The Six Pack: LSU-Alabama, Penn State-Minnesota among best Week 11 college football picks

Last week was a good week to Trust The Process. It's been a rough season for The Six Pack overall, but The Process went 5-1 last week. We're not out of the hole yet, but a 5-1 week certainly helps a lot.

Things went so well that even The Lock of the Week came through and improved to 2-8 on the season. It just doesn't get much better than that, folks! Seriously, it was a good week, and I can't help but believe we have another one in store, so why waste any more of your time? Let's get to the picks.

Games of the Week

No. 2 LSU at No. 3 Alabama (Under 63.5): There's an unknown quantity in this game that is rather important. I will be shocked if Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa doesn't play in the game. The question is how healthy he'll be. As good as Tua is, there's a difference between him at 75 percent and 100 percent. Based on what we saw last year when Tagovailoa suffered the same injury (opposite ankle) in the SEC Championship Game and wasn't fully recovered a month later for the semifinal against Oklahoma, I have a hard time believing he'll be closer to 100 percent than 75.

On the other side of that coin, as good as LSU's offense has been this year, we saw it struggle against an elite defense the last time out. Auburn and Florida have better front sevens than Alabama does this year, but this is still Alabama. It's also an Alabama team coming off a bye, allowing Nick Saban and company more time to gameplan for this new LSU offense. While the LSU offense is explosive, I haven't seen it doing anything that's earth-shattering. Its added more modern schemes and RPOs, and running them all with elite talent. So while I lean toward LSU to cover (and even like it straight up assuming Tua's closer to 75 percent) the smarter play here is the under. The under has gone 5-0 in the last five meetings between these two, and it's 8-1 the last nine times Alabama was coming off a bye. LSU 28, Alabama 27

No. 4 Penn State (-6.5) at No. 17 Minnesota: I wrote this week that I believed the College Football Playoff underrates Minnesota, but I understand why the Gophers are ranked where they are. The fact that Minnesota is 8-0 and ranked at No. 17 should set off alarms in your head if you're thinking of taking it here. If you aren't familiar with why the Gophers are ranked so low, let me fill you in.

Minnesota played a nonconference schedule against South Dakota State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern. It won those three games by a total of 13 points. Minnesota is 5-0 in Big Ten play, and it has beaten Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland. Those five teams are a combined 17-28. Furthermore, Minnesota faced all of those teams when they were using their second- or third-string QB (Illinois starter Brandon Peters played but was hurt during the game and missed most of it). The Gophers are a good team, but I don't think they're good enough to beat Penn State. The Penn State defense is unlike anything the Gophers have seen to this point. Plus, this is a situation that Penn State is used to. It has played in big games with high stakes. Minnesota hasn't. I can't help but think the stage could overwhelm Minnesota here. They won't get blown out, but they won't cover, either. Penn State 31, Minnesota 21

Lock of the Week

No. 18 Iowa (+9.5) at No. 13 Wisconsin: The Badgers enter this game on a two-game losing streak, but it doesn't seem to have any impact on the spread. Why? I'm not sure. Wisconsin is better than Iowa, but Iowa has an excellent defense. Do you know how many runs of 20 yards or more Iowa has allowed this season? None. They're the only defense in the country that can say that. Iowa, like Illinois, Ohio State and Northwestern, will be able to limit Jonathan Taylor. Wisconsin hasn't proven that it can be counted on to score points without Taylor doing most of the work. This should be a low-scoring, rock fight kind of classic Big Ten game. One I believe Wisconsin will win, but it's going to be closer than this spread suggests.

If you'd like some trends to make you feel better about it, Iowa has gone 5-1 ATS in its last six trips to Madison, and the road team is 9-3 ATS in the last 12 between these two. Wisconsin 21, Iowa 17

Under of the Week

Purdue at Northwestern (Under 39.5): I understand that it's scary to take an under when the total is this low, but trust me, when you see a total this low, it's this low for a reason. The offenses playing in the game typically stink, and friend, the offenses in this game stink. Purdue's offense has been stripped down to the studs due to injury, and Northwestern's offense shouldn't even be called an offense. We should probably invent a new word to call the unit of 11 players that Northwestern sends out on the field when it has possession of the ball. Maybe call it the between punts team or something. The first team to 10 wins, assuming either one of them gets there. Northwestern 17, Purdue 13

Over of the Week

Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma (Over 67): I haven't brought it to The Six Pack much because it always scares people when I take an over, but Lincoln Riley has been a bettor's best friend since taking over the Sooners job. Since the beginning of the 2017 season, Riley's first year with the Sooners, Oklahoma has played 17 home games. The over has gone 13-3-1 in those 17 games. The over has gone 3-0-1 this season with the lone push coming in the season-opener against Houston. Simply put, the Oklahoma offense loves to show off for its home crowd. Oklahoma 45, Iowa State 27

Late-Night Dog of the Week

San Jose State (+7.5) at Hawaii: I get the sense that people haven't quite caught on to San Jose State this season. I know the Spartans have been awful the last few years, but this isn't those teams. They're only 4-5 this year but far more competent, particularly on offense. They enter this game covering their last two against Army and Boise State, and they're 3-0-1 ATS on the road this season. Now, maybe you're worried about how teams fare when they have to fly to Honolulu, but don't! They fare quite well! In fact, since 2015, Hawaii has gone 7-22-1 ATS at home. As a home favorite, Hawaii is 3-12-1. Hawaii's offense is prolific, but its defense has shown no reason to trust it as a 7.5-point favorite in this game. Take the Spartans. Hawaii 41, San Jose State 38

Last Week


Games of the Week



Lock of the Week






So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 11? And which line is way off, making it a must-back? Visit SportsLine to see which college football teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four seasons.

CBS Sports Writer

Tom Fornelli has been a college football writer at CBS Sports since 2010. During his time at CBS, Tom has proven time and again that he hates your favorite team and thinks your rival is a paragon of football... Full Bio

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