COVID-19 has finally come for college football. While we've seen cases pop up on teams from time to time during the season, the sport was able to avoid the postponements and cancelations that plagued it in 2020. It will not get through bowl season unscathed, though.

Texas A&M has been forced to back out of the Gator Bowl due to a rise of COVID cases on the roster. The Gator Bowl hopes to find a replacement for the game, but it's hard to imagine that happening without another game being canceled.

A&M is not alone. Alabama announced Wednesday that offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien and offensive line coach Doug Marrone have tested positive and are now home isolating. However, both are expected to be back in time for the semifinal against Cincinnati. Still, the rise in cases did cause the College Football Playoff to announce that any team unable to field enough players for a playoff game will forfeit and that if both teams in a game must forfeit, the other semifinal will serve as the national championship game.

Oh, and if three teams are forced to forfeit? Well, congratulations to the fourth team, as they'll be named champions. I have no idea what happens if nobody can play, but let's just cross our fingers and hope this is all irrelevant information. For information that is relevant, check out these other stories from today.

All right, let's try to give your bank accounts a booster shot.

All times Eastern, and all odds via Caesars Sportsbook

🔥 The Hot Ticket

🏈 Missouri vs. Army, 8 p.m. | TV: ESPN

The Pick: Over 53.5 (-110): This line has moved a lot this week as Missouri announced it would be without starting quarterback Connor Bazelak, as well as running back Tyler Badie, who led the Tigers with 1,939 all-purpose yards and 18 total touchdowns. The Tigers will also be without key players on defense, including leading tackler Martez Manuel and run-stuffing defensive tackle Akial Byers.

Missouri's rush defense has been awful enough already, but to lose your starting DT and your leading tackler is a terrible thing before having to play Army.

So I'm expecting the Knights will not have difficulty moving the ball. The problem is, those absences affected the spread too much for me to trust Army to cover. While Mizzou's defense is bad, it's not as if Army has a lockdown defense of its own. The Knights have struggled defending the pass, and the Tigers should find success on offense against them. All of which tells me that the over is the play we want to make here.

Also, have you been watching the bowl games so far? There's not much defense being played. The first 11 bowl games have averaged 65.8 points per game and the over has gone 9-2. The message being sent by these teams is loud and clear: we're not here to tackle anybody.

Key Trend: The over is 9-2 in the first 11 bowl games of the season

Here's what SportsLine is saying about the game: If I'm not good enough for you, you can always check out what SportsLine's Projection Model has to say about tonight's contest.

💰 The Picks


🏀College basketball

Clemson at Virginia, 7 p.m. | TV: ACC Network

The Pick: Virginia -4 (-110) -- This season's version of Virginia is not the same Virginia you've grown accustomed to in recent years. Oh, it still moves at a pace that would cause a glacier to grow impatient, but it isn't nearly as efficient on either end of the floor as it has been most of the last decade. Generally speaking, the better Virginia is from three, the better it is as a team, and so far this season, the Cavaliers are shooting only 32.1% from three. Armaan Franklin, who transferred from Indiana, is having trouble adapting to a new system and team and has struggled to provide the long-range shooting the team hoped for (he's 12/57 from three so far).

So maybe tonight's a good time to run into Clemson? The Tigers have shot really well from three this year, but they don't defend the three-point line particularly well. Also, there are some splits with this Clemson team worth paying attention to. Against teams ranked outside the top 100 by KenPom, Clemson is 6-0. Against teams inside the top 100, the Tigers are only 2-4. Virginia is ranked No. 58. Another split playing a role tonight is that Clemson is 6-0 at home and 2-6 on the road or at neutral sites. They've lost their true road games against Rutgers and Miami and are on the road again tonight. I think the Cavs are undervalued tonight.

Key Trend: Clemson is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 road games.

Virginia Tech at No. 2 Duke, 9 p.m. | TV: ESPN2

The Pick: Virginia Tech +9.5 (-110) -- Virginia Tech is a much better team than its 8-4 record suggests. Yes, the losses to Wake Forest and Dayton were eyebrow-raising, but this Hokies team still ranks 22nd nationally in KenPom ratings and plays well on both sides of the ball. It also moves at one of the slowest paces in the country, which it will lean on heavily tonight against a Duke team that has far more talent than it does.

As for this matchup, the battle from three will determine how this game goes. Tech's opponents have shot only 25.5% from three against them, ranking 10th nationally. That defense will come in handy against a Duke team that's good from deep but not great. On the flip side, the Hokies are shooting 40% from three, ranking 7th nationally. Duke allows opponents to shoot 31.8% from three, which ranks 125th. If the Hokies can hit their threes like they've done all season, they'll make this game uncomfortable for the Blue Devils.

Key Trend: Duke has covered four straight at home, so it's due for a loss?

🔒 SportsLine Pick of the Day: Just because I'm not betting the NBA right now doesn't mean the SportsLine Projection Model has stopped. It has a couple of different plays for tonight's Celtics/Cavaliers game it's fond of.

 🏀 Tonight's Parlay

Since we're doing everything in our power to avoid the NBA and there's a large college slate, let's add a four-leg college basketball parlay to our card. This one pays +124.

  • Kentucky (-700)
  • Marist (-700)
  • South Dakota State (-420)
  • Saint Mary's (-260)