Are you all revved up and ready to go for the 2013 college football season? Week 13 is here, and that means it’s time to break down all of the NCAA football odds that you have in front of you to sink your teeth into!
Last night, we already saw the Buffalo Bulls move one step closer to taking down the MAC East title when they beat and covered the Miami Redhawks in an easy 44-7 romp. Now, we are going to see a whole boatload of games on the docket which have massive implications in the title chases of a ton of conferences across the country.
The MAC West title took a turn last week when the Northern Illinois Huskies beat the Ball State Cardinals. The work isn’t done yet for the Huskies, and their tougher game is going to come on Wednesday night when they battle it out with the Toledo Rockets. NIU has won 31 consecutive regular season games, but the oddsmakers think this one is going to be awfully tough. The Huskies are favored, but only by 2.5-points at the Glass Bowl, where the Rockets have yet to lose this year and are 4-1 ATS. The winner will seize control of the conference title race with just one week left to go in the regular season.
Thursday night’s action is crucial in the AAC, as the UCF Knights hope to practically finish off this conference once and for all to get to their first BCS bowl game. They’re at home against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, one of the stingier teams in the conference. UCF will win the AAC with wins in two of its last three games regardless of which ones they are, but this team will want to hold serve at home. It seems like a lot of points to be giving the Scarlet Knights, but they are getting 17.5 in Orlando.
Elsewhere on the weekday slate, the Rice Owls are -18.5 on the road against the UAB Blazers, while the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels are getting a point on the road at the Air Force Falcons. Both of those games are on Thursday night. On Friday, the San Jose State Spartans hope to lock up a bowl bid against the Navy Midshipmen, the team that they very well could be lining up against when it comes to the bowl season as well.
Week 14 is when all of the best matchups are being contested in Rivalry Week, and as a result, there are a heck of a lot of games which feature just relatively silly matchups. The Clemson Tigers are -40 against the Citadel Bulldogs, while the South Carolina Gamecocks are -34.5 against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers. The biggest favorites in one of these FBS vs. FCS games are the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, who are -51.5 against the Alabama A&M Hornets. The Alabama Crimson Tide are prepping for the idle Auburn Tigers with the UT Chattanooga Mocs, and they are laying seven TDs.
The biggest favorites of the entire week though, are the Florida State Seminoles. The Noles have the easiest jaunt left to the BCS National Championship Game, and after back to back 59-3 wins in conference play, the garnet and gold take on the Idaho Vandals in the final home game of the season at Doak Campbell Stadium. The Vandals are one of the worst teams in the FBS this year, and not surprisingly, they are getting 57 points, the biggest FBS vs. FBS point spread of the season.
They’re not all dog games by any stretch of the imagination, though. The Michigan State Spartans can wrap up the Legends Division of the Big Ten by winning either of their last two games. They’ve got what could be a tricky one this week on the road against the Northwestern Wildcats, who have really dropped off the face of the earth after being ranked for much of the beginning of the season. Sparty is laying a TD in Evanston. Meanwhile, the Duke Blue Devils can move within one win of the ACC Championship Game if they can go on the road and beat the Wake Forest Demon Deacons as 5.5-point favorites in Winston-Salem. One of the teams in chase of the Dookies are the ones who were beaten by them last week, the Miami Hurricanes. The Canes are heavy 19.5-point favorites to snap their three-game skid at the expense of the Virginia Cavaliers.
The Oklahoma Sooners are playing in one of the more interesting games of the weekend. They are the ranked team, but they are the underdogs by 3.5 points against the Kansas State Wildcats in Manhattan. Last year, this was the game when the Wildcats proclaimed their arrival, as they went on the road as nearly three-touchdown underdogs and upset the Sooners in Norman. Now, if they can hold serve, they might have a shot at the Cotton Bowl this year, as unlikely as that seems at the present.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers have quietly cracked the Top 25 this year, but few figure that they have a chance of claiming Paul Bunyan’s Axe. This is a series which has been dominated by Wisconsin of late, but we aren’t counting out the Gophers’ chances of chopping down the goalpost at home on Saturday for the first time since 2003 in spite of the fact that they are +16 at home.
Perhaps the biggest game of the day comes from the SEC, but it doesn’t include any of the BCS contenders. The Texas A&M Aggies are going on the road to take on the LSU Tigers. The winner of this game is going to have a decent chance to claim the at-large bid to the BCS, particularly if the Crimson Tide roll right through to the National Championship Game. LSU is giving 4.5 points, and if it was to win this game, it would be the only team to beat QB Johnny Manziel twice in his collegiate career.
Elsewhere in the SEC, the Missouri Tigers are quite possibly three wins away from playing for all of the marbles. Their first date in this very tough three-game stretch features the Ole Miss Rebels in Oxford. It’s not often that the Rebs lose to a team not ranked in the Top 15 in the land, and this would fit that bill for sure. Missouri is -2.5, but it isn’t guaranteed anything even with QB James Franklin coming back into the lineup this week.
The Oregon Ducks, who now have control of the Pac-12 North and the Rose Bowl once again, are looking to keep it when they go on the road to deal with the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday night. The Cats have had a decent history of at least frustrating Oregon, but the Quack Attack are -20.5 in this one. The more important game in the Pac-12 is the one that pits the UCLA Bruins against the Arizona State Sun Devils. These two teams still have their sights set on Eugene as well for the Pac-12 Championship Game, and winning this one would be a necessity for that to happen. The Sun Devils are -2.5 on the road, but this is clearly one of those games that could go either way.
Finally, we have what probably amounts to be the de facto Big XII Championship Game. With all of the rest of the challengers firmly out of the way, the Baylor Bears and the Oklahoma State Cowboys remains. Baylor is still trying to keep its hopes alive for the BCS National Championship Game, but this is their toughest game of the year. They’re -9.5 in Stillwater, but as we have found out time and time again, traveling to Cowboy Country is never easy, and this won’t be an exception.
Not shockingly, this game is one of the highest ‘totals’ on the board as well at 78. It’s not the highest, though. The Indiana Hoosiers, who have made a routine out of allowing 50+ points, and the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have made a routine out of slaughtering teams in conference and running up the score, feature the highest ‘total’ ever in a Buckeyes game at 81. Michigan State is once again involved in the lowest ‘total’ of the weekend, as its number is only 41 against Northwestern.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.