The Picks: Tasty matchups on holiday weekend

Albert wears a Tom Petty T-shirt as "Won't Back Down," begins to play at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium during a recent game. [Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]

Anybody hungry?

Today will be all about the stuffing or dressing or whatever you call it in your house. I’m making it in mine so there is nobody to blame but myself. It has to be moist with a little kick.

And we will all give thanks for so many things today, the roof over our heads, our families, our friends, the freedom that we enjoy, Sirius radio and cable TV, the newest flavor of Bud Lite and the elastic in our pants that allows for another level of gut-stretching.

We will gorge on yams and sweet potatoes and someone will argue that they are the same thing. We will eat two kinds of vegetables only this one time a year because they have marshmallow crusts and never save room for dessert but eat two anyway.

There is nothing quite like Thanksgiving. I’m not saying that it’s the best holiday, but what other holiday is surrounded with so many meaningful football games?

For that, we thank you.

It will be beyond interesting to see what happens this weekend, starting today, with the games that could have a major impact on the College Football Playoff and even the ones that will not but are played by bitter rivals.

For Florida fans, the latest CFP rankings are almost meaningless. Because if the Gators don’t win Saturday, they are out of the New Year’s Six bowl picture.

There’s more. Florida fans shouldn’t want too much chaos, either this week or next, to make sure they remain in the Top 12. On the other hand, isn’t chaos what college football season is all about? For that, we thank you again.

We moved The Picks up a day to make sure we got the Egg Bowl in. I’m sentimental about games named after protein.

Dr. Football came away with another winning week, going 8-2. My daughter, Kelsey, went 7-3 and seemed indifferent about it. That hurts.

Anyway, the overall record is now 83-37 after two strong weeks. And for that, we thanks you once again.

I’m going solo this week, because I don’t want anyone stealing my yams. Or are those sweet potatoes?

Anyway, we’re going with more than the usual 10 games because it’s a special weekend. And to everyone who has read a word of my columns or listened to the podcasts or watched the videos this season, please have a lovely and safe Thanksgiving.

The rest of you, not so much.

FLORIDA AT FSU: Gator fans are nervous this week, because they know FSU has talent. If you look at the last four recruiting classes, the average ranking for FSU is 5.8 and Florida’s is 14.5. So in theory, FSU has better players. To paraphrase a certain head ball coach, I wonder what happens to all of those players when they get to FSU. I know you aren’t going to like this, but … Florida, 28-21.

OKLAHOMA AT WEST VIRGINIA (Friday): This game, this year is so big it needs a nickname. I’m going with Rams-Chiefs, Part II. West Virginia, 56-53.

MICHIGAN AT OHIO STATE: I watched a lot of the Ohio State-Maryland game last week and it seriously looked like Urban Meyer was trying to hold the top of his skull in place for much of the game. Michigan, 34-23.

GEORGIA TECH AT GEORGIA: The last time the Jackets were in Athens, they ripped up the hedges. This year’s Tech team says thanks for nothing. Georgia 34-14.

AUBURN AT ALABAMA: Auburn should come out in the triple option in this Iron Bowl. It worked for The Citadel. For a half. Alabama, 32-11.

MISS. STATE AT OLE MISS (Thursday): I turned to colleague Robbie Andreu for help with this one. So blame him. Miss. State, 34-27.

WASHINGTON AT WASHINGTON ST. (Friday): This week we learned Mike Leach cost the school $1.6 million in potential donations and showed up late for a Pac-12 coaches meeting because he stopped at In-N-Out. So there’s that. Washington State, 42-24.

ARKANSAS AT MISSOURI (Friday): Arkansas suspended two players for fraternizing with Miss. State cheerleaders. How dare they try to have fun in football? Missouri, 42-7.

TENNESSEE AT VANDERBILT: Winner goes to a bowl game. Loser is the bowl game that gets stuck with Vandy. Vanderbilt, 32-21.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT CLEMSON: Think GameDay will be at Clemson any time soon? Clemson, 42-24.

LSU AT TEXAS A&M: This might be the most interesting game of the whole weekend. LSU, 24-21.

KENTUCKY AT LOUISVILLE: This, on the other hand … Kentucky, 31-6.

NOTRE DAME AT SOUTHERN CAL: And then there’s this … Notre Dame, 40-14.

PITT AT MIAMI: It’s pretty amazing Miami is third in the nation in defense and has a 6-5 record. It’s even more amazing Pitt will be 7-5 heading to the ACC title game. Miami, 23-21.

ARIZONA STATE AT ARIZONA: Remember when Herm Edwards was a big story early this season? He could finish with a losing record if the Devils lose this one and their bowl game. Nah. Arizona St., 37-23.

UCF AT USF (Friday): In its last four games — all losses — USF has allowed 160 points. My math skills tell me that is 40 points a game. When did Charlie Strong forget how to coach defense? UCF, 52-23.

Contact Pat Dooley at 352-374-5053 or at And follow at


    • I was just about to ask the same thing, but the more important question is who is the medical genius who suddenly scheduled my labs for the morning after Thanksgiving Day?

      But seriously, it’s ridiculous to pinpoint predictions that finite….or frankly to pinpoint them at all. I’ve learned my lesson, being the guy who said with certainty that we’d beat Georgia 25-23. I shudder to think of all the Cuban sandwiches I owe people at the Columbia the next time I’m in Ybor City………

  1. Sorry about the labs, Gator-6, but at least it’s not a colonoscopy.

    Of course, the future cannot be known. But had C.J. Henderson not been injured and someone bothered to cover Isaac Nauta, 25-23 Gators was entirely possible.

    • Roger that, Nashvillie — it’s just a lipid panel, but absolutely the worst day for it to be accurate at baseline. All I can say is, “Geesh Louise!”.

      I thought so too after much deliberation but was so self assured that I made the mistake of bragging about it. We’ll see if they’re on probation or not next year, maybe a prediction won’t even be necessary.

      • Probably no probation, but I do see Kirby regressing to the Mark Richt mean now that he has used up the high school recruit relationships he built as a Saban assistant. I get a huge kick out of “this guy is a great recruiter” when so much of the success is programmatic (Alabama) and geographic (Georgia).

        Of course, you do get the occasional b.s. artist (Butch Jones) on one extreme, and guys who can’t form complete sentences (McElwain) on the other extreme, but recruiting success is largely programmatic (winning), geographic, and hard work.

        And something negative is going on in Athens, with four recent decommitments. How ’bout them Dawgs! (They’re about to get boat-raced by Alabama).

      • You may just want to reschedule it if you can 6, I gave up on the “fast” before one once and ate a whopper with cheese a couple of hours before going in and my lipids came back so high my Dr told me he had never seen any that high before and tried to put me on all kinds of cholesterol meds so I had to fess up about the whopper and have them taken again.

  2. Take the downfield passing game out of the offensive equation. Pound the rock, especially right at Burns. Only throw screen passes. Do that, with at least 15 touches for Toney, and Florida wins this game 30-14. Our defense is good enough to only allow 14 points. They may only allow 7. Either way, ground and pound our way to beating the semi-holes.

  3. Gator-6, Drink a lot of water before your labs to clear things out. As far as Pat’s score predictions, understanding that many of these games are rivalry games, I have always felt that many sportscasters predict close games that should not be close. Alabama will roll Auburn and Kentucky will roll Louisville. When you are good, you are good.

    Regarding Thanksgiving, there is so much to be thankful for. I am getting ready to prep the bird for the oven then spiff the kitchen up before the family gets here. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.