Noah Gardner gives his Week 11 picks in college football. Follow him on Twitter at @PointGuardner.
#9 Miami at Virginia Tech – 11 a.m. ESPN2
This is a difficult game for Miami, who has rattled off three-straight victories since losing to Clemson in early October. The Hurricanes find themselves quietly in the center of the ACC Championship race, while Virginia Tech is coming off a last-second loss to Liberty. Expect Virginia Tech to play hard after losing to the Flames, but with an injury to star running back Khalil Herbert (803 YDS, 8.4 YPC, 6 TD) putting his status for the game up in the air, Miami should squeak by with its quiet existence in the title race still intact.
#2 Notre Dame at Boston College – 2:30 p.m. ABC
Pick: Notre Dame
Known as the Holy War, the Notre Dame-Boston College rivalry is led by the Fighting Irish 15-9, with Notre Dame having won the last six meetings. In recent years, this would feel like a trap game for a Notre Dame football team lulled to sleep by a mediocre schedule, but there’s something different about this Fighting Irish squad. Maybe, it’s the fact they finally found a way to win the big game. No trap games for the Fighting Irish this week.
#20 USC at Arizona – 2:30 p.m. FOX
Arizona’s season starts one week later than the rest of the Pac-12 because the Wildcats’ game against Utah was cancelled last week. USC scored two touchdowns in the last three minutes of the fourth quarter to complete a comeback against Arizona State last week. Trojan quarterback Kedon Slovis went 40-55 with 381 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. We don’t know hardly anything about Arizona, but what we do know is that the Wildcats are having to replace Khalil Tate at quarterback. USC is substantially further along than Arizona.
Arkansas at #6 Florida – 6 p.m. ESPN
Speaking of great stories in college football, Arkansas is a treat to watch in the SEC. The Razorbacks may not be the most talented or the flashiest, but they play hard for head coach Sam Pittman. It’s translated to more wins than most pundits projected for Arkansas. With last week’s win over Georgia, Florida moved into position to win the SEC East. Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks returns to his former school, and the Razorbacks will play hard for him. Nonetheless, it won’t be enough to overcome the high-powered Gator offense and Kyle Trask in The Swamp.
#11 Oregon at Washington State – 6 p.m. FOX
The first year without Mike Leach signaled a new era with the Washington State offense. Once an air raid system, the Cougars had a balanced offensive attack against Oregon State, totaling up 229 rushing yards to 227 passing yards. Under Mario Cristobal, Oregon continued to do Oregon things by beating Stanford 35-14. With the top defense in the Pac-12, Oregon looks like the frontrunner in the league.
#13 Wisconsin at Michigan – 6:30 p.m. ABC
It’s official. Michigan is not a good football team. Indiana pushed around Michigan in a 38-21 victory for the Hoosiers. Under Jim Harbaugh, the Wolverines traditionally sport a stout defense, but this year, they are giving up 29.7 points per game. While COVID-19 has been an issue in the Badger camp, Wisconsin is healthy and ready to mount its ascension in the Big Ten title race.
#23 Northwestern at Purdue – 6:30 p.m. Big Ten Network
Neither team has been impressive in its route to undefeated starts in Big Ten play. Both squads are better than the below-average squads in the conference, which has elevated them to a combined 5-0 record. Over the last two weeks, both teams have won each of their games by one score. What is the difference between Northwestern and Purdue? Defense. The Wildcats are only allowing 314 total yards per game and 12 points per game, while Purdue is giving up 466 yards per game and 22 points per game. Northwestern is going to have an easier time moving the ball up and down the field.
South Carolina at Ole Miss – 6:30 p.m. SEC Network
Pick: Ole Miss
The writing might be on the wall for Will Muschamp at South Carolina. The Gamecock defense gave up 100 points over the last two games, and the challenge doesn’t get easier with Ole Miss averaging 38 points per game and 541 yards per game. Regardless of the opponent, South Carolina has a way of making offense look difficult, and without an exceptional defensive effort, I don’t see them keeping up with Ole Miss.