Week 13 college football viewers guide: Is this the year Michigan finally defeats archrival Ohio State?
The game between the Wolverines and Buckeyes and the annual Alabama-Auburn matchup have major implications for the College Football Playoff standings.
Some of the biggest rivalry games in college football are on tap Saturday in Week 13, the final full week of the regular season. Berths in conference championship games and the College Football Playoff are at stake.
No. 2 Ohio State (-7 ½) at No. 6 Michigan, noon, Fox29
Will this be the day for the Wolverines (10-1, 7-1 Big Ten)? Will they defeat the Buckeyes (10-1, 8-0) for the first time since 2011, and thus eliminate the 0-for next to the name of coach Jim Harbaugh against their biggest rival, not to mention quiet his critics?
It will be a tall order. Ohio State put up 56 points on Michigan State last week to climb to No. 2 in the College Football Playoff ranking. It leads the nation in scoring (47.2 points per game) and total offense (559.9 yards per game). Quarterback C.J. Stroud, who began the week as the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, has thrown for 3,468 yards and 36 touchdowns in 10 games.
Michigan has played better defense under first-year coordinator Mike Macdonald, ranking ninth in FBS in total yards allowed and eighth against the pass. An interesting part of the game will be whether the pass rush duo of Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo gets much pressure on Stroud.
The winner will be the East Division representative in next Saturday’s Big Ten championship game and stays alive in the quest for a semifinal spot in the CFP.
Prediction: Ohio State 44, Michigan 34
No. 1 Georgia (-35) at Georgia Tech, noon, 6ABC
This rivalry game evokes more of a big yawn than anything as the Bulldogs (11-0, 8-0 SEC) seek to take care of business before preparing for their conference title game next week against Alabama.
Georgia ranks first in FBS in points allowed (7.6 per game), pass defense (158.7 yards per game), and total defense (236.0). Stetson Bennett took over at quarterback early in the season after JT Daniels suffered a back injury and hasn’t yielded the job, going 8-0 as a starter and ranking fifth in FBS in passing efficiency.
It has been another dreadful season for the Yellow Jackets (3-8, 2-6 ACC), their third season under former Temple coach Geoff Collins, who has led his team to just nine wins. Tech is coming off a 55-0 loss at Notre Dame.
Prediction: Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 6
No. 21 Wake Forest (-4) at Boston College, noon, ESPN2
The Demon Deacons (9-2, 6-1) will clinch the ACC Coastal Division with a victory over the Eagles (6-5, 2-5), which would send them to Charlotte for next week’s conference championship against Pittsburgh.
Wake has one of the top offenses in the country, averaging 43 points and 490 total yards per game. The BC defense may give its pass game some problems; the Eagles allow just 167.8 yards passing per game, fifth in FBS.
Prediction: Wake Forest 41, Boston College 27
No. 3 Alabama (-19 ½) at Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS3
After an undefeated season and a national championship last year, the Crimson Tide (10-1, 6-1 SEC) have been tested in 2021, losing at Texas A&M and winning three games by a touchdown or less. Coach Nick Saban went on a nearly four-minute rant on his radio show this week taking fans to task for being overly focused on victory margin.
’Bama will give the Tigers (6-5, 3-4) their full attention as they attempt to enter the SEC title game with momentum. Quarterback Bryce Young, who has slipped to second behind Stroud in the Heisman Trophy betting odds, has thrown for 38 touchdowns while leading an offense that averages more than 44 points and 500 total yards per game.
With Bo Nix out, Auburn will turn to T.J. Finley at quarterback. Finley is a transfer from Louisiana State who started against the Tide last year in a losing effort.
Prediction: Alabama 34, Auburn 13
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma State (-4 ½), 7:30 p.m., 6ABC
In the Sooner State, they call this game “Bedlam,” and it could be bedlam times two if these in-state rivals meet next week in the Big 12 championship game.
Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) already has a spot clinched and is ranked No. 7 in the CFP standings, three slots higher than Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1). The Sooners will earn their place in the title game with a win or a Baylor loss to Texas Tech.
The Cowboys defense has been red-hot, allowing one offensive touchdown and an average of 164.3 yards in their last four games. The Sooners are tied for the conference lead with 52 offensive touchdowns and average 39 points per game.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 27, Oklahoma 23
No. 5 Notre Dame (-20) at Stanford, 8 p.m., Fox29
The Fighting Irish will try at the very least to keep their place in line in the College Football Playoff picture, which is currently No. 6, and hopefully move up a slot or two after Saturday.
Notre Dame’s late-season schedule has been relatively weak — it outscored Navy, Virginia, and Georgia Tech by an average of 39-3 — and it could roll up a similar rout against the Cardinal (3-8), a team that has lost six straight games.
Prediction: Notre Dame 38, Stanford 10