It’s time for week 13 college football fans. Now is the time for teams to make their push for a conference championship and see if they can get to a bowl game that isn’t played on December 17th. We have a really good slate of games this week that have real BCS and conference title implications. Last week I went 4-1 because I didn’t have the guts to pick USC so my season record is 41-15. Lets get to it!
5) #19 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2) at Minnesota Golden Gophers (8-2)
If you had told me coming into the season that I would be featuring a Minnesota game in week 13, I would have thought you were crazy. However, the Golden Gophers are quietly one of the best stories in college football this year. This week they take on their border rival Wisconsin who has won 9 meetings in a row between the teams. The teams are similar in that they both want to grind out games and control the clock. That bucks against the trend of fast paced spread offenses that we see all over college football. The rushing attack of Wisconsin led by Melvin Gordon(8th in the nation in rushing) and James White (14th in the nation in rushing) will be a bit too much for Minnesota to handle. The Golden Gophers will battle and they have their own star rusher in David Cobb. I just don’t see Minnesota scoring enough on the stout Wisky defense. Badgers take it by 10.
4) #8 Missouri Tigers (9-1) at Ole Miss Rebels (7-3)
This one is a sneaky game. Ole Miss started the season as one of the darlings of college football after all that young talent rose to the top and led them to victories. Then a mid-season slide derailed any real hopes of them making noise in the SEC. Now they have Missouri coming to town who will get their star QB James Franklin back after he missed the last 4 games with a shoulder injury. The Tigers may be out of contention now for a National Title but they do still control their own destiny to get to Atlanta for the SEC title game. This game will come down to Mizzou’s defense. They do a good job against the run only allowing 119 yards per game but they are last in the SEC in pass defense with 274 yards allowed per game. That should be good for Ole Miss who has one of the best QBs you have never heard of in Bo Wallace. All of that makes it look like I’m picking the Rebels to pull the upset right? Wrong. The Tigers will get it done behind their solid pass rush to help out that secondary. They will stay in control to get to Atlanta by winning this game by 7.
3) #17 Arizona State Sun Devils (8-2) at #14 UCLA Bruins (8-2)
Out west in the Pac-12, we hear a lot of about Oregon and have heard all about Ed Orgeron leading the Trojans back to “relevance” but Todd Graham and his Sun Devils can clinch the Pac-12 South with a win over UCLA on Saturday. Having already beat the Trojans in Lane Kiffin’s final game, the only thing standing in their way is the other team from LA. The Sun Devils have won 5 games in a row with the defense leading the way only allowing 18 points per game during that stretch. CB Robert Nelson has had 5 INTs during the streak and has really been a leader on that defense. That spells trouble for UCLA since their passing game has been inconsistent lately with QB Brett Hundley. A bright spot for both offenses though is the rushing game. Marion Grice is a real talent for ASU and has been steady all year. For the Bruins, Myles Jack has been a 2 way star who rushed for 4 TDs while playing outstanding at the LB position. My gut tells me that ASU doesn’t let this opportunity slip away and UCLA is a touch overrated. Sun Devils go on the road and win a tight one by 3.
2) #12Texas A&M (8-2) at #22 LSU Tigers (7-3)
More often enough this is the kind of matchup that would be #1 on my rankings. However each team has stumbled enough to knock it down a peg. Those of you expecting traditional “SEC defense” in this game are going to be disappointed. However, if you love offensive football, you must tune into CBS this week. The Johnny Football show goes on the road to take on LSU who is coming off a tough loss to Alabama. The Tigers defense has been shaky at best this year so we know Manziel who has accounted for at least 300 total yards in 19 straight games will get numbers. On the flip side, A&Ms defense has really shown an ability to stop anyone either and the Tigers QB Zach Mettenberger should have a field day. In a game that could come down to who has the ball last, I have to go with the team with the best player in college football. The Aggies have scored 50 points in its last three games and I don’t see that stopping on Saturday. Manziel has a huge day and jumps Jameis Winston in the Heisman lead leading his team to victory.
1) #4 Baylor Bears (9-0) at #10 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-1)
The Baylor Bears have been the story of college football this year. Going into the year we knew about the offense and they have not disappointed. They are putting up 61 points per game and 683 yards per game which is hard to put up in a video game (RIP NCAA series). What you don’t realize is they are #1 in the Big 12 in total defense (322 yards/game) and scoring defense (17.4 points/game). It’s hard for me to picture a situation that Oklahoma State can keep up with Baylor considering how well the Bears defense has played. We know Heisman contender Bryce Petty will lead the offense to a lot of points. I don’t think that Clint Chelf can do the same for Oklahoma State. The Bears have a chance to put it on a top 10 opponent on national tv with the country watching. There will be a lot of disappointed people in Columbus this weekend watching this one. The Bears roll by 21+.