Happy Thanksgiving! Wherever you are, I hope you and yours are enjoying a great holiday … and you’re ready for another great weekend of college football. It would be hard to top the excitement of last Friday and Saturday, but it should be a fun weekend nonetheless.
Denard Robinson and Michigan will try and break a 7-game losing streak against rival Ohio State.
During Week 12, I was just 14-11 straight-up as there were a ton of upsets (think Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oklahoma, Clemson, Nebraska, Southern Miss, Texas and Florida State from the BCS top 25). I am now 226-65 straight-up for the year.
I was a decent enough 15-10 against-the-spread. I am now 152-123-4 ATS for the year. I’m 29 games over .500.
Here are my picks for the key games in Week 13:
* No. 25 Texas at Texas A&M (-8 ½), Thursday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) -- The Lone Star Showdown has been played every year since 1915. But with A&M moving to the SEC, this could be it for the foreseeable future. That sad thing is behind Wisconsin-Minnesota and Kansas-Missouri this is the third most-played rivalry in the country. Texas has won eight of the last 11 and owns the all-time lead 75-37-5. But A&M won 24-17 last year. Texas comes in off losses to Missouri and Kansas State, while A&M snapped a three-game losing streak with last week’s win over Kansas (61-7). Texas A&M 27-24
* Louisville at South Florida (-3 ½), Friday, 11 a.m. (ESPN2) -- Hey, we have (Black) Friday Morning Footballl! USF QB B.J. Daniels is questionable due to a shoulder injury. UL has won four of its last five games, while USF has lost five of its last six including last week’s 6-3 clunker to Miami (Fla.). USF won 24-21 in overtime at Louisville last year. Louisville can clinch a share of the Big East title with a win. Louisville 26-21
* No. 8 Houston (-3 ½) at Tulsa, Friday, noon (Fox Sports Net) -- Houston is thinking about a possible BCS bowl bid, but the Cougars need a win at fellow C-USA unbeaten Tulsa just to get to the conference title game. After a 1-3 start, Tulsa has won all seven of its C-USA games. This game features a matchup between the top offenses in Conference USA and top QBs with Houston’s Case Keenum and Tulsa’s G.J. Kinne. Houston 41-30
* Iowa at No. 21 Nebraska (-9 ½), Friday, noon (ABC) -- This is the very first Heroes Game between these new Big Ten rivals. Nebraska leads the all-time series 26-12-3. Nebraska won the last meeting in 2000 (42-13). Nebraska is coming off a 45-17 shellacking at Michigan and needs to win to avoid finishing a very disappointing 8-4. Iowa just got its first road win at Purdue. Nebraska 34-27
* No. 3 Arkansas at No. 1 LSU (-11 ½), Friday, 2:30 p.m. (CBS) -- A win would allow LSU to finish the regular season 12-0 and win the SEC West outright. It might also be enough to put the Tigers in the national title game – win or lose next week against Georgia. Arkansas has won seven straight since its only loss (at Alabama, 38-14). Arkansas has won three of the last four in the series, including last year at home (31-23) and in 2007 at Baton Rouge when LSU was also No. 1 (50-48, 3OT). Can Arkansas’ offense make things happen against LSU’s stingy defense? Hmmm. LSU 30-21
* Boston College at Miami (Fla.) (-14 ½), Friday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- With Arkansas-LSU on CBS, this game --- matching 3-8 BC and 6-5 Miami, this game should draw the same rating as a test pattern. This is the end of the line for Miami, which will serve a bowl ban this year. Miami 27-17
* Pittsburgh at West Virginia (-7), Friday, 7 p.m. (ESPN) -- Five Big East teams – including these two – are tied in the loss column with two conference losses. This is the Backyard Brawl. Pitt leads the all-time 61-39-3, but WVU has won the last two (including 35-10 last year at home). These teams have played annually since 1943. The underdog has won six of the last nine games outright. West Virginia 26-23
* California at Arizona State (-5 ½), Friday, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN) -- A pair of 6-5 teams square off. ASU, despite three straight losses, still has a chance to rep the Pac-12 South in the title game. The Sun Devils need to win and hope UCLA loses and Utah wins. Cal crushed ASU 50-17 last year. Arizona State 31-23
* Iowa State at No. 9 Oklahoma (-28 ½), Saturday, noon, (FX) -- Iowa State comes in off last week’s double OT win over Oklahoma State (37-31). ISU has won three straight. OU needs a win to set up a Big 12 title showdown with Oklahoma State next week. Oklahoma 37-17
* No. 13 Georgia (-6) at No. 23 Georgia Tech, Saturday, noon (ESPN) -- Georgia and coach Mark Richt own Georgia Tech to the tune of 9-1 in the last 10 meetings. They’ve won the last five in Atlanta as well. Georgia has won nine straight and will be back in Atlanta next week to face LSU in the SEC title game. Tech has lost three of its last five games. Georgia 28-25
* No. 14 Michigan State (-6 ½) at Northwestern, Saturday, noon (Big Ten Network) -- MSU already has its spot set in the Big Ten title game next week, but can’t afford to look past the hard charging Wildcats who have won four in a row after a 2-5 start. A win would give the Spartans back-to-back 10-win seasons for the first time ever. Michigan State leads the all-time series 35-16. Michigan State took a 35-27 win at Evanston last year. Michigan State 34-24
* Ohio State at No. 15 Michigan (-7 ½), Saturday, noon (ABC) -- Ohio State has won seven straight over rival Michigan. But first-year coach Brady Hoke has the Wolverines at a spiffy 9-2, while Ohio State has dropped its last two games to limp in at 6-5. Buckeye Nation is wrapped around the axle about the prospect Urban Meyer will be the new coach. This game has taken a back seat. Michigan needs a win to have a shot at an at-large BCS bowl bid. Michigan leads the all-time series 57-44-6. OSU won 37-7 last year in Columbus. Can the OSU defense contain QB Denard Robinson and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint? The Buckeyes gave up 239 yards rushing in last week’s home loss to Penn State (20-14). Michigan 27-24
* Rutgers (-3) at Connecticut, Saturday, noon, (ESPN2) -- Rutgers is among the Big East group with two losses and needs a win to clinch at least a tie for the Big East title. Rutgers has won three straight this season and three in a row over UConn. Make it four. Rutgers 26-20
* No. 2 Alabama (-21) at No. 24 Auburn, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (CBS) -- Alabama had a 24-0 second-quarter lead before Auburn rallied for a 28-27 bid that spurred the Tigers to the national title. This game also matches the last two national champions. Alabama needs a win to likely put itself in this year’s national title game. Auburn lost its last SEC game at Georgia 45-7. Egads. Alabama leads the all-time series 40-34-1. Alabama 34-17
* No. 5 Virginia Tech (-4 ½) at Virginia, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- The Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC championship game against Clemson is on the line. The Hokies have won 11 of the past 12 games in the series, and are looking for their fifth division title and sixth 11-win season since 1999. Virginia hasn't won an ACC title since 1995. Tech has won six in a row, while Virginia has won four in a row. Tech won 37-7 last year at home. Virginia Tech wins a good one. Virginia Tech 29-27
* Oregon State at No. 10 Oregon (-27 ½), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ABC) -- Oregon leads the series 58-46-10 and the Ducks won last season, 37-20. The Ducks need to win to clinch the Pac-12 North Division title. An Oregon loss puts Stanford in the title game. Oregon leads the Pac-12 in rushing yardage at 294 yards per game. Oregon 51-13
* No. 19 Penn State at No. 16 Wisconsin (-14 ½), Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN) -- The winner here will advance to play Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. Wisconsin leads the all-time series 8-6. This game matches up Wisconsin’s outstanding offense (45 ppg) against Penn State’s stingy defense (13 ppg allowed). Wisconsin is hard to beat at Camp Randall and it ain’t happening with so much on the line this Saturday. Wisconsin 33-16
* Purdue (-7 ½) at Indiana, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) -- The Old Oaken Bucket will be up for grabs when Purdue travels to Bloomington to face Indiana, the 87th time the teams will meet with the trophy at stake. Contested each year since 1925, Purdue holds a 56-27-3 advantage in trophy game series, and a 70-37-6 advantage overall. The Hoosiers look to maintain control of the bucket following a 34-31 overtime win last season. Purdue, at 5-6, needs a win to become bowl-eligible. Indiana hasn’t beaten a I-A team this season and ain’t gonna. Purdue 34-20
* Illinois (-10 ½) at Minnesota, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network) -- Illinois opened 6-0 but has lost five straight. A win over Minnesota, just 2-9, would give the Illini momentum going into their bowl game. Minnesota leads the all-time series 33-28-3 and won last year (38-34) at Champaign. Illinois 33-30
* Texas Tech vs. No. 18 Baylor (-13), at Arlington, Texas, Saturday, 7 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- Baylor has never beaten Texas Tech in the Big 12 era. Tech needs a win to reach a bowl for the 12th straight year, while Baylor has a chance to reach 10 wins for just the second time ever. Baylor 51-20
* Florida State (-2) at Florida, Saturday, 7 p.m. (ESPN2) -- FSU is 7-4 and Florida is 6-5. Florida leads the all-time series 33-20-2. FSU snapped a six-game losing streak to the Gators with last year’s 31-7 win at Tallahassee. FSU has won five in a row coming in, while Florida had lost five of its last six before a win over I-AA Furman (54-32). Florida State 31-21
* Washington State at Washington (-8 ½), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. (Versus) -- Wazzu QB Connor Halliday (liver) is expected to miss the game. Washington is bowl-eligible at 6-5, but has lost three in a row. Washington State is 4-7. Washington 41-34 in overtime
* No. 17 Clemson at No. 12 South Carolina (-4 ½), Saturday, 7:45 p.m. (ESPN) -- Both teams are ranked in this battle for the first time since 2000. South Carolina has won the last two meetings with Clemson and hasn’t won three in a row since 1968-70. This should be one heck of a game. Clemson already has its ACC title game bid set. Clemson has lost two of its last three after an 8-0 start. South Carolina has won its last two games. South Carolina in a good one 26-23
* No. 22 Notre Dame at No. 6 Stanford (-7), Saturday, 8 p.m. (ABC) -- A win would make Stanford 11-1 and probably put the Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl as a BCS at-large team. This is also the regular season finale for ND, which has won four straight to get to 8-3. The Irish will be without RB Jonas Gray, out for the year with an ACL tear. ND leads the all-time series 17-8, but Stanford has won the last two including 38-14 at ND last year. Stanford QB Andrew Luck can make one last Heisman push with a big showing here. Stanford 37-23
* UCLA at USC (-14 ½), Saturday, 10 p.m. (Fox Sports Net) -- USC is the best team in the Pac-12 South, but the Trojans are ineligible for the title game berth. UCLA can clinch that berth with a win over USC at the Coliseum. USC leads the all-time series 43-28-7. USC has won 11 of the last 12 in the series, including the last four. USC has won the last three by scores of 28-7, 28-7 and 28-14. USC 31-20
Hey, enjoy this big weekend of college football. We will grade these picks on Sunday.
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