5th March 2024

All of it comes all the way down to this. The ultimate week of the Underdog Problem is right here, and solely 6.5 factors separate the highest 4 in our standings heading into rivalry week. Which means this season’s prime canine is up for grabs, a becoming finish to a 12 months wherein none of our consultants ever actually separated themselves from the pack.

Will Ohio State (+3.5) finish its mini two-game skid in opposition to Michigan? Can Kentucky (+7.5) hand Louisville its second lack of the Jeff Brohm period? Our consultants suppose upsets are on the horizon in each of these rivalry matchups.

As a reminder of how the Underdog Problem works, our consultants decide three underdogs to win outright (not simply cowl the unfold). They then earn factors equal to the variety of factors these groups received on the unfold if their upsets come to fruition. 

Underdog Problem Standings
Place Identify Report Factors
1. Nick Musial 9-24 49.5
2. Mike DeCourcy 6-27 48.5
3. Invoice Bender 12-21 45
4. Edward Sutelan 10-23 43
5. Invoice Trocchi 4-29 16

MORE: Week 13 in opposition to the unfold picks

Onto the upsets.

All odds courtesy of BetMGM

Mike DeCourcy, Senior author

South Carolina (+7.5) over Clemson

Let me let you know how irritating this train has been, even for the one who received the Underdog Problem a 12 months in the past and led this 12 months’s for greater than a month. Over the previous 5 weeks, I’ve misplaced picks when UCF’s kicker missed an additional level, when Duke allowed a landing drive that tied it within the ultimate 50 seconds and when Colorado allowed 10 unanswered factors within the fourth quarter to lose by 3. If you happen to guess $100 on every of my underdogs over the previous 5 weeks to cowl the unfold, you’d be up $500. However that’s not the sport! It’s to select underdog winners, and I’m solely 3-12 straight up versus 10-5 on covers. It’s maddening. And once I complain about one other OT loser, my spouse says, “What do you get for successful that?” Oh, yeah: nothing. Besides I get to brag about beating Bender. And that’s one thing.

NC State (+2.5) over North Carolina

The ‘Pack are on a roll of 4 consecutive wins that included victories over Clemson and Miami, and a stadium stuffed with purple down off I-40 looks like the best recipe to proceed that success. State simply received itself contained in the Faculty Soccer Playoff rankings. It’s solely No. 22, nevertheless it’s one thing. Not going to need to blow that now.

Ohio State (+3.5) over Michigan

It’s not about distractions or guidelines violations or any of that. It’s about which staff seems to be higher positioned to win the largest faculty soccer recreation of this season. And, by a really slim margin, that seems to be the Buckeyes. Their operating recreation has discovered its voice, and the protection ought to have the ability to strain UM quarterback J.J. McCarthy right into a difficult afternoon. The one facet of this that’s but confirmed: Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord. How will he carry out underneath this a lot strain? We received’t know till someday Saturday afternoon.

BENDER: The 5 finest Ohio State-Michigan video games of all-time

Invoice Trocchi, Senior editor

Oregon State (+13.5) over Oregon

All of it comes crashing down on the Geese – no Pac-12 title recreation, no Heisman Trophy for Bo Nix, no Faculty Soccer Playoff. And it’s all the sweeter on the Beavers aspect as they hold an ‘L’ on their archrivals of their ultimate Pac-12 recreation. These two groups performed Washington primarily even. Why this can be a two-touchdown unfold, I am unsure.

MORE CFB: Week 13 Bowl Projections

Ohio State (+3.5) over Michigan

Marvin Harrison Jr. proved to be the distinction within the Penn State recreation, and he may very well be the distinction in opposition to Michigan. J.J. McCarthy isn’t enjoying in addition to he was enjoying in the course of the 12 months, and Michigan could have an interim coach that will probably be feeling the strain on each resolution (heads or tails?!?!?). Ryan Day is at all times tight for this recreation, and it rubs off on his staff, however the fatigue of battling via all of the sign-stealing shenanigans lastly catches as much as Michigan.

Baylor (+10.5) over West Virginia

There isn’t any actual rational cause to select the Bears right here, coming in on a four-game dropping streak with no bowl on the horizon. West Virginia, in fact, is having a terrific season after I predicted it will fireplace coach Neal Brown earlier than October. So I could as nicely simply lean in to being incorrect about West Virginia all the way in which and put a capper on a sorry Underdog Problem season.

Invoice Bender, Lead faculty soccer author

Ohio State (+3.5) over Michigan 

This line has dropped a bit in Ohio State’s favor, and a part of that is likely to be the absence of Jim Harbaugh. It additionally may very well be the Buckeyes’ nasty protection — which hasn’t allowed greater than 17 factors in a recreation — and a balanced offense made higher by TreVeyon Henderson. The Buckeyes win an in depth one. 

Minnesota (+3) over Wisconsin 

The Gophers have received the final two conferences, and this can be a toss-up recreation between two Massive Ten West groups which were starved for offense. Wisconsin broke a three-game dropping streak final week, however the Gophers are enjoying for a bowl look. It is a field-goal recreation both method.  

South Carolina (+7.5) over Clemson 

South Carolina broke the dropping streak to Clemson final 12 months, they usually have constructed a three-game dropping streak whereas making an attempt to make a bowl recreation. Spencer Rattler has been scorching down the stretch. Will he be scorching sufficient to knock off Clemson for a second straight 12 months? We predict so. 

Edward Sutelan, Digital content material producer

Ohio State (+3.5) over Michigan

Michigan has dominated Ohio State in back-to-back years. The sport is in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines have regarded the a part of a title contender all 12 months. So why Ohio State? Effectively, let us take a look at how Michigan received final 12 months. TreVeyon Henderson was out, and the Wolverines scored 5 instances on performs over greater than 40 yards. This Ohio State protection is a lot better at limiting explosives, and Henderson will probably be in, making this a totally totally different offense. Michigan has simply regarded totally different with out Jim Harbaugh, and will miss him on recreation day. Additionally, the final two instances Ohio State was a regular-season underdog? The Buckeyes have received by a mean of 17.5 factors, together with a 62-39 rout of Michigan in 2018.

Florida (+6.5) over Florida State

The Seminoles pulled away late in opposition to FCS opponent North Alabama, however there was some extent the place the sport regarded suspiciously shut. Earlier than that, Florida State had a slim win at residence in opposition to Miami. Now, they’re going to head to Gainesville to face a motivated Florida staff preventing for bowl eligibility in one other rivalry recreation, this time with out Jordan Travis. The questions since Travis went out have been whether or not an undefeated FSU with a backup quarterback nonetheless make it to the CFP. Florida solutions these questions by placing an finish to the undefeated run for the Seminoles.

Texas A&M (+11.5) over LSU

I would like at the least one large decide this week to attempt to actually make up some floor. It has been a disappointing 12 months for each Texas A&M and LSU, with the previous firing their head coach and the latter watching a Heisman-caliber season with Jayden Daniels going by the wayside in a season with CFP expectations. The Aggies have misplaced by one rating of their three SEC defeats, and nonetheless have an honest protection. LSU doesn’t have an honest protection, and it feels like all offense ought to have little points scoring, and if Texas A&M can get only one or two turnovers, it may very well be sufficient to stun the Tigers within the season finale.

Nick Musial, Content material producer

Ohio State (+3.5) over Michigan

Ohio State’s potential to restrict explosive performs that in the end doomed them in ’22 ought to result in a way more aggressive rendition of “The Recreation” this 12 months. The Wolverines’ offense hasn’t actually been in sync the previous two weeks, and so long as Jim Knowles’ protection retains Blake Corum in examine, the Buckeyes may emerge victorious within the de facto Massive Ten East Championship recreation.

Kentucky (+7.5) over Louisville

Whereas it will take a miracle for the Cardinal to succeed in the CFP, this 12 months’s Louisville bunch feels eerily just like the ’22-23 TCU. Louisville has been the beneficiary of some luck in one-score video games this season, however we predict their luck involves an finish on Senior Day. Devin Leary and the Wildcats’ offense hit a number of explosive performs whereas their protection maintain

Georgia Southern (+8.5) over Appalachian State

We’re hoping the Mountaineers have a down week after an emotional additional time win in Harrisonburg final week. Georgia Southern is not in significantly nice type, having misplaced its previous three video games, however Davis Brin and the offense ought to have the ability to generate ample scoring drives in opposition to an exploitable App State protection.

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