The first NCAA Football Playoff rankings didn’t last very long. No. 1 Tennessee was a big loser to Georgia, No. 4 Clemson was upset by Notre Dame, and No. 6 Alabama took its second loss of the year, all but eliminating the Crimson Tide from CFP contention.
The first year of the CFP was 2014, and every year since has included either Clemson, Oklahoma, or Alabama. For the Tide, this would be just the second CFP without their participation.
No. 7 LSU (-3) at Arkansas
LSU is the latest to knock off Alabama, and the win for the Tigers has them on top of the SEC West with only two conference games left to play, Arkansas this week and Texas A&M to close the NCAA football season on Thanksgiving weekend.
If LSU can play its way into an SEC Championship, it would be a College Football Playoff participant for the first time since they won the National Championship and Joe Burrow beat Trevor Lawrence three years ago. The Tigers get themselves started down that path with a win and cover in Fayetteville.
No. 10 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss (+11.5)
Mississippi could still catch LSU in the SEC West, but since they lost straight up against the Tigers three weeks ago, they will need to win out and hope that LSU drops a game. Winning out means they must beat Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Alabama this Saturday.
The Crimson Tide were humbled for a second time this season, but they are still one of the top NCAA football teams in the country. They will win on Saturday but fail to cover.
No. 4 TCU (+7) at No. 18 Texas
TCU is unbeaten at 9-0, and they have climbed from an unranked team to the No. 4 team in the country, and they played four ranked teams in consecutive weeks and beat all four. Yet they go to Austin as touchdown underdogs. That’s not a fair assessment of a team that just keeps finding a way to win.
The Horned Frogs may see their CFP hopes dashed against Texas, but they will play them to the very end. Look for TCU to cover.
No. 15 North Carolina (+3.5) at Wake Forest
Clemson’s loss last week to Notre Dame doesn’t hurt them in the ACC, but it does show their vulnerability for a potential ACC Championship matchup against North Carolina. UNC leads the Coastal division at 5-0, and they just need to take care of business, which includes Saturday at Wake Forest.
The Demon Deacons are the NCAA football favorites, but they’ve also lost two straight games. This is going to be one of the highest-scoring games of the week, and in the end, North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye continues his incredible season and wins it for the Heels.
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