Coach Talk: Week #11

Coach Talk:  Week #11
by  Coach Jon Cacchione
Some huge games highlight week #11 in college football.  One thing has been true in each week this season, 1 or more highly ranked teams have been bitten by the upset bug. There is no reason to believe that trend will not continue this week.  Some battles between Coach Talk Top 15 teams undoubtedly will change many folks’ entries into the first ever college football playoff.  Here are some of those marquis match-ups for this week, Week #11.
First, there are two games that do not feature two teams of my Top 15, but rather 1 highly ranked team, and another that very well could pull the upset.  Both ranked teams in these 2 games are on the road in hostile environments.  Coach Talk #5 Oregon travels to Salt Lake City to take on a very physical and well-coached Utah (6-2) team that should give them all they want and more.  The Ducks are an 8 point favorite, but this one could be real close.  Also, Coach Talk #7 Baylor travels to Norman, Oklahoma to meet the Sooners.  Much lower ranked Oklahoma is actually a 6 1/2 point favorite.  A loss to the Sooners would end the Bears hopes at getting to the College Football Playoff.  
There are 4 games that feature 2 ranked opponents from my Top 15.  My #4 Alabama renews its annual rivalry with division foe LSU.  And, the Crimson Tide will have to travel to Death Valley in Baton Rouge to meet the very improved Tigers.  A Bama loss ends their hopes for a berth in the CFP.  In another elimination game, Coach Talk #8 and #9 square off in Fort Worth, Texas when the higher ranked and home team TCU Horned Frogs host the Kansas St. Wildcats.  The loser has no shot at the CFP, with the winner keeping their hopes alive for getting to the 4-team bracket, as well as becoming the favorite to win the Big 12.  This one will feature good defense against a highly powered offense.  The last elimination game, so to speak features Coach Talk #10 and #11.  Notre Damevisits PAC 12 South leader Arizona St. in Tempe.  The winner keeps their chances viable for the playoffs, while the loser is absolutely out.   Finally, Coach Talk #7 Michigan St. plays host to #12 Ohio St.  Again, the winner keeps their hopes alive for a CFP invite, the loser is out.  My picks for all 5 of these, against the spread, can be found below.  Enjoy the games!!
Heisman Trophy leaders after 10 weeks:  
Leader:  Marcus Mariota, QB Oregon  169-248  2,541 yds;  26 TD’s;  2 Int.’s;  71 rushes for 410 yds;  7 TD’s
2nd:  Dak Prescott, QB  Miss. St.  132-216  2,025 yds;  16 TD’s;  7 Int.’s;  137 rushes for 725 yds;  10 TD’s
3rd:  Melvin Gordon, RB  Wisconsin  173 rushes  1,296 yds;  18 TD’s;  7.5 yds/carry
4th:  Amari Cooper, WR  Alabama  71 receptions  1,132 yds;  9 TD’s;  15.9 yds/catch
College Football Playoff:  My updated projections 
SEMI-FINALS
#1 Florida St.  VS.  #4  Mississippi St. 
#2 Alabama   VS.  #3 Oregon 
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
#4  Mississippi St.  VS.  #3  Oregon 
CFP CHAMPION
Oregon Ducks
Top 15:  Week #11
1.  Mississippi St. (8-0) Beat Arkansas 17-10.  Home vs. FCS Tennessee-Martin (5-5). 
2.  Florida St. (8-0)  Beat Louisville 42-31.  Home vs. Virginia (4-5), a 35-10 loser to Georgia Tech. 
3.  Auburn (7-1) Beat #14 Mississippi 35-31.  Home vs. Texas A&M (6-3), a 21-16 winner over Louisiana Monroe.
4.  Alabama (7-1) Off last week.  At #13 LSU (7-2), also off last week.  (HUGE GAME)
5.  Oregon (8-1) Beat Stanford 45-16.  At Utah (6-2), a 19-16 loser to #10 Arizona St. last week.  BIG GAME
6.  Michigan St. (7-1) Off last week.  Home this week vs. #12 Ohio St. (7-1), a 55-14 winner over Illinois last week. HUGE GAME
7.  Baylor (7-1) Beat Kansas 60-14.  At Oklahoma (6-2) this week, a 59-14 winner over Iowa St. last week.  BIG GAME
8.  TCU (7-1) Beat West Virginia last week 31-30.  Home this week vs. #9 Kansas St. (7-1), a 48-14 winner over Oklahoma St. last week. HUGE GAME. 
9.  Kansas St. (7-1) Beat Oklahoma St. 48-14.  At #8 TCU (7-1) this week, a 31-30 winner over WVU last week.  HUGE GAME
10. Arizona St. (7-1) Beat Utah last week 19-16.  Home this week vs. #11 Notre Dame (7-1), a 49-39 winner over Navy.  HUGE GAME
11. Notre Dame (7-1) Beat Navy 49-39.  At #10 Arizona St. (7-1), a 19-16 winner over Utah last week. HUGE GAME
12. Ohio St. (7-1)  Beat Illinois 55-14.  At #6 Michigan St. (7-1), who was off last week. HUGE GAME
13.  LSU (7-2) Off last week.  Home vs. #4 Alabama (7-1), also off last week.  HUGE GAME
14. Mississiippi (7-2)  Lost to #3 Auburn 35-31.  Home vs. FCS Presbyterean (5-4) this week. 
15.  Nebraska (8-1) Beat Purdue 35-14.  Off this week.  Next week at Wisconsin.  
 
Dropped Out:  Georgia;  Arizona
Close to Top 15:  Duke;  Oklahoma;  Marshall;  Wisconsin; Utah; UCLA
 
Interesting Games: Week #11  (Record last week ag. spread:  6-9)  [Season Record ag. spread:  74-72-3]
Thu. 
Clemson  @  Wake Forest  +21  (Too many to give a team at home)
Fri. 
Memphis  @  Temple  +7 1/2  (Tigers are good; but 7 1/2 is too many to give on the road.)
Sat.
Penn St. -6 1/2  @  Indiana  (Hoosiers are reeling;  I like the Panthers on the road)
Iowa  @  Minnesota  +1  (Gophers win at home)
Baylor +6 1/2  @  Oklahoma  (Sooners may win; not by that many, though)
Georgia  @  Kentucky  +10  (Taking the Wildcats at home with the points)
Notre Dame  @  Arizona St. -2 1/2  (Weak schedule hurts the Irish;  they get taken down in the desert.)
West Virginia  -3 1/2  @  Texas  (Mountaineers are good;  hopefully they will travel well.)
Michigan –1 1/2  @  Northwestern  (Wolverines win two in a row.)
Virginia  @  Florida St. -19  (I like the Seminoles to cover at home)
Kansas St.  @  TCU –6  (Horned Frogs offense will erupt this week at home.)
Georgia Tech  -3 1/2  @  North Carolina St.  (Yellowjackets roll two weeks in a row.)
Alabama –6 1/2  @  LSU  (Lot to give the Tigers on the road; but I like the Tide to cover.)
Ohio St.  @  Michigan St.  -3 1/2  (Spartans cover at home, no problem)
Oregon  -8  @  Utah  (Ducks roll all the way to the Championship game)