We’re down to just one regular season weekend left before Championship Saturday and College Football Playoff Selection Sunday, but not without still a ton of important football left to be played loaded with national implications.
Not least in a pair of traditional rivalry games: Ohio State faces off against Michigan with a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game and a likely playoff berth on the line as the probable No. 2 seed in the semifinal.
And out west a pair of first-year coaches square off at the Coliseum as USC, already with a spot in the Pac-12 title game, welcomes Notre Dame, itself on a five-game winning streak and looking to bounce the Trojans from the playoff chase at the most important time.
College Football HQ makes our picks and predictions against the spread ahead of an important weekend of games.
Game lines are courtesy of SI Sportsbook and may change after publication
How are we doing? Coming into the regular season finale, we’re 71-40-2 (.628) making picks against the spread
Baylor at Texas (-8.5)
The home team has won the last four meetings here straight-up, but Baylor is 3-1 ATS as a dog and 5-1 against the spread in its last six after a straight loss, and Texas is 1-2 ATS at home in conference matchups.
ATS pick: Baylor +8.5
Tulane at Cincinnati (-2.5)
It’s just tough to beat Cincy at Nippert, where it’s won 32 straight. UC is 7-0 when allowing 24 or fewer points this season. This is a battle between the two best defenses in the AAC, with a title game shot on the line. Cincinnati plays a consistent game in the air and is solid defensively in all phases. But the Wave is 6-0 against the spread in its last 6 road games, too. If the line were bigger, we’d pick Tulane, but home-field wins out here.
ATS pick: Cincinnati -2.5
NC State at North Carolina (-6.5)
Not having Devin Leary has thrown the Wolfpack offense into a tailspin, averaging around two TDs the last two games, while UNC posts 46 points per game at home. NC State is 1-7 against the spread in its last 8 and 0-4 ATS in its last four on the road against a team with a winning record.
ATS pick: North Carolina -6.5
Florida at Florida State (-9.5)
The Gators are tough to nail down right now, with a gifted rushing attack but coming off a loss to Vanderbilt, one of many one-score decisions this season, whereas the Seminoles are on a tear, winning four straight and posting 40-plus points. in three of them, also behind a stout run game. UF is 0-4 against the spread in its last four after running for less than 100 yards in its previous game.
ATS pick: Florida +9.5
Michigan at Ohio State (-8)
There are questions around whether lead rusher Blake Corum, the engine behind Michigan’s potent run game, will be 100% after injuring his knee, and this offense didn’t look great without him, squeaking out a win against Illinois. The Buckeyes have more options moving the ball and enough improvements on defense to hold serve at home, but Michigan is 5-0 against the spread after an ATS loss and 4-1 ATS in its last five on the road against a team with a win record at home.
ATS pick: Michigan +8
South Carolina at Clemson (-14.5)
The Gamecocks come in on a high after dropping 63 on the Vols in a massive upset, but Clemson’s defense should pose a far greater threat to Spencer Rattler and his targets, and Carolina is 1-9-1 against the spread in its last 11 after an ATS victory.
ATS pick: Clemson -14.5
Auburn at Alabama (-21.5)
Interim coach Cadillac Williams is 2-1 leading Auburn and playing more inspired football, while the Crimson Tide is 1-6 against the spread in its last seven, but the talent discrepancy between these teams justifies this spread, plus Auburn is 1-6 against the spread in its last 7 after allowing more than 280 passing yards in the previous game.
ATS pick: Alabama -21.5
Oregon (-3) at Oregon State
The Beavers have covered the last five straight games and are 3-1 ATS as an underdog, but the Ducks are playing for a Pac-12 title game appearance and can move the ball even with Bo Nix working on a questionable ankle. Plus, Oregon is 5-1 ATS in its last six after a straight-up win.
ATS pick: Oregon -3
Michigan State at Penn State (-18)
Sparty comes into the Land Grant Trophy game fighting for bowl eligibility while PSU has posted 40 points in three of its last five overall and hasn’t allowed 20 points since October. Michigan State is 1-5 against the spread in its last six games both against a team with a winning record and in its last 6 road games.
ATS pick: Penn State -18
LSU (-9.5) at Texas A&M
Already having clinched a berth in the SEC Championship, LSU can’t afford to look ahead, with two losses and sitting precariously on the edge of the College Football Playoff chase. A&M has been a disaster, but by close margins: five of this team’s seven losses are by six or fewer points. The Aggies are 0-4-1 against the spread in their last five overall.
ATS pick: Texas A&M +9.5
Notre Dame at USC (-5.5)
USC is already in the Pac-12 title game, but with one loss can’t afford another as it sits just outside the College Football Playoff top four. Notre Dame has won five straight, including against both ACC title game entrants, and has found a rhythm on both sides of the ball. Caleb Williams is a Heisman contender at quarterback for the Trojans, but this defense will keep things very close. USC wins, but like its statement win at UCLA last week, it’ll need every snap.
ATS pick: Notre Dame +5.5