Thanksgiving weekend different this season

By Ralph D. Russo

The Associated Press

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 is 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 Pac-12 lost USC-Colorado on Thanksgiving night.

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 both playoff and conference title ramifications.

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

The picks:

No. 22 Auburn (+25) at No. 1 Alabama: In last six meetings when both teams are ranked, the Tigers are 4-2, including last year. But the Tide haven’t lost consecutive Iron Bowls with Nick Saban as coach … Alabama 42-21

Pittsburgh (+24) at No. 4 Clemson: Will the Tigers take their FSU frustrations out on the Panthers? … Clemson 45-17

LSU (+14¢) 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 (+23) at No. 6 Florida: Wildcats go from 60-point loss with a short-handed roster against Alabama to facing the nation’s hottest quarterback in Kyle Trask … Florida, 45-20

No. 11 Northwestern (-13¢) at Michigan State: Since gaining 537 yards in the opener against Maryand, the unbeaten Wildcats have been held under 300 yards in three of four games … Northwestern 23-14

Maryland (+11¢) at No. 12 Indiana: QB Taulia Tagovailoa and the Terrapins were rolling before a two-week COVID-19 pause … Indiana 35-27

No. 13 Georgia (-21¢) at South Carolina: After a rousing debut, what can Bulldogs QB J.T. Daniels do for an encore against one of the SEC’s worst pass defenses? … Georgia 45-17

No. 14 Oklahoma (-10¢) at West Virginia: Sooners have won all eight meetings since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 … Oklahoma 31-17

No. 16 Coastal Carolina (-17) at Texas State: Let’s hear it for the Texas State Bobcats, who are about play their 12th game of the season without a postponement … Coastal Carolina 42-21

Texas Tech (+11) at No. 21 Oklahoma State: Red Raiders come in with a two-game winning streak against the Cowboys … Oklahoma State 35-20

No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette (-28¢) at Louisiana-Monroe: Six of the last seven meetings have been decided by seven points or fewer, with the Ragin’ Cajuns winning four of those close games … La-Lafayette 38-17


Kent State (+7) at Buffalo — @mattsarz: Maybe the MAC’s game of the year: Golden Flashes have put up 131 points in their last two games and the Bulls have scored at least 42 in each game during a 3-0 start … Buffalo 45-41

Memphis (-13¢) at Navy — @travelbyjohnm: Been a ragged season for both teams, but the winner is still alive for a spot in the AAC championship game … Memphis 35-18

Penn State (+2) at Michigan — @flaveydavie: Winless Nittany Lions and the Wolverines coming off a big victory against Rutgers. Yeesh … PSU 26-24

Mississippi State (+9¢) at Mississippi — @Brett–Hudson: First Egg Bowl with Mike Leach coaching the Bulldogs and Lane Kiffin leading the Rebels. Let the fun begin … Ole Miss 45-38

2020 Record — Last week: 14-4 straight; 11-7 against the spread. Season: 122-48 straight; 82-86-1 against the spread.


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