Week Thirteen College Football 2021 Preview

College Football Week 13: Michigan vs. Ohio State

Week Thirteen of the College Football season is here! This should be a great week of football with many of the games being rivalry games.

Here is your Week Thirteen College Football 2021 preview.

Week Thirteen College Football Top Matchups

No. 8 Ole Miss at Mississippi State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: Ole Miss 42, Mississippi State 28

You want to get into a shootout, Mississippi State? Get ready for this.

Yeah, the Bulldogs have been great over the last several games, but where’s the great attack they’ve had to deal with?

Auburn? It’s okay, and it almost got to 500 yards. Arkansas? Yeah, it’s balanced, and it got to almost 400 yards in a win.

Yeah, the Mississippi State defense has been solid throughout the year – especially against the run – but Alabama rolled at will in the win back in mid-October, and now it has to keep up with an attack that should get close to 500 yards.

Ole Miss generates just enough of a pass rush to potentially be a wee bit of an issue, and there aren’t any turnover problems, and I think they pull this off!

No. 2 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Ohio State 42, Michigan 28

Ohio State (10-1) jumped to No. 2 after an eye-opening 56-7 victory against Michigan State in Week 12. The Buckeyes lead the FBS with an offense that averages 47.2 points per game, and Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud is throwing to an all-world receiving trio that includes Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Third-year coach Ryan Day still hasn’t lost a Big Ten game.

Michigan (10-1) is trying to break an eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes in The Game, and this is coach Jim Harbaugh’s sixth crack at it as a head coach. The Wolverines rank seventh in the FBS with a defense that allows 16.7 points per game. Defensive ends Adian Hutchinson and David Ojabo have 10 sacks apiece, but do the Wolverines have enough offense to pull the upset? 

The Buckeyes are 2-2 ATS on the road this season, but all of those spreads were double digits. Ohio State is 8-0 against ranked opponents under Day, and they have won those games by an average of 23.1 points per game. Perhaps that’s why the line has pushed up 1.5 points from its open. 

Michigan is 0-5 against Ohio State under Harbaugh, but that’s not the startling part. The Buckeyes have won those five games by an average of 19 points per game. The only game to be decided by single digits was Ohio State’s 30-27 double-overtime victory in 2016. 

Michigan also is 2-13 against top-10 opponents under Harbaugh, and the last loss was the 37-33 shocker against Michigan State earlier this season. Harbaugh is 2-4 at home in those top-10 matchups.  The two victories were against Wisconsin (2016) and Notre Dame (2019). Three of the four losses are to Ohio State, but this is the first time Michigan has brought a 10-1 record to a home matchup against the Buckeyes under Harbaugh. 

This is Michigan’s best shot to end the drought since 2016, but there are striking differences between the teams since 2016. The Wolverines have a new-look defense that has worked with a first-year coordinator, and the Buckeyes have moved away from the power running game out of the shotgun. 

It’s a matter of Michigan making it a four-quarter game, and that is going to be difficult given the many ways Ohio State can attack an opponent. Look for Henderson to be an X-factor early. Michigan will hang around if the running game is clicking, but McNamara will have to play his best game of the season. 

In the end, Ohio State simply is too much again. The Buckeyes advance to the Big Ten championship game for the fifth consecutive year with a chance to get back to the CFP for a third straight time with Day.

Alabama at Auburn

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Prediction: Alabama 45, Auburn 21

The Crimson Tide have indeed struggled to win games in Auburn, but this is a very different Tigers team from seasons past. 

To be fair, Auburn has been without QB Bo Nix and will not have him or kicker Anders Carlson available. Those are two huge positions to have to rely on a backup in a game this big. TJ Finley took over under center for the Tigers and want 17-for-32 with 188 yards and a TD in last week’s loss to South Carolina. This is a massive downgrade at QB for the Tigers. The loss of Carlson is also a big problem as backup kicker Ben Patton missed a 25-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter. 

Normally I would side with Auburn here with such a large spread on two bitter rivals on their home turf. But, I can’t back a backup who wasn’t even able to get going against South Carolina. Interestingly, Finley has started against Alabama before when he was at LSU in 2020. The LSU Tigers lost that game 55-17 and Finley had just 144 yards passing in that game. Hard pass on Auburn putting up much of a fight in this year’s Iron Bowl. 

Oregon State at No. 11 Oregon State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Oregon State 45, Oregon 42

A potential high-stakes matchup awaits the Oregon State Beavers and the Oregon Ducks as they prepare for their 125th meeting this weekend. Depending on the outcome of Friday’s Apple Cup in Seattle, the Oregon schools could be playing for the Pac-12 North title when they face off at Autzen Stadium this Saturday.

The last time the rivalry game meant this much to both sides? The 2009 “War for the Roses” wherein the winner would take the conference crown and clinch a Rose Bowl berth.

The Beavers have repositioned themselves as a conference contender with a breakout seven-win season, and they’ll be looking for number eight as they march into enemy territory. They’re also defending their winning streak in the series after coming up with a dramatic victory inside an empty Reser Stadium midway through last year’s shortened season.

Oregon is coming off a huge loss against against Utah and must get themselves up against their rival this week.

Personally, I think the Beavers will come up inspired to beat their rival again and will pull off a close victory.

No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Oklahoma 27, Oklahoma State 24

The Sooners held on to defeat Iowa State by a touchdown last weekend. QB Caleb Williams has struggled with his aerial attack the last two weeks. The freshman signal-caller has completed 47 percent against Baylor and Iowa State for a combined 229 yards with only one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Williams also was sacked a combined 7 times the last two weeks. He will have to return to his magical wizardry from earlier in the season against the Big 12’s best defense. Riley needs to allow Caleb Williams to improvise—maybe a bunch of quarterback draws.

OSU has locked down a bid to its first Big 12 Championship Game on December 4. The Cowboys can’t get complacent, and doubtful they will. OSU boasts the best defense in the league and ranks second nationally by allowing 14.9 points per game; and third by yielding 267 yards per outing. The Pokes have allowed three of their last four foes to 143 yards or less, including last week’s best performance of holding the Red Raiders to 108 total yards.

A victory by OU puts them in a rematch in the Big 12 Championship Game. A loss and the Pokes will meet Baylor at Jerry World. OU coach Lincoln Riley will have his work cut out for him to scheme against a great defense. OSU had the better record and higher ranking a year ago, but the Sooners prevailed, 41-13. The same scenario in 2013, when the Pokes were ranked No. 6—12 slots higher than OU. The Cowboys also were favored by 10 that year, but the Sooners pulled off the upset, 33-24. OSU coach Mike Gundy seems to get conservative when playing his in-state rival. He, too, needs to open the playbook and allow his offense to confuse OU’s defense. 

When looking this matchup, it should be Oklahoma State winning, but I will bet on the Sooners here who seem to own this matchup.

Other Week Thirteen College Football Contests

Boise state at No. 21 San Diego State

  • Game Info: Friday, 12:00 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Prediction: Boise State 28, San Diego State 26

The unranked Broncos are a road favorite, perhaps based on a four-game win streak and road victories at Fresno State and BYU this season. The Aztecs need this one, too, especially with the loss to the Bulldogs. The Broncos play spoiler in a low-scoring game.

No. 16 Iowa at Nebraska

  • Game Info: Friday, 1:30 p.m. ET (BTN)
  • Prediction: Iowa 31, Nebraska 30

The Huskers are favored, and this is a chance to build some momentum under Scott Frost for 2022. Nebraska has five one-score losses against ranked teams this season, and Iowa has won the last six meetings. Expect another close game where a late turnover could make the difference.

Missouri at No. 25 Arkansas

  • Game Info: Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS)
  • Prediction: Arkansas 28, Missouri 24

Arkansas played Alabama tough, and there is a small risk for an emotional letdown against Missouri, which is coming off a program-building victory against Florida. The Tigers have won the last five meetings, and the last two in Fayetteville have been close. But I think the Hogs pull this one out.

Colorado at No. 19 Utah

  • Game Info: Friday, 4:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Utah 35, Colorado 7

This is a big line that could play out right on the line knowing Colorado has four Pac-12 road losses by an average of 23 points per game. Utah clinched its spot in the Pac-12 championship game, but I think it keeps it rolling at home.

North Carolina at No. 20 North Carolina State

  • Game Info: Friday, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: North Carolina 42, North Carolina State 40

The Tar Heels have been inconsistent this season, but they have a chance to sweep the other Triangle schools in what could be Sam Howell’s final game. NC State has lost the last two meetings in blowout fashion. A rivalry upset is in the works.

No. 1 Georgia at Georgia Tech

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Georgia 55 , Georgia Tech 14

The Bulldogs are heavy favorites, and there should be little doubt who wins this rivalry matchup. Georgia, however, is 2-3 ATS when favored by 20 or more points. Georgia Tech is stuck in a five-game losing streak and coming off a 55-0 loss to Notre Dame. The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings by an average 36.7 points per game. The Bulldogs big.

Texas Tech at No. 8 Baylor

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (FS1)
  • Prediction: Baylor 28, Tech Tech 14

Baylor is still shooting for a Big 12 championship berth, and the Bears can clinch a 10-win season with a victory against the Red Raiders. Texas Tech is 2-2 as an underdog on the road, and the teams have split the last four meetings. All of those have been decided by 14 points or less. Baylor should win this one .

No. 24 Houston at UCONN

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (CBSSN)
  • Prediction: Houston 35, UCONN 7

UConn has lost its last three games by 30 points or more, and Houston is capable of pouring it on. It’s still a game we’d prefer to stay away from knowing the Cougars are 4-4 ATS as a favorite and the line is high, but I think they gear up for the AAC championship game in style.

No. 18 Wake Forest at Boston College

  • Game Info: Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
  • Prediction: Wake Forest 31 , Boston College 21

Wake Forest is coming off a realty-check loss to Clemson, and now they need to win at Boston College to clinch the ACC Atlantic Division. The Eagles have clinched bowl eligibility, but they do have home losses to NC State and Florida State. The Demon Deacons have more to play for here, and that translates in the second half.

No. 22 UTSA at North Texas

  • Game Info: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET (ESPN+)
  • Prediction: BYU 34, GSU 21

UTSA kept its dream season alive in dramatic fashion against UAB, and now the Roadrunners face a Mean Green team that needs a win to become bowl eligible. UTSA leads Conference-USA with a run defense that allows 101.7 yards per game. The Roadrunners pull away in the second half.

Penn State at No. 12 Michigan State

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: Michigan State 31, Penn State 28

Michigan State received its reality check in a 56-7 loss to Ohio State, and Penn State is trying to avoid a five-loss season. James Franklin is 3-4 against the Spartans, but Penn State has won the last two meetings. The Nittany Lions also have a tough run defense but I don’t think it holds up here.

No. 14 Wisconsin at Minnesota

  • Game Info: Saturday, 4:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Wisconsin 42, Minnestota 14

The Badgers can clinch the Big Ten West championship with a victory against the Gophers, who are 2-4 ATS at home and have been inconsistent this season. Wisconsin hasn’t lost in Minneapolis since 2003, and that streak continues.

No. 15 Texas A&M at LSU

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: LSU 35, Texas A&M 32

Texas A&M can finish off a nine-win season, but they will have to do it on the road at Death Valley. The Aggies haven’t won in Baton Rouge since joining the SEC, and this is Ed Orgeron’s send-off game. It’s going to be tight. I think LSU pulls the upset.

No. 17 Pitt at Syracuse

  • Game Info: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (ACCN)
  • Prediction: Pitt 42, Syracuse 18

Pitt-Syracuse games have an uncanny knack for going off the rails. Pitt has won five of the last six meetings, and four of the last six games have been decided by seven points or less. The Orange have suffered back-to-back blowout losses, and the Panthers put an exclamation point on their ACC Coastal championship run.

No. 5 Notre Dame at Stanford

  • Game Info: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET (Fox)
  • Prediction: Notre Dame 55, Stanford 6

Where was this Notre Dame team in September? The Irish have covered in each of their last six victories, and Stanford has lost six in a row and failed to cover in each of those losses. Follow those trends, even on the road.

No. 13 BYU at USC

  • Game Info: Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
  • Prediction: BYU 42, USC 21

BYU is looking to cap a 10-win season, and USC has reached a low point after losing by double digits in four of the last five weeks. The Trojans could put up a fight, but the Cougars will stay engaged in the second half.

College Football – Upset Alert

No. 4 Cincinnati at East Carolina

  • Game Info: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
  • Prediction: East Carolina 32, Cincinnati 29

The Bearcats are heavy favorites in this game, but East Carolina is sneaky good. I am thinking they pull the victory here as Cincinnati could be in a look ahead mode, thinking of Houston next week.

Should be another excellent week of College Football!

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