Happy Thanksgiving from everybody at the 247Sports Network!!
In Columbus, Michigan (with Denard Robinson) will meet Ohio State (and Braxton Miller). Later on Saturday, Notre Dame (and Manti Te'o) visits USC (and Marqise Lee)
We are back with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 13 – Rivalry Week -- of the college season.
In Week 12, I ended up 19-7 straight-up and 13-12-1 against-the-spread. For the year, I am now 222-74 SU and 141-141-4 ATS. The time is now for me to pick up my game if I am going to end the year well above the .500 mark.
In Big Ten games, I was 5-1 straight-up and 2-4 ATS. Through 12 weeks, I am 72-18 straight-up and 43-39 ATS.
This is a weekend when we get to see so many of the great college football rivalry games. Two of them will include the remaining two unbeaten teams nationally as Notre Dame visits USC and Ohio State hosts Michigan.
Some more of the best rivalry games this weekend include TCU-Texas, Nebraska-Iowa, LSU-Arkansas, Washington-Washington State, Arizona State-Arizona, Virginia-Virginia Tech, Illinois-Northwestern, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Indiana-Purdue, Oregon-Oregon State*, Auburn-Alabama, Florida-Florida State*, Stanford-UCLA*, Oklahoma State-Oklahoma*, South Carolina-Clemson* and Mississippi State-Mississippi.
Six of these games – OSU-Michigan and five games marked with an asterisk – match ranked opponents.
Here we go with the Viewers Guide and Picks for Week 13 of the college football season:
* TCU at Texas (-7 ½), 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) – These old Southwest Conference rivals renew their series in the Big 12. They actually played one nonconference game in 2007 with Texas winning 34-13 in Austin. Texas leads the all-time series 61-20-1 with wins in 28 of the last 29 meetings. TCU has not won in Austin since 1967. Texas still has hopes of a Big 12 title and a BCS bid, but the Longhorns must beat TCU this week and Kansas State next week to make it happen. TCU has lost four of its last six games. Should be a fun game. Texas 28-17
* Syracuse (-7 ½) at Temple, 11 a.m. (ESPN2) – Temple needs two wins to reach postseason play. But SU has won four of its last five games and seems to be on the rise. Syracuse 31-21
* Ohio at Kent State (-9 ½), 11 a.m. (ESPNU) – Kent already has a spot in the MAC title game left. Ohio is playing to get to 9-3 and perhaps snag a bowl bid. Kent has won two of the last three meetings with OU, although the Bobcats won 17-10 last year in Athens. Kent is riding a nine-game winning streak, while OU has lost three of its last four games after a 7-0 start. Kent State 35-28
* Nebraska (-15) at Iowa, noon (ABC) – This renewed Big Ten rivalry is called the Heroes Game. Nebraska needs a win (or a Michigan loss at Ohio State on Saturday) to clinch the Legends Division title and a spot in the conference championship game. Nebraska leads the all-time series 27-12-3 and won at home last year (20-7). Iowa’s hopes for a bowl game went out the window with last week’s loss to Michigan (42-17). That was Iowa’s fifth-straight loss. The Hawkeyes may not pull off the win, but they have to show some pride don’t they? Nebraska 31-20
* LSU (-12) at Arkansas, 2:30 p.m. (CBS) – LSU won 41-17 at home last year and holds the all-time edge at 35-20-2. But Arkansas has won three of the last five meetings, including a triple OT win in Baton Rouge in 2007. The Hogs have lost three of their last four games. LSU could get a BCS at-large bid (probably for a home game at the Sugar Bowl) if they can win and some other games fall their way. This is LSU’s first visit to Fayetteville since 1992. The last nine Arkansas home games in the series were played in Little Rock. LSU 27-17
* Utah (-22 ½) at Colorado, 3 p.m. (FX) – These neighboring schools did not play for nearly 50 years until they were reunited in Pac-12 play last year. Colorado stunned Utah 17-14 in that game and CU leads the all-time series 31-24-3. Colorado, at 1-10, won’t be stunning anybody on Friday. Utah comes in off losses to Washington and Arizona. Utah 37-17
* West Virginia (-1 ½) at Iowa State, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) – WVU won its first five games, but has lost its last five in Big 12 play. The Mountaineers, rated 11th in the preseason, still need a win to reach postseason play. Iowa State had lost four of its last five games before last week’s 51-23 win over woeful Kansas. Iowa State 38-35
* Washington (-13 ½) at Washington State, 3:30 p.m. (FOX) – Washington leads the Apple Cup rivalry at 67-31-6, including last year’s 38-21 win in Seattle. That was U-Dub’s third straight win in the series. Washington is 7-4 and bowl-bound, while Wazzu is playing out the string at 2-9 for first-year coach Mike Leach. Washington 38-17
* South Florida at Cincinnati (-13), 7 p.m. (ESPN) – Cincinnati must bounce back from a 10-3 home loss to Rutgers that pretty much knocked UC out of the Big East title picture. UC has won four of the last five meetings, including 37-34 at USF last year. USF has lost seven of its last eight games, including a 40-9 shiner at Miami (Fla.) last week. Cincinnati 34-17
* Arizona State at Arizona (-3), 10 p.m. (ESPN) – Arizona leads this series – played for the Territorial Cup – 47-37-1. That includes a 31-27 win for the Wildcats last year. That was UA’s third win in four years over rival ASU. Both teams have already qualified for postseason play. Arizona has won four of its last five games, while ASU snapped a four-game losing streak with a 46-7 win over Washington State. Arizona 44-37
* Michigan at Ohio State (-3 ½), noon (ABC) – The 109th edition of one of college football’s greatest rivalries will be played out at the Horseshoe. Michigan leads the all-time series 58-44-6 and, after last year’s win at UM (40-34), will be going for consecutive wins over OSU for the first time since 1999-2000. OSU has won nine of the last 11 meetings and hasn’t lost at home to Michigan since 2000. Should be a nice offensive display with Braxton Miller at QB for OSU and Denard Robinson (sounds like he is healthy) and Devin Gardner probably splitting time there for Michigan. Ohio State, under first-year coach Urban Meyer, is going for a 12-0 season, which would be just the sixth unbeaten/untied season in 123 years of football. This is the Buckeyes’ bowl game since they have a postseason ban. If Iowa beats Nebraska on Friday, a win here would put Michigan in the Big Ten title game. Gonna be a fun one, but OSU pulls it out in the fourth. Ohio State 34-24
* Georgia Tech at Georgia (-14), noon (ESPN) – Under coach Mark Richt, Georgia is a nice 10-1 against instate rival Georgia Tech. Georgia leads the all-time series 62-39-5, including last year’s 31-17 win at Tech. The Bulldogs are already ticketed for next week’s SEC title game, while Tech (even at 6-5 right now) will face Florida State in the ACC title game. Tech is riding a three-game winning streak, while UGa. has won five in a row. Georgia 34-26
* Rutgers at Pittsburgh (-2), noon (ESPN2) – Rutgers can clinch at least a share of the Big East title with a win at Pitt. But the Panthers also need a win to keep their bowl hopes afloat. Rutgers can also reach 10 wins for just the third time in school history. Pitt has lost its last two outings to Notre Dame (29-26, 3 OT) and UConn (24-17). Rutgers has won two straight after its loss to Kent State (35-23). Rutgers finds a way. Rutgers 21-17
* Virginia at Virginia Tech (-10 ½), noon (ESPNU) – The Commonwealth Cup game has big meaning for Tech, which at 5-6 needs a win to reach postseason play. Tech leads the all-time series 51-37-5 and has won eight in a row and 12 of the last 13. That includes a 38-0 blowout last year at UVa. Virginia’s hopes of a bowl bid died with last week’s loss to North Carolina (37-13). Virginia Tech 31-17
* Illinois at Northwestern (-19 ½), noon (Big Ten Network) – With a win here and in a bowl game, Northwestern can reach 10 wins for the first time since 1995 when Gary Barnett (and LB-now-coach Pat Fitzgerald) took the Purple to Pasadena. Illinois can reach 10 losses for first-year coach Tim Beckman with one more defeat. Illinois leads the series 54-46-5 and has won the last two, including 38-35 last year. The Illini twisted the knife last year by playing “Sweet Home Chicago” after the final gun. Fitzgerald and Beckman purport to be friends, but don’t look for Fitzy – as Beckman refers to him – to pull off the gas pedal if given the chance. Northwestern 44-20
* Indiana at Purdue (-6), noon (Big Ten Network) – Purdue, at 5-6, needs a win at home to qualify for postseason play. The Boilers will try and do it against their instate rival in the Old Oaken Bucket game. These teams have played the last game of the regular season every year since 1920 with the exception of 1942 and 2001. Purdue leads the all-time series 71-37-6. Purdue has won three of the last four meetings, including 33-25 last year at Bloomington. Purdue 31-23
* Connecticut at Louisville (-11 ½), noon (Big East Network) – Louisville needs a win this week and a win over Rutgers next week to take the Big East title. UConn snapped a four-game losing streak with last week’s home win over Pittsburgh (24-17). UL has had two weeks off since its Nov. 10 loss at Syracuse (45-26). Louisville has won the last two meetings with UConn, including 34-20 last year. Louisville 42-25
* Kentucky at Tennessee (-13 ½), 12:20 p.m. (SEC Network) – Two teams winless in SEC play will collide in Knoxville. UK coach Joker Phillips will coach his last game after his firing, while UT will play for interim coach Jim Chaney after Derek Dooley’s firing. Kentucky snapped a 28-game losing streak to UT with last year’s 10-7 win in Lexington. Tennessee 37-17
* Baylor (-2 ½) vs. Texas Tech, at Arlington, Texas, 2:30 p.m. (FOX) – Baylor needs a win this week or next to qualify for a bowl. The Bears will try and parlay their win over then-No. 1 Kansas State (52-24) with a win over the Red Raiders at Jerry World. Tech has lost three of its last four games with all three losses to ranked teams (Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State). Baylor won last year’s match-up 66-42 over Tech behind Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. Baylor 36-31
* Oregon (-9 ½) at Oregon State, 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network) – Oregon seemed like a shoe-in for the BCS national title game. But last week’s loss to Stanford (17-14 in OT) means the Ducks need help just to get to the Pac-12 title game. Oregon leads the Civil War series 59-46-10 all-time and has won the last four meetings, including 49-21 last year at Oregon. Oregon State bounced back from its own loss to Stanford with a win over Cal (62-14) last week. Oregon 45-32
* Florida at Florida State (-7 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional; ESPN2 outer market) – Florida won six in a row over FSU between 2004-09, but the Seminoles have rolled big the last two years with wins at home in 2010 (31-7) and at Florida last year (21-7). Florida leads the all-time series 33-21-2. This is the first time since 2000 these teams have met with both teams in the top 10. Florida QB Jeff Driskel sounds like he will play, but he will be against an FSU defense allowing just 13.1 ppg (fifth nationally). With a win, Florida could be in line for a BCS bowl bid – and maybe even the title game if things fall right. But I like the Seminoles, winners of five straight, to take it at home. Florida State 20-17 in a thriller
* Oklahoma State at Oklahoma (-7), 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) – Oklahoma is still in contention for the Big 12 title. But the Sooners would have to win out and hope for Kansas State to lose to Texas next week. Oklahoma State snapped an eight-game losing streak to Oklahoma with last year’s resounding 44-10 win in Stillwater. OU leads the Bedlam Bowl series at 81-18-7. OU has won three straight since its loss to Notre Dame, while OSU has won two straight since its loss to Kansas State. Oklahoma 41-27
* Wisconsin at Penn State (-2 ½), 3:30 p.m. (ABC regional; ESPN2 outer market) – Win or lose, Wisconsin is headed to the Big Ten championship game next week. The Badgers would like to go to Indy with some momentum after last week’s home loss to Ohio State (21-14 in OT). Penn State, with seven wins for first-year coach Bill O’Brien, is playing with house money. Still, the Lions would like a feel-good win going into the off-season. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 9-6 and rolled 45-7 last year in Madison. UW RB Montee Ball needs one touchdown for sole possession of the NCAA Division I-A TD record (he and Miami’s Travis Prentice are tied with 78). Wisconsin 27-24
* Auburn at Alabama (-31 ½), 3:30 p.m. (CBS) – After the losses by Kansas State and Oregon, Alabama is positioned for a crack at a second straight national title and a third in four years. First comes rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl, a series Alabama leads 41-34-1. Auburn seems destined to its first 0-8 SEC record in school history and coach Gene Chizik – just two years removed from a national title of his own – is fighting to keep his job. Alabama 45-10
* Michigan State (-8 ½) at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) – MSU coach Mark Dantonio has labeled this one as a “program game.” His Spartans are in a must-win to reach a bowl game for the sixth straight year after having back-to-back 11-win seasons. Minnesota already has a bowl bid with six wins. This isn’t a good open: MSU has lost two straight and four of its last five trips to Minnesota. But MSU won last year at home (31-24) and has command of the all-time series (27-17). Michigan State 33-17
* Stanford (-2) at UCLA, 6:30 p.m. (FOX) – UCLA has already clinched its spot in the Pac-12 title game, while Stanford needs a win (or an Oregon loss) to do the same in the North Division. Stanford comes in sky high after its overtime win at Oregon. Something has to give as each team has won five games in a row. UCLA’s latest was last week’s home win over crosstown rival USC (38-28). This game will match a pair of promising freshmen quarterbacks in Stanford’s Kevin Hogan and UCLA’s Brett Hundley. A Stanford win would set up a rematch with UCLA next Friday in Palo Alto for the Pac-12 title. I must be crazy, but I will go with Stanford. They need it more. Stanford 28-23
* South Carolina at Clemson (-3 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPN) – This has become one of the best rivalries in college football. Clemson has dominated the all-time series 65-40-4, but South Carolina is 3-0 since Dabo Swinney took over as the Clemson coach with wins of 34-17, 29-7 and 34-13. Clemson can keep hope for a BCS berth with a win. Clemson has won seven straight since its only loss to Florida State. South Carolina has won three straight since back-to-back losses to LSU and Florida. Again, Clemson needs it more … and QB Tajh Boyd coming off a 426-yard, five-TD passing performance against N.C. State is on fire. He will shine, provided Clemson comes up with a way to block Gamecocks DE Jadaveon Clowney. Clemson 32-23
* Missouri at Texas A&M (-22), 7 p.m. (ESPN2) – Texas A&M and Heisman hopeful Johnny Manziel have BCS at-large bowl hopes if they can negotiate a win over visiting Mizzou. But the Tigers could use a win to become bowl-eligible. The Aggies have won four straight since their loss to LSU. Mizzou has lost four of its last six games, falling at home to Syracuse 31-27 last week. Mizzou QB James Franklin was injured in that loss and will be a gametime decision. None of this bodes well for the Tigers. Texas A&M 38-24
* Mississippi State at Mississippi (-1 ½), 7 p.m. (ESPNU) – Ole Miss holds the all-time lead at 60-42-6 in this series, although MSU won 31-3 last year at home. Ole Miss needs a win for a bowl bid. The Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak with last week’s win over Arkansas. Ole Miss comes in off three straight losses, although two of them were to top-10s Georgia and LSU on the road. Mississippi State 26-20
* Notre Dame (-5 ½) at USC, 8 p.m. (ABC) – This is Notre Dame’s biggest game in at least two decades as the top-ranked Fighting Irish will be playing for a perfect 12-0 regular season and a berth in the BCS national title game. ND is ranked No. 1 for the first time since 1993 and 11-0 for the first time since 1989. USC was ranked No. 1 to start the season, but has lost four games. The latest was last week’s loss at UCLA. ND leads the all-time series 43-34-5, although USC has won 10 of the last 11 games including 31-17 last year at South Bend. With USC QB Matt Barkley out (shoulder), redshirt freshman Max Wittek will start for the Trojans. He will go against the nation’s stingiest scoring defense as ND allows just 10.1 ppg. This should be one heck of a game. Notre Dame 27-16
And in case you missed it:
Quickie Bowl Projections
We will try and update these each week. We are getting down to the nitty-gritty now. The losses by Kansas State and Oregon last week have really shaken things up.
Here goes absolutely nothing, noting that one loss by Notre Dame or Florida or Kansas State or Stanford could really shake things up again:
* BCS National Title Game (at Miami) – Notre Dame vs. Alabama (ND must beat USC on the road and Alabama must beat Auburn this week and Georgia next week to make this happen)
* Rose Bowl – Nebraska vs. Stanford (The Cardinal need back-to-back wins over UCLA to make this happen)
* Orange Bowl – Florida State vs. Rutgers (the winner of next week’s Rutgers-Louisville game will be here against the winner of the ACC title game between FSU and Georgia Tech)
* Fiesta Bowl – Kansas State vs. Oregon (This was going to be the national title game until last week’s upsets; now they could meet in the Fiesta … provided Oregon doesn’t move back into the Pac 12 title game/Rose Bowl picture with a Stanford loss this week)
* Sugar Bowl – LSU vs. Oklahoma (If Georgia loses to Alabama and Florida loses to Florida State, LSU would be next in line from the SEC for a BCS bid)
* Capital One Bowl – Georgia vs. Michigan
* Outback Bowl – Florida vs. Wisconsin
* Cotton Bowl – Texas A&M vs. Texas
Enjoy this big weekend of college football and best of luck to your team!