Week 13 Games
It’s usually the week when rivalry games are played in college football. A few rivalries will still be played this Week 13, but many more won’t be. Clemson-South Carolina, Georgia Tech-Georgia, Kentucky-Louisville, and Florida-Florida State would all have normally been played if this season’s schedule hadn’t been altered by the coronavirus pandemic, but with conferences ditching non-conference games in most cases, the composition of the schedule has changed.
We also have to point out that on the national radar, two games of notable significance – Minnesota at Wisconsin and Oklahoma at West Virginia – have been wiped off the board this week 13 due to COVID-19 issues. Minnesota-Wisconsin probably won’t be made up. Oklahoma-West Virginia has been rescheduled for December 12. The Oklahoma-WVU game is of particular online betting significance since Oklahoma has a very good chance at making the Big 12 Championship Game.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs North Carolina Tar Heels (Friday)
College Football Odds: Notre Dame -4
The one especially big national game on Friday – with other big games being on Saturday – is this one in the ACC, with Notre Dame (officially an ACC member for this one season alone) trying to stay unbeaten against an underachieving North Carolina squad which has already lost twice.
Here is the importance of this game for Notre Dame: The Fighting Irish are likely to face Clemson in an ACC Championship Game rematch. However, Clemson did not have Trevor Lawrence for the first meeting between these teams, and the Tigers were missing a number of other players, especially in their secondary. Clemson figures to be a lot healthier and to have more of its high-end players for that rematch against Notre Dame. If the Irish are unbeaten heading into the Clemson game, a loss won’t knock them out of the College Football Playoff, since they already have a win over Clemson in their pocket. Only if Notre Dame loses before the Clemson rematch would the Irish be in trouble for the playoff, and that’s why this game against North Carolina is so huge.
Notre Dame will be without two of its starting offensive linemen for this game, and North Carolina – while having a terrible defense – has an elite offense. The Tar Heels recently overcame a 45-24 second-half deficit to score 35 straight points and beat Wake Forest, 59-53. Expect a shootout in this one.
Auburn Tigers vs Alabama Crimson Tide
Odds: Alabama -24.5
This game has involved a recent news development: Nick Saban, who had a false-positive test for COVID-19 earlier in the year before a big game against Georgia, has been confirmed to have tested positive for COVID-19 this week He will definitely not coach this game and won’t be able to be anywhere inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. Steve Sarkisian, the team’s offensive coordinator, is likely to be the acting coach for this game.
Alabama’s offense lacks elite receiver Jaylen Waddle, but DeVonta Smith and the other remaining receivers have still been fantastic. Najee Harris gives Alabama a strong running game and a balanced offense. The Tide are so good that quarterback Mac Jones has compiled stratospheric numbers which have him in the top three of the Heisman Trophy race along with Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Florida’s Kyle Trask.
Auburn’s offense has been inconsistent under quarterback Bo Nix, but the real challenge for Auburn here will be to limit Alabama’s scoring output. No team has truly kept Alabama under wraps this season, so the enormity of Auburn’s challenge is evident on Saturday. That’s why they’re such a big underdog in the sportsbook.
Pittsburgh Panthers vs Clemson Tigers
Odds: Clemson -24
Four years ago, Pittsburgh was a huge underdog – similar to this upcoming Saturday – and knocked off Deshaun Watson and Clemson in a shootout. Do the Panthers have more upset-minded magic here? It would be an even bigger shock, since Clemson is in a must-win position after losing to Notre Dame a few weeks ago. Clemson did not play this past weekend since its game with Florida State was called off due to COVID-19. The week off gave the banged-up Tigers a chance to heal, though Trevor Lawrence might be very rusty. He hasn’t played in over a month due to his own COVID-19 positive test and subsequent coronavirus postponements and delays. That rust factor could be the one source of concern for Clemson in this game.
Northwestern Wildcats vs Michigan State Spartans
Odds: Northwestern -13.5
The Northwestern Wildcats will clinch a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game if they win. That’s the result of Wisconsin’s canceled game against Minnesota. Wisconsin has not played the minimum number of games needed to be eligible for the Big Ten title. After Northwestern smothered Wisconsin this past Saturday, the Wildcats have the advantage over the Badgers in the Big Ten West Division standings. Northwestern should be able to handle a Michigan State team which has played terribly this season, except for one win against Michigan.
LSU Tigers vs Texas A&M Aggies
Odds: Texas A&M -14
The LSU Tigers were the toast of the SEC last season, rolling to a 15-0 record behind Joe Burrow and a truckload of other NFL-quality players. The Tigers had 14 players drafted. No team in college football history has ever had more players get taken in one draft. Those accumulated losses, plus some opt-outs from 2020 players due to COVID-19, plus some coaching changes – particularly the loss of passing game coach Joe Brady to the NFL’s Carolina Panthers – have left LSU decimated. The Tigers have three losses entering this game against Texas A&M, which has become a College Football Playoff contender due to the failures of LSU and Auburn in the SEC. The Aggies beat Florida earlier in the season to work their way into playoff contention. If they win out and get a few breaks, they could make the playoff.
Utah Utes vs Washington Huskies
Odds: no line
This game is a new game on the schedule. Utah was originally supposed to play Arizona State, and Washington was originally supposed to play Washington State in the Apple Cup. Washington was expected to struggle this year, but with Pac-12 North rival California suffering a horrible start to the season, Washington is now the only team that can contend with Oregon for the Pac-12 North championship. The Huskies will try to stay unbeaten this Saturday night in Seattle. Utah is playing just its second game of the season after two COVID-19 cancellations earlier in November. Utah lost to USC in its season opener this past Saturday.