Tomorrow is what most sports enthusiasts would consider to be Rivalry Saturday, in connection with which I ask the title question, “What happened to Rivalry Saturday?”, because it seems to this turkey as if rivalries aren’t what they used to be. Furthermore, some of the best rivalries don’t happen on the broadly acknowledged Rivalry Saturday. I’ll bitch about that for a while, and then I’ll predict each of the so-called rivalry games that will actually be played tomorrow.
It’s a sad thing to me that the greedy money bastards schedule college games on Thanksgiving weekends, when the students are all back home with family. They’re faced with a dilemma: Do they return to campus early to see the game or spend more time with family? In some dysfunctional families, I’m sure the game provides a great excuse to “git outta Dodge”, but we’ll nevertheless see some anemic student sections this weekend, particularly for the crappier games. My Thanksgiving table included a couple of University of Florida students who have no desire to return early to Gainesville to see the Gators under lame duck Will Muschamp get beaten to a pulp by Florida State.
Consider, for example, that the Harvard vs. Yale game was played last weekend. In the Ivy League, they have some sense about playing games during Thanksgiving weekend, so they avoid it if possible. Boola-boola! So do the military academies. The Army-Navy game doesn’t happen until December 13. Boo-rah!
So what do we have on tap for this weekend? I’ll include Friday games, since Rivalry Saturday has slipped into Thanksgiving weekend, so a lot of people are off work on Fridays, leading to those who make money on these events wanting to schedule games on Friday. There are two games on Friday that can be considered rivalries in this Turkey’s book: Arizona State vs. Arizona, and Virginia vs. Virginia Tech.
On Saturday, we have the bulk of the rivalries. First of all, there’s the manufactured-to-order rivalry between Moo U. and the Nittany Lions, which is not a real rivalry and, besides, I’ve already blown enough wind about that one. The first real rivalry is Michigan at Ohio State, and the luster is off that one this year due to intense suckage by the Carcajous. The only way Brady Hoke is going to save his ass is by winning it, and that ain’t gonna happen. Georgia Tech vs. Georgia is somewhat more intense and lots more interesting, as both schools are ranked, as would probably be the case with South Carolina at Clemson if the Gamecocks hadn’t blown a couple they shouldn’t have blown.
Here’s a real dog for you: NC State vs. UNC. Mere words cannot describe the insignificance of this game to anyone outside the state of North Carolina.
At the other end of the scale, we have Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss and Auburn vs. Alabama. The SEC manages to retain some really great in-state rivalries, unlike just about any other conference. The PAC-12 comes close, although Oregon vs. Oregon State is likely to be a laugher this year. Arizona vs. Arizona State should be very interesting, about a million points worth. Stanford vs. Cal (“The Big Game”) was played last week and won by Stanford.
Forthwith, the Official Turkey Poop predictions for the rivalry games I feel like predicting:
Arizona 34, Arizona State 31
Virginia Tech 17, Virginia 14
Georgia 42, Georgia Tech 27
South Carolina 27, Clemson 24
Ohio State 31, Michigan 24 (2 OT) – I already made this prediction facetiously so I have to stick with it
Northwestern 30, Illinois 7 – Zzzzzzzz
Indiana 22, Purdue 21 – reach for the gas pipe
Michigan State 31, Penn State 16 – but you already knew that
North Carolina 38, NC State 27
USC 34, Notre Dame 27 – Knute Rockne manufactured this classic back when ND had to ride the train to LA
Maryland 28, Rutgers 20 – another manufactured-to-order Big Ten Rivalry
Mississippi State 21, Ole Miss 20 – this is one to watch
Florida State 31, Florida 20 – Muschamp’s final game
Alabama 30, Auburn 24 – The Iron Bowl should be great fun
Oregon 62, Oregon State 17 – this “Civil War” is over before the first shot is fired
I hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving. I sure did — great family fun, good food, and a weirdly provocative movie. I’ll catch you all after our Rivalry Saturday game!