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Cnotes October's College Football POD's+Trends+Stats+News !

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On 10/01/2013 01:06 AM in NCAA Football
College Betting Recap - Week 5

September 29, 2013


Weekly Betting Notes

-- Home Teams went 28-20 straight up in Week 5

-- Favorites went 36-12 SU in Week 5

-- West Virginia (+19 ½) was the biggest underdog to win outright in Week 5, defeating No. 11 Oklahoma State 30-21 at home.

-- Other notable underdog winners were East Carolina (+12 ½), Tulane (+12 ½), Texas State (+10 ½) and Idaho (+7 ½).

-- Favorites and Underdogs went 23-23-4 against the spread

-- The four pushes were:
Missouri (-22) 41 vs. Arkansas State 19
Georgia (-3) 44 vs. LSU 41
Ohio State (-7) 31 vs. Wisconsin 24
Oregon (-39) 55 vs. California 16

Top 25 Betting Notes

-- There were four matchups in Week 5 that featured ranked teams squaring off. In those games, the higher ranked school won except the for the Georgia-LSU encounter. The No. 9 Bulldogs were favored by three points at home and defeated the No. 6 Tigers 44-41.

-- The 12 other ranked schools in action went 11-1 SU and 6-4-1 ATS.

-- No. 11 Oklahoma State was the only ranked school to lose to an unranked team in Week 5.

-- Louisville, UCLA, Northwestern, Baylor and Texas Tech were the five ranked schools on Bye in Week 5.

Best Bets

-- Houston improved to 4-0 ATS with its 59-28 win over Texas-San Antonio in Week 5

-- After losing to Ohio State in Week 5, Wisconsin is 3-2 SU but 4-0-1 ATS

-- Central Florida suffered its first loss of the season in Week 5, falling to South Carolina 28-25 at home. Despite the loss, the Knights covered as 6 ½ - point underdogs. UCF is 4-0 ATS

Fade Alerts

-- Central Michigan fell to 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS in Week 5 after getting trounced at North Carolina State, 48-14

-- Fresno State is the only unbeaten team (4-0) in the nation that has failed to cover the spread (0-4 ATS)

-- Notre Dame fell to 3-2 SU and 0-4-1 ATS in Week 5

Over-Easy

-- LSU and Troy have seen the ‘over’ cash in all five of their games

-- Florida State, Arizona State, Georgia and Northern Illinois are other notable schools that have seen the ‘over’ go 4-0 this season

Under like Thunder

-- West Virginia, Toledo and Louisiana Tech have seen the ‘under’ go 5-0 in their first five games

Lane Kiffin fired at USC

Our college football expert Brian Edwards offered up this thoughts on head coach Lane Kiffin’s dismissal at USC and the possible replacements for the Trojans.

I thought Lane Kiffin was a desperation hire to begin with at USC. He had a solid second season and his recruiting was always good, especially considering the NCAA sanctions. But the guy simply doesn't have the type of personality that energizes a fan base. He clearly lost the locker room last season when the Trojans went from preseason No. 1 to losing six games and finishing unranked. They got destroyed by a seven-loss Georgia Tech team at the Sun Bowl.

When USC lost at home to Washington State as a 16 ½ -point favorite in Week 2 this season, it was obvious that Kiffin was in big trouble. With an open date looming, AD Pat Haden had the opportunity to pull the trigger on Kiffin's tenure if USC lost at Arizona State. When the Trojans lost by double digits and gave up more than 60 points, Haden's decision was probably an easy one.

Will Kiffin ever get another head-coaching job? It's a fair question. He's had three great jobs already that he didn't deserve. I don't see him getting a big-time offer anytime soon, and he sure as hell doesn't strike me as the type who would get his hands dirty and take a C-USA or Sun Belt gig. I see his future similar to that of Mike Shula's since he got fired at Alabama. He'll be a position coach in the NFL for a few years and maybe get an offensive-coordinator gig in 3-4 years like Shula, who is the new Panthers' OC.

Where does USC go from here? You'll probably here big names like Boise State's Chris Petersen and Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, but I don't think the Trojans have a shot with either guy. Petersen has given everybody the Heisman treatment and Sumlin's next move will probably be for an NFL job.

Jack Del Rio makes some sense. He's an alum who turned down the job when Kiffin was hired, but Del Rio doesn't have an NFL head-coaching gig now like he did last time. He's the defensive coordinator with the Broncos. But that could be an issue, too, because Denver is going to be playing into January, but we've seen that scenario before (Bill O'Brien with Patriots/Penn State).

Jeff Fisher, another USC alum, isn't leaving the Rams unless their season heads way south. Steve Sarkisian has history with the program, serving as Pete Carroll's OC, but his situation at Washington is looking pretty good right now. Haden has plenty of time to consider his options, another plus to handing out this pink slip so early.

On the Rise

Every Sunday, Brian Edwards updates the VegasInsider.com Top 25. Washington, Arizona State and Virginia Tech have joined this week’s rankings.

Top 25

Rank School Record Prev

1 Alabama Crimson Tide 4-0 1

2 Oregon Ducks 4-0 2

3 Clemson Tigers 4-0 4

4 Stanford Cardinal 4-0 6

5 Georgia Bulldogs 3-1 5

6 LSU Tigers 3-1 3

7 South Carolina Gamecocks 3-1 7

8 Texas A&M Aggies 3-1 8

9 Ohio State Buckeyes 5-0 11

10 Florida State Seminoles 4-0 9

11 UCLA Bruins 3-0 10

12 Louisville Cardinals 4-0 12

13 Florida Gators 3-1 13

14 Baylor Bears 3-0 14

15 Oklahoma Sooners 3-0 15

16 Northwestern Wildcats 4-0 16

17 Washington Huskies 4-0 NR

18 Miami, Fl. Hurricanes 4-0 18

19 Wisconsin Badgers 3-2 20

20 Ole Miss Rebels 3-1 17

21 Texas Tech Red Raiders 4-0 21

22 Maryland Terrapins 4-0 22

23 Arizona State Sun Devils 4-0 NR

24 Virginia Tech Hokies 3-1 NR

25 Michigan Wolverines 4-0 23
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10/01/2013 01:07 AM
Week 5 Rewind

September 30, 2013


Georgia improved to 2-0 in SEC play with Saturday’s thrilling 44-41 win over LSU as a three-point home favorite. Aaron Murray torched the Tigers for 298 passing yards and four touchdowns. The senior signal caller also ran for a score.

In crucial home wins over South Carolina and LSU, Murray has posted an 8/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His play against John Chavis’s defense was especially critical in the second half when sophomore RB Todd Gurley couldn’t play due to a sprained ankle suffered in the first half.

LSU’s Zach Mettenberger was equally as efficient as Murray in his return to Athens. When both players were freshmen at UGA, they were roommates. After an arrest and suspension, Mettenberger opted to transfer.

Things are working out for both guys just fine. Mettenberger had NFL scouts drooling with his performance between the hedges. He completed 23-of-37 throws for 372 yards and three TDs without an interception. For the season, Mettenberger now has a 13/1 TD-INT ratio.

The ‘over’ improved to 4-0 in UGA games. The Bulldogs hit the road this week to face Tennessee at Neyland Stadium. LSU has another road assignment at Mississippi St. before returning home to take on Florida.

Alabama heard all week about the potential for upstart Ole Miss to pull an upset in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels hung around for most of the night, trailing just 9-0 at intermission as 14.5-point underdogs. (The line had dropped from 16.5 to as low as 13.5 early Friday.)

But the Crimson Tide put together its best defensive performance of the year in a 25-0 win. ‘Bama had 434 yards of total offense and limited Hugh Freeze’s team to only 205 net yards.

Florida improved to 2-0 in SEC action with a 24-7 win at Kentucky as an 11-point ‘chalk.’ The 31 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 46.5-point total. The ‘under’ is 3-1 in UF games to date.

Making his first career start under center, Tyler Murphy impressed Gator Nation again. The junior connected on 15-of-18 passes for 158 yards. Murphy threw for a score and ran for another. Matt Jones rushed for a career-high 176 yards and one TD.

Playing without star DT Dominique Easley for the first time, Florida’s defense looked just as salty. The Gators doubled up UK in the yardage department (402-173). They host Arkansas this weekend at The Swamp.

Missouri has won its first four games because QB James Franklin is healthy this season and sophomore WR Dorial Green-Beckham is living up to the hype after a disappointing freshman campaign.

Franklin completed 20-of-29 throws for 255 yards and three TDs without a pick to lead his squad to a 41-19 win over Arkansas St. as a 21.5-point favorite. The senior is back into the form he demonstrated in 2011 before injuries wrecked in debut season in the SEC.

In 2013, Franklin has completed 67.6 percent of his attempts for 1,128 passing yards with a 9/3 TD-INT ratio. He has also run for 215 yards and a pair of TDs on 41 carries.

Green-Beckham arrived in Columbia as the nation’s No. 1 recruit in the 2012 class. However, he struggled to make plays and was suspended for one game. Green-Beckham finished his freshman year with just 28 receptions for 395 yards and five TDs. In only four games so far this season, he has 21 catches for 334 yards and four TDs.

With all that said, Gary Pinkel knows that the 4-0 start has come against non-conference foes. The Tigers will make or break their year with what they do against SEC competition. But with Franklin finally healthy and Green-Beckham playing well, Missouri is much better prepared for the difficult stretch ahead that starts Saturday night in Nashville.

The wildest game of Week 5 for our purposes undoubtedly went down in Orlando, where South Carolina won a 28-25 decision at Central Florida as a 6.5-point road favorite. The Gamecocks were playing without WR Shaq Roland (suspension) and then lost QB Connor Shaw (shoulder, out 2-3 weeks) in the first quarter.

UCF dominated the first half and led 10-0 at intermission. But Steve Spurrier came out in the second half and gave the Golden Knights a heavy dose of RB Mike Davis, who turned 26 carries into 167 yards and three TDs.

South Carolina scored 28 unanswered points to go ahead by 18 with 10:31 remaining. UCF wouldn’t fold, though, responding with a 73-yard TD pass from Blake Bortles to Rannell Hall. A successful two-point conversion made it 28-18. South Carolina was poised to put the game and spread cover away on a first-and-goal situation from UCF’s two with just under four minutes left. But Davis coughed up a fumble to give the underdog new life. Two plays later, South Carolina junior safety Brison Williams completely lost his sanity and allowed Hall to get behind the defense for a 79-yard gainer on a pass from Bortles.

Bortles hit Hall for a seven-yard scoring strike on the next play to provide the backdoor cover. On the ensuing onside kick attempt, South Carolina WR Bruce Ellington got a nice bounce and only had one man to beat to the end zone. Alas, UCF got the tackle of Ellington at the 10 and Spurrier opted to kneel on it three times.

Ohio State had cruised past four non-con foes going into Saturday night’s Big Ten showdown vs. Wisconsin. Braxton Miller shook off the rust and returned to the lineup to lead the Buckeyes to a 31-24 win as seven-point home favorites. The 55 combined points fell ‘under’ the 55.5-point total, although many bettors probably pushed on the total that was at 54.5 or 55 for most of Thursday and Friday.

Miller had missed most of the last three games, but he threw four touchdown passes without getting picked off. He also ran for 83 yards.

Before anyone pencils in Ohio St. for an unbeaten season, let me remind you that it falls into a classic letdown situation Saturday night at Northwestern. The undefeated Wildcats have had two weeks to prepare for the Bucks and will be sky high for this game.

Oklahoma jumped all over Notre Dame early and held on for a 35-21 victory as a 3.5-point road favorite. The Sooners got sweet revenge in South Bend after losing 30-13 to the Irish in Norman last year. OU’s Blake Bell threw a pair of TD passes without an interception. West Virginia and East Carolina pulled the biggest Week 5 upsets. After getting throttled 37-0 by Maryland, Dana Holgersen belatedly turned to Clint Trickett at QB and the FSU transfer responded in a big way (begging the question, what the hell took so long?).

Trickett threw for 309 yards to lead the Mountaineers to a 30-21 win over Oklahoma St. as 19.5-point home underdogs. Gamblers taking WVU on the money line cashed a tasty ticket in the +800 range.

East Carolina didn’t just go into Chapel Hill and win. No, the Pirates dealt out a pimpslap at North Carolina, winning 55-31 as 12.5-point underdogs. Shane Carden threw for 376 yards and three TDs, while Vintavious Cooper ran for 186 yards on 35 carries. Carden also had three rushing TDs as ECU improved to 3-1.

On Thursday night, Va. Tech won its fourth consecutive games by beating Ga. Tech 17-10 as a seven-point underdog on The Flats in Midtown Atlanta. The Hokies forced three turnovers and didn’t commit any en route to hooking up money-line supporters with a +240 payout (risk $100 to win $240).
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10/01/2013 01:09 AM
4th Quarter Covers - Week 5

September 30, 2013


Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the fifth weekend of college football to close out the month of September. Each week, there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows, get the details in this weekly column.

Pittsburgh (-6) 14, Virginia 3: Pittsburgh led 14-0 after the first quarter, but the Panthers needed to hold on late. Down by 11 into the fourth quarter, Virginia marched to the Pittsburgh three-yard line with a touchdown being enough to flip the spread result, but the Cavaliers failed on fourth down and Pittsburgh was able to hold on in a game in which neither team eclipsed 200 total yards.

Ball State (-1½) 31, Toledo 24: In a key MAC West game, Ball State led by seven at home entering what would be a wild fourth quarter. Just seconds into the final frame, the Rockets tied the game with a 10-yard touchdown pass. It took less than three minutes for Ball State to take the lead back and the Cardinals appeared to be in control after Ball State got a stop as the Rockets went for it on fourth down just outside of field goal range. The Rockets got another chance with an interception however and a few plays later the game was tied again with just over six minutes to go. Ball State got help on the next drive with a big pass interference penalty and the Cardinals took a seven-point lead with three minutes to go. Toledo went to mid-field quickly on its final possession, but the Ball State defense held again for a key conference win.

NC State (-24) 48, Central Michigan 14: NC State cruised to a 38-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, but those on the heavy home favorite would get a scare as Central Michigan scored back-to-back touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to match the spread. NC State connected on an 80-yard pass a few minutes later to get by the number and Central Michigan threw interceptions on two of its next three offensive plays to mute the threat.

TCU (-17) 48, SMU 17: SMU led 10-7 at the half and TCU led by just seven entering the fourth quarter. TCU hit a few big plays early in the fourth quarter to pull away, but after SMU scored with three minutes to go, most on the Frogs were holding losing tickets or earning a push at best with the margin at 17 points. In the final three minutes, TCU scored touchdowns on an onside kick return and an interception return to deliver a misleading final score.

Missouri (-22½) 41, Arkansas State 19: While the Tigers still fell short on the closing line, this spread was at 21 or 21½ most of the week, meaning a slim cover with the final margin at 22 points. That result seemed highly improbable with Arkansas State leading this game 16-14 well into the second half. Missouri led by four entering the fourth and added two touchdowns in the final five-plus minutes to pull away.

Colorado State (-13½) 59, UTEP 42: This game featured some big momentum shifts as Colorado State saw a 28-7 halftime lead erased with three touchdowns in the first seven minutes of the third quarter from UTEP. A safety turned things around for the Rams and by the start of the fourth quarter, Colorado State was up nine, though still short of the spread. Colorado State eventually pulled away with a 52-28 lead at one point and while UTEP scored two more touchdowns, including scoring as time expired, the Rams held on in the shootout.

Georgia (-3) 44, LSU 41: One of the biggest games of the week lived up the hype, providing one of the more entertaining games of the season in a shootout led by the two high profile quarterbacks trading scores. Georgia led by seven at the half and entering the fourth quarter, but LSU continued to answer. After Georgia settled for a field goal, LSU took the lead with just over four minutes to go to get up by four. Georgia scored with relative ease to take the lead back, but many feared too much time was left on the clock. LSU’s final drive was stopped as Georgia held on for the three-point win, but LSU backers did hold on for a push with some getting a win as the spread jumped to 3½ at times late in the week.

Oregon (-39½) 55, California 16: The Ducks continue to be heavily bet at any price as this spread climbed four points throughout the week and that gap proved critical for those that played the game late. Oregon led 55-3 early in the third quarter, but with a strong passing game, this will not likely be the last time that California is in play for a backdoor cover. The Bears would score two touchdowns including the second with just three minutes to go in the game. Incredibly, the extra point was missed on that final score putting the margin at 39 rather than 38 and with -38 or -38½ as common numbers late in the week it proved to be a huge play for many. In the young Mark Helfrich era, the Ducks had done some fourth quarter scoring, but Oregon did not score a point in the final 25 minutes in this game.

Bowling Green (-15) 31, Akron 14: Bowling Green recovered from a rough start to squeak out a cover against an Akron squad that continues to provide competitive efforts. The Zips led 14-3 after the first quarter, but they would not score again and Bowling Green added a touchdown with less than five minutes to go in the game to get by the number.

South Carolina (-7) 28, Central Florida 25: UCF led 10-0 at the half, but they missed an opportunity to add more points with a turnover in the red zone. South Carolina regrouped and took over in the second half, running the ball with great success with Connor Shaw knocked out of the game. The Gamecocks took a 28-10 lead early in the fourth, but a 73-yard pass play put the Knights back in the game. An interception on the next UCF possession appeared to end those comeback hopes, but a nine-play drive that was intended to ice the game ended in a fumble for South Carolina. Central Florida was back in the end zone in the final two minutes to earn the cover for the underdog Knights.

Tennessee (-17) 31, South Alabama 24: Tennessee led 31-7 against South Alabama early in the second half, but things got rather interesting late in Knoxville as the underdog took the cash and nearly had a shot at a major upset. Tennessee posted a total of 58 yards on its final six possessions while South Alabama put up 17 points despite missing a field goal along the way. On fourth and goal, South Alabama’s upset threat ended with an interception with less than two minutes left on the clock as the Volunteers escaped.

Ohio State (-7½) 31, Wisconsin 24: The line on this Big Ten Leaders clash was at -7 much of the week despite opening and closing at -7½, and -6½ was even briefly available at a few outlets. The game provided plenty of late drama as Ohio State seemingly pulled away with a 31-14 lead entering the fourth quarter, not necessarily out-playing the Badgers but making fewer mistakes. Wisconsin missed a short field goal early in the game, allowed a long touchdown pass on the final play of the first half, and had a procedure penalty that wiped away a game-changing turnover. The Badgers battled back into the game late with a touchdown early in the fourth and a few stops on defense. Wisconsin settled for a field goal after stalling with just over two minutes to go and then on defense nearly got a miracle as a bad snap bounced around before Braxton Miller recovered it. Wisconsin got the ball back with no timeouts, but they were pinned deep and the final margin stayed at seven leaving a push for most.

UNLV (+1½) 56, New Mexico 42: This line flipped late in the week, but it did not matter as UNLV snapped a long losing streak in road games. The game was tied at the half and deep into the fourth quarter, but the Rebels held on defense in the final frame and delivered two late scores in the final minute, the first touchdown coming on a 15-play, 80-yard drive and the second play coming in opposite fashion as Tim Cornett broke a 75-yard run to put the game away.

Fresno State (-17½) 42, Hawaii 37: Those waking up to see the final score in the late Saturday night game at Hawaii saw a very different result than those than how the game actually played out. Fresno State led 42-3 late in the third quarter before Hawaii made things very interesting, taking advantage of turnovers and sitting down just five points halfway through the fourth quarter. The final eight possessions for Fresno State featured five turnovers and three punts as the offense could not put the game away, but the defense held on with an interception at the three-yard line ending the amazing comeback bid.
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10/01/2013 01:11 AM
Games to Watch - Week 6

September 30, 2013


Arkansas at Florida
Most books opened Florida (3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS) as a 10.5-point favorite. The Gators have won their first two SEC games over Tennessee and Kentucky. They more than doubled UK’s yardage output (402-173) in a 24-7 win in Lexington as 11-point favorites. UF got a career-high 176 rushing yards from Matt Jones, who scored on a two-yard run and also had three catches for 20 yards. In his first career start, Tyler Murphy completed 15-of-18 passes for 156 yards and one TD. He also produced 36 rushing yards and one score on seven totes. UF leads the SEC and is eighth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 12.8 points per game. The Gators are second in the country in total defense, limiting foes to 202.5 yards per contest. Arkansas (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS) hung tough against Texas A&M before dropping a 45-33 decision. The Razorbacks got the money as 13.5-point underdogs. QB Brandon Allen, who had missed a 28-24 loss at Rutgers the previous week due to a shoulder injury, wasn’t expected to face the Aggies until his status was upgraded to ‘probable’ late Friday. Allen threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice. Alex Collins rushed for 116 yards and one TD on 14 carries. For the season, Allen has an 8/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio in four games. Collins, a freshman RB out of Miami, leads the SEC in rushing with 597 yards. He has run for three TDs and is averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Arky senior DE Chris Smith leads the SEC in sacks with six. Since joining the SEC in 1992, the Hogs have lost all eight head-to-head meetings against UF. ESPN2 will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Maryland at Florida State
As of early Monday afternoon, most spots had FSU (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) favored by 15. The Seminoles failed to cover the number for the first time in Saturday’s 48-34 win at Boston College as 23.5-point road favorites. BC raced out to a 17-3 lead before Jameis Winston threw three second-quarter TD passes, including a 55-yard bomb to Kenny Shaw on the final play of the first half. Winston threw for 330 yards and four TDs against the Eagles, while also rushing for a team-high 67 yards. A redshirt freshman, ‘Famous’ has a 12/2 TD-INT ratio and two rushing TDs for the year. Maryland (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) has had two weeks to prep for FSU following its 37-0 win over West Va. The Terrapins are also getting stellar QB play from C.J. Brown, who has connected on 66.7 percent of his passes for 1,043 yards with a 7/1 TD-INT ratio. Brown has rushed for 283 yards and five TDs, averaging 6.3 YPC. Brown has one of the country’s best WRs in Stefon Diggs, who has 18 catches for 400 yards and three TDs. Maryland is 5-5 ATS as a road underdog during Randy Edsall’s tenure, while the ‘Nolews are 13-8 ATS as a home favorite on Jimbo Fisher’s watch. FSU has won six in a row over Maryland, going 4-2 ATS. The ‘over’ is a perfect 4-0 for FSU, 2-2 for Maryland. Kickoff is slated for noon Eastern on ESPN.

Ole Miss at Auburn
As of early Monday afternoon, most books had Ole Miss (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) installed as a three-point road ‘chalk.’ The Rebels are coming off a 25-0 loss at Alabama as 14.5-point underdogs. They kept ‘Bama out of the end zone in the first half, trailing just 9-0 at intermission. But UM couldn’t get anything going offensively and were held to merely 205 yards of total offense. Since Hugh Freeze took over, Ole Miss still maintains a 7-2 spread record in nine games played away from Oxford (8 road, 1 neutral). Auburn (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS) had an open date after suffering its first loss at LSU by a 35-21 count. Gus Malzahn’s team is led by RB Tre Mason, who has rushed for 338 yards and four TDs. AU has won all three of its home games this year, going 1-2 ATS. The ‘under’ is 3-1 overall for AU, 3-0 in its home games. The ‘over’ is 2-1 in the Rebels’ three road assignments this season. The ‘over’ has hit in four straight head-to-head meetings between these SEC West adversaries. ESPNU will provide television coverage at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.

Washington at Stanford
As of early Monday afternoon, most spots had Stanford (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS) listed as a 6.5-point ‘chalk.’ The Cardinal dealt out another woodshed beating Saturday in Seattle, where it pounded Washington St. 55-17 as 9.5-point favorite. Kevin Hogan led the way by throwing for 286 yards and three TDs. Hogan has a 10/3 TD-INT ratio. Stanford All-American OG David Yankey didn’t make the trip to Seattle due to a personal matter. His status for the Huskies remains in question. The Cardinal owns a 7-8 spread record as a home favorite under David Shaw. Washington (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) cruised to a 31-13 win over Arizona as an 8.5-point home favorite. Bishop Sankey stole the show with 161 rushing yards and one TD on a career-high 40 carries. Keith Price threw a pair of TD passes for the Huskies. Price has a 9/2 TD-INT ratio. UW has a 7-11 ATS mark in 18 games as a road underdog during Steve Sarkisian’s five-year tenure. When these teams met last year, Washington captured a 17-13 win as a 6.5-point home underdog. Sankey was the catalyst with 144 rushing yards and one TD. The ‘over’ has hit in three straight games for Stanford. The ‘under’ is 3-1 for UW, 1-0 in its lone road game. ESPN will have the telecast at 10:30 p.m. Eastern.

Michigan State at Iowa
As of early Monday afternoon, most betting shops had Iowa (4-1 SU, 3-2 ATS) tabbed as a 1.5-point favorite. The Hawkeyes have won four consecutive games since dropping a 30-27 heartbreaker to No. Illinois in their season opener. They started Big Ten play this past Saturday with a 23-7 win at Minnesota as 2.5-point ‘chalk.’ Kirk Ferentz’s squad generated 464 yards of total offense and limited to Gophers to just 165 yards. Mark Weisman ran for a game-high 147 yards. Iowa is sixth in the nation in total defense in seventh in stopping the run. Michigan State (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) has had two weeks to prepare for Iowa following a 17-13 loss at Notre Dame. Like Va. Tech and Florida, the Spartans have an elite defense but a shaky offense. Mark Dantonio’s team is No. 1 in the country in total defense, allowing only 187.8 yards per game. If Sparty remains a road ‘dog in this spot, it is 8-6-1 ATS in such situations under Dantonio. Iowa is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings against Michigan St. The ‘over’ is 4-1 for the Hawks, while the ‘under’ is 3-1 for Michigan St. ESPN2 will have television coverage at noon Eastern.
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10/01/2013 01:13 AM
College football line watch: Jump on NIU now

Each week during the college football season, renowned Las Vegas wiseguy and Covers Expert Bruce Marshall looks at the NCAAF odds and tells you which spread to bet now, which one to bet later, and which total to watch as the week plays out.

Spread to bet now

Northern Illinois Huskies at Kent State Golden Flashes (+9)

Through the first five weeks of the season, no price in games involving NIU has moved against the Huskies. If anything, numbers have tended to trend slightly in NIU’s direction, including last week at Purdue when the Huskies were modestly bet up from 3 to 4 at most Las Vegas wagering outlets.

Although there was not much reaction to the earliest posted -9 for the Huskies this Saturday at Kent State, NIU’s support base has acted more like a growing groundswell each week. Perhaps because it mostly flies under the national radar in the MAC, price adjustments in Huskies games have tended to move slowly and inexorably, rather than in the quick bursts we see associated with many other well-supported “public” sides.

After QB Jordan Lynch and the explosive offense triggered last week’s 55-24 demolition of Big Ten rep Purdue, however, expect appetite for NIU to appear a bit more quickly in the marketplace, likely pushing this price up to the next key number at 10 against the Golden Flashes.

Whether 10 acts as a resistance point or not remains to be seen.

At least by jumping on the Huskies ASAP, those NIU backers are not going to have to worry about laying a double-digit price.

This number is very unlikely to drop, so Huskies supporters might as well get their positions now while the price remains in single digits.

Spread to wait on

Penn State Nittany Lions at Indiana Hoosiers (+3.5)

After home losses to Navy and Missouri in September, Indiana backers are laying low at the moment. So low, in fact, that they offered very little resistance when the price for this Saturday’s game versus Penn State was bet up from an opening 2.5 and right through a key number resistance point at 3 in early wagering action.

As of Monday afternoon, most Las Vegas wagering outlets were posting the Hoosiers at +3.5 or 4 for Saturday’s Big Ten clash at Bloomington.

We suspect that there is more run left in this price move toward the Nittany Lions, who have mostly offered good spread value for second-year coach Bill O’Brien; Penn State is now 11-5 its last 16 on the board.

Moreover, the marketplace will also begin to digest some of the hard-to-believe series trends that are so lopsided in the direction of the Nittany Lions, who have not lost straight up to the Hoosiers since entering the Big Ten in 1993 and have a spotless 16-0 straight up record all-time versus IU.

Don’t be surprised for this number to eventually test the next key numbers up the scale, perhaps all of the way up to the “big” 7, as buy pressure for Penn State doesn’t figure to abate anytime soon.

Later in the week, IU likely attracts some investors, but we advise Hoosier backers to sit tight for a few days to see how high this number inflates. No surprise if the Nittany Lions will be forced to lay near a full TD at sometime before kickoff, at which time we expect some IU money to materialize at the Nevada sports books.

Total to watch

West Virginia Mountaineers at Baylor Bears

Like those who like to see how many hot dogs Joey Chestnut can devour at the annual Nathan’s Contest each 4th of July at Coney Island, there is a similar curiosity in the wagering marketplace regarding the most-extreme “totals” each week. And along with Oregon, no team generates that sort of interest like high-octane Baylor, which hosts West Virginia on Saturday.

“Totals” devotees certainly recall the Bears-Mountaineers shootout last season in Morgantown, when Geno Smith tossed a whopping 8 TD passes for WVU in its wild 70-63 win.

Geno has graduated to the NFL, and the Mounties aren’t quite spinning the scoreboards as they were the past couple of seasons, but Baylor has definitely picked up the slack as it scores better than point-per-minute in the early going this season for HC Art Briles.

Baylor’s early schedule has been mostly flown under the national radar against the likes of Wofford, Buffalo and UL-Monroe, so this is the first time we’ll get to see how the marketplace reacts to a “total” on a featured Bears game. And after scoring 69, 70, and 70 in the first three, we anticipate some “over” pressure no matter where oddsmakers post the “total” for Saturday’s game vs. WVU.

With thin markets in earlier games, “totals” on Bear games to date still moved upward 2-3 points in the first three contests. Oddsmakers are also not expected to fool around any longer with “totals” involving teams like Baylor or Oregon; the books had no hesitation posting the Ducks’ “total” vs. Cal in the low 80s last week, though the knowledge of upcoming monsoon-like conditions in Eugene prevented excessive buy pressure on the “over” for Ducks-Bears.

We’re very curious to see how the marketplace reacts to the next “total” involving Baylor...especially if weather forecasts are for a fast track in Waco.
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10/01/2013 01:22 AM
CAAF Power Rankings: Week 6

Following a 55-16 dismantling of Cal, the Oregon Ducks retain the top spot in the Power Rankings. The Oklahoma Sooners are big movers this week - up to No. 7 after a 35-21 victory at Notre Dame.

College Football - Top 25

Current Rank Last Week Change Team W-L
(ATS) Power Rating Team Comments

1 1 no change in rankings Oregon 4-0
(4-0-0) -25.00 The Ducks are averaging 60 points per game, and they have rolled over the competition so far. Oregon has another easy game this week in Colorado, but they will be tested the following Saturday in Washington.

2 2 no change in rankings Alabama 4-0
(2-2-0) -24.50 The Crimson Tide pitched a shutout in a 25-0 win over Ole Miss this Saturday. Alabama just doesn't look quite as dominant as they did last year though.

3 3 no change in rankings Stanford 4-0
(2-2-0) -24.00 The Cardinal throttled the Washington State Cougars this week, scoring 55 points on the road in a 55-17 win in Washington. There aren't many easy games left on the schedule for Stanford though, and they face the Huskies next week.

4 4 no change in rankings Clemson 4-0
(2-2-0) -23.50 Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd is getting mentioned in the Heisman race. He's thrown nearly 1000 yards and nine TDs without an interception during Clemson's 4-0 start.

5 6 move up in rankings1 Ohio State 5-0
(3-1-1) -22.00 After a 31-24 victory over a very good Wisconsin team, you can't say the Buckeyes haven't played anybody. The game wasn't as close as the score indicates, as Wisconsin scored 10 points late to close the gap, but came up short of the comeback.

6 7 move up in rankings1 Louisville 4-0
(3-1-0) -21.50 After pitching a shutout in a 72-0 win over Florida International, the Cardinals defense ranks 1st in the nation allowing an average of 6.8 points per game.

7 15 move up in rankings8 Oklahoma 4-0
(3-1-0) -20.00 It had been a long time since Notre Dame lost at South Bend, but it was bound to happen "Sooner" or later. The Sooners are still perfect after knocking off the Irish by a score of 35-21.

8 8 no change in rankings Florida State 4-0
(3-1-0) -19.70 Jameis Winston was 17-of-27 for 330 yards and four touchdowns in a win over Boston College. The freshman has thrown 12 TDs and just 2 INTs on the season.

9 11 move up in rankings2 Texas A&M 4-1
(3-2-0) -19.50 The Aggies are 4-1 with their only loss coming against Alabama, but they have a tough game coming up on the road in Mississippi this week.

10 10 no change in rankings UCLA 3-0
(3-0-0) -19.00 The Bruins moved to 3-0 with another lob-sided win over New Mexico State. UCLA is third in the nation in scoring, averaging over 52 points per game.

11 14 move up in rankings3 Miami 4-0
(3-1-0) -17.50 The Hurricanes are 4-0 including an upset win over the Gators in Week 2. There's only one more ranked opponent on their schedule, when they face FSU in November.

12 12 no change in rankings Georgia 3-1
(1-2-1) -17.25 The Bulldogs survived an epic battle with LSU this week, winning by a score of 44-41. They lost star running back Todd Gurley though, and his status is uncertain for next week's game against Tennessee.

13 5 move down in rankings8 Louisiana State 4-1
(2-2-1) -17.00 The Tigers suffered their first loss of the season in Georgia, coming up just short in a 44-41 defeat.

14 17 move up in rankings3 Baylor 3-0
(3-0-0) -16.50 The Bears led the nation in scoring last year, and they are doing it again this season. Their defense is the big surprise though, currently ranked second in the country, allowing an average of 7.7 points per game.

15 16 move up in rankings1 Washington 4-0
(3-1-0) -16.00 The Huskies are 4-0, and they own the 4th best defense in the country allowing an average of just over 10 points per game. They have a tough game against Stanford coming up.

16 9 move down in rankings7 South Carolina 3-1
(1-3-0) -15.50 The Gamecocks lost quarterback Connor Shaw early, but Dylan Thompson came in and led the past the UCF Knights in Florida on Saturday.

17 20 move up in rankings3 Florida 3-1
(1-3-0) -13.00 The Gators will be without #1 quarterback Jeff Driskel for the remainder of the season. Junior Tyler Murphy filled in winning consecutive games since taking over behind center.

18 18 no change in rankings Northwestern 4-0
(2-2-0) -12.50 The Wildcats have gotten off to a 4-0 start, but they will be hard pressed to remain undefeated as they host the Buckeyes this weekend.

19 19 no change in rankings Michigan 4-0
(2-2-0) -12.00 The Wolverines narrowly avoided the upset at the hands of Connecticut, as they were given a scare for the second week in a row. They have a tough game coming up, hosting the Golden Gophers next week.

20 32 move up in rankings12 Fresno State 4-0
(0-4-0) -11.75 The Bulldogs survived a late comeback attempt from Hawaii, as the Warriors scored 20 unanswered points but fell five points short.

21 13 move down in rankings8 Oklahoma State 3-1
(2-2-0) -11.50 The Cowboys lost on the road to West Virginia this week, falling to 3-1. They return home to take on the Kansas State Wildcats.

22 24 move up in rankings2 Texas Tech 4-0
(3-1-0) -11.00 The Red Raiders upset rivals TCU last Thursday night, and then moved to 4-0 with a win over Texas State this week.

23 26 move up in rankings3 Arizona State 3-1
(2-2-0) -10.75 The Sun Devils bounced back after losing to Stanford by winning big over USC at home. They take on Notre Dame this week at South Bend.

24 28 move up in rankings4 Northern Illinois 4-0
(2-2-0) -10.25 The Huskies are 4-0, and when you look at their schedule, they really don't have any tough games coming up.

25 25 no change in rankings Missouri 4-0
(3-0-1) -10.00 The Tigers moved to 4-0 with a convincing win over Arkansas State, but they have yet to face an SEC team. Missouri will be on the road against Vanderbilt this week.

College Football - Teams 26-119
Current Rank Last Week Change Team W-L
(ATS) Power Rating

26 45 move up in rankings19 Oregon State 4-1
(2-3-0) -9.75

27 27 no change in rankings Michigan State 3-1
(1-2-1) -9.50

28 33 move up in rankings5 Central Florida 3-1
(4-0-0) -9.00

29 29 no change in rankings Notre Dame 3-2
(0-4-1) -8.75

30 30 no change in rankings Maryland 4-0
(4-0-0) -8.50

31 31 no change in rankings Auburn 3-1
(2-2-0) -8.25

32 49 move up in rankings17 Rutgers 3-1
(2-2-0) -8.00

33 21 move down in rankings12 Wisconsin 3-2
(4-0-1) -7.70

34 34 no change in rankings Virginia Tech 4-1
(1-3-1) -7.50

35 35 no change in rankings Penn State 3-1
(2-2-0) -7.40

36 36 no change in rankings Cincinnati 3-1
(2-2-0) -7.20

37 42 move up in rankings5 Utah 3-1
(3-1-0) -7.00

38 38 no change in rankings Pittsburgh 3-1
(2-2-0) -6.90

39 39 no change in rankings Nebraska 3-1
(2-2-0) -6.70

40 40 no change in rankings Arizona 3-1
(2-2-0) -6.50

41 41 no change in rankings Minnesota 4-1
(3-2-0) -6.30

42 71 move up in rankings29 East Carolina 3-1
(2-2-0) -6.00

43 43 no change in rankings Utah State 3-2
(4-1-0) -5.75

44 44 no change in rankings Vanderbilt 3-2
(2-3-0) -5.50

45 58 move up in rankings13 Bowling Green 4-1
(4-1-0) -5.30

46 46 no change in rankings Texas 2-2
(2-2-0) -5.00

47 47 no change in rankings Washington State 3-2
(4-1-0) -4.70

48 48 no change in rankings Arkansas 3-2
(2-3-0) -4.50

49 72 move up in rankings23 Iowa 4-1
(3-2-0) -4.20

50 50 no change in rankings North Carolina State 3-1
(3-1-0) -4.00

51 37 move down in rankings14 Southern California 3-2
(1-4-0) -3.85

52 51 move down in rankings1 Illinois 3-1
(3-1-0) -3.83

53 22 move down in rankings31 Mississippi 3-1
(2-2-0) -3.75

54 23 move down in rankings31 Georgia Tech 3-1
(3-1-0) -3.65

55 53 move down in rankings2 Mississippi State 2-2
(3-1-0) -3.61
56 56 no change in rankings Brigham Young 2-2
(2-2-0) -3.26

57 55 move down in rankings2 Kansas State 2-2
(1-3-0) -3.05

58 52 move down in rankings6 Texas Christian 2-2
(1-3-0) -3.00

59 54 move down in rankings5 Tennessee 3-2
(2-3-0) -2.88

60 63 move up in rankings3 Texas State 3-1
(3-1-0) -2.59

61 59 move down in rankings2 Marshall 2-2
(3-1-0) -2.43

62 61 move down in rankings1 Boise State 3-2
(3-2-0) -2.37

63 65 move up in rankings2 Ohio 3-1
(3-1-0) -2.32

64 64 no change in rankings Ball State 4-1
(4-1-0) -2.08

65 60 move down in rankings5 Texas-San Antonio 2-3
(4-1-0) -2.08

66 62 move down in rankings4 North Texas 2-2
(3-1-0) -2.04

67 57 move down in rankings10 North Carolina 1-3
(1-3-0) -1.95

68 70 move up in rankings2 West Virginia 3-2
(2-3-0) -1.73

69 67 move down in rankings2 Wyoming 3-2
(4-1-0) -1.60

70 68 move down in rankings2 Indiana 2-2
(2-2-0) -1.53

71 66 move down in rankings5 Colorado 2-1
(2-1-0) -1.51

72 74 move up in rankings2 Houston 4-0
(4-0-0) -1.46

73 75 move up in rankings2 Western Kentucky 3-2
(3-2-0) -1.30

74 73 move down in rankings1 South Alabama 2-2
(3-1-0) -0.67

75 76 move up in rankings1 Kentucky 1-3
(1-3-0) -0.16

76 77 move up in rankings1 Navy 2-1
(2-1-0) -0.09

77 79 move up in rankings2 Duke 3-2
(3-2-0) -0.02

78 86 move up in rankings8 Syracuse 2-2
(3-1-0) 0.00

79 78 move down in rankings1 Boston College 2-2
(2-2-0) 0.00

80 83 move up in rankings3 Iowa State 1-2
(1-2-0) 0.04

81 82 move up in rankings1 Memphis 1-2
(2-1-0) 0.06

82 80 move down in rankings2 Rice 2-2
(2-2-0) 0.28

83 84 move up in rankings1 Kansas 2-1
(0-3-0) 0.37

84 69 move down in rankings15 San Jose State 1-3
(2-2-0) 0.48

85 81 move down in rankings4 Texas El Paso 1-3
(1-3-0) 0.51

86 89 move up in rankings3 Tulane 3-2
(3-2-0) 0.64

87 88 move up in rankings1 Connecticut 0-4
(1-3-0) 1.08

88 91 move up in rankings3 Middle Tennessee 3-2
(1-4-0) 1.14

89 90 move up in rankings1 Wake Forest 2-3
(1-4-0) 1.23

90 96 move up in rankings6 Toledo 2-3
(3-1-1) 1.24

91 93 move up in rankings2 New Mexico 1-3
(1-3-0) 1.31

92 99 move up in rankings7 Colorado State 2-3
(4-1-0) 1.32

93 85 move down in rankings8 Troy 2-3
(2-2-1) 1.40

94 94 no change in rankings Georgia State 0-4
(2-1-1) 1.51

95 87 move down in rankings8 Tulsa 1-3
(0-4-0) 1.53

96 98 move up in rankings2 Army 2-3
(2-3-0) 1.54

97 103 move up in rankings6 San Diego State 1-3
(1-3-0) 1.67

98 102 move up in rankings4 Temple 0-4
(1-3-0) 1.69

99 95 move down in rankings4 Virginia 2-2
(2-2-0) 1.72

100 92 move down in rankings8 Arkansas State 2-3
(1-3-1) 1.78

101 105 move up in rankings4 Florida Atlantic 1-4
(4-1-0) 1.90

102 97 move down in rankings5 South Florida 0-4
(1-3-0) 1.92

103 107 move up in rankings4 UL Lafayette 2-2
(1-3-0) 1.94

104 100 move down in rankings4 California 1-3
(0-4-0) 2.14

105 104 move down in rankings1 Louisiana Tech 1-4
(1-4-0) 2.19

106 108 move up in rankings2 Akron 1-4
(2-3-0) 2.28

107 101 move down in rankings6 Southern Methodist 1-3
(0-4-0) 2.37

108 106 move down in rankings2 Alabama-Birmingham 1-3
(2-2-0) 2.46

109 110 move up in rankings1 Hawaii 0-4
(3-1-0) 2.53

110 111 move up in rankings1 Kent State 2-3
(2-3-0) 2.62

111 109 move down in rankings2 Air Force 1-4
(2-3-0) 2.88

112 117 move up in rankings5 UNLV 3-2
(3-2-0) 2.91

113 113 no change in rankings Eastern Michigan 1-3
(1-3-0) 3.13

114 120 move up in rankings6 Buffalo 2-2
(2-2-0) 3.21

115 112 move down in rankings3 Western Michigan 0-5
(2-3-0) 3.39

116 119 move up in rankings3 Nevada 3-2
(2-3-0) 3.42

117 114 move down in rankings3 Purdue 1-4
(1-4-0) 3.50

118 115 move down in rankings3 UL Monroe 2-3
(1-4-0) 3.71

119 116 move down in rankings3 Southern Mississippi 0-4
(1-3-0) 3.95

120 121 move up in rankings1 Massachusetts 0-4
(2-2-0) 3.99

121 118 move down in rankings3 Central Michigan 1-4
(0-5-0) 4.13

122 122 no change in rankings Miami (Ohio) 0-4
(1-3-0) 4.45

123 123 no change in rankings Idaho 1-4
(2-3-0) 4.65

124 124 no change in rankings Florida International 0-4
(0-4-0) 5.42

125 125 no change in rankings New Mexico State 0-5
(1-4-0) 5.67

Power Ratings compute offensive and defensive statistics into one number for each team, while accounting for factors like recent performances and strength of schedule. Power Ratings can be used as a baseline for relative spread index to compare current or future match-ups between two teams. The relative spread does not account for non-statistical factors like home-field advantage, recent injuries, game time decisions, rivalries, publicity, and weather.
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10/01/2013 01:25 AM
College football odds: Week 6 opening line report

In one of the most entertaining games of the season thus far, the Georgia Bulldogs defeated the LSU Tigers 44-41 in a matchup of two SEC heavyweights.

The Bulldogs (3-1 SU, 1-2-1 ATS) have beaten some big names to start the season with their only blemish coming courtesy of the Clemson Tigers in the opening game of the campaign.

Coming off that massive win against LSU, the Bulldogs now must travel to Tennessee to face the Volunteers (3-2 SU, 2-3 ATS).

Georgia has won straight up in three consecutive meetings with the Volunteers and both won and covered as 2.5-point faves in Knoxville back in 2011; the last meeting at Tennessee.

Peter Korner, founder of the Nevada-based odds service The Sports Club, sent out a line of Bulldogs -14 after he and his team were all between 13 and 17.

"Offshores have lower and we could've gone that way with Georgia RB (Todd) Gurly questionable but with him in the lineup, I like where we're at."

Maryland Terrapins at Florida State Seminoles (-17)

The Maryland Terrapins (4-0 SU, 4-0 ATS) have satisfied faithful backers so far during an unblemished start to the season. Maryland is one of four programs in the country that is 4-0 ATS and one of just eight squads without an ATS loss. But Korner feels they'll have their hands full with quarterback Jameis Winston and the Seminoles (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS).

"The range went from -14 to -21 and we decided in the middle with FSU -17," Korner told Covers. "Maryland has shown well of late and are competitive here. I wouldn't be surprised to see this line drop a little. But FSU's overall team strength in so many areas will show through here."

Arizona State Sun Devils vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish (+4)

Played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas

The Irish (3-2, 0-4-1) are coming off a poor performance at home against the Oklahoma Sooners which saw them on the wrong end of a 35-21 scoreline. The Irish have been fairly abysmal both on the field and against the spread. They are one of just eight teams that have yet to cover a spread this season.

"This is in a neutral field and to tell you the truth, we don't like Notre Dame at all," said Korner. "We sent out ASU -4 but a gun to our heads we could easily go higher. Notre Dame can't stop anyone and they're facing a quality team here."

Ohio State Buckeyes at Northwestern Wildcats (+6)

The Buckeyes (5-0 SU, 3-1-1 ATS) are coming off a massive 31-24 win against Wisconsin to get their Big 10 season off to a great start. It won't get easier for them as they (along with College Gameday) go to Evanston, Illinois to face the Northwestern Wildcats (4-0 SU, 2-2 ATS), who are off to a great start themselves.

"We were all around the -6 number. There wasn't much to discuss here. Big Ten clash with two good teams. I don't see this number running in either direction by kick-off."
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10/01/2013 06:20 PM
See spot. See spot bet: This week's best spot bet opportunities

Spot bets are a classic handicapping practice that has proven profitable no matter what sport you’re betting. Whether it’s a team looking past this week’s opponent, one coming off a hard-fought victory, or a rough patch of schedule, bettors can find value picking their spots.

Lookahead spot

The Louisville Cardinals are the frontrunners in the mutant AAC, getting off to a perfect 4-0 start and taking on the worst team in the conference – 0-4 Temple – Saturday. Books have set UL as a 34-point road favorite in Philadelphia.

The Cardinals are coming off a 72-0 win over Florida International and have an important matchup with Rutgers on a short week in the following game. If Louisville gets up big in the second half, expect head coach Charlie Strong to start resting starters in preparation for Thursday’s home date with Rutgers, leaving the backdoor wide open for the Owls.

Letdown spot

Take a look at the teams behind the 2-2 Cleveland Browns in the NFL standings. Go ahead, we’ll wait. The Browns have won back-to-back outings, taking down the Vikings and Bengals as underdogs and QB Brian Hoyer is making Cleveland fans forget all about Brandon Weeden, who is nursing a thumb injury.

The Browns’ turnaround has convinced oddsmakers enough to set them as 4-point home chalk hosting Buffalo in Week 5. The Bills are also a surprising 2-2 and coming off an upset win of their own, taking down Baltimore in Week 4. While Buffalo could also be in “letdown” mode, we’re siding with the points in this matchup.

Schedule spot

The Toronto Maple Leafs have huge expectations heading into the NHL season after a Game 7 collapse versus Boston in the first round of the playoffs. The Leafs added goaltending support and some talent up front, but a tough back-to-back opening slate could put Toronto behind right out of the gate.

The Maple Leafs open the 2013-14 schedule in Montreal for an Original Six rivalry Tuesday, then hop on a plane for Philadelphia Wednesday night. Toronto is still working on chemistry and teams are continuing to get into game shape. The Leafs could be a little worse for wear two games into the season.
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10/02/2013 01:53 AM
TGS COLLEGE FOOTBALL UPDATE... LOOKING FOR AN ANGLE?

Texas at IOWA STATE (Thursday)...Horn QB David Ash had one of his best games of 2012, completing 25 of 31 for 364 yds. & 2 TDP in 33-7 home romp over ISU. Visitor had covered 6 straight in series until LY.

Western Kentucky at UL-MONROE (Thursday)...ULM overcame 28-7 deficit in LY's thrilling 43-42 home OT victory over WKU. Underdog has covered last 4 in series, with those tight tilts decided by a combined 12 points.

Ucla at UTAH (Thursday)...Utah is 6-2 as a rare home underdog since 2003 (2-0 LY).

Kentucky at SOUTH CAROLINA...USC trailed 17-7 at halftime before erupting for 31 unanswered pts. in LY's 38-17 triumph in Lexington. UK QB Maxwell Smith was knocked out early in LY's game and was replaced by true frosh Jalen Whitlow, who hit 12 of 23 with 2 ints. & was sacked 8 times. Last 6 in series have gone "over."

Cincinnati at SOUTH FLORIDA...Cincy has been the way to look in this series, going 8-1 vs. spread last 9 vs. USF. Bumbling Bulls 5-20 vs spread last 25 on board.

Louisville at TEMPLE...After allowing a 93-yd. KO return on the opening play, L'ville took control in LY's 45-17 victory at Papa John's. Card QB Teddy Bridgewater threw 5 TDP before sitting out most of the final period.

Georgia at TENNESSEE...UGA has won/covered last 3 in this SEC series. Dawg QB Aaron Murray threw a "pick six" early, but made up for it by hitting 19 of 25 passes for 278 yds. & 3 TDs in LY's 51-44 series victory in Athens.

Rice at TULSA...Owls are 10-5-1 vs. spread last 16 on board, including combative 28-24 loss at Tulsa LY. Golden Hurricane scored go-ahead TD with less than 2 mins. remaining.

Florida Atlantic at UAB...All four meetings have gone "over."

Ball State at VIRGINIA...BSU is 17-4 vs. spread last 21 reg.-season games, while sliding UVA only 3-11-2 vs. number last 16 on the board.

North Carolina at VIRGINIA TECH...VT only 9-21-1 vs. spread last 31 on board since late 2010, including 48-34 series defeat in Chapel Hill LY (Hokies' worst defensive effort since 52-49 loss vs. Cal in the 2003 Insight Bowl).

North Carolina State at WAKE FOREST...Host has won and covered 6 straight in this "Tobacco Road" series.

Lsu at MISSISSIPPI STATE...LSU has won and covered last 3 in series, but Tiger "investors" were a bit lucky in LY's 37-17 win in Baton Rouge. No. 1 RB LaDarius Perkins missed game due to quad injury, and LSU DB Ken Loston returned an interception 100 yds. with 1:13 remaining.

Air Force at NAVY...This service academy rivalry has been a barnburner, with 3 of the last 4 decided in OT. Underdog 4-0-1 last 5 in this series.

Ohio State at NORTHWESTERN...First meeting since 2008, but OSU is 27-1 SU vs. NW, with only series loss coming in Evanston in 2004.

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10/02/2013 01:57 AM
Week 5 Revelations

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Two weeks ago featured more than a few powerhouses taking on FCS foes and the results were less than thrilling in terms of entertainment value.

That certainly changed this past weekend, as lines were drawn in the sand in conference play. One high profile coach lost his job and the BCS picture became a little more focused, as the elite started to separate themselves from the field.

BEGINNING TO TAKE SHAPE: The marquee matchups in week four lived up to all the hype and began to paint the BCS picture, albeit with large strokes. Alabama was supposed to have a tough matchup with Top 25 foe Ole Miss, but all that happened was the Crimson Tide showed their dominance once again in a shutout victory at home (25-0).

The Oklahoma Sooners finally got over the proverbial hump with a rare decisive victory over Notre Dame. Coupled with a stunning upset loss by Oklahoma State to West Virginia, Oklahoma looks to be the cream of the crop in the Big 12 heading into the second half of the season.

Other games of note included Ohio State's 31-24 victory over Wisconsin and Georgia's 44-41 shootout against LSU.

The Buckeyes and Badgers went toe-to-toe at Ohio Stadium and when the dust settled, Urban Meyer was still undefeated with his team, as Ohio State is a perfect 17-0 under his watchful eye. There is little doubt now, if there was any coming into the weekend, that the Big Ten title goes through Columbus.

The SEC matchup in Athens has to be the game of the week though, as LSU and Georgia exchanged blows to the bitter end, with the Bulldogs edging out the Tigers, 44-41. The loss was the first on the season for LSU, which must bounce back in a hurry with a gauntlet of SEC powers remaining on the schedule. Georgia's schedule isn't void of pitfalls, but it is a much more manageable run to the SEC East title, than LSU's obstacle course in the SEC West.

ONLY A MATTER OF TIME: Coming into 2013, it seemed as though it was more "when" than "if" Lane Kiffin would be shown the door. Well, the "when" came this past weekend, as USC had finally had enough following a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, firing Kiffin shortly after the game.

Wether you like him or not, the polarizing Kiffin was dealt a bit of a raw deal, as he was left to clean up the mess that Pete Carroll left behind. Despite dealing with NCAA restrictions, including a postseason ban, there is no doubt that Kiffin faltered and did much less than expected of him.

USC is a football power, plain and simple, and mediocrity isn't accepted. Therein lies the problem with Kiffin, whose overall record at the school was 28-15. A downward spiral that saw the team lose seven of its last 11 games and start 2013 at a mere 3-2 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 play, was too much to take, as USC Athletic Director Pat Haden informed Kiffin of his termination early Sunday morning following the loss in Tempe, which was the last straw according to Haden.

"Yes but this has been brewing for a while," said Haden. "I have been thinking about it since the Hawaii game. We didn't feel consistency there. We realize that our history has been great and we need it to be great again."

Assistant Ed Orgeron will take over as interim head coach, but has his hands full going forward, with opponents like Arizona, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Stanford and UCLA still left on the schedule.

PITCH AND CATCH: This is another year in which the FBS is deluged with quality quarterbacks, who enjoy slinging the ball around the field. The household names of Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater, Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Clemson's Tahj Boyd, Alabama's AJ McCarron, UCLA's Brett Hundley and Ohio State's Braxton Miller are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of quality play under center. Lesser known talents like veterans David Fales (San Jose State), Derek Carr (Fresno State) and Cody Fajardo (Nevada) and youngsters like Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Bryce Petty (Baylor) have made their case for being among the top of the QB class as well.

However, it is Oregon State's Sean Mannion who has really opened eyes with his play in the Pacific Northwest. Mannion lost his job in 2012, but regained it and doesn't look like he will relinquish it anytime soon. Five games into the season and it is the 6-foot-5 Mannion that leads the nation in passing, throwing for an impressive 2,018 yards thus far. The junior has also thrown for 21 touchdowns with just two interceptions. The Beavers dropped their season opener to FCS power Eastern Washington, but have won all four games since and look to be a real threat in the Pac-12.

The biggest beneficiary of Mannion's poise in the pocket has been 5-10 junior wideout Brandin Cooks, who has already caught a whopping 52 balls this season, turning them into 807 yards and nine touchdowns.

They aren't the most glamorous duo in the nation, but stopping them from putting up numbers at a record pace has been next to impossible.

The second half of the season will tell the tale for this pair, as ranked conference foes Stanford, Arizona State, Washington and Oregon are all on the docket. Still, early returns suggest that both Mannion and Cooks will get theirs win, lose or draw.

COMING OF AGE: Staying with the quarterback chatter, LSU's Zach Mettenberger made it known against Georgia that he isn't just a caretaker in Baton Rouge, but rather, a quarterback on the rise. Despite losing a classic shootout with the Bulldogs (44-41) this past weekend on the road, Mettenberger more than held his own, completing 23-of-37 passes, for a career-high 372 yards and three TDs in a mano-a-mano showdown with Georgia's Aaron Murray.

The two teams combined for 943 yards and 85 points in one of the best games this season and the play of Mettenberger was certainly front and center. The 6-5 senior made big play after big play, although coming up just short in the end.

On the season, Mettenberger has completed a healthy 64.1 percent of his passes, for 1,398 yards, with 13 touchdown passes against just one interception. That kind of poise under center will surely be needed in the second half of the season against teams like Florida, Ole Miss, Alabama and Texas A&M.

Mettenberger's performance against the Bulldogs though, may just be the momentum he needs to catapult himself to the next level.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK:

It was East Carolina's Shane Carden and Oregon State's Sean Mannion that set the bar for quarterback play this week. Carden was too much for North Carolina, throwing for 376 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for three more scores in a rout of the Tar Heels. Meanwhile, Mannion continued his strong play by throwing for 414 yards and six touchdowns in a lopsided win over Colorado.

Other quarterbacks with big weeks included Nevada's Cody Fajardo (389 yards, passing 3 TDs, 81 yards rushing 2 TDs), LSU's Zach Mettenberger (372 yards, 3 TDs), North Carolina's Bryn Renner (366 yards, 3 TDs), Texas-El Paso's Jameill Showers (365 yards, 5 TDs), UCF's Blake Bortles (358 yards, 2 TDs), Arizona State's Taylor Kelly (351 yards, 3 TDs), Florida State's Jameis Winston (335 yards passing, 4 TDs, 77 yards rushing), Vanderbilt's Austyn Carta-Samuels (334 yards, 3 TDs), Duke's Brandon Connette (324 yards passing, 3 TDs, 55 yards rushing and 2 TDs), Fresno State's Derek Carr (324 yards, 3 TDs), Houston's John O'Korn (312 yards, 4 TDs), Hawaii's Sean Schroeder (321 yards, 3 TDs), Colorado State's (307 yards, 3 TDs), Georgia's Aaron Murray (298 yards, 5 TDs), Illinois' Nathan Scheelhaase (278 yards, 5 TDs), BYU's Taysom Hill (177 yards passing, 165 yards rushing and 2 TDs) and Air Force's Karson Roberts (55 yards passing, 1 TD, 161 yards rushing, 2 TDs).

He is the most under-publicized running back in the country, but Western Kentucky's Antonio Andrews filled the stat sheet once again this week, rumbling for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Navy.

Other running backs of note this week include New Mexico's Kasey Carrier (192 yards, 1 TD), East Carolina's Vintavious Cooper (186 yards), UNLV's Tim Cornett (179 yards, 3 TDs), Tennessee's Rajion Neal (169 yards, 1 TD), South Carolina's Mike Davis (167 yards, 3 TDs), San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey (167 yards, 3 TDs), Washington's Bishop Sankey (161 yards, 1 TD), Boston College's Andre Williams (159 yards), Kent State's Trayion Durham (154 yards, 2 TDs), Colorado State's Kapri Bibbs (147 yards, 3 TDs), Iowa's Mark Weisman (147 yards), Bowling Green's Travis Greene (142 yards, 1 TD) and Texas State's Robert Lowe (138 yards, 3 TDs).

Oregon State's Brandin Cooks was once again the top receiver in the country, hauling in nine balls, for 168 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado.

Other pass catchers that gave Cooks a run for his money included UNLV's Devante Davis (10 catches, 164 yards, 3 TDs), SMU's Jeremy Johnson (11 catches, 159 yards, 1 TD), Colorado State's Rashard Higgins (6 catches, 156 yards, 2 TDs), Houston's Deontay Greenberry (9 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD), Duke's Jamison Crowder (7 catches, 149 yards, 1 TD), NC State's Bryan Underwood (5 catches, 148 yards, 1 TD), Toledo's Alonzo Russell (9 catches, 147 yards, 1 TD), Nevada's Aaron Bradley (11 catches, 135 yards, 1 TD) and Nevada's Brandon Wimberly (15 catches, 134 yards, one TD).

SNEAK PEEK: Three Top 25 matchups kickoff play in the month of October, highlighted by the Pac-12 showdown between 15th-ranked Washington and fifth- ranked Stanford. No rest for the weary in the Big Ten, as No. 4 Ohio State faces its second straight ranked opponent with a road trip to No. 16 Northwestern. Finally, newcomer to the poll, 25th-ranked Maryland will see if it deserves its spot in the poll with a tough matchup with eighth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.

Other games of interest include No. 12 UCLA at Utah (Thursday night), Georgia Tech at No. 14 Miami-Florida, No. 6 Georgia at Tennessee and No. 22 Arizona State at Notre Dame.
Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
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