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Fearless Rick's 2013-14 College Football Week 13 - Early Games

Welcome to the very best in winning NFL and College Football picks.
Rick Gagliano | November 21-23, 2013

All times Eastern - Click here for late games.

Wednesday, November 20

8:00 pm Northern Illinois (-3, 73) at Toledo - Early action in the MAC pits the always-dangerous Rockets against undefeated Northern Illinois Huskies in a game that may determine the Mid-American West division champion (Ball State is also 5-1 in the conference, has already beaten Toledo - 31-24 - and lost to Northern Illinois - 48-27, last week).

Should the Huskies prevail, they would be the champions; if Toledo wins, they have to hope Miami (OH) beats Ball State next week. Tie-breakers would determine the ultimate division champ.

As far as the game itself, note that the Huskies are favored on the road, a telling sign, as they have won the last three face-to-face meetings, though the one Toledo home game was a 63-60 OT thriller in 2011.

All things considered, the Huskies have more at stake and have performed magnificently in every pressure situation this season. A win here and in the conference championship should land them in a BCS bowl.

Prediction: Huskies 45 Rockets 31


Thursday, November 21

7:30 pm Rutgers at UCF (-17 1/2, 57 1/2) - A 28-25 loss to South Carolina on September 28 is all that separates (8-1) UCF from an undefeated season, though last week's nail-biting, 39-36 victory at Temple really put a scare into the Knights' hopes for a possible BCS bowl appearance as an at-large team.

UCF can continue their march toward the American Athletic Conference championship with a win here, one which may prove to be testy. Rutgers' 5-4 record includes a 52-51 loss at Fresno State in the season opener, but also, lopsided defeats to Louisville, Houston and Cincinnati (52-17, last week). Having lost three of the their last four, it appears the defense has let down significantly, and, even though offense isn't exactly UCF's strong suit, is not encouraging for the Scarlet Knights, who need one more win to become bowl eligible.

They won't get it done on the turf of the Knights, who should rebound well after last week's close call.

Prediction: Knights 42 Scarlet Knights 17


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Saturday, November 23

12:00 pm Duke (-5 1/2, 49 1/2) at Wake Forest - With Duke upending Miami last week, the Blue Devils are in the driver's seat for the ACC Coastal division and an eventual meeting with Florida State in the ACC championship because all other teams in the Coastal have at least three conference losses.

Whipping up on the Demon Deacons should not be much of an issue, as Duke ended a string of nine straight losses to Wake Forest last season, with a 34-27 victory, and that trend seems now to be reversed.

Wake is just 2-4 ATS in its last six home games, while the Blue Devils have covered the line in each of their last five games. The Deacons have dropped three straight and have not scored a TD in their last two games, at 13-0 loss to Syracuse and a 59-3 blistering by Florida State on November 9. The extra time off may be a little help, but Duke's defense may not allow a touchdown to the struggling Wake Forest offense.

Prediction: Blue Devils 34 Demon Deacons 9


12:00 pm Oklahoma at Kansas State (-4 1/2, 54 1/2) - The Sooners have fallen on hard times, as demonstrated by being a solid underdog on the road against the 6-4 Wildcats, winners of four straight conference games.

Oklahoma has stumbled badly against quality teams throughout the season, despite their #20 ranking and 8-2 record. The 36-20 loss to Texas and 41-12 beating by Baylor were both away from home and the offense show a distinct inability to sustain drives.

While neither team has a chance at the conference title, bowl bids are at stake, and, from a post-season outlook, Kansas State appears to be the team better suited to play in a quality game. The Sooners won't be able to come back once K-State has a lead, and the Wildcats may cruise late.

Prediction: Wildcats 30 Sooners 17


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12:00 pm Michigan State (-7, 41) at Northwestern - This is a huge, meaningful game or the 9-1 Spartans, who have come out of nowhere to being mentioned in some national championship conversations. Michigan State's pressure defense has been the key to their success all season and should continue here, dominating the Wildcats, losers of six straight, all conference meetings.

Since their 40-30 loss to Ohio Stat on October 5, the wheels have come off at Northwestern and this looks like a very tough spot to set things right. Though their last four losses have been by 3, 7, 3 and 8 points, two of them in overtime, the Wildcats can't seem to get through the fourth quarter against anyone.

The way Michigan State has been going, this one won't be close after the half. The Spartans are looking squarely at the Buckeyes in the Big Ten championship with a win here and a win over Minnesota next week.

Prediction: Spartans 31 Wildcats 13


12:00 pm Michigan at Iowa (-6, 46 1/2) - This one is purely for bowl placing, but it appears that Michigan has fallen on tough times after last week's 3OT win over Northwestern.

Truth be told, the Wolverines are not very good on either side of the ball, but, at 7-3, are still a team one has to beat. At issue is Michigan QB Devin Gardner, who's been inaccurate and careless in his decision-making and has been getting hate mail and threats from former fans. Gardner is probably not secure nor mature enough to deal with the pressure. Iowa's defense, ranked 12th in scoring at 18.7 ppg allowed, will offer no excuses for the embattled QB.

Prediction: Hawkeyes 28 Wolverines 16

All times Eastern - Click here for late games

Copyright 2013, 2014, Rick Gagliano, Downtown Magazine. All rights reserved. Downtown Magazine is located in the Uinted States of America and is not affiliated with the National Football League or the NCAA. For more information, contact us here. Use of this site is for entertainment purposes only.

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