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08/15/2013 10:06 PM
SEC East Schedule Outlook

August 13, 2013


The SEC will look to continue its dominance in the final season of the BCS system. In recent years, the West has had the edge over the East, but there are contenders from the East side this season ready to make a run at the conference title. Here is a look at the schedules ahead for the seven teams in the SEC East.

Florida Gators: Florida played one of the toughest schedules in the nation last season, but ended up 11-1 and in the Sugar Bowl. That game featured an embarrassing loss for the SEC as Louisville beat the Gators soundly. Will Muschamp is in his third season in Gainesville in the post-Urban Meyer era and expectations will remain high after the strong results last season. Florida has one of the toughest schedules in this division again and another season falling short of the East title seems most likely.

West Draw: Arkansas and LSU

Toughest Back-to-Back: The toughest set of games for Florida may be back-to-back road games in October, playing at LSU and then at Missouri. While Missouri is not likely in the same class as LSU, it will be a tough situation in that scheduling spot and the Gators barely won in a 14-7 home win against Missouri last season. A big home game with Arkansas is before the LSU game and that October stretch will dictate how far the Gators can go this season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While the finale with Florida State has the potential to be a huge game, in recent years it has not had significant national implications. An early September game at Miami will be the more important game to set the stage for the season as an early loss would be a severe blow to the season goals for the Gators. Florida has not played Miami since 2008 and the Hurricanes will be ready for a big early test.

Georgia Bulldogs: The Bulldogs had a favorable slate in the conference last season, which helped them advance to the SEC championship game, where they nearly took out eventual national champion Alabama. Georgia does have to play LSU this season, something they did not have to do last season, but the Bulldogs should again be a contender in the East. A huge non-conference game to open the season will set the tone for the year and Georgia has most of its big games in the first few weeks of the season as they will either rise towards the top or fall into the pack after the first month.

West Draw: LSU and Auburn

Toughest Back-to-Back: Georgia has an experienced offense and they will need it right off the bat with two of the biggest games of the season in the first two weeks. Opening the year at Clemson will be a huge clash for two title hopefuls and a key SEC vs. ACC matchup. Georgia then opens the SEC season looking to avenge an ugly 35-7 loss from last season as they will host South Carolina in a game that should play a prominent role in deciding the SEC East champion.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: There is no question that the opener at Clemson is the biggest game for Georgia outside of the SEC season and it will be one of the most important games in the national picture in the opening weekend. Georgia has lost its last two prominent season openers, falling to Oklahoma State in 2009 and losing to Boise State in 2011, putting even more emphasis on this game.

Kentucky Wildcats: The hiring of Mark Stoops has brought some Kentucky fans to the football field with some renewed excitement for the program following an ugly 2-10 season. Kentucky has not been to a bowl game the last two seasons and that will be a tough task this season as one of the two teams in this division that has to play Alabama. A very tough set of home games is waiting for Kentucky and while a slight improvement is possible for the Wildcats it will likely be another losing season with this slate in a transition season.

West Draw: Alabama and Mississippi State

Toughest Back-to-Back: The SEC season will open with a bang for Kentucky facing Florida, South Carolina, and Alabama in three consecutive weeks. Kentucky will be a sizable underdog in all three games and it could take a physical and mental toll on a young team and a new coaching staff, especially after a far from easy non-conference set to open the season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The home game with Louisville will get extra attention this season in a big rivalry game and with the Cardinals likely to open the season highly ranked and projected as a possible undefeated team. While Louisville has won the last two meetings, it has been a relatively close game and generally an even series over the years.

Missouri Tigers: While Texas A&M had instant success in the move to the SEC, Missouri had worse fortune, snapping a run of seven straight winning seasons in a 5-7 campaign. Missouri had four losses by 19 points or more as they were not able to compete with the top tier teams in the conference. With winnable games in the non-conference schedule and avoiding Alabama and LSU, the prospects could improve for the Tigers this season although the home slate in conference play is very difficult and several wins may need to come on the road if Missouri is to get back in the bowl picture.

West Draw: Mississippi and Texas A&M

Toughest Back-to-Back: Missouri is going to have to play Georgia and Florida in back-to-back weeks in mid-October with the game in Athens as a second straight road game following up the SEC opener and then the home date with Florida a week before homecoming. For Missouri to get into the postseason, they will likely need at least one significant upset win and they will have to be able to stay focused through a very tough start to the conference season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: One thing Missouri has going for it this year that points to possible improvement is a non-conference slate that could be swept. Toledo and Indiana are certainly going to provide a solid test, but those are games Missouri can win. The game at Indiana will be a big one with the elevated expectations for the Hoosiers and the rare SEC vs. Big 10 matchup that is rarely seen outside of the bowl season. A tricky game at home against Arkansas State in a possible letdown spot will be waiting after that game as well.

South Carolina Gamecocks: In a 6-0 start last season, South Carolina could have made a case as the best team in the nation, and they rose up to #3 in the polls after blowing out Georgia. The Gamecocks will be in the mix again this season and they are able to drop LSU from the schedule, which should help the cause as that was one of two losses last season. South Carolina will open and close the season with prominent non-conference games with quality ACC teams, but this is a relatively favorable SEC draw outside of the early trip to Georgia and three consecutive road games in the middle of the season.

West Draw: Arkansas and Mississippi State

Toughest Back-to-Back: The opening two games of the season could be the biggest of the year for South Carolina and potentially the most difficult. North Carolina is a formidable ACC foe to open with in primetime Thursday night to kick off the season and one of the biggest games of the SEC East season will be in Week 2 as South Carolina plays at Georgia, taking a three-game winning streak in that series into the game. South Carolina will play four road games in five weeks in a challenging stretch in the middle of the season, but none of that will carry much relevance unless the Gamecocks take care of the first two games of the season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The opener with North Carolina will potentially be more important, but the finale with Clemson is the biggest game with South Carolina taking each of the last four meetings to match its longest win streak in the history of the rivalry. A lot could be at stake in the national picture for both teams and even if not, it is a fierce rivalry that will always warrant attention.

Tennessee Volunteers: A once regular powerhouse, Tennessee has not won more than seven games since 2007 and now has its fourth head coach in five years. The scheduling draw forces the Volunteers to play Alabama this season, but two of the three games against the projected top three in the East will be at home. Three of the four non-conference games should result in wins which will be critical for a team that has won just five games each of the last two seasons and rising into the bowl picture is a possibility with this slate, though advancing much higher than 6-6 since seems unlikely in this transition season with new coach Butch Jones.

West Draw: Alabama and Auburn

Toughest Back-to-Back: Two pairs of games can make a strong case for this distinction with a brutal road duo at Oregon and then at Florida early in the season, likely making the best case given the taxing travel. Playing South Carolina at home and then at Alabama the next week will certainly be a taxing stretch as well, but Tennessee does at least have a bye week before that set, something they may need with the Georgia game preceding it in a tough overall schedule.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Playing in Eugene in a big national game in mid-September will be a big thrill for the players and a chance to shine on the national stage against an elite program. Tennessee should be 2-0 entering that game and it will be a great opportunity to at least gain some credibility back for the program before heading into the SEC season.

Vanderbilt Commodores: Bowl bids in 208 and 2011 were a nice story for Vanderbilt, but last season, the Commodores took success to a new level with a 9-4 season, including a bowl win over NC State. The schedule should actually be easier outside of the conference this season but a very tough set of SEC road games is ahead. The draw from the West is difficult although it does not include Alabama or LSU. Another bowl season is possible for Vanderbilt, but a step-back in record seems likely as this team won several close games last season in conference play with three wins by four points or less.

West Draw: Mississippi and Texas A&M

Toughest Back-to-Back: While there are bye weeks on both sides of it, the late October set with a home game against Georgia and a road game at Texas A&M will be very difficult. While Vanderbilt had a great season last year, they lost by 45 against Georgia last season and there still seems to be a big gap between the top tier teams. A win in either game would be a huge season-making event for Vanderbilt.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Vanderbilt has one of the weakest non-conference schedules in the conference with only the finale with Wake Forest presenting a major conference threat. That may be a critical game for a team that could be on the edge of bowl eligibility if they are not able to match the close game success of last season.

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08/16/2013 10:00 AM
NCAAF Games of the Year: Beavers out to make statement at Utah

NCAAF Week 3: Oregon State Beavers at Utah Utes (+3.5)

Past History: Oregon State is 2-2 SU, 3-1 ATS, 1-3 O/U since 2007.

Early look at the Beavers: Oregon State has a win total of 8.5 this season and was 3-2 SU and ATS on the road last year. With a couple of cream puffs at home to start the season (vs. Eastern Michigan and Hawaii) the competition level raises dramatically for the Beavers starting Week 3.

Early look at the Utes: Utah has a win total of 5.5 this season. It was 4-2 SU and ATS at home last year. The Utes have three straight home games before hitting the road to take on BYU in Week 4.

Where this line will move: With a tough game at SDSU next week, this will likely prove to be a statement game for the Beavers. This is the Utes' first league battle as well though. Depending on injuries and what each team's record is coming into this contest, I wouldn't be surprised to see the line drop half a point as the public jumps on the proven home side performer.
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08/17/2013 09:25 AM
Pac-12 Conference Preview: Can Ducks Fly Without Kelly?

Chip Kelly’s four year run at Oregon was an amazing one. The Ducks finished in the top four in each of his last three years at the school. Oregon went 46-7 in Kelly’s time at Eugene. Kelly is now the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, and Mark Helfrich is now in charge at Oregon. David Shaw has done an amazing job at Stanford, and they can’t be discounted after winning the Pac-12 title last season.

Can any of the other Pac-12 teams make a serious run for the title in 2013?

Oregon Ducks (2012: 12-1 SU, 8-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +165
Season win total: 11

Why bet the Ducks: While Kelly may be gone, most of the talent he assembled is still here. The combination of Marcus Mariota and De’Anthony Thomas in the backfield may be the most dangerous in all of college football. Mariota was great in his freshman season, and I expect a special sophomore season. Thomas is arguably the best play maker in college football. This defense is much better than most realize, and they have a couple stars at cornerback.

Why not bet the Ducks: Michael Clay and Dion Jordan are now in the NFL, and that will hurt this defense. Getting a consistent pass rush might be a problem for the Ducks this season. Thomas isn’t a true running back, and the Ducks aren’t quite as deep at the tailback spot as they have been in recent years.

Season win total pick: Under 11

Stanford Cardinal (2012: 12-2 SU, 9-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +425
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Cardinal: David Shaw is 23-4 in his first two years at the school. At this point, it is clear that Shaw is an elite coach. Stanford has the personnel to dominate in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and that is tough for most teams to matchup with. It is next to impossible to run the ball against this defense. The Stanford front seven is arguably the best in college football.

Why not bet the Cardinal: Stanford lost its three best skill position players on offense. Stepfan Taylor was a tough runner who will be hard to replace. Without tight ends Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo, Kevin Hogan won’t have as much of a security blanket on third downs. The front seven on defense is great, but the secondary is still a question mark.

Season win total pick: Over 9.5

USC Trojans (2012: 7-6 SU, 3-10 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +600
Season win total: 9.5

Why bet the Trojans: Clancy Pendergast should do a good job with this Trojans defense. He is installing a 5-2 system which should benefit this unit since they have a lot of talent on the defensive line. The Trojans defense should be quite a bit better in 2013. USC probably has the nation’s best wide receiver in Marqise Lee.

Why not bet the Trojans: How did the team get better by losing a terrific quarterback in Matt Barkley? USC only managed to go 7-6 last year, and expectations are much higher without any real positive catalyst on the horizon. Sure, there is talent at USC, but this team has been loaded with talent the last few seasons without much to show for it.

Season win total pick: Under 9.5

UCLA Bruins 12: 9-5 SU, 8-6 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +675
Season win total: 6.5

Why bet the Bruins: Jim Mora Jr. did a great job with this team in his first-year on the job, and he has a lot of talent back for his second season in Westwood. Brett Hundley is going to be special at the quarterback spot. Hundley has the tools to do it all. UCLA’s linebackers are as good as any in the conference.

Why not bet the Bruins: Johnathan Franklin was an amazing talent at running back, and this team is going to have some real trouble replacing him. While the UCLA linebackers are amazing, the rest of the defense is a real weakness. The secondary may be the worst in the Pac-12, and the defensive line isn’t any good at stopping the run.

Season win total pick: Over 6.5

Arizona Wildcats (2012: 8-5 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +800
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Wildcats: Rich Rodriguez’s system seemed to work well at Arizona last year. The Wildcats have one of the most favorable schedules in the Pac-12. The Wildcats defense returns all 11 starters from a year ago. Ka’Deem Carey is one of the best runners in the conference, and he’ll get his chance to shine this season.

Why not bet the Wildcats: Matt Scott is gone, and he was tremendous for Rodriguez’s spread offense last year. B.J. Denker is the probable new starter, but he has some big shoes to fill. The defense returns all 11 starters, but is that really a good thing?! Arizona allowed more yards than any other team in the conference last season.

Season win total pick: Over 7.5

Oregon State Beavers (2012: 9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)

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

Why bet the Beavers: Oregon State has one of the best receivers in the country in Brandin Cooks. Storm Woods was awesome as a freshman last year, and his sophomore season should be a great one. The Beavers defense was the reason the team improved so much last year, and much of the core of that unit returns again this season.

Why not bet the Beavers: The starting quarterback situation isn’t a good one. Cody Vaz and Sean Mannion shared time last year, and neither of them was very good. Going into the season without knowing who your starter is generally isn’t a recipe for success. The team is missing two great defensive tackles from a year ago, and that could hurt their run defense.

Season win total pick: Over 8.5

Arizona State Sun Devils (2012: 8-5 SU, 8-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +1000
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Sun Devils: Taylor Kelly is poised to become a star in Todd Graham’s system at Arizona State. Kelly was number nine nationally in pass efficiency last year, and his versatility helps this team immensely. Marion Grice and D.J. Foster give the team a very good tailback tandem. Star Defensive Tackle Will Sutton passed up the NFL, which was a huge boost to the defense.

Why not bet the Sun Devils: Arizona State is lacking play makers at the wide receiver spot. Kelly can air it out with the best of them, but he has to have someone to throw the ball to. The secondary doesn’t have much depth, and any injuries in this area could be disastrous. The Sun Devils beat only two bowl-eligible teams in 2012.

Season win total pick: Over 7.5

Washington Huskies (2012: 7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS)

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

Why bet the Huskies: Keith Price and Bishop Sankey give the team tons of talent in the backfield at all times. Sankey ran for 1,439 yards in his first year on the job last year. Price had a down season last year, but he has all the talent to bounce back with a big year if he gets some better blocking.

Why not bet the Huskies: This offensive line is one of the worst in the conference. Price was constantly scrambling around and looking to throw the ball away last year. The defense lost its top player in Desmond Trufant. Without Trufant, the secondary won’t be even close to as good as they were a year ago.

Season win total pick: Under 7.5

Utah Utes (2012: 5-7 SU, 5-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +2000
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Utes: Travis Wilson should be much better in his second year under center. He has a couple good receivers on the outside in Kenneth Scott and Dres Anderson. The Utes defense is going to be a feisty bunch again this year, and they seem to always outperform expectations. Utah has one of the best home field advantages in the Pac-12.

Why not bet the Utes: The Utes are sure to miss defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. He was one of the best defensive players in the country last year. Wilson doesn’t have much help in the running game, and that is going to put a lot of pressure on him. Utah just doesn’t have the offensive talent that most teams in this conference have.

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

California Golden Bears (2012: 3-9 SU, 3-9 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +5000
Season win total: 4

Why bet the Golden Bears: Sonny Dykes brings a fast-paced offense to Berkeley, and he should be a good hire for the team. With low expectations, it won’t take too much for Cal to beat the number quite a few times this season. The defensive line is solid.

Why not bet the Golden Bears: Dykes inherits a team that simply doesn’t have that much talent. They lost their starting quarterback, top two running backs, and star receiver from last year’s team. In addition, they lost five of their top six defenders from last season. The schedule is brutal for Cal, and they’ll probably only be favored a couple times all year.

Season win total pick: Under 4

Washington State Cougars (2012: 3-9 SU, 5-6-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +5000
Season win total: 4.5

Why bet the Cougars: Mike Leach proved how good of a coach he was in his time at Texas Tech, and you have to assume this team will be much better in his second season at the helm. Connor Halliday has the tools to be a good quarterback, and I expect a much better performance from him now that he has a year in this system under his belt.

Why not bet the Cougars: Even if the team is better than it was a year ago, the Cougars might not have a chance to prove it. Washington State’s schedule is much tougher than it was last season. Their first two games of the season are at Auburn and at USC. The Cougars are lacking play makers on the offensive side of the ball.

Season win total pick: Under 4.5

Colorado Buffaloes (2012: 1-11 SU, 3-9 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +17000
Season win total: 3.5

Why bet the Buffaloes: Mike MacIntyre proved the type of coach he is with an amazing transformation of the San Jose State football program. True freshmen started 57 games for Colorado in 2012, which means this group should certainly get better in the next couple seasons.

Why not bet the Buffaloes: This team wasn’t even competitive a year ago. The Buffaloes lost 69-14 at Fresno State. They also lost 51-17 at home against Arizona State. It’s hard to imagine this team going from awful to competitive in one season. Team depth is an issue almost everywhere you look on this roster.

Season win total pick: Under 3.5
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08/19/2013 11:19 AM
NCAAF Games of the Year: Irish-Sun Devils close to pick in Texas

NCAAF Week 6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Arizona State Sun Devils (in Arlington, TX) (+2)

Past History: These teams have played twice in the last 20 years (1998, 1999). The Irish were 2-0 SU/ATS, 1-1 O/U.

Early look at the Fighting Irish: Notre Dame has a win total of 9.5 this season; it was 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS on the road last year. The Irish have one of the nation's most difficult schedules, playing vs. Michigan State and Oklahoma in the two respective weeks before this contest, then hosting USC.

Early look at the Sun Devils: Arizona State has a win total of 9.5 this season; it was 4-2 SU/ATS at home last year. After hosting Sacramento State in their opener, the Sun Devils then host Wisconsin, are at Stanford and then host USC before welcoming the Irish.

Where this line will move: Both teams have tough schedules. History would say that Notre Dame is going to have a hard time duplicating the success it enjoyed last year. Home-field advantage can't be overlooked in this particular matchup. Depending on injuries and what each team's record is coming into this contest, I wouldn't be surprised to see this line drop closer to a pick.
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08/21/2013 11:20 AM
2013 Mountain West Preview

August 20, 2013

Skinny: Sportsbook.ag has Boise State as the even-money ‘chalk’ to win the Mountain West Conference. Fresno State has the second-shortest odds (+160) at the offshore website (risk $100 to win $160).

Boise St., Fresno St. and San Diego State finished in a three-way tie for first place in the MWC last season. Each school had a 7-1 record in conference play.

BSU returns five starters on offense and four on defense from an 11-2 team that capped the season with a 28-26 win over Washington at the Las Vegas Bowl. Finally, the Broncos got a game-winning field goal against the Huskies after their place-kickers had let them down in so many tight games through the years.

Chris Petersen now owns an incredible 84-8 record in seven seasons at Boise St. For whatever reasons, there are still plenty of pundits that don’t give Petersen or this program the credit it deserves. For instance, the Broncos have won seven of their eight games against BCS competition since 2008 with just two of those victories coming on the smurf turf.

Boise St. has beaten Oregon (twice), Georgia, Oregon St., Washington, Arizona St. and Va. Tech. The Broncos only face on BCS foe this season, opening the year at Washington in a rematch of the Las Vegas Bowl. They play at BYU on a Friday night in another tough non-conference matchup.

Senior quarterback Joe Southwick showed improvement throughout his first year as the starter. He completed 66.8 percent of his throws for 2,730 yards with a 19/7 touchdown-to-interception ratio.

Junior WR Matt Miller is back after earning first-team All-MWC honors in 2012. Miller hauled in 66 receptions for 769 yards and five TDs. RB D.J. Harper is gone but rising sophomore Jay Ajayi is poised for a monster campaign after averaging 6.7 yards per carry last year. Ajavi rushed for 548 yards and four TDs.

The BSU defense is led by All-American candidate Demarcus Lawrence, a junior DE who had 9.5 sacks and four tackles for loss in 2012. Senior DT Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe and junior DT Tyler Horn (5 sacks LY) help Lawrence form the best front four in the MWC.

Boise St. has a season win total of 9.5 (‘over’ -160, ‘under’ +130). The Broncos play all five of their toughest games on the road – at Washington, at Fresno St., at Utah St., at BYU and at San Diego St.

Utah State is BSU’s toughest competition in the Mountain Division. The Aggies own 7/1 odds to win the MWC Championship Game. They have a season win total of 7.5 (‘over’ -150, ‘under’ +110).

Junior QB Chuckie Keeton has guided his team to back-to-back bowl appearances. Prior to his arrival, Utah St. hadn’t been to the postseason since 1997. Keeton has a 38/11 career TD-INT ratio. He completed 67.5 percent of his throws last season for 3,373 yards and 27 TDs. Keeton also rushed for 619 yards and eight TDs, averaging 4.8 yards per carry.

Utah St. compiled an 11-2 record both SU and ATS in 2012. However, head coach Gary Andersen is gone after taking the Wisconsin job. Matt Wells, who had been on Andersen’s staff for two years and was the offensive coordinator in 2012, is the new head coach.

The Aggies return seven starters on both offense and defense. The ‘D’ gave up only 15.4 points per game last season.

The rest of the division is garbage for the most part. Air Force and Wyoming might make it to bowl games. The Cowboys have one of the MWC’s best singal callers in junior Brett Smith, who posted a 27/6 TD-INT ratio last year.

Fresno St. figures to get plenty of competition for the West Division from both San Diego St. and San Jose St.,. The Bulldogs bring back eight starters on both offense and defense after going 9-4 SU and 11-2 ATS in Tim DeRuyter’s first year at the helm.

Senior QB Derek Carr could be a sleeper Heisman Trophy candidate. Carr connected on 67.3 percent of his passes for 4,104 yards with a 37/7 TD-INT ratio as a junior. He will miss workhorse RB Robbie Rouse (1,490 yds. & 12 TDs), but WRs Davante Adams and Isaiah Burse are back in the fold.

Adams had 102 catches for 1,312 yards and 14 TDs in 2012. Burse hauled in 57 receptions for 851 yards and six scores. Fresno must face both the Aztecs and the Spartans on the road.

San Jose St. went 11-2 both SU and ATS in its last campaign in the WAC. The success led to the exit of head coach Mike MacIntyre to take the Colorado job. The new man in charge is Ron Caragher, who went 44-22 since replacing Jim Harbaugh as the HC at San Diego.

SJS quarterback David Fales might be the most underrated player in the country, but you can bet your ass that NFL scout are all over this kid. Fales produced video-game numbers in 2012, completing 72.5 percent of his passes for 4,193 yards with a 33/9 TD-INT ratio.

Like Fales, senior WR Noel Grigsby doesn’t get much hype but going to play on Sundays in the future, too. Grigsby had 82 catches for 1,307 yards and nine TDs last year.

The Spartans return seven starters on offense and five on defense. They beat Bowling Green by a 29-20 count as 7.5-point favorites at the Military Bowl.

Rocky Long’s squad went 9-4 SU and 8-5 ATS last season. San Diego St. brings back six starters on offense and nine on defense. The Aztecs’ offense will feature junior RB Adam Muema, who rushed for 1,458 yards and 16 TDs while averaging 6.2 YPC in 2012. SDS should have a stout defensive unit led by Nat Berhe and Jake Fely.

The Aztecs have two chances to make national splashes in September, going to The ‘Shoe to face Ohio St. in Week 2. Also, they host Oregon St. on Sep. 21 after enjoying an open date.

Since going 13-1 in 2010 with Colin Kaepernick running the show, Nevada has posted back-to-back 7-6 seasons. The Wolf Pack is 10-16 ATS during that span.

Chris Ault, the school’s long-time coach and innovator of the famed Pistol offense, has stepped down. Brian Polian is the new head coach after serving as the special-teams coach on Kevin Sumlin’s staff at Texas A&M last season.

Nevada dropped a 49-48 heartbreaker to Arizona at the New Mexico Bowl. The Wolf Pack has six starters on offense and five on defense returning. They lost seven of their top eight tacklers from a suspect unit that surrendered 33.8 PPG.

QB Cody Fajardo is back for his junior campaign and third season as the starter under center. In 2012, Fajardo completed 67.0 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards with a 20/9 TD-INT ratio. He rushed for 1,121 yards and 12 TDs while averaging 5.9 YPC.

Hawaii and UNLV round out the division and have head coaches (Norm Chow & Bobby Hauck) on the hot seat. Both could be looking at pink slips in early December.

Fearless Predictions:

Boise State over Fresno State in MWC Championship Game

Mountain West - 2013 Projections


School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection


Mountain Division

Boise State 10-2 10 ½ Las Vegas vs. Arizona State

Utah State 9-3 7 ½ Hawaii vs. Bowling Green

Air Force 6-6 6 ½ -

Wyoming 6-6 5 ½ -

New Mexico 4-8 4 ½ -

Colorado State 3-9 5 ½ -


West Division

Fresno State 9-3 10 ½ Poinsettia vs. Duke

San Diego State 8-4 7 ½ Idaho Potato vs. Ball State

San Jose State 8-4 7 ½ New Mexico vs. Washington

Nevada 6-6 6 ½ Armed Forces vs. Navy

Hawaii 3-9 3 ½ -

UNLV 3-9 4 ½ -


Games to Watch:

1-Boise St. at Fresno St. (Friday, Sep. 20) – In its Games of the Year, Sportsbook.ag has installed BSU as a one-point road favorite. The Broncos will have one extra day of rest since they host Air Force the previous Friday, while Fresno St. plays at Colorado on Saturday. Boise St. has won seven in a row in this rivalry and won by a 57-7 count in its last trip to Fresno.

2-Fresno St. at San Jose St. (Friday, Nov. 29) – I think this game will decide the West Division. The Bulldogs have won 16 of the last 18 head-to-head meetings, but the Spartans won a 27-24 decision in the last encounter at Fresno St. in 2011.

3-Boise St. at Utah St. (Oct. 12) – Although Boise St. is on the road, this game appears to set up better for it from a scheduling perspective. The Broncos have an open date after hosting So. Miss on Sep. 28. On the flip side, the Aggies will be playing for the seventh time in as many weeks. Plus, they have three tough games in a row beforehand: at USC, at San Jose St. and vs. BYU. Sportsbook.ag has the Broncos as four-point road ‘chalk.’

4-Fresno St. at San Diego St. (Oct. 26) -- The Aztecs have two weeks to prep for this spot, while the Bulldogs take on UNLV at home the previous weekend. When these teams met in Fresno last year, the Bulldogs captured a 52-40 win as seven-point home favorites. Carr destroyed the Aztecs with 579 yards of total offense.

5-San Jose St. at Stanford (Sep. 7) – San Jose St. went to Palo Alto and dropped a 20-17 heartbreaker in the 2012 season opener. The Spartans had more total yardage (287-280) and felt like they should’ve won. Caragher’s team can shock the country and make a huge statement if it can knock off the Cardinal.

Players to Watch:

1-Derek Carr (Fresno St. QB) -- Before pulling a no-show in the bowl game in Hawaii, Fresno St.’s only losses came at Oregon (12-1), at Boise St. (11-2) and at Tulsa (11-3). The Ducks and Golden Hurricane aren’t on the schedule and BSU comes to Fresno. If Carr can play like the best QB in the nation, perhaps the Bulldogs can be a threat to get to a BCS bowl game?

2-David Fales (San Jose St. QB) -- The defenses in the MWC will be tougher and dependable RB De’Leon Eskridge is gone. Therefore, Fales is going to have to be elite for the Spartans to win the West. With Grigsby, Chandler Jones and Jabari Carr as veteran WRs, this aerial attack is going to be lethal. Fales could secure a spot in the first round of the NFL Draft with another monster season.

3-Adam Muema (San Diego St. RB) -- With QB Ryan Katz no longer in the mix, Long is going to lean on his featured back even more. If Muema can put up similar numbers to those he produced in 2012, the Aztecs will be in the thick of the West race.

4-Matt Miller (Boise St. WR) -- Miller is Joe Southwick’s favorite target. He is a sure-handed possession receiver, but Chris Petersen wants more big plays from him. Miller needs to provide those.

5-DeMarcus Lawrence (Boise St. DE) -- Lawrence is probably the best pass rusher in the MWC after registering 9.5 sacks in 2012. With QBs like Carr, Fales, Fajardo, Keeton and Keith Price (Week 1 at Washington), the Broncos need Lawrence in the backfield and disruption the vision of these accurate signal callers.
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08/23/2013 10:49 AM
American Athletic Conference Preview: Keeping up with the Cardinals

The American Athletic Conference is part of the remains of the Big East Conference. The AAC will be a combination of teams from the old Big East Conference and some teams brought over from Conference USA. Louisville is expected to carry the torch for the new conference. Teddy Bridgewater is a serious Heisman Trophy contender. Who can compete with the Cardinals in 2013? This is the last year for an automatic BCS bowl game for this conference.

Louisville Cardinals (2012: 11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: -160
Season win total: 10.5

Why bet the Cardinals: Bridgewater is the best player in this conference by a mile. Charlie Strong has this team believing it can do something special, and they proved they are capable of a lot in their Sugar Bowl win over Florida last year. This running game should be very good with Dyer and Perry sharing time in the backfield. The defense returns 10 of 11 starters from last season.

Why not bet the Cardinals: Louisville was awful on special teams last year, and nothing has really changed to make this unit much better in 2013. This is the type of thing that can cost a team a couple of games throughout the season. The offensive front isn’t as experienced as it was last year.

Season win total pick: Over 10.5

Cincinnati Bearcats (2012: 10-3 SU, 9-3 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +350
Season win total: 9

Why bet the Bearcats: This team has proven it can win consistently. Remember, Cincinnati won at least a share of four of the last five Big East titles. Tommy Tuberville was a good hire for the program. The offensive line is the best in the conference. Linebacker Greg Blair might be the best defensive player in the AAC. There is plenty of experience on this team.

Why not bet the Bearcats: Cincinnati struggled to win close games a year ago. The offense has a little bit of a shortage of play makers after losing its top rusher and two leading receivers from last season. The secondary had lapses against the best passing attacks last season.

Season win total pick: Over 9

Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2012: 9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +525
Season win total: 7

Why bet the Scarlet Knights: Rutgers has a lot more talent on the defensive end than most teams in this conference. The Merrell twins are superior athletes who should have special senior seasons. The Scarlet Knights defense allowed only 14.2 points per game last year, and they should be excellent again in 2013.

Why not bet the Scarlet Knights: Rutgers has some major question marks on the offensive end. Gary Nova threw 16 interceptions last year, and he completed less than half of his throws during the team’s three-game losing streak last season. The Scarlet Knights struggle to finish drives. Only ten starters return on the entire Rutgers roster.

Season win total pick: Under 7

Central Florida Knights (2012: 10-4 SU, 7-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +1000
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Knights: Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson are a tremendous duo in the starting backfield for the Knights. Bortles is a budding star at quarterback. He should start getting a ton of attention from pro scouts this year. Johnson is a quick runner who can break a big run at any time. The Knights also return three top receivers. This offense should be extremely good.

Why not bet the Knights: UCF is accustomed to winning with defense, but the defense returns just five starters from a year ago. Seven of their top ten tacklers from last year are gone. The offensive and defensive front might struggle a bit as UCF moves away from Conference USA and has to go up against some tougher teams in the trenches.

Season win total pick: Over 7.5

SMU Mustangs (2012: 7-6 SU, 8-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +2500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Mustangs: SMU has gone to four straight bowl games. June Jones is great at getting the most out of his talent. Garrett Gilbert should be much better in his second year in Jones’ complex offensive system. The Mustangs have quite a bit of talent in the back seven of their defense.

Why not bet the Mustangs: SMU returns only 11 starters from last year’s team. The Mustangs lost a huge contributor in running back Zach Line, and it’s hard to imagine the team not experiencing a significant drop off at that position. The entire defensive line had to be replaced, and that was the strength of the defense last season. The schedule is extremely tough from start to finish.

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

UConn Huskies (2012: 5-7 SU, 4-6-2 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +3000
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Huskies: The Huskies lost only 12 lettermen from last year’s team, so this will be one of the most experienced teams in the AAC. Lyle McCombs is a talented running back who should have a good junior season. Yawin Smallwood was the team’s leading tackler last year, and he’ll be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year in the AAC this season.

Why not bet the Huskies: UConn had the worst offensive line in the Big East by a mile last year, and that will be a problem again in 2013. McCombs can’t get going because this line can’t seem to hold a block. The defense lost several of their top players, so they can’t be counted on to carry the team once again.

Season win total pick: Under 6

South Florida Bulls (2012: 3-9 SU, 3-8-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +3000
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Bulls: Willie Taggart did an amazing job at Western Kentucky, and he should definitely be an upgrade for South Florida. He brings a ton of enthusiasm and positive energy to the program. Tailback Marcus Shaw should get a lot of chances to show his talent with the team’s new emphasis on running the football. The Bulls are strong in the trenches.

Why not bet the Bulls: USF has a big question mark at quarterback. Bobby Eveld hasn’t proven himself at all while at the school, and time will tell whether he can lead the team to very many victories. South Florida tied for dead last in the nation in turnover margin last season. An overall lack of talent at the skill positions on offense is concerning.

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

Houston Cougars (2012: 5-7 SU, 5-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +3500
Season win total: 6

Why bet the Cougars: Charles Sims is probably the most talented running back in the conference. Sims has a great combination of size and speed, and if he stays healthy he could definitely have a special season. David Piland has the tools necessary to succeed in this system, and he should be better in 2013.

Why not bet the Cougars: Houston’s defense lost its three best players from a year ago, and even with those guys on the field this unit allowed 36 points and 483 yards per game. Will they be able to stop anyone this year? Houston got into the end zone on only 52 percent of their trips into the red zone last season.

Season win total pick: Over 6

Memphis Tigers (2012: 4-8 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +6500
Season win total: 4.5

Why bet the Tigers: They finished the season on a three-game winning streak last year after starting 1-8. Coach Justin Fuente did a great job keeping the Tigers motivated last season after a bad start. Jacob Karam is an underrated senior starter at quarterback. He threw 14 touchdowns and only 3 picks last season. The defensive line is an area of strength.

Why not bet the Tigers: The move up from Conference USA to the AAC could be tough for Memphis. This is a team that hasn’t been able to have a winning season in Conference USA since 2007, so there could be some growing pains in a tougher conference. Converting on third down has been a real problem over the last few years for Memphis.

Season win total pick: Under 4.5

Temple Owls (2012: 4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +8000
Season win total: 4.5

Why bet the Owls: Matt Rhule learned under Al Golden, and Golden was an extremely successful coach at Temple. Rhule should bring a lot of energy to the program. Temple returns 14 starters this year, so they’ll be an experienced team. The offensive line is one of the best in the conference.

Why not bet the Owls: Temple’s defense went from allowing less than 14 points per game in 2011 to giving up 31.2 per contest last year. The starting quarterback job is wide open, and whoever wins the job is unlikely to be a game changer. The Owls have one of the toughest schedules in the AAC this year.

Season win total pick: Under 4.5
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08/24/2013 09:47 AM
Mountain West Conference Preview: Chasing Boise State

As soon as the Boise State Broncos joined the Mountain West Conference, they became the team to beat. Boise State, San Diego State, and Fresno State finished in a three-way tie at the top of the Mountain West last season. San Diego State lost a bunch of talent from last year, but Boise State and Fresno State are expected to contend for the title again in 2013. Utah State and San Jose State were added to the conference in the offseason.

Boise State Broncos (2012: 11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +150
Season win total: 10

Why bet the Broncos: Even in a “down” year, Boise State went 11-2 last season and their two losses were by a total of six points. Chris Petersen has established himself as one of the best coaches in college football. Boise State’s defense has allowed less than 20 points per game in five straight seasons. Joe Southwick has a year under his belt as the starter, and he should be better in 2013.

Why not bet the Broncos: Boise State returns just nine starters from last year’s team. The Broncos don’t have as many talented skill position players on offense as they normally do, and that could hold this unit back. Boise State doesn’t have the talent at linebacker that they have had in recent years, which could make the defense a little less dominant.

Season win total pick: Under 10

Fresno State Bulldogs (2012: 9-4 SU, 11-2 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +225
Season win total: 10

Why bet the Bulldogs: The Fresno State passing game won’t take a back seat to anyone this year. Derek Carr is a star at the quarterback spot, and he has two amazing receivers in Josh Harper and Davante Adams. The Bulldogs have the best secondary in the Mountain West, and teams are going to struggle to air it out against this group. Fresno State hosts Boise State this year, and they don’t have to play Utah State at all.

Why not bet the Bulldogs: Fresno State has one glaring weakness and it is their kicking game. The Bulldogs may end up losing a close game or two due to the lack of an experienced placekicker. Fresno State lost three of their top four tacklers from last season. The Bulldogs have been inconsistent the past couple seasons.

Season win total pick: Over 10

Utah State Aggies (2012: 11-2 SU, 11-1-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +600
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Aggies: Utah State was a couple plays away from being unbeaten in 2012. The Aggies return a ton of talent in 2013. Chuckie Keeton may be the best player in the conference, and he’ll be a great leader for the offense. Zach Vigil and Jake Doughty lead an amazing group of linebackers that are going to make a living in the opposition’s backfield.

Why not bet the Aggies: The schedule makers did Utah State no favors in their first season in the Mountain West. Utah State must play on the road in four of their first five games. Keeton is great, but there isn’t much talent at the wide receiver spot. The Aggies secondary is a question mark, and there are teams in the Mountain West who can take advantage of a soft secondary.

Season win total pick: Over 7.5

San Diego State Aztecs (2012: 9-4 SU, 8-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +750
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Aztecs: San Diego State Coach Rocky Long loves to run the football, and he has the perfect bruiser for his system in running back Adam Muema. Muema ran for 1,458 yards and 16 touchdowns as a sophomore last year. A strong defensive front allows the Aztecs to play a unique 3-3-5 defense. The Aztecs have a very talented group of linebackers to lead the defense.

Why not bet the Aztecs: San Diego State turned the ball over 15 times in their four losses last season. The schedule is tough as the Aztecs must travel to take on Ohio State. They must also play both Boise State and Fresno State in conference action. Leon McFadden was a star at corner, but he is now in the NFL. The Aztecs secondary is a big question mark.

Season win total pick: Under 7.5

San Jose State Spartans (2012: 11-2 SU, 11-2 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +950
Season win total: 7.5

Why bet the Spartans: San Jose State knows how to get into the backfield. The Spartans defense sacked the opposing quarterback 42 times last year, and they finished the season with a whopping 92 tackles for a loss. Nick Fales and Noah Grigsby are great senior leaders for the offense at quarterback and wide receiver.

Why not bet the Spartans: The jump to the tougher Mountain West could be tough on a team that was accustomed to playing in the WAC. Can the team ever find a running game? Fales and the passing game are very good, but with absolutely zero balance this Spartans offense will likely find it hard to move the ball against top defenses.

Season win total pick: Under 7.5

Nevada Wolfpack (2012: 7-6 SU, 4-9 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +2500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Wolfpack: Nevada has a very good nucleus of stars on the offensive side. Cody Fajardo is an ultra-talented quarterback who can do it all. Brandon Wimberly and Richy Turner are both reliable receivers who can rack up the yardage. This offense is going to score a lot of points again this year.

Why not bet the Wolfpack: Chris Ault will be a very tough head coach to replace. Few guys have changed college football the way Ault did, and he will definitely be missed. Nevada’s defense must replace seven of their top eight tacklers from last season. The secondary is definitely a weakness. This defense will give up the points in bunches.

Season win total pick: Over 5.5

Air Force Falcons: (2012: 6-7 SU, 3-10 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +4000
Season win total: 6.5

Why bet the Falcons: Air Force has one of the best secondaries in the Mountain West. Kale Pearson is a quick quarterback who should do a good job running the triple option attack. Air Force seems to never be short on weapons at the running back spot, and that is the case once again this season.

Why not bet the Falcons: Air Force is undersized in the trenches every single year, and that has become a bigger problem now that the Mountain West is a stronger conference. The Falcons defensive line just cannot stop strong rushing games from running it down their throat every single play. There’s no balance on the offensive end.

Season win total pick: Under 6.5

Hawaii Warriors (2012: 3-9 SU, 4-7 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +4000
Season win total: 3.5

Why bet the Warriors: It is Norm Chow’s second year at Hawaii, and his system should start to resonate with players better in year two. Taylor Graham will be the new guy at quarterback, and he is a talented transfer from Ohio State. Hawaii has some good pass rushers at the defensive end spot, and the secondary is solid.

Why not bet the Warriors: Hawaii was absolutely miserable against the run in 2012. The Warriors are very thin at the linebacker spot, and that will be a problem. Chow still doesn’t have the type of players that fit well into his system, so it might take longer for things to get turned around. Hawaii has a brutally difficult schedule.

Season win total pick: Under 3.5

Colorado State Rams (2012: 4-8 SU, 4-6-2 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +4500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Rams: Colorado State has amazing depth at the linebacker position. Shaquil Barrett and Corey James are the stars of the unit, but Colorado State has five or six very good linebackers. Donnell Alexander is a game breaker at running back. Alexander is the son of late NFL superstar Derrick Thomas, and he has tons of athleticism in a big and strong frame.

Why not bet the Rams: As good as the linebackers are, they must play behind a very poor defensive front. Colorado State’s defensive line was consistently pushed back last year, and the same should be expected in 2013. Who will be the team’s starting quarterback? The Rams have a great rushing attack, but they’ll need some balance offensively.

Season win total pick: Over 5.5

Wyoming Cowboys (2012: 4-8 SU, 7-5 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +4500
Season win total: 5.5

Why bet the Cowboys: Wyoming has a tremendous passing game with junior Brett Smith at the helm. Smith threw for 27 touchdowns and just six interceptions last year. He has a brilliant group of wide receivers on the outside. All four starters from the secondary return from last season, and they should be the strength of the defense.

Why not bet the Cowboys: While the passing attack is awesome, the offensive line and the running game are not. Smith was hit far too often in 2012, and there is no running game to take the pressure off of Smith. Wyoming is weak in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and that is a big problem in an improved Mountain West Conference.

Season win total pick: Under 5.5

New Mexico Lobos (2012: 4-9 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +10000
Season win total: 4.5

Why bet the Lobos: Bob Davie did a great job making this team competitive in only one year. Davie brought a disciplined approach that made a huge difference right away. Kasey Carrier is a strong running back, and Davie loves to run the football. The New Mexico offensive line was much improved in 2012, and they should be even better this year.

Why not bet the Lobos: The passing game is non-existent, which makes it tough to move the ball against a team with a good defensive front seven. The Lobos are really lacking play makers on the defensive side of the football. The secondary was the worst in the Mountain West last year, and the front seven is terrible at pressuring the quarterback.

Season win total pick: Under 4.5

UNLV Rebels: (2012: 2-11 SU, 6-5-2 ATS)

Odds to win conference: +10000
Season win total: 4

Why bet the Rebels: This is a team that wasn’t as far away as it seemed last season. They were very close in several of their losses. Running back Tim Cornett is a great guy to build the offense around. The UNLV offensive line should be the best it has been in years. The secondary has a lot of athleticism.

Why not bet the Rebels: Can UNLV ever stop the run? The Rebels have serious trouble in the middle of their defensive line, and good opponents exploit this at every single opportunity. Nick Sherry has been inconsistent at the quarterback position. The Rebels have lost 22 straight road games, so be careful betting them on the road.

Season win total pick: Over 4
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08/25/2013 08:38 AM
Big 12 Schedule Outlook

August 23, 2013


The Big XII has not had a team in the BCS championship game in any of the last three seasons and the conference is struggling to maintain its national stature with the recent and future expansions of the SEC, Big Ten, and ACC. Big XII play is certainly exciting however with a fast pace and high scoring games commonplace. Here is a look at the 10 teams in the Big XII and the schedules ahead in 2013.

Baylor Bears: Most expected a big fall from Baylor last season after the amazing 10-3 season led by Robert Griffin III. Baylor fell to 8-5 but it was a season with some big wins, beating then #2 Kansas State, as well as a ranked Oklahoma State team and then blowing out UCLA in the Holiday Bowl. Art Briles has done a remarkable job, now 33-30 in six years for a program that was not competitive in the previous decade in the conference. There is a lot of turnover again on the roster and a new quarterback in charge but Lache Seastrunk should be one of the most productive running backs in the nation and the Bears still have several excellent receivers. The schedule is difficult, particularly with a brutal 5-game finish to the season. Baylor could be bowl eligible by the end of October but they may need to be, as a winless November is a real possibility.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games, four road games, and one neutral site game in Arlington

Toughest Back-to-Back: Baylor will have to play Oklahoma State and TCU on the road in consecutive weeks in late November, add that Oklahoma and Texas Tech games precede the road trip and that the finale is at home against Texas it is a remarkably difficult closing stretch, especially for a team that is just 2-7 S/U on the road the last two years despite great success everywhere else.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The Big XII only features three non-conference games with every team playing each other. Baylor has a very weak three-game set with the only challenge being a home game with Louisiana-Monroe in a game with a bye week on both sides. UL-Monroe gave Baylor a big scare last season as the Bears only won 47-42 in a wild game and one of the Sun Belt favorites should not be overlooked.

Iowa State Cyclones: The Cyclones have had back-to-back bowl seasons the last two years but several signs point downward this season despite Paul Rhoads proving to be a great fit to lead the program. Iowa State has one of the least experienced teams in the conference and also one of the toughest conference slates with only four home games with the home slate featuring tough games with Texas, Oklahoma State, and TCU. Iowa State also has difficult tests in two of the three non-conference games this season.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games and five road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: The Iowa State defense will have its hands full with road games in consecutive weeks against Texas Tech and Baylor in mid-October. Add that the two game road set is sandwiched around home dates with two of the conference favorites Texas and Oklahoma State it will be a very tough month of October for the Cyclones, especially on defense trying to contain some of the most prolific offenses in the nation.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The home meeting with Iowa will set the tone for the season. Iowa State has taken control of the state with wins the last two seasons in the rivalry combined with down years for the Hawkeyes. Beating Iowa again would be a huge boost for the program and if the Cyclones are to entertain a third straight bowl trip it is certainly a must-win game.

Kansas Jayhawks: The Jayhawks went 1-11 behind Charlie Weis last season but improvement seems imminent with a favorable schedule and a second year in the offense now led by highly regarded BYU transfer Jake Heaps at QB. No schedule in this conference is easy and moving up to bowl eligibility may be a stretch this season but Kansas should have better fortune after several painful narrow losses last year. The road slate in conference play is extremely difficult but Kansas should be able to win a few home games and at least triple last season’s win count.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Five home games and four road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: Playing at Texas and then at Oklahoma State to start the month of November should be particularly grueling for Kansas and the surrounding games will not make it any easier. In fairness Kansas actually only lost by six to Oklahoma State and by just four against Texas last year but both of those games were in Lawrence.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: While Louisiana Tech may be a higher quality opponent compared with Rice on the schedule, avenging last year’s 25-24 loss to the Owls has to be a big priority for Kansas this season. Kansas has not won a road game since 2009, going 0-15 the last three years so it is certainly not a given that Kansas will win against a Rice squad that looks improved.

Kansas State Wildcats: After a surprising rise last season, reaching #2 in the polls and finishing 11-2 it is hard to know what to expect for Kansas State this season. The defense lost virtually every key player and Heisman finalist Collin Klein also graduated. Bill Snyder should not be underestimated however and this is a program that is 21-5 the last two years. Overall Kansas State has a relatively favorable schedule as they have winnable games at home although that means some tough road games ahead. A weak non-conference schedule should allow for a strong start before two of the biggest games of the conference season open up Big XII play.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Five home games and four road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: After opening up Big XII play at Texas in a very tough game Kansas State will have a critical stretch after a bye week with a road game at Oklahoma State and then hosting Baylor. The Bears knocked Kansas State out of the national title picture last season so that will be a huge game and Oklahoma State looks like one of the top contenders in the conference as the Wildcats will know where they stand early.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Louisiana is not a team to overlook as Kansas State has had some non-conference struggles in recent years, barely beating Eastern Kentucky two years ago and struggling with North Texas last season. Louisiana has been one of the top Sun Belt teams the last year years and will be up for the challenge.

Oklahoma Sooners: This is a rare season where Oklahoma is not pegged as a serious national title contender but that may be to its advantage after a several good but somewhat disappointing seasons in a row. Oklahoma has several challenging games away from home and a difficult non-conference schedule with three teams that combined for 31 wins last season. Oklahoma has a lot of new players in on defense but still plenty of talent on offense but this schedule will take a toll with few breaks along the way.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games, four road games, and a neutral site game in Dallas.

Toughest Back-to-Back: The key stretch of games should be with the key non-conference game against Notre Dame on the road in a big revenge game and then a tough home game with TCU before heading to the Red River rivalry game with Texas. That stretch of games will propel Oklahoma to the top of the national title hunt or leave the Sooners with another also-ran season.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: Last season Oklahoma was a double-digit favorite at home against an undefeated Notre Dame team that had climbed to #5 in the polls. The Sooners lost 30-13 legitimizing the run for the Irish and knocking Oklahoma out of the BCS bowl discussion. Oklahoma heads to South Bend after a bye week in the last week of September for one of the biggest games of the season.

Oklahoma State Cowboys: While the starting quarterback may be unsettled at this point, Oklahoma State is poised to be one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the conference and a true contender both in the Big XII and the national picture. While Oklahoma State must play in Austin the rest of the schedule lines up favorably for a special season in Stillwater.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Five home games and four road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: Late in the season the most critical stretch of the year could be in play depending on how things shake out early in the year. The mid-November game against Texas figures to be hugely important in the Big XII standings and the follow-up game is a tricky home game with an explosive Baylor team in a possible letdown spot. Both teams beat Oklahoma State last season in close games.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The opener with Mississippi State in Houston will be a huge game for the Cowboys to hold up for the Big XII. Oklahoma State will be a solid favorite but even a middle-of-the-road SEC team should not be taken lightly.

TCU Horned Frogs: After a down season expectations are elevated for TCU this year and they will have the opportunity to make some noise with several big games on the schedule including a huge opening game. The conference schedule is difficult with a several tough road games against the upper echelon teams in the Big XII but Coach Patterson is 20-2 S/U on the road the past four seasons and this is a team that can make a run at the conference title after struggling on and off the field in the debut season in the conference last season.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games and five road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: TCU will have to play Oklahoma State and Texas in back-to-back weeks in late October with the first game on the road. TCU could have a few losses at that point with a few tough games early and that stretch will determine a great deal regarding the spot on the Big XII postseason ladder that the Frogs will fall into.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The opening game with LSU in Arlington will be a huge chance for TCU to prove its worth as a new member in the Big XII. Playing in a favorable venue with serious exposure will be huge for the program if they can score the upset, playing as a much smaller underdog that most likely expected.

Texas Longhorns: After three mediocre seasons in a row expectations are sky high for a loaded Texas team with just about everyone back from last season. Texas also draws one of the most favorable schedules in the conference with most of the big games at home and nice spacing between the most difficult opponents. Texas does have two tricky non-conference games however and this is a team that has lost nine home games in the last three seasons.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games, four road games, and a neutral site game in Dallas.

Toughest Back-to-Back: Texas has struggled at home in recent years and a key stretch may come early in the season given the high expectations, facing Mississippi and Kansas State in consecutive home games. Following up a trip out west to face BYU will be taxing and the rush defense that really struggled last season will face stiff tests in consecutive weeks with a lot of pressure on the team.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: The road trip to BYU will be a challenge especially since BYU lost by just a single point against the Longhorns in Austin two years ago. The home game with Mississippi will be more important as a Big XII vs. SEC matchup and a key game for recruiting. Last season Texas won with ease 66-31 but Ole Miss has reloaded with a great deal of talent and will make it a game.

Texas Tech Red Raiders: Texas Tech brings back former QB Kliff Kingsbury to lead to the team and there will be some adjustments on both sides of the ball. Texas Tech does have a light non-conference slate ahead but the Red Raiders have several tough away games in Big XII play and it will be tough to match last season’s eight-win season given the transition season and the overall strength of the conference. The Red Raiders could get off to a great start however and a 5-1 first half seems very possible before hitting a brutal late season slate.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games, four road games, and a neutral site game in Arlington.

Toughest Back-to-Back: Playing Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks could be a great challenge late in the season and could spell the start of the decline for the team after some potential early success. Texas Tech lost by a combined score of 100-41 last season in those two matchups and the road game in Norman is a second straight road game after a long trip to West Virginia.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: For a first time head coach the opening game can be critically important and it should also be the most difficult non-conference game for the Red Raiders, facing a formidable SMU squad. SMU nearly beat Texas Tech in 2010 and the Mustangs scored over 30 points per game last season.

West Virginia Mountaineers: It was a rude welcome to the Big XII for West Virginia, going just 4-5 and really struggling defensively. At one-point West Virginia was 5-0 and ranked #5 in the nation before losing five games in a row in conference play and this year’s team won’t have Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey, or Tavon Austin. West Virginia has long travel ahead with five conference road games and it will be tough to even remain bowl eligible with this slate for a team that has almost entirely new personnel on offense.

Conference Schedule Breakdown: Four home games and five road games

Toughest Back-to-Back: Given the long travel, back-to-back road games at Kansas State and then at TCU could be exceptionally difficult, especially given that the trip follows up homecoming and then will also precede a big home game with Texas. West Virginia will likely need to win at least one of those games to reach six wins and it will be a tough scheduling situation to get it done.

Biggest Non-Conference Game: West Virginia was a 25-point favorite against Maryland last season but this year the line should be much slimmer. The game is in Baltimore which should be an experience the players look forward to but it also falls in between huge conference games with Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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08/28/2013 09:07 AM
2013 Bowl Projections

August 27, 2013

Will Alabama's dynastic run of championships under Nick Saban continue in 2013? If it isn't Alabama, will another SEC school win an eighth straight BCS title for the conference? Does Stanford or Oregon have what it takes to win the final BCS crown? Or could it be Florida State or Clemson? What about Louisville?

These are just a few of the burning questions going into the 2013 campaign. Without a doubt, the Crimson Tide has the talent -- and the schedule -- to win a third consecutive national title. But there's another SEC squad that also has the talent, the schedule and the head coach to get to Atlanta and unseat 'Bama.

I believe that team resides in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks have the best player in America (Jadeveon Clowney), two quality quarterbacks and a coach that has had his way with Saban.

Oregon and Stanford are absolutely loaded, but I think the Ducks have a better quarterback and superior playmakers. FSU and Clemson might stay in the mix into November, but they close the regular season at Florida and at South Carolina, respectively.

As for Louisville, it’s a shame it doesn’t face a better schedule. Enough with the comparisons to previous Boise State teams because the Broncos have always had at least one tough game against a ranked foe (think about season-opening wins over Virginia Tech and Georgia). Even if the Cardinals go unbeaten, there’s no chance they get to Pasadena ahead of a one-loss SEC squad or one-loss teams like Stanford or Oregon.

I think we’ll see South Carolina and Oregon in the BCS Championship with Steve Spurrier bagging his second career national title.

Below are my 2013 Bowl Projections.

2013-14 Bowl Projections

Date Bowl Prediction

Saturday, Dec. 21 New Mexico Bowl Washington vs. San Jose State

Saturday, Dec. 21 Las Vegas Bowl Arizona State vs. Boise State

Saturday, Dec. 21 Idaho Potato Bowl San Diego State vs. Ball State

Saturday, Dec. 21 New Orleans Bowl Louisiana-Lafayette vs. Rice

Monday, Dec. 23 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Houston vs. Toledo

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl Bowling Green vs. Utah State

Thursday, Dec. 26 Little Caesars Bowl Ohio vs. Western Kentucky

Thursday, Dec. 26 Poinsettia Bowl Duke vs. Fresno State

Friday Dec. 27 Military Bowl Maryland vs. Marshall

Friday Dec. 27 Texas Bowl Michigan State vs. Kansas State

Friday Dec. 27 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl Arizona vs. BYU

Saturday, Dec. 28 Pinstripe Bowl TCU vs. Central Florida

Saturday, Dec. 28 Belk Bowl North Carolina vs. Rutgers

Saturday, Dec. 28 Russell Athletic Bowl Miami, Fl. vs. Cincinnati

Saturday, Dec. 28 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Oklahoma vs. Michigan

Monday, Dec. 30 Armed Forces Bowl Nevada vs. Navy

Monday, Dec. 30 Music City Bowl Georgia Tech vs. Middle Tennessee

Monday, Dec. 30 Alamo Bowl Texas vs. USC

Monday, Dec. 30 Holiday Bowl Texas Tech vs. UCLA

Tuesday, Dec. 31 Independence Bowl North Carolina State vs. Louisiana Tech

Tuesday, Dec. 31 Sun Bowl Virginia Tech vs. Oregon State

Tuesday, Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl Vanderbilt vs. Tulsa

Tuesday, Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Bowl Florida State vs. Georgia

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Heart of Dallas Bowl East Carolina vs. Arkansas State

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Gator Bowl Nebraska vs. Missouri

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Capital One Bowl Wisconsin vs. LSU

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Outback Bowl Northwestern vs. Florida

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Rose Bowl Ohio State vs. Stanford

Wednesday, Jan. 1 Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M

Thursday, Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl Alabama vs. Notre Dame

Friday, Jan. 3 Orange Bowl Clemson vs. Louisville

Friday, Jan. 3 Cotton Bowl Baylor vs. Ole Miss

Saturday, Jan. 4 BBVA Compass Bowl South Florida vs. Auburn

Sunday, Jan. 5 GoDaddy.Com Bowl Louisiana-Monroe vs. Northern Illinois

Monday, Jan. 6 BCS Championship South Carolina vs. Oregon


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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08/28/2013 09:13 AM
2013 Win-Loss Projections

August 27, 2013

Bowl Projections · Win-Loss Projections
American Athletic Conference (AAC)
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection

Louisville 11-1 10 ½ Orange Bowl vs. Clemson
Cincinnati 9-3 9 ½ Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Miami, Fl.
Rutgers 8-4 6 ½ Belk Bowl vs. North Carolina
Central Florida 7-5 8 ½ Pinstripe Bowl vs. TCU
South Florida 7-5 5 ½ BBVA Compass Bowl vs. Auburn
Houston 7-5 5 ½ Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl vs. Toledo
SMU 5-7 5 ½ -
Connecticut 5-7 5 ½ -
Temple 5-7 4 ½ -
Memphis 3-9 4 ½ -


ACC
ACC Championship -- Clemson beats Miam, Fl.
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection


Atlantic Division
Clemson 10-2 10 ½ Orange Bowl vs. Louisville
Florida State 10-2 10 ½ Chick-fil-A Bowl vs. Georgia
North Carolina State 7-5 6 ½ Independence Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech
Maryland 6-6 6 ½ Military Bowl vs. Marshall
Wake Forest 5-7 5 ½ -
Syracuse 5-7 4 ½ -
Boston College 3-9 4 ½ -

Coastal Division
Miami, Fl. 9-3 9 ½ Russell Athletic Bowl vs. Cincinnati
Virginia Tech 9-3 9 ½ Sun Bowl vs. Oregon State
North Carolina 9-3 9 ½ Belk Bowl vs. Rutgers
Georgia Tech 7-5 8 ½ Music City Bowl vs. Middle Tennessee
Duke 6-6 5 ½ Poinsettia Bowl vs. Frenso State
Pittsburgh 4-8 5 ½ -
Virginia 3-9 4 ½ -


Big Ten
Big Ten -- Ohio State beats Northwestern
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
Leaders Division
Ohio State 11-2 11 ½ Rose Bowl vs. Stanford
Wisconsin 10-2 8 ½ Capital One Bowl vs. LSU
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. Florida
Michigan 9-3 9 ½ Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl vs. Oklahoma
Nebraska 9-3 9 ½ Gator Bowl vs. Missouri
Michigan State 8-4 8 ½ Texas Bowl vs. Kansas State
Iowa 5-7 5 ½ -
Minnesota 4-8 5 ½ -


Big 12
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
Oklahoma State 10-2 10 ½ Fiesta Bowl vs. Texas A&M
Baylor 9-3 7 ½ Cotton Bowl vs. Ole Miss
Texas 9-3 9 ½ Alamo Bowl vs. USC
Oklahoma 8-4 9 ½ Buffalo Wild Wings vs. Michigan
Texas Tech 8-4 7 ½ Holiday Bowl vs. UCLA
Kansas State 7-5 8 ½ Texas Bowl vs. Michigan State
TCU 7-5 9 ½ Pinstripe Bowl vs. Central Florida
West Virginia 5-7 5 ½ -
Iowa State 3-9 5 ½ -
Kansas 3-9 3 ½ -


SEC
SEC Championship -- South Carolina beats Alabama
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection

East Division
South Carolina 12-1 9 ½ BCS Championship vs. Oregon
Florida 10-2 9 Outback Bowl vs. Northwestern
Georgia 10-2 9 ½ Chick-Fil-A Bowl vs. Florida State
Vanderbilt 7-5 7 ½ Liberty Bowl vs. Tulsa
Missouri 6-6 6 Independence Bowl vs. N.C. State
Tennessee 5-7 6 -
Kentucky 4-8 4 ½ -

West Division
Alabama 11-2 11 Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame
Texas A&M 10-2 9 ½ Cotton Bowl vs. Baylor
LSU 9-3 9 Gator Bowl vs. Nebraska
Ole Miss 8-4 8 Music City Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
Auburn 6-6 6 ½ BBVA Compass Bowl vs. South Florida
Mississippi State 5-7 6 -
Arkansas 5-7 5 ½ -


Pac-12
Pac-12 Championship -- Oregon beats USC
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection

North Division
Oregon 11-1 11 BCS Championship Game vs. South Carolina
Stanford 10-2 9 ½ Rose Bowl vs. Ohio State
Oregon State 9-3 8 ½ Sun Bowl Bowl vs. Virginia Tech
Washington 7-5 7 ½ New Mexico Bowl vs. San Jose State
Washington State 4-8 4 ½ -
California 3-9 4 -

South Division
USC 9-4 9 ½ Alamo Bowl vs. Texas
UCLA 8-4 7 Holiday Bowl vs. Texas Tech
Arizona State 8-4 7 ½ Las Vegas Bowl vs. Boise State
Arizona 7-5 7 ½ Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. BYU
Utah 4-8 5 ½ -
Colorado 2-10 3 ½ -


Mountain West
Mountain West Championship -- Boise State beats Fresno State
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection

West Division
Fresno State 9-3 10 ½ Poinsettia Bowl vs. Duke
San Diego State 8-4 7 ½ Idaho Potato Bowl vs. Ball State
San Jose State 8-4 7 ½ New Mexico Bowl vs. Washington
Nevada 6-6 6 ½ -
Hawaii 3-9 3 ½ -
UNLV 3-9 4 ½ -

Mountain Division
Boise State 10-2 10 ½ Las Vegas Bowl vs. Arizona State
Utah State 9-3 7 ½ Hawaii Bowl vs. Bowling Green
Air Force 6-6 6 ½ -
Wyoming 6-6 5 ½ -
New Mexico 4-8 4 ½ -
Colorado State 3-9 5 ½ -


Conference USA (C-USA)
C-USA Championship -- Tulsa beats Middle Tennessee
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
East Division
Middle Tennessee 9-3 5 ½ Music City Bowl vs. Georgia Tech
Marshall 8-4 9 ½ Military Bowl vs. Maryland
East Carolina 8-4 7 ½ Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. Arkansas State
Southern Mississippi 5-7 5 ½ -
UAB 4-8 5 ½ -
FAU 3-9 3 ½ -
FIU 2-10 2 ½ -


East Division
Tulsa 10-2 8 ½ Liberty Bowl vs. Vanderbilt
Rice 9-3 7 ½ New Orleans Bowl vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Louisiana Tech 8-4 5 ½ Independence Bowl vs. North Carolina State
Tulane 5-7 5 ½ -
UTEP 4-8 4 ½ -
North Texas 3-9 5 ½ -
USTA 3-9 2 ½ -


Independents
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
Notre Dame 8-4 9 ½ Sugar Bowl vs. Alabama
BYU 8-4 8 ½ Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Arizona
ODU 8-4 NA -
Navy 7-5 6 ½ Armed Forces Bowl vs. Nevada
Army 2-10 4 ½ -
New Mexico State 2-10 2 ½ -
Idaho 1-11 1 ½ -


Mid-American Conference (MAC)
MAC Championship -- Northern Illinois beats Ohio
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection

East Division
Northern Illinois 9-3 9 ½ GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Ball State 9-3 9 ½ Idaho Potato Bowl vs. San Diego State
Toledo 8-4 8 ½ Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl vs. Houston
Central Michigan 6-6 4 ½ -
Western Michigan 5-7 5 ½ -
Eastern Michigan 1-11 2 ½ -


West Division
Ohio 10-2 9 ½ Little Caesars Bowl vs. Western Kentucky
Bowling Green 8-4 8 ½ Hawaii Bowl vs. Utah State
Kent State 7-5 5 ½ -
Buffalo 4-8 5 ½ -
Miami, Ohio 4-8 4 ½ -
Akron 2-10 2 ½ -
UMass 2-10 1 ½ -


Sun Belt
2013 Projections
School Record Win Total (5Dimes) Bowl Projection
Louisiana-Lafayette 9-3 8 ½ New Orleans Bowl vs. Rice
Western Kentucky 8-4 6 ½ Little Caesars Bowl vs. Ohio
Arkansas State 8-4 7 ½ Heart of Dallas Bowl vs. East Carolina
Louisiana-Monroe 7-5 7 ½ GoDaddy.com Bowl vs. Northern Illinois
Troy 5-7 5 ½ -
Texas State 4-8 5 ½ -
Georgia State 3-9 2 ½ -
South Alabama 2-10 2 ½ -
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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