Commentary

Upset odds, picks for Week 13

Notre Dame, Auburn, Ohio State among the teams looking to take down favorites

Updated: November 26, 2011, 7:28 AM ET
By Will Harris | ESPN Insider
Michal Floyd/Michael DyerUS PresswireMichael Floyd and Michael Dyer are both underdogs looking for rivalry week upsets.

Every week during the season, Will Harris will conspire with the computers (using TeamRankings' game predictor) and the wiseguys to evaluate the upset possibilities in college football's most compelling games and give his picks for who'll come out on top.

Week 12 brought a shakeup to the top 10, as the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Oregon Ducks, Oklahoma Sooners and Clemson Tigers all went down to defeat. Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Florida State Seminoles and Texas Longhorns also lost as ranked favorites, while the Nebraska Cornhuskers were the only ranked team to lose as an underdog.

Upset Picks posted a 7-1 week against the number to move back ahead of the vigorish at 49-44 on the year. Here's a look at the key Saturday showdowns. (Editor's note: this article has been updated to remove picks from the Thursday and Friday games.)

Michigan State Spartans at Northwestern Wildcats

Michigan State is favored by 6.5 points
TeamRankings win odds for Northwestern: 25 percent

As more conferences have moved to a 12-team format over the years, we've seen more and more teams that have divisional titles already locked up failing as favorites during rivalry week while looking ahead to their league championship games. Both Clemson and Georgia Tech lost outright as favorites in 2009, and double-digit chalk Alabama had to come from behind that same year to nudge Auburn by five. Missouri went down to Kansas as a 16-point favorite in 2008; Central Florida couldn't cover a big number against lowly Memphis last year. And the most recent example was just this Tuesday night, when MAC East champ Ohio had to overcome a seven-point halftime deficit to beat Miami and couldn't get there as eight-point chalk.