Each week during the college football season, theScore's Dane Belbeck will handicap the board and offer up a pack of picks.
Last week's picks: 2-4
Twitter picks: 6-3
Ohio State at Michigan (+12)
This year's version of "The Game" is a far cry from the 2016 classic that saw No. 2 Ohio State top No. 3 Michigan in overtime. The Buckeyes enter play Saturday ranked ninth in the latest CFP rankings, needing a ton of help to qualify for the final four spots. Michigan hosts the contest unranked and has only the role of spoiler to play versus its rival. Ohio State is both the healthier and more talented squad but 12 points on the road in a rivalry game is too many. Ohio State 28, Michigan 20
Notre Dame (-2.5) at Stanford
Notre Dame is fighting for a shot in a New Year's Six bowl game as it heads to the west coast to face Stanford. The Fighting Irish were exposed against Miami as a team that struggles to pass the ball, but that shouldn't hurt them too much against Stanford. The Cardinal enter the contest with the nation's 70th-ranked rush defense, meaning it could be a long day facing Josh Adams and the stout Irish line. These two teams are fairly similar in their approach as the Cardinal rely heavily on running back Bryce Love, but with Notre Dame's defense being stronger than its opponent's, the Irish are the pick here. Notre Dame 28, Stanford 24
Clemson at South Carolina (+14)
South Carolina may have three losses on the season, but have kept each one at a margin of 14 points or less. The biggest loss of the year came at then No. 1 Georgia by that two-touchdown margin, so expect a close one in Columbia this Saturday against Clemson. The Tigers pounded the Gamecocks 56-7 in last year's contest, but Deshaun Watson isn't around to throw six touchdown passes like he did in that one. Will Muschamp's defense should be able to limit the Clemson rushing attack and force Kelly Bryant to beat them through the air. He may be able to do so, but it's unlikely it will be by more than two touchdowns. Clemson 33, South Carolina 23
Other games of note
Alabama (-4.5) at Auburn
The weekend's biggest game is undoubtedly the Iron Bowl at Auburn, as Alabama faces off against its bitter rival with a trip to the SEC championship game on the line. Auburn's massive win over Georgia two weeks ago put the country on notice that it is more than capable of knocking off the top-ranked Crimson Tide, and the small 4.5-point spread is evidence of that. Alabama is once again undefeated, but the Crimson Tide haven't been tested by a team of Auburn's caliber. It's unlikely the Tigers will be able to run the ball on the Alabama defense, and it will be up to Jarrett Stidham to win the game through the air. Look for star defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick to force a couple turnovers and help Alabama head to its fourth straight conference title game.
Louisville at Kentucky (+10)
Louisville will certainly be looking for revenge of last year's 41-38 loss in this heated Kentucky rivalry. Despite the fact he's getting very little national hype, Lamar Jackson is just as good as he was last season in winning the Heisman, and the Wildcats will have to slow him down to have a chance. That's a borderline impossible task, but the Cardinals defense certainly isn't scaring anybody these days. Take the points in what should be an entertaining shootout. Louisville 45, Kentucky 40
Washington State (+10.5) at Washington
The Apple Cup certainly hasn't gone Mike Leach's way since he took over the Washington State job in 2012, as the Cougars have lost the last four contests. This one has added importance for Leach, as Washington State wins the Pac-12 North with a victory. The Cougars have underwhelmed on the road this season, but Washington isn't the same dominant outfit it was last year. Luke Falk finishes his illustrious regular-season career with Washington State by knocking off the local rival with a huge performance. Washington State 35, Washington 33
|Michigan +12 (Gold)|
|Notre Dame -2.5 (Silver)|
|South Carolina +14 (Bronze)|
|Washington State +10.5|
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