A special Turkey Day edition for Week 13!
As usual, all times Eastern and all predictions wrong.
8:00: Southern California @ Arizona State (ESPN): Not sure I need state what’s at stake here. To sum it up, Arizona State controls its own destiny in the Pac-10. USC needs a win and an Oregon loss to clinch a Rose Bowl berth. Will they? I’m thinking no.
Noon: Nebraska @ Colorado (ABC): All that’s on the line here is a possible bowl berth, which the Big 12 will need because it likely won’t fill all its bids. The Buffs come in off a loss to Iowa State; their opponent comes off a bye week after shellacking Kansas. This game is basically a tossup, and I’m probably picking a minor upset by taking the Cornhuskers.
12:30: Mississippi @ Mississippi State (LF/Gameplan): Miss State will bring plenty of Cowbell as they try to guarantee themselves a bowl berth in a crowded SEC picture. Ole Miss is, of course, the only SEC team that has no shot at a bowl, and I don’t think they’ll suddenly start playing well in this contest. Miss State wins.
2:30: Arkansas @ Louisiana State (CBS): Houston Nutt is probably gone after the year and, oh yeah, LSU is really good. Tigers win the Battle for the Golden Boot.
3:30: Texas @ Texas Agricultural & Mechanical (ABC): Speaking of coaches likely to lose their jobs, Texas rolls into Kyle and should win. They desperately need help from the boys in Stillwater to play in Kansas City next week, though.
9:00: Boise State @ Hawaii (ESPN2): This is also a game worth watching, provided your turkey leftovers haven’t put you to sleep. This is Hawaii’s second real test all season, against by far their best opponent. A win here gets Hawaii ranked in all computer polls and will vault them into the top 14 of the BCS, which this year would just about guarantee them a bid. Boise is also right up there with Hawaii in the rankings, though, and is more well-liked by the computers. Neither team has beaten anyone from a BCS conference this year, and will play the same BCS team – Washington. I would say both teams would beat Washington handily at this point of the year – after their victory over Boise, the Huskies lost 6 straight and are 4-7 on the year. Honestly, I think Boise State could very easily pull the upset here, especially if Colt Brennan is still having issues related to the concussion he suffered during the Fresno State. That said, I’ll take the Warriors at home.
- Miami (FL) @ Boston College (ESPN): BC has clinched a spot in Jacksonville next week, and their opponent will be playing at the same time over on ESPN2. If this were an NFL team, they’d probably rest their starters, but they’ll probably get a chance to anyway as they should beat Miami handily. Unless the Canes pull off the upset, this will the first time they have not made a bowl since 1997.
- Virginia Tech @ Virginia (ESPN2): For the past few weeks, we knew this is what the ACC Coastal title would hinge on. I am still not sold on Virginia, unless you’re trying to sell me on the idea that they’re incredibly lucky. In other words, I’m going to say the Hokies win this one.
- Maryland @ North Carolina State (Raycom/Gameplan): One again, a bowl berth is on the line, the destination Boise. Both these teams have shocked at some point this season. Maryland by upsetting Boston College and then losing to FSU last week. NCSU won 4 straight games, and then lost by 20 to Wake. Whoops. At any rate, I’m taking Maryland here.
1:30: Tennessee @ Kentucky (CBS): Kentucky hasn’t played all that well away from home, a fact that’s brought them down from the high of beating LSU there. Tennessee should’ve lost to Vandy last week, the Vols got all the calls. Can UK pull off the upset at this point? Probably not. I hope not.
- Oregon @ California-Los Angeles (ABC/Gameplan): Will Dixon-less Oregon be able to beat UCLA? Normally, this is kind of game Karl Dorrell would pull out, but without Dixon they have a realistic shot to win. Which is why they will lose.
- Georgia @ Georgia Tech (Gameplan/ESPN2/ABC): To Hell With Georgia.
- Connecticut @ West Virginia (Gameplan/ESPN2/ABC): Ladies and Gentlemen, your Big East Championship Game! Of course, I don’t think anyone planned it out that way, but hey, I guess those round-robin schedules produce some interesting late season matchups anyway. That said, I can’t really fathom any way WVU loses this game. This season hasn’t helped me believe that all, but I can’t in good conscience predict an upset here.
- Kansas State @ Fresno State (ESPN2/Gameplan): Why is this taking up space on ESPN? The mind boggles. The mind also boggles at why K-State is going to Fresno. Anyway, the only reason I can think of to watch this is that one of my cousins is blocking TE for K-State. Fresno should win, though.
- Notre Dame @ Stanford (ESPN): After subjecting us to Duke last week, ESPN for some reason opts to show us this contest. I cannot fathom why. Just for the hell of it, I’m going to say the Cardinal prevails and move on.
- Oklahoma State @ Oklahoma (FSN): It’s Bedlam, baby! I’ve always liked watching this rivalry. And you don’t need to go too far back to find an upset by the Cowboys in a situation where Oklahoma desperately needed a win: a 12-1 Oklahoma team came into Stillwater in 2002 and lost 38-28. An 11-1 OU team lost by 3 a year before. The 2000 OU team that won the national title only beat a 3-8 OU squad by a 12-7 score. Last year, the Sooners only won by 6. However, these upsets will stay just that, upsets. Despite the loss next week, Oklahoma gets it done here.
5:00: Florida State @ Florida (CBS): Florida needs a win to stay in contention for a possible BCS bid. FSU needs a win to solidify their bowl position (though they’ll probably end up on this side of the country anyway, see below). Florida has been rolling since Tebow got a little healthier, and I see no reason for that trend to stop against a mediocre-to-terrible FSU squad.
- Clemson @ South Carolina (ESPN2): Definitely the more interesting of the state rivalries at this time slot. Clemson had better not screw this up, but South Carolina has to know they’re probably playing for a bowl berth here.
- Washington State @ Washington (FSN): Yawn. U-Dub wins. Next.
- Missouri vs. Kansas (@Kansas City; ABC): Can you say “national title implications”? I thought so. Anyway, this is seriously the first real test for the Jawhawks all season long. I think Mizzou is slightly better, honestly. They’ve played an infinitely better OOC schedule and their only loss is to Oklahoma. Whatever the outcome, don’t expect a blowout, but probably a lot of points. I think this is a tossup to be completely honest, and I’ll take the safe but less ballsy pick of Kansas.
- Alabama @ Auburn (ESPN): If I need cheering up at this point, the only thing that would do it would see Auburn beat the ever-living daylights of Alabama. Again. Both squads are mistake prone, but Auburn is simply a better football team right now in all respects. And I really just hate Alabama.
Anyway, enjoy your turkey and I’ll be back on Sunday to analyze the new bowl situation, whatever it is.