The college football schedule this weekend was made for anybody who has ever strolled up to someone’s cubical and asked the question: Working hard or hardly working?
There are big games and plenty of heavy lifting to be done around the country, but as has become tradition throughout the South, the weekend before Thanksgiving is a chance to take a little break for some. The Southeastern Conference invented the late-season cupcake game and some Atlantic Coast Conference schools have adopted it, too.
No. 4 Florida State faces North Alabama on Saturday. No. 8 Alabama hosts Chattanooga, another FCS school. No. 13 Mississippi welcomes Louisiana-Monroe and No. 15 LSU has Georgia State, a Sun Belt team that is probably a little tougher than the Tigers had hoped.
No breaks in the Pac-12.
No. 5 Washington is at No. 10 Oregon State in just the second regular-season, top-10 matchup for the Beavers ever.
Huskies-Beavers is the most intriguing game of Week 12, which has a bit of upset-alert feel to it. The rest of the week’s games involving ranked teams and FBS foes, with lines from FanDuel Sportsbook:
To remind everyone of the backstory here, Washington is leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten next year. All that’s left of the Pac-12 is Oregon State and Washington State, sacrificed at the altar of television revenue-driven conference realignment.
The future is still murky for the Beavers (and Washington State). But their present is bursting with potential. If they win their next two games, against Washington and Oregon, the Beavers will be in the Pac-12 title game.
Forget what Jim Harbaugh said, Oregon State should be America’s Team.
PICK: Washington 35-33.
The Longhorns snapped a three-game losing streak against the Cyclones last year, which is amazing considering Texas had been 14-2 against Iowa State before then. Texas is a playoff contender, but an Iowa State upset would not only put an end to that but make it hard for the Longhorns to reach the Big 12 title game.
PICK: Texas 28-14.
The Cardinals are a win away from their first ACC title game appearance and on the fringe of playoff race. Miami is hoping QB Tyler Van Dyke can break out of a slump, support a good defense and spring an upset.
PICK: Miami 19-18.
This was circled as the Bulldogs’ toughest test coming into the season. Not looking that way now, but the Volunteers have giant killer potential if everything clicks. It will have to against Carson Beck, Brock Bowers and a Georgia offense that is getting healthy and looking scary
PICK: Georgia 35-20.
OK, the game is not that intriguing. It’ll be shocking if the skidding Terps (losers of four of five) threaten the Wolverines. The real intrigue is Friday in a court in Washtenaw County, Michigan, where a judge will determine if the Big Ten’s suspension of coach Jim Harbaugh should be lifted.
Pick: Michigan 42-13.
Buckeyes have ramped up a Heisman push for WR Marvin Harrison, who scored three TDs last week .. OHIO STATE 42-10.
Ducks have lost two of three against the Sun Devils, who are coming off an upset of UCLA … OREGON 45-13.
Tigers are two wins away from their first double-digit win season since 2014 … MISSOURI 42-28.
Nittany Lions are 31-2 in the series with 16 straight victories … PENN STATE 26-7.
Rebels recover from Georgia and gear up for the Egg Bowl … 45-10.
Cougars have lost three straight by an average of 39-9 … OKLAHOMA 39-9.
With not much else to play for, LSU is going to try put Jayden Daniels in position to win a Heisman … LSU 56-24.
Utes have won six straight meetings … ARIZONA 24-22.
Green Wave are part of a three-way tie atop the the AAC … TULANE 27-20.
Dukes host ESPN’s “College GameDay” and an App State team that has won three straight … JMU 31-21.
After three straight years of top three in the ACC in scoring, Demon Deacons are second-to-last (20.5 points per game) … NOTRE DAME 35-10.
Tar Heels still have ACC title game hope if Louisville loses … CLEMSON 31-28.
Wildcats have won 14 straight in the Sunflower State rivalry … KANSAS STATE 35-24.
Cowboys are still in pretty good shape to get to the Big 12 title game if they can avoid a second straight road upset … OKLAHOMA STATE 31-23.
Most overlooked quarterback in the country? Liberty’s Kaidon Salter is fourth in the country in passing efficiency … LIBERTY 56-24.
SMU at Memphis (plus 7 1/2) — — @JustR_02: A Memphis victory could really muddle that AAC race with the Tigers a game behind SMU, UTSA and Tulane at the top … SMU 24-21.
Nebraska at Wisconsin (minus 4 1/2) — @ralphamsden: Badgers have won nine straight meetings … WISCONSIN 13-6.
UCLA at USC (minus 6 1/2) — @HardCountCFB: Speculation swirling around UCLA coach Chip Kelly’s job status … USC 35-28.
UNLV at Air Force (minus 3 1/2) — @theplanetbob: Rebels and Falcons are tied for first in Mountain West … AIR FORCE 28-23.
Last week: Straight-up — 20-3; Against spread — 14-9.
Season: Straight-up — 189-63; Against spread — 120-129-2.
Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com. Get alerts on the latest AP Top 25 poll throughout the season. Sign up here
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll