Ever since the Jamestown Fightin' English took on the Grand Sachem Indians in 1621, football has been an important part of every Thanksgiving celebration. Who could forget the famous halftime speech by coach Plymouth Rockne (pictured), which rallied his team to a dramatic victory over the home team. Even Canada, the 51st state, moved Thanksgiving to October 8th this year in order to celebrate ND's victory over UCLA and Stanford's win over Southern Cal. However, despite the obvious connections to ND and Stanford, there are plenty of other games this weekend that someone might want to watch just to kill a little time.
The upset losses by Oregon and Oklahoma last week knocked out two contenders for the national championship, but the picture still isn't perfectly clear. Kansas was the big winner, as the Oregon loss ensures that the Jayhawks control their own destiny, but a couple of new contenders are edging their way into the picture. With rivalry games and conference championships over the next two weekends, there is still a lot of room for change in the BCS picture.
#1 LSU : vs R-Kansas, SEC Championship vs Tennessee (or Georgia)
#2 Kansas : vs Missouri, Big XII Championship vs Oklahoma (or Texas)
These two control their own destinies. Win out, and they are playing for the national championship, no questions asked.
#3 West Virginia : vs UConn, vs Pitt
A win by UConn this weekend locks up the Big East for the Huskies, as would a loss by West Virginia against Pitt the following week. But, winning out will keep West Virginia on Kansas' heels for a shot at the national championship.
#4 Missouri : @ Kansas, Big XII Championship vs Oklahoma (or Texas)
Missouri may control its own destiny, as the Tigers are nearly tied with West Virginia in the human polls, but a few spots back in the computer rankings. Beating Kansas would certainly close that gap, and winning a rematch with Oklahoma would put the Tigers in good position to claim the #2 BCS spot.
#5 Ohio State : season complete
#6 Arizona State : vs Southern Cal, vs Arizona
The PAC-10 and Big Ten are still waiting in the wings, but would need a lot of help to make the national championship game. The Missouri v Kansas game is both a blessing and a curse, as it guarantees a loss by a higher ranked team, but also guarantees a victory. Two more losses by LSU, WVa, and the Big XII champion could open the door for either of these teams. ASU can close the gap with OSU by winning out, but the voters would have shift votes to the Sun Devils for them to jump the Buckeyes.
The Thanksgiving TV Guide. In addition to those teams competing for a spot in the national championship, there are many games with BCS implications on the line over the holiday weekend:
• An ASU victory over Southern Cal locks up a Rose Bowl berth for the Sun Devils, while a loss puts Oregon back in the drivers seat for the PAC-10 title.
• LSU has locked up the SEC West, but must win out to stay in the NC hunt.
• Texas can win the Big XII South with a win at Texas A&M and an OU loss on Saturday.
• Boise State and Hawaii face off for a chance at an automatic bid in the BCS. Both teams need a decisive win in order to jump into the Top 12 of the BCS. Hawaii can gain a couple of spots over some ACC teams (possibly the UVa/Va Tech loser or ACC championship loser), but needs some upset losses by BC, Texas, Florida, Southern Cal, Oklahoma, and Oregon to make a jump in the polls. Right now, the best bet for the WAC champion looks like a UConn loss to West Virginia, followed by a Mountaineer loss to Pittsburgh.
• Nouvel is taking on Blissfield for the MHSAA Division 6 championship at Ford Field. Nouvel made the championship game by defeating Montague, stopping two fourth quarter scoring drives inside their 10 yard line. Bo Themm kicked the go ahead field goal for Nouvel.
• Virginia and Virginia Tech face off for the right to play BC in the ACC championship. The loser might be out of the BCS completely, although Va Tech has a strong enough resume to possibly stay in the picture.
• A Tennessee victory at Kentucky earns them a date with LSU in SEC Championship. A loss will hand Georgia the SEC East title.
• UConn travels to West Virginia in a matchup that will almost determine the Big East championship. If West Virginia loses either of its last two games, UConn will win the Big East and claim their first ever BCS spot. UConn making the BCS will likely generate an automatic bid for the Hawaii v Boise State winner.
• Missouri plays Kansas at Arrowhead Stadium for the Big XII North championship.
• Keep an eye out for an upset when Oklahoma hosts Oklahoma State and Oregon travels to UCLA. A loss by either Oregon or Oklahoma kicks them out of the BCS picture this season.
• And, of course, Notre Dame travels to Palo Alto for Round II of the "SAT challenge." Stanford is absolutely a better team than Duke, but the Irish have a lot to play for. Winning the game would prevent this team from earning the lowest winning percentage in ND history (technically, this would be the second worst winning percentage as the team did not win a game in 1887 and April of 1888, their first football games).
BCS Prediction. No one ever went broke betting against me, but here's my take on the BCS Bowls...
National Championship: LSU vs West VirginiaI'm assuming that Kansas beats Missouri but loses to Oklahoma, Southern Cal knocks off ASU, BC beats Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship, and the Orange Bowl selects Texas over Kansas or Missouri for a better TV draw.
Rose Bowl: Ohio State vs Oregon
Orange Bowl: Boston College vs Texas
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma vs Southern Cal
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs Virginia Tech
We're Number One
Forbes has rated ND as the most valuable college football team,, although they did misspell Coach Weis's last name. It is worth noting that the Irish football program contributed over $20M to the university's academic program, more than the next five teams combined.