It's finally here: LSU vs. Alabama week is in full swing, with the No. 2 Crimson Tide getting ready to host the No. 1 Tigers in a megaclash on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET. But while all eyes will be on Tuscaloosa, it's not the only game of note this weekend. In fact, the day even features another clash of undefeateds when Penn State travels to Minnesota for a crucial Big Ten tilt.
Who will win Week 11's 12 biggest games? Our writers and editors' picks are in.
Molly Geary: 84–35 (70.6%)
Max Meyer: 83–36 (69.7%)
Michael Shapiro: 81–38 (68.1%)
Laken Litman: 80–39 (67.2%)
Ross Dellenger: 76–43 (63.9%)
Lorenzo Arguello: 29–17 (63.0%)
Washington at Oregon State (Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)
Max Meyer picks Washington: It's been a disappointing season for Washington, though I do think the Huskies are better than their record. Three of their four losses have been blown double-digit leads at home to Pac-12 teams. Meanwhile, Oregon State has been the biggest surprise of the conference, and has won three straight road games. The Beavers host their Pac-12 North foe in Corvallis, and things certainly get wonky there on Friday nights—just ask Pete Carroll and USC. Will Washington come out flat after back-to-back blown opportunities to notch a signature win at home over Oregon and Utah? Possibly. But the Huskies are still the better team, and Oregon State's defense is still pretty awful.
No. 5 Penn State at No. 13 Minnesota (12 p.m. ET, ABC)
Pat Forde picks Penn State: The Gophers' biggest home game since 1961, after the program's first 8–0 start since 1941, is unfortunately overshadowed by the happenings in Tuscaloosa. P.J. Fleck has done what he was hired to do, elevating Minnesota to a new level—but let's be honest, the Gophers still haven't played anybody. Best opponent to date, according to the Sagarin Ratings: No. 60 Nebraska. Penn State's Big Ten–leading rushing defense will challenge the Minnesota ground game. If Fleck wins this one, we'll all be in the rowboat with him going forward.
No. 11 Baylor at TCU (12 p.m. ET, FS1)
Ross Dellenger picks Baylor: How long can the magic continue for Matt Rhule and the Bears? They’ve won on a fourth-quarter score against Iowa State, West Virginia and Texas Tech, and escaped with an eight-point win over Rice. Though the Horned Frogs have lost three of four, this begins their toughest three-game stretch of the season. They'll next host Oklahoma and Texas.
No. 1 LSU at No. 2 Alabama (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Ross Dellenger picks Alabama: If this game was in Tiger Stadium, we'd give the nod to the streaking Tigers, but QB Tua Tagovailoa is expected to play and the Tide are at home. This is the first 1-verse-2 matchup since these two teams met in 2011, a 9–6 LSU victory. Expect more points this time around. These two offenses have evolved into two of the most prolific spread units in America, setting us up for a quarterback duel into the fourth quarter.
No. 16 Kansas State at Texas (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Lorenzo Arguello picks Texas: Three early-season losses mean Texas is already out of the playoff discussion and very likely out of the New Year’s Six discussion as well. Meanwhile, Kansas State is sitting pretty at 6–2 and ranked in the AP Top 25 in Chris Klieman’s first season at the helm. Yet, both schools are eyeing the same scenario in Big 12 play: win this week to improve to 4–2 in the conference and hope either Oklahoma or Baylor drop a game (or two) down the stretch in order to be able to reach the conference title game. Texas is favored at home this weekend with a bunch of key players set to return from injury, which will be huge for a defense that’s been depleted for weeks now. This will likely be a typical high-scoring Big 12 affair, but give us the Longhorns to bounce back from a road loss to TCU.
No. 19 Wake Forest at Virginia Tech (3:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Michael Shapiro picks Wake Forest: Virginia Tech played a pair of thrillers in its last two contests, defeating UNC in overtime on Oct. 19 before last week's one-point loss at Notre Dame. The Hokies should be in line for another barn-burner on Saturday as they host No. 22 Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons are off to a blistering 7–1 start, eyeing back-to-back bowl appearances for the first time since 2007–08. QB Jamie Newman has been their catalyst. The junior has tossed 20 touchdowns and just five picks in 2019, adding five scores on the ground while ranking second on the team in rushing. Newman shredded NC State for 287 yards and three touchdowns on Nov. 2. He could be in for a repeat performance in Blacksburg.
Louisville at Miami (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Pat Forde picks Miami: In the tub of live bait known as the non-Clemson ACC, this game looms fairly large. At 5–3, the Cardinals are the most improved team in the league after last year's 2–10 debacle. At 5–4, Miami has been a mixed bag but has put together consecutive big road wins over Pittsburgh and Florida State. (Willie Taggart was Diaz'd for that rivalry loss.) If Clemson makes the College Football Playoff, someone else from this league gets to go to the Orange Bowl. The winner of this game might have a shot at it.
USC at Arizona State (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Max Meyer picks Arizona State: USC has been a disaster on the road this season. In four road games, the Trojans have lost to BYU, Notre Dame and Washington and barely pulled out a win over the Pac-12's worst team in Colorado. After losing its status atop the Pac-12 South in a embarrassing loss to Oregon at home this past weekend, the Trojans could finish this uninspiring season in a tailspin, especially with Clay Helton's fate all but sealed. Arizona State has hit a wall after a hot start to the season, but the Sun Devils have a perfectly timed bye to regroup. I think Jayden Daniels & Co. bounce back here, especially given that ASU has the massive coaching advantage in this one.
No. 18 Iowa at No. 13 Wisconsin (4 p.m. ET, FOX)
Laken Litman picks Wisconsin: This one comes down to Wisconsin’s blockers up front making way for Jonathan Taylor. The normally explosive RB struggled in the Badgers’ 38–7 loss to Ohio State two weeks ago, rushing for 52 yards on 20 carries without scoring. The Buckeyes thoroughly controlled the line of scrimmage, and Iowa’s defense is good enough to do the same. Taylor is still ranked fifth in the country averaging 126.13 yards per game and has already passed the 1,000 rushing yard mark this season. The Hawkeyes rank third in the Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing only 87.8 yards per game on 3.07 yards per carry, and haven’t allowed a run of 20 yards or more this fall. Taylor, however, has made six of those this fall. Can he and his O-line get back to putting up some big numbers? Loser of this one is ousted from the Big Ten West race, while the winner gets a shot at division leader Minnesota later this month. The edge goes to Taylor and the home team here to reassert some dominance.
Missouri at No. 6 Georgia (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Molly Geary picks Georgia: Jake Fromm answered his critics in the Bulldogs' big rivalry win over Florida last weekend, and while this is a potential letdown spot after an emotional victory, being back home in Athens should help stem that. Missouri has been heading in the wrong direction of late, with back-to-back losses to Vanderbilt and Kentucky before last week's bye. An offense that has scored just 21 total points in the last two games won't see things get easier going up against the UGA defense.
No. 15 Notre Dame at Duke (7:30 p.m. ET, ACC Network)
Laken Litman picks Notre Dame: Notre Dame QB Ian Book has taken a hit the last two weeks, completing 32% of his passes in an embarrassing loss to Michigan and following that up with an uneven performance in a one-point win over Virginia Tech. Book scored the game-winning TD against the Hokies, but also went 29 of 53 for 336 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Fighting Irish are counting on Book to stay loose, keep his confidence and bounce back on the road vs. Duke on Saturday. The Blue Devils have lost three of their last four games, so the Irish hope to catch them at a vulnerable time.
Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma (8 p.m. ET, FOX)
Michael Shapiro picks Oklahoma: Oklahoma dropped its first game of 2019 on Oct. 26 at Kansas State, but don't expect back-to-back defeats when the Sooners return to Norman. Oklahoma's offense remains the class of the conference—and frankly one of the best in the nation—and Lincoln Riley's crew is likely to rack up the style points as it looks to crawl back into the College Football Playoff picture. Oklahoma would be on shakier ground if this game were in Ames. The Sooners' friendly confines should ensure a double-digit victory as Iowa State looks to avoid its third conference loss of 2019.