Ahh, the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Cold weather, a dusting (or, you know, 7 feet) of snow on the ground, and a mind numbingly awful weekend of college football games. Now, I know there is no such thing as a terrible weekend of college football, but the week before turkey day always feelings like such a let down. But, rivalry and championship weekend are coming, so let us bask in the glow of Alabama-West Carolina.
Kansas State at West Virginia (-2.5)
There's something equally wonderful, and terrible, about one of the best games of the weekend taking place on Thursday night. I am sure most of remember the days of Miami-VT (back when they were both #elite) opening a football weekend, or maybe it was USC losing to Oregon State, seemingly yearly. Now, it's just a handful a year.
As for this one, West Virginia returns to action for the first time since being run out of Austin by Texas. The good news for Holgo's crew is they have the benefit of an extra week off after back to back tough losses, and the benefit of what will be a rowdy, if not freezing, Morgantown crowd. Kansas State still harbors hopes, however bleak, of a Big 12 title, and needs the win here to keep that alive. The Wildcats have had an extra week off as well, and I like Bill Snyder getting points in a must win game.
Ole Miss (-3.5) at Arkansas
I didn't go back to look at the previous 12 weeks, but I'm going to hazard a guess there has been a noticeable lack of Arkansas included. But, seeing as Bert got his first SEC win, the Hogs' first in over two years, and and very good Ole Miss is coming to Fayetteville, it's time to give our old, uh, pal from Madison some attention. As an aside, is there anything better than Bert getting a giant metal boot trophy as part of his first SEC win?
Ole Miss can still make the trip to Atlanta for the SEC title game with 2 more wins, and a little help from Auburn in the Iron Bowl, while Bert needs 1 win in his final two games against the Rebels and then Mizzou next week to take the Hogs bowling. Arkansas is somehow receiving votes in both (meaningless) polls after last week's win over an up and down LSU, but the joy in Hogville will not last more than a week. Ole Miss wins, and I think they do so convincingly.
USC at UCLA (-3)
Hey, look at this! A real live top-25 game this weekend! With Notre Dame making the trip to LA next weekend to play the Trojans, the cross town contest takes place a week earlier. There is plenty at stake too, with 4 teams in the Pac 12 South sitting on just two conference losses, and hoping for a date with Oregon in the title game.
UCLA has very quietly risen to 9th in the country behind Brett Hundley and a potent offense, after winning 4 straight to right the ship following back to back losses in October. It's not a big leap to say they are playing as well as anyone in the league, other than the Ducks. USC has not always been impressive, but Steve Sarkisian has ridden Cody Kessler's arm, and Nelson Agolohr's hands/wheels/amazing talent to a potential Pac 12 South title. I admittedly don't have a great feel for this game, but the Bruins have been the more consistent team of late, so I'll go with the Bruins. I just hope both teams wear their regular home jerseys.
Arizona at Utah (-4)
Oh my! Two top-25 games in one week, and another key Pac 12 South matchup. The Utes are out of the division title hunt, but can certainly spoil Arizona's hopes with Rich Rod and the Wildcats coming into Rice-Eccles. Salt Lake City has been a house of horrors over the years for teams with Pac 12 title aspirations. USC has already fallen there this season, and while Oregon did win handily two weeks back, they needed 24 fourth quarter points, and a ridiculous fumble return touchdown to do it.
For most teams, the Rice-Eccles crowd would be a worry. But, Arizona has already conquered Autzen this season, which may host the rowdiest and loudest crowd in the country. A bigger worry will be an underrated Utah defense, which has been very good, outside of the Oregon loss. I'd love to see Arizona make a run to the Pac 12 title game, but I don't think this is the year. Utah gets the win at home.
AROUND THE B1G
Indiana at Ohio State (-34.5)
Minnesota (+10.5) at Nebraska
Northwestern at Purdue (PK)
BTPR at Michigan State (-22.5)
Wisconsin (-10) at Iowa
Maryland at Michigan (-5)