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Week 13 College Football Picks: Challenge the Athlon Sports Experts in 2016


It's Rivalry Week, adding extra intrigue to an important slate of games as the college football regular season winds down.

The Athlon Sports College Football Experts Club gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

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Here are this week’s top picks from Athlon Sports senior editor Rob Doster:

LSU at Texas A&M

It's odd to think that Texas A&M was a part of the initial College Football Playoff projection. A season of great promise for the Aggies disintegrated with consecutive losses to the two Mississippi also-rans. They should salvage a nine-win regular season against an LSU team that has likewise tasted disappointment down the stretch.

Doster's pick: Texas A&M 24–17

Houston at Memphis

The Cougars have righted the ship in a big way after a sluggish midseason stretch, putting Tom Herman back in the mix for some big-time jobs. They should reach 10 wins in Herman's final Power 5 audition. 

Doster’s pick: Houston 42–31

Arkansas at Missouri

The Hogs are tough to figure out. They've alternated wins and losses every week since September. Fortunately for Mizzou, Arkansas is coming off a win, but the Hogs should be able to post their first two-game winning streak since winning their first three of the season. 

Doster’s pick: Arkansas 28–17

Washington at Washington State

The most meaningful Apple Cup matchup of our lifetimes is nothing less than a winner-take-all battle for the Pac-12 North title and a spot in the conference championship game. Washington got back on track with a rout of Arizona State, while the Cougars come in smarting after a loss to Colorado that snapped an eight-game winning streak.

Doster’s pick: Washington 34–31

Nebraska at Iowa

The Huskers can keep their flickering Big Ten West title hopes alive with a win over a dangerous but inconsistent Iowa team. Injury-plagued Huskers quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. would love one last chance to will his team to victory.  

Doster's pick: Nebraska 28–21

Michigan at Ohio State

The game of the year in the Big Ten pits two playoff contenders who aren't playing their best football right now. The Buckeyes struggled to hold off Michigan State, while Michigan's offense is suddenly sputtering. A key turnover could prove to be the difference.

Doster’s pick: Michigan 24–23

Kentucky at Louisville

Not much at stake here except for pride, bowl position and Lamar Jackson's Heisman candidacy. The Cats clinched bowl eligibility with a win over Austin Peay, while Louisville suffered a crushing defeat to Houston in which Jackson was stymied. Look for one more statement game from the electric Cards QB. 

Doster's pick: Louisville 38–27

Virginia at Virginia Tech

The Hokies have had a habit of playing down to their competition in Year One of the Justin Fuente era, but a win over the Cavs would mark a nine-win debut for Fuente, nothing to sneeze at. Meanwhile, the first year of the Bronco Mendenhall era in Charlottesville has been characterized by close losses, but losses nonetheless.  

Doster's pick: Virginia Tech 27-13

Georgia Tech at Georgia

These old rivals are peaking just in time for their season-ending slugfest. The Jackets have won four of five, while the Bulldogs have won three in a row, including a win over Auburn. Freshman QB Jacon Eason has played well of late for the Dawgs and could provide an edge in this matchup of run-happy teams.

Doster's pick: Georgia 21–20

Michigan State at Penn State

An Ohio State win over Michigan coupled with a Penn State win over Michigan State would give the Lions the Big Ten East title, which would be a remarkable achievement for the program. They can't overlook a proud Spartans team that took Ohio State to the wire.  

Doster's pick: Penn State 24–17

Notre Dame at USC

This is only the second losing season of Brian Kelly's career, but it's put Brian Kelly's future in South Bend into question. Meanwhile, Clay Helton has answered all questions in L.A. with a seven-game winning streak that includes wins over Washington and Colorado.

Doster's pick: USC 31–21

West Virginia at Iowa State

The Cyclones took out their frustrations on Texas Tech, putting up 66 points. They'll find the going a little tougher against the Mountaineers, who will look to take out some frustration of their own after a turnover-filled performance against Oklahoma.    

Doster's pick: West Virginia 37–21

Duke at Miami

The Canes' midseason four-game swoon is a distant memory after three straight impressive wins. Mark Richt can put a bow on a largely successful first season by reaching eight wins with a chance for a ninth in a bowl game. 

Doster’s pick: Miami 28–17

Minnesota at Wisconsin

The Gophers present a formidable obstacle for a Wisconsin team with one eye on a playoff berth. The Gophers' three losses this season have all come by one score. A fourth close loss is likely in the offing.  

Doster's pick: Wisconsin 23–20

Mississippi State at Ole Miss

The winner of this year's Egg Bowl will escape the SEC West cellar, and the loser won't, providing ample motivation for both teams. The Rebels can achieve bowl eligibility with a win, giving Shea Patterson & Co. a little extra edge.  

Doster's pick: Ole Miss 37–31

Auburn at Alabama

Auburn blew its chance at an SEC West title with a loss to Georgia. Still, the Tigers would love to deny the Tide another national championship. Unfortunately, they're facing what may be the most complete team of the Nick Saban era.

Doster’s pick: Alabama 28–21

South Carolina at Clemson

The Gamecocks have been a pleasant surprise in Will Muschamp's first season, but they lack the firepower to hang with their rivals. The Tigers will send Deshaun Watson out in style.

Doster’s pick: Clemson 34–17

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

It's been a strange season on Rocky Top. The injury-crippled Vols allowed 700-plus yards to Missouri — and won by 25. Vanderbilt's no threat to post 700 yards, but the Dores are a threat to reach bowl eligibility with an upset of their rivals. 

Doster's pick: Tennessee 24–21

Utah at Colorado

The Buffs have surged past mere bowl eligibility and are a dark horse playoff contender. Closing the season with back-to-back wins over ranked opponents could clinch national Coach of the Year honors for Mike MacIntyre.

Doster's pick: Colorado 31–21

Florida at Florida State

The Florida defense has carried the Gators to an SEC East title, and this rivalry game will provide good preparation for the Gators' rematch with Alabama. The FSU seniors are looking to become the first class in school history to go 8–0 against rivals Florida and Miami. That's enough motivation right there.

Doster's pick: Florida State 23–17

Last Week: 15-5