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Black Shoe Degenerates - Week 14 Against the Spread

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Thanksgiving, and turkey, and beer, and rivalries and gambling

Here we are, the unofficial end of the college football regular season. Yes, there are games next weekend, including regular season Big 12 games, but for all intents and purposes, this weekend will conclude the greatest 3 months of the year. Don't worry though, fellow degenerates. We will continue on with picks through the championship game next year.

Michigan at Ohio State (-20.5)

I know it is popular around these parts to hate on Michigan and Ohio State as the Big 10's favorite children. There may be an argument to be made on that, but as a fan of college football, there is not much better than two of the most tradition rich programs in the country getting together on the regular season's final weekend.

This will almost certainly be Brady Hoke's final game on the Michigan sidelines, and Ohio State has a chance to score some style points against the team they love to hate. Last year's game looked very similar on paper, but Michigan was a failed two point conversion from scoring a huge upset. For all his faults, Hoke has always played the Buckeyes close. I think OSU gets the win, but Michigan will be playing for a bowl game, and pride. I'll take the points.

Minnesota at Wisconsin (-14)

OK, show of hands. Who had this one as the winner take all in the B1G West? Now put your hands down, liars. The Badgers are a somewhat inexplicable loss to Northwestern from having their hat in the ring as a 1-loss playoff contender. Heck, they're a Melvin Gordon-less second half vs. LSU to open the season from being undefeated. Meanwhile, Minnesota has respectable losses to Ohio State, and at TCU, and the "LOLWUT" loss at Illinois. But a win gives them a trip to Indy.

Given both team's desire to keep this one on the ground, we could see a 2 hour game. The big question for me is does Minnesota have enough in the front 7 to keep Gordon in check and force Joel Stave and Tanner McEvoy to beat them through the air. The Gophers getting 2 touchdowns will be a popular pick, I think, but the Badgers have been dominant at home. I'm going the other direction. Gordon has a big day in his final game in Camp Randall in a big Badger win.

Mississippi State (-2.5) at Ole Miss

If the Egg Bowl has ever meant this much, I certainly don't remember it. In fact, watching 3-7 teams battle for a a giant egg was a favorite tradition of mine growing up after Thanksgiving dinner. A Bulldog win gives them a shot at heading to Atlanta, should they get some help from Auburn in the Iron Bowl later on tomorrow night. It would also likely guarantee a playoff spot. Ole Miss has fallen out of SEC and playoff contention with three losses in their last four games. Two of those were by 7 total points, with the latter coming on a bizarre fumble play that ended receiver Laquon Treadwell's season, and the Rebel's game winning drive. Then there was the blow out at Arkansas.

The last thing Ole Miss wants to see is their arch rival from Starkville hosting the Golden Egg Trophy on their field while probably clinching a playoff spot. I'm going to count on a Rebels D that has been very good all year coming up with one more great effort, and crushing State's title hopes.

Auburn at Alabama (-9)

Another year, another Iron Bowl with huge SEC and national title implications. This will not match last year's edition with both teams eying an SEC and BCS Championship Game, but Alabama has played their way back into contention for both, while Auburn will almost certainly relish the chance to play spoiler. After surviving in OT against LSU, and handing Mississippi State their first loss of the season, the Tide controls its destiny both for an SEC West crown, and a playoff spot. Auburn finally ran out of late game magic against Texas A&M, ending their hopes for both. But just in case there was a faint hope, Georgia stomped that out emphatically.

I'm pleased with the fact I've yet to throw out the "anything can happen in a rivalry game" line yet, but well, it fits here. It's hard to see Auburn winning, on the road, with the way both teams have been trending. But I hate giving a ton of points in a game where anything can happen. Alabama gets the win, but I'll take those 9 points.

Arizona State at Arizona (-2.5)

I will admit to this being one of my favorite "under the radar" rivalries. But with both teams entering at 9-2, and depending on tie breakers, a shot at the Pac 12 South title, this one should be quite entertaining. ASU saw their inside track to the Pac 12 title game derail in Corvallis a couple weeks back against Oregon State, while the Wildcats ended their title hopes in LA against UCLA.

Depending on UCLA's result against Stanford, the winner of this one may get a shot at Oreogn next week in Santa Clara. Arizona has been playing better, and has the home field. I'll give the 2.5.

AROUND THE B1G

Nebraska at Iowa (-1)

Illinois at Northwestern (-8)

Purdue at Indiana (-3)

BTPR at Maryland (-8)