An unlikely double-push last time out left me at 1-1-2 in Week 12 and 16-14-3 on the season heading into Rivalry Week.

The marquee matchups in the SEC don’t have the national significance they do most seasons, but there’s still plenty of intrigue in the Week 13 college football odds, especially further afield: No. 2 Ohio State vs No. 3 Michigan headlines Saturday’s slate, while USC’s annual tilt with Notre Dame has big implications for the Pac-12’s only CFP hopeful.

This week’s picks start with a hopefully-very-boring Arkansas vs Missouri game.

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Pick 1: Arkansas at Missouri Under 56 (-110)

The defense for Missouri (5-6, 4-2 home) that I’ve been hyping all season was embarrassed in its last conference game, a 66-24 rout at Tennessee in Week 11.

The Vols can do that to teams. Arkansas (6-5, 2-1 away) on the road? I’m a lot less worried.

Missouri’s power conference games have averaged just 44.25 points per contest, nearly 12 points lower than the total for this game. Arkansas games have been higher scoring. In its P5 games (plus Cincinnati), there have been an average of 58.1 PPG. But Arkansas is a run-first team (515 rush attempts versus just 300 pass attempts) and that should play into the hands of this stout Missouri front seven.

While Tennessee was able to find a boatload of success on the ground (264 yards at 7.1 per carry), Mizzou’s D has, for the most part, been solid on the ground. It held Kentucky to 82 yards at 2.0 YPC, South Carolina to 32 at 1.4 YPC, Vandy to 57 at 2.0 YPC, and Auburn to 82 at 1.8 YPC.

Georgia (169 yards at 4.7 YPC) and Florida (231 yards at 7.2 YPC) were the other black marks against this rush defense. Notably, both the Tennessee game and Florida game were on the road. At home, I  trust this unit to provide a lot of resistance against Rocket Sanders and Co.

The Missouri offense, on the other hand, is going to struggle, per usual. The Arkansas defense has held three straight opponents to 27 or fewer. That includes limiting the potent LSU offense to 13 points and 284 total yards (albeit in a loss).

Pick: Under 56 (-110)

Pick 2: Auburn +22 (-110) at Alabama

This pick isn’t purely based on the intrinsic motivation of a rivalry game or the historical insanity associated with the Iron Bowl. It’s a vote of confidence in Cadillac Williams’ Auburn Tigers (5-6, 0-3 away).

Since Williams took on the interim tag 3 games ago, Auburn has been, not great, but certainly better. First, they went toe-to-toe with Mississippi State on the road (39-33 OT loss); then they downed Texas A&M (13-10) and were full value for the win; most recently, they dusted aside Western Kentucky (41-17), easily covering as 5.5-point chalk.

The defense is good (25th in DFEI) and the offense at least has a pulse behind Tank Bigsby.

It’s hard to imagine Auburn’s offense finding a ton of success against Alabama (9-2, 6-0 home) given how one-dimensional it is. Alabama’s narrow 30-24 road win over Ole Miss does provide some encouragement though. Ole Miss was able to rush for 191 yards at 3.9 YPC despite Jaxson Dart being a fairly limited passer. Auburn’s offense is basically an Ole Miss-lite.

I’m not suggesting Auburn has value as a moneyline long shot. But I do think the gap between the top teams and the middle of the pack is significantly smaller this season than the past few. And I’m not totally convinced that 2022 Alabama even belongs in the top tier.

Pick: Auburn +22 (-110)

Pick 3: Notre Dame +5.5 (-110) at USC

Notre Dame’s horrific start to the season — which included a home loss to Marshall as 3-touchdown favorites — has turned into ancient history over the past 6 weeks. Notre Dame (8-3, 2-1 away) has won 5 straight, covering the spread in 4. Their recent wins include dominant performances against then-No. 4 Clemson (35-14) and then-No. 16 Syracuse (41-24). Earlier in the season, they flashed their potential with a 45-32 road win over a UNC team that’s headed for the ACC title game.

USC (10-1, 6-0 home) is not quite as dominant as its record suggests. Four of USC’s wins have been by 8 points or fewer, and that’s playing against a soft schedule in the Pac-12.

USC’s defense is extremely porous, surrendering at least 35 points in 4 of its past 5 games. It ranks 91st in Defensive FEI, 6 spots worse than Vanderbilt. Winning by a significant margin requires getting some stops, which is not USC’s calling card.

This could be a last-score-wins type of game, and that could result in USC winning by a touchdown. But the Irish will have no issue trading punches with the Trojans and I think they offer good value at +180 on the moneyline.

Pick: Notre Dame +5.5 (-110)

Pick 4: Michigan at Ohio State -6.5 (-130)

The first thing to note here is that I’m buying the spread down from Ohio State -7.5 (-110) to Ohio State -6.5 (-130), which is available under the “Alternate Spread” tab at DraftKings Sportsbook. (I’ll add the appropriate asterisk to my record, promise.)

The second thing to note is that running the ball against Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 home) is darn near impossible. The Buckeyes’ rush defense is surrendering just 3.1 yards per carry, tied for 6th-best in the country. Only one opponent has averaged more than 3.8 YPC — Wisconsin, which averaged 5.5 YPC thanks to a 75-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter when Ohio State was ahead 52-14.

Michigan (11-0, 3-0 away) has only faced 1 ranked team this season — then-No. 10 Penn State — and found itself in a 16-14 dogfight at halftime. In the second stanza, the Wolverines ran away from the Lions both literally and figuratively. They finished with 418 rush yards in a 41-17 home victory.

Running back Blake Corum has been exceptional this season and still finds himself among the top-3 favorites in the Heisman odds. But he left last week’s game with a knee injury, so his health is an issue. Even if he were at full strength, Ohio State is going to be a completely different beast to anything he’s seen this year.

Sophomore pivot JJ McCarthy has been efficient (66.8 completion percentage and 150.3 QBR) but he also hasn’t been asked to carry the load on a weekly basis. He’s only topped 230 passing yards once (304 vs. an abysmal Indiana defense). If Corum isn’t moving the sticks, Michigan’s sophomore QB is going to have to answer some extremely difficult questions in one of the country’s toughest environments.

This will only be Michigan’s 4th road game of the season. The other 3 came against Rutgers, Indiana and Iowa, which are a combined 15-18.

I won’t gloss over the fact that Michigan’s defense is also excellent, especially against the run (2nd in the nation at 2.8 YPC). But with CJ Stroud under center, the Buckeyes have a lot more ways to attack you.

Pick: Ohio State -6.5 (-130)