NCAA College Football Week 13 Picks
Oregon State at Oregon (-28)
This one should never be close. Oregon State has troubles running the ball in their last few games and Oregon State is going to have to throw a lot to keep up. Whenever Mannion has to throw the ball forty times a game there’s almost always three interceptions that come with it. The only bright spot on the Beavers squad is Marcus Wheaton at the receiver position. Oregon’s offense should run away with this game and the defense should cause enough turnovers for Oregon to cover the spread.
Arkansas (+11.5) at LSU
Each team’s best strength matchup in this Friday afternoon matchup. Arkansas has maybe the best receivers in the country and LSU has one of the country’s best secondary unit. The one problem that Arkansas has that will expose them in this game is the offensive line in pass protection. You could set up a 5-minute montage of Tyler Wilson getting clocked by the pass rush, and now the Razorbacks go against one of the fastest defensive lines in college football.
It appears Jordan Jefferson has taken over at the quarterback position since Jarrett Lee got rocked at Alabama, and he’s gutting out wins. LSU on offense just doesn’t make mistakes and are incredibly efficient at running the football. Arkansas’ run defense is not strong and they’ll eventually get worn down but not without putting up a fight.
Pitt at West Virginia (-7)
The Backyard Brawl has created some great games over the last five years. Pitt needs one more win to be bowl eligible and West Virginia needs to win this game to keep hope for their last Big East champion. The Dana Holgorsen era at West Virginia has included some weird losses but Pitt has really regressed from the last two years. Pitt’s offense has been stagnant running and passing while the West Virginia defense seems to forget to show up every other week. I’ll give the edge to West Virginia since they are at home.
Cal (+6) at Arizona State
What the F has happened to Arizona State. Sparky dropped their last three in a row to Washington State, UCLA, and Arizona. Shocking. Erickson may get fired at the end of this year for the collapse. Cal has been wildly inconsistent but held on close last week against Stanford. Luckily the Sun Devils are hosting Cal in the desert and it’s a battle of momentum. If Arizona State loses they kiss any conference title game goodbye and I like them to win but not to cover.
Ohio State at Michigan (-7.5)
Who would’ve thought last January that Michigan would be favored by over a touchdown against Ohio State, a team they haven’t beaten since 2003. None of the games have even been close since 2006. Ohio State has fallen apart, much like Penn State will, and with an offense that struggles to complete passes and a defense that is less than rock solid, it poses a lot of problems facing this particular Wolverine team. Michigan has had an amazing turnaround on defense and Denard Robinson has been doing just well enough on offense to keep the team above water. It will be a glorious win in Ann Arbor, so enjoy it while it happens because Urban Meyer is coming to Columbus next year.
Georgia at Georgia Tech (+6)
Mark Richt did a great job this season keeping the Bulldogs under the radar after starting off 0-2. Now they’ve clinched the SEC East and face in state rival Georgia Tech. Last year the Yellow Jackets lost by 8 on the road. This year they get the Bulldgos at home and with Tevin Washington adding a nice passing wrinkle to the triple option offense that is so hard to prepare for. I like the Bulldogs to win but the Yellow Jackets to cover
Alabama at Auburn (+21)
The Iron Bowl was the focus of Roll Tide – War Eagle, the most recent 30 for 30 documentary. If there’s one thing I learned watching that documentary it is that I am glad I’m not a fan of either team. Arguing on the most popular radio show consists of screaming “Roll Tide!” and “War Eagle!” as loud and frequently as possible in to the telephone in order to win.
The last time the game was in Auburn the Tide were also supposed to roll, but the Tigers pulled out all the stops and played the game close until the very end. Last year, Alabama blew a 28-point lead against Auburn at home. If Alabama wins they will go to the national championship game for a rematch with LSU. I really like Alabama to win behind their strong rush offense and defense, but Auburn has a knack with Michael Dyer for making games close.
Penn State (+14.5) at Wisconsin
The winner of this game does to the conference championship game representing the Leaders division of the Big-10. The Wisconsin offense is really balanced and has two outside shots at a Heisman with Montee Ball and Russell Wilson. Penn State is allergic to the end zone on offense but stingy on defense. There is no question that Wisconsin is going to win, but I think Penn State will keep it close for most of the game.
Florida State at Florida (+3)
The funniest thing last weekend was Spencer Hall of everydayshouldbesaturday.com talk about his anguish with Furman leading the Gators last weekend. The Gators have struggled a little in conference but their defense has been doing well sans the Furman game. Florida State has struggled against ACC competition, losing last week to Virginia. You give me Florida against ACC competition at home and three points I’m taking it every time.
Clemson (+4) at South Carolina
This game is a sneaky good contest featuring top 25 teams. Clemson already has a spot locked up in the ACC title game so this is just for pride. The Tigers had their first Clemsoning of the season late, falling to North Carolina State by a wide margin. The Gamecocks are great at forcing turnovers, and Clemson loves handing the ball over. I don’t trust Carolina’s offense and feel that these teams are equal enough to take the points.
Notre Dame at Stanford (-7)
Stanford had a close game with Cal last week, making it the second week of the season Stanford didn’t cover. The Cardinal are getting really sick pro combat uniforms from Nike and that beats whatever Adidas puts out on the field. The Irish are playing well riding a four game win streak, but those wins are against Navy, Wake Forest, Maryland, and Boston College. A lot of those games were close and Stanford’s only loss was against Oregon. I like the Cardinal big in this matchup.
UCLA at USC (-16)
UCLA does have the benefit of playing Los Angeles, because any time they play outside the city of angels they forget how to play football. USC had a big win last week off a lucky missed field goal and the Ducks deciding not to play for three quarters. USC is peaking at the right time and there’s no way that UCLA and Rick Neuheisel can stay out of their own way long enough to win the PAC-12 South and make Kirk Herbstreit look really smart.