College football Week 13: Picks and preview
Marvin Gentry/USA Today Images

College football Week 13: Picks and preview

It's the final full weekend of college football's regular season. Some conference races have been decided, while others will come down to this. Not to mention, perhaps an even clearer look at the College Football Playoff picture.

Here are our previews and predictions (point spreads courtesy of DraftKings and subject to change) for games involving teams that are included in this week's CFP Selection Committee rankings.

All times Eastern. Statistics in parenthesis are from 2021 unless noted otherwise. 

 
1 of 23

No. 9 Mississippi (9-2, 5-2 in SEC) at Mississippi State (7-4, 4-3), Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

No. 9 Mississippi (9-2, 5-2 in SEC) at Mississippi State (7-4, 4-3), Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN
Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports

It's Egg Bowl  time, and this year both rivals are playing well enough for this matchup to perhaps draw more interest outside the state of Mississippi. Ole Miss has won three in a row overall and will be looking to win back-to-back Egg Bowls for the first time since 2014 and '15. The quarterbacks should be center stage again this season. During the Rebels' 31-24 win in the 2020 contest, star Matt Corral (3,100 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, three interceptions) threw for 385 yards with two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs' Will Rogers (4,113 yards, 34 TDs, eight interceptions) amassed 440 in the air with three touchdowns.

Prediction: Mississippi (+1)

 
2 of 23

Boise State (7-4, 5-2 in Mountain West) at No. 21 San Diego State (10-1, 6-1 in Mountain West), (at Carson, Calif.) Friday, Noon, CBS Sports Network

Boise State (7-4, 5-2 in Mountain West) at No. 21 San Diego State (10-1, 6-1 in Mountain West), (at Carson, Calif.) Friday, Noon, CBS Sports Network
Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports

This will be a 9 a.m. kickoff in Carson, Calif., on the day after Thanksgiving. Hopefully, everyone will be awake. Plus, there are plenty of division title implications on both sides. A winner of three straight, SDSU needs a victory to clinch the MWC Mountain Division. The Aztecs have split the last six meetings with Boise, which has won four in a row and would claim the league's West Division crown with a victory here and an Air Force loss against UNLV.

Prediction: San Diego State (+2 1/2)

 
3 of 23

No. 16 Iowa (9-2, 6-2 in Big Ten) at Nebraska (3-8, 1-7 in Big Ten), Friday, 1:30 p.m., Big Ten Network

No. 16 Iowa (9-2, 6-2 in Big Ten) at Nebraska (3-8, 1-7 in Big Ten), Friday, 1:30 p.m., Big Ten Network
Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports

A winner of three in a row, Iowa still has a shot at the Big Ten West Division title . The first order of business, though, is a seventh consecutive victory over the Cornhuskers, who have lost five in a row -- but still believe coach Scott Frost is the right coach for the job. Each of Nebraska's eight losses has come by nine or fewer points. Meanwhile, Iowa's Tyler Goodson (945 rushing yards) is knocking on the door of 1,000 yards on the season and has rushed for 227 the last two against Nebraska.

Prediction: Iowa (-1 1/2)

 
4 of 23

Missouri (6-5, 3-4 in SEC) at No. 25 Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 in SEC), Friday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Missouri (6-5, 3-4 in SEC) at No. 25 Arkansas (7-4, 3-4 in SEC), Friday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY Sports

A seven-point loss at Alabama last weekend was good enough to keep Arkansas in the College Football Playoff rankings. Not only have the Razorbacks already secured their first winning season since 2016 but can win at least eight games for the first time since 2015. Missouri, though, is eying a third consecutive victory overall -- and sixth straight win over Arkansas.

Prediction: Missouri (+14 1/2)

 
5 of 23

No. 4 Cincinnati (11-0, 7-0 in AAC) at East Carolina (7-4, 5-2 in AAC), Friday, 3:30 p.m., ABC

No. 4 Cincinnati (11-0, 7-0 in AAC) at East Carolina (7-4, 5-2 in AAC), Friday, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Albert Cesare/The Enquirer/USA TODAY NETWORK

Oregon's loss to Utah opened the door for Cincinnati to jump into one of the top four slots in the CFP ranking. A win this weekend, and against Houston in the American Athletic Conference championship game, and the Bearcats will get their shot at a national title. Cincinnati has won three in a row and nine of the last 10 against East Carolina. That said, the Bearcats' lone defeat over that span came in 2017 at ECU, where their last three victories were by five or fewer points.

Prediction: Cincinnati (-14)

 
6 of 23

Colorado (4-7, 3-5 in Pac-12) at No. 19 Utah (8-3, 7-1 in Pac-12), Friday, 4 p.m., Fox

Colorado (4-7, 3-5 in Pac-12) at No. 19 Utah (8-3, 7-1 in Pac-12), Friday, 4 p.m., Fox
Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports

Following that impressive 38-7 rout of then-CFP-stationed Oregon last weekend, Utah clinched the Pac-12's South Division and could be headed for a title-game rematch with the Ducks. First, it's the Buffs ahead for the Utes, who have outscored their opponents 172-67 during a four-game winning streak. Utah running back Tavion Thomas (836 rushing yards, 17 TDs) has become somebody to watch.

Prediction: Utah (-24)

 
7 of 23

North Carolina (6-5, 3-4 in ACC) at No. 20 North Carolina State (8-3, 5-2 in ACC), Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN

North Carolina (6-5, 3-4 in ACC) at No. 20 North Carolina State (8-3, 5-2 in ACC), Friday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Rob Kinnan/USA TODAY Sports

N.C. State still has a chance to win the ACC's Atlantic Division and can start by avoiding a third straight loss to the rival Tar Heels. The Wolfpack dropped the last two meetings by a combined 58 points, but they've won nine consecutive nine home games overall. State's Devin Leary has thrown 17 of his 31 touchdowns, and just one interception, at home this season. North Carolina's Sam Howell (2,7004 passing yards, 22 TDs, eight INTs) is slated to return after missing last weekend's win over Wofford with an upper-body injury.

Prediction: North Carolina State (-6)

 
8 of 23

Texas Tech (6-5, 3-5 in Big 12) at No. 8 Baylor (9-2, 6-2 in Big 12), Saturday, Noon, FS1

Texas Tech (6-5, 3-5 in Big 12) at No. 8 Baylor (9-2, 6-2 in Big 12), Saturday, Noon, FS1
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

The Bears have bounced back from that loss at TCU with wins over Oklahoma and Kansas State. A victory this weekend and an Oklahoma loss in the Bedlam matchup would pit Baylor in the Big 12 title game versus Oklahoma State. The health status of Bears quarterback Gerry Bohanon (2,192 passing yards, 17 TDs; nine rushing TDs) will dominate the pregame, but they have confidence in backup Blake Shapen. Texas Tech has lost five straight road games against ranked teams.

Predictions: Baylor (-14)

 
9 of 23

No. 18 Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1 in ACC) at Boston College (6-5, 2-5 in ACC), Saturday, Noon, ESPN2

No. 18 Wake Forest (9-2, 6-1 in ACC) at Boston College (6-5, 2-5 in ACC), Saturday, Noon, ESPN2
Josh Morgan/USA TODAY Sports

After opening 8-0, Wake Forest has lost two of three -- both on the road -- and no longer enjoys a cushion in the ACC Atlantic Division. That said, if the Deacons can rebound from a 48-27 loss at Clemson and win a fourth straight trip to Boston College, then they'll take the division. Defense still remains an issue for Wake, which has allowed an average of 49.3 points in its last three games. BC, however, has averaged 17.3 points in conference play.

Prediction: Boston College (+4 1/2)

 
10 of 23

No. 24 Houston (10-1) at Connecticut (1-10), Saturday, Noon, CBS Sports Network

No. 24 Houston (10-1) at Connecticut (1-10), Saturday, Noon, CBS Sports Network
Thomas Shea/USA TODAY Sports

All the AAC talk is about Cincinnati and the CFP, but the Bearcats will eventually have a league-title game date with Houston, which averages 38.2 points, won 10-0, and took all eight contests in conference play. This matchup with UConn should be nothing more than a tune-up for the Cougars, who are hoping to stay healthy and feel confident to take on Cincinnati. Houston receiver Nathaniel Dell has recorded 26 catches for 455 yards with five touchdowns in the last four games.

Prediction: Houston (-32)

 
11 of 23

No. 1 Georgia (11-0) at Georgia Tech (3-8), Saturday, Noon, ABC

No. 1 Georgia (11-0) at Georgia Tech (3-8), Saturday, Noon, ABC
Joshua L. Jones/USA TODAY NETWORK

Yes, SEC fans want to look ahead to next weekend's conference championship game between Georgia and Alabama. However, the Bulldogs have a rivalry match to get through. We expect that won't be too much trouble for Georgia, which has outscored the Yellow Jackets 135-35 during a three-game winning streak in the series. Fresh off a 55-0 loss at Notre Dame, Georgia Tech has allowed an average of 40.6 points during its own five-game losing stretch.

Prediction: Georgia (-35)

 
12 of 23

No. 2 Ohio State (10-1, 8-0 in Big Ten) at No. 5 Michigan (10-1, 7-1 in Big Ten), Saturday, Noon, Fox

No. 2 Ohio State (10-1, 8-0 in Big Ten) at No. 5 Michigan (10-1, 7-1 in Big Ten), Saturday, Noon, Fox
Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA TODAY

A Big Ten Championship Game berth and inside track to a spot in the CFP semifinals are at stake as The Game returns to prominence after COVID-19 wiped it out last season. The Buckeyes have won eight straight over Michigan, including the last two by a combined 52 points. They'll also be looking for a fifth consecutive win at Ann Arbor. Ohio State has the nation's No. 1 scoring offense (47.2 points per game), while the Wolverines rank seventh in scoring defense (16.3 ppg). Is this the year Jim Harbaugh finally gets the Ohio State monkey off his back?

Prediction: Ohio State (-8)

 
13 of 23

No. 22 UTSA (11-0, 7-0 in Conference USA) at North Texas (5-6, 4-3 in Conference USA), Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN+

No. 22 UTSA (11-0, 7-0 in Conference USA) at North Texas (5-6, 4-3 in Conference USA), Saturday, 2 p.m., ESPN+
Daniel Dunn/USA TODAY Sports

A dramatic comeback victory over UAB helped Texas-San Antonio secure a spot in the Conference USA title game. But before that, the Roadrunners should again be in for a test against North Texas, which has followed a six-game slide with four consecutive victories. UTSA has lost three straight games at North Texas, dating to a 21-13 victory there in 2013.

Prediction: North Texas (+10 1/2)

 
14 of 23

No. 3 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 in SEC) at Auburn (6-5, 3-4), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

No. 3 Alabama (10-1, 6-1 in SEC) at Auburn (6-5, 3-4), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS
John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports

The Crimson Tide have looked less than stellar than in beating LSU and Arkansas by a combined 13 points in their last two SEC contests. In terms of the CFP, it would seem Alabama has little room for error, especially if it winds up a two-loss team. The Iron Bowl is rivalry-game royalty, and though the Tigers are mired in a three-game losing and without injured quarterback Bo Nix, they will be ready. Alabama has lost two straight and three of the last four meetings at Auburn.

Prediction: Auburn (+19 1/2)

 
15 of 23

Penn State (7-4, 4-4 in Big Ten) at No. 12 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2 in Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC

Penn State (7-4, 4-4 in Big Ten) at No. 12 Michigan State (9-2, 6-2 in Big Ten), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC
Matthew OHaren/USA TODAY Sports

The big question surrounding this regular-season finale for both of these squads is actually who will be healthy enough to take the field? Collectively, the Nittany Lions and Spartans are banged up, with the latter likely still emotionally bruised from last weekend's 56-7 drubbing at the hands of Ohio State. Penn State has won the last two meetings in this series, but the Spartans are trying to cap a 6-0 home campaign.

Prediction: Michigan State (+2)

 
16 of 23

Oregon State (7-4, 5-3 in Pac-12) at No 11 Oregon (9-2, 6-2 in Pac-12), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN

Oregon State (7-4, 5-3 in Pac-12) at No 11 Oregon (9-2, 6-2 in Pac-12), Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Troy Wayrynen/USA TODAY Sports

Not only is Oregon not headed to the College Football Playoff, but it also could get shut out of the Pac-12 Championship game. The former ended with last weekend's decisive 38-7 loss at Utah. A victory over rival Oregon State and the Ducks will get their rematch with the Utes in the title game. However, should the Beavers snap a six-game road skid to Oregon and Washington State loses the Apple Cup to Washington, then they win the North Division.

Prediction: Oregon (-7)

 
17 of 23

No. 14 Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2 in Big Ten) at Minnesota (7-4, 5-3 in Big Ten), Saturday, 4 p.m., Fox

No. 14 Wisconsin (8-3, 6-2 in Big Ten) at Minnesota (7-4, 5-3 in Big Ten), Saturday, 4 p.m., Fox
Mary Langenfeld/USA TODAY Sports

All the Badgers need for a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game is a win at Minnesota. That would be an eighth straight triumph for Wisconsin, but there might be a concern considering it allowed 28 points to Nebraska last weekend. The Badgers, though, have won two in a row and 16 of the last 17 meetings with the Gophers, who rebounded from back-to-back defeats with a 21-point win at Indiana.

Prediction: Wisconsin (-7)

 
18 of 23

No. 15 Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 in SEC) at LSU (5-6, 2-5 in SEC), Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN

No. 15 Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 in SEC) at LSU (5-6, 2-5 in SEC), Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN
Stephen Lew/USA TODAY Sports

While Texas A&M is the better team and part of the CFP rankings, the story here is that Ed Orgeron could very well be coaching his final game at LSU. That day will come at some point in 2021, but the Tigers need a win to become bowl eligible, so it could be sooner than later. Texas A&M has won two of the last three meetings in this series but been outscored 148-45 during a four-game losing streak at LSU.

Prediction: LSU (+6 1/2)

 
19 of 23

No. 23 Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network

No. 23 Clemson (8-3) at South Carolina (6-5), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network
Ken Ruinard/USA TODAY Network

The fact Clemson won't be in the mix for a national championship makes this a disappointing season for its rabid fan base. However, the season isn't completely lost for the Tigers, who just romped Wake Forest by 21 points for their fourth straight victory, and if the Deacons and North Carolina State both lose this weekend, would win the ACC Atlantic Division. Clemson has won six in a row over South Carolina.

Prediction: Clemson (-11 1/2)

 
20 of 23

No. 10 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 in Big 12) at No. 7 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 in Big 12), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC

No. 10 Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1 in Big 12) at No. 7 Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1 in Big 12), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ABC
Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports

We could be looking at Bedlam 2021, Part I. In what will be the final meeting between these rivals as members of the Big 12, the loser is officially out of the CFP conversation. That said, Oklahoma State has already secured a spot in the league's championship game. Should the Cowboys lose, they'll face the Sooners again next week. Oklahoma has won six straight in the series and four in a row at Stillwater since a 44-10 defeat in 2013.

Prediction: Oklahoma State (-4)

 
21 of 23

No. 17 Pittsburgh (9-2, 6-1 in ACC) at Syracuse (5-6, 2-5 in ACC), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network

No. 17 Pittsburgh (9-2, 6-1 in ACC) at Syracuse (5-6, 2-5 in ACC), Saturday, 7:30 p.m., ACC Network
Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports

Headed to next week's ACC Championship Game, Pitt has averaged 44.0 points during a three-game winning streak. The goal this weekend for Pitt is to secure the program's first 10-win season since 2009. It seems quite attainable since the Panthers have won three straight and 14 of the last 16 meetings with Syracuse. The Orange have dropped their last two contests -- at Louisville and N.C. State -- by a combined 62 points.

Prediction: Pitt (-13)

 
22 of 23

No. 6 Notre Dame (10-1) at Stanford (3-8), Saturday, 8 p.m., Fox

No. 6 Notre Dame (10-1) at Stanford (3-8), Saturday, 8 p.m., Fox
Matt Cashore/USA TODAY Sports

The Irish are certainly finishing the season in dominating fashion. They've outscored their last three opponents -- Navy, Virginia, and Georgia Tech -- 117-9 and last allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter against North Carolina on Oct. 30. Meanwhile, quarterback Jack Coan (2,296 yards, 18 TDs, five INTs) continues to do a solid job under center for the Irish. Notre Dame has also won its last two games versus Stanford by a combined 42 points.

Prediction: Notre Dame (-19)

 
23 of 23

No. 13 BYU (9-2) at USC (4-6), Saturday, 10:30 p.m., ESPN

No. 13 BYU (9-2) at USC (4-6), Saturday, 10:30 p.m., ESPN
Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports

This could be an entertaining way to conclude what should be a fun final regular-season weekend of college football. BYU has outscored its opponents 180-99 during a four-game winning streak that's followed those back-to-back defeats to Boise State and Baylor. The Cougars beat USC 30-27 in their last meeting two years ago and should feel confident against a Trojans' squad that's dropped two straight and four of five. After yielding 62 points to rival UCLA last weekend, USC has allowed an average of 40.0 points in the last five games.

Prediction: USC (+7)

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.

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