The head Mullenhead has been tossed leaving the Swamp being swamped with negativity, things are very plain down on the Plains and there are some very wounded Ducks in the Beaver State, tho it’s hard to find a more miserable fan base than those along Figueroa Street in L.A.
The message is clear in college football and in the SEC in particular: you had better win and keep winning or you’ll be, well, let’s see, handed $15-20 million to go coach somewhere else.
Now, tho, we are at Thanksgiving Weekend, which is the traditional Rivalry Week, the time when major rivalry games take place during a three-day fans’ bonanza of games. Enjoy ’em while we have ’em, too, for some like Bedlam are likely to disappear with all this conference carousel that has already seen classics like Texas-Texas A&M disappear on the dusty plains of the past.
This week’s Trivia Question: Why is Alabama’s mascot an elephant when the nickname of the athletic teams is the Crimson Tide?
Answer to last week’s trivia question. UCLA’s mascot is the Bruins because the university system’s parent school, the University of California at Berkley, is the Bears and other schools in the system are the Bruins. There are exceptions, of course, most notably the UC-Irvine Anteaters and the UCSB Gauchos.
Now onto the games. All times Pacific because the Prognosticator lives on the West Coast.
Thursday, Thanksgiving Day
Ole Miss at Mississippi State (4:30 p.m., ESPN, Egg Bowl)
Col. Rebel got egg thrown on his face two years ago when a player stupidly pretended to take a pee in the end zone like a dog after what would have been the game-winning touchdown. That game became known as the Piss, the Miss, and the Double Dismiss. The winner of this year’s game, despite all the talk about the offenses, will be the one with the best defense and it will be Marooners whom will be the goose that lays the Golden Egg Trophy. Winner: Mississippi State
Post-game analysis: The Dog defense did its job but the problem with the Air Raid offense is that once it gets inside the 20 it gets grounded. For the Rebs, Joey Freshwater got his 10th win but if foolish Florida or another program calls will he pack his bags?
Friday, Nov. 26
Cincinnati at East Carolina (12:30, ABC)
The mountain Pirates have a way of stealing the booty of some teams and pulling off upsets – right, Virginia Tech!? – but this year have not been boarding many enemy vessels. The Cinci Cats seem to have nine lives this year and those hoping for an upset here are going to be saying “arggggg.” Winner: Cincinnati
Post-game analysis: Yep. A blocked fourth-quarter field goal returned for a touchdown helped the Bearcats claw out another win.
Washington State at Washington (5 p.m., FS1, Apple Cup)
Could this be a repeat of 2008 when the teams went in with a combined 1-20 record in a game so bad the media dubbed it the the “Crapple Cup” because it was so “full of worms?” Could be for the U-Dubers who fired their coach and and have had the ignominy of losing to both Stanford and Colorado. The Cougs also fired their coach but have managed to turn that into a positive. Getting to the core of this game, the Huskies have won seven in a row in the series but this apple will fall into the cart of the visitors. Winner: Washington State
Post-game analysis: With no offensive threat, the U-Dubbers posed no threat to the Cougs, who won at Husky Stadium or the first time since the current players were in the Pee Wee League.
Saturday, Nov. 27
Georgia at Georgia Tech (9 a.m., ABC)
There’s an old joke that goes around the Peach state this time of the year. What does the Georgia Tech man say to the Georgia guy on the Monday after the game? “We’ll get you next year.” What does the Georgia man say to the Georgia Tech guy on the Monday after the game? “Morning boss.” It’s good for a chuckle and the Dawgs will be laughing all the way to end zone in this rout. Winner: Georgia
Post-game analysis: Yep
Ohio State at Michigan (9 a.m., FOX)
The Game has not been much of a game lately, with the Nuts cracking down on the Wolverines for eight straight years, 15 of the past 16 and 17 of the last 19. If Big Blue has finally risen under the Khaki Pants Coach then it must win this game to prove it. Until this happens (if it ever will) the Prognosticator will wave them off as just another contender pretender, a sheep in a Wolf(erine)’s clothing. Winner: Ohio State
Post-game analysis: Okay, Khaki Coach, you proved it. The game also pretty much confirmed the Prognosticator’s suspicions that the Bucks aren’t quite as good as their reputation and ranking. Hey, new QB, new players and they held it together as long as possible.
Florida State at Florida (9 a.m., ESPN, Sunshine Showdown)
Things are not exactly sunny for either of these teams from the Sunshine State and in fact a black cloud is hanging over Gainesville. What is it about UF that sends coaches off the deep end in the middle of their third or fourth season? For the Spears, there are a couple of signs the sun may be finally trying to peek out behind all those storm clouds but it’s not advisable to put on the shades just yet. Winner: Florida
Post-game analysis: A high note ending to a miserable regular season for the Chompers.
Alabama at Auburn (12:30 p.m., CBS, Iron Bowl)
The Tide is already playing in the SEC Championship (again), is a 21-point favorite and has – depending on what part of the country you’re in – the leader to win the Hesiman Trophy. The feeble Felines are 6-5, could finish at 6-7 and fire their first-year coach at the end of the year for a.) lack of performance and b.) refusing to get vaccinated. There’s a distant rumor that he would bolt to U-Dub if offered that job because he’s from that area and would sure be under far less pressure than on the Plains; heck he’ll probably even get the vaccine for that opportunity. But there’s one X-factor about the Iron Bowl whenever it is played in Jordan-Hare. It’s called Auburn Jesus, the Auburn version of Notre Dame’s Touchdown Jesus. Another tricky factor is the thick-bladed grass and if there’s any moisture it’s “as slick as all get-out” Nick Saban said (the forecast is for sunshine with temperatures in the low ’60s, by the way). This often causes the Pachyderms to act as if they have seen a mouse. They may see a few of them this year but in the end will stomp out of there with the W. Winner: Alabama
Post-game analysis: The Tide did to the Tigers what the Tigers normally to do Bama in Jordan-Hare, and that was to make a miracle comeback when all seemed lost. The 97-yard drive with less than two minutes remaining and no timeouts should win Bryce the Heisman. This game may have also, at least for the time being, exorcised the demons the Tide has faced on the Plains.
Oregon State at Oregon (12:30 p.m., ESPN, The Civil War)
The Ducks never got off the ground last week against Utah, which leaves the Prognosticator to wonder: was that game in Columbus earlier this year just a case of one team playing way over its head against a team caught completely by surprise (such as Texas A&M-Bama), or is Ohio State really not that good? It’s certainly not a rough Lack-12 (after all, Oregon lost to soon-to-be 3-9 Stanford) that put them in their place. The Prognosticator contends it’s the Cristo-ball, who can recruit like Dan Mullen can’t but must still learn how to coach in games. Heading into the Civil War it is the Beavers who have all the momentum and it’s going to take quite a bit to smash that dam. Winner: Oregon
Post-game analysis: Okay, Oregon. Now can you beat Utah this time for the Pac-12 title?
Penn State at Michigan State (12:30 p.m., ABC)
So the real Sparty stood up – and then was trampled by a Buckeye stampede. The Mountain Lions won’t do the same but with James Frankin’s agent cooly using all those coaching openings to land a 10-year contract extension (are the crazy!?) it allows them to focus on the task at hand. The good news for Sparty is all that another-Michigan-State-coach-to-LSU talk has subsided. Of course, in this athletic-directors-going-crazy-with-extensions era Mel Tucker, too, just received an additional 10-year deal to the tune of – are you ready for this Spartan fans – $95 million. Er, MSU, you might want to wait until after this game. Winner: Penn State
Post-game analysis: Okay Lions, are you second-guessing that new contract for your coach?
Wisconsin at Minnesota (1 p.m., FOX)
Bucky has caused the Wisconsin fans to get off their couches and jump up with a seven-game winning streak while the Gophers have dug themselves into a hole on more than one occasion this year. Winner: Wisconsin
Post-game analysis: Bucky’s lack of offense catches up with it, as it did to start the season.
Texas A&M at LSU (4 p.m., ESPN)
Win one for the O! This will be the battle cry for the tamed Tigers, whose gravel-voiced coach will be disappearing into the Louisiana bayou after this game, albeit with a nice $16.8 million buyout. He’ll be able to buy all the gumbo and jambalaya the state can put in front of him. Expect the kind performance the team put up against Bama. Will the Cadets, too, have that kind of effort? Impossible. The man they call Jimbo will be on display for LSU fans and alumni to see up close and when it’s over they will be glad the former Tiger assistant has said time and time again that he’s staying in College Station. Winner: LSU
Post-game analysis: Okay, so the Bayou boys fumbled the late punt (not called) and the receiver pushed off on the winning TD but really Jimbo, your team is 8-4 and only played one great game all year. Heck, you nearly lost to Colorado and Vanderbilt. Are you really building a dynasty??
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State (4:30 p.m., ABC, Bedlam)
There’s been bedlam at pretty much every OU game this year with near-miracle comebacks, holding off opponents like hanging onto an out-of-control wagon train and the benching of an early Heisman front-running quarterback. All the while the Pokes have quietly been winning 10 of their 11 games and doing it – quite surprisingly – with defense. Now that the actual Bedlam is here, the Boomers will be going from boom to bust. Winner: Oklahoma State
Post-game analysis: Goodbye Norman, hello Los Angeles for Lincoln Riley.
Clemson at South Carolina (4:30 p.m., SEC Network)
To those who are picking a Gamecocks upset, the Prognosticator has one word for you: HA! Yes, last week the Chickens had some game in them but this week they can’t just peck around on offense and expect to win. Winner: Clemson
Post-game analysis: Yep.
Notre Dame at Stanford (5 p.m., FOX)
Losers of five straight, including to Washington and Cal – yikes! – the Cardinal have bought the Farm this year. Other than the band, Stanford will offer little entertainment in this one while the Irish will keep on fighting to try and wiggle their way into the College Football Playoff. Winner: Notre Dame
Post-game analysis: Yep.
BYU at USC (7 p.m, ESPN)
The Cougars will remain undefeated against the Lack-12 while Trojan fans are saying “what, we have to endure the pain of another game!?” Many won’t as the Coliseum is going to be as empty as this season has been for Troy. But hey, regardless of the outcome the band will play and the Song Girls will dance afterward and that alone is worth the small price of admission. Winner: BYU
Post-game analysis: Things are about to get way better for the Trojans with the arrival of Riley. First, tho, more potential agony this season with one more game – yes, another game SC fans – tho it’s only against Cal.
Cal at UCLA ( 7:30 p.m., FS1)
With this win, the Trampolines will improve to 8-4, proof to some that Chip Kelly is finally turning the corner. Astute observers, tho, are going to be quick to point out that they have not beat a team with a winning record. Well no matter, it’s basketball season and there’s a lot to look forward to in Westwood despite the hoopsters’ blowout loss to Gonzaga this week. Winner: UCLA
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