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I'm from Houston, a graduate of the University of Texas, a fan of the Houston Astros and Houston Texans. But this blog will be about the "greater sports", whatever that means.

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

College Football Picks - 2017 Week Thirteen

My Longhorns are back! God Bless Texas!
The Thanksgiving feast is here people!  A long weekend of rivalry games and ranking shakeups.  It's sad that we're to the last weekend of regular season for the five Power Five conferences (all of which have title games this year for the first time).  And also teams jockeying for Bowl position.  As the saying goes, the more you win, the warmer your destination gets.  A shout out to my Texas Longhorns for a big road win to be come bowl eligible (which I predicted last week). Six or seven wins and a bowl isn't what Texas expects to be.  But for this season, it's a step forward.

So now our weekly take on last week and this week, in five bullets:

1) Last week was a complete fizzle.  As expected since a lot of teams scheduled weekly.  Outside of a somewhat eye brow raising loss by Oklahoma State to Kansas State (this just in, the Big 12 is deep), not much movement.  The Playoff Committee decided to jockey Clemson and Miami in the 2/3 spots.  Basically correcting a bad ranking the week before.  We could have a whole other debate how Georgia's loss to Auburn is worse than Clemson's loss to Syracuse.
2) It remains to be seen whether the Big 12 title game will help or hurt the conference. Oklahoma is likely to have to beat TCU again.  But without it, I could see a scenario of passing up the Big 12 for some combination of two SEC teams, plus Wisconsin (or dare I say Ohio State) and the ACC winner without the extra data point.  One would think a head to head win for Oklahoma over Ohio State might carry weight, but ask Penn State about that can work out.
3) I predict a big shakeup this week.  So many of the better ranked rival teams are on the road.  Alabama.  Clemson.  Miami.  Georgia. Wisconsin.  Ohio State.  Notre Dame.  Some of these will lose.
4) I can't think of two rivalry matchups I want to watch more than Ohio State going to Michigan, and Alabama to Auburn.  You just don't get better than that.  Two different regions, but complete hatred.
5) Don't be surprised to see a big upset for a team not expected to lose.  I'm looking at you Miami, Wisconsin, or Oklahoma.

I cannot stand [Georgia Tech] & we will give
them a...beating on Saturday
This blog will typically pick five games, including the Texas Longhorns and Georgia Bulldogs by default (unless bad matchups).  We try and go for one game in each of the Power 5 conferences, sometimes skipping one that might not have a marquee.  For each week's games, we give you final scores, so you can do your own ATS and S/U comparison. Georgia is done with their conference schedule and now focuses on a revenge game against Georgia Tech, who defeated them in Athens last season.  Texas is fresh off a solid win on the road against West Virginia and now faces Texas Tech (instead of real rival Texas A+M because feelings are still hurt since the Aggies defected to the SEC).   We had to add the Iron Bowl and Michigan vs. Ohio State game.  And add the Apple Cup, which will be a factor in deciding the Pac 12 North Champion.

Our two analysts are J.R. Ewing, Texas Longhorns fan and general loud mouth.  And we feature big time Georgia Bulldog fan "Bulldog Babe" (BDB) (@bulldogbabexo). She's as tried and true a fan of her team in any sport of anyone I know.

Last week
JR: 4-1 S/U, 2-3 ATS
BDB: 4-1 S/U, 3-2 ATS

Season to date:
JR: 37-22 S/U, 32-25 ATS
BDB: 45-15 S/U, 40-19 ATS

BDB jumped back last week for another solid effort.  Didn't predict the Texas upset, but otherwise had all the covers except Wisconsin.  Still hitting over 2/3 ATS, which is better than JR can do straight up.  Meanwhile, JR was also solid, although missed a couple of underdogs that didn't cover, including Michigan.  Got that Texas game, which is what is important.

Spreads are from a great pick site, Capped Sports

Game 1: Texas Tech (+9.5) at Texas (FRIDAY 8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
A rivalry game it is not, but there is a lot on the line for the Longhorns and Red Raiders.  The Longhorns have secured a bowl berth at 6-5 but want to angle for a top tier bowl, which if they finish the conference at 6-3, they'll be no worse than third in the conference.  Meanwhile, Tech needs a win to be the eighth Big 12 Bowl eligible team (out of 10).  All that being said, the Raiders typically play well in Austin and keep in close.  But the Longhorns win in the end.
Texas 31, Texas Tech 27

Bulldog Babe: 
Texas Tech/Texas is one of many rivalry matchups this weekend. I think that Texas is the better team, but they will have their hands full with Texas Tech because they’re wanting to become bowl eligible and this is their last opportunity. I have Texas in this one though because I think they’re the better and more complete team.
Texas 34, Texas Tech 24

Game 2: Ohio State (-12) at Michigan (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
I'm going to say this a few times.  A rivalry game between two good teams shouldn't be double digits to the road team.  It's tough to win on the road.  Michigan is very hungry after an overtime defeat last year extended their losing streak to five.  They're hungry.  Will they win?  Probably not.  Will it be close.  Yes.
Ohio State 31, Michigan 28

Bulldog Babe:
Another nasty rivalry. Same as the Georgia/Georgia Tech rivalry, they HATE each other and so do the fans. I think that Ohio State is the better team, period. They have really come out the last few years against all of their opponents and I think they will win on Saturday.
Ohio State 26, Michigan 10

Game 3: Georgia (-11) at Georgia Tech (Noon EST)

JR Ewing:
See my note above.  Georgia is very much better than Georgia Tech.  But in Atlanta this will be close.  Throw in the upset last year, either Georgia fights back and dominates or it is close.  I think Tech keeps in close.  Again, within double digits.
Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 20

Bulldog Babe:
Clean old fashioned hate. This is a way of the world, Georgia hates GT and GT hates Georgia. This is a nasty rivalry and it’s shown that Georgia is completely the better team because they have always dominated GT minus a couple of bad years, but overall, Georgia is the better team and they will come out and completely dominate the Yellow Jackets. Georgia wins.
Georgia 34, Georgia Tech 17

Game 4: Alabama (-4.5) at Auburn (3:30 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
Perhaps the game of the year.  Alabama is relatively untested believe it or not.  Jeff Sagarin has their strength of schedule as worse than Wisconsin.  Mostly because of the bad out of conference teams they played.  But still.  Auburn seems to have gotten better as the season has gone along.  And is at home.  It's going to finish right at the line, Alabama wins.
Alabama 24, Auburn 20

Bulldog Babe:
The Iron Bowl. My second favorite rivalry. Alabama and Auburn are both very strong this year and I think that this won’t be a smooth sailing ride for Alabama. They have a lot of starters out for the rest of the season due to injuries and Auburn is completely healthy, so it will be a chest bumping match. Alabama I think will come through, but it will be very close.
Alabama 32, Auburn 28

Game 5: Washington State (+10) at Washington (8:00 p.m. EST)

JR Ewing:
Lest we forget about the Pac 12, there's some good football up there.  The conference is deeper than most, just without a couple of title contenders.  This is going to be a huge game for both teams.  Washington State can still win the Pac 12 North with a win.  They're an unpredictable force and I'm not sold on Washington.  I do think the Huskies win, but it will be tighter than the experts think.
Washington 35, Washington State 31

Bulldog Babe:
Washington State at Washington This is a hard matchup to predict considering they’re both ranked in the top 25 and their records are the exact same. So you basically have to look at who you think is the stronger team, and I think that is Washington. They’ve come out completely over the last year and they will win this weekend.
Washington 34, Washington State 21

We wish all our Blog readers a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  Enjoy your weekend of football and be nice to one another.

- JR and BDB

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