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Nate’s Pick Six: Your Rivalry Week Picks and Predictions

The Odds




#3 Michigan at #2 Ohio State  

OSU, -7.5

o/u 56

#15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC

USC, -4.5

o/u 63.5

South Carolina @ #8 Clemson

Clemson, -14.5

o/u 53

Kansas @ #12 Kansas State 

K-State, -11.5

o/u 62.5

#13 Washington @ Washington 

Wash. St.. +2

o/u 60

Purdue @ Indiana 

Indiana, +10.5

o/u 53.5

The Standings

Thru Week 12 Records




Winning %











The Word

We are back for one final big Saturday card before we settle into the college football postseason doldrums. It’s been a weird and mediocre crew of frenzied analysts, but we’ve had a great time giving out picks this season, and that will continue with bowl games, but this is our last full column of the year. 

Read below for our breakdown of a slate of ranked rivalry games, and a farewell to the Indiana Hoosiers.

#3 Michigan @ #2 Ohio State (-7.5, o/u 56)

Kickoff: 11/26 12:00 PM EST, FOX

NATE: I’m not going to sugarcoat it: this is my favorite bet of the week, maybe the season. I love Michigan in this spot. 

Jim Harbaugh has not fared well in these matchups historically, but this team is gritty as hell and things just feel different for this Michigan team, mostly owing to the stellar play of quarterback, JJ McCarthy. 

On the other side of the ball, Michigan’s defense is absolutely nasty against the pass. Pro Football Focus grades them out as 3rd in the country in coverage and they allow just over 160 yards per game over the air. This is a defense that is built to stop Heisman candidate C.J. Stroud. 

Ultimately, both of these defenses are excellent and both quarterbacks are stellar. I don’t see a huge edge here for the Buckeyes, certainly not over a touchdown. This feels like a line reflective of some of Harbaugh’s failures in this spot, but these Wolverines just feel different. I want all my money on them.

Nate’s Pick

Michigan +7.5


JACK: Jim Harbaugh’s horrible trends against the Buckeyes are baked into this line. There is no reason the Wolverines should be a seven point dog. Yes, yes. I know the game is in The Shoe. I know Ohio State has incredible wide receivers. We’ve been impressed with this bunch all year long, but the Wolverines aren’t that far behind the Buckeyes in terms of talent. The line should be three. 

The Wolverines have the best defense in the country. They give up 241.3 yards per game and 4.1 yards per play. The defensive line ranks in the top 20 in sack percentage (8.49%). According to Football Outsiders, the Wolverines rank 8th in DFEI, which attempts to adjust for defensive ratings on a neutral field. The secondary is full of lockdown corners who can match up well against the OSU receiving core. This defense in the real deal, folks. 

Michigan may have trouble winning this game outright, but good defenses keep games close. We’ve seen this strategy pay off throughout this season (UGA vs. TEN). Take the points and rest assured that Michigan’s defense will keep this baby close.

Jack's Pick

Michigan +7.5


#15 Notre Dame @ #6 USC (-4.5, o/u 63.5)

Kickoff: 11/26 7:30 PM EST, ABC

NATE: Jack insisted we do this game, even though I hate both of these teams and couldn’t care less about who wins. That being said, we will find value. 

Notre Dame is a physical team that wants to establish the ground game in a big way. As usual, they’ve played a pretty rugged schedule and have some good wins (and bad losses) to show for it, with the high point being their win over Clemson.

USC is doing about like people thought would happen when Lincoln Riley took over. The offense is electric and the defense sort of sucks. Which is pretty much what his model was at Oklahoma, so nothing new there.

The difference here is that USC doesn’t face a lot of run-heavy opponents in the PAC12 and they haven’t matched up against a team as physical as the Irish. 

Irish should be able to control the game running against a vulnerable run defense that ranks 71st in the country per PFF.

Irish upset time to finally end the PAC12 playoff hopes.

Nate’s Pick

Notre Dame +4.5


Jack: After whining about the game, Nate has given you an incredible analysis for why Notre Dame could win. I’m inclined to agree with him, but want to give you a separate play. If you wanted to set both of these in motion, you could do so and I think you’d be cashing tickets when this game hits zeroes. 

The USC offense is famous for their potency. The team scores a lot of points. But the defense has struggled at times to keep opponents out of the end zone. The Trojan defense averages 26 points allowed per game, but that number could be a lot higher. The defense gave up 43 to Utah, 37 to Arizona, 35 to Cal, and 45 to UCLA. The funny thing here is that USC won three of those games. 

What does all this mean?

It means the Trojans don’t mind letting up 30 in a game, especially if they are scoring at will. The Notre Dame offense is much more capable than Arizona and Utah. They will score on USC, so I’m playing the team total. Hope for a lot of offense here.

Jack’s Pick

Notre Dame Team Total o29.5

South Carolina @ #8 Clemson (-14.5, o/u 53)

Kickoff: 11/26 12:00 PM EST, ABC

NATE: South Carolina absolutely obliterated Tennessee’s defense last week and Spencer Rattler had himself a day, tossing six TDs and going for over 400 yards through the air.

Clemson has been humming as well. They hung 40 points on Miami last week. 

We played the over in the Clemson game last week and they came through for us. At the end of the day, I don’t think their defense is as stout as people believe, and they get a lot of help from playing in a bad ACC.

These teams will get loose and score some points.

Nate’s Pick

Total Points o53

JACK: Dabo Sweeney owns South Carolina. The Tigers have won the last 7 meetings and many of those games were not close. 

This might not be the Clemson of the last few years, but trends matter. Had South Carolina lost to Tennessee, this line might be closer to 20. You’re getting a gift at 14.5. Take it and watch Dabo roll. This rivalry is a lopsided mess.

Jack's Pick

Clemson -14.5

Kansas @ #12 Kansas State (-11.5, o/u 62.5)

Kickoff: 11/26 8:00 PM EST, FOX

NATE: We (I) lost a lot of money fading Kansas during their early season successes, and I finally just gave up on fading them. 

But we are back this week. 

Kansas is basically the same team as they’ve always been. They are good on offense, and not great defensively.

K-State should be able to exploit a bad Kansas run defense and control this game. Kansas trots out a pretty solid secondary, but that won’t stop Kansas State from scoring. 

These teams will get points, and the total suggests as much, but K-State is just the better team and should handle Kansas in an unusually good rivalry game this year. One more time during the regular season to fade Kansas and lose money? I’m in.

Nate’s Pick

K-State -11.5


JACK: Nate is so over leveraged on Kansas this season that he legally can’t bet on the Jayhawks the rest of his life. 

That might be a good thing here, because the Jayhawks are in serious trouble. K-State boasts a respectable defense and a powerful offense. The Jayhawks can score, but the defense ranks 120th in the country. The problem with Kansas since they started losing is that the offense can’t keep up with a porous defense. 

The Wildcats will have no problem scoring and should come up with enough stops on defense to pull away early. I’m with Nate here. The Wildcats roll.

Jack's Pick

K-State -11.5


#13 Washington @ Washington State (+2, o/u 60)

Kickoff: 11/26 10:30 PM EST, ESPN

NATE: We love a good Apple Cup matchup around here at Godzilla Wins, but this one might be different than you’ve been used to. Washington has historically dominated their little brother, but I think the Cougars may live here.

Ultimately it comes down to defense. Both of these teams like to throw the ball early and often. Like, really often. 

The difference is that Washington State has a better defense. 

There are a lot of factors that dictate lines and how the public may perceive them. Huskies dominated Colorado and the Cougars won a slightly closer game against ASU. The Huskies have a significantly better record coming in. The Huskies are also ranked with a ton of talk about the offense and QB play of Michael Penix Jr. In short, everything points to Washington.

And, yet, the line is less than a field goal. Trust your instincts here. This is a trap and I will not fall victim to it..

Nate’s Pick

Washington State +2


JACK: Both of these teams can score. Washington State’s defense will struggle to stop Michael Penix. Jr. The Cougars are playing for more, but their defense has always been their achilles heel. 

Don’t overthink the Apple Cup. 60 points may feel like too many, but this game his high score baked into it.

Jack's Pick

Total Points o60


Purdue @ Indiana (+10.5, o/u 53.5)

KickofF: 11/26 3:30 PM EST, Big Ten Network

NATE: My thoughts on Indiana’s secondary are well documented by this point. I don’t have my notes in front of me, but I’d be shocked if we didn’t fade Indiana or bet the over in half of these columns because of these thoughts. 

My opinions have not changed on this team. Ultimately, Indiana is bad. They are bad defensively, get down early, and play at an ultra-fast tempo.

This game follows that script yet again. Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more. 

Nate’s Pick

Total Points o53.5


JACK: Hoosier Country, let’s ride. 

Jack's Pick

Indiana +10.5


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