AP COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS: Skip Black Friday, watch football
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There is really no reason for a college football fan to stray from a screen after Thanksgiving dinner no matter what those stores touting Black Friday sales say. From College Football Playoff implications to divisional titles to the Heisman Trophy to plain ol' bragging rights, there is so much on the line this weekend.
A quick rundown of some of the clear-cut items to be decided:
– Four Big Ten games have division title implications
– Two ACC games can determine the Coastal Division.
– Both Pac-12 divisions will be decided in two games, including a North championship game.
– Both the Mid-American Conference and Mountain West will determine their division winners as the two conferences compete for a New Year's Six bowl bid.
The College Football Playoff race could be thrown into chaos or fall nicely into place.
Put it this way: No. 1 Alabama plays No. 16 Auburn on Saturday and it is not even among the five most important games being played this weekend.
That's a good weekend.
THANKS FOR FOOTBALL
No. 25 LSU (minus 5+) at No. 22 Texas A&M
Coach Ed Orgeron gets one more chance to prove he is more than just a caretaker at LSU, though at this point he is probably no more than a fallback option … LSU 27-20.
No. 6 Washington (minus 5+) at No. 23 Washington State
Rarely have both teams entered the Apple Cup with so much at stake. The winner goes to the Pac-12 championship game … WASHINGTON STATE 33-28.
Toledo (plus 9+) at No. 14 Western Michigan
The Rockets are more than capable of keeping the Broncos from rowing that boat to the Cotton Bowl … WESTERN MICHIGAN 28-24.
No. 17 Nebraska (plus 3) at Iowa
The Cornhuskers can still win the Big Ten West with a victory and Wisconsin loss … NEBRASKA 20-17.
No. 18 Houston (off) at Memphis
Tigers QB Riley Ferguson's status is uncertain … HOUSTON 31-24.
No. 20 Boise State (minus 10) at Air Force
The Broncos need a victory and a Wyoming loss to win the Mountain Division of the Mountain West and keep New Year's Six bowl hopes alive … BOISE STATE 35-28.
No. 16 Auburn (plus 17+) at No. 1 Alabama
The Iron Bowl is ALWAYS meaningful … ALABAMA 28-13.
No. 3 Michigan (plus 6+) at No. 2 Ohio State
The Wolverines win the Big Ten East with a victory. The Buckeyes need a victory and a Penn State loss to reach the conference title game, but just a victory might be good enough to get them in the playoff …OHIO STATE 21-13.
South Carolina (plus 23+) at No. 4 Clemson
An upset by the Gamecocks could crush their rivals playoff hopes … CLEMSON 31-17.
Minnesota (plus 14+) at No. 5 Wisconsin
The Badgers win the Big Ten West with a victory. No help necessary … WISCONSIN 27-17
Michigan State (plus 13) at No. 8 Penn State
The Nittany Lions need a victory and a Michigan loss to reach the Big Ten title games as East champs. This seems like too much too soon for Penn State … MICHIGAN STATE 24-21.
No. 21 Utah (plus 10+) at No. 9 Colorado
The Buffaloes win the Pac-12 South with a victory to continue the best turnaround season in college football … COLORADO 31-19.
Kentucky (plus 24) at No. 11 Louisville
Cardinals QB Lamar Jackson could use a big game to firm up that Heisman lead before he cedes the stage to contenders moving on to championship week … LOUISVILLE 54-37.
Notre Dame (plus 16+) at No. 12 Southern California
The Trojans have become the ultimate playoff dark horse … USC 35-14, BEST BET.
No. 13 Florida (plus 6) at No. 15 Florida State
The Seminoles have won three straight and five of six in the series … FLORIDA STATE 28-24.
No. 19 West Virginia (minus 7) at Iowa State
The Cyclones taking some steps forward in first season under Matt Campbell … IOWA STATE 33-30, UPSET SPECIAL.
No. 24 Tennessee (minus 7+) at Vanderbilt
If things fall right with some other SEC teams, the Volunteers could land in the Sugar Bowl. But they have to beat Vandy … TENNESSEE 35-24.
Oregon (minus 3) at Oregon State – (at)Schrock-And-Awe
Mark Helfrich's last chance to convince Oregon to keep him; if the decision has not already been made. Ducks have won eight straight Civil War games … OREGON STATE 35-30.
Purdue (plus 20) at Indiana – (at)nashman92
Must take advantage of any chance you get to mention that Indiana's Big Ten teams play for the Old Oaken Bucket … INDIANA 45-21.
UCF (plus 9+) at USF – (at)biblicalex
The Bulls can still win the American Athletic Conference East with a victory in the I-4 rivalry and Temple loss to East Carolina … USF 42-28.
Kansas (plus 27+) at Kansas State – (at)rdcramer
Wildcats coach Bill Snyder goes for victory No. 200; Jayhawks go for two consecutive wins for the first time since 2011 … KANSAS STATE 48-17.
Record: Last week 16-8 straight; 9-15 vs. points.
Season: 179-77; 114-137-3.
Upset specials: 4-8.
Best bets: 3-9.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP
More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org