For the first time this season, the Michigan Wolverines are in the top-four for the College Football Playoff rankings. Now they have the Nebraska Cornhuskers in their way before what will likely be two ranked matchups to round out the season. With not much time left to pad the resume, the Wolverines will have to perform well this week to make their case stronger.
Let’s take a look inside Michigan’s contest with the Huskers and some of the other matchups across college football in Week 11.
No. 5 Michigan Wolverines vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 3:30 p.m.
- Location: Ann Arbor, Mich.
- Weather: 47 degrees, partly cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: MICH -30.5, O/U: 48.5, ML: MICH -12500, NEB +2500
- Best Bet (13-14): O48.5
Everything in this game is pointing to a Michigan blowout. The Wolverines will be at home, where they have performed exceptionally well over the last few seasons. As of late, the defense has stepped up to being one of the top units in the country and the offense is humming with Heisman candidate Blake Corum leading the way.
This week, they welcome a Nebraska team that is reeling. Fans know the turmoil Scott Frost left behind in Lincoln, and Mickey Joseph is trying to clean up the mess. Unfortunately, it’s gotten even uglier as quarterback Casey Thompson is injured and doubtful for this game.
That leaves a Huskers’ squad reliant on their running game. Statistically, Anthony Grant is a top-five back in the Big Ten in yards and attempts, but his efficiency is rather low for those metrics. He’s averaging just 4.8 yards per carry on the season, 16th among qualified backs in the conference. Much of that can be credit to an offensive line that has been terrible since Frost originally took over.
Now they face a Michigan team that ranks No. 1 in the country in rushing yards allowed. If the Wolverines come to play on Saturday, they should have their way with a one-dimensional Nebraska squad. I’m predicting this will be Michigan’s most lopsided victory in Big Ten play, so I like the over 48.5 and Michigan -30.5, but I like the over just a tad more.
Purdue Boilermakers vs No. 21 Illinois Fighting Illini
- TV: ESPN2
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: Noon
- Location: Champaign, Ill.
- Weather: 40 degrees, partly cloudy
This game is huge for the Wolverines and the Big Ten. Michigan’s resume drops dangerously low if Illinois slips up again AND loses to Ohio State. At that point, their hopes of an 11-1 season and CFP appearance are all but gone. Michigan needs Illinois to come out strong and steamroll the Boilermakers on Saturday.
For the rest of the Big Ten, this game is pretty important, too. The Big Ten West is laughably bad this season. Illinois is the only somewhat promising school on that side of the conference and its best win is probably on the road against a Wisconsin program that went through a coaching change.
If Purdue wins this game, both schools move to 4-3 in the conference and there is a potential for a four-way tie for first place in the Big Ten West at that record. A Big Ten Championship for either Michigan or Ohio State is essentially moot at that point. The structure of the conference has been a problem for quite some time and a scenario like this would definitely raise some eyebrows in the headquarters of the Big Ten.
No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs vs No. 18 Texas Longhorns
- TV: ABC
- Stream: Sling TV
- Time: 7:30 p.m.
- Location: Austin, Tex.
- Weather: 65 degrees, cloudy
- DraftKings Odds: TEX -7, O/U: 64.5, ML: TEX -275, TCU +230
- Best Bet (13-14): O64.5
Like Michigan, TCU entered the fold in the CFP as the the No. 4 team in the country. If it wants to put an exclamation mark on that, this is the week to do it facing a team the committee really likes in the Texas Longhorns.
At home, Texas has been excellent this season. It nearly pulled off an upset against Alabama early in the season, which is its only loss of the season in Austin. The Longhorns are hoping a ruckus crowd can push them to pulling off an upset against a top-5 team in the country this time around, and Vegas is liking them to do just that.
Texas’ hopes of a Big 12 Championship appearance lay in the balance this week as they currently rank second place in the conference. But this season has been full of underestimation for TCU. Quarterback Max Duggan leads a team of talented players on the offense and they are comfortable in the underdog role.
Both offenses have been explosive this season, and I expect there to be some fireworks in Texas. This should be the most entertaining game of the weekend with some massive ramifications down the line.