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By Alex Lauzon from the “Course of Life” podcast
It’s Rivalry Week and there’s a TON on the line.
SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT
Week 12 brought a significant level of chaos, but in the end, the craziest facet was all of the top 10 teams that held on and won despite being so close to a loss. TCU and Michigan squeaked by on last-second field goals to keep them in the top 4 for another week, while USC got past UCLA in their rivalry game to keep hoes alive as a one-loss team. Ohio State and Georgia won, but in rather unimpressive manners as well, so lots of setback weeks for CFB’s best. It was the Vols from Tennessee that did fall, everyone’s favorite SEC darling that finally was broken on defense by South Carolina, all but ending their playoff chances.
As we fight through the biggest games of the year for winners, we as betters often find ourselves stuck between “what we’ve seen for team X” versus “what we’ll get this game from team X”. Rivalry week matchups present last looks at potential playoff teams, and intangibles come into play now that the scenarios are more clear. Do USC and TCU need some style points this week to improve their resume? Is LSU ready to pounce and sneak into the playoff in the two weeks? Storylines galore as we head into the holiday weekend.
TUNE-IN GAME OF THE WEEK
So many bitter rivalries on deck this Saturday, but none more important than in Columbus, where #2 Ohio State (-7.5) hosts #3 Michigan. We’ve collectively had this matchup circled for months wondering if they would both be undefeated, and sure enough, here we are. Last year in an eerily similar situation in Ann Arbor, the Michigan D manhandled a finesse-driven Buckeyes offense…is this year’s recipe calling for the same result? The winner goes to the Big 10 Championship, likely wins handily, and cements their spot in the college football playoff.
THE NIGHTCAP GET-IT-BACK GAME
The desperados of sports betting show their true colors on weekends like this. If it’s week 13 and you’re still searching for night cappers like I am, I tip my cap to you. This week we head to Palo Alto for 3-8 Stanford (+6.5) ending their sad year against an underperforming 6-5 BYU squad, Two teams that didn’t have the season they wanted ending in misery late at night – I think I’ll take the Under 58 points since both teams are mentally checked out.
WEIRD VIBE FADE OF THE WEEK
Dear TCU – thank you. No, we did not keep the weird vibe fade going as the Horned Frogs continue to shun away the doubters and haters (of which there are many). What we did was go on quite a ride. They stayed undefeated but the cover streak ended Saturday. Now we find a new vibe for the closing weeks, so with nowhere else to turn let’s bet on the ugliest possible week 13 contest – The 2-9 Colorado State Rams hosting the 2-9 New Mexico Lobos. Two of the most inept offenses in Division 1 square off and the Over/Under is 35 points. Give me the over in this hilariously bad finale.
WEEK 12 RECAP – CRAWLING TO BOWL SEASON…
Well, I need to start focusing my campaign on Bowl Season cause these late-season plays are not hitting as of late. A dismal 1-4 week where my only winner hit by the second quarter (Kansas State/West Virginia Over). Need to regroup and pick the biggest games of the season like we’re down to our last dollars.
Week Eleven: 1-4 ATS, Season Overall: 30-35 ATS
EARLY WEEK 13 PLAYS FOR ALEX
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I’ll make your shopping weekend more fruitful with a Friday pick – UNC -6.5. This is a great show-out and show-off sport for Drake Maye versus their in-state rival, whose defense has leaked in recent weeks.
This number will surely shoot up later this week, and there are no weather concerns on Saturday in Columbus to slow things down. I’ll take Over 56.5 in the Michigan/Ohio clash we’ve waited on for months.
In the civil war game between Oregon and Oregon State, I’m leaning toward the home team because the Ducks are shaky on the road, and don’t have as much to play for as they would have hoped this week. Give me Oregon State +3.5.
This game is all about motivation, and the Texas A&m program is in shambles, and it peaked with an empty Kyle Field last week. The Tigers come in and wreck shop and LSU covers -9 because they need and want it more.
One more over to grab before it skyrockets – USC/Notre Dame Over 62 points. Bound to be lots of scores on both sides of the ball- this USC team stumbled into 48 points with some difficulty at times moving the ball last week,
Here are some other diamonds I’m leaning on early this week:
Georgia Under 49, Texas -8, UTSA/UTEP Under 57
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EATS AND DEETS
The teleport game: It has to be Columbus – I’ve never had a dog in the fight for this rivalry but it’s a bucket list attendance for any true college football fan.
Goofiest line: Tennessee just got their hearts broken and now they’re a 2+ TD favorite on the road at Vandy? Seems suspect.
Simultaneous screen count: Bust ’em all out for rivalry weekend – two top 25 matchups on Friday during the World Cup, and three more on Saturday!
Tailgate pick of the week: Take those leftover turkey parts and re-grill or re-fry them – an absolute treat a few days after the big meal.