cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:19 AM

All-Ohio Battle Pits Buckeyes Against RedHawks

Ohio State won't be going to a bowl game in Urban Meyer's first season at the helm. However, that doesn't mean the Buckeyes aren't going to do their best to have a say in who does represent the Big Ten once the regular season ends.

The Buckeyes kick off their campaign at home Saturday with a noon boot against the Miami (OH) RedHawks. Ohio State backers will have to lay 22½-23 points at most establishments monitored by Don Best, with 47½ for the total.

Suspensions left over from the Jim Tressel regime will keep the Buckeyes from competing for the conference title and a bowl appearance this year, an obvious disappointment in Columbus. But the announcement last November that Meyer would be coming aboard in 2012 provided instant relief for the program and fans who will be out in full force at Ohio Stadium for Saturday's start of what several are calling a Buckeyes "Urban renewal."

There are a lot of reasons to be excited about OSU with Meyer's return to his home state where he played for Cincinnati and served as an assistant under Earle Bruce (1987-88). Meyer brings his spread offense that helped win two BCS titles at Florida, and he inherits a very talented dual-threat at quarterback in Braxton Miller. The sophomore threw for over 1,100 yards and led the team with 715 on the ground in 2011.

Miller's supporting cast on offense will be thinned by injuries and suspensions for Saturday's game, beginning with starting back Jordan Hall who sliced a tendon in his foot during the summer and will miss OSU's first two games. Starting OT Jack Mehort and receiver Jake Stoneburner are serving 1-game suspensions for misbehaving.

Ohio State will also be without senior linebacker Storm Klein who will miss at least the first two games for what was originally a domestic violence charge pleaded down to disorderly conduct. Tressel may be gone, but this is college football and it is what it is.

The Buckeyes stop unit should be fine without Klein in the early going. The front four has the potential to be the best in the Big Ten, if not the nation. John Simon, Johnathan Hankins and Garrett Goebell could all end up on the conference's 1st-team. A couple of sophs, LB Ryan Shazier and CB Bradley Roby, are being counted on heavily.

Buckeyes defenders will be facing a very potent pass-&-catch duo in Miami's Zac Dysert and Nick Harwell. The combo connected with each other 97 times in 2011 when Dysert threw for more than 3,500 yards and 23 TDs while Harwell had over 1,400 yards receiving and nine catches that went for six points.

RedHawks head coach Don Treadwell is hoping that pair can just keep his club close Saturday in the Horseshoe. His offensive line should be put to the test in a big way against Ohio State's front wall, and that battle in the trenches will go a long way to determining how long the 'Hawks stay in this game.

Miami, an 8/1 pick to win the MAC, should have an experienced defense returning, but they're facing a more experienced offensive mastermind in Meyer who should coach this game – and the next 11 on Ohio State's schedule – like it was a bowl trip that will never come in his first year on the job at The Ohio State University.

This is the first time the intrastate rivals have met since 2005, and the fifth consecutive matchup in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won the previous four clashes and are 31-2 in their last 33 season openers.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:21 AM

Alabama, Michigan Meet In Early Top 10 Fight

The Alabama Crimson Tide start the defense of their national championship with a huge top-10 battle against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night.

ABC will broadcast at 8:00 p.m. (ET) and it’s a neutral site contest at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. There have been only three previous meetings between these historic powerhouses with the last one in 2000. Michigan won two with all decided by four points or less.

Alabama is listed as a 13½-14 point favorite after the spread opened at 11. The total has remained pretty steady and sits at 45½.

The Crimson Tide are ranked No. 2 in both the AP and Coaches Poll. They’re coming off their second national title in three years after shutting down LSU (21-0) in the BCS Championship. Nick Saban is now an official coaching legend and is moving up towards Bear Bryant status in the eyes of the 'Bama fans.

Saban’s teams have relied on the formula of a great defense and running game, with enough of a passing attack to keep defenses honest. The passing game should expand this year with junior quarterback A.J. McCarron earning the trust of his coaches after coming up big (23-of-34, 234 passing yards) in the national championship.

The veteran offensive line should excel in both pass and run blocking. The explosive Eddie Lacy will try to fill the big shoes of Trent Richardson as the featured back, but he’s been somewhat injury prone and is listed as probable (ankle) this week.

Alabama ranked first nationally last year in both points (8.2 PPG) and yards (183.6 YPG) allowed. Gone are stalwarts like linebackers Dont’a Hightower and Courtney Upshaw, plus defensive backs Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick, but the loss of nose tackle Josh Chapman is also big in their 3-4 defense.

An overall drop-off on defense is unavoidable even with several talented players ready to step in.

No. 8 Michigan had a very solid first season under coach Brady Hoke, going 11-2 straight up (8-4-1 against the spread) and even ending with a Sugar Bowl win (23-20 OT) over Virginia Tech as 3-point favorites.

Hoke inherited a talented offense after coming from San Diego State. The team finished 26th nationally in scoring (33.3 PPG) behind dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson. He rushed for 1,176 yards, but completed just 55 percent of his throws (2,173 yards) and had 15 picks.

Accuracy is still a big question for Robinson, but it will help tremendously if senior wideout Roy Roundtree can have a bounce-back year. He’s probable after having arthroscopic knee surgery on August 10.

The Wolverines want to keep transitioning to a more traditional rushing attack with back Fitzgerald Toussaint (1,041 yards last year). However, his status is still unknown for Saturday after a recent DUI. Sophomore Thomas Rawls will get the start if he’s out.

The defense improved leaps-and-bounds last year under coordinator Greg Mattison, sixth nationally in scoring defense (17.4 PPG) and 17th in total yards (322.2 YPG). There are seven returning starters, but only one along the defensive line, end Craig Roh.

Look for 'Bama to try to exploit the Wolverines up the middle early via the run game.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:23 AM

Clemson & Auburn Clash In Double-Tiger Contest

We have one can’t-lose recommendation when Clemson and Auburn do battle at the Georgia Dome.

Take the Tigers.

But, since both are named the Tigers, we have to search for other angles to recommend one or the other.

What we do know that this intriguing all-Tiger regional battle takes place on Saturday night in Atlanta, equidistant between both campuses and sight of the 2007 Chick-fil-A Bowl between these sides. Auburn won that game in overtime, 23-20, but a lot has changed since, including coaches for both sides – Tommy Bowden for Clemson and Tommy Tuberville for Auburn – who were each gone by the time the following 2008 campaigns had concluded.

The schools meet again in the second leg of the weekend’s ACC-SEC Chick-fil-A Classic doubleheader at the Georgia Dome after NC State and Tennessee kicked things off on the same field Friday night. The Don Best college football odds screen notes ACC rep Clemson as a 3-3½ point favorite at Las Vegas sports books as of late in the week, with the total hovering between 55 and 56 points at the majority of Nevada wagering outlets.

ESPN, sans Erin Andrews these days, will start its broadcast at 4:00 p.m. (ET) in the Showcase City of the South.

The pair of Tigers have met a couple of times since that 2007 bowl game in what has turned into a highly-entertaining regional rivalry. Auburn had a close escape in its national title season two years ago when Clemson forced overtime at Jordan-Hare Stadium before faulty field-goal kicking by the ACC rep allowed Gene Chizik’s side to escape with a 27-24 win.

Clemson, however, earned its revenge last September with a brisk 38-24 win at Death Valley. In the process Clemson ended a 17-game Auburn win streak that extended to the end of the 2009 season. The game was a coming-out party for a pair of Clemson offensive stars, with then-soph QB Tajh Boyd completing 30-of-42 passes for 386 yards and four TDs (without an interception) while true frosh WR Sammie Watkins caught 10 passes worth 155 yards, two of those catches good for TDs covering 65 and 19 yards, respectively. At one point in the game, Clemson converted 10 straight third-down conversions as Dabo Swinney’s 4½-point favored hosts won impressively.

But, there are some differing dynamics as the 2012 campaign opens. Watkins, one of the nation’s real gamebreakers who went on to a sensational freshman campaign last fall, is suspended for Clemson’s first two games of the season. Moreover, Boyd, who emerged as a star in the first half of the season as he adjusted seamlessly to the spread concepts introduced by new offensive coordinator Chad Morris (via Tulsa), regressed as last season came to a conclusion, riddled by mistakes as Clemson committed 16 turnovers in its last six games a year ago after coughing up the ball just eight times in the first eight games last fall.

Moreover, Clemson endured a haunting offseason as the last memory of the previous campaign was the 70-33 bomb dropped upon it by West Virginia in an embarrassing Orange Bowl blowout loss. It completed a late-season collapse by the Clemson “D” that allowed 31 points or more in six of its last eight games as Dabo’s team lost four of its last six after opening the season 8-0.

That defensive meltdown at the end of 2011 forced Swinney into making changes to his stop unit brain trust, with defensive coordinator Kevin Steele dismissed and Brent Venables, Oklahoma’s longtime d.c., lured from Norman.

Swinney believes that Steele was overloading his stop unit with too many schemes and variations. Venables' more-simplified approach is based more on reading and reacting, utilizing more zone looks and relying upon the defenders' instincts to sniff out the plays.

Offensively, coordinator Morris believes that QB Boyd is not quite a finished product, requiring better pocket presence and decision-making. Yet to add more variety to the strike force, Morris has installed some variations of the Nevada "Pistol" formation with direct snaps to Boyd in shorter-drops than the traditional shotgun.

Even minus Watkins at the outset, Clemson thinks it has a stellar group of wideouts with junior DeAndre Hopkins (72 catches last year) and physical route-running senior Jaron Brown (at least 30 catches the past two seasons) still in the fold. The "O" also has home run hitters at RB, especially senior Andre Ellington, who decided to stick around Death Valley one more autumn rather than test last April's NFL Draft. Which was fine by Swinney and Morris, who gladly welcomed back Ellington's 1,178 yards rushing and 11 TDs from 2011.

Meanwhile, the Auburn version of the Tigers continues to adjust in post-Cam Newton mode which became something of a challenge last fall when Chizik and then-offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn (who has since moved to Arkansas State to become the Red Wolves’ new head coach) were juggling QBs the entire fall.

New coordinator Scott Loeffler, via Temple, has installed a pro-style look that will emphasize a more-traditional rushing game featuring senior RB Ontario McCalebb and Illinois transfer FB Jay Prosch. Questions, however, still abound at QB, where soph Kiehl Frazier, who attempted only 12 passes last fall while working mostly out of since-abandoned Wildcat looks, beat out another returnee, Clint Moseley, for the job piloting the new-look strike force.

Chizik also brought in a new defensive coordinator, Brian VanGorder, from the NFL Atlanta Falcons to hopefully add more aggressiveness to a stop unit that sagged noticeably (allowing almost 29 ppg) a year ago.

Note that Swinney’s Clemson teams have tended to start fast from the gate, posting a 14-6-1 spread mark in their first seven games the past three seasons. Included are covers each of the past two years vs. Auburn.

As for Chizik’s Auburn, it ironically begins this season where it finished the last one at the Georgia Dome, where Auburn whipped Virginia, 43-24, in the Chick fil-A Bowl. Auburn, however, covered only one of five regular-season games away from Jordan-Hare Stadium a year ago, and just three of eight as an underdog.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:25 AM

Miami Hurricanes At Boston College In ACC Opener

The ’Canes are 2-2½ point favorites for Saturday’s conference opener at Boston College.

Once upon a time, the college football world stopped for a Boston College-Miami game. Reminders are not hard to find whenever the Eagles and Hurricanes get together.

Can it really be 28 years since that desperation heave on the final play of the game from Doug Flutie to Gerard Phelan gave BC a wild 47-45 win at the old Orange Bowl? Indeed, a generation has passed since Flutie’s dramatic game winner, officially a 48-yard TD pass but in reality about a 63-yard heave from Flutie to Phelan, who had remarkably gotten behind the last line of 'Cane DBs.

Of course, it provided the framework for Flutie’s Heisman Trophy victory the following week in a rare magical era on Chestnut Hill that, while becoming a long time ago, will surely never be forgotten.

There was nothing much memorable regarding either of these sides a year ago as both sides failed to crack the .500 barrier and were absent from bowl participation. In Miami’s case the ban was self-imposed after a 6-6 campaign in hopes of future lenience from the NCAA when it ever gets around to punishing the Hurricanes for off-field transgressions regarding, among other things, nefarious booster Nevin Shapiro. They still await a verdict from the governing body which most observers suggest will include further postseason bans.

Regardless of past history or issues swirling around the programs, they get together for the 2012 ACC opener at BC’s Alumni Stadium on Saturday. A check of the Don Best college football odds screen notes that Miami has moved to a 2-2½ point favorite by late in the week at most Las Vegas sports books, with the total mostly sitting at 44 shaded to the ‘under’ at the vast majority of wagering outlets.

The clash at Chestnut Hill, scheduled to be televised regionally by ABC, will kick off at 3:30 p.m. (ET), with expected summery conditions in New England. Game-time temperature is projected at 82 degrees, with mild winds from the north at 7-12 mph.

Although neither of these sides has been dismissed by prognosticators as perhaps becoming factors in the 2012 ACC race, neither are rated among the top contenders, either. In fact, Boston College’s situation is full of question marks as indicators that the program has begun to slip under fourth-year head coach Frank Spaziani are hard to ignore.

So much so, in fact, that many conference insiders suggest Spaziani enters the fall on the hot seat after the Eagles descended to a 4-8 mark a year ago. Moreover, Spaziani’s safety blanket, AD Gene DeFilippo, has announced his retirement effective the end of September. The combination of a fading program and new AD is often a recipe for a coaching change, although we dare any administrator to tell the intimidating Spaziani to his face that his services are no longer required.

But it is easy to see why Spaziani is in trouble, especially after the Eagles’ 12-year run of bowl appearances ended a year ago. The longtime defensive coordinator at the school prior to his promotion in 2009, Spaziani is admittedly no offensive genius. So conservative are his ideas on the attack end that it has been suggested that he might be comfy with Pat Buchanan as his offensive coordinator. And after last year’s strike force sunk to embarrassing levels (112th nationally in both scoring and total offense), Spaziani had no alternative but to look for a new offensive mastermind.

In the end, big Frank didn’t opt for Pat Buchanan, but rather ex-Kent State head coach Doug Martin, who coordinated a version of the spread last season at New Mexico State and has been authorized to put some zip into what was a rudimentary Eagle passing game that rarely featured QB Chase Rettig throwing downfield a year ago.

Rettig’s progress will be crucial, but already the BC attack is suffering from attrition, as key TE Chris Pantale will be out until October with a broken foot, and leading returning rusher Rolandan Finch has also been hobbled by a foot injury in August drills. Former leading rusher Montel Harris, who missed almost all of 2011 with knee problems, transferred to Temple in the offseason after being dismissed from the team in spring.

Moreover, Spaziani’s pride-and-joy defense is going to have to proceed minus do-everything LB Luke Kuechly, who was all around the field last fall when winning the Butkus Award but is now wearing the uniform of the NFL Carolina Panthers. As it was, Spaziani’s stop unit wasn’t quite as rock-ribbed a year ago as it was in 2010 when leading the nation in rush defense, slumping to 59th vs. the run and 70th overall a year ago.

ACC insiders suggest the “D” still looks formidable in the front seven, but there are concerns in a secondary that was so depth-shy in spring that walk-ons and offensive backups had to man the safety positions in the spring game due to injuries.

Meanwhile, Miami head coach Al Golden might be wondering what he got into at Coral Gables as the 'Cane program has been dogged by one distraction after another since his hiring from Temple after the 2010 season. The looming NCAA sanctions cast a further cloud over Miami entering 2012.

Prospects for meaningful improvement from last year’s 6-6 mark look a bit dicey as Golden embarks another semi-rebuilding job this fall after graduations and departures thinned the ranks of the returnees following last season. In total, only nine starters are back from the 2011 side.

The 'Canes suffered from erratic QB work the past few seasons from Jacory Harris and spent much of the spring and summer looking for a proper replacement before finally settling upon junior Stephen Morris, with a handful of career starts to his credit. Morris won a brisk QB battle with Memphis transfer Ryan Williams to finally claim the starting assignment in mid-August.

But with so many key offensive components (RB Lamar Miller, WR Tommy Streeter and OL Brandon Washington) leaving early for the NFL Draft, Golden and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been in scramble mode since spring. New receivers must step into the breach, while it would help if touted frosh RB Duke Johnson hits the ground running (so to speak). Moreover, Morris, up-and-down in past performances, must stabilize his efforts.

Golden also has some issues with a defense that allowed more than 66% completions a year ago and suffered further distractions in the offseason with the suspension of FS Ray-Ray Armstrong. Regional sources, however, note some potential playmakers in the front seven, especially DT Curtis Porter and LB Denzel Perryman.

The Hurricanes will be looking to avenge a late-season 24-17 loss to the 14-point underdog Eagles last November 25 at Sun Life Stadium, a game in which the departed BC star LB Kuechly returned an interception 48 yards for the deciding TD. Note that Spaziani’s BC has only covered 3-of-13 games at Alumni Stadium over the past two seasons, while Miami did manage spread wins in four of its five games away from home last fall.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:28 AM

Kentucky Visits Louisville In Bluegrass Rivalry

The college football battle between the Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats may not be as good as the hardwood version, but it’s always a fierce matchup.

This contest takes place Sunday at 3:30 pm (ET) from the strangely named Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville. The ratings should be pretty high on ESPN with two just Division I games that day and the NFL season still on hiatus.

The Don Best college football odds screen has Louisville between 13-13½ point home favorites. The total is sitting at 42.

The Cardinals are considered the best team in a weakened Big East that just lost West Virginia to the Big 12. Those two squads finished in a 3-way tie for the regular season crown last year (5-2 straight up), with West Virginia playing in the Orange Bowl due to a tiebreaker.

Coach Charlie Strong begins his third season at Louisville with the two previous years finishing 7-6. He is certainly encouraged by last year’s strong finish, 5-2 SU in the final seven, and bettors loved the 7-2 against the spread mark in the final nine.

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returns for his sophomore season after being the first true frosh to start for the team since 1976. The 6-foot-3 Miami native threw for an average of 220 yards his final five games ('over' 4-1) after 181.8 YPG in his first five ('under' 5-0) after becoming the starter on October 1.

Bridgewater has three of his four top receivers back from last year, but that was before Michaelee Harris (knee) was lost for the season earlier this month. It looks like a running back by committee with the starter still not announced, although junior Dominique Brown (533 yards last year) should have the inside track.

Strong made his name as a defensive coordinator at Florida and the 'D' was 10th in the country in rushing last year (100.5 YPG) and 23rd in total yards (327.9 YPG). Six starters are back, including the whole secondary, with safety Hakeem Smith the big name there.

Kentucky went 5-7 SU and 6-6 ATS in 2011, with one of those wins and covers against FCS Jacksonville State. The record in the SEC was 2-6 SU (4-4 ATS) and an even worse conference finish is predicted by many this year.

If there is improvement, it will have to come from the offense, ranked 118th out of 120 teams in total yards (259.8 YPG). Sophomore Maxwell Smith has been named the starter for Sunday and he played in eight games last year (starting three) and should develop after throwing for 819 yards last year.

Smith will benefit from having senior receiver La’Rod King (598 yards, seven TDs) back. Senior CoShik Williams leads the running back candidates, but there are questions along the left side of the offensive line.

The defense lost six starters (including all the linebackers) from a group that was 58th nationally at 377 YPG allowed.

These in-state rivals have met every year since 1994 and it’s been streaky. Louisville won last year 24-17 as 4½-point road ‘dogs. Kentucky took the prior four games (3-1 ATS).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:31 AM

Hokies Host Yellow Jackets In ACC Opener

Techies will be out in full force Monday night when ACC rivals Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech get their seasons underway in a nationally televised contest that some predict will decide the Coastal Division title of the ACC.

ESPN's broadcast from Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA begins at 8:00 p.m. (ET). Virginia Tech opened as a touchdown favorite with the spread now -7½ on the Hokies at most shops monitored by the Don Best Pro Odds. Monday's scoreboard hurdle is in the 48½-49 point range.

History is behind the notion that this game will determine the Coastal Division representative for the ACC Championship Game to be played in Charlotte on Dec. 1. Since splitting into two divisions for the 2005 season, the Hokies and Yellow Jackets have won every Coastal title, five times for Va Tech and twice by Georgia Tech, each time decided by the victor in this rivalry.

The Hokies have claimed the past two division crowns, beating Florida State in the 2010 ACC title tilt and losing last year to Clemson.

If Monday's winner does indeed go on to the conference championship, it will likely be resolved when Georgia Tech's potent option offense is on the field against a Virginia Tech defense that is picked to be among the best in the country.

Georgia Tech, a 12/1 pick to win the ACC title, has seven starters returning on an offense that finished in the top 20 last year averaging nearly 460 yards per game, more than 300 of that coming on the ground to rank second in that column. Senior QB Tevin Washington is among those seven returning starters, and four more are along the front wall that will be tested Monday night.

Washington paced the Ramblin' Wreck's ground attack with 987 yards rushing, also adding 1,652 yards through the air. However, he failed to complete 50 percent of his passes and had an 11:8 TD-to-interception rate. Washington will be breaking in new receivers with last year's top downfield threat, Stephen Hill, a second-round pick by the New York Jets this past April.

David Sims and Orwin Smith, who finished behind Washington with over 600 yards rushing each a year ago, are back in the fold to complement Paul Johnson's triple option. Both are listed as probable for Monday's contest as Sims works his way back from offseason surgery for a stress fracture in a shin and Smith from a late-season toe injury.

There are also seven defensive starters returning from a unit that surrendered over 160 yards per game on the ground and ranked a middling 60th in the country allowing over 26 points per contest. Virginia Tech, then No. 10 in the country, ran roughshod over the Yellow Jackets in a 37-26 win in Atlanta last November, amassing nearly 270 yards on the ground, all but about 100 of that from ACC Offensive Player of the Year David Wilson.

Georgia Tech won't have to worry about Wilson on Monday after the former Hokie was the 32nd-overall selection in the NFL Draft by the New York Giants. The Ramblin' Wreck will still have to worry about Va Tech junior QB Logan Thomas, however, who was part of all five TDs the Hokies scored in that win, three through the air and two more on the ground.

Michael Holmes, a redshirt freshman from Harrisonburg, VA, is listed at the top of the list to succeed Wilson as the feature back with true freshman JC Coleman waiting in the wings, though he could be red-shirted with junior Martin Scales beginning the season as Holmes' primary backup.

Head coach Frank Beamer may not need much offense considering the potential of his stop unit. Eight starters are back after the Hokies ranked seventh in the country in points allowed (17.6 ppg) and 10th in total defense (304.6 ypg). A very disruptive front wall returns intact, led by end James Gayle (7 sacks in 2011) and tackle Luther Maddy, and they will be complemented by both corners back in the mix, Kyle Fuller and Anton Exum.

Virginia Tech is not listing any significant injuries for the season opener.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:35 AM

ACC Report - Week 1

August 29, 2012

I have lived in Atlantic Coast Conference territory for a few years now, right in the heart of Tobacco Road. There is no denying that this has been, is, and likely always will be, basketball country. However, there are some die-hard football fans with unrealistic goals, especially at this time of the season, who believe each of their schools are national championship contenders.

Each week, I'll be looking at the five most intriguing matchups in the conference. Without further adieu, let's break down Week 1...

5-Star Game - Clemson vs. Auburn (from Georgia Dome)

The Clemson Tigers were thoroughly embarrassed in the Orange Bowl last season against West Virginia, who hung a 70-spot on them. They will have redemption on their mind as they roll into Atlanta Saturday night for the second half of the Chick-Fil-A opening weekend of games.

The Clemson Tigers usually have no trouble firing out of the chute. Traditionally, the Tigers roll early in the season, and don't disappoint until well after the leaves have changed colors and there is a chill in the upstate air. Clemson will be without playmaker Sammy Watkins (suspension) for the primetime battle, which is a big loss for the offense.

This battle of the Tigers will be won thanks to experience, and that favors Clemson heavily. Auburn was not a great passing offense last season, and QBs Kiehl Frazier and Clint Moseley are rather inexperienced coming into this one. In addition, the Tigers will have three first-time starters up front on the offensive line. While they have RB Onterrio McCalebb returning in the backfield, if the O-line can't open holes, it will be a very long evening for the Auburn offense.

4-Star Game - Tennessee vs. North Carolina State (from Georgia Dome)

While I tend to have a more discerning eye, I have gotten sucked into the hype surrounding head coach Tom O'Brien's North Carolina State Wolf Pack

N.C. State heads down to Atlanta for the Chick-Fil-A kickoff weekend to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. Bettors might be seeing red, as the ACC representative is getting three and a hook from most books.

First off, QB Tyler Bray is back for the Vols, and he showed be can be good. However, WR Da'Rick Rogers was suspended for multiple failed drug tests, and he has since transferred. That's a big piece of ammunition missing from Bray's arsenal. Add in the fact that the Vols do not have a top-notch caliber running back on their roster, and they might struggle to move the chains. Secondly, the Wolfpack have one of the best DBs in the nation in All-ACC CB David Amerson. He is the Darrelle Revis of the ACC. His nose for the ball literally shrinks the field for opposing offenses. Lastly, the Volunteers are changing their defensive scheme, and they are young and inexperienced as it is. Look for much confusion, as N.C. State's QB Mike Glennon picks them apart.

3-Star Game - Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech

Bettors will want to pay close attention to this one on the Labor Day holiday. Georgia Tech likely will want to take to the air quite a bit more with QB Tevin Washington, although they'll need someone to step up following the loss of WR Stephen Hill to the NFL. The Yellow Jackets ranked second overall in the nation in rushing yards per game last season, and Washington found the end zone three times on the ground against the Hokies last year. Don't think Virginia Tech doesn't remember that, and will be looking to atone.

The Hokies defense is the highlight of a team still looking for a runner to step up, and an offensive line to take shape. That defense has helped the under come through frequently for Virginia Tech in the past two seasons. The under is 15-5-1 in the past 21 games for Virginia Tech, and the under is 4-1 in the past five meetings between these sides.

Bettors will want to note that the Yellow Jackets are 4-0 ATS in their past four September games, while the Hokies are 0-5-1 ATS in their past six games at Lane Stadium, and 2-8 ATS in their past 10 games on grass. The road team has covered in five of the past six meetings in the 'Battle of the Techs'.

2-Star Game - Florida International at Duke

The Duke Blue Devils have appeared in just eight bowl games in school history, and just two since 1960. Their last postseason appearance came in 1995 in the Hall of Fame Bowl. However, hope springs eternal in Durham, and head coach David Cutcliffe is ever the optimist. He feels his squad could be very good if the offense can offset a rather marginal defense. He might be right, or he might be crazy. We'll see.

The Dukies do have WR Conner Vernon returning, and he might be one of the most unheralded receivers in the nation. He has tremendous hands, and is Duke's version of NFL star Wes Welker. FIU would be wise to pay tremendous mind to where No. 2 is on the field at all times.

FIU will need to find a playmaker to make up for WR T.Y. Hilton, who has moved on to the NFL. This game will be played at night at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, and that is not exactly a house of horrors for the opposition. Over the past couple of seasons, the Blue Devils have started slow. They lost to FCS power Richmond (who opens in Charlottesville at Virginia this weekend) in 2011, and they lost their first six games against FCS opponents in 2010 before showing signs of life late.

Bettors might want to take a good, long look at FIU on the road this weekend, as Duke tends to start slow, and awaken a few games into the season. At least that's been the trend lately.

1-Star Game - Miami (Fla.) at Boston College

It's Year 2 of the Al Golden era in Miami, and his Hurricanes will open the season on the road with a conference game. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Canes will face Boston College, which struggled mightily last year.

The Hurricanes have been installed as a slight favorite, and they are the better team here. The Hurricanes covered their final four games on the road last season, and they are 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings with B.C. Another trend bettors might like, the Eagles are 1-6 ATS in their past seven games in the month of September.

Another note to keep in mind, the Hurricanes tend to be slowed somewhat on the field turf. The over/under is listed as a rather marginal 44 points, but the under has cashed four times in the past five games Miami has played on field turf.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:38 AM

College Line Moves - Week 1

August 30, 2012

Future Update

USC opened as favorites to win the college football BCS Championship at MGM Resorts, but their odds have actually risen from the opening number of 5/1 up to 11/2 (Bet $100 to win $550) because of liability accumulated elsewhere among the 50 options listed on their future board. The same goes for Alabama, who opened as co-favorites with USC in February, but are now 6/1.

The new favorite is LSU, who opened at 7/1 as the fourth favored team in February, but are now 5/1. Oklahoma was the third choice at 7/1, but has been raised to 8/1.

The movement in odds is in no way an indication of who MGM Resorts thinks will win the title, or that they have shifted an opinion. It's more about what the public is thinking and betting as a whole. While William Hill and the LVH Super Book may have a better theoretic hold on all futures, no book offers a better barometer in Nevada of what the public is thinking than MGM Resorts.

Their mega resorts across the strip with 3,000 to 4,000 rooms at each -- full of churning visitors from all over the world every weekend -- offers a better glimpse at what the masses think than any other sports book. Their massive stretch of properties includes every type of Vegas vacation budget from the Bellagio, Aria, MGM, Mirage and Mandalay Bay to Circus Circus, Luxor, Excalibur, Monte Carlo and New York-New York.

So when it's stated that the bulk of MGM Resorts action through six months of action -- that has driven the price up on the favorites -- has come on Georgia, Oregon, Texas and Michigan, it should be noted that it's a massive accumulation of large and small money from everywhere that no else around sees. The future wagers at the MGM Resort properties could essentially carry them for an entire season in all sports, which is an amenity that every other book in envious of. Other books have seen action on those teams as well, but not in the type of volume they do.

Georgia and Oregon both opened up at 25/1 and have been bet all the way down to 6/1, a big enough move to suggest if either of those two teams win, it will be their worst decision on the board. Georgia was initially the 10th choice to win and Oregon the 11th.

Texas dropped from 35/1 down to 15/1 and Michigan dropped from an opener of 35/1 down to 12/1.

Another Big 10 team that has seen some action has been Wisconsin, who dropped from 50/1 down to 20/1.

Saturday's Moves

Here's a look at some of the Las Vegas line movements for Week 1 action on Saturday. Most sports books have had these lines posted since early August.

-- The Urban Meyer era gets underway in Columbus and bettors are buying in. Ohio State opened as a 22 ½-point home favorite against Miami-Ohio and have been bet up to -24 ½ in the last two days.

-- Nebraska saw some action two weeks ago for its home opener Southern Miss and still has been bet rapidly. The Huskers opened 17-point favorites and are now -20.

-- Miami (Fl.) saw some heavy sharp action on Monday and Tuesday for its road contest at Boston College. BC opened as a short 1-point favorite, but the action has turned the Hurricanes into 2 ½-point road favorites.

-- Iowa has seen a couple of bursts the last two weeks pushing their line quite a bit for their contest against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field. Iowa opened as a 6 ½-points favorite and the line is now -10.

-- Colorado opened as 5-points favorites against Colorado State for their annual match at Mile High sponsored Field and is now -6 ½.

-- Texas has recently been bet up from a 29-point home favorite against Wyoming to -31 ½.

-- The public loved USC laying 38-points at home against Hawaii when the line first came out and have been betting the Trojans steady the entire way through Wednesday up to -41 ½.

-- Alabama got a surge of action Monday pushing its line against Michigan from -12 up to -14 for the game at Cowboys Stadium.

-- Rutgers has moved from a 17 ½-point road favorite at Tulane to -20. The bulk of that action came two weeks ago.

-- And of course we have Oregon, another large ranked favorite, seeing action going from -35 to -37 at home against Arkansas State.

The trend from last season that sports books hated was that almost every top-10 ranked team covered the spread for the first six weeks. The public had a field day with parlays.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:41 AM

Big Ten Report - Week 1

August 30, 2012

The college football season kicks off this Thursday and we are here to breakdown the first installment of our week-by-week Big Ten betting report. Along with two marquee games this week, Alabama-Michigan & Boise State-Michigan State, we also have plenty of other action.

Let's look at every team in the conference!

Thursday, Aug. 30

Minnesota (-8.5) at UNLV - 11:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Gophers kick off the season for the Big Ten in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Minnesota should be improved in the second season under head coach Jerry Kill. If that's the case, it should be able to beat a struggling UNLV program, even on the road. Quarterback MarQueis Gray and this offense struggled to put up points a year ago, but they shouldn't have much trouble here against this UNLV program that ranked 118th in points allowed last season at 40.4 PPG allowed. The Gophers defense improved over the 2nd half of last season and could get a boost of confidence with a big game here as UNLV ranked 117th in total offense a year ago. Minnesota is 8-2 in road openers with the average win by 17 points per game. The Gophers played well on the road to open up the season last year, nearly pulling an upset over #25 USC as a 23-point underdog (lost 17-19). UNLV is 2-11 vs. Big Ten teams. The Rebels are 13-8 in home openers, but just 1-5 against BCS conference teams.

Friday, Aug. 31

No. 13 Michigan State (-7) vs. No. 24 Boise State - 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Two new quarterbacks are the big story here, as both get tossed into the fire against stout defenses. MSU will replace the team's career leader in passing yards with junior Andrew Maxwell (18-of-26 in relief duty a year ago). Meanwhile, Boise State replaces the NCAA's career wins leader with junior Joe Southwick (23-of-30 in relief last season). Along with the quarterback position, MSU has to replace its top four receivers from a year ago, but they do return 4/5 of the offensive line and RB Le'Veon Bell. Michigan State had the 10th best scoring defense and the 5th best overall defense in 2011 and this unit could be even better this year. They return eight starters, including their top two tacklers and top two pass rushers. The Spartans have won 13 straight home openers by an average of 23 points per game. Under Dantonio MSU is 14-1 hosting non-Big Ten opponents. However, they are just 6-13 vs. Top 25 opponents under Dantonio. Boise State returns just five starters on offense and two on defense, but don't sleep on the Broncos. Boise State is 8-1 vs. BCS schools since 2006, 21-1 the last four years in true road games, and 7-2 in road openers. This is the fourth straight year that BSU will open up the season against ranked BCS team.

Saturday, Sept. 1

Northwestern (-1) vs. Syracuse - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Northwestern has to replace longtime starting QB Dan Persa. QB Kain Colter steps in after starting three games last year and he gives the Wildcats a dynamic athlete under center. Colter led the team in rushing, tossed six touchdown passes, and caught 43 passes in 2011. This Northwestern defense can't be much worse than it was in 2011, and while there will be more youth throughout the unit, there also should be more talent. Syracuse ranked 90th in total offense a year ago, but the return of senior QB Ryan Nassib (22 touchdowns, 9 interceptions in 2011) should be a big boost for this unit. These two last met in 2009 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. It was an offensive shootout that saw 71 total points and 937 total yards in the Orange's three point victory. Syracuse is 2-6 ATS over its last eight games as a home underdog. Northwestern has won seven straight season openers by an average of 19 points per game. The last two years were wins against BCS schools; at Vanderbilt and at Boston College.

Penn State (-6) vs. Ohio - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Bill O'Brien era kicks off, and there are sure to be plenty of stories focusing on the atmosphere around Beaver Stadium after a tumultuous offseason for the Nittany Lions. The Lions will ride emotion and a stout defensive front seven this fall, and they could go further than most think after a brutal offseason. Penn State has just four returning starters on defense and two on offense and lost a lot of depth after players decided to transfer once the NCAA came down with all of the penalties. PSU really struggled to score points last year and it's hard to envision this offense making a huge stride this season. Ohio, meanwhile, is off of a 10-win season that included a Bowl win and the Bobcats are the popular pick as a "BCS-Buster" in 2012. QB Tyler Tettleton returns after tossing 28 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more. The defense should also be strong as eight starters return. Penn State has won 10 straight home openers by an average of 29 points per game. They are also 12-0 at home against non-BCS schools since 2007 with the average score of 41-8. Ohio is 4-10 in road openers (0-8 vs. BCS-schools). Since 1998, the Bobcats are 3-22 on the road against BCS-schools with six straight losses.

Illinois (-10) vs. Western Michigan - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
The Tim Beckman era begins against a Broncos team that played the Illini tough last year in Champaign. Beckman coached Toledo to a 66-63 victory over Western Michigan last year. When Illinois-WMU met last season, the Illini (-14) thoroughly dominated the Broncos in the statistical category - outgaining WMU by 150 yards - but only won the game by three points. Beckman came over from Toledo, where he coached from 2009-11. Over that span, he matched up with Western Michigan three times, winning each of the last two seasons. Defensively this unit ranked 7th in total yards allowed, 3rd in passing yards allowed, and 15th in points allowed in 2011. UI didn't lose much and this defense still figures to be a stacked unit with seven starters returning. Defensively WMU was pretty terrible last season. They ranked 99th in total yards allowed and 76th in points allowed. They allowed 30+ points in six different occasions last season, including 66 points to the Tim Beckman coached Toledo Rockets. The Illini have won 14 straight home openers by an average of 27 points per game. Western Michigan has lost 17 straight road openers by 24 points per game (all to BCS-schools).

No. 18 Ohio State (-24) vs. Miami (OH) - 12:00 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Urban Meyer coaches his first game for the Buckeyes, who are heavy favorites over the RedHawks. This offense will have a much different look and dual-threat QB Braxton Miller should really reap the benefits. This unit will be much better than last year's version that ranked 105th in yards per game and 81st in points per game. Defensively the Bucks ranked 19th in total D in 2011, and with nine starters back that number could rise into the top-10. Eight of the top 10 tacklers return, along with the entire defensive line and secondary. The RedHawks should be much improved than their 4-8 campaign in 2011. They have nine returning starters on offense including QB Zac Dysert (23 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions). Defensively they lost their top three tacklers from a year ago and they could have a difficult time stopping the speed of Ohio State on Saturday. Ohio State has won 33 straight home openers by 22 points per game. The Buckeyes are also 16-0 vs. the MAC since 2000, with the average winning margin of 25 points per game. Miami is 1-8 SU in its last nine road openers, but they are 4-1 ATS - with covers at Missouri, Florida, at Michigan.

Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois - 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Hawkeyes fans are sure to pack Chicago's Soldier Field to watch their team take on the Huskies, who went 11-3 and won a Bowl game last season. Iowa returns senior QB James Vandenberg (25 TD & 7 INT in 2011), but has to replace its top RB, top WR, and 3/5 of the offensive line. The defensive unit is in worse shape. This unit struggled a year ago (60th in total defense) and they return just five starters. This would be a popular upset pick if Northern Illinois wasn't replacing seven of 11 starters on its offense that ranked 11th overall in 2011. Iowa is 7-0 against NIU with an average win margin of 31 points per game. The Hawkeyes have won 11 straight season openers, but are 0-3 ATS the last three seasons. Northern Illinois is 2-8 SU but 5-4 ATS its last 10 games against BCS-schools.

Purdue (NL) vs. Eastern Kentucky - 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Purdue head coach Danny Hope faces his alma mater here, but the FCS Colonels shouldn't be much of a match for what appears to be an improved Purdue squad. Danny Hope repeatedly called this his best Boilers team during the offseason. QB Caleb TerBush is one of eight returning starters on offense, including the top rusher and top receiver. They also get a strong return on defense as seven starters are back. Both units should be much improved from 2011 (offense ranked 72nd and defense ranked 73rd) and this should be an easy win for Purdue. Purdue has won eight straight home openers with the average score of 46-19. It has failed to cover three of the last four, however.

No. 17 Nebraska (-20) vs. Southern Miss - 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC-Regional)
The Huskers don't have a gimme in their opener against the Golden Eagles, who went 12-2 in 2011. But Southern Miss has a new coach and several new starters, including its star QB Austin Davis (30 touchdown passes in 2011). Nebraska returns 15 starters, including QB Martinez, RB Burkhead, and its top three receivers. Martinez is said to have greatly improved his accuracy from 2011, when he completed just 56.2% with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Defensively the Huskers lots its top three playmakers on all three levels. So this unit that ranked 37th overall will have to develop new leaders and playmakers. Southern Miss has dropped seven straight road openers (dropping the last five by 15 points per game), the last win was in 2004 against Nebraska. The Huskers are 26-0 since 1985 in home openers. They've won the last five by an average score of 47-11.

No. 12 Wisconsin (NL) vs. Northern Iowa - 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Northern Iowa is a good FCS program that won 10 games last season. But the Badgers, who will be debuting new starting quarterback Danny O'Brien, usually make quick work of outmanned opponents at Camp Randall Stadium. The offense might not be as electric as it was the past two seasons, but Heisman finalist Montee Ball is back and they should have no problem putting up big points against UNI. The Badgers have won 16 straight home openers at Camp Randall Stadium by 20 points per game. They are 50-4 straight up and 27-16-1 ATS as a home favorite at home since 2004.

No. 8 Michigan (+13.5) vs. No. 2 Alabama - 8:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
This game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Wolverines could plant a big flag for the Big Ten and themselves if they can pull this one off. Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson expects to have Michigan in the hunt of a Big Ten title this season and also has his foot in the Heisman race. He'll need a big game against nations reigning top-scoring and top-overall defense from 2011. Alabama did lose its top three defenders, but Nick Saban has built too much depth there to think there will be much of a drop off. Meanwhile, Alabama's offense that returns starting QB AJ McCarron and what could be the top offensive line in the nation will give Michigan's defense a huge early season test. Alabama is 19-2 in its last 21 season openers. Since '99 the National Champion from the previous year is 13-0 with the average win of 45-13 in the season opener. Michigan is 5-1 SU against non-conference BCS opponents the last two seasons, but 0-1 against SEC opponents.

Indiana (NL) vs. Indiana State - 8:00 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
The Hoosiers will be attempting to win their first game since September 17 of last year here against FCS Indiana State. Indiana shouldn't go 1-11 again, and they could be dangerous on the offensive side as sophomore QB Roberson improves in the passing game. The top RB and WR return to aid Roberson. And seven starters on defense, along with an influx of junior college transfers. Indiana will be improved, but are still a few years away from contending from a Big Ten title. Indiana is 3-0 against Indiana State, outscoring them 119-10.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:23766 Followers:32
09/01/2012 09:41 AM

Big Ten Report - Week 1

August 30, 2012

The college football season kicks off this Thursday and we are here to breakdown the first installment of our week-by-week Big Ten betting report. Along with two marquee games this week, Alabama-Michigan & Boise State-Michigan State, we also have plenty of other action.

Let's look at every team in the conference!

Thursday, Aug. 30

Minnesota (-8.5) at UNLV - 11:00 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
The Gophers kick off the season for the Big Ten in Las Vegas on Thursday night. Minnesota should be improved in the second season under head coach Jerry Kill. If that's the case, it should be able to beat a struggling UNLV program, even on the road. Quarterback MarQueis Gray and this offense struggled to put up points a year ago, but they shouldn't have much trouble here against this UNLV program that ranked 118th in points allowed last season at 40.4 PPG allowed. The Gophers defense improved over the 2nd half of last season and could get a boost of confidence with a big game here as UNLV ranked 117th in total offense a year ago. Minnesota is 8-2 in road openers with the average win by 17 points per game. The Gophers played well on the road to open up the season last year, nearly pulling an upset over #25 USC as a 23-point underdog (lost 17-19). UNLV is 2-11 vs. Big Ten teams. The Rebels are 13-8 in home openers, but just 1-5 against BCS conference teams.

Friday, Aug. 31

No. 13 Michigan State (-7) vs. No. 24 Boise State - 8:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Two new quarterbacks are the big story here, as both get tossed into the fire against stout defenses. MSU will replace the team's career leader in passing yards with junior Andrew Maxwell (18-of-26 in relief duty a year ago). Meanwhile, Boise State replaces the NCAA's career wins leader with junior Joe Southwick (23-of-30 in relief last season). Along with the quarterback position, MSU has to replace its top four receivers from a year ago, but they do return 4/5 of the offensive line and RB Le'Veon Bell. Michigan State had the 10th best scoring defense and the 5th best overall defense in 2011 and this unit could be even better this year. They return eight starters, including their top two tacklers and top two pass rushers. The Spartans have won 13 straight home openers by an average of 23 points per game. Under Dantonio MSU is 14-1 hosting non-Big Ten opponents. However, they are just 6-13 vs. Top 25 opponents under Dantonio. Boise State returns just five starters on offense and two on defense, but don't sleep on the Broncos. Boise State is 8-1 vs. BCS schools since 2006, 21-1 the last four years in true road games, and 7-2 in road openers. This is the fourth straight year that BSU will open up the season against ranked BCS team.

Saturday, Sept. 1

Northwestern (-1) vs. Syracuse - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
Northwestern has to replace longtime starting QB Dan Persa. QB Kain Colter steps in after starting three games last year and he gives the Wildcats a dynamic athlete under center. Colter led the team in rushing, tossed six touchdown passes, and caught 43 passes in 2011. This Northwestern defense can't be much worse than it was in 2011, and while there will be more youth throughout the unit, there also should be more talent. Syracuse ranked 90th in total offense a year ago, but the return of senior QB Ryan Nassib (22 touchdowns, 9 interceptions in 2011) should be a big boost for this unit. These two last met in 2009 at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. It was an offensive shootout that saw 71 total points and 937 total yards in the Orange's three point victory. Syracuse is 2-6 ATS over its last eight games as a home underdog. Northwestern has won seven straight season openers by an average of 19 points per game. The last two years were wins against BCS schools; at Vanderbilt and at Boston College.

Penn State (-6) vs. Ohio - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
The Bill O'Brien era kicks off, and there are sure to be plenty of stories focusing on the atmosphere around Beaver Stadium after a tumultuous offseason for the Nittany Lions. The Lions will ride emotion and a stout defensive front seven this fall, and they could go further than most think after a brutal offseason. Penn State has just four returning starters on defense and two on offense and lost a lot of depth after players decided to transfer once the NCAA came down with all of the penalties. PSU really struggled to score points last year and it's hard to envision this offense making a huge stride this season. Ohio, meanwhile, is off of a 10-win season that included a Bowl win and the Bobcats are the popular pick as a "BCS-Buster" in 2012. QB Tyler Tettleton returns after tossing 28 touchdowns and rushing for 10 more. The defense should also be strong as eight starters return. Penn State has won 10 straight home openers by an average of 29 points per game. They are also 12-0 at home against non-BCS schools since 2007 with the average score of 41-8. Ohio is 4-10 in road openers (0-8 vs. BCS-schools). Since 1998, the Bobcats are 3-22 on the road against BCS-schools with six straight losses.

Illinois (-10) vs. Western Michigan - 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
The Tim Beckman era begins against a Broncos team that played the Illini tough last year in Champaign. Beckman coached Toledo to a 66-63 victory over Western Michigan last year. When Illinois-WMU met last season, the Illini (-14) thoroughly dominated the Broncos in the statistical category - outgaining WMU by 150 yards - but only won the game by three points. Beckman came over from Toledo, where he coached from 2009-11. Over that span, he matched up with Western Michigan three times, winning each of the last two seasons. Defensively this unit ranked 7th in total yards allowed, 3rd in passing yards allowed, and 15th in points allowed in 2011. UI didn't lose much and this defense still figures to be a stacked unit with seven starters returning. Defensively WMU was pretty terrible last season. They ranked 99th in total yards allowed and 76th in points allowed. They allowed 30+ points in six different occasions last season, including 66 points to the Tim Beckman coached Toledo Rockets. The Illini have won 14 straight home openers by an average of 27 points per game. Western Michigan has lost 17 straight road openers by 24 points per game (all to BCS-schools).

No. 18 Ohio State (-24) vs. Miami (OH) - 12:00 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Urban Meyer coaches his first game for the Buckeyes, who are heavy favorites over the RedHawks. This offense will have a much different look and dual-threat QB Braxton Miller should really reap the benefits. This unit will be much better than last year's version that ranked 105th in yards per game and 81st in points per game. Defensively the Bucks ranked 19th in total D in 2011, and with nine starters back that number could rise into the top-10. Eight of the top 10 tacklers return, along with the entire defensive line and secondary. The RedHawks should be much improved than their 4-8 campaign in 2011. They have nine returning starters on offense including QB Zac Dysert (23 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions). Defensively they lost their top three tacklers from a year ago and they could have a difficult time stopping the speed of Ohio State on Saturday. Ohio State has won 33 straight home openers by 22 points per game. The Buckeyes are also 16-0 vs. the MAC since 2000, with the average winning margin of 25 points per game. Miami is 1-8 SU in its last nine road openers, but they are 4-1 ATS - with covers at Missouri, Florida, at Michigan.

Iowa (-10) vs. Northern Illinois - 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPNU)
Hawkeyes fans are sure to pack Chicago's Soldier Field to watch their team take on the Huskies, who went 11-3 and won a Bowl game last season. Iowa returns senior QB James Vandenberg (25 TD & 7 INT in 2011), but has to replace its top RB, top WR, and 3/5 of the offensive line. The defensive unit is in worse shape. This unit struggled a year ago (60th in total defense) and they return just five starters. This would be a popular upset pick if Northern Illinois wasn't replacing seven of 11 starters on its offense that ranked 11th overall in 2011. Iowa is 7-0 against NIU with an average win margin of 31 points per game. The Hawkeyes have won 11 straight season openers, but are 0-3 ATS the last three seasons. Northern Illinois is 2-8 SU but 5-4 ATS its last 10 games against BCS-schools.

Purdue (NL) vs. Eastern Kentucky - 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Purdue head coach Danny Hope faces his alma mater here, but the FCS Colonels shouldn't be much of a match for what appears to be an improved Purdue squad. Danny Hope repeatedly called this his best Boilers team during the offseason. QB Caleb TerBush is one of eight returning starters on offense, including the top rusher and top receiver. They also get a strong return on defense as seven starters are back. Both units should be much improved from 2011 (offense ranked 72nd and defense ranked 73rd) and this should be an easy win for Purdue. Purdue has won eight straight home openers with the average score of 46-19. It has failed to cover three of the last four, however.

No. 17 Nebraska (-20) vs. Southern Miss - 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC-Regional)
The Huskers don't have a gimme in their opener against the Golden Eagles, who went 12-2 in 2011. But Southern Miss has a new coach and several new starters, including its star QB Austin Davis (30 touchdown passes in 2011). Nebraska returns 15 starters, including QB Martinez, RB Burkhead, and its top three receivers. Martinez is said to have greatly improved his accuracy from 2011, when he completed just 56.2% with 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. Defensively the Huskers lots its top three playmakers on all three levels. So this unit that ranked 37th overall will have to develop new leaders and playmakers. Southern Miss has dropped seven straight road openers (dropping the last five by 15 points per game), the last win was in 2004 against Nebraska. The Huskers are 26-0 since 1985 in home openers. They've won the last five by an average score of 47-11.

No. 12 Wisconsin (NL) vs. Northern Iowa - 3:30 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
Northern Iowa is a good FCS program that won 10 games last season. But the Badgers, who will be debuting new starting quarterback Danny O'Brien, usually make quick work of outmanned opponents at Camp Randall Stadium. The offense might not be as electric as it was the past two seasons, but Heisman finalist Montee Ball is back and they should have no problem putting up big points against UNI. The Badgers have won 16 straight home openers at Camp Randall Stadium by 20 points per game. They are 50-4 straight up and 27-16-1 ATS as a home favorite at home since 2004.

No. 8 Michigan (+13.5) vs. No. 2 Alabama - 8:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
This game will be played at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Wolverines could plant a big flag for the Big Ten and themselves if they can pull this one off. Michigan senior quarterback Denard Robinson expects to have Michigan in the hunt of a Big Ten title this season and also has his foot in the Heisman race. He'll need a big game against nations reigning top-scoring and top-overall defense from 2011. Alabama did lose its top three defenders, but Nick Saban has built too much depth there to think there will be much of a drop off. Meanwhile, Alabama's offense that returns starting QB AJ McCarron and what could be the top offensive line in the nation will give Michigan's defense a huge early season test. Alabama is 19-2 in its last 21 season openers. Since '99 the National Champion from the previous year is 13-0 with the average win of 45-13 in the season opener. Michigan is 5-1 SU against non-conference BCS opponents the last two seasons, but 0-1 against SEC opponents.

Indiana (NL) vs. Indiana State - 8:00 p.m. ET (Big Ten Network)
The Hoosiers will be attempting to win their first game since September 17 of last year here against FCS Indiana State. Indiana shouldn't go 1-11 again, and they could be dangerous on the offensive side as sophomore QB Roberson improves in the passing game. The top RB and WR return to aid Roberson. And seven starters on defense, along with an influx of junior college transfers. Indiana will be improved, but are still a few years away from contending from a Big Ten title. Indiana is 3-0 against Indiana State, outscoring them 119-10.

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