College Football Predictions Week 13: Picking Winners for Saturday's Big Games
No. 1 Notre Dame taking on USC is clearly the biggest game of the weekend. If Notre Dame wins, it will play for the national championship. If it loses, the chaos atop the BCS will continue for another week.
Let the madness begin.
The Irish have an excellent defense, but they have never faced a team with weapons on the outside like USC. Marqise Lee and Robert Woods are both NFL-caliber receivers, and Lee could be a top-three pick in the 2013 NFL draft, if he were eligible.
The Trojans will be without Matt Barkley, but Max Wittek is no ordinary backup freshman quarterback. Wittek has a strong arm, but he also brings some mobility to the table. At home, the Trojans will score points against the Irish defense.
Can Notre Dame's offense keep pace?
No, they can't.
The Trojans' defense hasn't been stout this season, but if this game gets into the high twenties—which I believe it will—the Trojans have too many weapons for the Irish. The Trojans' offense has been held under 20 points just once this season, but never at home.
If the Irish can't keep it a low-scoring game, they won't win.
My prediction: USC 32, Notre Dame 24
Here are my predictions for the rest of Saturday's big games.
Alabama Will Smash Auburn in the Iron Bowl
The Tide's second chance to defend their BCS title will stay alive another week, Auburn has been dreadful all season, and despite the spirit and bitterness in this rivalry, it doesn't have a chance to beat Alabama.
You need solid quarterback play to have a shot at knocking off the Tide, and the Tigers QBs have combined to throw 13 interceptions to only eight touchdown passes.
The road is still a rough one for Alabama, though. It will likely face Georgia in the SEC championship with a berth in the BCS title game at stake.
My prediction: Alabama 50, Auburn 14
Georgia Will Escape Georgia Tech
I love the Bulldogs' balance, but teams have had success on the ground against them. They are ranked just 52nd in the nation against the run. That's precisely why I believe Georgia Tech will cause them some issues.
The Yellow Jackets are third in the nation in rushing with 324.9 yards per game.
Their flexbone offense has worked quite well this season, but they are only 6-5 because they haven't been able to stop teams consistently. They are allowing 29.6 points per game this season.
Expect to see a very high-scoring affair, but in the end, the Bulldogs will prevail with just enough defensive plays in the second half.
My prediction: Georgia 44, Georgia Tech 37
Florida State Will End the Gators' Slim Title Chances
The Florida Gators need a miracle if they are to have a shot at playing in the BCS title game. They need Georgia and either Alabama or Notre Dame to lose to have a shot—oh and they also have to beat a very talented Florida State Seminoles team.
They won't get any help, and they will lose to the Seminoles.
As good as the Gators are on defense (allowing 11.7 points per game) they have been almost as bad on offense. In two games against top-10 opponents this season, they are scoring just 15.5 points per game.
The Seminoles are as talented as any team in the nation. Were it not for an early slip-up against North Carolina St, they would be in the title picture. The Gators will be facing a good senior quarterback in EJ Manuel, and a defense good enough to limit the Gators' running game.
The Noles have the nation's No. 1 run defense. Jeff Driskel will not make the plays necessary to defeat them in Tallahassee.
Florida State will defend its turf and send the Gators to their second loss of the season.
My prediction: Florida St. 24, Florida 13
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