With Thanksgiving leftovers lurking at the bottom of the fridge (good luck with the creamed spinach and ambrosia salad), it’s time to move on to the best part of the holiday: taking the stuff we don’t want in the “white” and giving away the bullshit elephant” swaps.
I’m not going to give you what you really want, my resignation, but to spread some holiday cheer that really cost me nothing, here’s a list of holiday gifts for some of the sports figures that have been making the headlines lately. .
Cliff Kingsbury: Remember when the Arizona Cardinals coach toasted the league during the telecast of the 2020 NFL Draft? His house looked cool, he looked cool, and no one knew if his offense would really work in the NFL. Well, now that it’s gone, we have a pretty good idea and he’s running around thinking he needs one of those “Everything helps” signs. My holiday gifts to him: a high-profile college job to return to, and a gift certificate to Harry’s Razors.
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Spencer Rattler: His first season in South Carolina had a few highlights, but mostly mediocre (although Clemson’s upset this weekend would have bolstered his résumé, as did his win over Tennessee). He has demonstrated some skills that have made him a highly sought-after recruit from high school, but his overall results over the past two years have been disappointing. My holiday wish for him: He’s been holding a board for years while managing the world’s best job, the NFL backup quarterback. Either that or a return to his hometown of Arizona, where he has a Jason White-like career in air conditioning.
Matt Holliday: Let’s see… his long MLB career with the Rockies, Athletics, Cardinals and Yankees… seven All-Star games… career salary of about $160 million (according to baseball-reference.com) … eldest son, Jackson, ranked #1 overall Baltimore Selected by the Orioles in the 2022 MLB draft … a Stillwater native who had returned to town to serve as volunteer assistant coach at Oklahoma State for his older brother Josh … recently returned to the Cardinals as a team coach. My wish list for him? It’s still on a pretty good track. How about something very small: one more point on the MLB batting average to make him a career hitter by 300?
Let’s get to this week’s games.
West Virginia in Oklahoma: How healthy is Spencer Sanders? What OSU defense is emerging? Can the Cowboys run the ball against a team of sixth graders? How many Cheez-Its can you fit in your mouth at one time? These are all relevant questions for OSU fans. Answers? Let’s learn together. OSU 33, West Virginia 24.
Oklahoma at Texas Tech: The Red Raiders showed last week that they can still win even if they keep their opponent’s offense under control. Can Sooners say the same? Saturday night Lubbock sounds like the reason behind a sad country song. Tech lost 10 in a row to Oklahoma. This winning streak ends here. Red Raiders 32, Coming Soon 30.
In Tulsa, Houston: TU fans know the sometimes frightening history between these two teams. The Cougars bounced back from a slow start, especially on offense. Hurricane is playing hard, but questions about the status of the team’s head coach should be on players’ minds as a disappointing season draws to a close. Houston 36, Tulsa 24.
In Michigan, Ohio State: The Wolverines have a very good defense, but the Buckeyes’ offense has been a crushing force, and he’s not the villain from the Marvel comics (although they seem to do an equal amount of damage). If Michigan sprinter Blake Corum is slowed by injury, Ohio State could have an advantage at any position on the offensive between teams. The Buckeyes withdrew in the fourth quarter to advance to the Big 10 championship game: Ohio State 33, Michigan 26.
Tulane in Cincinnati: Here the winner will be in the AAC championship game. The loser could enter a three-way tiebreak battle with UCF (who defeated both these teams) and Houston for the other spot. An even match on both sides of the ball. We’re going to give the Bearcats at home a very slight advantage. Cincinnati 30, Tulane 28.
In Baylor Texas: The Bears were in close combat nearly every week in the Big 12 games, except for losing to Kansas State. Texas still seems to hold the hearts of bookies but not ours. Bears 32, Longhorns 27.
Arkansas in Missouri: The winner of this game gets The Battle Line Trophy. The Razorbacks showed themselves they still have some chance with their win over Ole Miss last week. The Tigers could qualify for bowling here with a win. I hope he has good plans for Christmas and New Year’s at home. Arkansas 31, Missouri 27.
Notre Dame at USC: Mystery of the season: how the Irish lost to Marshall and Stanford It’s tempting to choose Notre Dame here, but Caleb Williams clears most of those thoughts, It should still be a good fight. Trojans 34, Fighting Irish 30.
In Clemson, South Carolina: South Carolina gave fans a great memory when it upset Tennessee last week. But this game means more. Clemson lurks in the top four of the College Football Playoffs, trying to figure out how to break the One Ring. No matter how it turns out, they win this competitive game. Tigers 36, Gamecocks 21.
At the LA Rams, Kansas City: The Rams could have their worst season ever for a team after a Super Bowl win. It’s too much to ask for the Chiefs, Mahomes, Kelce and Rams defense to stop. Kansas City 34, LA Rams 17
Cincinnati in Tennessee: The Titans have shown they can take down the worst teams in the NFL. Here’s their chance to beat the defending AFC champions. The Bengals are pretty solid against the run which means the Titans can struggle to score. Give Joe Burrow the edge here. Cincinnati 24, Tennessee 20.
Green Bay in Philadelphia: Waiting for the Eagles to cream the Packers (get it, cream cheese vs. Cheese heads). Jalen Hurt and Philly are currently quite healthy; Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay not so much. Eagles 27, Packers 17.