What To Expect On Saturday: CFB Week 13 Preview

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What To Expect On Saturday: CFB Week 13 Preview

Joey Goodsir, Staff Writer

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If there is any week of College Football to watch, it’s always this one. After a nice Thanksgiving filled with family, fun, and some pro football, your favorite schools take the gridiron one last time in the regular season. In addition to that, this week is rivalry week, with this year’s round of the sport’s greatest traditions taking place this coming Saturday. There are some Friday matchups as well because it is Thanksgiving weekend, so keep your eyes out for those.

About Last Week…

Last week was admittedly not super exciting, as many teams were saying healthy for big games this week. As a result, there is not too much exciting football to report. UCF successfully extended their win streak to 23, beating a ranked Cincinnati team in front of a national primetime audience and Notre Dame took care of Syracuse at Yankee Stadium in embarrassing fashion.

I went 8-1 (88.9%) for Week 12, which puts me at 89-32 (73.6%) overall.

Here are how the CFP rankings stand now, and be sure to tune into the next episode of It Matters Now – The Postseason Football Podcast next Monday to hear my thoughts (along with NFL previewer Michael Raupp) on them. Also, be sure to see the new Top 25 premiere next Tuesday.

College Football Playoff Rankings, Nov. 20

  1. Alabama (11-0)
  2. Clemson (11-0)
  3. Notre Dame (11-0)
  4. Michigan (10-1)
  5. Georgia (10-1)
  6. Oklahoma (10-1)
  7. LSU (9-2)
  8. Washington State (10-1)
  9. UCF (10-0)
  10. Ohio State (10-1)
  11. Florida (8-3)
  12. Penn State (8-3)
  13. West Virginia (8-2)
  14. Texas (8-3)
  15. Kentucky (8-3)
  16. Washington (8-3)
  17. Utah (8-3)
  18. Mississippi State (7-4)
  19. Northwestern (7-4)
  20. Syracuse (8-3)
  21. Utah State (10-1)
  22. Texas A&M (7-4)
  23. Boise State (9-2)
  24. Pittsburgh (7-4)
  25. Iowa State (6-4)

Let’s get to the preview!

Noon Game of The Week:

The Game: #4 Michigan @ #10 Ohio State


Quick Essentials

When: 11:00 CT


Rain (Above 40%)? Yes. 80%. No Storms.

Where: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH)

Series History: OSU 31-20 in 2017 (UM leads 58-6-49 all-time)


It’s one of the biggest rivalries in sports, and it always kicks off the last Saturday of the season. This year, it has not only Big Ten but National Championship implications, and College GameDay will be on site for it.

Both teams come into this game per usual on the weird note of last week, in which their conservative save-it-for-The-Game gameplay. Michigan took a half to get activated against Indiana, and Ohio State went to overtime against Maryland. All of this is to say that these performances need to be disregarded, as clearly these times have a bigger matchup on their minds: this one.

The Buckeyes have had a sloppy set of wins since their embarrassing loss at Purdue. That stretch includes a close win against a dismal Nebraska team, a Michigan State game that was won based on the Bucks’ successful punting job that day, and their most recent close game against the Terrapins that was mentioned above.

This team has a very powerful strength in an explosive passing offense lead by quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and will be the main force the Michigan Wolverines will have to overcome. However, an inefficient running game and an atrocious defense makes this team likely the least secure one under Urban Meyer.

Michigan, on the other hand, has their leading force in the #1 defense in the country, and have built their offense from the ground to become a team with multiple offensive weapons. Their biggest setback going into this game may be some injuries, as key defensive end Chase Winovich is probable (but still uncertain) for Saturday.

This game is going to depend upon Ohio State’s ability to move on Michigan’s defense. Their passing bliss will likely be prepared for and stopped early on, but their ability to readjust will be key.

As many may know, I do not make picks for Michigan games. However, I will provide some keys. While those Ohio State readjustments are key for a Buckeye victory, the Wolverines will have to get through the early minutes of the game, as that is their key point of being slow. If Michigan can get through the first quarter trailing by less than two touchdowns, they will be out of trouble.

On paper, Michigan is in position to really dominate and give Jim Harbaugh his first win in this rivalry (in what might be Urban Meyer’s last appearance). However, the thing about this rivalry is that you cannot rely on your predictions. Ohio State will play their best game, and they do have recent history of domination that puts them in a good spot. All that can be assured is a game for the ages as always.


Other Noon Games of Note:

11:00 CT:

Georgia Tech @ #5 Georgia (SEC Network)

#11 Florida @ Florida State (ABC)


Afternoon Game of The Week:

The Iron Bowl: Auburn @ #1 Alabama


Quick Essentials

When: 2:30 CT


Rain (Above 40%)? No.

Where: Bryant-Denny Stadium (Tuscaloosa, AL)

Series History: Auburn 26-14 in 2017 (Bama leads 45-1-36 all-time)


From one big rivalry to the next, the in-state battle that always takes center stage in the southeast region of the country has the afternoon slot on an exciting day of college football.

The top of the College Football Playoff Rankings is very solid, and part of that solidity is Bama’s calculated success, which will be needed to continue to avoid chaos. The Auburn Tigers would be more than willing to cause that however, especially when it is at the hands of their biggest rival.

Although the Tide remain the obvious favorite, Auburn stunned them last year, and would like to do so again in Tuscaloosa. In order to do so, they will need to match what would be a chaotic result with chaotic play. If they can win the turnover margin, and have as much defensive presence as possible, then they will have the best chance.

The problem is a usual one, which is that Alabama is currently Alabama, and somehow one of Nick Saban’s best teams yet. Obviously, they are lead by an explosive quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa, but more amazingly, they have been blowing out opponents of any quality week in week out. It seems pretty clear that while things may be not of that quality every quarter they play (see the first two against The Citadel in Alabama’s edition of the SEC’s annual cupcake week), lapses from the winning part don’t seem to be coming anytime soon.


Alabama Wins, 38-21


Other Afternoon Games of Note:

2:30 CT:

Illinois @ #19 Northwestern (BTN)


Night Game of The Week:

Battle for the Jeweled Shillelagh: #3 Notre Dame @ USC


Quick Essentials

When: 7:00 CT


Rain (Above 40%)? Nope.

Where: LA Memorial Coliseum (Los Angeles, CA)

Series History: ND 49-14 in 2017 (ND leads 45-5-36 all-time)


Considering Notre Dame’s independence, this will be their final data point for the College Football Playoff Committee, and as always, it comes down to their big rivalry out west with the USC Trojans. Although the Irish will be favorites, the Coliseum will be packed with fans who will be looking for the impossible to happen.

ND is coming into this game following a Shamrock Series showdown at Yankee Stadium in which they made a serious statement, thumping the Syracuse Orange 36-3. The Trojans come into it with a loss to a dismal UCLA team, a rival.

It is two very different paradigms for the teams, as the Irish seek playoff security, while USC seeks bowl eligibility. USC does not have a single one of their rivalry trophies however, and they may throw anything they have at getting their hands back on the adorned Irish walking stick that has been the centerpiece of this legendary matchup.

This game is set up to be an open door for Notre Dame to make a triumphant final statement that they deserve to be included under any circumstance. Ian Book will show off his consistency and talent once again, and the undermentioned defense will contain any desperation that may be thrown at them by SC.


Notre Dame Wins, 48-10


Other Night Games of Note:

6:00 CT:

South Carolina @ #2 Clemson (ESPN)

#15 Kentucky @ Louisville (ESPN2)

#7 LSU @ #22 Texas A&M (SEC Network)


Late Game of The Week:

#21 Utah State @ #23 Boise State


Quick Essentials

When: 9:15 CT


Rain (Above 40%)? No drops!

Where: Albertsons Stadium (Boise, ID)

Series History: Boise State 41-14 in 2017 (Boise State leads 17-5 all-time)


The nightcap on this final normal week of college football is not “PAC 12 After Dark”, but a presentation of the Mountain West on the blue turf in Boise for a ranked matchup.

The Broncos are taking on a Utah State team that lost to the Michigan State Spartans by a close margin on Friday night of the first week of the season, but has won every game since.

While this is an impressive season for the Aggies, they will be taking on a Boise State team with a higher quality record, a higher playoff ranking, and an almost unbeatable reputation on that blue turf at home.

Stay up for this one, as it will be a battle. The key for Utah State to have a shot in this game is to make big scores early, and take advantage of some significant special teams issues the Broncos have been putting on display recently.

While the Aggies are in store to take advantage of those things, they will not to a big enough extent, as a small Boise State lead throughout will become a shootout in the fourth quarter, with the Broncos remaining on top.


Boise State Wins, 45-38


Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your Saturday, everyone!

Photo Courtesy: Andrew Weber/Getty Images