The final full week of the 2023 college football regular season is here. As one might expect, there's a lot on the line with multiple spots in conference championships still up in the air and several games that have major implications on the College Football Playoff race.
One such game that fits into both categories is the rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State. With a win, the Ducks secure a spot in the Pac-12 Championship Game -- setting up a rematch with Washington -- and keep their playoff hopes alive. A loss knocks them out of the running for both.
Elsewhere, teams like Nebraska and Illinois are looking to nab their sixth win and claim bowl eligibility. For the Huskers, it would mark their first postseason appearance since 2016, but Big Ten West champion Iowa is standing in their way.
As with every week, there is a ton of value to be found in these games. This column kept its own hot streak going with another 4-1 record. That means we've gone 4-1 in three out of the last four weeks. Week 13 presents a good opportunity to send things out on a high note. Here is the final crop of value plays for the 2023 college football season.
Odds via SportsLine consensus
No. 17 Iowa vs. Nebraska
When: Friday, Noon ET | Where: Memorial Stadium -- Lincoln, Nebraska
Nebraska is seeking its sixth win to secure bowl eligibility. The Huskers have been looking for that sixth win for three weeks now. If you haven't been paying attention, Nebraska has found some very creative ways to lose. Against Michigan State, it had two chances in the final three minutes to either tie or win the game. On the first drive, the Huskers fumbled; on the next, they managed exactly 1 yard in three plays before time ran out. Against Maryland, quarterback Chubba Purdy threw a game-sealing interception from the Terps' 7-yard line. Then, in overtime against Wisconsin last week, the Badgers scored a touchdown and Nebraska threw an interception.
Then you have Iowa, which keeps winning in spite of its circumstances. The Hawkeyes have an injury list a mile long: Their starting quarterback, leading receiver and potential first-round cornerback are all out for the year. Offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz was informed in October that he wouldn't be retained after the 2023 season. Yet, the Hawkeyes are 9-2 and have already locked down a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. It just seems like a guarantee that the Hawkeyes will find a way to close the season with a victory. Prediction: Iowa ML (+110)
When: Friday, 4 p.m. ET | Where: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium -- Fayetteville, Arkansas
Missouri is a matchup nightmare for Arkansas. The Tigers boast one of the SEC's best running backs in Cody Schrader, who currently leads the conference with 1,272 yards -- almost 300 yards more than the next running back. He's had four-straight games with at least 100 yards on the ground and scored in his last eight games. He's the definition of a bell-cow back, too, with 20 carries in each of the last five games. Now, he gets to go against an Arkansas defense that surrenders 145 yards rushing per game.
No matter how strong Arkansas' secondary might be -- and it's pretty underrated -- Missouri should be able to grind the Razorbacks down by winning at the point of attack and riding Schrader early. That will open up big plays for the dynamic QB-WR duo of Brady Cook and Luther Burden later in the game. Arkansas hasn't shown that it can score at a competent pace against average defenses, so the Tigers should be able to pull away. Prediction: Missouri -7.5 (-110)
No. 6 Oregon vs. No. 16 Oregon State
When: Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET | Where: Autzen Stadium -- Eugene, Oregon
Most bettors might look at this game and pound the over on a total that sits at 62.5. Who could blame them? These two teams combine for nearly 83 points per game. Oregon's offense is a buzzsaw and the Beavers have put up some staggering figures on the scoreboard this year. But this game won't live up to those explosive expectations.
For starters, Oregon State's offensive numbers are a bit misleading. In four games against the Pac-12's top-half defenses, the Beavers are averaging 25 points per game. Oregon's defense is tied for first in the Pac-12 in scoring, allowing just 16.7 points per game. Meanwhile, Oregon has scored 40 points just twice since the start of October -- against Arizona State and Cal, which rank No. 8 and No. 10, respectively, among Pac-12 teams in points per game allowed. This could be a physical, smash-mouth football game that falls well short of the expected total. Prediction: Under 62.5 (-110)
Illinois vs. Northwestern
When: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET | Where: Memorial Stadium -- Champaign, Illinois
Apparently Vegas hasn't caught on to the fact that Northwestern is actually kind of good this year. Coach David Braun, who entered the year as an interim before that tag was removed, has revitalized the Wildcats on both sides of the ball. They've already secured bowl eligibility after winning just one game a season ago and might just reach seven regular-season wins for the first time since the COVID-shortened 2020 season.
Whatever happens Saturday against Illinois, it will be closer than the oddsmakers suggest. On paper, these two teams are evenly matched. Northwestern's run defense has been bad, but Illinois isn't setting the world on fire with its rushing attack. The Illini have seen a resurgent passing attack since switching to quarterback John Paddock, but Northwestern has the Big Ten's sixth-best pass defense. Neither team will be able to create much separation. This feels like a game that will be decided by field goals, not a touchdown. Prediction: Northwestern +6 (-110)
Kansas vs. Cincinnati
When: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET | Where: Nippert Stadium -- Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati's transition to the Big 12 has gone about as poorly as it possibly could have. The Bearcats' lone win in conference play came against fellow newcomer Houston, which is 2-6 in the Big 12 itself. Otherwise, Cincinnati's seven conference losses have come by an average of 14 points.
Kansas has fallen on tough times lately after a stellar 7-2 start that saw it climb into the AP Top 25 for a second consecutive season, but there's a big reason behind the Jayhawks' current two-game losing streak. Not only did they lose star quarterback Jalon Daniels earlier in the season, but his backup, Jason Bean, left the Iowa State game two weeks ago with a head injury. The Jayhawks weren't able to overcome his absence and lost with walk-on freshman Cole Ballard. Ballard started in last week's game against Kansas State and put forth a valiant effort, but the offense fell apart late in the second half and couldn't overcome a four-point deficit.
Bean should be back this week, and Kansas is averaging just over 35 points per game when he's healthy. The Jayhawks should be back to a form that's more than capable of beating hapless Cincinnati by more than a touchdown. Prediction: Kansas -6 (-111)
Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13, and which underdogs will win outright? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread -- all from a proven computer model that has returned well over $2,000 in profit over the past seven-plus seasons -- and find out.