Hey, everyone. It’s Dan Mount and I’m here with another edition of Around Campus. Today I discuss how football and Thanksgiving go together and things to be thankful for in college football.
I’m still doing the Movember thing and I’ve got until Sunday. I’ve got $105 so far, but I’d like to get just a little bit more. Click here to donate.
A Thanksgiving tradition
Football has been as much of a tradition on Thanksgiving as turkey, stuffing and getting drunk and having an argument with family members. College football on Turkey Day can be traced back to when Yale and Princeton played in1876. There were other games starting in 1893 when Michigan would play against Chicago. (The tradition ended in 1899 over gate receipts.) Historically black college football has its own game with The Turkey Day Classic.
The success of those games and the end of the season was a perfect spot for rivalry games to pop up. A lot of games take place on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. There may only be two FBS games scheduled on Turkey Day itself (the Egg Bowl between Mississippi and Mississippi State and the new “Lone Star Showdown” between Texas Tech and Texas… it’s not the same without Texas A&M if you ask me.) However, a recent survey showed that 42-percent of Americans would rather have tickets to a college football contest over dinner with their family. Don’t get me wrong, I love college football, but I wouldn’t be grouped in that percentage.
The constant shifting of teams and conferences has meant that some rivalries have disappeared. Games like the Backyard Brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia, Colorado vs. Nebraska, the Holy War between BYU and Utah and the aforementioned Lone Star Showdown between the Aggies and Longhorns. However, we are getting some new rivalries in the college world like Nebraska taking on Iowa and Colorado vs. Utah. Plus, some rivalries like the Palmetto Bowl of South Carolina and Clemson as well the Iron Bowl of Alabama vs. Auburn will never go away.
Things to be thankful for
Today is the day where we give thanks for all that we have. One of the first things to be thankful is the fact that we can enjoy college football. Let’s give thanks to all of the servicemen and women that are overseas protecting our freedom and doing good works. We wouldn’t be able to enjoy the leisurely things in life without them.
The first thing is that the Bowl Championship Series is going to be gone after this season. We won’t have to worry about an Ohio State or a Baylor if they had won out getting robbed of a rightful spot fighting for a national title. Next year will have the 4-team playoff that puts the top four teams in position to go for the title. It may not be perfect, but it’s better to argue about who is number four than who is number two. (I still think the playoff will be eventually expanded to eight or even 16 teams in the future.)
I can also be thankful for guys like Johnny Manziel. Sure we like to give him a hard time and question his choices. However, you can’t deny how great he and other dual threat quarterbacks are. Guys like him Marcus Mariota and Braxton Miller have changed the game and added a new dimension.
Let’s not forget about the rise from the dead of programs like Duke and Baylor. (Although the Bears have been pretty good for a few years ever since RG3 was there.) The Blue Devils have been a perennial doormat in the ACC, but David Cutcliffe has brought the team within one win of the ACC title game and a date with Florida State. Usually people think about Duke Basketball in late November, but you have to respect the job the Devils have done.
You got to give it up for great coaches like Nick Saban and even Ed Orgeron reviving USC’s early season fortunes. College football is the game where the coaches can take on larger than life personas. Sure, they players make the coaches in some cases, but a successful can become an institution in a town if he stays.
Here’s my look at the BCS standings.
And three games to watch
Alabama at Auburn, 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS): Not only is it the Iron Bowl rivalry game, but this has game has national title game implications.
Clemson at South Carolina, 7 p.m. (ESPN2): These two teams don’t like each other and an outside shot at an at-large BCS berth is on the line.
UCLA at USC, 8 p.m. (ABC): It may not have title game implications, but a win for USC could also make it very hard for AD Pat Haden to bypass Ed Orgeron for the head coaching job.
That’s it for this week. I’ll be here next week for more Around Campus.
Dan Mount is a college football and NHL writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.