cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
On 06/14/2014 01:25 AM in NCAA Football

Cnotes 2014-15 College Football Previews of Conferences

2014 ACC Preview

June 10, 2014

2014 Atlantic Coast Conference Football Preview

We Are The Champions

With a favorable schedule and a loaded roster, Florida State is positioned to repeat as college football’s national champions.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. Only one team during the BCS era (Alabama) was able to win back-to-back titles.

Learning On The Job

What a difference a year makes.

The ACC had a league-record five quarterbacks returning last year who had at least 6,000 career passing yards.

With Miami's Ryan Williams sidelined with a torn ACL suffered during the spring, seven of the teams in the conference this season do not have a quarterback who has started a major-college game.

Coordinator Carousel

Seven new coordinators join the ACC in the 2014 season, four on offense and three on defense.

New offensive coordinators include:

Duke – Scottie Montgomery was a co-OC with Kurt Roper last season. Roper leaves to becomes Florida’ offensive architect, leaving Montgomery – an all-SEC WR at Duke in the late ‘90’s – as the lone coordinator.

Louisville – Garrick McGee, former head coach at UAB, takes over for Shawn Watson. McGee was an OC at Northwestern and worked with Bobby Petrino in his days at Arkansas from 2008-2011.

North Carolina – Seth Littrell assumes the reins from Blake Anderson, who left to become the head coach at Arkansas State. Littrell has been the OC at Indiana the last two seasons.

Wake Forest – Warren Ruggiero is in; Steed Lobotzke is out. Lobotzke was not retained by the new staff. Ruggiero comes in with new head coach Dave Clawson from Bowling Green.

New defensive coordinators include:

Florida State – Charles Kelly fills the shoes of Jeremy Pruitt, who left after only one-year to become the new DC at Georgia. Kelly was the linebackers coach with the Seminoles last season. He will also oversee the defensive backs in 2014.

Louisville – Todd Grantham DC at Georgia the past four seasons, takes over for Vance Bedford who left with his old coach Charlie Strong for Texas. Grantham was also a defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns from 2005-07.

Wake Forest – Mile Elko takes over for Brian Knorr, who resigned to take the same position at Air Force, before moving on 10 days later to accept the same position at Indiana. Elko comes over from Bowling Green with new head coach Dave Clawson where he served as the Falcons’ DC for five seasons.

Stand Up And Be Counted

Tobacco Road is a path most recognized and well-traveled by its basketball brethren. However, the ACC has more than held its own on the gridiron of late.

Looking back over the last nine years the ACC has sent 75 teams to a bowl game – including a conference-best 11 last season – a number topped only by the SEC (79) in that span.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

Atlantic Division

BOSTON COLLEGE (Offense – 3/3 Defense – 6/2)

TEAM THEME: GLORY DAZE
After losing star players Andre ‘2k’ Williams (2,177 rushing yards), 3-year starting QB Chase Rettig, and the 1,032 receiving yards gathered by his favorite target, Alex Amidon, former Florida QB Tyler Murphy transferred to Boston College to reunite with HC Steve Addazio, the man who recruited him to UF. Murphy – who graduated and is eligible to play this year – started six games for Florida after Jeff Driskel went down with injury, completing 112-of-185 passes for 1,216 yards, six touchdowns and five interceptions before hurting his shoulder. Murphy is a start, but BC must improve its 117th ranking in first downs if the Eagles hope to hit the alleys again this season.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Eagles were the No. 2 ranked team in the nation in red zone offensive efficiency in 2013.

CLEMSON (Offense – 4/2 Defense – 7/4)

TEAM THEME: RAISING THE BAR
The big playmakers are gone – Boyd, Watkins, McDowell and Bryant, who were involved in gaining nearly 5,200 of the Tigers 6,800 total offensive yards for OC Chad Morris – but the cupboard is far from bare for Dabo Swinney. The senior class of 19 players has recorded a 32-8 mark in their careers, including eight wins over Top 25 teams. The season starts off tough with road trips to Georgia and Florida State. FYI: The winner of the Clemson-FSU game has gone on to win the ACC Atlantic in each of the last five seasons. Senior Cole Stoudt leads the fight to replace Tajh Boyd at QB. His QB efficiency rating was 166.7, only 2 points below Boyd’s.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Only eight schools in the country have won at least 10 games in each of the last three seasons. Clemson is the only one from the ACC.

FLORIDA STATE (Offense – *7/4 Defense – 7/3)

TEAM THEME: FEAR THE SPEAR
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston returns for the national champions – everybody knows that. But here’s an incredible returning number you never would have guessed: 113 starts. That would be a decent number for any entire team, but for FSU, that's the number of returning starts compiled by the four offensive linemen back for their senior year! Plenty of stars have moved on, including three taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft, but you can expect that several others will become household names by the end of the season. The question becomes: what does this team do for an encore, as the bar couldn’t be set any higher?

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The 2013 FSU offense racked up 723 points to set an FBS record for 14 games, and the defense led the nation in scoring D, giving up just 12.1 PPG.

LOUISVILLE (Offense – 7/4 Defense – 4/1)

TEAM THEME: RETURN OF THE LIZARD KING
Once again Bobby Petrino assumes a new throne, returning to Louisville after seven seasons away – the last two with Western Kentucky – where he went 41-9 in his four years with the Cardinals from 2003-06. How long he stays… nobody knows. And like its vagabond coach, for the fourth time in 11 years, Louisville will play in a different conference when it joins the ACC in 2014. The good news is 19 full or part-time starters return, including last year’s RB, WR, punt and kick returner, and interceptions leaders. The bad news is QB Teddy Bridgewater is not one of them. With UL having gone 23-3 the last two seasons, the ACC eagerly awaits their arrival.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 21 players on the Louisville spring roster hail from South Florida.

NC STATE (Offense – 7/4 Defense – 7/3)

TEAM THEME: PLOP, PLOP, FIZZ, FIZZ
A 3-1 start dissolved like Alka Seltzer in cold water when Dave Doeren suffered a disappointing 3-9 campaign last year after taking Northern Illinois to the Orange Bowl the previous season. A soft opening schedule in 2014 could have the Wolfpack 4-0 before meeting Florida State in Week Five. Junior QB Jacoby Brissett sat out last season after transferring from Florida, and has been announced as the starter by Doeren (Brissett was the No. 3 QB prospect out of high school when he joined the Gators). Expect a bounce-back of major proportions as Doeren’s staff was relentless on the recruiting trail, bringing in one of the nation’s top recruiting classes in 2014.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Wolfpack owned the No. 122 mark (2nd worst) in red zone defense in the nation last season.

SYRACUSE (Offense – *8/4 Defense – 7/3)

TEAM THEME: SOPHOMORE-ITIS
On the heels of a 7-6 bowl-winning season under 1st-year coach Scott Shafer in their 2013 ACC debut, Syracuse AD Daryl Gross was ecstatic when he proclaimed, “When you play Syracuse… they are going to bring it. They are tough. They are up Northeast where the weather isn’t always good and they don’t care. They are tough as nails and they are going to come at you. We didn’t just walk into this conference… we came in swinging, right from the beginning.” In truth, it was more a testament to their schedule. 2nd-year QB Terrel Hunt will find the sledding a lot tougher in 2014 with no less than 8 bowlers dotting this year’s itinerary.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Orange were favored in only two of their 12 lined games last season

WAKE FOREST (Offense – 5/3 Defense – 5/0)

TEAM THEME: SHAKING THE DEMONS
Dave Clawson was hired to replace Jim Grobe in Winston-Salem and he has a big job ahead of him. Wake Forest hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2008 and has been to only one bowl since. The prolific aerial combination of Tanner Price to Michael Campanaro is history since both players have graduated, and top rusher Josh Harris has moved on as well, so the cupboard is literally bare. Moving from the MAC to the ACC is obviously a step up (just ask Grobe) for Clawson and, despite owning a 14-6 SUATS conference road mark with the Falcons, any improvement over the next season with this relatively green team will likely be hard-earned.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Demon Deacons are 0-18 SU versus .500 or greater opponents from Game Eight out.

Coastal Division

DUKE (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 6/1)

TEAM THEME: DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS
Most of the key players return from last year’s 10-4 squad that would like to redeem themselves for a disappointing finish. No shame in getting whipped in the ACC Championship by the eventual national champs, or in losing a 52-48 shootout with Johnny Football in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. HC David Cutcliffe would certainly like to keep his Blue Devils moving forward in 2014. The good news is QB Anthony Boone returns, along with the team's top rusher in Josh Snead and leading receiver, Jamison Crowder. The problem is they will dress up with a large target on their back in payback games this go-round. A devilish task awaits.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Prior to last year, Duke’s last winning season was in 1994. Its last ACC title came in 1989.

GEORGIA TECH (Offense – 6/2 Defense – 4/1)

TEAM THEME: BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Losses are significant once again for Paul Johnson’s team, but the option wizard always seems to find a way to reload. While over half the 22 returning starters from 2013 have departed, 23 players with starting experience dot this year’s roster (seven who missed most or all of last season). The largest losses are QB Vad Lee, who transferred to James Madison, and two top rushers, Robert Godhigh and David Sims. Replacing Lee will be lightning-quick SO Justin Thomas, who saw limited action in 10 games last season. The schedule will be challenging, with the Jackets facing five bowl teams on the road. Nothing Johnson hasn’t experienced before.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Yellow Jackets have produced more than 400 yards of total offense in 49 of their last 79 games.

MIAMI FLORIDA (Offense – 7/3 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: WHERE HAVE ALL THE QB’S GONE?

Imagine Quarterback U without a quarterback. After losing Stephen Morris to graduation and seeing senior QB Ryan Williams blow out his knee in spring camp, the Canes will turn to SO QB Gray Crow (love that name) or they’ll be forced to start a freshman QB (Kevin Olsen) for the first time in school history. In addition to Morris – the only FBS QB with a pass of 50+ yards in nine different games last season – the Canes also lose senior WR Allen Hurns, who set the Miami single-season receiving yards record with 1,162 last season. The good news is Junior RB Duke Johnson – a Doak Walker and Paul Hornung Award candidate – is healthy and back to spearhead the attack. FYI: the last UM quarterback selected in the NFL draft was Ken Dorsey in 2003.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: After starting 11-11 with Al Golden, the Canes are 11-4 in their last fifteen games.

NORTH CAROLINA (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 7/1)

TEAM THEME: HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF
North Carolina's disappointing 1-5 start last season included frustrating defensive performances against East Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami. Rest assured, head coach Larry Fedora worked hard in the offseason putting measures in place to avoid a similar start in 2014. “I think our guys are hungry. They tasted the success at the end and nobody wants to do what we did in the first half of the season,” Fedora said. They are focusing, instead, on the 6-1 finish to conclude the 2013 campaign. QB Marquise Williams returns after starting last season’s final five games (UNC went 4-1) and leading the team to a Belk Bowl win over Cincinnati.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Tar Heels were outgained 45 YPG their first five games last season. They outgained foes 76 YPG the last seven games.

PITTSBURGH (Offense– 8/4 Defense – 5/1)

TEAM THEME: A GUARANTEED WINNER
Despite putting up big numbers as OC at Wisconsin with attacks led by Russell Wilson, Montee Ball and James White, Panthers HC Paul Chryst refuses to prioritize schemes over relationships. “Players don’t care how much you know until they see how much you care,” says Chryst. The top three rushers from 2013 return, along with the nation’s most productive freshman WR Tyler Boyd, who smashed Larry Fitzgerald’s records. The biggest loss, though, is DL Aaron Donald, college football’s most decorated defensive player last year. Donald is a stout believer in Chryst, saying, “The program is going to be back on top with Coach Chryst. That’s a guarantee.”

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Panthers are 2-28 ATS as a favorite in games in which they allow 195 or more rushing yards.

VIRGINIA (Offense – *7/3 Defense – 9/2)

TEAM THEME: TIME TO TAKE A T.O.
You know you’re in trouble when the bulk of the text in your spring prospectus refers to the 2011 season, a year that the Cavaliers went 8-5 with a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl (c’mon folks, that was THREE years ago!). But last year’s 2-10 record (0-8 in the ACC) was quite forgettable, although it was a very young team with only six seniors that saw significant playing time. To say that Mike London is on the hot seat would be an understatement, and with former Boston College and NC State head coach Tom O’Brien (and two of O’Brien’s former assistants) on the staff, a transition plan may already be on the drawing board in Charlottesville.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Cavs played two ranked teams last year (Clemson and Oregon) and lost to them by identical 59-10 scores.

VIRGINIA TECH (Offense – 9/4 Defense – 5/1)

TEAM THEME: WHERE’S THE BEEF?
Similar to its cross-state rival Virginia Cavaliers, Tech has a roster with little or no marquee value, especially after the graduation of QB Logan Thomas. The difference is that we have a little more faith in Frank Beamer than we do in Mike London to get the most out of very little. Another difference is that the Hokies are coming off an 8-5 season. The challenges are obvious this season: three QB’s with almost no game experience, a top rusher who sat out spring drills after breaking his leg in last year’s regular season finale, and a defensive front seven that returns just two starters. The final score of the spring game (7-3) likely says it all.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Hokies owned the No. 4 overall defense (283.6 YPG) and the No. 110 red zone offense last season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/14/2014 01:27 AM

2014 AAC Preview

June 5, 2014

American Athletic Conference Football Preview

Feels Like The First Time

The American Athletic Conference existed as the Big East Conference from 1979 through 2013. The league formally changed its name as of July 1, 2013.

UCF, which went 8-0 in conference play in 2013, was the winner of the first American Athletic Conference title. Central Florida made their first appearance in a Bowl Championship Series game, beating Big 12 champion Baylor 54-42. The Knights, who went 0-11 in George O’Leary’s first season in 2004, have won 10 games or more four times in the last seven years.

Drawing A Line In The Sand

Five AAC teams ranked among the Top 16 teams nationally in rush defense last season. Louisville (1), Rutgers (4), Cincinnati (6), Memphis (12) and UCF (16).

In addition, the conference ranked No. 2 overall in passing yards per games (259) - trailing only the Pac-12 (270).

Elite Company

The American Athletic Conference was one of three FBS conferences that had two 12-win teams last season (Louisville and UCF).

The Big Ten and the SEC also had two teams with at least a dozen victories.

Big Divide

With the addition of East Carolina, Tulane and Tulsa this season, ‘The American’ will be comprised of 11 members: UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, USF, SMU, Temple, Tulane and Tulsa in 2014-15. Navy joins as a 12th football member in 2015.

Beginning in 2015, the West Division will consist of Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane and Tulsa. The East Division will include UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, USF and Temple.

Eight Is Enough

‘The American’ will add an eighth on-field official, who will be positioned behind the quarterback, for all of its conference games in 2014 for a one-season trial. The eighth official will also be used in all of Navy's games in which game officials are assigned by the AAC. The conference's head football coaches recommended implementation primarily to enhance student-athlete safety.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

CINCINNATI (Offense – 7/2 Defense – 6/1)

TEAM THEME: HOT TUBS
After dropping 12 of his previous 20 games before jumping to Cincinnati last year, slumping Tommy Tuberville recorded an impressive 9-4 mark in his Bearcats debut, as Cincy has now won at least nine games six times in the last seven years. UC outstatted its opponents by 156 YPG last season behind a stop-unit that was ranked 9th best in the country in total defense. Offensively, senior QB Munchie Legaux continues to rehab from a serious knee injury suffered in the second game of the season last year and could challenge later in the fall but for now Notre Dame transfer Gunner Kiel looks to start under center. After a late start to the year (9/12), Tubs hits the road for tough trips to Ohio State and Miami Florida.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Bearcats will play all six home games this season at Paul Brown Stadium as Nippert Stadium undergoes renovation.

CONNECTICUT (Offense – *7/1 Defense – 6/2)

TEAM THEME: RISE UP. TOGETHER.
Despite winning their final three games after a 0-9 start, the Huskies did not retain interim HC T.J. Weist, who replaced Paul Pasqualoni in late-September. Instead, UConn brought in Notre Dame DC Bob Diaco amidst glowing praise to try to turn the program around. Diaco won the 2012 Frank Broyles Award as the nation’s top assistant coach as he helped the Irish reach the BCS Championship game against Alabama. He welcomes back three QB’s that saw starting time in 2013, including Casey Cochran who went 3-1 as a starter last season, tossing 11 TD for 1,293 yards as a freshman. The problem is Diaco will need to replace four senior starters from the offensive line. Senior TB Lyle McCombs, the 4th leading rusher in UConn history, and 1000-yard receiver Geremy Davis, also return. It’s time the Huskies make the climb.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Notre Dame was 20-5 with Diaco as an assistant head coach.

EAST CAROLINA (Offense – *6/3 Defense – 4/2)

TEAM THEME: THIS IS OUR STATE
We predicted Ruffin McNeill’s breakout season on these pages last year and the Pirates didn't disappoint, delivering a 10-win campaign with a Beef ’O’ Brady’s Bowl victory over Ohio U. Shane Carden returns for his senior season at QB after a phenomenal year in Greenville, throwing for 4,132 yards and 33 TD’s, not to mention rushing for 10 more. His No. 1 target, Justin Hardy, is back as well. There are plenty of holes for McNeill to fill, however, especially in the defensive secondary. After clubbing both North Carolina and NC State last season, the Pirates will have the opportunity to lay claim to ‘top dog’ status in the state this year. We think not.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: McNeill is 24-7 SU and 19-7-1 ATS vs. losing teams, and 4-14 SU and ATS vs. winning teams.

HOUSTON (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 9/4)

TEAM THEME: A CAN OF O’KORN
After facing the toughest schedule in program history last season (foes combined for 94 wins), the Cougars move into a new 45,000 seat state-of-the-art facility, Houston Football Stadium. The good news is the 2013 leader in nearly every major stat category returns in 2014. The roster sports 56 upperclassmen and 58 underclassmen, including SO QB John O’Korn who took over starting duties in Game Four last year. Though the Cougars were the 2nd worst team in the land in 4th down conversion percentage (.235), that number should improve as O’Korn matures. And talk about explosive, 32 of Houston's 65 scoring drives last season came in under two minutes.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since 2006, the Cougars own the top spot in college football as the nation’s offensive yards leader (53,780… 1,458 more than Oregon).


MEMPHIS (Offense – *9/3 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: TIGER JUICE
After making great strides in 2012 under HC Justin Fuente, the Tigers took a minor step back in their first year in the AAC. The good news, though, is that QB Paxton Lynch returns to Memphis after a strong freshman season where he threw for over 2,000 yards, along with top rusher Brandon Hayes (860 YR) and Lynch’s top four pass catchers from a year ago. The Tigers played seven teams that went bowling last season, losing to six of them, but the margin of defeat was just under 8 PPG. Non-conference road games in 2014 include UCLA and Ole Miss… all of which should prep the Tigers nicely for a second go-round in the AAC.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The 2014 Tigers roster features 273 returning starts.

PLAY ON: vs. Houston (10/11) - *Key as a dog

SMU (Offense – 6/3 Defense – 6/3)

TEAM THEME: JUNE AWAKENING
Thanks to ranking dead last in the nation in net punting (31.3), June Jones’ run & shoot offense shot itself in the foot last season, thanks primarily to poor field position. As a result, a 4-year bowl skein was snapped. Nonetheless, the love affair continues as Jones received a contract extension. Gone this year is star QB Garrett Gilbert and 1-year OC Hal Mumme, who resigned to assume a head coaching job with a lower level program. While the offense is basically being rebuilt with a plethora of sophomores and juniors, the defensive front is loaded with experience. A challenging schedule awaits with the Ponies who tackle bowl teams in five of their first six games.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: June Jones is 38-15 SU and 29-19-1 ATS, including 15-2 ATS as a dog, in seasons after his team failed to go bowling the previous year.

TEMPLE (Offense – *5/1 Defense – 8/2)

TEAM THEME: BEFORE AND AFTER
It was really a tale of two seasons in Matt Rhule’s first year at the helm in Philadelphia. After trailing in 78% of the first six games, the Owls led or were tied in 85% of the final six contests, despite finishing the season at 2-10. The change basically coincided with Rhule’s decision to insert freshman P.J. Walker into the lineup at QB, and Walker responded with 20 TD passes and over 2,000 yards through the air in his seven starts. Unfortunately, only one starter returns on the O-line. The defense will be led by LB Tyler Matakevich, who topped the country in solo tackles last season with 8.8 stops per game.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Owls are one of the youngest teams in the nation with only 8 seniors on the roster.

TULANE (Offense – *7/3 Defense – 6/2)

TEAM THEME: MOVING ON UP
The Green Wave continues to make quantum conference leaps, moving from the C-USA to the AAC this season. HC Curtis Johnson moved up five wins from his first season to his second at Tulane, taking the Wave to the New Orleans Bowl. An experienced mentor, CJ spent 10 seasons coaching WR’s at the U in Miami, a group that included Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson and Santana Moss. He also spent six years with the New Orleans Saints. Tulane was an extremely fortuitous team in 2013 with only the Houston Cougars gaining more turnovers than the Green Wave (+35). Behind a squad filled with 206 returning starts, anything less than a return to the bowls would be disappointing.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Curtis Johnson is 10-1 ATS in games versus an opponent off a win.

TULSA (Offense – 5/3 Defense – 10/4)

TEAM THEME: MISSION POSSIBLE
The exact opposite scenario from the 2013 season greets HC Bill Blankenship as he enters 2014. Instead of an experienced offensive unit with plenty of skill position returnees – coupled with a very green stop unit – he now heads into the year looking for a new QB, someone to consistently lead the ground game and a couple of good-hands people to catch the football. On the flip side, the defense should be strong after losing just one starter. Blankenship won 19 games in his first two seasons with the Golden Hurricane, but reality set in last year and he must now adjust to a new conference. It’s a ‘mission’ he’s anxious to start – and we’re betting he succeeds.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The last three times Tulsa finished with a losing record they bounced back to go 10-3, 9-4 and 8-5 (25-11-1 ATS combined).

UCF (Offense – 6/2 Defense – 9/3)

TEAM THEME: KNGHTS IN SHINING ARMOR The losses are quite heavy on offense for the inaugural AAC champs who, thanks to four come from behind wins in the fourth quarter last season, finished with their highest ranking in school history (No. 10 in the AP Coaches Poll) following a Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor. NFL 1st-round QB Blake Bortles is gone, along with top RB Storm Johnson and three All-conference offensive linemen. On the other side of the ball, the nation’s 17th ranked scoring defense (21.3 PPG) returns almost completely intact, bringing back nine starters and plenty of experienced backups as 26 of the 29 players that saw action on defense in two or more games last season return. Meanwhile, HC George O’Leary will be looking to take the Knights to their 5th bowl game in six years.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Knights are 26-11 ‘In The Stats’ the last three seasons.

PASS

USF (Offense – *10/5 Defense – 5/1)

TEAM THEME: TAG, YOU’RE IT
The first season in Tampa for Willie Taggart was an absolute disaster – SB Nation’s Bill Connelly put it rather succinctly: “Only brief bouts of competence in two games in October prevented a winless season.” Since the disappointing campaign apparently was unstoppable, Taggart was smart enough to realize what he needed to do: give his inexperienced but promising players as much time on the field as possible. Then, he somehow went out and had the best recruiting haul in the AAC. Obviously, things can go nowhere but up, as the Bulls had five games where the offensive unit could not punch it over the goal line. Taggart will be on a short leash and needs to produce now.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Taggart is 19-3-1 ATS in away games.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/14/2014 11:33 AM

Week 1 Odds & Analysis

May 8, 2014

5Dimes released lines for Week 1 of the 2014 college football season a few weeks ago. The offshore betting shop is currently showing numbers for 25 contests, so let's take a look at some of the marquee matchups.

Things were a lot different the last time Boise State visited the Georgia Dome. The Broncos had Chris Petersen on the sidelines and Kellen Moore under center, and the result was a beatdown of Georgia in front of an enemy crowd in Atlanta.

On Thursday, Aug. 28, BSU returns to the Ga. Dome to face Ole Miss, which is an eight-point favorite, down from the opening number of 8.5. The Rebels are thriving under Hugh Freeze, who enters his third year at the helm with hopes of getting the program to its first SEC Championship Game.

Ole Miss won't have starting linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche against the Broncos. The redshirt junior, who was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2013, was suspended from spring practice and the season opener following his February rest for disturbing the peace and not complying with a police officer.

Ole Miss bring back loads of talent, including quarterback Bo Wallace, who will be the starter for a third straight season. Wallace has one of the SEC's premier wide receivers in sophomore LaQuon Treadwell and an outstanding group of young running backs.

Petersen's dynastic eight-year tenure in Boise ended when he finally took a job from a BCS school (Washington) after turning down more than a dozen inquiries through the years. His replacement is Petersen's former offensive coordinator and last year's head coach at Arkansas State, Bryan Harsin.

Harsin's transition year will be made easier by the presence of QB Grant Hedrick, RB Jay Ajayi and WR Matt Miller. Hedrick performed well while getting most of the snaps in the last seven games of 2013. He posted a 16/5 touchdown-to-interception ratio and also ran for six scores. Ajayi and Miller are two of the best at their respective positions in the Mountain West Conference.

Also on Thursday night in the first game on the new SEC Network, South Carolina will take on Texas A&M at Williams-Brice Stadium. 5Dimes opened the Gamecocks as nine-point home favorites and the line hasn't budged.

Connor Shaw never lost a home game during his storied career, but he's off to the NFL along with defensive star Jadeveon Clowney. Dylan Thompson inherits the starting QB job and he's well prepared to do so. Thompson has already had plenty of big moments in his career. He threw the game-winning TD pass to beat Michigan at the Outback Bowl and torched Clemson for 310 passing yards and three TDs without an interception in the 2012 regular-season finale.

Kevin Sumlin's team will have to replace the greatest QB, Johnny Manziel, in school history, in addition to All-American OT Jake Matthews and WR Mike Evans. The Aggies had the SEC's worst defense in 2013 and will need to vastly improve on that side of the ball in order to contend in the West.

Other Thursday games include Vanderbilt (-21) vs. Temple, Wake Forest (-7) at Louisiana-Monroe and Minnesota (-34.5) vs. Eastern Illinois.

On Friday, Colorado State vs. Colorado is a pick 'em game in Denver. Also, BYU is a 13-point 'chalk' at UConn.

The Saturday action gets started at 8:30 a.m. Eastern when Penn State and Central Florida collide in Dublin, Ireland. The Nittany Lions will begin the James Franklin Era in a four-point favorite role vs. the Golden Knights, who are off a banner year that was capped by Fiesta Bowl win over Baylor as double-digit underdogs. However, George O'Leary's squad must replace QB Blake Bortles and leading rusher Storm Johnson.

Georgia will open against Clemson for a second straight season in hopes of avenging a gut-wrenching 38-35 loss at Death Valley last year. The Bulldogs, who lose four-year starting QB Aaron Murray, will have Hutson Mason under center. Mason orchestrated a comeback win at Ga. Tech in last season's regular-season finale on The Flats. He will benefit from the return of the best RB combo in the country, Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall.

Clemson has to replace a long-time starting signal caller too, as Tajh Boyd is gone after throwing for more yards than any QB in school history. The Tigers have to replace playmaker Sammy Watkins as well.

5Dimes has Mark Richt's team favored by seven.

Auburn had an incredible first season under Gus Malzahn and will be looking to repeat as SEC champs. That quest begins at home against Arkansas as a 22-point favorite. The Razorbacks ended the 2013 campaign on a nine-game losing streak, but they have a dynamic group of RBs led by Alex Collins. The key for the Hogs will be improved play out of QB Brandon Allen.

5Dimes opened Alabama as a 23.5-point 'chalk' for its opener vs. West Virginia from the Georgia Dome. This will be the fourth time the Crimson Tide has played in Atlanta to start the year during Nick Saban's tenure. They are undefeated in the three previous games against Clemson and Va. Tech (twice). 5Dimes has adjusted this number to 22.

This game could feature a pair of starting QBs that used to play at FSU. Jacob Coker joins 'Bama in August and many think he'll earn the starting gig. Meanwhile, Clint Trickett was WVU's most effective QB in 2013, but he did miss the spring and will have to perform well in August. Going into his fourth season on the hot seat, Dana Holgorsen would be best served by helping his team avoid a blowout in this spot.

LSU and Wisconsin will square off at Reliant Stadium in Houston. 5Dimes opened the Tigers as three-point favorites, went up to 4.5 and are now down to four. These teams will play at Lambeau Field in 2015.

Florida State opened as an 11.5-point favorite for its opener vs. Oklahoma State from Arlington, Texas. The defending champs were quickly adjusted up to 13, but the game is now off the board, presumably because of Jameis Winston's recent shopping spree at Publix. Like TNT's Charles Barkley noted last week, "who the hell goes to Publix to order seafood?"

I have no idea why 5Dimes has Tennessee as a 7.5-point home favorite vs. Utah State, especially after opening the line at 6.5. This trip to Neyland Stadium for the Aggies has outright upset written all over it. Matt Wells's squad will have a major edge at the QB position with Chuckie Keeton coming back after tearing his ACL last September.

Finally, Louisville is a 3.5-point home favorite against Miami in Bobby Petrino's second debut at the school. Back when the 'Canes were still among the nation's elite in Petrino's first tour of duty at U of L, he nearly guided the Cardinals to a shocking upset at the Orange Bowl, only to see his team allow a 24-7 lead at halftime get away.

All of these spreads have a -120 price tag attached to them and may be subject to $100 maximums.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/16/2014 01:08 AM

Golden Nugget GOY Odds

June 14, 2014


Week 1

Date Away Home

Thursday, Aug. 28 Texas A&M South Carolina (-9)
Thursday, Aug. 28 (Atlanta, GA) Boise State Mississippi (-9)
Friday, Aug. 29 UNLV Arizona State (-23 ½)
Friday, Aug. 29 BYU (-16 ½) Connecticut
Saturday, Aug. 30 Arkansas Auburn (-24)
Saturday, Aug. 30 (Denver, CO) Colorado State Colorado (-4)
Saturday, Aug. 30 Clemson Georgia (-9)
Saturday, Aug. 30 California Northwestern (-9 ½)
Saturday, Aug. 30 UCLA (21 ½) Virginia
Saturday, Aug. 30 Ohio State (-14) Navy
Saturday, Aug. 30 (Dublin, Ireland) Penn State (-2 ½) Central Florida
Saturday, Aug. 30 (Atlanta, GA) West Virginia Alabama (-27 ½)
Saturday, Aug. 30 (Arlington, TX) Florida State (-17) Oklahoma State
Saturday, Aug. 30 (Houston, TX) LSU (-7) Wisconsin
Monday, Sept. 1 Miami, FL Louisville (PK)


Week 2

Date Away Home

Friday, Sept. 5 Pittsburgh (-9) Boston College
Saturday, Sept. 6 USC Stanford (-3 ½)
Saturday, Sept. 6 San Diego State North Carolina (-21)
Saturday, Sept. 6 BYU Texas (-6)
Saturday, Sept. 6 Michigan State Oregon (-13)
Saturday, Sept. 6 Michigan Notre Dame (-3)
Saturday, Sept. 6 Virginia Tech Ohio State (-18)
Saturday, Sept. 6 Colorado State Boise State (-10)


Week 3

Date Away Home

Saturday, Sept. 13 Boise State (-10) Connecticut
Saturday, Sept. 13 USC (-23) Boston College
Saturday, Sept. 13 Tennessee Oklahoma (-19)
Saturday, Sept. 13 (Arlington, TX) UCLA (-8) Texas
Saturday, Sept. 13 Louisville (-7 ½) Virginia
Saturday, Sept. 13 Nebraska (-4) Fresno State
Saturday, Sept. 13 Iowa State Iowa (-9 ½)
Saturday, Sept. 13 Georgia South Carolina (-3)
Saturday, Sept. 13 (Indianapolis, IN) Purdue Notre Dame (-21)


Week 4

Date Away Home

Thursday, Sept. 18 Auburn (-13) Kansas State
Saturday, Sept. 20 Clemson Florida State (-17)
Saturday, Sept. 20 Mississippi State LSU (-12)
Saturday, Sept. 20 San Diego State Oregon State (-13)
Saturday, Sept. 20 Virginia BYU (-17)
Saturday, Sept. 20 Georgia Tech Virginia Tech (-7)
Saturday, Sept. 20 Oregon (-23) Washington State
Saturday, Sept. 20 Oklahoma (-17) West Virginia
Saturday, Sept. 20 Florida Alabama (-21)
Saturday, Sept. 20 Miami, FL Nebraska (-3)


Week 5

Date Away Home

Thursday, Sept. 25 UCLA (-7) Arizona State
Thursday, Sept. 25 Texas Tech Oklahoma State (-7)
Saturday, Sept. 27 Oregon State USC (-17)
Saturday, Sept. 27 Tennessee Georgia (-17)
Saturday, Sept. 27 Minnesota Michigan (-12)
Saturday, Sept. 27 Florida State (-30) N.C. State
Saturday, Sept. 27 (Rutherford, NJ) Notre Dame (-5 ½) Syracuse
Saturday, Sept. 27 Cincinnati Ohio State (-21)
Saturday, Sept. 27 North Carolina Clemson (-4)
Saturday, Sept. 27 (Arlington, TX) Arkansas Texas A&M (-11)
Saturday, Sept. 27 TCU (-10) SMU
Saturday, Sept. 27 Missouri South Carolina (-11)


Week 6

Date Away Home

Thursday, Oct. 2 Arizona Oregon (-25)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Louisville (-1) Syracuse
Saturday, Oct. 4 LSU Auburn (-6 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Arizona State USC (-11)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Miami, FL (-4) Georgia Tech
Saturday, Oct. 4 Vanderbilt Georgia (-24)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Wisconsin (-7) Northwestern
Saturday, Oct. 4 Alabama (-9) Mississippi
Saturday, Oct. 4 Virginia Tech North Carolina (-10)
Saturday, Oct. 4 N.C. State Clemson (-23)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Baylor (-3) Texas
Saturday, Oct. 4 Texas A&M Mississippi State (-3)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Texas Tech Kansas State (-7)
Saturday, Oct. 4 Boise State (-6) Nevada
Saturday, Oct. 4 Oklahoma (-14) TCU
Saturday, Oct. 4 Florida (-4 ½) Tennessee
Saturday, Oct. 4 Stanford (-6) Notre Dame
Saturday, Oct. 4 Nebraska Michigan State (-8)


Week 7

Date Away Home

Saturday, Oct. 11 Alabama (-24) Arkansas
Saturday, Oct. 11 USC (-7 ½) Arizona
Saturday, Oct. 11 Oregon (-3) UCLA
Saturday, Oct. 11 LSU (-9) Florida
Saturday, Oct. 11 Georgia (-7) Missouri
Saturday, Oct. 11 Florida State (-21) Syracuse
Saturday, Oct. 11 (Dallas, TX) Texas Oklahoma -9
Saturday, Oct. 11 Louisville Clemson (-10)
Saturday, Oct. 11 Mississippi Texas A&M (-1)
Saturday, Oct. 11 Auburn (-9 ½) Mississippi State
Saturday, Oct. 11 Cincinnati Miami, FL (-11)
Saturday, Oct. 11 West Virginia Texas Tech (-10)
Saturday, Oct. 11 North Carolina Notre Dame (-2 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 11 Penn State Michigan (-7)


Week 8

Date Away Home

Thursday, Oct. 16 Virginia Tech Pittsburgh (-1)
Thursday, Oct. 16 Fresno State Boise State (-4 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Georgia (-14 ½) Arkansas
Saturday, Oct. 18 Stanford -(6 ½) Arizona State
Saturday, Oct. 18 UCLA (-22) California
Saturday, Oct. 18 Notre Dame Florida State (-24)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Missouri Florida (-3)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Nebraska (-2 ½) Northwestern
Saturday, Oct. 18 Clemson (-18) Boston College
Saturday, Oct. 18 Tennessee Mississippi (-12)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Kansas State Oklahoma (-14)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Baylor (-16) West Virginia
Saturday, Oct. 18 Texas A&M Alabama (-16 ½)
Saturday, Oct. 18 Washington Oregon (-20)


Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/16/2014 01:13 AM

College Win Totals posted

June 15, 2014


Conference Championship Props

ACC Champion
Bank of America Stadium - Charlotte, NC (12/6/14)
Florida State wins ACC Champ -300
Field wins ACC Championship +220

Big Ten Champion
Lucas Oil Stadium - Indianapolis, IN (12/6/14)
Ohio State wins Big Ten Champ -105
Field wins Big Ten Championship -135

Big 12 Champion
(Tiebreaker is highest seeded playoff team then Sugar Bowl selection)
Oklahoma wins Big 12 Champ -130
Field wins Big 12 Championship -110

Pac-12 Champion
Played at homefield of better record (12/5/14)
Oregon wins Pac-12 Champ +150
Field wins Pac-12 Championship -190

SEC Champion
Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA (12/6/14)
Alabama wins SEC Champ +150
Field wins SEC Championship -190

College Football Win Totals

Alabama
Over 10½ -130
Under 10½ -110

Arizona
Over 6½ -190
Under 6½ +150

Arizona State
Over 8½ +125
Under 8½ -165

Arkansas
Over 4½ -110
Under 4½ -130

Auburn
Over 9½ -140
Under 9½ +100

Baylor
Over 9½ -165
Under 9½ +125

Boise State
Over 10½ +200
Under 10½ -280

Boston College
Over 5½ +110
Under 5½ -150

BYU
Over 8½ -210
Under 8½ +160

California
Over 2½ -145
Under 2½ +105

Clemson
Over 9½ +159
Under 9½ -205

Colorado
Over 4½ +145
Under 4½ -185

Colorado State
Over 6½ -180
Under 6½ +140

Duke
Over 8½ +110
Under 8½ -150

Florida
Over 7½ -150
Under 7½ +110

Florida State
Over 10½ -310
Under 10½ +230

Fresno State
Over 7½ -210
Under 7½ +160

Georgia
Over 9½ -120
Under 9½ -120

Georgia Tech
Over 6½ -180
Under 6½ +140

Illinois
Over 4½ -130
Under 4½ -110

Indiana
Over 5½ +150
Under 5½ -190

Iowa
Over 8½ -170
Under 8½ +130

Kansas State
Over 8½ +115
Under 8½ -155

Kentucky
Over 3½ -165
Under 3½ +125

Louisville
Over 7½ -270
Under 7½ +190

LSU
Over 8½ -260
Under 8½ +180

Maryland
Over 7½ +180
Under 7½ -260

Miami, Fl.
Over 7½ -135
Under 7½ -105

Michigan
Over 7½ -150
Under 7½ +110

Michigan State
Over 9½ -130
Under 9½ -110

Minnesota
Over 6½ -140
Under 6½ +100

Mississippi
Over 7½ -155
Under 7½ +115

Mississippi State
Over 7½ +140
Under 7½ -180

Missouri
Over 9½ +166
Under 9½ -220

Nebraska
Over 7½ -230
Under 7½ +170

Nevada
Over 5½ -130
Under 5½ -110

North Carolina
Over 7½ -110
Under 7½ -130

N.C. State
Over 5½ +150
Under 5½ -190

Northwestern
Over 6½ -110
Under 6½ -130

Notre Dame
Over 9½ +280
Under 9½ -400

Ohio State
Over 10½ -230
Under 10½ +170

Oregon
Over 10½ -115
Under 10½ -125

Oregon State
Over 6½ -180
Under 6½ +140

Penn State
Over 8½ +135
Under 8½ -175

Pittsburgh
Over 7½ +155
Under 7½ -195

Purdue
Over 3½ +100
Under 3½ -140

Rutgers
Over 4½ -130
Under 4½ -110

South Carolina
Over 9½ -140
Under 9½ +100

Stanford
Over 9½ +157
Under 9½ -200

Syracuse
Over 5½ -165
Under 5½ +125

Tennessee
Over 5½ -130
Under 5½ -110

Texas
Over 8½ -105
Under 8½ -135

Texas A&M
Over 7½ +135
Under 7½ -175

TCU
Over 6½ -170
Under 6½ +130

UCLA
Over 9½ -160
Under 9½ +120

USC
Over 8½ -230
Under 8½ +170

Utah
Over 5½ +165
Under 5½ -215

Utah State
Over 9½ +175
Under 9½ -245

Vanderbilt
Over 5½ -270
Under 5½ +190

Virginia
Over 3½ +125
Under 3½ -165

Virginia Tech
Over 7½ -165
Under 7½ +125

Wake Forest
Over 3½ -195
Under 3½+155

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/17/2014 05:15 PM

2014 Big Ten Preview

June 16, 2014

2014 Big Ten Conference Football Preview

Not So Big

In the last six NFL drafts, dating back to 2009, the Big Ten has not had a single player selected in the top ten.

The Big Ten hasn’t won a national championship since Ohio State took home the title in 2002.

Big Ten Scoreboard: SEC Matchups Are Getting More Lopsided

From the 1930s until the end of the 1970s, games between schools in the two conferences were toss-ups.

The 1980s were dominated by the SEC (17-5 record), while the 1990s (16-11) and 2000s (18-15) were generally competitive.

In the 2010s, it’s been virtually all SEC. The Big Ten has won just six of 19 contests between the two.

With college football’s popularity skyrocketing, it’s going to be imperative that other conferences, namely the Big Ten, start winning big games and showing that the sport still has parity.

Delusions Of Grandeur

Ohio State has seven conference championships since 1998 and Wisconsin has five; no other school has more than three.

The Buckeyes played in ten BCS bowl games (6-4 record), winning the national title in 2002. Wisconsin reached five Rose Bowl games, going 2-3 in those contests. The rest of the conference went just 5-8 in BCS bowl games.

The league’s decision to bring both Rutgers and Maryland on was made for financial reasons. Neither program has ever been a football power and, more importantly, it doesn’t look like either is even on the rise. Capturing a share of the television markets in New York City and Washington DC will certainly help the Big Ten expand its brand, but it surely won’t help the product on the field.

Rutgers has played in just nine bowl games in its history. Maryland’s resume is a bit better, but the Terps only played in one BCS game during the entire 16-year era, a game in which they were blown out by Florida (2002).

Once again, it’s been said the Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany is secretly a plant in quest of more soil. In this crazy world of conference expansion, we couldn’t agree more.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on Offense and Defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

East Division

INDIANA (Offense – *8/5 Defense – 9/3)

TEAM THEME: STAND AND DELIVER
HC Kevin Wilson welcomes back most of an explosive Offenseense that averaged 38.4 PPG and 508 YPG. Unfortunately, a Defenseense that ranked 121st in the nation – behind the likes of Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Miami Ohio – allowed more points and yards than the Offenseense was able to muster. Overall, the team has taken baby steps in the three years under Wilson, improving its W/L record each year, but still falling short of a winning campaign in the tough Big 10. The Defenseensive reins have been handed over to Brian Knorr, who spent the last three seasons on the staff at Wake Forest. With 17 returning starters back, it’s time for the Hoosiers to stand and deliver.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Hoosiers were the only FBS team to rank in the Top 10 in total Offense and not go bowling last season.

MARYLAND (Offense – *8/4 Defense – 9/3)

TEAM THEME: SNAPPING TURTLES
The Terps enter their first season in the Big 10 with a boatload of returning skill players (39 of 45 two-deep players from last year) including QB C.J. Brown, their top three rushers, and top five receivers – including Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, who both missed the second half of last season with lower leg injuries. Randy Edsall added former NFL WR and Washington Redskins assistant Keenan McCardell to the staff to coach receivers. Meanwhile, Brown became the first player in school history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 (2,242 and 576). On the Defenseensive front, Maryland’s 37 sacks last season were the most by a Terrapins team since 2002.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Edsall is 25-10 ATS in his career versus sub .333 opponents.

MICHIGAN (Offense – *7/3 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: HOKE SPRINGS ETERNAL
After a 6-1 start (the only loss a 4-OT thriller vs. Penn State), the season went downhill quickly for the Wolverines last year with narrow losses to Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State to close the regular season at 7-5. Brady Hoke will literally have big shoes to fill with the graduation of OT Taylor Lewan (41 career starts), record-setting WR Jeremy Gallon, and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint. Should Michigan fans be concerned about the present? Listen to Hoke after Michigan's first spring scrimmage: "We learned some hard lessons. The only thing we can do is go forward. We're a long way from being any good." Is it Lou Holtz-talk, or is it prophecy? Stay tuned.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 10 years… that’s how long it’s been since Michigan has won a Big 10 football championship.

MICHIGAN STATE (Offense – *7/2 Defense – 5/2)

TEAM THEME: MARK IT DOWN
In one of the greatest seasons in Spartans history, Michigan State set a school record with 13 victories, including a season-ending Rose Bowl win over Stanford, earning them a final No. 3 ranking in both polls. Mark Dantonio welcomes back QB Conner Cook, leading rusher Jeremy Langford (who averaged over 100 YPG on the ground and scored 18 times), and four of his top five receivers. Meanwhile, DC Pat Narduzzi’s Defenseense held nine foes to season-low – or 2nd low – yards, while also limiting six of the last seven regular season foes to season-low points. Topping all of that should prove difficult in 2014, especially against a bevy of avenging opponents.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Michigan State became the first undefeated team in Big 10 play last year to win every conference contest by double-digits since Michigan in 1943.

OHIO STATE (Offense – *5/1 Defense – 7/4)

TEAM THEME: FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST
At first glance, the attrition looks absolutely devastating: just 39 letterman return – one of the lowest numbers in all of college football – and the losses are heavy, especially on Offenseense. Sure, quarterback Braxton Miller and his top two targets are back, but the top two running backs have moved on. And so have four Offenseensive linemen with 141 starts! The good news is our STAT YOU WILL LIKE comes storming to their aid this season. Urban Meyer had won 24 straight games since taking over the program in 2012, but losses in the Big Ten Championship game to the Spartans and in the Orange Bowl to Clemson have the Buckeyes on a two-game skid. Time to reload.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Buckeyes return players with 221 starts this season.

PENN STATE (Offense – *5/3 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: FRANKLIN, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
The Nittany Lions welcome James Franklin to replace Bill O’Brien, who departed for greener pastures in the NFL with the Houston Texans. O’Brien did well under difficult circumstances following the death of Joe Pa and the Sandusky scandal, finishing with a respectable 15-9 mark (10-6 in the tough Big 10) in his two seasons as HC. Franklin comes over from Vanderbilt – a perennial SEC doormat – where he changed the mindset during his three seasons there, going 9-4 in the last two campaigns. Franklin will have Big 10 Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg back under center, along with ‘Thunder & Lightning’ RB’s Zack Zwinak and Bill Belton to tote the football. Franklin’s Commodores averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season in his three years at Vanderbilt. Yes, electricity is back in the air at Happy Valley.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: PSU’s 63-14 loss to OSU last year was the worst in school history since 1899.

RUTGERS (Offense – *9/5 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: CHANGING FACES
Maybe the biggest news in Piscataway, besides seeing the Scarlet Knights enter their first season in the Big 10, is Kyle Flood’s addition of ex-Maryland coach Ralph Friedgren to his staff as Offenseensive coordinator. It’s also ironic since the Terrapins are the other school joining the Big 10 on 2014. The Fridge was so angry when he was fired that he burned his Maryland diploma and hasn’t coached since. QB Gary Nova, star RB Paul James and rising WR Leonte Carroo are back, along with a complete Offenseensive line returning intact. In addition, 17 different players made their first career start last season, while nine true freshmen earned playing time – including three of whom started at cornerback.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Rutgers is the only school in the nation to post a shutout each of the last eight seasons.

West Division

ILLINOIS (Offense – 6/4 Defense – 8/2)

TEAM THEME: CHAMPAIGN GONE FLAT
Last year was a difficult one for the Illini. After a 3-1 start, they went 1-7 with the lone victory over lowly Purdue. Defenseense was the weak link in Champaign last season, as it allowed over 450 yards in nine outings, including games where they coughed up over 600 yards to Washington and Indiana. Early indications are that with a year of experience for eight returnees, the unit will be much improved in 2014. With Nathan Scheelhaase out of eligibility, HC Tim Beckman must choose a new signal-caller from Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt and senior Reilly O’Toole. Lunt is a blue-chip recruit who started five games as a true freshman for the Cowboys.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Illinois is 1-17 SU and 6-12 ATS in its final six games of the regular season since 2011.

IOWA (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 5/3)

TEAM THEME: DOWNY SOFT
Kirk Ferentz is now the dean of Big 10 head coaches heading into his 16th season, tied for third in longevity among all BCS head coaches. At age 58, Ferentz has guided four teams to 10 or more wins in his career at Iowa, and has been bowl-eligible in 11 of the last 12 seasons. This year, he brings back QB Jake Rudock and leading rusher Mark Weisman, who both started all 13 games in last year’s 8-5 campaign. The thing that really stands out at first glance is the apparent ease of the soft schedule – you won’t find the Buckeyes, Spartans or Wolverines on the ledger. Hence, a 10-0 start does not seem out of the question for the Hawkeyes.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Iowa held seven opponents to season-low – or 2nd low – yardage last year.

MINNESOTA (Offense – 8/4 Defense – 7/3)

TEAM THEME: KILLING IT
Despite suffering at least five epileptic seizures on game day with the Gophers, and soundly Defenseeating Stage 4 kidney cancer, HC Jerry Kill refuses to quit. “Everybody has a struggle or two,” Kill said, “but you bounce back. I still believe it determines what kind of person you are with how you handle adversity.”And though assistant Tracy Claeys received a good deal of credit while the HC was away, Kill was always calling the shots. After compiling a 14-12 mark the last two years (and making two bowl appearances), Minnesota rewarded Kill with an extension through 2018, bringing his salary in line with several other Big 10 coaches. It’s about time.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Jerry Kill’s 10-man assistant coaching staff is the most tenured in college football, having been with him 134 years.

NEBRASKA (Offense – *5/1 Defense – 6/2)

TEAM THEME: LITTLE BO WEEP
Bo Pelini has been successful at Nebraska since taking over in 2008, winning nine or more games in all six of his seasons in Lincoln. As a result, he was awarded a contract extension, albeit much to the outcry of loyal Husker fans. Last year’s 9-win campaign was somehow accomplished despite ranking 121st in punt returns, 120th in net turnovers (-12) and 117th in red zone Defenseense. Bo can thank his lucky stars that his squad was 5-0 last season in games decided by 7 or fewer points, and is 9-0 the last nine. The Offenseensive line was decimated by graduation with five seniors accounting for 120 starts now departed. Not having to tackle Michigan and Ohio State helps.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Huskers have won 28 straight season openers.

NORTHWESTERN (Offense – 9/5 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: LATE-GAME MISFORTUNE, THY NAME IS…
Only five starters are not returning in 2014 for the Wildcats. One of them, QB Kain Colter, got most of the ink during the Offense-season by leading the movement to unionize athletes at the school. But he has paid his dues and used up his eligibility, so QB Trevor Siemian takes over (threw for 178 completions, 2,149 yards and 11 TD’s). Talented Venric Mark missed most of last season with injuries, but thanks to a fifth year of eligibility granted by the Big 10, will join top rusher Treyvon Green in the running game behind an intact O-line. Here’s hoping all this experience outweighs the bad experience of close-call losses the past two seasons.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Wildcats have suffered four losses the last two years on a game-ending TD pass.

PURDUE (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: FLIP-FLOPS
It doesn’t get much rougher than the year Darrell Hazell had in West Lafayette. With glowing praise heaped on the young head coach after he directed Kent State to an 11-3 mark in his second season there, Hazell was hired to coach the Boilermakers. Unfortunately, his 8-0 conference mark with the Golden Flashes was flipped upside-down at Purdue to an 0-8 Big 10 record. QB Danny Etling and dual-threat RB Akeem Hunt will lead the Offenseense, and with all three WRs and the TE back, Hazell will use his background as a receivers coach to improve the passing game – but it’s going to take some time. Where have you gone, Drew Brees?

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Hazell is 12-6 SU and 12-5-1 ATS versus MAC opponents, including 7-1 ATS as a favorite.

WISCONSIN (Offense – *6/3 Defense – 3/0)

TEAM THEME: STOP US IF YOU CAN
The footnote atop this year’s spring prospectus says it all: 3 Consecutive Big 10 Championships (2010-12) • 5 BCS Bowl Games • 12 Consecutive Bowl Games • 17 First-Team All-Americans Since 2000. That, and 300 RYPG, is what Wisconsin football has been all about since the turn of the century. A 0-2 finish soured Gary Andersen’s first campaign with the Badgers but not before a solid 9-win effort. This year’s edition features a total of 23 different players who started at least one game in 2013, including six who earned All-Big 10 honors. Included in that group is QB Joel Stave who directed the most prolific Offenseense in school history.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Andersen is 18-4-1 ATS versus non-conference foes, including 11-1 ATS as a dog.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/23/2014 02:36 AM

2014 Big Ten Preview

June 16, 2014

2014 Big Ten Conference Football Preview

Not So Big

In the last six NFL drafts, dating back to 2009, the Big Ten has not had a single player selected in the top ten.

The Big Ten hasn’t won a national championship since Ohio State took home the title in 2002.

Big Ten Scoreboard: SEC Matchups Are Getting More Lopsided

From the 1930s until the end of the 1970s, games between schools in the two conferences were toss-ups.

The 1980s were dominated by the SEC (17-5 record), while the 1990s (16-11) and 2000s (18-15) were generally competitive.

In the 2010s, it’s been virtually all SEC. The Big Ten has won just six of 19 contests between the two.

With college football’s popularity skyrocketing, it’s going to be imperative that other conferences, namely the Big Ten, start winning big games and showing that the sport still has parity.

Delusions Of Grandeur

Ohio State has seven conference championships since 1998 and Wisconsin has five; no other school has more than three.

The Buckeyes played in ten BCS bowl games (6-4 record), winning the national title in 2002. Wisconsin reached five Rose Bowl games, going 2-3 in those contests. The rest of the conference went just 5-8 in BCS bowl games.

The league’s decision to bring both Rutgers and Maryland on was made for financial reasons. Neither program has ever been a football power and, more importantly, it doesn’t look like either is even on the rise. Capturing a share of the television markets in New York City and Washington DC will certainly help the Big Ten expand its brand, but it surely won’t help the product on the field.

Rutgers has played in just nine bowl games in its history. Maryland’s resume is a bit better, but the Terps only played in one BCS game during the entire 16-year era, a game in which they were blown out by Florida (2002).

Once again, it’s been said the Big 10 commissioner Jim Delany is secretly a plant in quest of more soil. In this crazy world of conference expansion, we couldn’t agree more.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on Offense and Defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

East Division

INDIANA (Offense – *8/5 Defense – 9/3)

TEAM THEME: STAND AND DELIVER
HC Kevin Wilson welcomes back most of an explosive Offenseense that averaged 38.4 PPG and 508 YPG. Unfortunately, a Defenseense that ranked 121st in the nation – behind the likes of Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Miami Ohio – allowed more points and yards than the Offenseense was able to muster. Overall, the team has taken baby steps in the three years under Wilson, improving its W/L record each year, but still falling short of a winning campaign in the tough Big 10. The Defenseensive reins have been handed over to Brian Knorr, who spent the last three seasons on the staff at Wake Forest. With 17 returning starters back, it’s time for the Hoosiers to stand and deliver.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Hoosiers were the only FBS team to rank in the Top 10 in total Offense and not go bowling last season.

MARYLAND (Offense – *8/4 Defense – 9/3)

TEAM THEME: SNAPPING TURTLES
The Terps enter their first season in the Big 10 with a boatload of returning skill players (39 of 45 two-deep players from last year) including QB C.J. Brown, their top three rushers, and top five receivers – including Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, who both missed the second half of last season with lower leg injuries. Randy Edsall added former NFL WR and Washington Redskins assistant Keenan McCardell to the staff to coach receivers. Meanwhile, Brown became the first player in school history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for more than 500 (2,242 and 576). On the Defenseensive front, Maryland’s 37 sacks last season were the most by a Terrapins team since 2002.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Edsall is 25-10 ATS in his career versus sub .333 opponents.

MICHIGAN (Offense – *7/3 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: HOKE SPRINGS ETERNAL
After a 6-1 start (the only loss a 4-OT thriller vs. Penn State), the season went downhill quickly for the Wolverines last year with narrow losses to Nebraska, Iowa and Ohio State to close the regular season at 7-5. Brady Hoke will literally have big shoes to fill with the graduation of OT Taylor Lewan (41 career starts), record-setting WR Jeremy Gallon, and RB Fitzgerald Toussaint. Should Michigan fans be concerned about the present? Listen to Hoke after Michigan's first spring scrimmage: "We learned some hard lessons. The only thing we can do is go forward. We're a long way from being any good." Is it Lou Holtz-talk, or is it prophecy? Stay tuned.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 10 years… that’s how long it’s been since Michigan has won a Big 10 football championship.

MICHIGAN STATE (Offense – *7/2 Defense – 5/2)

TEAM THEME: MARK IT DOWN
In one of the greatest seasons in Spartans history, Michigan State set a school record with 13 victories, including a season-ending Rose Bowl win over Stanford, earning them a final No. 3 ranking in both polls. Mark Dantonio welcomes back QB Conner Cook, leading rusher Jeremy Langford (who averaged over 100 YPG on the ground and scored 18 times), and four of his top five receivers. Meanwhile, DC Pat Narduzzi’s Defenseense held nine foes to season-low – or 2nd low – yards, while also limiting six of the last seven regular season foes to season-low points. Topping all of that should prove difficult in 2014, especially against a bevy of avenging opponents.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Michigan State became the first undefeated team in Big 10 play last year to win every conference contest by double-digits since Michigan in 1943.

OHIO STATE (Offense – *5/1 Defense – 7/4)

TEAM THEME: FIRST CUT IS THE DEEPEST
At first glance, the attrition looks absolutely devastating: just 39 letterman return – one of the lowest numbers in all of college football – and the losses are heavy, especially on Offenseense. Sure, quarterback Braxton Miller and his top two targets are back, but the top two running backs have moved on. And so have four Offenseensive linemen with 141 starts! The good news is our STAT YOU WILL LIKE comes storming to their aid this season. Urban Meyer had won 24 straight games since taking over the program in 2012, but losses in the Big Ten Championship game to the Spartans and in the Orange Bowl to Clemson have the Buckeyes on a two-game skid. Time to reload.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Buckeyes return players with 221 starts this season.

PENN STATE (Offense – *5/3 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: FRANKLIN, THUNDER AND LIGHTNING
The Nittany Lions welcome James Franklin to replace Bill O’Brien, who departed for greener pastures in the NFL with the Houston Texans. O’Brien did well under difficult circumstances following the death of Joe Pa and the Sandusky scandal, finishing with a respectable 15-9 mark (10-6 in the tough Big 10) in his two seasons as HC. Franklin comes over from Vanderbilt – a perennial SEC doormat – where he changed the mindset during his three seasons there, going 9-4 in the last two campaigns. Franklin will have Big 10 Freshman of the Year Christian Hackenberg back under center, along with ‘Thunder & Lightning’ RB’s Zack Zwinak and Bill Belton to tote the football. Franklin’s Commodores averaged more than 2,000 rushing yards per season in his three years at Vanderbilt. Yes, electricity is back in the air at Happy Valley.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: PSU’s 63-14 loss to OSU last year was the worst in school history since 1899.

RUTGERS (Offense – *9/5 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: CHANGING FACES
Maybe the biggest news in Piscataway, besides seeing the Scarlet Knights enter their first season in the Big 10, is Kyle Flood’s addition of ex-Maryland coach Ralph Friedgren to his staff as Offenseensive coordinator. It’s also ironic since the Terrapins are the other school joining the Big 10 on 2014. The Fridge was so angry when he was fired that he burned his Maryland diploma and hasn’t coached since. QB Gary Nova, star RB Paul James and rising WR Leonte Carroo are back, along with a complete Offenseensive line returning intact. In addition, 17 different players made their first career start last season, while nine true freshmen earned playing time – including three of whom started at cornerback.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Rutgers is the only school in the nation to post a shutout each of the last eight seasons.

West Division

ILLINOIS (Offense – 6/4 Defense – 8/2)

TEAM THEME: CHAMPAIGN GONE FLAT
Last year was a difficult one for the Illini. After a 3-1 start, they went 1-7 with the lone victory over lowly Purdue. Defenseense was the weak link in Champaign last season, as it allowed over 450 yards in nine outings, including games where they coughed up over 600 yards to Washington and Indiana. Early indications are that with a year of experience for eight returnees, the unit will be much improved in 2014. With Nathan Scheelhaase out of eligibility, HC Tim Beckman must choose a new signal-caller from Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt and senior Reilly O’Toole. Lunt is a blue-chip recruit who started five games as a true freshman for the Cowboys.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Illinois is 1-17 SU and 6-12 ATS in its final six games of the regular season since 2011.

IOWA (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 5/3)

TEAM THEME: DOWNY SOFT
Kirk Ferentz is now the dean of Big 10 head coaches heading into his 16th season, tied for third in longevity among all BCS head coaches. At age 58, Ferentz has guided four teams to 10 or more wins in his career at Iowa, and has been bowl-eligible in 11 of the last 12 seasons. This year, he brings back QB Jake Rudock and leading rusher Mark Weisman, who both started all 13 games in last year’s 8-5 campaign. The thing that really stands out at first glance is the apparent ease of the soft schedule – you won’t find the Buckeyes, Spartans or Wolverines on the ledger. Hence, a 10-0 start does not seem out of the question for the Hawkeyes.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Iowa held seven opponents to season-low – or 2nd low – yardage last year.

MINNESOTA (Offense – 8/4 Defense – 7/3)

TEAM THEME: KILLING IT
Despite suffering at least five epileptic seizures on game day with the Gophers, and soundly Defenseeating Stage 4 kidney cancer, HC Jerry Kill refuses to quit. “Everybody has a struggle or two,” Kill said, “but you bounce back. I still believe it determines what kind of person you are with how you handle adversity.”And though assistant Tracy Claeys received a good deal of credit while the HC was away, Kill was always calling the shots. After compiling a 14-12 mark the last two years (and making two bowl appearances), Minnesota rewarded Kill with an extension through 2018, bringing his salary in line with several other Big 10 coaches. It’s about time.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Jerry Kill’s 10-man assistant coaching staff is the most tenured in college football, having been with him 134 years.

NEBRASKA (Offense – *5/1 Defense – 6/2)

TEAM THEME: LITTLE BO WEEP
Bo Pelini has been successful at Nebraska since taking over in 2008, winning nine or more games in all six of his seasons in Lincoln. As a result, he was awarded a contract extension, albeit much to the outcry of loyal Husker fans. Last year’s 9-win campaign was somehow accomplished despite ranking 121st in punt returns, 120th in net turnovers (-12) and 117th in red zone Defenseense. Bo can thank his lucky stars that his squad was 5-0 last season in games decided by 7 or fewer points, and is 9-0 the last nine. The Offenseensive line was decimated by graduation with five seniors accounting for 120 starts now departed. Not having to tackle Michigan and Ohio State helps.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Huskers have won 28 straight season openers.

NORTHWESTERN (Offense – 9/5 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: LATE-GAME MISFORTUNE, THY NAME IS…
Only five starters are not returning in 2014 for the Wildcats. One of them, QB Kain Colter, got most of the ink during the Offense-season by leading the movement to unionize athletes at the school. But he has paid his dues and used up his eligibility, so QB Trevor Siemian takes over (threw for 178 completions, 2,149 yards and 11 TD’s). Talented Venric Mark missed most of last season with injuries, but thanks to a fifth year of eligibility granted by the Big 10, will join top rusher Treyvon Green in the running game behind an intact O-line. Here’s hoping all this experience outweighs the bad experience of close-call losses the past two seasons.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Wildcats have suffered four losses the last two years on a game-ending TD pass.

PURDUE (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 7/2)

TEAM THEME: FLIP-FLOPS
It doesn’t get much rougher than the year Darrell Hazell had in West Lafayette. With glowing praise heaped on the young head coach after he directed Kent State to an 11-3 mark in his second season there, Hazell was hired to coach the Boilermakers. Unfortunately, his 8-0 conference mark with the Golden Flashes was flipped upside-down at Purdue to an 0-8 Big 10 record. QB Danny Etling and dual-threat RB Akeem Hunt will lead the Offenseense, and with all three WRs and the TE back, Hazell will use his background as a receivers coach to improve the passing game – but it’s going to take some time. Where have you gone, Drew Brees?

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Hazell is 12-6 SU and 12-5-1 ATS versus MAC opponents, including 7-1 ATS as a favorite.

WISCONSIN (Offense – *6/3 Defense – 3/0)

TEAM THEME: STOP US IF YOU CAN
The footnote atop this year’s spring prospectus says it all: 3 Consecutive Big 10 Championships (2010-12) • 5 BCS Bowl Games • 12 Consecutive Bowl Games • 17 First-Team All-Americans Since 2000. That, and 300 RYPG, is what Wisconsin football has been all about since the turn of the century. A 0-2 finish soured Gary Andersen’s first campaign with the Badgers but not before a solid 9-win effort. This year’s edition features a total of 23 different players who started at least one game in 2013, including six who earned All-Big 10 honors. Included in that group is QB Joel Stave who directed the most prolific Offenseense in school history.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Andersen is 18-4-1 ATS versus non-conference foes, including 11-1 ATS as a dog.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/23/2014 02:38 AM

2014 Big 12 Preview

June 22, 2014

The Big 3

Only three Big 12 teams finished in the final AP poll last season: Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.

The trio of aforementioned teams combined for 32 victoories last season, while the rest of the conference tallied a total of 38 wins.

Heading into the 2014 campaign, the Cowboys suffered the most senior departures (28); TCU the fewest (16).

In The Eye Of The Beholder

Even before his team beat Alabama in last year’s Sugar Bowl, Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops had insisted the Big 12 was better balanced - from top to bottom - than the SEC.

Not so as bowl records say different. Since the turn of the new century the Big 12 stands 56-54 SU and 46-64 ATS in postseason play, while the SEC counters at 74-48 SU and 67-55 ATS.

Many thought Stoops was perhaps referring to offensive output, where six Big 12 teams landed in the nation’s Top 20 in total offense in 2013, twice the amount of SEC squads. The tables reversed last season, however, when the SEC finished with four Top 20 ranked teams in overall offense as opposed to two for the Big 12.

On the flip side, it’s been no comparison defensively the past two seasons, either, with the SEC landing a total of ten schools in the Top 20 in scoring defense, as opposed to just one Big 12 entrant – Oklahoma last year.

Then And Now

The last time Mack Brown was not roaming the sidelines in Austin (1998), Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State ended the season with losing records, while seven of the 12 teams in the loop hit the alleys in postseason bowl games.

Texas concluded the season 9-3, routing Mississippi State 38-11 in the Cotton Bowl.

Note: Numbers following team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

BAYLOR (Offense – *6/2 Defense – 4/1)

TEAM THEME: FEEDING FRENZY
Head coach Art Briles remembers his goal six years ago after arriving in Waco was to just get his team “up to the table” so they could eat with the big boys. Now after a season where they stole food off the other boys’ plates and took home a Big 12 championship (their first since 1980), Briles realizes that his Bears will be the ones with the targets on their backs. Despite some losses of very skilled players, Big 12 POY QB Bryce Petty returns for his senior season after shattering NCAA records in 2013, averaging 618.8 YPG and 52.4 PPG. His top target, Antwan Goodley ranked second in the conference in receiving yards en route to gaining first-team all Big-12 honors last year. And the topping on the cake: Baylor moves into a new state-of-the-art, $260-million stadium on the Brazos River this season.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Bears’ big-play defense led the FBS with 6.5 ‘three-and-outs’ per game last season.

IOWA STATE (Offense – *10/5 Defense – 5/2)

TEAM THEME: BACK WITH A VENGEANCE
On the heels of a dismal 3-win season, Paul Rhodes welcomes his entire starting offensive team back to Ames, including big-play WR Quenton Brundage, leading rusher Aaron Wimberly, and QB's Sam Richardson and Grant Rohach, who split time under center and closed the season with 300+ yard performances in wins over Kansas and West Virginia. It all leads to an experienced squad with a combined 183 career starts. New OC Mark Mangino, former Kansas HC, was the first coach ever to be recognized as both the national Coach of the Year and the national Assistant Coach of the Year. Bigger and better things are in store for the Cyclones in 2014.

Stat You Will Like: Paul Rhoads was born 10 minutes from Jack Trice Stadium and went to high school 20 minutes from ISU’s home field.

KANSAS (Offense – *8/3 Defense – 9/2)

TEAM THEME: BAD TUNA
Year III of the Charlie Weis Project began with an all-out spring battle for the QB spot with senior Jake Heaps (former starter at BYU) and UCLA transfer T.J. Millweard the likely finalists. Weis has only four wins under his sizable belt in the two years since he left his position as offensive coordinator at Florida, and contributions under Bill Belichick in New England (helping lead the Patriot offense in three Super Bowl victories in a four-year span) seem like a hundred years ago. Rest assured, with 17 returning starters, including 15 Juco's from last year, Charlie will be out of excuses – and a job – if he doesn’t deliver this season.

Stat you Will Like: The Jayhawks are 2-40 SU in their last 42 conference games.

KANSAS STATE (Offense – *6/3 Defense – 5/2)

TEAM THEME: A FAMILY AFFAIR
Bill Snyder is a great football coach, posting 178 victories in his 22 seasons in Manhattan while earning National Coach of the Year honors five times. After losing the 2013 opener to North Dakota State, then beginning the Big 12 slate with three straight losses, KSU was 2-4 and going nowhere fast. Snyder made the necessary adjustments, and his kids got on a roll: six wins in the next seven games, culminating in a beatdown of Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. With QB-turned-WR Daniel Sam deciding to transfer, senior QB Jake Waters will lead the offense along with All-American receiver Tyler Lockett, who led the conference in all-purpose yardage in 2013. Yes, gramps couldn’t be any more content.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: KSU is 64-4 under Snyder at Bill Snyder Family Stadium versus non-conference opponents.

OKLAHOMA (Offense – *7/4 Defense – 9/4)

TEAM THEME: BOMBS AWAY
Outside of the Sooners’ 13-0 national championship season in 2000, none could match the sheer excitement of last year’s sky-high finish. After capturing the Big 12 championship over in-state rival Oklahoma State, the Sooners went to the Sugar Bowl as heavy underdogs to Alabama and smashed the Crimson Tide in a 45-31 rout. Since the conclusion of WWII, no school has a better winning percentage (.764) than Oklahoma, but Bob Stoops has improved on that number since taking over before the 1999 season, going 160-39 (.804). The emergence of QB Trevor Knight, with last year’s early starting QB Blake Bell making the switch to TE, has the folks in Norman eagerly anticipating a big year. The defense will need to comply.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Sooners are 22-0 SU in games off a regular season loss since 2003.

OKLAHOMA STATE (Offense – 4/2 Defense – 4/2)

TEAM THEME: LEAN GREEN MACHINE
This will be a very inexperienced team for Mike Gundy: only four starters return on each side of the ball in 2014, while a mere six players on the team have 10 or more career starts. One is QB J.W. Walsh, who was the starter early last year before losing the job to Clint Chelf, who has graduated. The defense has been absolutely decimated by graduation, as departed seniors accounted for 78% of the team’s tackles in 2013. The season begins with the Cowboys Classic in Arlington versus the defending national champs, and closes with Bedlam in Norman against the Sooners. But how many wins the Cowboys can string together in between is the real question.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Cowboys won the stats in all three of their losses last season.

TCU (Offense – 8/3 Defense – 8/3)

TEAM THEME: MISSION FROGS
Now that the Casey Pachall days are finally over (re: drug/alcohol suspensions and injuries), Gary Patterson’s Frogs can get back to business. Patterson brought in new co-coordinators during the off-season, Doug Meacham from Houston and Sonny Cumbie from Texas Tech, whose schools were both offensive powerhouses. They’ll have a very deep group of tailbacks to work with, including leading rusher B.J. Catalon. Versatile Trevone Boykin, who stepped in often for Pachall at QB, will look to ignite the offense while the stop-unit lost just three players from a group that led the Big 12 in total defense. With two-time all-conference DB Sam Carter, this is a mission team that should not be overlooked.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Boykin was the only player in the country to have a 100-yard rushing, 100-yard receiving and 200-yard passing game last season.

TEXAS (Offense – *7/2 Defense – 8/2)

TEAM THEME: PICKING UP THE ASHES
There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Charlie Strong (the only coaching change in the Big 12). Strong has laid down the law in replacing Mack Brown, insisting his Horns will be tougher and more disciplined. With eight starters back on defense, it should be noted his Louisville squad led the nation in team sacks per game (3.31) last season. He has big shoes to fill, however. Brown was 158-48 at Texas, including 98-33 in Big 12 games. His teams went bowling every year except 2010 and were 10-5 in those bowl games. He also led the Longhorns to the 2005 national championship. Meanwhile, QB David Ash returns after missing 10 games last year (concussion). He’s joined by RBs Malcolm Brown, Joe Bergeron and Jonathon Gray, giving the Horns an explosive trio of ball carriers.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: No Texas Longhorns were selected in the 2014 NFL Draft for the first time since 1937.

TEXAS TECH (Offense – *8/4 Defense – 4/1)

TEAM THEME: ORGANICALLY GROWN BUZZ
Who knew cool involved this much work? 34-year old head coach Kliff Kingsbury gets to Tech’s football office each day at 4:30 a.m. While admitting to a mild case of OCD, Kingsbury insists all details must be right, and he’s getting a lot right, creating a strong buzz on campus. After playing musical chairs at the quarterback position last year, Davis Webb emerges as the starter in 2014 as both backups have transferred out. Four starters on the OL return, bringing stability to an aerial attack that averaged 393 YPG (2nd in the nation) last season. Kingsbury’s long-term goals are mostly singular: Win a Big 12 title. “I don’t plan on leaving until that gets done,” he insists.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Red Raiders finished No. 121 in turnover margin (-1.1 per game) last season.

WEST VIRGINIA (Offense – *6/2 Defense – 7/1)

TEAM THEME: LOOKING FOR THE RESET BUTTON
The Mountaineers’ disappointing 4-8 effort last year is best described by three I’s: Inexperience, Injuries and Inconsistency. The inexperience reverses in 2014 with 20 lettermen back on offense, including 14 players with starts last year. The attack starts with QB Clint Trickett, who missed spring camp after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. Injuries wrecked the defense in 2013 but 13 players with starting experience are back on that side of the ball. A 6-14 mark in his last 20 games, along with a tough schedule in the early going (seven of first eight opponents went bowling last year) could leave Dana Holgorsen with a warm and fuzzy fanny.

STAT YOU WILL LIKE: WVU is 19-5 ATS as a conference dog, including 9-0 ATS from Game Ten out.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/27/2014 02:10 PM

Fading WVU -- again

June 26, 2014

Last season, I strongly believed that West Virginia would be lucky to win four games.

I received an incredible amount of angry responses from WVU fans and derision from local writers who said I was "reckless" and "irresponsible" for making such outlandish predictions.

West Virginia went 4-8.

This season in Morgantown, I’m not expecting an improvement and would advise bettors to invest in Under 4 ½ victories (+100), which can be purchased at 5Dimes.eu.

Here’s why I’m leaning to another ‘under’ ticket on WVU.

I had several chances to watch WVU's spring practices and make some general observations. The quarterback position spot will again be woeful and head coach Dana Holgorsen knows he doesn’t have a clear-cut starter.

Clint Trickett was recently named the starter but as he displayed last year, he stinks. A completion percentage in the fifties (52.8%) is very poor on the college level and his touchdown to interception (7/7) is just as worse.

At running back, the Mountaineers will need to replace a workhorse in Charles Sims, who is now in the NFL. This year's WVU backfield will be running back by committee and nobody has shown the talent of Sims.

Chemistry wise, Holgorsen and his system was praised and anticipated on his arrival. However, it’s evident that he doesn’t have the horses to improve on last year’s mark.

Let’s break down all 12 of the Mountaineers’ 12-game regular season schedule.

Game 1 vs. Alabama from Atlanta: The Tide opened as 25-point favorites and this line has jumped slightly. Alabama will beat WVU in colossal fashion. The Tide will score 8-9 touchdowns against WVU's hapless defense. I firmly believe this. WVU had the worst defense of any power conference team in the country last year. The two best players from that squad, Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell, are gone. They will be even more putrid this year. Safety Darwin Cook's departure makes WVU more vulnerable to deep balls also. Alabama will beat WVU by 45-50 points.

Game 2 vs. Towson State: Last year, WVU closed as 33- point favorites at home versus William and Mary. The Mountaineers escaped with a 24-17 win after trailing at halftime. An untimely and stupid personal foul on William and Mary's TE may have cost the Tribe a historic upset. Look for a similar result in this contest. WVU will be beaten physically and mentally from the Alabama slaughter. Towson is a solid FCS team. They score with a sharp passing attack. Look for WVU to lay heavy double digits here. Towson will most likely be overpowered down the stretch, but WVU won't come close to covering.

Game 3 at Maryland: Maryland crushed WVU 37-0 last year and this year's result will be similar. Randy Edsall has 17 starters back and he is worth a touchdown in coaching strategy over Holgorsen. Maryland quietly has a deadly WR corps with two NFL prospects. The Terrapins defense will allow very little to WVU. Maryland is not getting the attention I think they deserve. They are going to make noise in their inaugural season in the Big Ten.

Game 4 vs. Oklahoma: WVU was competitive in Norman last year as three touchdown underdogs, but weakened down the stretch. They won't be competitive this year at home. Bob Stoops has a loaded roster and a gunslinger behind center, Trevor Knight. He gained great confidence in his sterling performance against Alabama. Stoops will pulverize Holgorsen. WVU will be 1-3 after this contest with a bye week to follow. Holgorsen will surely be fired this season. Could it happen during this open week?

Game 5 vs. Kansas: Charlie Weis has a much improved club. Kansas demolished WVU last year. Look for this line to be WVU -4 at home. Kansas will win mainly due to the difference in coaching. Weis calls a great game while Holgorsen does not. Kansas has a scrambling QB who will impress against WVU's soft defense.

Game 6 at Texas Tech: Texas Tech will be a mediocre team this season. WVU could win this game as I believe Kliff Kingsbury is going to come back to life in his second season. Holgorsen spent 7 years with Texas Tech and could steal this game as this is not Rommel vs. Montgomery. This is bad coach vs. bad coach. WVU may get a "W" here to improve to 2-4 on the year but certainly not guaranteed.

Game 7 vs. Baylor: Baylor amassed 872 against WVU's defense last year. Bryce Petty is back at QB and the results will be similar. Baylor will be favored by 10 to 11 points and will cover easily. WVU will be 2-5 after this tilt.

Game 8 at Oklahoma State: WVU beat Oklahoma State last year as 19-point underdogs and it might surprise you but I expect WVU to beat the Cowboys again this year. Oklahoma State brings back only eight starters and Gundy is not a good X’s and O’s coach. WVU moves to 3-5.

Game 9 vs. TCU: TCU will have payback on its minds as this contest begins. WVU stole an overtime win in Fort Worth last year. TCU has 16 starters back and two good QBs. Look for the Horned Frogs to beat WVU by daylight. WVU goes to 3-6.

Game 10 at Texas: Texas will be much improved this year. The addition of Charlie Strong and the return of 15 starters will give the Longhorns a shot at the Big 12 Title. WVU will be outclassed here. Look for Texas to close as 20-point favorites or more. WVU goes to 3-7.

Game 11 vs. Kansas State: Kansas State and WVU will both be coming off bye weeks. The difference is KSU will be jockeying for bowl position while WVU's season will be meaningless at this point. Holgorsen will be either gone or he will be a lame duck. This is a Thursday night game which usually leads to a big crowd in Morgantown. It will be an empty stadium and WVU will be 3-8 as this game goes final.

Game 12 at Iowa State: Paul Rhoads is a great coach. Iowa State rarely has an abundance of talent but Rhoads gets the nod here. He beat WVU last year in Morgantown as a 7-point underdog. Iowa State will be favored by 7 at home and they will cover. WVU ends the season at 3-9.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:24970 Followers:33
06/29/2014 01:04 PM

Armadillo: Sunday's six-pack

-- Jason Kidd is apparently trying to get fired in Brooklyn so he can take a job in Milwaukee with the Bucks; the NBA has become a cesspool of disloyalty.

-- Kidd's Nets were 10-21 at one point last year, with a veteran team; they rallied to 44-38, won one playoff series, now he thinks he can run a franchise, after one shaky season as a head coach. 14 months ago, he was an active player. Oy.

-- One of the Bucks' minority owners used to be Kidd's financial advisor.

-- Phil Ivey won his 10th WSOP gold bracelet this weekend, only 4th person with 10+ gold bracelets- Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth.

-- Over is 48-37 in interleague games with no DH; 34-42 in games with a DH.

-- Giants have now lost 14 of their last 18 games; their lead over the Dodgers, once 9.5 games, is down to one.

**********

Armadillo: Sunday's List of 13: Taking a quick look at Pac-12 football......

Arizona-- Wildcats averaged 228/265 rushing yards in two years under RichRod; he has made them more balanced, going 8-5 both seasons. Arizona scored 49-42 in two bowl games under RichRod, after scoring 0-10 in two before he got to Tucson.

Arizona State-- Todd Graham bought Bret Michaels' house for $2.4M, a good sign he plans to end his nomadic ways. Average total in ASU's last five bowl games: 76.2. Sun Devils lose nine starters on defense; they're 13-5 as favorites under Graham.

California-- 4-20 SU last two years, 4-15 vs spread as underdogs, but they played a freshman QB LY, which figures to pay off this year. 9 starters back on offense, 4 on OL. Bears have 3rd DC in last three years; problem is the DC is in his 4th job in last four years. Not sure thats a good thing.

Colorado-- MacIntyre is terrific coach, but this is total rebuild job; Buffs have top six rushers, four of top five receivers back this year with an experienced QB, so they should start to show progress, but they're 5-16 in last 21 games as a road dog.

Oregon-- 67-12 SU the last six years, covering 11 of last 13 road games, averaging 36.7 ppg in winning last three bowls. Four starters back on OL, a QB with 26 career starts, but they did lose six starters on defense. Host Michigan State Sept 6.

Oregon State-- Mike Riley used to be head coach in CFL/NFL; he's 6-2 in bowls, since '08, he's 19-6 vs spread as road dog. Beavers have 7 starters back on both sides of ball, but have new OC for first time in decade (Jason Garrett's brother). Open vs Portland State, after losing to Eastern Washington in LY's opener. Oy.

USC-- Steve Sarkisian takes over, making controversial job switch within Pac-12. Trojans don't play Washington this year; they need to play better on road, going 6-5 SU, 2-9 vs spread on road the last two years.

Stanford-- 12-4-1 vs spread on road under Shaw. Played in Rose Bowl last couple years, will probably be disappointed to go elsewhere this year, unless they go to the playoff. Are 46-8 SU last four years; went 11-3 LY with even turnover ratio.

UCLA-- 17 starters back, four on OL, 3rd-year starting QB, former NFL coach who is 9-5 vs spread as a favorite; Bruins are good darkhorse to win a national title- they are +17 in turnovers in 27 games under Mora. UCLA has 78 sacks last two years; in Neuheisel's last year (2011), they had only 14 sacks.

Utah-- 9-18 in Pac-12 games, after being 21-3 its last three years in MWC. Missed bowls last two years; Utes have six starters back on both sides of ball. Were -9 in turnovers LY, after being +42 in six years before that.

Washington-- Got stiffed by Sarkisian (35-29 in five years, 30-28 vs spread, 2-2 in bowls), wound up upgrading to Chris Petersen (92-12 at Boise State, 22-9 vs spread in last 31 games as a road favorite). Huskies have 7 starters back on both sides of the ball, but are breaking in a new QB.

Washington State-- Coogs were 6-0 vs spread on road in Leach's second year with Wazzu; senior QB Halladay has 19 starts in system, but OL has three new starters. Top eight receivers, top two rushers are back this season; State will score points.

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