Happy Thanksgiving to all.
There is a ton of football on tap for this long holiday weekend so let me start with some of the rivalry games in college football:
- Ole Miss goes to Starkville to play Mississippi St. in the Egg Bowl; Ole Miss is a 15-point underdog in the game. This is always a big event in the State of Mississippi but this year there may be just a bit more intensity than normal. A Mississippi State fan/blogger/reporter is the one who uncovered evidence of some recruiting “irregularities” at Ole Miss that led to the firing of the coach just before the season started.
- Alabama is a 4-point favorite at Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The winner is the SEC West champion and goes to face Georgia in the SEC Championship Game; recall that Auburn demolished Georgia just 2 weeks ago. In that game, the Auburn defensive front 7 throttled Georgia’s run game and forced them to try to throw the ball to win; that did not come close to working out for Georgia. I don’t know if Auburn can do that to the Alabama running game, but if it can…
- Georgia is an 11.5-point favorite on the road at Georgia Tech. Georgia is the better team here, but Auburn showed the world how to beat Georgia. I doubt that Tech can do what has to be done here.
- Florida St. is a 5-point favorite at Florida. This year has been hugely disappointing for both of these teams; each one brings a 4-6 record to the kickoff. Between them, these teams have a total of 8 wins; often in the past, both teams would come to this game with 8 or more wins apiece…
- Vandy goes across the state for its annual game with Tennessee. Neither team is any good but there is a bright spot in this game. One of these teams will win its first SEC game of the year this weekend. Hi-ho!
- Clemson is a 14.5-point favorite over in-state rival South Carolina. Clemson is the better team and Clemson has to win to maintain its position in the CFP rankings. Nonetheless, South Carolina is tough at home; that line looks fat to me.
- VA Tech is a 7-point favorite at UVa. Neither team plays reliably from week to week; so, I have no idea how this game will unfold this year.
- USF visits UCF and UCF is an 11-point favorite. UCF wants to maintain its undefeated status here; USF has lost once. The winner here will be the AAC East Champion and will likely be the “non-Power 5 team” to get an invitation to a New Year’s Day bowl game.
- Wisconsin is a 17-point favorite at Minnesota in the game that decides which team takes possession of Paul Bunyan’s Axe. Wisconsin is on the periphery of the CFP, but they cannot look ahead to the Big 10 Championship Game against Ohio St. here. Minnesota needs a win to be bowl-eligible.
- Ohio St. travels north to play Michigan in Ann Arbor. Ohio St. has wrapped up the Big 10 East title, but this rivalry is such that there is no danger of the Buckeyes jaking it here. Another reason to tune in to this game would be to try to capture Jim Harbaugh venting steam via any of a half-dozen bodily orifices on the sidelines.
- Oregon hosts Oregon St. in the Civil War; Oregon is a 21-point favorite here. That line is more a reflection of how badly Oregon St. has played this year than anything else because Oregon is only mediocre.
- Washington St. is a 10-point underdog at Washington in the Apple Cup game. If State wins, they are the PAC-12 North champion; if Washington wins, Stanford is the PAC-12 North champion. [I think I have that right…] Even if the stakes were lower, this would be an intense game.
- Arizona is a 2-point favorite on the road against Arizona St. The interesting thing about this game is that the Total Line is 75.5. Don’t blink; you may miss a scoring play…
In NFL action, all of the regular season BYE Weeks have passed; all 32 teams will play between today and Monday night.
- Vikes – 2.5 at Lions: The Vikes have a 2-game lead over the Lions in the NFC North but the Lions schedule from here on out is pillow soft. If the Lions can cut the lead to one game here they would hold the tie-breaker over the Vikes and things could get interesting.
- Chargers – 1.5 at Cowboys: Because the Chiefs and the Raiders continue to throw up on their shoes, the Chargers probably feel as if they have a playoff shot coming out of the AFC West. They need this game. Meanwhile, the Cowboys trail the Eagles by 4 games in the NFC East and they are not leading in the wild card race. They too need this game.
- Giants at Skins – 7: The Giants are mathematically eliminated from winning the NFC East; the Skins have a mathematical hope there, but it might require Divine Intervention to make that happen. The only reason to stay up to watch this game is that it is a rivalry game.
- Browns at Bengals – 8: The Bengals are a bad 4-6 team; the fact that they are 8-point favorites here speaks volumes about the Browns. This is undoubtedly the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.
- Bears at Eagles – 13.5: The Eagles are playing as well as anyone in the league right now and the Bears are a 3-7 team playing like you would expect a 3-7 team to play. Nonetheless, that is an awfully big spread…
- Dolphins at Pats – 16.5: The Pats are playing as well as anyone in the league right now and the Dolphins are a 4-6 team playing not nearly as well as you might expect a 4-6 team to play. Nonetheless, that is an even bigger spread …
- Bills at Chiefs – 10: The Bills have lost 3 in a row and the last 2 were blowouts. The Chiefs have lost 2 in a row and have looked awful in both losses.
- Bucs at Falcons – 9.5: The Falcons almost coughed up a game in the final couple of minutes on Monday night against the Seahawks, but their win kept them solidly in the NFC wild card race. The Bucs have been playing better with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB in place of Jameis Winston. I have to say that I never anticipated writing that sentence…
- Panthers – 5 at Jets: The Jets were a nice feelgood story in September when they won a couple of games to the surprise of lots of fans. However, the bloom is off that rose now…
- Titans – 3 at Colts: I know; the Titans are only a game behind the Jags in the AFC South race. I know; this is a division game. Here is something else I know; I really do not care about this game at all.
- Seahawks – 6.5 at Niners: If the playoffs started this week, the Seahawks would be out. They dare not stumble here…
- Saints at Rams – 2.5: By far the best game of the weekend…
- Jags – 5.5 at Cards: The Total Line here is only 37.5 points; I think the oddsmaker hit the nail on the head there.
- Broncos at Raiders – 5: It is Paxton Lynch’s turn in the driver’s seat for the Broncos this week. The Raiders blew a chance to narrow the gap between them and the Chiefs last week and really need a win here.
- Packers at Steelers – 14: Given the way the Steelers’ defense has been playing lately, I don’t see the Packers doing a lot of business here. That is a big spread indeed – – but if forced to make a pick, I would lay the points.
- Texans at Ravens – 7: Once again the Total Line is set very low – at 38 points. I do not see either team scoring very often here.
Enjoy your football festivities as well as your festivities with family and friends over this Thanksgiving Day weekend.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………