The beauty of sports, in particular college football, lies in their complete unpredictability and reality TV-like drama. Here's what might happen in Week 13.
Note: The point of this column is to have some fun and make some outlandish predictions. Please react accordingly.
Baylor will do something it hasn’t done since 1939
Oklahoma State is surging, winners of six straight including crushing Texas in Austin last Saturday. The Cowboys also have not lost to Baylor in Stillwater since 1939. That all ends this weekend as the Bears put their Big 12 and BCS title hopes on the line against Mike Gundy and the Pokes. Bryce Petty’s Heisman hopes hang in the balance as well. This is easily the toughest test to date for Art Briles' bunch, but this Bears team is up to the task. Baylor defeated OSU last year 41-34, as the two teams combined for nearly 1,200 yards of offense. Look for a repeat performance from the Bears and a win in Stillwater for the first time in over 70 years.
Urban Meyer will have a 1,000-yard rusher
Meyer has won two BCS National Championships, four conference titles, is about to post his second undefeated regular season and coached 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. But he’s never had a 1,000-yard rusher on any of his teams. Carlos Hyde will change all of that this weekend against Indiana. The Hoosiers just allowed 554 yards rushing to Wisconsin and Hyde is coming off a 246-yard performance against Illinois. Meyer’s workhorse back is just 53 yards away from getting to 1,000 (947) and averages 135.3 yards per game. This one could happen in the first quarter.
Johnny Manziel and Zach Mettenberger will throw as many INTs as TDs
These two quarterbacks combined for zero touchdowns and four interceptions in LSU’s 24-19 win in College Station last year. It was Johnny Manziel’s worst game as a college player. Mettenberger, despite some recent struggles, has shown marked improvement from a year ago. And both Texas A&M and LSU have had defensive issues this fall. These are the Nos. 1 and 2 rated passers in the SEC to date, as the duo has combined for 51 touchdown passes thus far in 2013. But Manziel is leading the SEC in interceptions and Mettenberger has five picks in his last three games (and should have had 3-4 more against Alabama). Look for big numbers and big mistakes from both in what should be an instant classic in Baton Rouge.
Missouri will win at Ole Miss… with Maty Mauk under center
James Franklin is an excellent player and fans in both the Big 12 (2011) and SEC (2013) have seen how good he can be when fully healthy. But we’ve also seen how tough it is for him to stay healthy. He missed three games at three different times in 2012 and has missed the last four games due to injuries. He has proven to be brittle and is expected to return to the starting lineup this weekend against Ole Miss. With the SEC East on the line for Gary Pinkel, he is turning back to his veteran for a big road win. And Pinkel will get the victory, however, it will be with Maty Mauk on the field. Mauk has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions in the last two games and will be needed to win the game when (not if) Franklin gets banged up.
All five winless teams will stay winless
Everyone likes to focus on the unbeatens, and rightly so, as they play for championships. But keep an eye on those winless teams too. Five programs have yet to win a game in 2013 — UConn, Southern Miss, Miami (Ohio), Hawaii and Georgia State. And none of them will get into the win column this weekend. Georgia State (+23.5), Southern Miss (+23) and Miami (Ohio) (+24.5) are more than three-touchdown underdogs. UConn is a nine-point underdog to a one-win Temple team and Hawaii is only a seven-point dog to a Wyoming team that just got beat by 41 points. Still, no reason to not expect all five to lose again this weekend.
Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota will have winning Big Ten records
Had I said Iowa, Penn State and Minnesota would all have winning league records with one week to play in the conference in the summer months, I would have been laughed at. Loudly. But Iowa and Penn State sit at 3-3 in the Big Ten currently and Minnesota is 4-2. The Hawkeyes are a six-point favorite against powerful Michigan at home while the Nittany Lions are a two-point favorite over Nebraska at home. Minnesota is a 16-point underdog to arch rival Wisconsin. Iowa and Penn State will win while the Gophers will lose and all three will sit at 4-3 in the Big Ten with one week to play.
Bonus Prediction: Northwestern will enter the season finale winless (0-7) in the Big Ten.
NC State will go 0-4 in-state in 2013
Dave Doeren has a tougher task in front of him than expected. His team is 0-7 in the ACC and hasn’t won a game since topping Central Michigan in September. During that span the Wolfpack has lost to Wake Forest, North Carolina and Duke within the state by a combined 41 points. NC State now has to face 8-2 East Carolina in Carter-Finley Stadium this weekend. The Pirates are heading towards a 10-win season if it can upset the Pack and has a history of playing very well against ACC teams. Take ECU to win and give Doeren an 0-for in the state in his first season.
Washington State will become bowl eligible
Sticking with the theme of things I never thought I’d hear this summer, the Cougars of Washington State will become bowl eligible this weekend. After upsetting both USC and Arizona on the road this year, Wazzu returns home against Utah with a chance to get to the postseason for the first time since 2003. A win also guarantees the Cougars' first .500 or better regular season mark for the first time since 2006 and gives Mike Leach’s squad an outside shot at its first winning record since ’03 as well.