Last week ATS: 5-7 (3-2 National, 2-5 B1G)
Season ATS: 78-84-4 (35-34-2 National, 43-50-2 B1G)
Last week’s record would have been a lot better if it wasn’t for some fourth quarter shenanigans. Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan State were all covering in the fourth quarter before they let their foot off the gas. If those three games had gone MC&J’s way, our record would be sitting at 81-81-4 right now.
Hopefully there are plenty of winners to be thankful for this week. Enjoy the turkey and the football!
National games (All games Saturday unless otherwise noted):
No. 2 Miami (FL) (-14) v. Pittsburgh - Friday 11/24 12:00 PM EST - ABC
There’s no denying what Miami has done so far this year. Earlier in the year I thought the Hurricanes were overrated, but I am now believing in Miami. Funny what a turnover chain can do. The Hurricanes have forced 19 turnovers over the last five games, and their 27 turnovers this year is third-best nationally.
Pitt hasn’t done very much right this year, but at least they are playing tough. The Panthers won’t be able to go to a bowl game this year, but at least they’ll get to play spoiler in their regular season finale.
Between possibly looking ahead to next week’s ACC title game against Clemson, as well as some colder temperatures than they are used to, I’ll take Pitt with the points here. The Hurricanes will win but I could see them being a bit sluggish.
Miami 31, Pittsburgh 21
South Florida v. No. 15 UCF (-10) - Friday 11/24 3:30 PM EST - ABC
On Friday afternoon the American Athletic Conference will take center stage in Orlando with “The War on I-4”. Both these squads are feeling disrespected by the CFP committee, with a one-loss South Florida not even being ranked, and an undefeated Central Florida squad ranked behind a three-loss Mississippi State team.
Not only will these two teams be trying to impress the committee, but they’ll be battling for the right to play Memphis in next week’s AAC Championship Game. South Florida quarterback Quinton Flowers has not only thrown for nearly 2,100 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he has also added 870 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Quarterback McKenzie Milton and the Golden Knights have cleared every hurdle thrown in front of them this season, and I don’t think Friday will be any different. The Bulls will give Scott Frost’s team their toughest test of the season, but Central Florida earns a second meeting with Memphis this year.
UCF 34, USF 31
No. 7 Georgia (-11.5) v. Georgia Tech - 12:00 PM EST - ABC
“Clean, Old Fashioned Hate” has been one of the most hotly contested rivalries over the past few years, with the last four meetings being decided by seven points or less, and two of those meetings going to overtime. I don’t see this year’s game following the recent trend.
Saturday’s game in Atlanta will feature three 1,000 yard rushers. Georgia Tech quarterback Taquon Marshall has rushed for 1,074 yards and 17 touchdowns, while “B-Back” KiVonte Benson has rushed for 1,009 yards and six touchdowns. Georgia counters with Nick Chubb, who passed the 1,000 yard mark last week, and Sony Michel, who sits at 818 rushing yards this year.
Unlike the past few years, I think Georgia’s defense will be too much for the Yellow Jackets to crack. The Bulldogs will put a few touchdowns on the board early and put Georgia Tech in a hole that they can’t dig out of with their limited offense.
Georgia 33, Georgia Tech 17
No. 1 Alabama (-5) v. No. 6 Auburn - 3:30 PM EST - CBS
After dealing with some injuries over the past few weeks, at least Alabama was able to rest up a big with a 56-0 over Mercer. Auburn didn’t have much of a contest either last week, taking down Louisiana-Monroe, 42-14, but they won’t have running back Kamryn Pettway back, who hasn’t played since the Arkansas game in October.
A lot of people are saying Alabama can’t pass the football, but with Jalen Hurts and Calvin Ridley, that isn’t true. Nick Saban just doesn’t need to pass the football much with the damage Damien Harris, Bo Scarbrough, and Hurts can do on the ground. If the Crimson Tide want to stay undefeated, they’ll need to slow down running back Kerryon Johnson, who has rushed for 1,172 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The winner of Saturday’s Iron Bowl will go on to face Georgia in next week’s SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. After looking so dominate all year, I just keep seeing Auburn tripping up Alabama on Saturday. I know Sabanbot 3000 will likely make me regret my pick, but I just have a little more confidence in the Tigers, especially at Jordan-Hare.
Auburn 28, Alabama 24
West Virginia v. No. 4 Oklahoma (-23) - 3:45 PM EST - ESPN
Just a few weeks ago it was looking like this was going to be a fun quarterback matchup to close up the regular season for both these schools. Then last week happened.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier was injured in last week’s loss to Texas, leaving sophomore Chris Chugunov to take the snaps against the Sooners. I’d say West Virginia fans might “Chug-a-lot” for Chugunov, but they’d probably do even if Grier was healthy.
Oklahoma has their own issues at quarterback, especially since Baker Mayfield got a little handsy with himself against Kansas. Texas A&M transfer Kyler Murray will start for the Sooners, and it’s not known how long Mayfield will be sentenced to the sidelines.
With all the quarterback questions, I like the points here. Chugunov has played enough to where he knows what he has to do. Oklahoma might be a little distracted with all the attention paid to what Mayfield did and the benching. This just seems like a few too many points, especially if the Sooners build a lead, since they’ll want to stay healthy with the Big 12 title game on the horizon.
Oklahoma 42, West Virginia 24
No. 3 Clemson (-14) v. No. 24 South Carolina - 7:30 PM EST - ESPN
South Carolina has put together a strong year in Will Muschamp’s second season in Columbia. The capper for Muschamp and company would be if they could spring the upset on Clemson and destroy the College Football Playoff hopes of the Tigers.
Clemson has rebounded nicely from their loss to Syracuse earlier in the year, winning their last four games. Even with the wins, I still have some questions about the Tigers. It’s obvious Kelly Bryant isn’t on the level of Deshaun Watson (but who really is). The Tigers still have an amazing defense, which could propel them to the playoff, but they’ll need more to win it all.
Even in their losses, South Carolina has been competitive, with their biggest loss of the year coming by 14 points to Georgia. The Gamecocks will have revenge on their mind after Clemson thrashed them 56-7 last year. South Carolina won’t pull the upset, but they’ll certainly put a scare into Clemson.
Clemson 27, South Carolina 20
No. 8 Notre Dame (-2.5) v. No. 21 Stanford - 8:00 PM EST - ABC
As if this game wasn’t tough enough to figure out with questions about the status of Bryce Love, the uncertainty of the Pac-12 North adds to the difficulty. Washington and Washington State kick off at the same time, and if Washington wins, Stanford faces USC next week in the Pac-12 Championship Game. If Washington State wins, the Cougars face the Trojans next week.
Love has been hampered by an ankle injury over the last few games, so even if he plays who knows how effective he’ll be. The same can’t be said about Notre Dame running back Josh Adams, who is healthy and ready to roll.
If Love was healthy for Stanford, I’d take the Cardinal here, especially after how the Fighting Irish struggled last week. I don’t think Notre Dame is as good as their ranking, and wouldn’t be mad if they lost. Having said that, I’ll take the team that is healthier at running back right now. Adams has another big game, as he looks to punch a ticket to New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony.
Notre Dame 24, Stanford 20
No. 13 Washington State v. No. 17 Washington (-10) - 8:00 PM EST - FOX
Since 2009, Washington State has only won The Apple Cup once, and just two of those meetings have been decided by less than 10 points. Washington doesn’t instill a lot of confidence right now, but I think they show up big time in Seattle to ruin Washington State’s Pac-12 title game hopes.
Washington 38, Washington State 21