NCAA Football Predictions: Week 13 Opening Line Report and Picks
Ladies and gentlemen, we have made it. We’ve made it to the final regular-season week of the college football season. And to say it is a bit sad would be an understatement. We’ve seen pretty much everything you can think of from blown leads, to big comebacks, to crazy catches and runs, to blown calls and poor officiating. We’ve seen “good teams” majorly underperform, and we’ve seen “afterthoughts” do damage and have great seasons. The teams who are headed to the College Football Playoff are the teams we expected to be there come season’s end with one small twist as the No. 4 seed is still up for grabs. It’ll be interesting to see what metric the committee uses to keep an unbeaten Cincinnati squad out of that final playoff spot.
Doc’s Sports offers college football expert picks for every game on our college football predictions page.
As far as last week’s results go, it was not a good week. We managed to save a little bit of face by not being shut out and posted a 1-3 record. With this the final week of the regular season, I hope you enjoyed the Opening Line Report from start to finish. I will be back once more next week with an Opening Line Report “Championship” edition, so keep an eye open for that. Let’s try and have a great final week. Good luck.
Ohio State Buckeyes at Michigan Wolverines +8, 64
How could I put together an article with my thoughts on the biggest college football games of the final week and not include “The Game”? This year’s edition of “The Game” has a major playoff implication feel to it as both of these teams sit on one loss. However, it’s the Buckeyes who are ranked No. 2 in the CFP rankings, four spots ahead of Michigan at No. 6. However, if Michigan does find a way to beat the Buckeyes, they would find themselves in the Big Ten Championship Game at the expense of the Buckeyes and then from there could find themselves in the top four once the final playoff standings are released. If the Buckeyes win, well, they are all but assured a spot in the playoff, so there is plenty at stake in this one. Now, the question remains if Michigan can slow down the high-octane Buckeyes’ offense. Well, it does help that the Wolverines are playing this game at home in front of their fans, and it also helps that they are among the best defensive teams in the nation. They ranked 37th in total yards, 29th in passing yards, 67th in rushing yards, 133rd in points (16.3), and 62nd in third-down conversion percentage – all stats better than Ohio State except rushing yards. However, this Buckeyes’ offense is by far the best unit the Wolverines have faced. Ohio State is 1st in total yards, 10th in passing yards, 50th in rushing yards, 1st in points and seventh in third-down conversion rate. It’s going to be strength vs strength in this one. And while the Buckeyes have been on a mission, I think this is too many points and I believe this is perhaps the biggest game over the last 10 years for the Michigan program. I’ll take the better defense, at home, catching over a touchdown.
Pick: Michigan +8
Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma State Cowboys -4, 51.5
I wrote about the Oklahoma Sooners last week and picked against them, but they ended up winning by seven and keeping their Big 12 Championship hopes alive. Now, they must go to Stillwater to take on an Oklahoma State squad that has already clinched their spot in the championship game. If Oklahoma wins this game, they set up a rematch with the Cowboys on December 4 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. If the Sooners were to lose and Baylor handles their business against Texas Tech, it would be the Bears in the championship game. So, the question remains, do the Sooners have what it takes to beat a really good Cowboys side? From what we’ve seen out of the Sooners this year, they tend to play up or down to the level of their opponents. The Sooners do have the edge on offense with two good quarterbacks and a ton of weapons running and catching the ball. However, the Cowboys are one of the best defensive teams in the country, whereas the Sooners are suspect to say the least. If all things were equal and both teams were fighting for a chance to get into the Big 12 title game, I’d take the Cowboys. However, they are already in and so I see the Sooners sneaking this one out of pure desperation.
Pick: Oklahoma ML
Oregon State Beavers at Oregon Ducks -7, 62
It was another classic Oregon road performance last week as they went into Utah and laid an egg. They were routed by a good Utes squad and now must quickly turn around and play an in-state rival in the “Civil War” game. If the Ducks can rebound at home and win this contest, they will set up a rematch with Utah in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and if they win that game as well, they could find themselves back in the CFP if they get a few other results go their way. If the Ducks lose, they can kiss any shot of a reasonable bowl game goodbye. As for Oregon State, they have it all to play for as a win, coupled with a Washington State loss to Washington, will see the Beavers overtake both the Cougars and Ducks for the right to play for the Pac-12 title. It’s the unlikeliest scenario, but it still has a chance. Either way, I’m rolling with the Ducks at home in one final push for a shot at cracking the top four come mid-December.
Pick: Oregon -7
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