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Last updated: 11/27/2013 1:36 PM
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Football
Tony's Tip Sheet – National Edition
By Tony Gerdeman

Rivalry Week has finally come, and with it, our televisions will be filled with more hate than a Jerry Springer marathon. Don't be surprised, however, if Oregon State ends up ripping out a chuck of Oregon's hair this weekend.

We've got three straight days of college football ahead of us, so let's all sit back and enjoy what we only have a few more Saturdays of; and if you can find some time to say hello to your family, then more power to you.

Thursday November 28

Teams: Texas Tech (7-4) at Texas (7-3)
Time (TV): 7:30 pm (FS1)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Texas

It doesn't matter who you cheer for, but fans of schools who are happy with their head coaches should cheer for Texas, because the more Texas wins, the longer Mack Brown sticks around. The longer that Mack Brown sticks around, the longer your own head coach sticks around. Note: Michigan fans, you have nothing to worry about. As for the game, Texas Tech has lost four in a row and hasn't been competitive in a month. Texas 31 – Texas Tech 26

Teams: Ole Miss (7-4) at Mississippi State (5-6)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Mississippi State

There is nothing quite like the Egg Bowl, and that's probably a good thing. If the turkey doesn't put you to sleep, this game will. Ole Miss 27 – Mississippi State 20

Friday November 29

Teams: Arkansas (3-8) at #17 LSU (8-3)
Time (TV): 2:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 1.5
Cheer For: Arkansas

Arkansas and Bret Bielema have lost eight games in a row, seven of which have been SEC games. The Razorbacks even lost to Rutgers this season. Rutgers! Despite the struggles, the Hawgs have been getting closer. Last week they managed to lose to Mississippi State at home in overtime, so that's pretty much a win in SEC play. This week will be a little tougher, clearly. Still, with a head coach like Bret Bielema, anything is possible in this game – provided it's in the realm of a 21-point loss. LSU 41 – Arkansas 17

Teams: Miami (FL) (8-3) at Pittsburgh (6-5)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (ABC)
Interest: 1
Cheer For: Pittsburgh

The temperature is going to be in the low 30s for this game, so I'm expecting Miami to announce a rash of transfers as their players will want nothing to do with adverse conditions in a meaningless game. The over/under on number of Miami fans traveling is zero. Pittsburgh 31 – Miami 24

Teams: Oregon State (6-5) at #13 Oregon (9-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FS1)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Oregon State

Oregon's season is over, so they are extremely vulnerable right now. But you know the old saying about backing a wounded duck into a corner, right? It goes, “If you back a wounded duck into a corner, it will try to fly away, but may not be able to on account of its wound.” It's not a great saying, but it is based in science and animal behavior, and it is very fitting for this game. Basically, if the Ducks are still able to fly, they will, and they'll leave the Beavers behind. If they can't, then Oregon State is going to be in the game for the long haul. Oregon 38 – Oregon State 37

Saturday November 30

Teams: #2 Florida State (11-0) at Florida (4-7)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Florida

You may think that the Gators don't have a chance in this game, but I would point you to the fact that in last week's loss to Georgia Southern, Florida didn't allow a single completion. If they can do that again this week against Florida State, the stand a pretty good chance of losing another close one, which would be really good news for Florida football this year. Florida State 31 – Florida 14

Teams: #24 Duke (9-2) at North Carolina (6-5)
Time (TV): 12:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: North Carolina

As a Buckeye fan, you're cheering for anything that makes the ACC look worse, and a five-way tie for first is one way to do that. If Duke wins, then they'll play Florida State in the ACC Championship Game, which isn't exactly stellar for the ACC either. UNC is favored by 6.5 points in this game, which tells just how little respect Duke is receiving right now. The Heels have won five in a row, and I refuse to believe that it would take much for them to win six in a row. North Carolina 35 – Duke 31

Teams: #1 Alabama (11-0) at #4 Auburn (10-1)
Time (TV): 3:30 pm (CBS)
Interest: 5
Cheer For: Auburn

I'm of the opinion that Auburn will have to be able to throw the ball and run up the middle in order to pull off the upset. They have to be able to do both, or else they won't win. Running up the middle will open up the wider stuff, and the ability to throw the ball will open everything up. I think the Tiger defense will be able to do just fine, relatively speaking. If they can hold Alabama to 28 points, then they should be happy with that. The Auburn offense is going to have to score multiple touchdowns because they can't expect Alabama to play as poorly as they did against Mississippi State, as this game means a whole lot more. Gus Malzahn has had a week off to figure some things out, but I just have doubts that what he finds will work for an entire game. Auburn will win the first half, but that's it. Alabama 34 – Auburn 26

Teams: #25 Notre Dame (8-3) at #8 Stanford (9-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (FOX)
Interest: 2.5
Cheer For: Notre Dame

Stanford is favored by two touchdowns, which means that they may or may not win, it all just depends on which Stanford team wakes up that day. I had no idea that Notre Dame was still ranked. Good for them. Stanford, meanwhile, is ridiculously overrated at #8, especially when you consider the way Oregon was manhandled by Arizona, and the small fact that the Cardinal lost at USC two weeks ago. I don't really care about this game, but it would be fun to have Stanford lose again just to see how far they don't drop. Stanford 35 – Notre Dame 24

Teams: #6 Clemson (10-1) at #10 South Carolina (9-2)
Time (TV): 7:00 pm (ESPN2)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: South Carolina

You're cheering for South Carolina here because you want Clemson to drop in the BCS standings. If Clemson loses and Ohio State wins out, a case can be made that the Buckeyes' road will have been tougher than Florida State's. Now, that doesn't mean that anybody outside of Columbus will actually make that case, but somebody somewhere will, I can assure you. The Gamecocks are favored by five in this one, and that's a number I'm good with. Keep in mind, however, that a win for South Carolina will be met by chants of “SEC! SEC! SEC!” by ESPN. South Carolina 31 – Clemson 30

Teams: #21 Texas A&M (8-3) at #5 Missouri (10-1)
Time (TV): 7:45 pm (ESPN)
Interest: 4.5
Cheer For: Missouri

This could be the most entertaining game of the week, and it might just be the perfect nightcap to an afternoon full of hateful violence. You're still cheering for Missouri because their offense with James Franklin provides the best opportunity for an upset of Alabama, I think – though I could be 100% wrong and I wouldn't be surprised. Johnny Manziel struggled last week against LSU, but he's done that two years in a row now. Missouri is favored by 4.5 in this one, and the over/under pegs the score at around 35-31. Mizzou doesn't have the LSU defense, but I don't think they'll need it. This will be Franklin's second game since returning from injury, and I expect him to light up this A&M defense which is as flammable as Molotov fire pit. Missouri 41 – Texas A&M 38

Teams: #22 UCLA (8-3) at #23 USC (9-3)
Time (TV): 8:00 pm (ABC)
Interest: 2
Cheer For: UCLA

This game is so big that it may be written about in an actual Los Angeles newspaper on Sunday! Last week UCLA lost at home to Arizona State, and needed a massive comeback to not get blown out. Did they expend too much energy to get up for the USC game? Perhaps, but so what? It's football in Los Angeles, it's the equivalent of the ballet in my living room – nobody cares. I'll go with USC, who has won five in a row. USC 29 – UCLA 27

Teams: Arizona (7-4) at #12 Arizona State (9-2)
Time (TV): 9:30 pm (P12N)
Interest: 3
Cheer For: Arizona State

You're still cheering for Arizona State because people still remember their win over Wisconsin. Both teams are coming off of big wins over Oregon and UCLA, respectively. The last four times these teams have met, the game has been decided by a touchdown or less. That might be asking a bit much of the Wildcats in this one, who may have decided to call it quits after last week's epic win over the Ducks. Arizona State 41 – Arizona 27

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