With only a handful of games left in the college football regular season, it’s time to start looking for teams that are playing for bowl eligibility or spots to back underdogs that could upset conference opponents. Here’s what I like for Week 11 of college football.
Washington Huskies QB Michael Penix Jr. leads the country in passing yards and is top 15 in passing touchdowns. Penix has four games in which he’s thrown four touchdown passes. The Oregon defense is 126th against the pass and 125th in opponent third-down conversions allowed. If there was any single quarterback in the Pac-12 that could go head-to-head with Ducks QB Bo Nix, it’s Penix.
The Ducks have success because their top-15 rushing offense allows the passing game to open up. Nix is third on the team in rushing yards but could see some resistance against a Washington run defense that has already faced a mobile quarterback in UCLA’s Dorian Thompson Robinson. The Huskies rank top 20 in opponent yards per rush, allowing just 3.5 yards. Combine that with the Huskies having a top-25 pass rush and we could see Nix really be tested. Penix will exploit the Ducks secondary while the Washington defense does enough to keep Oregon in check for a two-touchdown cover. Sprinkling on a +380 underdog moneyline bet is definitely worth a shot.
Neither the Gamecocks nor the Gators are known for their defense. South Carolina and Florida are both ranked outside the top half for opponent points per play (59th and 95th, respectively) and both are 83rd or worse in touchdowns allowed. South Carolina’s best defense is against the pass. Florida is a run-heavy offense with QB Anthony Richardson second on team in rushing yards and tied for for most rushing scores.
Earlier this season, South Carolina allowed Arkansas QB KJ Jefferson to run for 67 yards en route to a 44-30 win over the Gamecocks. Similar is possible here. Florida is bottom 16 in the nation defensively, susceptible against both the run and pass. Gamecocks QB Spencer Rattler has been less than ideal this season, throwing nine interceptions. Turnovers can also lend to quick scores for opposing teams.
Cal quarterback Jack Plummer has been productive this season, throwing for 2,374 yards and 16 touchdowns while facing a tough slate of opponents that included road games at Notre Dame, Washington State and last week at USC. It was against the Trojans that Plummer had his best showing of the year in a 41-35 loss, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns.
Plummer could keep it rolling this week against a Beavers team that's coming off a big conference loss to Washington last week. This matchup is similar in that Washington’s best defense is against the run. Cal’s best defense is also against the run, as it's 30th in rushing yards allowed. As a run-heavy offense, Oregon State has been susceptible to turnovers, ranking 96th in giveaways with 10 fumbles this season. The Golden Bears have a chance to exploit that weakness as a team that is +8 in turnover ratio. Grabbing +420 for an upset is also worth a shot.