Dirty Dozen: Crystal Ball Run staff picks for Week 11

Whoa nellie! Do we have some good games to get to this week or what? 

Here is a look at the updated records for our staff this season, with winning pick percentages noted…

1. Allen (89-31, 74.2%)
2. Jonathan (82-38, 68.3%)
3. David (80-40, 66.7%)
4. Kevin M. (79-41, 65.8%)
5. Kevin C. (77-31, 71.2%)
6. (t) Andy (77-43, 64.2%)
6. (t) Tom (77-43, 64.2%)
7. Aaron (73-35, 60.8%)
8. Josh (60-24, 71.4%)

And now on to this week's picks, starting with the two huge match-ups on Thursday night.

No. 6 Baylor vs. No. 10 Oklahoma: Thursday, 7:30 p.m., FOX Sports 1

Allen’s Take: Although its schedule to this point in the season remains wretched, Baylor can dismiss the criticism that the Bears haven't played anyone following Thursday night's game with Oklahoma. (In the narrowest sense possible, of course, that was no longer valid as soon as Baylor took the field on Labor Day weekend against the Wofford Terriers, but I digress.)

The Sooners are double-digit underdogs, underscoring that this isn't a vintage OU outfit. However, Bob Stoops' team can test Baylor's major weakness: stopping the run. Furthermore, OU's new defensive scheme was designed with the idea of stopping teams such as Baylor in mind.

When all is said and done, though, this game will come down to OU quarterback Blake Bell's ability to take advantage of opportunities to go deep against the Baylor D. He has yet to prove he can do that consistently.

Aaron: Baylor 44, Oklahoma 38
Allen: Baylor 38, Oklahoma 21
Andy: Baylor 31, Oklahoma 27
David: Baylor 35, Oklahoma 31
Jonathan: Baylor 52, Oklahoma 40
Kevin C: Baylor 35, Oklahoma 28
Kevin M: Oklahoma 36, Baylor 34
Tom: Baylor 56, Oklahoma 51

No. 5 Stanford vs. No. 3 Oregon: Thursday, 9:00 p.m., ESPN

Aaron’s Take: Another season, another “Game of the Year” in the Pac-12 featuring Stanford and Oregon. As much as things change, they stay the same, huh? Well they will change in at least one sense, with Oregon regaining the edge on the field, and in the BCS and Pac-12 title chases. The simple truth is that for as good as Oregon was last year- and if memory serves me correctly, they went 12-1- they’re a much more complete team in 2013. While the numbers are about the same, the Ducks are much more dynamic on offense; not only is Marcus Mariota is better, but with the emergence of Bralon Addison and Byron Marshall, plus improvement from Josh Huff, he’s got more weapons too. The defense seems as talented, and well-rounded as ever.

Stanford will put up a fight, if only, because they’re a damn good team (not to mention playing at home). But ultimately, the better team will win. That club is Oregon.

Aaron: Oregon 41, Stanford 28
Allen: Oregon 41, Stanford 13
Andy: Oregon 31, Stanford 24
David: Oregon 42, Stanford 20
Jonathan: Oregon 48, Stanford 21
Kevin C: Oregon 28, Stanford 24
Kevin M: Stanford 30, Oregon 27
Tom: Oregon 34, Stanford 25

Florida vs. Vanderbilt: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN3

Kevin M’s Take: The Gators play home games in what is affectionately called “The Swamp,” but lately it feels as though Florida has been stuck in a swamp. Losers of three straight games, Florida hopes a return to their home field will reward them with a win this weekend against Vanderbilt. Looking for a must win? This may be it for Florida. A loss at home to Vanderbilt, which has not happened since 1945, could leave Florida with their backs against the wall of postseason eligibility. The Gators would need to win two of three at South Carolina and at home against Georgia Southern and Florida State.

Aaron: Florida 19, Vanderbilt 12
Allen: Florida 14, Vanderbilt 12
Andy: Florida 27, Vanderbilt 20
David: Vanderbilt 31, Florida 15
Jonathan: Vanderbilt 24, Florida 21
Kevin C: Florida 21, Vanderbilt 14
Kevin M: Florida 24, Vanderbilt 17
Tom: Florida 23, Vanderbilt 16

No. 24 Wisconsin vs. BYU: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Andy’s Take: If you love running backs and the run game in general then tune into this one because you’ll see two of the top 15 teams in the country at running the football. Yet, they get it done in vastly different ways—Wisconsin will pound the ball down your throat, while BYU will look to spread you out and use big QB Taysom Hill as the beef in the run game. BYU is a scary good football team when it is clicking on all cylinders and playing on the road won’t intimidate them much at all. However, BYU’s defense is nowhere near as good as Wisconsin’s, with or without Chris Borland, and that is the difference for me. Wisconsin at home will limit the BYU rush attack to just about 100-125 yards and that won’t be enough to win.

Aaron: Wisconsin 34, BYU 16
Allen: Wisconsin 34, BYU 30
Andy: Wisconsin 38, BYU 30
David: BYU 41, Wisconsin 31
Jonathan: Wisconsin 35, BYU 32
Kevin C: Wisconsin 30, BYU 21
Kevin M: Wisconsin 24, BYU 17
Tom: Wisconsin 27, BYU 17

Michigan vs. Nebraska: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Andy’s Take: Yes, Michigan hasn’t lost to anyone at home under Brady Hoke, but Hoke also hasn’t had a mess of an offensive line either. Yes, Nebraska is dealing with injuries and may or may not have Taylor Martinez at quarterback. So it is a horse apiece in this game. Michigan’s biggest issue is that it hasn’t seen a running back like Ameer Abdullah all season long and if Jeremy Langford can benefit from a worn down Michigan defense, imagine what Abdullah is capable of. For Michigan to win they must find some semblance of a run game, otherwise look for a very good secondary to handle Jeremy Gallon and Devin Funchess and dare Michigan to beat them on the ground.

Aaron: Michigan 24, Nebraska 21
Allen: Michigan 28, Nebraska 20
Andy: Nebraska 31, Michigan 21
David: Nebraska 27, Michigan 17
Jonathan: Michigan 18, Nebraska 14
Kevin C: Michigan 35, Nebraska 24
Kevin M: Nebraska 24, Michigan 23
Tom: Michigan 27, Nebraska 17

Maryland vs. Syracuse: Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3

Kevin M’s Take: Getting to be bowl eligible is getting harder and harder for Maryland but they are so close they can taste it. A team decimated by injuries is now just one win away from a return to the postseason. The past two weeks have been rough on the Terps and this one could be a struggle as well but Syracuse has struggled away form the Carrier Dome this season (except for NC State) and lost 56-0 last time on the road at Georgia Tech.

Aaron: Maryland 45, Syracuse 17
Allen: Maryland 27, Syracuse 20
Andy: Maryland 34, Syracuse 20
David: Maryland 28, Syracuse 21
Jonathan: Maryland 21, Syracuse 14
Kevin C: Syracuse 17, Maryland 14
Kevin M: Maryland 20, Syracuse 17
Tom: Syracuse 17, Maryland 14

No. 11 Miami vs. Virginia Tech: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Kevin C’s Take: Both teams come into this game licking their wounds. Miami was on the wrong side of a beat down by FSU and Virginia Tech is on a two game slide losing to Duke and Boston College. This game is being played in Miami so officially no one has home field advantage. Can Miami survive the loss of Duke Johnson? Can VT return to the form they used to beat GT, UNC and Pitt? Flip a coin on this one. Me, I'll take Virginia Tech as I think that FSU game will cause Miami to lose more than one in a row.

Aaron: Virginia Tech 20, Miami 14
Allen: Miami 13, Virginia Tech 11
Andy: Miami 24, Virginia Tech 17
David: Miami 17, Virginia Tech 10
Jonathan: Miami 28, Virginia Tech 14
Kevin C: Virginia Tech 21, Miami 17
Kevin M: Miami 16, Virginia Tech 13
Tom: Virginia Tech 28, Miami 21

No. 21 Central Florida vs. Houston: Saturday, 7:00 p.m., ESPN2

Kevin M’s Take: While Central Florida has been basking in the glory as the new team to beat in the American following their earlier win against Louisville, Houston has been right there in the mix as well by playing well on offense. The quarterback battle in this one should be entertaining with the senior Blake Bortles of Central Florida and freshman John O’Korn of Houston having solid seasons to date. The Knights look to have an advantage on defense here and are certainly a more tested team at this point, but Houston will be no slouch. Houston blows away the American in turnover margin with a +20 (UCF is a +9) with 17 interceptions this season.

Aaron: Central Florida 34, Houston 21
Allen: Central Florida 35, Houston 24
Andy: Houston 31, Central Florida 24
David: Central Florida 30, Houston 23
Jonathan: Central Florida 21, Houston 20
Kevin C: Central Florida 34, Houston 28
Kevin M: Central Florida 38, Houston 37
Tom: Central Florida 38, Houston 34

No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 13 LSU: Saturday, 8:00 p.m., CBS

Jonathan’s Take: Ok, it's not the Game of the Century. It's not the best game of the season. Frankly, it's not even the best game of the week, but it is the best game being played on a Saturday. Alabama-LSU is always a good game, regardless of team rankings. Nick Saban is 4-3 against Les Miles and wants nothing more than to beat his former team. Alabama last lost to LSU in Tuscaloosa in 2011 and haven't since. That won't change this year. Reports about Saban leaving for Texas only serve as noise in the distance, drowned out by the terrifying symphony of football that he will unleash on them Tigers.

Aaron: Alabama 28, LSU 24
Allen: Alabama 33, LSU 27
Andy: Alabama 28, LSU 24
David: Alabama 23, LSU 21
Jonathan: Alabama 38, LSU 24
Kevin C: Alabama 31, LSU 21
Kevin M: LSU 22, Alabama 20
Tom: Alabama 24, LSU 13

Pittsburgh vs. No. 23 Notre Dame: Saturday, 8:00 p.m., ABC

Tom’s Take: The Fighting Irish struggled with Navy, but found a way to win. Quarterback Tommy Rees remains too inconsistent to really get behind Notre Dame, but the Irish defense should have too much for Pitt. The Panthers have had some bright spots this season, but a tough loss to Georgia Tech dropped the Panthers to 4-4. QB Tom Savage has what it takes to give Pitt a shot at an upset at Heinz Field.

Aaron: Notre Dame 28, Pitt 21
Allen: Notre Dame 31, Pitt 27
Andy: Notre Dame 27, Pitt 17
David: Notre Dame 23, Pitt 12
Jonathan: Notre Dame 30, Pitt 21
Kevin C: Notre Dame 28, Pitt 24
Kevin M: Notre Dame 30, Pitt 17
Tom: Notre Dame 28, Pitt 24

Arizona vs. No. 19 UCLA: Saturday, 10:00 p.m. ESPN

Dave’s Take: Suffice it to say, this year's UCLA/Arizona game won't be a 56-point blowout. Expect Ka'Deem Carey to make more of an impact on the ground for the Wildcats this year. The Bruins, though, are a better team at this juncture, and will continue to recover from their two week dip against Stanford and Oregon with another strong showing.

Aaron: UCLA 34, Arizona 21
Allen: Arizona 27, UCLA 24
Andy: UCLA 33, Arizona 24
David: UCLA 41, Arizona 24
Jonathan: UCLA 35, Arizona 20
Kevin C: UCLA 31, Arizona 27
Kevin M: UCLA 38, Arizona 33
Tom: Arizona 32, UCLA 28

Wyoming vs. No. 16 Fresno State: Saturday, 10:15 p.m. ESPN2

Kevin C’s Take: Wyoming has wins over Idaho (1-8), Northern Colorado (1-8), Air Force (2-7) and New Mexico (2-6). Let's not over analyze this one. Do yourself a favor and take Fresno State.

Aaron: Fresno State 38, Wyoming 14
Allen: Fresno State 42, Wyoming 35
Andy: Wyoming 37, Fresno State 30
David: Fresno State 45, Wyoming 42
Jonathan: Fresno State 38, Wyoming 28
Kevin C: Fresno State 52, Wyoming 31
Kevin M: Fresno State 38, Wyoming 32
Tom: Fresno state 55, Wyoming 14

Follow Crystal Ball Run on TwitterFacebookGoogle+ and YouTube. Subscribe to the Crystal Ball Run newsletter and podcast.

Kevin McGuire

About Kevin McGuire

Managing editor of Crystal Ball Run and contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. College Football Hall of Fame voter. Also managing Bloguin's NittanyLionsDen.com and Macho-Row.com.

Quantcast