The college football season is running out of games and weeks. Championships in divisions and conferences are on the line, while other matchups feature in-state rivalries and the hot-blooded passions that dominate the lives of two fan bases for 365 days every year. This is one of the most special times of each and every college football season. The moment is precious for the players and coaches that participate between the painted white lines on gamedays.
Texas A&M Aggies @ Missouri Tigers
Saturday, 7:45 PM ET
Odds: Missouri -4.5
Johnny Manziel is the defending Heisman Trophy winner, and if he wants to have any slight chance of winning back-to-back Heismans, he has to be absolutely brilliant against the Missouri Tigers. Manziel was awful against LSU this past Saturday, suffering his worst game as an Aggie. Manziel and his teammates must find a way to bounce back and produce the kind of offensive explosion that has marked so many of the Aggies’ games over the past two seasons under head coach Kevin Sumlin.
Texas A&M will have a hard time winning this game, though, not because of its offense, but because of its defense. The Aggies failed to stop the power running game of LSU; they allowed the Tigers to continue to slam the ball between the tackles, and they could never really stop what LSU was trying to do. The Aggies have to try to find a way to become more forceful on defense against Missouri, but that’s not what a bettor should expect. Missouri will wrap up the SEC East championship and advance to the SEC title game on Dec. 7 against either Alabama or Auburn.
Pick: Missouri -4.5
Alabama Crimson Tide @ Auburn Tigers
Saturday, 3:35 PM ET
Odds: Alabama -10.5
Alabama should be able to win this game outright. The Crimson Tide are a mature veteran team that knows exactly what it has to do in situations such as this one. In the fourth quarter, expect Alabama to play with more composure and precision. However, while Alabama is likely to win this game, one should expect Auburn to play the Tide close. The Tigers receive great guidance from head coach Gus Malzahn. Their emphasis on tempo could keep Alabama’s defense off balance for the first three quarters of this game, enough to keep this one close into the fourth quarter. Alabama will probably win by a touchdown but won’t cover the college football spread.
Pick: Auburn +10.5
Clemson Tigers @ South Carolina Gamecocks
Saturday, 7:05 PM ET
Odds: South Carolina -5
This is a game in which Clemson will be under the gun. The Tigers haven’t won against South Carolina in five years, and Gamecock head coach Steve Spurrier has regularly gotten the better of Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. However, Clemson has the athletes, the offensive coordinator (Chad Morris), and the need for revenge that should lead to a winning effort on the road. This is a moment Clemson is poised to seize with two hands on Saturday and maybe do more than cover the spread.
Pick: Clemson +5