By Brad Carroll
The latest College Football Playoff rankings gave a huge nod to Alabama, kept Oregon in its same pond, slighted undefeated Florida State again, and didn't punish Mississippi State all that much even with it falling from the ranks of the unbeatens. Meanwhile, TCU, Ohio State and Baylor all were on the outside looking in. It was just another week for what has become the most anticipated rankings system of all time.
But the real action happens on the field and hopefully this group of human selectors value that more than anything else, especially when it comes to the final rankings that will determine who the four teams to play for a national championship will be.
The Week 13 schedule of games might not be what fans have been used to this season, but there are still some matchups that could determine playoff positioning. Thursday has two big games, and while neither has teams that will crack the top four, they still represent potentially exciting matchups.
We preview and our college football experts pick against the spread No. 12 Kansas State at West Virginia and North Carolina at Duke. Check back in the coming days for our full breakdown and picks of Saturday's games and follow us on Twitter to keep up to date on our updates. Also, if you want to wager real money on college football and more sports, you can do so by clicking here.
No. 12 Kansas State at West Virginia, 7 p.m., FS1
The Spread: Kansas State +2; West Virginia -2
Brad's Breakdown: All the talk and hype in the Big 12 surrounds TCU and Baylor, and rightfully so, but Kansas State can still clinch at least a share of the conference title if it wins out. The Wildcats would have to beat West Virginia Thursday night on the road, then beat Kansas at home and finish off the season with a victory at Baylor. If TCU lost one of its final two games, Kansas State would win the Big 12. Of course, that's going to be difficult, considering the Horned Frogs play at Texas and home to Iowa State, but it's possible. That should keep 7-2 Kansas State motivated despite losing by 21 points to TCU nearly two weeks ago. The going won't be easy against West Virginia, however, as the Mountaineers are tough to beat at home. West Virginia beat then-No. 4 and undefeated Baylor 41-27 at home in mid-October and also lost by one point to then-No. 7 TCU 31-30 on Nov. 1, which was a wild, back-and-forth game. But West Virginia comes into this game with Kansas State on a low, losing two straight games and holds a 6-4 record overall. After that devastating loss to TCU, West Virginia was beaten badly by Texas on the road 33-16. The Mountaineers were ranked 23rd in that game and have since dropped out of the top 25. This is the final home game for the West Virginia seniors, including quarterback Clint Trickett, so the players and crowd will be hyped up on national television in primetime. The wide receivers will be the ones to watch, as Kansas State's Tyler Lockett and West Virginia's Kevin White are two of the best in the nation. The Wildcats have the better team, but the atmosphere in Morgantown will carry the Mountaineers to victory.
Brad's Score: West Virginia 35, Kansas State 31
Craig's Score: West Virginia 38, Kansas State 35
Glenn's Score: Kansas State 38, West Virginia 35 (upset pick)
Matt's Score: Kansas State 35, West Virginia 28 (upset pick)
North Carolina at Duke, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: North Carolina +6.5; Duke -6.5
Brad's Breakdown: It's not exactly the type of rivalry these two schools are known for, as basketball is where the hype is reserved for when these two schools play each other, but make no mistake, the football players for North Carolina want to beat Duke and vice versa. In may be on grass rather than the hardwood, but the hate is still there. Duke is the better team nowadays, which for some might be a shock to the system. The Blue Devils have turned their program around under coach David Cutcliffe and are two wins away from playing in the ACC championship game for the second straight season. If Duke beats North Carolina and Wake Forest, both at home, it will play for the conference title. North Carolina has its own stakes on the line, albeit a lot smaller on the grand scheme of college football. If the Tar Heels beat either Duke or NC State in their final two games, they will become bowl eligible. North Carolina has won three of its past four games to get in that position, picking up impressive wins over Georgia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh and losing to Miami. Duke comes into this game on a downer, losing to Virginia Tech after having won four straight. The Blue Devils also beat Georgia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh during that streak, with a win over Syracuse as well. The loss to Virginia Tech could have been a huge blow, but Miami's loss to Florida State later that Saturday gave Duke renewed hope of making the ACC title game. The Blue Devils will take advantage of that second chance with a solid win over the Tar Heels.
Brad's Score: Duke 31, North Carolina 24
Craig's Score: Duke 24, North Carolina 17
Glenn's Score: Duke 38, North Carolina 21
Matt's Score: Duke 45, North Carolina 30
Brad Last Week: 5-6 (spread), 7-4 (straight-up), 1-2 (upset picks)
Brad Season: 70-73-1 (spread), 108-36 (straight-up), 8-8 (upsets)
Craig Last Week: 3-8 (spread), 4-7 (straight-up), 0-3 (upset picks)
Craig Season: 66-77-1 (spread), 101-43 (straight-up), 6-11 (upsets)
Glenn Last Week: 4-7 (spread), 5-6 (straight-up), 1-4 (upset picks)
Glenn Season: 80-63-1 (spread), 104-40 (straight-up), 8-12 (upsets)
Matt Last Week: 3-8 (spread), 6-5 (straight-up), 0-2 (upset picks)
Matt Season: 68-75-1 (spread), 105-39 (straight-up), 5-8 (upsets)