NCAA, Sports

Welcome to Rivalry Week! Week 14 College Football Picks are in.

Welcome to Rivalry Week where genuine hatred and ingenious pranks are not only welcomed, they are expected. It’s funny, and somewhat ironic, that Rivalry Week comes on the heels of the holiday in which we are supposed to give thanks. Get all of the niceties out on Thursday because on Friday everything changes. We have a full slate of games on Friday AND Saturday that will determine BCS positioning and Conference Championship births. It is one of the best College Football weekends of the year and I couldn’t help myself. We’re picking 16 games this weekend. That’s right….SIXTEEN GAMES! I apologize if some of my analysis is a bit shorter this week. I can feel the Thanksgiving Day Food Coma coming on and I want to try to save some energy to stay up long enough to catch all of the games 

All lines according to


I apologize in advance for not for making a pick for Thanksgiving Day just yet. Tomorrow on SML we will be posting my favorite article of the year, which is our annual Thanksgiving Day Gambling Special. I affectionately call it our “Gobble, Gobble” article.  Just know that Texas Tech is +4.5 at Texas and that tomorrow’s pick will count towards my Amateur Hour overall record. Check back for my picks and a whole lot more tomorrow! Happy Thanksgiving in advance to you and your loved ones. Make sure to eat more than you thought was possible, not move for hours at a time, and throw back somewhere between 3 and 17 drinks. Oh, and Pumpkin Pie. Just stick your face it in.

Friday Special

So much for doing anything productive to work off that excess of fat in your stomach. Throw any ideas of getting off the couch out the window. There is absolutely no time for rash decisions like that. Have you seen how many games there are on Friday? WOWWW! It’s like the miracle of College Football is being delivered a day early by the Thanksgiving gods. Thank you wondrous Turkey Gods for your thoughtful gifts. We accept them graciously. Mahhhhhhhhhhh, grab me a beer. I’ll also need 12 road beers. For Free! Best weekend of the year!

LSU -24.5 v. Arkansas

The Tigers are undefeated in Baton Rouge this season and are coming off of their best win of the season, a 34-10 beat down of the fighting Manziel’s. Arkansas is a dismal team whose record accurately depicts how putrid they have been in their first season under Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks come in 3-8 and have yet to record a road victory. LSU is hot and the ride should continue on the back of QB Zach Mettenberger, who will have all the time he wants in the pocket. LSU in a rout.

Prediction: LSU 48 – Arkansas 13

UCF -27 v. South Florida

Blake Bortels ALERT! UCF somehow has a realistic opportunity to make it to a BCS Bowl game this season and their last regular season test comes against a South Florida team that simply can’t compete. UCF has the talent and the motivation to take it to USF in a big way. This one will be over within the first fifteen minutes. You think I’m joking too. 35-0 after the first quarter. Yeah, I said it. Book it!

Prediction: UCF 61 – USF 17

Fresno State -7.5 @ San Jose State

Is Derek Carr making a push for an invitation to New York City? Are there really going to be TWO FSU’s in BCS games this season? What in the world is going on? And why in the hell are the Carr brothers so freaking incredible in college? I have so many questions and not enough answers. Anyways, with a BCS trip on the line for the Bulldogs I see no way they drop this game in San Jose to a team that just lost to Navy and couldn’t play defense with 2×4’s strapped to their arms. Fresno State and SJSU are going to throw the ball all over the field and there should be over 100 points scored in this contest. Fresno State is going to be scoring most of those points.

Prediction: Fresno State 58 – SJSU 48

Washington -14 v. Washington State

The Apple Cup is on the line Friday night in Seattle. The Huskies are fresh off a 69-27 demolition of Oregon State and should be fired up after losing last years Cup 31-28. Meanwhile, Washington State clinched a bowl birth last weekend against Utah and has been one of the most surprising teams in the Pac 12 this season. Bishop Sankey, Washington’s star RB, is only 121 yards away from breaking Corey Dillon’s 1996 single-season rushing record. You don’t think that the Huskies and their fans are going to be imploring the team to get Sankey those yards? Oh, he’s getting those yards. The biggest subplot to this matchup is that if Steve Sarkisian, the Washington Head Coach, doesn’t win this game is he going to be fired? If Sarkisian can’t beat the Cougs this weekend it is my personal opinion that he is going to be roaming the sidelines of USC next year as the offensive coordinator for Ed Orgeron. My gut tells me Washington has too much to lose on Friday and won’t let that happen.

Prediction: Washington 41 – Washington St. 24


Ohio State -14.5 @ Michigan

Ohio State hasn’t lost under Urban Meyer and their first loss will not be to bitter rival Michigan in the Big House. Nope, it will come the following week when they have to face Michigan State for the Big 10 Championship. I’m calling that one right now! But, for now, Ohio State is going to use this game as a little “ F*ck You” to the BCS and will run the score up on lowly Michigan. The poor Wolverines don’t know how to play offense this season and have been out of sorts for the past two months. Look for Braxton Miller and Kenny Guitton to team up for around six touchdowns and for the Buckeyes to be up by 30 or so at halftime. This is one of the best rivalries in football but at some point Michigan has to compete with Ohio State for it to truly matter on a national level. Sorry Wolverines, but it’s the truth. Deep down you know it too.

Prediction: Ohio State 56 – Michigan 17

Duke +6.5 @ North Carolina

Someone is going to have to explain to me why the 24th ranked team in the nation and a team that is one win away from reaching the ACC Title game is a 6.5 point underdog on the road. Does this make sense to anyone else? Did I misread this line? Jason, stop asking questions. Just bet it. Don’t think about it, just do it. Why are you waiting? GO, GO, GO.

Just checked to make sure I wasn’t missing anything here. Nope, nothing to see here. Oh, just found out Duke is 4-0 on the road this season. If you’re in Vegas please do yourself a favor and run to the nearest Sports Book. Run a freaking red light if you must. JUST DO IT! I feel like betting this game right now is like a poorly executed bank heist. There was no plan but it was just too easy to pass up.

Prediction: Duke 30 – UNC 23

Michigan State -15 v. Minnesota

Way to go both of you guys. Both Michigan State and Minnesota covered their respective spreads last week and earned a ton of goodwill with this Sports Guy. Michigan State is proving to the country that they are one of the strongest teams around and that the Big 10 doesn’t begin and end with an OH and an IO. The Spartans have the best rushing defense in the country and only allowed four, count em, FOUR rushing yards to the Gophers last season in Minnesota. Sure, Gophers RB David Cobb didn’t get a carry in that game but against this MSU defense I’m not sure that it matters. Wisconsin gave Minnesota fits all day on offense last weekend and this weekend provides a tougher matchup. Unfortunately for the Gophers they are simply playing in a different league this weekend.

Prediction: Michigan State 31 – Minnesota 9

Missouri -4.5 v. Texas A&M

In one of the more intriguing non-rivalry matchups of the weekend, Texas A&M heads to Columbia, Missouri to take on the leaders of the SEC East. If the Missouri Tigers can find a way to slow down Johnny Manziel and the powerful A&M offense they will find themselves in the SEC Championship game next weekend against Auburn or Alabama. This game will come down to the Missouri pass rash, which leads the SEC with 35 sacks, against the vaunted Texas A&M offensive line and the mobility of Johnny Football. If the Tigers can consistently put hits on Manziel, like LSU did last weekend, then there is no question that they will able to pull away in this contest. Scoring isn’t going to be an issue for the Tigers offense as they face one of the most pathetic defenses in the SEC and star QB James Franklin is back to lead the Tigers. Look for Mizzou to slow down Johnny just enough to put this one away in the fourth.

Prediction: Missouri 37 – Texas A&M 28

Florida State -27.5 @ Florida







Prediction: Florida State 1,000,000 – Florida -17… Seriously.

Baylor -12.5 @ TCU

I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Baylor was only stopped last week because Oklahoma State has one of the most underrated defenses in the country, Stillwater is a really difficult place to play, and the pressure got to them. The line is much too low and I believe Baylor is just as good as they have played all season. TCU poses little threat to the mighty Bears offense.

Prediction: Baylor 52 – TCU 24

Clemson +5.5 @ South Carolina

Clemson and South Carolina have met 110 times in a series that dates all the way back to 1896; however, this will mark the first time that these teams have met while both ranked in the Top 10. South Carolina comes in with the more talented defense but Clemson has the more dynamic offense. The Gamecocks are one of the most outstanding home teams in the country, having won 18 straight games in Columbia. The Clemson Tigers offense looks to continue it’s high flying ways on Saturday and will need every score to beat a Gamecocks defense that features the most feared man in college football, Jadaveon Clowney, who has pretty much take this whole season off. Clowney, who is undoubtedly a top-5 NFL pick next season, said before the season that Tajh Boyd, the Clemson star QB, was scared of him in last years matchup. You don’t think Boyd has been dreaming of staring down Clowney all season? He has. I think that Clemson is going to steamroll the Gamecocks. Boyd, in his last game in South Carolina, is going to be the star of the show.

Prediction: Clemson 42 – South Carolina 27

Stanford -14 v. Notre Dame

Stanford may be looking forward to next weeks Pac 12 Championship against Arizona State; however, they just have too much talent in this matchup against a broken down Notre Dame squad. Stanford gets the home field advantage and will be able to slow down Notre Dame’s already slow motion offense. No contest in this one.

Prediction: Stanford 31 – Notre Dame 10

Arizona State -13 v. Arizona

Both Arizona State and Arizona are coming off their biggest victories of the season. The Wildcats absolutely obliterated the (my) Oregon Ducks last Saturday to the tune of 42-16. No one has beaten Oregon that badly since 2008. To say it was an impressive performance would be a massive understatement. Arizona State is coming off clinching the Pac 12 South Division in a victory at UCLA. The Sun Devils are clearly the more talented team and the game is being played in Tempe. KaDeem Carey, the Heisman caliber Wildcat RB, is one of the hottest players in the country and should provide a nice test for ASU. The thing is that when it comes to rivalries you kind of throw everything out the window. ASU is just more talented at almost every position. For that reason alone they are the pick

Prediction: Arizona State 42 – Arizona 28

USC -3.5 v. UCLA

Will Ed Orgeron be the Head Coach of the USC Trojans in 2014? I believe that if he beats UCLA on Saturday and finishes off a 10-3 season he will become the full time coach after the game. Pat Haden shouldn’t have to wait for a nationwide coaching search. But can Orgeron take down the impressive UCLA Bruins? I don’t even think it’s close. UCLA has looked shaky and beat down, despite pulling out a couple of close games down the stretch. To me it looked like the loss to Arizona State was the straw that finally broke the camels back, so to speak. UCLA had been building up injuries all season and had not really cracked, other than to Top 5 teams in Stanford and Oregon. But last week the cracks finally showed and Bruins started taking on water. I believe it continues this week at the Coliseum in a big way. Coach O has the men of Troy playing some inspired football and there is no way they are losing this weekend to UCLA.

Prediction: USC 38 – UCLA 20

Alabama -11 @ Auburn

In what should be the most exciting game of the weekend, and certainly the most important, Alabama travels to Auburn for the annual renewing of the Iron Bowl. What a fantastic name for a Rivalry game. It’s easily in my Top 10 Rivalry Name Game Power Rankings. Oh, you want more don’t you. #GTGTPWTW (Shout out Jalen Rose!)

Rivalry Name Game Power Rankings

1. The Backyard Brawl (Pittsburgh v. West Virginia) – PLAY THIS GAME AGAIN

2. The Civil War (Oregon State v. Oregon)

3. Bedlam (Oklahoma State v. Oklahoma)

4. The Iron Bowl (Auburn v. Alabama)

5. The Red River Rivalry (Texas v. Oklahoma)

6. The Game (Michigan v. Ohio State)

7. World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party (Georgia v. Florida in Jacksonville, FL)

8. Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate (Georgia v. Georgia Tech)

9. The Holy War (Utah v. BYU or BC v. Notre Dame)

10. The Big Game (California v. Stanford)

Anyways, back to the Iron Bowl. Alabama comes in searching for an undefeated regular season and another trip to the SEC Championship. The Crimson Tide should feel all of the pressure in this game as they try to win their fourth National Title in five seasons. Meanwhile, Auburn is THE most surprising team in College Football this season, for my money, and can also reach the SEC Title game with a win on Saturday. If for some reason Auburn wins out and Ohio State drops a game the Tigers would find themselves heading to the Rose Bowl on January 6th to face FSU for a National Championship. Who would have thought that 9 months ago? The winner of the Iron Bowl has gone on the win the National Championship EACH OF THE PAST 4 SEASONS! How unreal is that? I believe it will happen for a fifth straight season and that Alabama will win this one relatively easily. I don’t think that Auburn’s record is an accident but I certainly do think they’ve gotten quite a bit of good luck this season. Luck doesn’t work against Alabama.

Prediction: Alabama 34 – Auburn 17


Last Week: 10-4

2013 Season: 89-74-1

2012 Season: 57-39-7


Jason Gold is the Founder and Co-Editor in Chief of Follow Jason on Twitter @TheSportsGuy33.