Thanksgiving is here, which only means one thing. Some finger-lickin’, lip-smackin’ good football.
I’ve been around this world for 19 years, spending about 16 of them as a die-hard college football fan, and no weekend out of the year is better than that of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving evenings used to be filled with Grandma’s scrumptious dinner, followed by the Egg Bowl, Ole Miss versus Mississippi State. The next day, I could sleep until 11:30ish when I would wake up, grab some pancakes, and enjoy the Lone Star Showdown, Texas versus Texas A & M.
This year’s slate has been shaken up a bit from recent tradition, but should still provide for an unbeatable day of indigestion recovery.
This year, Thankgsiving night concludes with the Longhorns and Aggies from College Station, which has not been friendly to Colt McCoy. In 2007, McCoy brought in 13th-ranked Texas to Kyle Field only to fall 38-30 in Aggies’ coach Dennis Franchione’s finale.
The Aggies also won 12-7 in 2006. Last year Texas shut down Stephen McGee in a 49-9 win, but much of the first half was very close. If the Aggies can rally around Jerrod Johnson and their occasionally explosive offense, they can give the Longhorns fits.
Black Friday will only bring more classic rivalry showdowns. The nightcap is the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. The Mountaineers’ three losses have all come on the road, and Friday night’s game is in Morgantown. Noel Devine and Dion Lewis are two of the best running backs in the country.
Pittsburgh has a huge matchup with unbeaten Cincinnati looming the following week, but it’s hard to imagine it suffering from the classic look-ahead syndrome against its hated rivals.
Either way, the Mountaineers won’t let the Panthers invade their turf and get away easily.
One of my favorite rivalry games is Nebraska-Colorado. Every year, this game provides some prime-time entertainment. Whether it be Chris Brown scoring six touchdowns in 2001, or Ndamukong Suh returning an interception for a touchdown in 2008 to seal the win, this game is always a great one.
Dan Hawkins may very well be on his way out after a failed experiment as the Buffaloes’ head coach, and his players would love nothing more than to let Hawkins go out with a huge win over the Big 12 North division champions.
All of those games are going to make for a spectacular weekend, but the one game most likely to transform the college football landscape is Alabama at Auburn. The Crimson Tide are within one game of its second straight undefeated regular season and a matchup with top-ranked Florida in the conference championship game.
There have been several games this season where the Tide’s offense has not been at its best, and the Tigers can surely score points with anyone. Chris Todd and Ben Tate have combined to produce 27 touchdowns this season.
This is Greg McElroy’s first trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium for the Iron Bowl as a starter. In the state of Alabama, there is football season and then there is the Tide and Tigers matchup. This particular game is on a completely different level from any other, and the odds are McElroy might not handle that tremendous pressure.
Rivalry week is upon us, and the Thursday-Friday prelude to the weekend is fast approaching. The BCS bowls are right around the corner!. . .