The picks are coming a couple days early this week because of Thanksgiving. Last week I did a little better, going 3-2-1. I’m now 20-19-3 on the year. Still trying to get a 6-0 week for once. Here we go:
Home team in CAPS
No. 1 LSU (-12) vs. No. 3 Arkansas. Emotional week for Arkansas. After a teammate’s passing, it has to be tough to dedicate much focus to the biggest game of the year. I’m pulling for the Razorbacks because they’ll be playing with heavy hearts, but also because I want to see the fraudulent BCS* turned on it’s head. If the Hogs pull out a W, and Bama loses to Auburn, they win the SEC West. But if Bama wins in the same scenario, they win the West, given that they have the tiebreaker after already beating Arkansas earlier in the year, and LSU would presumably be out of the picture based on BCS standings. I think. Either that, or The X Factor judges will have the final say, in which case Nicole will probably pick Vanderbilt because she’s an airhead. More importantly, if LSU loses we’ll have utter chaos in the entire BCS picture. But I don’t think it comes to that. Tough match-up for the Hogs. LSU’s defense has never skipped a beat, and the game is in Death Valley.
No. 12 SOUTH CAROLINA (-4.5) vs. No. 17 Clemson. Remember when Clemson looked like it was going to go undefeated? They were 8-0 then poof. Since then they’re 1-2 and have turned the ball over 11 times after doing so only eight times prior. South Carolina is sixth in the country in forcing turnovers and is seemingly starting to figure out how to play without Stephen Garcia and Marcus Lattimore.
*By the way, can somebody explain this to me: Oklahoma State loses to an unranked team it was a four-touchdown favorite over but only slips two spots in the BCS, but Oregon and Oklahoma both lose to good, ranked teams and slide seven and six spots, respectively. They say the computers “love” Oklahoma State. I’m sorry, but for the 1,325,456th time, why are computers part of the way we determine college rankings? The only computer I want dictating the college sports landscape is Watson, but I think he’s busy somewhere making Alex Trebek his bitch.
No. 6 STANFORD (-7) vs. No. 22 Notre Dame. I wanted to take Notre Dame and the points, then I realized Stanford is still right in the thick of the Pac-12 North race. Sure, Oregon is in the driver’s seat, and if they win Saturday the North is theirs, but do you think Stanford cares? They sure as hell aren’t going to be dicking around in this game. The stakes are too high, especially if Oregon flubs around with another underdog for a second week in a row. It is Oregon State, but nothing’s not possible in heated rivalry games. And plus, I probably jinxed the Ducks with my post about them from Monday.
En Eff El:
Packers (-6) vs. LIONS. Why is this game the 9:30 PT game? (Probably the more important question is Why is there a game before 10 in the first place?) Thanksgiving is a day off. I don’t know about you, but on days off I don’t wake up when the hour is still in single digits. Why couldn’t the Cowboys-Dolphins game be the early game? On paper that’s a much worse game than one featuring two teams at the top of the NFC North. Plus this is the first time in God knows how long that the Lions are playing on Thanksgiving as a legit playoff contender.
Why can’t the NFL grow a sack when it comes to Thanksgiving, stop tying it to the Lions and the Cowboys and schedule nothing but marquee pairings on the day like the NBA does with Christmas? We lucked out that the Lions and 49ers are having good years, because at the start of the season on paper both those games looked like sure victories for the Packers and Ravens. The NBA has it right when it comes to games on its featured holiday and even still, basketball on Christmas isn’t as big a tradition as football on Thanksgiving is. The NFL needs to take note. Seriously, look at the NBA. For the games on Christmas (and I’m talking about the games on ABC, not the night games on ESPN no one outside of the featured markets cares about), it schedules teams that (a) have superstar players and/or (b) are on the top-tier. Would the NBA schedule the Grizzlies against the Bobcats on Christmas? That’s what the Dolphins-Cowboys game feels like to me.
RAVENS (-3) vs. 49ers. I pretty much already broke down this game, perhaps otherwise known as The Harbaugh Bowl, in this week’s Sexy Seven Power Rankings post. Now that that’s already taken care of, allow me to share with you an absolutely tremendous verbal fracas between a Baltimore teacher and his student. I don’t know how it started. My guess is the student was giving the teacher a salty attitude in class because the cafeteria was out of french fries. Where’s Mr. Prezbo to break things up when you need him?
Bears (+4.5) vs. RAIDERS. The Broncos seemingly just went all in on Tebowmania (John Elway is still not quite sure) by releasing Kyle Orton. The Bears, without Jay Cutler for an extended period of time, appear to be the frontrunner to pick him up. Whatever happens, I doubt he plays in this game. Unless, you know, the Bears fall behind quickly, Caleb Hanie throws three picks, one of which is a pick six, and Lovie Smith, for no apparent reason other than it being a change, puts in his new quarterback who doesn’t know 20 plays in the playbook, which makes things even worse.
Wait a minute. This sounds familiar. Oh that’s right, it happened to the Raiders in Carson Palmer’s first game, which was a complete disaster. But I don’t think it even gets to that in-game scenario I rehashed. The Bears have a defense that will force turnovers, and they have Matt Forte going up against one of the league’s worst run defenses.