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Fearless Rick's 2011-12 College Football Week 11 - Early Games

Rick Gagliano | November 8-12, 2011

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Tuesday, November 8

8:00 pm Western Michigan at Toledo (-12, 68) - Unless there's another sporting event on Tuesday night better than this MAC contest, tune in to see what Toledo can do after using every play in its book in a 63-60 loss to Northern Illinois a week ago.

With their tremendous offensive output, one would expect the Rockets to burn fuel on the Broncos, but Western Michigan has won four of the last five meetings, losing last season at home, 37-24. As the Huskies proved last week, beating Toledo does not necessarily imply stopping their offense, just outscoring them, something the Broncos may accomplish.

Prediction: Rockets 48 Broncos 42

8:00 pm Northern Illinois (-6, 65 1/2) at Bowling Green - After winning two straight close calls on the road (31-30 at Buffalo, 63-60 at Toledo), the Huskies head out on their third straight road game, to Bowling Green. The Falcons are just 2-3 in the conference, 4-5 overall, and has lost six of their last eight home games.

Northern Illinois is tied with Toledo for the lead in the MAC West, but has the win over the Rockets in hand and can take another step toward a conference championship game with a win here.

While the Huskies proved they can pick up yards seemingly at will, Bowling Green is a bit challenged offensively, thus the deserved home dog status.

Prediction: Huskies 40 Falcons 28

Wednesday, November 9

8:00 pm Miami (Ohio) at Temple (-12 1/2, 42 1/2) - The MAC East is a jumble, with Ohio U, Miami and Temple all in contention, so this is a pivotal game for both squads.

The Owls could not survive a 35-31 shootout at Ohio last week, but their defense should make amends here at home, though the Redhawks have won four of their last five. Those wins came against a variety of weak foes - Akron, Buffalo, Kent and Army - so the Owls should have little trouble containing and eventually shutting down the Miami offense.

Prediction: Owls 28 Redhawks 13

Thursday, November 10

8:00 pm Ohio (-7, 60 1/2) at Central Michigan - Central Michigan is 3-7 on the season, with a miserable 1-9 record ATS.

With the Bobcats coming off consecutive wins against Akron and Temple (35-31) and in contention for the MAC East title, there's n reason to believe the Chippewas can return to the championship form of previous seasons. Central Michigan's defense allows nine more points per game than their offense scores, the sign of a team lacking discipline and determination.

Prediction: Bobcats 34 Chippewas 17

8:00 pm Houston (-34 1/2, 71) at Tulane - Case Keenum has already shattered most of the NCAA passing records and figures to pad his stats significantly against the Green Wave, a team which the Cougars have beaten eight straight times, though only once by more than the posted line of 34 1/2 points. That was back in 2006, when the Cougars won in a 45-7 romp.

Since then, the games have been progressively closer, last year's 19-point margin in Houston setting the stage for this game. Houston should win easily, but Tulane will not go quietly at home.

Prediction: Cougars 48 Green Wave 27

8:00 pm Virginia Tech (-1, 50) at Georgia Tech - Whale of an ACC matchup for a Thursday nighter, where Georgia Tech can grab a share of the ACC Coastal division with a win over the perennial post-season monster Hokies, plus get a leg up with the head-to-head victory.

Following back-to-back losses at Virginia and Mayland, the Yellow Jackets had their triple option offense working when last on the field, ending Clemson's unbeaten season with a 31-17 win.

The Hokies have reeled off four straight wins after their 23-3 embarrassment by Clemson, but the wins have come over weaker opposition. Georgia Tech should make the ACC interesting, as always.

Prediction: Yellow Jackets 27 Hokies 20

Friday, November 11

8:00 pm South Florida (-4, 48 1/2) at Syracuse - Not a great game as Friday night contests go, as the Bulls have lost four straight and the Orange two in a row, so somebody's going to come out of this game feeling a lot better about their chances of getting to six wins (Syracuse can, with a win here) and playing in a bowl game somewhere.

The 4-4 Bulls have lost their last three by a total of 12 points, and the talent is there on defense, allowing 23.1 points per outing and yielding just 108 yards per game on the ground.

The Orange are 3-1 at the Carrier Dome, but QB Ryan Nassib seems to have lost his touch in the last two games, losses at Louisville and UConn. Turnovers forced by the South Florida defense should provide the winning margin.

Prediction: Bulls 28 Orange 17

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Saturday, November 12

12:00 pm Michigan (even, 49 1/2) at Illinois - The Fighting Illini can get their season back after three straight losses, by 10, 7 and 3 points, respectively, while the Wolverines come into Champagne off their second loss of the season, a 24-16 defeat at Iowa, and still with a chance for a share of the Big Ten Legends division lead.

The Illini, 2-3 in the conference, have no chance of catching Penn State (5-0) in the Leaders division, but would like to impress some bowl committees with a home win and some positive momentum.

That's not likely to happen, because the Wolverines possess a 7-2 record recently over Illinois, including last year's wild, 67-65 victory.

Prediction: Wolverines 30 Fighting Illini 26

12:00 pm Wake Forest at Clemson (-16 1/2, 60 1/2) - Despite the wide line, this is a critical game for Clemson in the ACC Atlantic because Wake Forest is 4-2 inside the conference and a win here would tie them with Clemson at 5-2, giving the Demon Deacons the upper hand for the conference championship game invite.

When last seen on October 29, the Tigers were being pounded by Georgia Tech, 31-17, their first loss of the season, but the extra time off should have the Tigers regrouped with a chance to nearly lock up the division title (they play at NC State next week).

5-4 Wake Forest is coming off a home loss to Notre Dame, 24-17, and, their earlier defeat by Virginia Tech, 38-17, speaks to their deficiencies on offense. Clemson should put the hammer down early and cruise.

Prediction: Tigers 44 Demon Deacons 17

12:00 pm Florida at South Carolina (-3, 40) - Finally got a line on Saturday morning. Don't really know what the issue was but Florida's season is over, while the Gamecocks are still fighting for the SEC East division title and a trip to the conference championship. They should take out the Gators with relative ease, thanks to their stout defense.

Prediction: Gamecocks 27 Gators 17

12:00 pm West Virginia at Cincinnati (-3 1/2, 54) - Strange to see Cincinnati favored over the 6-3 Mountaineers, but the Bearcats are 7-1, ranked, and own a 3-0 record in the conference.

The Mountaineers have lost two of their last three games, including Louisville's stunning, 38-35, win last weekend and are struggling mightily on defense, allowing 118 points in its last three games.

The Bearcats haven't lost at home this season, their only loss being to Tennessee, a 45-23 defeat on September 10. Since then, they've won six straight, but the last two - 37-34 at South Florida and 26-23 at Pitt - have been close calls.

WVA QB Geno Smith is having a great season (23 TDs, 5 INTs) and should get off to a fast start against the Bearcats, though the Mountaineer defense will help Cincy keep this close.

Prediction: Mountaineers 30 Bearcats 27

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12:00 pm - Michigan State (-3, 47) at Iowa - The Hawkeyes upended Michigan last week, 24-16, and looks to go 2-0 against their neighbors to the North.

Rebounding from a 24-3 loss at Nebraska with a 31-24 win over Minnesota, the Spartan defense, allowing just 16 points per game, is riddled with nagging injuries, which Iowa QB James Vandenberg should be able to exploit. Iowa has also won all five of its home games this season and their road losses have been slight. They're a better 5-3 team than one would expect.

Prediction: Hawkeyes 24 Spartans 14

12:00 pm - Oklahoma State (-17, 78 1/2) at Texas Tech - The Cowboys are crusing along toward a potential national championship at 9-0, but faces the up-and-down Red Raiders, who beat Oklahoma on October 22, 41-38, but have lost two straight by blowout scores - 41-7 to Iowa State and last week, 52-20, at Texas.

Beng at home doesn't give the Red Raiders much of an edge, especially with the Cowboys coming in scoring an average of 50.1 points per game, second best in the nation. Cowboy QB Brandon Weeden is having a Heisman-like season, hitting on 72% of his throws.

This could get ugly early.

Prediction: Cowboys 52 Red Raiders 28

12:00 pm Texas (-1, 58 1/2) at Missouri - For a 4-5 team the Missouri Tigers aren't a bad football team, suffering tough losses to Baylor (last week, 42-39), Oklahoma State and Kansas State recently, but the Longhorns absolutely own them, winning seven of their last eight encounters, the last Mizzou win coming in 1997, by a 37-29 score at home.

Texas has rebounded nicely from a couple of poor performances against Oklahoma and Oklahoma State back-to-back, with a 43-0 win against Kansas and a 52-20 victory over Texas Tech last week.

The 6-2 Longhorns are on a roll and won't be stopped at Missouri.

Prediction: Longhorns 38 Tigers 24

12:00 pm Nebraska (-3, 43) at Penn State - With all the controversy surrounding the Penn State team in the ongoing Jerry Sandusky scandal, it will be difficult for Joe Paterno to focus his troops for this game, though the fans will provide full-throated support for their beloved Nittany Lions.

Nebraska lost for just the second time this season, losing a 28-25 score to Northwestern last week. Despite the solid Penn State defense, it's doubtful that the Cornhuskers will lose two in a row. The Lions' pathetic offense will make Nebraska's defense look better than it is.

Prediction: Cornhuskers 23 Nittany Lions 10

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2011, 2012, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.


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