Saturday, September 17
Saturday's best games
West Virginia won its last five games vs Maryland, the last four by 12+; WVU won last two visits here 31-14/31-19- they've got 1,194 yards on ground in last four series games. Terps gained 499 yards, 348 thru air in 32-24 win over suspension-plagued Miami, which turned ball over four times. Terps covered four of last five as home favorite. Mountaineers trailed Norfolk State 12-10 at half last week- they play LSU next week. WVU covered 11 of last 16 games as a road underdog.
Auburn gave up 38-34 points in its first two games, snuck out both wins now inexperienced team (6 starters back, QB's first road start) travels to play Clemson squad that lost 27-24 on Plains LY, Auburn's third series win in row, by 3-3-4 points. Clemson struggled with I-AA Wofford last week, winning 35-27 (21-21 at half); Terriers had 272 rushing yards vs Clemson. I'm guessing Auburn runs ball better than Wofford. Clemson is 7-5 as home fave under Swinney. Since '02, Auburn is 12-8 as road dog.
Over last 10 years, Ole Miss is just 4-12 as a road favorite. Underdogs are 8-3-1 vs spread in last dozen Ole Miss-Vandy games; Rebels won four of last six visits here, with favorites covering their last three trips to Music City. Vandy gave up defensive TD and another on a blocked punt last week, but still beat UConn despite completing only 13 of 27 passes, convering 2-16 on 3rd down. Commodores are 1-8 as home dog the last two years. First road start for Ole Miss QB Stoudt.
Colorado outgained Cal by 212 yards in OT loss last week, finding a star in soph WR Richardson (11 catches, 284 yards, two TDs)- they're 6-2 in last eight games vs Colorado State, with faves covering four of last five in series despite seven of last nine series games decided by 7 or less points. Buffs have injury problems on OL. State is 3-10 as road underdog with Fairchild as coach. Since '05, Colorado is 2-5 as fave away from Boulder. With Ohio State game on deck, Buffs need win here to avoid 0-4 start.
Florida won its last six games vs Tennessee (4-2 vs spread); Volunteers lost last three visits to Swamp by 10-39-9 points. Gators crushed pair of inferior foes (41-3/39-0) to start season, but both teams are I-A teams at least. Florida has very young OL (36 starts) and only four starters back on defense, but they have senior QB. Vols were 10-13 on 3rd down last week in 45-23 win over Cincinnati (was 14-14 in 1st quarter). Tennessee covered seven of its last ten games as a road underdog.
Underdogs are 7-1-1 vs spread in last nine Michigan State-Notre Dame games; Spartans won five of last six visits here- they've outgained Irish in 11 of last 14 series games, with five of last seven totals 55+. Notre Dame lost its first two games in excruciating style, giving up 203 passing yards in 4th quarter last week (to a QB not known for passing skills), turning ball over five times (three in red zone) week before. Senior QB Cousins threw for 2,825 yards LY; if young OL protects him, look out. Since '06, Spartans are 7-5 as a road underdog.
UCLA (+15) won 34-12 at Texas LY, running ball for 264 yards; it was supposed to be Neuheisel's breakthrough win, but Longhorns' struggles rest of year diminished win. Both sides are still struggling to find QB, are trying multiple kids in non-conference play. Bruins allowed 202 yards on ground to San Jose State, but pulled away late- they're 14-8 as home dog since '03, but just 7-6 under Neuheisel. Texas was down 13-3 at half to young BYU, pulled game out late- they're 7-4 as road fave since '08.
Louisville lost last four games vs Kentucky, with three of four by seven or less points; Cardinals lost last two visits here, 31-27/40-34. Dogs are 3-0 vs spread in their last three visits here. Cards outgained FIU 446-293 last week, held Panthers to nine first downs, but lost 24-17, with WR on FIU catching seven balls for 201 yards. Wildcats had only 114 yards in air in last week's 27-13 win over Central Michigan (trailed 13-6 at half). Louisville is 4-6-1 vs spread in last 11 games as a road underdog.
USC snuck out wins in its first two games, beating Minnesota 19-17 and Utah 23-14 (Utes' game-tying FG was blocked/run back for TD on last play of game); Trojans are now 3-10 in last 13 games as home favorite. Syracuse had only 36 yards rushing in 21-14 win over I-AA URI last week, after they beat Wake Forest in OT in opener (trailed 20-7 at half). Orange are just 6-23 on 3rd down- they're 5-3 vs spread under Marrone as road dog. USC had Pac-10 game last week, has another next week.
Oklahoma was 32-42/394 passing in 47-17 (-7) pasting of Florida State LY; Sooners are just 2-6 as road favorite last two years; they've got first Big 12 game next week. OU ran 100 plays for 663 yards in opener, easy win over Tulsa- they had 246 rushing yards, 417 thru air. Since 2007, Seminoles are 6-7 as underdog; over last decade, they're 2-2 as home dog. FSU hasn't been tested yet, waxing pair of overmatched foes. Each team has 16 starters back.
LY, Miami had TDs on both punt/kick return in Columbus, but still lost 36-24 (+8), thanks to minus-4 turnover ratio. No idea what to expect in Ohio State-Miami game this year, with so many guys still suspended on both sides. Hurricanes get QB Harris back here, but sub Morris played well enough in 32-24 loss at Maryland, as Miami gained 399 yards but turned ball over four times. Over last nine years, Miami is 16-33 as home favorite. Over last decade, Ohio State is 4-4 as a road underdog.
Home side won last four Utah-BYU games, with dogs 11-3 vs spread in last 14 series games; Utes lost last two visits here, 26-23/27-10- they're 6-1 vs spread in last seven series games as a dog, but are 6-7 as road dog under Whittingham. Both sides lost tough road games last week; this is an intense rivalry, but no longer a conference game, with Utah moving to Pac-10, and BYU an independent. Cougars have already played couple of tense road games; since '06, they're 15-10 as a home favorite.
Since 2005, Arizona is 9-1-1 as a home underdog, but they have one of youngest OLs in country; last week, Wildcats had only 41 rushing yards in 37-14 (+14) loss at Oklahoma State, now they get Stanford's prolific QB Luck. Cardinal had 205 yards rushing, 299 passing in 44-14 win last week at Duke. Arizona is way better than Duke, but Stanford won four of last five visits to Tucson, with last three decided by 5 or less points. Cardinal covered five of last six games as a road favorite.