The 2021 college football regular season is coming to a close. Fortunately, we’ve still got bowl games, playoffs, and the national championship game to look forward to. The final week can be tricky, so keep it light.
Here’s what I like for Week 13.
Notre Dame at Stanford … plus Ohio State at Michigan preview
Maryland (-120) at Rutgers
The Scarlet Knights are coming into this game having been shut out by Penn State in a 28-0 loss. Now you gotta play one more? Both need a win to become bowl-eligible, but it’s the Terrapins who have the better offense and rank top 20 in passing yards.
Maryland QB Taulia Tagovailoa has done well this season with 21 touchdowns and 11 interceptions but five of those picks came in one game against Iowa. Sure, the Terrapins have lost six of their last seven games, but it was against a tough stretch of teams in Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan.
Oregon State (+7, +225 ML) at Oregon
The Ducks’ hope of reaching the CFB Playoff was crushed in a 38-7 loss to Utah last week. However, for both teams there’s still a lot to play for. If Oregon wins, they are in the Pac-12 title game. Oregon State has a shot at the title game if Washington State loses on Friday and they win. If the Cougars don’t lose, the Beavers can play for a better bowl and be spoilers to a conference foe.
The Oregon defense just gave up 208 rushing yards to the Utes and allowed 9.8 yards per pass. The Beavers are pretty good at running the ball, ranking fourth in rushing yards. They are led by RB B.J. Baylor, who has 1,200 yards on the season and 12 scores. The defensive strength for both teams is against the run, but the Beavers are catching Oregon in a great spot to pull an upset.
Penn State (-125 ML) at Michigan State
Haven’t we already established that the Spartans are a terrible passing defense? Now they are facing a quarterback in Sean Clifford, who has 2,599 passing yards and 17 touchdowns on the season and is averaging 7.2 yards per pass. Clifford sat in last week’s shut-out win over Rutgers because of the flu but is expected to be back. The Nittany Lions may not have as potent of an offense as the Buckeyes, but Clifford and WR Jahan Dotson (1,045 receiving yards) should still be able to do some damage against a defense ranked dead last defending the pass, while the Spartans should have difficulty gaining rushing yards against a top-35 run defense.
Cal (+7,+220 ML) at UCLA
The Golden Bears, who are 4-6, still have a shot at a bowl bid … or may get left out even if they defeat UCLA and USC to close 6-6. No need to go into the details, but this game means a lot to Cal. For UCLA, not so much because a bowl is already locked up. The Bruins are getting a lot of love after a 62-33 rout of USC. Cal has shown that it can hang against good a rushing team, defeating Oregon State 39-25. Though Cal is a run-first team, QB Chase Garbers is a capable passer with a 7.5 average completion rate and 16 touchdowns on the season. He could fare well against a Bruins defense ranked 111th against the pass. Cal has the better defense and can exploit the UCLA secondary on its way to locking up a bowl.