Tailgate Pick ‘Em Week 14 Predictions Including Michigan vs Ohio State

Michigan vs Ohio State

It’s rivalry week in college football, with the Iron Bowl, Michigan vs Ohio State, Wisconsin at Minnesota, and Virginia Tech at Virginia to decide the ACC Coastal all on the schedule this week. Our panel of Steen Kirby, Yesh Ginsburg, and John Bava offer their predictions.

#24 Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday in Charlottesville, VA)
Line: Virginia Tech by 2.5

John: This year’s clash between these two in-state rivals will decide the ACC Coastal division as the winner will take on Clemson in the conference championship game. Both are riding three-game winning streaks and have a chance to get to nine wins with a victory. For the Cavaliers, they have a chance to get to double-digit wins for the first time since 1989. But they will face a legitimate challenge against a Hokies side that’s won their last two games by a combined score of 73-0. That defensive prowess ensures that VT prevails in this rivalry for the 16th straight time. Virginia Tech 31, Virginia 21

Yesh: Virginia Tech is the more talented team and has been playing incredible football recently, especially on defense. I think we’ll see a close game, but eventually the Hokies will just be too much. This game might be low-scoring, but eventually Virginia Tech will pull away. Virginia Tech 27, Virginia 14

Steen: These teams have identical 8-3 (5-2 in the ACC) records and the winner gets Clemson in the ACC title game. Virginia Tech is the more decorated modern program, Justin Fuente was on the hot seat early in the season after a 2-2 start, but the Hokies have gone on a tear since then with their only loss by a point against Notre Dame. In fact if they had won both of their one score games they would be 10-1 right now. Virginia has had a great season with a number of close games down the stretch and likewise would have been 10-1 if they had won all of their one score games. Simply put this will be a close matchup but Virginia Tech’s defense and talent wins the day for me. Virginia Tech 28, Virginia 24

#19 Cincinnati at #18 Memphis (Friday in Memphis, TN)
Line: Memphis by 11

John: This is, by far, the most important matchup involving Group of Five teams in Week 13. Memphis and Cincinnati find themselves ranked 18th and 19th in this week’s CFP rankings. So the winner here improves their chances of making a New Year’s Six bowl. But it’s possible these two teams could meet once again in next week’s AAC title game. That’s what will happen if the Tigers prevail on Saturday, with the Bearcats having to travel down to Memphis once again. I’m banking on it with the Tigers’ passing offense too much for a Cincy defense ranked eighth in the AAC against the pass. Memphis 38, Cincinnati 24

Yesh: If this line feels high to you, that’s because you haven’t watched Cincinnati recently. The Bearcats are very solid on defense, but the offense has been stagnant and ECU found a way to exploit the defense. Memphis is too talented on both sides of the ball not to take full advantage. Memphis 41, Cincinnati 24

Steen: A game with big implications for the New Year’s Six bowls. Memphis has exploded offensively with 40+ points in every game since losing to Temple. Luke Fickell’s Cincinnati is a very defensively sound team with an average offense. If the Bearcats can keep Memphis in check they will win, but this feels like Memphis game to lose. Memphis 35, Cincinnati 27

#13 Michigan vs #1 Ohio State (Saturday in Ann Arbor, MI)
Line: Ohio State by 8.5

John: This is the most compelling rivalry in all of college football. It remains that way despite the fact that it’s been pretty one-sided this century. Since 2000, Ohio State owns a 16-3 record against Michigan. It included last year’s 62-39 blowout which questioned whether the Wolverines would ever upend their rivals from Columbus under Jim Harbaugh. And even though this game takes place in the Big House, more of the same will likely take place as it’s hard to believe Michigan will be able to move the ball against a Buckeye defense that contains the nation’s most dominant edge rusher, Chase Young. Ohio State 41, Michigan 17

Yesh: A lot of people are leaning towards Michigan here, based on recent performance. The Wolverines definitely seem to be a much better team than earlier in the season. Still, every form of advanced metric says Ohio State is the superior team. The Buckeyes played a sloppy game last week and still won by 11. I can’t see them being sloppy again this week. Ohio State 31, Michigan 21

Steen: Michigan has a shot at a 10 win season either way, but finally vanquishing Ohio State would be the biggest win of Jim Harbaugh’s stint with the Wolverines. The offense was stagnant in both Michigan losses this season while Ohio State has only really been tested in one game, and in that game they still beat Penn State comfortably. Despite how much this game means for both teams, I don’t feel it will be close. Ohio State will run up another big win with style points, and the questions will continue to swirl in Ann Arbor about whether Harbaugh is the man to get Michigan back to the elite level of college football. Ohio State 42, Michigan 17

#5 Alabama at #15 Auburn (Saturday in Auburn, AL)
Line: Alabama by 3.5

John: Whether you agree with it or not, Alabama remains a legit CFP contender despite the fact that they have no chance to win the SEC at this point. But in order for this to become possible, they must go on the road and knock off their hated Iron Bowl rival Auburn. Mac Jones has looked impressive in relief of Tua Tagovailoa after his season-ending injury. And given that the Tigers’ three losses all took place against top-10 teams at the time, it’s tempting to latch on to the trend and saying that the Tide prevail to go to 9-3 in this rivalry since 2008. Alabama 31, Auburn 20

Yesh: No one knows how good Mac Jones really is. He’s a quarterback at Alabama, so presumably he’s talented. The Tide also still have an insanely talented receiving corps. Auburn very likely does not have anywhere near the ability to keep the receivers in check. This game will hinge on whether Mac Jones can make throws, and whether Bo Nix can stay settled against the Alabama defense. I don’t think he can. Alabama 34, Auburn 31

Steen: All Gus Malzahn and Auburn can do is hope to play spoiler here. A loss would doom Alabama’s playoff hopes, as both teams are locked out of the SEC title game. Auburn under young QB Bo Nix has competed in all three of their losses this year but each time come up short against a top 10 team. This is Nix and the Tigers 4th crack at a top 10 opponent (at the time of kickoff), battle tested and at home against their biggest rival. Alabama remains loaded on both sides of the ball and will play with intensity, but this is also the biggest game of Mac Jones career as the Crimson Tide signal caller. I expect the Alabama defense to stifle Auburn enough to get over the line here and keep the playoff talk going. Alabama 27, Auburn 17

#12 Wisconsin at #8 Minnesota (Saturday in Minneapolis, MN)
Line: Wisconsin by 3

John: Vegas continues to lack faith in Minnesota. Despite a 10-1 record and a signature win over Penn State, they find themselves three-point underdogs at home to their hated rival Wisconsin. It’s likely a function of the Gophers’ recent loss to Iowa that knocked them out of the CFP picture in addition to the Badgers’ recent dominance in this rivalry that’s the oldest in FBS, dating back to 1890. Minnesota did take Paul Bunyan’s Axe for the first time since 2003 last year. But it must be noted that Wisconsin is 6-0 in this series when both teams are ranked. Minnesota is a tad suspect against the run, so expect Jonathan Taylor to have himself a game. Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 20

Yesh: Wisconsin might be more talented, but this just feels like it was made to be for Minnesota. The Golden Gophers have excellent receivers that Wisconsin likely can’t cover well enough. Tanner Morgan doesn’t dazzle, but he’s accurate and gets the job done. Wisconsin will move the ball, but I think Minnesota can eke this out. Minnesota 31, Wisconsin 30

Steen: Wisconsin hopes to play spoiler to Minnesota’s dream season and Rose Bowl hopes. A bad loss to Illinois knocked them out of playoff discussion, while Minnesota remains alive despite a close road loss to a pesky Iowa team. Minnesota made some mistakes against Iowa I don’t expect them to repeat here. Jonathan Taylor will chew up yards and clock for the Badgers, but Minnesota feels like a more complete team and I’ll back them to win narrowly at home. Minnesota 24, Wisconsin 21


Michigan vs Ohio State Main Photo:

COLUMBUS, OH – NOVEMBER 24: Chase Young #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes in action during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2018, in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State won 62-39. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)