Can you believe Week 13 is here and Thanksgiving is already just a few days away? We have some big rivalry games this week for an appetizer before the full spread takes shape next weekend. Stay here for picks, betting tips, analysis and highlights and to avoid the forced conversation you’ll have with your family in the coming week.
Picks and gambling tips
Scott Van Pelt looks to get over .500 on the season with his Week 13 winners of the college football regular season.
The coaching quiz: You make the call
Can you make the right late-game decisions? If you’ve ever screamed “GO FOR IT!” at your TV on fourth-and-1 or shaken your head as your school decided not to go for two, this is your chance to test your instincts and see what the percentages say are the best bets.
Best of the week
Get pumped up
Texas coach Tom Herman may or may not have channeled his inner Danny Bateman (shout out to “The Replacements”) when he tried to get his team fired up before Saturday’s game against No. 14 Baylor.
Tom Herman is AMPED. pic.twitter.com/S7EVkIwy57
— Longhorn Network (@LonghornNetwork) November 23, 2019
The King’s Approval
Welcome back MONSTER!! #ChaseYoung
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 23, 2019
JJ Watt sends a message
Is Chase Young the NFL’s next premier pass rusher? JJ Watt seems to think so.
Chase Young is special man.
— JJ Watt (@JJWatt) November 23, 2019
Profiles in courage
Watch this incredible story. And then make sure to check out Adam Rittenberg’s story from August on Lowe.
Former Oregon receiver Keanon Lowe returned to his hometown of Portland to coach football and become a mentor. But in May 2019, Lowe became a hero when he prevented a school shooting.
Yale rallies after climate change protest
The second half of Harvard-Yale was delayed by nearly an hour when spectators rushed the field to stage a climate change protest at halftime. But Yale made the wait was worth it. The Bulldogs rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to beat Harvard 50-43 in double overtime.
After climate protests delayed “The Game” for nearly an hour, Yale rallied for a 50-43 double overtime win over Harvard and a share of the Ivy League title.
Play of the day
Youngstown State senior quarterback Nathan Mays suffered a season-ending leg injury on Nov. 2 against North Dakota State. But his career didn’t end then. Mays took the game-ending kneel-down in the Penguins’ 21-3 win over Illinois State on Saturday, his teammates helping him onto the field one final time.
Nathan Mays, who suffered a season-ending ankle injury earlier in the year, limps on the field with help from his teammates and takes a knee to end the game.
Tua in the house
Tua Tagovailoa thanks everyone from the Alabama fans to his parents as he recovers from hip surgery, and says supporting his team from the sidelines has been uplifting.
How did he catch that?!
Michigan’s Donovan Peoples-Jones came down with one of the best catches of the season, a diving two-handed grab in the right corner of the end zone for a Wolverines touchdown.
Maryland has several chances to intercept the ball, but it ends up in the hands of Nebraska WR JD Spielman for the touchdown.
They’re good dogs
Georgia and Texas A&M are battling each other on the field, but fortunately their dogs don’t hate each other. Georgia’s Uga X met Texas A&M’s Reveille IX prior to the game. 13/10 would throw footballs to each of them.
Met my friend Uga X today before kickoff! He showed me around his stadium and even let me see his doghouse!
Thank you for being such a good host, friend!!! ??? pic.twitter.com/YYG0TCN0P8
— Reveille IX (@reveille) November 23, 2019
Another animal runs onto the field
Remember when a black cat interrupted Monday Night Football a few weeks ago? Or when Mark Schlabach’s dog ran onto the field during the 1997 Georgia-Kentucky game? It happened again … at the University of South Florida.
During the third quarter of Memphis’ game with USF, a cat runs onto the field right before a Tigers kickoff, then scurries off the field and under a cart on the sideline.
Dad of the year?
Not only did this father wrap his child inside his own sweatshirt, but he also made sure to take a selfie for good measure.
And the award for “Dad of the year” goes to … ? pic.twitter.com/1mXBHVjKDO
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) November 23, 2019
Watch and learn
Pat McAfee teaches UFC heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic how to crowd surf after leading the fans in an O-H-I-O chant.
A real challenge
Fans at the Minnesota-Northwestern game pass the time in very different ways … like solving a Rubik’s Cube.
Fans at the Minnesota vs. Northwestern game pass the time in very different ways.
Top 25 games
In order of game time, with College Football Playoff rankings; lines courtesy Caesars Sportsbook.
No. 2 Ohio State 28, No. 8 Penn State 27
Ohio State held off a scare from Penn State to remain undefeated and give the Buckeyes a berth in the Big Ten Championship game. Michigan is the last game on the schedule, and the Buckeyes travel to Ann Arbor to take on their rival in a game that still has a lot of importance despite the fact that Michigan can’t get to the conference championship or the playoff. Ohio State had issues with turnovers against Penn State, which will have to get cleaned up before the Buckeyes make the trip up north. There is still a ton of confidence in what this team can do, and Ohio State will be looking to make a statement in the final game of the season.
Penn State came close to making its largest comeback in school history, trying to erase a 21-point deficit, but were ultimately unable to beat Ohio State. The game eliminates the Nittany Lions from the Big Ten Championship game and, unless something outrageous happens, likely the college football playoff. Penn State finishes the season against Rutgers and has a good shot at finishing 10-2. It was an up-and-down season for the Nittany Lions, but not making it to the conference championship game and finishing on a high note will sting in Happy Valley. — Tom VanHaaren
No. 5 Alabama 66, Western Carolina 3
If you were watching Saturday’s game expecting a tentative Mac Jones at quarterback as he took over the reins from an injured Tua Tagovailoa, you had it all wrong. Jones, a redshirt sophomore making just his second career start, came out firing against Western Carolina, taking more than his fair share of deep shots. Not all of them connected, but he made enough to finish with 275 yards and three touchdowns passing in essentially two quarters of play. While no one will confuse his ability with that of Tagovailoa’s, what Jones showed during Alabama’s home finale had to give fans hope heading into next weekend’s pivotal game rivalry game against Auburn. — Alex Scarborough
No. 10 Minnesota 38, Northwestern 22
The Golden Gophers rebounded after a tough loss to Iowa and did exactly as expected against Northwestern, setting up a monster showdown against Wisconsin next Saturday with the Big Ten West title on the line. Tanner Morgan set the new school single-season record for passing touchdowns, and both Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman went over 1,000 yards receiving. Two contrasting offenses will be on full display next week. Minnesota has its second 10-win season in the past 110 years, but that win total will be even more meaningful if the Gophers can clinch their first appearance in the Big Ten championship game. — Andrea Adelson
No. 15 Auburn 52, Samford 0
The Tigers followed the script and disposed of Samford with ease, racking up their fourth 50-point game this season, tied for its most such games in a season under coach Gus Malzahn. The question now is if three-loss Auburn can play the role of spoiler in the Iron Bowl and knock Alabama out of the playoff conversation for good. The Tide need a convincing win, but likely also some chaos elsewhere to earn the fourth spot without winning the SEC. — Heather Dinich
No. 17 Iowa 19, Illinois 10
The Hawkeyes fended off a late rally by Illinois to hold on for a 19-10 win Saturday. It was par for the course for an offense that has topped 26 points against a Power 5 foe just once this year (Rutgers), but the defense continues to look dominant. Iowa can wrap the regular season with nine wins for just the second time since 2010 with a win next week against Nebraska. All three of the Hawkeyes’ losses have come to ranked teams. — David Hale
No. 22 Iowa State 41, Kansas 31
Another week, another close game for the Cyclones, who looked in danger of falling to Kansas before closing with two TDs in the final 5:10 of action. Brock Purdy continues to look exceptional, throwing for 372 yards and accounting for five touchdowns in the win. Purdy passed Seneca Wallace for most passing yards in a season in program history. It’s the eighth game this season decided by 10 points or less for Iowa State. — David Hale
No. 16 Notre Dame 40, Boston College 7
Notre Dame, which plays five ACC games each season, went undefeated against the conference this year after handling Boston College with ease. Quarterback Ian Book threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions, tying Everett Golson for the third-most touchdown passes in a single season in school history with 29. Notre Dame’s season ends Saturday at Stanford, and if the Irish win, it will have back-to-back seasons in which they didn’t lose in November. — Heather Dinich
No. 24 Appalachian State 35, Texas State 14
After becoming the first-ever team from the Sun Belt to appear in the playoff rankings, Appalachian State surely will remain there for a second straight week. As the fourth-highest ranked Group of 5 team, the Mountaineers are still in the mix for the Cotton Bowl, but they would likely have to win out plus see Memphis, Cincinnati, Boise State and, probably, SMU all lose games down the stretch. App State closes the regular season at Troy on Friday. — Kyle Bonagura
No. 4 Georgia 19, Texas A&M 13
There’s no question Georgia’s defense is good enough to put up a fight against LSU in the SEC Championship Game. The question, of course, is whether Georgia’s offense can score enough points, and the Bulldogs didn’t do anything to alleviate those concerns in Saturday’s 19-13 win over Texas A&M. UGA’s defense held the Aggies to minus-1 rushing yard on 20 attempts with two sacks. But Georgia’s offense had to settle for four field goals, and quarterback Jake Fromm completed fewer than 50% of his passes for the third straight game. The wet conditions and absence of star receiver Lawrence Cager were contributing factors, but Georgia’s offense has been an enigma for much of the season. When Georgia’s defense finally broke and allowed a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the Aggies were down only six points. The positive: Tailback D’Andre Swift ran for 103 yards on 19 carries and helped pick up three big first down in the closing minutes. — Mark Schlabach
No. 13 Michigan 39, Indiana 14
Quarterback Shea Patterson threw five touchdown passes against Indiana, and Michigan’s offense is hitting its stride when it matters most — just in time for rival Ohio State. The Wolverines have now won four straight since their Oct. 19 loss at Penn State, but will probably need to be more balanced offensively to beat the Buckeyes. Michigan had 87 rushing yards to 366 passing against IU, and the defense held the Hoosiers scoreless in the second half. — Heather Dinich
No. 14 Baylor 24, Texas 10
The Bears showed no hangover from their first loss of the season, putting together a stifling defensive effort in their win over Texas. Baylor held Texas out of the end zone until the final second of the game, showing why they’re still a legitimate threat to win the league. The win clinches Baylor’s spot in the Big 12 championship game, which could end up being a rematch with Oklahoma. With only a game against Kansas left, the Bears are looking at a potential 11-1 finish, a 10-win improvement from Matt Rhule’s first season at Baylor, when the Bears went 1-11 in 2017. — Sam Khan
No. 23 USC 52, UCLA 35
USC’s win keeps the Trojans mathematically alive in the Pac-12 South race. A Utah loss — either later tonight at Arizona or next week against Colorado — would send the Trojans to the conference championship game against Oregon. Although a Utah loss in either game would be very unlikely, it potentially complicates things for athletic director Mike Bohn, who would be unlikely to move on from a coach while the team is still in contention for a conference title. If Bohn wants to fire Helton, he will probably have to wait until USC is officially eliminated. — Kyle Bonagura
Navy 35, No. 25 SMU 28
A week after sneaking back into the committee’s top 25, SMU should fall back out again after its close road loss to Navy. The Midshipmen outscored SMU 25-7 in the second half and outgained the Mustangs 378-93 in total rushing yards. Both teams lost earlier to Memphis and are still looking up at the Tigers in the AAC’s West Division, but Navy can still win it if Memphis loses to Cincinnati on Friday. — Heather Dinich
No. 12 Wisconsin 45, Purdue 24
The Badgers looked down and out a few weeks ago after consecutive Big Ten losses threatened to end their conference championship hopes. But after rebounding with wins over Iowa and Purdue, they find themselves with an opportunity once again to get into the Big Ten championship game. All they have to do is win at Minnesota next Saturday in what has turned into a winner-take-all game for the West Division. To make it there, Wisconsin relied once again on Jonathan Taylor and its powerful run game against Purdue. If it can do the same against the Golden Gophers, a rematch against Ohio State awaits. — Andrea Adelson
No. 18 Memphis 49, South Florida 10
It all comes down to next Friday afternoon at home against Cincinnati for the Tigers to keep their conference championship and New Year’s Six hopes alive. After overcoming a sloppy first quarter to cruise over USF, Memphis can clinch the American West Division with a win over the Bearcats in what could be a preview of the conference championship game the following week. Both Memphis and Cincinnati are jockeying for the Group of 5 New Year’s Six spot out of the American Conference, so the next two weeks will be absolutely crucial for both. — Andrea Adelson
Arkansas at No. 1 LSU
Time: 7 p.m. ET
How to watch: ESPN and ESPN App
Line: LSU -42.5
And our best line: LSU QB Joe Burrow‘s favorite targets this season have been Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase, who are both averaging over 100 receiving yards per game. They are currently on pace to become the first pair of teammates in SEC history to each average 100 receiving yards in a season. If Jefferson gets a receiving touchdown Saturday, he and Chase would become the second pair of SEC teammates to each have at least 12 receiving touchdowns in the same season.
Temple at No. 19 Cincinnati
Time: 7 p.m. ET
How to watch: ESPN2 and ESPN App
Line: Cincinnati -10
And our best line: Cincinnati can clinch the AAC East with a win. The Bearcats have never played in the AAC title game, which began with the 2015 season. The last time Cincinnati won the AAC was 2014, when it was co-champions with UCF and Memphis.
No. 6 Oregon at Arizona State
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
How to watch: ABC and ESPN App
Line: Oregon -14
And our best line: The Ducks currently have a 29% chance to reach the College Football Playoff, according to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, sixth-best in FBS. A win doesn’t do much for the Ducks’ chances, but a loss would be catastrophic.
TCU at No. 9 Oklahoma
Time: 8 p.m. ET
How to watch: Fox
Line: Oklahoma -18
And our best line: Oklahoma clinches a spot in the Big 12 championship game with a victory against TCU or an Oklahoma State loss at West Virginia. According to FPI, there’s a 91% chance the Sooners clinch a championship game berth this week.
No. 7 Utah at Arizona
Time: 10 p.m. ET
How to watch: Fox Sports 1
Line: Utah -22.5
And our best line: Utah is allowing 11.3 points per game, fourth-fewest in FBS. The Utes have held five opponents under 10 points this season, their most in a season since 1978.
No. 20 Boise State at Utah State
Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
How to watch: CBS Sports Network
Line: Boise State -9
And our best line: With a victory, Boise State will clinch the Mountain West Mountain Division and host the winner of Saturday’s San Diego State-Hawai’i matchup in the conference title game Dec. 7.