Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty. Several more high-profile clashes will happen this week, as we move slowly, inexorably toward the conclusion of the 2015 CFB season and the identification of the four teams that will meet in the College Football Playoff. Add in the fact that many of the key games are long-standing rivalry games, and fireworks are inevitable. Buckle your seatbelts, Folks.
All game times in Eastern Daylight Time.
DK’s 2015 Week 13 CFB Game Picks
Arizona State @ California (Saturday, November 28th, 10:00 p.m., FS1)
There should be a lot of offense in this one, as both defenses are shaky, and each offense is capable of lighting it up. Expect Jared Goff to play well; expect Mike Bercovici to play better. The Solar Satans get the road win.
Pick: Arizona State 45, California 35
UCLA @ USC (Saturday, November 28th, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)
This year’s edition of the Crosstown Rivalry also will settle the PAC-12 South, with the winner earning a trip to Santa Clara to take on North division champ Stanford. This promises to be one of the most colorful spectacles of the weekend with each team in its home uniforms. Super-frosh Josh Rosen will have a big day against that Southern Cal secondary, and UCLA will prevail.
Pick: UCLA 38, USC 32
Ohio State @ Michigan (Saturday, November 28th, 12:00 p.m., ABC)
OSU may still be reeling from last weekend’s gut-wrenching home loss to Sparty. Michigan sits at 9-2, hoping for a Michigan State stumble and a rivalry game triumph of its own to earn the B1G East title. The post-lost hangover will come into play for the Buckeyes, and the Wolverines will grind out their first win in this series in a while.
Pick: Michigan 31, Ohio State 30
Penn State @ Michigan State (Saturday, November 28th, 3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Connor Cook and Sparty look to lock down the B1G East and a trip to Indianapolis by handling the Nittany Lions at home, after winning two tough road games in Ann Arbor and Columbus during the season. Penn State has had a decent season, but doesn’t have the offensive consistency to win against that stout Dantonio defense. Michigan State rolls in this one.
Pick: Michigan State 31, Penn State 14
North Carolina @ North Carolina State (Saturday, November 28th, 3:30 p.m., ABC/ESPN2)
This one rivalry game doesn’t seem as significant, since the Tarheels have already clinched the ACC Coastal. Still, though, UNC has a path to the CFP if it can win this one and then knock off #1 Clemson in the ACCCG the following week. Jacoby Brissett and the Wolfpack might have something to say about that, but expect North Carolina to get the tough road win.
Pick: North Carolina 31, North Carolina State 23
Mississippi @ Mississippi State (Saturday, November 28th, 7:15 p.m., ESPN2)
Ole Miss is favored in this game, despite being on the road in the Egg Bowl. They should be, as they have the better team this season. If they can beat Alabama on the road, they can beat Mississippi State on the road. And they will.
Pick: Mississippi 35, Mississippi State 28
Florida State @ Florida (Saturday, November 28th, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Florida has clinched the SEC East, and Jim McElwain’s first season in Gainesville is an unqualified success. How could it be better? If the Gators beat rival FSU and knock off SEC West Champ Alabama. In that scenario, Florida would almost certainly make the top four, as a 1-loss SEC Champ. They’d need to beat the Noles first, though. They won’t. FSU gets the win.
Pick: Florida State 28, Florida 24
Baylor @ TCU (Saturday, November 28th, 7:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Big XII race has been entertaining also, with the round robin concluding this weekend. Baylor loses Jarrett Stidham for the season, while TCU expects to get Trevone Boykin back. Baylor is on starting QB #3—Chris Johnson—while TCU gets its leader and pre-season Heisman favorite back. The Horned Frogs are also at home, where they’ll get the win.
Pick: TCU 45, Baylor 40
Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (Saturday, November 28th, 8:00 p.m. ABC)
The Sooners remain red-hot, and are in line for a trip to one of the National Semifinal games with a win on the road in the annual Bedlam game. Oklahoma State came back late, but couldn’t overcome Baylor last time out. This week, the Pokes will get rolled by the team that may be the hottest in the nation.
Pick: Oklahoma 48, Oklahoma State 31
Notre Dame @ Stanford (Saturday, November 28th, 7:30 p.m. FOX)
Both teams held serve in Week 12 to set up this CFP elimination game at The Farm. Stanford will play for a Rose Bowl berth the following weekend. This is the Irish’s closing argument to the CFP Committee, so it will aim to win convincingly. That likely will not happen, though. Stanford is favored in the game, and brings the more complete team to the game. DeShone Kizer has played well all year, but the offensive line has been inconsistent, and Lance Anderson is good at devising ways to harass quarterbacks. Stanford is banged up in the defensive secondary, but Christian McCaffrey and company bring explosiveness that ND has rarely seen. The home team has won the last four games in this series. Make it five.
Pick: Stanford 38, Notre Dame 31