We've had more free weekends in November the past two weeks than we've had in a while.
Neither Alabama nor Auburn have played since Oct. 31 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That's two straight November weekends without Alabama, Auburn or Jacksonville State, which completed its fall season with a win at Florida International on Oct. 23. The last time all three were off on a November Saturday was Nov. 22, 2008. Alabama and Auburn were off before meeting in the Iron Bowl on Nov. 29, and Jacksonville State had finished its season.
Unless Alabama or Auburn or their opponents get taken out with a rash of positive tests (and the prerequisite contact tracing), we'll avoid another weekend of watching other people play.
Let's get to the picks:
Tennessee (2-4) at No. 23 Auburn (4-2): Because of the three-week break, it's hard to say if the team that hammered LSU 48-11 on Oct. 31 will show up Saturday. The Tigers recently were down 13 players and staffers to positive COVID-19 tests.
Either way, it would be good to see Bo Nix continue to progress. He's a play-maker, but needs to become more efficient. He completed 18 of 24 passes for 300 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions against LSU. Even so, he's still only 62nd nationally in passing efficiency. ... Auburn 31, Tennessee 20.
Kentucky (3-4) at No. 1 Alabama (6-0): Mac Jones still impresses. He ranks third nationally in passing efficiency. Western Michigan's Kaleb Eleby is first, and Ohio State's Justin Fields is second.
By the way, Jones was committed to Kentucky at one point in his high school career. … Alabama 42, Kentucky 13.
Mississippi State (2-4) at No. 13 Georgia (4-2): MSU has averaged 10.8 points a game in the last five contests. … Georgia 26, Mississippi State 9.
No. 6 Florida (5-1) at Vanderbilt (0-6): Florida quarterback Kyle Trask has thrown 28 touchdown passes, which leads the nation. With him in charge, the Gators are scoring 45.8 points a game, which is second in the SEC to Alabama's 47.2 points. ... Florida 48, Vanderbilt 12.
No. 14 Oklahoma State (5-1) at No. 18 Oklahoma (5-2): Oklahoma started out 1-2 with early losses to Kansas State and Iowa State, but the Sooners have rolled the last month. They need this one badly to have a chance to make the Big 12 Championship Game, which is set for Dec. 19. Iowa State (5-1) and Oklahoma State (4-1) lead the standings, while Kansas State, Oklahoma and Texas are all 4-2. ... Oklahoma 45, Oklahoma State 38.
Kansas State (4-3) at No. 17 Iowa State (5-2): Iowa State. First place. Imagine that. The Cyclones haven't won a league championship in football since taking the Missouri Valley Intercollegiate Athletic Association back-to-back in 1911-12.
The coach, Clyde Williams, hung up his whistle after that. He served as Iowa State's athletics director during 1914-19. In 1915, Iowa State named their home field for him, and the Cyclones played there until moving to a new stadium in 1975. … Iowa State 33, Kansas State 20.
No. 9 Indiana (4-0) at No. 3 Ohio State (3-0): Indiana hasn't beaten Ohio State since 1988 when the Hoosiers finished 8-3-1 and No. 20 in The Associated Press poll. Indiana hasn't placed in the final AP poll since then. The Hoosiers haven't been as high as No. 9 since they won the Big Ten in 1967 and finished fourth. ... Ohio State 41, Indiana 21.
North Alabama (0-3) at No. 8 Brigham Young (8-0): Paycheck game. ... Brigham Young 55, North Alabama 12.
Missouri (2-3) at South Carolina (2-5): Coach Boom, Will Muschamp, is gone at South Carolina, and his relationship with the school must've gone seriously downhill for him to get fired. It would've been easier to allow him to finish out the season.
Now, at least, the school can get a jump on finding a replacement. As for this year, it's a lost cause. … Missouri 31, South Carolina 27.
No. 20 Southern California (2-0) at Utah (0-0): USC has won two games by a combined five points. The Trojans are scheduled to play only six games this season. … USC 28, Utah 27.
Last week: 9-0. We picked Troy/Coastal Carolina, but that game was postponed because of COVID-19 protocols.