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Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend....
13) Will Giants put the Eagles out of their misery Sunday night? Philly won its last four visits to the Swamp, scoring 45-38 points in last two.
12) In the last five weeks, USC has been an underdog of 7-9-15 points. When was the last time that happened? They beat Notre Dame and took Stanford to OT; interesting to see what they do with the high-flying Ducks in Eugene.
11) Ravens-Bengals is a big game Sunday; curious to see how many carries Ray Rice gets. He only had five in Seattle. Cincy has a history of playing the Ravens tough.
10) Vanderbilt is favored to win in Neyland Stadium? Someone wearing orange pants has some recruitin’ to do.
9) Miami is 2-7 but has played very well the last two games; Buffalo is 5-4, but has gotten waxed the last two weeks. Can the Bills keep their season alive with a road win?
8) BYU hosts New Mexico State this week, while rumors swirl that the Cougars are headed to the Big East for football. Last time I checked, BYU was in Utah. Boise State is in Idaho. Can we at least make them change the name of the league?
7) Sunday night’s NFL wrapup show on NFL Network, after the NBC game, is always good, because Deion Sanders/Michael Irvin make it good. Their egos are so big they don’t suck up to (most) people, so when Irvin was asked if he could be happy playing for a Denver team that completed two passes last week, Irvin thought about and said something to the effect of “No!!! I have to feed my kids!!!” Good stuff.
6) Kansas State may be setting a record for most times a good team has been an underdog in one season. Wildcats are 8-2; will they be an underdog in their bowl game too?
5) How do the Vikings bounce back from their Monday night tank job in Lambeau? Oakland has four extra days to prepare this week, since they played on Thursday last week.
4) Rough week for QB’s last week; Schaub-Vick-Big Ben-Cassel all broke bones. Tyler Palko makes his first NFL start Monday night in Foxboro. Good luck there.
3) How will Penn State get treated in their first game away from home? Nittany Lions can still somehow get to the Rose Bowl; am guessing the people in Pasadena would just as soon that didn't happen.
2) Titans have beaten Atlanta five times in a row, but when Bud Adams visits the Georgia Dome, I’m sure he thinks back to January 2000, when the Titans lost Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta by one yard.
1) Is it me, or has this college football season been very flat so far? Just not many great moments or great games. Only three Saturdays left; which game will be the best this weekend?
19 of 48 lined games have a single-digit spread. Oklahoma-Baylor could be fun, if the Bears’ defense can make a couple tackles.
Home side won nine of last ten Iowa-Purdue games, with Hawkeyes winning four of last five, even though they lost four of last five visits here, with favorites 4-1 vs spread in those five games. Iowa is 0-3 on road, with losses at Iowa State/Minnesota; they’re 3-3 as favorite this year, 1-5 in last six tries as road favorite. Purdue won last three home games, scoring 45-21-26 points; they’ve been outscored 68-16 in second half of last four games. Boilers are 5-2-1 in last eight games as home dog. Six of last nine Iowa games went over the total. Home teams are 1-4-1 vs spread in Big Dozen games where spread is less than 4 points.
Tennessee won 13 of last 14 games vs Vanderbilt, winning last five in row, with four of five by 10+ points; Vandy lost six of last seven visits here, with four of five losses by 15+ points, but Vols are 0-6 in SEC for first time ever and were outscored 87-0 in second half of last five games. Vandy passing game averaging 213.3 ypg in last three games behind young Rodgers, but Commodores are 0-3 on road, outscored 81-24. Under is 5-1-1 in last seven Tennessee games, but last five Vandy games went over. Both teams need this game in attempt tp become bowl eligible. SEC home teams are 6-2-1 vs spread in games where spread is less than 4 points.
Washington State freshman QB Halliday gets first start after coming off bench and throwing for 494 yards in rainy upset win over Arizona State last week, which snapped Coogs’ 5-game losing skid; where they been hiding him? Utah won/covered last three games, with all three wins by 13+ points; they’re 3-2 on road this year, 2-1 as favorite- they’re 12-9 in last 21 games as road favorite (0-0 this year). Utes are 6-0 when they allow 21 or less points; all of their wins are by 12+ points; they’re 0-4 allowing more than 21. Four of last five Utah games stayed under total; three of last four Wazzu games went over. Pac-10 home underdogs of 12 or less points are 6-4 vs spread.
Arizona State had bitter road defeats last two weeks, scoring 27-28 points in losses as road favorites of 8-12 points; they still get to Pac-12 title game if they win last two games. ASU is 4-0 at home vs I-A foes (2-2 as home faves) winning by 7-21-15-34 points. Arizona is 1-4 as an underdog this year, but underdogs are 5-1-1 vs spread in last seven Arizona-ASU games, with Wildcats losing three of last four visits here—Arizona’s last three games in Tempe were all decided by exactly 3 points. Sun Devils are 8-4 in last 12 series games, with five of last seven decided by 7 or less points. Last seven ASU games, six of last seven Arizona games went over the total.
Interesting to see how Stanford bounces back from first loss, getting pounded at home by Oregon last week; Cardinal is 4-1 as home favorite this year, winning home games by 54-26-41-44 points. Stanford crushed Cal 48-14 LY, just second win in last nine games vs archrival Bears. Cal won three of last four games, allowing 10 or less points in all three wins; they’re 0-3 as an underdog this year. Bears won three of last four visits to Farm; underdogs are 4-3 vs spread in last seven series meetings here. Pac-10 home favorites of 8+ points are 10-5 vs spread this season. Last seven Cal games stayed under total; three of last four Stanford games went over.
Since 2001, Nebraska is 6-12 vs spread as road underdogs; they’re 0-1 this year, losing 48-17 at Wisconsin, its only loss in four road games (beat two stiffs and Penn State last week). Huskers won four of last five games, stay alive for division title with win here. Michigan split last four games after a 6-0 start; they’re 4-1 as home faves this season, winning in Big House by 24-4-28-21-58-22 points at home. Wolverines were held to 14-16 points in their losses. Nebraska held three of last four foes to 14 or less points. Single digit home favorites are 4-3 in Big Dozen games this season. Last four games for both teams stayed under the total.
Since 2006, Penn State is 0-6 vs spread as a road underdog; Lions go on road for first time since last week’s drama; favorite is 7-0 vs spread in their last seven visits to Ohio State, with OSU winning six of seven, with five of the wins by 11+ points. Buckeyes are 7-2 overall in last nine series games, with last five wins all by 11+ points. Lions scored 16 or less points in six of eight games vs I-A foes; they’re 0-1-1 as underdog this year. OSU allowed 20+ points in each of last three games; they’ve completed 50+% of passes once in last eight games- they’re 2-3 as a home favorite. Under is 7-1-1 in last nine Penn State games; four of last five Buckeye games went over.
Cincinnati won its last five games vs Rutgers, gaining 661 yards in LY’s 69-38 drubbing of Knights; Bearcats won last two visits to Garden State by 47-15/28-23 scores. Last week’s home loss to West Virginia snapped Cincy’s 6-game win streak, but they haven’t led at half in any of last four games, with last three all decided by 3 points. Rutgers is 4-1 at home, with only loss in snow to West Virginia, when they were up 31-21 at half; Knights are 4-2 vs spread as underdog this year. Bearcats are 6-0 when allowing 23 or less points, 1-2 when they allow more. Big East home underdogs are 6-2 vs spread this season. Under is 5-1 in last six Cincinnati games, 6-1 in last seven Rutgers tilts.
Kansas State started season 7-0, winning four weeks in row as a dog; since then, they’ve allowed 58-52-50 points in losing two of three games, giving up 1,232 passing yards (8.68 yards/attempt). Wildcats are 3-1 as road dog this year; Snyder covered 14 of last 20 games as an underdog. Texas is 2-3 in last five games with only one INT; they’re 3-1 as home favorites this year, with home wins by 25-1-43-32 points, and a loss to unbeaten Oklahoma State. Underdog covered last six Kansas State-Texas games; this is just second series meeting since ’06. Wildcats actually won two of last three visits here, but their last trip to Austin was in ’07. Seven of last eight K-State games went over the total.
Underdogs are an amazing 17-2 vs spread in WAC games this season, 10-1 on road; Louisiana Tech is 4-0 as road dog this year, winning last four road games SU while allowing just 14 ppg. Bulldogs won/covered last five games, winning as favorite at Ole Miss last week. Nevada won its last six games with Tech, with five wins by 10+ points; favorites covered six of last seven series games. Tech lost last three visits to Reno by average score of 41-17. Wolf Pack won last five games (4 of 5 at home) after 1-3 start (all four on road), with four wins by 14+ points; they’re 2-2 as home faves this year, 23-9 since 2004. Nevada’s last three games went over the total. Nevada is 4-0 in WAC but didn’t cover any of the four wins.
Road team covered the three Miami-South Florida games, with Bulls winning 23-20 on South Beach LY; anytime Florida schools play, it’s a big recruiting turf game, so this will be spirited, even though teams are mediocre. Miami needs one more win to be bowl eligible; they’re 1-3 on road, with only win at North Carolina- they’re 1-5 this year in games decided by 8 or less points. South Florida’s win at Syracuse last week snapped its 4-game losing streak. Bulls are 4-1 at home, losing 37-34 (-3) to Cincinnati. Big East teams are 4-7 vs spread in non-league games where spread is less than 5 points; ACC teams are 3-4. Five of last seven Miami games went over the total.
Oklahoma won its last 14 games vs Baylor, winning last seven visits here, last six all by 26+ points; road team covered last six series games. Only once in last nine series games have Sooners won by less than 26 points, but Bears are 4-0 at home vs I-A foes this year, scoring 49.3 ppg with wins over TCU/Missouri. Since 2005, Baylor is just 5-15 as home underdog (3-6 under Briles, 1-0 this year). Sooners are 4-0 as road favorites this year, winning on road by 10-38-30-41 points; they scored 58-41 points in two games since getting upset at home by Texas Tech. Over is 7-1 in last eight Baylor games, 5-2 in Sooners’ last seven. Big 12 favorites of 11-19 points are 9-3 vs spread this season.
USC is 8-2, and unranked because they’re on probation; they allowed 43-56 points in their two losses. Trojans won five of last six games, scoring 30+ points in all six games- their only loss in that span was 56-48 OT loss at then-unbeaten Stanford. Oregon won its last nine games, covering six of last eight; they’re 2-2 as home favorite this year, 10-4-1 under Kelly. Favorites covered eight of last ten USC-Oregon games, with Ducks 7-4 in last 11, 5-2 in last seven played here (only one of five losses by more than 7 points); favorite is 4-3 vs spread in Trojans’ last seven visits here. Pac-12 home favorites of 7+ points are 11-5 vs spread this season. Over is 6-3 in Oregon games this season.
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.......
13) If there’s no NBA season, and that could very well happen at this point, what happens to the Olympic basketball team for next summer in London? Worse comes to worse, guess they could put together a Duke alumni team to go play for Coach K, the Great Educator. Might be the first time much of America roots against its own team.
12) Why is Coach K the Olympic coach anyway? Because he went to West Point? Greg Popovich went to the Air Force Academy, why can’t he be the coach? He’s won four NBA titles. Phil Jackson? Rick Pitino? Pat Riley? Just don’t tell me they’re not as good a coach as Coach Krzyzewski, because they are.
11) They’ve had 297 straight sellouts at Lambeau Field, which is 35 or 36 years worth of games, when you add in playoff games.
10) Minnesota Vikings have now lost nine straight division games.
9) Highest-ranked college football team in Texas? The 10th-ranked Houston Cougars of Conference USA.
8) ESPN Full court is way better if you have DirecTV instead of digital cable. More channels, more options, especially if you have SportsPak, which is only an extra $13 or so a month.
7) Houston Astros will be an AL West team, starting in 2013; guess its one of the conditions of MLB approving sale of the team to Jim Crane. They cut $70M off price of the franchise so the Astros would move.
6) Watching the Northern Iowa-St Mary’s game some night earlier this week (the hoop marathon screws up my sense of time), was surprised to hear that both head coaches are working under 10-year contracts. That’s good business; you have a good coach, you lock him up. Really surprised no big school ever made a big play for St Mary’s’ Randy Bennett; he’s done wonders with the Gaels.
5) Hawai’i coach Gib Arnold writes each one of his players a note before every game, describing what he needs from that player that day. Interesting approach. Hawai’i is pretty good; if they make the NCAAs soon, someone else will imitate Arnold and start writing those notes.
4) Hard to believe LaceDarius Dunn is finally gone from Baylor; I watched him play so much, saw him hoist up so many bombs from the arc, felt like I should’ve attended his graduation ceremony. Would be a good story if Baylor made the Final Four this year, with both of Coach Drew’s parents trying to beat cancer.
3) Bud Selig’s given name is Allan Huber Selig. He used to be a used car salesman, now he makes $14M a year. Just thought you’d like to know.
2) Nothing wrong with Heinz Field hosting high school and college games, but NFL stadiums that also host games at lower levels of football should have to have Field Turf. Just makes sense, having a dependable playing surface. NFL made the Patriots improve their playing surface.
1) Does anybody really think Albert Pujols isn’t re-signing with the Cardinals? No way does he sign with the Cubs.