College Football Picks: It All Comes Down to This – Rivalry Week
by Rick Bouch Scores & Statson
It’s the final game of the season for most of college football and some of the game’s greatest rivalries will be played over Thanksgiving weekend. We will see Ohio State-Michigan and Alabama-Auburn, two games that will have some College Football Playoff implications.
Wisconsin takes on rival Minnesota in a huge Big Ten game while Cincinnati and Memphis battle to see which group of 5 teams makes the New Year’s Six party. LSU, which was leapfrogged by the Buckeyes for the No. 1 spot in the new CFP poll, will take on rival Texas A&M.
Top online sportsbooks forecast these two teams as the American Athletic Conference’s best. The two will likely play again next week for the AAC title. A Bearcats win will give Cincinnati home-field advantage next week, but the Tigers are accustomed to laying points at home. Memphis has covered 12 of the last 15 times at home. The Cincinnati defense keeps it close. CINCINNATI +11
No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 13 Michigan (OSU -9, O/U: 51.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Ohio State is the best team in the country. The offense averaged over 49 points a game and DE Chase Young might be the No. 1 pick in next year’s NFL draft. Michigan has won four straight with an offense that has scored 38 or more points in each of those wins. This series is riding a six-game Over streak. Guess what happens on Saturday? OVER 51.5
Texas A&M vs. No. 2 LSU (LSU -17, O/U: 62.5) Best Line: MyBookie
Last year’s game put up 116 points in a seven-OT thriller. Overtime isn’t happening this year. LSU averages 49 points a game and the Aggies are 0-11 SU in their last 11 games when playing as the underdog. A&M QB Kellen Mond could keep this one close which means… OVER 62.5
No. 3 Clemson vs. South Carolina (CLEM -27, O/U: 51) Best Line: America’s Bookie
America’s Bookie pegs third-ranked Clemson a 27-point favorite over rival South Carolina. The Tigers have scored 50 or more points in their last four games and are 8-3 ATS this season. There will be some fireworks in this game…all coming from Clemson. CLEMSON -27
No. 4 Georgia vs. Georgia Tech (UGA -28, O/U: 46.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
The Bulldogs can’t afford an upset here as they look to hold on to that No. 4 slot in the CFP poll. The Yellow Jackets (3-8) are awful as they try to run a spread offense with triple-option personnel. The Bulldogs haven’t even scored 28 points in their last six games. UNDER 46.5
No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 15 Auburn (BAMA -3.5, O/U: 50) Best Line: MyBookie
The Crimson Tide can still back their way into the College Football Playoff, but they’ll need a win over rival Auburn to do so. Mac Jones takes over at quarterback for Alabama. The talent is still there. The Auburn defense is outstanding. The Tigers haven’t allowed more than 24 points in a game this season and they get better as the season advances. The Total has gone Under in eight of the last 10 Auburn home games in November. UNDER 50
No. 7 Oklahoma vs. No. 21 Oklahoma State (OSU +13, O/U: 69.5) Best Line: MyBookie
The Cowboys are 4-0 SU and ATS in their last four games. Oklahoma has won seven of the last eight in the Bedlam series in Stillwater. The Sooners have not covered in their last four games with each one decided by a touchdown or less. OSU head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys always put up a fight when the odds are stacked against them. OKLAHOMA STATE +13
No. 12 Wisconsin vs. No. 8 Minnesota (WIS -2.5, O/U: 46) Best Line: America’s Bookie
The winner of this one will head to the Big Ten championship game to face Ohio State. The Badgers have won 14 of the last 15 against the Gophers. Minnesota has won five straight at home by a margin of over 20 points. They are also 6-1-1 ATS in their last eight games. MINNESOTA +2.5
Oregon State vs. No. 14 Oregon (ORE -19.5, O/U: 65.5) Best Line: MyBookie
Oregon blew its shot at a CFP berth with a loss to Arizona State last week. Now, they get Civil War rival Oregon State, which is much better than in recent years. The Beavers need a win to become bowl eligible. Oregon’s defense got rocked for 535 yards and 31 points last week. The Beavers would like to atone for last year’s 40-point spanking. OREGON STATE +19.5
No. 23 Iowa State vs. Kansas State (ISU -5.5 O/U: 46.5) Best Line: America’s Bookie
Both teams are 7-4 and bowl bound. ISU head coach Matt Campbell could close out his third straight 8-4 season. The Wildcats, under new head coach Chris Klieman, have an upset win over Oklahoma. Two powerful running games equals a close game. KANSAS STATE +5.5
A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.
His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.
When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.