What to watch: Week 11 college football viewing guide, picks against the spread

·8 min read

Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.

After Georgia at No. 1, the College Football Playoff rankings feel as close as they've ever been. And there are plenty of games this weekend that could have a huge impact on the playoff picture. 

There are four games between ranked opponents, all of which are highlighted below. There are also numerous other ranked teams — No. 6 Michigan, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 17 Auburn, No. 20 Iowa and No. 25 Arkansas — that are single-digit favorites vs. unranked opponents and should be on upset alert. 

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

No. 6 Michigan at Penn State

Time: Noon | TV: ABC | Line: Michigan -1 | Total: 48.5

Michigan controversially leapfrogged Michigan State in this week’s CFP rankings despite the result on the field in East Lansing a few weeks ago. Now up to No. 6, Michigan is still in striking distance to reach the CFP for the first time. But it won’t be easy. Michigan has to win the rest of its regular season games, beginning with a trip to Penn State. The Wolverines have lost three of their last four games vs. PSU, including their last two visits to Beaver Stadium.

Penn State started 5-0 with impressive wins over Wisconsin and Auburn, but the season got derailed by a three-game losing streak. PSU lost quarterback Sean Clifford in the road loss to Iowa, and he was clearly not 100% healthy in the team’s embarrassing 9OT home loss to Illinois. Clifford has looked better in recent weeks, however. He threw for 361 yards in a 33-24 loss at Ohio State and then went for 363 last week in a win at Maryland. While their division title hopes are lost, the Nittany Lions now have the chance to play spoiler.

Sam: Michigan -1, Nick: Michigan -1

No. 8 Oklahoma at No. 13 Baylor

Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: OU -5.5 | Total: 63

Oklahoma is undefeated but is down at No. 8 in the CFP rankings thanks to multiple close victories over mediocre competition. The Sooners close out the season with games against three of the Big 12’s better teams, beginning with Saturday’s trip to Baylor. The Sooners have been playing much better since making the switch to Caleb Williams at quarterback, but this will be his first big road test. If OU continues winning and locks up another Big 12 title, it’s hard to envision the Sooners being excluded from the playoff.

Baylor, though, could deliver a big blow to OU’s CFP aspirations. The Bears went just 2-7 in 2020, Dave Aranda’s first season as head coach, but have executed a big turnaround. BU is now 7-2 overall and 4-2 in Big 12 play. BU’s most recent outing was a disappointing one. The Bears were upset by TCU, 30-28. In the loss, the defense was lit up for 562 yards, including 468 passing yards from freshman Chandler Morris. Baylor will obviously need a better effort if it wants to upset Oklahoma.

Sam: Baylor +5.5, Nick: Oklahoma -5.5

Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)
Oklahoma quarterback Caleb Williams (13) warms up before an NCAA college football game against Texas Tech, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, in Norman, Okla. (AP Photo/Alonzo Adams)

No. 19 Purdue at No. 4 Ohio State

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: OSU -20.5 | Total: 62.5

Can Purdue do it again? The Boilermakers have already upset two teams ranked in the top five this season. Back on Oct. 16, they went into Iowa City and dominated an Iowa team that was then ranked No. 2 in the AP poll. Last week, Purdue upset No. 3 Michigan State, 40-29, behind a 536-yard performance from Aidan O’Connell. Now 6-3 and ranked No. 19, Purdue heads to Ohio State with another chance to alter the CFP race.

Ohio State lost at home to Oregon in Week 2 but has since rattled off seven consecutive wins to sit at 8-1 overall and 6-0 in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes blew out teams like Rutgers, Maryland and Indiana, but have shown some holes in recent weeks against Penn State and Nebraska. OSU won both of those games by nine points and now will round out its schedule with three ranked teams: Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan. The path to the playoff is clear, but it’s a difficult one.

Sam: Purdue +20.5, Nick: Purdue +20.5

No. 11 Texas A&M at No. 15 Ole Miss

Time: 7 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Line: Texas A&M -3 | Total: 55.5

Texas A&M has responded excellently since it dropped back-to-back games to Arkansas and Mississippi State. Since then, the Aggies have rattled off four straight wins and are still in contention for the SEC West crown. The victory that started this winning streak came over Alabama, so if the Aggies beat Ole Miss this weekend and LSU in the regular season finale, they can leapfrog Alabama as long as the Tide drops a game. But before we get ahead of ourselves, Jimbo Fisher’s team will head to Oxford to contend with one of the top offenses in the country.

Ole Miss rebounded from its loss to Auburn on Oct. 30 by cruising past Liberty at home last week to improve to 7-2 on the year. The Rebels currently are fourth in the country in total offense, averaging 524.2 yards per game with Heisman candidate QB Matt Corral leading the way. Corral is among the Ole Miss players that have been dealing with injuries over the last month or so. A few of Corral’s top receiving options could be back on the field this weekend after missing time. That could make a huge difference against the Aggies, who are allowing just 4.6 yards per play.

Sam: Texas A&M -3, Nick: Ole Miss +3

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher yells to the officials during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher yells to the officials during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn Saturday, Nov. 6, 2021, in College Station, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

No. 16 NC State at No. 12 Wake Forest

Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ACCN | Line: Wake -2 | Total: 66.5

Wake Forest fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a loss to North Carolina last week but has the chance to grab firm control of the ACC Atlantic with a win over NC State. The Demon Deacons have been prolific on offense, averaging 44.7 points and 508.8 yards per game. Those stats rank third and sixth in the country, respectively. At the same time, though, the Wake defense allows 435.4 yards (No. 105) per game and has given up more than 50 points in two of its last three games.

Will the Demon Deacons be able to stop Devin Leary and the NC State offense? The Wolfpack are one game behind Wake in the divisional standings and have won six of their last seven games. Leary has been excellent and is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country. He has thrown for 2,475 yards and 25 touchdowns with just three interceptions and has topped 300 yards in his last three outings.

Sam: Wake Forest -2, Nick: NC State +2

Head-to-head ATS: Sam: 28-22, Nick: 23-27

Week 11 best bets

Nick Bromberg (Last week: 3-0, Overall: 19-11)

Air Force (-2.5) at Colorado State: Colorado State averages 23 points per game on offense. Air Force, meanwhile, gives up just 17 points per game. The last Air Force game to have more than 41 combined points came on Oct. 2 when the Falcons beat New Mexico, 38-10. This feels like an easy under given the number here. Pick: Under 45.5

TCU at No. 10 Oklahoma State (-13.5): Chandler Morris gave the Horned Frogs a spark in a 30-28 win over Baylor last week. He’s starting again this week but he should face a tougher task against an Oklahoma State defense that may be the best in the Big 12. The Cowboys have allowed six points over the last two games and haven’t given up more than 24 points in a game all season. Pick: Under 54.5

Georgia State at Coastal Carolina (-10): Star Chanticleers QB Grayson McCall is unlikely to play on Saturday because of a shoulder injury. Coastal has one of the best defenses in the Sun Belt and Georgia State is outside the top 100 in points per game. Without McCall, this could be a relatively low-scoring affair. Pick: Under 52.5

Sam Cooper (Last week: 3-0, Overall: 15-15)

Minnesota at No. 20 Iowa (-6): This is going to be a very low-scoring game and I like Minnesota to make the necessary adjustments after last week's loss vs. Illinois to keep this close, especially with Iowa starting its backup QB. Pick: Minnesota +6

Stanford at Oregon State (-12): Oregon State is 4-0 at home and can clinch a bowl berth against the team that could start its fourth QB of the season and allowed 441 rushing yards last weekend. Pick: Oregon State -12

Washington State at No. 3 Oregon (-14): Oregon is coming off an emotional win over Washington and has a trip to Utah on the horizon. WSU is coming off a bye and has covered in six straight games. This could be a tricky one for the Ducks. Pick: Washington State +14

For other Week 11 picks from Sam Cooper, click here.

For Week 11 picks from Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and Pat Forde, subscribe to the College Football Enquirer podcast.