This Week in College Football: Week 13

As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.

Tuesday

7:00:

  • Western Michigan @ Northern Illinois (ESPNU): NIU is possibly the luckiest team in FBS football this season. Of their 11 games played, they have won or lost 9 of them by 7 points or less (and often the latter). Western, by all rights, is not good enough to beat them, but even if they were, it wouldn’t matter because NIU is apparently just some sort of team of destiny this season.
  • Buffalo @ Ball State (ESPN+)

Thursday

3:30: Fresno State @ San Jose State (FS1): In the annual battle of the Central Valley vs. Silicon Valley, well, this year the Bulldogs appear to have the upper hand. Fresno has been a tough out all year, and meanwhile the Spartans haven’t quite lived up to their magical seasons from the past couple of years.

7:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (“Egg Bowl”; ESPN): Ole Miss should win, but this is truly a rivalry series of late where should doesn’t matter. The butterfly effect of a player pretending to pee like a dog after scoring a late touchdown in 2019 continues to reverberate around the sport of college football. Since 2012, Ole Miss is 5-4 in the series, and no team has won three in aroud over the other. You could watch some boring NFL game while trying to power through the tryptophan, or you could watch to see what happens in Starkville. I know where I’ll be.

Friday

Noon:

  • Kansas State @ Texas (FOX): I figure K-State will go ahead and put the Longhorns out of their misery. Should K-State win this game? Well, no, Texas is a lot better than them, But that hasn’t seemed to matter since sometime in the 4th quarter of Red River.
  • Boise State @ San Diego State (CBS): Since a 24-17 loss to Air Force back in mid-October, the Broncos have won four straight. That said, why in the world is this kicking off at 9:00 AM local time? I mean, I know why, but the fact of the matter is that what should be a great game of the Broncos trying to score and San Diego State’s punter singlehandedly trying to thwart those efforts will probably be a near-literal sleepwalk. In that case, I like the Aztec’s chances.
  • Eastern Michigan @ Central Michigan (ESPNU): Both of these teams have beaten Western Michigan, so this is the fight for Directional Michigan Superiority. I like the Chippewas here just as the better team over the course of the season so far, plus they won comfortably against WMU while Eastern had to stage a comeback.
  • Ohio @ Bowling Green (CBSS): It’s been a long season for both of these 3-8 teams. At least the Bobcats have reeled off a couple more MAC wins, so I’ll take them.

1:00: Utah State @ New Mexico (FS1): While not as bad as their compatriots in Las Cruces, the Lobos aren’t actually good or anything. I’ll take Utah State here.

1:30: Iowa @ Nebraska (BTN): Nebraska is on track to possibly be the best 3-win team in the history of major college football over the course of a full season. My prediction is that they’ll play this tough and close, but make a few key mistakes and ultimately lose by a single score in the end. How do I know this? Because this practically how all of their games have gone this year, regardless of the opponent. I’m not sure Iowa even needs to show up, frankly.

2:00: Texas-El Paso @ Alabama-Birmingham (ESPN+)

3:30:

  • Missouri @ Arkansas (“Battle Line Rivalry”; CBS): Mizzou beat Florida last weekend and got Dan Mullen fired, but that figures to be the high point of their season.
  • Cincinnati @ East Carolina (ABC): As I suspected last week, playing an opponent with a pulse was enough to wake up the slumbering beast that is the Bearcats and they drubbed SMU 48-14. ECU is 7-4 and after a couple early losses has put together a nice little season for themselves, especially considering that they’re usually one of the more, shall we say, downtrodden of the AAC teams. While they’re not as good as Houston, they should serve to have the same effect in terms of getting Cincy’s blood up.
  • South Florida @ Central Florida (“War on I-4”; ESPN): This is a rivalry with some beef. Unfortunately, except for that glorious 2017 contest these two teams have mostly never been on the same wavelength, and as of late UCF seems to have left USF behind. While the first season on the Gus-bus has been a bit uneven for the Knights, they shouldn’t really have any trouble here.
  • Nevada-Las Vegas @ Air Force (CBSS): UNLV has won two games this year, which is probably a prop bet a lot of people lost (as it’s more than ‘0’ or ‘1’). So while this season’s probably exceeded expectations for the Rebels, it’ll likely stop at 2 to this wrecking ball of an Air Force team.
  • Costal Carolina @ South Alabama (ESPN+)

4:00: Colorado @ Utah (“Rumble in the Rockies”; FOX): It’ll be a rumble, all right – the rumble of Utah’s players blocking, tackling, and ramblin’ past Colorado’s.

4:30: Texas Christian @ Iowa State (FS1): As I mentioned in my bowl post, I suspect there won’t be enough bowl eligible teams. TCU is 5-6 and, well, I can’t see how this team beats even what’s been a bit of a down year for the Cyclones.

7:00: North Carolina @ North Carolina State (ESPN): I think almost everyone, except maybe Mack Brown, agrees that this isn’t the kind of season the Tar Heels expected to have. Meanwhile, NC State continues to do NC State things: win most of their games and look competent doing it. I suspect they’ll do the same in this rivalry game.

8:00: Washington State @ Washington (“Apple Cup”; FS1): This is a particularly weird edition of the Apple Cup, and y’all that’s really saying something. Both teams will be rolling in with interim head coaches after Jimmy Lake was dismissed a couple weeks ago, and of course Wazzu’s head man has been gone for a while. But a funny thing happened for the Cougs while they’ve been searching for a new coach: they’ve mostly won. Since losing to Utah, they’ve won 5 out of 7, which the losses coming to a pretty good BYU team this year and the other to Oregon. For the Dubs, it’s just been a spiral: a 26-16 loss to Oregon that wasn’t really that close, a 5 point loss to Arizona State (where hey, they scored 30 for the only time this season), and then a 3 point loss last week to a… not good Colorado team. But nonetheless this game is in Seattle, and it’ll be cold and drizzly. Who knows what will happen? (I’ll still take the Cougs, though.)

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