Just two weeks remain in the college football regular season, and Week 13 features two games between ranked teams.
That starts with the Big Ten showdown between No. 2 Ohio State and No. 9 Penn State at Ohio Stadium at noon on FOX. That game will likely decide who represents the Big Ten East in the Big Ten championship game. No. 24 Texas A&M travels to No. 4 Georgia in a SEC showdown at 3:30 p.m. on CBS.
MORE: Week 13 college football picks, straight up
Those two games will set the table for rivalry week and conference championship week. Here is a look at our record so far this season:
Straight up: 180-46 .796 (17-2 last week)
Against the spread: 123-103, .544 (8-11 last week)
Upset picks: 2-14, .125 (0-2 last week)
With that, Sporting News’ picks against the spread for every top-25 matchup (lines provided courtesy of Sportsbook Review as if 4 p.m. ET on Monday, Nov. 18):
No. 9 Penn State at No. 2 Ohio State (-18.5)
The Buckeyes are 8-2 against the spread this season and have not lost a home Big Ten conference game since 2015. Ohio State won by one point each of the last two seasons, and it’s going to be on the Nittany Lions’ defense to slow them down. Chase Young’s return fuels an emotional victory that is right on the line.
Ohio State wins 34-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 11 Minnesota (-13) at Northwestern
The Gophers can clinch a share of the Big Ten West here against a Wildcats team that finally found its offense last week. Minnesota gets back on track here before the rivalry matchup vs. Wisconsin.
Minnesota wins 39-20 and COVERS the spread.
Samford at No. 16 Auburn (-48.5)
It’s everybody’s favorite weekend in the SEC, where the heavy hitters tee off against FCS schools. Samford has given up 40-plus points in four games this season. The Tigers gear up for the Iron Bowl around a big day from Bo Nix.
Auburn wins 56-10 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Illinois at No. 19 Iowa (-14)
Illinois has been one of the better stories in the Big Ten this season. The Illini have won four straight games, and they are 7-3 against the spread. That includes a 4-1 against-the-spread record as a double-digit underdog. We’ll stick with those trends in a Big Ten slugfest.
Iowa wins 27-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
West Virginia at No. 22 Oklahoma State (-7.5)
The Cowboys have some chaos potential down the stretch with Bedlam looming against Oklahoma, but first they must take care of the Mountaineers. West Virginia is 1-2 against the spread as a single-digit underdog, but we like the Cowboys at home.
Oklahoma State wins 44-28 and COVERS the spread.
Western Carolina vs. No. 5 Alabama (-62)
Here is the other game involving a SEC school against FCS competition. Mac Jones is in at quarterback, and the 3-8 Catamounts won’t pose much of a challenge.
Alabama wins 59-6 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Boston College at No. 15 Notre Dame (-19.5)
The Irish have won four games against ACC competition by an average of 16.2 ppg., and the Eagles allow 35.7 points per game on the road this season. Notre Dame has won the last six meetings.
Notre Dame wins 38-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
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Texas State at No. 23 Appalachian State (-29)
The Bobcats averaged 28.5 points the last two weeks, but they allowed 63 in a loss to Troy. The Mountaineers keep rolling toward a Sun Belt championship here, but they are 4-3 against the spread as a double-digit favorite.
Appalachian State wins 44-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 24 Texas A&M at No. 4 Georgia (-13.5)
Georgia clinched a spot in the SEC championship, but their College Football Playoff hopes hinge on winning out. The Aggies offer a chance for another quality victory. Texas A&M is 1-1 against the spread as an underdog this year, and those games were against Clemson and Alabama.
Georgia wins 31-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Texas at No. 13 Baylor (-5)
The Bears blew a 28-3 lead against Oklahoma and now face a Texas team coming off its fourth loss of the season. The Longhorns have followed all four of those losses with a victory, however, and this is no exception.
Texas wins 31-28 in an UPSET.
No. 12 Michigan (-8.5) at Indiana
The Hoosiers have taken the Wolverines to overtime in their last two visits to Bloomington, and there is the risk of a look-ahead, given the Buckeyes are next. Michigan, however, stays focused behind another big game from Shea Patterson.
Michigan wins 38-19 and COVERS the spread.
No. 21 SMU at Navy (-4)
The Mustangs won a 31-30 shootout last year, and the contrast in styles means the team that control the offensive tempo will win. SMU did have an extra week to prepare, however, and they find a way in a thrilling back-and-forth AAC matchup.
SMU wins 44-41 in an UPSET.
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Pitt at No. 25 Virginia Tech (-4)
This one has huge ACC Coastal implications, and both teams have only lost once since October. The Panthers are 3-0 against the spread as an underdog this season, but the Hokies win a big game at home.
Virginia Tech wins 34-28 and COVERS the spread.
Purdue at No. 14 Wisconsin (-24)
Purdue has found a rhythm with back-to-back victories, but the Badgers will be fired up for what probably will be Jonathan Taylor’s final home game. Can the Boilermakers score 20 or more points? If they can, then they will cover.
Wisconsin wins 42-24 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
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No. 18 Memphis (-15) at South Florida
Memphis is SN’s projection to take the New Year’s Day 6 bid, but they catch the Bulls on the road. The Tigers are 2-2 against the spread as road favorites, so this will be a chance to make a statement before facing Cincinnati.
Memphis wins 43-20 and COVERS the spread.
Arkansas at No. 1 LSU (-44)
We found out last week with Ohio State-Rutgers how difficult spreads like this can be, and the Tigers’ run defense leaked a little bit against Ole Miss. Arkansas has 40-plus point losses to Auburn and Alabama this season, but at least they had a bye week to prepare here.
LSU wins 58-17 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
Temple at No. 17 Cincinnati (-10.5)
The Bearcats are 2-3 against the spread as favorites the last five weeks, but they are 4-1 against the spread at home. Temple is better at home, but the Owls take this one to the fourth quarter in grind-it-out-fashion.
Cincinnati wins 27-20 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
No. 6 Oregon (-14.5) at Arizona State
The Sun Devils are stuck in a four-game losing streak, but Utah is the only team to beat them by more than 10 points this season. Arizona State is still fighting for bowl eligibility, and they hang around long enough to make Oregon nervous.
Oregon wins 31-21 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.
TCU at No. 8 Oklahoma (-17.5)
The Sooners have failed to cover as double-digit favorites in their last three games, but the defense buckled down in the second half against Baylor, and this team needs to impress if it wants to make a playoff push. TCU has only lost one game by more than seven points this season, so we don’t blame you for rolling with the Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma wins 49-28 and COVERS the spread.
No. 7 Utah (-22) at Arizona
The Utes have won six in a row, and they have covered in all six of those games. Look for them to match what Oregon did to the Wildcats, a team that is struggling to find offense.
Utah wins 35-10 and COVERS the spread.
No. 20 Boise State (-7.5) at Utah State
Boise State has been a maddening play for us against the spread this season, but they covered last week. This week, the Broncos break a trend — an 0-3 against-the-spread record as the road favorite — and take care of business against the Aggies.
Boise State wins 38-28 and COVERS the spread.