Posting will light over the weekend, as we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday by eating entirely too much and watching some football, most of which will not be very good.
I'll also be in Grand Forks for the least glamorous road trip of the hockey season so far. Sure, Ralph Engelstad Arena is gorgeous, but Grand Forks is, well, less nice than Denver and Colorado Springs. It's nothing against the place, really, but it won't be 70 degrees, and there are no mountain views in North Dakota. Trees can be hard to find, too.
(Hey, idiot! It's the holidays! Stop making relentless fun of North Dakota!)
The hockey should be good. I'm sure we'll have more on that as we move on here.
Right now, we have football games to select winners for. Wish me luck. We'll start with the NFL because the Big Ten season is over.
Last week: 12-4
Green Bay at Detroit: Two weeks ago, this was a tossup. The Packers were winning a ton of close games, even against inferior opponents, and the Lions were coming off a 44-7 thrashing of a Denver team that was thought to be at least decent. Since then, the Lions have gone south, losing to Arizona and the Giants, while Green Bay has beaten Minnesota and Carolina (hardly New England and Dallas, admittedly) by a combined 65-17. The blowout wins may have overinflated the team's confidence, but I think close wins tend to do more to inflate a team's opinion of itself. The big wins were a relief for this Packer fan, because it showed me they could take care of business against teams they should be able to handle. The pressure's all on the Lions here. They're not as good as Green Bay, but they can win if they force turnovers and run the football. However, they know this division becomes a foregone conclusion if Green Bay wins, because it's a four-game margin with five to play. And that's what will happen.
The pick: Green Bay
N.Y. Jets at Dallas: Maybe the NFL should try flex scheduling for Thanksgiving Day.
The pick: Dallas
Indianapolis at Atlanta: Really.
The pick: Indianapolis
Other games (home team in CAPS)
Tennessee over CINCINNATI
CLEVELAND over Houston
KANSAS CITY over Oakland
ST. LOUIS over Seattle
N.Y. GIANTS over Minnesota
TAMPA BAY over Washington
New Orleans over CAROLINA
JACKSONVILLE over Buffalo
ARIZONA over San Francisco
CHICAGO over Denver
SAN DIEGO over Baltimore
NEW ENGLAND over Philadelphia
PITTSBURGH over Miami
In college football, Kansas and Hawai'i are the only two remaining unbeatens in I-A (er, FBS). Give yourself a pat on the back if you saw this coming in September.
They're both playing big games this weekend, and both are the designated home teams. I say "designated" because Kansas was stupid enough to let this game be played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Sure, it will be a great atmosphere, but KU needs this game at Lawrence, not at a neutral field.
Not many games in college football this weekend, but there are a couple doozies.
Last week: 6-4
Missouri vs. Kansas: The crowd will be jumpin', and the Big 12 North title is up for grabs. I look at Kansas as being a more balanced team offense to defense. They have a confident QB in Todd Reesing, and Brandon McAnderson leads a running game that is averaging more than 200 yards per game. Reesing and Missouri's Chase Daniel have combined for 60 touchdowns and just 13 picks this year, but Reesing's offense is probably a little better (even though Missouri gets more total yards per game). I think freshman Jeremy Maclin is the big difference for the Tigers, who don't run the ball as well as KU. He's a dynamic playmaker who is coming off a record-setting day at Kansas State. In this game, I'll take the team that presents more balance on both sides of the ball, even though they were dumb enough to give up a home game for this.
The pick: Kansas
Boise State at Hawai'i: This has been set up as the de-facto WAC championship game ever since the schedule came out. Hawai'i enjoys a unique home-field advantage, and their point differentials against common opponents are skewed a bit by the injury issues suffered by QB Colt Brennan. Brennan is expected to play in this game, and he's the reason I'm taking the Warriors. Hawai'i protects home field, wins this game, and sets themselves up for a BCS bowl bid, where they are still likely to get absolutely waxed by someone good.
The pick: Hawai'i
Other picks (home team in CAPS)
ARIZONA STATE over Southern California
TEXAS A&M over Texas
WEST VIRGINIA over Connecticut
Virginia Tech over VIRGINIA
BYU over Utah
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, everyone!