College Football Week 13: Predictions Against the Spread
As the regular season starts to dwindle and the BCS picture slowly clears up, the gambler in all of us realizes that the time to make any serious moves in the books is quickly coming to a close.
This week pits six of the AP’s Top 10 teams against other ranked opponents, with a Friday slate of games that is better than any post-Thanksgiving feast in recent memory.
An 11-8-1 record last week breathes signs of life into this Pick ‘Em, but this week will have to be MUCH better to reach a respectable tally before the year’s end.
Let’s take a look at this week’s games and don’t forget to stuff your faces with turkey, football and all of the bets your pocketbook can handle.
Last Week’s Record: 11-8-1
Season Record: 112-117-6
No. 1 Oregon (-19.5) vs. No. 20 Arizona
Oregon had a week off to forget their near-death experience against Cal. But if these mentally wounded Ducks are not careful, they could lull into an unexpected trap.
However, Arizona has stumbled through the gauntlet of their Pac-10 schedule, and this road trip into Autzen should drop them out of the AP’s Top 25.
Pick: Oregon -19.5
No. 2 Auburn @ No. 9 Alabama (-4.5)
Although Alabama rides a two-game winning streak against the Tigers, Auburn holds a 7-3 record over the past 10 Iron Bowls.
Alabama definitely has the weapons on offense and defense to roll with the Tigers, but Cam Newton is in “now-or-never” mode and should at least help Auburn cover this spread.
Pick: Auburn +4.5
No. 3 Boise State (-14) @ No. 19 Nevada
Since Colin Kaepernick took over the starting quarterback role for Nevada in 2007, the Wolfpack have kept this matchup against Boise State close, losing by an average of only 6.67 points.
Kaepernick’s speed and elusiveness will help Nevada stay within striking distance for most of this game and maybe even pull off an amazing upset.
Pick: Nevada +14
No. 4 TCU (-44) @ New Mexico
TCU’s offense ranks sixth in the FBS (41.3 p/g) and should have a field day against New Mexico. The spread does seem awfully high, but the Lobos are awfully terrible.
New Mexico’s defense has coughed up 38 or more points eight times this season. The last time they faced a Top 10 offense, they surrendered 72 to Oregon.
Pick: TCU -44
No. 5 Wisconsin (-23.5) vs. Northwestern
Over their past five meetings, the home team has not only won this game but has also covered Vegas’ spread in the process.
Wisconsin’s underrated offense is screaming for attention, ranking seventh in scoring (40.9 p/g) and tallying 132 points over the past two games.
Without Dan Persa, Northwestern will struggle to keep up with these powerful Badgers.
Pick: Wisconsin -23.5
No. 6 LSU @ No. 12 Arkansas (-3.5)
Both LSU and Arkansas escaped by the skin of their teeth last week. This week, one team won’t be that lucky.
Although the Tigers have survived several close calls in SEC play, Ryan Mallett’s offensive prowess could be enough to lead the Razorbacks past an LSU team that might be running out of magic.
Pick: Arkansas -3.5
No. 7 Stanford (-14) vs. Oregon State
After two straight losses to subpar Pac-10 teams, Oregon State finally found some life last week against ranked USC.
Unfortunately, a Stanford team that has absolutely abused teams will be waiting for the Beavers in Palo Alto.
Stanford’s surprisingly dependable defense (ranked 21st with 19.5 p/g) should control this game, allowing the Cardinal to win convincingly.
Pick: Stanford -14
No. 8 Ohio State (-17) vs. Michigan
Ohio State’s Big Ten championship hopes are slim but hardly out of reach. Settling business with the Wolverines is a must.
While the Buckeyes offense won’t receive resistance from Michigan’s terrible defense, their containment of Denard Robinson should determine this spread.
Robinson is always good for a couple big plays, making this spread somewhat coverable.
Pick: Michigan +17
No. 10 Oklahoma State (-2.5) vs. No. 14 Oklahoma
The streak of seven straight Bedlam Series wins by Oklahoma could be in jeopardy this weekend.
While Landry Jones’s canon will keep Oklahoma afloat, Oklahoma State’s third ranked offense should create uncontrollable chaos for the entire game.
Justin Blackmon and Kendall Hunter will be too much to handle, helping the Cowboys come out on top.
Pick: Oklahoma State -2.5
No. 11 Michigan State (-2) @ Penn State
Since bringing in Matthew McGloin at quarterback, Penn State’s offense has exuded signs of potential.
McGloin tossed his first 300-yard game last week but will have a much tougher task against Michigan State’s adequate defense.
The Spartans teetered with defeat a week ago and could easily fall victim in this potential trap game.
Pick: Penn State +2
No. 13 Virginia Tech (-22.5) vs. Virginia
While Commonwealth Cup wins have been scarce for Virginia, 20-point victories by Virginia Tech have also been few and far between.
However, the Hokies have covered seven of the past 10 spreads in this series, and it won’t be a shocker when Virginia Tech lays down the wood.
Pick: Virginia Tech -22.5
No. 15 Missouri (-24.5) vs. Kansas
Although Missouri’s offense is sputtering to the finish line, Blaine Gabbert and company should feast on the Jayhawks’ beleaguered defense.
Kansas seems to enjoy giving up a godly amount of points (34.4 p/g) and can’t find a way to put up any of its own (18.0 p/g).
Missouri should thoroughly dominate.
Pick: Missouri -24.5
No. 16 Nebraska (-17.5) vs. Colorado
Nebraska and Colorado both bid bon voyage to the Big 12 next season, and this game should end as ugly as their departures from their conference.
The Cornhuskers are experiencing some turmoil after last week’s loss and the on-field implications involving Bo Pelini, but this should not hinder the team from asserting their dominance over feeble Colorado.
Pick: Nebraska -17.5
No. 17 Texas A&M (-3) @ Texas
This line is some-what of a slap to the face of the Aggies.
Texas A&M has been piping hot the past few weeks, winning five straight, including two games against Top 10 teams.
Texas, on the other hand, looks terrible, losing more conference games than they have in 13 years.
The Aggies should win this game by at least a touchdown.
Pick: Texas A&M -3
No. 18 South Carolina (-3) @ Clemson
Although South Carolina beat Clemson last season, the Gamecocks have not strung together back-to-back victories in this rivalry since 1969-70.
Clemson has the ninth scoring defense (16.7 p/g) in the FBS and will need to completely silence Marcus Lattimore if they have any hopes of winning this game.
Don’t count the Tigers out of this one, though.
Pick: Clemson +3
No. 21 North Carolina State (-2.5) @ Maryland
Only Maryland stands in the way of North Carolina State and their ACC Atlantic title hopes.
While the Terrapins have been a surprise this season, this game should be pretty predictable.
Just like Florida State did a week prior, the Wolfpack should not have a problems pulling out of this game with a decent-sized victory.
Pick: North Carolina State -2.5
No. 22 Florida State (-2.5) vs. Florida
Florida has not succumbed to Florida State in the Sunshine Showdown in seven years, but this could be the season that this streak is broken.
The Gators have notoriously struggled against Top 25 teams this season (0-3), and their offense is still not ready to contend if this game becomes a shootout.
Christian Ponder will bring this lights-out-mentality to the field, keeping this game out of Florida’s reach.
Pick: Florida State -2.5
No. 23 Utah (-10) vs. BYU
Although Utah owns a pretty hefty lead in the Holy War (50-31-4), BYU has won three of the past four meetings.
Utah has labored down the home stretch, and they could be catching BYU at an inopportune time.
The Cougars should cover this spread and might even have the wherewithal to pull off an upset.
Pick: BYU +10
No. 24 Iowa (-16) @ Minnesota
Minnesota has been flat out terrible this year. They enter this game with one Big Ten win and will probably end the season with that total.
Iowa has dropped two straight and desperately need to end this Big Ten season on a high note.
While the Hawkeyes look down, they definitely are not out. Expect them to let out their frustrations in this one.
Pick: Iowa -16
No. 25 Mississippi State (-3) @ Ole Miss
Over the past five years, the home team has victoriously lifted the Golden Egg Trophy in this rivalry.
After Ole Miss’s valiant performance last week against LSU, this trend has a great chance of continuing.
Mississippi State is sliding to the finish and definitely could be caught by surprise by this long time rival.
Pick: Ole Miss +3