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Saturday, 10 November 2018

College Football Week 11 Picks 2018 (November 10th)

The College Football regular season has moved into the middle of November and that means we are down to the final three weeks of the season.

Some teams have already secured their Championship Game spots, while others continue to play with the pressure of knowing one more loss would put them out of contention for a College Football Play Off berth.

Last week saw the LSU Tigers beaten by the Alabama Crimson Tide which has effectively put them out of the running barring something crazy happening over the next three weeks. Both the Alabama Crimson Tide and Clemson Tigers look good for the Play Offs and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are going to be hard to ignore if they remain unbeaten.

It could mean we will come down to the Big 12 Champion and the Big Ten Champion fighting it out for the last spot that will be available, but something like Georgia beating Alabama and winning the SEC Championship would make them hard to ignore as a one loss team.

That could actually make them a stronger one loss team than either the Big 12 or Big Ten Champion and mean the SEC is given two places in the Play Offs along with an unbeaten Clemson and Notre Dame team.

I'm looking too far ahead to be honest and none of the Head Coaches of the leading teams will be worrying about anything but winning out. That is the only way they will feel they have a best chance of making the Play Offs and so the attention has to be given to the Week 11 games that are on deck.

Week 10 proved to be another winning week for the College Football Picks and my Week 11 selections can be seen below.

South Carolina Gamecocks @ Florida Gators Pick: The Georgia Bulldogs have already secured the SEC East Division but that doesn't mean the South Carolina Gamecocks and Florida Gators can go home and not worry about being competitive. It doesn't matter the Division is gone as the two Head Coaches of the Gamecocks and Gators look to turn around their programmes and produce a winning culture.

The Florida Gators had been well in the mix for the SEC East title until they dropped back to back games against the Georgia Bulldogs and Missouri Tigers. At least they are already Bowl eligible and with four games left to play Florida can still get things turned around and finish with a 10 win season after winning just 4 games in 2017.

South Carolina have three games left and still need to win one more game to make sure they eligible to go Bowling this season too. They have to win out if they want to match the nine wins they earned in 2017 before the likely Bowl Game, although that will also mean South Carolina potentially playing spoiler for rivals Clemson Tigers who they face on the road in two weeks time.

There have been signs that Florida's Defensive Line has just been worn down over the course of the season, although this unit have underachieved for much of the 2018 campaign anyway. Injuries to the South Carolina Running Back corps is a slight concern, although no one is set to miss this game and the Gamecocks have been much stronger at running the ball in 2018 compared with 2017 which is important for them this week.

It will keep things simpler for Jake Bentley at Quarter Back who had a fine game in leading the Gamecocks to a win over Florida last season. Bentley is not going to have an easy game against this Secondary, but he should enjoy some success as long as the Gamecocks can establish the run as I think they can and that will put South Carolina in a position to win this game outright.

I like the Gamecocks with the start on the spread in this one and that is mainly down to the inconsistent performances we have seen from the Florida Offensive unit all season. It has become such an issue that Head Coach Dan Mullen is not going to name his starting Quarter Back until much closer to kick off, while the Offensive Line has been a little up and down with their own play as they look to help the team establish the run.

The Gatos are better at home so I would expect them to give the Gamecocks something to think about, but South Carolina's Defensive Line has been capable of making some big plays up front. If they can do that here and then disrupt whoever starts the game behind Center, I do think South Carolina can give Will Muschamp the chance to win a game in this Stadium for the first time since being fired as Florida Head Coach.

Keeping Florida in third and long will be a win for South Carolina more often than not and I do like the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks are 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight on the road, while Florida are just 3-9-1 against the spread in their last thirteen following a loss.

Add in the road team going 3-1-1 against the spread in the last five in this series and I think the Gamecocks are the team I want to get behind here.

Mississippi State Bulldogs @ Alabama Crimson Tide Pick: The Alabama Crimson Tide have shown time and again in the 2018 season that they are going to be very hard to beat as the defending Champions. The dominant 29-0 win on the road against the LSU Tigers, a team considered to be amongst the elite in the nation, has underlined that point and the Crimson Tide have secured a spot in the SEC Championship Game.

Nick Saban won't be interested in that and any complacency will be met firmly by the Head Coach who has led the Crimson Tide to multiple National Championships.

Next up for the Crimson Tide is the Mississippi State Bulldogs who have become Bowl eligible thanks to back to back wins although they have still have to be considered an inconsistent team. The Bulldogs have put a couple of solid wins together, but it is hard to ignore the fact they scored just 16 combined points in their three losses to the Kentucky Wildcats, Florida Gators and LSU Tigers and now have a considerable step up in play.

The Bulldogs have to hope their hosts are perhaps in a letdown spot having dominated the LSU Tigers on the road in what many considered to be the biggest test of the season for the Crimson Tide. However that is just the latest in a run of really strong wins for the Crimson Tide and I don't think there will be a problem for them to get up for this game.

Tua Tagovailoa is dealing with a knee issue which has been a concern for some time for Alabama, but he is not expected to sit out and has shown his standards are not slipping. Last week he threw his first Interception of the season, but that didn't stop the Quarter Back from throwing a couple more Touchdown passes and he is all set to break the single season record set by AJ McCarron in 2012.

With three home games to go I think Tagovailoa will throw the four Touchdown passes he needs to snap the record by the end of the game next week against the overmatched The Citadel. However I expect him to be at least half way to breaking the record this week by throwing at least two more Touchdown passes while Alabama should be able to establish the run as their Offensive Line continues to bully opponents.

That is no disrespect to the Bulldogs Defensive unit who have played really well all season, but Kentucky were able to score 28 points against them and a limited LSU Offense managed to score 19. This is the best Offensive team the Bulldogs will have faced and the Defensive unit will need some help from the Offensive team to at least give the Defensive team some rest.

Nick Fitzgerald remains in charge of the Offense but the Quarter Back has been very inconsistent and especially so when facing the better teams in the College Football ranks. He is a dual-threat Quarter Back and may need all the running his legs can give him to try and keep the Alabama Defense off-balance, but Fitzgerald will need to play at a level he has yet to reach this season.

Running the ball against Alabama is not easy and even a dual-threat Quarter Back is going to have it tough with the speed the Crimson Tide have on the field.

It feels like it will be a difficult game for Mississippi State and I think Alabama can cover what is seen as a big number on paper. The Crimson Tide are 4-1 against the spread in their last five at home against the Bulldogs and they have been very strong all season and not looked like coming close to a loss.

They have covered in their last three games and I think we will see another strong win from the Crimson Tide here.

Auburn Tigers @ Georgia Bulldogs Pick: Back to back wins over the Florida Gators and Kentucky Wildcats has earned the Georgia Bulldogs another trip to the SEC Championship Game. If they can win out this season they will go into that Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide with just one loss on their record and a win over the Number 1 Ranked team would surely mean the Bulldogs would be going back to the College Football Play Offs.

They reached the final four as SEC Champion twelve months ago when they earned a revenge win over the Auburn Tigers in the Championship Game having been beaten by them in the regular season.

This year's edition of the Auburn Tigers have been a big disappointment to be honest and while they have secured back to back wins to become Bowl eligible, Auburn are also just 3-3 in Conference play.

Offensively it has been a chore for them all season and that is not going to chase between the hedges against a home team like the Georgia Bulldogs who will want to show the Committee how strong they are. In general Auburn have been able to run the ball in their games, but they struggled last week and it isn't going to be much easier for them against the Bulldogs who look to be stronger in the trenches on both sides of the ball.

Jarrett Stidham did have a good showing against the Texas A&M Aggies but the Quarter Back has found things tougher on the road and this Georgia Secondary have continued to show how good they are.

Even though I believe the Tigers could struggle, this is a big spread for the Bulldogs to cover simply because their own Offense has not been playing to the level that was expected. They are off back to back strong showings, but Jake Fromm has to prove he can compete with the better teams out there and this Tigers Defensive unit is one of the better ones out there.

However it has to be said they have not been as strong on the road and I would expect the Georgia Bulldogs Offensive Line to find a way to help the team to establish the run. The Tigers Defensive Line have allowed 4.9 yards per carry on the road and Georgia should be able to take advantage of the situation.

Running the ball is all important for the Bulldogs as it will slow down the Auburn pass rush and also give Fromm better down and distances to manage.

I think they do that and I think that sets Georgia up fo an impressive win in this one. The favourite has gone 7-2 against the spread in the last nine in this series and Auburn are 0-5 against the spread in their last five visits here.

Georgia have some very strong numbers at home against the spread, while Auburn are 2-6 against the spread in their last eight against a team with a winning record. On the other side is the Bulldogs who are 8-2 against the spread in their last ten against a team with a winning record and I will back the home team to win and cover in this one.

Clemson Tigers @ Boston College Eagles Pick: The best chance the ACC Conference has of sending a team to the Play Off has to be seeing Clemson Tigers go undefeated and their best remaining test perhaps comes in Week 11.

This week they face the Boston College Eagles on the road and a win for the home team will actually put them in pole position to reach the Championship Game ahead of Clemson. In that situation I can't see how the Play Off Committee could have the Tigers over any one loss team from either the Big Ten or Big 12 Conferences and so there is plenty of pressure on the shoulders of the Clemson players this week.

The layers aren't taking any chances though with the Tigers set as a big favourite on the road and recent form suggests they will be able to cover. I am not disrespecting a very good Boston College team who are 7-2 for the season and 4-1 in the Conference knowing if they win out in the ACC they will be playing in the Championship Game against all the odds.

Boston College's performances means the public are quite split on the spread and that is only a good thing when I favour a favourite as I do with the powerful Tigers.

In the last two games between these schools, Clemson have won by 46 points and 27 points and the Tigers have moved to another level after scraping past the Syracuse Orange by winning their next four games by at least 34 points per game.

Both Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne have thrived at Quarter Back and Running Back respectively and the balance of the Tigers Offensive unit makes them very dangerous. The Eagles Defensive unit have been very good throughout the season, but they are going to be challenged in a way they have rarely been challenged and the defeat to Purdue Boilermakers gives me some insight into how much success the Clemson Tigers will have, especially as they are stronger than Purdue in most aspects of the Offense.

What has made Clemson so successful this season is that their Defensive unit is able to also step up and make sure the Offensive players don't need to score too many points to win games. That relaxation has allowed the Offense to explode in the last four games and it is going to be tough for the Boston College Eagles to really challenge the Tigers when they have the ball.

You know you are going to get a lot of running from the Eagles as they look to establish the ground game, but this Tigers Defensive Line has really played at a high level. It is going to make it very difficult for the Eagles to consistently move the chains and once they are in a position where they have to throw the ball to stay with the Tigers I think Clemson take over this game completely.

The road team has gone 5-1 against the spread in the last six of this series and though I am impressed with some of the trends which favour Boston College, I think the Clemson Tigers could have a stand out win this week to underline their Play Off credentials.

MY PICKS: South Carolina Gamecocks + 6.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet365 (1 Unit)
Illinois Fighting Illini + 17.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Ohio State Buckeyes - 3.5 Points @ 1.95 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Alabama Crimson Tide - 23.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Georgia Bulldogs - 13.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Clemson Tigers - 18.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)

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