Now that we have taken our weekly trek around the SEC, it is time to turn our attention to the contests of consequence occurring elsewhere in the country. My 4-2 record in national outings last week left me at 33-20 for the season, which should serve as a friendly reminder that I issue a weekly disclaimer for a reason. Where my prognosticating skills are concerned, whatever you do, . . . Don’t Bet On It!
Where not otherwise indicated, the following games are slated to take place on Saturday, November 27:
Michigan Wolverines at Ohio St. Buckeyes: Wait . . . what are they doing playing this one after Thanksgiving? Isn’t this a midseason game? Honestly, I don’t think either of these teams is as good as its record, but Ohio State is the better squad, and the Buckeyes have the advantages of playing at home, being inside the Wolverines’ heads, and having a head coach who appears to cross his T’s and who certainly dots his I’s. Also, even though Terrelle Pryor hasn’t lived up to his hype, at least he knows how to tie his shoelaces. (Someone needs to sit Denard Robinson down in a locker room with Crash Davis. When you lead Michigan to the Rose Bowl, you can leave your shoes untied, and the Midwestern press will think you’re colorful. Until you lead Michigan to the Rose Bowl, though, it merely makes you an even bigger dufus than those guys who wear their baseball caps backward.) You have to give the edge to Ohio State in this one.
Texas A&M Aggies at Texas Longhorns (Thursday, Nov. 25): The only way to make a victory in Austin sweeter for the Aggies would be to make it a farewell gesture before bolting the disintegrating Big 12 for the SEC West, but it was not to be (this time, at least). Texas A&M is peaking while the ‘Horns are imploding, and, while this is just the sort of situation in which Texas is liable to pull off a shocker like the one the Burnt Orange managed against Nebraska earlier this year, I’m not sure Mack Brown’s club has enough left in the tank to escape with a win. I’m taking the Aggies in a bruising battle.
Arizona Wildcats at Oregon Ducks (Friday, Nov. 26): One thing about the Pac-10 that’s always struck me as odd is the fact that, as a general rule, the more fearsome the mascot, the less fearsome the team, and vice versa. The teams represented by demonic princes and ferocious felines (Arizona, Arizona State, and Washington State) usually serve as the weak sisters of the league, whereas the squads symbolized by web-footed creatures and long-dead warriors whose name makes everyone snicker (Oregon, Oregon State, and Southern California) tend to be pretty good. Ordinarily, whichever mascot would lose in the wild will win on the gridiron, so I’m taking the Ducks to defeat the Wildcats.
Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma St. Cowboys: I am tempted to ask sarcastically when was the last time the Pokes won a meaningful game against a major opponent, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the answer is us. I’m having a hard time trusting in Mike Gundy’s club to get that elusive breakthrough victory, but, since teams have a tendency to excel one season after playing a marquee out-of-conference game against Georgia (e.g., Boise State in 2006), I’m going against my better judgment and picking the Cowboys to win the Bedlam Battle in Stillwater.
Boise St. Broncos at Nevada Wolf Pack (Friday, Nov. 26): I’ve never quite gotten the level of hatred directed at Boise State from these parts; granted, they wear orange and blue, but they play stout defense, their fans are rooting against the Auburn Tigers, and the Bronco faithful share Bulldog Nation’s affinity for goat-related symbolism. Also, as we’ll see confirmed for the umpteenth time in the last half-decade when Boise State beats a solid Nevada squad, the Broncos are a darned fine football team.
Those are my best guesses regarding the significant showdowns for Thanksgiving weekend, but you should not place stock in my prognostications, which almost certainly are more wrong than right. Whatever you do, you must make certain to pay attention to my weekly advice: Don’t Bet On It!
Coming soon: National game of disinterest.