THE LOAF: WEEK 11 COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS

STAFF WRITER: MICHAEL BROWN

We’re back at it again for Week 11 of the season! I hate to toot my own horn, but the inaugural edition of The Loaf was a complete success last week; we went a very groovy 6-1, which put us at 6-1 for the year as well. We got hit hard by the Lane Train, but Georgia (-8.5), Texas Tech (+13.5), Alabama-LSU (Under 53.5), Kansas State (+9.5), Michigan (-10), and Air Force-Army (Under 45.5) were all easy dubs, but y’all already know how it is on The Loaf, just constantly getting that TOA$$$$T.

But we also won’t dwell on the past. Like any successful football program, we too must have short memories, as a new week is upon us, and I’ve got 7 more plays to hand out. To be completely truthful, though, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a slate of games before that had as small an amount of spreads and totals I liked as this week’s slate did. It was certainly a challenge, but we don’t back down from challenges here on The Loaf, we embrace them.

We’re gonna start off with a Friday play this week, I like #13 Syracuse (-20.5) vs Louisville. This is more of a fade Louisville play than it is anything related to Syracuse. Louisvlle is a horrible team, and you could make a strong argument that the Cardinals are the worst team in the Power 5. The Cardinals have lost their last 6 games in a row, and lost them by a combined score of 294-129. That’s far from ideal. Louisville has punted on this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby Petrino made another midnight escape before Louisville finally fires him. Louisville radio host Mark Ennis tweeted, “According to a source within the athletic department, in the fall 2018 semester alone, 20 Louisville football players have requested the required paperwork to initiate a transfer.” Woof. Knowing that Louisville is as bad as it is, and the situation there is just so bad, you would expect them to be 20.5 point dogs in a conference game on the road. The thing is, Syracuse is a pretty dang good team, and should win by more than 20.5 points. The Orange are 7-2 with a very impressive win over NC State and a hard fought loss in Death Valley against Clemson. Their offense has been lights-out with Eric Dungey under center, and Louisville’s defense is just embarrassingly bad. Dino has the boys playin’, and I like where that program is headed under his leadership. There’s also the revenge factor in this one, too. Louisville blew the doors off Syracuse last year, and you’d like to think Syracuse will want to get back at Louisville on a Friday night in the Carrier Dome. All the signs in this game point to Syracuse winning by a whole lot. Prediction: Syracuse 49, Louisville 20

I was very, very close to pulling the trigger on Tennessee (+6) against Kentucky, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. At the last minute, though, I decided I was more comfortable with #11 Kentucky at Tennessee (UNDER 42.5). Both of these teams have offenses that should consider it a compliment to be deemed as pedestrian, and both of these teams have solid defenses, especially Kentucky.

benny snell

Kentucky running back Benny Snell (26) has been great this season, but it will take more than a great performance from him for this game to go over 42.5 – PHOTO CREDIT – The Game Haus

When you put two and two together there, you would expect a low total, and you have that at 42.5. But I still think it’s high. I just don’t see these teams scoring a total of 6 touchdowns. Tennessee’s run offense is abysmal, and Kentucky has one of the best rush defenses in the country, even after it got ran over by Georgia last week. Kentucky’s offense, on the other hand, remains unreliable with Terry Wilson attempting to sling the rock. Woodstock junior Zakwan Khan, a Tennessee fan, noted that the Vols simply “lack a spark on offense.” For what it’s worth, the under is a combined 11-5 in games Tennessee and Kentucky have played this season and 3-0 in Kentucky road games this season. Look for this one to strengthen those trends. Also noteworthy, Kentucky has lost 16 in a row in Knoxville, dating back to 1984. Do with that what you will. Prediction: Kentucky 20, Tennessee 13

I went against Oklahoma last week and won, and I think I’m going to do it again with Oklahoma State (+21) at #6 Oklahoma. Dogs in rivalry games are always a safe play anyway, but this game has a lot of other factors that favor Oklahoma State to keep it close here. Oklahoma State has lost 3 out of its last 4 games, but the lone win was against Texas, and Oklahoma State looked great in that game, making the Longhorns’ secondary look silly. As is the case with the majority of Big 12 teams, these are a couple of stellar offenses that consistently light up the scoreboard, and two defenses that aren’t very good at all. There will be a ton of points scored in this game, and shootouts like that won’t have a team lose by 3 touchdowns. The main question is whether or not Taylor Cornelius and the Pokes can score enough to keep pace with Kyler Murray, Ceedee Lamb, Hollywood Brown, Trey Sermon, and all the high-flying Sooners. I don’t think Oklahoma State can score enough to win this game outright, but it should score enough to keep it fairly close. Prediction: Oklahoma 52, Oklahoma State 41

We move on to the Group of 5 now with some #AACtion down in New Orleans where I like Tulane (-11.5) vs East Carolina. I’m not sure why this number is as small as it is. East Carolina has lost 5 of its last 6 games, and hasn’t looked good in doing so. I don’t want to sit here and act like Tulane has been a good team either, because it hasn’t, but ol’ Willie has things rolling down there at the moment; Tulane has won two in a row on the road against Tulsa and South Florida, and now heads home for this bout with the lowly Pirates. ECU couldn’t stop a nosebleed, and Tulane has been moving the ball well recently too. Also, their Angry Wave helmets are the best in the sport. They’ve been inconsistent this year, but a hot Tulane squad should win this one by 2 touchdowns or more. Prediction: Tulane 38, East Carolina 24

We’re back to the Big 12 for yet another rivalry game, but this one doesn’t bring with it nearly as much fireworks or overall happiness. Regardless, give me Kansas (+12) at Kansas State. Listen, both of these teams are absolute garbage. I do not recommend watching this game. Just don’t do it to yourself. However, we’ve got a double digit dog in a rivalry game, which is never something to completely sneeze at. This same double digit dog is also playing for their head coach; Kansas announced this week that David Beaty would not be returning next season. Athletic Director Jeff Long said, “I did not see a path forward to long-term success in the Big 12.”

 

pooka williams

Pooka Williams Jr. has been a shining diamond in the rough for Kansas this season. He could have a big game against Kansas State on Saturday – PHOTO CREDIT – St. Charles Herald Guide

Beaty is still going to leave this program better than he found it, and I’m sure his players will want to send him out with a bang. With this in mind, you have to expect Kansas to bring it’s A game to Manhattan this Saturday. Plus, the Jayhawks haven’t been as hilariously bad as they typically are (they are still a dreadful football team). Kansas State, meanwhile has been really bad this year too. The offense is just atrocious. I did take Kansas State last week against TCU, and they covered, but they still looked gross in a loss. And I don’t want to sound like a proponent of transitive property predictions, but Kansas beat TCU. Pooka Williams is a monster, too, for the Jayhawks. College Football is often times decided by which team wants it more, and it feels like Kansas will probably want this game more than Kansas State, and the quality gap between the teams isn’t enough to offset that. This one will be quite an upset. Prediction: Kansas 24, Kansas State 21

We did well with the under in last week’s game of the week, and we’re going back to the well with #2 Clemson at #17 Boston College (UNDER 59.5). Just about every sign points to the under in this game, other than the fact that Clemson’s offense has turned into a juggernaut with Trevor Lawrence taking control, and scored 77 points in its last game (like we said earlier, Louisville is awful). Things will be different in Chestnut Hill, though. It’s going to be cold and windy, just how football should be. Winds are forecasted to be 18 MPH, creating a feels-like temperature of 29 degrees at kickoff. Trevor Lawrence, notably, has never thrown a pass further north than the state of Virginia. It’s going to be interesting to see how he responds, especially against a stout Boston College defense. Of course, he may not need to throw the ball much. Lawrence completed just 8 passes for 58 yards this past weekend and Clemson scored 77. Travis Etienne is a stud. But still, they aren’t going to do that this week. Boston College’s defense isn’t afraid. On the other side of the ball, well, things won’t go well for the Eagles. Anthony Brown isn’t a great quarterback, and Clemson’s defensive line is terrifying, with potentially four first-round picks running at you every play. AJ Dillon is awesome, but I don’t see him doing a ton of damage against those dudes. Clemson will score in moderation, and Boston College won’t score much at all. Prediction: Clemson 31, Boston College 13

 

travis etienne

Clemson’s Travis Etienne (9) has been the best running back in college football this season, and has had some monster games for the Tigers. He’ll face a tough test this Saturday against Boston College – PHOTO CREDIT – TigerNet

 

We’ve dabbled in the Big 12 multiple times this week, so we’re gonna go back for one more to round out this week’s Loaf with #11 West Virginia (-11.5) vs TCU. This number is suspiciously low. It was at something around 13.5 when I first saw it and I liked West Virginia then, and now it’s dropped to 11.5, which makes me worry that the dudes in Vegas know something I don’t. But what I do know is that TCU is awful, and West Virginia is really good with a high-speed, high-flying offense. TCU is coming off a hard-fought win in a very ugly game against Kansas State, and just doesn’t look like a team that can be trusted to score more than 20 points in a game.

will grier

Will Grier has been spectacular this season, and will likely be a finalist for the Heisman Trophy at the very least – PHOTO CREDIT – DraftWire

KaVontae Turpin’s dismissal hurt a ton, and Shawn Robinson just isn’t getting the job done at quarterback. West Virginia, meanwhile, still has its hopes set on a Big 12 title, and maybe even a College Football Playoff appearance. West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson spoke to the media about taking things one game at a time, “It’s 100 percent TCU and what we can do to be able to win that game.” West Virginia is coming off a huge win at Texas in Austin, and needs to avoid a letdown Saturday so it looks good in the eyes of the committee. A close win against TCU isn’t going to do wonders for their playoff hopes. If the ‘Eers and Heisman candidate Will Grier can follow what their coach said and not look past TCU, they should win handily. Prediction: West Virginia 37, TCU 14

That’s what I’ve got for Week 11! Hopefully we can build upon our success from last week. Enjoy your college football weekend, and, as always,

LET’S GET THIS TOA$$$$T

 

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