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College Football Week 13 Picks

Baker Mayfield
3 Oklahoma Sooners vs. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys 7:00 pm (CT) on ABC
In a conference without an official championship game, this battle for Oklahoma will go down as the biggest game of the year for the Big 12. Oklahoma enters this game, riding a major wave of momentum, to say the least. The Sooners have won six straight since a weak showing against archrival Texas, and have beaten Baylor and TCU in that span. That helped push the Playoff Committee to throw Oklahoma in at the three spot, a major rise for the team. Though, the Sooners' quarterback, Baker Mayfield, was beat up in the TCU win, and may not be 100 percent for this game. That is worrying, considering Oklahoma State has proven they have a ball hawking defense that will apply plenty of pressure. It isn't just defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah creating havoc on the line of scrimmage; the 'Pokes lean on a number of impact players in their secondary. Though, that secondary looked far from great in last week's loss to Baylor, and Mayfield should look to hook up plenty with his favorite target, Sterling Shepard. The Cowboys won't have things easy against Oklahoma's run game either, as they'll square off against two big bulldozers, in Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon. Just as interesting will be how Ok. State responds offensively after a down week last weekend. The quarterback combination of Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh has worked well all year, but looked like it ran out steam against Baylor. Rudolph is a special player, just a sophomore, who can make some amazing plays. He'll hope to work with James Washington well in this one, a receiver who has been scorching hot in the second half of the year. Though, Oklahoma's defense is a stiff one, that has looked dominant all year. Zack Sanchez is a shutdown corner who should stick to Washington like glue, and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops has a number of pass rushers that can create chaos. "Bedlam" is always a great matchup, and one that always seems to find a way to come down to the wire. It is particularly intriguing this year. A win for Oklahoma and they guarantee their first Playoff appearance. A loss and the Big 12 is plunged into complete and utter chaos. Let the games begin.
Oklahoma, 38 Oklahoma State, 34

8 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. 10 Michigan Wolverines 11:00 AM (CT) on ABC
Their may not be a better rivalry in college sports, or North American sports in general, than Ohio State vs. Michigan. It extends beyond the wins and success of both schools; the fans, players, coaches and universities despise each other, which always leads to one heck of a game. This year in particular, the rivalry should be absolutely insane. Ohio State's Playoff hopes took a major hit when they were beat by Michigan State last week, but the Buckeyes are far from dead. If they could beat Michigan in this one, and get some help from Penn State (who, in turn, would have to beat MSU) they could still win the East Division and win the conference, which could earn them a Playoff berth. The stakes are high for Michigan as well. The Wolverines not only are looking for vengeance after some brutal losses to OSU over the past few years, but they could also win the division, if they get help from Penn State. Ohio State's offense looked completely out of sync a week ago, but I don't expect that to last. J.T. Barrett is a great quarterback, and the Buckeyes should learn their lesson, and use Ezekiel Elliott more this week. Elliott turned it on especially late in the year in 2014-2015, and he still has an outside shot at the Heisman. Though, the Michigan defense has been on absolute fire all year under Jim Harbaugh, and it should be stout in this one. Things could very well come down to how well Michigan moves the ball. At the beginning of the year, former Iowa transfer Jake Rudock looked nothing more than just a game manager for a defensive-minded football team. But, a huge day earlier in the year against Indiana showed he is much more. The veteran has always has a great mind for the game, but he has showed supreme confidence this year, and the growth of a deep arm that can spread the defense thin. It has helped that the ground attack has been steady, and the offensive line has been strong. Though, even more helpful has been the emergence of a number of weapons for Rudock to work with. Amara Darboh has made a living making some unreal catches, and he should be in full force in this one, while tight end Jake Butt is a gritty and efficient pass-catcher. Ohio State's defense has been strong all year. Joey Bosa has fought through double and triple teams to put together a solid campaign, while the Buckeyes are gifted with incredible speed and agility in their linebacker corps. Another interesting storyline that should add even more intrigue to this game: it is the first meeting between Jim Harbaugh and Urban Meyer. Two of the nation's best coaches, who have some distinct personalities, are sure to make this one even more exciting. I'm not very impressed by Ohio State after last week. They have a plethora of weapons, but their playcalling has been horrendous all season. After an uneven career in Iowa and some early lows at Michigan, this could be a redemption opportunity for Rudock. I like Michigan, who could very well have one loss and be playing for a clear-cut Playoff opportunity, to finish the job.
Michigan, 30 Ohio State, 24

6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. 9 Stanford Cardinal 6:30 pm (CT) on FOX
Suddenly, Notre Dame finds themselves in a very precarious position. The Irish dropped two spots to six in the latest Playoff poll, and even fell behind Michigan State. Still, the Irish, who have overcome so much adversity this year, could greatly improve their Playoff chances with a victory against an odd Stanford team. The Cardinal started off the year on a terrible note when they managed just six points in a loss to Northwestern. Then, they went on a tear only to lose just two weeks ago previously unranked Oregon. It is very hard to gauge just how good Stanford is; both Oregon and Northwestern are good football teams and they were close to wins in each, but they haven't beat much else either. The key for Stanford will be Kevin Hogan, who will be playing in his final regular season game for the Cardinal. The longtime QB has had a lot of ups-and-downs throughout his career with Stanford, but has had his best year yet. Notre Dame's secondary isn't bad, but his hasn't been absolutely shutdown either. Hogan will hope to work well with Devon Cajuste, Michael Rector and Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield. Much like the team as a whole, McCaffrey had a slow start to the year before absolutely tearing it up. He is a versatile and shifty runner who can do real damage if not contained. Though, Notre Dame has a disciplined defense and linebackers Jaylon Smith and Joe Schmidt will be on high alert for the running back. Offensivey, ND has been very inconsistent this year, as to be expected when there are backups at the two most important positions (QB, RB have had injuries). Deshone Kizer has done a very admirable job filling in for Malik Zaire, but he struggled last week and is prone to bad reads. That is a problem, considering Stanford's defense is as good as anyone on forcing turnovers and capitalizing off them. Kizer will also need assistance from C.J. Prosise, who has had a great year at running back, along with some help from his receivers. Will Fuller, Torii Hunter Jr. and Corey Robinson have had their moments, but must play incredibly well in this one. Stanford will lean heavily on their bulky front seven in this one, Prosise won't get much help between the tackles. Expect to see linebacker Blake Martinez making plays all over the field in this one, he will be tasked with not only containing Prosise, but also helping out in coverage. This looked like a Playoff play-in game just two weeks ago. It could still very well have a major impact on the Playoff situation, and it should be exciting. It may not be that pretty, but both teams have plenty of talent and can move the ball. I'm still not completely sure what we are going to get out of Stanford and it's late November. Even so, I think they are the slightly hotter team and they can capitalize off some Kizer mistakes to win a thriller.
Stanford, 28 Notre Dame, 27

Other Picks
13 Florida State, 27 12 Florida, 20
1 Clemson, 35 South Carolina, 10
18 Ole Miss, 38 21 Mississippi State, 28
2 Alabama, 42 Auburn, 24
7 Baylor, 45 19 TCU, 33
Current Picks Record: 70-26

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