NCAA Football Week 11 Recap/Preview
Week eleven was arguably the most action-packed week of the college football season! The entire top ten was on upset alert, and the college football playoff picture got flipped on its head after some big-time upsets. Here, I will recap all the betting action, and give you games to start evaluating for next week. Let’s get started!
Convicts vs. Catholics
The U is back, baby! The University of Miami has had its fair share of good luck this season. Some soft scheduling, coupled with some last-second heroics, had the Hurricanes as undefeated but not unquestioned. Well, all those questions are answered now. Most didn’t give the ‘Canes much of a shot against Brian Kelly’s mighty Fighting Irish this week. In fact, Miami was a home underdog, even with that undefeated record and number seven National ranking. That looks silly now, after the ‘Canes blasted Notre Dame 41-8 on Saturday night in primetime.
The turnover chain, which by the way is the greatest thing about college football this year, was out early and often, as the Miami defense swarmed the overwhelmed Irish. And it could have been worse! The ‘Canes let up a little bit after running the score up to 34-0 just after halftime. It was an epic beatdown, and the game wasn’t remotely competitive. Anyone that was wondering how real the Hurricanes’ undefeated record was isn’t wondering any more.
The only question now is: will Miami run the table and take home another National Title? Next week, they have a soft home matchup against Virginia as 19.5-point favorites. I know I just talked about them winning a National Title, but this matchup stinks like a let-down for Miami. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t going to lose, but cover a close-to-three-touchdown number? Probably not. It will be hard for Miami not to look ahead a couple weeks to that huge showdown between them and the defending National Champions, Clemson, in the ACC title game. That game’s winner will certainly find themselves in the playoffs, and depending on how everything else shakes out, the loser might make the playoff, too!
The two-loss Irish just don’t have enough left on the schedule to make up for the late loss. It will still go down as a successful season in South Bend, though, as Brian Kelly was on the coaching hot seat coming into this season, and has bought himself at least another year or two with this strong campaign. The Irish will be laying -18 points next week against Navy. This is a long-running rivalry game, and it will be hard to get the Irish too hyped for this one. I think I’ll take the Midshipmen and the points next week.
Number One Goes Down!
The Georgia Bulldogs’ reign as the number-one team in the country lasted for all of one week. The Bulldogs knew that winning at Auburn was going to be a tough task, but I’m not sure they anticipated the speed they were going to have to face on Saturday. Tigers’ running back Kerryon Johnson did what he has been doing to defenses all season long—namely, anything that he wants to. Johnson rushed for 167 yards on the ground, and added 66 yards and a score through the air. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 7-0 lead early, and then it was all Auburn, as the Tigers took it 40-17.
Georgia has SEC punching bag Kentucky next week, and will be 21.5-point favorites. Georgia’s spot in the SEC title game has never really been in jeopardy, as they hold a two-game lead over South Carolina, but a slip-up in either of the two games before then could cost them a spot in the playoffs, even if they were to win the SEC Championship. I expect the Dogs to take out a lot of pent-up aggression on the Cats next week and easily cover the spread.
The Tigers have a laugher next week against Louisiana Monroe as 36.5-point favorites, before a huge showdown with rival Alabama. It won’t be the first time the rivals face off with National Title implications on the line. If Auburn is able to beat ‘Bama in the Iron Bowl, they will find themselves in the SEC Championship game in a rematch against Georgia. Talk about what a difference a week can make. Last week it looked like Auburn was going to finish up 8-4 and head to a middle-of-the-road Bowl game, and now they are one win away from possibly playing for the National Title! War Eagle!
The Alabama Crimson Tide played from behind for most of the night and were lucky to sneak out of Starkville with their undefeated record intact. It took two late TDs for ‘Bama to turn the tide in this one, pun intended. The last of which came with just 25 seconds on the clock. With the rest of the top ten crumbling under the pressure of late-season football, Nick Saban’s squad did what they always do: got the job done and won the game. It wasn’t pretty, but that 10-0 record sure is. That record won’t be on the line next week as they play Mercer. The books can’t count high enough to find a line that ‘Bama won’t cover, so you might not be able to bet it. The season comes down to the Iron Bowl in two weeks, on the road, at Auburn.
Baker Mayfield Locks Up the Heisman Trophy
Yup. That’s all folks. Your 2017 Heisman trophy winner? Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield. Mayfield already had the award well within his grasp after throwing for 600 yards and 6 TDs last week, but after this performance, you can go ahead and call it a day and hand him the trophy. In a vacuum, the performance wasn’t really that great—333 yards and 3 scores, another 50 yards on the ground. But in the context of the season? It couldn’t have been bigger.
Mayfield led his Sooner team over the last real hurdle left between them and a spot in the college football playoff. The 38-20 final score makes it look like this game was kind of close, but it wasn’t. This was all Boomer Sooner. Next stop for Oklahoma? The playoffs. The Sooners travel to Kansas to play the 1-9 Jayhawks as 35-point favorites next weekend in what will be a stat-padding game for Mayfield. If you are a Kansas fan, you are better off starting basketball season a little early; it’s going to be ugly.
For TCU, it’s back to the drawing board. They acquitted themselves well this season, and the program continues to grow into one of the finest in the country; they just didn’t have the firepower to hang with the Big 12 elite. They play at Texas Tech as -7.5-point underdogs next week, and I am a little bit scared of that game. This beating at the hands of Oklahoma might cause a bit of a hangover, and I think Texas Tech at home could be a sneaky good underdog pick. Upset alert?
WAZZU for a National Title?
I know, calm down, it’s a stretch. But hear me out here. Washington State is 9-2, with big wins over Stanford and USC. They will play the Washington Huskies, after taking a very late-in-the-season bye, in two weeks. If they beat Washington, they will then find themselves in the Pac 12 title game against what will likely be a top-ten USC team. An 11-2 record with back-to-back wins against top-ten teams? If that isn’t a case for a playoff berth out of the Pac 12 this year, I don’t know what is!
This week, the Cougs took care of business against a decent Utah team, and will have two weeks to plan for the game of the year at Washington. I am willing to bet the Huskies will be laying at least a touchdown in the Apple Cup this year, and they will be on full upset alert, as Mike Leach and company are ready to make a run at a big-time bowl game. A National Title in Pullman? Where is Ryan Leaf when you need him?
About Those Huskies
All speculation aside, the Washington Huskies were the Pac 12’s best chance to get a team in the playoff this year. This week, those dreams likely fell apart as they lost on Friday night 30-22 to the Stanford Cardinal. Well, really to Bryce Love, to be exact. If you haven’t gotten to watch Love play this year, you are really missing out. I know I just said that Baker Mayfield is going to win the Heisman, and he will, but Bryce Love is the best player in the country.
Love ran wild for 166 yards and three scores to lead Stanford to the win. It’s a shame the Cardinal weren’t just a little better this year, as Love deserves a bigger portion of the spotlight than he has gotten this season. Love has over 1600 yards on the season, and could eclipse the 2,000-yard mark before the season is all said and done. You can expect another big game from Love next week against Cal, where the Cardinal will be 16-point favorites. Not sure how much I like laying that much wood, but I would easily take the over on 150 yards from Love. For Washington, they will try and keep any title hopes alive with a home game against Utah as 17-point favorites.
Ohio State Is Good, They Are Bad, They Are Good Again
It’s hard to figure out just who the Ohio State Buckeyes are this season. This week, they looked like the best team in the country after dismantling a top-15-ranked Michigan State team 48-3. The week before? They got blown out by a hapless Iowa team. Two weeks before that? They beat an undefeated and number-two-ranked Penn State team. So just who are these Buckeyes this year?
Your guess is as good as mine. I know they are very talented and could very well win the National Title if given the opportunity. They could also get blown out by Michigan in two weeks. All I know is that I am done betting on Ohio State this year, as they are just too inconsistent. Which is shocking, really, considering head coach Urban Meyer’s history of excellence. The Big 10 East Division has more talent in it than most conferences, but the winner is going to have two losses. Will that be enough to get one of them into the playoffs? Only time will tell. It is helping the cause that Wisconsin is ransacking through a joke of a schedule and should hit the Big 10 Championship game undefeated, but it is still going to be a stretch. Stay tuned for more drama in the Big 10!
The Cowboys Ride Again
The Oklahoma State Cowboys might be the most fun team in the country to watch. They play fast-paced, with high energy, and score a ton of points. Quarterback Mason Rudolph is as good as it gets, and the Cowboys and coach Mike Gundy back down to nobody. It would have been easy for the Cowboys to shrivel up and die after a heart-breaking loss last week to bitter rival Oklahoma. Especially against a very game Iowa State team that has been wreaking havoc in the Big 12 this year.
But they didn’t. The Cowboys laced them up again and won yet another shootout 49-42. Rudolph shined again with 376 yards passing and three TDs, and the Cowboys lived up to their fun-to-watch reputation. The playoff is out of reach this year for OK State, but they have two soft matchups in a row against K State and Kansas to finish out the season, and you can bet there will be fireworks. Do yourself a favor and tune in and have a lot of fun watching the Cowboys light up that scoreboard.
After beating Oklahoma and TCU, it looked like Iowa State might have its eyes set on the playoffs, but then reality set in and they dropped two in a row. The Cyclones’ 6-4 record truly does not show how good of a team this is this year, and I am a bit surprised at next week’s number against the 1-9 Baylor Bears. Iowa State will be -9.5-point favorites, and I think they roll against the laughing stock of the big 12 this year: the Baylor Bears.
What a crazy slate of games! We knew it would be a good one, with six different ranked matchups, and it did not disappoint. Lots of movement in the top ten, and the race for the playoff is as wide open as it has ever been. Next week is a bit of a down week, as most teams are resting up before rivalry week the following Saturday. But if this season has taught us anything, it is that no game can be overlooked, and any team can win! Stay tuned later in the week for my individual game breakdowns, where I will tell you what games to target and what side you want to be on. Good luck, and happy betting!