Week 13 of the 2013 college football season will host one of the most influential Saturdays yet. Numerous BCS contenders are in high-stakes games, and a number of those squads could be in trouble against high-quality opponents.
The question is, which BCS contenders are on upset alert?
No. 4 Baylor Bears at No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys
Baylor: 9-0, 6-0 Big 12
Oklahoma State: 9-1, 6-1 Big 12
Prediction: 44-35, Baylor
If you're still unconvinced of the No. 4 Baylor Bears' legitimacy, I'm not sure what else you need to see. Baylor's offense is performing at a record-setting pace, its defense is quietly smothering opponents and head coach Art Briles is one of the most respected commodities in the country.
Unfortunately, Baylor is about to hit the road to play the No. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Oklahoma State is 9-1 with the No. 14 scoring offense and the No. 14 scoring defense in the nation. In two of its past three games, Oklahoma State has earned a 52-34 win over the Texas Tech Red Raiders and a 38-13 win at the Texas Longhorns.
If any team has the firepower to upset Baylor, it's Oklahoma State.
The story of this game will be the battle of dynamic quarterbacks, as Baylor's Bryce Petty goes toe-to-toe with Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf. Chelf has 11 total touchdowns in his past three games, while Petty has 24 passing scores and 10 on the ground to one interception.
In the end, Petty earns the edge over Chelf, and that's the deciding factor.
Chelf is a very dynamic player, but Petty is a poised pocket passer who has proven capable of handling high-pressure situations. With both Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood at over 800 rushing yards for the season, the Bears will have the necessary balance to win in hostile territory.
Baylor is on upset alert, but it will survive.
No. 8 Missouri Tigers at No. 24 Ole Miss Rebels
Missouri: 9-1, 5-1 SEC
Ole Miss: 7-3, 3-3 SEC
Prediction: 35-30, Ole Miss
The Missouri Tigers have survived a number of key injuries and upset scares en route to its current record of 9-1. Missouri has now updated its depth chart and listed the previously injured James Franklin as the starting quarterback.
Franklin will need to be sharp for the Tigers to avoid an upset against Ole Miss.
Ole Miss is 7-3 and 3-3 in the SEC, but its only three losses were against No. 1 Alabama, No. 6 Auburn and No. 22 LSU. The Rebels are led by star quarterback Bo Wallace, who has 17 passing touchdowns to five interceptions in 2013.
That includes eight touchdowns to two picks during his previous two outings.
The key in this game will be the health and readiness of Franklin, who hasn't played since Oct. 12 against the Georgia Bulldogs. Franklin had 14 touchdown passes to three interceptions before going down, but he's coming back and being thrown into the proverbial fire.
Ole Miss is 5-1 at home and has the pass rush necessary to give Franklin trouble. That's why it'll win.
I believe that Missouri is one of the 10 best teams in the country, but this is a trap game. Ole Miss has the quarterback play necessary to put points on that board, and that will put Franklin under pressure to throw it early and often.
I wouldn't be surprised to see Missouri win, but this is upset territory.
No. 12 Texas A&M Aggies at No. 22 LSU Tigers
Texas A&M: 8-2, 4-2 SEC
LSU: 7-3, 3-3 SEC
Prediction: 38-31, LSU
Before angry Texas A&M Aggies fans tell me that I hate Johnny Manziel, it should be known that I don't. Instead, I acknowledge that Manziel's marvelous play has been damaged by a dreadful defense that can't keep opponents out of the end zone.
That spells trouble against the LSU Tigers, which has lost one home game since Oct. 10, 2009.
Manziel will keep Texas A&M in any and every game that it plays, and that alone makes this clash worth watching. The issue for the Aggies is that their defense still hasn't shown up, and LSU has the playmakers necessary to make them pay.
For those who want to argue against that point, note that Texas A&M is No. 88 in the country in scoring defense and LSU is No. 21 in scoring offense.
Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger has 2,733 passing yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions through 10 games. After throwing for just one touchdown against Alabama, expect the star quarterback to step up and do his best to match Manziel's world-class production.
Texas A&M's defense has no answer for Odell Beckham, Jeremy Hill or Jarvis Landry, and that spells defeat in Death Valley.
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