@RickHHSports Week 11 CFB Picks
Tennessee @ Missouri (+2, o/u 58)
How do you think the Missouri Tigers have handled the week since picking up their first loss of the season? On one hand, they played arguably the best team in the country on the road and went toe-to-toe with them for all four quarters, proving that they belonged amongst the elite in college football. That might mean something to the media, or to us considering we have preconceived notions about this team, but what does it mean to the players and staff? Most certainly, they poured all of their effort and energy into that game, knowing if they won it and even picked up one loss the rest of the way they’d make the CFP.
Well, now you’ve lost that matchup in a truly grueling, grind-out fashion. Your star receiver Luther Burden III is questionable for the matchup as are a number of other players, and you welcome a hungry, rested Tennessee team that’s seemingly hit stride winning five of six with their only loss coming on the road to Alabama by 14 points. Rather than Georgia on the road last week, they thumped Connecticut 59-3 at home and were able to rest a lot of their starters. Nothing highlights this better than 12 different receivers catching the ball on the day and just one having more than 2 catches.
Joe Milton has continued to improve his accuracy this year, and while the Tigers have a respectable pass rush they’ve been susceptible through the air all year. Expect Tennessee’s elite rushing defense (97.3ypg, 2.9ypc) to make the Tigers one-dimensional and for Burden to not be AS elite as his other performances. The line feels sneaky, but I’ll take the Volunteers on the road in this spot against a beaten and bruised Missouri team.
Pick: Tennessee -2 -110
Michigan @ Penn State (+4.5, o/u 45)
I’ve been a Penn State apologist this year, I have no shame in admitting it. I have futures on them to win the Big Ten and I still stand by my rationale, that if Penn State, Ohio State, and Michigan are all relatively equal then Penn State should not be decidedly below the other two in the odds market. Well, we’re down to the closing stretch of the season and we’re right where I (and most everyone else) thought we’d be. Their combined records are 26-1, with the only loss being Penn State’s travel to Columbus.
If all goes right, Penn State wins this game and Michigan beats Ohio State so they all have one loss and a very respectable claim to a CFP berth. However, my preseason optimism about the Nittany Lions has waned slightly in some ways. More important than that, though, is that my any doubts I had about this Michigan team have been squashed repeatedly with each of their 9 victories.
Have they played anybody? No. It barely resembles a Power Five schedule with the opponents they’ve beaten. Their best win is probably Minnesota on the road, who is now 5-4. Your logical question after their schedule is how are they beating these teams? Well, you can’t look any better than they’ve looked against any of them considering they’ve allowed more than 10 points just once and it was in a 41-13 demolition of Purdue. They’ve put up 40+ in each of their last 5 games and their defense is indisputably the best group in the country.
My next logical concern for Michigan is whether they are big game ready. Have they been tested? How will their team on both sides of the ball respond when in a hostile environment in the second half of a tight game? We saw it last year, and a number of those players returned to this team, but will they be able to pass that test? My answer is yes, and the cheating allegations only make me more confident.
The media and fans alike are trying to discredit Michigan’s dominance this year because of cheating, and all that does to a locker room of coaches and players is encourage them to show the world just how good they are. They have the stage to do just that against a Penn State offense that is led by 6’5”, 243 lbs Drew Allar, a Josh Allen regen, and another incredible defense. On the road as 4 point favorites against another top 10 team of similar quality feels dangerous, but I expect this Michigan team to go into Happy Valley angry and impose their will. Give me Michigan and the points.
Pick: Michigan -4.5 -110
Lonte’s Week 11 College Football Best Bet
Auburn @ Arkansas (-2.5, O/U 49.5)
I think the power rating for Arkansas is a little off. Two factors are causing them to be undervalued. The firing of Dan Enos and the return of star RB Rocket Sanders.
Auburn’s strength is the ground game but the Hogs’ defense ranks top 20 in rush success rate allowed. Auburn is also better defensively vs the pass than the run. Hogs uptempo rush attack should have success here.
Arkansas has a shot at a bowl if they win out. No lookahead with FIU waiting after this. Big spot for the Hogs and Pittman, I think reverting back to the old offense helps the OL and KJ Jefferson.
The defense will keep Auburn in known passing downs which is advantage Hogs. I project this closer to Arkansas -5 and I think we get a 28-12 type of win for them here.
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