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2023 College Football Week 14 Sleeper Picks

By Hank Blaine

College football’s transfer portal is open and that means many, many players will be leaving their current schools immediately, skipping a possible bowl game if their team qualified. There should be no transfer questions with the three conference title games listed below where we like the underdogs.

Top 2023 College Football Week 14 Sleeper Picks

New Mexico State vs. Liberty Flames

Conference USA Championship Game on Friday but is a true home game for Liberty as it was unbeaten in regular-season conference play and thus earned home-field advantage. New Mexico State had just one league loss and that was 33-17 at Liberty back in September. Liberty held a 12:37-to-2:23 time of possession advantage during the third quarter. The Flames allowed the visiting Aggies only six plays during the 15-minute period which saw Liberty score 10 points to open a 33-17 edge. The Flames finished the game with a season-high 526 yards of total offense. New Mexico State ended the night with 341 yards but was limited to 115 yards during the second half. Kaidon Salter threw for 276 yards and two scores for the Flames. He also rushed for two scores. Liberty’s defense forced three turnovers. NMSU (10-3) beat Jacksonville State 20-17 last Saturday to close the regular season and earn the C-USA title spot. Ethan Albertson connected on all four of his kicks – two field goals and two extra points, including the game-winning field goal on the final play of the game. He’s one of the best in C-USA. With the victory, NM State reached double digit wins for just the second time in the history of its program – joining the 1960 team who finished the season 11-0.

The Flames, who have already set program single-season records for overall wins (12) and home wins (7), are aiming to become the third team in CUSA history to win 13 games in a season. Jamey Chadwell is the first Liberty head football coach ever to begin his tenure with the Flames at 12-0. He now owns a 43-6 record dating back to the start of the 2020 season (he used to be at Coastal Carolina) and has coached a pair of unbeaten regular seasons during that span. Liberty QB Salter owns a share of the program single-season records for passing TDs (29) and TDs responsible for (40). He is one of five FBS QBs responsible for 40+ TDs this season. The Flames rank No. 1 nationally in rushing offense (295.4 ypg). RB Quinton Cooley leads the way with 1,251 yards, ranking No. 5 in program history and No. 11 in the nation this season. Salter is 101 yards away from joining Cooley as Liberty’s first pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season. Liberty is 4-2 all-time against New Mexico State, including 3-1 at Williams Stadium.

2023 College Football Week 14 Pick: New Mexico State

Miami (OH) Redhawks vs. Toledo Rockets

MAC title game Saturday from Detroit. Miami (10-2, 7-1) reached 10 wins this season for the first time since going 10-4 in 2010 despite losing QB Brett Gabbert for the season in October. He completed 111 of 188 passes for 1,634 passing yards and a 14:5 TD:INT ratio across eight games. Gabbert also fared well as a rusher, concluding this year with 49 carries for 140 yards and two touchdowns. If this comes down to a late field goal, Miami should be in good shape as junior kicker Graham Nicholson is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top placekicker. The junior is the first RedHawk and third placekicker in Mid-American Conference history to be named a finalist for the Lou Groza Award. Jose Pizano (UNLV) and Will Reichard (Alabama) are also up for the award. Nicholson has been nearly perfect this season, connecting on 23-of-23 field goal attempts and 33-of-34 extra points. He is 8-of-8 on field goals over 40 yards, which includes a career-long 52 yarder earlier this year in a win over Bowling Green. Nicholson has made a field goal in all 12 games this year. The RedHawks only trailed for 80:04 of game time in MAC play (out of 480 minutes) this year.

Toledo looks to become the first school to win back-to-back MAC Championship titles in over a decade. Last year, it beat Ohio 17-7 in the final. The last MAC school to repeat as MAC champions was Northern Illinois in 2011 and 2012. The Rockets (11-1, 8-0) were West Division champs again this season and Toledo has something else at stake this Saturday. The Rockets are in the conversation as a possible “Group of Five” invitee for a New Year’s Six bowl (either the Fiesta Bowl or Peach Bowl) but would need a win and some help. The Rockets have now won 11 straight games in a single season for the first time since 1971. Toledo is 8-0 in MAC play for the first time in school history. Toledo is one of only 12 FBS schools with one loss or fewer, and one of only eight one-loss or undefeated schools that are undefeated in conference play. Miami leads the all-times series 28-23-1 but Toledo won in Oxford on Oct. 21 this year, 21-17. The Rockets led 21-3 at halftime before Miami scored a pair of third-quarter touchdowns to make it 21-17. Toledo came up with two three-and-outs and a crucial turnover in the final two minutes.

2023 College Football Week 14 Pick: Miami (OH)

Michigan Wolverines vs. Iowa Hawkeyes

  • When: Saturday, December 2nd, 2023. 8:00pm EST
  • Where: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
  • College Football Odds: Michigan (+3) // Iowa (-3)

Big Ten title game from Indianapolis on Saturday as Michigan, which gets Coach Jim Harbaugh back from a three-game suspension, looks for its third straight conference title and third straight College Football Playoff spot. The Wolverines lost in the semifinals the past two years. The Wolverines knocked off Ohio State for a third straight year last Saturday. Michigan has achieved its second consecutive 12-0 season under Harbaugh. It marks the fifth season in program history with at least 12 wins (1905; 1997; 2021-23) and the first time the program has achieved a 12-0 mark in back-to-back seasons. Michigan is the only team in the nation with multiple wins over teams currently among the AP Top 10. Blake Corum broke Hassan Haskins’ single-season rushing touchdown record (20 in 2021) with his 21st and 22nd ground scores of the year against Ohio State. In total, Michigan has forced 21 turnovers (16 interceptions, five fumble recoveries) and forced two safeties, while having lost seven turnovers themselves. The defense had a streak of at least one interception in seven straight games (Bowling Green to Purdue) and at least one in 10-of-12 overall. The Wolverines have won the past two appearances in the conference championship game, defeating Iowa 42-3 in 2021 and Purdue 43-22 in 2022. U-M is looking to capture its league-leading 45th Big Ten Championship.

This is Iowa’s third straight year playing a No. 2 ranked opponent (Ohio State, 2022; Michigan, 2021). This is the program’s seventh game against a top 10 team since 2021 (2-4 record). Iowa has now won three Big Ten West Division crowns under head coach Kirk Ferentz (2015, 2021, 2023). The Hawkeyes finished the regular season with a 10-2 overall and 7-2 in Big Ten play. It is the seventh time Iowa has notched its 10th victory during the regular season (five times under Ferentz) and the 11th 10-win season in program history (eight under Ferentz). Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker is a finalist for the Broyles Award for the first time in his career. The honor goes to the nation’s top assistant coach. Iowa’s defense ranks fourth nationally, giving up 12.2 points per game. The Hawkeyes have allowed three touchdowns over their last 24 quarters, five touchdowns over the past 32 periods and 13 total touchdowns in 2023. The 12.2 scoring average would be the best for the Iowa program since 1981 (11.7 points). The Hawkeye rushing defense has allowed just two rushing touchdowns in 2023, which are the fewest in the nation. This will be the 64th meeting between Michigan and Iowa. The Wolverines hold a 44-15-4 lead in the all-time series and have won 15 of the last 23 games in the series.

2023 College Football Week 14 Pick: Iowa

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READ MORE: 2023 College Football Week 14 Odds, Overview & Picks