College Football Week 14 Expert Picks, Part I: Auburn at Alabama, Oregon at Oregon State, Florida at Florida State, Mississippi State at Ole Miss, Michigan at Ohio State, Minnesota at Wisconsin

November 29, 2014

By Brad Carroll

 

Rivalry week continues with a host of games Saturday that go much deeper than simply wanting to beat the hated opposition. There is College Football Playoff implications at every turn, with six of the seven teams vying for a spot in the national championship tournament in action.

 

In all we preview and our college football experts picks against the spread the 13 biggest games of the day, including No. 15 Auburn at No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Oregon at Oregon State, Florida at No. 3 Florida State, No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 19 Ole Miss, Michigan at No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Baylor vs. Texas Tech.

 

Our picks for the afternoon games are below. For our picks on the night games click here. Follow us on Twitter for all of our college football updates and picks.

 

[Read our picks against the spread for the night games here]

[Read our Thursday picks here and our Friday picks here]

 

Michigan at No. 6 Ohio State, 12 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Michigan +21; Ohio State -21

 

Brad's Breakdown: One of the greatest rivalries in college football will have a lot more on the line than simple pride Saturday afternoon. For Ohio State, it's another chance to impress the college football playoff committee and convince them it deserves a spot in the final four at the end of the regular season. For Michigan, a victory would make it bowl eligible and could save coach Brady Hoke his job. It's two completely different goals, but both teams will be ready to end the regular season on a high note. Ohio State has lost just once this season but will have to jump two teams in order to get into the College Football Playoff. If the Buckeyes win here and again in the Big Ten title game, they just might get that opportunity to play for a national championship. Quarterback J.T. Barrett has Ohio State playing some of the best football in the entire nation, leading an offense that averages 44.3 points per game, fifth best in the country. The defense is solid as well, allowing 22.5 points per game. Michigan is far from the best in the country in anything but turmoil, as the school's athletic director has already resigned under pressure and the coach could be next. The Wolverines dropped to 5-6 this season after a home loss to Maryland last week. Michigan can't score on offense, but its defense isn't bad, with the 20th best in points allowed. Ohio State will keep its winning streak and Playoff chances alive with a home win, but the Wolverines won't go down without a fight.

Brad's Score: Ohio State 35, Michigan 21

Craig's Score: Ohio State 45, Michigan 21

Glenn's Score: Ohio State 38, Michigan 13

Matt's Score: Ohio State 56, Michigan 21

 

No. 16 Georgia Tech at No. 9 Georgia, 12 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Georgia Tech +12.5; Georgia -12.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: Georgia had its SEC championship and national title dreams end Friday afternoon when Missouri beat Arkansas. That win by the Tigers but them in the conference title game instead of the Bulldogs. It also ended whatever chance the Bulldogs had at making the College Football Playoff, as without a conference title, they now have no shot at making the final four. Georgia Tech has the same 9-2 record as Georgia, but was eliminated from title contention long ago after losing back-to-back games against North Carolina and Duke in the middle of the season. The Yellowjackets still could have a major say in who will play for a national title, as they will face off against Florida State in the ACC championship game next week. Win that game and Georgia Tech will end the Seminoles chance at a repeat. Georgia and Georgia Tech come into this rivalry game with the best combined record since the 1966 game. The Bulldogs have owned the Yellowjackets historically, winning 28 of the past 50 and 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two teams. Even though Georgia will go into this game on a downer, knowing it no longer has a shot to play for any titles this season, it will come through with the victory. Georgia Tech keeps the game close, however.

Brad's Score: Georgia 35, Georgia Tech 24

Craig's Score: Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 31

Glenn's Score: Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 28

Matt's Score: Georgia 38, Georgia Tech 20

 

South Carolina at No. 21 Clemson, 12 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: South Carolina +4.5; Clemson -4.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: South Carolina has won five straight in this series and found a way to stop the record-setting Clemson offense the last three years, allowing just over 15 points per game. The Gamecocks aren't as good as they were in the past, however, holding a 6-5 record and allowing more than 30 points per game on defense. The Gamecocks do come into this rivalry game with a little momentum, winning two straight games, against Florida and South Alabama. Clemson might have quarterback Deshaun Watson back in time for this rivalry game, which would be huge for the Tigers offense. Without Watson, Clemson's offense is nearly inept. With Watson, the Tigers are a threat to light up the scoreboard. Clemson lost 28-6 to Georgia Tech two weeks ago with Cole Stoudt at quarterback. South Carolina averages 34.8 points per game on offense, which if it gets anywhere near that, Clemson doesn't stand a chance. The Gamecocks will pull off the upset.

Brad's Score: South Carolina 27, Clemson 24 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: Clemson 27, South Carolina 21

Glenn's Score: South Carolina 28, Clemson 27 (upset pick)

Matt's Score: South Carolina 28, Clemson 27 (upset pick)

 

Kentucky at No. 22 Louisville, 12 p.m., ESPN

The Spread: Kentucky +13; Louisville -13

 

Brad's Breakdown: Kentucky started the season 5-1 with its only loss coming to Florida in triple overtime. Since then, the Wildcats have fallen apart, losing five straight games and allowing 113 points in the last two. Kentucky still has something big to play for, as if it can beat rival Louisville, it will become bowl eligible. Louisville improved to 8-3 this season after beating Notre Dame last week in South Bend. The Cardinals have the 13th best scoring defense and have a nation-leading 23 interceptions, which is bad news for a Kentucky offense that has stalled in its losing streak. This is the first time this game has been played as the regular season finale. Unfortunately for Kentucky, the switch won't do anything to help it win the game, as Louisville wins by two touchdowns.

Brad's Score: Louisville 42, Kentucky 28

Craig's Score: Louisville 36, Kentucky 13

Glenn's Score: Louisville 48, Kentucky 20

Matt's Score: Louisville 38, Kentucky 14

 

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

The Spread: Florida +7.5; Florida State -7.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: Florida State refuses to lose, that's the good news for the defending national champions. The bad news is the Seminoles have flirted with disaster so many times this season, the odds would favor an underdog finally upsetting the champs. But there is just two more opportunities for that to happen before the College Football Playoff, which Florida State should be in if it can win out. First up is rival Florida and then next week it's Georgia Tech in the ACC championship game. The Seminoles are the only remaining undefeated team, but are still ranked just third by the playoff committee. They haven't won by more than two touchdowns since an 18-point victory over Syracuse on October 11. Last week, FSU needed a last-second field goal to beat Boston College. Florida is 6-4 and has won three of its last four games, including a victory over then-No. 11 Georgia. The Gators will be led for the final time by coach Will Muschamp, who has been fired and will leave the program after this game. Depending on just how the players feel about Muschamp, this could be a spirited effort by the Gators. Florida State, however, should have more than enough firepower on offense to keep its undefeated season alive.

Brad's Score: Florida State 31, Florida 21

Craig's Score: Florida State 38, Florida 24

Glenn's Score: Florida State 38, Florida 24

Matt's Score: Florida State 31, Florida 27

 

No. 4 Mississippi State at No. 19 Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m., CBS

The Spread: Mississippi State -3; Ole Miss +3

 

Brad's Breakdown: No team has fallen farther faster than Ole Miss, which was a national title contender after reaching 7-0 and No. 3 in the rankings. But the Running Rebels lost by three to LSU, by four to Auburn when receiver Laquon Treadwell fumbled at the goal line after breaking his leg, beat a cupcake in Presbyterian, and then were embarrassed in a 30-0 loss to Arkansas last week. It takes a little bit of the hype away from the Egg Bowl against rival Mississippi State, which just a few weeks ago was set up as a College Football Playoff play-in game. While Ole Miss has no shot now, Mississippi State would be in the title tournament if the season ended today. But the Bulldogs need to win this game and most likely do so in impressive fashion to fend off TCU, Baylor or Ohio State from jumping them, even if they don't lose a game. Mississippi State could still play for an SEC title if it wins this game and Alabama loses to Auburn. The home team has won nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams, but Mississippi State has everything to play for, while Ole Miss is a shell of its former self.

Brad's Score: Mississippi State 35, Ole Miss 28

Craig's Score: Mississippi State 21, Ole Miss 17

Glenn's Score: Mississippi State 45, Ole Miss 17

Matt's Score: Mississippi State 28, Ole Miss 13

 

No. 7 Baylor vs. Texas Tech at AT&T Stadium, 3:30 p.m., EPSN2

The Spread: Baylor -26; Texas Tech +26

 

Brad's Breakdown: Baylor is one of seven teams with a legitimate chance of making the College Football Playoff, but needs to beat Texas Tech without any problems and then take care of Kansas State at home next week in order to jump TCU, Ohio State and Mississippi State in the rankings. If the Bears win those two games, they will be Big 12 champions, likely giving them the edge of the Horned Frogs and even the Bulldogs. Still, Baylor might need Ohio State to lose to Michigan or in the Big Ten title game to get in. The Bears should have no problem putting up points at the home of the Dallas Cowboys Saturday, especially against a horrible Texas Tech defense that allowed 82 to TCU earlier this season. Texas Tech is 4-7 and has allowed more than 30 points in nine of the 11 games. Baylor could very well hit 70 in this game. The Bears get a much-needed blowout victory.

Brad's Score: Baylor 70, Texas Tech 28

Craig's Score: Baylor 63, Texas Tech 30

Glenn's Score: Baylor 65, Texas Tech 24

Matt's Score: Baylor 63, Texas Tech 20

 

No. 10 Michigan State at Penn State, 3:30 p.m., ABC

The Spread: Michigan State -13.5; Penn State +13.5

 

Brad's Breakdown: Michigan State lost its chance to play for a national championship three weeks ago after a 49-37 defeat to Ohio State. The Spartans have no chance to play for the Big Ten title either after that loss, so this game is merely about pride and reaching the 11-win plateau at Penn State. The Nittany Lions have had an up and down season, losing five of their last seven games after starting the year 4-0. Penn State did play well in its biggest game of the year, losing in double overtime to Ohio State, but last week suffered a horrible 16-14 loss to Illinois. The Nittany Lions can't score on offense, averaging just 20.6 points per game and haven't scored more than 19 points in any Big Ten matchup. Michigan State is superior in every way, but Penn State shows up in big games, especially at home. The Spartans win, but the Lions will make it competitive.

Brad's Score: Michigan State 28, Penn State 20

Craig's Score: Michigan State 28, Penn State 24

Glenn's Score: Michigan State 35, Penn State 20

Matt's Score: Michigan State 35, Penn State 14

 

No. 18 Minnesota at No. 14 Wisconsin, 3:30 p.m., BTN

The Spread: Minnesota +14; Wisconsin -14

 

Brad's Breakdown: The winner of this game will go on to play Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, so a lot more is on the line than just the Paul Bunyan Axe. Minnesota is one of the most surprising teams in the nation this season, with an 8-3 record and a big victory at Nebraska last week. The Golden Gophers lost to Ohio State by just seven earlier this month, so if they got into the title game, they could put a serious scare into the Buckeyes' national title hopes. Wisconsin has won six straight games after losing two of its first five, to LSU and Northwestern. The Badgers blew out Nebraska two weeks ago, with Melvin Gordon rushing for 408 yards, setting an NCAA record, and followed that up with a two-point win at Iowa. Minnesota obviously must find a way to contain Gordon in order to pull the upset, which has proven to be nearly impossible. Playing at home is a huge advantage for the Badgers and they will head to the Big Ten title game. Minnesota will have a chance, though.

Brad's Score: Wisconsin 24, Minnesota 21

Craig's Score: Wisconsin 35, Minnesota 24

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

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

 

Notre Dame at USC, 3:30 p.m., FOX

The Spread: Notre Dame +7; USC -7

 

Brad's Breakdown: This rivalry game doesn't have the same appeal as it had in the past, with both teams unranked and playing for simple pride and hatred for each other. Notre Dame is 7-4 and has lost four of its last five games, including two straight at home, to Northwestern and Louisville. Quarterback Everett Golson has gone from Heisman contention to a turnover machine, a big reason for the sudden fall of the Fighting Irish. USC is also 7-4 but is coming into this game after getting beaten handily by UCLA last week, 38-20. Quarterback Cody Kessler had his own problems against the Bruins, as he couldn't handle the defensive pressure. If USC plays like it did last week, it has no shot to beat Notre Dame. There's no reason to believe the Trojans will be any better. If Notre Dame protects the ball, it will pull the upset in Los Angeles.

Brad's Score: Notre Dame 35, USC 31 (upset pick)

Craig's Score: USC 30, Notre Dame 20

Glenn's Score: USC 35, Notre Dame 31

Matt's Score: USC 45, Notre Dame 34

 

[Read our picks against the spread for the night games here]

[Read our Thursday picks here and our Friday picks here]

 

THE BREAKDOWN

Brad Last Week: 6-6 (spread), 7-5 (straight-up), 2-0 (upset picks)

Brad Season: 76-79-1 (spread), 115-41 (straight-up), 10-8 (upsets)

Craig Last Week: 5-7 (spread), 7-5 (straight-up), 2-0 (upset picks)

Craig Season: 71-84-1 (spread), 108-48 (straight-up), 8-11 (upsets)

Glenn Last Week: 6-6 (spread), 8-4 (straight-up), 4-1 (upset picks)

Glenn Season: 86-69-1 (spread), 112-44 (straight-up), 12-13 (upsets)

Matt Last Week: 8-4 (spread), 9-3 (straight-up), 4-0 (upset picks)

Matt Season: 76-79-1 (spread), 114-42 (straight-up), 9-8 (upsets)

 

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