It's Thanksgiving and I'm thankful for an awful lot. First and foremost, I'm thankful for my wife and two beautiful daughters. I'm thankful for great friends and family and that I have a great job and great people I work with. As a sports guy, I'm also thankful for all that Thanksgiving and the days after offer.
Sure, Thanksgiving itself features food, family and NFL football. I just chowed down a great turkey dinner with family and will have another one courtesy of the office here in about three hours. Then I'll work it off by producing a late sportscast to the tune of the Steelers vs. Ravens on NBC12.
But there's more than just NFL to look forward to. Thanksgiving ushers in one of the biggest and best college football weekends of the season... Rivalry Weekend. Even the most casual of fans will be able to find something on this list that appeals to them. So take a look and weigh in on which is your favorite, then enjoy the football:
(12) Oregon vs. Oregon State- Friday, 7:00pm- "The Civil War" kicks off Friday night with both the Ducks and Beavers coming off rough losses a week ago. Oregon was embarrassed at Arizona, dropping it out of PAC12 title contention, while Oregon State was blown out at Washington. Still, this game has produced some of the hardest-hitting football in the country when these rivals get together. The Ducks are going for their sixth straight win in this series.
(2) Florida State vs. Florida- Saturday, 12:00pm- It's a rivalry that may have lost a little bit of its luster this season based on Florida's rough season, but I'll tune in just to see one of the best players in the country do his thing. Jameis Winston gets his first true taste of Gainesville Saturday when his 2nd-ranked Seminoles visit the Gators. Florida State is 11-0, has scored more than 40 points in each game and Winston has 32 TD passes to just seven interceptions. Florida has lost six straight, most recently an embarrassing 26-20 home loss to Georgia Southern. On paper, it should be a beatdown, but at the Swamp, you never know.
(3) Ohio State vs. Michigan- Saturday, 12:00pm- There are several match-ups that appear to be lopsided this weekend, but of all of them, I think Michigan has the best chance of pulling off the upset. Ohio State hasn't lost since 2011 and won its 23rd straight game last week. The Wolverines have lost three of their last four, but playing a rival in the Big House is big for them. The Buckeyes will be looking for a perfect regular season and to stay in the hunt for a possible BCS National Championship game berth, if Alabama or Florida State should lose.
(24) Duke vs. North Carolina- Saturday, 12:00pm- This game would not have made the list in many previous years, but 2013 is so much different. How about Duke???... 9-2, ranked for the first time since 1994 and will finish above .500 for the first time since that same year. The Blue Devils face surging North Carolina Saturday in Chapel Hill. With a win, Duke clinches a spot in the ACC Championship Game and locks up the first ten win season in school history. But don't overlook UNC. The Tar Heels have won five in a row after a 1-5 start and would love nothing more than to ruin the hopes of their arch rivals. These are two of the hottest teams in the ACC, as Duke has won seven in a row.
Virginia Tech vs. Virginia- Saturday, 3:30pm- We're in Richmond, after all, so we have to talk about the battle for the Commonwealth Cup. This rivalry has been anything but in recent years. Virginia hasn't won a game in this series since 2003 and on paper 2013 will be no different. The Hokies... 7-4. The Cavaliers... 2-9. With a win, UVA will finish 3-9 for the first time since 2009. With a loss, it means the Wahoos' first two win season since 1982, their first ten loss season since 1981. As for the Hokies, they still have a shot to reach the ACC title game. A Duke loss and a Tech win would set up a Hokies' meeting with Florida State next Saturday.
(1) Alabama vs. (4) Auburn- Saturday, 3:30pm- The Iron Bowl is the biggest match-up of the weekend... two great teams facing off that absolutely despise each other. Alabama is hoping 2013 will end with its third straight national championship and fourth in the last five seasons. Auburn is 10-1 and will end up in the SEC title game with a win over Alabama.2010 was the last time this game meant this much, when Cam Newton and Auburn overcame a deficit to top the Crimson Tide. The Tigers are expecting nearly 150,000 people on campus for this one.
(6) Clemson vs. (10) South Carolina- Saturday, 7:00pm- Another example of two teams that hate each other, but they're both good, so it all adds up to something you'll want to watch on TV. Clemson is 10-1, South Carolina is 9-2. The Gamecocks have owned this series recently, winning the last four meetings. Tajh Boyd is looking for his first win in the series, but also hoping to avoid Jadaveon Clowney, who sacked him 4.5 times last year.
(22) UCLA vs. (23) USC- Saturday, 8:00pm- The battle of Los Angeles doesn't have any title game implications in the PAC12, but it's pumped full of story lines. Both teams are ranked, USC is 6-0 in conference games since Ed Orgeron took over interim head coaching duties, and Orgeron's chances of taking over the head job permanently could use the boost of knocking off the Trojans arch rivals. UCLA is looking for its first win at the LA Coliseum since 1997.