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Trey's Picks

College football games of the week: Top picks for Thanksgiving weekend

Ritz Carlton Dallas, Old Red Courthouse
No. 1 Notre Dame Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton, Dallas
Oklahoma State, football
No. 21 Oklahoma State Courtesy of OSU Marketing

Last weekend was Armageddon in college football as No. 1 Kansas State and No. 2 Oregon were beaten within four minutes of each other Saturday night. The K-State/Baylor game was a blowout, but Stanford/Oregon was not (more on that later). Only one undefeated team remains: The Notre Dame Fighting Irish. If everyone wins this weekend, the National Championship will be set: No. 1 Notre Dame vs. No. 2 Alabama/No .3 Georgia.

The Tide (vs. Auburn) and the Dawgs (vs. Georgia Tech) each play in games they should win and, if they do, the winner of the match up in the SEC title game next weekend will be inked into the National Title Game… But a lot people thought the same thing about K-State and Oregon last week. Look at the Gators, just hanging around. And K-State, just hanging around. So much drama left to unfold… But let us move forward with our week of thanks.

This Week

Big games abound. Games of importance, games of hate, games of both. It’s weird not seeing Texas/A&M this weekend. But we still have this forever and always. Always.

No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at No. 18 USC Trojans: 7 p.m. on ABC

Matt Barkley is out, but the line (for entertainment purposes only) is only Irish by six. Why? Because of what is at stake. A Notre Dame win means they are in the National Championship. A loss and the door is open for the chaos explained above. The bad news for USC is Matt Barkley is out. The good news is this game is in The Coliseum and Notre Dame, the Pitt game notwithstanding, hasn’t had a disastrous moment yet. Everyone else has: Oregon, K-State, Florida, Bama, etc. It’s hard to go through an entire season undefeated. You need to get lucky a few times. The Irish got lucky against Pitt. Can they survive another scare like that? I don’t think they can. But I also don’t think they will need to. As much as I want USC to win and give us Armageddon 2: The Armageddoning, I don’t think it will happen. Irish 31, Trojans 21.

No. 4 Florida Gators at No. 10 Florida State Seminoles: 2:30 p.m. on ABC

Rooting hard for USC Saturday night will be the Florida Gators if they win against FSU. Sitting at No. 4 right now, a decisive win by the Gators over the Noles and a Notre Dame loss would push them to No. 3, behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Georgia. Bama and UGA play next week for the SEC title, meaning one of them loses and Florida moves up to No. 2. They might have to hold off an Oregon team playing for the Pac-12 title, but a lot has to go right for that to happen… But a Gator win is the first priority. Quarterback Jeff Driskell should be back, which will help the offense, but I don’t think the Gators go into The Doak and win this game, making all the hand-wringing unnecessary. Noles 24, Go Gata 17.

No. 5 Oregon Ducks at No. 15 Oregon State Beavers: 2 p.m. on Pac-12 Network

The Civil War is not quite the marquee matchup we anticipated this time last week, but if Oregon wants to keep hope alive for a national title they have to win this game and do so convincingly. Not only does Oregon need to win and have Notre Dame lose, they also need No. 8 Stanford to beat No. 17 UCLA on the road (5:30 p.m., FOX). Chip Kelly and the Oregon offense will not have as much trouble scoring, but this is a rivalry game and it’s on the road and Oregon State is pretty good… just not good enough. Ducks win and do so convincingly. Oregon 38, Oregon State 21.

No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys at No. 13 oklahoma sooners: 2:30 p.m. on ESPN

The odds are high this game will be on ABC in our area, so check both channels. Bedlam this year has Big 12 title implications. If OSU beats ou (and Texas beats TCU Thanksgiving night) it sets up the Texas/K-State game as a winner-take-all Big 12 title game. A K-State win and it is their title outright; a Texas win it creates a 4-way tie where the Longhorns hold the final tiebreaker, which would give them the Big 12 title… But the first thing that has to happen is OSU must win this game. So just do that, okay? Just win this game. Nobody likes oklahoma, anyway. They were all talking about you and were going through your wallet while you were in the bathroom. No, really. So just win and make them go away. Oklahoma State 41, ou 38.

Worst  Game of the Week

Auburn Tigers at No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide: 2:30 p.m. on CBS

The Iron Bowl is going to be brutal. Seriously, Auburn, just fire everyone and find something else to do with yourselves that day instead of getting your heads caved in and then firing everyone. Be proactive. Why don’t you go see SkyFall? I hear it’s terrific.

Last Week's Games

Looking at these games now, I totally picked the wrong games of the week. Still, let’s review.

No. 13 Stanford Cardinal at No. 2 Oregon Ducks 

Why it was included: Top 15 match up with National Title implications.
Prediction: Quack 45, Tree 21. A close game late gets blown open by Oregon. Neither K-State nor Oregon lose.
Reality: Tree 17, Quack 14 (OT). No one blew anything open. Neither K-State nor Oregon won.

I knew Stanford had a tough, bruising defense but I didn’t realize it was that tough and physical. A super touchdown catch by Cardinal tight end Zach Ertz tied the game at 14 with 1:35 to play and Oregon missed a field goal in overtime. Austin Westwood’s own Jordan Williamson connected on a 37-yarder in Stanford’s overtime possession and the Ducks’ title run could well be over. Looking at the people in the stands after the game, it looked they thought it was over. A great win by David Shaw and Stanford, who will play for the Pac-12 title in two weeks against UCLA if they win this week at… UCLA.

No. 18 USC Trojans at No. 17 UCLA Bruins  

Why is was included: LA hate. Changing of the guard. LA hate.
Prediction: UCLA 38, USC 35. A loud Rose Bowl pushes UCLA to the Pac-12 South title, 5-year losing streak ends.
Reality: UCLA 38, USC 28. A loud Rose Bowl crowd helped UCLA to the Pac-12 South title, 5-year losing streak ended.

I was almost spot on. The Bruins jumped out early to 24-0 and scored on a 29-yard Jonathan Franklin touchdown run with four minutes to play to end a furious USC second half rally. The Trojans outgained the Bruins 513 to 406, but UCLA made more plays early on offense and held on, avenging the ugly 50-0 loss last year. Well done, Jim Mora, quite the turnaround in Westwood.  

No. 23 Texas Tech Red Raiders at No. 24 Oklahoma State Cowboys    
Why it was included: Best game of the day in the Big 12 (that was wrong), top 25 match up.
Prediction: Cowboys 40, Red Raiders 31. Doesn’t matter who plays QB, OSU lights people up. Will light Tech up.
 Reality: Cowboys 59, Red Raiders 31. Didn’t matter who played QB, OSU lit Tech up.

Clint Chelf, QB No. 3, had 229 yards passing and three scores as the OSU offense overpowered Tech. The Cowboys defense picked off Seth Doege twice, held him to one touchdown pass and forced a fumble as they raced out to a 35-13 halftime lead. I don’t think it was even as close as the score. Tech is listing badly and now travels to Cowboys Stadium to play red hot Baylor. Good luck with that.

Worst Game(s) of the Week

I-AA Directional School at SEC Team

Western Carolina at No. 4 Alabama
Georgia Southern at No. 5 Georgia
Jacksonville State at No. 6 Florida
Sam Houston State at No. 8 Texas A&M
Wofford at No. 9 South Carolina
Alabama A&M at Auburn 
Samford at Kentucky

An entire conference, the best in all of college football if you ask them, playing an I-AA schedule. I said I wouldn’t talk about it anymore and I won’t. If Oregon jumps you in the coming weeks, Florida, you can look to this ridiculous weekend as the reason why. 

That’s it for this week. See you next week.

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For more nonsense follow me on Twitter @TreyMcLean.

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