The first Saturday in November brings us mammoth matchups around the country, particularly in the SEC. No. 1 Alabama will travel to Baton Rouge to take on No. 4 LSU in a game in which the Crimson Tide can wrap up the SEC West with a win. The SEC East will be decided Saturday afternoon in Lexington when No. 6 Georgia squares off with No. 11 Kentucky.
Las Vegas already has lines out for next Saturday, so let's take a look at how the experts in the desert view the coming weekend.
Lines you need to know
No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 LSU (+14.5): Oddsmakers want to get bettors on both sides (with a small lean to one side or the other), and they think the game of the year in college football will tilt heavily toward the top-ranked Crimson Tide. LSU has done a great job playing games within its comfort zone, but Tua Tagovailoa and the Tide offense might make them score 40 to win.
No. 14 Penn State at No. 5 Michigan (-11.5): The Nittany Lions have been hit-or-miss all year, and the Wolverines have had a week off to rest up for the stretch run. It's not like either of these teams light up the scoreboard, so the double-digit spread is a bit surprising. There's no doubt, though, that the Wolverines should be at least a touchdown favorite.
No. 6 Georgia at No. 11 Kentucky (+12): The Wildcats aren't getting a ton of respect here, but that probably has to do with Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm's resurgence and Kentucky's remarkable lack of offense of late. It's the biggest game in Lexington in a very long time (and possibly ever), so that emotion could help the offense find its stride.
No. 12 West Virginia at No. 15 Texas (-1.5): The Longhorns are fresh off their first conference loss of the season, and the Mountaineers already have a Big 12 loss on their resume. The oddsmakers feel like this will be a close one, and it's hard to disagree. The top four or five teams in the Big 12 can all light it up on any given Saturday.
Other games of note
Missouri at No. 13 Florida (-6.5): The Tigers have struggled mightily against decent teams since coach Barry Odom took over in 2016, and it's not like the Gators are some pushover. They still boast a great defensive front that gets after quarterbacks on a consistent basis. Tigers quarterback Drew Lock is going to have his hands full dealing with Jachai Polite and the rest of the Gators. I'm surprised this one isn't a double-digit spread.
Louisville at No. 2 Clemson (-37): Remember two years ago when this was one of the best games in the ACC? It's crazy how fast things change when Lamar Jackson leaves Louisville. Clemson is getting close to "Alabama territory," where oddsmakers just can't make lines high enough.
No. 3 Notre Dame at Northwestern (+7.5): The Wildcats pose one of the biggest threats to the Fighting Irish, and get the chance to spoil the dream season in primetime. The Wildcats seemingly always have that one game in Evanston where they jump up and bite a top team. Could this be another instance?
No. 7 Oklahoma at Texas Tech (+11.5): The Sooners offense looked championship-worthy Saturday against Kansas State, and it's not like the Red Raiders defense is a juggernaut. But if Kliff Kingsbury's crew can expose the weaknesses in the Sooners defense, this could get sketchy. I'm surprised it opened this close, though. I was thinking more like 17 or so.
Nebraska at No. 8 Ohio State (-22.5): The Buckeyes had an off week to lick their wounds after getting throttled by Purdue, and now Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers will come to town looking for the first signature win of the new era. The oddsmakers clearly think that a signature win is more fiction than fact.
Cal at Washington State (-11.5): The Cougars topped Stanford on the farm despite being underdogs going in, and will return home as hefty favorites over a Cal team that just shocked Washington. Do the Bears have more in the tank? If the defense plays like it did vs. the Huskies, don't discount the idea entirely. Plus, it's the Pac-12. The whole conference is a toss-up at this point.
Best of the rest
Purdue at No. 19 Iowa (-2.5)
No. 20 Fresno State at UNLV (+26.5)
Louisiana Tech at No. 21 Mississippi State (-21.5)
No. 22 Syracuse at Wake Forest (+5)
Pitt at No. 23 Virginia (-8.5)
No. 24 Boston College at Virginia Tech (+2)
No. 25 Texas A&M at Auburn (-4.5)