College football schedule Week 13
This may shock you, but there are college football situational spots everywhere this week. It is the last week of the regular season, so there are a ton of rivalry games and there are also a lot of teams looking for that important sixth win of the season to be eligible for bowl consideration. Every rivalry game and every game with a five-win team falls into a situational spot. Every game with College Football Playoff, conference, or division implication falls into a situational spot.
So, it’s hard to find a game that doesn’t mean anything this week. I’ll highlight a few of the big ones, but keep in mind that there is a lot more than meets the eye with the vast majority of the college football card for Week 13.
This will be the last installment of this article for the season. Thanks for reading!
Week 13 Hub | College football odds | College football betting splits
(Games sorted by Kickoff Time; odds as of November 20, 7:45 p.m. PT)
Let’s go ahead and get this out of the way now.
Here are the teams with five wins and their opponents (listed in chronological order):
Eastern Michigan at Buffalo (Tues)
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss (Thurs)
TCU at Oklahoma (Fri)
Nebraska vs. Iowa (Fri)
Central Michigan vs. Toledo (Fri)
Utah State at New Mexico (Fri)
Northern Illinois at Kent State
Syracuse vs. Wake Forest
Rice vs. Florida Atlantic
Old Dominion vs. Georgia State
Louisiana vs. UL Monroe
BYU at Oklahoma State
Illinois vs. Northwestern
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin
Virginia Tech at Virginia
Marshall vs. Arkansas State
Washington State at Washington
Florida vs. Florida State
South Carolina vs. Clemson
South Florida vs. Charlotte
Cal vs. UCLA
Colorado State at Hawaii
Some of these games deserve a little more attention.
Iowa has nothing to play for here, as the Hawkeyes lose to the winner of Ohio State/Michigan in the Big Ten Championship Game next week. Nebraska has everything to play for. The Cornhuskers haven’t been to a bowl game since the 2016 Music City Bowl, which is embarrassing for such an historic program. Matt Rhule has done an incredible job with Nebraska this season and he can punctuate a really successful first year with a bowl berth.
The Gamecocks are fighting for bowl eligibility, but they are facing an angry Clemson bunch. South Carolina won 31-30 last year on the road to snap a seven-game losing streak in the Palmetto Bowl. In that span, the games were not very competitive, as Clemson won 35-17, 37-32, 56-7, 34-10, 56-35, 38-3, and 30-0. We’ll see what happens this time around, but you know Clemson has had this game circled all season long. Things haven’t gone as they had hoped, so even though they’re going to a bowl game, this is their bowl game.
Colorado State hasn’t won a bowl game since 2013, so it has been a very long time for the Rams. This is definitely not a vacation out to Honolulu for them, as they look to secure bowl eligibility and hope to get picked. The Rams are also looking to end a pretty extended bowl game drought, as their last appearance was the 2017 New Mexico Bowl. These are big driving forces for programs that struggle to get to that six-win mark year in and year out and Colorado State is a good example.
Rice is a similar team, as the Owls have a chance to go bowling against FAU. They went last year, but haven’t won one since 2014.
So is Northern Illinois, who hasn’t won a bowl game since 2012, but they’re playing Kent State, so they didn’t really need a bigger mention.
Not every team with five wins wants more practices and another game. I’ll be really curious to see how Syracuse comes out this week. Dino Babers was just fired while the Orange have a chance at getting to six wins. Athletic departments are making moves earlier now because of the importance of the transfer portal on Dec. 4, so that’s why Babers was let go with a game left. Tight ends coach Nunzio Campanile will take over, but it seemed like Syracuse players were pretty surprised with the announcement. We’ll see if they are invested.
Utah does not get embarrassed often, but Kyle Whittingham’s crew got destroyed by Arizona last week. This could be a bounce back week heading into bowl season, but I’m more interested in the version of Colorado that we get. The Buffaloes have exceeded expectations to a degree, but Shedeur Sanders is hurt and you really wonder how much this roster has left in the tank. There are a lot of transfers here that haven’t really played this deep into a season and they may just be done with it all. That seems feasible coming off of last week’s atrocious effort against Washington State.
The perfect season dream is gone for James Madison. Their appeal process has not gone well, even though lawmakers in the Commonwealth are now involved. But, the boys from Harrisonburg, Virginia may not have another game to play after this one. In some respects, this is their bowl game. But, this is also a must-win game for Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers beat App State earlier this season and would play in the Sun Belt Championship Game with a win. James Madison is ineligible, so a win and an App State win over Georgia Southern would put the Mountaineers in that game. A lot happening in this one on the teal turf.
I think this is a really bad spot for Arkansas State. The Red Wolves clinched bowl eligibility last week with a 77-point effort against Texas State that included three defensive touchdowns and a kick return TD, all in the second half. Marshall has lost six of seven and looks really awful, but they can still get in the bowl mix with a win here. With how the two teams are playing, this line with Marshall favored seems to tell a story.
For more on some other games of the week and conference championship game scenarios, check out what my colleague Zachary Cohen had to say.
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