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Notre Dame, Florida, and Oregon look to keep rolling in Week 11 college football action

Even though this week’s schedule has been decimated by COVID-19, there are still some big college football games on tap this weekend.

Clemson v Notre Dame Photo by Matt Cashore-Pool/Getty Images

Last week ATS: 5-8 (3-4 National, 2-4 B1G)

Season ATS: 40-37-2 (33-27 National, 7-10-2 B1G)

This week’s national schedule really took a hit with five non-B1G teams seeing their games postponed this week. The SEC was hit especially hard, with Alabama-LSU, Texas A&M-Tennessee, and Georgia-Missouri getting scrubbed. MC&J probably would have had predictions for at least two of those games included in this week’s lineup, but we’ve found some replacements to get us through the week.

If you missed picks for the six games on this week’s B1G schedule, you can find them here.

National games:

No. 9 Miami (FL) v. Virginia Tech (-2) - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN

Remember when Virginia Tech had a defense? The Hokies have given up at least 30 points in four of their seven games this season. Last week saw Virginia Tech give up 466 in a 38-35 loss to Liberty, where the Hokies looked like they had the game won on a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown, but head coach Justin Fuente had called a timeout before the play. The Flames went on to win a couple plays later on a 51-yard field goal.

Miami had their own scare last week, needing a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat N.C. State. The Hurricanes have been playing with fire lately, winning their last two games by a combined eight points. Still, quarterback D’Eriq King has found has groove, tossing 10 touchdowns over the last three games.

Playing at Lane Stadium isn’t nearly as intimidating as it used to be. The Hokies might be without one of their key players in this game if running back Khalil Herbert can’t play. The loss of Herbert would be a huge blow to a rushing attack that is averaging 277 yards per game. Miami is just a more complete team right now and won’t have to deal with a normally hostile crowd in Blacksburg.

Miami (FL) 38, Virginia Tech 28

No. 2 Notre Dame (-13.5) v. Boston College - 3:30 PM EST - ABC

Notre Dame coming off a victory over the top-ranked team in the country and then having to go take on Boston College. Sound familiar? For those of you young bucks who might not remember, the Fighting Irish were coming off a thrilling win over Florida State in 1993 only to lose to Boston College the next week.

As if Boston College didn’t need enough motivation to give Notre Dame a game this week, the quarterback of the Golden Eagles transferred into the program this year from Notre Dame. Phil Jurkovec has been outstanding in his first season at Boston College, tossing 15 touchdowns.

If Boston College is able to pull the upset on Notre Dame, it would be quite an assist by former Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley, who is now the head coach of the Golden Eagles. Sadly, I don’t think Boston College has quite enough to beat the Fighting Irish, but I do at least see them keeping this game within two touchdowns.

Notre Dame 31, Boston College 24

No. 20 USC (-14.5) v. Arizona - 3:30 PM EST - FOX

After watching USC in their season-opener against Arizona State, it seems crazy to think the Trojans are laying points against anyone. USC needed two touchdowns in the last three minutes to avoid the upset attempt of the Sun Devils. If it wasn’t for Kedon Slovis, the Trojans definitely wouldn’t have beaten Arizona State. Slovis threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns in the victory.

We still know pretty much nothing about Arizona since the opener for the Wildcats was cancelled due to Utah’s COVID-19 issues. Grant Gunnell takes over for Khalil Tate at quarterback, but it shouldn’t be a huge adjustment since Gunnell saw some time last year when Tate was injured.

Even though Gunnell did show a little promise last year for Arizona, it won’t really matter since Arizona’s defense is dreadful. With a game already under their belt to work out some kinks, USC should be a lot sharper this week, which is bad news for an Arizona team that will have their own rust to knock off. The Trojans come out firing early and puts Arizona in a hole they can’t dig out of.

USC 45, Arizona 24

No. 11 Oregon (-10.5) v. Washington State - 7:00 PM EST - FOX

Oregon started off life after Justin Herbert with a win against Stanford last week. But how impressive was it? The Ducks benefitted from Stanford not only missing quarterback Davis Mills due to COVID-19 precautions, but the Cardinal also missed four field goals in the game. Quarterback Tyler Shough threw for 227 yards and a touchdown, while adding 85 yards and another score on the ground in the victory.

It was jarring to see a Washington State team that can run the football. New head coach Nick Rolovich kept the ball on the ground against Oregon State, rushing for 229 yards. Deon McIntosh did most of the work on the ground for the Cougars, racking up 147 yards and a score on 15 carries. Jayden de Laura is the new quarterback for Washington State, but unlike some of his predecessors, he won’t be expect to throw the ball 60 times a game for the Cougars.

I’m still not completely sold on Oregon. There is no question they are the better team in this, yet I still think Washington State covers here. Even though Wazzu is a young team, I feel like they are a better all-around team now that Mike Leach has moved on to Mississippi State. The addition of a running game will keep opponents on their toes a little more, as well as bleed some clock to help keep the defense fresh. The Cougars give Oregon all they can handle in Pullman.

Oregon 34 Washington State 31

Arkansas v. No. 6 Florida (-17) - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN

How much did Florida expend in their huge win over Georgia last week? The Gators have been through so much lately with a COVID-19 outbreak, the fight against Missouri, and now a win over their rival. For as good as the Gators are, they are going to lay an egg at some point.

Arkansas has been dealing with their own issues. Head coach Sam Pittman will miss this week’s game due to his COVID-19 diagnosis. The Razorbacks won’t only be trying to win one for the gipper, they’ll also be trying to get some revenge for their quarterback. Feleipe Franks started his career at Florida, but a season-ending leg injury early last year facilitated the transfer to Arkansas. Franks has been solid this year and is a huge reason as to why the Razorbacks are 3-3, which is a huge improvement from the last few years.

I’m not saying that Franks is going to match what counterpart Kyle Trask is going to do on the field on Saturday. What Franks will be able to do though is at least keep the Razorbacks somewhat close. Florida hasn’t been great defensively this year, which should give Arkansas some chances to put points on the board. Arkansas has a habit of hanging around, even in losses, and that’s what we’ll see in this game.

Florida 41, Arkansas 27

No. 19 SMU (-2.5) v. Tulsa - 7:00 PM EST - ESPN2

Even though SMU lost starting running back TJ McDaniel and top wide receiver Reggie Roberson Jr., the Mustangs haven’t slowed down offensively. It’s not hard to keep your rhythm with a guy like Shane Buechele at quarterback. The Texas transfer has thrown for 2,581 yards and 20 touchdowns in eight games this year.

Tulsa’s season has been downright weird. Even though the Golden Hurricanes started their season nearly two months ago, this will only be Tulsa’s fifth game of the year. In their last game against East Carolina, Tulsa benefitted from some questionable officiating to stay undefeated in the American.

This game has the potential to be a shootout. I just don’t think Tulsa has as much firepower as SMU. Quarterback Zack Smith is experienced, but I don’t think he has as many weapons as Buechele has to work with. Even if the SMU passing game isn’t rolling, they do have running back Ulysses Bentley IV to lean on. Bentley has stepped up after the injury to McDaniel, rushing for 774 yards and 10 touchdowns. The Mustangs win their third straight game.

SMU 37, Tulsa 30