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Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend......
13) LSU-Alabama is the most-hyped college football game in the last five years; hope its a terrific game. I'm thinking if this one is close, there will be a rematch in the national title game in New Orleans in January.
12) Can the Steelers avenge their Week 1 beatdown at Baltimore?
11) Don't think any baseball free agents will sign this early, at least not the big-name guys, but will any new managers get hired this weekend?
10) Curious how Georgia suspends three running backs for failing drug tests, but they get suspended the week of the New Mexico State game, not the week of the Florida game. Funny how that works.
9) If the Patriots don't spank the Giants Sunday, avenging their loss in the Super Bowl last time the teams met, thats a huge red flag about Patriots' chances to win the Super Bowl this year. Giants have been winning but not dominating lesser teams; they're ripe for a beatdown.
8) I'm curious to see how Wisconsin plays after gagging two weeks in a row against quality teams; now they're back to being a 25-point favorite, and they usually enjoy playing the bully. Could be long day for Purdue.
7) Jets-Bills is an interesting game. Jets are 0-3 on the road, giving up 30+ points in all three games, Bills are 3-0 in Orchard Park, scoring 30+ points in all three games. Very, very important game for the Jets.
6) Texas Tech won at Oklahoma, then got crushed at home by Iowa State; now they visit the Longhorns in Austin. I've got no idea what to expect from the Red Raiders. Am guessing their coach doesn't either.
5) Tim Tebow in the Black Hole? Interesting contrast. This could be last chance for Tebow to impress the Broncos enough to remain starting QB. We'll see how much of the Raider offense Carson Palmer has picked up.
4) Kansas State got crushed at home by Oklahoma last week; now they're going to Stillwater to play an even better Oklahoma State team. K-State needs a very strong effort to keep this game respectable.
3) How will the Chargers bounce back from Monday night's debacle? If they upset the Packers, Snap-gate will be forgotten.
2) South Carolina-Arkansas is an interesting game; Gamecocks weren't too impressive at Tennessee this week. They'll need to be better this week to beat a Razorback team that is usually tough to beat at home.
1) The whole Peyton Manning situation is odd; he hasn't played all year, but he's not on IR; as long as they're winless, the Andrew Luck issue will hang over their heads. What would be the point of bringing Manning back for a couple of meaningless games in December? Or maybe the games will not be meaningless. I mean, if they can finish 0-16 and then trade the #1 pick for a bunch of high draft picks, thats better than being 2-14 and just getting one draft pick, right?
UConn coach Pasqualoni coached at Syracuse for 14 years; his firing was not very popular- his Huskies won their last four games vs Syracuse, all by 17+ points, but this is first time he is facing Orange. UConn is 2-5 vs I-A teams, beating Buffalo/South Florida; they're 1-2 at home, losing to Iowa State/Western Michigan. Over is 5-2 in Syracuse games, 3-1 in last four UConn games. Syracuse is 1-2 on road, winning 37-34 at Tulane, losing by 21 at USC, 17 at Louisville. Big East home teams are 8-4 vs spread in conference play.
Underdogs are 6-2-2 vs spread in last ten Michigan-Iowa games, 4-0-1 in last five visits here, with Wolverines losing two of last three visits to this site. Michigan is 7-1 this year, winning 42-24 (-7) at Northwestern, then losing 28-14 (+2.5) at rival Michigan Statein its only road games. Big 11 home teams are 7-5 against spread in games where spread is less than 8 points. Hawkeyes are 4-0 at home, 0-3 on road; none of the teams they beat are any good.
Underdogs covered six of last nine Texas Tech-Texas games; Red Raiders lost last six visits here by average score of 48-23 (2-4 vs spread). Tech lost last two series games, both by 10 points- they allowed 34+ points in each of last six games overall, getting waxed 41-7 at home by lowly Iowa State last week, after they stunned Oklahoma in Norman. Texas is 2-1 as home favorite this year, 6-11 in last 17 tries overall. Tech is 5-8 in last 13 games as road dog- they won/covered all three road games so far this season, scoring an average of 48.3 ppg.
Texas A&M upset Oklahoma 33-19 LY, snapping 7-game series losing streak, winning for just second time in last 12 series games. A&M is 5-3 this season; they led 20-3/35-17/28-17 at halftime of those three games, so an easy out they ain't. Aggies are 4-7-1 in last 12 games as road dog, but this is first time they're underdog this year. Sooners are 5-4 as double digit series favorites. Oklahoma's last four wins are all by 30+, but they did lose to Texas Tech two weeks ago- they're 22-10-1 in last 33 games as a home favorite.
South Carolina has a great defense, allowing 35 points last seven games, but this is their third straight road game, and Wilson is best QB they've faced since Georgia's Murray eight weeks ago. Faves are 10-4 vs spread in last 14 South Carolina-Arkansas games, as Gamecocks lost five of last six visits here (2-4 vs spread) with losses by 17-12-22-3-34 points. Over is 5-2 in last seven Arkansas games, 1-5 in last six Carolina games. Hogs won four of last five series games, with last three wins all by 12+ points. SEC favorites are 21-9-1 vs spread this season, 11-2 at home.
Underdogs are 11-2 vs spread in last 13 North Carolina-NC State games, with 10 SU wins; Tar Heels lost three of last four visits here, with dogs covering four of last five. Tar Heels are 6-3, allowing 35-30-59 points in three losses- they're 3-3 as a favorite, 1-0 on road (4-6 as road fave since 2006). State is 2-4 vs I-A teams, but they're 7-3 vs spread in their last 10 games as a home dog. ACC home teams are 6-2 vs spread when spread is less than five points. Last three Carolina games went over the total.
Favorites are 5-2-2 in last nine LSU-Alabama games, with Tigers 8-3 in last 11 SU, winning four of last five visits here (Saban did some of that damage when he coached LSU). LSU is 5-8 as underdog under Miles, 4-6 on road, but they haven't been a dog this year, winning all seven games vs I-A opponents by 13+ points, with road wins at Miss State (19-6), West Va (47-21) and Tennessee (38-7). Alabama is 7-1 vs spread, with only non-cover a 41-0 win when they were favored by 46. Over is 3-1-1 in last five LSU games. Tide outscored last four foes 100-0 in 2nd half.
Oregon won its last seven games vs Washington by an average score of 43-16 (7-0 vs spread), winning last two visits here 43-19/55-34. Ducks scored 41+ points in every game since the loss to LSU, winning on road at Arizona (56-31, -16), Colorado (45-2, -31). Washington won four of last five games, covered six of last seven; they're 5-2 vs I-A teams, with losses at Nebraska (51-38, +17), at Stanford (65-21, +20). Huskies beat four cupcakes at home this year; they're 4-3 as home underdogs under Sarkisian. Five of last seven games for both teams went over the total.
Arizona State lost five of last six visits to UCLA, with only win 24-20 in 2007 (-6.5); favorites covered last three series games. ASU is +14 in turnovers its last five games, but they're just 1-2 on road, losing 17-14 at Illinois (+1), 41-27 (,+16) at Oregon, beating Utah (35-14, -4). Bruins are 3-1 at home, losing 49-20 to Texas; they're 15-7 in last 22 games as home underdog, but just 8-7 under Neuheisel. Pac-10 home underdogs are 3-7 vs spread this season, 0-4 if spread is double digits. Last five ASU tilts went over total; four of last five UCLA games stayed under.
Since 2001, Wake Forest is 16-9-1 as a home underdog, 2-1 this season, upsetting NC State/Florida State at home, losing to Va Tech 38-7; Wake is playing fir sixth week in row, while Notre Dame had bye three weeks ago and an easy win over Navy last week. Irish are on road for first time in five weeks; they're 2-2 as road favorite under Kelly, 1-2 this year, as ND lost at Michigan (31-35, -3.5), beat Pitt (15-12, -7), Purdue (38-10, -12). ACC non-conference underdogs are 0-5 this season, 0-2 at home.
Utah-Arizona haven't met since 2005; Wildcats are 1-6 vs I-A teams, the coach has been fired and their season is a disaster, but they did cover the one game they were favored at home, and are 11-6 as home faves since '08. Since 2001, Utah is 15-8 as a road underdog, 2-2 this year, winning at BYU (54-10, +5.5), Pitt (26-14, +7). Five of Arizona's six losses are by 10+ points. Four of last five Arizona games went over total, four of last five Utah games stayed under. Single digit home favorites are 6-2 vs spread in Pac-10 play so far this season.
Baylor (+14) won 40-32 at Missouri LY, its first win in last seven games against the Tigers; Bears were underdog in all seven games. Mizzou won its last three visits here, 31-28/30-10/47-22. The 2011 Bears don't have much defense, allowing 114 points in their last two games, losing 55-28 at A&M (+9.5), 59-24 at Oklahoma State (+14.5)- they're 3-0 at home, scoring 51.7 ppg. Baylor is 7-4 as home favorite under Briles. Missouri is 3-0 as road dog this season, losing 37-30 at Arizona State (+8), 38-28 at Oklahoma (+20), winning 38-31 in OT at A&M (+11.5).
Underdogs covered three of last four Cincinnati-Pitt games; Bearcats are 2-4 in last six series games, winning 45-44 (-2) in last visit here, only win in their last three visits to Pitt. Home underdogs are 4-1 vs spread in Big East games this season. Three of last four Cincinnati games stayed under the total. Bearcats won last five games (4-1 vs spread); they're 2-1 away from home, winning 37-34 at South Florida, 27-0 at Miami O, losing at Tennessee 45-23. Cincy is 4-2 in last six games as road favorite, Pitt lost four of last six games; they're 4-1 in last five games as a home dog.