Sidelines with John Clay

College football picks for a holiday/rivalry weekend

Hard to believe, but this is the last regular season weekend for our college football picks.

Last week’s scorecard:

Ben went 7-3 straight-up. He’s now 79-41 for the year. He went 6-4 against the spread. He’s 63-54-3 for the year.

I went 6-4 striaght-up. I’m now 81-39 for the year. I went 3-7 against the spread. I’m 51-66-3 for the year.

This week’s picks:

Kentucky at Louisville

Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN2

Kentucky by 17

John: Kentucky 42, Louisville 14

The Cats will close out a memorable season with their ninth win as Louisville fans are left to keep fingers crossed that Jeff Brohm comes home for Christmas.

Against the spread: Kentucky

Ben: Kentucky 35, Louisville 13.

Sure, the Wildcats’ offense has to score enough points to cover this spread, but Louisville is bad. Really bad. The Cards’ are 1-10 against the spread this season and haven’t finished within 17 points of a team since September.

Against the spread: Kentucky

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Mississippi State at Ole Miss

Thursday, 7:30 p.m., ESPN

Line: Mississippi State by 10.5

John: Ole Miss 24, Mississippi State 21

The annual Egg Bowl has taken some twists and turns over the years. Prepare for another plot twist as the Rebels will take down the Bulldogs in Oxford.

Against the spread: Ole Miss

Ben: Mississippi State 35, Ole Miss 17

The Bulldogs have been playing some good football in recent weeks, while the Rebels have just been limping toward the finish of a season that was lost before it even started.

Against the spread: Mississippi State

Arkansas at Missouri

Friday, 2:30 p.m., CBS

Missouri by 23

John: Missouri 48, Arkansas 20

Repeating last year’s scenario, Missouri is once again finishing strong. Ask Tennessee. After giving up just 7 points to Kentucky, the Vols were burned for 50 by Mizzou. Meanwhile, Arkansas coach Chad Morris is more worried about with whom the Razorbacks are mingling.

Against the spread: Missouri

Ben: Missouri 41, Arkansas 15

Mizzou is coming off a 33-point win at Tennessee. Arkansas is coming off a 46-points loss at Mississippi State. This one shouldn’t be close.

Against the spread: Missouri

Georgia Tech at Georgia

Saturday, 12 p.m, SEC

Georgia by 17

John: Georgia 27, Georgia Tech 17

Fifth in the College Football Playoff rankings, Georgia may catch itself scoreboard watching on Saturday. Georgia Tech’s offense can be a headache, but Kirby Smart’s Bulldogs should take care of business.

Against the spread: Georgia Tech

Ben: Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 24

Seventeen points are too much to give in this rivalry game, especially when the underdog is a pretty good Yellow Jackets squad that can often be tough to put away.

Against the spread: Georgia Tech

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Michigan at Ohio State

Saturday, 12 p.m., Fox

Line: Michigan by 3.5

John: Michigan 20, Ohio State 7

Jim Harbaugh gets the pub, but Michigan’s defense, led by coordinator Don Brown, is the real deal. The Wolverines should be able to handle Buckeyes, even in Columbus.

Against the spread: Michigan

Ben: Michigan 27, Ohio State 17

The Wolverines’ D versus the Buckeyes’ offense should be fun to watch. Think Michigan gets the better of it.

Against the spread: Michigan

Florida at Florida State

Saturday, 12 p.m., ABC

Line: Florida by 5

John: Florida 30, Florida State 17

Florida State is finally showing signs of life, including knocking off a ranked Boston College last week. Still, Willie Taggart’s Seminoles will have their hands full with the Gators. Look for Dan Mullen to get his first win as head coach in the series.

Against the spread: Florida

Ben: Florida 34, Florida State 20

You never really know what you’re going to get from the Gators from week to week, but Florida State has been pretty consistently bad.

Against the spread: Florida

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Auburn at Alabama

Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS

Line: Alabama by 24

John: Alabama 38, Auburn 10

Alabama will no doubt remember last year when the Tide stubbed its toe in the Iron Bowl before proceeding on to the national title. Auburn in 2018 is not as good as Auburn in 2017. Tide will roll.

Against the spread: Alabama

Ben: Alabama 40, Auburn 6

The beatdowns continue, for now. Maybe Georgia can stick within a couple touchdowns of Bama next week? Probably not.

Against the spread: Alabama

Tennessee at Vanderbilt

Saturday, 4 p.m, SEC

Line: Vanderbilt by 3.5

John: Vanderbilt 27, Tennessee 20

Smashed by Missouri last week, Tennessee will try to rebound. But Vanderbilt has had the Vols’ number recently. Going with the Commodores at home.

Against the spread: Vanderbilt

Ben: Tennessee 24, Vanderbilt 23

The Volunteers need a victory for bowl eligibility. Their wacky season continues with one here.

Against the spread: Tennessee

South Carolina at Clemson

Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN

Clemson by 26.5

John: Clemson 41, South Carolina 13

Clemson is sitting in prime position for the College Football Playoff. The Tigers aren’t about to slip up now. South Carolina has had a mildly disappointing year.

Against the spread: Clemson

Ben: Clemson 37, South Carolina 24

The Gamecocks won’t win this one, but — since that first half against Kentucky — they’ve shown quite a bit of fight.

Against the spread: South Carolina

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LSU at Texas A&M

Saturday, 7:30 p.m., SEC

Texas A&M by 2

John: Texas A&M 20, LSU 17

Not a bad first season for Jimbo Fisher in Aggieland. Look for Texas A&M to finish above .500 in the SEC by taming the visiting Tigers.

Against the spread: Texas A&M

Ben: Texas A&M 27, LSU 20

The Aggies are 6-0 against the spread at home this season. Their only loss in College Station came to Clemson, by just two points. LSU is no Clemson.

Against the spread: Texas A&M