College Four-play: Week 11 football picks

There is some seriously whacky stuff going on in college football right now and I’m not talking about the Tennessee Vols’ new ‘Stick ‘Em Up’ offense.

I’m talking about the number of “are-you-kidding-me?” teams that still control their own destinies to win their conference titles that nobody seems to be noticing. Certainly not in the national media, anyway.

It’s easy to happen in the world of a handicapper, really. You’re studying the head-to-head numbers so hard every week that it’s easy to overlook these teams might actually be in the midst of a conference race despite their overall records.

So let’s take a look at a few of the teams we may have missed that should have plenty of motivation in the weeks to come.

Arizona Wildcats – Everyone is talking about how quacktastic Oregon is and how shocking it is to see USC fall from grace. But quietly a Zona squad has gotten better with every game and the Cats can take the Pac-10 if they win out.

Granted, their schedule is more bottom heavy than Queen Latifah with Cal, Oregon, ASU and USC all remaining. Still, Zona’s Rose Bowl fate is in its own hands. The Cats have also covered three straight spreads and are spotted a field goal this week against a Jahvid Best-less Cal squad.

Nevada Wolf Pack – Yeah, Nevada. Seriously. The team that also happens to be in the same conference as Boise State, to whom so many have already handed a BCS bowl berth this year.

If you’re laughing, you’re not the only one. Most of us dismissed Nevada after it got dismantled on natty TV, 35-0, at Notre Dame and started the season 0-3.

Don’t look now, the Pack are actually the first place team in the WAC and could be playing Boise State in the season finale for the WAC title. First they need to beat Fresno State as 7.5-point home faves Saturday and then beat a horrible New Mexico State squad next week.

Northern Illinois Huskies / Ohio Bobcats – You may have taken notice of the two MAC teams that are undefeated in conference play -Temple (5-0) and Central Michigan (6-0) - but the two teams right behind them in the East and West respectively also control their own fates. Only one will after Saturday though, because the Huskies travel to Ohio this weekend.

Whoever wins will then play a winner-takes-the-division matchup to close out the regular season against Central Michigan (for NIU) or Temple (for Ohio). That’s some nice schedule making by the MAC.

Pittsburgh Panthers / West Virginia Mountaineers – Cincy has been all the talk of the Big East lately, but the truth is that the B-Cats are a long way from donning their BCS bowling shoes. They have to go through two teams who are also currently driving their own rides down the Big East highway, Pitt and WVU.

I’m not handing Cincy a guaranteed win in Friday’s game against West Virginia and even if the Bearcats do win, they have to face No. 9 Pitt on Dec. 5. Should the Mountaineers win Friday, the Backyard Brawl suddenly takes on the feel of a conference championship game next week, which would be fun. (West Virginia would still have to beat Rutgers in the season finale to stay alive, which suddenly doesn’t look so easy.)

If you’ve been missing the Big East this season, I highly suggest you start watching because we could have a three-way tie unfold over the next three weeks.    

Duke Blue Devils – I B.S. you not. Duke is the only other team in the ACC Coastal other than Ga. Tech that is still in control of its own fate. The Blue Devils need to start by toppling the Bumble Bees at home on Saturday as 12.5-point dogs and then beat Miami and Wake to close out the year.

Hey, it could happen. This is the conference that could pretty much have the slogan “Where letdowns happen.” 

I went 2-2 last week (again) to go 21-18-1 on the season.

On to this week’s picks… 

Iowa vs. Ohio State (-17, 38)

I think I called the Big Ten “mediocre” last week. After watching Northwestern beat Iowa, Illinois beat Minnesota, Purdue beat Michigan and Ohio State trample Penn State, all on the road, I changed my mind.

It’s awful.

Pick: Iowa +17  

Idaho vs. Boise State (-31.5, 64)

This is so cute! Idaho actually thinks it can beat Boise State…on the road. 

The Vandals’ AD even refused to board a plane that had a Boise State logo on it. Way to go AD!

I like your fighting spirit, Idaho, that’s what makes it so hard to fade you.

Pick: Boise State -31.5  

Auburn vs. Georgia (-4.5, 56.5)

I talked to a guy this week who wrote three books on Georgia football and loves the Dawgs like his own children.

He told me to fade the living hell out of Georgia and to do it on the moneyline.

Okee dokee.

Pick: Auburn straight up 

Arizona vs. Cal (-3, 55.5)

Even if Best was playing for Cal, I think I would have taken the Cats here.

Pick: Arizona +3

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Posted by eliminat0r85
5 years ago

doobie man i was gonna take marshall too. you shoulda looked more closely at who so miss lost to on the road, this is not gonna be an easy one by any means. BOL though. Also everyone dude, quit bashing conferences, your lame weak behind opinion will never effect anything just shut the hell up and enjoy the game of football. Even if the big ten is 1-6 in bowl games 1 team is still going to the rose bowl, and that team will compete like they do every week against some of the best football teams in college football. Who cares where they win or lose @ home field advantage isn't everything in conference play. Storied teams have been playing in each others stadiums for many decades now. The better team wins at the end of the day no matter where they play. Iowa was better then PSU, OSU was better then PSU, Notrh western was better then Iowa, or at least executed better then Iowa, and Iowa's poor execution is finally coming to light as they face good opponents. Just like florida and bama have been getting unraveled lately. When it comes to dominance the best team in the Country right now is Texas, and a lot of people can say the Big 12's weak. Hell the number 3 team lost to Toldeo, but what you all seem to forget is every week is different, teams get better and worse throughout the season. We'll all see who rises and falls over the next few weeks. My guesses are SEC Champs: Bama, Big Ten Champs: OSU, Pac-10 Champs: Arizona, Big 12 Champs: TX. Those are your four power house conferences no matter what anyone says. Arizona lost to Iowa in a good game earlier in the year so if the Rose Bowl is between AZ and OSU it should be a good one, looking forward too it. Of course AZ does have a tough road, it looks less tough every week tho. & John, like your Auburn ML pick, I'm on it as well, the Georgias defense hasn't shown me much this year, and i like auburns powered offense too exploit that tonight.
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Posted by StevenGA1011
5 years ago

UTA/TCU UNDER 49 ND/PIT UNDER 58.5 ASU +20
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Posted by doobiebrother
5 years ago

Here's my later games (noon games posted earlier) 3* UCLA (-17.5) over WSU – Normally don’t lay big points without good offense, but everybody’s offense is good vs. Cougars and UCLA “D” will get the job done. Amazing WSU injury list continues to grow, adding LB Bland (42 T), S Nwachukwu (56 T) ,and K Grasu last week. Bruins still in bowl hunt and need this one. 3* SMU (-7) over UTEP – Miners have lost 15 of L18 road games, the L2 to Memphis and Tulane. They lost their best 2 OL last week and could have trouble protecting QB Vittatoe. SMU easily beat Tulsa on the road, and should have won previous game at Houston, as they outgained Cougars 397-394 and held them to season low 233 passing. They followed by taking the week off in lethargic home win over Rice last week and that result creates value here. Mustangs the far better team and can clinch first bowl berth since 1984. 3* Marshall (+3) over So. Miss – Hard to figure the number here as Marshall has slightly better team, strong home field, and big special teams edge. So. Miss 0-4 SU on the road this year and their injury list continues to grow. Thundering Herd 6-1 ATS and if not for last minute TDs by ECU and UCF, would be 7-2. Marshall “D” allowing just 15.6 PPG and has not allowed more than 24 this year. Herd can clinch bowl eligibility for 1st time since 2004 and should get the job done. 3* Miami, Fl. (-3) over N. Carolina – This seems like a short number considering Miami’s big advantages in talent and speed, not to mention huge edge at QB and on special teams. UNC just 4-4 SU, 3-5 ATS H vs. ACC and has already lost at home to FSU and Virginia this year. Despite the 2 losses Miami’s a legit top 10 caliber team. Will bump this up to a 4* if Duke upsets Ga Tech, as that would put ‘Canes back in control of their own destiny for BCS bowl.
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Posted by doobiebrother
5 years ago

CFB 43-44-1 (-5.3). All trends ATS unless otherwise noted. Still working on write-ups for later games, here are the noon EST games. 5* Louisville (-7.5) over Syracuse – Bad enough for Orange that stud WR Williams (48 rec., #1 Big East, # 8 CFB) quit the team prior to last week’s Pitt game, but then they lost S Suter (71 T) and 1st team All-Big East NT Jones. Cards are better than their record and outgained Kentucky (378-346) and WVU (301-273), and nearly UConn (481-457), all road losses. Louisville 3-1 SU at home and plays in double revenge as Syracuse has upset them each of L2 years. 3* Penn St. (-25) over Indiana – Hoosiers showed guts in hanging in at home vs. Wisconsin last week, but play 11th straight week without break and 6th road game in L8 weeks. This will eliminate them from bowl competition and if they fall behind early will start to look ahead to home game vs. in-state rival Purdue next week, which will be their bowl game. Lynch might even dump the bench. Off a home loss and on senior day, Lions pour it on. FSU (+5) over Wake Forest – Rarely will you see a talent gap this big with the lesser team favored by 5. Ponder’s absence won’t stop Seminoles’ OL from dominating as they have all year and backup QB Manuel is a stud.
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Posted by djorange007
5 years ago

oh yeah and big ten1-6 in bowl games last year, so so so pathetic.
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Posted by djorange007
5 years ago

The big ten is God awful. Iowa, the #4 team in the country puts up 10 POINTS AGAINST NORTHWESTERN @ HOME!!!!! And don't talk to me about Stanzi being out, NORTHWESTERN ALSO HAD THEIR SECOND STRING QB IN! OSU lost to Purdue, Michigan is a joke, PSU lost 2 HOME GAMES! The big east is better than the big ten this year, I'd take Cincy, WVU, and Pitt against OSU, Iowa, and PSU anyday of the week. If you think I'm crazy, just take a look at the PPG averages and tell me any of those big ten schools could score with these teams. Its going to be so exciting to watch a team that throws the ball 15 times a game (OSU) and completes like 8 passes a game play in a BCS game. At least I'll get to laugh at another pathetic bowl loss for the buckeyes, no matter who they play.
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Posted by zmas13
5 years ago

The Wolf Pack are the first place team in the WAC? What happened to Boise?
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Posted by mjpaint1
5 years ago

Hey cincy kid love your comment big 10 is under rated there not scared to play any big name school. They might get there butt handed to them but they will try to earn the respect unlike these other conferences who play the out of conference cupcake schedule
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Posted by TheCincyKid
5 years ago

"And if they played anybody tough like Georgia Tech"....every heard of a literary device known as "sarcasm"? Techs D is lame. They manage to win games because of their offense, ahem, their crazy behind rush attack. The point i was illustrating was that the SEC is a group of pussies who schedule weak out of conference opponents. A team like Ohio State isnt scared to put it all on the line in week 2 vs a USC or Texas. And over the next 10 years home/aways with Miami (FL), Oklahoma, and VA Tech. This Big 10 bashing has to stop. And so does the SEC fellatio.
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Posted by bmcneill
5 years ago

WVig last to an average SEC team in Auburn... U shouldn't be rewarded for not beating anyone... Boise,TCU, and CInci would all lose at least 3 games if play in SEC
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Posted by WalleyeJB
5 years ago

luckylion maybe you should let your little sister write for you. You can't spell or even make a sensible sentence. WHAT DID U SAY??????
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Posted by hill46and2
5 years ago

Yeah, tell everyone how great that Tech defense is CincyKid. Great Post. Whoops!
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Posted by luckylion
5 years ago

totally agree these polls just keep putting the same teams there usc #9 two losses dont know when they actually really beat anyone all to close if there all that. let the teams having a good year go. dont hate on cincy to me if there undefeated they deserve full oportunity to play for title. last time i checked big east was sapposeed to be a bcs conference. anytime people see s fla or rutg or uconn or pitt or w virg on tv i hear how great these teams are if there that good what does that say about cincy. (sorry bout spelling) boise beat oregon 2 years in a row not a fluke sec wont go there they might lose notre dame is finally suffering from not going to big 10 love it they cant play a real sched just want to make what they can go navy!!
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Posted by TheCincyKid
5 years ago

Oh yeah, the Big Ten is awful, sure....... But the SEC, when they beat each other up, it's because they are just SO MUCH better than every other conference out there. BUT after watching Georgia destroy Tennessee Tech, Auburn kill Furman, Kentucky pound Eastern Kentucky, Tennessee beat Memphis, and PRE SEASON #4 (haha) Ole Miss beat a VERY TUFF Northern Arizona team, I have to admit, the SEC is AWESOME! So big deal. The SEC has 2 good teams. Florida & Alabama. Both of whom benefit from the garbage PreSeason Polling, which needs to go away. Both teams are beatable. And if they played anybody tough like Georgia Tech (whoops), Houston (whoops), or UCLA (whoops)...oh yeah and Georgia Tech (was that twice?!) maybe they would have some competition...
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Posted by bodio
5 years ago

Granted, their schedule is more bottom heavy than Queen Latifah with Cal, Oregon, ASU and USC all remaining awesome
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Posted by mvp12331233
5 years ago

the bis 10 isnt AWFUL................... YOUR PICKs ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Top Response

Posted by mvp12331233
5 years ago

"the bis 10 isnt AWFUL................... YOUR PICKs ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"