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Friday, 22 November 2019

College Football Week 13 Picks 2019 (November 23rd)

There might not have been any change in the College Football Rankings after Week 12, but make no mistake there has been a seismic shift in how teams are going to be looked at.

The major news is clearly the injury suffered by Tua Tagovailoa which is going to keep him out for the rest of the season and possibly as far as the opening of the 2020 season whether that is in the NFL or a return to College Football. It was a major injury that will have just dented the chances of the Alabama Crimson Tide to crack into the top four places and earn a College Football PlayOff spot, especially without being able to prove how strong they can be as they are set to miss the SEC Championship Game too.

The Crimson Tide are effectively on a Bye this week with a very easy game scheduled, but the Iron Bowl on Thanksgiving Weekend will be a real test for them. If they win big then perhaps they can still earn a College Football PlayOff spot, but Alabama will need a lot to go their way in the remaining three weeks of the season.

You have to feel for Tagovailoa who suffered an injury that had some believing he might never be able to play Football again. This was a player that was set for some decent money as a top three/four Pick in the NFL Draft and the injury once again highlights the complete nonsense of the NCAA not allowing College players to cash in when they can.

Football is a game where nothing is promised to you tomorrow so it feels wrong that players put their bodies on the line in College Football without any reward. And if you do suffer a career impacting injury then there really is nowhere to go and that seems wrong.

I would not be surprised if more players go the Nick Bosa route going forward in sitting out College Football years once they know they are going to be a top Pick in the NFL. Tua is likely going to have lost millions with the chances his Draft position drops so if you're Trevor Lawrence do you consider dropping out of the 2020 College Football season and preparing for the NFL instead?

If Lawrence wins back to back National Championships I don't think he will be anything but the Number 1 Pick in the NFL Draft in 2021 regardless of next season so why risk an injury like Tagovailoa? If it happens we might finally see the NCAA dig into their deep pockets which have been filled by top College players over the years and maybe they will then offer some of that cash back to the players that deserve it.

Week 12 proved to be the third winning week in a row for the College Football Picks and it also means being back in a positive position for the season. As I said last week, I want to round out the regular season and Championship Week with winning records too in order to have some momentum going into the Bowl Games and that remains the ambition.

You can see the selections for Week 13 below with all coming from the games scheduled for Saturday.

UCF Knights @ Tulane Green Wave Pick: The UCF Knights have dominated the American Athletic Conference in the last couple of seasons with back to back unbeaten Conference records as well as two Championships secured. At the end of 2018 they had won twenty-five games in a row before losing a Bowl Game to the LSU Tigers, but the 2019 season has been more difficult and the Knights are not going to win a third Conference Championship in a row.

They have already secured a Bowl appearance for a fourth season in a row and now get ready to take on the Tulane Green Wave who have also secured a Bowl Game for back to back seasons.

Both teams are coming off defeats in Week 12 so there should not be a problem in motivating the teams to get back to winning ways. The slight factor in favour of the Green Wave has to be the fact that they still need a win to secure consecutive seasons with a winning record and they are playing the final home game of the season, but I can understand why the Knights are favoured here.

Losing what should have been the starting Quarter Back with an injury at the end of last season that carried through 2019 was a blow for the Knights, but this team is well coached. Dillon Gabriel has been playing well at the position in the last couple of games, but the Quarter Back should be aided by a strong running game which will keep the Knights in third and manageable spots.

Over the last few games the Knights have picked up big chunks of yardage on the ground and the Tulane Defensive Line has been struggling. I fully expect the Knights to move the chains on the ground which will open things up in the passing game for Gabriel and he should be able to help UCF to a big Offensive outing.

Running the ball is going to be the first choice for Tulane with their Quarter Back just having a few issues with his accuracy in recent games. The Green Wave do have an Offensive Line that can plough lanes for some big runs, but the Knights Defensive Line have prided themselves in being able to stop the run and they will likely double down in wanting to do that this week when you think of the way Justin McMillan has been playing.

McMillan started off very hot at the Quarter Back position for Tulane, but he has five Touchdown passes and eight Interceptions during a four game run in which the Green Wave have been beaten three times. The UCF Knights have the pass rush to put McMillan under pressure if the Green Wave are in third and long spots and that might lead to more turnovers and a chance to win this game by a healthy margin.

I do have to have respect for the Head Coaching job Willie Fritz is doing with the Green Wave and they have strong trends when coming off a loss and have also covered in all of their home games in 2019. However UCF are 6-2 against the spread in the last eight in the series and I think they can win and cover here.

Oklahoma State Cowboys @ West Virginia Mountaineers Pick: It is going to take something a little crazy to happen over the last couple of weeks of the regular season for the Big 12 to have anything other than a rematch between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Baylor Bears for their Championship.

One team that still has a sniff of cracking into the top two in this Conference is the Oklahoma State Cowboys but they have to win out and hope a couple of other games go their way. They do have the chance to play spoiler for rivals Oklahoma in Week 14 at the very least, but the focus has to be on this game and surpassing the seven wins earned in 2018.

Three wins in a row have given the Cowboys some momentum, but they will have to be very good on the day if they are going to best the West Virginia Mountaineers. The Mountaineers snapped their five game losing run with a win in Week 12, but they need two more if they are going to become Bowl eligible in Neal Brown's first season as Head Coach.

There is going to be a key battle up front as the Cowboys look to continue their strong performances running the ball as they go up against a West Virginia Defensive Line which has been stout for much of the season. Chuba Hubbard is still going to be very difficult to stop even though West Virginia have remained strong through injuries, and being able to do that should expose the Mountaineers Secondary which has given up some big yards.

Everything will be decided in the trenches, but Oklahoma State have momentum behind them and should be able to move the chains here on the road.

It does feel like the Cowboys will have more success than the Mountaineers when it comes to running the ball this week and Oklahoma State's Defensive unit have really picked up their play during the three game winning run. The Cowboys Defensive Line is holding teams to 3.3 yards per carry in that run of victories and they will be looking to force West Virginia to rely on Jarret Doege at Quarter Back.

Doege is coming off a very good performance in the win over Kansas State and he did give the Mountaineers a spark. That has to be respected, while it is hard to ignore the yards the Oklahoma State Secondary have allowed for much of the season.

However the Cowboys have begun to produce some significant pass rush pressure which has given their team the chance to make some big plays in the Secondary. The ten turnovers picked up in three games has given Oklahoma State some real belief in the Defensive schemes they are putting together and I think that could be the key to the outcome of this game and the potential cover for the road team.

Oklahoma State have covered in their last four games against West Virginia and they have some strong trends throughout the season. Winning on the road is not going to be easy for the Cowboys, but I think they can earn a turnover or two which helps them pull clear and make it four wins in a row before the big rivalry game against the Sooners in Week 14.

Boston College Eagles @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish Pick: This is the seventh year Steve Addazio has been the Head Coach of the Boston College Eagles and they have won at least seven games in five of the last six seasons. There is still the chance to earn another winning record in 2019, but the Eagles are likely going to need an upset if they are going to become Bowl eligible.

At 5-5 the Eagles are one win away from doing that, but they face the Pittsburgh Panthers on the road in Week 14 and have to visit the 8-2 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in Week 13. Neither game is going to be easy when you think the Panthers are hoping to get into the ACC Championship Game and the Fighting Irish are looking for a third season in a row with double digit wins.

Boston College are coming out of a Bye Week which will help, but Notre Dame have won three in a row and crushed Navy in Week 12.

It might not be a season in which Notre Dame will be returning to the College Football PlayOffs, but they have only been beaten by top teams in Georgia and Michigan and both on the road. From an Offensive standpoint they will be very comfortable in Week 13 as it looks like the Fighting Irish will be able to move the chains whether they go to the ground or through the air.

Tony Jones might not have had the best of recent games for the Fighting Irish, but he should be able to get on track in this one. The Eagles Defensive Line have given up 5.5 yards per carry in their last three games and I would expect Notre Dame to establish the run which only makes life that much more simpler for Ian Book at Quarter Back.

Book had five Touchdowns last week in the win over Navy and should be able to have another big outing in Week 13. The Boston College Secondary have allowed over 300 passing yards per game through the course of 2019 and they have forced little pass rush pressure which will mean Book having time to dissect the schemes seen in front of him.

With the Fighting Irish expected to move the chains whenever they have the ball, the pressure will be on Boston College to match that or have to rely on turnovers. The Eagles are very clear with what they want to do Offensively, but the battle in the trenches may not go for them.

The Eagles will be looking to run the ball more often than not, but Notre Dame's Defensive Line have restricted teams to 3.7 yards per carry over their last few games. The preparation for this game being a game against Navy will have helped and I think Notre Dame will be confident having played as well as they did against the Midshipmen.

Boston College will have their moments because they do run the ball well, but you would favour Notre Dame to stall drives whenever they get into downs and distances where the Eagles have to throw the ball. Fumbles hurt Navy in the blowout last week and Boston College will have to be wary of active hands in this one too.

This is a big number on the handicap when you think of how well Boston College have done in games they are expected to be blown out in. They were crushed by Clemson and surprisingly beaten by 24 points by Kansas though and I think Notre Dame can find a couple of turnovers to help them pull clear and cover this spread in Week 13.

SMU Mustangs @ Navy Midshipmen Pick: Three teams are locked together at 5-1 within the Conference at the top of the American Athletic West Division and two of those are playing in Week 13. This is essentially an elimination game between the SMU Mustangs and Navy Midshipmen and it does feel like it is going to be a very close one throughout.

Both the Mustangs and Midshipmen have suffered losses to the other 5-1 team in the Division, Memphis, but the winner of this one can still edge to the Division title if they can win out. That is as much to do with the fact that Memphis don't have any easy games left themselves so there is plenty on the line for both SMU and Navy.

The Mustangs got back to winning ways before heading into their Bye Week in Week 12 and they will be hoping that the heavy loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will have dented some of the belief that Navy have had.

SMU have to be respected as they are very well balanced on the Offensive side of the ball with Xavier Jones running the ball strongly and Shane Buechele proving who he is after transferring from the Texas Longhorns to play Quarter Back. Jones might not have a massive outing because the Navy Defensive Line have been pretty strong for much of the season, but putting the clamps on him completely looks unlikely and that should at least set the Mustangs up when it comes to dropping back to throw the ball.

Shane Buechele has been very impressive for the Mustangs and has already helped the team to only their second winning season in seven years. The Mustangs will be hoping the running attack keeps the Navy Defensive unit honest and if it does you would expect Buechele to have another strong outing for the road team.

The big challenge for the Mustangs on the other side of the ball is going to be finding a way to stop Navy running the ball as they have enjoyed for the majority of the season. There is a chance that SMU can sell out a little bit to do that and the Defensive Line has been pretty stout, but the big concern for the Mustangs has to be the play of the Secondary.

This sounds like a good match up for them though because Navy won't be throwing the ball with the same effectiveness as other teams in this Conference. If the Mustangs Defensive Line can force some big plays up front, they can at least slow things down and make Navy go to unfamiliar methods in attempting to move the chains.

My feeling here is that the Mustangs can make one or two plays Defensively which can help them edge this game. Having more than a Field Goal start looks very important for the road team, even though Navy have been a very strong home team all season and have dominated the head to head in recent seasons.

The balance that the Mustangs have Offensively looks to be important though and Navy were blown out by the Fighting Irish last week while SMU were resting. It is a massive game for both teams and I think that will make this a close one with little to separate them and backing the underdog with the start is hard to ignore.

MY PICKS: UCF Knights - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
Oklahoma State Cowboys - 5.5 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
Notre Dame Fighting Irish - 20.5 Points @ 1.91 Sky Bet (1 Unit)
SMU Mustangs + 3.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Victor (1 Unit)
Minnesota Golden Gophers - 13.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)
USC Trojans - 13 Points @ 1.91 William Hill (1 Unit)
USF Bulls + 14.5 Points @ 1.91 Bet Fred (1 Unit)

Week 12: 6-3, + 2.53 Units (9 Units Staked, + 28.11% Yield)
Week 11: 5-3, + 1.55 Units (8 Units Staked, + 19.38% Yield)
Week 10: 4-1, + 2.73 Units (5 Units Staked, + 54.60% Yield)
Week 9: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.43% Yield)
Week 8: 4-4-1, - 0.47 Units (9 Units Staked, - 5.22% Yield)
Week 7: 3-3, - 0.24 Units (6 Units Staked, - 4% Yield)
Week 6: 2-5, - 3.18 Units (7 Units Staked, - 45.42% Yield)
Week 5: 6-1, + 4.40 Units (7 Units Staked, + 62.86% Yield)
Week 4: 3-2, + 0.73 Units (5 Units Staked, + 14.60% Yield)
Week 3: 3-5, - 2.18 Units (8 Units Staked, - 27.25% Yield)
Week 2: 5-7, - 2.57 Units (12 Units Staked, - 21.42% Yield)
Week 1: 3-2, + 0.67 Units (5 Units Staked, + 13.40% Yield)

Season 2019: 46-41-1, + 0.79 Units (88 Units Staked, + 1% Yield)

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