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The Weekend That Will Be: Thankful for Rivalries

With Arkansas' football season officially over, there are plenty of other games to watch.

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

That was a horrendous way to lose a ball game, no way around it. Good news is there is no way next season can be worse, until you look at the schedule...

There will be plenty of time -- 285 of them to be exact -- to recap this season and get ready for the kickoff at Auburn. For now there are plenty of other fun rivalry games to watch and be thankful for.

In the same fashion I did the Halloween post with each preview beginning with " Be afraid of...," this week will be sponsored by the phrase, "Be thankful...".


No. 2 Florida State at Florida, ESPN (-28 FSU)- Be thankful that you have more job security than Will Muschamp. The Gators' coach, though he was backed by the AD earlier this week, could find himself in a heap of a mess if Jameis Winston gets out of control. Bonus: Be thankful that you don't have the impending legal trouble Winston could that could keep him from the Heisman. All sorts of bad news here, but what'd you expect coming from the Jorts State? In your against the grain pick, take UF.

Bless you Tom Rinaldi...

Tom Rinaldi Jorts Big


No. 3 Ohio State at Michigan, ABC (-13 OSU)- Be thankful your team doesn't play in the Big 10. For the second year in a row the Buckeyes will go undefeated and be stiff armed by the voters. That's 25 straight wins (if they win today). In a late attempt to impress, they cover.

No. 24 Duke at North Carolina, ESPN 2 (-5.5 UNC)- Be thankful for nerdy Cinderellas. Yes, I'll classify them as a Cinderella because this is as unlikely as Wichita State in the Final Four: Duke is on a seven-game win streak with a chance at a 10-win season. Jabari Parker is now considering playing tight end because the football guys are the cool kids now. Take the points and Duke.

Everyone gave up on basketball.



No. 1 Alabama at No. 4 Auburn, 3:30 p.m., CBS (-10.5 Bama)- Be thankful your archrival isn't coached by Nick Saban. Talk about not living up to a fanbase's expectations because no matter what your coach does, he won't be as good as Saban. Because of his defense and Auburn's unilateral attack, I love the Tide here.

Georgia at Georgia Tech, 3:30 p.m., ABC (-3 UGA)- Be thankful you don't putt like Aaron Murray plays football. From starting all but one game (this week) in his career to being five yards from a BCS title game appearance, he's come up short. Luckily for new starter Hudson Mason, Tech can't sell out a home game and about 35% of the crowd will be donning Red and Black. I still like UGA, despite the changes at quarterback. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham struggles at many aspects of his of his job, keeping the Yellow Jacket offense at bay is not one of those.


No. 6 Clemson at No. 10 South Carolina, 7 p.m., ESPN2 (-6 USC)- Be thankful you're not an ACC powerhouse but your season's success is measured by whether or not you beat an SEC team. In this underated rivalry, the Gamecocks try for their fifth consecutive victory. That's a long time if you are a Clemson fan, and if it weren't for the line of scrimmage, you Tiger fans would stand a chance. Same story this season with a HBC cover.

No. 25 Notre Dame at No. 8 Stanford, 7 p.m., FOX (-14 Stan)- Be thankful there is too much ground for the Irish to make up, meaning no BCS game. Stanford wins at home by three touchdowns.

No. 21 Texas A&M at No. 5 Missouri, 7:45, ESPN (-3 Mizzou)- Be thankful your season doesn't ride on slowing down Johnny Manziel. For Mizzou, this is it. Win this game and you have a date in six days with Alabama. Lose it and you have to sit at home just like us Arkansas and Kentucky fans to watch it. The Tigers' defense surprised me last week with its performance and I'm putting my money on another one this week.

No. 22 UCLA at No 23 USC, 8 p.m., ABC (-3.5 USC)- Be thankful you won't get fired after being really good at your job and saving your company's image. Poor, poor Ed. Orgeron has put together a 6-1 record since Lane Kiffin was fired, but will it be enough to keep AD Pat Haden from hiring a big name come season's end? A win here would go a long way towards Orgeron keeping his job and getting a raise. Take the Trojans.

Samford at Jacksonville State, 8 p.m., ESPN3- Be thankful for playoffs. Remember Samford almost won at War Memorial, and we thought that was fluke on Arksnasas' way to at least 6-6? Those Bulldogs are Southern Conference Champions and are headed to the FCS playoffs. I will follow them down to Jacksonville, Alabama where they will face the Gamecocks, an old conference foe, in the biggest game in Alabama. As a proud alumnus, it's impossible not to pick the Bulldogs.

I'm going to love hearing silence after a Samford blowout.


Last Week: 4-6-1

Season: 70-47-5


A native of Arkansas now calling the Hogs from over yonder in Georgia, you can follow Graham on Twitter @grahamreaves or read his blog, On My Mind In Georgia.