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SEC college football picks, odds in Week 13: Alabama over Auburn as Bryce Young boosts Heisman campaign

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It’s rivalry week in the SEC, which means that intra-state bragging rights, border wars and the passion of college football will be on full display for the nation. It isn’t just that, though. New Year’s Six bowl berths, College Football Playoff positioning and bowl eligibility will also be on the line throughout the conference.

No. 3 Alabama will visit Jordan-Hare Stadium — a place it hasn’t won since 2015 — to take on rival Auburn in the annual Iron Bowl. No. 1 Georgia will play Georgia Tech in Atlanta, just 1 mile from where it will play the Crimson Tide next week in the SEC Championship Game. LSU, meanwhile, will bid farewell to coach Ed Orgeron against No. 15 Texas A&M in Death Valley.

Let’s break down the top storylines in the SEC this weekend and make picks straight up as well as against the spread.

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Appetizer: Answered question and maybe a bonus

It’s safe to say that, as the season has gone on, Georgia tight end Brock Bowers has emerged as one of the most important players on the Bulldogs roster. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman leads the Bulldogs with 34 catches for 552 yards and eight touchdowns. He has been the biggest answer to the wide receiver uncertainty that coach Kirby Smart had going into the season.

“The biggest thing with Brock’s consistency is, number one, he’s not just a role player,” Smart said during his Monday press conference. “He can block and plays with physical toughness. He’s very intelligent. He takes notes. He comes in early and watches his tape. When you have dependability and talent mixed together, it’s usually what you get, and you have a guy who has put up the numbers he did. Again, he takes opportunities for all the games we’ve played.”

Help could be on the horizon. 

Star wide receiver George Pickens, who tore his ACL this spring and has missed the season to this point, dressed out last week vs. Charleston Southern. It’s unclear if he’s been cleared for contact in practice, but his return would be huge for the stretch run. He had 85 catches for 1,240 yards and 14 touchdowns during his first two seasons with the program. If Smart can get Pickens into the mix and still use Bowers up the seam, this offense is going to be nearly unstoppable.

Main course: Bo Nix adding spice

Auburn quarterback Bo Nix is out with an ankle injury, but that hasn’t stopped the junior from making some waves during Iron Bowl week. Nix made his weekly appearance on “The Next Round,” and suggested that some calls that benefitted Alabama last week against Arkansas are par for the course for SEC officials. 

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“I think, legitimately, you watch the game and anybody who is unbiased would think something is different,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s kinda how it has always been. It’s part of the game. And they have good players. Can’t take that away from them.”

There were definitely some questionable calls last week, especially when Razorbacks running back Dominique Johnson appeared to be 2 yards into the end zone but was called down on the 1-yard line. 

I’m all for Nix adding some spice to the rivalry. After all, it’s not like Alabama can get back at him on Saturday. In reality, most calls even out over the course of time. Yes, it seems like Arkansas was on the short end of the stick against Alabama, but that doesn’t mean there’s bias. With that said, if Auburn ends up on the same end of the stick on Saturday, the conspiracy theories and anger will fly. 

Dessert: Billy Napier love

It appears that the Louisiana coach, who has had plenty of success as a head and assistant coach in the southeast, is at or near the top of the coaching wish lists at Florida and LSU. The winner of the Napier lottery will be able to build a fortress sooner rather than later. 

Napier isn’t the big name like others bandied about for the job. That’s OK, though. All Napier has done is lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to three straight double-digit win seasons, has suffered just two conference losses over the last three seasons and is gearing up for the Sun Belt Championship Game vs. Appalachian State on Dec. 4. His recruiting ties not only in Louisiana but in recruiting hotbeds like Atlanta and the state of Florida will make him an instant success wherever he lands. 

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Sometimes athletic directors hone in on big names in order to win the PR battle. Napier probably won’t do that, but he will build a CFP contender whether it’s in Gainesville or Baton Rouge.

Picks

Straight up: 83-20 | Against the spread: 45-43

Latest Odds:

Mississippi State Bulldogs
-1.5

The Egg Bowl will take place Thanksgiving night — its rightful time slot. It’ll serve as the exclamation point to Rebels coach Lane Kiffin’s stellar second season. Quarterback Matt Corral will slice and dice the Bulldogs offense through the air and on the ground, Bulldogs coach Mike Leach won’t be able to keep up and the Rebels will take home the golden egg for the second straight season. Pick: Ole Miss (+1)

Missouri at No. 25 Arkansas

Latest Odds:

Arkansas Razorbacks
-14.5

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Arkansas’ multi-dimensional rushing attack led by quarterback KJ Jefferson and running back Dominique Johnson will run over, around and through a Tigers rushing defense that is ranked 125th in FBS in rushing defense (235.36) and 122nd in rushing yards allowed per play (5.52). This one is going to get sideways in a hurry. Pick: Arkansas (-14.5)

No. 1 Georgia at Georgia Tech

Make no mistake, the Bulldogs will flat out annihilate the Yellow Jackets. After all, Geoff Collins has coached his way onto the hot seat due to a porous defense and inconsistent offense. With that said, the Bulldogs will also want to stay healthy, so when they return to Atlanta next week to take on Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, they’ll be ready to kick off their homestretch in style. Coach Kirby Smart will pull the starters early and allow the Jackets to slip in under the number. Pick: Georgia Tech (+35)

Latest Odds:

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Florida Gators
-2.5

The Gators’ disastrous season will come to a merciful end at home when they are upset by the rival Seminoles. Florida State has won two straight games and averaged over 5.5 yards per play in the process. Florida’s defense is wildly inconsistent, and the entire roster looks wrecked from all of the drama surrounding ex-coach Dan Mullen. This has moneyline sprinkle written all over it. Pick: Florida State (+2.5)

No. 3 Alabama at Auburn

Latest Odds:

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Auburn Tigers
+19.5

The Tigers secondary is talented but hasn’t had a ton of success lately, including two weeks ago when Mississippi State QB Will Rogers threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns in a comeback win. Translation: Bryce Young’s Heisman Trophy campaign will get another boost. The Crimson Tide won’t be able to run the ball effectively, however, and the Tigers will get enough stops to keep it within the number. Pick: Auburn (+19.5)

Latest Odds:

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Tennessee Volunteers
-31

The Commodores defense didn’t play terrible last week against the potent Ole Miss offense, and that trend will continue in their finale vs. rival Tennessee. Weird things tend to happen in this game, so expect QB Hendon Hooker to make enough mistakes to make this one closer than the oddsmakers think. Pick: Vanderbilt (+31)

No. 15 Texas A&M at LSU

Latest Odds:

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LSU Tigers
+6.5

The thought here is that the Tigers might send coach Ed Orgeron off into the sunset with an upset over the Aggies. Don’t fall into that trap. The Aggies are headed straight toward a New Year’s Six bowl. If all it takes is a touchdown and extra point for a Texas A&M ticket to cash, I’ll put my trust into Isaiah Spiller, Devon Achane and the Aggies rushing attack. Pick: Texas A&M (-6.5)

Latest Odds:

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Louisville Cardinals
-3

The Cardinals have gotten hot over the last few weeks, and they’ll continue that momentum into bowl season. Quarterback Malik Cunningham and the Cardinals offense will force the Wildcats into a shootout. I love Wildcats quarterback Will Levis, but he’ll make a few more mistakes in this one and the Cardinals will win by at least a field goal. Pick: Louisville (-2.5)

Latest Odds:

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South Carolina Gamecocks
+11.5

The Gamecocks will go to a bowl game after topping Auburn last week, but won’t get the job done this week against the Tigers from the Upstate. The Clemson defense has been nasty all season and quarterback DJ Uiagalelei has finally started to look like the star that he was touted to be prior to the season. Clemson will pull away late for a two-touchdown win. Pick: Clemson (-11.5)

Which college football picks can you make with confidence in Week 13, and which top College Football Playoff contender gets a huge scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $3,700 in profit over the past five-plus seasons — and find out.

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How to watch Appalachian State vs. James Madison: NCAA Football live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds

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Who’s Playing

James Madison @ Appalachian State

Current Records: James Madison 2-0; Appalachian State 2-1

What to Know

The James Madison Dukes watched the action from their couches last weekend, but are set to take to the field. James Madison and the Appalachian State Mountaineers will face off in a Sun Belt battle at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kidd Brewer Stadium. The odds don’t look promising for the Dukes, but the bigger the opponent is, the harder they fall.

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A well-balanced attack led James Madison over the Norfolk State Spartans every single quarter on their way to victory two weeks ago. James Madison claimed a resounding 63-7 win over Norfolk State at home. The game was pretty much decided by the half, when the score had already reached 35 to nothing.

Meanwhile, Appalachian State didn’t have too much breathing room in their contest with the Troy Trojans last week, but they still walked away with a 32-28 victory. Appalachian State QB Chase Brice was slinging it as he passed for two TDs and 279 yards on 34 attempts. Near the top of the highlight reel was Brice’s 53-yard TD bomb to WR Christan Horn in the fourth quarter.

Their wins bumped the Dukes to 2-0 and the Mountaineers to 2-1. Watch the matchup and check back on CBS Sports to find out who keeps up the positive energy and who hits a stumbling block.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kidd Brewer Stadium — Boone, North Carolina
  • TV: ESPN Plus
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $40.99

Odds

The Mountaineers are a solid 6.5-point favorite against the Dukes, according to the latest college football odds.

The oddsmakers had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Mountaineers as a 7.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: -111

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See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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UTSA vs. Texas Southern: How to watch NCAA Football online, TV channel, live stream info, game time

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Who’s Playing

Texas Southern @ UTSA

Current Records: Texas Southern 1-2; UTSA 1-2

What to Know

The Texas Southern Tigers will take on the UTSA Roadrunners at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Alamodome. Texas Southern isn’t favored, but they just beat the odds in their last game, so don’t count them out.

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The Tigers kept a clean sheet against the Southern University Jaguars last week and took the matchup 24 to nothing. The squad ran away with 21 points in the first half and mostly just sat on those in the second to pick up the victory.

Meanwhile, it was all tied up 17-17 at halftime, but UTSA was not quite the Texas Longhorns’ equal in the second half when they met last week. The Roadrunners suffered a grim 41-20 defeat to the Longhorns. This contest was a close 17-17 at the break, but unfortunately for UTSA it sure didn’t stay that way. A silver lining for them was the play of RB Brenden Brady, who threw one touchdown in addition to punching in one rushing touchdown.

Texas Southern’s win lifted them to 1-2 while UTSA’s loss dropped them down to 1-2. We’ll find out if the Tigers can add another positive mark to their record or if UTSA can shake off the defeat and take the spring out of Texas Southern’s step.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Alamodome — San Antonio, Texas
  • TV: STADIUM
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $69.00

Odds

The Roadrunners are a big 42-point favorite against the Tigers, according to the latest college football odds.

Bettors have moved against the Roadrunners slightly, as the game opened with the Roadrunners as a 44-point favorite.

Over/Under: -110

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Series History

This is the first time these teams have played each other within the last seven years.



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North Carolina vs. Notre Dame live stream info, TV channel: How to watch NCAA Football on TV, stream online

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Who’s Playing

Notre Dame @ North Carolina

Current Records: Notre Dame 1-2; North Carolina 3-0

What to Know

The North Carolina Tar Heels will be returning home after a two-game road trip. They will take on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at 3:30 p.m. ET Saturday at Kenan Memorial Stadium after a week off. UNC is expected to win — but not by much — so they will need to come into the game prepared for a fight.

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The Tar Heels beat the Georgia State Panthers 35-28 two weeks ago. Among those leading the charge for UNC was RB Omarion Hampton, who rushed for two TDs and 110 yards on 16 carries. Hampton put himself on the highlight reel with a 58-yard TD scramble in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame netted a 24-17 victory over the California Golden Bears last week. RB Audric Estime and RB Chris Tyree were among the main playmakers for Notre Dame as the former punched in one rushing touchdown and the latter snatched one receiving TD.

Notre Dame’s defense was a presence as well, as it embarrassed California’s offensive line to sack QB Jack Plummer six times for a total loss of 47 yards. It was a group effort with four guys contributing.

The wins brought the Tar Heels up to 3-0 and the Fighting Irish to 1-2. A pair of stats to keep an eye on: UNC enters the matchup with 310 passing yards per game on average, good for 21st best in the nation. But Notre Dame comes into the contest boasting the 34th fewest passing yards allowed per game in the nation at 184. These opposing strengths should make for an exciting matchup.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET
  • Where: Kenan Memorial Stadium — Chapel Hill, North Carolina
  • TV: ABC
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free. Regional restrictions may apply.)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $110.00

Odds

The Tar Heels are a slight 2.5-point favorite against the Fighting Irish, according to the latest college football odds.

The line on this game has moved quite a bit since it opened, as it started out with the Fighting Irish as a 1.5-point favorite.

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Over/Under: -110

See college football picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Notre Dame have won all of the games they’ve played against North Carolina in the last eight years.

  • Oct 30, 2021 – Notre Dame 44 vs. North Carolina 34
  • Nov 27, 2020 – Notre Dame 31 vs. North Carolina 17
  • Oct 07, 2017 – Notre Dame 33 vs. North Carolina 10



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