College Football Week 13 Expert Picks, Part I: Boston College at Florida State, Minnesota at Nebraska, Ole Miss at Arkansas, Arizona at Utah, Louisville at Notre Dame, Wisconsin at Iowa, More

November 22, 2014

By Brad Carroll

 

The Week 13 college football slate of games isn't exactly what we've become used to this season. There are just three games featuring ranked teams playing each other, with the combined rank of the best one being 28, with No. 19 at No. 9. But there are a few with College Football Playoff implications to get everyone excited for another week where the rankings could shift.

 

No. 3 Florida State hosts Boston College, No. 7 Baylor is home to Oklahoma State and No. 8 Ole Miss travels to Arkansas in what will be a trio of elimination games if the favorites can't pull out victories. In addition to those games, No. 25 Minnesota is at No. 23 Nebraska, No. 15 Arizona is at No. 17 Utah and No. 19 USC is at No. 9 UCLA.

 

In all, we preview and our college football experts pick against the spread the 10 biggest games of Saturday's action. The afternoon games are below and the night games are featured by clicking here. Follow us on Twitter for all of our latest updates and links. You can also wager real money on these games and more by clicking here.

 

[Read our previews and picks on the night games here]

 

Kansas at No. 21 Oklahoma, 12 p.m., FS1

The Spread: Kansas +25; Oklahoma -25

 

Brad's Breakdown: It's not often a 3-7 team has a big say in how the rankings play out, but that's what Kansas did last week, knocking TCU out of the top four after losing by just four, 34-30. The close game was enough to bump the Horned Frogs and make it difficult for them to get back into the playoff tournament one week after holding a spot. The Jayhawks have played a lot better the last two games, beating Iowa State 34-14 and then losing by four to TCU. Before that, Kansas had lost five straight, including a 60-14 defeat to Baylor. Quarterback Michael Cummings passed for 332 yards with two touchdowns through the air and one more rushing against TCU. He's thrown for seven touchdowns in the last four games. Oklahoma is out of playoff consideration with three losses, including two out of its last four games. The Sooners have actually lost two straight home games and will look to avoid their first three-game home losing streak in 17 years. They will do so without starting quarterback Trevor Knight, who is out with a neck injury. Replacement Cody Thomas threw for just 133 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions last week in a 42-30 win over Texas Tech. He did rush for over 100 and a score, however. Oklahoma is all about the running game now with the switch in quarterbacks. The Sooners will win the game, but Kansas should keep it close enough to cover.

Brad's Score: Oklahoma 42, Kansas 20

Craig's Score: Oklahoma 45, Kansas 14

Glenn's Score: Oklahoma 52, Kansas 21

Matt's Score: Oklahoma 52, Kansas 21

 

No. 25 Minnesota at No. 23 Nebraska, 12 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Minnesota +10; Nebraska -10

 

Brad's Breakdown: I'm not sure how either team is still ranked, as Minnesota didn't move in the rankings despite losing a close game to Ohio State and Nebraska was embarrassed against Wisconsin, losing by 35 points and allowing Melvin Gordon to rush for a record 408 yards - in just three quarters. The Cornhuskers went from controlling their own destiny in playing for a Big Ten title to needing a ton of help now to get there. Minnesota controls its own destiny to play in conference title game if it can win this game and next week, which obviously won't be easy with games at Nebraska and Wisconsin. The Golden Gophers feature the running game and David Cobb should be salivating at the thought of going against a Nebraska rush defense that is, based on the Wisconsin game, the worst in history. Cobb has 1,350 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah was nursing an injury and was held to 69 yards on 18 carries last week. If he's still slowed by injury, the Huskers will be in trouble. But Minnesota hasn't won in Lincoln since 1960, losing seven straight times. The Gophers won't be able to break that streak this year, but will keep the game in single digits.

Brad's Score: Nebraska 28, Minnesota 21

Craig's Score: Minnesota 24, Nebraska 20 (upset pick)

Glenn's Score: Minnesota 24, Nebraska 21 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: Minnesota 31, Nebraska 28 (upset pick)

 

Boston College at No. 3 Florida State, 3:30 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Boston College +19; Florida State -19

 

Brad's Breakdown: Florida State has held a pretty consistent pattern this season. In the six games where the Seminoles was a big favorite, by at least two touchdowns, they covered just once, against Wake Forest. Boston College comes into town Saturday as a 19-point underdog, which if you follow the pattern, the Eagles are the team to pick here plus the points. I'm not going to deviate. Florida State has been slighted by the College Football Playoff committee since they started releasing their rankings, but it has done nothing to get a vintage Seminoles performance that we all became used to last year. Florida State is one of the best teams in the country, and I would put it at No. 1, but the struggles against good and bad teams can't be ignored. Boston College already has one major upset on its resume this season, beating then-No. 9 USC at home 37-31 in mid-September. Overall, the Eagles are 6-4 with recent victories over NC State, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech and losses to Clemson and Louisville. Boston College's offense is all about quarterback Tyler Murphy, who is more apt to beat a team with his legs rather than his arm. He did it against USC, rushing for 191 yards and a touchdown. Florida State does what it always does, however, which is win the game. But Boston College won't get blown out, because the pattern says it won't.

Brad's Score: Florida State 38, Boston College 21

Craig's Score: Florida State 38, Boston College 13

Glenn's Score: Florida State 64, Boston College 13

Matt's Score: Florida State 34, Boston College 17

 

No. 8 Ole Miss at Arkansas, 3:30 p.m., CBS

The Spread: Ole Miss -3.5; Arkansas +3.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: Arkansas finally broke a 17-game SEC losing streak with its shutout victory over a ranked LSU squad last week, so that monkey is off the back of coach Bret Bielema. To get two wins in a row the Razorbacks are going to have to beat an Ole Miss team that still has its sights set on making the College Football Playoff. Despite having two losses, the Running Rebels could jump into the four-slot if they beat Arkansas Saturday then No. 4 Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl at home and get a lot of help from the teams ranked above them losing. It's not likely, but it does give Ole Miss something to strive for. Arkansas uses a power running game on offense and could control the line of scrimmage against Ole Miss, even with the Rebels owning the nation's best scoring defense. The Hogs offensive line is huge. But Ole Miss has had two weeks to prepare for this game and that should make a big difference in figuring out how to slow Arkansas down on the ground.

Brad's Score: Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 20

Craig's Score: Ole Miss 24, Arkansas 21

Glenn's Score: Ole Miss 38, Arkansas 28

Matt's Score: Ole Miss 30, Arkansas 20

 

No. 15 Arizona at No. 17 Utah, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Arizona +4; Utah -4

 

Brad's Breakdown: Both teams still have a shot at playing in the Pac-12 title game, with Arizona having a slightly better chance than Utah, with both needing to win out and get help. So, this is an elimination game not for the Playoff, but for a spot in the conference title game. Arizona stayed in the race by beating Washington last week, 27-26, on a 47-yard field goal as time expired. Utah has lost two of its last three games, falling to Arizona State in overtime and losing big to Oregon, while winning against Stanford last week in double overtime to remain in longshot contention. Still, the voters think highly of the Utes, ranking them at 17 despite having three losses overall. Arizona has lost twice in 10 games, losing to USC and UCLA. Its big win was on the road against Oregon. The Wildcats are solid on both sides of the ball, averaging over 300 passing yards and 35.6 points per game on offense, and allowing 26.1 on defense. Utah has a solid defense and likes to control the ball on the ground. The Utes have lost two of their last three home games and this will be another.

Brad's Score: Arizona 35, Utah 28 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: Utah 31, Arizona 24

Glenn's Score: Arizona 35, Utah 30 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: Arizona 31, Utah 28 (upset pick)

 

No. 16 Wisconsin at Iowa, 3:30 p.m., ESPN2

The Spread: Wisconsin -10; Iowa +10

 

Brad's Breakdown: Wisconsin has a ton of momentum heading into the final stretch of the season, controlling its own destiny to play for a Big Ten title if it wins out against Iowa and Minnesota. Plus, there is the game running back Melvin Gordon had in a 35-point blowout victory over Nebraska last week. Gordon, who once verbally committed to playing at Iowa, rushed for an NCAA Division I record 408 yards against the Huskers, doing so in just three quarters. Gordon needs 91 yards to reach 2,000 and 201 to break Ron Dayne's all-time record for yards in a season. Iowa's run defense isn't very good, with a group of inexperienced linebackers that have been picked on. It's a perfect scenario for Gordon and the Badgers to take advantage of. Iowa has lost eight straight games to ranked opponents and nothing will stop Wisconsin from making it nine.

Brad's Score: Wisconsin 42, Iowa 28

Craig's Score: Wisconsin 34, Iowa 17

Glenn's Score: Wisconsin 35, Iowa 17

Matt's Score: Wisconsin 40, Iowa 20

 

No. 24 Louisville at Notre Dame, 3:30 p.m., NBC

The Spread: Louisville +3.5; Notre Dame -3.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: We are a long way from Notre Dame being a national title contender, as the Irish have fallen completely out of the rankings after losing three of their last four games. Notre Dame lost a heartbreaker to Florida State, then beat Navy by just 10, then suffered a blowout loss at Arizona State before losing at home to Northwestern in overtime. Louisville has lost two of its last four games, but is ranked despite holding the same 7-3 record as Notre Dame. The Cardinals lost to Clemson and Florida State and beat NC State and Boston College over that stretch. Louisville has the 10th best scoring defense in the nation, which is bad news for an Irish offense that has fallen apart recently, mainly due to turnovers. In their last seven games, Notre Dame has turned the ball over 23 times, including 19 on interceptions by Everett Golson. If the Irish protect the ball, they should protect their house and win. It's a big if, but Notre Dame should find a way to win at home.

Brad's Score: Notre Dame 28, Louisville 24

Craig's Score: Notre Dame 30, Louisville 24

Glenn's Score: Notre Dame 42, Louisville 28

Matt's Score: Notre Dame 45, Louisville 24

 

[Read our previews and picks on the night games here]

 

THE BREAKDOWN

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)

 

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