it or not, playing far better than the Illini, who have lost three straight. Pick: Michigan 31 – Illinois 17

(Upset pick…)

#19 Nebraska (7-2) @ #12 Penn State (8-1)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN, Sat. Nov. 12, Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA

Amid the chaos surrounding the University and the football program, a game will be played in Beaver Stadium Saturday, and rightfully so. The seniors have earned the right to a final goodbye to their football careers at Penn State, even with the controversy about. Not only will it be hard for the players on Penn State’s sidelines, but for Nebraska as well, walking into such situation as in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions have won their last seven games, most in part to the credit of their defense, and sit at first place in the Leaders division. Nebraska will need to rebound from last week’s upset loss to Northwestern. They’ve done so once already this season against Ohio State and will do so Saturday. Too much surrounds the Penn State program for the Lions to walk away from a good, and physical, Big Ten opponent. They’ll still control their own destiny in the coming weeks, however. Pick: Nebraska 24 – Penn State 20

(Give me a ticket to see…)

TCU (7-2) @ #5 Boise State (8-0)


3:30 PM ET, Versus, Sat. Nov. 12, Bronco Stadium, Boise, ID

Everyone’s favorite underdog takes on everyone's other favorite underdog, this time with more than reputation on the line. The Broncos and Horned Frogs face off for the third time in four years, but for the first time ever as conference opponents. The Broncos have been business as usual this season, rolling through Mountain West opponents much like they did in the WAC. The defense has been on par, but it will be tested against a TCU offense that hasn’t skipped a beat with quarterback Casey Pachall at the helm, still averaging over 40 points an outing. Hanging with the Broncos offense and Kellen Moore is a different story, though. It’s the Horned Frogs first visit to the blue tundra of Bronco Stadium, as well. The Frogs may have ruled the Mountain West over the last decade, but this one goes to the new guys. Pick: Boise State 38 – TCU 31

Miami Fla. (5-4) @ Florida State (6-3)


3:30 PM ET, ESPN/ABC, Sat. Nov. 12, Doak Campbell Stadium, Tallahassee, FL

There was once a time, when it really didn’t get any bigger than the Miami vs. FSU rivalry. It was just less than a decade ago when these two used to go toe-to-toe for a chance at a National Title. The only thing they’ve both been fighting for lately is bowl eligibility, though. Miami’s Jacory Harris ranks No. 6 in the nation in passing efficiency, throwing 18 touchdowns to just four interceptions this season. The Seminoles rank fourth in nation in total defense, holding opponents to just over 260 yards a game. Since their early season three game skid, the Noles have racked off four in a row over ACC opponents. A closer look at the Seminoles wins this season shows a combined record of 14-94 for their opponents, though. FSU’s defense is good, but Miami’s offense has begun to click over the last couple of weeks. Pick: Miami Fla. 27 – Florida State 23

#17 Michigan State (7-2) @ Iowa (6-3)


12:00 PM ET, ESPN2, Sat. Nov. 12, Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

The Hawkeyes ruined a chance at an undefeated season for the Spartans. Nightmares of last season’s 37-6 debacle for the Spartans still rings in the heads of coaches, players and Spartan nation. State was held to just 31 yards rushing on a 1.6 average. Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions, two of which turned into 13 points for Iowa. The Hawkeyes don’t bring along the defense they had last season, but the offense has begun to click late in the season. Running back Marcus Coker has turned in six 100 yard rushing performances on the season. State, which controls their own destiny to the Big Ten championship game, has played inconsistent football over the last couple of weeks. Cousins will need to find room to air things out on a good secondary, but I look for him to rebound from last season’s miserable performance. State pulls it out in a tight knit battle. Pick: Michigan State 28 – Iowa 24

Last Week: 7-1 – Overall: 44-24– Upset Pick: 4-3

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