College Football Picks: All eyes are on…Lawrence, Kansas!

So, about this game of the year…

The highly anticipated game between Texas A&M and Alabama, after an offseason feud between the team’s championship-winning coaches, isn’t as exciting as expected.

Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies upset Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide at a similar spot last year. Texas A&M was unseeded with two losses when it knocked out undefeated Alabama at College Station behind quarterback Zach Calzada’s performance of a lifetime.

The return game is Saturday in Tuscaloosa and the Aggies (3-2) have given no indication of being prepared for a recall.

Instead, the match of the day will take place in…Lawrence, Kansas.

The five most intriguing games of week 6:

No. 17 TCU at No. 19 Kansas

The Jayhawks have a chance to go from a fun and enjoyable history to serious Big 12 contenders if they can knock out another rebounding team in TCU. The Horned Frogs’ offense was the best in the nation (8.33 yards per game) behind fourth-year QB Max Duggan. Meanwhile, Kansas QB Jalon Daniels is making the buzz at the start of Heisman. It should be awesome.

LINE: TCU par 7. PICK: KANSAS 38-35.

No. 11 Utah at No. 18 UCLA

The Utes have been a runaway train since leaving Gainesville, Fla., disappointed in Week 1. The Bruins enjoyed a flexible schedule early on, then smoked Washington to get into the rankings. The no-split Pac-12 has a chance of becoming a quiet race and it looks like a game that will ultimately help determine who plays in Las Vegas for a title.

LINE: Utah by 4 1/2. PICK: UCLA 31-28.

Texas vs. Oklahoma in Dallas

Anxious times for the Red River rivals. The loser leaves town with a third loss and at the bottom of the Big 12. The last time the Sooners lost more than two Big 12 games in a season was in 2014. The last time they lost three in a row was 1998. But 3-3 won’t feel good for the Longhorns either.

LINE: Texas par 7. PICK: Texas 41-35.

The Tar Heels spent much of the first month of the season playing terrible defense, but won 4-1 with one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Drake Maye. Miami’s dreadful September included their potential first-round QB draft pick being benched. Still, an ACC Coastal title is a realistic goal for the Hurricanes — which pretty much sums up the state of this division.

LINE: Miami by 3 1/2. CHOICE: North Carolina 34-28.

Texas A&M at No. 1 in Alabama

Always interesting. The Aggies are talented enough to be a threat, especially if Heisman winner Bryce Young (shoulder) is either unavailable or limited for the Tide. Additionally, a driven, ticked tide can be fascinating to watch as it is interesting to see what happens when a large object is flattened by a steamroller.

LINE: Alabama by 23 1/2. PICK: Alabama 31-10.

Other matches pitting ranked teams against FBS opponents, with lines from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Auburn (plus 29 1/2) at No. 2 Georgia

The Bulldogs have won five straight meetings in the Deep South’s oldest rivalry and it’s hard to know what to expect from the Tigers… GEORGIA 34-10.

No. 3 Ohio State (minus 26 1/2) at Michigan State

Buckeyes led the Spartans 49-0 at halftime last season and Michigan State isn’t as good this year… OHIO STATE 49-14.

No. 4 Michigan (under 22 1/2) at Indiana

Wolverines QB JJ McCarthy gets a crack at the Big Ten’s worst pass defense… MICHIGAN 38-13.

No. 5 Clemson (under 20 1/2) at Boston College

Eagles QB Phil Jurkovec faced constant pressure behind a thin and inexperienced offensive line. Now here comes DE Myles Murphy and Co. … CLEMSON 35-13, BEST BET.

Washington State (plus 13 1/2) at No. 6 Southern California

In four wins, the Cougars have allowed 47 runs; In one loss, 44…USC 31-23.

Texas Tech at No. 7 Oklahoma State (minus 9 1/2)

Second straight week on the road against a ranked opponent for the Red Raiders…OKLAHOMA STATE 31-20.

No. 8 Tennessee at No. 25 LSU (plus 3)

The Tigers have won five straight, dating back to 2005, and haven’t lost at home to the Vols since 2000 … TENNESSEE 30-28.

No. 9 Mississippi (plus 16 1/2) at Vanderbilt

Vandy’s SEC losing streak is 22 games … OLE MISS 38-17.

No. 12 Oregon (under 12 1/2) at Arizona

Best Pac-12 running game (Ducks) vs. second-worst running defense (Wildcats) … OREGON 42-24.

South Carolina at No. 13 Kentucky (minus 9 1/2)

The recent results tell the story of two programs. The Wildcats have won seven of eight after more than a decade of domination by the Gamecocks… KENTUCKY 28-17.

Florida State (plus 3) at No. 14 North Carolina State

With Clemson looming, the Seminoles’ turnaround season could be derailed… FLORIDA STATE 27-24.

Army (plus 17) at No. 15 Wake Forest

The teams combined for 126 points in Wake’s win last year at West Point… WAKE FOREST 38-24.

No. 16 BYU (plus 3 1/2) vs. Notre Dame in Las Vegas

Shamrock Series game for the Irish against the other independent powerhouse in major college football…BYU 27-24.

No. 20 Kansas State (minus 2) at Iowa State

The Cyclones’ three games against opponents Power Five (1-2) ended in 13 points… KANSAS STATE 24-20.

No. 21 Washington at Arizona State (up 13 1/2)

The Sun Devils have won 12 of 14 in the series and haven’t lost at home to the Huskies since 2001. … WASHINGTON 34-24.

Arkansas (plus 8 1/2) at No. 23 Mississippi State

Razorbacks trying to avoid a third straight loss… MISSISSIPPI STATE 28-21.

South Florida at No. 24 Cincinnati (minus 27 1/2)

The Bearcats have won 17 consecutive conference games, the longest active streak in the nation … CINCINNATI 48-17.

Iowa (plus 3 1/2) at Illinois (@trentcondon) – First to 20 wins? Make it 17 or they could play all day… IOWA 17-14.

Missouri (plus 10 1/2) at Florida (@keithfarner) – These last two weeks of brutal losses for Mizzou… FLORIDA 28-23.

UNLV (plus 6 1/2) at San Jose State (@DanaBecker) — The Rebels (4-1) could match their most wins in a season since 2013 … UNLV 24-21.

Last week: Straight-up — 18-5; Against the spread — 11-12.

Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com

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