Another Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, which means a whole bunch of great college football after those awful NFL games on Thursday. Seriously, the Panthers are good, but the other three teams combined have the same amount of wins as Carolina this season. Fortunately, you can forget about that with a set of college games so good Jon will have a great slate tomorrow as well.
To help decide which ones to choose, I elected to pick exclusively in-state rivalries. There's a whole host of intriguing matchups, even though my Saturday only rule excludes the best one, Baylor at TCU.
Jon and I are either learning from our mistakes or just getting lucky, as both of us went 7-3 last week for our best combined record of the season. That puts Jon back at .500 with a 59-59-2 record, while I'm within striking distance at 57-61-2.
|2:30 p.m. Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh NC|
LT:When was the last time UNC football didn't have more losses than UNC basketball on Thanksgiving? Surely it's been quite some time, and hey, if we're lucky, the basketball team will have more. Yet despite that remarkable feat, we haven't heard a lot about the football team. Why is that? Well, it probably has something to do with the fact that a 26-19 win at Pitt is the only thing resembling a quality win on the Tar Heels' schedule. They also haven't been super impressive, so you won't find them high up in the F+ or S&P rankings.
Nonetheless, a 6.5-point spread sure doesn't seem like very much against a North Carolina State team is 0-4 against ACC opponents with more than one win. All of those losses were by at least a touchdown. This one could produce some fireworks, since it's two very good offensive teams that don't seem to care a whole lot for defense. Tar Heels cover.
JM: I just can't help remembering a couple of months ago when North Carolina State was 4-0 and people were putting them in their top 25 lists. That was fun. No, North Carolina hasn't played anyone, really. But what they have done is handle lesser teams, South Carolina inexplicably excepted. The Tar Heels will cover.
|2:30 p.m. Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles CA|
LT: UCLA made me feel silly last week for picking them to lose at Utah, even though my gut told me the Bruins would pull it out. I feel the same way about this one with a Pac-12 title berth on the line, so I'm correcting my mistake. UCLA covers.
JM: Inconsistent freshman quarterback aside, I think UCLA is built to exploit USC's weaknesses. Namely, that little thing called "defense". Bruins cover.
|Saturday, 6:15 p.m. Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville MS|
LT: Dak Prescott had the field day I predicted he would last week against Arkansas' awful pass defense, and he won't face too much more resistance this week. Of course, Arkansas also destroyed the Mississippi State defense, and it's hard to find any reason why Ole Miss won't do the same. But weird things happen in the Egg Bowl, and I'm feeling the love for Dak. Bulldogs win.
JM: Here's where you're wrong: Ole Miss isn't demonstrably better in the secondary than Arkansas, but they'll pressure Prescott a heck of a lot more than the Hogs did. That will be the difference in a close game. Rebels cover.
|Saturday, 6:30 p.m. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville FL|
LT: Does Florida have a shot at making the playoff if it wins out? That's a scary thought, especially since the Gators probably deserved to lose to Florida Atlantic this week. To be clear, I don't think there's any way Florida beats Alabama, but it's tough to see the committee leaving out a one-loss SEC champion. Certainly, a mediocre Florida State team isn't going to prevent it from happening, even though the Seminoles are inexplicably favored. Gators cover.
JM: Inexplicably? Florida State is favored because Florida isn't that good. Here's a list of teams Florida beat by a touchdown or less: East Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, LSU, Vanderbilt, Florida Atlantic. They have two good wins (sorry, Luke, beating Missouri by 18 should be expected of any team with a pretense at relevance this year). The only thing Florida has going for it is its defense, but they've only played one team with an offense... and they gave up 180 on the ground to Leonard Fournette while giving up 35 points and losing. Florida State has a better passing game than LSU, and they've got Dalvin Cook. Seminoles cover.
|Saturday, 7 p.m. Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater OK|
LT: Baker Mayfield is allegedly ready to go and the Sooners are rolling, so all signs point to them winning this game. But maybe I'm sentimental, or maybe I just remember last year, because I think the Cowboys find a way to make it competitive and possibly win, probably with a huge game from Mason Rudolph. OSU covers.
JM: This is all gut, but I tend to do a lot better when I just roll with it. Sooner are going to cover.
All those great games Luke won't do on his own because of his weird obsession with only wanting one day of college football instead of seven.