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-- High school/college coaches all over America will be showing Denver LB Danny Trevathan picking off Joe Flacco Thursday, then dropping the ball in gleeful celebration as he ran around the end zone, celebrating his defensive touchdown. Problem is, he dropped the ball when he was on the 2-yard line, so there was no touchdown, and one of his teammates got hurt in the scramble for the loose ball. Not good. Its not often you see a coach openly berate a player on the sideline, but Denver DC Jack Del Rio did this time, and it was deserved.
-- Pirate catcher Russell Martin is making $7.5M this year, $9.5 next year; I’m thinking there’s $17M the Bronx Bombers wish they had spent last winter. No offense, but how do you have a $190M+ payroll and have Chris Stewart as your catcher?
-- Before Peyton Manning did it Thursday night, Minnesota’s Joe Kapp was last NFL QB to throw seven TDs in one game and that was way back in 1969.
-- Basketball coach at Skyline HS in Dallas was fired, because he didn’t play the principal’s son enough, and apparently this is an e-mail/text trail that backs up the fired coach’s claim. Not good, I mean principals make six figures and you’re going to risk your job because you think your kid should be playing more minutes? Brilliant!!!
-- Broncos-Giants in Week 2 is probably the last Manning Bowl, but it isn’t a primetime game. Surprising. CBS must’ve lobbied hard to make that their first 4:30 doubleheader game of the season.
-- NHL season starts in 24 days? Seems like the Stanley Cup playoffs ended about two weeks ago. Thanks to my friend the Bill the Armadillo for passing along lots of good information.
-- Will have a couple picks for the weekend up shortly.
Florida-Miami haven’t met since ’08; Gators haven’t played ‘canes here since ’03. Both teams won fairly handily last week, Miami outgained FAU 503-250, led 20-3 at half; Gators outgained Toledo 415-205, led 17-3 at half, but neither covered as big favorites. Since 2007, Florida is 12-4 as road favorite; they’re 27-12 vs spread in last 39 non-league games (1-4 last five). Miami is 8-3-1 as underdog under Golden; over last decade, they’re 5-2 as home dogs. Both teams have veteran QBs and experience OLs.
Temple lost 28-6 at Notre Dame last week because their kicker is awful; they left 10+ points on field when game was close; total yardage in game was 543-362. Owl QB Reilly is pretty good. Houston-Temple are league rivals who haven’t met since ’89 because AAC is new league. Since ’08, Cougars are 6-14 as road favorites- they’ve got veteran QB (9 starts) and four starters back on OL- they whacked outmanned Southern 62-13 last week (627-372 TY, 27-6 at half). Temple is just 5-6 vs spread as a dog since Golden left for Miami, but Owls are 13-7-1 in last 21 tries as a home dog.
In his three years at Texas Tech, Tuberville was 6-1-1 vs spread as a road favorite; his Cincinnati team is 8-5 as road faves since ’09, 9-4 in last 13 non-league games. Cincy has all five starters back on OL, including three seniors. Since ’06, Illinois is 7-5 as home dog; they’re 9-6 in last 15 non-league games. Illini also has experienced OL but no seniors start there. Bearcats (-10.5) crushed Purdue of Big Dozen 42-7 last week, running ball for 221 yards, passing for 204, good balance. Illini beat I-AA Southern Illinois 42-34, giving up 341 passing yards, not a good sign.
LY, West Virginia gained 778 yards vs Oklahoma, and lost 50-49, in an amazingly odd game in which WVU ran ball for 458 yards and lost, which almost never happens, except maybe to a service academy. Austin/Bailey/Jones are all in NFL now; Mountaineers struggled to beat I-AA Wm & Mary 24-17 last week (trailed 17-7 at half); since ’05, they’re 9-3 as road underdogs (3-1 under Holgorsen). Since ’06, Sooners are 26-15-1 as home favorites; they threw for 554 yards in this game LY. OU outgained ULM 429-166 last week, but completed only 14 of 33 passes.
South Carolina beat Georgia last three years, after losing seven of previous eight meetings; they’ve won two of last three visits between hedges, with underdogs 3-0-1 vs spread in Carolina’s last four visits here. Dawgs outgained Clemson 545-467 last week, but botched tying 25-yard FG late in third quarter and lost by 3; Georgia has only three starters back on defense- they’re 11-7 as home favorites since ’10, but since ’04, they’re 10-16 in game following a loss. Gamecocks are 14-9-1 as road dogs under Spurrier, 21-16-2 overall as dogs in his tenure. Both teams have veteran QBs and experienced OLs. SEC opener for both.
Duke (-23) beat Memphis 38-19 LY, outgaining Tigers 500-152 despite a -4 turnover ratio. Blue Devils are football road favorite for first time since 2005; they’re 8-3-1 vs spread as favorites under Cutcliffe, though and 11-7 in last 18 non-ACC games. Duke has four starters back on very experienced OL (118 starts) with an inexperienced QB. Memphis was 3-1 as home dogs in Fuente’s (former Oklahoma QB) first year as HC; they had been 4-11 as home dogs from ’09-’11. Tigers didn’t play last week, so that helps Duke, which got to work some kinks out in 45-0 win over I-AA chump. Memphis has a senior QB (12 starts) and 54 starts back on OL.
Northwestern (-1) won wild 42-41 game in Carrier Dome LY, despite being outgained 596-337. Wildcats were 5-0 as home favorites LY, after being 6-17 in that role from ’03-’11. Fitzgerald’s team lost its QB early last week at Cal, scored two defensive TDs in second half and left Bay Area with 44-30 win (-6). Cal’s hurry-up offense gained 558 yards despite Wildcats faking injuries to slow it down. Syracuse (+7.5) lost 23-17 to Penn State in Swamp, getting outgained 353-260; game was 6-3 at half- SU is 14-7-1 vs spread in last 22 non-league games. Neither team is experienced on OL or at QB, but Wildcats’ program has more continuity, with Marrone gone to NFL.
Over last decade, Navy is 24-8 vs spread as road underdog; Middies (-3) ran ball for 257 yards in 31-30 home win over Indiana last year, in game Hoosiers led 30-21 in 4th quarter; Middies didn't play last week, while Hoosiers waxed I-AA foe 73-35 in game where its offense gave Indiana State two TDs. Since 2004, Hoosiers are 11-8 as home favorite (2-2 with Wilson)- they've got 19 starters back from LY. Navy has soph QB with nine starts and three starters back on OL.
BYU forced 13 punts but lost 19-16 in quagmire at Virginia last week, so hard to learn much from that; Cougars (+7) lost 17-16 at Texas couple years ago- they're 2-3 as home underdog under Mendenhall. BYU has a soph QB and only 49 starts on its OL, so they're rebuilding. Texas has one of most experienced OLs in country (129 starts); Longhorns waxed a poor New Mexico State team 56-7 last week, after struggling (14-7) in first half. Since '08, Texas is 11-6 as a road favorite- they covered seven of last nine non-league games. Longhorns lost seven defensive starters from LY, so this will be a tougher test than Aggies were last week. '
Auburn (-15.5) ran ball for 295 yards last week but struggled in passing game (10-20/99); they're 3-6 in last nine games as home favorite, 14-23 in last 37 non-SEC games. Malzahn led Arkansas State to 10-3 record LY, then bolted for Auburn, as Red Wolves are now on 4th HC in four years; they've got ten starters back on offense, only three on defense, will be more motivated team here. Tigers have SEC games with Miss State/LSU next two weeks, better not look past ASU, which is 21-6 SU in its last 27 games. ASU is 4-1 as road dog last two years- they've got four starters back on OL. Auburn has no senior starters on OL.
Underdogs covered seven of last nine Bowling Green-Kent State games, with Kent winning last three meetings by 7-12-24 points, after going 1-7 in previous eight series games. Falcons won five of last six trips to Kent; underdogs covered seven of their last eight visits here. BG has senior QB with 36 starts as one of 19 returning starters- they ran ball for 233 yards in 34-7 win over Tulsa last week, while Flashes struggled to beat Liberty (I-AA team) 17-10 (TY 361-222). Kent has only 43 starts back on OL; they're also on third HC in last four years, after Hazell left for Purdue, and they're playing a redshirt freshman QB.
Underdogs won 10 of last 14 Notre Dame-Michigan games SU, with dog 11-3 vs spread in those games; ND lost six of last seven visits here, with losses in last three visits: 35-31/38-34/38-0. Over last eight years, Irish are 13-7 as road dogs (4-1 in three years under Kelly); they ended this rivalry because of move to ACC- this is their last visit to Ann Arbor for foreseeable future. Michigan lost 13-6 in South Bend LY despite -4 TO ratio; they're 8-5 as road dog under Hoke, havwe junior QB (10 starts) and OL with 63 starts. Senior Rees has 19 starts for ND, which has 83 starts back on OL and eight starters back on defense. Home team won five of last six series games.
USC won its last eight games vs Washington State (6-2 vs spread), with Coogs losing last four visits here (1-3 vs spread) by 21-33-42-27 points, but their last visit here was in '10. Trojans completed only 15-29 thru air last week, converted only 3-14 on 3rd down in 30-13 win at Hawai'i, as Kiffin hasn't settled on a QB yet. Wazzu (+15.5) lost 34-27 at Auburn, giving up 295 rush yards, but they had chance to win; Coogs are 10-8 in last 18 games as road underdog, have 82 starts back on OL and are much improved in Leach's second year. USC is 7-3 as home favorite last two years; they've got four starters back on OL, will try to pound ball here.
Notes on rest of Saturday's games........
-- Favorites are 23-12 vs spread in Kentucky’s last 35 games; Wildcats were 7-3 as home favorite under Phillips, but got off to bad start in Stoops era, losing to Western Kentucky on neutral field.
– Michigan State failed to cover last seven games as a home favorite, is 7-9 vs spread in last 16 non-league games, but South Florida lost 53-21 last week to I-AA McNeese State; hard to endorse either side.
-- Oklahoma State was 0-3 as home favorite LY, after being 18-5 from ’03-’11; Cowboys covered nine of last 13 non-league games.
– Ohio U is 4-7 in last 11 tries as home favorite; they’re on short week after getting roughed up by Louisville Sunday. North Texas passed for 404 yards in 40-6 (-16) win over Idaho last week.
– North Carolina is 9-5 vs spread as home favorite last two years; since ’05, Middle Tennessee is 11-15 as a road underdog. Both teams have senior QBs.
– San Diego State lost 40-19 at home to I-AA Eastern Illinois last week. Oy. Ohio State is 6-9 in last 15 games as home favorite, 3-7 in last ten non-league games.
– Utah State outgained rival Utah 487-450 last week, but lost tough 30-26 game, while Air force ran option for 409 yards in easy win over I-AA Colgate. First Mountain West game for Aggies.
– Since 2007, Tulane is 2-10 vs spread when favored at home; Green Wave better not look ahead to TV date with Louisiana Tech in next game.
– Virginia beat BYU 19-16 in monsoon last week, despite punting 13 times. Oregon makes long trip east- they’re 7-0 as road favorites last two years.
– Nebraska covered seven of last nine games as a home favorite, but only four of last 11 non-league games. Huskers allowed 35 first downs in 37-34 win over Wyoming last week, 33 of them on either 1st or 2nd down- they lost seven defensive starters from LY.
– Since ’05, Missouri is 22-11 vs spread in non-league games. Toledo was outgained 415-205 in 24-6 (+23) loss at Florida last week; Rockets covered seven of last eight games as a road underdog.
– Colorado State is on short week after 41-27 loss to Colorado in Denver Sunday; State was outgained 509-295. Since ’10, Tulsa is 11-6 as a home favorite; they got crushed 34-7 at Bowling Green Thursday, giving up 233 rushing yards.
– Ball State won last two meetings with Army 48-21/30-22, after losing previous two games with Cadets; Cardinals are 4-1 as home favorites under Lembo. Army is 1-6 as road dogs last two years.
– Eastern Michigan was outgained 384-380 by I-AA Howard last week. Penn State turned ball over four times last week, throwing for 296 yards, running for just 57 in 23-17 neutral field win over Syracuse, in frosh QB Hackenburg’s first college game.
– Baylor is 11-6 as home favorite under Briles; they don’t leave Waco until Oct 12. Buffalo covered four of last five games as a road underdog. – Since start of 2011, Western Kentucky is 12-0 vs spread away from home. Tennessee has 128 starts back on offensive line, one of most experienced in country; they were 1-5 as home favorite LY, after being 17-9-1 from ’07-’11.
– Kansas State lost at home to I-AA North Dakota State last week; Wildcats have only two starters back on defense from LY. ULL was outgained 522-274 in 34-14 (+10.5) loss at Arkansas.
– Oregon State lost 49-46 at home to I-AA Eastern Washington last week; since ’09, Beavers are 5-9 as home favorites (4-1 LY). Hawai’I (+24) lost 30-13 at home to USC last week, covering on last-minute TD pass (364-231 TY).
– Minnesota scored TDs on kick return, blocked FG and on defense in 51-23 (-13.5) home win over UNLV last week; Gophers are 12-7 vs spread in last 19 games as road favorites. New Mexico State was onluy down 14-7 at Texas at half last week, lost 56-7 (+43).
– Wyoming lost 37-34 at Nebraska last week but had 35 first downs, most ever vs Husker team; Cowboys outgained Huskers 602-503 despite being just 2-9 on third downs. Idaho (+16) lost 40-7 at North Texas, giving up 404 passing yards.
– Home side won five of last six New Mexico-UTEP games; Lobos lost last three visits here, by 4-8-3 points. Miners didn’t play last week, while New Mexico lost at home to Texas State, completing just 6-17 passes and getting shut out in second half.
– UNLV has nine starters back on both sides of ball but gave up three TDs on offense/special teams last week in 51-23 loss (+13.5) at Minnesota. Since 2008, Arizona is 2-8-1 vs spread as a road favorite.