Alabama 42, Auburn 14

Trent Richardson and No. 2 Alabama have convinced Nick Saban that they’re worthy of competing for college football’s top prize. They’ll have to wait a while before for the final decision is rendered.

Six Players Who Could Swing the Iron Bowl

The crown jewel of the final weekend of the 2017 regular season is the Iron Bowl, which has direct SEC title implications for the first time since 2013 and will affect the national championship picture for the first time since the BCS gave way to the playoff. The winner on Saturday will face Georgia the following week in Atlanta, and the winner of that game has a close to guaranteed shot at the playoff. Expect the margins to be slim in this rendition: Two-loss Auburn has fallen only to Clemson and LSU (after squandering a 20-point lead) and is riding a four-game winning streak during which the Tigers have averaged a 24.5-point margin of victory. Alabama is, of course, undefeated. If history is any indication, this one is going to be fun.

With that in mind, here’s a look at six players who will figure big in the game.

Raekwon Davis, Alabama DL: At 6' 7" and 306 pounds, Davis deserves a space on his list due to his size alone. In the past three weeks, he has logged 23 of the 54 tackles he’s put up this season, and he has 6.5 sacks on the year. The hulking sophomore is primarily a run-stuffing defender who plays inside, but he has the rare ability to disrupt the passing game when he’s not plugging gaps. He may well be Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham’s worst nightmare on Saturday.

Jarrett Stidham, Auburn QB: The Baylor transfer has been just what Auburn needed at quarterback, completing 67.8% of his passes this season for 2,445 yards, 16 touchdowns and just four picks. Auburn’s offense sits No. 17 in all of FBS (two spots and 3.3 yards behind Alabama) with 475.9 yards per game. That’s in large part thanks to what Stidham has done under center—just two of those interceptions have come in the past eight games, and while he isn’t the running threat past Auburn quarterbacks have been, he has worked well as a distributor for the Tigers’ multi-pronged ground game.

Jonah Williams, Alabama OT: Williams moved over to left tackle this fall after spending his freshman year on the right side. And though he plays on an offense that’s known for running the ball and a mobile quarterback, protecting Jalen Hurts will be key against Auburn’s ferocious defensive line. Hurts has rushed for 1,855 yards over his two seasons at Alabama and isn’t asked to be a pure passer as often as other quarterbacks, but he has also been sacked 19 times this season. Auburn’s defense has been one of the best in the country at getting to the quarterback, averaging 2.91 sacks per game so far, and it’ll be on Williams to step up when Alabama takes to the air.

Jeff Holland, Auburn LB: Holland has been the most disruptive player on Auburn’s defense this season. The junior has 8.5 sacks and 11.5 tackles for loss to go along with one pass defensed, one fumble recovery and four forced fumbles. Alabama has struggled on passing downs at times this season, and Holland could do some damage should Auburn be able to slow the Crimson Tide’s rushing attack and force Hurts to look to the passing game more often. Holland had an injury scare last week against Louisiana-Monroe, but he should be good to go for the season finale.

Henry Ruggs III, Alabama WR: The freshman is the Crimson Tide’s fourth-leading receiver, with fewer yards this season than Calvin Ridley (858 yards), Jerry Jeudy (208) and Cam Sims (194). But five of Ruggs’s seven catches have gone for touchdowns. It’s easy for the electric Ridley to carry the passing game against lesser opponents, but that won’t be the case against Auburn, which should have a talented enough defense to force Alabama’s offense into balance. Ridley will be Ridley, but Alabama needs someone to complement him, and I’m nominating Ruggs.

Kerryon Johnson, Auburn RB: Since Kamryn Pettway fractured his scapula, Johnson has been the heart and soul of the Tigers’ offense. In nine games this year, he’s racked up 1,172 rushing yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry, and scored 16 touchdowns on the ground, plus 18 catches for 166 yards and two more scores. In November, Johnson has averaged 149.7 yards per game on 27.7 carries—and his 568 yards are good for more than a third of Auburn’s total offense this month. If Johnson can get things going against Alabama’s run defense and begin to wear down the Crimson Tide on that side of the ball, Stidham will have opportunities to open up the passing game.

2013 redux? Maybe not, but it's another huge Iron Bowl

FILE - At left, in an Oct. 14, 2017, file photo, Alabama head coach Nick Saban yells during the second half an NCAA college football game against Arkansas in Tuscaloosa, Ala. At right, in this Oct. 7, 2017, file photo, Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn calls to players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Mississippi in Auburn, Ala. The Southeastern Conference as usual is doing its part to give many of its fans a chance to re-charge for the final stretch run with matchups such as Mercer at No. 1 Alabama and Louisana-Monroe at No. 6 Auburn. (AP Photo/File)

Traina Thoughts: The Details Of Tiger Woods' 2009 Thanksgiving Night Remain Surreal

1. Sunday marks the 8th anniversary of what to this day remains the craziest sports story of my lifetime -- Tiger Woods' Thanksgiving night in 2009. Twitter was around back then, but it was still in its infancy. If that story took place now, forget about it. Memes and GIFs for months.

The thing to keep in mind here is that the overall story of that evening alone is insane, but if you can remember the aura around Tiger pre-Thanksgiving 2009, he was basically thought of as a god by fans while sports media couldn't slobber over him enough. He had the PERFECT image at the time. But then it all came crashing down in truly spectacular fashion.

For those who don't remember, the alledged story goes something like this: Woods' then-wife, Elin Nordegren, suspected Tiger of cheating. So while he allegedly was knocked out on Ambien at about three in the morning, she went through his phone, found shady messages and decided to call one of the mistresses. After Elin's fears were confirmed, she allegedly chased Tiger out of the house with a golf club and scratched up his face. He got in his car, but she allegedly smashed out the back window (see the pictures here) and then he drove into a fire hydrant and then a tree. This real story ended up being quite different than the first-reported story, as you'll see above.

He hasn't won a Major since then and after that insane night tons of women came out of the woodwork to say they also had affairs with Woods. Tiger even pleaded with one of his women to take her name off her voicemail in preparation for Elin calling her.

To truly relive the events of that monumental night, the Taiwanese animation summary, created a week later, really covers it all in unbelievable fashion. Eight years later and it's still hard to believe the way it all went down.

2. Things got ugly for the Chargers on Thanksgiving when kicker Nick Novak got injured. The team had to turn to punter Drew Kaser to handle kicking duties and he ended up missing three extra points. He also completely missed the net while practicing his kicks on the sideline, which gave CBS analyst, Tony Romo, a good laugh.

3. If you're one of BizNasty's million followers on Twitter, you'll want to read this great feature from SI's Alex Prewitt on Paul Bissonnette's transition from fourth-liner/social media star to Phoenix Coyotes radio analyst.

4. J.J. Watt likes to smile.

5. Ole Miss defensive end Breeland Speaks had the chillest response to a fumble recovery in last night's win against Mississippi State.

6. Since The Rock doesn't have enough jobs, he's now executive producing a new podcast, What Really Happened. If you're a Michael Jordan fan, you'll be interested in Episode 4, which examines what happens when Jordan retired from the NBA for the first time.

7. Jerry Seinfeld and Jimmy Fallon had a stand-up battle with Jerry being Jerry and Jimmy being Jerry on The Tonight Show last night.

8. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: The end of Thanksgiving means the start of the Christmas season. What better way to get into the holiday spirit than by watching Bobby Heenan and Gorilla Monsoon host a Christmas edition of the old Prime Time Wrestling show.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here. And check out Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board."

Subscribe: iTunes | SoundCloud | Stitcher

BONUS ITEM: When Alabama is only -4.5, as is the case Saturday when it visists Auburn, I'll gladly take the Crimson Tide.

Alabama vs. Auburn: Matchups, keys to victory in Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn: Matchups, keys to victory in Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn: Matchups, keys to victory in Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn: Matchups, keys to victory in Iron Bowl

Alabama vs. Auburn: Matchups, keys to victory in Iron Bowl

Alabama and Auburn face of in an Iron Bowl that decides the SEC West champion — and could have an impact on the College Football Playoff race.

2 Minute Drill: Auburn Defense Vs. Alabama

2 Minute Drill: Breaking down Auburn's defense vs. the Alabama offense for Saturday's Top 10 Iron Bowl showdown

2 Minute Drill: Auburn Defense Vs. Alabama

2 Minute Drill: Breaking down Auburn's defense vs. the Alabama offense for Saturday's Top 10 Iron Bowl showdown

2 Minute Drill: Auburn Defense Vs. Alabama

2 Minute Drill: Breaking down Auburn's defense vs. the Alabama offense for Saturday's Top 10 Iron Bowl showdown

2 Minute Drill: Auburn Defense Vs. Alabama

2 Minute Drill: Breaking down Auburn's defense vs. the Alabama offense for Saturday's Top 10 Iron Bowl showdown

Michigan aims to add to rivalry lore by upsetting Ohio State

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 1972, file photo, Auburn's Bill Newton, center, blocks an Alabama puns in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game at Legion field in Birmingham, Ala., that resulted in an Auburn touchdown. (Haywood Paravicini/AL.com via AP, File)

Hurts a big challenge for Auburn’s defense

Containing Alabama QB Jalen Hurts is a major focus of Auburn’s defense heading into the Iron Bowl.

Know the foe: Alabama, Auburn square off for SEC West title

BamaInsider.com team writer Tony Tsoukalas asked five key questions about Auburn

Huge stakes in Iron Bowl when Alabama-Auburn meet

Alabama wide receiver Calvin Ridley catches the pass and runs in to score a touchdown against Mercer during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)

Huge stakes in Iron Bowl when Alabama-Auburn meet

Auburn running back Kerryon Johnson (21) carries the ball for a first down as Louisiana Monroe cornerback Corey Straughter (21) tries to tackle him during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Huge stakes in Iron Bowl when Alabama-Auburn meet

Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops talks with his players in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Athens, Ga. Georgia won 42-13. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Huge stakes in Iron Bowl when Alabama-Auburn meet

Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith (3) greets fans at the dawg walk before the start of an NCAA college football game against Kentucky in Athens, Ga., Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

College Football Week 13 Top Matchups: Odds for Alabama-Auburn, Ohio State-Michigan

The Auburn Tigers, No. 6 in the CFP rankings, are 11-0 straight up and 6-3-2 against the spread in their last 11 games played at home. The Tigers will try to extend that winning streak to 12 games and punch their ticket to the SEC Championship Game with an upset win this Saturday over the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide.

Auburn is a 4.5-point home underdog at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com. Since losing on the road to the LSU Tigers back on Oct. 14, Auburn has rolled through its last four games with a 4-0 SU and 2-1-1 ATS record, outscoring its opponents 176 to 78 over that stretch. The Tigers' 40-17 win over Georgia as 2.5-point home underdogs coming on the same Saturday as Alabama's ugly 31-24 win over Mississippi State on the road added plenty of intrigue to this year's Iron Bowl.

Alabama was on legitimate upset alert for the first time in 2017 against the Bulldogs, trailing 24-17 in the fourth quarter on the road. But on top of being the best defensive team in the nation, the Crimson Tide also have one of the country's top offenses, and that offense put together two touchdown drives to escape unscathed.

The Crimson Tide are 8-2 ATS on the college football odds in their last 10 road games against teams with winning records.

Also this weekend, the Michigan Wolverines are hoping that this is the year that they can solve the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes. Michigan still leads the all-time series between these two programs 58-48-6 SU, but the Buckeyes have bridged the gap of late with a 12-1 SU record in their last 13 games against the Wolverines.

The Wolverines are going off as a 12-point underdog at home and are 1-5 ATS in their last six games at the Big House.

Ohio State enters this year's game against Michigan with a 9-2 SU and 5-6 ATS record, and they will represent the Big Ten East in the Big Ten Championship Game facing the Wisconsin Badgers. The Buckeyes are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games against Michigan and won their last road game in Michigan 42-13.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

Week 13 Picks: Auburn–Alabama, Ohio State–Michigan and the Rest of Rivalry Week

Each step towards the revelation of the final College Football Playoff rankings is more difficult than the last, but there’s a special challenge to rivalry week, when national title contenders cross paths with teams who spend all year preparing to beat them. Will Michigan muster up enough offense to scare Ohio State in Ann Arbor? Can Auburn vault Alabama as the SEC’s playoff favorite with an upset in Jordan-Hare Stadium? Will Washington State crack Washington’s defense to set up a Pac-12 title game trip with plenty on the line?

Below, our experts make their picks for Week 13’s biggest games, taking turns defending their selections.

Season-long standings

Chris Johnson: 111–37 (75%)
Molly Geary: 108–40 (73.0%)
Andy Staples: 102–46 (68.9%)
Bruce Feldman: 94–44 (68.1%)?
Scooby Axson: 90–44 (67.1%)
Eric Single: 98–50 (66.2%)?
Joan Niesen: 94–54 (63.5%)

Ole Miss at Mississippi State (Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Chris Johnson picks Mississippi State: This could be one of Dan Mullen’s last games in charge of the Bulldogs, and the Rebels are undergoing their own search for a new head coach, but the enmity between these two programs should override the coaching-carousel speculation. Nick Fitzgerald will feast on Ole Miss’s leaky defense.

Miami at Pittsburgh (Friday, Noon ET, ABC)

Scooby Axson picks Miami: This is a classic trap game for the Hurricanes, and they will need all of their turnover chain magic to remain undefeated before next week’s ACC title game. Miami knows that too much is at stake not to once again find a way to win.

South Florida at UCF (Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

Bruce Feldman picks UCF: McKenzie Milton has been fantastic in Scott Frost’s offense, but this very fast, physical USF squad will be the toughest test he’s faced. Expect this one to be tight going into the fourth quarter, but I don’t see anyone in the AAC derailing the Knights this year.

Nebraska at Iowa (Friday, 4 p.m. ET, FS1)

Joan Niesen picks Iowa: Sure, Iowa is 1–3 on the road this season and has lost two straight, but I still think the (at times inconsistent) Hawkeyes can get the win on the road against a hapless Nebraska team that Mike Riley somehow still coaches. This one could be high-scoring, but I think Iowa can outgain and outscore the Huskers.

Virginia Tech at Virginia (Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Virginia: This has arguably been the ACC’s most one-sided rivalry of the millennium, but in recent years Virginia has had a couple of golden opportunities to break a losing streak that now sits at 13 straight losses. Cavaliers senior quarterback Kurt Benkert can find enough big plays to outduel Virginia Tech’s hit-and-miss offense and make his Scott Stadium farewell a memorable one.

Ohio State at Michigan (Saturday, Noon ET, FOX)

It’s unclear whether Great Ohio State or Mediocre Ohio State will show up from week to week, but given the special emphasis Urban Meyer puts on rivalry games, it seems like a safe bet the Great Buckeyes will take the field in Ann Arbor.

Florida State at Florida (Noon ET, ESPN)

Eric Single picks Florida State: Seminoles fans have soured on James Blackman for not being the hyper-talented quarterback that he replaced (Deondre Francois), but his competitiveness has been on display in some close losses against top-tier opponents. With Florida State fighting for bowl eligibility, he’ll make enough plays to mercifully end Florida’s season.

Louisville at Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network)

Scooby Axson picks Louisville: If Louisville actually played some defense (the Cardinals have allowed an average of 43 points in their four losses), Lamar Jackson might be headed toward a second Heisman. But expect Jackson to slice through a vulnerable Kentucky defense with relative ease to avenge last season’s loss.

Alabama at Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

Bruce Feldman picks Alabama: As well as the Tigers have been playing of late, especially running back Kerryon Johnson, my hunch here is that Alabama is about to play its best game of the season. Quarterback Jalen Hurts has played in a lot of big games in two seasons in college, and I think he’ll be able to take advantage of some things in how the Tigers like to defend. The Tide also has healed up some on defense, and I think they’ll be locked in for the road trip with so many folks aboard the Auburn bandwagon.

Boise State at Fresno State (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network)

Eric Single picks Boise State: Weall left the Broncos for dead after they lost twice in September, and once everyone had looked the other way they took out their frustration on the rest of the Mountain West, beating everyone except Colorado State by double digits. In a game where neither team wants to show much—they play again next weekend for the conference title—Boise State will out-talent its hosts.

Arizona at Arizona State (4:30 p.m. ET, Pac-12)

Molly Geary picks Arizona: Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate is coming off his worst start of the season, especially on the ground, but Oregon’s run defense is a lot stronger than the Sun Devils’. Look for Tate to rebound and lead Arizona to a road Territorial Cup win.

Clemson at South Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)

Molly Geary picks Clemson: The Tigers must avoid looking ahead to the ACC title game, but the threat of what’s on the line regarding their playoff hopes should keep Kelly Bryant & Co. focused enough to handle an eight-win South Carolina squad.

Texas A&M at LSU (7:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

Joan Niesen picks LSU: This LSU team is almost unrecognizable from the one that lost two games in September. Texas A&M has won two straight, but it doesn’t have the defense to stop Derrius Guice, D.J. Chark and the Tigers’ offense.

Notre Dame at Stanford (8 p.m. ET, ABC)

Chris Johnson picks Stanford: Neither of these teams are in the conversation for playoff berths anymore, but this matchup will feature an intriguing matchup between two of the nation's best running backs: Notre Dame’s Josh Adams and Stanford’s Bryce Love. Advantage Love.

Washington State at Washington (8 p.m. ET, FOX)

Andy Staples picks Washington: This feels like a much better matchup for the Cougars than the past two years (when they’ve lost by an average of 31.5 points), but Washington’s defensive personnel (good corners and a big, quick line) is built to slow offenses like Washington State’s.

MTS: College Picks

Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks make their picks for this weekend's biggest college football games, including No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn.

MTS: College Picks

Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks make their picks for this weekend's biggest college football games, including No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn.

MTS: College Picks

Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks make their picks for this weekend's biggest college football games, including No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn.

MTS: College Picks

Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks make their picks for this weekend's biggest college football games, including No. 1 Alabama at No. 6 Auburn.

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 1972, file photo, Auburn's Bill Newton, center, blocks an Alabama puns in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game at Legion field in Birmingham, Ala., that resulted in an Auburn touchdown. (Haywood Paravicini/AL.com via AP, File)

FILE - In this Dec. 2, 1972, file photo, Auburn's Bill Newton, center, blocks an Alabama puns in the fourth quarter of the Iron Bowl NCAA college football game at Legion field in Birmingham, Ala., that resulted in an Auburn touchdown. (Haywood Paravicini/AL.com via AP, File)