It’s a day late but a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. I hope the turkey, vegetables and awkward small talk with your cousin were good enough to get you through the holiday. Now, it’s time to grab those deals on Black Friday and begin decorating for the Holidays.
In honor of the Thanksgiving weekend plus rivalry which allows for an endless supply of games, we’ve going to do an extra stuffed version of picks this week — meaning 15 chances for me to be wrong instead of the usual 10.
Last week was a second consecutive 6-4 week, which brings me a smidge closer to .500 at 56-69. Two of you — 85 Chief and MissouriNole — were better in the comment section last weekend with a 7-3 record. Let’s see if you can handle the bigger slate.
HEADS UP THOUGH! The fun gets started Friday at noon so get those picks in quick.
As always, lines come from Tallysight.com.
- Kansas State (+2.5) at Texas (Friday at Noon ET, FOX)
What a perfect way to kickoff the final week of the season with the corpse of Texas’ abysmal season taking on one of my favorite teams this season in K-State. The Wildcats were an early season feature in this article but faded because of some injuries. Now, both teams have big injuries. For UT, it’s the best running back in college football, Mr. Bijan Robinson. For KSU, it’s their quarterback Skylar Thompson who will likely miss the game. It’s tough with those injuries because Thompson’s injury is what led to K-State’s struggles early this year, but oddsmakers still have this as a competitive game and I think the Wildcats are the better team.
Prediction: Kansas State +2.5
- Boise State (-2.5) at No. 21 San Diego State (Friday at Noon ET, CBS)
If you want to watch an actual good football game though, this is the one to watch. Both Boise and San Diego State have a chance to win the Mountain West and actually could play each other again next week. We know Boise is a top tier Group of 5 program and SDSU has been as good as it gets at that level — outside of Cincinnati — this season. Both teams will give everything they have to get this win plus it’s a Noon ET kick... in California. Brunch time kickoff on Black Friday!
Prediction: San Diego State +2.5
- No. 16 Iowa (PK) at Nebraska (Friday at 1:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network)
I took my shot with Nebraska last week and it failed, but it has to come through eventually right? The Huskers are 0-7 in one-possession games this season. In the playoff era — obviously a small sample, no team has ever gone worse than 0-5 in a year. Shoutout to ESPN’s David Hale for sharing that stat on Twitter. (If you’re not following him, please do. He’ll make you smarter). Nebraska has been so close so many times, why can’t they get this done at home against a rival?
- No. 4 Cincinnati (-14.5) at East Carolina (Friday at 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
What a statement game from the Bearcats. Last week, I took SMU to cover a double-digit spread against Cincinnati after a few lackluster performances, but they put it on the Mustangs. So much so that Sonny Dykes appears to be skedaddling for their rival TCU. It felt like a team that knows how good it is, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and stepping on the gas. The Bearcats are two wins from making history as the first Group of 5 team to make the College Football Playoff and I don’t expect them to slow down.
Prediction: Cincinnati -14.5
- North Carolina (+5.5) at No. 20 NC State (Friday at 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Another fun one loading in North Carolina this weekend as its NC State favored over preseason top-10 UNC. But the Wolfpack have earned that. They’ve been the model of consistency all season and get this rivalry at home. North Carolina is the opposite — wildly inconsistent and on the road. But you know what? It’s rivalry week. Throw out the records and trust the stars. For me, that’s Sam Howell and Josh Downs.
Prediction: UNC +5.5
- No. 2 Ohio State (-7.5) at No. 5 Michigan (Saturday at Noon ET, FOX)
The game of the week is a B1G one in the Big House. Ohio State absolutely thrashed Michigan State last week in Columbus and now have their sights set on finishing off the other side of Michigan. Jim Harbaugh’s time though is a better match to tackle the Buckeyes. The Spartans were dead last in college football against the pass while Ohio State sat No. 1. Pretty clear that wasn’t going to work well for them. The Wolverines are top ten though in defending the pass, a big change from last week. It’s almost impossible to say this about the No. 5 team in the country, but Jim Harbaugh’s team is underrated. Michigan is never mentioned in playoff discussions and that’s a shame because they are very, very worthy. But I think Ohio State is a freight train right now that no one would want to face.
Prediction: Ohio State -7.5
- Florida State (+2.5) at Florida (Saturday at Noon ET, ESPN)
What an absolutely amazing turn of events this has become. I discussed this with Jon at length on the Seminole Wrap podcast (rate, review, subscribe), but the Gators have absolutely cratered since the infamous throwing of the shoe against LSU last season. At that point, UF sat at No. 6 in the country and had a real shot at their first playoff berth. Now, Dan Mullen is gone and they need a win against FSU to even make a bowl. For the Noles, the turnaround has happened in the other direction. They opened the season 0-4 with a crushing loss to Jacksonville State, but here they are one win away from sweeping their rivals and reaching a bowl game themselves. Please understand that no matter how this game goes it is a successful season in Tallahassee. You’ve got a dependable quarterback leading a roster that is clearly progressing. With all that said, the Noles are winning.
Prediction: Florida State +2.5
- No. 3 Alabama (-19.5) at Auburn (Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Boy, does Alabama look vulnerable this season or what? That defense looks like a far cry from previous Nick Saban teams. Lucky for them, they’ve got an elite offense that has found its stride and Auburn is playing backup QB TJ Finley. I love TJ’s talent-level, but he’s not ready for a shootout against Alabama. The Tigers have been known to make Alabama’s life a living hell in Jordan-Hare Stadium, but not this year.
Prediction: Alabama -19.5
- Penn State (-1.5) at No. 12 Michigan State (Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
I did some crapping on the Spartans earlier in this writeup (rightfully so. they were wrecked before halftime last week), but this game fits their play style much better. This will be more like a traditional, between-the-tackles football game that Mel Tucker’s team is built for. Penn State is also built for this type of game as well. This Nittany Lions group looked poised for their first Playoff berth before Sean Clifford’s injury forced them off a cliff. He’s back and healthy for this game which has me expecting a statement performance from the Lions to show their early season success wasn’t a fluke.
Prediction: Penn State -1.5
- No. 14 Wisconsin (-6.5) at Minnesota (Saturday at 4:00 p.m. ET, FOX)
Wisconsin continues to be a complete surprise to me as they’ve remerged as a top-15 team after a horrendous start to the year. Many will watch this game for the Notre Dame angle as the Badgers are the best win on the Irish’s resume, but this will also be a fun one to watch. The Gophers have quietly put together a great season of their own and I’m going to rock with the underdog at home in the rivalry.
Prediction: Minnesota +6.5
- No. 15 Texas A&M (-6.5) at LSU (Saturday at 7:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
We’ve now arrived at the game that is the most important at my Thanksgiving table. Lucky for me, I will not be going home until Christmas this year so I can put that trash talk off for a few weeks. But honestly, I’m feeling that this game is going to be some peak weird college football stuff that nobody will be able to explain. But allow me to try. LSU fired head coach Ed Orgeron more than a month ago and Saturday will be his final game as his own interim head coach (what a disaster). The mood around the team has been in the toilet since everyone — even the coach staff — were just playing out the year, but the vibe around the program heading into this one is different. That end of the year is here and this roster is full of players that Orgeron recruited to Baton Rouge that want to send him out with a victory and I expect Orgeron to leave everything on the field to get this win, especially against the man long-rumored to be the booster choice to replace him (despite him not wanting the job). A full, energized Tiger Stadium propels the Tigers to a victory and sends out one of Louisiana’s favorite sons with a win.
Prediction: LSU +6.5
- No, 12 Oklahoma (+4.5) at No. 7 Oklahoma State (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Talking heads seem to still frequently bring up the Sooners’ path to the playoffs, but it’s the Cowboys who actually have a chance to go dancing. Oklahoma State have traditionally been an offensive firework show, but it’s the defense that are making them go this season and, right now, they’re playing their best ball of the year. The Cowboys have allowed 23 total points in their last 4 games. Not 23 per game.... 23 total. All 4 games were against Big 12 opponents. This team is the better of the two and I expect them to get it done in Stillwater.
Prediction: Oklahoma State -4.5
- No. 23 Clemson (-11.5) at South Carolina (Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET, SECN)
I’ve been saying for weeks that I’m done with Clemson, but I may need to change that stance. They absolutely demolished Wake Forest last week and did so with a boatload of points, which has been their Achilles heel. South Carolina has had a very impressive season from where they were last year, but they’re not ready to compete with Clemson.
Prediction: Clemson -11.5
- No. 17 Pittsburgh (-13.5) at Syracuse (7:30 p.m. ET, ACCN)
Pittsburgh really should be on a path to the College Football Playoff if not for that early season loss to Western Michigan. Kenny Pickett and dem boys have already punched their spot in the ACC championship game thanks to last week’s win against Virginia. I expect them to roll over Syracuse.
Prediction: Pittsburgh -13.5
- Kentucky (+2.5) at Louisville (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
We close out the slate with this thriller in Kentucky. This one should be an interesting contest because both teams have pieced together a pair of wins to end losing streaks. The Wildcats had charged up the standings before getting smacked by Georgia, which set off that losing streak. The Cardinals never had that level of success but Malik Cunningham gives them the ability to win any game on their schedule. I like Louisville, but I lean Kentucky so I’ll follow Mark Stoops’ troops and the points.
Prediction: Kentucky +2.5