Football plate is full, but she saves some room for the dogs

Pucin is a Times staff writer.

Thanksgiving weekend is so not about eating turkey and sitting around with loved ones.

It’s about getting the heck away from the table and being first to grab the remote control.

Really, from dawn until dusk Thursday, Friday, Saturday and today, you could be watching football games that will be crucial to portioning out decimal points in the blurry BCS college football title chase or deciding NFL playoff spots.

On Friday you could have been watching Arkansas upset Louisiana State and on Saturday seen Georgia Tech dissect Georgia and have the epiphany that the Southeastern Conference just isn’t that great in football this season. What good win does Alabama have? That one over Georgia? Maybe not so much.

Are you so sure, after watching, that Georgia and LSU and Auburn and, yes, Alabama, are so much better than Oregon State, Oregon, California and Arizona?


Also on Saturday you could have looked in on Missouri and Kansas and been so horrified by the Tigers’ blotchy gold uniforms that you didn’t notice Missouri isn’t very good either and that USC fans better not hold their breaths waiting for the Tigers to upset Texas or Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game.

But back to Thursday, you could have shoveled breakfast off the table Thursday while drooling over the smell of the stuffed turkey in the oven and wondered why you must watch the Detroit Lions every Thanksgiving.

In the Olden Days, the Lions were good every once in a while. And if you were growing up in Chicago and both the Lions and Bears played on Thanksgiving, you wished your mother would serve dinner on TV trays so the games weren’t interrupted.

Now you see the Titans destroying the Lions and quick, switch the channel and find the National Dog Show on NBC and just as if it were a football game where there was a bad call, the network decision to not show the Glen of Imaal terrier (one of which is watching the show from your living room quite intently) causes someone in the house to cuss out that bad edit as if it were a missed holding call.

So if the Glen of Imaal doesn’t make the grade, neither does NBC and it isn’t necessary to go back to the Lions game either.

Instead there’s time to watch Cal State Fullerton have a 14-2 run and make 19th-ranked Wake Forest sweat in a college basketball game at the Anaheim Convention Center.

It passed the time until and stemmed some of the anticipation of how early (very) and often (very) Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb would get booed when Philadelphia hosted Arizona on Thanksgiving evening.

That’s the glory and the curse of wall-to-wall television sports. You get a sampling of the world without leaving the room.

But there is college basketball calling (did you see how Gonzaga dominated Maryland?) and there will be some golf and hockey and NBA basketball (just now it was impossible not to switch away from USC-Notre Dame to see how Kevin Love was doing with the Timberwolves, who were playing the Nuggets on NBA TV).

Still, the rhythm of a Thanksgiving television weekend is set by the football voices.

You catch a snippet of the Alabama-Auburn game on a television at a bar in the Phoenix airport and stop because it is Verne Lundquist. His voice is familiar, remembered from Olympic broadcasts and Super Bowls and the Dallas Cowboys and the Masters.

It is also easy listening when the underrated Ron Franklin is doing a game. He was on Colorado-Nebraska on Friday and Franklin made pointless football worthwhile with a single descriptive line: “You can hear the concussion from that hit all the way from up here.” And you could. The players weren’t familiar, but the sound of the hit was.

So was the sentiment expressed by Craig James before he started announcing the Texas-Texas A&M; blowout on Thanksgiving Day. “I’ve had so much turkey that I’m going to explode,” he said, leaving those of us who hadn’t eaten with a chance to reconsider the serving on the plate.

But it’s also how a sports fan who had tried to keep up with everything felt about 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Ready to explode.

Already started was Oregon at Oregon State with a possible Pac-10 title on the line for Oregon State and a Rose Bowl berth and also some of USC’s fate in its hands. Simultaneous kickoffs occurred at the Coliseum (Notre Dame at USC) and Stillwater, Okla., (Oklahoma at Oklahoma State).

At that moment the remote control needed new batteries and during the replacement procedure that Glen of Imaal terrier suggested in his own voice that it might be time for a walk.

Can he wait until halftime? Or will he explode like Craig James? Today will be better. After the New York Giants-Washington Redskins game but before the Gonzaga-Tennessee basketball game. There will be time.