Normally, we’d be discussing the conference championship game as part of Championship Weekend. However, in 2020 we have two more weeks in the regular season. We have key games in all Power Five conferences that will impact the conference championship game and potentially the College Football Playoffs. Additionally, one of the most intriguing Group of Five games will happen this weekend as BYU travels to Coastal Carolina. Now, let’s get into it as we look at the best matchups in college football with our 2020 week 13 college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
2020 Week 13 College Football Watch Guide
With the conference championship already determined between Louisiana and Coastal Carolina, this one is for bragging rights. Both teams bolster two of the best quarterbacks in the Sun Belt with Levi Lewis for Louisiana and Zac Thomas for Appalachian State. With both teams losing three games by a combined 24 points, this has all the makings of a classic “Fun Belt” matchup.
The Buckeyes are back in a game that they absolutely needed to have played. With a smaller amount of games and the Big 10 Championship Game requirements in question, Ohio State needs to be convincing in East Lansing. Comparatively, the Spartans have won two of the biggest games they have played with getting wins against Michigan and Northwestern. Can they pull off another huge upset?
Oklahoma State still comes in with a chance to get to the Big 12 Championship Game. But, first, they need to take care of the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth. The Cowboys will need to get improved play on the defensive side of the ball as they have given up 85 points in the last two games. Meanwhile, TCU has won three of their last four and will be looking for that signature win at home.
The Aggies are in the thick of the playoff hunt but still have a few hurdles to climb. The first will be on the plains against an Auburn club that is undefeated at home this season. To get there, Texas A&M must get much better quarterback play from Kellen Mond than they received against LSU on Saturday. For a couple of up and down quarterbacks in Mond and Bo Nix, the winner likely hinges on the right arm of each.
The Gators can lock up a spot in the SEC Championship Game with a win in Rocky Top against Tennessee. Kyle Trask is in the heat of the Heisman race and will likely look for his most reliable target, Kyle Pitts early and often. It’s been a struggle for the Volunteers who have dropped five straight. But, they outplayed Auburn a couple of weeks ago everywhere but the scoreboard. Is there a Rocky Top miracle in store?
The Hoosiers suffered a heartbreaking dose of news this week with Michael Pennix Jr rules out for the season with a torn ACL. Indiana will turn to Sophomore Jack Tuttle off the bench to try to get the upset in Madison. Believe it or not, the Badgers have only played three games this season and appear to be out of the Big 10 Championship Game consideration. Wisconsin will look for Graham Mertz to get comfortable after struggling on the road against Northwestern.
Tulsa looks to keep pace with Cincinnati in the American Conference as they travel to Navy. The Golden Hurricane has snatched victory from the jaws of defeat on numerous occasions this season as they look to get going a little earlier this week. For the Naval Academy, it has been an up and down season but could finish strong with a win over a ranked Tulsa club with the annual Army-Navy game next weekend.
The Cyclones have all but locked up a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game. But, a win here against West Virginia would certainly do the trick. Iowa State is one of the hottest teams in the country with four straight wins including a program defining win against Texas last week. Conversely, the Mountaineers are much improved in Neal Brown‘s second year in Morgantown and bolster the Big 12’s top defense. This game features arguably the two best running backs in the conference with Breece Hall from Iowa State and Leddie Brown with West Virginia.
A last-minute schedule change may have given us our most intriguing game of the weekend. With Liberty having Covid issues within the program this week, BYU has stepped in to face Coastal Carolina with ESPN’s College Gameday in town. This will be a phenomenal matchup between two quarterbacks that just don’t turn the ball over in Zach Wilson and Grayson McCall. The two have combined to throw 407 passes this year with only three interceptions.
Clemson is a 22 point pick in this one over the Hokies in Blacksburg. However, the Tigers have all the pressure here as a loss knocks them out of the playoffs and a rematch with Notre Dame. Virginia Tech is limping to the finish line this season. Standing at 4-5, they have lost three straight including two at home by four points combined. Can they withstand the initial onslaught and make this a four-quarter game?
The Sooners return home for the final time this year with a Big 12 Championship Game berth in their mind. Ironically, the Bears did the Sooners a big favor last week by defeating Kansas State in a confusing tiebreaker situation. But, Oklahoma hopes the week off doesn’t derail them as they have been playing as well as anyone in the country in winning five straight.
Only in the year 2020, do we have College Gameday covering Coastal Carolina while Alabama and LSU are taking each other on in primetime. But, since LSU defeated Alabama last year these two programs are on different trajectories. The Crimson Tide are on top of the rankings and Mac Jones is the close leader for the Heisman. It’s hard to believe that Alabama is a four-touchdown favorite in Tiger Stadium.
Our final 2020 Week 13 College Football Watch Guide game sends us to PAC 12 after dark. This could be one of the best games of the weekend. The Bruins are a much-improved football team this year and could get a big boost if Dorian Thompson-Robinson is back this week. For the Sun Devils, because of Covid issues, this is just their second game. But, they thoroughly outplayed USC in their opener and will be at home for the first time this season.