College football picks: Football feast missing some dishes

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) scrambles away from Tennessee linebacker Kivon Bennett (95) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Auburn, Ala.

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix (10) scrambles away from Tennessee linebacker Kivon Bennett (95) during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Auburn, Ala.

AP

The Thanksgiving weekend football feast will be missing a few of the dishes that have become mainstays.

Schedules altered and seasons delayed by the pandemic have taken off the table a bunch of rivalry games that have become a staple of the last weekend in November, including Michigan-Ohio State and all those in-state matchups of ACC and SEC schools such as Clemson-South Carolina.

The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State, canceled. Same with Minnesota and Wisconsin’s long-running rivalry for Paul Bunyan’s Axe; it’s the first time since 1906 the Gophers and Badgers won’t play.

The three-day college football weekend is still quite a spread with the Iron Bowl between No. 22 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama as the main event Saturday and two games matching ranked teams Friday with playoff and conference title ramifications.

No. 2 Notre Dame (CFP No. 2) plays at No. 25 North Carolina in a game that could mess up the Atlantic Coast Conference’s hopes of putting two teams in the College Football Playoff.

In the Big 12, No. 15 Iowa State faces No. 20 Texas. The Cyclones clinch a spot in the conference title game with a victory. A victory by the Longhorns makes things complicated, leaving all the contenders with at least two league losses heading down the stretch and head-to-head tiebreakers all over the place.

The football feeding frenzy might not have everything you want but there is still plenty to choose from this weekend.

The picks:

FRIDAY

No. 2 Notre Dame (minus 4) at No. 25 North Carolina

A couple of bad losses have made the Tar Heels long shots to reach the ACC title game, but QB Sam Howell and crew have a formidable offense … NORTH CAROLINA 35-31.

No. 15 Iowa State (plus 1 1/2) at No. 20 Texas

Cyclones are 3-17 against the Longhorns and will try to beat Texas in consecutive seasons for the first time … IOWA STATE 27-23.

SATURDAY

No. 22 Auburn (plus 25) at No. 1 Alabama

Last six meetings when both teams are ranked, Tigers are 4-2, including last year. But the Tide hasn’t lost consecutive Iron Bowls with Nick Saban as coach … ALABAMA 42-21.

No. 3 Ohio State (minus 28) at Illinois

Illini are allowing quarterbacks to complete 71% of their passes. They’ve been better the last three weeks, but here comes Justin Fields … OHIO STATE 52-21.

Pittsburgh (plus 24) at No. 4 Clemson

Will the Tigers take their FSU frustrations out on the Panthers? … CLEMSON 45-17.

LSU (plus 14 1/2) at No. 5 Texas A&M

Tigers have won eight of nine since the Aggies joined the SEC, but seem ripe for some A&M payback … TEXAS A&M 38-28.

Kentucky (plus 23) at No. 6 Florida

Wildcats go from 60-point loss with a shorthanded roster against

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Football feast missing some dishes

The Thanksgiving weekend football feast will be missing a few of the dishes that have become mainstays.

Schedules altered and seasons delayed by the pandemic have taken off the table a bunch of rivalry games that have become a staple of the last weekend in November, including Michigan-Ohio State and all those in-state matchups of ACC and SEC schools such as Clemson-South Carolina.

The Apple Cup between Washington and Washington State, canceled. Same with Minnesota and Wisconsin’s long-running rivalry for Paul Bunyan’s Axe; it’s the first time since 1906 the Gophers and Badgers won’t play.

The three-day college football weekend is still quite a spread with the Iron Bowl between No. 22 Auburn and No. 1 Alabama as the main event Saturday and two games matching ranked teams Friday with playoff and conference title ramifications.

No. 2 Notre Dame (CFP No. 2) plays at No. 25 North Carolina in a game that could mess up the Atlantic Coast Conference’s hopes of putting two teams in the College Football Playoff.

In the Big 12, No. 15 Iowa State faces No. 20 Texas. The Cyclones clinch a spot in the conference title game with a victory. A victory by the Longhorns makes things complicated, leaving all the contenders with at least two league losses heading down the stretch and head-to-head tiebreakers all over the place.

The football feeding frenzy might not have everything you want but there is still plenty to choose from this weekend.

The picks:

FRIDAY

No. 2 Notre Dame (minus 4) at No. 25 North Carolina

A couple of bad losses have made the Tar Heels long shots to reach the ACC title game, but QB Sam Howell and crew have a formidable offense … NORTH CAROLINA 35-31.

No. 15 Iowa State (plus 1 1/2) at No. 20 Texas

Cyclones are 3-17 against the Longhorns and will try to beat Texas in consecutive seasons for the first time … IOWA STATE 27-23.

SATURDAY

No. 22 Auburn (plus 25) at No. 1 Alabama

Last six meetings when both teams are ranked, Tigers are 4-2, including last year. But the Tide hasn’t lost consecutive Iron Bowls with Nick Saban as coach … ALABAMA 42-21.

No. 3 Ohio State (minus 28) at Illinois

Illini are allowing quarterbacks to complete 71% of their passes. They’ve been better the last three weeks, but here comes Justin Fields … OHIO STATE 52-21.

Pittsburgh (plus 24) at No. 4 Clemson

Will the Tigers take their FSU frustrations out on the Panthers? … CLEMSON

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