2019 NCAAF Week 13 Weekend Preview

November 23, 2019

There is less scrambling this time, but it is still Saturday morning as I write so there will once again be very little lead up to the main attraction in this post.

My dad tied me last week, so there was no movement in the overall standings in the head-to-head prediction game. As of Week 12, they look like this:

K. Becks – 38-23

Guests – 40-21

This week, my buddy Matt will look to build a bigger lead for the guests. To differentiate between this Matt and the others that have previously made picks on ATC this season, I’m going to refer to him as “The Younger”. This also accomplishes the side goal of asserting my dominance over him before the games have even kicked off.

Without further elaboration on that topic, let’s take a look at the top games to watch on Saturday.

5 Games to Watch This Weekend

#8 Penn State at #2 Ohio State (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Buckeyes are, on one hand, in the good graces of the national media, generally regarded as the most complete team in the country save a Clemson squad that hardly anyone knows much about. On the other hand, the “knows nothing about” card is being played on Ohio State as well, despite two convincing victories over current Top 20 teams and the nation’s top scoring offense. Fortunately for Ryan Day’s squad, it seems that even a wide expected margin of victory (favored 18.5 points) isn’t going to dilute this Saturday’s game as a chance to earn a marquee win.

The formula for victory is relatively simple for Ohio State, when you break it down. Penn State’s offense is regarded as second best in the Big Ten behind the Buckeyes, and are expected to give the Scarlet and Gray its first real test defensively. But with Chase Young back, that side of the ball will feel confident it can shut down Sean Clifford and Co. Offensively, last week against Rutgers the Buckeyes appeared to roll out what may have been a trial run of its offensive gameplan for this Saturday. For the first time all season, Justin Fields passed for over 300 yards in a single game. The Nittany Lions, which only allow 316 yards per game total, give up 240 of that through the air. Fields may need to have a career day in this one in order for the Buckeyes to get the job done, something he is entirely capable of doing.

My Pick: 44-24 Ohio State

The Younger’s Take: I think we’re all pretty pissed off this is a noon game. Fox Big Noon Saturday can suck a taint. That being said, Chase Young is back and the Buckeyes take this one.

OSU 38 PSU 10

Texas A&M at #4 Georgia (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Bulldogs will have a chance to earn their place in the College Football Playoff come December 7, but until that point it wouldn’t be a bad idea to beat up on a couple of SEC foes to take some of the heat off their back that is being applied by the two Pac-12 schools with one loss. The Aggies are a bit of an afterthought in the conference this season, but Kellen Mond is still a baller and Jimbo Fisher’s offense is more than capable of holding its own in a track meet against any team in the country. Shutting it down would make the Georgia defense look good, and instill some confidence that the unit could do similar things against LSU in Atlanta.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it is worth noting that it has been four games since the Bulldogs eclipsed 400 yards of offense in a game. The last time that happened, Georgia lost. The Aggies have had issues at times handling the run game, which is what Kirby Smart’s offense likes to do, so expect the Bulldogs to try to control possession and move the football at will on the ground. If it they can do that, the scoreline may not suggest it, but Georgia will have dominated this game.

My Pick: 27-17 Georgia

The Younger’s Take: No one will be watching this game unless Johnny Manziel himself resurrects. Georgia is overrated, kinda like Kyle’s hair.

Georgia 21 Texas AM 20

Texas at #14 Baylor (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

A 28-3 lead has now become an ominous score at both the professional and collegiate football ranks following Baylor’s unprecedented collapse at home against Oklahoma last Saturday night. Not only did the loss end the Bears’ perfect season, but it also left Matt Rhule’s team with an almost impossible task of crawling back into the CFP discussion. Even a victory over the Sooners in the Big 12 title game is unlikely to be enough to sway the Committee. However, games are still left on the schedule and Texas’s offense is nothing to sleep on. That is, the Texas offense we know sometimes doesn’t step off the bus.

Baylor’s offense, which seemingly could not be stopped in the first half last Saturday, was shut out by Oklahoma in the second half. Considering how bad the Sooners are defensively, this is a positive ray of light for a Texas offense that may have trouble moving the football on the ground against the Bears, a characteristic of its game against Iowa State that heavily contributed to a 23-21 loss. Both teams will be fired up offensively, so look for early scoring before both settle down and try to establish a rhythm. If this were at DKR Memorial the Longhorns would win, but Baylor isn’t going to let its home fans down two weeks in a row.

My Pick: 34-28 Baylor

The Younger’s Take: Kyle fucked over a big fan. Just go ask Dilfus Johnson, Jr. himself, who by the way bet on Texas to win the Big 12 and in result lost his house. Dilfus paid me to put an ad in this highly rated article. That being said, can anyone take in a loving man and his wife and 4 children? They won’t be much of a bother.

Baylor 31 Texas 21

#25 Southern Methodist at Navy (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

The Midshipmen were waxed by Notre Dame last weekend, a game in which ATC figured that the Navy defense would be able to slow down the Fighting Irish offense and make it a nail-biter. This one got a lot more intriguing when that didn’t happen, as SMU’s offense is capable of putting up similar numbers against what is thought to be a solid Navy defense. The Midshipmen do still lead the AAC in total defensive yards allowed per game, but gave up 300 yards through the air for the first time all season against the Fighting Irish.

SMU gunslinger Shane Buechele sees red heading into this one. The AAC’s leading passer throws for nearly 320 yards a game, and most of it is needed in order for the Mustangs to win games. Characteristic of Sonny Dykes’ coached teams, there is really very little going on in the defensive secondary which normally results in high scoring affairs. But the Mustangs are behind just their opponent this weekend in rushing yards allowed per game, which is bad news for the Midshipmen. SMU will be able to get a few stops on defense, which should prevent Navy from eating up enough clock to prevent Buechele from doing his thing. Navy has had a good year, but this is a bad matchup for the service academy.

My Pick: 44-28 Southern Methodist

The Younger’s Take: Go Navy, nothing else needs to be said.

Navy 28 SMU 21

Pittsburgh at Virginia Tech (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

You know that the ACC is having a down year when there is a game with division title implications being played in late-November, and hardly anyone outside of the two fan bases has any idea that the game is relevant to Championship Weekend. Such is the case with this one, where the Panthers and Hokies will battle to see who will keep pace with Virginia at the top of the Coastal Division standings. Virginia Tech still controls its own destiny with a victory on Saturday, as it will face Virginia in the regular season finale next weekend. The Hokies have rounded into form late in the year and appear to be the most dangerous offense in the conference at this time outside of Clemson, but Pittsburgh’s defense is stifling and could challenge that opinion.

It wasn’t long ago that the media was beginning to question Justin Fuentes’s job security in Blacksburg, but much of that concern has evaporated away following five victories in the last six games, the one loss being a competitive one against Notre Dame in South Bend. The run game has come alive for the Hokies, and in four of the past five games they have rushed for at least 220 yards. That is unlikely to happen against the ACC’s best run defense, but sophomore Hendon Hooker has emerged as a reliable piece of the Virginia Tech offense and can hurt you through the air if you give him the opportunity. This game is unlikely to produce a ton of points, but both offenses are underrated and will be able to move the football. In the end, the Hokies are coming in with enough confidence to pull out a close one.

My Pick: 33-31 Virginia Tech

The Younger’s Take: Pittsburgh can go fuck itself. Awful city.

Pitt 0 VT 49

5 Games to Flip To

#13 Michigan at Indiana (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Everyone has expected the Hoosiers to just lay down in the second half of the year (as they have done historically), but this is a legitimately good offensive team. The Wolverines will struggle in Bloomington.

Louisiana Tech at UAB (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Fans of Conference USA already know how big this game is, but for those that don’t watch Group of Five games much, understand you’re looking at two of the best teams from that grouping in this one.

Temple at #19 Cincinnati (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

The Bearcats have a two game lead in the AAC East right now, but Temple is desperately trying to keep its title hopes alive and have the defense capable of keeping this one very close.

TCU at #9 Oklahoma (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

Nothing is certain with the Sooners, and TCU has been close a couple of times this season but has yet to pull off an upset over a ranked opponent.

#7 Utah at Arizona (Saturday, 10 PM ET)

Anything you can do I can do better? The Utes hope that is the case this weekend against the Wildcats, a team that Oregon handled quite easily last Saturday.

In the past, I’ve asked readers to let me know if they’d like to be guests on Around The Corn to make weekly college football picks. And while that invite still stands (email kbecks@aroundthecorn.com or message me on Facebook or Twitter if interested), the truth is that I’m basically asking friends and family on a weekly basis. Writing is a passion of mine, as is commenting on sports. But sharing those two passions with others are what has always made this worthwhile. So tell me what you think of the site and let me know what could be done better, or what would make you come back without prompting. I’d really appreciate it.

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