We have another week packed with college football, starting with Tuesday night and moving right through Saturday with games every day and decent matchups across the board.
There are just a few weeks left in the regular season, and then it will be conference championships and bowl games. While there are only a few weeks left, there are still a few free picking contest weeks to play and still time to get involved. We'll also be having a picking contest for the bowls, and it should be the same format we've been using for the regular season.
This past week's winner was Mark R., who went an impressive 12-3 against the spread. Mark is a regular in the forums and chat room and said all he did was take the best ideas from those places along with a little of his own research, and he was able to nail down that kind of week. While that is the best week we have seen for the winner, it was also the best overall performance from top to bottom in the contest.
We'll also be continuing our live chats this week during all of the weekday games and all day Saturday. Feel free to stop by and say hello and chat with everyone. Stay as long or short as you like, and the conversation has been wide open. We've had a lot of fun, but we've also put together some great plays as well.
In any event, we have some ground to cover this week, so let's get to some games.
Northern Illinois - 3 1/2 at Kent State (Tuesday, Nov. 18, 7 EST): 6 out of 10
I have been on Northern Illinois for most of the season, and up until lately they hadn't let me down. While the Huskies are 5-5 on the season, they have dropped their last two. Kent State comes in at 3-7 and winners in two of their last three.
I believe that college football is a game of matchups, and in this one the matchups clearly favor NIU. While the Golden Flashes have a nice running game, they will be facing the 46th-best run defense in the country, but more importantly, the number one rush defense in the MAC, when they step onto the field against the Huskies.
While Northern Illinois prefers to run as well, they will be met by the nations 96th-ranked rush defense and the 100th-ranked defense in points scored.
When we look at this series historically, Northern Illinois won outright last year in the underdog role. The Huskies have covered four of their last five against Kent State and more recently are 5-1 against the spread in their last six road games.
Northern Illinois is traditionally built for cold weather as they are 8-3-1 in their last 12 November games and are 5-2 against the spread against teams with a losing record. Kent State is 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 home games and 0-6 against the spread in their last six games following a straight up win.
While Northern has been on the wrong side of things as of late, those games were against the top two teams in the conference, and Kent State isn't even close to that caliber of a team. I am a bit surprised by the low point spread, and I am all over Northern Illinois.
See the rest of Mitch's Week 13 college football picks and predictions against the spread.