4 Down Territory: Thanksgiving Weekend Has Us Stuffed With Football
1st Down: Black Friday Fun: While the rest of the house is Holiday shopping, you’ll have the TV all to yourself. #13 Iowa State at #17 Texas: A Texas win creates the potential for a four-team logjam atop the Big 12. If Oklahoma and Oklahoma State both win on Saturday, they’ll join Texas and Iowa State as two-loss teams in Big 12 play. Texas has not played since November 7th while Iowa State played just last Saturday. Both teams are riding three-game win streaks. Texas has seen improved play from their defense the last three weeks after back to back losses, but will it be enough?........#15 Oregon at Oregon State: The Playoff Committee so far is undervaluing the PAC-12, rating Oregon several spots lower than the other polls. For them to become a playoff contender they will need to get the committee’s attention by pounding the Beavers……#2 Notre Dame at #19 North Carolina: This may be the game of the week in all of college football. UNC is a dangerous team in a dangerous spot for Notre Dame. They have built this team by recruiting speed and Mack Brown has injected a fearless attitude into this program. Both of these teams score in bunches and one team may have to put up 50 to walk away with the win in this one.
2nd Down: Big Ten Saturday: On a Thanksgiving weekend that is usually for Big 10 rivalry games, we have an odd assortment of Thanksgiving leftovers. As Covid ravages the upper Midwest, we’ve lost Minnesota-Wisconsin. The last year those two teams didn’t play was 1906…..CANCELLED-- Ohio State at Illinois: After thumping Nebraska, Illinois felt good enough to troll the Huskers on social media. If Ohio State comes with their “A game” Illinois may be feeling trolled themselves. Look for Justin Fields to bounce back after throwing 3 interceptions against Indiana last week. As for the Ohio State defense, they remain a work in progress yielding lots of yards and points last week. The secondary needs improved QB pressure to make their job easier……Maryland at #12 Indiana: The last time we saw Maryland play, they raced out to a 35-7 lead at Penn State. This is a showdown of two of the best young Quarterbacks in the entire Big Ten. Look for the IU defense to continue using the blitz to get pass rush and create turnovers as they’ve done almost every week……Penn State at Michigan: These two teams entered the season as contenders for the Big Ten Title. Now they are playing to try and salvage lost seasons. Penn State is cursed by turnovers and is unsettled at quarterback. Michigan may have found their quarterback last week. But the vaunted Michigan defense and pass rush has been AWOL this season leaving the cornerbacks alone for long stretches that have turned into big plays for their opponents.
3rd Down: Playoff Contenders: #8 Northwestern at Michigan State: The Wildcats are in the hunt after an upset win over Wisconsin last week. The Committee liked what they saw and put them at #8. Michigan State has a talented receiving corps, but can they consistently get the ball to them against one of the best defenses in the country? We will see Saturday afternoon……LSU at #5 Texas A&M: To get into the playoff A&M will need help. It is hard to imagine in a year where there are no real inter-conference games that a one-loss A&M team gets in over an undefeated conference champion. To get that done they will need to dominate the rest of the way. The win over Florida remains a big chip for them….Kentucky at #6 Florida: Kentucky is going to need to get healthy in a hurry after a 63-3 loss against Alabama. Florida has shown the same type of explosive offense that wrecked the Cats last week.
4th Down: Saturday Specials: Pitt at #3 Clemson: It wasn’t that long ago that Pitt upended Clemson in Death Valley. Clemson is hopping mad after a Friday cancellation of their game at FSU. Pitt has found some new confidence after rolling FSU and Virginia Tech. Pitt’s defense will need to generate the pass rush that got them a string of season-opening wins to have a chance. And that pass rush will have to be disciplined because any escape by Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence can turn into big plays……#22 Auburn at #1 Alabama: Strange things can and do happen in this rivalry. But given how methodically Alabama has played in almost every game this season, expect them to stay balanced, poised and keep the door closed on Auburn’s upset bid.
The Ultimate Penn State Season Continues: This project started when there was not going to be a Big Ten season, but we’ve kept it going. Each week from week 1 through 12 we highlight the biggest win for PSU each week from 1966 through 2019....
November 22, 2008: (7) Penn State 49 (17) Michigan State 18: Penn State came into this game needing a win to clinch a second Big Ten title in four years. Michigan State could get a share of the title with a win. As the snow fell on a sold-out crowd of 109,845, the flakes didn’t bother Penn State quarterback Daryll Clark. Despite temperatures in the low-20s and winds blowing, he finished the day with 341 yards passing and 4 touchdowns on 16 of 26 passes. He also ran for a score. Defensively the Lions left little doubt smothering Michigan State’s run game and holding them to 35 yards. They picked off future NFL quarterback Brian Hoyer twice. The Lions capped an 11-1 regular season walking off the field with roses held high and sending out a super senior class, a group that helped spark a Penn State rebirth in 2005. Deon Butler, Derrick Williams and Jordan Norwood formed the most productive Penn State receiving corps in school history ranking 1st, 3rd and 4th all-time in career receptions. The 2008 Penn State offense finished the season ranked in the Top-10 all-time in Big Ten conference history in several statistical categories.
The Ultimate Penn State Season So Far: Pre-season 1996 (11) Penn State 24 (7) USC 7 Watch Week 1 1999 (4) Penn State 41 (3) Arizona 7 Watch Week 2 1977 (10) Penn State 31 (9) Houston 14 Watch Week 3 1978 (5) Penn State 19 at (6) Ohio State 0 Watch Week 4 1982 (8) Penn State 27 (2) Nebraska 24 Watch Week 5 2002 (21) Penn State 34 at (15) Wisconsin 31 Watch Week 6 1994 (3) Penn State 31 at (5) Michigan 24