by Big Al
Rivalry Week. That's all you need to know.
LSU at Texas A&M
It's Thanksgiving weekend, and we get to see the traditional matchup of... Texas A&M and LSU. Yeah. This kind of sucks. Texas A&M, however, doesn't seem to be too disappointed about that, though. In fact, they seem pretty happy about not having to deal with Texas anymore. They'll continue to enjoy that decision this weekend.
NC State at North Carolina
It's rivarly week, after all. And North Carolina wins.
Nebraska at Iowa
Farmageddon! I just love typing that every year. Nebraska wins.
Washington at Washington State
Our first truly big game of the weekend, with the Pac-12 North in the balance. Both teams can put up some big numbers, but I prefer Washington's defense. Washington keeps it going for another week.
TCU at Texas
I really thought Charlie Strong would do well at Texas. It stinks, because I rather liked Charlie Strong. But losing to Kansas is pretty well rock-bottom for Texas, and there's just no recovering from that. TCU sends him off with a sour taste.
Toledo at Western Michigan
Don't sleep on Toledo. They are 9-2 this year and could upend WMU. I don't expect them to, but I haven't watched enough of either team to tell you otherwise. How does one turn their crappy website into a lucrative career? I suppose by making it not crappy. And about something other than college football.
Arizona State at Arizona
Arizona State. But man alive, this game is just painful to think about. As is Rich Rodriguez right now. I really thought he would do well at Arizona. Wrong again.
Kentucky at Louisville
Louisville. Duh. But I am glad to see that this game is being played at the end of the year, rather than the first or second weekend, where it used to be. Of course, that leaves Tennessee playing Vanderbilt at the end of the year every year, which is even more of a whimper than playing Kentucky. We need to find Tennessee a decent year-end rival.
Michigan at Ohio State
The game that everybody is talking about in a weekend where every game is huge. Except Tennessee-Vanderbilt, that game sucks. Michigan's defense is like nothing the Buckeyes have seen so far this year, and Ohio State's defense has looked vulnerable. As I have said numerous times, I am a pessimistic Ohio State fan, so I am picking Michigan.
Georgia Tech at Georgia
It's not a bad game. It's not a good one either. But it is evenly matched, with two 7-4 teams coming in and nothing on the line but statewide bragging rights. I see that ESPN's FPI says that Georgia has a 62.5% chance to win this game. Does anyone actually check these numbers to see if they correspond to reality. Out of all the games where a team was a 62.5% favorite, do 3 out of 8 really lose? Or is it just an important-looking number with no real support behind it? Something to chew on.
Kansas at Kansas State
Kansas hit a recent high point with their win over Texas last weekend. Is this the start of good things for the Jayhawks? Kansas State tells them, "No."
Michigan State at Penn State
Michigan State is still well-coached and not-untalented. But they do tend to lose. Penn State.
Minnesota at Wisconsin
Let's not discount Minnesota in the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe. They are a good team with a solid record that just happens to be overshadowed by Wisconsin and Nebraska right now. I expect Wisconsin to win, but the Badgers better not get cocky.
Auburn at Alabama
This one was looking much bigger a couple weeks ago. Then Auburn took the game off against Georgia. Now, it's merely huge instead of gigantic. But it's going to be hard-hitting and well-played. I expect Alabama to win, but this is another game where the favorite had better not get cocky.
Notre Dame at USC
Well, at least Notre Dame gets some literal sunshine. There won't be an figurative sunshine for them here. By the way, what the heck is happening to Notre Dame this year? It's not like they have been recruiting poorly, nor has Brian Kelly forgotten how to coach. I guess we'll see what happens next year.
Duke at Miami
Why on earth is this an end-of-year game? Maybe Miami should start a rivalry game with Tennessee. Anyway, Miami.
Oregon at Oregon State
It wasn't that long ago that this was one of the biggest games of the year. Oregon won pretty much all the time, but we are talking about both teams having one loss or fewer coming in. I'll take Oregon here, for old-time's sake.
South Carolina at Clemson
I really like Clemson, but they've been playing uninspired football all year. Not sure what the deal is there. I'm picking them to win, but unispired football in a rivalry game is a ticket to disaster. They'd better find their mojo quick.
Utah at Colorado
The Pac-12 South hangs in the balance. For Colorado, at least. I am happy to see them back in the national mix. The Buffaloes were very good back in the '80's, when I was first becoming a college football fan. You always have fond recollections of yesteryears when things seemed simpler. With that said, I'll take Colorado to put off USC's resurgence.
Florida at Florida State
This is a big one. If Florida can win this, they will be right back into the playoff hunt, with a game against Alabama coming up in the SEC championship game. Florida State, meanwhile, is looking for their seniors to complete an 8-0 sweep of Miami and Florida. Sorry, seniors, Florida is on the rebound. I'm taking the Gators to keep it interesting in the 2-loss team race for the playoffs.
Utah State at BYU
BYU because they are kind of good and Utah State is not.
UMass at Hawaii
Every night, I read stories to my 3-year-old before bed and then fall asleep next to him. This happens every night around 7:00-8:00 pm. Then I wake up around 1:00 am because my kid is rolling around, trying to shove me off the bed. It's a bad habit to get into, I know. But that's where we're at. I mention this because, between getting some quality time in with my kid by chasing him around all Saturday while my wife gets some work done, going out for a meal my wife doesn't have to cook, and the aforementioned bedtime routine, this may be the only game I see this weekend. So thank you, Hawaii and UMass, for allowing me to actually see some of the football that I enjoy so well, and I am supposed to be writing about.