College football's 11th week is... Well... Let's just let the distinguished Chris Fowler do the honors:
#15 Utah at Notre Dame (+6), 2:30 - NBC (HD)
A game that following Utah's completely embarrassing no-show act against TCU last weekend looked to have every making of the "angry revenge" type spread for the Utes has them set as... 6 point favorites? Look, it doesn't even matter than the Utes didn't pass the 50 yard line until midway through the 3rd quarter against the Horned Frog: GIVE THE SIX POINTS AND RUN WITH IT. Jordan Wynn is as volatile of a quarterback in the country (case in point his 16/35 for 148 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INT effort last weekend) but I have an unbelievably hard time envisioning a scenario where Notre Dame and true freshman quarterback Tommy Rees derail a dignity restoring victory needing Utes side, particularly after how flat they looked 2 weeks back against Tulsa. Brief aside: Andrew Hendrix lol. Utah 35 - Notre Dame 17
Georgia at #2 Auburn (-8.5), 3:30 - CBS (HD)
A day after this one was pulled off many boards in Vegas early Wednesday morning due to, uh, some kind of inane social media experiment, we add it not so much for the prestige of a painfully average Georgia side (not that we know anything about painfully average, nope) taking on Auburn and ostensibly the Heisman front runner Cam Newton, but for the sheer picking intrigue of having a game surrounded by so much controversy. I'm thinking quite a few gut check gamblers are feeling a bit uneasy about their Georgia moneyline bets at this point, eh? The best bet for the Dawgs at this point may be to hope that the hysteria/circus environment surrounding Newton's receiving (or not) receiving illegal benefits gets the Tigers QB distracted and has a tangible impact on his play. Auburn is all in at this point: either their season is vacated by the NCAA after their star's past foils are legitimized, or nothing happens (at least in the immediate future) and they have to hope they can stay driven/sharp enough to keep on the march to the SEC Championship Game. As a totally terrible person, I'm naturally rooting for them to win the league before the hammer drops. To the early gamblers' credit, UGA is far from a good team, but they certainly play most of their opponents tough. I can see them keeping things close but still falling at Auburn. Let's cover our bases either way and go Auburn 31 - Georgia 24.
San Diego State at #3 Texas Christian (-26.5), 4:00 - Versus (HD)
You know it’s that kind of week when a ranking of a fringe Top 25 San Diego State side traveling to face a fringe national title contending Texas Christian squad earns top billing around these parts. This one merited inclusion if nothing else for degree of difficulty: a 26.5 point spread in a matchup of borderline Top 25 teams seems awfully steep for a contest not involving Oregon. Brady Hoke, the front runner for the Minnesota gig in some circles, has the zombie corpse of SDSU playing good ball, but Gary Patterson’s team’s never looked better, particularly in lieu of last week’s demolishment of Utah at Utah. This has all the makings of the game where you think to yourself “man, easy money” but then are rudely humbled and put in your place by realizing that Vegas odd’s makers are incredibly good at what they do. My gut says TCU covers, but my head says SDSU. Since neither have been particularly accurate, let’s say………. Take SDSU and the points, TCU 24 - SDSU 14.
#18 Mississippi State at #12 Alabama (-13), 7:15 - ESPN2 (HD)
A battle of juggernauts: TWO TOP 20 SEC SIDES IN… a 13-point potential snoozer between Alabama and Mississippi State. While Alabama/LSU this isn’t, much like the Utah game, this one has all the making of the pissed off spread shattering affair that we see routinely. Alabama’s two headed rushing duo hasn’t been quite their 2K9 selves (see: the Alabama offensive line) and Dan Mullen has shown with the Bulldogs that he was likely a big part of the mojo in Gainesville during the middle part of the last decade. While 13 flirts with being dangerous for a team of Alabama’s offensive inconsistency of late (and against an offense with the ceiling of MSU), Bama plays angry and wins comfortably 31-13.
Big Ten Games
#13 Iowa at Northwestern
(+3) (+9.5), 12:00 - ESPN (HD)
The game that makes Black Heart Gold Pants’ collective dreams come true. After a close call at Indiana last week (that was literally a Damarlo Belcher drop away from ending their dark horse Big Ten title aspirations), Iowa heads to Evanston as
but 3 9.5 point favorites. Ricky Stanzi may have to celebrate Veteran’s Day with the force of a covert military operation if Iowa wants to keep in the one-conference loss mix. Dan Persa and co. are fresh from a meltdown after an early large lead against PSU and will need to outpace Mike Kafka’s palty 10/18 for 72 yard performance a year prior (in spite of the net positive end outcome). Persa actually had success on the ground a year prior against the Hawkeyes, but a team still smarted by the upset in Iowa City a year back should be plenty motivated to prove that their game against Indiana was an aberration. Look for the Hawkeyes to make this a statement game, Iowa 34 – Northwestern 17.
Michigan at Purdue (+13), 12:00 - Big Ten Network (HD) (Regional)
Fresh off a triple overtime 69-67 win [via ‘failed 2 pt conversion’], Michigan heads to Purdue to take on a 2/3-star quarterback you’ve never heard of and the Boilermakers. Purdue evidently studied the attrition rates facing the Michigan secondary much of 2010 and decided they need to one up them in terms of the sheer number of injuries they’ve suffered through. Despite a dignified effort a week prior against Wisconsin, Purdue will need more than moral victories if they wish to curtail Denard Robinson (though I’ve heard if you can actually land a square tackle on him, he will miss 1+ quarter(s)). Freshman place holder QB Sean Robinson had 3 picks in the loss to Wisconsin and will have to be more consistent if the Boilers want to rain on the Wolverines post bowl eligibility clinching parade. While the schadenfreude would rain from the skies if the Wolverines suffered the same fate in West Lafayette the Bucks did a year prior, expect Michigan to be too much, too fast: UM 44 – Purdue 27.
Minnesota at Illinois (-21), 12:00 - Big Ten Network (HD) (Regional)
The first of two lack luster Big Ten affairs brings lame duck Minnesota into Champagne to face an Illinois side still licking their paws after a season worse defensive showing a week back. After showing masterful game plans against Ohio State and Penn State, the Illini promptly looked like they expected to go to A^2 and simply contain the Wolverines by sheer self-interest. Minnesota continues to do very little right, not the least of which is respect MarQuise Gray’s importance to the programs future. Gray will need a lot more than the dozen or so snaps he saw a week’s back as well if the Gophers want to keep this interesting, though undoubtedly courtesy will be paid in abundance to the Big Ten’s answer to Reggie Ball in Adam Weber. The Gophers covered a ridiculously large spread against Sparty last weekend, but 21 is the sort of number dreams are made of. I-L-L-I-N-I (h8 u annoying Big Ten Network commercials), 34-10.
Indiana at #7 Wisconsin (-21.5), 12:00 - ESPN2 (HD)
If a football game is played in the woods between two boring “contrasts” of styles, does it actually happen? Indiana and Wisconsin seem hell bent to find out as Pistol Bill Lynch and Ben Chappell take on the 1990’s Big Ten barrage of John Clay and the Badgers. Scott Tolzien’s seen film of the IU secondary and has been having lucid dreams of throwing 30+ passes in a single game (!). Indiana played their best football game of the year last week at home against Iowa, but after the emotional pitfall of coming so close and coming up short, it’s completely foreseeable they come out flat and emotionally drained in Madison. With style points a must for the Badgers to keep dark horse BCS Championship Games aspirations alive, expect BIelema to approach this with all the vigor of a Wisconsin-Minnesota game. Ginormous spreads be damned, Wisconsin 38 – Indiana 10.