Let’s take a look at the week 13 games that are relevant to the College Football Playoff chase. This weekend presents a bevy of highly important games that will lead into championship Saturday the following week. Here is our attempt at predicting week 13 games with CFP implications.
Predicting week 13 games with CFP implications
Auburn at Alabama
Certainly, the formula is simple for Alabama. If they simply beat Auburn and Georgia, they will reach the College Football Playoff. However, if Auburn were to upset Alabama, things would get very interesting for the committee. The Tigers managed to beat the Tide last year, which means Bama has revenge on its mind.
The Alabama offense comes in having scored 50 plus points in seven games this season. Additionally, they rank third in the nation in yards per game. They also rank 30th in passing while sitting seventh in rushing. Alabama also boasts the seventh-ranked defense while Auburn comes in ranked 36th. Meanwhile, Auburn’s offense ranks a putrid 85th. Can they even muster up enough offense to hang around in this game?
Alabama is undoubtedly a great team. However, they will complete the regular season having not faced a team that was remotely close to being dynamic on both sides of the ball, especially offensively. With that said, can they be considered an all-time great team yet?
Being that there is too much offensive inconsistency it is hard to imagine Auburn winning this game. Although, the Tigers defense is good enough to make efforts difficult on Alabama’s part.
Prediction: Alabama 34-13
Georgia Tech at Georgia
Georgia is currently on the outside looking in as far as the College Football Playoff is concerned. However, they will have their opportunity in the SEC title game. In order for that game to matter, they must beat rival Georgia Tech this week at home. Interestingly, Georgia Tech has actually won the last two meetings in Athens.
The Yellow Jackets have come alive the last four games as they are 4-0 after starting the season 3-4. In fact, they have the number one rushing attack in the country. Georgia is giving up 128.45 yards on the ground per game, good for 27th nationally. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech’s defense is solid, ranked 42nd in yards allowed per game.
Expect Georgia to run the ball effectively with Jake Fromm making a couple of big plays deep, which should ultimately lead to a Bulldogs victory. With that being said, if Georgia struggles with Tech’s option attack, it could be a long day in Athens.
Prediction: Georgia 41-23
Michigan at Ohio State
The only contest involving playoff contenders in the Big Ten is fittingly The Game. Ohio State has won 13 of the last 14 matchups, including six straight. This game not only determines the Big Ten East winner but also likely determines who will compete in the College Football Playoff. Michigan is seeking their first CFP berth as well as their first Big Ten title since 2004 when they shared with Iowa.
The Wolverines enter the matchup with the nation’s number one rated defense. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes defense surprisingly ranks just 70th in the nation. Ohio State gives up 161.27 yards on the ground while Michigan gains over 219 per contest. That will definitely be a key factor to watch. Additionally, Dwayne Haskins has his work cut out for him going against the number one passing defense in college football.
Ohio State clearly has looked shaky on defense this year. See Purdue, Nebraska, and Maryland for perfect examples. They are one of only three teams to give up two plays of 90 yards or more this season. Meanwhile, Michigan’s defense has notably made teams work extremely hard for anything they get. Michigan’s rushing offense will be key as well as Shea Patterson’s ability to innovate and make plays. Michigan simply does not lose when Karan Higdon runs for over 100 yards.
Prediction: Michigan 30-21
Washington at Washington State
In a change of pace, it is 10-1 Washington State playing for a Pac-12 title game berth while keeping CFP hopes alive instead of Washington. Going back to 2009, the Huskies have controlled the Apple Cup. In fact, they are 8-1 during that span. The Cougars just secured their first 10 win season since 2003. Additionally, they are seeking their first conference title since 2002, when they shared with USC.
Not surprisingly, Washington State has the nation’s best passing offense. However, Washington has the 16th best defense in college football. What is surprising is the fact that WASU actually ranks 26th in defense.
For Washington to have a chance, their defense has to apply quick pressure on Gardner Minshew. If there is any weakness in the Husky defense, it is their passing defense, although that is relative. Additionally, Jake Browning needs to play perhaps his best game of the season.
Prediction: Washington State 27-20
Oklahoma at West Virginia
West Virginia is eliminated from College Football Playoff contention, however, this is still an incredibly important game. WVU can clinch a regular season Big 12 championship with a win, which would then force a rematch with Texas in the title game if they beat Kansas. OU obviously needs to win otherwise they will be forced out of Big 12 contention along with the CFP picture.
Kyler Murray leads the nation’s number one offense for Oklahoma into battle against Will Grier and the 10th ranked offense. Neither defense is amazing considering West Virginia ranks 55th in the nation while OU ranks 87th. In fact, Oklahoma has given up 133 points during their last three games. Clearly, we know OU can score on anybody at seemingly any given time as they average just under 50 points per game.
This matchup figures to be a shootout. Both offenses are absolutely loaded with talent, athleticism, and speed. If West Virginia is able to win this game, it will be simply because their offense was able to score at will against Oklahoma’s extremely suspect defense.
Prediction: West Virginia 52-44
South Carolina at Clemson
This is the 116th edition of the Palmetto Bowl, a series in which Clemson has won four in a row. There is not much analysis needed for this game as we know the implications. If Clemson wins out and most importantly looks impressive, they are in the playoff. If they lose, due to their weaker schedule, they are definitely out. Clemson simply has way too much overall talent for South Carolina.
Prediction: Clemson 41-17
Notre Dame at USC
USC has struggled mightily with discipline, questionable play calling, and inconsistent defense, among other issues this year. In fact, they have stumbled to a 5-6 record overall thus far. Meanwhile, Notre Dame is a perfect 11-0, needing this game to potentially secure a trip to the College Football Playoff. Notre Dame brings the nations 20th ranked defense and 28th ranked offense into this game.
Prediction: Notre Dame 38-16
Central Florida at South Florida
UCF handled Cincinnati with relative ease in a game that many thought could end the now 23 game winning streak. In doing so, the Knights have already clinched a berth in the AAC title game. South Florida has certainly struggled recently, losing four games in a row after a 7-0 start to the season.
Prediction: Central Florida 45-20
We have worked our way through predicting week 13 games relevant to the College Football Playoff. Additionally, look for our conference title game article on the site.
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