College Football Week 13 Previews, Picks Against Spread, Thursday & Friday: Ole Miss at Mississippi State, Baylor at TCU, Miami at Pittsburgh, South Florida at UCF, Texas Tech at Texas, Virginia Tech at Virginia

November 22, 2017

By Brad Carroll

 

It’s Thanksgiving week, and that not only means getting ready to eat plenty of turkey, stuffing and slices of pie, but college football will be all over your television as well, starting with a Thursday night showdown in the SEC and followed by a host of big matchups on Friday, including a Miami team seeking to avoid a letdown before Championship Week.

 

Our four college football experts preview and pick against the point spread the biggest games from Week 13’s Thursday and Friday schedule below. Check out our eight-pack of Saturday afternoon game previews and picks here and our Saturday night previews and picks here. As always, follow us on Twitter … we will be sure to follow you back.

 

Thursday

 

Ole Miss at No. 16 Mississippi State, 7:30, ESPN

Spread: Mississippi State -15.5

 

Brad’s Breakdown: The stakes aren’t as great as some of their recent meetings, but the annual Egg Bowl should offer excitement nonetheless, especially for the players and fans of Ole Miss and Mississippi State. Ole Miss has taken a big fall as a program and has a 5-6 record on the year. The Rebels have lost three of their last five games, with a solid win over Kentucky and losses to LSU, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Mississippi State is 8-3 and came oh so close to upsetting Alabama two weeks ago before falling late. The Bulldogs followed that up with a closer than expected win over Arkansas. The biggest number in the Egg Bowl Thursday is 35.2, the average points allowed by the Ole Miss defense. Mississippi State wins, but the real question is whether or not the emotion of the rivalry keeps this game close or not.

Brad’s Final: Mississippi State 38, Ole Miss 24 (Ole Miss)

Craig’s Final: Mississippi State 38, Ole Miss 21 (Mississippi State)

Glenn’s Final: Mississippi State 42, Ole Miss 20 (Mississippi State)

Matt’s Final: Mississippi State 49, Ole Miss 21 (Mississippi State)

 

Friday

 

No. 2 Miami at Pittsburgh, 12, ABC

Spread: Miami -14

 

Brad’s Breakdown: Last week Miami did what it has done all season long, play down to the competition. The Hurricanes did manage to finally pull away from Virginia and win easily, but they still didn’t cover the spread. Against big-time competition, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, Miami was a different team and put together impressive victories. I saw this trend coming last week, taking Virginia plus the points, and it was part of a 12-4 week. Which Miami shows up at Pittsburgh Friday afternoon, one week before playing Clemson in the ACC championship game, is anyone’s guess. Miami controls its own Playoff destiny, as wins in its next two games guarantees it a spot in the final four. Pittsburgh is 4-7 and has lost to North Carolina and Virginia Tech the last two weeks. On paper, Miami should win this game going away, but will it finally flex its muscle over a lesser-team? The biggest thing here is the two-touchdown spread, which should be low enough for the Hurricanes to escape with a cover, possibly off a late score.

Brad’s Final: Miami 38, Pittsburgh 21 (Miami)

Craig’s Final: Miami 42, PIttsburgh 17 (Miami)

Glenn’s Final: Miami 35, Pittsburgh 10 (Miami)

Matt’s Final: Miami 34, Pittsburgh 17 (Miami)

 

Baylor at No. 10 TCU, 12, FS1

Spread: TCU -24

 

Brad’s Breakdown: TCU can claim a spot in the Big 12 title game with a victory over Baylor, and there isn’t any reason why the Horned Frogs won’t get it. TCU is 9-2 on the season, with losses to Iowa State and Oklahoma, the latter which knocked it out of the Playoff conversation. But make no mistake, the Frogs are a real good team, with a defense that can shut down anybody, outside of Oklahoma, of course. And even the Sooners “only” scored 38 points against them. TCU allows just 15.1 points per game and held Texas Tech to a field goal last week. Baylor has fallen on hard times, as scandal has rocked the university, and it has shown on the field during a 1-10 season. The Bears beat Kansas and have played some close games recently, but they shouldn’t stand a chance against a motivated TCU team Friday afternoon.

Brad’s Final: TCU 45, Baylor 14 (TCU)

Craig’s Final: TCU 56, Baylor 21 (TCU)

Glenn’s Final: TCU 65, Baylor 20 (TCU)

Matt’s Final: TCU 49, Baylor 13 (TCU)

 

South Florida at No. 13 UCF, 3:30, ABC

Spread: UCF -11.5

 

Brad’s Breakdown: The winner of this game, known as the War on I-4, goes to the AAC championship game, but there’s potentially even more at stake for Central Florida, which comes into the game undefeated at 10-0. Not likely a Playoff contender, as much as the program and conference protests, the Knights could still end up with a great bowl game if they can close out the year with a couple of wins. South Florida won’t be a pushover, however, as it comes into the contest with a 9-1 record, the lone defeat coming against Houston less than a month ago. If UCF can continue to roll on offense against a solid South Florida defense, maybe the Knights deserve some real love from the Playoff committee. UCF averages 48.2 points per game on offense, while South Florida allows 19.9 on defense. In the end, UCF will keep its undefeated season going, but this is going to be closer than some expect.

Brad’s Final: UCF 30, South Florida 24 (South Florida)

Craig’s Final: UCF 30, South Florida 14 (UCF)

Glenn’s Final: South Florida 24, UCF 21 (South Florida)

Matt’s Final: UCF 37, South Florida 24 (UCF)

 

No. 24 Virginia Tech at Virginia, 8, ESPN

Spread: Virginia Tech -7

 

Brad’s Breakdown: Virginia Tech has won 13 straight Commonwealth Cup games against Virginia, and that streak could be in jeopardy here. Virginia played Miami tough last week, and looked primed for an upset early on, but the Canes came back to win 44-28. The Cavaliers are 6-5 overall, however, with four losses in their last five games. Virginia Tech lost two straight, to Miami and Virginia Tech, before slipping past Pittsburgh last week. The Hokies allow just 14.7 points per game on defense, which doesn’t bode well for a Virginia offense scoring 26 a game, including two performances where it scored 10 against Boston College and 14 against Pittsburgh. I thought about an upset here, but everything points to a comfortable Virginia Tech win.

Brad’s Final: Virginia Tech 35, Virginia 24 (Virginia Tech)

Craig’s Final: Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 21 (Virginia)

Glenn’s Final: Virginia Tech 28, Virginia 24 (Virginia)

Matt’s Final: Virginia Tech 31, Virginia 17 (Virginia Tech)

 

Texas Tech at Texas, 8, FOX

Spread: Texas -10

 

Brad’s Breakdown: I’m sure FOX was hoping these two programs would have better records heading into this primetime matchups on the network, instead it gets one team trying to reach .500 with the other trying to stay above that mark. Texas is 6-5 on the season but has played a lot better this season than its recent past. It has taken losses Maryland, USC, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and TCU, but lost by a combined 38 points. It lost in overtime to Oklahoma State and double overtime to USC and kept Oklahoma within five. The wins aren’t coming in those games, but the competitiveness is there. The Longhorns have won two straight, including a win last week against West Virginia. Texas Tech is 5-6 and has lost four of its last five games, with the lone win against Baylor. The Red Raiders were held to just a field goal in a home loss to TCU last week and also lost to Kansas State, Oklahoma and Iowa State during that stretch. The difference is defense, where Texas is solid and Texas Tech isn’t.

Brad’s Final: Texas 42, Texas Tech 28 (Texas)

Craig’s Final: Texas 34, Texas Tech 21 (Texas)

Glenn’s Final: Texas 35, Texas Tech 31 (Texas Tech)

Matt’s Final: Texas 35, Texas Tech 20 (Texas)

 

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