Week 14 of the college football season is upon us, and here at Bang the Book, we are looking at some of the best college football odds that are currently on the board. Are you all revved up and ready to go for the 2013 college football season? Week 14 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!
Thanksgiving Day means that we have a heck of a lot of great football games, as traditional rivals from all across the country get together in huge games with national significance. It also means that we have football all over the docket, starting on Wednesday and continuing with a full slate of games not just on Friday, but on Saturday as well.
It all starts on Tuesday with what should be the coronation of the MAC West champs, as the Northern Illinois Huskies finish their perfect season against the Western Michigan Broncos. WMU has kept this series relatively close over the course of the last few years, but this is a much different situation to be in. The team has already lost 10 games this year, and this one seems like a foregone conclusion as well. The Broncos are getting a whopping 34.5, making them one of the biggest dogs on the docket for the week.
On Thursday night, the Texas Longhorns are involved in a game once again. Their traditional rival for this game up until last season used to be the Texas A&M Aggies. Now, it’s the Texas Tech Red Raiders. We have seen these two play some awesome games in the past, and this one might not be an exception in the Big XII. The Horns are favored by 4.5, but this could be a dangerous game against one of the high-flying teams in what has proven to be a wide open conference.
If we have learned nothing else over the course of the last several years, it’s to not underestimate the power of the underdog in some conference games and/or rivalry games down the stretch of the season. This year, we have a number of games that clearly fit that billing on both Friday and Saturday.
The LSU Tigers and the Arkansas Razorbacks are the first traditional rivals to square off on the day on Friday. They play in their normal early afternoon slot with this year’s game coming in Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals have probably done their share to get a spot in the Cotton Bowl this year, but they don’t want to slip in this one. Still, 24.5 points is a heck of a lot for a game like this one. We are seeing similar spreads of question in the Apple Cup, where the Washington Huskies are favored by two touchdowns over the Washington State Cougars, and in the Civil War, where the Oregon Ducks are taking on the Oregon State Beavers as three-TD choices of the oddsmakers. The difference here is that Oregon might still be playing for its spot in a BCS bowl game, something that it might have also given up last week when it inexplicably lost to the Arizona Wildcats to blow the Pac-12 North title.
The Sunshine State is the home to a couple budding rivalries across college football. The Florida International Golden Panthers are +28.5 against the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday, while two new conference mates, the UCF Knights and the South Florida Bulls meet in the War on I-4 on Friday night as well. The game in Orlando is going to be a massive display for sure. The Knights can not only banish their foes which they always tried to live up to down I-4, but they can also clinch the first ever AAC crown and officially punch the first ticket to the BCS. The Knights are -27.5 to get the job done.
These two teams aren’t going to be the biggest favorites in the state of Florida, though. The Florida State Seminoles are currently off the board against the Florida Gators, but after years and years of getting beaten in this series, the garnet and gold are going to try to get some massive retribution in this one. We have a feeling that the number is going to be around five touchdowns, but when the spread comes out, QB Jameis Winston and the gang are going to be laying a ton against a UF team that has clearly given up on its season after getting beaten last week by the lowly Georgia Southern Eagles of the FCS to fall out of any chance of bowl eligibility.
On Saturday, there are more rivalry games with huge implications. The Ohio State Buckeyes, now the #3 ranked team in the BCS by a comfortable margin, are -14.5 on the road against the Michigan Wolverines, who have still only lost one game in the Big House all-time with Head Coach Brady Hoke in charge. The Bucks are two wins and either a loss by Florida State or Alabama away from almost certainly going to the National Championship Game. More on that in a bit…
The Duke Blue Devils are +5.5 against the North Carolina Tar Heels, and if they can pull off this upset down Tobacco Road and get the job done, they will have won the ACC Coastal Division and earned the right to square off in what might feel like a bit of a home game next week in the ACC Championship Game against the Florida State Seminoles. Elsewhere in the ACC, the Virginia Tech Hokies are -13 and waiting for their chance to claim the ACC Coastal Division title. They could get the job done with a win as 13-point favorites over the Virginia Cavaliers. The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets are at home, and they are playing against the Georgia Bulldogs without QB Aaron Murray, who is out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL. That said, G-Tech is still getting a field goal at home.
The USC Trojans were figured to be staying behind the UCLA Bruins for the rest of the year, but thanks to the surge brought on by Head Coach Ed Orgeron, the Men of Troy have a shot to once again capture the city of Los Angeles at home. The Bruins are +4, and after putting a ton of energy into storming back in last week’s game against the Arizona State Sun Devils, there is a real chance that they are out of gas going into the Coliseum. As far as those Sun Devils go, they are -11 against the Arizona Wildcats, and if they can hold serve at home in this rivalry game, they will host the Pac-12 Championship Game next week against the Stanford Cardinal. Stanford is -14 this week against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The biggest instate rivalry game outside of Alabama might be in South Carolina, where the Clemson Tigers will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. These two teams are both fighting for at large bids to the BCS. The Gamecocks might be in better shape if they win this game and don’t have to take on someone from the SEC West next week in the SEC Championship Game, as otherwise, the best they could probably hope for is a trip to the Capital One Bowl or the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day. Clemson meanwhile, almost certainly locks up its bid to the Orange Bowl or the Sugar Bowl with a win in this game. DE Jadeveon Clowney absolutely single-handedly won this game last season by destroying the whole Clemson offense. This is QB Tajh Boyd’s second chance to get the job done. South Carolina is -5 in what should be another great day for the SEC in its rivalry against the ACC.
But of course, the best games of the day are in the SEC, and they have some massive implications on the BCS National Championship chase. The Missouri Tigers are up to ranked fifth in the country, and they know that they are certainly getting up to fourth if they can win this week. They’ll win the SEC East title if they can beat the Texas A&M Aggies at home in what will amount to be the final regular season game and the last shot for QB Johnny Manziel to impress the Heisman Trophy voters. The Aggies have definitely taken a step back of late, including losing last week to the LSU Tigers, but this is their chance to get back on the map and beat a Top 5 team. Mizzou, with so much on the line here in a night game in Columbia, is -4.5. Should the Tigers lose, the South Carolina Gamecocks will win the SEC East and go on to Atlanta next week to take on the winner of the Iron Bowl.
Missouri’s best bet would be for the Auburn Tigers to be beaten by the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Iron Bowl this week. The Iron Bowl is going to be a heck of a war, and it is the best game of the day. For years, Alabama has dominated this series under Head Coach Nick Saban, but the only time that was an exception was three seasons ago when Auburn won this game and went on to claim all of the marbles in a game which knocked the Crimson Tide out of the SEC West title chase and the BCS completely. The Tigers won’t take the Tide away from the BCS, but they can take their rivals out of the SEC Championship Game. The winner of this one will take the SEC West title and play either Missouri or South Carolina. If Alabama wins the Iron Bowl, it will be one win away from going back to the BCS Championship Game once again. Auburn might be in the same boat, but it still might need some help in the form of a loss by Florida State or Ohio State somewhere along the way. The Tide could also conceivably get back to the title game with a loss, but you’d like to think the only way that happens is if both Florida State and Ohio State lose, which could set up a rematch for all of the marbles between these two teams.
Alabama is -10.5 in what has amounted to become one of the most anticipated Iron Bowls we have seen in quite some time, perhaps more so than three years ago at Bryant Denny Stadium when QB Cam Newton stormed back from down three TDs against the Tide to essentially give Auburn its shot at winning the National Championship.
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.