Week 11 Staff Picks: Johnny Football Takes on the Tide

We are coming down the homestretch of the season, and with it, here are your Crystal Ball Run Week 11 staff picks!

As always, feel free to share your own picks in the comments section or with us on Twitter @CrystalBallRun.

Arkansas at No. 8 South Carolina, 12 p.m. CBS

Kevin McGuire’s Take: South Carolina's SEC schedule wraps up this weekend against the roller coaster ride that has been Arkansas. The Gamecocks still have BCS bowl aspirations but must make that final push without running back Marcus Lattimore. Fifth-year senior Kenny Miles will carry the load on the ground against a Razorback defense that has played better against the run in the second half of the season. Arkansas has allowed over 77 yards on the ground just once in the last four games. Arkansas will rely on their passing game, ranked third in the SEC. In their last game, Tennessee shredded South Carolina for 381 yards and five touchdowns.

The Pick: South Carolina 34, Arkansas 30

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: South Carolina 24, Arkansas 6
Allen Kenney: South Carolina 30, Arkansas 14
Andy Coppens: South Carolina 24, Arkansas 14
Michael Felder: South Carolina 27, Arkansas 16

No. 24 Northwestern at Michigan, Saturday, 12 p.m. ESPN

Andy Coppens’ Take: This one is all about the QB's. Michigan's Denard Robinson has been day-to-day with the elbow injury suffered against Nebraska two weeks ago and if he can't go Michigan is going to have to rely on a defense that has been less than spectacular against good QB's. Northwestern has that in Kain Colter who's seen more time at the QB spot in the past few weeks than he had been through the mid third of the season.

Watch for this one to be a very interesting, highly entertaining and high scoring battle between these two, especially if Shoelace is ready to go. If not it could be ugly for the Maize 'N Blue. Whoever loses is out of the Big Ten championship race in the Leaders division as well.

The Pick: Northwestern 37, Michigan 30

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Michigan 31, Northwestern 27
Allen Kenney: Michigan 31, Northwestern 27
Kevin McGuire: Michigan 24, Northwestern 23
Michael Felder: Northwestern 28, Michigan 21

Missouri at Tennessee: Saturday, 12:21 p.m. SEC Network

Michael Felder's Take: The Tigers have had a rude awakening in the SEC this season, luckily Tennessee is a team that plays a lot more like a Big 12 team than an SEC squad. Look for big offensive fireworks out of both teams as their defenses try to get a handle on the game. For Gary Pinkel, this game is about getting a W to try and get closer to having a 7-5 season instead of a .500 year.

On the other hand, Tennessee's Derek Dooley is doing more than hoping to finish well; he's fighting for his career. The coach had to scrap it out against, Troy because his defense is absolutely atrocious. Now, he's hoping to run the table, get to 7-5 and a possible eighth win in a bowl game. After last week's embarrassing performance expect the defense to at least try and put the clamps on Missouri.

Tennessee 45, Missouri 34

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Missouri 31, Tennessee 28
Allen Kenney: Tennessee 24, Missouri 21
Andy Coppens: Tennessee 27, Missouri 24
Kevin McGuire: Missouri 20, Tennessee 17

No. 11 Oregon State at No. 14 Stanford: Saturday, 3:00 p.m. FOX

Aaron Torres’ Take: Far and away the most underrated game on the Saturday docket comes from Palo Alto, CA, where it will be a Pac-12 North elimination game between Oregon State and Stanford. Each team still has games with Oregon on the schedule, meaning that for the winner their conference title hopes are alive. For the loser, well, they can start making plans to go to the Holiday Bowl or something.

And with that, I personally like Oregon State to win. This team is crazy good, one of the most underrated in the country. More importantly, they don’t beat themselves, and won’t make anything easy for Stanford.

The Cardinal have been flying a bit under the radar for a few weeks now, but at this point are still getting by on name recognition than anything they’ve actually done on the field.

The Pick: Oregon State 24, Stanford 14  

Everybody Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: Stanford 21, Oregon State 14
Andy Coppens: Oregon State 33, Stanford 21
Kevin McGuire: Oregon State 33, Stanford 27
Michael Felder: Stanford 14, Oregon State 13

Arizona State at No. 19 USC: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Aaron Torres’ Take: Well, this could go one of two ways for the Trojans. We all know their National Championship hopes were dashed by Arizona two weeks ago, and their souls were crushed by Oregon last week, meaning that it’d be easy for them to lay down here. At the same time, they still control their own destiny in the Pac-12 South, and if they win here, will likely get a rematch with Oregon for the title.

So will a down and out USC show up, or one eager to get a rematch with the Ducks at Autzen?

Unfortunately, we’ll take the former, not the latter.

The simple truth is that for all the talent this team has, there is something that just…hasn’t…been…right all season long. The Trojans are flat on offense, struggling on defense and to be blunt, Matt Barkley isn’t who we thought he was.

Say what you want about Todd Graham, but Arizona State is playing hard for him. An upset seems likely here.

The Pick: Arizona State 31, USC 21

Everybody Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: USC 30, Arizona State 21
Andy Coppens: USC 44, Arizona State 30
Kevin McGuire: USC 43, Arizona State 38
Michael Felder: USC 44, Arizona State 42

No. 15 Texas A&M at No. 1 Alabama: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS

Allen Kenney’s Take: The Aggies are generating some serious upset buzz in a spot where the No. 1 squad is in danger of coming out flat.

Maybe so, but while the Aggies have rolled some SEC bums, they have fallen short against the league's better teams. Alabama is the best.

Yes, motivation is generally an issue in these spots for the favorite. Think that's a problem for Nick Saban, especially after last week's close call?

The Pick: Alabama 38, Texas A&M 17

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Alabama 34, Texas A&M 14
Andy Coppens: Alabama 31, Texas A&M 24
Kevin McGuire: Alabama 27, Texas A&M 17
Michael Felder: Alabama 40, Texas A&M 13

Baylor at No. 12 Oklahoma: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. FOX Sports

Allen Kenney’s Take: This season hasn't exactly comported with history for the Oklahoma Sooners, who have lost twice as double-digit favorites in Norman. Even so, Bob Stoops' teams rarely fail to get revenge for a previous season's loss.

OU got Texas Tech back earlier this season. This week is Baylor's turn.

The Bears couldn't stop that nine-year-old girl dominating Pop Warner. OU should roll up a lot of points.

The Pick: Oklahoma 59, Baylor 24

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Oklahoma 41, Baylor 14
Andy Coppens: Oklahoma 40, Baylor 20
Kevin McGuire: Oklahoma 32, Baylor 27
Michael Felder: Oklahoma 38, Baylor 27

Penn State at No. 16 Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Kevin McGuire’s Take: Nebraska will look to keep their Rose Bowl hopes in sight when they take on a Penn State team that has been dominant on the road in conference play this season. Of course, Penn State has not faced a quality opponent on the road like this in Big Ten play. Taylor Martinez will be the difference maker in this game, one way or the other. Look for Penn State to keep Martinez in check on the ground, forcing him to be consistent in the passing game. If Martinez can avoid turning the football over, Nebraska should be able to pull off a tough home victory.

The Pick: Nebraska 24, Penn State 20

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Penn State 24, Nebraska 14
Allen Kenney: Nebraska 24, Penn State 17
Andy Coppens: Penn State 27, Nebraska 20
Michael Felder: Penn State 24, Nebraska 21

West Virginia at Oklahoma State: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ABC

Aaron Torres’ Take: Call it the “Holgo Bowl,” as the two teams that have most recently been blessed with Dana Holgorsen’s presence will take the field Saturday in Stillwater.

Either way, neither of these teams has been blessed with much of a defense either.

Look for this to be a high-scoring, fast-paced shootout, which in the end could very well be decided by either team able or willing to make a defensive stop.

We’ll give the edge to the home team… by the slimmest of margins.

The Pick: Oklahoma State 45, West Virginia 31

Everybody Else’s Take:

Allen Kenney: Oklahoma State 49, West Virginia 42
Andy Coppens: West Virginia 33, Oklahoma State 30
Kevin McGuire: West Virginia 45, Oklahoma State 34
Michael Felder: Oklahoma State 48, West Virginia 47

No. 2 Kansas State at TCU: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX

Aaron Torres’ Take: With the weeks winding down, it’s looking more and more like a real possibility that these plucky, underdog Wildcats really will shock the college football establishment and end up undefeated.

Frankly though, this could be their toughest game yet. We all know that Collin Klein won’t be at 100 percent (but should still play), but what Saturday may come down to is what TCU will bring in a hostile road environment in Ft. Worth. It’s game like this as to why they joined the conference in the first place, after all.

Either way, we’ll take the Wildcats in a close one. They’re on top of the pedestal until someone proves they can knock them off.

The Pick: Kansas State 31, TCU 24

Everybody Else’s Take:
Allen Kenney: Kansas State 35, TCU 34
Andy Coppens: Kansas State 38, TCU 24
Kevin McGuire: TCU 23, Kansas State 21
Michael Felder: TCU 41, Kansas State 35

No. 21 Mississippi State at No. 7 LSU: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Michael Felder's Take: The Bulldogs are coming off two crushing losses, one expected to Alabama and the other an embarrassing outing against Texas A&M. Now, traveling to Baton Rouge, Dan Mullen's team is trying to get back on track and that does not normally happen in Death Valley. Especially at night. Expected a frenzied LSU team that was just a minute away from beating Alabama.

For LSU this game is about keeping their Sugar Bowl hopes alive and that's a big deal. They have to put on a good show and keep pace with Florida, Georgia and ahead of South Carolina. Don't expect the same offensive fireworks out of LSU that we saw last week against Alabama, odds are they get back to their bread and butter against a Mississippi State team that they are just flat out better than.

The Pick: LSU 24, Mississippi State 10

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: LSU 19, Mississippi State 10
Allen Kenney: LSU 28, Mississippi State 9
Andy Coppens: LSU 30, Mississippi State 24
Kevin McGuire: LSU 28, Mississippi State 13

No. 5 Georgia at Auburn, Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ESPN

Andy Coppens' Take: Well, this one could've been an interesting matchup and then Auburn decided to completely fall apart and now there is a ton of speculation that head coach Gene Chizik is likely to be gone at the end of the season. That means this Tigers team is one distracted bunch and clearly have given up on their coach this season, holding a 0-6 record in conference play.

Don't expect that to change much as Georgia can clinch a spot in the SEC championship game with the victory over the hapless Tigers. Frankly things don't look good for Auburn on paper and I don't expect that they'll look much better on the field either. It's an Auburn D that gives up 27ppg vs. a Georgia offense that scores more than 36ppg – I'm thinking this isn't going to be pretty in the least.

The Pick: Georgia 46, Auburn 13

Everybody Else’s Take:

Aaron Torres: Georgia 31, Auburn 14
Allen Kenney: Georgia 34, Auburn 20
Kevin McGuire: Georgia 35, Auburn 10
Michael Felder: Georgia 35, Auburn 6

About Aaron Torres

Aaron Torres works for Fox Sports, and was previously a best-selling author of the book 'The Unlikeliest Champion.' He currently uses Aaron Torres Sports to occasionally weigh-in on the biggest stories from around sports. He has previously done work for such outlets as Sports Illustrated, SB Nation and Slam Magazine.