The Six Pack: Ohio State-Michigan, Alabama-Auburn among best Week 14 college football picks
Get Thanksgiving weekend started with a huge helping of The Process
The Six Pack got back to the basics last week, and it seemed to work. It went 5-1 with its only loss coming in the Over of the Week. Maybe one day The Six Pack will be able to forgive Oklahoma for all of those turnovers that kept it from lighting up the scoreboard and kept The Six Pack from perfection. Maybe, but it won't be this week, because this is a week to be thankful, not forgiving.
And The Six Pack is thankful for one last full weekend of college football games.
So before you sit down to gorge yourself on Thanksgiving meals and leftovers, dig into these winners.
Games of the Week
No. 1 Ohio State at No. 13 Michigan (Over 50): Current weather forecasts call for this game to be played in slightly above freezing temperatures, with strong winds blowing through Michigan Stadium. Typically, this would lead to an under play, but this game is anything but typical. Going back to 2011 (the last time Michigan won), these two rivals have averaged 67.25 points in their eight meetings. Of those eight, only one finished with a total below 50 points (Ohio State's 26-21 win in 2012). These are two teams that spend their entire seasons preparing to play one another and save their absolute best for this game. I expect nothing different this week.
If you'd like some trends to make you feel better, I have plenty! The over has gone 6-0 in the last six meetings, and it is 4-1 in Michigan's last five Big Ten games. The over is 4-1 in Ohio State's last five road games. Oh, and one of my favorite trends is overs in Michigan home games period. The over is 40-28-1 in Michigan home games since 2010. Tt is 21-12-1 since Jim Harbaugh's return. This season it's 4-2. Take the over. Ohio State 38, Michigan 24
No. 5 Alabama (-3.5) at No. 15 Auburn: One of my major principles during rivalry week is to go heavy on underdogs, and my initial instincts had me looking at Auburn and the points here. But I can't do it. I know this sounds silly and superstitious, but if Tua Tagovailoa were healthy, I'd be all over Auburn. It feels like too many people have just written off Alabama as a great team because he isn't. There are too many people now expecting Auburn to win and knock Alabama out of the College Football Playoff race, making life on the selection committee simpler.
Life seldom works that way. As good as Tagovailoa is, it's not like he wasn't surrounded by a wealth of talent on the Alabama offense. Sure, Mac Jones might not be Tua, but he still has a bunch of future NFL wide receivers at his disposal. He's also playing behind one of the best offensive lines in the country, one that is better equipped to deal with (not stop!) the Auburn defensive line than most other teams. Then there's the simple fact that I trust Jones in this spot more than I do Bo Nix. We've seen plenty of Nix in games like this, and he just hasn't been good. He was able to complete 60% of his passes against Georgia a couple of weeks ago but averaged only 4.9 yards per attempt. I don't see Auburn winning this game by dinking and dunking down the field. They're going to need big plays I'm not sure Nix can provide. Alabama 27, Auburn 17
Lock of the Week
Wyoming (+10.5) at Air Force: Wyoming is only 3-2 ATS as an underdog this season, but that record is misleading. It covered as a dog against Missouri, Tulsa and Boise State. It failed to cover as a 3.5-point dog against San Diego State when it lost by four points. It failed to cover as a 4-point dog against Utah State when it lost by five. Plus, while it's only 1-4 straight up as an underdog, those four losses have come by a total of 15 points. The average spread in those games was 7.4 points.
The Cowboys should match up pretty well in this spot against the Falcons. An option offense is complex for any defense to stop and requires a lot of gap discipline. Well, if there's anything Wyoming's defense has done well all year, it's maintain gap discipline. It's not a mistake that the Cowboys have allowed 2.69 yards per carry this year. Their explosive runs against rate (runs of 20+ yards) ranks fifth nationally. They're well-equipped to slow the Air Force attack down and keep it close. Air Force 24, Wyoming 17
Favorite of the Week
No. 12 Wisconsin (-2.5) at No. 8 Minnesota: This is another game that will be played in windy conditions, but both teams tend to run the ball more often, and that limits the impact of the wind. At least, it will for Wisconsin. While Minnesota runs the ball 62% of the time, it doesn't do so as effectively as Wisconsin. Wisconsin average 5.48 yards per carry to Minnesota's 4.19. Wisconsin's rushing explosiveness ranks 38th nationally. Minnesota ranks 81st.
Where the Minnesota offense gets you is with big plays in the air. Its passing explosiveness (30+ yards) rate ranks 11th. Those deep shots are going to be more difficult to hit with light rain and strong winds in the forecast for TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday. Factor in a Wisconsin defense that ranks fifth nationally in sack rate and can get the pressure needed not to allow Tanner Morgan time to find his receivers deep, and this tilts more in Wisconsin's favor. Wisconsin 27, Minnesota 24
Egg Bowl of the Week
Ole Miss (+2.5) at Mississippi State -- Thursday: One of my favorite rivalry games because the records don't matter. And I don't mean in the sense that either team can beat the other, but that even if both teams stink, this game can usually be counted on to provide plenty of entertainment. This year won't be an exception. Mississippi State needs a win to go bowling while Ole Miss' season will end no matter what. In other words, this is Ole Miss' bowl game and denying Mississippi State a bowl will be plenty of reward. Plus, you know, bragging rights.
That's not the only reason I like Ole Miss here. The Rebels have just been playing better in recent weeks. Yes, they've lost four straight SEC games, but three of those losses were to Texas A&M, Auburn and LSU. The first two came by a total of 13 points, while the Rebels rushed for over 400 yards against LSU and put up 37 points. Mississippi State didn't fare nearly as well in their games against those same opponents, and its lone SEC win since September came against Arkansas. Plus, the road team has covered each of the last four, and the underdog has gone 5-2 ATS in the previous seven years. Everything points toward the Rebels. Ole Miss 30, Mississippi State 27
Under of the Week
Texas Tech at Texas (Under 63.5) -- Friday: I've been riding the Texas Under Train all year, and I don't see any reason to get off now. I've been rattling off these same numbers for weeks now, but the under has been very profitable at Texas under Tom Herman. The under is 18-9 in Texas' conference games under Herman and 5-3 in Big 12 play this year. Texas' last four games have featured an average of 48.25 points, well below this total. Plus, while the over is 5-4-2 in Texas Tech games this year, only three of the Red Raiders' games have finished with more than 63.5 points. Finally, the under has gone 5-2 in the last seven meetings between these two. Texas 31, Texas Tech 21
Games of the Week
Lock of the Week
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