Greetings Manoverse. I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving filled with food, family, & football. For a variety of reasons I decided not to include any of the plethora of gridiron goodness on Thursday & Friday in this week’s picks. However, even without those games there’s still a ton of tremendous action on Saturday. It’s Rivalry Week in the NCAA, and a few games even have meaning above & beyond the tradition of the rivalry itself. Heck, there are so many great matchups that we are able to once again focus exclusively on college football and still give y’all bonus picks. You’re welcome. Last week was another poor showing for both myself & Zach as we each went 1-4. We both whiffed in picking Texas A&M, UCLA, & the Indianapolis Colts. I correctly picked Oklahoma St. over Baylor, while Zach got the win with New England defeating Denver. That brings the season records to this:
Your Humble Potentate of Profundity = 30-31
Zach = 27-34
Zach is running out of time to take the season lead, while I have now fallen below .500. We’ll see what we can do about that.
Ohio State (-16) at Michigan
Wow…where do I begin?? 2013 certainly hasn’t been a banner year in Ann Arbor. I mean sure, they will finish with a winning record and go bowling, but 7 or 8 wins and some December bowl game that no one watches against a mediocre team that no one cares about doesn’t match the high standard that the Wolverines aim at & usually achieve. Meanwhile, there is a very good chance that Ohio State could finish the season having won 25 straight games and still not get a whiff of the national championship, which is a perfect example of why the BCS sucks. Having said all that, I am still a bit surprised at the rather robust point spread. Sure Michigan is a bit down…but are they that down?? Is there a legitimate chance that they will get throttled by more than two TDs in The Big House?? Three of Michigan’s four losses thus far have been away from home. Their one loss at home was 17-13 to Nebraska…far from an epic beatdown. I suppose there are some that might say that the Buckeyes need (and are aware that they need) “style points” in case Auburn upsets Alabama, which would cause ‘Bama to fall out of the national title game but could also mean Auburn would leapfrog Ohio State in the BCS standings, but I honestly don’t think it’ll matter whether they win this game by 1 point or 100 points. So while I think it is likely that the Buckeyes get the victory I would be really surprised if it was by more that 7-10 points. Surprisingly Zach…a diehard Michigan fan…thinks Ohio State wins in a blowout.
Clemson at South Carolina (-5)
South Carolina still has an outside shot to play in the SEC title game should Missouri fall to Texas A&M. Clemson needs Florida St. to lose its finale to the Florida Gators to sneak into the ACC title game, and that simply isn’t going to happen. Given those circumstances plus the home field I have to give the nod to the Gamecocks. Zach concurs.
Notre Dame at Stanford (-14.5)
Things have been pretty quiet in South Bend even though the Irish are clinging to a Top 25 ranking. Conversely Stanford has already booked their spot in the PAC 12 title game and had a really impressive win over Oregon a few weeks ago. I don’t think there is any doubt that Stanford gets the victory, but will they cover the points?? They have won only 4 games by more than 14 points, and only one of those victories was over a ranked opponent. The Irish have more to play for, and Stanford hasn’t really blown too many teams out this season, so the vibes are telling me that this will be a close game. Zach feels the same.
Texas A&M at Missouri (-4.5)
These two teams used to be Big 12 opponents, but both are now in the SEC. Not that it matters…I just find it mildly interesting. I went with the Aggies and Johnny Football last week and paid for it, so I am a bit hesitant to pull that particular trigger again. They looked absolutely atrocious against LSU. The only blemish on Missouri’s record is an overtime loss to South Carolina. They are a lot better than people (including me) have given them credit for. I think this may end up being one of the more entertaining games of the weekend, and it’s a total vibe game. The Voices are telling me to go with A&M again even though it doesn’t really make much sense. Zach, being a bit more…practical…than his old uncle, is going with Missouri.
Arizona at Arizona State (-11.5)
In 2012 the Arizona Wildcats finished with a rather pedestrian 8-5 record. The Arizona St. Sun Devils did the exact same thing. With a victory in this game the Sun Devils will get their 10th victory and head to the Pac 12 title game. The Wildcats have pretty much the same record as last year but are on everyone’s radar after a notable beatdown of Oregon last week. I don’t think they can do it two weeks in a row though, so I am picking State to win and cover the points. Zach, however, was really impressed by that Wildcat win over the Ducks and is riding that wave.
UCLA at USC (-3)
Who would have ever thought at the end of September, right after the Trojans fired head coach Lane Kiffin, that they would be in the mix for their division lead at the end of the season?? They won’t win the division due to that loss to Arizona State that led to Kiffin’s ouster, but the fact that they are riding a 5 game winning streak and have won 6 out of 7 under the leadership of interim head coach Ed Orgeron is impressive. Just a few weeks ago no one thought that Orgeron had a snowball’s chance to land the permanent gig, but now a lot of folks seem to believe that a win this week will almost certainly clinch the job for him. Conversely, after beginning the season 5-0 the Bruins have gone 3-3 in the latter half of the campaign. This feels like two teams going in opposite directions, and who am I to go against momentum (or as my Dad calls it “Big Mo”)?? Zach is a rebel though and scoffs at momentum while picking UCLA.
Alabama (-10.5) at Auburn
Even though these two teams have been playing each other since 1893 the game has only been known as The Iron Bowl since 1980, with the name ostensibly referring to Birmingham, Alabama’s standing as an epicenter of iron & steel production. A year ago ‘Bama won this game 49-0, but a year ago Auburn was a 3-9 football team. They are significantly better this season. Are they good enough to pull off the upset?? The Tide has barely broken a sweat so far in 2013. The only game they haven’t won by double digits was a second week 7 point victory over Johnny Football and Texas A&M. However, Auburn is probably the best team they have faced. Plus the game is at Jordan–Hare Stadium. If I am being honest I am really trying to talk myself into Auburn having a legitimate shot to win because I’d really like to see a little BCS chaos. It’s just really hard to go against Alabama given their recent history of dominance. Having said all of that though I am going to roll the dice on Auburn atleast making this a very close game. Zach sees the game being competitive in the first half but thinks the ‘Bama defense will take over and help the Tide secure a 3 TD victory.
- 2013 College Football Week 14: Picks and Upsets (sidelinemob.com)
- Early Analysis: Michigan vs. Ohio State (bloguin.com)
- College Football Picks for Week 14 (stilesonsports.wordpress.com)
- Buckeyes move to 11-0 with drubbing of Indiana (clevelandsportschat.com)
- Michigan Football: 3 Ways the Wolverines Can Upset Ohio State (bleacherreport.com)
- Rivalry week betting: Iron Bowl odds favor Alabama (sbnation.com)
- We Have a CFB Playoff THIS Year: Iron Bowl Is a National Quarterfinal (bleacherreport.com)
- Pigskin profit: Roll with the Tide (nypost.com)
- Buckeyes, Seminoles Vie for Title Game Spot (online.wsj.com)
- The Beauty of Michigan v. Ohio State (thelukenorrisexperience.com)