2016 College Football Picks and Predictions – Top Matchups and Free Picks for Week 13: The 2016 College Football Season is in its home stretch, and most divisions and conferences will be decided in the next couple of weeks. Week 13 has added drama because it is rivalry week, and some of the most storied rivalries in the sport’s history will be renewed this weekend. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the top matchups for a loaded Week 13 slate.
2016 College Football Picks and Predictions: Top Matchups and Free Picks for Week 13
No. 5 Washington Huskies at No. 23 Washington State Cougars
A spot in the Pac-12 title game is up for grabs when Washington and Washington State meet in the annual Apple Cup. The Huskies have been in the conversation for the College Football Playoff for much of the year, but the Cougars can squash those dreams and move closer to an eventual Rose Bowl berth by spring the upset
.Yes, these teams boast identical conference records, but while the Cougars have been squeaking by most of their opponents, the Huskies have been blowing a lot of the same teams off the field. This is still the same Cougars team that lost to Eastern Washington early in the year and was run over by Colorado last weekend. The Huskies are the better team, and they will eventually grab the upper hand in this game.
Prediction: Washington Huskies (-6) Cover the Spread
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
As if this rivalry wasn’t big enough already, the winner of this one will likely lock up a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes are at home and haven’t lost to the Wolverines since Urban Meyer become the head coach, but it is safe to say that this is the best Michigan team the Meyer led Buckeyes will have faced.
The Wolverines may have to use their backup quarterback, and regardless of who is under center for Michigan, J.T. Barrett gives the Buckeyes an edge at the position. That being said, Ohio State has struggled all year with teams that can outmuscle them in the trenches.
From the loss to Penn State to close calls against Wisconsin and Michigan State, the young offensive line of the Buckeyes is still a work in progress, and the offense becomes much less dynamic when the line is struggling. Enter the Wolverines, who have one of the best defensive fronts in the country. Expect a close, low-scoring affair with the Wolverines covering, if not pulling the outright upset.
Prediction: Michigan Wolverines (+6.5) Cover the Spread
No. 13 Auburn Tigers at No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide
Win or lose, the Crimson Tide will be playing in the SEC title game, but that doesn’t mean the Tigers won’t be trying to knock out their rival. The Iron Bowl is one of the most heated rivalries in college football, and you only have to look back a couple of years to be reminded that anything can happen in a rivalry game.
Yes, Alabama is clearly the better team on both sides of the ball, but Nick Saban can play things a little conservative in big games. Remember that 10-0 win over an inferior LSU team a few weeks back. Meanwhile, Auburn has had a way of forcing teams to play ugly, including in low-scoring games against Clemson, Texas A&M and LSU.
I don’t expect any miracles this time around for the Tigers, but I do see them hanging around and keeping things from getting completely out of hand. Auburn hasn’t lost by more than 13 all year, and I like the trend to continue.
Prediction: Auburn Tigers (+17) Cover the Spread
No. 22 Utah Utes at No. 9 Colorado Buffaloes
Both teams are ranked high in the polls, but make no mistake about it, this game is far more important for Colorado. With a win the Buffaloes will earn a spot in the Pac-12 title game, putting themselves in position to make the Rose Bowl, if not sneak into the College Football Playoff.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau and running back Phillip Lindsay form an impressive offensive combination for Colorado, and the Buffaloes have been stout on the defensive side of the ball at times, as well. Granted, Utah has looked as dominant at times, but it is fair to question the Utes’ consistency.
Colorado’s two losses have come on the road to Michigan and USC, but Utah added an unforgivable loss to Oregon last weekend to a resume that already featured a questionable loss to California. Playing at home, I like the Buffaloes to take command and pull away.
Prediction: Colorado Buffaloes (-10.5) Cover the Spread
No. 15 Florida Gators at No. 14 Florida State Seminoles
There are no conference implications at stake, but there will still be plenty of intensity between these in-state rivals. The Seminoles have failed to get over the hump in big games this year, but the Gators have been the beneficiaries of a schedule that didn’t include a majority of the SEC West powers.
Florida’s defense is legit, but at times, it seems like the Gators may never score a point. On the year, they rank 92nd in points for while allowing the third-fewest points per game. Florida’s style of play is good news for a Florida State team that has struggled against teams with high-powered offenses.
In this matchup, the Seminoles will have the best offensive player on the field in running back Dalvin Cook. Meanwhile, Florida’s worst loss this year came against an Arkansas team that established the run early and never let up. I expect FSU to ride Cook early and often and put enough points up to get by the Gators.
Prediction: Florida State Seminoles (-6.5) Cover the Spread
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