Rivalry Week College Football Picks- Thoughts on Michigan-Ohio State, the Iron Bowl, Egg Bowl + more
It's Thursday, it's Thanksgiving and let's be honest, there's only one thing better than turkey, stuffing and all the fixings: Making wildly irresponsible bets on college football, while gorging on turkey, stuffing and all the fixings.
So with that said, let's get to the Rivalry Week College Football Picks:
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No. 9 Ole Miss at Mississippi State (-2.5 and UNDER 65): Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Let's get the obvious out of the way, the Egg Bowl is always awesome. It's going to be that much better with Kiffin vs. Leach for at least this Thanksgiving. And I'll be blunt, I was kind of surprised when I saw this line opened at Mississippi State as a small favorite.
The money has only continued to come in on the Bulldogs, and while I was surprised at first, the more I looked into it, the more it made sense.
One, while Ole Miss is having an incredible season, but what most people have failed to realize is that the offense really is struggling, in large part because they're insanely beaten up. Incredibly, the Rebels haven't scored than 31 points in any of their last six games, and the Rebels are also just 1-2 and 0-3 against the spread in SEC games away from Oxford. The one win was that wild victory at Tennessee, where the Vols were driving to win late before Hendon Hooker went down with injury.
Mississippi State is rolling on offense, and has a Top 10 run defense nationally, and should slow the Rebels down enough to win this game by a touchdown or so at home.
Iowa at Nebraska (-1): Friday, 1:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network
I once had a no "betting in games involving Adrian Martinez" rule in this column, and considering that the Cornhuskers have lost seven games by a touchdown or less this season, this feels like the perfect spot to take Iowa to win a low scoring game, that will end in absolutely heartbreaking fashion for the Cornhuskers.
But it's also Thanksgiving - and in the same way that it's probably not a good idea to go for your third serving of turkey, but you do it anyway, I'm going to go with Nebraska here.
Last week, in the first game since Scott Frost fired half his staff, Frost took over play calling duties, the Cornhusker offense was nothing short of explosive with 452 yards - by far the most Wisconsin's No. 1 ranked defense has given up all year.
Much like that fourth serving of turkey, I'll probably regret this one - but I'm rolling with the Cornhuskers here.
Missouri at Arkansas (-14.5): Friday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Sometimes you don't have to overthink things - Arkansas is one of the top rushing offenses in the country and Missouri has the worst rush defense in the SEC and 125th nationally.
I could go on and on, but expect the Hogs to dominate both lines of scrimmage here and win going away.
No. 2 Ohio State at No. 5 Michigan (UNDER 64.5): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX
Listen, I've been touting Ohio State as the second best team in college football for weeks, but let's be honest - the Buckeyes were uniquely built to expose Michigan State's 130th ranked pass defense last week. Michigan will put up a much better fight this weekend.
At this point I think it's hard to expect Michigan to win this game, not only because of their history (Harbaugh!) but also simply because, even if they can slow down Ohio State, I don't know if they can keep up on their end offensively.
Ohio State comes back to looking human this weekend, but Michigan can't quite put up enough points to keep up.
The total of 64.5 is wayyy too many here. I'll stick with the under.
Florida State at Florida (OVER 59): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN
Florida being favored by a field goal makes absolutely no sense to me, unless they absolutely hate Dan Mullen and play their best game of the season after he got fired.
Still, Vegas doesn't build all those casinos by accident and therefore rather than taking the spread, let's instead focus on the over. If we're to assume that Florida is going to win this game, I have to imagine it will be in a shootout, since I don't think that a defense that gave up 52 points to Samford is slowing down Jordan Travis and the Seminoles.
Again, the line makes no sense, but the over feels just about right to me.
No. 3 Alabama at Auburn (+19.5): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS
Anyone who reads this column regularly knows I've been down on Alabama a bit this season, but this pick isn't really about that.
It's really just about the dynamics of the rivalry.
Yes, Auburn is coming in on a three-game losing and yes they're playing a back-up quarterback. But I do think at home, in a big game, they will be able to run the ball just well enough to keep Byrce Young off the field, and when Bryce Young is on the field, I think they do just enough to get some pressure on him and make him uncomfortable.
I do think Alabama wins and is in complete control of this game, but with Georgia coming up a week from now, I just can't imagine Nick Saban keeps his foot on the gas for all four quarters here.
Tide 34, Auburn 20, and Alabama cruises into the SEC Championship Game next week.
No. 10 Oklahoma at No. 7 Oklahoma State (-4.5): Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Two thoughts, and two thoughts only on this one:
One, Oklahoma is the first team in football history to get worse after a bye week. I don't know how, and I don't know why, but they have now had two straight flat performances after the bye, after losing to Baylor and sneaking by Iowa State.
Then there's Oklahoma State, which might be the least talked about Top 10, College Football Playoff I can ever remember. More importantly they have been absolutely lights out on defense and no seems to have noticed, as they're basically No. 3 nationally in every major defensive category nationally behind only Wisconsin and Georgia.
If you've sensed a theme in this one, it's "Don't overthink these games."
Pokes win and roll to the Big 12 title game with a chance to make the playoff.
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