Welcome back to the San Diego State Sports MBA college football picks segment! We hope you all enjoyed Week 10 of the college football season.
First, let’s see the standings after our Week 10 predictions:
Adam picked up the Extra Point and widens the gap to third. Thanks to the rolling Seminoles, all four of us picked up points on their games. Dan stays out in front, but the gap is down to two points. The home stretch is going to be important.
This week, we give you the Thursday Night Special. Click through to see our picks!
After much deliberation, the games we will look at this week are:
(#10)Oklahoma @ (#6)Baylor (THURSDAY!)
(#3)Oregon @ (#5)Stanford (THURSDAY!)
(#13)LSU @ (#1)Alabama
San Diego State @ San Jose State
Without further ado, here are our picks!
Oklahoma @ Baylor
Baylor’s high-flying offense welcomes the Sooners into town this week. Yes, it is Week 11, but this will definitely be a measuring stick game for Baylor. How can that be? Well, simple. Baylor has played pretty much nobody. Their toughest test has been 4-4 Kansas State. Baylor won that game by a measly 10 points, their narrowest margin of victory this year. Well, the Sooners are a lot better than Kansas State, the only blip on their radar being a surprise loss at Texas. This week, Oklahoma will give Baylor all they can ask for. The Sooners’ defense is stout in nearly every facet of the game. Which side will break first? Well, Bob Stoops and Co. have struggled on the road once. Given the Bears’ prolific offense, I think they come up short in a close one this week.
The Sooners have a really good defense that is 14th in the nation in scoring defense surrendering only 18.8 points per game. They will have their hands full as Baylor has a record-breaking offense to throw at them. The Bears have scored over 70 points in over half of their games this season! Baylor has a “balanced” attack (over 400 yards passing and 300 rushing, respectively), but expect them to unleash talented running back Lache Seastrunk in this one. I think that Bob Stoops’ team will be able to hold Baylor well below their season scoring average, but if they get down by a couple scores early it will be hard for Blake Bell and the Sooners to climb back into it. Baylor keeps its National Championship hopes alive in what could be the biggest home game in the program’s history.
Easily the best Thursday slate of games of all time. Thus far, Baylor has only played one game that ended within 30 points (not a misprint) but they start the first of 3 ranked games and finish their season with what will likely be the toughest 5 games on their schedule. Oklahoma comes into the game with one loss and a team that is led by their strong defense. I expect Baylor and RB Lache Seastrunk to finally get some recognition after this game.
Bla bla bla . . . contrasting styles . . . bla bla bla. As if that storyline has not been beaten to death by all of the media outlets leading up to this and the other Thursday night game. Oklahoma’s defense has the benefit of playing a similar style team in Texas Tech last week while Baylor has yet to play any competitive team. The Bears managed to give up 42 points to a 4-5 West Virginia team. In this weeks “Rude Awakening Game” expect to see Baylor get battered and bruised.
Oregon @ Stanford
This is probably the game of the week this week. Oregon takes its travelling circus on the road to Palo Alto for its yearly rendezvous with the Cardinal. This year, Pac-12 Championship implications are certainly at stake. Why is this game on Thursday, the same day as the Oklahoma-Baylor matchup? I have no idea whatsoever. Anyway… Oregon clearly has the superior offense. However, on the other side of the ball, the two teams are nearly identical in terms of yardage surrendered. Stanford’s defense will also be the first Oregon has faced that has given up fewer than 20 points per game. As we saw last week with Michigan @ Michigan State, a good defense can shut down a good offense. I think the stature of this game leads to the Stanford crowd being a huge factor and the Cardinal upsetting the Ducks. I’m either going to be right in a very close game or very wrong in a Ducks blowout. But I like my, and Stanford’s, chances.
What a Thursday night matchup in the PAC-12! Stanford will attempt to play keep-away and get close to their season average of 193 yards per game on the ground. Shayne Skov and the defense will need to play an aggressive, physical game on defense like they did in last season’s matchup against the Ducks in order to come out on top. I think the Cardinal have the physical playmakers on defense that are capable of plugging up the running lanes and will be assured there will be a player spying Marcus Mariota in order to defend the QB run. The problem with that is, Mariota is not the same passer he was a year ago (he has thrown for 20 TDs with no interceptions), and I don’t think the Stanford DBs will be able to hold up against Oregon’s speedy wide receivers. Oregon has continued to impress in every facet of the game and has too many explosive offensive weapons to be stopped by any defense on the West Coast.
Wouldn’t it be much cooler if Oregon went to Baylor and Oklahoma travelled to Stanford? Anyway, Stanford was able to get a win in OT last year against Oregon by shutting down their offense. I don’t expect the same thing to happen this year as the Stanford team is weaker on defense and the Oregon offense seems even stronger. FoxSports1 is hoping this game is a blowout by halftime so people flip the channel and they may get their wish.
It is hard to get a gauge on Stanford and their close games: Are they “battle tested” or simply inconsistent? The answer will reign down Thursday night as the visiting Ducks look to wear out the bulbs on the scoreboard, having already boasted that they would put up more than 40 points on the Cardinal. Considering the fact that Stanford has given up 20 points to Army, 28 to Arizona State, 28 to Washington and 27 (in a loss) to Utah, I don’t find 40 to be out of the realm of possibility.
LSU @ Alabama
We come full circle with this game. We’ve had a Big 12 matchup, a Pac-12 game, and now an SEC showdown this week. I guess those are the power conferences this year (grumble…). I digress. This may be a marquee matchup, but I think it will be so in name only. How is LSU ranked #13? They lost to Georgia, who has taken a nosedive albeit injury-aided, and Ole Miss, who is just a mediocre SEC team. Two-loss teams should not be in the top 20 at this point in the season. If LSU struggled with Ole Miss on the road, they are going to have a heck of a time with ‘Bama on the road. No doubt, Les “The Mad Hatter” Miles will have the Tigers ready, but the Crimson Tide have given up more than 10 points only once this year – at Texas A&M. I really do not expect this week to be any different. I think ‘Bama continues on their march to the National Championship and traipses through Week 11.
34-20 Crimson Tide
This week’s slate of games just keeps getting better and better! The Tigers will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on the number 1 team in the country. This will be a typical smash-mouth SEC football game complete with big hits and two of the best coaching staffs in college football. Both of these teams will attempt to run the football early and often in order to open up their respective passing games. Now, the Bayou Bengals and Jeremy Hill don’t lose the running back position battle to many teams, but I have to give the advantage to T.J. Yeldon and the Crimson Tide. On paper it is a slight edge, as Alabama rushes for over 210 yards per game, and LSU averages just over 200 yards per game. The real game-changer is the Tide’s defense, which has regained their position as the number 1 scoring defense in the country (giving up 9 points a game) since getting lit up by Johnny Manziel and company in September. I anticipate this being a very close game, but I think Alabama has the more consistent QB play, which will give them the advantage.
If you didn’t watch the Nick Saban piece on 60 minutes, you missed this amazing quote from Nick Saban, “Mediocre people don’t like high achievers and high achievers don’t like mediocre people.” I want to hate Nick Saban so much, but I just can’t. Both teams come in with an extra week of to prepare for the game and I feel like those situations always lead to a defensive game. LSU has some weapons in Zach Mettenberger and Jeremy Hill, but that Alabama defense and Nick Saban are really good at shutting down good offenses (Teams with QB not named Johnny Manziel have only score 36 points in 7 games). I’ll take Bama in a boring war of attrition.
In another overplayed storyline, we have the conventional vs. quirky matchup of the week. Les Miles, of grass-eating and over-the-should-fake-field-goal calling fame will taste the blades of Bermuda at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday night in what has become the most important game on the college football regular season schedule for past few seasons. Alabama will certainly be on high alert for any shenanigans from the LSU Tigers, but will most definitely shut them down. Alabama has allowed 10 points or less in every game they have played that has not featured an opponent named “Johnny Heisman.”
San Diego State @ San Jose State
Statistically, the Aztecs have the edge on both sides of the ball in this matchup. I think the Spartans have played the tougher opponents to this point, and that may well prepare them for this matchup. The Aztecs are coming off a win riding the shoulders of Adam Muema, who rushed for a career-high 233 yards last week in the win against New Mexico. The Aztecs offense is pretty balanced right now, which always creates problems for defenses. The Aztecs may want to keep it on the ground, though, this week, as the Spartans’ defense has amassed 10 interceptions this year, good for second in the Mountain West Conference. This will be a tough road test for SDSU, but I think they come away victorious in a close game.
This weekend’s MWC battle in the Bay is between two teams that are pushing for second place in the conference’s West Division. San Jose State has the better record and a more polished quarterback in Senior David Fales. The Aztecs did a tremendous job against Fresno State’s elite quarterback Derek Carr, and I think they need to approach this matchup with the same game plan. Fales and Co. will throw the ball early and often, and SDSU will need to dial up the pressure and disguise their coverage as they did against Carr. The Aztecs should be able to continue their recent offensive success this week, as the Spartans give up just under 30 points per game. Look for the Aztecs to continue to employ the power running game in order to chew up the clock and keep the ball out of Fales’ hands for the upset. Win the Battle of the Spears!
San Jose State QB David Fales came into the season as a QB who had hopes of being a first-round pick. Those hopes are quickly dwindling though as his accuracy has dropped and turnovers have skyrocketed. Although San Jose is on a 4-game win streak, I feel the Aztecs will be able to take advantage of some of the mistakes the Spartans make. In a close one, I’ll take SDSU.
The seemingly always up-and-down Aztecs take their .500 winning percentage into San Jose this week for what has been a developing rivalry as both teams worked their way out of their respective conference basements. Now conference foes, the Aztecs have to develop a way to slow down Spartan quarterback David Fales, who has already thrown for 2575 yards and 18 TDs. I hate to pick against my Aztecs but, having seen David Fales play in person last year, I think it is hard to go against him.
44-26 San Jose State
As always, here’s a recap for the visual learners: