Week 11 College Football Picks From WhatIfSports.com image

Week 11 College Football Picks

NCAA football predictions for every FBS game
By Eric Schmoldt and Paul Bessire, WhatIfSports.com
November 9th, 2009

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Each Monday morning, we will preview every college football DI FBS game of the upcoming week. All of our college football content, including our most recent power rankings and links to the pre-season preview are located here.

The inputs to the 10,000 simulations of these games are based on a rigorous analysis of each team that considers strength-of-schedule-adjusted team and player ratings and then makes modifications for injuries and depth at each position. To see other picks like our Upset and Locks of the Week, as well as our season-to-date performance, click here.

Game of the Week: #20 Iowa 15 @ #11 Ohio State 21
The Big Ten race was supposed to come down to one game.

It just wasn't this one.

Heading into the season, many thought that the Big Ten champion would be decided by Ohio State's trip to Penn State. Instead, that game - combined with a surprise - simply set up a different winner-take-all matchup one week later as Iowa travels to Ohio State with a trip to the Rose Bowl up for grabs.

The Hawkeyes were in the conference's driver's seat until this past weekend when their 13-game winning streak came to a screeching halt against Northwestern. The Wildcats knocked out Iowa quarterback Ricky Stanzi, ending the Hawkeyes' dreams of finding their way into the BCS title game. Now they'll most probably need a victory this week to land spot in a BCS bowl game. And they'll likely have to do so without Stanzi. His numbers certainly weren't earth-shattering, but Stanzi had a knack for helping the Hawkeyes find a way to win. Iowa will now look to James Vandenberg to jumpstart the Hawkeyes' offense. Against the 37th toughest schedule to-date, Iowa ranks near the bottom of the national rankings with just 3.4 yards per carry. The Hawkeyes' passing marks are a little better at 7.5 yards per attempt, but they've thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns. Thus, for the Hawkeyes to succeed, the game will probably come down to how well Iowa can limit Ohio State quarterback Terrell Pryor and the Buckeyes offense. The Hawkeyes give up just over 3.5 yards per carry and rank among the best in the nation, allowing less than 5.5 yards per pass attempt.

While Iowa will try to bounce back from its first loss of the season, Ohio State is coming off its best victory of the year, a road win over Penn State that helped create this winner-take-all game. Pryor has had an inconsistent season, but threw for two touchdowns and ran for another against the Nittany Lions. Playing against the 46th toughest schedule, Ohio State hasn't had quite the prolific ground game that it has brought to the table in the past, but the Buckeyes are still averaging 4.7 yards per carry and, while they rank in the 90s in passing yards per game, that statistic is a bit deceiving as they average 7.5 yards per attempt. The Buckeyes really make their mark on defense. They rank third in the country in rushing defense, allowing just 2.7 yards per carry, and they rank fifth in the country through the air, allowing just 5.2 yards per pass attempt.

In a battle of stiff defenses and top 20 teams in our most recent power rankings, it's no surprise that the total stays under 40 points in the Battle for the Big Ten. And in 10,000 simulations, the team that won that game that many thought would decide the league's race last week wins the game that will actually decide the champion this time around. The Buckeyes win exactly two-thirds of the time (66.7%) and by an average score of 21-15.

Other Notable Games in Week 11
One of the best games this week will be played under the Friday night lights as West Virginia travels to Cincinnati looking to shake up the BCS and Big East standings. But the Bearcats remain undefeated in the country's most competitive conference 73.1% of the time, 33-24. That game will kick off a monster weekend for the Big East, though we could be saying those same words every week from here on out. Pittsburgh goes out of conference for somewhat of a statement game, looking to take down Notre Dame. The Panthers move to 9-1 with a win more than 70% of the time and by a 10-point average advantage. And South Florida and Rutgers face off in a game where the loser can forget about the conference race. The Bulls take care of the Scarlet Knights on the road 61.7% of the time and by just two points.

Oregon suffered a setback against Stanford last weekend, but still sits in the Pac-10 driver's seat. That said, the race is still a bit of a mess. The Ducks stay in the top spot 78.6% of the time this week, taking care of Arizona State by two touchdowns. Stanford, looking to spring its second consecutive upset, comes up just short as USC takes care of the Cardinal 61.2% of the time and by an average score of 33-29. And Arizona, which has flown under the radar but could take the league by storm against Oregon next week, moves to 5-1 in conference by winning 82.1% of the time with an 11-point average victory over Cal.

And as we hit the final month of the season, we remain on undefeated watch, but with one less team to keep an eye on after Iowa's loss. Perhaps the biggest game of the entire week in terms of the BCS picture will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, where Utah may have the best remaining shot of ending TCU's undefeated run. The Horned Frogs remain the top BCS buster candidate by winning 76.1% of the time and by a score of 35-24. In the SEC, Florida's run continues 86.1% of the time with a two-touchdown victory against South Carolina and Alabama remains unbeaten 95.0% of the time at Mississippi State. Boise State goes to 10-0 94.0% of the time against a bowl-eligible Idaho team. And Texas wins at Baylor 94.5% of the time. This means that there is a 46.7% chance that all six remaining FBS unbeatens win this week.

Last week, we hit our "Lock of the Week" to improve our ATS record to 7-2 on the year in both the NFL and college football. To see other picks like our Upset of the Week and Lock of the Week, as well as our season-to-date performance, click here.

College Football Week 11
MatchupWin%Avg Score
Florida State Seminoles43.325
@ Wake Forest Demon Deacons56.729
Miami (FL) Hurricanes68.221
@ North Carolina Tar Heels31.816
Boston College Eagles77.620
@ Virginia Cavaliers22.412
Clemson Tigers89.628
@ North Carolina State Wolfpack10.414
Virginia Tech Hokies90.031
@ Maryland Terrapins10.014
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets95.039
@ Duke Blue Devils 5.017
West Virginia Mountaineers26.924
@ Cincinnati Bearcats73.133
Notre Dame Fighting Irish29.427
@ Pittsburgh Panthers70.637
Syracuse Orange38.315
@ Louisville Cardinals61.721
South Florida Bulls61.727
@ Rutgers Scarlet Knights38.325
South Dakota State Jackrabbits 5.07
@ Minnesota Golden Gophers95.029
Indiana Hoosiers17.918
@ Penn State Nittany Lions82.132
Michigan Wolverines24.920
@ Wisconsin Badgers75.134
Iowa Hawkeyes33.315
@ Ohio State Buckeyes66.721
Northwestern Wildcats39.818
@ Illinois Fighting Illini60.223
Michigan State Spartans64.724
@ Purdue Boilermakers35.321
Ball State Cardinals 5.010
@ Northern Illinois Huskies95.035
Toledo Rockets26.919
@ Central Michigan Chippewas73.130
Ohio Bobcats62.724
@ Buffalo Bulls37.320
Bowling Green Falcons69.718
@ Miami (OH) RedHawks30.313
Temple Owls90.527
@ Akron Zips 9.513
Western Michigan Broncos91.532
@ Eastern Michigan Eagles 8.515
Washington Huskies15.918
@ Oregon State Beavers84.134
Arizona State Sun Devils21.414
@ Oregon Ducks78.627
Stanford Cardinal38.829
@ USC Trojans61.233
Arizona Wildcats82.132
@ California Golden Bears17.921
UCLA Bruins88.628
@ Washington State Cougars11.414
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 5.09
@ LSU Tigers95.033
Troy Trojans23.926
@ Arkansas Razorbacks76.137
Tennessee Volunteers60.223
@ Mississippi Rebels39.821
Auburn Tigers60.728
@ Georgia Bulldogs39.327
Kentucky Wildcats73.122
@ Vanderbilt Commodores26.914
Florida Gators86.128
@ South Carolina Gamecocks13.914
Alabama Crimson Tide95.036
@ Mississippi State Bulldogs 5.010
Idaho Vandals 6.021
@ Boise State Broncos94.044
New Mexico State Aggies 9.514
@ Hawaii Warriors90.538
San Jose State Spartans20.918
@ Utah State Aggies79.131
Fresno State Bulldogs33.834
@ Nevada Wolf Pack66.242
Delaware Blue Hens 5.09
@ Navy Midshipmen95.038
Virginia Military Keydets20.49
@ Army Black Knights79.620
Texas Tech Red Raiders30.821
@ Oklahoma State Cowboys69.228
Texas A&M Aggies31.316
@ Oklahoma Sooners68.723
Missouri Tigers33.819
@ Kansas State Wildcats66.226
Colorado Buffaloes60.724
@ Iowa State Cyclones39.322
Nebraska Cornhuskers69.223
@ Kansas Jayhawks30.817
Texas Longhorns94.531
@ Baylor Bears 5.515
UTEP Miners30.818
@ Southern Methodist Mustangs69.226
East Carolina Pirates33.822
@ Tulsa Golden Hurricane66.228
Tulane Green Wave73.132
@ Rice Owls26.926
Southern Miss Golden Eagles89.631
@ Marshall Thundering Herd10.415
UAB Blazers90.033
@ Memphis Tigers10.019
Houston Cougars94.538
@ UCF Knights 5.520
UNLV Rebels 7.511
@ Air Force Falcons92.531
Utah Utes23.924
@ TCU Horned Frogs76.135
Wyoming Cowboys69.220
@ San Diego State Aztecs30.817
Brigham Young Cougars95.039
@ New Mexico Lobos 5.013
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers18.415
@ Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks81.633
Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns33.315
@ Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders66.723
Arkansas State Red Wolves75.627
@ Florida Atlantic Owls24.420
North Texas Mean Green80.625
@ Florida International Golden Panthers19.415

Ever wanted to be in be in charge of your own college football program? With Gridiron Dynasty from WhatIfSports.com, you have a chance to do just that. From recruiting and running practice to gameplanning and scheduling - it is all under your control. Start at DIII and try to work your way up to winning the DI championship at your favorite school.

Eric Schmoldt is a writer and Paul Bessire is the Product Manager of Content and Quantitative Analysis for WhatIfSports.com, a division of FOX Sports Interactive specializing in NCAA Matchup analysis and college football sim games. With any comments, questions or topic suggestions, Paul and Eric can be reached at BtB@whatifsports.com. Thanks!

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