College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 11

College Football Picks: Picking Winners Week 11

This article is part of our College Football Picks series.

CHRIS' PICKS

Last week, things went from just embarrassing to simply comical. I'm not sure what's more amazing, that my record is so bad, or the fact that if you fade me exclusively, you'd be hitting at a 64 percent clip. 

Maybe I should just put Alabama in here weekly, since it always covers. Or maybe I can convince my editors to blend these picks with Greg's, and make you guys guess which ones to fade? 

Virginia (+11)
vs Miami 

For the second straight week, I'm going against my team, and soon hereafter, I'll pick for my alma mater. Last week it worked well for my smiles, and not so well for my record as Miami crushed Pitt at home. Under former coach Al Golden, there's little doubt the Canes would have folded after a four-game losing streak, so I was impressed they played with some energy and passion last week. But they're heading to a venue that has not been kind to them lately -- and I would know since I've always been in attendance. Miami's last win in Charlottesville was an overtime victory in 2008, dropping its last three meetings at Scotts Stadium. Virginia is not a good team, and there's talk of some split quarterback snaps between Kurt Benkert and Matt Johns. The underdog is 11-1 against the spread in their last 12 meetings, and I think Virginia can score enough to keep this respectable. 

South Carolina (+11)
at Florida 

The total in this game is

CHRIS' PICKS

Last week, things went from just embarrassing to simply comical. I'm not sure what's more amazing, that my record is so bad, or the fact that if you fade me exclusively, you'd be hitting at a 64 percent clip. 

Maybe I should just put Alabama in here weekly, since it always covers. Or maybe I can convince my editors to blend these picks with Greg's, and make you guys guess which ones to fade? 

Virginia (+11)
vs Miami 

For the second straight week, I'm going against my team, and soon hereafter, I'll pick for my alma mater. Last week it worked well for my smiles, and not so well for my record as Miami crushed Pitt at home. Under former coach Al Golden, there's little doubt the Canes would have folded after a four-game losing streak, so I was impressed they played with some energy and passion last week. But they're heading to a venue that has not been kind to them lately -- and I would know since I've always been in attendance. Miami's last win in Charlottesville was an overtime victory in 2008, dropping its last three meetings at Scotts Stadium. Virginia is not a good team, and there's talk of some split quarterback snaps between Kurt Benkert and Matt Johns. The underdog is 11-1 against the spread in their last 12 meetings, and I think Virginia can score enough to keep this respectable. 

South Carolina (+11)
at Florida 

The total in this game is a ridiculously low 38, suggesting a Gators victory in the range of 25-14. And unless the Gamecocks turn the ball over and give Florida a short field, I don't see how Florida can score enough to approach 25 points. They'll play without starting quarterback Luke Del Rio, and though Austin Appleby is likely to start, they haven't ruled out using either of their true freshmen, Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask, neither of whom have taken a college snap. Florida is also going to be without two starting linebackers and a defensive end. I expect South Carolina will be able to run the ball well against a defense that has allowed more than 200 yards on the ground in two of the last three weeks, which should allow quarterback Jake Bentley a few chances to make plays downfield. I'm not sure the Gamecocks have enough to pull off an outright win, but keeping this under 10 wouldn't surprise. 

Over (56)
Rutgers at Michigan State 

Just on averages, this game should fly past this total, as Rutgers allows 36.8 points and Michigan State 30.1. The Spartans have been so bad defensively, that only Furman in Week 1 failed to post at least 24 points against them, and the Scarlet Knights have been competitive, and better offensively, in two games with Giovanni Rescigno under center, putting up 59 total points. If it were anyone other than Rutgers in this matchup, I'd like the +14 line as well, but with that line, we're looking at an expected 35-21 Spartans win, and I think Rutgers can eclipse that total. 

Vanderbilt (+3.5)
at Missouri 

The Tigers actually showed some fight last week at South Carolina, but still lost their fifth straight game. They're only wins on the year are against Eastern Michigan and Delaware State, and I don't believe they deserve to be favored in any conference game at this point, regardless of opponent or venue. Despite a 1-4 conference record, the Commodores have been competitive in the SEC, having not lost a game by more than seven points. Those losses have come to Auburn, Florida, Kentucky and South Carolina, all better teams than Mizzou. Maybe this is a trap and the Tigers get a rare win, but that extra half a point really helps me side with the underdog. 

Texas A&M (-10.5)
vs. Ole Miss 

Both teams will be using new quarterbacks with Chad Kelly and Trevor Knight suffering season-ending injuries last week. The Rebels haven't confirmed they will go with true freshman Shea Patterson, and if they don't they'll use a green Jason Pellerin, who has all of 13 pass attempts under his belt. The Aggies, meanwhile, will counter with Jake Hubenak, who's proven capable and has considerably more experience. Despite the seemingly sizable advantage under center, it's the Aggies ability to run the ball that has me confident they can cover this number. Ole Miss ranks 117th nationally against the run, allowing 240.2 yards per game, while the Aggies boast the nation's 20th best rushing attack, going for 234.4 yards weekly. It's a huge mismatch, and with the Rebels at 4-5 with little to play for, it would be surprising to see them put up a fight. 

Last Week: 2-4, Season: 11-21-1 

GREG'S PICKS

I mentioned last week that a good outlook on the weekend-slate usually results in a lucrative weekend, while a poor one, well, you get the point. I brought this up in reference to the card two weeks ago, which I felt very good about, but managed to come in under .500. Last week I felt the opposite going in, so I was expecting the worst, and then ... my best week of the year!

I finished 4-2 last week and was in decent position to go 5-1 until the Tulsa and East Carolina shut down in the second half. I will gladly take 4-2 at this point, though, as it gets me back within striking distance of .500 for the season.

A quick recap of the picks last week: I started with an easy cover Thursday with UCLA as the upstart Buffaloes were caught napping, but still managed to win the game. Purdue was another easy winner as the Gophers, though 7-2, are not built to beat conference foes by large margins -- when they are expected to. Clemson simply stopped playing around and routed Syracuse. I mentioned Tulsa, scoring early, not enough late. Western Kentucky remained hot and put up more than enough points to get that one over the total and the only dud of the weekend was Northwestern, which couldn't keep up with Wisconsin.

It's easy to fall into a groove with certain teams throughout a season and conversely, sometimes, you can't pick a team correctly to save your life. That's Wisconsin for me this year. I don't think I've picked them correctly once all year.


Pittsburgh (-21) at Clemson



I mentioned last week that Clemson was done playing around and that the Tigers were ready to kick it into gear -- which they did, BUT, as has been the case all season, as soon as they get into a spot where they can feel good about themselves, they let down again. Now, I'm not expecting a full out NC State-style letdown in this spot, but Pittsburgh is no pushover, so a final spread in the 10-14 points range would not surprise me at all. 



Under (55) Mississippi at Texas A&M

If this game were played a couple weeks ago, you could have expected a big-time shootout, but since BOTH teams have their starting QBs, it could turn ugly, as in, hard to watch. College football teams are generally resilient when it comes to replacement starters on offense or defense, but the one exception is the QB spot – especially for these two teams which both had offenses revolving around their QBs. One of the replacement might shine this week, but not both.


Over (55.5) Alabama vs. Mississippi State



Alabama looked like a perfect "under" team last week. The Tide could barely move the ball and didn't budge on defense. That was last week, however, and this week, the intensity will be down about 1,000 notches, which means the defense won't play as well and make a few mistakes. On offense, the Tide must be licking their collective chops. After facing a very tough opponent last week, the offense gets back to normal and puts up 40-plus points.

Arkansas (+7.5)
vs. LSU

It's never easy the week after facing Alabama, particularly when you were mixed up in such a dog fight. That's what LSU faces this week when it travels to face a pretty good Arkansas team. Arkansas was embarrassed two weeks ago at Alabama, but the Razorbacks righted the ship last week against Florida. Now back on track, the Hogs should give LSU all it can handle this week.

Over (65)
Western Kentucky vs. North Texas

When I saw the total on this game, I assumed that North Texas played a slower pace and as a result, played to lower scores, but that's not the case at all. Games that have involve North Texas have averaged point totals in the mid-50s the last four weeks. That's more than enough for me to jump back on the over in a game that involves Western Kentucky, which keeps on rolling up the points. The Hilltoppers have scored roughly 50 points per game in their last six games.

Oklahoma (-15.5)
vs. Baylor

I hate to make it this simple, but I think Baylor is done -- I'd be surprised to see one more good effort from the Bears this season. There is simply too much going on behind the scenes there to focus on football, and now they somehow have to slow down one of the hottest teams in the country? No chance. Oklahoma is going to blow them out of the building this week. 



Last Week: 4-2; Season: 18-21

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Chris Bennett
Bennett covers baseball, college football and college basketball for RotoWire. Before turning to fantasy writing, he worked in scouting/player development for the Atlanta Braves and Montreal Expos. He's also a fan of the ACC.
Greg Vara
Vara is the lead golf writer at RotoWire. He was named the FSWA Golf Writer of the Year in 2005 and 2013. He also picks college football games against the spread in his "College Capper" article.
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