With Thanksgiving leftovers sitting in the bottom of the fridge (good luck on the creamed spinach and ragweed salad), it’s time to move on to the best part of the holidays: getting stuff and gifting the crap we don’t have in “white.” want to have elephant” exchange.
I’m not going to give you guys what you really want, my resignation, but in the interest of spreading some holiday cheer that doesn’t really cost me anything, here’s a Christmas gift list for some athletes who’ve been in the headlines lately.
Cliff Kingsbury: Remember when the Arizona Cardinals coach was the league’s toast during the broadcast of the 2020 NFL Draft? His house looked cool, he looked cool, and no one knew if his offense would actually work in the NFL. Well, we now have a pretty good idea that that’s not the case, and he’s running around the sidelines looking like he needs one of those “anything goes” signs. My Christmas gifts to him: a top-flight college job to fall back on and a gift certificate for Harry’s Razors.
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Spencer Rattler: His first season in South Carolina had some highlights but was mostly mediocre (although an upset from Clemson this weekend would boost his resume, much like the win over Tennessee). He has flashed some of the skills that made him a desirable recruit after high school, but his overall results over the past two years have been disappointing. My vacation wish for him: many years of holding a clipboard while having the best job in the world, NFL backup quarterback. It’s either that or a return to Arizona, where he has a Jason White-like air conditioning career in his home state.
Matt Holiday: Let’s see…long MLB career with the Rockies, Athletics, Cardinals and Yankees…seven All-Star games…career salary around $160 million (according to baseball-reference.com)…eldest son, Jackson, assumed #1 overall Pick in the 2022 MLB draft by the Baltimore Orioles…a Stillwater native who returned to town to serve as a volunteer assistant coach at Oklahoma State for his older brother Josh…recently returned to the Cardinals as a bench coach. My wish list for him? He’s got a pretty good role as it is. How about one very small thing: Another point on his MLB batting average to make him a career .300 hitter?
Let’s move on to this week’s games.
West Virginia in the state of Oklahoma: How healthy is Spencer Sanders? What OSU Defense Emerges? Could the Cowboys run the ball against a team of sixth graders? How many Cheez-Its can you fit in your mouth at once? These are all relevant questions for OSU fans. The answers? Let’s find out together. OSU 33, West Virginia 24.
Oklahoma at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders showed last week that they can win even when the opposition keeps their offense in check. Can the Sooners say the same? Lubbock on a Saturday night sounds like the reason for a sad country song. Tech has lost 10 straight to Oklahoma. This series ends here. Red Raiders 32, Sooners 30.
Tulsa to Houston: TU fans know the sometimes eerie story between these two teams. The Cougars have bounced back from a slow start, particularly on offense. The Hurricane plays hard, but at the end of a disappointing season, players have to ask themselves questions about the status of the team’s head coach. Houston 36, Tulsa 24.
Michigan in the state of Ohio: The Wolverines have very good defense, but the Buckeyes’ offense was a juggernaut and not the villain from the Marvel comics (although they seem to do just as much damage). If Michigan running back Blake Corum is slowed down by injury, Ohio State could have an advantage at every position on offense between teams. The Buckeyes retire in the fourth quarter to advance to the Big 10 championship game: Ohio State 33, Michigan 26.
Tulane in Cincinnati: The winner here will be in the AAC championship game. The loser could end up in a three-way tiebreak battle for the other spot with UCF (which defeated both teams) and Houston. A balanced matchup on both sides of the ball. We’re going to give the home Bearcats a very slight advantage. Cincinnati 30, Tulane 28.
Baylor in Texas: Aside from the loss to Kansas State, the Bears have been in close fights in Big 12 play almost every week. Texas still seems to have the hearts of the oddsmakers, but not ours. Bears 32, Longhorns 27.
Arkansas near Missouri: The winner of this game receives the Battle Line Trophy. The Razorbacks showed they still have a certain kick with last week’s win over Ole Miss. The Tigers can become bowlable with a win here. I hope they have nice plans for Christmas and New Year at home. Arkansas 31, Missouri 27.
Notre Dame at USC: Mystery of the Season: How Did the Irish Lose to Marshall and Stanford? It’s tempting to pick Notre Dame here, but Caleb Williams erases most of those thoughts. Still, it should be a good fight. Trojan 34, Fighting Irish 30.
South Carolina near Clemson: South Carolina gave their fans a wonderful memory with their riot in Tennessee last week. However, this game means more. Clemson lurks around the top 4 of the college football playoffs trying to figure out how to break The One Ring. Whatever the outcome, they win this rivalry game. Tiger 36, Gamecock’s 21.
LA Rams in Kansas City: The Rams could have their worst season ever for a team after a Super Bowl win. The Chiefs are Mahomes, Kelce and too many to ask the Rams defense to hold them down. Kansas City 34, LA Rams 17
Cincinnati near Tennessee: The Titans have shown they can run around and beat the worst teams in the NFL. Here’s your chance to defeat the defending AFC champions. The Bengals are pretty solid against the run, which means the Titans could struggle to score. Give Joe Burrow the edge here. Cincinnati 24, Tennessee 20.
Green Bay near Philadelphia: I expect the Eagles to cream the Packers (get it, cream cheese vs cheeseheads). Jalen Hurt and Philly are pretty healthy right now; Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay not so much. Eagle 27, Packer 17.