I did not have a great week picking games in Week 11. I underestimated Baylor on the road at Oklahoma, put too much faith in Notre Dame on the road, and thought Kansas State would solve TCU. I got burned pretty badly in each of those games, and I am ashamed of going 2-4 last week. The only teams I correctly picked to win were Oregon and Ohio State. My wife did much better and has had a bounce-back week that she had been waiting for. Stef correctly picked Baylor, Arizona State, TCU and Oregon, but missed on Michigan State and LSU at home. Whatever the result, she got back in the win column this week against me.
Through 11 weeks of the season, I stand with an overall record of 39-27. My wife has gone 37-29. I like to think I taught her everything she knows, but she does her own homework when it comes to making her weekly picks, so I can take no credit for her 6-5 lead in the weekly results this season. It is crunch time, so let’s see what I can about answering with a win of my own this week.
Here are this week’s games and picks. We have some good ones this week and no west coast games for a change. A reminder that all rankings are based on the College Football Playoff rankings and all times are eastern.
No. 25 Minnesota vs. No. 8 Ohio State, 12:00 p.m. ABC
I do not need to tell you how optimistic I am about Ohio State. I still actually see the Buckeyes wiggling into the College Football Playoff, although there is a chance I may adjust that next week (stay tuned!). After winning at Michigan State last week, I see nothing standing in their way of winning the Big Ten. The Buckeyes were also given a little bit of a bonus this week by the selection committee by seeing Minnesota ranked by the committee in this week’s rankings. That offers a chance to add another top 25 win to the Ohio State profile. After moving up to No. 8, Ohio State is within striking distance of the playoff, and I think they can start to smell it. Back on the road this week for the third time in four games, Ohio State is battle tested and capable of blitzing through the final three games. They will need to record big wins these final three games (@ Minnesota, Indiana, Michigan) before heading to the Big Ten Championship Game. The weather in Minnesota should be a concern, as should the Minnesota confidence level and running game, but the Buckeyes prevail here. We both call it.
I Say: Ohio State
Wife Says: Ohio State
No. 22 Georgia Tech vs. No. 19 Clemson, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Georgia Tech is riding quite the hot streak since losing back-to-back games against Duke and North Carolina. The Yellow Jackets have scored 56 points in a game twice in the last three games, and they remain just one game back in the loss column behind Duke in the ACC Coastal Division. Time is running out for Georgia Tech to capture the ACC Coastal Division, with this being the last ACC game on the schedule, so a win here is absolutely necessary. Then Georgia Tech needs some help to hand Duke two losses (doesn’t look good, but not impossible). We should see quite the contrast of offensive styles with Georgia Tech pounding the ball on the ground and Clemson looking to move through the air. Deshaun Watson returns as starting quarterback this week, and that should help give the offense a little spark. Clemson has not lost since losing in overtime at Florida State in mid-September. Stef likes that streak to continue, while I have the Yellow Jackets stinging the Tigers.
I Say: Georgia Tech
Wife Says: Clemson
No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 1 Mississippi State, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Mississippi State has enjoyed a nice ride atop the college football world the past few weeks, but that comes to an end this week if our picks are accurate. The Crimson Tide are actually the favorite at home, as it seems the world is waiting for Mississippi State to drop back to Earth. Dak Prescott may have an OK afternoon, but can he make enough plays against an Alabama defense that has improved and hit its stride in recent weeks? I don’t think Mississippi State gets run out of Bryant-Denny Stadium, but I think Alabama is capable of turning in a solid enough win to take over the top spot in the polls on Sunday (and Tuesday?). The big question for me is how does Mississippi State lose? If they are competitive and keep it close, will they stay in the top four of the College Football Playoff rankings? I think they should if this is a tight one, but we can worry about that next week if they go down in defeat this weekend.
I Say: Alabama
Wife Says: Alabama
No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 16 Nebraska
The big game in the Big Ten this week is found in the west. A week after Ohio State-Michigan State in the game of the year in the east, we now have Wisconsin and Nebraska looking to take the lead in the Big Ten West, a division that is going to be fun to watch these last few weeks. Really, it will be. Just give it a chance. The story here is the running backs. Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah is expected to play, but what percent is he ready to go into full Abdullah mode? Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon leads the nation in rushing. Yes, two of the best running backs in the Big Ten can be found going head-to-head here, and they may even be two of the best running backs in the country.
Give me the Badgers at home. My wife is taking the Huskers.
I Say: Wisconsin
Wife Says: Nebraska
No. 15 Georgia vs. No. 9 Auburn, 7:15 p.m. ESPN
I was extremely tempted to go with Auburn here, and I suspect they will come back on a bit of a mission after getting edged at home last week by Texas A&M. But I am going to go with Georgia in this one, because I like the way they have played in the absence of Todd Gurley (except for that Florida game of course, what was that?). Now, Gurley returns to the field and I think he is going to be in for a big evening in his return after serving a four-game suspension. I think Gurley is out of the Heisman picture but he can still create some rumblings with a big night on the ground. I’m not sure Auburn can slow it down enough and I think the Tigers take a second straight loss. My wife thinks they bounce back though.
I Say: Georgia
Wife Says: Auburn
Miami vs. No. 3 Florida State, 8:00 p.m. ABC
Florida State is a small favorite on the road this week against Miami, and I am not entirely sure why. I get that the Seminoles have not played what is perceived to be a complete game this season, and maybe Miami will be able to move the football against the Florida State defense with Duke Johnson carrying the load, but am I supposed to be impressed by Miami and their three-game winning streak fueled by two wins over ACC opponents that may not even go to a bowl game this season? You know I am a huge Al Golden supporter, but give me Florida State with Jameis Winston to get the job done once again.
I Say: Florida State
Wife Says: Florida State
So there you have our picks for the big games this weekend. Feel free to share your own picks or predict which one of us will win this week by leaving a comment below. Then check back next week to see how we did and where things stand heading to Week 13!