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Bye Week Open Thread

And to think, my Thanksgiving weekend was going so well.

I drove down to San Diego on Wednesday to visit the in-laws for Thanksgiving, had a lovely dinner, got some drinks with some of her friends, did some holiday shopping, and watched Battlestar Galactica for the first time.  I even taught my mother-in-law how to play Wii for the first time.  That was fun.  I was going to drive back to the Bay Area this morning, hoping to get back early enough to catch part of the Civil War, and then help a friend move on Sunday, but alas, it is not meant to be.  Found out late last night that my car refuses to start, and I don't know why (already tried jumping it).  Gonna call AAA in the morning, but until this gets figured out, I'm stuck in Southern California until further notice.  No plans, nothing to do but sit around and watch a bunch of football today.

So, anyway, here's what I'll be watching:

Broadcast TV:
#22 Georgia Tech @ #11 Georgia, 9:00AM - CBS
Auburn @ #1 Alabama, 12:30PM - CBS
#4 Florida @ #20 Florida State, 12:30PM - ABC
#3 Oklahoma @ #12 Oklahoma State, 5:00PM - ABC

Four rivalry games featuring seven ranked teams, and I'm really only expecting Oklahoma at Oklahoma State to be close.  An upset Cowboy victory would straighten out the Big XII South and send Texas Tech to the conference title game, leaving Texas the luxury of sitting around and waiting for a BCS bid.  Oklahoma, on the other hand, could use some style points to stay ahead of Texas; simply beating the 'Pokes may not be enough to get them to Kansas City.  Either way, I think the only way Texas is denied a BCS bid is if Oklahoma wins, but so poorly that Texas passes them, where the Longhorns somehow lose to Missouri in the title game.

Meanwhile, Alabama and Florida get tuneups before the SEC title game, though, as the cliché goes, rivalry games can be unnecessarily difficult.  I think both the Crimson Tide and the Gators assure themselves of a BCS berth simply by winning today.

Basic Cable:
Virginia @ Virginia Tech, 9:00AM - ESPN
South Carolina @ Clemson, 9:00AM - ESPN2
Kansas @ #13 Missouri, 9:30AM - Versus
Maryland @ #21 Boston College, 12:30PM - ESPN2
Baylor @ #7 Texas Tech. 12:30PM - Comcast Sports Net Bay Area
Kentucky @ Tennessee, 3:30PM - ESPN2
#23 Oregon @ #17 Oregon State, 4:00PM - Versus
Notre Dame @ #5 USC, 5:00PM - ESPN

I hope you get Versus; if you don't, find a friend (or a bar) that does.  With a Rose Bowl berth on the line, I'm expecting this Civil War to be a doozy; let's say ... decided late on some clutch (or not-so-clutch) field goal kicking.  If that doesn't sufficiently intrigue you, know this:  in all likelihood, an Oregon State victory sends Cal to the Holiday Bowl, while an Oregon upset kicks the Bears down to the Emerald.

The rest of the slate features some surprisingly non-intriguing rivalry games.  Battles in Virginia and South Carolina just don't compel me, and calling Maryland at BC a rivalry only proves how screwed up the ACC expansion was.  I will be shocked if ND or Baylor comes within 4 touchdowns of USC or Texas Tech, and the thing that puzzles me most is this:  Tennessee has, like, 4 different rivals in the SEC (Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Vanderbilt), and they end the season with Kentucky?  Kentucky?  Maybe I'd care if it were a basketball game...

Pay-Per-View or No TV:
Syracuse @ #16 Cincinnati, 9:00AM
Washington State @ Hawai'i, 8:00PM

Cincy has already clinched the Big East title, making their home game against Syracuse even less compelling.  Meanwhile, Wazzu mercifully ends its season in Hawai'i, which is a pretty nice consolation prize for such a terrible, terrible season of football.

Oh, and when the Civil War is done, since I'll still be stuck in SoCal, I'll turn to my trusty ESPN Gametracker to follow the finals of the Global Sports Classic featuring:

California vs. Florida State, 7:30PM

In case you hadn't heard, the Bears topped UNLV in the tournament's opening game last night (no, those two games last week don't count) 73-55.  I especially liked Jerome Randle's line:

18 points on 5-11 shooting, including 4-5 beyond the arc and 4-4 on free throws, 6 rebounds, 8 assists to only 4 turnovers, and a steal.

5 Bears scored in double figures, and the Cal defense held UNLV to less than 30% shooting.  They take on 6-0 Florida State tonight, and while I think this is a game the Bears can win, they haven't yet played back-to-back games this season, so we'll see how well the defense holds up on tired legs.