The pickings are getting slimmer and slimmer as the U.S. college football season winds down to its rather inevitable conclusion.
A few top-end rivalry games highlight the slate on the next-to-last weekend of the regular schedule. Plenty of turkeys, too -- most appropriate on America's Thanksgiving weekend, don't you think?
Nothing here, though, to shake the national championship matchup that's been destined since mid-October. Unless, of course, you think Texas A&M can take down mighty Texas in their annual showdown (and what colour is the sky in your world?).
Let's just say there's a better chance of Terrell Owens suiting up for the NFL's Eagles this weekend -- and acting like a model citizen.
- It's called the Bowl Championship Series, and I've always wondered why. Only one of the four "major" bowls actually determines the national champion (well, that's the theory). The other three offer championship-level payouts and perhaps a compelling matchup, but that's where it stops.
- Two at-large bids for the BCS bowls remain to be decided. Well, one, actually. With a win Saturday, Notre Dame will secure one of them. The other? Oregon (10-1) and Ohio State (9-2) are considered the top candidates. While the Ducks have the better record, the Buckeyes' two losses came against Texas (by three points) and No. 4 Penn State (by seven). Oregon was blown out by USC. Given all that, it says here the edge goes to Ohio State.
- Speaking of the obvious ... if you saw any or all of Reggie Bush's stunning 513-yard display against Fresno State on Saturday night, you know the all-world USC running back can start prepping his Heisman Trophy acceptance speech about right now. The more intriguing question: Who goes first in the 2006 NFL draft, Bush or his teammate, QB Matt Leinart?
On with this week's picks:
GAME OF THE WEEK
No. 23 Florida State (+41/2) at No. 19 Florida (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., CBS) -- The Gators vowed to "take back The Swamp" in 2005. With a perfect 6-0 home record, Florida can finish the job by knocking off the Seminoles. TB Leon Washington is back for Florida State, which has lost two straight for the first time in three years. 'Noles have already sewed up a spot in ACC championship game. Both teams are coming off byes. Take the swamp denizens in a low-scoring tight one. Pick: FLORIDA STATE
NEXT BEST THINGS
No. 13 Georgia (-31/2) at No. 20 Georgia Tech (Saturday, 8 p.m., ABC regional) --The Yellow Jackets added some spice to the Governor's Cup by stunning Miami last Saturday night behind an aggressive defence that produced seven sacks. Bulldogs, meanwhile, have already locked up a berth in the SEC championship game Dec. 3. Play of QBs (Georgia's D.J. Shockley and Georgia Tech's Reggie Ball) will be key in close defensive duel. Pick: GEORGIA TECH
Pittsburgh (+13) at No. 12 West Virginia (Tonight, 8 p.m., Rogers NCAA) -- The "Backyard Brawl" is dead even over the past 50 years (24-24-2), and has produced its share of classic games. Mountaineers' offence has taken off behind two talented freshmen, QB Pat White and RB Steve Slaton. Underdog Pitt needs a win to become bowl-eligible. Sorry, Panthers. PICK: WEST VIRGINIA
If you can find one out there, you know something I don't.
BLOWOUT OF THE WEEK
Syracuse (+351/2) at No.17 Louisville (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., Rogers NCAA) -- Unlike Notre Dame last week, the Cardinals won't need a quarter to get the scoreboard spinning. Louisville has averaged 58.2 points in 12-game home winning streak. Orange offence ranks 115th in the country in yards per game. Pick: LOUISVILLE.
(Straight-up selections in bold)
No. 2 Texas (-27) over Texas A&M
No. 3 LSU (-17) over Arkansas
Hawaii (+61/2) over No. 24 Wisconsin
North Carolina (+231/2) over No. 5 Virginia Tech
No. 6 Notre Dame (-171/2) over Stanford
Virginia (+181/2) over No. 10 Miami (Fla.)
Nevada (+151/2) over No. 16 Fresno State
Last week -- 11-3 straight up; 8-6 ATS. Season record -- 164-52 straight up; 104-107-5 ATS.
Best bet -- Georgia Tech (4-8).
Upset special -- None (3-9).