Games to watch: I’m thankful for football

It’s the second week of rivalries, and there are still plenty of conferences awaiting a champion.

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that some of the best college football games are played over Thanksgiving Break.

Enjoy your turkey, and enjoy the games.

Pittsburgh at No. 12 West Virginia, Thursday 6 p.m. MST, ESPN

The Mountaineers were 8-2 last year when they faced the Panthers, and a 16-13 loss was enough to keep them out of the Fiesta Bowl.

A similar fall-apart could happen this season. If the Mountaineers lose to Pittsburgh once again, and then get upset by South Florida next week, South Florida will earn the BCS bid for the Big East Conference.

With the conference title on the line, this should be a great game to watch while digesting your turkey dinner.

Patton’s prediction: Mountaineers 31, Panthers 24

No. 2 Texas at Texas A&M, Friday 10 a.m. MST, ABC

The Aggies entered this season with high expectations, but a recent string of losses has left them reeling and a loss to the Longhorns Friday will eliminate any possibility of a bowl game.

Aggie quarterback Reggie McNeal injured his ankle in A&M’s loss to the Sooners, but he should be ready to take on Texas.

The Longhorns are just one win away from securing a perfect regular season and a trip to the Rose Bowl.

Even though it’s tough to play at College Station, Vince Young and the Longhorns aren’t going to let their cross-state rivals stand in the way of a championship.

Patton’s prediction: Longhorns 44, Aggies 27

No. 23 Florida State at No. 19 Florida, Saturday 1:30 p.m. MST, CBS

Although neither of these teams has had the typical successful seasons they usually enjoy, this remains one of the most heated rivalries in college football.

The Gators are coming off a tough loss at South Carolina, but they’ve had an extra week to prepare for hosting the Seminoles.

Florida State also had a bye week to prepare for its trip to the swamp, but it’s coming off a disappointing loss as well (35-14 to Clemson).

There’s not really any way to guess what will happen in this one, but the home team usually has the advantage.

Patton’s prediction: Gators 21, Seminoles 20

No. 13 Georgia at No. 20 Georgia Tech, Saturday 6 p.m. MST, ABC

The Yellow Jackets are coming off their stunning 14-10 victory over Miami. In that game, their defense swarmed the Hurricanes, sacking Kyle Wright seven times.

Had the Jackets lost to the Hurricanes, they would have just been forgotten and this battle for Georgia wouldn’t be as big a game.

The Bulldogs have already clinched a berth to the SEC championship game, but they’ll need a win to provide momentum for a win over LSU or Auburn.

Patton’s prediction: Bulldogs 28, Yellow Jackets 21

Also keep an eye on college basketball. Tuesday, Nov. 29 is a rematch between Illinois and North Carolina, 7 p.m. MST on ESPN.

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