One thing that is great about Thanksgiving is how it opens up an extra day for a full slate of college football action. While Friday's games may mostly serve as an appetizer for the main course on Saturday, some of the games we are paying attention to will be pretty important. Here is a look at how we have done this season with our predictions...
And now, on to our main course...
No. 17 LSU (8-3, 4-3 SEC) vs. Arkansas (3-8, 0-7 SEC): Friday, 2:30 p.m. CBS
Tom’s Take: We may have seen a little of the future of LSU football last week against Texas A&M and the future is bright for Les Miles' group. The same can't be said for Arkansas, which is suffering through one of its worst seasons in recent memory. Lose to the Tigers Saturday and the Razorbacks will finish 0-8 in the SEC in Bret Bielema's first season.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger will play his final home game for the Tigers and he should finish the regular season with more than 3,000 passing yards. He also has 22 touchdown passes. LSU faces a potential let down after a big win over Texas A&M, but it's hard to see how Arkansas can mount a serious threat.
Aaron: LSU 41, Arkansas 14
Allen: LSU 31, Arkansas 21
Andy: LSU 33, Arkansas 17
David: LSU 37, Arkansas 13
Jonathan: LSU 40, Arkansas 14
Josh: LSU 42, Arkansas 10
Kevin C: LSU 38, Arkansas 17
Kevin M: LSU 32, Arkansas 13
Tom: LSU 31, Arkansas 14
San Jose State (5-6, 4-3 MWC) vs. No. 16 Fresno State (10-0, 7-0 MWC): Friday, 3:30 p.m. CBS Sports Network
Andy’s Take: The Bulldogs have two games to go for an undefeated season and a possible BCS bowl birth. However, San Jose State won’t just roll over, especially since they know they can beat the Bulldogs. After all, the Spartans did beat them the last time around. However, San Jose State’s defense has really let them down this season, rank 100th in scoring D and that isn’t good news going up against Derrick Carr on the heels of his record setting performance last week. Carr went for 527 yards and 7 touchdowns in the 69-28 win over New Mexico. Look for something closer to that as the Bulldogs clear another hurdle towards an undefeated season.
Aaron: Fresno State 41, San Jose State 28
Allen: Fresno State 42, San Jose State 35
Andy: Fresno State 45, San Jose State 31
David: Fresno State 55, San Jose State 30
Jonathan: Fresno State 32, San Jose State 28
Josh: Fresno State 59, San Jose State 28
Kevin C: Fresno State 55, San Jose State 38
Kevin M: Fresno State 60, San Jose State 37
Tom: Fresno State 49, San Jose State 32
No. 13 Oregon (9-2, 6-2 Pac 12) vs. Oregon State (6-5, 4-4 Pac 12): Friday, 7:00 p.m. FOX Sports 1
David’s Take: The stakes in the Civil War are not as high this as they have been recently, but don't tell that to these two teams. Oregon State's one dimensional passing attack has sputtered recently, and Oregon got manhandled last week in Arizona. Expect the diversity of the Ducks attack to be the difference.
Aaron: Oregon 31, Oregon State 20
Allen: Oregon 44, Oregon State 30
Andy: Oregon 37, Oregon State 24
David: Oregon 52, Oregon State 20
Jonathan: Oregon 42, Oregon State 27
Josh: Oregon 52, Oregon State 31
Kevin C: Oregon 42, Oregon State 29
Kevin M: Oregon 47, Oregon State 24
Tom: Oregon 42, Oregon State 24
Florida (4-7, 3-5 SEC) vs. No. 2 Florida State (11-0, 8-0 ACC): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ESPN
Allen’s Take: What looked in August like a dandy Thanksgiving weekend game has turned into an appropriate finale for these Te'o teams. There's little reason to go too deep here: The Seminoles are going to pound Will Muschamp's flailing Gators.
This will be vicious.
Aaron: Florida State 31, Florida 6
Allen: Florida State 49, Florida 5
Andy: Florida State 37, Florida 17
David: Florida State 63, Florida 12
Jonathan: Florida State 60, Florida 7
Josh: Florida State 56, Florida 6
Kevin C: Florida State 48, Florida 5
Kevin M: Florida State 38, Florida 10
Tom: Florida State 58, Florida 10
Michigan (7-4, 3-4 B1G) vs. No. 3 Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 B1G): Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ABC
Andy’s Take: Do the Wolverines honestly have a chance in “The Game?” The simple answer is hell no. Michigan has no run game, can’t block up front and are going up against the most underrated defensive line in the country. Freshman Joey Bosa has really transformed this unit into an attacking group and they’ll get after Devin Gardner early and often. Look for both Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller to both go over 100 yards rushing as Michigan gets pounded.
Aaron: Ohio State 31, Michigan 20
Allen: Ohio State 34, Michigan 14
Andy: Ohio State 45, Michigan 24
David: Ohio State 42, Michigan 27
Jonathan: Ohio State 38, Michigan 30
Josh: Ohio State 41, Michigan 21
Kevin C: Ohio State 35, Michigan 20
Kevin M: Ohio State 42, Michigan 24
Tom: Ohio State 38, Michigan 20
No. 4 Auburn (10-1, 6-1 SEC) vs. No. 1 Alabama (11-0, 7-0 SEC): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. CBS
Jonathan’s Take: Ok, this one is important. Those other games on Saturday are nice but this year's Iron Bowl decides the SEC West champion and potentially the national champion. It's the first time that Alabama and Auburn will meet with both teams in the top 5, though the rivalry would be equally hostile if both teams were winless. This game always means something to the Alabamians. Gus Malzahn has resurrected Auburn with mostly players that he recruited during his previous tenure there and has them actually confident going up against Alabama. This game will mirror this year's Alabama-LSU game: Close at first, with a raucous crowd and plenty of nerves, but Alabama will eventually pull away and win handily.
Aaron: Alabama 28, Auburn 14
Allen: Alabama 34, Auburn 17
Andy: Auburn 27, Alabama 20
David: Alabama 41, Auburn 38
Jonathan: Alabama 5, Auburn 21
Josh: Alabama 35, Auburn 21
Kevin C: Alabama 35, Auburn 24
Kevin M: Alabama 30, Auburn 28
Tom: Alabama 28, Auburn 10
TCU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) vs. No. 9 Baylor (9-1, 6-1 Big 12): Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ESPN2
Allen’s Take: Talk about a motivation game. Whose morale is lower: Baylor after blowing its undefeated run or bowl non-qualifier TCU?
If they're into it, the Horned Frogs have the kind of defense that can give the Bears' explosive offense problems. TCU can generate pressure with its defensive front, and the secondary has the talent to slow the Baylor receiving corps.
Beating the Bears also requires an offense that can string together sustained drives and convert them into touchdowns. That is something that TCU doesn't have.
Aaron: Baylor 56, TCU 14
Allen: Baylor 38, TCU 14
Andy: Baylor 45, TCU 17
David: Baylor 38, TCU 14
Jonathan: Baylor 42, TCU 20
Josh: Baylor 35, TCU 28
Kevin C: Baylor 55, TCU 24
Kevin M: Baylor 49, TCU 20
Tom: Baylor 60, TCU 14
No. 8 Stanford (9-2, 7-2 Pac 12) vs. No. 25 Notre Dame (8-3): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. FOX
Josh’s Take: Five of Notre Dame's last six games have been decided by 10 points or fewer, but I think Stanford will overpower the Irish this weekend. Notre Dame's defense bent last Saturday, letting BYU run for a ridiculous 5.3 yards per carry, but it didn't break. The Irish kept the Cougars out of the end zone on two key second-half possessions to hold BYU to just 13 points. Can they do the same thing to Stanford? I have my doubts. The Cardinal will find the end zone enough to win by a couple scores.
Aaron: Stanford 34, Notre Dame 24
Allen: Stanford 28, Notre Dame 20
Andy: Stanford 24, Notre Dame 13
David: Stanford 28, Notre Dame 24
Jonathan: Stanford 21, Clemson 20
Josh: Stanford 30, Notre Dame 17
Kevin C: Stanford 17, Notre Dame 13
Kevin M: Stanford 24, Notre Dame 13
Tom: Stanford 28, Notre Dame 17
No. 10 South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) vs. No. 6 Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC): Saturday, 7:00 p.m. EPSN2
Kevin C’s Take: Being that this is a game pitting two Carolina teams it's only fitting to quote someone who made a name for himself in that area of the country. "To be the man, you gotta beat the man". And Clemson hasn't proven they can beat Spurrier and the Gamecocks lately. Go with the Gamecocks until the Tigers prove they can win this game.
Aaron: South Carolina 20, Clemson 14
Allen: Clemson 27, South Carolina 24
Andy: South Carolina 31, Clemson 27
David: South Carolina 28, Clemson 24
Jonathan: South Carolina 21, Clemson 20
Josh: Clemson 42, South Carolina 28
Kevin C: South Carolina 28, Clemson 24
Kevin M: South Carolina 30, Clemson 24
Tom: South Carolina 24, Clemson 17
No. 5 Missouri (10-1, 6-1 SEC) vs. No. 21 Texas A&M (8-3, 4-3 SEC): Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ESPN
Kevin M’s Take: This is the biggest game of the year for Missouri. A win and the Tigers will head to Atlanta to represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship Game against Alabama or Auburn. Getting there will not be easy. Last week LSU shut down Johnny Manziel and the Aggies, so they could be looking to break out in a big way against their former Big 12 partners. Forcing Manziel to make some mistakes will be the key as Missouri has more interceptions than any team in the SEC. Taking advantage of those opportunities should be easy enough against the Aggies defense. Still, Missouri may not want to get in to a high scoring shootout with the Aggies.
Aaron: Missouri 28, Texas A&M 24
Allen: Missouri 38, Texas A&M 30
Andy: Missouri 37, Texas A&M 30
David: Texas A&M 42, Missouri 35
Jonathan: Texas A&M 24, Missouri 21
Josh: Missouri 42, Texas A&M 35
Kevin C: Texas A&M 31, Missouri 28
Kevin M: Texas A&M 38, Missouri 35
Tom: Texas A&M 38, Missouri 34
No. 23 USC (9-3, 6-2 Pac 12) vs. No. 22 UCLA (8-3, 5-3 Pac 12): Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ABC
Aaron’s Take: To quote those cheesy 30 for 30 commercials: “What if I told you the day Lane Kiffin got fired that UCLA-USC would eventually evolve into the single most compelling game of rivalry week?”
Only, outside of the Iron Bowl, it probably is.
On one sideline you’ve got the UCLA Bruins, who have been quite possibly the most freakishly consistent team in college football this season; simply put, UCLA beats up on the bad teams (think Colorado and Cal), wins close games against the good ones (think Arizona and Washington) and can’t beat the elite ones, losing all three games they played this season against Top 20 opponents. Well, the Trojans aren’t in the Top 20 (right now), but are playing like an elite club, and will pull out the victory here.
Look, I could sit here and give you a million facts and figures to support my argument, but sometimes it really does go beyond looking at stats, and simply looking at the intangibles that come in college football.
And right now USC has all the intangibles working for them. You don’t need me to tell you that they’re playing fast, loose and with nothing to lose under Ed Orgeron, something that won’t change this weekend.
At home, with a chip on their shoulders from last year’s beat down at the Rose Bowl, look for the Trojans to pull out the win at home.
Aaron: USC 24, UCLA 20
Allen: UCLA 19, USC 16
Andy: UCLA 27, USC 30
David: USC 30, UCLA 21
Jonathan: USC 31, UCLA 28
Josh: USC 30, UCLA 27
Kevin C: UCLA 24, USC 21
Kevin M: USC 31, UCLA 30
Tom: UCLA 20, USC 17
No. 12 Arizona State (9-2, 7-1 Pac 12) vs. Arizona (7-4, 4-4 Pac 12): Saturday, 9:30 p.m. Pac 12 Network
David’s Take: The battle for the Territorial Cup has been a pretty close affair the last four seasons, and you can expect more of the same this year. Arizona State has already wrapped up the Pac-12 South title, and a win over the Wildcats would be the icing on the cake. Expect points galore in this game, but Arizona State will emerge victorious on the way to the Pac-12 title game.
Aaron: Arizona State 34, Arizona 31
Allen: Arizona State 34, Arizona 28
Andy: Arizona State 33, Arizona 30
David: Arizona State 44, Arizona 42
Jonathan: Arizona State 25, Arizona 22
Josh: Arizona State 45, Arizona 38
Kevin C: Arizona State 42, Arizona 38
Kevin M: Arizona State 49, Arizona 41
Tom: Arizona State 35, Arizona 30