College football picks, predictions against the spread for every Week 14 top 25 game

There are just two weeks remaining in the 2020 college football season, which heads into December with a full slate of top 25 teams.  

There are just two matchups between ranked teams in Week 14. No. 8 BYU travels to No. 14 Coastal Carolina in a battle of unbeaten teams, and No. 10 Indiana faces No. 18 Wisconsin. There are sure to be more schedule changes along the way because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.  

MORE: College football bowl projections after Week 13

The second set of College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled Tuesday, and that is sure to add to the excitement. SN picks every top 25 game against the spread each week. Here is a look at our track record this season:  

  • Last week: 11-2 S/U, 6-7 ATS 
  • Overall: 140-38 S/U, 92-77 ATS   
  • Top 25: 130-33 S/U, 87-73 ATS   

Now, a look at our picks against the spread for Week 14:  

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Week 14 picks against the spread  

Saturday, Dec. 5 

No. 5 Texas A&M (-6.5) at Auburn  

The line jumped 2.5 points from its open, and the Aggies are almost a touchdown favorite against the Tigers. Texas A&M is 2-3 ATS as a favorite this season, and the Tigers are in a rare spot of playing a regular-season game after the Iron Bowl. Auburn has won the past three meetings, so count on a close one that matches the early line.  

Pick: Texas A&M wins 27-23 but FAILS TO COVER the spread.  

No. 4 Ohio State (-22) at Michigan State  

There are doubts that this game will be played knowing the Buckeyes are dealing with COVID-19 issues. Ohio State has won the past three meetings by 20 points or more, however, and style points will matter with the short number of games.  

Pick: Ohio State wins 45-17 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 19 Oklahoma State (-2.5) at TCU  

The Cowboys have failed to cover in their past four games, but the Horned Frogs are just 1-3 at home this season. The teams have traded one-score victories the past two years. We’ll stick with the more consistent team.  

Pick: Oklahoma State wins 34-27 and COVERS the spread.  

Rice at No. 15 Marshall (-23.5)  

The Thundering Herd is 5-2 ATS this season, but that number drops to 2-2 when favored by more than 20 points. Rice has played three games this season, and that makes this a tough game to project. Take the home team.  

Pick: Marshall wins 38-13 and COVERS the spread.  

No. 8 BYU (-10) at No. 14 Coastal Carolina  

This is off-the-cuff-scheduling at its best. Quarterbacks Grayson McCall (20 TDs, 1 INT) and Zach Wilson (26 TDs, 2 INTs) should put on a show, but the Cougars improve to 10-0 in the process.  

Pick: BYU wins 35-28 but FAILS TO COVER the spread. 

Syracuse at No. 2 Notre Dame (-33.5)  

The Irish have covered in four of their past five victories, and this is a game that they should dominate

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What is more important to Ohio State fans: The Game or the College Football Playoff?

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State football fans cannot imagine a season that does not end with The Game against Michigan.

They also don’t want to consider the consequences of a season without a trip to the College Football Playoff.

The coronavirus pandemic remains a threat to both. The Buckeyes’ own COVID-19 outbreak appears to be under control enough for Ohio State to return to the field on Saturday. But Michigan is on pause due to its own increase in cases, and much remains uncertain about the closing weeks of the season.

Could the Big Ten change its minimum games requirement for playing in the league championship game? Would it consider altering its schedule next week to ensure Ohio State another game if the Wolverines need to cancel? What about reconsidering the amount of times players who tested positive must remain out of competition?

We delved into all of those questions and more in our big Thursday edition of Buckeye Talk. And we surveyed our text subscribers to learn:

• What means more, The Game or the playoff?

• What does it mean for a season if Ohio State and Michigan cannot play?

• Should the Big Ten have protected The Game by scheduling it earlier in the season?

If you’ve never listened to Buckeye Talk, try it now. And subscribe to Buckeye Talk on any of these podcast platforms or wherever you listen to podcasts.

• Buckeye Talk on iTunes

• Buckeye Talk on Spotify

• Buckeye Talk on Google Play

New Ohio State face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Ohio State-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection. A 3-pack is available on Fanatics for $29.99.

Ohio State Buckeyes Adult Face Covering

Fanatics has released Ohio State Buckeyes Adult Face Coverings. This 3-pack of adult masks, retails for $29.99.


Buy Buckeyes gear: Fanatics, Nike, Amazon, Lids


More Buckeyes coverage

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Herbstreit reaches new low in college virus conspiracy nonsense: Buckeye Take

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No. 23 Ohio State basketball pulls away, routs Morehead State 77-44

Michigan-Maryland game canceled due to UM positives. Fate of The Game unknown

Ohio State hopes to avoid doing limbo to make Big Ten Championship: Crowquill

OSU’s 2021 class in position to earn school’s first recruiting title

Kyle McCord National Signing Day 2021 player profile

Trevor Lawrence returns after five-week hiatus: Heisman Watch

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College roundup: Michigan football on pause, game against Maryland canceled

Michigan’s football game this weekend against Maryland has been canceled, and the Wolverines are pausing practice until Monday.

Michigan says the decision to pause in-person football activities was made in consultation with medical professionals. The team did not meet in person the previous two days after Coach Jim Harbaugh said there had been an increased number of presumptive positive COVID-19 tests.

“The decision by our medical professionals to stop practices and cancel this Saturday’s game against Maryland was made with the health, safety and welfare of the student-athletes, coaches and staff as our utmost priority,” Athletic Director Warde Manuel said. “We have seen an increase in the number of student-athletes unavailable to compete due to positive tests and associated contact tracing due to our most recent antigen and PCR testing results.”

Michigan is 0-3 at home this season, and the Maryland game was the last scheduled home game. The Wolverines are scheduled to play at rival Ohio State on Dec. 12.

Manuel strongly rebuked any notion that the Wolverines would try to avoid facing Ohio State, calling the notion “ridiculous” and infuriating in a scathing statement that came after a comment by ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, a former Ohio State quarterback. A cancellation would make Ohio State (4-0) ineligible to play in the Big Ten championship game because it wouldn’t reach the minimum number for six games.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Manuel said. “I have to pause because my words, the anger – I was infuriated by the insinuation that Michigan would do anything other than play a football game. We’ve been playing this game since 1879 – 1879 – and we’re the winningest program for a reason. Because we play whoever’s in front of us. And the only way we want to keep anybody from moving on is to beat them on the fields of play. And to insinuate that, to say something other than that, is a statement by a fool.”

MISSISSIPPI HAS suspended team activities during its open date.

Coach Lane Kiffin said positive COVID-19 test results came back Wednesday morning. He said the team would wait on results from Wednesday’s retesting and could return to the practice field after as little as a one-day hiatus.

KENT STATE’S football game at Miami (Ohio) scheduled for Saturday has been canceled because of positive COVID-19 tests.

The Mid-American Conference issued a statement saying the game has been declared a no contest.

MEN’S BASKETBALL

(17) TEXAS 69, (14) NORTH CAROLINA 67: Matt Coleman III hit a stepback jumper with 0.1 seconds left, and the Longhorns (4-0) beat the Tar Heels (3-1) in the championship game of the relocated Maui Invitational in Asheville, North Carolina.

Coleman finished with 22 points and was the tournament’s most valuable player for the Longhorns, who blew a 16-point lead late in the first half and fell behind with about 2½ minutes left.

(1) GONZAGA 87, (11) WEST VIRGINIA 82: Joel Ayayi matched his career high with 21 points, and the Bulldogs (3-0) rallied to beat

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Chaotic early solar system collisions resembled ‘asteroids’ arcade game

Chaotic early solar system collisions resembled 'asteroids' arcade game
A cross-polarized image of the Artracoona meteorite under 50 times magnification. Credit: Michael Lucas.

One Friday evening in 1992, a meteorite ended a more than 150 million-mile journey by smashing into the trunk of a red Chevrolet Malibu in Peekskill, New York. The car’s owner reported that the 30-pound remnant of the earliest days of our solar system was still warm and smelled of sulfur.


Nearly 30 years later, a new analysis of that same Peekskill meteorite and 17 others by researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has led to a new hypothesis about how asteroids formed during the early years of the solar system.

The meteorites studied in the research originated from asteroids and serve as natural samples of the space rocks. They indicate that the asteroids formed though violent bombardment and subsequent reassembly, a finding that runs counter to the prevailing idea that the young solar system was a peaceful place.

The study was published in print Dec.1 in the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.

The research began when co-author Nick Dygert was a postdoctoral fellow at UT’s Jackson School of Geosciences studying terrestrial rocks using a method that could measure the cooling rates of rocks from very high temperatures, up to 1,400 degrees Celsius.

Dygert, now an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, realized that this method—called a rare earth element (REE)-in-two-pyroxene thermometer—could work for space rocks, too.

“This is a really powerful new technique for using geochemistry to understand geophysical processes, and no one had used it to measure meteorites yet,” Dygert said.

Since the 1970s, scientists have been measuring minerals in meteorites to figure out how they formed. The work suggested that meteorites cooled very slowly from the outside inward in layers. This “onion shell model” is consistent with a relatively peaceful young solar system where chunks of rock orbited unhindered. But those studies were only capable of measuring cooling rates from temperatures near about 500 degrees Celsius.

When Dygert and Michael Lucas, a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Tennessee who led the work, applied the REE-in-two-pyroxene method, with its much higher sensitivity to peak temperature, they found unexpected results. From around 900 degrees Celsius down to 500 degrees Celsius, cooling rates were 1,000 to 1 million times faster than at lower temperatures.

How could these two very different cooling rates be reconciled?

Chaotic early solar system collisions resembled "asteroids" arcade game
An elemental X-ray map of a portion of the Peekskill meteorite. Different colors correspond to different elements. Credit: Michael Lucas.

The scientists proposed that asteroids formed in stages. If the early solar system was, much like the old Atari game “Asteroids,” rife with bombardment, large rocks would have been smashed to bits. Those smaller pieces would have cooled quickly. Afterward, when the small pieces reassembled into larger asteroids we see today, cooling rates would have slowed.

To test this rubble pile hypothesis, Jackson School Professor Marc Hesse and first-year doctoral student Jialong Ren built a computational model of a two-stage thermal

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Remembering The Collapsed Arecibo Observatory’s Famous Video Game Level

To scientists and society at large, the collapse of the famous Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico is a human tragedy, the loss of a powerful tool for space observation and an incredible monument to human capability. For children of a certain era, however, it’s impossible not to look at those wide shots of the platform above the giant dish and not remember Goldeneye 007.

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Goldeneye 007 was a foundational first-person shooter on N64, with a kind of objective-based, non-linear design that was revolutionary at the time, in addition to fascinating little moments of stealth and one of the very first uses of location-based damage: for many gamers, likely their first encounter with the now ubiquitous concept of the headshot. Its split screen multiplayer mode was bedrock for just about every shooter that comes after, from Call of Duty to Halo.

Goldeneye 007 was, of course, an adaptation of the film Goldeneye, which used the Arecibo Observatory in a stunning final scene. Both of them culminated at the bottom of the platform suspended over the center, with Bond delivering one of his all-time great killing quips before letting Sean Bean plummet to his death. I won’t type it, that’s lame, I’ll just put it down here:

The scene is short in the movie, but its expanded into the level “Cradle” in the game. What’s amazing to me is that even now, looking at those wide pictures of the observatory, you can see the level clearly. You start out on the edges and run down a long bridge, doing your best to take out Trevelyan’s elite, ZMG-wielding forces: you’ve got to fire before you can see them, but the slope of the bridge makes it hard to miss.

You converge on those walkways surrounding the center, where things take a turn for the chaotic, making it easier for guards to sneak up on you from unexpected directions. On higher difficulties, you need to destroy a computer guarded by a machine gun. You can pick up dual ZMGs during this segment. They’re helpful because you need to shoot Sean Bean’s Trevelyan enough to force him down to the final platform on the bottom. The level is essentially a drawn out boss fight, using Trevelyan’s position as a kind of health bar.

It’s a lightning quick level— you had to beat it in under 2:15 to unlock the Gold PP7—and that’s part of what made it fascinating. Right before it was Control, a big, sprawling beast and still one of the most infuriating levels in video game history.

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Thompson’s career game lifts Indiana over Providence in Maui Invitational

Thompson’s career game lifts Indiana over Providence in Maui Invitational | FOX Sports

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Western Big Game Benefits from New Tracking Tool / Public News Service

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they'd like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they’d like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

December 2, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey includes detailed maps of Global Positioning System tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison. The tracking tool will help stakeholders, from conservation groups to transportation agencies, understand how big-game species move across the landscape.

Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said the new study maps more than 40 big-game migration routes to provide connectivity among multiple states.

“Wildlife doesn’t recognize state borders,” said Deubel. “So cross-jurisdictional collaboration when it comes to the management of wildlife, and when it comes to the protection of key wildlife corridors, is absolutely critical.”

A poll last year found more than eight in ten residents of New Mexico and Colorado support protecting wildlife migration routes.

Deubel said in the Gila region, all kinds of species are moving between New Mexico and Arizona – but it isn’t a seasonal migration. Instead, big-game animals are looking for water.

Forest fires, many due to climate change, also affect big game migration in New Mexico. That’s another important reason to maintain habitat connectivity, according to Nicole Tatman – big game program manager with the state’s Department of Game and Fish.

“Animals will move out of an area when a wildfire is occurring,” said Tatman. “But they’ll move back into that area after the fire has gone and maybe rains have come and brought up some green vegetation that they can take advantage of.”

In addition to wildfires, drought can make finding that green vegetation harder for big-game animals, according to Matthew Kauffman, wildlife researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Kauffman, the report’s lead author, said food is often absent along ancient migration corridors.

“Drought disrupts that ‘green wave,’ and makes it more difficult for animals to surf,” said Kauffman. “They still try, they do their best given the drought conditions, but they just can’t be in the right place at the right time.”

The new study builds on more than two decades of research by state wildlife agencies including GPS tracking-collar data, mapping migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.

Roz Brown, Public News Service – NM

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Eagles’ Darius Slay calls performance against DK Metcalf the worst game of his career

The Philadelphia Eagles gave Darius Slay $50 million over three years to contain elite wide receivers like DK Metcalf. To say Slay fell flat on his face in the Eagles’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks would be an understatement. 

Metcalf finished with 10 catches for a career-high 177 yards in Seattle’s 23-17 win over Philadelphia, with seven catches for 141 yards were when Slay was covering him. The Eagles decided to leave their high-priced cornerback in man coverage against Metcalf, who dominated the matchup against Slay throughout the night.

“It was tough. I feel like the plays weren’t going my way,” Slay admitted after the game. “Like I said, he did a great job of catching the ball. He did everything good as a receiver. I would say this is by far the worst game I have ever played in the league. I truly lost every 50/50 ball. I was probably 0-for. I have never been that, but I say props to him, he played his ass off today, and I have to get better.

“I let the team down. I told the defense, that game was on me.”

Slay took full accountability for his performance, which is uncommon with the recent history of Eagles’ high-priced cornerbacks. The Eagles haven’t received the bang for their buck regarding Slay’s contract, as the former All-Pro cornerback has allowed 71.4% of the passes targeted his way to be caught heading into Monday’s loss against the Seahawks. Slay has allowed 8.0 yards per target as opposing quarterbacks have a 100.8 passer rating when targeting him, even though he’s only allowed one touchdown on the year. 

The Eagles guaranteed Slay $12 million this year to be an elite cornerback. While Slay has played the part at times, the lack of interceptions (zero) and passes defensed (four) are concerning — despite Slay being targeted just 5.1 times a game (not counting his numbers against the Seahawks). 

“I am a man about what I do. I am always feeling great. I am not always in a bad mood or bad spirit, but I understand and I have great ownership,” Slay said. “I know that I can change the game and I could have helped. I put that game on me because I was supposed to do my job and shut him down. 

“Like I said, he was making every catch possible, every 50/50 one. That is why he had no yards after catch because I am right there. He just made more plays than I did and I take real big ownership because I feel like I am one of the best in the game and I will continue to take my ownership. He got the best of me today, but I am looking forward to going to work next week, this week, and getting better for the team. They deserve it, I deserve it, and this organization does.”

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Darius Slay has ‘worst game’ of his career trying to stop DK Metcalf

The Eagles traded for Darius Slay and gave him a contract extension for these games. There are occasions where the Eagles are going to ask him to shut down their opponent’s top receiver.

Slay didn’t come close to doing that against DK Metcalf on Monday night.

At least he owned it.

“I would say this is by far the worst game I have ever played in the league,” said Slay, now in his eighth NFL season. “I truly lost every 50/50 ball. I was probably O-for. I have never been that, but I say props to him, he played his ass off today, and I have to get better.”

Metcalf ended up with 10 catches for 177 yards and most of that damage came with the Pro Bowl corner covering him.

At least Slay was accountable.

In his postgame press conference, the 29-year-old cornerback said he let the Eagles down and he even told the rest of the defense that game was on him.

Of course, the Eagles’ defense as a whole wasn’t the biggest problem in the 23-17 loss. The Eagles’ offense continues to flounder and had mustered just nine points before the final touchdown in garbage time.

The Eagles this offseason struck out in the free agent cornerback pool and then traded a third-round pick and a fifth-round pick to get Slay out of Detroit. The next day, he signed a three-year deal worth $50 million ($30 guaranteed). That contract comes out to an average of $16.7 million per season.

This offseason, the Eagles paid Slay to be a shutdown corner. Sometimes that means tough duty of trying to stop physical freaks like Metcalf.

 

“I thought overall, [Slay] did some good things,” Doug Pederson said. “Played tough. That’s a tough receiver to defend, and I thought D-Slay did some good things.”

When asked after the game if there were any conversations about getting him some more help to guard Metcalf, Slay seemed offended.

“Nah, hell no,” he said. “Next question.”

Well, the next question is this: Is Slay a really good cornerback or is he a shutdown corner?

Because on Monday night, really good wasn’t good enough.

“I put that game on me because I was supposed to do my job and shut him down,” Slay said. “Like I said, he was making every catch possible, every 50/50 one. That is why he had no yards after catch because I am right there. He just made more plays than I did.

“And I take real big ownership because I feel like I am one of the best in the game and I will continue to take my ownership. He got

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RUDN University mathematician suggested new approach to cooperative game

A mathematician from RUDN University developed a matrix representation of set functions. This approach is vivid and easy to check, and it makes the calculations easier. Among other things, the new development can be applied to cooperative game theory. The results of the work were published in the Information Sciences journal.

Specialists in cooperative game theory study methods of coplex decision-making in situations with multiple criteria. In such a situation, groups (or coalitions) of players have to come up with a decision that is the most profitable for all of them. Set functions are one of the tools used to work with cooperative game theory. In these functions, the input data are sets of elements that can have different values. Simple explicit questions are quite rare in real life; therefore, the data on different elements can support or neutralize each other. Combinations of elements called coalitions can assume their own values. To work with this apparatus, scientists require an intuitive mathematical language. A mathematician from RUDN University suggested his approach to it.

“Our contribution to the mathematical language of cooperative game theory is based on the familiar notions of matrices and vectors. We have developed a formal approach to manipulations with set functions based on linear algebra. Our results can be practically applied to multicriteria decision analysis, group decision-making, operations with dependent goals, economic theories based on cooperative games, and aggregate functions theory,” said Prof. Gleb Beliakov, a Candidate of Physics and Mathematics from RUDN University.

Prof. Beliakov wanted to develop a universal approach that would make expressions equally understandable and convenient for mathematicians, engineers, economists, and specialists in computer science. The best option for it was linear algebra operations based on matrices. Operations with matrices are included in most software packages and are also useful for parallel computations.

The scientist obtained matrix expressions by transforming a derived set function expression. A derived function shows how a function transforms when its variables change. Having calculated a derived function, a specialist can give an accurate analysis of a certain situation. In linear algebra, treating an exponential set this way can simplify calculation methods and support effective implementation of many formulae in software. Prof. Beliakov also suggested new formulae for finding the Shapley vector–a version of ‘fair distribution’ in which the profit of each player is equal to their average contribution to respective coalitions. The new method makes it easier to obtain the Shapley vector in practical applications.

“Set functions are used in economics, decision-making, fuzzy logic, and operational research. An exponential set is a particularly effective tool to model input variables in corporate games. The new apparatus could simplify calculations and support software implementation of many formulae using existing linear algebra packages,” added Prof. Gleb Beliakov from RUDN University.

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