Rivalry Week is already off and running, and with it, the 2018 regular season is coming to a close. After a couple weeks of not-so-exciting college football action with little in the way of surprises and upsets, Saturday’s slate is sure to surprise as we continue on in the penultimate week prior to the bowl games. Madness can hit at any given time, especially when you’re not expecting it. And with so many viscous rivalries on tap for Saturday, we may see plenty of it throughout the day as we race to the College Football Playoff.
The top four teams in the CFP are all in action against their rivals with The Game and the Iron Bowl taking center stage. Action begins at noon ET and continues late into the evening, so let’s take a look at the biggest games on the schedule Saturday along with our predictions for what will transpire in those contests. Our CBS Sports college football experts have picked every game both straight up and against the spread, giving you ample opportunity to decide how to make your picks ahead of kickoff.
All times Eastern
No. 4 Michigan (-4.5) at No. 10 Ohio State — noon on FOX, streaming live on fuboTV (try for free): I don’t have a lot of confidence in this pick. I think Michigan wins more often than not, but I’m not sure a team that hasn’t won in Columbus, Ohio, in nearly 20 years should be favored in the Horseshoe. So, because of that, because I expect this game to be lower-scoring, and because I think there’s some general overreaction to Ohio State’s close call against Maryland last week, I have to take the Buckeyes and the points. Pick: Ohio State +4.5 — Tom Fornelli
Auburn at No. 1 Alabama (-24.5) — 3:30 p.m. on CBS, streaming live on CBSSports.com and fuboTV (try for free): Sorry, Auburn, but if you haven’t solved your problems by now, you aren’t against Alabama. Led by Quinnen Williams, the defense will shut down Auburn’s offense, make it difficult for quarterback Jarrett Stidham to set his feet and take advantage of Gus Malzahn’s lack of creativity with the offense. With that said, the Crimson Tide are giving up too many points out in Las Vegas. Auburn will hit a few big plays late to sneak back in the back door and cover the spread. Pick: Auburn (+24.5) — Barrett Sallee
South Carolina at No. 2 Clemson (-26.5) — 7 p.m. on ESPN: Clemson has reached Alabama status. There is no spread where I feel comfortable picking against the Tigers to cover, mostly because I think there is a very low ceiling for how many points we can expect from the opposition. Clemson’s defense has been preparing itself to peak in December and January, and we’re seeing the fruits of that preparation with suffocating performances on the field. Pick: Clemson -26.5 — Chip Patterson
So which teams should you back in Week 13 of the college football season? And what playoff contender will get its title hopes crushed? Visit SportsLine now to see the projected score for every single FBS matchup, all from the model that has returned over $4,000 in profit to $100 bettors over the last three seasons.
No. 7 LSU at No. 22 Texas A&M (-2.5) — 7:30 p.m. on SECN: Texas A&M has major flaws, but can LSU exploit them? I don’t think so. Quarterback Joe Burrow isn’t much of a downfield threat and is at his best when he can work off play-action after the running backs have established the ground game. It’s hard to establish that ground game against the Aggies. This will be an old-school, low-scoring slug-fest, and Trayveon Williams will make a big play late to give the Aggies a win and cover. Pick: Texas A&M (-2.5) — Barrett Sallee
No. 3 Notre Dame (-10.5) at USC — 8 p.m. on ABC: I just don’t see how anybody could talk themselves into trusting USC in this matchup. We’re talking about a USC team that has lost games to just about everybody with a pulse this season. Yes, it is responsible for Washington State’s lone loss on the year, but that was before injuries ravaged the defense further. Then there’s a Notre Dame team that has faced test after test after test in 2018 and passed them all. Last week there were a lot of people who thought the Irish would finally trip against Syracuse. Instead they won 36-3. I expect a similar performance on Saturday night. Pick: Notre Dame -10.5 — Tom Fornelli