It's Wednesday, and you know what that means: It's time to make some Week 11 college football picks!
One, let me be the 241st person to say "Where the hell has the season gone?" It feels like just yesterday we were preparing for LSU-Florida State and Bama-Texas, and now here we are with just three weekends left until the conference championship games.
Well, with the playoff race heating up, it's time to make our picks.
Now, to the picks:
No. 3 Michigan (-4.5) at No. 10 Penn State: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Let the record show that as I write this, we still don't totally know the status of Jim Harbaugh coming into this game. As things stand, he is still coaching, and as long as he coaches, I'm picking the Wolverines to win and cover.
Here's a hot take, I might stick with the pick even without Harbaugh.
The bottom line is that there isn't a team in college football that is better built to handle these distractions than Michigan. They spent the first three weeks of the season without Harbaugh and the last two off-seasons reading months of speculation that he is leaving for the NFL. Despite it, everything seems to roll off this team's shoulders.
Beyond that, for all the sign-stealing talk the last few weeks, did anyone watch the Purdue game? Another totally dominant effort. The Wolverines jumped out to a 20-0 lead, and Purdue's only touchdown came with under 30 seconds to play. They also finished 1 of 14 on third down and had one series of six plays or more. That came in the final minute of the game.
Finally, there's Penn State, and I know their offense has looked better the last few weeks. But at the same time, we saw Drew Allar against an elite defense a few weeks ago against Ohio State - and didn't go well. I know the Nittany Lions are at home (versus on the road in Columbus) but I'm not sold that he'll be able to make the plays to win.
This one will stay close for three quarters, before the Wolverines open it up late.
Final score Michigan 21, Penn State 10.
No. 8 Alabama (-10.5) at Kentucky: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Speaking of offenses that everyone says are fixed, but aren't: I present you, the Kentucky Wildcats.
Look, there wasn't a bigger Devin Leary guy in the off-season, so I'd love to be wrong on this. But in a week where everyone said the Wildcats are slowly starting to come together on offense, the truth is that they had less than 300 yards of total offense last week against Mississippi State.
Now, going up against one of the elite defenses in college football, one that literally doesn't give up second half points, I'm supposed to believe they're going to move the ball at will?
More importantly, there's a point I think a lot of people are missing.
Yes, Alabama is coming off an emotional win, but they have still yet to meet any of their preseason goals. Forget the playoff or SEC title, they haven't even technically clinched the West yet.
Well, they can clinch it with a win Saturday in Lexington, and that's the carrot I believe Nick Saban has been holding in front of his team all week.
Crimson Tide pull away in the second half, like they've done to pretty much everyone this year.
No. 13 Tennessee (-1) at No. 14 Missouri: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
First off, shout out to CBS. I totally respect that this is a big game, with two Top 15 teams and major implications. But at the same time, they had a chance to choose Ole Miss-Georgia instead and somehow chose this one.
I'd say "someone at CBS is getting fired over this," but someone probably already did get fired for losing the SEC football package in the first place.
Beyond that, what's really a bummer about this game, is that Missouri doesn't look like they will be anything close to 100 percent. A week after playing Georgia, the Tigers will likely be without their most dynamic playmaker Luther Burden, with their starting quarterback (Brady Cook), leading rusher (Cody Shrader) and second-best receiver (Theo Wease) all showing up on the injury report this week. All three are expected to play, but will be well less than 100 percent.
Then there's Tennessee, and while it pains me to say this, they used last week against UConn to get healthy.
With most of their key guys not only back, but fresh, I expect them to be at their best and do enough to win.
Even on the road, give me the Vols.
No. 9 Ole Miss (+11) at No. 2 Georgia (OVER 59.5): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Man, oh man, oh man. As fired up as I am for Michigan-Penn State, this one has a chance to be special.
Two Top 10 teams. Under the lights. Between the hedges. With playoff implications.
What's better than that?
, while some folks deem Georgia to be "bored" or "complacent" early in big games, I haven't seen it that way. To me, they're like a boxer feeling out their opponent early, before going for knock outs. They trailed at the half to South Carolina, were tied with Auburn and Missouri at the half, yet none of those games ever felt like Georgia was out of control.
This Saturday, I'm worried a little bit.
Because one, if Georgia comes out slow, Ole Miss will take advantage in ways those other teams can't. You don't think Lane Kiffin has been scheming up some stuff all week, and Georgia messes around, it could be 14-3 before they even know what hit them. More importantly, coming out of the break, there's no reason to think that Kiffin and the Rebels are going to run out of gas like those other teams did either.
So personally, I expect a back-and-forth game, and one that's high-scoring.
Carson Beck is quietly putting up monster numbers for Georgia this year, and they're going up against a pass defense that everyone has been able to throw against. Crap, even Max Johnson and Texas A&M moved the ball on them last week.
I can't quite call for the outright upset, but I expect a high-scoring affair.
I'll say Georgia 38, Ole Miss 31, with the over hitting as well as a Rebels cover.
Mississippi State at Texas A&M (UNDER 43): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
Because it's Mississippi State-Texas A&M (and I don't even think Mississippi State or Texas A&M fans want to talk about their teams right now), I'll be quick here.
Mississippi State is down to a back-up quarterback, and has scored a grand total of 26 points their last three games combined. They haven't broken 13 in any of them. Now they're going up against arguably the best defensive front in college football, so yeah, I don't expect them to break 10 points.
Which leads to the question of, if they can't break 10, will Texas A&M break 35. Short answer: Probably not.
The Mississippi State defense has actually played well the last few weeks, and bluntly, Jimbo Fisher doesn't trust Max Johnson (don't let last week's stats fool you, A&M was forced to throw in the second half of that game).
Texas A&M will rely on that defense, and find an uninspiring way to win this game. Because that's just who they are this season.
USC (+15) at No. 6 Oregon: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, FOX
You're going to make fun of me for saying this, but I actually respect how Lincoln Riley has handled the last few weeks. The whole team could've quit after the Utah loss, yet they rallied to beat Cal, and after last week's debacle, he fired Alex Grinch.
Beyond that, this week, he spent a lot of time talking about how the Trojans still have a lot to play for, and as weird as it sounds, that's true.
The truth is that despite three losses in the last five weeks, if they win this weekend and Utah loses to Washington, the Trojans would be in line to play Washington in the Pac-12 title game.
Personally, I don't think they're winning at Autzen Stadium, but I don't think they'll get embarrassed either.
Not to mention that aren't things going a little too well for Oregon right now? Remember, this is a program that entered November in the 2019, 2021 and 2022 seasons with a chance to play their way into the playoff... and took crippling losses each season.
I'm not saying they lose here. But a crushing loss, just when Oregon fans get their hopes up, kind of has been their brand the last few years.
Oregon wins, but USC keeps it respectable here.
No. 21 Arizona (-10.5) at Colorado, Saturday 1:00 p.m. ET, Pac-12 Network: The Wildcats are quietly the hottest team in the Pac-12, with three straight wins over ranked teams, all while the Deion era is fizzling fast. That said, the super early start and the fact that Colorado's defense hasn't been awful the last few weeks, is enough to give me pause.
Miami at No. 4 Florida State (-14.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC: This used to be the rivalry in college football, and now it's just kinda... umm, not. Miami is struggling and I expect Florida State to win, but with all sorts of injuries (including to Keon Coleman) and uncertainty about the status of several key players, this just doesn't feel like a game I want to bet.
No. 18 Utah at No. 5 Washington (-9.5), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX: If we're being honest, Washington did not look good in the two games before USC, and even in the USC game, it was largely the run game which got them going. Well, Washington isn't running for nine yards per carry against Utah, and this is the time of year where weird stuff starts happening in college football.
Of course on the flip side, if Washington gets hot in the passing game, Utah is simply not built to go score for score with them. Total stay away.
Florida at No. 19 LSU (-13.5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network: Because we don't know Jayden Daniels' status this game is unbetable, so instead, let's quickly shout out Billy Napier. He has taken what was once an awesome rivalry and made it so irrelevant it's on the SEC Network, and is what, the fourth most intriguing SEC game of the weekend?!