Rivalry Week is here already?
The 2023 college football season enters the final weekend before conference championship weekend, and no rivalry game looms larger than the matchup between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Michigan. That rivalry will forge on next year, but the stakes might never be the same given both teams are 11-0 and this one will decide the Big Ten East and a likely College Football Playoff spot. With Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh suspended and Ryan Day trying to break a two-game losing streak to the Wolverines, the plot lines are better than ever.
That is not the only rivalry that will have bitter feelings. There are a handful of last-call conference games because of the next round of realignment.
In the Big 12, that means No. 13 Oklahoma at TCU and Texas Tech at No. 7 Texas will have more heat with the Sooners and Longhorns heading to the SEC. Ditto for the Pac-12, where No. 15 Oregon State meets No. 6 Oregon on Black Friday in the last one before the Ducks go to the Big Ten. Washington State travels to No. 4 Washington in the Apple Cup on Saturday in the same situation with the Huskies heading to the Big Ten, too.
A look at our track record in picks against the spread heading into Week 13:
- Straight up: 184-38 (18-2 in Week 12)
- ATS: 117-102-3 (15-5 in Week 12)
Here are our picks against the spread for Week 12.
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Week 13 Top 25 picks against the spread
Thursday, Nov. 23
- No. 12 Ole Miss (-12.5) at Mississippi State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Egg Bowl has a tradition of wild games, and this one features Mississippi State with an interim coach. Veteran quarterback Will Rogers still has a chance to lead the Bulldogs to a bowl game. Ole Miss' running game will wear on the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are 2-2 ATS on the road. The last four meetings in this series, however, have been decided by 10 points or less.
Pick: Ole Miss wins 30-20 and COVERS the spread.
Friday, Nov. 24
- No. 23 Toledo (-11.5) at Central Michigan (12 p.m., ESPN)
The Rockets are finally ranked, and with good reason. Toledo has an offense that averages 230.5 passing yards and 206.9 rushing yards behind dual-threat star DeQuan Finn. Toledo, however, is 2-4 ATS when favored by double digits in MAC play, and the Chippewas have not lost at home yet. Still, we like Toledo to cover late en route to the MAC championship game.
Pick Toledo wins 38-24 and COVERS the spread.
- TCU at No. 13 Oklahoma (-12.5) (12 p.m., Fox)
Dillon Gabriel's status is unclear after he suffered an upper body injury against BYU in Week 12. That means freshman Jackson Arnold could start. The Horned Frogs need a victory to become bowl eligible. Oklahoma is 4-1 ATS at home, and this is their farewell game in the Big 12 regular season. Josh Hoover averages 355.7 passing yards per game the last three weeks for the Horned Frogs.
Pick Oklahoma wins 34-24 and FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- No. 20 Iowa (-1) at Nebraska (12 p.m., CBS)
The Huskers are stuck in a three-game losing streak, and Matt Rhule needs a victory here to put Nebraska to a bowl game in his first season. The Hawkeyes already clinched the Big Ten West championship in a double-take season where they rank third in the FBS in scoring defense (12.3) but 13th in the Big Ten in scoring offense (18.4). The Huskers (18.7) have trouble scoring too.
Pick Iowa wins 19-16 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 10 Missouri (-8) at Arkansas (4 p.m., CBS)
Arkansas will retain Sam Pittman, and the home finale will offer a reset heading into next season. Missouri is in the running for a New Year's Day Six bowl behind a high-powered offense led by quarterback Brady Cook. The Tigers have won six of the last seven in this series. This feels a little risky on the road because the Razorbacks are 4-1 ATS as an underdog.
Pick Missouri wins 31-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- Texas Tech at No. 7 Texas (-14) (7:30 p.m., ABC)
Remember Brett Yormark's comments about the Texas-Texas Tech game? You can bet Longhorns coach Steve Sarkisian does. The Red Raiders have won three straight games, but they are just 2-3 S/U on the road. Texas Tech shocked Texas 37-34 last season. The Longhorns get revenge and keep their CFP hopes alive, and they tack one on late.
Pick Texas wins 38–21 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 11 Penn State (-20) at Michigan State (7:30 p.m., NBC)
Penn State and Michigan State will play at Ford Field, an interesting opportunity for the Big Ten East rivals. Drew Allar suffered an injury last week, but Beau Pribula adds a different dimension to the Nittany Lions' offense. Penn State still is in the mix for a New Year's Day Six bid, and they are 6-0 ATS when they win in Big Ten play. The Nittany Lions roll here, too.
Pick Penn State wins 35-14 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 15 Oregon State at No. 6 Oregon (-14) (8:30 p.m., Fox)
Oregon is on a five-game winning streak during which it has scored at least 35 points each game, and it has covered in three of those games. The Beavers hung with Washington last week, and emotions will be high between these in-state rivals. The last three meetings have been decided by nine points or less, but the Beavers have not won at Autzen Stadium since 2007.
Pick: Oregon wins 42-24 and COVERS the spread.
Saturday, Nov. 25
- No. 2 Ohio State at No. 3 Michigan (-4) (12 p.m., Fox)
This line could drop closer to the Buckeyes' favor before kickoff. Michigan is favored for the first time since 2018. The Wolverines have not beaten the Buckeyes as a favorite since 2011, and that extends back to 2003 when we're talking about being the favorite and beating a ranked Ohio State team. Sherrone Moore will have to take more risks with the play-calling here, and it feels like a defensive struggle where one turnover makes the difference. The Buckeyes have allowed 17 points or less in every game this season. Keep an eye on the balance. Michigan has a 91:31 run/pass ratio the last two weeks. Ohio State is at 67:66 in the same stretch. Who wins the running game? With TreVeyon Henderson's late-season emergence, it might just be the Buckeyes here.
Pick: Ohio State wins 22-17 in an UPSET.
- Texas A&M at No. 14 LSU (-10.5) (12 p.m., ESPN)
Texas A&M won this rivalry game 38-23 last season, and the Aggies have a two-game winning streak despite the firing of Jimbo Fisher. Texas A&M has lost three SEC games by a combined total of 16 points. Containing Jayden Daniels won’t be easy – and the LSU quarterback can make his last Heisman Trophy statement here. This feels like a high-scoring shootout both ways.
Pick: LSU wins 38-31 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- Kentucky at No. 9 Louisville (-7) (12 p.m., ABC)
Louisville clinched a trip to the ACC championship. Now, Jeff Brohm could put the finishing touch on a brilliant regular season with a victory against Kentucky. The Wildcats have won four in a row in the series. Kentucky has lost five of six games, but this is one of those classic records-don't-matter-events.
Pick: Louisville wins 27-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- No. 24 James Madison (-9.5) at Coastal Carolina (3:30 p.m., ESPN2)
The Dukes had their perfect season spoiled, and now they travel for a road game against the Chanticleers. Jarrett Guest was efficient for Coastal Carolina last week, but the run defense faltered in a 28-21 loss to Army. The Dukes are 5-1 ATS when favored by less than 10 points.
Pick: James Madison wins 27-17 and COVERS the spread.
- Vanderbilt at No. 24 Tennessee (-26) (3:30 p.m., SEC Network)
Why in the world would you take the Commodores here? Vanderbilt has covered one time in nine straight losses, but that was against Georgia. Tennessee is coming off a loss to the Bulldogs, but the Vols are 3-0 ATS when favored by 20 or more points this season. Tennessee won 56-0 last year, too. Still, we have a feeling if the Commodores can get to 17 points they will cover.
Pick: Tennessee wins 41-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- No. 22 Liberty (-17) at UTEP (3:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network)
Liberty has a chance to finish off a perfect regular season. Kaidon Salter is third in points responsible per game (21.3) behind Daniels (25.3) and Nix (22.2). The Miners have covered four of the last five weeks, but they also have lost their last four home games. The Flames finish 12-0 in style here.
Pick: Liberty wins 41-17 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 8 Alabama (-14.5) at Auburn (3:30 p.m, CBS)
Auburn is coming off an embarrassing loss to New Mexico State, and they are catching Alabama at the wrong time. The Crimson Tide has won by 14 points or more in four straight games under Nick Saban. The Crimson Tide hasn't won by that margin at Jordan-Hare Stadium since 2015, but this is the final tuneup for Georgia. We can't get past that loss, even with Hugh Freeze making his Iron Bowl debut.
Pick: Alabama wins 35-16 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 16 Arizona (-12.5) at Arizona State (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
Arizona broke a five-game losing streak in this rivalry last year, and the Wildcats have not won a road game in this series since 2011. The Wildcats have been arguably the hottest team in college football with five straight wins. Trenton Bourguet has completed 54.5% of his passes the last three weeks. He will need to be more efficient in this one, but this game could be wild down the stretch.
Pick: Arizona wins 30-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- BYU at No. 21 Oklahoma State (-17.5) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
BYU has found life on the road in the Big 12 rough to this point. The Cougars have lost four conference road games by an average of 25.6 points per game. The Cowboys still have Big 12 championship aspirations, too. Oklahoma State has won four home conference games by an average of 12.5 points per game. It's a lot of points, but look for Ollie Gordon to bust loose against a BYU run defense that allows 177.6 rushing yards per game.
Pick: Oklahoma State wins 42-22 and COVERS the spread.
- UTSA at No. 18 Tulane (-3) (3:30 p.m., ABC)
This is the underrated quarterback matchup of the week with Michael Pratt and Frank Harris. Tulane can clinch a spot in the American Athletic Conference championship game with a win or an SMU loss. UTSA has to win to get in, which would be a remarkable accomplishment in their first year in the conference. Harris hasn't turned the ball over the last three weeks. This feels like a small upset.
Pick: UTSA wins 35-31 in an UPSET.
- Washington State at No. 4 Washington (-16.5) (4 p.m., Fox)
Washington has won three straight against ranked opponents and can clinch a perfect regular season en route to the Pac-12 championship game. This will be the last Apple Cup with the teams in the same conference. The rivalry will continue through at least 2028, but it will not feel quite the same. Washington won a 51-33 shootout last season. This one will be a little closer.
Pick: Washington wins 39-27 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- No. 5 Florida State (-6.5) at Florida (7 p.m., ABC)
It's a rivalry game that likely will be a backup quarterback battle. Jordan Travis (ankle) is out, and Tate Rodemaker will try to keep the Seminoles in the playoff hunt. Max Brown is on the spot for the Gators. The last two meetings have been one-score games, and this one should be no exception. Florida State squeaks out an ugly win at The Swamp.
Pick: Florida State wins 23-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
- No. 17 Notre Dame (-25) at Stanford (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Stanford stunned Notre Dame last season, but the Cardinal are in the midst of a rebuild under Troy Taylor. The Irish are 3-1 ATS in games where they are favored by more than 20 points, a nod that Marcus Freeman learned from those upset losses in 2022. Stanford is 0-5 S/U against ranked teams, and four of those losses are by 35 points or more. This will be another tough lesson in the final game of the Pac-12 Network.
Pick: Notre Dame wins 48-17 and COVERS the spread.
- No. 1 Georgia (-23) at Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m, ABC)
The Bulldogs have hit their stride with an offense around Carson Beck and a tremendous set of playmakers. The defense has limited quarterbacks to a 53.8% completion percentage the last three weeks. The Yellow Jackets are 2-2 ATS as a double-digit underdog, but Haynes King cannot turn the ball over in this one. Georgia has won the last five meetings by an average of 33.6 points per game.
Pick: Georgia wins 38-13 and COVERS the spread.
- Iowa State at No. 19 Kansas State (-11.5) (8 p.m., Fox)
This could be a slugfest considering Iowa State ranks first and Kansas State third, respectively, in the Big 12 in total defense. The Wildcats beat the Cyclones 10-9 last season. Kansas State is 3-1 ATS when favored by double digits, but Iowa State has won its last three road games.
Pick: Kansas State wins 24-19 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.