This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Thursday

3:30: Colorado State @ Air Force (CBSS): There is a trophy involved here! Outside of that, it’s been a rough year for both of these teams, neither of which is going to go to a bowl. With the Rams losers of four straight and the game at Air Force, I’m going with the Falcons.

7:30: Mississippi State @ Mississippi (“The Egg Bowl”; ESPN): Here’s a game that will definitely feature some emotion. For Ole Miss, this is their bowl game: they’re on a bowl ban to try to appease the NCAA gods. For Miss State, they still have an outside chance at a New Year’s Six bowl (yes, folks, 4-loss teams are in contention for prestigious bowl games) and would pay dearly if they mess this up. The main problem for the Rebels, though, is their completely awful defense, and while their offense is actually decent it’ll be hard for them to keep up with what their defense is allowing.

Friday

Noon:

  • Nebraska @ Iowa (FOX): Iowa was on the skids, but fortunately the Big Ten has teams like Illinois and Rutgers to act as cures for what ails you, as the Hawkeyes annihilated Illinois to the tune of 63-0 last week. Meanwhile, the Huskers doing nicely for themselves as well, as winners of four of their last five, including their own 54-35 pasting of Illinois and a, uh, very Big Ten 9-6 win over Michigan State. That said, Iowa is still the favorite here.
  • Houston @ Memphis (ABC): The winner here earns the right to lose to UCF next week, so a fair bit is on the line. Memphis comes into this game pretty hot, but Houston will get future first round pick Ed Oliver back for this game. Honestly, this game figures to be fun and may be your best bet in this timeslot. I’m picking Memphis, but I could go either way.
  • Texas @ Kansas (FS1): If Texas doesn’t screw this up, they’ll be in the revived Big 12 title game.
  • Buffalo @ Bowling Green (ESPNU): After getting blown out by Ohio last week, the Bulls can still clinch a spot in the MAC title game by beating a very beatable Bowling Green, which I think they will.
  • Akron @ Ohio (CBSS): Ohio can clinch a spot in the MAC title game by beating a very beatable Akron team and hoping that Buffalo blows it against Bowling Green. I rate their chances for the former a lot higher than the latter.

2:30: Arkansas @ Missouri (CBS): Back in Alabama, we had a saying: “Thank God for Mississippi”. The Razorbacks should say the same, because the Ole Miss Rebels are the only reason they’re not the proprietors of the worst defense in the SEC. This is not a good sign when you’re playing one of the better offenses in the SEC, and boy howdy are the Tigers rolling right now. I’ll take them.

3:30:

  • Virginia @ Virginia Tech (ABC): You have heard this already, but I will say it again: Virginia has lost 14 straight to Virginia Tech. Plus, they come in after a completely baffling loss to Georgia Tech. (Seriously, I’m a GT fan. I have no idea how we won.) That said, the Hokies have lost four straight, and for the most part, they’ve lost them bad, most recently losing to a bad Miami offense 38-14. Against the worst defense Bud Foster has ever fielded, this has to be the year for the Cavs, right?
  • East Carolina @ Cincinnati (CBSS): Cincy’s good, but UCF is mostly in a different class than the rest of the ACC. Fortunately for the Bearcats, they’re also a tier above ECU.

4:00:

  • Central Florida @ South Florida (“War on I-4”; ESPN): Back in October, this game still looked pretty enticing, but USF has lost four straight to all the other good/decent AAC teams and, as noted above, UCF is just better than everyone else.
  • Oregon @ Oregon State (“The Civil War”; FS1): The weather for this game should be about 50 degrees and raining, in other words, what the weather for this game should look like. Unfortunately, that may be all that goes right for Oregon State. Both these programs are rebuilding right now, but the Ducks appear to have had a pretty good head start.

8:00: Oklahoma @ West Virginia (ESPN): This game and next are the most interesting games of the day for me, and I kind of love that they’re half an hour apart. Oklahoma’s all-everything offense is definitely favored in my mind, and they’re my pick. But we’re also talking about Morgantown, at night, in the cold. Couches beware.

8:30: Washington @ Washington State (“The Apple Cup”; FOX): Speaking of fanbases that would probably show up in a top-ten list titled “Most Likely to Set Furniture on Fire”, let’s go to Pullman. The sun will set just before kickoff, and it will be cold and rainy. Will that, and the UDub defense, be enough to upend Wazzu’s dream season? I’d like to think it won’t be, because these Cougars are just so much dang fun to watch. But Washington can still book a trip to Santa Clara next weekend with a win. I ultimately think Wazzu’s offense will be enough to prevail, but this game should be worth watching.

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