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College Football Picks Week 13: Predictions for Top 25 Games on the Schedule

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 21, 2016

EAST LANSING, MI - NOVEMBER 19: Curtis Samuel #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates a touchdown with his teammates during the first quarter of the game against the Michigan State Spartans  at Spartan Stadium on November 19, 2016 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Of the 25 teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this week, 23 of them will be in action during Week 13, and six games will pit two ranked teams against one another.

Below, we'll break down the week's rankings, offer predictions for the Top 25 games on the schedule and preview what will surely be a crucial week in college football.

       

Rankings

      

Predictions

College Football Week 13: Top 25 Schedule
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Thursday, Nov. 247:30 p.m.No. 25 LSU at No. 22 Texas A&MESPNLSU
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Friday, Nov. 2512 p.m.No. 18 Houston at MemphisABCHouston
Friday, Nov. 253:30 p.m.No. 6 Washington at No. 23 Washington StateFS1Washington
Friday, Nov. 253:30 p.m.No. 20 Boise State at Air ForceCBSSNBoise State
Friday, Nov. 253:30 p.m.No. 17 Nebraska at IowaABCIowa
Friday, Nov. 255 p.m.Toledo at No. 14 Western MichiganESPNUWestern Michigan
DateTime (ET)MatchupWatchPrediction
Saturday, Nov. 2612 p.m.Kentucky at No. 11 LouisvilleESPNLouisville
Saturday, Nov. 2612 p.m.No. 3 Michigan at No. 2 Ohio StateABCOhio State
Saturday, Nov. 263:30 p.m.Michigan State at No. 8 Penn StateESPNPenn State
Saturday, Nov. 263:30 p.m.Notre Dame at No. 12 USCABCUSC
Saturday, Nov. 263:30 p.m.Minnesota at No. 5 WisconsinBTNWisconsin
Saturday, Nov. 263:30 p.m.No. 16 Auburn at No. 1 AlabamaCBSAlabama
Saturday, Nov. 263:30 p.m.No. 19 West Virginia at Iowa StateFS1West Virginia
Saturday, Nov. 267:30 p.m.No. 21 Utah at No. 9 ColoradoFoxColorado
Saturday, Nov. 267:30 p.m.South Carolina at No. 4 ClemsonESPNClemson
Saturday, Nov. 267:30 p.m.No. 24 Tennessee at VanderbiltSECNTennessee
Saturday, Nov. 268 p.m.No. 13 Florida at No. 15 Florida StateABCFlorida State
Source: ESPN. All rankings via Associated Press

      

Preview

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 19: John O'Korn #8 of the Michigan Wolverines gets ready for a snap while playing the Indiana Hoosiers on November 19, 2016 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 20-10. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Im
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

There are a ton of huge games on tap this weekend, including the Apple Cup in the Pac-12, the Iron Bowl in the SEC and Florida vs. Florida State.

But no game is bigger than Michigan traveling to Columbus to face Ohio State in a game that will hugely impact the College Football Playoff.

If Michigan wins, they'll reach the Big Ten title game, and the winner of that contest will likely be a playoff team. But if Ohio State wins, well, all hell might break loose.

Here are the scenarios:

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  • Ohio State wins, and Penn State loses. Ohio State reaches the Big Ten title game, and the winner is a playoff team.
  • Ohio State wins, and Penn State wins. Based on head-to-head matchups, Penn State reaches the Big Ten title game and Ohio State is a one-loss team left in playoff limbo. Either Penn State or Wisconsin (the other likely team to reach the title game) has an excellent chance of being a playoff team. But so does Ohio State, despite not being a conference champion. Teams like Washington and Oklahoma, should they win out, are most likely to be kept out of the playoff in this scenario. 

Fans of Washington and Oklahoma should probably be rooting for Michigan. Fans of Penn State and chaos will be pulling for Ohio State.

And frankly, the Buckeyes look like the better team. In the past two weeks, Michigan has lost to Iowa on the road and was tested by Indiana at home. Michigan does have wins over Colorado, Penn State and Wisconsin this season, but all those games were at home.

Ohio State hasn't lost at home this year, and they were good enough to beat Oklahoma and Wisconsin on the road. The Buckeyes' road loss to Penn State was a better loss than Michigan's road loss to Iowa. But the most important difference between these teams comes down to one man: J.T. Barrett.

While the Buckeyes have one of the best quarterbacks in the nation—Barrett has thrown for 2,304 yards, 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions, while rushing 722 yards for an additional eight scores—Michigan will likely be relying on a backup quarterback, senior John O'Korn, to win in Columbus.

O'Korn finished 7-of-16 for a meager 59 yards against Indiana. That won't cut it against Ohio State. Look for the Buckeyes to get the win.

In the Iron Bowl, well, Alabama hasn't shown many, if any, weaknesses yet this year, dismantling every team they've faced. Until they show vulnerabilities, betting against them is a fool's errand.

Washington against Washington State is intriguing. Washington essentially has just two opportunities to make their case to the College Football Playoff committee that they deserve a shot in the top four, and just one if they lose this game. Beat Washington State, and Washington gets either Colorado or USC in the Pac-12 title game.

Lose against the the Cougars, and the Huskies are out of the running. Washington has everything to play for and is at home. Washington State is coming off a loss to Colorado after being torched up and down the field by quarterback Sefo Liufau.

Look for Washington to pull out the win.

Finally, Florida and Florida State won't be playing for anything but pride and perhaps bowl placement, but don't sleep on the Seminoles. Two of Florida State's losses were by a total of five points, while Florida's bend-but-don't-break defense barely held against LSU and will struggle against Florida State's more explosive attack. 

Of course, in what promises to be a wild weekend of football, anything can and probably will happen. As it turns out, college basketball doesn't have the market completely cornered when it comes to madness.

       

You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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