College Football Picks – Week 13
We got back in the winners’ column last week, going 6-4 (42-49 YTD), and face the toughest of all weekends…rivalries abound.
This is never an easy week as emotions run high for a lot of these teams, making this their make-or-break game of the season when we throw most of the stats out the window.
So, we’ll do our best and as always, here are the picks…
No. 3 Texas at Texas A&M (+21)—The Longhorns simply need to keep their eyes on the prize and not get tripped up against the Aggies this weekend. Texas’ Colt McCoy became the winningest QB in NCAA history last weekend but is only 1-2 against A&M, losing in 2006 and 2007. While the ‘Horns second-ranked offense has put up a ton of points, the Aggies have managed to put up over 33 points a game which is good for 17th in FBS. Unfortunately, their defense punches in at 99th place, which will be their downfall. Texas 42, Texas A&M 20.
No. 2 Alabama at Auburn (+10)—The games are only going to get bigger from here for Alabama and Auburn would like to end a potential championship run before it starts. The Crimson Tide ended their six-year Iron Bowl losing streak last season and will bring a dominant defense (No. 2 in FBS) and prolific rushing attack (No. 10 in FBS) to this year’s contest. Auburn runs similarly well but has had trouble keeping opponents out of the end zone. This is the biggest rivalry in college football by most accounts so there’s no need to hype it any further, just watch and enjoy. Alabama 30, Auburn 13.
No. 9 Pittsburgh at West Virginia (PK)—The “Backyard Brawl” causes a lot of blood to boil in this yearly matchup that will likely produce another classic. Pitt ended WVU’s run at a national title with a major upset in 2007 so payback will be on the mind of the Mountaineers on Friday night. The teams are relatively evenly matched statistically and there will be no overlooking this game for Pitt who likely plays Cincy next week for the Big East Title. I’m glad this is a pick ‘em because this might be the most fun game to watch all weekend. Pittsburgh 27, West Virginia 24.
Nevada at No. 6 Boise State (-13 ½)—We have two of the top five offenses going against each other for the WAC title when Nevada meets up with Boise State on Friday night. Both teams move the ball up and down the field with such proficiency that I think we can see an absurd amount of points put up on the board in this matchup. Boise’s defense gives them a clear advantage in addition to the famed blue turf but Nevada should hang tough for a while. Boise 56, Nevada 40.
No. 18 Clemson at South Carolina (+3)—A tricky game here as it is meaningless in the overall picture for Clemson. South Carolina is a disappointing 6-5 but a ‘state championship’ would put a nice bow on the season. Clemson is playing for the ACC title next weekend but will need to be focused against a solid Gamecocks defense. The Tigers have won the past two, six of the last seven and 10 of 12 so I can buy into their focus on this game. Clemson 24, South Carolina 16.
Florida State at No. 1 Florida (-24 ½)–The top-ranked Gators have won a school-record 21 straight games, also the nation’s longest current streak. The Seminoles’ program has been besieged by critics all year calling for Bobby Bowden’s job who, by the way, guided his team to a 28th consecutive year of bowl eligibility. I would like to say that you throw the stats out for this one, but the Gators give up less than 10 points per contest and ‘Noles freshman QB EJ Manuel won’t be prepared well enough for this. Tim Tebow will chomp away in his last game at The Swamp. Florida 42, Florida State 17.
No. 21 Utah at No. 19 Brigham Young (-7 ½)—With Utah’s two losses coming to Oregon and TCU, one would think they would garner a little bit more respect. Don’t expect the Cougars to argue their case for them as BYU is looking for payback after last year’s 48-24 drubbing at the hand of the Utes. The only game between two ranked opponents this weekend should be a close one. Utah 27, BYU 25.
Notre Dame at Stanford (-10 ½)—Charlie Weis’ tenure as Notre Dame Head football coach will come to an end with this game after a disappointing season ended without BCS bowls or championships yet again. Stanford may also be looking for a new top man if Jim Harbaugh decides to leave for alleged greener pastures in the NCAA or NFL; clearly tempered expectations have left him looking rosy even at 7-4 with a loss to their biggest rival. Offense should rule the day yet again for these two teams who have struggled defensively and the Cardinal win a close one. Stanford 35, Notre Dame 34.
Georgia at No. 7 Georgia Tech (-8)—Georgia is going to have a hard time getting used to this second fiddle thing…the Bulldogs had won seven straight over the Yellow Jackets before last season’s loss. Tech will be playing for a chance at the ACC title and a BCS bid next week but will certainly need to be dialed into this matchup against a team they have not beaten at home since 1999. This game is often dubbed “Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate,” something Paul Johnson’s triple option attack will engender in UGA fans by the end of this contest. Georgia Tech 31, Georgia 21.
UCLA at No. 20 USC (-13)—USC is experiencing its worst national ranking in seven years when they take on cross-town rivals UCLA on Saturday night who will look to improve their bowl status with a win. UCLA has turned things around during a three-game win streak, which has seen them give up only 14 points per contest. USC is in unfamiliar territory having seen their defense get rolled over twice in the last three games. I think the week off will do wonders for the Trojans and they will try to earn back some pride to finish the last two weeks of the season strong. USC 28, UCLA 14.