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College football forecast: Friends say Michigan and under

This is the season to be thankful for family and friends, especially the ones who casually bet on college football.

Since the majority of my plays haven’t gone well and the overall record is under .500 entering the final week of the regular season, it was time to bring in some help.

I asked four people for their best bets and will combine them with my pick. Hopefully this goes better than the first 12 weeks.

Let’s start in Columbus, Ohio, for The Game between Michigan and Ohio State. The winner advances to the Big Ten championship and is in prime position to earn a berth in the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes are motivated after falling to That Team Up North last season and haven’t lost at home to Michigan since 2000. Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud can put one hand on the Heisman Trophy with a big game in the national spotlight.

The total has gone over in eight straight games in this series, but my play is the other side.

Michigan running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards are both banged up and will face an improved Buckeyes rushing defense that has allowed seven rushing touchdowns all season and is yielding 3.1 yards per carry.

That will put the pressure on Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy, who has been inconsistent as the starter, particularly the past five weeks.

Expect Michigan to lean on its defense, which is ranked No. 1 in the country in yards allowed and is second in scoring defense. Linebacker Mike Morris, the team’s leading pass rusher, also is expected to return after missing last week’s game against Illinois.

Take under the total of 56½.

Here are my family and friends’ plays for Saturday:

San Jose State -15 over Hawaii: This one comes from Dad, who spent three years as a student at San Jose State in the 1960s. During his time there, the Spartans went a combined 14-16 and were known for Krazy George the cheerleader. They are a little better these days, and Dad thinks they will handle the Rainbow Warriors to snap a two-game losing streak.

Georgia-Georgia Tech O49: My friend Ryan made this pick. He’s an expert on “Star Wars,” so he can probably relate to the Bulldogs taking down the Nick Saban Empire. “The spread is like 36 … so if Georgia covers the spread, the 49 over should be a lock,” he said. Shoot, the Bulldogs might cover the number themselves.

Michigan +7½ over Ohio State: I figured my friend Mark would have a good perspective on what it takes to be successful in a hostile road environment since he’s a competitive cornhole player. But when he was asked in our group chat why he liked the Wolverines, Mark said, “Just figured I’d pick a big game, lol.” Uh, oh.

Southern California -5½ over Notre Dame: The Trojans were pushed to the brink last week by UCLA, and this is a huge stage for quarterback Caleb Williams in his Heisman Trophy campaign. I might have gone with the over here, but my friend Bill thinks USC will win by 10. Fight on!

Last week: 2-3

Season: 29-30-1

Contact David Schoen at dschoen@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5203. Follow @DavidSchoenLVRJ on Twitter.

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