AP Picks: Feast of major implications for Thanksgiving

Publish date:

Every team in the AP Top 25 is playing this weekend in a total of 18 games. All these games will be:

A) A matchup of ranked teams.

B) A rivalry game.

C) A game with College Football Playoff implications.

D) A game with conference title implications.

E) Some combination of the above.

So this is should be a pretty great Thanksgiving weekend no matter how much you're forced to talk to your relatives.

Seven games match AP ranked teams, the most since Oct. 6, 2007.

Among the things that can or will be resolved this weekend are:

- The Big 12 title.

- The Big Ten East title.

- The SEC West title.

- The Pac-12 South title.

- The American Athletic Conference championship game participants.

And maybe a spot in the College Football Playoff. It can't become official until Dec. 6 when the final selection committee rankings are released, but the committee could be making a very important decision next Tuesday.

Both No. 4 Notre Dame (10-1, No. 6 CFP) and No. 5 Oklahoma (10-1, No. 4 CFP) finish their regular seasons Saturday.

The Sooners can lock up the Big 12 with a victory at No. 9 Oklahoma State and the Fighting Irish are looking for a major resume boost at No. 13 Stanford. The committee next week will likely be making its final decision on which team it likes better - the Irish or the Sooners. Depending on how things go in other conferences, one of them could be in playoff position with nobody behind them in realistic passing distance.

The picks:


No. 3 Iowa (minus 1) at Nebraska

Last chance for the Hawkeyes to screw this up ... IOWA 31-27

No. 7 Baylor (minus 1 1/2) at No. 15 TCU

A battle of third-string quarterbacks in the rematch of last season's game of the year? Could be ... BAYLOR 48-42.

No. 16 Navy (minus 1) at No. 21 Houston

Spot in the American championship game on the line ... NAVY 35-28

Oregon State (plus 35) at No. 18 Oregon

Ducks have won seven straight in the Civil War ... OREGON 45-14.

No. 20 Washington State (off) at Washington

Status of Cougars QB Luke Falk (head) is uncertain ... WASHINGTON 27-24.

Western Michigan (plus 9) at No. 24 Toledo

Rockets got the help they needed from Ohio, which upset Northern Illinois on Tuesday night; Toledo clinches the MAC West with a victory ... TOLEDO 33-20.


No. 1 Clemson (minus 18) at South Carolina

No. 2 Alabama (minus 14) at Auburn

Only thing left for Tigers and Gamecocks is to ruin national championship hopes of their rivals ... CLEMSON 42-21; BEST BET, ALABAMA 35-17.


No. 4 Notre Dame (plus 4) at No. 13 Stanford

Playing the Irish can be a nice stage for Cardinal TB Christian McCaffrey to make his case for the Heisman Trophy ... STANFORD 34-27.

No. 5 Oklahoma (minus 6 1/2) at No. 9 Oklahoma State

Sooners QB Baker Mayfield is expected to be good to go after going through concussion protocol ... OKLAHOMA 35-30.


Penn State (off) at No. 6 Michigan State

Status of QB Connor Cook (shoulder) is uncertain but hard to believe the Spartans could beat Ohio State on the road without him but not Penn State at home ... MICHIGAN STATE 24-14.

No. 8 Ohio State (plus 2) at No. 12 Michigan

Best bet: Ezekiel Elliott gets more than 12 carries this week ... UPSET SPECIAL, OHIO STATE 21-17.

No. 14 Florida State (minus 2) at No. 10 Florida

RB Dalvin Cook last shot at making a Heisman statement; his numbers are as good or better than any running back being mentioned for the award ... FLORIDA STATE 17-14.

No. 11 North Carolina (minus 6 1/2) at N.C. State

Tar Heels looking to avenge last season's 35-7 loss and keep long-shot playoff hopes alive ... NORTH CAROLINA STATE 28-24.

No. 17 Northwestern (minus 3) vs. Illinois at Chicago

Like last season, Illini need to beat the Wildcats to become bowl eligible ... ILLINOIS 17-14.

No. 19 Mississippi (pick'em) at No. 23 Mississippi State

The home team has won 10 of the last 11 Egg Bowls ... MISSISSIPPI STATE 31-28.

No. 22 UCLA (plus 4) at Southern California

Winner clinches Pac-12 South and rematch with Stanford in conference title game ... USC 27-24.

UConn (plus 11 1/2) at No. 25 Temple

Owls can clinch AAC East and spot in the title game; a loss likely gives USF the division with the Bulls playing winless UCF on Thanksgiving ... TEMPLE 28-20.


Texas Tech (plus 2) at Texas, Thursday - (at)emarktaylor

Longhorns can still get bowl eligible, but they finish against Baylor ... TEXAS TECH 38-35.

Virginia Tech (minus 3 1/2) at Virginia - (at)danhodes

Hokies try to get bowl-eligible for coach Frank Beamer ... VIRGINIA TECH 27-24.

BYU (minus 3) at Utah State - (at)VegasAggie

Cougars are 25-4 against Aggies since 1980, but two of those losses in the last five years ... UTAH STATE 28-24.

Indiana (minus 6 1/2) at Purdue - (at)SteveHelwagen

Hoosiers need to win Battle for the Old Oaken Bucket to get bowl eligible ... INDIANA 35-24.



Last week's record: 12-6 straight; 9-6 vs. spread.

Overall: 186-66; 124-118-3.

Upset specials: 4-9.

Best bets: 4-7.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP


Online: www.collegefootball.ap.org