College Football Picks: SEC divisions on line with No. 13 LSU-No. 8 Bama, No. 14 Mizzou-No. 1 UGA
First place in each Southeastern Conference division is on the line in Week 10 of the college football season and the race to Atlanta for the championship game could be all but over when Saturday is done.
The last SEC on CBS doubleheader before the conference moves its showcase games to ABC next year features East-leading No. 1 Georgia hosting No. 14 Missouri in the afternoon and No. 13 LSU at West-leading No. 8 Alabama at night.
The Crimson Tide have a one-game lead on both LSU and No. 11 Mississippi in the West and have already beaten the Rebels. Avenge last year’s overtime loss in Baton Rouge and the Tide will be tough to catch with just two games to play against Kentucky and Auburn.
And if the Rebels were to lose to Texas A&M, ‘Bama mathematically clinches a spot in the SEC title game.
There is no way for the Bulldogs to clinch the East this week, but beating Missouri would give them a two-game lead with two to play against Ole Miss and No. 19 Tennessee. Georgia would have to like its chances of a third straight conference championship game appearance, even with two ranked teams remaining.
The 18th LSU-Alabama game to match ranked teams since 2002 is among the most intriguing games of the week. They also include a couple of showdowns in the Big 12, where there is a five-way tie for first place.
No. 13 LSU at No. 8 Alabama (minus 3)
The Tigers’ surprising victory against the Tide last year sent them to the SEC championship game in Brian Kelly’s first season as coach. It was a big deal and set expectations sky high this year. Those took a hit with two losses in the first half, but the Tigers are still dangerous with the No. 1 offense in the country.
Tigers QB Jayden Daniels has been brilliant and should be in the thick of the Heisman Trophy conversation. That LSU defense, though, has been one of the nation’s worst.
PICK: ALABAMA 35-27.
No. 25 Kansas State (plus 4 1/2) at No. 7 Texas
The Longhorns will likely be without QB Quinn Ewers (shoulder) again. Maalik Murphy was good enough against BYU last week, but the K-State defense has allowed three points in the last two games.
The defending Big 12 champions have lost six straight to Texas.
PICK: Texas 27-24.
No. 10 Oklahoma (minus 5 1/2) at Oklahoma State
The Cowboys have turned their season around with three straight victories, fueled by RB Ollie Gordon, who has two straight games with more than 250 yards rushing. Only Barry Sanders has done that for Oklahoma State.
The Sooners have dominated the rivalry, winning 17 of 20, and come to Stillwater for the last Bedlam game in the Big 12 off a loss to Kansas.
PICK: Oklahoma 38-28.
No. 5 Washington (minus 3 1/2) at No. 24 Southern California
USC is a team teetering on the brink, but still with the opportunity to win the Pac-12. The Trojans snapped a two-game losing streak last week, surviving another defensive meltdown against Cal.
And now here comes Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies with the nation’s No. 2 offense and a daunting late-season schedule.
PICK: Washington 42-36.
No. 12 Notre Dame at Clemson (plus 3)
This season has gone sideways for coach Dabo Swinney and the Tigers, who won’t reach 10 victories for the first time since 2010. Clemson’s problems can be best summed up with this: minus-3 turnover margin and 15 total giveaways, tied for 110th in the nation.
The Irish ran over the Tigers last season, but they better be careful here. Clemson’s probably not as bad as that 4-4 record.
PICK: Clemson 23-18.
No. 14 Missouri at No. 1 Georgia (minus 15 1/2)
The closest the Bulldogs have come to losing a regular-season game over the last three years was at Mizzou last season … GEORGIA 41-17.
Purdue at No. 2 Michigan (minus 32 1/2)
Wolverines have yet to allow more than one touchdown in any game … MICHIGAN 45-10.
No. 3 Ohio State (minus 18 1/2) at Rutgers
Buckeyes are 9-0 against the Scarlet Knights by an average of 42 points … OHIO STATE 35-10.
No. 4 Florida State (minus 21 1/2) at Pittsburgh
Seminoles have been feasting on some sketchy offenses recently, allowing 248 yards per game over the last three … FLORIDA STATE 38-14.
California at No. 6 Oregon (minus 23 1/2)
Bears have not won in Autzen Stadium since 2007 … OREGON 48-20.
No. 9 Penn State at Maryland (plus 9 1/2)
Terps have lost three straight games, but the Nittany Lions’ offense remains sluggish … PENN STATE 24-17.
Texas A&M (plus 3) at No. 11 Mississippi
Aggies and Rebels have split 10 meetings since A&M joined the SEC … TEXAS A&M 23-20.
Virginia Tech (plus 9 1/2) at No. 15 Louisville
Hokies have won three of four as QB Kyron Drones has given the offense a boost … LOUISVILLE 27-20.
No. 16 Oregon State at Colorado (plus 13 1/2)
Coach Deion Sanders’ team needs two more wins to get bowl eligible … OREGON STATE 31-23.
Army (plus 18 1/2) vs. No. 17 Air Force at Denver
Falcons keep the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy with a victory … AIR FORCE 21-7.
Arizona State at No. 18 Utah (minus 11 1/2)
Utes have won three straight meetings, all by at least two touchdowns … UTAH 26-13.
UConn (plus 35 1/2) at No. 19 Tennessee
Vols tune-up for closing stretch that includes Mizzou and Georgia … TENNESSEE 42-10.
No. 20 UCLA at Arizona (plus 2 1/2)
Improving Wildcats have clicked with Noah Fifta at quarterback … ARIZONA 23-20.
No. 21 Tulane at East Carolina (plus 16 1/2)
Green Wave have been winning, but far from easily, in the American … TULANE 34-21.
No. 22 Kansas at Iowa State (minus 2 1/2)
Cyclones have become the sneakiest contender among the five tied for first in the Big 12 … IOWA STATE 28-24.
No. 23 James Madison at Georgia State (plus 5 1/2)
Dukes can’t play in the Sun Belt championship because of NCAA rules but the Panthers still can and really need this one … GEORGIA STATE 24-23.
Georgia Tech (plus 2 1/2) at Virginia — @BlakleyRon: Yellowjackets have alternated wins and losses all season, including a loss to Bowling Green and a victory over North Carolina last week … GEORGIA TECH 24-21.
Stanford at Washington State (minus 13 1/2) — @JustR_02: Cougars have lost three straight since being ranked in the top 15 … WASHINGTON STATE 42-24.
Iowa (minus 5 1/2) vs. Northwestern at Wrigley Field — @Mark__Melhorn: Highest scoring game at Wrigley this past season was 29 runs by the Cubs and Reds … IOWA 17-10.
Last week: Straight-up — 19-5; Against spread — 12-11.
Season: Straight-up — 152-54; Against spread — 94-110-1.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll