So much for heading into rivalry week with momentum. Some brutal picks slipped the season record three more games back of .500. Good thing there are plenty of games this holiday weekend to possibly help make up some of that deficit before next week's championship games. Hopefully the picks end up to be just as filling as Thanksgiving dinner.
Last week ATS: 4-7 (1-3 National, 3-4 B1G)
Season ATS: 75-83-1 (32-33-1 National, 43-50 B1G)
National Games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
#5 TCU (-7) v. Texas - Thursday 7:30 PM - Fox Sports 1
Coming into the season LSU versus Texas A&M was supposed to be the marquee Thanksgiving night college football matchup, but with both those SEC teams floundering, TCU will try and avoid the upset when they head to Austin. After nearly falling to Kansas a couple weeks ago, TCU has had some time to get ready for a Texas team that is playing very good football. The Longhorns have won three straight and their defense is playing lights out. The Horned Frogs have been playing with fire on the road lately, winning by a point at West Virginia and squeaking out the win in Lawrence. Texas has the defense to keep this close and I think they'll put a scare in Gary Patterson's team.
TCU 27 Texas 24
Arkansas (-2) v. #17 Missouri - Friday 2:30 PM - CBS
Breakup the Fightin' BERTs! The Razorbacks not only earned their first SEC win under Bret Bielema, but they have posted two straight shutouts of ranked teams. Now they'll hit the road to try and erase Missouri's SEC East title plans. After being thrashed by Georgia in Columbia, the Tigers have reeled off five wins in a row. Brandon Allen's status is still unknown for Arkansas, but running is what the Hogs do best. Even with Arkansas' good form lately, I still like Missouri in this one with the motivation to get to the SEC Championship Game. Maty Mauk finds a way to lead the Tigers to Atlanta for a second straight year.
Missouri 24 Arkansas 20
Stanford v. #8 UCLA (-5) - Friday 3:30 PM - ABC
Something seems off about this line. UCLA just obliterated USC and Stanford has not only had some rough patches this year, they'll be missing Ty Montgomery in this game. Where are the points going to come from for the Cardinal? The good news for Stanford is they have a defense capable of keeping this game close. The bad news for Stanford is UCLA can clinch the Pac-12 South with a win, so the Bruins will for sure be focused. UCLA looks to be playing their best football of the season lately, and they definitely could give Oregon a game in a rematch if Brett Hundley and the Bruins can make their way past Stanford. I think Jim Mora's team continues to impress and takes this one by double-digits.
UCLA 28 Stanford 17
#16 Georgia Tech v. #9 Georgia (-12.5) - 12:00 PM - ESPN
This year I'm wishing that "Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate" was given a kickoff that wasn't the same time as "The Game". Georgia Tech has already qualified to play Florida State next week in the ACC Championship Game, but first they'll be trying to end the recent dominance in the series by Georgia. The Bulldogs have won the last five meetings, and 12 of the last 13. The Yellow Jackets are averaging 327.9 yards per game on the ground, and actually has a little bit of a passing threat with Justin Thomas, who has thrown 15 touchdowns this year. Georgia has gotten six straight 100-yard rushing games from Nick Chubb. This feels like a few too many points for Georgia to be giving, especially if Missouri wins on Friday, the Bulldogs could be flat.
Georgia 38 Georgia Tech 31
Florida v. #3 Florida State (-7.5) - 3:30 PM - ESPN
Florida State has to lose at some point, right? Many are thinking this might be the spot where Jameis Winston and the Seminoles finally falter. Me? At first I really liked Florida, but the more I look this game the more I'm starting to like Florida State. The Gators will want to send Will Muschamp out on a high-note, but could they be a little too amped up for this game? For once the Seminoles get a strong start to the game putting the Gators in a hole that their offense won't be able to dig out of. Jameis has another big game against the Gators and helps to keep Florida State's College Football Playoff hopes alive.
Florida State 34 Florida 23
#4 Mississippi State (-3) v. #19 Mississippi - 3:30 PM - CBS
Look at the treatment the Egg Bowl is getting this year! A month ago this was looking like it would be a lot bigger matchup with both teams still in the thick of the College Football Playoff race. The Bulldogs are still ranked in the Top-4, but will need an impressive performance to stay there, especially since they likely won't have the luxury of trying to pad their resume by playing in the SEC Championship Game. The Rebels have been ravaged by injuries and are limping to the finish line. I really want to find a reason to take Ole Miss in this one, and even though this is a rivalry game I just can't trust the Rebels to get up for this one with all their injuries. Dak Prescott helps Dan Mullen improve his record to 5-1 against his in-state rival.
Mississippi State 31 Mississippi 24
#15 Auburn v. #1 Alabama (-9.5) - 7:45 PM - ESPN
It'll feel rather strange not to have this game on a Friday or Saturday during the day, but I can't think of a better way to end the night by rooting for the Tigers to pull the upset in Tuscaloosa. The sad part is I probably won't see exactly that happen. While Auburn might be a free-fall it wouldn't be surprising to see them get up for this game just for the fact that they could spoil Alabama's season. Too bad I'm Nick Saban sure has replayed the "Kick-Six" infinity times in his head since last year, so he'll have his team ready to play. Bama's run defense is nasty. Shut down the Auburn run and it'll lead to some picks for Landon Collins.
Alabama 35 Auburn 21
#2 Oregon (-20) v. Oregon State - 8:00 PM - ABC
The "Civil War" in primetime? I'm a fan of this decision. Too bad the matchup couldn't be a little better. Then again Oregon State did a little dirty work for the Buckeyes in Corvallis a few weeks ago when they upended Arizona State. Could lightning strike twice? Nah. Arizona State was one thing, but Oregon is a step above. The Beavers are banged up which will give Marcus Mariota a chance to pad his Heisman stats, and head into next week's Pac-12 Championship Game with a lot of confidence.
Oregon 51 Oregon State 23
B1G Games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
Nebraska v. Iowa (-1) - Friday 12:00 PM - ABC
Each year we get to try and shake off our gravy hangover with Nebraska/Iowa and each year it seems like we always feel even drunker after having to watch whatever the game insists on being. I'm sure more shenanigans are in store this year, with Nebraska coming in have lost their last two, which has led to Bo Pelini's seat turning piping hot. The Hawkeyes hung tough with Wisconsin last week, but how much did they expend in the loss? Does Nebraska have anything left, especially after last week's tough loss? Kenny Bell and Randy Gregory are questionable for Friday's game. Even if they do play how much of an impact will they have? I just feel the Hawkeyes send their seniors out on a high note.
Iowa 31 Nebraska 21
Illinois v. Northwestern (-8) - 12:00 PM - ESPNU
Who could've seen this when the season started? Illinois and Northwestern playing their regular season finale with bowl eligibility on the line. Illinois somehow slopped their way past Penn State last week giving them a shot to go to a bowl game under Tim Beckman. No, seriously! Northwestern showed no signs of a letdown last week against Purdue after their win against Notre Dame, but did lose quarterback Trevor Siemian to a torn ACL. A bright spot of the Wildcat offense has been freshman running back Justin Jackson. The Pickerington native rushed for 147 yards last week, and has five 100-yard games this year. I wish this game was at Wrigley Field again so they could play with only one endzone. Oh well. Northwestern forces a lot of turnovers, and I see them doing more of that to the Fighting Illini.
Northwestern 30 Illinois 17
Purdue v. Indiana (-3) - 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
At least this is a trophy game, because without it neither team would have anything to play for to close out the season. Both teams are 3-8 so far this year, and if there is any reason to watch this game it is to see how many yards Tevin Coleman will run for. The Indiana running back has rushed for 1,906 yards so far this season, with 307 coming two weeks ago against Rutgers and 228 coming against the Buckeyes last week. The Boilermakers are allowing 190 yards per game on the ground, which means it should be another big day for Coleman. I just don't see Purdue being able to keep pace with Coleman in this one as Indiana will retains the Old Oaken Bucket.
Indiana 34 Purdue 21
Rutgers v. Maryland (-8.5) - 3:30 PM - ESPNU
IT'S TIMMMMMMEEEEEEEEEE FOR THE FRIDGE BOWL!!!! Rutgers Offensive Coordinator Ralph Friedgen will hope to have a gameplan ready that'll lead the Scarlet Knights to victory over his old team. Both teams have already earned bowl eligibility in their first year in the Big Ten, so at this point anything else is just an added bonus. Neither team is exactly lighting it up to end the year, with Rutgers having lost four of their last five, and Maryland alternating wins and losses in their last seven. Neither team has a whole lot to offer on defense, so I'll gladly take the points in a game I think will be decided by less than a touchdown.
Maryland 31 Rutgers 28
#10 Michigan State (-13.5) v. Penn State - 3:30 PM - ABC/ESPN2
To me it just feels wrong that the Land Grant Trophy has nothing to do with this website. If we had a staff fantasy football league should that be awarded to the winner? These two schools haven't played since 2010, but they'll be seeing each other every year from here on out with Michigan State's move to the East Division. Sparty has responded with two convincing wins after their loss to Ohio State. Meanwhile, Penn State is coming off a brutal loss to Illinois. The Nittany Lions have no offense, and you have to wonder how often the defense can keep getting off the mat after playing so strong all year yet getting no help from their offense. I still think nearly two touchdowns is just a bit high in this one. Penn State keeps it close on Senior Day against a Michigan State team this might be a little unmotivated with Ohio State having already clinched the East Division.
Michigan State 24 Penn State 17
#18 Minnesota v. #14 Wisconsin (-14) - 3:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Even if the Golden Gophers don't win this game, what a job Jerry Kill has done this year. Even with not having much of a passing attack, the Golden Gophers are playing good football, and are a win away from heading to Indianapolis for a rematch with the Buckeyes. The only problem is they have to beat Wisconsin in Madison to get to Indianapolis. To compound problems, David Cobb suffered a hamstring injury last week and might not be able to go on Saturday. Oh yeah, Melvin Gordon says hello. The Wisconsin running back needs just one yard to break Ron Dayne's Big Ten rushing record. The Badger defense has been very stout this year, and even if Cobb plays how effective can he really be? Wisconsin retains Paul Bunyan's Axe and heads to Indy rather easily.
Wisconsin 37 Minnesota 20
Michigan v. #6 Ohio State (-21) - 12:00 PM - ABC
Finally we have arrived at the main event. The Game. Michigan needs a win to become bowl eligible, while Ohio State needs a big win to get those all important "style points" to help state their case for the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes missed out on some of those "style points" when they struggled for three quarters against Indiana before Jalin Marshall made friends with a lot of Buckeye fans again.Aside from a couple big runs, the Buckeyes held Tevin Coleman in check for the most part. Luckily they won't have a game changer like that to worry about this weekend. Joey Bosa and company should be able to get plenty of heat on Devin Gardner, which in turn should allow for the Wolverine quarterback to dish out some early holiday gifts to the secondary.
While Buckeye fans have seen this script before, with Michigan playing spoiler late in the season to good Ohio State teams, that was under John Cooper. Urban Meyer is all about this rivalry and you know he'll want to hang one last loss on Brady Hoke. Last year the Wolverines almost stunned the Buckeyes in Ann Arbor, but I highly doubt Meyer is going to let that happen two years in a row. If Ohio State can put together a complete game like they did when they played Michigan State, there is no way the Wolverines stay anywhere close. With the Big Ten Championship Game on deck, the Buckeyes are focused, impress the committee, and certainly show they don't give a damn for the whole state of Michigan.
Ohio State 44 Michigan 17