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College football bold predictions for Week 13 include Ohio State, USC

Shocking disappointments and better-than-expected performances are anticipated each weekend in the wild world of college football. Even if everyone knows they are coming, guessing when and where they will happen is difficult. 

The USA TODAY Sports college football staff — Jace Evans, Paul Myerberg, George Schroeder, Erick Smith, Eddie Timanus and Dan Wolken — weigh in with some bold predictions for Week 13 of the college football season:

Jace Evans

Ohio State will take over the No. 1 spot in the College Football Playoff rankings next week. No, LSU is not going to lose (the Tigers play Arkansas, the worst team in the Southeastern Conference). Rather, the Buckeyes will snag the top spot as they will blow out Penn State, by at least three scores. Ohio State has been one of the most dominant teams we’ve ever seen through 10 games and there’s little reason to expect that to change. In fact, the Buckeyes should be even better as all-world defensive end Chase Young returns and the team will likely be looking to send a message as it faces its toughest test of the season so far. Penn State is certainly good, but the Nittany Lions played a close, tough contest against Indiana in Happy Valley last week. The Buckeyes beat those same Hoosiers by 41 this season.

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Paul Myerberg

Ohio State does a number on Penn State and makes a strong case for being No. 1 in the Amway Coaches Poll and the College Football Playoff rankings. By the way, this is what OSU has done all season. The Buckeyes have won each of their first 10 games by 24 or more points, joining 1971 Nebraska as the only teams to do so in the past century of college football. That’s a good way to put the Buckeyes’ dominance into perspective. Another is to consider that Penn State is 9-1 with its one loss to Minnesota and is an 18-point underdog.

George Schroeder

Baylor was oh, so close to a signature victory last week – ahead by 25 points against Oklahoma early in the second quarter and 21 at halftime – but it all melted away in the heat of the Sooners’ second-half comeback. Instead of unbeaten and in the College Football Playoff conversation, the Bears are … well, they’re playing Texas. And while it might be difficult to rebound from such a difficult loss, the Longhorns have myriad problems of their own.

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