Thanksgiving brings a few traditions that every football fan looks forward to, such as stuffing themselves with turkey, plopping down on the sofa to root their NFL team to victory, and checking out the college football betting odds for Thanksgiving week rivalry games.
It's the final week of the regular season for most teams, and it's the week when some of the most-played, fiercest rivalries are renewed.
Sure, the push for the college football playoff is ever-present, but only a few teams are chasing that Holy Grail. Beating your traditional rival is something virtually every fan can root for.
The most-often played rivalry game in the FBS is Minnesota-Wisconsin. These teams have met every year since 1890 (except 1906), and the series is tied 59-59-8. The fight for the Slab of Bacon (1930-1943) gave way to the battle for Paul Bunyan's Axe in 1948. Wisconsin has dominated the series in recent years, reeling off 13 straight victories. The Badgers are favored by 17.98 points in the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com to keep the streak alive, as well as their hopes for a spot in the final four playoff.
Oregon and Oregon State have staged their own Civil War 120 times since 1894. From 1936 to 1974, the Ducks won just 8 times. Since 1975, the Beavers have only won 10 times but have immensely enjoyed the bragging rights that come with last year's 34-24 victory. The Ducks are 14.19-point computer favorites to improve upon their all-time record in the series of 63-47-10.
This week will mark the 120th meeting between Purdue and Indiana with bowl eligibility on the line as both teams enter with 5-6 records. The state rivals first clashed in 1891 and Purdue has a huge lead in the series, 72-41-6. The Old Oaken Bucket was brought into play as the trophy in 1925. The computer likes Purdue by a mere 1,51 points to break out of a 4-game losing streak to the Hoosiers.
Clemson leads the Palmetto Bowl series with South Carolina 68-42-4, and rides into Columbia this week on a 3-game winning streak over the Gamecocks. The Tigers will have a few distractions in preparation for this game as the ACC Championship game awaits next week, where a win over Miami means entry to the final four playoffs for a third straight season. But everyone watching, and playing in, this game knows that a slip-up at South Carolina means the playoff spot is likely out the window. The Gamecocks, who have quietly put together an 8-3 season and are ranked 30th by the computer, would love to spoil Clemson's future plans. However, the computer likes the Tigers to prevail by 13.41 points.
Often hailed as the the best rivalry in college football, Ohio State and Michigan will meet for the 114th time this week. Ohio State has won the last 5 meetings, and 12 of the last 13, but still trails the all-time series 49-58-6. The Buckeyes have slim hopes that a win over the Wolverines this week, and versus Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game next week, will somehow propel the 2-loss squad into the Final Four. The computer doesn't think this week will be too difficult and, even though the game is being played in Ann Arbor, gives Ohio State a 12.67-point edge.
At the other end of the spectrum lies one of the more recent games to take on rivalry status in the state of Florida, the War On I-4 between USF and UCF. This week, the Bulls and Knights meet to decide the American Athletic Conference's east division winner. There's also the chance that the winner will get a Big 6 Bowl invite as the highest-ranked team among Group of 5 conference schools. Central Florida is the computer favorite by a scant 3.42 points.
Now go thaw out the turkey, make sure the cable bill is paid, and get ready to indulge in one of the greatest seasons of the year - college football rivalry week.