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Saturday, 8 November 2014

College Football Week 11 Picks 2014 (November 8)

The College Football picks have not been very good this season to be perfectly honest, but I am still excited about the Play Offs that have been introduced for the season as I truly believe it makes the regular season more exciting.

Let’s face it, if the Play Off didn’t exist, you would be very close to tabbing the SEC Champion, who I assume comes out of the deep SEC West, and Florida State, as long as the Seminoles remain unbeaten to play in the National Championship Game.

No need for any polls, no need for any real excitement down the stretch aside from hoping the Seminoles lose and the SEC Champion is a team from the SEC East, it would be almost assured that is what will happen.

However, the four team Play Off changes all that and has produced a weekend like the one we have coming up where it feels like we are already going to see Play Off Football.

The winner of the Notre Dame-Arizona State game and the Michigan State-Ohio State game will certainly feel they have a great chance to be invited into the four team Play Off and tell me that doesn’t make those games all the more appealing to watch.

In last year’s system, Notre Dame’s loss to Florida State and both Big Ten teams losing to Oregon and Virginia Tech respectively would meant they have next to no chance of playing for the National Championship… Now they are in a position to win out and possibly get themselves involved in the Play Off.

Of course there are still plenty of things to figure out down the stretch including whether Oregon can run the table and win the Pac-12, while both the TCU Horned Frogs and Kansas State Wildcats must feel their one loss so far this season gives them a real chance to break into the four teams. Oh yeah, Kansas State are only visiting TCU this weekend too!

With all this going on, it is not often that games like Baylor Bears going to the Oklahoma Sooners and Alabama’s visit into Death Valley to take on LSU would be overshadowed, but the three games I mentioned are arguably the top games with most Play Off consequences to their outcome.

The LSU Tigers, despite their upset over Ole Miss, are unlikely to be invited in with two losses so they can play spoiler, while both Baylor and Oklahoma have at least one loss already and the Sooners are likely to be playing spoiler for the small chance Baylor have of sneaking into the four team Play Off.

The great thing with this new Play Off system is how important every result is becoming, meaning teams will schedule tougher opponents to produce more big time games, and how quick things can change on a weekly basis with a loss for the likes of Mississippi State and Florida State likely to knock them out of the top four.

Exciting times ahead for College Football fans as we get into the final stretch.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs @ UAB Blazers Pick: One of the hottest teams in College Football are the Bulldogs and Louisiana Tech should be too good for the UAB Blazers, even if the Blazers are an under-rated team.

Both teams should move the chains in this one, but the difference between the teams could be the fact that the Bulldogs Defense has been able to force turnovers and that might be the reason Louisiana Tech have an extra possession or two that sees them cover this number.

The Bulldogs have covered in all 5 road games they have played this season and I like them to keep up their 100% record.

Baylor Bears @ Oklahoma Sooners Pick: This should have been the biggest game of the year in the Big 12 but the Oklahoma Sooners have lost twice and are virtually out of the Play Off contention, while the Baylor Bears need to win out and hope that impresses the pollsters.

Baylor have never won in Norman which would be a big statement to make to those who are picking the College Play Off teams, but this is going to be a big game at Oklahoma and the Sooners would love to play spoiler and try and get back in the race to at least win a share of the Big 12 title. However, they have lost games to both TCU and Kansas State and this is unlikely to see Oklahoma win the Big 12 but beating Baylor will be what the fans are demanding.

Both teams should be effective at moving the chains up and down the field and I do think this will be a close game. Baylor have covered in 6 straight games at Oklahoma and the Sooners are 1-3 against the spread at home this season.

The Bears are also 6-1 against the spread as the underdog over the last three seasons and I like them to keep this competitive.

UTSA Roadrunners @ Rice Owls Pick: The Rice Owls have won 5 games in a row while they have also legitimately outgained all 5 opponents and I think they can overcome a big spread against the UTSA Roadrunners.

Rice can use their Defense to at least set them up in this one, while they have done enough on Offense to think they can move clear.

The Owls have beaten UTSA the last two seasons including a 20 point home win and I do think they can win this one by double digits.

Wisconsin Badgers @ Purdue Boilermakers PickThis game is going to come down to whether the Purdue Boilermakers or the Wisconsin Badgers can establish their running game the quickest and the smart money has to be on Melvin Gordon and the Badgers to do that.

As impressive as Purdue played to restrict Nebraska to 3.5 yards per carry last week, far short of their season average, that kind of game can have a negative effective in this one. The Boilermakers are going to be pounded up front by a big Offensive Line and Gordon has been hitting the holes effectively to think he will restore the Purdue Defense to something resembling their season record stopping the run.

To some extent, Purdue can sell out to stop the run as Joel Stave hasn't been asked to make too many big plays from Quarter Back, but Rutgers showed that the battering up front can eventually wear you down last week.

Purdue have two decent Running Backs themselves, but the Wisconsin Badger Defense has been playing at a very high standard over the last couple of weeks. With the inconsistent play from their own Quarter Back position, Purdue will look to pound the ball on the ground, but they face a Defense giving up just 3.1 yards per carry on the season and one that has allowed 7 combined points in their last two games.

The Boilermakers have been a strong underdog to back this season, but Wisconsin have dominated their games against Purdue with 6 straight wins coming by 21 points or more and I like the Badgers to cover this game.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Arizona State Sun Devils Pick: This is the kind of exciting game that the College Football Play Off system has produced and I think the winner, especially if that is Notre Dame, could put themselves firmly in contention to be one of the four teams contesting the National Championship.

The Fighting Irish would be foolish to look ahead past the Arizona State Sun Devils who have only lost 1 game all season, but would likely need to beat Oregon in the Pac-12 Championship without losing a game to give themselves a chance to make the Play Off.

Both teams will look to establish the run to dictate the tempo of this game and wear down Defenses in the hot sun of Arizona with the game kicking off at 1:30pm local time. To that end, it does seem that Notre Dame will have more success although their own Defense could be a little worn out from dealing with the Navy triple-option last week.

Everett Golson has made some big plays to prevent Notre Dame from falling down and was close to leading the come from behind win over Florida State in their one loss. I can see the Quarter Back making more big plays than Taylor Kelly which ends up separating these two teams this week.

Notre Dame have a 7-3 record against the spread as the underdog over the last three seasons and I think they are live enough to cover in this one too.

Texas A&M Aggies @ Auburn Tigers Pick: The Texas A&M Aggies have really struggled when they have come up against the very top teams in the SEC Conference this season and they have a mountain to climb without Kenny Hill unless Kyle Allen puts his performance last week down to nerves.

The Aggies might not be able to offer him a lot of support on the ground which means their inexperienced Quarter Back will have to make plays against a Secondary that has bent but not broken when it comes to pass Defense. They have turned the ball over all over the field and it will be tough for Texas A&M to really move the chains efficiently through this game.

That is less likely to be an issue for the Auburn Tigers who have a powerful rushing Offense which should be able to create huge holes against this Aggies Defense. When they have faced the best teams, Texas A&M have struggled to contain the Offenses they have seen and I think Nick Marshall and Cameron Artis-Payne have big games.

The game does come at the end of a tough run of games for Auburn and with Georgia next on deck, but impressive wins still remain important for the Tigers and I do think they cover a big number.

Auburn are 3-0 against the spread when favoured by between 21.5 and 31 points at home over the last three seasons and they can maintain that run with another big cover.

Air Force Falcons @ UNLV Rebels Pick: The Air Force Falcons are not as good on the road as they are at home, but this is a legitimate revenge game for them after they were embarrassed by the UNLV Rebels in the 2013 season. They have now lost their last 2 games against UNLV after previously winning 5 in a row and now Air Force will be looking to snap that run.

Air Force should be able to run the ball down UNLV's throat in this one and the key will be if their pass rush can disrupt the Rebels when they are in passing situations.

If the Falcons can do that, I expect they will be able to win this by at least a Touchdown against a team that has been outgained in all but two games this season and I can see a turnover leading to Air Force being too good for their Conference rivals.

Boise State Broncos @ New Mexico Lobos Pick: The New Mexico Lobos have failed to cover in any of their four home games this season, but this is a big spread for the Boise State Broncos to get over. However, the Broncos have outgained teams by over 100 yards in 6 of their last 7 games and they are a team with a lot of momentum behind them.

Boise State have to deal with the triple option that New Mexico will run, but they have been a team that has been decent stopping the run. There is more balance on the Boise State Offense and that should be good enough to keep moving up and down the field for much of this game.

New Mexico could make it tough for Boise State to cover if they can run the clock down with long, sustained drives, but the Broncos are playing very, very well at the moment and look a team that still believes they can win the Mountain West.

Florida Gators @ Vanderbilt Commodores Pick: It was a real surprise to see Florida beat Georgia in the World's Largest Cocktail Party last week and I do have a concern that the Gators could be emotionally flat coming off such an important win.

Will Muschamp was jumping around at the end of the game and, even though his time is still done as Head Coach, I do wonder if he can pick his troops up to go again. There is a small chance they can win the SEC West thanks to the win over the Bulldogs, although it is tough to see both Missouri and Georgia blowing up this late.

The Florida Defense has played well the last couple of weeks and this is a revenge spot for Florida having been embarrassed by Vanderbilt last season at home. The Gators can shut down the Vanderbilt Offense and will have a great chance to win another game if they run the ball as well as they did in Week 10.

Kansas State Wildcats @ TCU Horned Frogs Pick: This is going to be a fascinating Big 12 game where the winner can put themselves in a strong position to crack the top four teams for the Play Offs and there are some similarities with the way the teams have been performing.

Both the TCU Horned Frogs and Kansas State Wildcats have played strong Defense against the run, but both Offenses have moved the chains efficiently. Kansas State definitely play some of the cleanest football and refuse to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties, but the TCU Horned Frogs have the fiercer pass rush and have the more explosive Offense.

The big plays are going to be a key in this one, but it is the Horned Frogs Defense that has found a way to turn the ball over more consistently and they should be able to come through this big test, likely their last big one before the season ends.

Kansas State have been one of the top underdog plays over the last few seasons including winning outright at the Oklahoma Sooners despite being given a Touchdown headstart. But the Horned Frogs have been a strong favourite all season and they are one of the teams that should perhaps be rated higher than they are in the polls and I like them to prove that this week.

Ohio State Buckeyes @ Michigan State Spartans Pick: I know there are a lot of people that think the underdog is the right play in this one, but I can't get over the way the Ohio State Buckeyes played on the road against Penn State and this Michigan State Spartans team will be well rested.

The Spartans have to feel disrespected by the poll and the general feeling that they shouldn't be involved in the College Play Off, while home field is important despite their win against Ohio State last season.

Both Defenses will feel they are the better units on the field, but there are two reasons I like Michigan State more than Ohio State. The first is that I think the Buckeyes have the slightly weaker rush Defense and Connor Cook may find more third and manageable spots than JT Barrett.

The second is the Offensive Line play and that is another area where the Buckeyes have struggled at times and now face a fierce pass rush that will want to stamp their authority on the game.

Those two reasons could be the key as to why Michigan State take control and win this game although I expect it to be a tight, tense battle for much of the evening.

Alabama Crimson Tide @ LSU Tigers Pick: A night game in Death Valley has to be one of the biggest tests for any team in the nation and LSU have performed very well as the home underdog in that spot, covering on 3 straight occasions in that position including last week against the Mississippi Rebels.

This is a huge game for both teams as LSU can play spoiler in the SEC West by destroying another team's chances of making the College Football Play Offs following their home win over the Rebels. However, their 2 losses to Auburn and Mississippi State have likely ended the LSU interest in the Play Off, but beating the Alabama Crimson Tide would be a huge deal for the fans regardless.

On the other hand, Alabama are the team that most expect to get into the four team Play Off and they can prove that by winning here, although with big games against Mississippi State and Auburn to come.

The key to the game will be if LSU can run the ball against the Crimson Tide- this is the strength of the two teams and Alabama have shown they can at least limit what LSU can do which will put too much pressure on Anthony Jennings. TJ Yeldon and Derrick Henry will make life easier for their own Quarter Back by ripping of big gains to keep Blake Sims in third and short situations and that is why I believe Alabama win this game, even if it is in a tough venue on the road.

My concern is that Alabama have been a poor road favourite and Death Valley is 'where dreams come to die' as Les Miles has mentioned before. However, the Crimson Tide are the better team and it is hard to shake what Auburn did to the LSU Tigers earlier in the season.

Oregon Ducks @ Utah Utes Pick: The Oregon Ducks have to avoid a letdown following their crushing win over Stanford last week, especially as they are primed to be invited to the College Play Off as long as they run the table. With two of the top four currently in the SEC West and likely to drop at least one more game between them, Oregon are poised to strike by winning the Pac-12, although they have to do that clean.

The Utah Defense is nasty, but Oregon got to see Stanford play that way and managed to find a way to score enough points to pull away. I am not convinced Utah have the Offense to keep up if Oregon score 35-40 points and that is why I like the road team in this one.

Utah are also coming off a heartbreaking loss to the Arizona State Sun Devils, but picking themselves up for one of the best teams in the nation shouldn't be a problem. What will be a problem is a healthy Oregon Offensive Line that is giving Marcus Mariota the chance to punish teams deep down the field and keep the Offense rolling and I expect them to do that this week in a tough battle on the road.

MY PICKS: Louisiana Tech Bulldogs - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Baylor Bears + 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Rice Owls - 9.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Wisconsin Badgers - 17.5 Points @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish + 2.5 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Auburn Tigers - 23.5 Points @ 1.92 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Air Force Falcons - 5 Points @ 1.92 Coral (1 Unit)
Boise State Broncos - 19 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Florida Gators - 14 Points @ 1.92 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
TCU Horned Frogs - 5.5 Points @ 1.95 Coral (1 Unit)
Michigan State Spartans - 3.5 Points @ 1.92 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 6.5 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Oregon Ducks - 8 Points @ 1.92 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

Week 10: 6-7, - 1.51 Units (13 Units Staked, - 11.62% Yield)
Week 94-9-1, - 5.31 Units (14 Units Staked, - 37.93% Yield)
Week 85-7, - 2.26 Units (12 Units Staked, - 18.83% Yield)
Week 73-8, - 5.31 Units (11 Units Staked, - 48.27% Yield)
Week 62-7, - 5.13 Units (9 Units Staked, - 57% Yield)
Week 54-5, - 1.13 Units (9 Units Staked, - 12.56% Yield)
Week 46-5, + 0.58 Units (11 Units Staked, + 5.27% Yield)
Week 33-7-1, - 4.18 Units (11 Units Staked, - 38% Yield)
Week 25-6, - 1.18 Units (11 Units Staked, - 10.72% Yield)
Week 16-4, + 1.77 Units (10 Units Staked, + 11.7% Yield)

Season 201438-58-2, - 23.66 Units (111 Units Staked, - 21.32% Yield)
Season 201365-49-2, + 8.49 Units (124 Units Staked, + 6.85% Yield)
Season 201254-59-1 - 7.11 Units (114 Units Staked, - 6.24% Yield)
Season 201163-36, + 23.25 Units (99 Units Staked, + 23.5% Yield)

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