College football enters week 11 with Alabama already bruised by two losses -- and so far down in the college playoff rankings you'd think the Tide were Liberty -- and with Clemson reeling after being blown out by three-loss Notre Dame.
That means the two college football playoff mainstays get to watch the playoff fun this year.
Change is good.
This week's schedule is packed with meaningful games, with Game Day headed to Austin to see three-loss Texas as a seven-point favorite over 9-0 and No. 4-ranked TCU.
Expect more chaos this weekend.
On to the games:
Pittsburgh over VIRGINIA, giving 4
Panthers' roller-coaster season continued with last week's 19-9 win over Syracuse. Here's the thing: Defense travels, and Pitt plays it well -- ranked No. 26 in total defense nationally. Not sure what has happened to Virginia QB Brennan Armstrong -- just six TDs with 10 INTs this year -- but injuries at wide receiver have exposed him as ordinary. Only once have the Cavs scored more than 20 points against FBS competition this year and the 12 points scored in a four OT loss to Miami (all field goals) was embarrassing.
Washington over OREGON, taking 13 1/2
Spot quiz: Which QB leads the nation in passing yards? If you guessed the Huskies' Michael Penix, Jr., kudos. He's the reason Washington is 7-2 and averaging almost 500 yards per game. Credit to Oregon QB Bo Nix for the season he has had after the opening-game disaster at Georgia, but the Ducks own just one quality win (UCLA). Four of their past five wins have come against 3-6 Stanford, 3-6 Arizona, 3-6 Cal and 1-8 Colorado. So how good are they? Maybe it is time to find out.
Louisville over CLEMSON, taking 7
Did not see Clemson getting embarrassed at Notre Dame last week, but let's be honest here: The Tigers have been begging to get beat all year, in large part because of erratic and ineffective QB play. That won't be addressed until the offseason, so now Clemson has to find a way to stay with surging Louisville, which is getting stellar play from QB Malik Cunningham and is getting strong defensive play as well. The past three games Clemson has beaten Florida State by six, Syracuse by six and lost to Notre Dame by 21. Sometimes the signs are right there for us to see.
PENN STATE over Maryland, giving 10
See last week's assessment of the Nittany Lions (a refresher: they feast on mediocre and bad teams; that's how they will get to 10-2). After tying a school record with 16 tackles for loss last week, Penn State's defense will now go after Tualia Tagovailoa, who was dreadful in his return from injury at QB last week against Wisconsin. Maryland allowed five sacks that game and managed 10 points. Good luck with that formula in Happy Valley.
Ucf over TULANE, taking 2
Love the job Willie Fritz has done with the Green Wave, but the litmus test for 8-1 Tulane starts now, with a closing stretch of UCF, SMU and Cincinnati. Knights are expected to get QB John Rhys Plumlee back from an ankle injury, though Mike Keene filled in nicely in the win over Memphis by throwing for 219 yards and three TDs. Translation: UCF is loaded at QB and on offense and has been resurgent of late, and already owns a win over Cincy in its quest to reach the AAC title game. UCF's offense makes the difference here.
Tcu over TEXAS, taking 7
This goes against my belief that when Vegas is begging you to go one way -- taking unbeaten and No. 4-ranked TCU with the points -- you go the other way. Yes, the Horned Frogs have a bad habit of falling behind, which will catch up with them at some point. For now, they are getting stellar QB play from Max Duggan, have a 1,000-yard rusher in Kendra Miller and might get star WR -- and future first round draft pick -- Quentin Johnson back from an ankle sprain. As talented as the Longhorns are, they are mediocre on defense and five of their games have been decided by seven points or less -- the outlier being the rout of mediocre Oklahoma. Texas will score here but can a defense ranked 73rd nationally keep TCU at bay? Doubtful. This looks like a field goal game either way.
Last week vs. spread: 4-2
Season to date vs. spread: 27-33
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