cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/03/2013 09:53 AM

Ducks, Cardinal to battle

June 28, 2013


2013 PAC-12 North - Schedule Outlook

The football season is just two months away and while there are many position battles to be determined, the schedule is set and there are some great disparities within each conference that will impact the conference races. The Pac-12 featured a very interesting race last season with two great teams in the North and a mess in the South, will there be balance restored this season? Take a look at the schedules ahead in the Pac-12 North in 2013.

California Golden Bears

The Bears were a big disappointment last season, going just 3-9 despite nearly beating Ohio State as well as crushing eventual Pac-12 South champion UCLA in the first half of the season. After three successful seasons at Louisiana Tech, new Bears head coach Sonny Dykes takes over for longtime coach Jeff Tedford. There has been a lot of player turnover and California will face one of the toughest schedules in the conference with five of nine conference games on the road plus a fairly tough draw from the South division that includes both USC and UCLA.

Conference Misses: Arizona State and Utah

Toughest Back-to-Back: After a bye week the Bears open the Pac-12 season in late September at Oregon in what will be a huge game for the team, particularly if the Bears are sitting with a loss or two after playing two quality Big Ten teams in non-conference play. The Ducks will be heavy favorites but Oregon is also going through a transition. Regardless of the result it may be tough to keep focused for the homecoming game the following week against what could be an improved Washington State squad in a possible letdown spot after two big national games.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The Bears will host Ohio State in the third week of the season and with a bye week following that game. The Buckeyes will be facing their first road game of the season and should be highly ranked when they visit Berkeley. Last season California out-gained Ohio State by 100 yards in a near comeback in Columbus, eventually falling 35-28 in an exciting game.

Oregon Ducks

The Ducks have a new coaching staff and will look for a fourth consecutive 12-win season in 2013. Oregon was not able to survive the North division last season with a late season loss to Stanford and that game will loom large again this season. The Ducks will play two quality non-conference games early in the year and Oregon does have a favorable conference draw, missing perhaps the top two teams in the South division and getting five of the nine conference games at home. The big rematch with Stanford will be on the road however. This is a team with a schedule conducive to another great season.

Conference Misses: Arizona State and USC

Toughest Back-to-Back: Oregon fans have to love this Pac-12 schedule as there are not a lot of overly challenging stretches on the schedule provided this team does not face a steep drop-off in performance in the transition. Even though there is a bye week ahead of the Thursday night affair the toughest set of games will start with the huge rematch at Stanford in early November. That game will be projected to determine the division champion and it would not be a surprise if both teams are undefeated at the time. A follow-up game at home against Utah could be a possible letdown spot for Oregon as it will be the first crack at the Ducks for Utah since they joined the Pac-12.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While Virginia could be a stronger team than Tennessee this year, any shot at a SEC team will be taken very seriously by an Oregon team that has failed in its last two chances, losing badly to LSU in 2011 and falling to Auburn in the BCS Championship game the previous season. In the third week of the season Oregon will host a Tennessee team also going through a transition and it could be a challenging spot after the cross country trip the previous week playing at Virginia.

Oregon State Beavers

After a tough 2011 season Oregon State rebounded nicely with a 9-4 season last year, falling the Alamo Bowl against Texas after competing well in the Pac-12 North race. After opening last year with a marquee win against Wisconsin the non-conference slate is softer this season and this is an experienced team that could vie for a dark horse role in the Pac-12 again. The schedule does present some challenges however and getting to the top of the conference is not likely with this slate.

Conference Misses: Arizona and UCLA

Toughest Back-to-Back: While both games are at home the make-or-break point in the season will be in late October and early November, hosting Stanford for homecoming and then hosting USC on a Friday night primetime game. While the early season schedule will be no cakewalk, including four road games in a six-week span, the Beavers should have a strong record at that point in the year and that two-game stretch surrounding Halloween will determine which direction the Beavers go.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The Beavers will open the Pac-12 season with an early match in Utah in the third week of the season and then a tricky follow-up game at San Diego State for a second straight road game and long travel could be a spot where getting tripped up is very possible. The Aztecs will have an experienced defense and two weeks to prepare, likely coming off a loss at Ohio State which could add to the potential challenge for Oregon State to survive.

Stanford Cardinal

Expectations were grounded for Stanford last season but David Shaw is now 23-4 in two seasons replacing Jim Harbaugh, delivering a Rose Bowl championship last season. Stanford could have one of the best defenses in the nation this season but there is some work to do on offense. The schedule provides the chance for a great start but November will be a daunting month even with three of the final four games on the schedule at home. This is a team that has a chance at a special season but they do face arguably the toughest Pac-12 South draw in this division. A benefit is only playing three true road games in conference play however as the Washington State road game will be played in Seattle.

Conference Misses: Arizona and Colorado

Toughest Back-to-Back: While upsets are not rare in the Pac-12, Stanford should be favored in the first eight games of the season. After an off week in early November the Cardinal will have a gauntlet to close the year, starting with a Thursday primetime game with Oregon and then facing a daunting to road game at USC the following week. Wins in those two games could put the Cardinal in the national title hunt; losses, or even just a loss, could cost Stanford a shot at defending the Pac-12 title.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The final game of the season will be a huge one for Stanford with Notre Dame visiting. Last year’s game in South Bend was one for the ages and ending with great controversy. While it appears unlikely that the Irish will be undefeated again at that point it should still be a critical game for both teams, perhaps with a BCS bowl bid in the mix for the victor.

Washington Huskies

Washington was saddled with a very tough schedule last season and despite the challenges and a slow start the Huskies managed a third straight winning season. Getting over the 7-6 hump will not be easy in this division but Washington does catch some breaks in the schedule this year with a slightly weaker non-conference slate and the benefit of missing USC from the South draw. Washington also gets to play five of nine conference games at home. The road schedule is daunting with all four conference road games looking like big challenges however but this is one of the most experienced teams in the conference.

Conference Misses: USC and Utah

Toughest Back-to-Back: The middle of the season will be a difficult grind for the Huskies and Washington will have to face likely the top two teams in the division in consecutive weeks in early October, playing at Stanford and then hosting Oregon. A game at Arizona State is next in line making for a very tricky second month of the season. Washington also has back-to-back road games late in the year at UCLA and at Oregon State as there are certainly some steep hurdles in this slate.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Washington has played several marquee non-conference games in recent years but few of them have gone favorably. This year the season opens at home with perennial BCS buster Boise State in town. That may be the perfect time to face a rebuilding Boise State squad but the Broncos have a great track record in these types of games early in the year and it will be a critical tone-setting game for both teams.

Washington State Cougars

There was a lot of excitement last season with Mike Leach taking over at Washington State but the season opened with a thud, scoring just six points in an opening loss. While Washington State was competitive in several games the end result was just 3-9, a game worse than the previous season under Paul Wulff. Given the radical changes on offense it was not going to be an overnight success story but more pressure will be on this season for the Cougars. The season opens with a bang and does not get much easier with just three true home games in conference play and having to play most of the top teams from the South division while missing lowly Colorado.

Conference Misses: Colorado and UCLA

Toughest Back-to-Back: Last season’s opening game set the tone for a disappointing year in Pullman and this year the first two weeks will provide another important measuring stick for this team. 0-2 is the likely result but it will be important for the Cougars to score some points and show that they can compete in two big road games to kick off the season, playing at Auburn on the opening weekend and then opening up Pac-12 play at USC the following week. The long travel and tough matchups could take a serious toll or it could spark Washington State to a new level of success if they pull off an upset or at least look the part.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: As mentioned the opening game at Auburn will be a critical starting point for the Cougars. The Tigers have SEC talent but are also going through a coaching change and are coming off a very disappointing year so the opportunity for a huge wave-making win is possible for the Washington State program.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/03/2013 09:55 AM

NCAAF Games of the Year: Don't second-guess Stanford-OSU line

Week 9: Stanford Cardinal at Oregon State Beavers (+3)

Past history: Stanford is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS since 2010, with OSU managing to barely cover (at +4.5) in last year’s tight 27-23 Cardinal win at Palo Alto; 1-2 O/U in those games. The Beavers’ last series win was a 38-28 success at Corvallis in 2009.

Early look at Stanford: The Cardinal are getting plenty of attention as they look for a fourth straight BCS visit and perhaps their first title game invitation. The emergence of sophomore QB Kevin Hogan as an exciting playmaker late last season solved what had been a post-Andrew Luck dilemma for head coach David Shaw. Four starters also return along a punishing OL and a committee of capable RBs is expected to replace the graduated Stepfan Taylor. But Stanford’s recent renaissance has been fueled as much by a robust defense that returns eight starters and most key playmakers from last year’s platoon. The “Tree” is also 16-3-1 ATS on the road since 2010.

Early look at Oregon State: With the pressure reduced in Corvallis after OSU responded with a 9-4 mark in a must-win 2012 season for head coach Mike Riley, the Beavers address a pleasant QB dilemma after winning for both Sean Mannion and Cody Vaz last season. Key skill-position weapons WR Brandon Crooks and RB Storm Woods return, as do four OL starters. The defense also upgraded last fall and has an upper class-look about it, although veteran defensive coordinator Mark Banker is going to need JuCo transfers at DT to hit the ground running. Banker’s pass coverage should be even better this fall after the platoon became acclimated to nickel-and-dime looks on a regular basis in 2012. Also note, Riley’s 25-11-1 ATS mark as a dog since 2007.

Where the line will move: It is not unrealistic to project an unbeaten OSU entering this game, especially since the Beavers are likely to be favored in their first seven outings. Stanford, off a high-profile battle with UCLA the previous week and looking forward to the Oregon showdown 12 days hence, could be in a tricky sandwich spot in Corvallis and the Beavers should be in rabid revenge mode after they gave the game away in last year’s bitter loss on The Farm. While at first glance, this number might appear a bit light and offer some value on Stanford. If the season proceeds as expected, it would be no surprise if the price moves slightly in OSU’s direction.
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Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/03/2013 09:59 AM

NCAAF Top 5: Best road bets in college football

Covering the college football pointspread on the road either takes a ton of talent or for a bad team to be a little bit better than oddsmakers’ expectations. That’s what we’ve discovered after digging up the best NCAAF road bets over the past five seasons.

Records from 2008-2012. Includes away, neutral-site and bowl games.

Boise State Broncos (32-3 SU, 26-9 ATS)

Teams fear the “Smurf Turf” in Boise but bettors should have just as much respect for the Broncos when they hit the road. Since joining the Mountain West Conference, BSU is 13-1 SU and 10-4 ATS away from home. Boise State opens the schedule with a trip to Washington in Week 1 as a 3-point underdog and is a 3-point pup at BYU in Week 9.

Alabama Crimson Tide (29-4 SU, 24-9 ATS)

The Crimson Tide have lost just eight games over the past five years and have been especially stout on the road. Despite three national titles in the last four seasons and mountains of chalk, Alabama holds its value thanks to NFL-ready talent and Nick Saban’s unrelenting approach. According to the Golden Nuggets’ odds, Bama is an average favorite of 20 points for its five available road spreads.

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-22 SU, 21-9-2 ATS)

You don’t have to compete for a BCS bowl to be a solid road bet. The Hilltoppers’ road record is proof of that. Western Kentucky went 6-1 ATS away from home last season, including a 35-0 beating at the hands of Alabama which stayed within the 38-point spread. WKU plays three of its first four games on the road in 2013.

UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (14-21 SU, 25-10 ATS)

UL Lafayette has undergone a transformation the past two seasons after struggling to gain traction in the Sun Belt between 2008-2010. The Ragin’ Cajuns won nine games while posting an 8-5 ATS mark in 2012. But even before then, ULL was making money on the road. In 2010, when the Cajuns won just three games, they still posted a profitable 6-1 ATS record on the road.

Stanford Cardinal (19-14 SU, 22-10-1 ATS)

The Cardinal seem to be a constant quiet contender in the Pac-12 and have been at their best in enemy territory. Stanford is 16-3-1 ATS on the road over the past three seasons – 82.5 percent – including a 5-1 ATS road mark last year. Stanford is a favorite in all but one of its four conference road tilts, getting one point at Southern Cal in Week 12.

Other notables:

Bowling Green Falcons (17-18 SU, 23-11-1 ATS)
Ball State Cardinals (18-17 SU, 24-11 ATS)
Ohio State Buckeyes (18-9 SU, 18-8-1 ATS)
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Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/04/2013 10:37 AM

NCAAF Games of the Year: LSU out for revenge hosting Gators

NCAAF Week 7: Florida Gators at LSU Tigers (-4)

Past History: Florida 3-2 SU/ATS Last 5 Years

Early Look at Florida: A great second season in Gainesville was somewhat marred by an ugly loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl (as two-touchdown favorites). Their only regular season loss came to Georgia, a game that saw the Gators turn the ball over six times. With only 10 returning starters on both sides of the ball and a suspect offense, UF ranks behind both Georgia and South Carolina in the SEC East pecking order coming into the year. A brutal schedule featuring only three league home games and LSU, South Carolina and Georgia all away is also cause for concern.

Early Look at LSU: No team in the country lost more talent to the NFL than the Bayou Bengals, who saw 10 players from last year’s squad declare early. Les Miles has only 12 returning starters in Baton Rouge and, as a result, they too are being pegged for third place in their division (behind Alabama and Texas A&M). There is a good chance the Tigers will be ranked outside the Top 11 for only the third time in 11 years at the start of the season. Despite losing only three games in 2012, last season was considered disappointing for the program.

Where This Line Will Move: LSU is at home and playing with revenge, so the natural lean for the public will be in their direction. Barring anything unforeseen, this should be the 10th straight meeting where both teams are ranked in the Top 25.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/05/2013 12:49 PM

NCAAF Games of the Year: Ohio State big home faves vs. Wisconsin

NCAAF Week 5: Wisconsin Badgers at Ohio State Buckeyes (-11)

Past History: Ohio State 4-1 SU/ATS vs. Wisconsin last five Years

Early Look at Wisconsin: There are major changes in Madison right now with Brett Bielema bolting for “greener pastures” in the SEC. Gary Andersen (Utah State) takes over and inherits a program that has been to the Rose Bowl three consecutive years (lost all three). Don't be fooled by last year’s 8-6 record, as all six defeats came by seven points or less, one of them to Ohio State in Madison, making this a huge revenge game. The Badgers have 14 returning starters and are the clear challenger to the Buckeyes in the Big Ten Leaders Division. They have a win total of 8.5, which seems low.

Early Look at Ohio State: Things could not have gone better during Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus, as the Buckeyes ran the table and finished 12-0. Well, there was that one “small” caveat. They were ineligible to play for a Big Ten or BCS Championship. Now cleared of NCAA sanctions, many have the Buckeyes finishing the regular season unbeaten one more time and potentially playing Alabama for a national championship. They will be favored in every game. One interesting tidbit is that this could be the only year that they play arch rival Michigan in successive weeks (regular season finale, Big Ten Championship Game). Quarterback Braxton Miller is a Heisman Trophy favorite and this is a legit BCS title contender.

Where This Line Will Move: With this being the Big Ten opener for both schools, there’s a good chance it will be a battle of unbeaten teams. Ohio State definitely will be 4-0. Wisconsin does have a road trip to Arizona State to worry about. With the game in Columbus and Ohio State being a public team, look for Wisconsin to be getting even more points by kickoff. The Badgers have, however, dropped seven of their last eight Big Ten road openers.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/05/2013 09:08 PM

2013 CUSA Preview

July 1, 2013

With six new teams joining the affiliation, comprising a pair of 7-team divisions, a scorecard in the Conference USA is a must these days.

According to our scorecard, CUSA loses Houston, Memphis, SMU and UCF to the American Athletic Conference (the former Big East). Meanwhile they import Charlotte, FAU, FIU, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, and Texas-San Antonio in 2013.

If expansion talk like this isn’t dizzying enough, the loop welcomes four new head coaches in 2013, including Ron Turner (FIU), Skip Holtz (Louisiana Tech), Todd Monken (Southern Miss) and Sean Kugler (UTEP), while breaking in six new starting quarterbacks as well.

Stepping outside the conference, members will take on 18 games against foes from the Big10, the Big12 and the SEC. In head-to-head games against these three super conferences, the CUSA stands 45-206 straight up and 110-134-5 against the spread since the inception the conference, including a super-scary 2-117 SU and 39-83-2 ATS in games in which they fail to score 17 points. Against all other non-conference foes the loop stands 343-324 SU overall.

And despite its BCS non-AQ status, the CUSA has performed well of late with 10 different teams from the conference participating in 45 bowl games over the last eight years. They’ve really held their own in these post-season affairs, going 22-23 SU and 23-21-1 ATS.

Interestingly, in that span against .666 or greater bowl opponents the CUSA is 15-9 SU and 17-7 ATS, while just 7-14 SU and 6-14-1 ATS versus sub .666 foes. (Go figure)

So when it comes to partying take off the blindfold and, like the teams in this loop, just go for it and enjoy.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. Potential designated ‘Play On’ and ‘Play Against’ Best Bets follow each team’s preview.

East Division

EAST CAROLINA (*8/8)
Team Theme: RUFFIN READY
After serving 10 years as an assistant under Mike Leach at Texas Tech, former ECU alum (and 4-year football letterman) Ruffin McNeil knew it was his time when the Pirates brought him aboard as the head coach in 2010. A 19-19 record does not have the fan base clamoring for him to walk the plank, but his breakout season looks to be at hand in 2013. After 51 players made their first-ever collegiate starts with the Pirates in his first two seasons, he featured only three senior starters on offense in 2012. As a result, ECU will field the second-highest number of returning starts of all FBS teams this year: 355, including 215 from last season. With 25 seniors and 24 juniors (50.5% upper classmen) putting on the pads, including record-setting QB Shane Carden, the Pirates are ready to push the envelope.

Stat You Will Like: 75% of the Pirates lettermen return in 2013.

PLAY ON: vs. North Carolina (9/28)

FLORIDA ATLANTIC (7/8)
Team Theme: MOVIN’ ON UP

Like the Jeffersons, FAU finds itself moving on up to Conference USA beginning this football season. It didn’t take new head coach Carl Pelini long to make his mark in Boca Raton, where his Owls dramatically improved their offensive numbers in his first year at the helm in 2012. A 101-yard improvement rewarded backers as well with a nifty 8-3 pointspread mark. With 15 starters back, they’re prepared to move up in class this campaign. The good news is they will face only two opponents that participated in a bowl game last season, and will close out the season against seven losing squads. The feeling here, though, is the combination of sophomore blues and a tougher neighborhood may find the Owls asleep on the ATS perch in 2013.

Stat You Will Like: FAU improved from No. 117 to No. 64 in penalty yards per game under Pelini last season.

PLAY AGAINST: at UAB (10/5)

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL (*3/3)
Team Theme: TURNING A NEW CORNER

Along with their neighborhood cousins Florida Atlantic, FIU moves in a new direction by joining Conference USA in 2013. In addition, they bring along new head coach Ron Turner, a former boss at Illinois and San Jose State. The former Big 10 Coach of the Year (Illinois 2001) will need all of his coaching skills as he finds the cupboard bare with only three starters back on both sides of the ball after the Panthers lost nearly 30 seniors to graduation. The good news is 22 true or redshirt freshmen made their debut last season, while 28 players who sat out because of redshirt, injury or transfer status will be suiting up in 2013. Keeping oft-injured QB Jake Medlock healthy is crucial.

Stat You Will Like: Turner is 6-23 ATS in games off a SUATS loss in his college career.

PLAY ON: vs. Marshall (11/23)

MARSHALL (*8/7)
Team Theme: GREEN COLORED GLASSES

When Doc Holliday arrived in town three years ago he promised to fire-up an offense that appeared to have run out of bullets. They’ve re-loaded since, with the buy-sign coming last year when the Doctor’s offense improved a whopping 201 YPG. Puzzling, though, was the fact that after going 7-1 in one-possession games (games decided by a touchdown or less) his first two seasons with a popgun attack, his troops plummeted to 2-4 in the same games last year. The blame can be placed on a defense that has been in decline since Holliday’s arrival. With plenty of offensive power on hand in the likes of QB Rakeem Cato (CUSA MVP) and WR Tommy Shuler (110 receptions in 2012), things will improve when and if the defense does.

Stat You Will Like: In addition to Cato and Shuler, the Thundering Herd offense returns its top three running backs, TE Gator Hoskins (10 TDs) and a whopping eight linemen with starting experience.

PLAY ON: vs. East Carolina (11/30)

MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (*9/8)
Team Theme: NO STANDING STILL

The hire of Rick Stockstill at MTSU in 2006 has paid off in spades. He has demonstrated the ability to develop and coach big-time players throughout his career, having worked 24 years as an assistant with legendary coaches Lou Holtz, Steve Spurrier, Danny Ford, Tommy Bowden, Ken Hatfield and Tommy West. Coaching is in his blood and it was apparent last year when he led the Blue Raiders to the nation’s biggest win improvement of +6 games, including a school record 5 FBS road wins. Headed to the Conference USA, seventeen starters are back for more, led by senior QB Logan Kilgore who has enjoyed back-to-back 2,000-yard seasons. Going up against only two bowl teams in 2013, anything less than a bowl would be substandard.

Stat You Will Like: In his tenure at MTSU, Rick Stockstill’s teams have gone from an APR score of 892 to 983, the biggest increase of any program in the country.

PLAY ON: vs. North Carolina (9/7)

SOUTHERN MISS (4/9)
Team Theme: HERO TO ZERO

On paper it looked like the right move. Ellis Johnson, a four-year defensive coordinator at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier, was in for the departed Larry Fedora. His job was to extend the Eagles' 18-year win skein, if not somehow improve on 2011's school-best 12-win effort. It turns out Johnson became the poster-boy for the Peter Principle when he led his team to ZERO wins. Like a candle in the wind, his flame burned out long before his legend ever did. Enter Todd Monken, former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma State. He is the third Golden Eagles head coach of the last four hired whose previous job was OC with the Cowboys. The good news for Monken: Zero-win lined teams have gone 248-439-4 the next season since 1991.

Stat You Will Like: David Duggan, Southern Miss defensive coordinator in 2011, returns as DC this season.

PLAY ON: vs. Texas State (8/31)

UAB (*8/8)
Team Theme: OINTMENT APPLIED

Former Arkansas offensive coordinator Garrick McGee was fully aware of what it was he was getting into when he assumed the reins at UAB last season. He inherited a team on a 7-year losing skid and a defense that was torched for more than 500 yards on seven occasions. The seven-year itch wouldn’t go away but a solid improvement on both sides of the ball provides the salve needed to soften the wounds. Led by returning QB Austin Brown’s school record 309 passing YPG, and joined by last year’s leading WR Jackie Williams and top RB Darrin Reaves, the Blazers take the field in 2013 with the look of a team ready to turn the corner.

Stat You Will Like: Four returning wide receivers caught 40 or more passes last season.

PLAY ON: vs. Troy (8/31)

West Division

LOUISIANA TECH (3/4)
Team Theme: BOW-WOW

You know the tale of Mother Hubbard going to the cupboard to get her poor dog a bone, only to find the cupboard bare. That same verse is running through new coach Skip Holtz’s head as he assumes the reins in Ruston with a total of 7 starters back from last years record-setting squad that tallied 51 PPG and 578 YPG en route to a 9-2 season. Unfortunately, the program turned down an Independence Bowl invite hoping for a more high-profile game, only to have their porous defense (allowed 526 YPG) fail to impress the bowl scouts elsewhere – thus, the Bulldogs remained home for the holidays. Skippy will need to rely on his playbook more than ever this season with QB Colby Cameron (4,147 pass yards) listed among the departed. Sophomore RB Kenneth Dixon (1,194 rushing yards) will be heavily counted upon to carry the load.

Stat You Will Like: Skip Holtz is 15-3 ATS as a dog versus a .500 or less opponent.

Pass

NORTH TEXAS (*8/8)
Team Theme: SMOOTH OPERATOR

Dan McCarney’s operation of weaning JUCO’s and concentrating instead on recruits showed promising signs - on the stat sheet at least - last season when the Mean Green improved its numbers on both sides of the ball despite slipping both SU & ATS. Longtime followers of this publication know what that equation means – expected improvement this season. For the first time in 60 years NTSU had three players rush for more than 500 yards in a single season and two of them are back in 2013. They join senior QB Derek Thompson to form a potent backfield. Coupled with a defense that allowed the fewest points in a season since 2006, the transition to the CUSA could be smoother than anticipated.

Stat You Will Like: North Texas’ offensive line allowed the fewest sacks in the nation last season (6).

PLAY ON: vs. Middle Tennessee State (10/12)

RICE (*9/10)
Team Theme: MANY HAPPY RETURNS

A 5-game season-ending win skein is not all that propels the Owls into the 2013 season. For the first time in head coach David Bailiff’s seven-year tenure, the entire coaching staff returns intact. In addition, 19 returning starters dot the roster led by QB Taylor McHargue. The clincher, though, is the fact that 14 freshmen debuted last season and they combine with an FBS-best 233 returning starts from last year’s team to bring experience aplenty. That makes the wide-eyed Owls a major player in the CUSA this campaign. Think not? Then chew on this: last year’s 3-3 SU and 4-2 ATS away mark put a halt to a 1-17 SU and 5-13 ATS road mark since 2009.

Stat You Will Like: The Owls led the nation in time of possession (33:59) last season.

PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Louisiana Tech (11/16) - *Key off win

TULANE (8/8)
Team Theme: I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER FOR C.J.

When C. J. Johnson brought his 25 years of coaching experience, along with some flashy hardware – namely: a Super Bowl trophy during his stint with the New Orleans Saints and a national championship ring as an assistant at Miami Florida – the hope was his glossy resume would be a good start toward recovery for a program that has wallowed 10 straight years on the south side of .500. Year Two of the rebuilding project finds hope with 16 starters back, including all-CUSA WR Ryan Grant (led the conference in receiving yards last year). The wish is that JUCO transfer QB Nick Montana will assume the reins and walk on by to the north side of the barrier. The wishin’ and hopin’ continues in the Big Easy.

Stat You Will Like: PK Cairo Santos was the winner of the 2012 Lou Groza award. Santos nailed 21 of 21 field goals last season.

PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. North Texas (10/5)

TULSA (*7/3)
Team Theme: STARSHIP ENTERPRISE

Replacing 4-year starter G.J. Kinne proved to be no problem for Bill Blankenship’s Golden Hurricane last season when they tied a school record with 11 wins thanks to a same-season revenge win over Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl. QB Cody Green, along with his top three wide receivers and two running backs, are back for more, giddy as all get-out after winning Tulsa’s first conference title since 2005. In fact, no other senior class has managed to top the 29 wins recorded by this group in school history. After venturing where few other Tulsa teams have gone before, Blankenship’s star-studded no-huddle spread offense will hope a gutted defense, sans the entire D-line, doesn’t let their efforts go to waste.

Stat You Will Like: Blankenship is 15-2 SU and 12-5 ATS in conference games with the Hurricane, including 4-0 SUATS off a loss.

PLAY AGAINST: vs. Marshall (11/14)

UTEP (7/4)
Team Theme: GLORY DAYS

If kudos and coaching pedigree are a part of the equation when it comes to evaluating a new coach then the Miners struck gold this off-season when they inked Sean Kugler to replace Mike Price. “There’s absolutely no question that he’s the best football coach I’ve ever been around,” beamed Boise State head coach Chris Peterson. Kugler is a former UTEP offensive lineman who spent one year with the Broncos in between eleven years as an assistant with the Bills, Lions and Steelers in the NFL. To top it off he hired Scott Stoker as his defensive coordinator. Stoker, the 2011 FCS DC Coach Of The Year guided Sam Houston State to consecutive FCS National Title games. Ex-Texas A&M QB Jameill Showers, who played behind Ryan Tannehill in 2011 and Johnny Manziel in 2012, will usher in the Kugler era.

Stat You Will Like: New OC Patrick Higgins, former UTEP offensive coordinator (2000-03), served as interim OC and interim head coach at Purdue last season.

PASS

UTSA (10/8)
Team Theme: REBORN IN THE USA

After spending its first-year as an FBS member in the WAC, the Roadrunners are off to the Conference USA. This upstart program will become a full-fledged FBS program and bowl eligible in 2014. That’s good news for a program built from the ground up by former national championship head coach Larry Coker, who is 72-25 with a .742 career win percentage, as he has appeared in 18 bowl games in his collegiate career with his teams winning 14 of those contests. But first things first as the jump to a tougher neighborhood will likely dampen last year’s successful debut. 18 returning starters in 2013 – and 21 last year – make this a seasoned lot. Remember, though, only half of their 8 wins last season were against FBS squads, and those teams finished up 8-41.

Stat You Will Like: NBC Sports personality Michelle Beadle is a Texas-San Antonio alum.

PASS

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/05/2013 09:12 PM

2013 Outlook - Big Ten

July 4, 2013


Skinny: Ohio State went unbeaten in Urban Meyer’s first season as head coach, but the Buckeyes were unable to go bowling or play in the Big Ten Championship due to the NCAA violations committed on Jim Tressel’s watch.

With nine starters returning on offense and four on defense, the Buckeyes are the clear-cut favorites in the Big Ten. In fact, they have the second-shortest odds to win the BCS Championship at 5Dimes (+800).

5Dimes has Ohio State as the -110 ‘chalk’ to win the Big Ten Championship Game. Meyer’s team has a season win total of 11.5 ‘under’ (-195, +155 for ‘over’ wagers).

Ohio State averaged 37.2 points per game last year and has all of its skill players back, including junior quarterback Braxton Miller. The Big Ten Player of the Year in 2012 rushed for 1,524 yards and 13 touchdowns as a sophomore. Also, Miller threw for 2,039 yards with a 15/6 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

The defense returns only four starters, but they are the top four tacklers from last season’s squad. Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier, junior CB Bradley Roby and senior safety Christian Bryant are All-American candidates.

Remember, the Bucks won six one-possession games in 2012, including a pair of overtime victories. If they find themselves playing from behind this season, will Miller and the passing game be able to produce?

Michigan has the second-shortest odds to win the league at +500 (risk $100 to win $500). The Wolverines have a season win total of 9.5 (-165 for the ‘under,’ +125 for ‘over’ plays).

Brady Hoke’s squad returns 12 starters (6 offense & 6 defense) from last season’s team that finished 8-5 after dropping a 33-28 heartbreaker to South Carolina at the Outback Bowl.

With Denard Robinson out of the picture, the offense now belongs to junior QB Devin Gardner. He got plenty of action last year and was taking most of the snaps in the last few games of the season. Gardner completed 59.5% of his 126 throws for 1,219 yards with an 11/5 TD-INT ratio.

Gardner also rushed for seven TDs. His favorite target will be senior WR Jeremy Gallon, who had 49 receptions for 829 yards and four TDs in 2012.

Michigan’s defense allowed only 19.8 PPG last season. Hoke’s hope is that this unit will once again be led by linebacker Jake Ryan, who had a team-high 88 tackles last season. Ryan, who also had 11.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, tore his ACL in the first padded practice in the spring. His recovery has reportedly been going remarkably well and the Wolverines hope to have him ready by October.

Northwestern nearly went undefeated in 2012. The Wildcats finished 10-3, capping the campaign by blasting Mississippi State, 34-20 at the Gator Bowl. They allowed fourth-quarter leads to get away in all three losses – 39-28 at PSU, 29-28 vs. Nebraska and 38-31 at Michigan in overtime.

Pat Fitzgerald’s team returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense. Northwestern has the third-shortest odds to win the Big Ten at 5Dimes (+600). The Wildcats have a season win total of 8.5 (-140 for ‘under’ bets, +100 for the ‘over’).

Like South Carolina with Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson, Northwestern has two QBs it can win with. Senior Kain Colter is the starter but he can also play at RB and WR when Trevor Siemian takes snaps under center.

Colter rushed for 894 yards and 12 TDs last season, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. He completed 101-of-149 passes (67.8%) for 872 yards with an 8/4 TD-INT ratio. Colter also had 16 receptions for 169 yards. Siemian connected on 128-of-218 throws for 1,312 yards with a 6/3 TD-INT ratio.

Senior Venric Mark might be the Big Ten’s best RB and is one of the nation’s elite special-teams players. Mark rushed for 1,366 yards and 12 TDs while rushing for 6.0 YPC. He averaged 18.7 yards per punt return with a pair of TDs.

Northwestern’s defense gave up 22.5 PPG in 2012. The Wildcats return senior LB Damien Proby, who had a team-high 112 tackles last season. Also, senior DE Tyler Scott is back after recording nine sacks last year.

Nebraska has +700 odds (risk $100 to win $700) to win the Big Ten. The Cornhuskers have a season win total of 9.5 (-130 to the ‘over,’ -110 for ‘over’ bets) at 5Dimes.

Bo Pelini’s squad went 10-4 in his fifth season, but the year ended on a sour note. First, Nebraska got embarrassed in a 70-31 loss to Wisconsin at the Big Ten Championship Game. Next, the Cornhuskers dropped a 45-31 decision versus Georgia at the Capital One Bowl.

The boys in Lincoln returns eight starters on offense and four on defense. Senior QB Taylor Martinez is already the school’s all-time leading passer with 6,591 passing yards. The four-year starter will try to build on those numbers in 2013.

Martinez threw for 2,871 yards as a junior with a 23/12 TD-INT ratio. He also rushed for 1,019 yards and 10 TDs. Junior RB Ameer Abdullah rushed for a team-high 1,137 yards last year to garner second-team All Big Ten honors. Abdullah rushed for eight TDs while averaging 5.9 YPC.

Martinez will have the benefit of all three starting WRs returning, including his favorite target. Kenny Bell was that guy last season when he hauled in a team-high 50 receptions for 863 yards and eight TDs.

The concerns for Nebraska are not on the offensive side of the ball. Pelini has to get the defense straight after three consecutive declining years since giving up only 10.4 PPG in 2009. The ‘Huskers allowed 27.6 PPG last season and the five top tacklers from this unit are gone.

Unless Nebraska is a home ‘dog vs. UCLA in Week 3 (unlikely since the ‘Huskers are currently 6.5-point ‘chalk’ at 5Dimes), it will be favored in its first eight games. The year will be decided by a four-week stretch from Nov. 2 through Nov. 23 when they host Northwestern, face Michigan at The Big House, face Michigan State at home and then travel to Happy Valley to challenge Penn State.

Speaking of the Nittany Lions, they remain ineligible for the Big Ten title and the bowl season. Nevertheless, the school has to feel better about its future after watching Bill O’Brien field a feisty 8-4 squad that could’ve easily gone 10-2 in his first year.

PSU lost 17-16 at Virginia because its place kicker Sam Ficken had a day from hell in Charlottesville. To his credit, though, he put that nightmare behind him and made every field goal of consequence inside of 40 yards over the next 10 games.

Penn State got robbed of a crucial fourth-quarter TD and its backers suffered a horrendous beat in a 32-23 loss at Nebraska as an 8.5-point underdog. But the Lions managed to compile a 9-3 spread record nonetheless, including a 5-1 ATS mark in six spots as home favorites.

PSU brings back eight starters on offense and six on defense. Despite the massive NCAA penalties, O’Brien brought in a solid recruiting class, including a pair of five-star players in QB Christian Hackenberg and TE Adam Breneman.

Hackenberg could be the starter from Day 1. On that note, the PSU faithful will be happy to see he won’t have a true road game until October. The Lions play Syracuse in their opener at Giants Stadium before three straight home games.

Penn State returns its top seven pass catchers from last season, including first-team All Big Ten performer Allen Robinson. The junior WR had 77 catches for 1,013 yards and 11 TDs. Also, junior RB Zach Swinak is back after rushing for 1,000 yards and six TDs as a sophomore.

Penn State has a season win total of 8.5 (-195 for the ‘under,’ +155 for ‘over’ backers) at 5Dimes. We should mention that the Nittany Lions have just four true road assignments.

We have already covered three of the four legitimate contenders to win the Leaders Division. The fourth is Michigan State, which has +750 odds to win the league.

I’ve always said that teams like the 2012 Spartans, who got mediocre QB play all year, can steadily improve if mediocre QB play can be turned into quality production from the signal caller.

Senior QB Andrew Maxwell struggled mightily in his first season as a starter. He completed just 52.5 percent of his throws and had three interceptions returned for TDs. The result was an offense that averaged just a meager 20.0 PPG.

An improved offense will mostly be determined by Maxwell, but the Spartans are also in dire need of finding a replacement at running back. Le’Veon Bell rushed for 1,793 yards and 12 TDs in his final campaign with the Spartans. Junior Nick Hill and true freshman Gerald Holmes are the leading candidates to replace Bell.

Mark Dantonio’s squad returns eight starters on offense and seven on defense. The ‘D’ will be led by first-team All Big Ten LB Max Bullough. The senior Butkus Award candidate had a team-high 111 stops last season to go with 10 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks.

Michigan State has a season win total of 8.5 (-130 to the ‘over,’ -110 for the ‘under’). The Spartans open with three straight home games before venturing into South Bend to face Notre Dame.

The biggest obstacle for Ohio State in the Leaders Division is Wisconsin, which has won three consecutive Big Ten titles. The Badgers only went 8-6 last year but they lost three games in overtime and each defeat came by seven points or less.

Wisconsin lost its head coach Bret Bielema to the SEC when he bolted for the Arkansas job. However, Barry Alvarez made a solid hire with his selection of Gary Andersen from Utah State as Andersen guided the Aggies to an 11-2 record both SU and ATS last year.

Wisconsin returns eight starters on offense and six on defense. Unlike last season, the QB situation appears to be settled with sophomore Joel Stave scheduled as the starter. Stave led the offense to an average of 34.2 PPG in his first five starts as a freshman. He completed 58.8 percent of his throws for 1,104 yards with a 6/3 TD-INT ratio.

The school’s second all-time leading rusher Montee Ball is off to the NFL, but Wisconsin looks stacked at the RB position. James White has been the nation’s best back-up RB for several years and is back for his senior campaign. White had 12 rushing TDs and a 6.4 YPC average as a junior.

But White might not even be the starter. Sophomore Melvin Gordon showed flashes of brilliance as a true freshman when he rushed for 621 yards and three TDs. Gordon averaged an amazing 10.0 YPC.

Kirk Ferentz is the Dean of Big Ten head coaches as he enters his 15th season at Iowa, but his days could be numbered if the Hawkeyes don’t improve in 2013. They finished a disappointing 4-8 last season. The ‘Hawks bring back six starters on offense and seven on defense, but they must find a replacement for QB James Vandenberg.

Games to Watch:

1-Ohio State at Michigan (Nov. 30) – Will this be the first of two meetings in as many weeks? Possibly. 5Dimes has the Buckeyes as five-point road favorites with an ‘over/under’ total of 50.5. The Buckeyes have won eight of the last nine meetings, but they lost a 40-34 decision in their last trip to Ann Arbor in 2011. Michigan has only been a home ‘dog once under Hoke, beating Notre Dame 35-31 two seasons ago.

2-Wisconsin at Ohio State (Sep. 28) – This game will almost certainly decide the Leaders Division before the calendar hits October. Both schools will be playing for the fifth time in as many weeks. Wisconsin will be looking to avenge a 21-14 home loss to the Buckeyes in overtime last season. The Buckeyes are 10-point home favorites at 5Dimes.

3- Michigan at Northwestern (Nov. 16) – Northwestern has an open date leading into this game, while Michigan will be coming off a 60-minute battle vs. Nebraska. This game will go a long way toward deciding the Legends loop. The Wildcats are currently two-point home ‘chalk.’

4- Nebraska at Penn State (Nov. 23) – PSU can play the spoiler role on Nebraska in this spot. After the controversial loss in Lincoln last season, this would be a sweet victory for the Nittany Lions in the next-to-last game. PSU has three fairly easy games leading into this spot – vs. Illinois, at Minnesota and vs. Purdue. On the flip side, Nebraska will be at the tail end of a four-game gauntlet that includes home games vs. Northwestern and Michigan State sandwiched between a trip to The Big House. 5Dimes has this game as a pick ‘em.

5- Ohio State at Northwestern (Oct. 5) – This might be the second toughest game of the year for Urban Meyer’s team. From a situational standpoint, the advantage goes to Northwestern since it has an opening date the previous week. Furthermore, Ohio St. will fall into a letdown spot after hosting Wisconsin the prior week. In 29 head-to-head meetings, Ohio State has only lost once to the Wildcats (2004). 5Dimes has the Bucks favored by seven (-115).

Fearless Predictions
(Championship Game - Ohio State over Northwestern)


2013 Win-Loss Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
Leaders Division
Ohio State 11-2 11 ½ Rose
Wisconsin 10-2 8 ½ Capital One vs. ACC #2
Penn State 9-3 8 ½ -
Indiana 5-7 5 ½ -
Purdue 3-9 5 ½ -
Illinois 3-9 3 ½ -
Legends Division
Northwestern 10-3 8 ½ Outback Bowl vs. SEC #3 or 4
Michigan 9-3 9 ½ Buffalo Wild Wings vs. Big 12 #4
Nebraska 9-3 9 ½ Gator Bowl vs. SEC #6
Michigan State 8-4 8 ½ Texas Bowl vs. Big 12 #5
Iowa 5-7 5 ½ -
Minnesota 4-8 5 ½ -


Best Season Win Total: Northwestern ‘over’ 8.5 at even money.

Best Week 1 Bet: Take Northern Illinois +6 at Iowa.

Players to Watch:

1-Braxton Miller (QB, Ohio St.): According to Sportsbook.ag, the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year has the second-shortest odds to win the Heisman (+500) behind only Johnny Manziel. The Buckeye faithful are hoping Miller can lead the team to a national title.

2-Venric Mark (RB, Northwestern): This Northwestern squad has a chance to be really good but that will only happen if Mark stays healthy and has a monster season.

3-Taylor Martinez (QB, Nebraska): If the defense doesn’t improve, Martinez and the offense are going to be on the hook for scoring a bunch of points against quality foes. He has 25/1 odds to win the Heisman at Sportsbook.ag.

4-Max Bullough: (LB, Michigan St.): The two-time All Big Ten performer will anchor a Spartans defense that didn’t get much help from the other side of the ball in 2012. If the Spartans are going to win the Legends, they will have to slow down high-octane offenses in back-to-back road assignments at Nebraska and at Northwestern in late November.

5-Melvin Gordon & James White (RBs, Wisconsin): This combo will have to replace Montee Ball. White is the steady veteran that has always produced, while Gordon is the speedster who can take it the house on any given touch.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

-- Michigan is only 1-4 against the spread in four road underdog spots during Brady Hoke’s tenure. The Wolverines might be road ‘dogs (or not?) in three games: at Penn St., at Michigan St. and at Northwestern. The Wildcats have an open date before facing Michigan, which will be coming off a 60-minute battle vs. Nebraska.

-- Michigan State went 0-6 ATS as a home favorite last year. The Spartans will be favored in every home game in 2013 with the only possible exception being a Nov. 2 showdown vs. in-state rival Michigan.

-- 5Dimes has the Spartans as 5.5-point underdogs at Notre Dame in Week 3. They are 8-6 ATS as road ‘dogs during Dantonio’s six previous seasons at the helm.

-- Wisconsin has a season win total of 8.5, so I like it ‘over.’ However, I won’t recommend it because of the expensive -210 cost to back the ‘over.’

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/05/2013 09:14 PM

Wide open in the Pac-12 South

July 1, 2013


2013 PAC-12 South - Schedule Outlook

The college football season is less than two months away, the schedule is set and there are some great disparities within each conference that will impact the conference races. The Pac-12 South was a tight race last season as the heavy favorite USC stumbled and it should be an interesting race again this season. Take a look at the schedules ahead in the Pac-12 South in 2013.
Arizona Wildcats

Rich Rodriguez led an upstart season for the Wildcats last season, finishing 8-5 with a bowl win after a tough 4-8 2011 season. The schedule played a huge role in the disparities between those records and this season Arizona again draws a relatively favorable path. Five of nine Pac-12 games will be on the road but missing Stanford on the schedule is certainly a break and several of the biggest games will be at home. Arizona has a very light non-conference schedule that should ensure a strong start and bye weeks before big road games at Washington and at USC could help the cause for a possible upset. Arizona will need to replace some key players on offense but another solid season could be ahead.

Conference Misses: Oregon State and Stanford

Toughest Back-to-Back: The Wildcats will have a tough finish to the season hosting Oregon in late November and then closing the season at Arizona State. A lot could be on the line for the Wildcats who could have a record that has them in contention in this division, especially if they find a way to win at USC early in the season. Arizona will play back-to-back road games in the middle of the year but this late season set should provide the biggest tests of the year.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Arizona will play one of the weaker non-conference slates in the conference with home games with Northern Arizona and Texas-San Antonio, leaving a road trip to UNLV as the biggest non-conference test in week 2, even though Arizona should be a solid road favorite in that game.

Arizona State Sun Devils

The Sun Devils started the Pac-12 season 3-0 last year but four consecutive losses dropped them out of the picture. Arizona State has an experienced team back in action and while the overall schedule is tougher this season with two huge non-conference games, the Pac-12 slate lines up nicely featuring the notable omission of Oregon. Arizona State will need to be ready to go early in the year as after an opener against FCS Sacramento State there will be four straight very tough games. It is truly a gauntlet for the Sun Devils playing Wisconsin, Stanford, USC, and Notre Dame in consecutive weeks in late September and early October. It could be smooth sailing after that however and Arizona State will play five of nine Pac-12 games at home.

Conference Misses: California and Oregon

Toughest Back-to-Back: The aforementioned four-game stretch early in the season could be sliced in a number of ways to find the toughest two-game set but the two conference games will be the most critical, playing at Stanford for the first road game of the season and then following that game up with a huge home contest against USC. The Trojans beat Arizona State soundly last season and the Sun Devils have not played Stanford since they nearly upset then #7 Stanford in 2010.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: A big early season game with Wisconsin will be a huge game in Tempe but the chance to play Notre Dame at Cowboys Stadium will certainly be a game the team is looking forward to all season even though it comes at the end of a stretch of very tough games.

Colorado Buffaloes

After a 1-11 season there is nowhere to go but up for Colorado and Mike MacIntyre takes over the program after engineering a successful turnaround at San Jose State. Colorado does miss Stanford on the schedule but they also do not get to play Washington State this year and the Cougars provided Colorado's only win last season. Five of nine games will be on the road for Colorado and the non-conference schedule has two challenging games as well. It is a very tough slate of home games for Colorado featuring Oregon, Arizona, and USC visiting Boulder so the opportunity for a quick turnaround is likely limited.

Conference Misses: Stanford and Washington State

Toughest Back-to-Back: Following up the homecoming game with Arizona, a game that will have a bye week preceding it, Colorado will play back-to-back road games at UCLA and at Washington. While there may be tougher games on the schedule that will be a difficult set of road games with long travel that could take a greater toll late in the season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The opener in Denver against Colorado State will be critical. MacIntyre could gain instant credibility if he can win that game and move back to the top of the ladder in the Rocky Mountain State college football landscape. Colorado State won in the rivalry last season and has some promising pieces in place this year but a win would be a great way to provide a spark for the program.

UCLA Bruins

Despite producing mediocre records both years it has been UCLA representing the Pac-12 South in the first two years of the Pac-12 championship game. The Bruins did not win either of those games but they played reasonably well, covering as heavy underdogs in both chances. There is a lot to like about what UCLA is bringing back in Jim Mora's second season in Los Angeles but a very difficult schedule is waiting and will make another championship run a tough task. UCLA plays five road games and two of those games will be against the top two from the North, Stanford and Oregon. The game with USC is also on the road and the non-conference schedule won't offer any easy outs.

Conference Misses: Oregon State and Washington State

Toughest Back-to-Back: It could not get any tougher in this conference as the Bruins have to play Stanford and Oregon in consecutive weeks in October with both of those games coming on the road. UCLA will play all nine Pac-12 games in consecutive weeks without a bye week so the late season games will also be challenging but it is certainly hard to imagine the Bruins sweeping this brutal October set and it will be very hard to avoid a 0-2 hit in the conference race.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: An opener against Nevada will be an important challenge but a week 3 game at Nebraska will be a huge national game and a showcase opportunity for the conference. UCLA won 36-30 at home in a minor upset last season so the challenge could be greater this year in Lincoln but a win would propel the Bruins to forefront of this division.

USC Trojans

Despite being a very popular national title pick USC slogged through an ugly 7-6 campaign last season, going just 5-4 in conference play. Injuries played a role but so far the Lane Kiffin era has offered quite a bit of disappointment. Things could line up nicely for USC this season however as they do not have to play Oregon and they draw Stanford at home. USC gets five of nine conference games at home and the non-conference slate is manageable. Playing at Hawaii to open the season will give USC an extra game this season and there are six road games on the schedule but overall this is favorable slate in this division.

Conference Misses: Oregon and Washington

Toughest Back-to-Back: The toughest set of games may come late in the season with back-to-back road games at Oregon State and then at California. While USC may be favored in both games neither will be an easy draw at that point in the season and a huge home game with Stanford could create a look-ahead situation for the second game in Berkeley. While this schedule lines up well for USC, there are definitely no breaks or weak FCS foes like many of the other prominent national programs will have included in their schedules.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: As usual the biggest game will be with Notre Dame. Last season that match came at the end of the year with the world on the line for the Irish while USC was stumbling through an ugly season and playing without its starting quarterback. It will be a much bigger game for USC this season being played in the middle of the year and on the road.

Utah Utes

Utah has enjoyed one of the best schedules in the Pac-12 in its first two years in the conference but the Utes failed to take advantage, going just 8-5 in 2011 and really struggling last season with an ugly 5-7 finish to snap a long bowl streak. Utah will have a schedule featuring three four-game blocks separated with bye weeks and it will be a challenging slate with difficult road games. Five of nine conference games will be at home but the North draw is tough with Oregon and Stanford both on the map. Non-conference games with Utah State and BYU keeps this schedule relatively tough overall and it may be difficult for the Utes to make a big jump in improvement.

Conference Misses: California and Washington

Toughest Back-to-Back: The toughest month of the season will be in October as the Utes host UCLA and Stanford in back-to-back weeks including a primetime Thursday night game and then the homecoming game. Yes, the homecoming game will be against Stanford, a program that has gone 35-5 the last three years finishing high in the national rankings. Following up that game will be a back-to-back road game set and that will be at Arizona and then at USC, two very tough games in what could be a problematic stretch in the schedule.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While they are no longer conference rivals, Utah and BYU will face off in Provo in late September. Last season Utah held on for a narrow win, the third in a row in the series but it could be a tougher game this year and it will follow-up the conference opener for the Utes which could be less than ideal.


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/06/2013 10:37 AM

Best and worst road bets in each college football conference

College football season is rapidly approaching. We’ve already looked at the best and worst road NCAAF bets over the past five seasons. Now, we break it down by conference and give the best and worst bets for each of college football’s 11 leagues:

Records from 2008-2012. Includes away, neutral-site and bowl games.

American Athletic Conference

Best: Louisville Cardinals (14-15 SU, 18-11 ATS)
Worst: Memphis Tigers (4-26 SU, 10-17-3 ATS)

Atlantic Coast Conference

Best: Pittsburgh Panthers (16-16 SU, 17-12-3 ATS)
Worst: Wake Forest Demon Deacons (8-20 SU, 11-17 ATS)

Big 12

Best: Oklahoma State Cowboys (20-10 SU, 18-11-1 ATS)
Worst: Kansas Jayhawks (4-25 SU, 11-17-1 ATS)

Big Ten

Best: Ohio State Buckeyes (18-9 SU, 18-8-1 ATS)
Worst: Michigan Wolverines (9-18 SU, 8-18-1 ATS)

Conference USA

Best: Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners (4-2 SU, 5-1 ATS)
Worst: East Carolina Pirates (16-21, 15-22 ATS)

Independents

Best: BYU Cougars (20-14 SU, 20-14 ATS)
Worst: Army Black Knights (8-24 SU, 14-18 ATS)

Mid-America Conference

Best: Ball State Cardinals (18-17 SU, 24-11 ATS)
Worst: UMass Minutemen (1-8 SU, 3-6 ATS)

Mountain West Conference

Best: Boise State Broncos (32-3 SU, 26-9 ATS)
Worst: UNLV Runnin’ Rebels (2-28 SU, 5-22-3 ATS)

Pac-12

Best: Stanford Cardinal (19-14 SU, 22-10-1 ATS)
Worst: Colorado Buffaloes (5-27 SU, 10-22 ATS)

SEC

Best: Alabama Crimson Tide (29-4 SU, 24-9 ATS)
Worst: Auburn Tigers (11-16 SU, 9-18 ATS)

Sun Belt Conference

Best: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (10-22 SU, 21-9-2 ATS)
Worst: Arkansas State Red Wolves (13-22 SU, 17-18 ATS)
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Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23794 Followers:32
07/07/2013 11:31 AM

NCAAF Games of the Year: Boise State road dogs at BYU

NCAAF Week 9: Boise State Broncos at BYU Cougars (-3)

Past history: Boise State 3-0 SU since 2003. Won 7-6 (-6) last Year.

Early look at Boise State: The Broncos are considered to be non-AQ royalty, but this year they will not be the favorites to win the Mountain West - a first since joining the conference four years ago. That distinction instead belongs to Fresno State, which will host Boise State on Friday, September 20. Last year saw the Broncos lose multiple games for the first time in five seasons. A tough schedule this year should again result in multiple losses, but BSU easily can still find its way to the inaugural MWC Championship Game.

Early look at BYU: The Cougars' first season as a FBS independent resulted in an 8-5 campaign. That independent status automatically ensures another difficult schedule, but with the exception of Notre Dame, this is probably the strongest independent program in the country. With eight starters returning on the offensive side of the ball, there will be a scheme change to a faster tempo with Robert Anae making his return to Provo to take over again as offensive coordinator. On defense, there are only four returning starters but that unit should still be strong.

Where this line will move: This is interesting. Boise State is going to be more off the radar than it has been in previous seasons. There’s a good chance it will come in with at least one loss here, but BYU should have one or two as well. A lot will be contingent on how the Cougars do in their previous three games (at Utah State, Georgia Tech, at Houston).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs: