"Roughing the Passer - A PK Frazier Novel"

My new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" is the follow-up to "Illegal Procedure" and "Roughing the Passer" and is now available in print and in e-formats at amazon.com, smashwords.com and iBooks. Follow me on twitter @kevinkrest.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK ELEVEN PICKS

Last Week: 19 - 5      79.2%
Overall:     224 - 71   75.9%

Not much change at the top of the College Football Playoff Committee (CFP) rankings this week. Texas A&M fell out after a loss to Mississippi State, but very few analysts really felt they belonged in the first place. At the top now are the undefeated front runners in four of the five power conferences. Can they win out to create an elite playoff field? History would dictate otherwise, but all four are certainly playing at a level above the rest of the field, barely ahead of the one-loss teams just behind them, Ohio State and Louisville. Top ranked Alabama takes on that Mississippi State team that sent Texas A&M tumbling slightly to number eight, so I'm sure the Bulldogs got the Tide's full attention before a virtual tie week precedes their Iron Bowl game against dangerous Auburn. I would have to agree with the committee's selections with the other top four teams playing dangerous opponents: Washington hosts twentieth ranked USC, Clemson entertains Pittsburgh and Michigan travels to Iowa.

Thursday: (from an earlier post)

(17) North Carolina (7 - 2) 27 @ Duke (3 - 6) 20: Usually a Thursday road game can be a problem for the visitors, but these schools are only a few miles apart. In addition, Duke's home field advantage is non-existent. But the Blue Devils gave now-14th ranked Virginia Tech all they could handle last week and might be able to challenge the Tar Heels.

(15) Utah (7 - 2) 30 @ Arizona State (5 - 4) 24: Utah had a bye week to get over a close loss to Washington and they head to the desert to take on the Sun Devils. Trailing Colorado by a game in the Pac-12 South, they still control their own destiny because of a win over USC and a season-ending clash with Colorado. Arizona State's defense is just too much of a liability against good teams.

Friday: (from an earlier post)

Boston College (4 - 5) 17 @ (18) Florida State (6 - 3) 34: Florida State is hanging on in the rankings because their losses are to number two Clemson, number six Louisville and number seventeen North Carolina, three of the top four teams in the ACC. Boston College finally won a conference game, a close win over NC State before getting mauled by Louisville. I expect more of the same from the Seminoles.

Saturday:

(16) West Virginia (7 - 1) 37 @ Texas (5 - 4) 31: Are the Longhorns playing for coach Charlie Strong's job or is his era at Texas over? West Virginia is an interesting team, as are the Longhorns. The Big 12 is short on defense, and the Longhorns fit right in. I'd like to think Texas could win this one, but I haven't seen any indication that they can stop anyone, especially a team as balanced as the Mountaineers.

Baylor (6 - 2) 27 @ (11) Oklahoma (7 - 2) 38: After a rough start to the season, Oklahoma is on a bit of a roll, whereas Baylor's schedule is starting to catch up with them. It's starting to look like the winner of the Bedlam game will determine the Big 12 champion.

Mississippi State (4 - 5) 24 @ (1) Alabama (9 - 0) 30: Mississippi State jumped all over Texas A&M last week, but Alabama actually plays defense, so this week should be a little different for the Bulldogs.

(10) Penn State (7 - 2) 27 @ Indiana (5 - 4) 24:Both of these teams are improved from last season and they're actually fairly evenly matched. I like Penn State's offense to be able to score a few more points than the Hoosiers, but this could be a close one.

NC State (4 - 5) 27 @ Syracuse (4 - 5) 31: Syracuse has been up and down, while NC State has had problems with quality opponents. Both are attempting to stay in the hunt for a bowl game. I like the Orange in this one if they're able to pass on the Wolfpack.

Rutgers (2 - 7) 20 @ Michigan State (2 - 7) 23 : Someone asked me what I thought of this game and I replied "who cares?"

Northwestern (4 - 5) 27 @ Purdue (3 - 6) 30: After a bad start, Northwestern has made some improvements while Purdue has struggled defensively, giving up almost 38 points a game. This is an interesting match-up because of the Boilermakers' ability to throw the football. I'm picking an upset here.

Iowa State (1 - 8) 24 @ Kansas (1 - 8) 17: In another "who cares" game, I'll take the visitors because someone has to win.

South Carolina (5 - 4) 14 @ Florida (6 - 2) 20: Florida was exposed last week against Arkansas, but South Carolina lacks the offensive playmakers that the Razorbacks have. The Gators can all but wrap up the SEC East with a win and I think they'll be able to stifle the Gamecocks.

Kentucky (5 - 4) 23 @ Tennessee (6 - 3) 30: The Vols had dropped three straight before a win over FCS Tennessee Tech. They need another one today to keep coach Butch Jones off the hot seat after a season where expectations were very high. Kentucky should be able to keep it close, but the Vols have a little more offense than the Wildcats.

Illinois (3 - 6) 10 @ (7) Wisconsin (7 - 2) 24 : I'm not sure how Illinois is going to find a way to score on the Badgers' defense. Wisconsin doesn't put up a lot of points either, but they should be able to move the ball on the ground.

Auburn (7 - 2) 24 @ Georgia (5 - 4) 17: In fifteen seasons at Georgia, former coach Mark Richt lost more than four regular season games twice. If the Bulldogs can't take care of Auburn today, new coach Kirby Smart will have done it in his first season. Both of these teams are good defensively, but Georgia has really struggled on offense.

(5) Ohio State (8 - 1) 35 @ Maryland (5 - 4) 20: Maryland can run the ball, but their defense is not good enough, especially against Ohio State's top ten rushing offense.

Texas Tech (4 - 5) 40 @ (13) Oklahoma State (7 - 2) 49: I have no idea exactly how many points will be scored in this game, but it will be a lot. If Texas Tech can ever get a defense, they could make some noise in the Big 12. The difference here is that even though Oklahoma State stops people occasionally, Texas Tech can't stop anyone.

Pittsburgh (5 - 4) 27 @ (2) Clemson (9 - 0) 41: Clemson is starting to look like the team that challenged Alabama in the national championship game. They're hosting a team that is just a notch below the top teams in the ACC, primarily because they are vulnerable against the pass. This one could get ugly.

Georgia Tech (5 - 4) 21 @ (14) Virginia Tech (7 - 2) 30: The Hokies, with UNC's loss to Duke Thursday night, can clinch the ACC Coastal title with a win. Bud Foster's defense has generally been able to find a way to stop, or at least slow down, Georgia Tech's read option offense. With a balanced attack, Virginia Tech will also challenge the Yellow Jacket defense.

Wake Forest (6 - 3) 14 @ (6) Louisville (8 - 1) 34: Wake Forest has a pretty good defense, but they haven't seen much like Louisville Heisman Trophy frontrunner Lamar Jackson. I find it hard to believe the Deacons can keep up with the Cardinals on the scoreboard.

(22) Boise State (8 - 1) 31 @ Hawaii (4 - 6) 16:The weather in Honolulu will be a lot different than what Boise usually encounters on their blue turf in November. The Broncos have enough offensive balance to run the ball on a porous ground defense.

(24) LSU (5 - 3) 20 @ (25) Arkansas (6 - 3) 27: LSU is coming off a brutal loss to top-ranked Alabama, while the Razorbacks are again looking strong in November. If LSU can't get Leonard Fournette going, it will be a long day for the Tigers.

Ole Miss (4 - 5) 27 @ (8) Texas A&M (7 - 2) 31: After a tough three game stretch, Ole Miss got a little bit of a breather last week, but still struggled a bit against Georgia Southern. A&M got thumped at Mississippi State last week and lost their starting quarterback in the process. After faltering down the stretch the last two seasons, the Aggies are trying to avoid making it three years in a row.

(20) USC (6 - 3) 30 @ (4) Washington (9 - 0) 31: I've thought all season that there would be at least one game for the young Washington team where they would struggle to get a win. With USC, Arizona State and Washington State left on the schedule, time is running out for my prediction to come true. After struggling to open the season, USC has won five in a row, one of those against Colorado, the Pac 12 South leader.

Minnesota (7 - 2) 30 @ (19) Nebraska (7 - 2) 28: Nebraska got run over at Ohio State and now they need to regroup against what is possibly the most underrated team in the country. This doesn't match up well for the 'Huskers as they go up against a very good rushing defense.

(3) Michigan (9 - 0) 27 @ Iowa (5 - 4) 14: At this point in the season, Michigan has been the most complete team in the country. If Iowa's offense was even average, I'd give them a shot against the Wolverines, but that's not the case.

California (4 - 5) 31 @ (23) Washington State (7 - 2) 44: The Cougars are on a collision course with Washington for a season ending clash with the Pac 12 North crown on the line. California's defense is just not good enough to stop Washington State's second ranked pass offense.

(16) Colorado (7 - 2) 35 @ Arizona (2 - 7) 24: There's little doubt in my mind that Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez is on his way out as coach. The Wildcats can't stop anyone and today they face a balanced offense of Colorado.


Stanford (6 - 3) 30 @ Oregon (3 - 6) 27: As badly as Stanford appears to have played this season, they are still a respectable 6 - 3 as they head to a very disappointing Oregon. Their only losses have been to the top three teams in the conference. These two teams are almost mirror images of each other, with Oregon strong offensively, weak on defense and Stanford able to stop people but having trouble scoring.

Army (5 - 4) 24 vs. Notre Dame (3 - 6) 27 at San Antonio, TX: Is it possible for Notre Dame to lose consecutive games to service academies at neutral sites? I'd have to say absolutely, but I don't think Army is as good as Navy and the Irish will probably find a way to eke out a win.

Don't forget to check out my new book, "Offsetting Penalties - A PK Frazier Novel" at  Amazon.com and listen to me Friday's at 8:40 am EDT/ 7:40 am CDT on Lou in the Morning, streaming live on www.WPFLradio.com, 105.1 FM. I can also be reached via email at kevin@pkfrazier.com.