5 bold predictions for the rest of the country in Week 13
The SEC will garner the lion’s share of the attention this weekend as Rivalry Week takes center stage. But for the rest of the country there are a few games with conference and playoff implications. Here are five bold predictions for those games:
1. Don’t sleep on the Gophers: Minnesota has lost just three games this season, by a total of 17 points. All three were one-possession setbacks, including a three-point overtime loss at Penn State. This is a pretty good football team.
Now, Wisconsin can win the Big Ten West and play for the conference championship with a victory over the visiting Gophers on Saturday. The Badgers won’t waste the opportunity. But as 14-point favorites, they’re not likely to cover. Minnesota is 4-0 as a road dog. Look for the Badgers to win a close, low-scoring game.
2. Penn State on upset alert: Double-digit favorites to beat Michigan State in Happy Valley on Saturday, the Nittany Lions are in prime position to win and get some help from Michigan to wind up in the Big Ten Championship Game. But watch out, Penn State gets caught looking over its shoulder.
That’s because the Michigan-Ohio State game, which starts at noon Eastern time, will be finished or close to finished when the Nittany Lions kick it off at 3:30 p.m. Penn State gets distracted and loses focus by keeping tabs of the other game just long enough to allow Sparty to salvage their season – especially if Michigan wins – with an upset victory over a Top 10 team.
3. Buckeyes ballin’: Remember the end of the 2014 season when Ohio State needed a statement game heading into the Big Ten championship with Wisconsin? The College Football Playoff Committee needed a little nudge to consider the Buckeyes for inclusion into the inaugural College Football Playoffs. They got it, in a big way.
Ohio State punished the Badgers 59-0, got its invitation and made the most of it — winning the whole thing. Well, history will repeat itself on Saturday. The Buckeyes make their statement, annihilate the 6 1/2 points they are favored by, and make their case for best team in the conference and one of the best in the nation.
4. Rocky finish for Colorado: The Buffaloes have been one of the top feel-good stories of the season. Dormant for decades, Colorado has risen from the cellar to the top of the Pac-12 South and needs just a victory at home over Utah on Saturday to sew up the title and play for the Pac-12 championship.
But Utah is having a pretty good season of its own, despite losing two of its past three games. The Utes, double-digit underdogs, feel disrespected and earn some of it back with a huge upset on the road that shakes up the Pac-12 South and opens the door for surging USC to win the division.
5. Falk to be held in check: Washington State QB Luke Falk is having another outstanding season. Third in the nation in passing, Falk needs just 65 yards to reach 4,000 passing yards for the second consecutive season. He’ll get that on Saturday against No. 5 Washington, but the Huskies have the last laugh.
Not only do the Huskies win the game and the Pac-12 North Division title, but they hold Falk to under 250 yards passing. That’s a feat that’s only been done one other time this season. Falk threw for just 226 yards against Idaho. His arm wasn’t needed in a 56-6 victory over the Vandals; Falk recorded a season-low 21 completions in that game. His 36 pass attempts were second-fewest this season as well.