Not All Pre-Thanksgiving Games Are Turkeys
Thanksgiving is the following weekend but there’s a lot of turkey being served up this week with a lineup of games that will stuff the pockets of several small athletic departments in exchange for getting slaughtered.
Served up on the platter for consumption is the Citadel at Alabama, UMass at Georgia, Rice at LSU (and we know how much Cajuns like to eat rice) as well as some some conference games in which the fat cats get to feast on win-starved opponents (Michigan-Indiana, Ohio State-Maryland, Oklahoma-Kansas).
Two teams even have empty plates. TBD is both at Catawba and Averett, two small schools in North Carolina and Virginia, respectively. Here’s a suggestion: have the Indians (Catawba) meet the Cougars (Averett) at a neutral site and have a feast for the fans.
But in case you think the cupboard is bare, this is college football and it can serve up some pretty tasty dishes even on a supposedly off week. The felines from Clemson could have their paws busy, at least for a while, with some devilish Devils from Duke and there could be an upset – or two – on a Saturday that has a tradition of having delicious appetizers before the Rivalry Week main meal on Thanksgiving weekend.
All times Pacific because The Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Syracuse at Notre Dame (11:30 a.m., NBC)
The Domers look to polish off another opponent as they seek to put a bit more of a shine on their College Football Playoff resume. But they may find that some rust has been building under all that gold paint. The Saltine Warriors come in capable of scraping the luster off the Domers’ season and have their arrow pointed like a dagger right at the Irish’s heart. They barely missed their mark earlier this year at Clemson but will be right on target this time. Winner: Syracuse
West Virginia at Oklahoma State (12:30 p.m., ABC)
The gunslingers from Stillman ran just short of buckshot in last week’s shootout against Oklahoma and must reload immediately to take on the mountain men. The Pokes certainly have plenty of firepower and they are going to need it, for the Couch Burners have enough ammunition to light up T. Boone Pickens Stadium like the Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks. The first team to get a defensive stop wins. Winner: West Virginia
USC at UCLA (12:30 p.m., FOX)
This is a “throw out the records” rivalry game, one in which both sides would like to throw out the season. The Chip Kellys have been less than chipper this season while the Helton Skelters have been an apocalyptic mess. Still, in the tradition of this cross-town rivalry, some of the best games in the series have taken place when both teams have had the kinds of years that make their fans want to stay at the tailgate party well past kickoff in order to drink more before entering the stadium. Conquests are rare for the Tommy Trojans these days but the Baby Bears are too weak protect their den from the invading forces from Troy. Winner: USC
Cincinnati at UCF (5 p.m., ABC)
The Prognosticator finally recognizes The Knights, who are playing prime time on Saturday night, complete with a visit by the ESPN College Gameday crew and the headgear-wearing Lee Corso. For a team that just a few years ago was so bad a local bar was giving out free beer until the team won, this is their time to shine. Pegasus wants to prove to the college football world that it belongs in the playoff discussion. The visiting Bearcats have managed to claw out a 9-1 record, tho the competition for both schools has been as soft as a cheerleader’s cheek, and even with a win it will be hard to rank the Citronauts among the game’s elite. This will be another shootout with the citrus grove astronauts barely squeezing out a narrow win. Winner: Central Florida
Arizona at Washington State (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Mustaches began the season as baby-faced boys, but now have some grizzle to them, thanks mainly to a quarterback who refuses to shave off any complacency and a coach who claims to be part pirate. This won’t be a razor-thin win for the home team, like so many other games this season, because the Cats don’t have enough hair-raising playmakers or the coaching to trim the host’s playoff hopes. Winner: Washington State