It’s Thanksgiving week, which means that college football fans will feast on rivalry games across the country. With bragging rights, conference championship game berths and College Football Playoff chances on the line, the upcoming holiday weekend is a sports fan’s dream.
Ohio State will visit Michigan on Saturday afternoon in the biggest game of the day. The two undefeated rivals out of the Big Ten East will square off not just for bragging rights and the division title, but the inside track to make the College Football Playoff. Both the Buckeyes and Wolverines made it last year, but this season’s landscape has shifted in a way that makes it unlikely for that to happen again.
Florida State will look to polish off an undefeated regular season against rival Florida in a game that will feature backup quarterbacks. Star Seminoles signal-caller Jordan Travis was knocked out of last week’s game against North Alabama with a gruesome lower leg injury, which means that veteran Tate Rodemaker will be taking the snaps as they continue their march toward the CFP. Gators signal-caller Graham Mertz left last week’s game against Missouri with a season-ending shoulder injury which opens the door for Max Brown to get his first start at Florida.
How do oddsmakers see this week panning out? Here are the early lines courtesy of the Sportsline consensus.
The best games
Georgia -23 at Georgia Tech: The Bulldogs will play their next two games in Atlanta. This week, they are visiting their in-state rivals at Bobby Dodd Stadium. Next week they’ll be a couple miles down the road for the SEC Championship Game against Alabama at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Quarterback Carson Beck has emerged as a bona fide superstar for the two-time reigning national champions, and the defense has come on strong as the season has progressed. The oddsmakers don’t think the Yellow Jackets stand much of a chance of springing the upset.
Ohio State at Michigan -4: If teams get three points from oddsmakers for playing at home, this game is shaping up to be an all-timer. The Wolverines topped Maryland last week in a game that got a little sketchy in the fourth quarter, while the Buckeyes dispatched of Minnesota with ease. A berth in the Big Ten Championship Game will be on the line, and the winner will have all of its preseason goals intact heading into the postseason.
Florida State -6 at Florida: The injuries to Travis and Mertz makes this game interesting on so many levels. Not only are state bragging rights on the line, but the Seminoles are forced to rely on Rodemaker on the road in a hostile environment to stay undefeated and in the CFP race. How will he handle the pressure? Will Brown, who is serving as the Gators’ starter in place of Mertz, shock the world? It had to be difficult for oddsmakers to even create a line for this one. It might move around quite a bit between now and kickoff.
Washington State at Washington -16: The Apple Cup provides a chance for the Huskies to polish off their undefeated regular season since 1991 and keep their CFP hopes intact. The defense has been improving over the last two games, and quarterback Michael Penix Jr is in the middle of the race for the Heisman Trophy. The Cougars would love nothing more than to play spoiler.
Oregon State at Oregon -14: This will be the last meeting between the two rivals as members of the Pac-12, and everything is on the line for the one-loss Ducks. They don’t have a margin for error in the race for the CFP, and could use some style points just in case they need to impress the College Football Playoff Selection Committee. Oregon is out for revenge after the Beavers won last year’s contest 38-34. This Friday night showdown will set the table for a fantastic Saturday in the greatest sport on Earth.
Texas Tech at Texas -13.5: The Longhorns will clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with a win, and will still likely play for the conference title if they lose to the Red Raiders unless mass chaos ensues. First thing’s first, though. Oddsmakers expect this to be a blowout even though the Texas has been a bit shaky lately. A few style points would go a long way as the Longhorns continue to build their case for one of the coveted four spots in the CFP.
Alabama -14.5 at Auburn: The Iron Bowl is always one of the most heavily-anticipated games of the season, but this year’s matchup between the Crimson Tide and Tigers is expected to be a blowout according to oddsmakers. The Tide are riding high thanks to the improvement of quarterback Jalen Milroe, while the Tigers just suffered an embarrassing 31-10 home loss to New Mexico State.