It's the day after Thanksgiving and, in college football, a day with key matchups which will dramatically impact the post-season bowl and BCS scene. Let's break it down...
Pitt over West Virginia. It's the Backyard Brawl and, guess what, these two schools don't like each other very much. (Keep that thought in mind--it'll be a common theme for the match-ups we analyze in this post.) Pitt's in first place in the Big East at 4-1 with West Virginia still in contention at 3-2. Home field advantage will win it by a field goal for Pitt.
Alabama over Auburn. Is this the week that Auburn's hopes of a national title come to an end? I think so. Each week the pressure has ratcheted up on the Tigers and each week they've handled it. Not this time--Bama finds a way to keep Cam Newton in check.
Nebraska over Colorado. Remember when Colorado coach Bill McCartney proclaimed that NU would be Colorado's key rival? This is the last time these two teams will meet as members of the Big 12 Conference and there are sub-plots aplenty. Will Taylor Martinez play? Will the Pellini brothers speak politely to referees and players? Will Colorado continue its win streak under Brian Cabral? Can CU help out fellow black-and-gold school, Missouri, by beating the Huskers, thus all but giving MU the Big 12 North title? Nebraska will rally together and win, at home, by 13.
Oregon over Arizona. The Ducks continue their march to the BCS national championship game.
Boise State over Nevada. If Boise needed any additional incentive, they received it this week when Ohio State president Gordon Gee said they and TCU weren't worthy of a BCS berth.
Missouri over Kansas. On paper, there is no way that Kansas can win this game. Sure, this is the "Border War." Sure, KU has won games in this series when they were the underdog. Sure, the Jayhawks are 8-7 in this series in games where MU has been ranked. This is a Kansas squad, though, that still has an unsettled situation at quarterback and, as of last week, was still tinkering with personnel in its defensive backfield. There are simply too many "musts" for Kansas to have a chance in this one. KU may show continued progress by keeping the spread to a couple of touchdowns but, ultimately, they'll lose the war. My prediction: MU-28, KU-13.
Kansas State over North Texas. Does anyone care? Okay, that's being harsh but weird quirks of scheduling like this are an odd way to end a season. KSU will be looking ahead to their bowl destination, thus making this a sloppy win for the Wildcats.
Arkansas over LSU. The second-best matchup of the weekend in the SEC pairs Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett against LSU's studly secondary. An Arkansas win could still keep them in contention for a Sugar Bowl spot.
Ohio State over Michigan. Remember the earlier comment about schools who don't like each other? That sentiment holds true in this, one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports. But, these are programs heading in different directions--OSU is 10-1 and tied for the Big Ten conference lead; Michigan will go bowling at 7-4 but has a coach on the hot seat given his 15-20 record thus far as head of the Wolverines. It may be trendy to pick Michigan as the upset special of the weekend, but Rich Rodriguez will lose--again--to OSU, making him 0-3 against the Buckeyes and thus giving the Blue faithful another nail for Rodriguez's coaching coffin.
Texas Tech over Houston. The final score in this one will look more like a Cougar-Red Raider basketball game.
Oklahoma State over Oklahoma. Rivals? Check. Don't like each other? Check. Rivalry big enough to warrant a name? Check--the Bedlam Series. This game will feature too much Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon, with a little Kendall Hunter mixed in for good measure. The Cowboys advance to the Big 12 title game.
Season predictions to date: 94-35 (73%)