Week 14 picks: Ole Miss upsets No. 4 Miss. State, Bama rolls, Ohio State crushes
Editor’s note: Every Thursday during the season, Bruce Feldman and Stewart Mandel will present their picks for the week.
Below are Week 14’s selections (all times ET). Enjoy.
No. 10 MICHIGAN STATE (-13.5) at PENN STATE (3:30, ABC)
Mandel: Michigan State does not have a particularly impressive resume for a top-10 team, but it did go on the road a few weeks ago and trounce 7-4 Maryland, 37-15, holding the Terps to 252 yards. Penn State’s offense is non-existent, though coordinator Bob Shoop’s defense can at least keep the Nittany Lions in the game. Michigan State 20, Penn State 12.
Feldman: The Nittany Lions D has been very good, but I think Connor Cook and the MSU offense will be a bit too much for a team eager to make a statement. Michigan State 30, Penn State 13.
No. 16 GEORGIA TECH (+12.5) at No. 9 GEORGIA (Noon, SECN)
Mandel: Given the Jackets are an annual postseason team and have in fact won four Coastal Division titles since 2006, it’s remarkable to think they’ve beaten Georgia just once in coach Mark Richt’s 14-year tenure. Georgia Tech boasts one of the nation’s most efficient offenses and an underrated defense, but it’s tough to see the Jackets winning in Athens. Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 14.
Feldman: Even though the Dawgs got run over by a power running game against Florida, I suspect DC Jeremy Pruitt will have his guys more dialed in for this test. Georgia 37, Georgia Tech 17.
FLORIDA (+10) at No. 3 FLORIDA STATE (3:30, ESPN)
Mandel: Certainly a Gators victory would not surprise anyone at this point. They’ll attack FSU’s defensive front with their rushing attack just like they did to Georgia. But it’s going to take a truly exceptional offense for someone to make it through all four quarters against FSU. While Jeff Driskel did hand the ‘Noles their last defeat two years ago, he didn’t have to outduel Jameis Winston. Florida State 29, Florida 20.
Feldman: As fired up as the Gators may be for Will Muschamp’s final game, and UF does have a good defense, I don’t see the ‘Noles getting upset here at home against their archrival this close to the playoff. Florida State 27, Florida 13.
SOUTH CAROLINA (+4.5) at No. 21 CLEMSON (Noon, ESPN)
Mandel: Dabo Swinney’s team should finally best Steve Spurrier. Tigers coordinator Brent Venables’ defense is No. 1 in the land (3.97 yards per play), and even a hobbled Deshaun Watson should give Clemson’s struggling offense a boost. Clemson 24, South Carolina 13.
Feldman: Finally, the Tigers beat the Gamecocks thanks to Brent Venables’ stout D. Clemson 17, South Carolina 10.
No. 4 MISSISSIPPI STATE (-2.5) at No. 19 OLE MISS (3:30, CBS)
Mandel: Yes, Ole Miss fell 30-0 to Arkansas last week and is admittedly banged up, but they’ll be fired up for the Egg Bowl. And Bulldogs star Dak Prescott simply hasn’t been as sharp over the past several weeks. Ole Miss is capable of creating some turnovers, and Bo Wallace, provided his ankle holds up, may be due for a big game. Down goes another playoff contender, this one in an instant classic. Ole Miss 34, Mississippi State 33.
Feldman: The Rebels really miss Laquon Treadwell. Look for Dak Prescott to rally MSU late on the road here to keep the Bulldogs’ playoff hopes alive. Mississippi State 14, Ole Miss 13.
No. 18 MINNESOTA (+14) at No. 14 WISCONSIN (3:30, BTN)
Mandel: It doesn’t bode well for the Gophers’ Big Ten title game chances that they’ll likely be without star RB David Cobb. It’s hard enough to move the ball on the Badgers’ top-10 defense as it is. Melvin Gordon is moving on to Indianapolis. Wisconsin 34, Minnesota 17.
Feldman: Melvin Gordon’s Heisman pursuit continues. He’s averaging a ridiculous 10 yards a carry in his last seven games against ranked teams. Expect more fireworks from him. The Gophers are No. 76 in the country in yards allowed per carry (4.42). Wisconsin 31, Minnesota 14.
No. 15 AUBURN (+9.5) at No. 1 ALABAMA (7:45, ESPN)
Mandel: Auburn’s offense gets a big boost this week with the return of top WR Duke Williams, whose absence coincides with the Tigers’ November slide. But Alabama’s defense is playing at a much higher level than it was heading into last year’s Iron Bowl, and Blake Sims has been close to unstoppable at home. Alabama 31, Auburn 20.
Feldman: The Tide are playing at home, which is a very good thing for Blake Sims and the ‘Bama offense as they face a struggling Tigers D. Nick Saban has had issues coping with mobile QBs and while Gus Malzahn has a potent attack, I don’t think it’ll be quite enough this time. Alabama 34, Auburn 21.
NOTRE DAME (+7) at USC (3:30, FOX)
Mandel: The Irish defense is in a world of hurt, literally, after losing yet another key starter, Jarron Jones, to injury, joining standouts Joe Schmidt and Sheldon Day. As a result, USC should bounce back from last week’s UCLA blowout, with QB Cody Kessler and RB Buck Allen poised for huge days. USC 37, Notre Dame 24.
Feldman: The ND defense has been decimated, especially on the D-line, where the Irish will be without their two top DLs, Jarron Jones and Sheldon Day, meaning it’ll be hard to exploit USC’s biggest weakness — its young and shaky O-line. Expect a bounce-back from Cody Kessler after the Trojans were thumped at UCLA last week. USC 28, Notre Dame 20.
MICHIGAN (+21) at No. 6 OHIO STATE (Noon, ABC)
Mandel: There’s not much to say here. It’s going to be ugly. Ohio State 41, Michigan 13.
Feldman: Urban Meyer would love to make a statement for the playoff committee and should be able to against a visiting Wolverine team that has been pretty dismal on offense. Michigan’s D has been solid, but I don’t see them making enough big plays to keep Brady Hoke’s team in this. Ohio State 30, Michigan 13.
WASHINGTON (-3.5) at WASHINGTON STATE (10:30, FS1)
Mandel: The Apple Cup has a long history of upsets, most recently the 2012 edition in Pullman, where Mike Leach’s first Cougars team pulled out its lone Pac-12 win of the year. For all its All-America-caliber defenders, the Huskies have been inconsistent on that side of the ball. Redshirt freshman QB Luke Falk has played enough games now to lead 3-8 Wazzu to victory. Washington State 38, Washington 35.
BYU (+4.5) at CAL (4:30, PACN)
Feldman: The Bears have lost five of six and will lose again against the physically tougher team. BYU 30, Cal 28.
No. 5 TCU (-6.5) at TEXAS
Mandel: This could be a tricky spot for the Frogs, as Texas’ defense has played extremely well the second half of the season. I could see Trevone Boykin struggling like he did at West Virginia, and Tyrone Swoopes and the Horns’ offense have quietly made significant strides. Let the upset weekend begin. Texas 30, TCU 27.
Feldman: Charlie Strong has simplified his defense and the Horns have been responding well, playing with some real grit, and they still have plenty of athletes. UT hasn’t allowed more than 16 points in any of its past three games. Also, Trevone Boykin hasn’t been as sharp away from home, where his completion numbers go from 62 percent down to just 55 percent. Texas 23, TCU 21.
Result: TCU 48, Texas 10
LSU (-3) at TEXAS A&M
Mandel: Kevin Sumlin’s offenses cause problems for most people, but they haven’t had much success yet against John Chavis’ LSU defenses. The Tigers’ talented cornerbacks should be able to contain the Aggies’ receivers, and while LSU’s offense remains limited, it should be able to run the ball on A&M. LSU 28, Texas A&M 24.
Feldman: The Aggies have struggled on D while the Tigers have been really shaky on offense, scoring less than eight points per game in the past three games. I’ll go with the home team even though A&M hasn’t been terrific in College Station, but true freshman QB Kyle Allen has been pretty good, throwing seven TDs and just two INTs against two ranked opponents the last two times out. Texas A&M 24, LSU 23.
Result: LSU 23, Texas A&M 17
NEBRASKA (pick ’em) at IOWA
Mandel: Can Bo Pelini dig the Huskers out of their rut and end on a high note? If the game were in Lincoln, I’d say yes, but Iowa has played well at home in Big Ten play. Mark Weisman and the Hawkeyes running game should have success. Iowa 31, Nebraska 27.
Feldman: The heat is on Bo Pelini now, and it’s hard to say how the Huskers will respond. It’s not like Iowa has been playing well. The Hawkeyes have lost three of five, but since QB Jake Rudock has played pretty well the past two weeks, I’ll go with the home team. Iowa 23, Nebraska 17.
Result: Nebraska 37, Iowa 34
No. 13 ARIZONA STATE (+4.5) at No. 11 ARIZONA
Mandel: It’s not often I say this about a 9-2, tied-for-first-in-the-division team, but I believe the Sun Devils are a fraud. They gave up 62 at home to UCLA, needed a Hail Mary to beat USC and overtime to beat Utah, lost to mediocre Oregon State and their biggest win came against a since-exposed Notre Dame team. So, Wildcats. Arizona 38, Arizona State 24.
Feldman: Even though QB Anu Solomon is "questionable," the hunch here is the Cats, with Nick Wilson and the run game cranked up, will find a way to win. Also, ASU’s protection issues (104th in sacks allowed and No. 100 in TFLs given up) figures to be an issue with Scooby Wright coming after Taylor Kelly and Co. Arizona 31, Arizona State 30.
Result: Arizona 42, Arizona State 35
ARKANSAS (-2) at No. 17 MISSOURI (Friday, 2:30, CBS)
Mandel: How many weeks in a row can I pick against Missouri? The Tigers survived back-to-back road games against Texas A&M and Tennessee and now return home to face a team with two SEC wins. But clearly Arkansas is better than its 6-5 record. Its defense has been sensational and should cause problems for Maty Mauk. Arkansas 21, Missouri 17.
Feldman: Gary Pinkel’s done another terrific job with the Tigers, but I’m going with the hottest team in the SEC, a bunch that has been mauling folks the past few weeks on both sides of the ball. Arkansas 17, Mizzou 16.
Result: Mizzou 21, Arkansas 14
STANFORD (+5.5) at No. 8 UCLA (Friday, 3:30, ABC)
Mandel: Stanford’s defense has given Brett Hundley problems in the past and that may continue here, as it’s unlikely the Bruins will be as crisp as they were last week against USC. But UCLA’s own defense has been exceptional down the stretch. With the Pac-12 South title on the line, it will shut down Kevin Hogan and Stanford. UCLA 20, Stanford 3.
Feldman: Brett Hundley’s been superb of late, the UCLA O-line has settled down quite a bit in the past month and I expect them to cruise to the Pac-12 title game. UCLA 24, Stanford 13.
Result: Stanford 31, UCLA 10
Mandel through Week 13: 91-53 straight-up, 71-73 vs. spread
Feldman through Week 13: 92-52 straight-up, 72-72 vs. spread