Insert over-used "Thanksgiving Football Feast" cliché here. In all truthfulness, however, this pretty much the week we've all been waiting for when it comes to college football. Fortunately, the best games of the bunch are split between Friday and Saturday for our ease in consumption. Home teams in CAPS.
West Virginia (+3) over PITTSBURGH (Friday)
The Mountaineers actually come into this year's Backyard Brawl with a better record than the Panthers (7-3 to 6-4), but thanks to their in-conference record it is Pitt with the chance to take the Big East and the undeserved BCS bowl bid to go with it. It's not quite a role reversal from the infamous 2007 Backyard Brawl, which saw a below-.500 Pitt team go into Morgantown as 28.5-point dogs and dash West Virginia's title game hopes, but Pitt does enter this game with a lot more to lose than West Virginia does. One of the only remaining players from that 2007 game is Noel Devine (aka the guy whose 40 you're going to hear about for two straight weeks this winter when the NFL Combine rolls around), and I think (and hope) he'll turn enough corners to spoil the party at the big ketchup bottle.
Auburn (+4) over ALABAMA (Friday)
It doesn't get much better than this. Auburn has its spot in the SEC Championship locked up but can't be caught napping if it wants to play for a national title. Alabama, with two losses, might see a big difference in their caliber of bowl game depending on the outcome of this one. If his performance against Georgia two weeks ago is any indication, Cam Newton isn't bringing his off-field issues onto the field with him. You have to like the four points here as this one figures to be a dandy.
Michigan (+17) over OHIO STATE
If you haven't read it yet, check out the piece that Kevin wrote in regards to what this game means in the course of the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry. If you are really, really a big-time fan of any team in any sport, it will strike a chord with you (I'll even forgive his use of "we"). Rich Rod has the Wolverines bowl-eligible for the first time in his tenure but needs his team to at least keep things close in Columbus for his doubters to get off his back for a minute. Usually you'd love the chances of a team that can score like Michigan getting 17 points, but the Wolverines defense is painful to watch. I'll cross my fingers that Kevin comes back in one piece and that the entire state of Ohio gets Denard'ed.
LSU (+3.5) over ARKANSAS
The Tigers somehow are only playing their third true road game of the year and have not been overly impressive since beating Alabama three weeks ago. Last week's squeaker against notwithstanding, LSU's meal ticket has been its defense, which provides quite the interesting matchup with Ryan Mallett and the Razorbacks. Arkansas averages 340 passing yards per game while LSU only gives up 151. The lower the scoring stays, the better chance LSU has, and vice versa. The hook on this 3.5 line is tougher to pass up than that second piece of pumpkin pie (come on, I wasn't getting through this without at least one lame Thanksgiving reference).
OKLAHOMA STATE (-2.5) over Oklahoma
The Sooners haven't lost to the Cowboys since seemingly the beginning of time (ok, 2002), but I love Mike Gundy's team's chances at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma has appeared to right the ship after A&M snuck up on them a few weeks ago, but Oklahoma State is averaging nearly 51 points a game at home. Like I've said before in this space, this year has a special feeling for Oklahoma State and what better way to go into the Big 12 Championship than by beating the in
-state rival who has played the Marcia Brady to Oklahoma State's Jan for so many years.
Last Week: 2-2-1