CFB Week 11
College Football TV-Watching Guide – Week 11
Don’t look now, but the finish line of the college football regular season is starting to approach in the distance. There are only a precious few games left for teams to make its case to the committee, beat its rivals, or clinch bowl eligibility. Let’s dive in.
12:00 PM: #3 Michigan Wolverines @ #10 Penn State Nittany Lions (+4.5) – FOX
Welcome to the 2023 season Michigan! Glad to have you! The Wolverines first test of the season comes in November as they go on the road to take on Penn State. Michigan has coasted through its schedule as expected, and through the sign stealing scandal off the field still (as of this writing) are going into the final stretch with Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines and a playoff berth in play.
Without exaggeration, it might only take 10 points to win this game. The Wolverines and Nittany Lions boast the best two defenses in yards and two of the top three (with Ohio State) in scoring defense. It’s the unquestionable strength of both teams. In fact, both teams have also faced similar struggles on offense to run the football and hit explosive plays down field. Michigan has the advantage at quarterback with JJ McCarthy putting together a solid Heisman campaign, but PSU signal-caller Drew Allar has been much better in front of friendly fans than on the road.
At the end of the day, I think Michigan has the advantage in two key spots to Penn State’s one, assuming the defenses are a wash. I’d take Harbaugh over James Franklin and McCarthy over Allar in the Wolverines favor, but Penn State getting this game at home is a very big deal for its team and fans. Michigan gets a tight win in the fourth quarter, eliminates PSU from the playoff, and earns a first solid win to its resume.
3:30 PM: #18 Utah Utes @ #5 Washington Huskies (-9.5) – FOX
The Huskies and Heisman-favorite QB Michael Penix Jr. return to Seattle this Saturday after winning a thriller over USC a week ago for a matchup with Utah. I’m not a Pac-12 head coach (shocker I know…), but no matter how solid my team was on offense I would be terrified of the physical and tough Utes defense coming into my city whenever that day arrives.
The Utes have the best defense that is in the top-10 nationally and lead the conference, but struggle to get momentum on the other side of the ball. Nobody gets to the quarterback better than Jonah Elliss in the Pac-12, and could play a game wrecker role if he gets a few hits on Penix.
The issue for Utah here is the offense really struggles, and if Washington does what it does with the ball the Utes defense will get gassed quickly. I see Washington overcoming some early struggles to comfortably win in the second half.
7:00 PM: #9 Ole Miss Rebels @ #2 Georgia Bulldogs (-10.5) – ESPN
The gauntlet for Georgia continues this week as the Bulldogs continue to check every box in front of them for close to three years as they host Lane Kiffin’s Ole Miss Rebels.
Carson Beck, similar to his team, just continues to chug along with 16 touchdowns to only four interceptions at a highly efficient 72.2% completion rate. He doesn’t do anything special, he doesn’t make you worried in the run game. Beck just sits back in the pocket behind his offensive line and makes many correct decisions. Losing Brock Bowers was massive in the negative direction, but getting WR Ladd McConkey back from injury replaces Bowers’ experience and reliability.
Ole Miss just squeaked past Texas A&M in Oxford last Saturday, and the Aggies had a chance to send the game to overtime with a field goal that ended up blocked. Jaxon Dart isn’t asked to do as much as Beck at quarterback for the Rebels, but racked up 387 passing yards in the win last week. RB Quinshon Judkins will always be a focus and is back to his usual self after suffering from early season injuries with three straight 100+ yard games.
This game being in Athens is a factor, but not as much as Georgia’s talent advantage. How often do you see a team favored by over 10 points in a top-10 ranked matchup? Bulldogs win and cover comfortably.
12:00 PM: #8 Alabama Crimson Tide @ Kentucky Wildcats (+10.5) – ESPN
- This Alabama team just continues to shape-shift into whatever form is needed to win every Saturday. Whether it’s dragging Ole Miss down into a rock fight, lighting up the scoreboard with strong QB play against LSU, or one half each of both against Tennessee. The Crimson Tide haven’t lost since Week 2 and are still a very important factor in the playoff race.
3:30 PM: #13 Tennessee Volunteers @ #14 Missouri Tigers (+1) – CBS
- Missouri enters this week off of a loss against Georgia last Saturday, and Tennessee looks to pick up a win going into its game against the Bulldogs. Neither team can win the division at this point, but the victor on Saturday in Columbia would be in a good position for a New Year’s Six bowl game.
7:30 PM: Florida Gators @ #19 LSU Tigers (-14) – SEC Network
- I almost put Oregon/USC in this spot, but that would be a little insulting. Florida has a nice little measuring stick team in the SEC, the good teams beat the Gators and the bad teams can’t (except Arkansas?). Florida just might have the weapons to hang around, especially if Jayden Daniels can’t go for the Tigers.
THE ‘WAIT YOU’RE RANKED NOW?’ GAMES OF THE WEEK
2:00 PM: #21 Arizona Wildcats @ Colorado Buffaloes – Pac 12 Network
3:30 PM: Rutgers Scarlet Knights @ #22 Iowa Hawkeyes – Big Ten Network