It has been just over a month since the first edition of MC&J and in that time I have predicted 42 national and B1G games. My record through 42 games, you ask? 21 wins and 21 losses. The good news is that there is still about a month of regular season college football left, followed by the bowl season, to try and push MC&J's record to well above the .500 mark.
We are now into the first full week of November and the rest of the month is one of my favorite times of the year. Not only are there a bunch of college football matchups that will shape the BCS the rest of the month, but this means the start of college basketball. While MC&J's main focus will be college football, I figured I would briefly touch on CBB with Ohio State's bye week in football. I am beyond excited to watch the Carrier Classic tomorrow to see the Buckeyes take on Marquette on a aircraft carrier. HOW COOL IS THAT? I watched last year's game between Sparty and the Tar Heels and loved some of the scenes I saw from the game. I can't wait to see some of the photos that are taken from there tomorrow (as well as a Buckeye win). Hopefully a win tomorrow night can set the tone for another Final Four run this year for the basketball Bucks, except with a little different ending this year.
Last Week ATS: 4-6
Season ATS: 21-21
Here are your week 11 predictions (as a bonus I threw in a 6th national game):
#13 Oregon State vs. #16 Stanford (-4.5) - 3:00 EST - Fox
In a game that features two teams in the top 5 in the country in rushing D, the pressure will be on a couple of QBs that didn't open the season as starters. Kevin Hogan will be making his first start for Stanford, while Cody Vaz has made a few starts after replacing injured/ineffective Kevin Mannion.After playing Colorado last week, Hogan will find things to be noticeably more difficult this week against the Beavers. While Stanford is undefeated so far at home this season, I have a strong feeling that Oregon State takes advantage of Stanford's struggling pass D and picks up a win.
Oregon State 24 Stanford 20
#15 Texas A&M vs. #1 Alabama (-13.5) - 3:30 EST - CBS
After beating their first 8 opponents by 20+ points, we'll get to see how Alabama responds after squeaking out a close, physical game last Saturday against LSU. With Western Carolina on deck (great stuff SEC scheduling!), you know that Saban has all his team's focus on stopping Johnny Football. While Manziel has been great this season, he has been contained against the top-tier SEC teams so far (Florida and LSU) and those games were in College Station. Now Manziel has to travel to Tuscaloosa as a freshman and try to beat the number 1 team in the country. I don't see this ending well for him. Alabama has the athletes on defense to contain him and I don't see the Aggies coming anywhere close to their season scoring average.
Alabama 41 Texas A&M 21
#22 Mississippi State vs. #9 LSU (-14.5) - 7:00 EST - ESPN
Since I started doing MC&J picks I am a combined 0-5 in games that have involved these teams this year. Something has to give right? Mississippi State looks to have been the beneficiary of a soft schedule early this year after they have been pasted by Alabama and Texas A&M the last 2 weeks. Somehow Zach Mettenberger threw for almost 300 yards against Alabama last week, but you have to wonder how the Tigers will be able to respond after the failed upset attempt at home last week. I hate the hook on this line but I'm gonna roll with LSU at Death Stadium (Thanks for that Unkle Verne!) anyway. Now that they have started to play real teams, I just can't back Mississippi State until they actually do something against one.
LSU 28 Mississippi State 10
#3 Kansas State (-7) vs. TCU - 7:00 EST - Fox
The status of Collin Klein for this game has made this game a little tougher to project, but from what I'm reading he should be leading the K-State offense on Saturday night. Since Casey Pachall's DUI arrest on October 4th TCU has gone 2-3. You saw last week how much trouble Allen Chapman was for true freshman QB Wes Lunt, with 3 INTs, and I see more of the same for TCU's redshirt freshman QB Trevone Boykin. You know that Gary Patterson really wants this game since he graduated from K-State back in 1983. Had Pachall still been TCU's QB I would be more optimistic about TCU covering/pulling the upset. With Boykin in there? Not so much. So far this season Kansas State is 7-1-1 ATS and I just gotta roll with that until they prove otherwise.
Kansas State 45 TCU 24
#4 Notre Dame (-19) vs. Boston College - 8:00 EST - ABC
As I noted last week, the last 2 times that Notre Dame has been undefeated this late in the college football season Boston College has handed the Domers their 1st loss of the season. While I have no visions of a upset for The Walrus and company, I don't see them getting blown out either. I know that Boston College has been awful this year, but Notre Dame has done a great job at letting bad teams hang around in games so far this season. Notre Dame has only won 2 games this season by more than 17 points this season and I'll take my chances that they don't make it 3 this week.
Notre Dame 31 Boston College 14
#2 Oregon (-28) vs. California - 10:30 EST - ESPN
For a little late night degenerate action I decided to include this matchup in the week's picks. Week by week Jeff Tedford's seat gets a little hotter in Berkeley and this week should be no different as the disgustingly fast Ducks come into town. Tedford looks to be heading into this game without Zach Maynard and Keenan Allen, but even those two couldn't save the Golden Bears on Saturday night. The Ducks haven't scored under 43 points in a game this season and I'm expecting them to put up at least 55 on Saturday night. Even with Oregon letting off the gas in the 2nd half, Cal will still be too far behind to cover late.
Oregon 63 Cal 24
Northwestern vs. Michigan (-11) - 12:00 EST - ESPN
Will Denard start or won't he? That is the question. Last week it sounded late in the week that he was going to get the start but obviously that didn't happen. Not like it really mattered all that much against Minnesota as Michigan cruised and took home the Little Brown Jug. This week Robinson's status could mean a lot more as Northwestern comes into Ann Arbor just a game back of Michigan in the Legends division. Neither team can pass the ball, as they both are ranked lower than 100 in passing yards/game. Northwestern's pass D leaves a lot to be desired but they are coming off a bye week which could have allowed them to tighten that weakness up a little bit more. I think giving 11 points in this matchup is way too much. Northwestern this year is 8-1 ATS, so much like Kansas State I'm riding that streak until the money train derails. I was thinking about taking Northwestern to win straight up, but I know some way Michigan will find a way to squeak out a win at the end.
Michigan 27 Northwestern 24
Wisconsin (-7) vs. Indiana - 12:00 EST - ESPN2
With a win in Bloomington on Saturday the Badgers can punch their ticket to the B1G title game in Indianapolis next month. Trying to lead the Bucky and company to that B1G title game berth will be
Danny O'Brien Curt Phillips. Wait, who? After capturing #ALLRUSSELLWILSONEVERYTHING last year, Bret Bielema couldn't repeat last year's magic and instead got #ALLDANNYOBRIENNOTHING. Indiana has been playing better as of late, winning back-to-back B1G games for the first time since 2007, but they are still horrid against the run. Montee Ball should have a huge day against the Hoosiers D to take some pressure off of Phillips. Wisconsin has beaten Indiana by a combined score of 142-27 in their last 2 meetings. While I don't think Wisconsin blows Indiana out of the water, I still think they win by at least double digits.
Wisconsin 33 Indiana 20
Purdue vs. Iowa (-5) - 12:00 EST - Big Ten Network
Between the revolving door that Purdue has at QB and Iowa has at RB, I really don't have any idea who is playing in this game. About the only person that I'm familiar with it seems is James Vanderbeekenberg, and at this point I would have a lot more confidence with Johnny Moxon playing QB for Iowa. Since the beginning of October, the Boilers and Hawkeyes have won a combined total of 1 football game. This preview from Hammer & Rails will probably give you more excitement than the actual football game does. In a classic B1G crapfest, I'll take the points.
Iowa 17 Purdue 16
Penn State vs. #18 Nebraska (-7) - 3:30 EST - ABC/ESPN2
If I would have told you at the beginning of the season that right now Matt McGloin and Taylor Martinez would be the top 2 passers in the B1G (when looking at passing yards/game) I wouldn't blame you for thinking that I had some sort of mental issues. But, with only a few weeks left in the season that is where we stand. I see this game playing out like a number of Nebraska games have this year. Penn State gets up early, forcing T-Magic to lead his team back again to keep the Cornhuskers' dreams of Pasadena alive. And he does.
Nebraska 30 Penn State 27
Minnesota (-3) vs. Illinois - 3:30 EST - Big Ten Network
As I mentioned last week I didn't think that Minnesota would win to become bowl eligible, but they should be able to get the job done this week against Illinois. To obtain bowl eligibility, Jerry Kill will have to do something that he hasn't done as the coach of the Golden Gophers, win a B1G road. As most of us saw last week, Illinois is beyond bad this year. While Minnesota is only 1-4 in B1G play, I just can't see Illinois keeping the game within a touchdown. Jerry Kill will have the kids ready to play knowing that Nebraska and Michigan State are on deck, and this is the best shot at reaching a bowl game.
Minnesota 28 Illinois 17