The road to a Southeastern Conference Championship showdown between No.1 Alabama and No.2 Georgia has many potential pitfalls and detours.
The next two weeks present what looks like serious challenges for the superpowers, starting on Saturday when each hosts a ranked conference rival.
Arkansas No.8, after a win over Texas A&M, moves to Georgia No.2 while Mississippi No.12 and dynamic quarterback Matt Corral move to Alabama No.1.
The following week the Crimson Tide and Bulldogs hit the road. Alabama goes to # 15 Texas A&M and Georgia goes to # 22 Auburn.
If the SEC behemoths can spend October 10 still at the top of the Top 25 AP, the six-week, 1-2 stint will be the longest for two SEC teams since 2000. In 2011, LSU and Alabama held both. first places in the poll for five consecutive weeks leading up to their Game of Century in early November.
Outside of the SEC, the longest recent 1-2 led by two teams in the same conference came in 2006, when the Big Ten’s Michigan and Ohio State held those positions for six weeks before their season finale. regular.
The Rebels and Razorbacks have a chance to inject some real chaos into a season that has once been a roller coaster. Or Alabama and Georgia will continue on their collision course.
The picks, with lines from FanDuel Sportsbook:
# 5 Iowa (minus 3 1/2) in Maryland
This is probably the best offense the Hawkeyes have faced … MARYLAND 28-23.
No. 13 BYU (minus 8 1/2) at Utah State
The Cougars expect quarterback Jaren Hall to be back after missing the final game with injury … BYU 34-24.
No. 12 Mississippi (plus 14 1/2) to No. 1 Alabama
Nick Saban’s record against his former assistant is 23-0 with Lane Kiffin back at Tuscaloosaâ¦ ALABAMA 42-31.
No. 8 Arkansas (plus 18 1/2) to No. 2 Georgia
The Razorbacks are aiming for a third win against a ranked team, which they haven’t done since 2011 … GEORGIA 31-10.
No. 3 Oregon (minus 7 1/2) at Stanford
Cardinal has the worst running defense in the Pac-12 with 5.26 yards per carry allowedâ¦ OREGON 31-21.
Indiana (over 13 1/2) at No. 4 in Penn State
Hoosiers ended a six-game losing streak against the Nittany Lions in a wild overtime game last yearâ¦ PENN STATE 35-20.
No. 6 Oklahoma (under 10 1/2) at Kansas State
The Wildcats have won back-to-back games and haven’t won three in a row in the series since a 1993-97 five-game winning streak … OKLAHOMA 28-17.
No. 7 Cincinnati (less 1 1/2) at No. 9 Notre Dame
The Bearcats’ best chance of qualifying for the playoffs … CINCINNATI 24-23.
No. 10 Florida (under 8 1/2) in Kentucky
The Gators have won 33 of the last 34 games, but the Wildcats have been more competitive in recent years … FLORIDA 31-21.
No. 11 Ohio State (minus 15 1/2) at Rutgers
The Buckeyes have won all seven meetings with the Scarlet Knights since joining the Big Ten by an average of 43 points … OHIO STATE 45-21, BEST BET.
# 14 Michigan (plus 1 1/2) in Wisconsin
Two teams who would prefer not to pass, kick off at noon. Is there a chance that it is 42 degrees and the sky is cloudy to fully enjoy the B1G experience? … WISCONSIN 17-16.
Mississippi State (plus 7 1/2) at # 15 Texas A&M
The Bulldogs’ passing defense has been among the worst in the SEC; Can this advance the Aggies’ passing game with replacement QB Zach Calzada? … TEXAS A&M 30-20.
Louisiana-Monroe (plus 34 1/2) at # 16 Coastal Carolina
Chanticleers looking for their 10th consecutive victory over Sun Belt … CAROLINE CTIERE 48-10.
West Kentucky (plus 11 1/2) at Michigan State # 17
Hilltoppers QB Bailey Zappe is averaging 408 passing yards per game … MICHIGAN STATE 42-24.
No. 18 Fresno State (minus 10 1/2) in Hawaii
The Bulldogs have won eight of the last 10 meetings … FRESNO STATE 35-27.
No. 21 Baylor (plus 3 1/2) at No. 19 Oklahoma State
Bear backs Abram Smith and Trestan Ebner are both averaging over 7.0 yards per carryâ¦ BAYLOR 23-20.
Arizona State (plus 3 1/2) at # 20 UCLA
Considering the state of the rest of the Pac-12 South, this could decide the division … UCLA 31-28.
N Â° 22 Auburn (less 3 1/2) at LSU
Auburn QB TJ Finley started five games for LSU last year as a freshman and could get the call in this one for his new team … AUBURN 27-24, SPILL SPECIAL.
Louisiana Tech (over 20 1/2) at # 23 in North Carolina State
Can the Wolfpack avoid disappointment after a decisive victory against Clemson? … NC STATE 34-17.
Louisville (plus 6 1/2) at No. 24 Wake Forest
The cardinals and demon deacons have divided the last four meetings; Average rating: Wake 45, Louisville 44 … WAKE FOREST 45-44.
Boston College (plus 15 1/2) at # 25 Clemson
Is this the week the Tigers offensive is unleashed? … CLEMSON 27-17.
Texas (minus 5 1/2) at TCU – @ laidbackTexan11
The Horned Frogs are 7-2 against the Longhorns since joining the Big 12 … TEXAS 31-28.
Pitt (minus 3 1/2) at Georgia Tech – @shawn_bubba
One of those teams could be pretty good. Or both. Or neither. Welcome to ACC Coastal … PITT 31-24.
Nevada (over 6 1/2) to Boise State – @ 8ntmuch
The Broncos are 16-1 against the Wolf Pack since 2001; Nevada’s only win came from a quarterback named Kaepernick. What happened to this guy? … WOODEN STATE 35-27.
Washington (plus 2 1/2) in Oregon – @ Hoyt4UW
The last time the Beavers beat USC and Washington in the same season was in 2008; the Huskies have won nine straight series … WASHINGTON 30-27.
UConn (plus 14 1/2) at Vanderbilt – @ joshdubâ
It’s not the best game of the weekend – or is it? … VANDERBILT 27-13.
Last week: 15-9 in a row; 12-12 against the spread.
Season: 64-28 in a row; 49-43 ATS.
Follow Ralph D. Russo on https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen on http://www.appodcasts.com