There are only a handful of unbeatens left in college football, and one of them is Washington, who is looking to be the first PAC-12 team to make the College Football Playoff since the program made it in 2017.
However, the Huskies have a tough out on Saturday with one of the PAC-12's best defenses coming to Seattle in Utah. Can the Utes, who have a potent rushing attack, outpace the high-octane Washington offense? We break it down for you in this week's upset picks.
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College Football Upset Picks for Week 11
- Texas Tech (+162) vs. Kansas
- Utah (+278) vs. Washington
- New Mexico State (+162) vs. Western Kentucky
Texas Tech vs. Kansas Prediction and Pick
Kansas has been impressive this season, winners of three of four games despite battling some key injuries, but I'm still not sold on this team due in most part to its poor defense that is 120th in EPA/Play this season.
The team will face Texas Tech, who had one of its best offensive showings of the season in one that has been full of poor fourth down variance and injuries, putting up 35 points in the win against TCU. Morton looked healthy and with a threat at quarterback, I expect him to go toe-to-toe with the KU offense that grades out far better over the balance of the season. I believe the health of Morton isn't being factored into this point spread enough.
Both teams should cook on offense, but I believe this will be the last team with the ball situation and the difference isn't all that great between the two teams. Kansas is allowing a shade under six yards per play and can be gashed on the ground, 97th in yards per carry and 107th in explosive rush defense.
I think TTU can keep pace with KU and potentially win this game outright with its offense which is better than its season-long metrics indicate after countless injuries.
PICK: Texas Tech (+162)
Utah vs. Washington Prediction and Pick
The key in this game will be if Utah can keep Washington's offense off the field. While the Utes went toe-to-toe with USC in a high-scoring game, I do hold the Huskies' defense in a slightly higher regard.
With that being said, this is still a poor defense.
The Huskies are 112th in defensive success rate and particularly bad at stopping the run, 117th in EPA/Rush, and 124th in rushing success rate allowed. If the Utes can stay ahead of schedule with Barnes under center and a hopefully healthy Ja'Quinden Jackson, who is fresh off an 111-yard performance despite leaving the game early, the team may be able to limit Washington's possessions.
Utah's secondary grades out as a top-10 defense in terms of EPA/Play, but this is arguably the best passing offense in the country, so it's going to be difficult to expect a lockdown effort. With that being said, the Utes do as good of a job as any team in the PAC-12 at getting to the passer, ranking 12th in total sacks and the best third-down defense in the country (25%).
The Utes can stay competitive on the margins with its ability to generate pressure, get off the field on third down, and lockdown in the red zone (57%). While I won't call for the outright upset, I believe the team is going to be able to keep up by playing the game on its terms and limiting Washington's offense from seeing the field too often.
PICK: Utah ML (+278)
New Mexico State vs. Western Kentucky Prediction and Pick
Western Kentucky is trending in the wrong way this season, losers of two of its last three and didn't score in the first half on the road at UTEP last week before escaping with a win.
Meanwhile, New Mexico State is on a tear and is playing in essentially a win and in for the Conference USA title game. The Aggies have a true identity on offense, top 15 in EPA/Rush behind dual threat quarterback Diego Pavia and the likes of Star Thomas keeping the team's offense on track.
The Aggies' ability to keep Austin Reed and the WKU offense is not the same group that led the nation in passing last season, just 57th in EPA/Play so far this season, on the sidelines will be pivotal and I see these two as near equals on a neutral field so I'll take a shot on the surging Aggies to knock off Western Kentucky.
PICK: New Mexico State ML (+162)
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
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