Rankman can’t think of any other place he’d rather be for the next two weeks — except Bora Bora. The first playoff season orchestra is heading toward a crescendo of crashing pads and marching band cymbals. Every team in this week’s top 10 faces a game it can’t afford to lose. This will be the best Thursday, Friday and Saturday in sports — until the first week of the NCAA basketball tournament. So please, indulge, gorge and enjoy a food-induced coma of competition. Cheer for your rivals to get tripped up while you trip out on tryptophan. Let it all linger by listening to the Cranberries.
1; Alabama 10-1; Saban pauses before reminiscing about last year’s Iron Bowl: “Wait, give me a second.” (1)
2; Florida State 11-0; Behavior pattern: Winston also shoved box boy blocking crab legs at supermarket. (2)
3; Oregon 10-1; Mariota receives second ticket for going 80 mph through Colorado’s red zone. (3)
4; Baylor 9-1; Bears will put their nonconference schedule up against any school …in Starkville. (4)
5; Mississippi State 10-1; Rival’s third loss now has fans thinking this year’s Egg Bowl could be over easy. (5)
6; Texas Christian 9-1; Coach changes Thanksgiving menu from turkey to juicy Texas Longhorn steaks. (6)
7; Ohio State 10-1; Experts say game will be better once Michigan completes intense rivalry counseling. (7)
8; UCLA 9-2; Good news: Unlike 2012, no possible way Bruins can lose twice to Stanford in same season. (9)
9; Arizona 9-2; Sheriff Joe says he’ll supply bus to transport Arizona State down from Tempe. (10)
10; Arizona State 9-2; Mickelson told he can’t enter Territorial Cup because it’s a football game. (11)
11; Michigan State 9-2; FWIW: Maryland, Rutgers and Penn State have not always been a Big Ten closing stretch. (12)
12: Kansas State 8-2; Oklahoma back says there may be holes to poke open in Kansas’ interior line. (13)
13; Wisconsin 9-2; Banner made to honor Gordon’s NCAA rushing record cut up and made into headbands. (14)
14; Georgia Tech 9-2; Game vs. Georgia coincides with Atlanta’s “Please Curb Your Bulldog” campaign. (15)
15; Georgia 9-2; Plan to beat Ramblin’ Wreck is so bad that school must donate jalopy to 1-800 Kars4Kids. (16)
16; Auburn 8-3; Barkley says it would be “Tuurrible” if Iron Bowl is decided on official’s bad call. (NR)
Dropped out: Mississippi (8).
Moved in: Auburn.
First four out: Clemson, Oklahoma, Missouri, Boise State.