College Football Schedule Spots Week 13
The last week of the college football regular season features all kinds of situational spots. In some respects, every game is a situational spot. For the teams playing out the string, there are a lot of individual players participating in their final competitive football game. There are players that are playing their final games with a program before making the leap to the NFL, playing pro elsewhere, transferring or just calling it quits. And, of course, there are games that matter with bowl eligibility, division and conference titles or the College Football Playoff all on the line.
Some games stand out more than others, though, and those are some that I’ll highlight in the Week 13 schedule spots article.
See the latest betting splits and college football odds.
There are 16 teams vying for the magic number of six wins this week. Those teams are:
Georgia Tech (+35 vs. Georgia)
Miami (FL) (+6.5 vs. Pitt)
Michigan State (+18 vs. Penn State)
Florida Atlantic (+7 vs. Western Kentucky)
Rice (+13.5 vs. North Texas)
UAB (-17.5 vs. Louisiana Tech)
UTEP (+16.5 vs. UTSA)
Buffalo (-4 vs. Kent State)
Miami (OH) (-2.5 vs. Ball State)
Ball State (+2.5 vs. Miami)
Missouri (+3.5 vs. Arkansas)
Vanderbilt (+14 vs. Tennessee)
Auburn (+22 vs. Alabama)
Georgia Southern (+5 vs. App State)
Southern Miss (-3 vs. UL Monroe)
Louisiana (-5.5 vs. Texas State)
Notice how most of them are underdogs. It’s great to have a lot of motivation and a lot to play for, but a 5-6 team generally isn’t very good. Don’t overrate a mediocre team just because of the situation.
Baylor came up seconds short of a signature win, as TCU kicked a fire drill field goal to win 29-28 and keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive. Baylor’s last win in Austin came back in 2014 and Texas has won five of the last seven meetings. After their own heartbreaking loss to TCU, the Longhorns responded with a blowout win over Kansas that was a laugher by the second quarter. Texas has some positive vibes rolling into this one and Baylor has the complete opposite. The spread looks big here, but Baylor is not in a good spot at all.
This is a really tough handicap. The Rockets have nothing to play for and that means QB Dequan Finn will likely skip this one in hopes of getting healthy for the MAC Championship Game on Dec. 3. Western Michigan cannot make a bowl game, but the Broncos won their personal bowl game last week by knocking off Central Michigan to claim the Victory Cannon in a revenge spot after losing last year. On the whole, this game doesn’t mean much to either team, but there are 22 seniors on the Western Michigan roster that would like to go out a winner at home.
Utah State heads to the smurf turf at Albertsons Stadium on the heels of a 35-31 win over San Jose State that locked up bowl eligibility. Boise State is looking to lock up a perfect 8-0 record in Mountain West play, but next week’s Mountain West Championship Game against Fresno State is of much greater importance. The thing about these games that don’t matter quite as much is that you don’t know who will be rested because conference championships are big goals for programs. Boise State was locked in a tight one last week against Wyoming that led to a Mountain Division crown. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them struggle to cover as a huge favorite here.
For teams that aren’t going bowling, an end-of-season rivalry game is the bowl game. This year’s Territorial Cup features Arizona as a home favorite in search of ending a five-game losing streak against rival Arizona State. This will actually be the first iteration in Tucson since 2018, when Arizona lost in devastating fashion 41-40. It has been a tumultuous season for the Sun Devils, who have lost three straight by double digits and have only beaten Colorado over the last five games. Do they rally here?
Kansas faceplanted last week against Texas, even though QB Jalon Daniels returned from injury. But, the Jayhawks won’t dwell on that loss too long because the Sunflower Showdown against Kansas State is this week. The Wildcats have won 13 in a row in this rivalry and the last three have been decided by 25, 41 and 28 points. The last time the Jayhawks won was 2008. The last time Kansas went to a bowl game? 2008. Could this be the year?
The other wrinkle to this game is that Kansas State makes the Big 12 Championship Game with a win (or Texas loss). How much would Kansas love to end the losing streak and to keep their hated rivals from the title game? I think some motivation factors are absolutely overblown, but these two teams will be extremely invested.
South Carolina’s field-storming win over Tennessee was the biggest victory for the program in quite some time. It was also an out-of-body experience for Spencer Rattler, who went into the game with eight touchdown passes for the season and threw six against the Volunteers. Getting back in the film and weight rooms should be easy for the Cocks this week going up against Clemson. There are some one-sided rivalries right now, but few are worse than this. Clemson has won seven in a row, including wins by 30, 35, 21, 24 and 49 in the last five years. These games haven’t even been close. Is there any Beamer Ball magic to be had in Greenville?
Because of the archaic and asinine rules of the NCAA, teams that transition from FCS to FBS aren’t able to participate in the postseason for the first two seasons. That includes bowl games. That means that this is James Madison’s bowl game. Coastal Carolina, meanwhile, has nothing to play for. The Chanticleers have won the Sun Belt East Division because they are two games ahead of Marshall. James Madison would be the “winner”, but can’t represent the conference next week in the championship game. Therefore, this is their championship game against a Chants team missing QB Grayson McCall again. That’s why this line is as big as it is.
This is not a game high on anyone’s list, but this line is an historical outlier and I like to mention those. This will be the biggest favorite role for UNLV since the Rebels were an 11-point favorite back in 2001 against Nevada. The Wolf Pack holds a slight 5-4 edge over the last nine meetings, but UNLV is in rare air here with this big of a line. Nevada has outscored UNLV 88-39 the last two seasons, so we’ll see if the Rebels can exact some revenge by kicking the Wolf Pack when they’re down and out.
Lather, rinse, repeat, right? Another week with TCU off of an emotional game while trying to maintain a perfect record and a spot in the College Football Playoff. Iowa State is a tough, physical, hard-nosed team getting 10 points against a TCU bunch fighting for its life every week. I’m not saying I’d bet Iowa State here, but betting TCU is very, very hard to do.
The last one on a very long list is the matchup in Nashville between UT and Vandy. You only have to go back to 2018 for the last time Vanderbilt beat Tennessee, so this has hardly been a one-sided rivalry, though the Vols have won by 24, 25 and 18 the last three years. The concerns for Tennessee are quite obvious here. The College Football Playoff bubble has exploded. Hendon Hooker tore his ACL. Vanderbilt is way better than past seasons, but the line still says a lot here. It’ll be really interesting to see how Tennessee responds.