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Thursday, 10 November 2016

College Football Week 11 Picks 2016 (November 10-12)

I've not been able to get out of my own way when it comes to the College Football Picks over the last four weeks, but I think it was summed up last week that I am also not getting a lot of luck.

With two minutes left, Stanford couldn't punch the ball into the End Zone on a play from the 1 YARD LINE and were stopped on downs in an 11 point win... Score there and Stanford cover, but instead that was a losing pick.

LSU and Alabama then went into the final Quarter of their game tied at 0-0 and having more than a Touchdown worth of points looked to be huge. Instead the Crimson Tide manage ten points and I lose that cover on the Tigers.

While that wouldn't have made it a winning week, it would have reduced the poor run and I am a little frustrated. I don't want to switch too much from what I have been doing but if things don't change around this week then I will obviously need to make some changes.

This week I am beginning with one Thursday game and then the rest of the picks will come from the full slate of Saturday action. There are some big games again this week which may change the current top four of the College Football Play Off Rankings, although the current top four will all make it into the Play Offs if they can win out.

Alabama and Clemson both look capable of doing that having come through difficult portions of their schedule, but both Michigan and Washington look vulnerable. The big test for the Wolverines comes against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but the Huskies have a huge game this week when they host the USC Trojans who have been improving weekly and that could be the decider for the Pac-12 if they want a representative in the Play Offs.

Watch out for some teams looking to run up the score for 'style' points which could be important to separate the one loss teams at the end of the season and this is another big week for the top schools as the regular season begins to wind down.

North Carolina Tar Heels @ Duke Blue Devils Pick: With just two Conference games to go for both the North Carolina Tar Heels and Virginia Tech Hokies, there is little doubt that the remaining games makes the Hokies big favourites to win the ACC Coastal Division and move on to play in the Conference Championship Game.

That is all down to the fact that the Hokies hold the tie-breaker over the Tar Heels, but North Carolina play first in Week 11 and they can try and build the pressure on their Divisional rivals by winning on Thursday night.

North Carolina have won three in a row since the loss against Virginia Tech, but they can't overlook the Duke Blue Devils who are showing competitiveness through injuries. They almost pulled the upset over the Virginia Tech Hokies in Week 10 and even three losses in a row have come by just sixteen points. It is no surprise Duke have remained competitive, but their chances of a Bowl game have receded massively with those losses and they need to win out to have a chance, although that looks unlikely with this game in front of them.

Despite that battling that the Blue Devils have shown, I am opposing the public in this one and backing the North Carolina Tar Heels as a big favourite on the road. That might be a surprise, but I think the Tar Heels will win this one by a couple of Touchdowns behind a powerful Offense and perhaps an underrated Defensive unit.

Elijah Hood has been able to pummel teams on the ground and is facing a Duke Defensive Line which has allowed 6.2 yards per carry over their last three games. That Defensive Line has begun to wear down and I have little doubt that Hood will not only be established, but the Running Back may also get above 150 yards on the ground in this one.

Duke simply cannot sell out to take on Hood as Mitch Trubisky continues to show why he is being considered a First Round Draft Pick for the next level at Quarter Back. Trubisky has been well protected behind this Offensive Line and has simply not made mistakes through the air which is going to make it difficult for Duke to prevent this Tar Heels Offensive unit from moving the chains with real consistency throughout this game.

With injuries to playmakers on the Offense, it was always going to be a tough match up for the Blue Devils up against a North Carolina Defense which has played well through the season. Duke might be able to run the ball in this one while the game is close, but the problem will be once it starts becoming a two score game and Duke are asking Daniel Jones to make the throws to keep them in the game.

Jones will be trying to throw into a tough Secondary that have held teams to under 200 passing yards per game through the season and have been even stronger in their winning run. They might not generate the heavy pass rush that some schools can, but North Carolina know their assignments and it will be tough for the young Quarter Back to keep Duke in this one.

The Tar Heels have blown out Duke the last two times they have played and they might be catching this team at the right time in a short week off another big effort. With the balance on the Offense, I think the Tar Heels will win this one by a couple of Touchdowns and I will oppose the public and look for North Carolina to cover.

Baylor Bears @ Oklahoma Sooners Pick: The Oklahoma Sooners are the last unbeaten team left in the Big 12 in Conference play, but their early losses to the Houston Cougars and Ohio State Buckeyes will make it difficult for them to make the Play Offs even if they win out. However, the Sooners have three very difficult games remaining in the regular season which will give them plenty of respect if they are able to run the table.

The first of those remaining three games is against the Baylor Bears who might not be coming in as hot as they could have been if they had not lost their last two games. The last was an embarrassing blow out at home against the TCU Horned Frogs and now Baylor head to Norman as a big underdog with a spread that keeps moving upwards despite the public backing the Bears already.

It is going to be a test for the Bears who are missing Shock Linwood at Running Back and that is a loss for Baylor whose Offense begins with a strong ability to run the ball. That ability would have been tested by the Oklahoma Defensive Line anyway, but it becomes more difficult without the talent of Linwood at Running Back and puts more pressure on Seth Russell at Quarter Back.

Russell has to be feeling he can have a bounce back game after finishing with 282 passing yards and 1 Touchdown and 1 Interception last week in the blow out loss to TCU. He is facing an Oklahoma Secondary that have given up plenty of yards through the air, although Russell has to avoid the pass rush the Sooners can generate.

With his ability to move the chains with his legs too, Russell should be able to produce some solid numbers, but it might not be enough if Baker Mayfield and the Sooners can get close to the yards that TCU produced against this Defensive unit last week.

Mayfield doesn't have to do everything himself and should be able to hand the ball off to Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine to make some huge plays on the ground as the Sooners have averaged 6 yards per carry in their last three games. The Sooners are facing a Baylor Defensive Line that has shown signs of wear and tear the longer this season has gone on and I can see Oklahoma ripping off some big runs which opens the play action for Mayfield.

It should ease any concern Mayfield has from the pass rush and failing to contain the run has seen the Baylor Secondary start to give up some big plays too. One area Mayfield has to be wary is the way the Bears have been able to read routes and jump them leading to Interceptions, but Mayfield has looked after the ball well enough this season to think the Sooners are going to have a chance to move this ball up and down the field.

There is no doubt this is a lot of points for the Sooners to be giving up, but I think they are going to show more consistency Offensively. With Baylor perhaps looking a little weary off the back of a couple of upset losses, I think the Bears might just have a hard time keeping up and the Sooners can put together a statement win which keeps them in the mind of the voters and helps them take another step towards winning the Big 12 Conference.

Mississippi State Bulldogs @ Alabama Crimson Tide Pick: Aside from losing the SEC Championship Game I can't see a situation where the Alabama Crimson Tide will not be one of the four teams to enter the College Football Play Offs this season. There is still one big challenge left in the Iron Bowl against the Auburn Tigers, but the Crimson Tide are hosting their last three games after shutting out the LSU Tigers last week and it will be an upset of mammoth proportions if they are not able to win the SEC West and subsequently the SEC Championship Game.

While most will be looking ahead to the game with Auburn in the final week of the regular season, Nick Saban and his staff will be encouraging his players to not overlook the Mississippi State Bulldogs who have challenged the Crimson Tide under Dan Mullen.

The Bulldogs should be feeling confident having beaten the Texas A&M Aggies in Week 10 as a double digit underdog with the Aggies going into that game as the Number 4 Seed before that defeat. This is by far the biggest amount of points Mississippi State will have been given this season and the most since they hosted Alabama in 2013.

I can understand the reasoning behind it though as the Bulldogs are going to have a tough time at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This is an Alabama Defensive Line that shut down Leonard Fournette so they won't be fazed by the recent Mississippi State numbers when it comes to the run as Alabama are simply not giving up much.

Nick Fitzgerald is a mobile Quarter Back that can make plays with his legs as well as his arm, but it is going to be a big challenge for him if the Bulldogs are left in third and long spots all day. While he has made some plays, Fitzgerald has to be careful of turnovers and looking after the ball with some intense pressure likely to be around him and it is going to be a big task for Mississippi State to move the chains and score points.

On the other hand, Alabama should be able to establish the run against this Bulldogs Defensive Line who have given up 4.9 yards per carry in their last three games. Despite losing some big picks at Running Back to the NFL, Alabama have continued to run the ball effectively and Jalen Hurts has been able to make some plays at Quarter Back too which should keep the Offensive unit in third and manageable compared with Mississippi State in third and long.

Hurts has had a couple of turnovers that must have irritated Saban and I expect the Quarter Back to be a little more careful when he does drop back to throw. While the Bulldogs have gotten a pass rush together and have turned the ball over, this Secondary have allowed over 340 passing yards per game in their last three games and it is going to be difficult to keep Alabama from moving the chains for most of the afternoon.

I have no doubt this is a lot of points for the Crimson Tide to cover, but I think they look very strong on both sides of the ball and capable of doing that. The public are backing the big underdog on the spread, but I am going to go with the Number 1 team in the nation to win this by around thirty-one points.

West Virginia Mountaineers @ Texas Longhorns Pick: The undefeated season for the West Virginia Mountaineers has passed, but they still have a chance to win the Big 12 Conference if they can win out this season. That will be far from easy with games against the Texas Longhorns, Oklahoma Sooners and Baylor Bears in their final four games, but the Mountaineers can challenge those teams.

First up is the Texas Longhorns who are unbeaten at home this season and who have shown some improvement since Charlie Strong took over the Defensive play-calling for the Longhorns. This is a Texas team that have gone 4-0 at home this season and who are on a two game winning run so the confidence will make them a dangerous team to play in what could be another Big 12 shootout.

D'Onta Foreman has been a huge part of the success for the Texas Longhorns and it is hard to doubt his ability to run the ball even when he goes up against some of the better Defensive Lines in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have only allowed 4 yards per carry over the course of the season, but Texas have been pounding Foreman and wearing teams down while being able to make some big gains when he does split the gaps.

Foreman's success is helped by Shane Buechele at Quarter Back as he has shown he is capable of making the big plays through the air. Buechele has been looking after the ball when he does drop back to throw and he might only face a limited pass rush with the Mountaineers perhaps focusing on shutting down Foreman as much as possible. It does suggest Texas will have some success when the Offense has the ball, but the feeling is that West Virginia will also be able to move the chains in this contest.

The absence of Rushel Shell is a blow for West Virginia, but they have shown they have been able to plug in Running Backs to continue making the plays on the ground. The Longhorns Defensive Line has perhaps been worn down over the course of a long season as they have started to give up some big plays on the ground, while the Mountaineers also have Skyler Howard at Quarter Back who is capable of running the ball with some effect.

West Virginia have to run the ball effectively because the Longhorns have been able to get a strong pass rush together and should be able to get to Howard behind his shaky Offensive Line when it comes to passing plays. In third and short spots Howard should be able to employ some pass action and misdirection against a Secondary that have allowed some big plays, but the key for the Mountaineers is being able to run the ball which I expect they can do.

This has all the makings of another Big 12 game that could easily go down to the wire and one that might be difficult to get a feel for. I do think the Mountaineers would have been favoured here if they had not been beaten by the Oklahoma State Cowboys and I like the fact this team have outgained their last five opponents.

Texas are 4-0 against the spread at home, and they are a solid home favourite to back. However I think the Mountaineers might be underrated by being given the points and I will take those and look for West Virginia to perhaps earn the upset outright.

Penn State Nittany Lions @ Indiana Hoosiers Pick: James Franklin was beginning to feel the pressure as the Penn State Nittany Lions Head Coach, but a win over the Ohio State Buckeyes seems to have given this entire roster a shot in the arm. While that was a battling win over one of the best teams in the nation, Penn State have not suffered a hangover in their next two games and instead have blown out both the Purdue Boilermakers and the Iowa Hawkeyes.

This is another challenge for the Nittany Lions who still have an outside chance in the Big Ten East and so they can't afford another loss in the Conference. The Indiana Hoosiers have won two in a row and would love to knock off a Divisional rival who have been in hot form, although they have to be careful not to overlook Penn State at the game with the unbeaten Michigan Wolverines which is up next.

One of the keys for the Penn State turnaround in recent weeks has been the play of Saquan Barkley who has been running the ball very effectively over the last three games. That has helped the Penn State Offense stay in third and manageable spots and made life easier for Trace McSorley at Quarter Back who has been improving with the experience he has been picking up.

Barkley is in for a challenge to establish the run in this one against an Indiana Defensive Line which has allowed 165 yards per game on the ground over the course of the season, but who have limited the big plays. Franklin is unlikely to get away from the run though as it sets up McSorley to make the plays he needs to and will also keep the Indiana pass rush from putting too much pressure on his Quarter Back.

There are some holes in the Indiana Secondary that can be exposed by Penn State and I do think the Nittany Lions will have success with the ball in their hands in this one.

It will be then up to the Nittany Lions Defense to play their part in this one as they face a high powered Indiana Offense which has been able to throw the ball effectively all season. Shutting down the pass is going to be difficult, but especially so if the Nittany Lions can't slow down the run although that has been a strength of this Defense over their last three games.

Devine Redding has produced the numbers for Indiana at Running Back, but Penn State's Defensive Line has improved from giving up 166 yards per game on the ground over the course of the season to just 81 yards over the last three games. The Nittany Lions will likely not be able to stack the box as they may have done against other teams, but there has been an improvement there as they will try and shift the onus on Richard Lagow to beat them with his arm from Quarter Back.

Lagow has had some big numbers statistically but he has thrown too many Interceptions which can be critical in games like this. There will be some pass rush pressure around him when Indiana are in third and long spots which can lead to mistakes, but I also think Lagow will make some big plays to keep the Hoosiers moving the chains.

Ultimately I do think the turnovers are going to be the difference in this game and I am a little concerned that Indiana cover this number late with a backdoor Touchdown. However the Penn State team are on a roll and I believe a couple of Interceptions might help them pull away in this one with Barkley and McSorley making some big plays on the Offensive side of the ball to keep them clear of Indiana.

Some good Defenses have held this power Indiana Offense in check this season and I like Penn State being the latest to do that while winning by around ten points.

Northwestern Wildcats @ Purdue Boilermakers Pick: Both the Northwestern Wildcats and Purdue Boilermakers still have work to do if they are to become Bowl eligible, although it would be a surprise if the latter are able to win out to do that. The Wildcats need to win two of their last three games to reach the six win mark for the season, while they are not completely out of the Big Ten West Division race and a win in Week 11 will keep them on the outskirts of winning this Division.

They do need a lot of things to fall their way to have a chance to do that, but Northwestern will simply be focusing on bouncing back from losses to the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers. The Wildcats have perhaps struggled Offensively against two of the better Defenses in the Big Ten, but Northwestern might feel much more confident of their chances to move the chains and score points this week.

Justin Jackson is on the verge of making Running Back history for the Northwestern Wildcats by reaching 1000 yards on the ground in three successive seasons. He does have a good match up against the Boilermakers who have allowed almost 250 yards per game on the ground this season, while the last three teams have averaged 5.6 yards per carry against them which bodes well for Jackson.

If he is running the ball effectively, Purdue will have a very difficult time shutting down Northwestern's Offense as Clayton Thorson has been throwing the ball effectively even without a strong running support in recent games. Thorson will not face an immense pass rush from the Boilermakers which should allow him to make plays against a Secondary that has allowed 245 yards per game through the air in recent games and I can see a big game for the Quarter Back if he is being asked to make plays from third and manageable spots.

The Northwestern Offense should have a big game in Week 11, but they have to be thankful for their Defensive unit that they have been competitive for much of the season. They are now facing a Purdue team that have struggled for consistency on that side of the ball and Northwestern's Defensive Line are likely to put all of the pressure on David Blough at Quarter Back to beat them through the air.

This is a Defensive Line that has held teams to just 3.9 yards per carry in recent games despite facing Wisconsin and Ohio State, and Purdue have struggled to establish the run all season. That likely means Blough is being asked to throw the ball from third and long spots and the Quarter Back has been playing behind an Offensive Line that has struggled in protection for Blough.

It is a game in which Blough will likely make some big plays, but pressure up front and being asked to throw from third and long spots has meant the Quarter Back has turned the ball over at times. That might be a key in this one to give Northwestern extra possessions to move clear of this spread and I like the Wildcats to do that.

The Boilermakers might even be looking ahead to their last home game of the season next week against the Wisconsin Badgers as they look to knock off one of the best teams in the Conference. This just looks a tough day for them to keep up with the Wildcats anyway and I think Northwestern bounce back with a win by two Touchdowns in this one as they make enough plays on both sides of the ball to pull away.

Pittsburgh Panthers @ Clemson Tigers Pick: The Clemson Tigers have recorded wins over the Louisville Cardinals and the Florida State Seminoles which makes them on the verge of winning the ACC Atlantic and a place in the Conference Championship Game. One more Conference win will be enough for the Tigers, but they are looking to go unbeaten to confirm their place in the Play Off at the end of December.

The Tigers will be favoured to do that but the Championship Game is likely to be the biggest test they have left on their schedule. The Pittsburgh Panthers are coming in off a two game losing run and they still need one more win to become Bowl eligible but with two home games left in the regular season they will be favoured to do that.

Deshaun Watson is set to go for Clemson having suffered a bruised shoulder last week and he is going to be a key at Quarter Back for the Tigers. They might struggle to run the ball against this Pittsburgh Defensive Line which has played well for much of the season but who did have a really tough day against the Miami Hurricanes last week. If the Defensive Line is feeling a little banged up, Wayne Gallman could have a strong day running the ball, although the Tigers will lean on Watson at Quarter Back.

There will be some pressure on Watson with the pass rush that Pittsburgh have been able to generate and the Quarter Back has also been guilty of some turnovers which can be an issue. However Watson should be able to produce some big numbers through the air against a Secondary which has allowed over 300 passing yards per game this season and that could open the running lanes for Gallman and give Clemson the balance on the Offensive side of the ball.

It will be difficult for Pittsburgh to put the clamps on this Offense but there is a chance they can stay with Clemson for a little while in this one. The Panthers are strong in the line of scrimmage and they will feel they can establish an effective running game that can keep Watson and the Tigers Offense off the field especially as Clemson have struggled against the run in their last three games.

That has led to some closer than expected games and the Tigers have to show their Defense is still capable of winning at the line of scrimmage and force Nathan Peterman to beat them with his arm. Peterman did make some big plays last week in the loss against Miami, but could be faced with a fierce pass rush in this one which may force him to make quick throws while a ball-hawking Clemson Secondary will look for any mistakes.

Peterman has a chance to make some big plays in this one as the Clemson Secondary have given up some yards through the air, but Pittsburgh need to run the ball effectively too to make sure the pass rush is not on top of their Quarter Back in third and long spots.

I do think the Panthers will stay with Clemson for a while in this one, but I think the Tigers might be looking for some statement wins to stay in the voters mind. They just need to win out to effectively make it through to the College Football Play Offs but I think they might be catching Pittsburgh at the right time and can win this one big.

It is plenty of points for the Tigers to cover, but I can see a late Touchdown seeing them get over the hump in this one and I will back Clemson to win by around twenty-eight points in this one.

Ohio State Buckeyes @ Maryland Terrapins Pick: The formula for Ohio State to win the Big Ten Championship as well as book a place in the College Football Play Off looks simple on paper- win out and hope Penn State lose one more Conference game the Buckeyes should be in the top four of the College Football Rankings by the end of the regular season.

Everything is easier on paper and Ohio State will feel some style points could help their cause especially if they can back up the complete destruction of the Nebraska Cornhuskers this week. The biggest game left is clearly the one against the Michigan Wolverines at home, but the Buckeyes cannot afford a slip in the next two weeks with the Wolverines likely to enter the final week of the regular season undefeated.

Facing a banged up Maryland team who were just beaten by 56 points by Michigan looks to be coming round at the right time for the Buckeyes, but again they can't afford to look past this opponent. It might be a little more comfortable for the Buckeyes if Perry Hills is absent at Quarter Back for another week after coming out of the loss against Michigan.

Hills hadn't been playing badly before the shoulder issue in that game and could pose a threat for the Ohio State Defensive unit which has just given up a few more yards on the ground than they had earlier in the season. The Defensive Line is still a strength, but Hills has the mobility to make plays with his legs and Maryland struggled to get going without him under Center against the Wolverines last week.

If Maryland can establish some sort of rushing attack, it might at least force Ohio State to think a little more and also open a few passing lanes. Hills could have success and even Caleb Rowe will have been prepared better than he was last week and the Terrapins might actually sustain some drives and keep the powerful Ohio State Offense off the field.

However this is a team that might be able to play some quick strike Offense to start racking up the points and that has to be a concern for the Terrapins. This is an Ohio State that can rip off big gains running the ball behind a strong Offensive Line and that doesn't bode well for Maryland who have allowed 6.8 yards per carry over their last three games and gave up 7 yards per carry against the Wolverines last week.

It all should make life for JT Barrett that much more comfortable behind Center and he should be able to extend his run of games without throwing an Interception. Barrett is more than capable of running for First Downs himself, but he should also have success targeting a Secondary that might be playing one on one coverage as Maryland try to load the box to take away the running lanes. The Quarter Back is more than capable of hurting the Terrapins through the air having thrown 4 Touchdown passes against Nebraska and it looks like being another big game statistically for the Buckeyes who are inching towards the top four of the College Football Rankings.

You do have to say the Buckeyes are being asked to cover a lot of points on the road and against a team that will surely want to prove themselves after the blow out loss to the Michigan Wolverines. However the Buckeyes are playing to impress the voters at the moment and I think they win this one by close to five Touchdowns and cover on the road behind an Offensive unit that might not have a punt all day. The Defense can make a couple of big turnovers to give the extra possessions likely needed and I like the Buckeyes here.

LSU Tigers @ Arkansas Razorbacks Pick: It is never easy to pick yourself and be able to compete after taking the pounding by the Alabama Crimson Tide and it has been no different for the LSU Tigers. In each of the last two seasons they have faced the Arkansas Razorbacks immediately after the Alabama Crimson Tide and the Tigers have not only failed to cover, but they have lost both of those games outright.

That does mean LSU have got double revenge on their minds when they head to Arkansas in Week 11 but the Tigers have to be wary of a team that have only lost to the Crimson Tide at home. Arkansas have beaten both Mississippi and Florida at home as the underdog already and Bret Bielema would love to add another prestigious SEC team to the resume for the 2016 season.

It is the Razorbacks who have already made themselves Bowl eligible going into this weekend, but the LSU Tigers have been improving after moving on from Les Miles before the 10-0 shutout loss to Alabama last weekend. Leonard Fournette has to come out and prove he is capable of running the ball against the best Defensive Lines, but this does look like an easier match up for the Running Back.

The Arkansas Razorbacks Defensive Line has really struggled to stop teams being able to run the ball against them and that is a problem with Fournette behind the other line of scrimmage. Arkansas have allowed 6.9 yards per carry over their last three games and I can see the Tigers establishing the run this weekend with the added holes they will see compared with Week 10 and the Crimson Tide.

Danny Etling really had a hard time last week against Alabama, but he wasn't helped by an almost non-existent running support, and I expect better for the Quarter Back this weekend. With Fournette and the Tigers likely running the ball effectively, Etling won't be asked to do a lot more than manage the game and he should be able to make a few plays against the Arkansas Secondary whose numbers are helped by the fact they can't stop the run.

Arkansas will point out that they held the Florida Gators to just 12 rushing yards last week, but this is an altogether more difficult test and a real question as to how much they improved in that regard. On the other side of the ball they are not likely to give Austin Allen a lot of run support after seeing how well the LSU Tigers played on the Defensive Line and the struggles the Razorbacks have had to open the rushing lanes all season.

That means Allen will have to find time to throw the ball from third and long situations which is difficult against a top Defensive unit like this one. Arkansas did play really well against Florida in Week 10 and LSU are coming off a tough game with Alabama, but this is a team that has found pressure up front which has led to the Secondary picking up Interceptions.

LSU have allowed fewer than 200 passing yards over the course of the season and have been improved over their last three games which should make it difficult for Arkansas. I do have to respect how well the Razorbacks have played as the home underdog under the guidance of Bielema but I think the Tigers bounce back from their disappointing home loss to the Crimson Tide and can win on the road by around ten points.

USC Trojans @ Washington Huskies Pick: The Washington Huskies are reaching the expectations that some had for them in preseason and they can go a long way to securing a place in the College Football Play Off if they can get past the challenge of the USC Trojans. This is a team on the edge though and you have to think even winning the Pac-12 Championship might not be enough if they were to lose to one of their remaining three regular season opponents.

This is arguably the biggest test they have remaining as the USC Trojans have been an improving team through the season and have won their last five games in a row. However this is a team that has lost three times already and a defeat to the Trojans would not be a good look for Washington having just about got into the top four of the College Football Rankings last week.

Washington have had a couple of tough escapes already this season and this is a big test for them to show they are ready to compete with the best teams in the nation. As with a lot of these big games, the line of scrimmage is going to be so important for both teams and that is where the USC Trojans might be able to find some joy to give them a chance of the upset in this one.

Justin Davis has been held out by the Trojans in recent weeks as they look to get their Running Back healthy again, but that hasn't stopped USC hammering teams behind their Offensive Line. The O-Line has paved the way for 329 yards per game over their last three games and those have come at a mammoth 7.5 yards per carry, but it does have to be pointed out that the Trojans have not faced a Defensive unit as strong as this one.

On the other hand, Washington have shown some signs of wear and tear on the Defensive Line in their last three games and it is possible that USC can establish the run. That will ease the pressure on Sam Darnold who has exceeded all expectations at Quarter Back at this stage of his career and it should mean he has time to make plays if the Trojans are running the ball as effectively as they have been.

It is the other side of the ball where the USC Trojans also look like they might have an edge at the line of scrimmage which makes their chances of upsetting Washington look greatly increased. While Myles Gaskin has been strong at Running Back again and is going to surpass 1000 yards on the ground, he is facing a USC Defensive Line that have held teams to 4.1 yards per carry over their last three games. It could mean that Gaskins has moments where he is stopped in the backfield and that is an issue for this Washington Offense which is only as strong as the run they can establish.

That is no disrespect to Jake Browning who is having a big season at Quarter Back and is capable of running the ball himself when the situation calls for it. However Browning might not be as comfortable making plays in third and long spots consistently with the USC Trojans capable of turning the ball over even if he is having a career best year in his search for a Heisman Trophy bid.

Turnovers could be absolutely massive in this game and the other big factor could be the injury suffered by Joe Mathis at Linebacker. He has been a threat in the backfield for Washington all season and will be a big miss and it all looks like making the USC attractive as the big underdog in this one.

I love what Chris Peterson has done with the Huskies, but I will take the points and look for USC to make enough plays to keep this close although I think they might come close to the upset here too.

Colorado Buffaloes @ Arizona Wildcats Pick: The Colorado Buffaloes have been the whipping boys in the Pac-12 South for as long as most will remember, but Mike MacIntyre has to be given a boatload of credit for turning this school around. Not only are they on the verge of a first winning record in years, but the Colorado Buffaloes have a chance to win the Pac-12 South and play in the Championship Game at the beginning of next month.

That would be huge for Colorado although their sole Conference defeat came at USC which means they can't really afford to drop another game if the Trojans win out. That won't be easy for USC and Colorado will only focus on what they can control which is their own games as they head into Week 11 as a big road favourite against the Arizona Wildcats.

This easily looks like being the worst year since 2011 for the Wildcats who have slipped the last two seasons since winning 10 games. They have struggled to find the Quarter Back that gives them the best chance to win and it might be difficult to discover that in a game against a Defensive unit who have held their last five opponents to 21 points or fewer.

The problems for the Wildcats is going to be at the line of scrimmage where they will try to establish the run and keep whichever Quarter Back draws the start to be in a third and manageable spot. Samajie Grant has run the ball well for Arizona, but the Colorado Defensive Line has allowed just 1.8 yards per carry over their last three games which includes playing Stanford.

With that in mind, Arizona might have to throw out of third and long spots to maintain drives and the inconsistent play at Quarter Back could be a real problem for them. Add in the fact that the Offensive Line have not been very good in pass protection and those problems multiply against this Colorado team that have managed to get to the opposing Quarter Back very well over their last three games.

It wouldn't be a surprise if that led to Interceptions as throwing surrounded by pressure is not easy for the very best Quarter Backs in the nation. Extra possessions for the Colorado Buffaloes could see the team get back to some of the higher scoring they have been missing in recent games and this is a chance for Philipp Lindsay to back up his comments during the week of wanting to take the pressure of the Buffaloes Defense.

Lindsay is the premier Running Back for Colorado and should find some big lanes against the Arizona Defensive Line which has has allowed 232 yards per game over their last three games at 6 yards per carry. It is important for Colorado to get Lindsay going as that will ease some of the pressure their own Quarter Back Sefo Liufau has had to face in recent games which has prevented the Colorado Offense to really find a rhythm.

With Lindsay running the ball effectively, Liufau should find more time than he has recently as Arizona don't have a really strong pass rush. Being in third and manageable spots makes a big difference too and Liufau should have success throwing into a Secondary that have struggled to stop the pass with men committed to the stopping the run.

Keeping clear of turnovers will be huge for the Quarter Back and I think Colorado are going to have a big game Offensively after a couple of tight wins. This is a big number to cover on the road, but Arizona might be worn down emotionally and physically and I think the Buffaloes look much superior on both sides of the ball.

The Buffaloes have lost the last four against Arizona, but this current team is much better than previous ones and Arizona have also taken another step back. I will look for Colorado to record and impressive win by three Touchdowns on the road and will back them to cover the big point spread on the road with a couple of turnovers helping them pull away from their hosts.

MY PICKS: North Carolina Tar Heels - 10.5 Points @ 1.95 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Oklahoma Sooners - 17.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 28.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
West Virginia Mountaineers + 2 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Penn State Nittany Lions - 7 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Northwestern Wildcats - 13.5 Points @ 1.91 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 21 Points @ 1.95 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Ohio State Buckeyes - 29.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
LSU Tigers - 7 Points @ 2.00 Paddy Power (1 Unit)
USC Trojans + 8.5 Points @ 1.91 Ladbrokes (1 Unit)
Colorado Buffalos - 16 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

Week 10: 1-7, - 6.05 Units (8 Units Staked, - 75.63% Yield)
Week 93-8, - 5.23 Units (11 Units Staked, - 47.55% Yield)
Week 8: 4-5, - 1.27 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.11% Yield)
Week 74-5, - 1.28 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.22% Yield)
Week 67-1-1, + 5.35 Units (9 Units Staked, + 59.44% Yield)
Week 52-7-1, - 5.14 Units (10 Units Staked, - 51.40% Yield)
Week 46-3, + 2.59 Units (9 Units Staked, + 28.78% Yield)
Week 34-6, - 2.23 Units (10 Units Staked, - 22.3% Yield)
Week 24-5, - 1.32 Units (9 Units Staked, - 14.67% Yield)
Week 16-5, + 0.58 Units (11 Units Staked, + 5.27% Yield)

Season 201641-52-2, - 14 Units (95 Units Staked, - 14.74% Yield)

Season 201587-77-2, + 2.77 Units (166 Units Staked, + 1.67% Yield)
Season 201475-82-2, - 13.39 Units (172 Units Staked, - 7.78% 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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