2016 Week 11 NCAAF Weekend Preview

November 11, 2016

It was an interesting first week of November in college football. Without much else to say, and the fact that I’m falling asleep writing this, we’ll get right to it.

The overall standings now look like this:

K. Becks: 33-17

Guests: 30-20

This week, my buddy Coleman will join the blog as guest. Per the man himself, Coleman’s college football knowledge derives primarily from the Reddit subfeed these days, but there was a time where he could have written a sports blog himself. Instead he chose to write about other, presumably more important things.

Anyway, hopefully I can stop the bleeding this week but as Coleman would say, my wishful thinking will doom me time and time again.

Here is a list of the top five games to watch this weekend, as well as five more to keep an eye on.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

#9 Auburn at Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Tigers have managed to turn a slow start into being on the cusp of a Playoff berth. Georgia has gone the other way, which has a lot to do with an offense that has not been performing up to spec despite a decent year so far from freshman quarterback Jacob Eason.

If the Bulldogs want to win this game, they will need to (perhaps magically) create a lot of offense. Auburn is now the SEC’s top offense and has scored fewer than 38 points just once since the beginning of October.

My Pick: 34-17 Auburn

Coleman’s Take: I’ve got Georgia.

Pittsburgh at #2 Clemson (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Panthers have knocked on the Top 25’s door a couple of times this season, but the defense has let them down both times. If Pittsburgh had a better secondary, this one might be an upset special. Instead, the Panthers will just have to hold on tight defensively and hope that the offense plays big in Death Valley.

Pittsburgh’s ACC worst pass defense will likely get torched in this one, frying any chance of a major upset. Still, it’s difficult to tell with November football and the Tigers have looked the part of the ACC team that just barely makes it through the regular season undefeated. Clemson should win this game handily, but if the Tigers struggle it wouldn’t be a total surprise.

My Pick: 38-24 Clemson

Coleman’s Take: I’ve got Clemson.

#24 LSU at #25 Arkansas (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

This game doesn’t have much impact on the Playoff scenario, but it may end up being the best one of the weekend. Both Arkansas and LSU have looked like Top 10 teams at times this season, but neither is particularly consistent and neither one have complete teams. LSU’s defense can keep it in a game against Alabama while Arkansas relies almost solely on the offense having the ball longer than the opponent.

Alabama showed last weekend that Leonard Fournette only goes ham on a particular type of defense, which is one without a lot of NFL prospects anchoring it. Arkansas is one of those defenses and I think that the Tigers will be able to handle the Razorbacks offense a bit better than Florida. I’ll take the interim head coach in a close one.

My Pick: 27-24 LSU

Coleman’s Take: I’ve got LSU.

#20 Southern Cal at #4 Washington (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

Touted by many as the game of the week, Southern Cal will need to have its best performance of the year to take down the Huskies at home. Although Chris Petersen’s team may not have the best strength of schedule, at this point they have done just about everything you can to prove to the Committee it belongs in the top four despite it.

Unless Washington forgets how to play lock down defense against talented receivers, the Trojans will have a hard time moving the football. Just take Cal as a case study – the Golden Bears lead the conference in total yards per game with 517, yet were held to 362, tied for a season low, against the Huskies. Southern Cal is more balanced offensively but just as capable of being stopped. I’ll take the Huskies with a statement victory.

My Pick: 48-20 Washington

Coleman’s Take: I’ve got Washington.

#3 Michigan at Iowa (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

It’s probably the fact that I am an alumnus of the school’s arch rival, but I’m not buying into the hype of the Wolverines just yet. The offense has looked strong but has played three of the four worst defenses in the Big Ten. Games haven’t been close, but Michigan has only gone on the road twice this season and against teams that are now both 2-7 overall. And while Jabrill Peppers is admittedly a very talented football player, he may not even be the best defensive back in his own conference.

Iowa looked pitiful last weekend against Penn State, one of the teams Michigan destroyed albeit at home and when the Nittany Lions were reeling. Now that the Hawkeyes have essentially nothing left to play for other than to spoil a team’s season, I don’t think they’ll let me down again. It’s a stretch, but I’ve got to have one Wishful Thinking take against Coleman.

My Pick: 30-27 Iowa

Coleman’s Take: I’ve got Michigan.

5 Games to Flip To

Baylor at #11 Oklahoma (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Suddenly the Sooners are a dark horse for a Playoff bid and the Big 12 is relevant again. Oh, what a season.

Kentucky at Tennessee (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

Who would have guessed that a Kentucky victory could be what sends the winner of this game to the top of the SEC East division?

#10 Penn State at Indiana (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Nittany Lions are nearly unrecognizable from the team that struggled to beat Pitt and got demolished at Michigan, but the Hoosiers know how to score, too.

#12 Colorado at Arizona (Saturday, 10 PM ET)

It has been a disappointing year for the Wildcats, but a chance to take down the Pac-12 South leader may be enough to fill the stands at least halfway.

California at #23 Washington State (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET)

If at first you don’t succeed (against Washington), try, try again. This time against the Cougars, who have once again found a rhythm late in the season under Mike Leach.

If you would like to become a guest prognosticator like Coleman did this week, please let me know in one of the following ways: email me at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, send me a message on Around The Corn’s Facebook page, post a comment under this article or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. Opportunities to become a guest prognosticator will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Thanks everyone.

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