cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/02/2013 10:32 AM

2013 CUSA Preview

July 1, 2013


Life without a scorecard around these parts would be like going to a wet tee-shirt contest with a blindfold. It just doesn’t make sense.

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:24957 Followers:33
08/02/2013 10:34 AM

ACC Coastal Schedule Outlook

July 30, 2013

Atlantic Outlook

The ACC looks to step back into the national spotlight this season and it appears there are a few teams capable of making a great run with a Coastal division featuring several contenders after a tight race last season. With college football just around the corner, here is a look at the key games ahead for each team in the ACC Coastal division.

Duke Blue Devils: The Blue Devils made a historic bowl appearance last season and should have been bowl winners before one of the more remarkable collapses (and ATS bad beats) in recent history. Duke retained head coach Cutcliffe but this was a team with a suspect statistical profile last season, soundly out-scored and out-gained despite the postseason bid. Duke should be favored in every non-conference game this season so a return bowl trip is possible and avoiding both Florida State and Clemson is certainly a break in the ACC schedule.

Atlantic Draw: NC State and Wake Forest

Toughest Back-to-Back: A critical stretch for Duke will be playing at Virginia and at Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks in late October. Duke should have a solid record at that point in the season and it could be a turning point road trip in either direction. Duke only won once on the road last season and any bowl hopes will likely require at least two road wins this season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While games with Troy and Navy may be more significant in national stature, the week 2 game at Memphis will be critically important for a team that has had so little success on the road in recent years. Memphis has had awful results the last few years but will bring an experienced team ready to host a major conference foe. Duke has Georgia Tech the following week and they cannot afford to get caught in a road game that may be easily overlooked.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets: Despite opening last season 2-4, Georgia Tech ended up in the ACC championship game, commendably playing a tight game with Florida State. The Yellow Jackets also delivered a nice Sun Bowl win over USC to close the season on a high note. The Yellow Jackets are certainly among the contenders in this division but they have a difficult path with tough road games at Miami and at Clemson on the way. Georgia Tech also closes the year with Georgia facing one of the more difficult overall schedules in this division.

Atlantic Draw: Syracuse and Clemson

Toughest Back-to-Back: Georgia Tech has a very tough start to the conference season, opening up at Duke and then hosting North Carolina for two big division games in September. The stakes are higher the following two weeks, hosting Virginia Tech in a huge primetime Thursday night game, seeking to avenge an overtime loss from last season. The next week the Yellow Jackets are at Miami seeking to avenge another overtime loss from last season. Those will be games that could decide the division title in what figures to be a multi-team race.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While the Georgia game at the end of the season certainly will have the most national attention, in recent years the series has not provided a great deal of meaning as often one of the teams may be locked into a bigger championship game the following week as was the case for both squads last season. A key game ahead on the schedule will follow-up the early ACC gauntlet with a road trip to BYU in mid-October, following up the Miami game. That will be a tough situation for Georgia Tech but it is a game that the team will want to perform well in after an embarrassing 41-17 home loss in the matchup last season.

Miami, FL Hurricanes: After declining postseason spots the last two seasons this will be a big opportunity for Al Golden and the Hurricanes in his third season in Coral Gables. This is an experienced team that can certainly make some noise in the ACC this season but this was also a very inconsistent team last year, suffering a couple of lopsided losses. Miami has to play at Florida State for a tough draw from the Atlantic but games with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech will be at home for a favorable division draw.

Atlantic Draw: Wake Forest and Florida State

Toughest Back-to-Back: Miami only plays a few meaningful games in the first half of the season before closing with games in seven straight weeks. The two biggest games will be at Florida State and then hosting Virginia Tech for homecoming in the first two weeks of November. Those will be season-making games for the Hurricanes, particularly if Miami is able to pass all of the early season tests.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: In the second game of the season Miami will play Florida for the first time since 2008. Both teams figure to be in the top 25 at the time and it will be a big national game and a key SEC vs. ACC matchup early in the year. A loss won’t spoil Miami’s season but a win could propel the Hurricanes to a prominent place in the spotlight.

North Carolina Tar Heels: It seems like every year North Carolina has high end talent going early in the NFL draft but the Tar Heels have never put it all together for an overly successful season. North Carolina has never made it to the ACC Championship game although last season they would have if they were not on a postseason ban. This season North Carolina has a favorable draw from the Atlantic division but some of the toughest Coastal games will be on the road and another good but not great season figures to be the most likely scenario.

Atlantic Draw: Boston College and NC State

Toughest Back-to-Back: The toughest games are fairly well spaced out on the North Carolina schedule this season but the most important stretch may be back-to-back home games with Miami and Boston College in late October. With a tough early season schedule a loss or two seems likely for the Tar Heels and that home stand will be a critical juncture to make sure the remainder of the season heads in a positive direction.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: North Carolina has a big opportunity to open the season, playing a Thursday night national TV game with South Carolina. While the Tar Heels will be a road underdog this team has a lot of experienced players back in action and it would be a huge statement win for the program and the ACC in general.

Pittsburgh Panthers: It wound up being a losing season for Pittsburgh last season after an ugly bowl showing but the Panthers had some highlights in an up-and-down season. In a second season for the coaching staff there might be more consistency although the defense is much more experienced than the offense. Moving to the ACC will also provide a much tougher overall schedule for Pittsburgh so it may not be easy to return to the postseason. Pittsburgh has a tough ACC schedule with Florida State present and several tough road games within the division.

Atlantic Draw: Florida State and Syracuse

Toughest Back-to-Back: A tricky stretch on the schedule will feature back-to-back road games at Navy and then at Georgia Tech. There will be some advantage in getting to play Georgia Tech immediately after playing Navy given the similar offensive styles but it will also be a grueling stretch for the defense. Looking ahead to a big game with Notre Dame also could hurt Pittsburgh in the back-to-back road trip.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: No question the game circled for Pittsburgh is a home date with Notre Dame in November. Last season Notre Dame somehow survived the upset bid with a triple-overtime win and Pittsburgh will look to win for the first time since 2009 in the series.

Virginia Cavaliers: In three years under Mike London the Cavaliers have alternated bad and good seasons, with this season due for a rebound if the pattern holds after a discouraging 4-8 campaign last year. Virginia out-gained its foes substantially last season despite the losing record and a veteran roster will help the cause. Virginia does face a challenging schedule however with tough non-conference games and a difficult draw from the Atlantic division but eight of 12 games will be at home.

Atlantic Draw: Maryland and Clemson

Toughest Back-to-Back: Following up homecoming week, Virginia has two huge games to open November, hosting Clemson and then playing at North Carolina. The final five games of the season present a great challenge for Virginia so getting a win in at least one of those big games will be critical. Virginia closes the season with another tough pair, at Miami and then hosting Virginia Tech.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The opening game with BYU will draw some attention but hosting Oregon in the second week will make national waves. It will be long travel for the Ducks and a big opportunity for a season-making win for Virginia. Virginia is just 3-9 ATS the last four years as a home underdog however.

Virginia Tech Hokies: After a down season in 2012 many expect Virginia Tech to rise to the top of the ACC again this season. While going undefeated might go out the window in the opener against Alabama, Virginia Tech has a favorable ACC slate and could be a serious threat to win this division, as they have three of the last five years. The Hokies have a nice Atlantic draw but also play some of the toughest division games on the road.

Atlantic Draw: Boston College and Maryland

Toughest Back-to-Back: While the opener will be brutally tough, Virginia Tech could get on a roll with winnable non-conference games for the next few weeks in September. The ACC season opens with a bang however with two big games and for the Hokies to return to its elite standing they will need to perform well. The ACC opener is a Thursday night game at Georgia Tech in what was a very tight game last season. The next week North Carolina visits for homecoming after Virginia Tech allowed 48 points in losing to the Tar Heels last season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: No question the biggest game of the season for Virginia Tech and perhaps one of the biggest games of the season in the entire college football landscape is the opener with Alabama in Atlanta. Virginia Tech lost by 10 against Alabama to open the 2009 season and while the Hokies will be solid underdogs this is a great opportunity for the program if they can play well.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/02/2013 10:38 AM

Fade Alert - WVU

August 1, 2013

In my first installment of college football pieces, I’m going to analyze the West Virginia win total and I believe this is the best bet of all the college season win totals.

The play is UNDER 6 (-115)

Since I live in the surrounding area and I’m familiar with this program, I believe West Virginia will be lucky to win four games and there is a distinct possibility that the Mountaineers will go 2-10 this fall.

Here's why.

Paul Millard and Florida State transfer Clint Trickett are battling for the starting quarterback job and I’m probably being nice, but both stink! Trickett may be slightly more athletic than Millard but he’s more mistake prone. Also, Millard is slow-footed and his arm is far from strong.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen will probably be forced to alternate signal callers to jump start this suddenly gravely ill program. Rotating QB's usually ends in disaster. Everyone who bets football knows this is an absolute fact.

Offensively, the Mountaineers return few starters. The school's two all-time leading WR's (Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin) are gone. WVU's defense was perhaps the worst of any power conference team last year. Expect more of the same. Teams will run wild all season against the hapless WVU front seven. The unit was ranked last in scoring defense in the Big 12 and 114th nationally, allowing 38.1 points per game.

Another area of great concern is the Mountaineers' special teams play. The starting punter and kicker are gone. Replacements appear to be West Virginia natives. Having attended high school in the northern panhandle of the state (Wheeling, WV), I can attest that West Virginia is not known for cranking out notable place kickers and punters. Since WVU will be forced into three-and-outs on dozens of possessions this season, a poor punting game will give their more offensively gifted Big 12 opponents short fields to work with.

West Virginia has two definite wins on their schedule, William & Mary and Georgia State. These games will be played in the first three weeks and in between these cupcakes is a road trip to Oklahoma, who should crush them.

Week 4 will feature WVU traveling to Baltimore to take on Maryland. I feel that Randy Edsall will outcoach Holgorsen. The line on this game will be close to pick, and it’s possible that West Virginia could be a short favorite (-2).

Game 5 for WVU is a home tilt with Oklahoma State, who was installed as an 11-point road favorite in the “Game of the Year” odds at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas. The Cowboys will rack up a huge number and win by daylight.

WVU hosts Baylor in its sixth game and it will most likely be a home underdog again. I expect a talented Bears team to win the game with offense.

The seventh game in the last of three consecutive home games for the Mountaineers and its winnable too, with Texas Tech coming town. The Red Raiders are going through coaching changes and they lack overall talent.

Games eight and nine for WVU are road trips to Kansas State and TCU. I expect the Mountaineers to be double-digit underdogs in both tilts and I believe they will lose both games in coach-firing fashion.

In the second week of November, West Virginia returns home to host Texas, who is going to be better than expected and definitely a Big 12 contender. This will be another loss as home underdogs for the Mountaineers.

The eleventh game of the season looks winnable on paper, a road trip to Kansas. This line will be within three either way. I'll take Charlie Weis over Holgorsen any day of the week and twice on Saturday. Kansas has a lower win total (3) than WVU but the Jayhawks are undervalued and the Mountaineers never play well in cold weather on the road.

Finally, West Virginia closes the season at home against Iowa State. It should be favored in this spot and they may end the season with a win. I, however, do not envision a "Win this one for Coach Holgorsen Day" in early December against the Cyclones. My prediction is a terrible WVU club staggering into senior day in front of a half-empty stadium. Dana Holgorsen will be burned in effigy during the Iowa State game if he hasn't already been fired.

Doing the quick math, West Virginia is locked in for two wins and eight losses in my book with two toss-ups. Regardless of what happens in those games, I still believe WVU finishes well below six victories.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/04/2013 10:40 AM

NCAAF Games of the Year: OU odds could slip at Baylor

NCAAF Week 11: Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears (+6)

Past history: Oklahoma’s most recent visit to Waco (in 2011) marked the first-ever loss for the Sooners to the Bears, as RG III threw for 479 yards and four TDs in a 45-38 Baylor win. Oklahoma won 42-34 last year in Norman and has now won 21 of the 22 games played in this series.

Early look at Oklahoma: Bob Stoops (nicknamed “Big Game Bob” by the Sooner faithful), is one of the most overrated head coaches. He captured a national title in his second year on the job in Norman (2000) but since then, while Oklahoma has typically been among the nation’s top programs, those “big wins” have eluded the Sooners. With Landry Jones gone, the Sooners have a question mark at QB for the first time in more than a decade. The Sooners are still very talented though and for the first time since that national championship season, will be flying under the radar to begin 2013. Maybe that's a plus?

Early look at Baylor: Head coach Art Briles has led the Bears to three straight bowl games (has won the last two) and has won 18 games the past two seasons. Many are predicting Petty Bryce will carry on the tradition as Baylor's latest QB star. Running back Lache Seastrunk ran for 831 yards over Baylor’s last six games (1,012 on 7.7 YPC for the season) and gives the Bears a dynamic run/pass combo. However, Baylor’s defense has allowed 37.2 PPG in each of the last two seasons and that’s a huge problem.

Where this line will move: Five of Baylor’s first seven games are in Waco (exceptions are at Kansas State and Kansas) and the Bears will likely be no worse than 6-1 come this Thursday night showdown with the Sooners. Stoops’ team will be tested this season, as this game at Baylor could be one of as many as five ranked opponents Oklahoma will have to face away from Norman in 2013 (at Notre Dame, vs. Texas in Dallas, at Kansas State and at Oklahoma State). Best guess here is that Oklahoma may not be much of a favorite come game day.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/07/2013 10:11 AM

Big Ten conference preview: Ohio State leads the pack

The Ohio State Buckeyes went 12-0 last year in Urban Meyer’s first season in Columbus, but they weren’t eligible for the postseason. The Buckeyes are in the NCAA's good graces this year, but there are a lot of teams looking to knock off Ohio State.

Does anyone have what it takes to dethrone the Buckeyes?

Ohio State Buckeyes (2012: 12-0 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: -105
Season win total: 11

Why bet the Buckeyes: Ohio State has nine starters back on offense and it should be much more comfortable with Urban Meyer’s system this year. Braxton Miller is one of football’s best playmakers. Many of the players from last year’s 12-0 team are back, so they know how to win football games. The Buckeyes clearly have the most complete team in the Big Ten.

Why not bet the Buckeyes: Everyone in the country is talking up the Buckeyes and there are going to be some big numbers on OSU this season. While Ohio State has a lot of talent on the defensive side, the linebacker position is extremely thin. Offseason trouble could make this team shorthanded at least at the beginning of the year.

Season win total pick: Over 11

Michigan Wolverines (2012: 8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +500
Season win total: 8.5

Why bet the Wolverines: Devin Gardner getting to play a lot last year will help this team a ton in 2013. Fitz Toussaint is going to be better than he was last season. Michigan’s secondary is one of the best in the country again and that is very important in college football today.

Why not bet the Wolverines: Michigan is still lacking playmakers on the outside. Linebacker Jake Ryan was the heart and soul of the defense and he’ll likely miss most if not all of the season. Without Ryan, this defense won’t be as good as it was a year ago.

Season win total pick: Under 8.5

Michigan State Spartans (2012: 7-6 SU, 5-8 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +700
Season win total: 8.5

Why bet the Spartans: Michigan State is absolutely stacked on defense. Seven of its nine top tacklers from a year ago are back. The Spartans should have the best defense in the Big Ten. Michigan State went 3-5 in the Big Ten last year, but didn’t lose a game inside the conference by more than four points. The Big Ten schedule is very friendly to Michigan State in 2013.

Why not bet the Spartans: A big question mark at quarterback. Andrew Maxwell didn’t get the job done last year and he’s being counted on again in 2013. Even more worrisome is the fact that this offense won’t have Le’Veon Bell to carry them to victories this year.

Season win total pick: Over 8.5

Nebraska Cornhuskers (2012: 10-4 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +700
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Cornhuskers: Taylor Martinez has finally turned into a complete quarterback. He has always been one of the best running quarterbacks, but he has become a quality passer as well. Ameer Abdullah should have a breakout season in the backfield for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska doesn’t have to play Ohio State or Wisconsin this season.

Why not bet the Cornhuskers: What happened to Nebraska’s defense? This used to be one of the best defenses in the country, but now it is the reason this team can't be considered elite. Nebraska allowed 115 points in its final two games last season and this year’s defense looks even worse on paper.

Season win total pick: Under 9.5

Northwestern Wildcats (2012: 10-3 SU, 12-1 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +900
Season win total: 8.5

Why bet the Wildcats: Pat Fitzgerald does an amazing job getting the most out of his players and he's starting to get much better talent in Evanston. Venric Mark is one of the most dangerous guys in the NCAA and he’ll touch the football a lot this year. The defense is no longer a weakness.

Why not bet the Wildcats: Northwestern drew a very tough Big Ten schedule. The Wildcats have to play both Ohio State and Wisconsin from the Leaders Division. Their November stretch, against Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State in three straight games, will be very difficult. The offensive line returns just two starters from a year ago.

Season win total pick: Over 8.5

Wisconsin Badgers (2012: 8-6 SU, 6-8 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +900
Season win total: 9

Why bet the Badgers: Wisconsin lost only 10 lettermen from last year’s team, which went 8-6, but all of those losses were by seven points or less. Chris Borland is healthy again and he could end up being the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. James White will be great at the running back spot for Wisconsin.

Why not bet the Badgers: The Badgers don’t have a solid quarterback option. Joel Stave and Curt Phillips are battling for the job, but neither of them are game changers. Though the Badgers didn’t lose a lot of players, they did lose both RB Montee Ball and star linebacker Mike Taylor. It’s the team’s first year in a new system.

Season win total pick: Under 9

Iowa Hawkeyes (2012: 4-8 SU, 4-8 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +4500
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Hawkeyes: Iowa seems to be at its best when expectations are low and expectations haven’t been this low in a long time. The Hawkeyes may have the best trio of linebackers in the entire conference and that's worth a lot in the Big Ten. Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock should help complete the backfield nicely.

Why not bet the Hawkeyes: Who will be the starting quarterback? Cody Sokol will likely get the first chance under center, but there's definitely a quarterback competition in Iowa City. Iowa is very weak at the wide receiver spot and that certainly won’t help its new quarterback.

Season win total pick: Over 6

Indiana Hoosiers (2012: 4-8 SU, 6-6 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +4800
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Hoosiers: Indiana’s offense is loaded with talent and it all starts at the quarterback position. The Hoosiers have three very capable quarterbacks who would all do a great job in Kevin Wilson’s system. Indiana returns 19 starters from a team that surprised people by winning four games a year ago.

Why not bet the Hoosiers: Have expectations risen too quickly? Defensively, Indiana has a very long ways to go to be competitive in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers allowed 35.3 points per game last season. Nine starters return on the defense but that might not be a good thing when looking at the lack of overall talent.

Season win total pick: Under 6

Minnesota Golden Gophers (2012: 6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +7500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Golden Gophers: Jerry Kill is doing a great job getting this team to believe in his system. The fact that this team was able to get to a bowl game last year was a minor miracle. The Golden Gophers defense has improved by leaps and bounds in Kill’s first two seasons at Minnesota.

Why not bet the Golden Gophers: Minnesota drew a difficult Big Ten schedule. They must travel to Michigan, Northwestern, and Michigan State. Phillip Nelson completed less than 50 percent of his passes in 2012 and he's a big question mark at the quarterback spot. The offense averaged just 22.1 points per game last season.

Season win total pick: Over 5.5

Purdue Boilermakers (2012: 6-7 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +9000
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Boilermakers: Darrell Hazell worked his magic at Kent State and he should be a great coach for the Boilermakers as well. Hazell was a longtime assistant at Ohio State, so he is familiar with the Big Ten. Purdue returns six of its top seven tacklers from a year ago.

Why not bet the Boilermakers: Purdue only returns five starters on the offensive side of the ball. The Boilermakers lost their top two quarterbacks as well as their leading rusher and leading receiver from last season. Purdue has a brutal non-conference schedule, which leads right into a very difficult Big Ten schedule.

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

Illinois Fighting Illini (2012 2-10 SU, 3-9 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: +20000
Season win total: 3.5

Why bet the Illini: They can’t be worse than last year. Illinois had far too much talent to go winless in a weak Big Ten last season and it still has a decent amount of talent on this roster. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is healthy and should be better in 2013.

Why not bet the Illini: Illinois misses out on the weak teams in the Big Ten and must play all of the top programs. The Fighting Illini seemed to be lost in Tim Beckman’s system last year and that might not change much in 2013. The defense gave up 32.1 points per game last season and it probably won’t be any better this year.

Season win total pick: Under 3.5

Penn State Nittany Lions (8-4 SU, 9-2-1 ATS)

Odds to win the conference: N/A (Ineligible for postseason play)
Season win total: 8.5

Why bet the Nittany Lions: Bill O’Brien stepped into a very tough situation and got his team to play very hard for him. You have to think that will just continue in the coming years. Penn State got one of the top quarterback recruits in the country in Christian Hackenburg.

Why not bet the Nittany Lions: Penn State lost a ton of talent from last year’s team. The Nittany Lions lost 32 lettermen and four of their top five tacklers from a year ago are gone. The defense was the strength of this team but their heart and soul must be replaced.

Season win total pick: Under 8.5

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/09/2013 01:42 PM

Big 12 conference preview: No top team means extra value

The Big 12 Conference has 10 teams and nine of them have a legitimate shot at a bowl berth in 2013-14. There’s no single dominant team but there are a bunch of good teams. This could be the most competitive conference in all of football this year.

Bill Snyder’s Kansas State Wildcats tied Oklahoma for the Big 12 title last year. Which teams will be fighting it out at the top this season?

Oklahoma State Cowboys (2012: 8-5 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +265
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Cowboys: Wide receiver and kick returner Josh Stewart is the real deal. Stewart is going to drive a lot of opposing coaches crazy this season. Oklahoma State has two terrific safeties at the back of its secondary, so the pass defense should be much improved. The offensive line is one of the best in the conference.

Why not bet the Cowboys: The quarterback situation is strange. Oklahoma State can’t seem to settle on a quarterback and constant changes at this important spot often lead to problems. There isn’t much depth at the running back spot. The defense struggles to get pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Season win total pick: Under 9.5

Texas Longhorns (2012: 9-4 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +280
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Longhorns: Texas has the most talented defense in the Big 12. In the end, it is usually defense that wins titles. Jackson Jeffcoat and Jordan Hicks should be great for this in 2013. The running back combination of Gray and Brown is going to be lethal. David Ash has all the weapons necessary to succeed.

Why not bet the Longhorns: Ash just hasn’t proven himself in the biggest games. He was surrounded by talented players last year, but he still struggled against top teams. Mack Brown’s team seems to be a serial disappointer when there is no one on the roster named Vince Young.

Season win total pick: Over 9.5

TCU Horned Frogs (2012: 7-6 SU, 5-8 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +360
Season win total: 8

Why bet the Horned Frogs: TCU went 7-6 in its first year in the Big 12 despite a plethora of injuries. If the Horned Frogs stay healthy this year, you have to expect a big improvement. The Horned Frogs defense has a ton of speed and they are no longer extremely young on that side of the ball.

Why not bet the Horned Frogs: This is a really tough schedule for the Horned Frogs. They start the season against LSU, and going up against a top SEC team is never any fun. During the Big 12 season, they travel to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Kansas State. The offensive line is a question mark.

Season win total pick: Over 8

Oklahoma Sooners (2012: 10-3 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +375
Season win total: 8.5

Why bet the Sooners: Oklahoma has five Big 12 titles in the last seven years. Betting on the Sooners inside the conference has made bettors a lot of money over the past few years. Oklahoma has won at least 10 games in 11 of Bob Stoops’ 14 years as head coach.

Why not bet the Sooners: The Sooners return just four starters on defense. Oklahoma is still trying to settle on a new quarterback and whoever it is will be a significant downgrade from Landry Jones. Expect the passing game to be way down from where it has been the past few seasons.

Season win total pick: Under 8.5

Baylor Bears (2012: 8-5 SU, 9-4 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +1400
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Bears: Art Briles is a very underrated coach. Even without Robert Griffin III, the Bears went 8-5 last season. Lache Seastrunk has the potential to be one of the best running backs in the nation and he’ll be running behind a good offensive line. Baylor has had some very solid recruiting classes the past couple years.

Why not bet the Bears: Bryce Petty has potential, but putting a new quarterback into this system might slow the team down a bit at first. The defense gave up 37.2 points per game last year and it’s nearly impossible to be a top team with a defense giving up that many points.

Season win total pick: Over 7.5

Kansas State Wildcats (2012: 11-2 SU, 9-3-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +1500
Season win total: 8

Why bet the Wildcats: The single best reason to bet on this team is Bill Snyder. Should we ever be surprised when his teams outperform preseason expectations? He is one of the best coaches in the country. Tyler Lockett and John Hubert give the Wildcats offense some real star power. The offensive line may be the best in the Big 12.

Why not bet the Wildcats: Replacing Collin Klein isn’t going to be an easy task. Will the Wildcats be able to pass enough to keep the opposition honest? The front seven on the defense is much weaker than it has been in recent years. Kansas State will likely have trouble slowing down the run and getting pressure on the quarterback.

Season win total pick: Under 8

Texas Tech Red Raiders (2012: 8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +2000
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Red Raiders: Kliff Kingsbury brings a lot of excitement to the program. It seems like the players are really pumped about lining up for their new head coach. Kingsbury was a very good quarterback here and he knows how to make this aerial attack work. Michael Brewer is a quarterback who should fit perfectly into this system.

Why not bet the Red Raiders: Texas Tech allowed 52 points or more in four of its last seven games. This defense is a bit better than it was a couple years ago, but it’s still a weakness. The Red Raiders have a tough schedule as they must travel to West Virginia, Texas, and Oklahoma in Big 12 action.

Season win total pick: Under 7.5

West Virginia Mountaineers (2012: 7-6 SU, 5-8 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +2000
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Mountaineers: Dana Holgorsen’s system works great in this conference and the Mountaineers should always be able to put up plenty of points. The Mountaineers have two solid safeties at the back of their defense and that could lead to improvement defensively. West Virginia gets its toughest Big 12 opponents at home this season.

Why not bet the Mountaineers: The Mountaineers defense allowed opponents to convert on 46 percent of their third down attempts. West Virginia’s defense allowed 45 points or more in six of its last nine games. The offense lost all kinds of great playmakers. None of the wide receivers on this roster will make anyone forget about Tavon Austin or Stedman Bailey anytime soon.

Season win total pick: Over 6

Iowa State Cyclones (2012: 6-7 SU, 5-7-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +3500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Cyclones: Iowa State has quickly become a competitive team under coach Paul Rhoads. The Cyclones are no longer the perennial cellar dweller in the Big 12. Iowa State plays extremely hard every single time out and never quits before the final whistle. The Cyclones have a very good home field advantage at Jack Trice Stadium.

Why not bet the Cyclones: Iowa State may be the least talented team in the Big 12. The Cyclones simply don’t have the talent they had in the last couple seasons. An argument could be made that Iowa State has the toughest schedule of any team in the Big 12. How is a young team going to be able to withstand this brutal schedule?

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

Kansas Jayhawks (2012: 1-11 SU, 4-7-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +8500
Season win total: 3.5

Why bet the Jayhawks: Kansas actually has a talented backfield with quarterback Jake Heaps and running back James Sims. Heaps was a solid quarterback at BYU and he should be a big upgrade for the Jayhawks offense. This team has a lot of veterans, so they should be better prepared than many of the young teams in this conference.

Why not bet the Jayhawks: Charlie Weis thinks his team stinks, so why should you bet on them? Kansas was just 1-11 last year and it really didn’t seem like this team was buying into Weis’ system at all. Kansas wide receivers caught a total of zero touchdown passes last year. It’s really hard to win in the Big 12 without any play makers on the outside.

Season win total pick: Under 3.5

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/12/2013 02:36 PM

2013 Sun Belt Preview

August 12, 2013


A new year brings a new logo for the new-look Sun Belt Conference.

Next year brings even more change as the Sun Belt joins in the wild world of conference calamity.

Last season the conference welcomed South Alabama. This year Texas State and Georgia State are fully on board, with Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State and North Texas headed off to the Conference USA with Western Kentucky set to move to the same new neighborhood next year.

The Sun Belt will add WAC leftovers Idaho and New Mexico State, in addition to traditional FCS powers Appalachian State and Georgia Southern next season.

Meanwhile, Arkansas State aims for a third straight conference title, for the first time in Sun Belt history since North Texas did so between 2002 and 2004, behind third-new coach in as many years.

It was part of the SBC’s best-ever season ending computer ranking, ahead of the Conference USA and Mountain West Conference. Wins over two SEC squads, and a pair of bowl victories, added to the tally.

The ‘Fun in the Sun’ guys currently own a winning bowl record in games played since 2007 (8-7). And a recently signed contract with ESPN guarantees the Sun Belt new radiant exposure on the programming giant through the 2019 season.

One very disturbing stat: Sun Belt teams are 12-123 in games against BCS AQ (Automatic Qualifier) teams the last six years.

Granted, they may be arguably the weakest of the 10 BCS conference affiliates, and its league champ won’t be guaranteed a BCS bowl, but don’t tell them.

By rule, if it can, the SBC champion will earn an automatic berth in a BCS bowl game if its champion is ranked in the top 12 of the final BCS standings, or if that team is ranked in the top 16 of the final BCS standings and its ranking is higher that that of a champion of a conference that have an automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.

As we’ve mentioned before, the league may be suffering from a bad case of sunspots but to a team they believe a member of the Sun Belt Conference will someday be playing in a BCS bowl game. Unfortunately, with the BCS in its final year of existence, it will have to happen this year or never.

Regardless, they’ve still having plenty of fun in the sun.

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.

ARKANSAS STATE (7/5)
Team Theme: BIG PAIR OF SHOES TO FILL

New head coach Bryan Harsin brings an impressive dossier to Jonesboro. As a former assistant coach or offensive coordinator the last dozen years at Texas and Boise State, ten of his teams have gone bowling. He inherits a squad that has won back-to-back Sun Belt titles, with only one conference defeat the last two years. The question is will be he another ‘one-and-done’ like his predecessors, Gus Malzahn and Hugh Freeze, were the last two years? The loss of star QB Ryan Aplin and his top two wide receivers – along with leading tackler Nathan Herrold – puts Harsin in an immediate hole. Hopefully, a soft FBS schedule (foes 48-86 in 2012) should help him fill some mighty big shoes.

State You Will Like: Entering the 2013 season, the Red Wolves’ 8-game win streak is second only to Ohio State.

PLAY ON: at Western Kentucky (11/30)

GEORGIA STATE (*9/7)
Team Theme: RODE HARD AND PUT AWAY WET

Hired to lead the neophyte Panthers, Bill Curry – former Alabama, Georgia Tech and Kentucky head coach – launched the football program by going 6-5 in its inaugural season in 2010, then 3-8 in 2011 and 1-10 last season. By the end of his final game last year, Curry was worn out and had the look of a horse ridden hard. Hired in his place, ‘program-builder’ Trent Miles steps in this season after having taken Indiana State – a team that won ONE GAME the previous three years – to back-to-back winning campaigns. Rest assured, it’s a gigantic step from FCS to FBS for a program that debuted a mere three years ago. Road trips to Alabama and West Virginia will likely have Miles running for cover.

State You Will Like: New offensive coordinator Jeff Jagodzinski is a former Boston College head coach and Atlanta Falcons assistant coach.

PASS

LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (*7/7)
Team Theme: NEVER LET GO OF THE ROPE

The development of the Cajuns in two seasons under Mark Hudspeth has been dramatic. They are just one of eight schools that has won 9 or more games during that span. One of the first lessons he gave after taking over the helm came when he had the offense and defense engage in an old-fashioned tug of war. As the rope went back and forth with neither team generating enough force to win the battle, Hudspeth stopped the Cajuns and had both teams move to the same side of the rope, pointing out how much easier it is to move the rope when everyone was on the same side and fighting for the same thing. “We never let go of the rope,” said Hudspeth.

State You Will Like: Hudspeth is 84-29 in his nine-year career as a head coach, winning 10 or more games five times.

PLAY ON: at Arkansas State (10/22)

LOUISIANA-MONROE (*8/9)
Team Theme: WHAT A FEELING

After setting 45 new school records en route to guiding the Warhawks to an FBS-era best 8 wins last season, Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year Todd Berry received a 4-year contract extension. They were America’s darlings for three weeks in September when they beat Arkansas in OT, lost to Auburn in OT and nearly took down Baylor in a 5-point loss. A total of 17 starters from last year’s team return, including SBC Offensive Player of the Year, QB Kolton Browning, who tossed for 3,049 yards and 29 TDs. Missing is his go-to guy, WR Brent Leonard, who hauled in 104 passes last year. Nonetheless, Berry will need to address a defense that has more defects than a Toyota Corolla if he wishes to retain that feel-good sensation.

State You Will Like: Berry is 0-24 SU and 6-17 ATS in games off a spread win of more than 4 points.

PLAY ON: at Baylor (9/21)

SOUTH ALABAMA (*9/8)
Team Theme: KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES

Welcome to the FBS. After launching the football program in 2007, the Jaguars got their first taste of life with the big boys last season. A historic win over Florida Atlantic, their first-ever versus an FBS foe, wasn’t enough to wipe the taste of a 2-11 season from head coach Joey Jones’ palate. Jones, a storied wide receiver at Alabama and a Mobile native, leads his team into battle this season eligible to win the Sun Belt Conference and earn a bowl bid for the first time in school history. With five home games against foes that went bowling last year, they will rely heavily on WR Jereme Jones (set a school record for receptions last season) to stop the bleeding.

State You Will Like: The Jaguars were 17-0, outscoring the opposition 734-171, in their first two seasons of play in 2009-10, before transitioning to Division I-A.

PLAY ON: vs. Arkansas State (11/2)

TEXAS STATE (7/8)
Team Theme: THREE’S A CROWD

The Bobcats make a conference switch for the third time in three years when they head to the Sun Belt after making their first FBS appearance in the WAC last season. After stunning Houston as 34.5-point dogs in their FBS debut last season, it was pretty much downhill thereafter with Texas State’s other three wins coming against an FCS school, Idaho and New Mexico State. Nonetheless, Dennis Franchione was awarded a five-year contract extension. The 2-time National Coach of the Year and 9-time conference champ will need to do a better job of protecting the airways as his troops surrendered 200 or more passing yards in 10 of 12 games in 2012, with only groundhogs Navy and New Mexico State failing to join the club.

State You Will Like: Franchione’s 197 career wins ranks him among the Top 5 of active FBS coaches.

PLAY ON: at Texas Tech (9/21)

TROY (*3/5)
Team Theme: ONE-TWO PUNCH

Texas may own the most notable two-headed QB combo in the FBS with David Ash and Case McCoy, but Troy’s dynamic duo of senior quarterbacks Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony is right there with them as far as production is concerned. Robinson has tossed for nearly six miles of yardage (10,258 – see other accomplishments below), while Anthony passed and rushed for 1,246 yards and 17 TDs last season, leading the Sun Belt in pass efficiency. The loss of his top running back and wide receiver, along with a defense that was dead-last in the SBC in 2012, will put the coaching skills of savvy veteran Larry Blakeney to the test this season.

State You Will Like: QB Corey Robinson is the FBS active leader in pass attempts, completions and total yards entering this season.

PLAY ON: at Louisiana Lafayette (11/7)

WESTERN KENTUCKY (*7/7)
Team Theme: TOP THIS

We don’t get it. Maybe it’s the Petrino intrigue. Or perhaps, it’s the desire to shed its ‘little-brother image’ within the state of Kentucky. Whatever the case, the Hilltoppers decided that progressing from 2-22 in its inaugural two seasons at the FBS level to 16-20 (and a bowl game last season) the next three years under former alum Willie Taggart just wasn’t fast enough. Instead, like a pimply-faced virgin at the Chicken Ranch, they were intoxicated by job-hopping whore Bobby Petrino, the disgraced coach who tore down programs at Arkansas and Atlanta (Falcons) in his last two stops. Paying him nearly twice the salary ($850K) Taggart earned, he can now afford a new Hog. Maybe he’ll take wife Becky for a ride this time.

State You Will Like: RB Antonio Andrews led the nation in all-purpose yards last season with 3,161 – 2nd all-time to Oklahoma State’s Barry Sanders.

PLAY AGAINST: vs. Troy (10/26)

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/12/2013 02:39 PM

Value with Vandals


August 8, 2013


In my first college football installment, I offered up my prediction on West Virginia’s win total, which was the ‘under.’ In my second win total prediction, I’m going with the ‘over’ on a school that’s been nothing short of atrocious recently, Idaho.

The play is OVER 1 ½ (+220) – (5Dimes.eu)

This is the lowest total in college football and deservingly so. The last two seasons, Idaho has gone a combined 3-21 and 13 of the losses have been by double-digits.

I don’t expect the Vandals to earn a bowl trip this season but we only need this team to win two of their 12 games and I believe it will happen.

The new head football coach in Moscow is Paul Petrino, who is more known for being the brother of Bobby Petrino. Unlike his brother, he doesn’t have any baggage just a solid approach that has done quite well in both the NFL and big-time programs like Louisville, Arkansas and Illinois. I expect his winning attitude to spread throughout the locker room but it won’t be easy.

I would be surprised to see Idaho earn a win in the first four weeks of the season and fully expect them to go 0-4 with three of the games played on the road and the home game on Sept. 14 is against a quality school in Northern Illinois. The Vandals will be catching double-digit numbers in all of these games.

After the early gauntlet, things begin to look up for Idaho in Week 5 when Temple visits. The 3,000 mile trip will not help the Owls and even though they’ll likely be road favorites, I expect Idaho to compete and possibly win.

The sixth game of the season will be a home loss to Fresno State and the eighth game of the season, a trip to Ole miss, is also a guaranteed loss.

Sandwiched between those matchups is a road trip to Arkansas State. I know the Vandals will be underdogs once again but the Red Wolves have to replace head coach Gus Malzahn and school’s all-time leading quarterback in Ryan Aplin. Idaho could win this one.

After the trip to Arkansas, the team will return for two home games and this is where I expect Idaho to win this bet. The Vandals will host Texas State on Nov. 2 and Old Dominion on Nov. 9.

Texas State has nothing the QB position this season. Idaho will be favored and they will win in Moscow. Old Dominion won’t be an easy out and the program is on the rise, heading to Conference USA in 2014. They have a sound signal caller but I expect the travel to play a factor and give Idaho another win.

If Idaho stands at 1-9 after 10 games, they’ll be 1-10 in late November after a road trip to Florida State.

The final game of the season will be at New Mexico State on Nov. 30. Last season, Idaho beat the Aggies 26-18.

After it’s all said and done, I’m predicting a 3-9 season for Idaho, which is an ‘over’ winner in our pockets!

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/12/2013 02:40 PM

TGS backing Oregon over 'Bama

August 4, 2013

The college football regular season starts at the end of the month and we’re ready to kick off the season. Below is a look at our top five schools in this year’s preseason rankings, plus a Top 25 comparison from "The Gold Sheet" and USA Today Coaches' poll.

1) OREGON...Blasphemous not to pick an SEC team on top? Maybe. But the Ducks didn't lose any more games than Alabama last season, only to have the misfortune of suffering their loss (to Stanford) a week after the Crimson Tide endured its only setback, which allowed ‘Bama to leapfrog the Webfoots and get ahead in the queue for the BCS title game. We don't worry too much about HC Chip Kelly's departure to the NFL, either; the last time Oregon switched coaches (from Mike Bellotti to Kelly, promoted from offensive coordinator as was new HC Mark Helfrich), the Ducks merely reached the Rose Bowl for the first time in 15 years. And Helfrich has been prepped for the head job the past couple of years.

Most of the key weapons on offense return, led by a couple of legit Heisman hopefuls in QB Marcus Mariota & RB De'Anthony Thomas (watch true frosh RB Thomas Tyner, too), while last year's stop unit might have been d.c. Nick Aliotti's best in Eugene since his "Gang Green" platoon in the Rose Bowl year of 1994. The return of the entire starting secondary also suggests the Ducks can withstand expected aerial bombardments in the Pac-12. Although the Stanford showdown in the Pac-12 North will be at Palo Alto, remember that Oregon has broken the half-century mark twice in the last three vs. the Cardinal, and will have plenty of revenge motivation on The Farm.

Moreover, if the Ducks get to the Pac-12 title game, they project as decent-sized favorites for a game likely to be played at Autzen Stadium. But best of all for Oregon fans, the long-awaited NCAA penalties related to the Willie Lyles case amounted to not much more than a slap on the wrist. Who knows, we might finally get to see the Crimson Tide-Ducks matchup that we were denied last January.

2) ALABAMA...What fun would it be to forecast a ‘Bama three-peat, anyway? Although we suspect the joyless Nick Saban will have the Crimson Tide back in the title hunt as usual, remember that Alabama has needed results from elsewhere to break its way late in the regular season and conference title games the past two seasons to qualify for the BCS championship tilts. Similar challenges vs. the capable sides that dealt Saban his regular-season losses the past two years (Texas A&M & LSU) await in the regular season, and while memories of the Tide's dominating title game win over Notre Dame remain fresh in everyone's memories, last season's loss to Johnny Football and extremely narrow escapes vs. LSU and Georgia (in the SEC championship) suggest that ‘Bama really didn't outclass the field as much as it might have seemed a year ago.

Yes, the Tide is loaded with quality depth across the pitch, and should easily compensate for last year's graduation losses. And the more Katherine Webb sightings the better as boyfriend A.J. McCarron tries for his third national title as a starting QB (and maybe a Heisman), too. Don't worry, Bama will still be in the title mix, and can really jump-start its bid for a three-peat if avenging last year's loss to A&M when Eli Gold is at the microphone for the rematch at College Station on Sept. 14.

3) OHIO STATE...Had the Buckeyes decided to take their medicine a year earlier and ban themselves from a bowl in a forgettable 2011 season, Urban Meyer's first team in Columbus (and not Alabama) might well have been playing Notre Dame for the BCS title last Jan. 7 in Miami. Whatever. Meyer still hasn't lost a game at OSU and might not lose one in the upcoming regular season, either, especially vs. a suspect Big Ten slate and a non-conference schedule in which San Diego State might be the most difficult test.

That schedule and the returning talent intersect nicely once again, especially jr. QB Braxton Miller, a Heisman hopeful whose work with passing guru George Whitfield resulted in quite a sneak preview in the spring game. Questions revolve around a defense which lost seven leaders from a year ago, but replenishments are at the ready. Now, would OSU rate this highly if it played in the SEC? And would the Bucks have dare dreamed about an unbeaten season last year if faced with the sort of demanding four-game gauntlet (at Florida, South Carolina, at Texas A&M, Alabama) that LSU had to run in midseason last fall? Heck no. But OSU plays in the Big Ten and doesn't have to worry about an SEC team until perhaps the BCS final. And if it comes down to another Meyer vs. Nick Saban matchup as in the old days when Urban was at Florida, the Buckeyes would at least have the more likeable (if only slightly) coach.

4) GEORGIA...Truth be told, I voted for Georgia to win the conference at SEC Media Days in Birmingham, but the masses at the Wynfrey Hotel preferred Alabama once more, so putting the Bulldogs down a couple of notches from the top is no problem in the summer months. Besides, Georgia's BCS hopes are in danger of taking a huge hit before we reach September if the Dawgs can't survive their dangerous opener at Death Valley against Clemson. But HC Mark Richt knows what's coming (the tough early-season slate also includes South Carolina and LSU in the first month), and let everyone in Birmingham know that UGa won't be caught off guard. "We'll be ready," said the coach.

Meanwhile, longtime o.c. Mike Bobo must feel like a kid in a candy shop with sr. Heisman candidate QB Aaron Murray and a collection of established skill-position weapons that includes RB Todd Gurley, who has made Dawg Nation forget about Isaiah Crowell (he's now at Alabama State, by the way). SEC sources also suspect the loss of eight starters from last year's sometimes-underachieving defense might actually be a plus, with a mix of experienced backups and hungry blue-chip recruits ready to step into the fray. True, there are plenty of trip wires as usual in the slate, and a possible SEC title game rematch vs. ‘Bama looms in December. But remember that many SEC powerhouses have made BCS title games before with one loss (or even two, as was the case with 2007 LSU).

5) STANFORD...Once the Cardinal uncovered a playmaker at QB late last fall with now-sophomore Kevin Hogan, the Tree added the sort of extra dimension it lacked earlier in the season when losing at Washington and Notre Dame. With Hogan and most of the latest road-grading OL back in the fold, Stanford can avenge those defeats this fall and probably navigate around most of the other land mines on the schedule except for perhaps a revenge-minded Oregon, which visits Palo Alto for a Thursday night ESPN special in early November.

While the offense has garnered plenty of headlines the past couple of seasons, it has been a granite-like defense that has placed the Tree in three consecutive BCS bowls, and this fall's platoon might be the best of those recent editions. As for HC David Shaw, we think he's proven he knows what he's doing. Now what they have to worry about on The Farm is if the NFL comes calling again for the latest Stanford coach (John Ralston, Bill Walsh, Dennis Green, Jim Harbaugh...see the pattern?).


2013 Preseason Rankings

The Gold Sheet USA Today Coaches
Rank School Rank School
1 Oregon 1 Alabama
2 Alabama 2 Ohio State
3 Ohio State 3 Oregon
4 Georgia 4 Stanford
5 Stanford 5 Georgia
6 LSU 6 Texas A&M
7 South Carolina 7 South Carolina
8 Clemson 8 Clemson
9 Boise State 9 Louisville
10 Florida State 10 Florida
11 Texas A&M 11 Notre Dame
12 Texas 12 Florida State
13 Northwestern 13 LSU
14 Louisville 14 Oklahoma State
15 Michigan 15 Texas
16 Florida 16 Oklahoma
17 Wisconsin 17 Michigan
18 Oklahoma State 18 Nebraska
19 Oklahoma 19 Boise State
20 Notre Dame 20 TCU
21 Arizona State 21 UCLA
22 TCU 22 Northwestern
23 UCLA 23 Wisconsin
24 Baylor 24 USC
25 Georgia Tech 25 Oregon State
Conference Breakdown Conference Breakdown
SEC (6) Big 12 (5) Big 10 (4) Pac-12 (4) ACC (3) MWC (1) AAC (1) Ind (1) SEC (6) Pac-12 (5) Big 10 (5) Big-12 (4) ACC (2) MWC (1) AAC (1) Ind (1)



Looking above, you can see that the TGS and USA Today Coaches Poll have 22 similar schools in our rankings, including the Top 5 as well but not in order.

Despite the similarities, we do have some differences, a couple glaring ones as well.

We feel stronger about Arizona State (21) , Baylor (24) and Georgia Tech (25), while the coaches have backed Nebraska (18), USC (24) and Oregon State (35).

If you’re looking for teams that we have rated higher, we’re buying LSU (6), Boise State (9) and Northwestern (22).

The coaches are buying Notre Dame at No. 11 while we have them ranked 20th in our preseason poll. We’re also not believing the hype just yet, on two schools (Texas A&M, Louisville) that arguably boast the two best quarterbacks in the nation.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24957 Followers:33
08/14/2013 10:44 AM

NCAAF Games of the Year: Huskers line could grow vs. MSU

NCAAF Week 12: Michigan State Spartans at Nebraska Cornhuskers(-4)

Past History: Nebraska is 5-0 SU/ATS, the O/U is 3-2 since 1995.

Early look at the Spartans: Michigan State has a win total of 8.5 this season; it was 4-1 SU/ATS on the road last year. With its annual rivalry game vs. the Wolverines on November 2, the Spartans will have two full weeks off before playing in Nebraska.

Early look at the Cornhuskers: Nebraska has a win total of 9.5 this season; it was 7-1 SU and 5-2-1 ATS at home last year. The Cornhuskers are at Michigan on November 9, before hosting the Spartans. They then hit the road once again to play at Penn State the following week.

Where this line will move: This is a tough one. As a "situational handicapper", the oddsmakers would seemingly be right on the money with this line. Depending on injuries and what each team's record is coming into this contest, I wouldn't be surprised to see this line climb a little higher (a full point) as the public jumps on the proven home side performer.

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