Week 13 College Football Tips

Manti Te'o and the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will face a stiff challenge from rivals, USC.

It’s rivalry week in College Football which means there’s a wealth of games to get your bet on to. A number of teams will also be looking to take division honors, booking a place in those oh so important conference championship games. And then there’s the small matter of seeing whether #1 Notre Dame can close out the season unbeaten.

Welcome to the best week in College Football yet.


#1 Notre Dame @ USC

In what is arguably the toughest game to pick this weekend, #1 Notre Dame (11-0) travels to Los Angeles and puts its undefeated season – and National Championship hopes – on the line against rivals, USC (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12).

On season form alone the Fighting Irish would take this one without much of a battle but the fact that this USC makes this a much tougher prospect.

Notre Dame has won just one of its last 10 games against the Trojans – a 20-16 win in SoCal two years ago – and will be well aware of the fact that USC will want to close out the regular season on a high note, of which there have been few this season.

Odds: Notre Dame opened as four-point favorites and has seen that figure rise to 5.5. The over/under is 46.

Take: Notre Dame – A USC win here wouldn’t actually be a surprise, especially as it opens up the opportunity for absolute chaos in the rankings and National Championship hunt, so in many ways the Trojans look like the smart bet, particularly with history on their side. However, USC has faced only one team with a high-end defense this year, Stanford, and came up short. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has been expected to fall at every hurdle, but has used the best defense in the country to shutdown everybody. Take the Irish to do it again in this history-making season, with the Trojans covering the spread. Take the under, as has been the trend in nine Irish games this season.


#8 Stanford @ #17 UCLA

The Cardinal’s 17-14 overtime upset of Oregon last weekend completely changed the Pac-12 landscape. Now, Stanford (9-2, 7-1 Pac-12) holds the advantage in the race for the North Division title, which it can take with a win or an Oregon loss this weekend.

UCLA (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) meanwhile booked its place in the Pac-12 Championship Game with a win over USC last weekend. That doesn’t mean the Bruins will ease up this weekend, as some have suggested. Jim Mora’s side knows as well as anybody that another win will go a long way to climbing those rankings and getting a spot in a bigger, better Bowl game.

The clash at the Rose Bowl promises to be an intriguing matchup, as Stanford’s defense will look to shut down the high-scoring UCLA offense in the same manner as it did Oregon’s.

Odds: UCLA opened as 1.5-point favorites but the spread has switched in favor of Stanford (-2.5). The over/under is 53.

Take: Stanford – The Cardinal hasn’t lost since a Week 7 defeat at the hands of Notre Dame. Since that game, Stanford has looked a much improved side, and has conceded an average of just 11.4 points per game since. UCLA will need to score points to win this one, but points will certainly be at a premium. Take Stanford to cover the spread, and the total to go under, as it has in eight Cardinal games this season.


#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

In all likeliness, the Wolverines’ hopes of winning the Legends Division and heading to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game will be extinguished with a Nebraska win on Friday night. That means this one will be all about bragging rights for Brady Hoke’s side.

Michigan (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) has won three straight and six of the last seven – that one blemish being an all-important loss at Nebraska – so will arrive at the Horseshoe confident.

Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) however will be looking to close out this Bowl-ineligible season undefeated, thus placing an asterisk beside whoever is crowned National Champion this season. Quarterback Braxton Miller will be looking to tally a few more Heisman votes in the process.

Odds: The Buckeyes are favorites (-4) at home with the over/under at 54.5.

Take: Ohio State – It’s been 12 years since the Wolverines won at Ohio Stadium and that doesn’t look like changing this week, despite the team’s improved play of late. Ohio State’s rampant point-scoring offense may struggle against a strong Michigan defense but it will ultimately win out. Take the Buckeyes to cover the spread with the total going under.


Quick Picks…

Take Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) to lose to favorites Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC), eliminating the Gators from any talk of a National Championship and making a few more people stand up and take notice of a very good Seminoles team. … Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will defeat Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12), covering the 10-point spread, but ultimately last week’s loss will prove costly. … Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) will be on upset watch but take the Tide to defeat Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) in the Iron Bowl, although the Tigers will cover the 34-point spread. … Take the Tigers of Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) to defeat South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) and take home Hardee’s Trophy, but not the Atlantic Division. … Finally, take Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) to upset Oklahoma (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) and retain the Bedlam Bell.


BCS Top 25 Schedule (Week 13)

TCU 20-13 #16 Texas (Thursday)

#7 LSU @ Arkansas (Friday)

#14 Nebraska @ Iowa (Friday)

Ohio @ #23 Kent State (Friday)

Arizona State @ #24 Arizona

#25 Washington @ Washington State (Friday)

#1 Notre Dame @ USC

Auburn @ #2 Alabama

Georgia Tech @ #3 Georgia

#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State

#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State

#8 Stanford @ #17 UCLA

Missouri @ #9 Texas A&M

#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson

#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma

#18 Rutgers @ Pittsburgh

#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

Connecticut @ #20 Louisville

#6 Kansas State – Bye

#22 Boise State – Bye