What to watch: Week 11 college football viewing guide, picks against the spread

Every week throughout the season we’ll give you a college football viewing guide by highlighting the five best games of the coming weekend. We will pick those five games against the spread and highlight some other matchups that caught our eye from a betting perspective.

We're approaching the home stretch of the college football regular season.

And though Week 11 doesn't have the top-tier matchups we saw in Week 10, there is an array of games with College Football Playoff and conference title implications. There are four ranked vs. ranked showdowns, as well as a bunch of unranked teams with the potential to shake things up.

High on that list is Arkansas, which hosts No. 7 LSU after its massive upset of Alabama. Elsewhere, No. 4 TCU is a touchdown underdog on the road against Texas and there's also a fascinating matchup between two-loss Alabama and Ole Miss.

This should be a lot of fun.

(Note: All times ET, odds from BetMGM)

No. 7 LSU at Arkansas

Time: Noon | TV: ESPN | Line: LSU -3.5 | Total: 63

Improbably, LSU is now in the driver’s seat in the SEC West in Brian Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge. The Tigers pulled off a massive upset last week, shocking Alabama with a gutsy two-point conversion in overtime that resulted in a thrilling one-point win. Jayden Daniels turned in another brilliant performance in the win with 182 passing yards, 95 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. Will Daniels and the Tigers be able to bring that same kind of energy this week?

It’s a tricky spot where it feels like a letdown is possible. LSU is going on the road for an early kickoff against an Arkansas team that just laid an egg at home and lost to Liberty as a two-touchdown favorite. This is an Arkansas team that was ranked in the top 10 in late September. Now it’s 5-4 and looking to play the role of spoiler. The key here is the health of Arkansas quarterback K.J. Jefferson. Jefferson is a true dual-threat and one of the best players in the SEC, but he was clearly hampered last week. To pull off the upset, the Razorbacks need Jefferson to be at the top of his game.

Nick Bromberg: Arkansas +3.5, Sam Cooper: Arkansas +3.5

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman)
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels (5) runs the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Alabama in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Nov. 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Tyler Kaufman) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

No. 9 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: CBS | Line: Alabama -11.5 | Total: 64.5

It’s early November and Alabama has two losses and is on the outside looking in when it comes to the College Football Playoff picture. It’s an unfamiliar position for Nick Saban’s program, and now the Crimson Tide are headed back on the road to face a one-loss Ole Miss team coming off a bye. How motivated will Alabama’s players be with both an SEC championship and national championship now extreme long shots?

On the other side, Lane Kiffin would love to get a win over his former boss — a win that could all of a sudden make the Rebels much more viable in the national title picture. Ole Miss started the year 7-0 but didn’t play many above average opponents during that stretch. That strong start preceded a 45-20 loss at LSU, but the Rebels rebounded by taking care of Texas A&M before last week’s bye. Ole Miss has been very reliant on its running game led by freshman Quinshon Judkins. Judkins makes a strong pairing with Zach Evans and that duo will likely be in for a heavy workload. On top of that, expect Kiffin to have some tricks up his sleeve after having an extra week of preparation.

Nick: Alabama -11.5, Sam: Ole Miss +11.5

No. 22 UCF at No. 17 Tulane

Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN2 | Line: Tulane -1.5 | Total: 54.5

This is a massive game in the American Athletic Conference race and in the New Year’s Six bowl picture. At 8-1 overall and 5-0 in AAC play, Tulane is in first place in the AAC and is the highest-ranked Group of Five team at No. 17. UCF, at 7-2 overall and 4-1 in conference play, is next in line at No. 22. There are no other G5 teams currently ranked, so the winner of the AAC is the leader in the clubhouse to clinch a spot in the Cotton Bowl.

Tulane was just 2-10 in 2021. This year, the Green Wave have six victories with a double-digit margin, an overtime win over Houston with a third-string QB and an upset over Kansas State. The lone blemish was a home loss to Southern Miss back in Week 4. Since then, Tulane has won five straight — all in AAC play. UCF, meanwhile, is coming off wins over two-time defending AAC champions Cincinnati and Memphis. Those two wins were engineered by backup quarterback Mikey Keene, who filled in for John Rhys Plumlee. It’s unclear who will get the start for the Knights this week.

Nick: Tulane -1.5, Sam: UCF +1.5

No. 19 Kansas State at Baylor

Time: 7 p.m. | TV: FS1 | Line: BU -2.5 | Total: 53.5

Behind undefeated TCU, the Big 12 race is mighty crowded. The top two teams in the league make the championship game, and Kansas State, Texas and Baylor are all sitting at 4-2 in conference play. K-State, though, lost to Texas last week, so the Wildcats really need to go into Waco and get a win on Saturday night. K-State started the year 5-1 but have since lost two of three, dropping heartbreakers to both TCU and Texas. In the Texas loss, K-State trailed 31-10 but stormed all the way back and had a chance to tie the game in the final minute, only to come up short.

Baylor, meanwhile, has quietly strung three consecutive wins together after a two-game losing streak to open October. The Bears took care of Kansas and Texas Tech before going to Norman to beat Oklahoma last week. Kansas State is a step up in competition for Baylor, which won the Big 12 title last season. BU has leaned on its ground attack in recent weeks as Craig “Sqwirl” Williams had a career-high 192 yards last week with leading rusher Richard Reese dealing with the flu. Both Williams and Reese should be ready to roll this week, posing a big challenge to a K-State defense that just gave up 269 rushing yards to Texas.

Nick: Baylor -2.5, Sam: K-State +2.5

No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas

Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: Texas -7 | Total: 64.5

While Big 12 title implications are also at play in this game, the stakes are much bigger for TCU. The Horned Frogs, now 9-0 on the year, moved up to No. 4 in the CFP rankings on Tuesday night. To get to this point, TCU has been winning a lot of tight games. In fact, six of its nine victories have been decided by 10 points or fewer. And many of those wins have been come-from-behind efforts. Perhaps that high-wire act explains why the Horned Frogs are seven-point underdogs in Austin on Saturday.

Texas has been viewed favorably by the oddsmakers all season; a visit from Alabama was the only time the Longhorns have been underdogs on the year. But UT hasn’t always lived up to that billing. Texas enters this game with a 6-3 record, though all three of those losses came by one possession. Last week was perhaps the best Texas performance of the season – the first half, at least. UT led 31-10 at the break but had to hold on to dear life in an eventual 34-27 win. To knock off TCU, the Longhorns need to play a more complete game. Perhaps longtime TCU head coach Gary Patterson, now a member of the UT staff, can provide some assistance.

Nick: TCU +7, Sam: Texas -7

Head-to-head ATS: Nick: 27-23, Sam: 27-23

Week 11 best bets

Nick Bromberg (Last week: 1-2, Overall: 15-15)

Missouri at No. 5 Tennessee (-21): The Missouri defense is sneakily good and has been bogged down by the team’s offensive struggles so far this season. The Tigers allow fewer than five yards per play and opposing teams are completing less than 58% of their passes and throwing for fewer than 200 yards per game. Tennessee bounces back from the Georgia loss and wins easily. But it’s not a repeat of 62-24 from 2021. Pick: Under 56.5

North Texas at UAB (-6): The Blazers are 3-1 ATS as a home favorite and 0-5 overall ATS on the road. UAB should be especially motivated to get the win; it needs wins over the Mean Green and Louisiana Tech to get to a bowl game assuming a loss to LSU. I think that happens and UAB breaks a three-game losing streak. Pick: UAB -6

No. 1 Georgia (-16.5) at Mississippi State: Georgia should win this game relatively easily, though I’m not taking UGA minus the points. MSU has scored 17 or fewer points in its three losses this season and I think the over is slightly inflated because all five of MSU's home games have gone over so far in 2022. Georgia’s defense matches up well with MSU and this goes under. Pick: Under 53.5

Sam Cooper (Last week: 2-1, Overall: 18-12)

Wisconsin (-1.5) at Iowa: Wisconsin dominated Maryland last week, but it was in howling wind and driving rain. Wisconsin won’t have that same edge this week. The best unit in this game is Iowa’s defense. I’d be very surprised if the Hawkeyes don't bait Graham Mertz into a turnover or two. I’ll take the home dog. Pick: Iowa +1.5

Kansas at Texas Tech (-3.5): Kansas is bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, but I think this is a letdown spot for the Jayhawks going into a tough environment in Lubbock. Texas Tech has played in a bunch of close games and is fighting to get to a bowl. This point spread is telling me to take the Red Raiders. Pick: Texas Tech -3.5

Texas A&M at Auburn (-1.5): Go watch the postgame locker room video from last week's Auburn game and tell me that team won't come out fired up to play in front of the home crowd for head coach Cadillac Willams. Texas A&M is reeling and is going to have a very tough time defending Auburn's running attack with Robby Ashford and Tank Bigsby. Pick: Auburn -1.5

For other Week 11 picks from Sam Cooper, click here.

For Week 11 picks from Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger, subscribe to the College Football Enquirer.