You are using an old web browser. Such browsers do not support modern web technologies and do not offer proper security. Please update your browser or download one of the others suggested for free.
Mozilla Firefox |
Google Chrome |
Internet Explorer |
Saturday's List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud........
13) Over first two weeks of NFL football, there were 197 red zone drives that resulted in 975 points, for an average of 4.95 yards/drive (excluding kneel down drives at end of games). To me, that should be how the NFL ranks red zone efficiency, points/drive, not TD percentage.
12) Best red zone teams so far; Bills five drives, 35 points (7.), followed by Denver (6.3), Baltimore (6.2) and 49ers/Packers (6.).
11) On other end of spectrum, Browns have two FGs on three red zone drives (2.0), making them the worst red zone team so far. Just above them are Rams/Seattle (3.71) and the Colts (3.86). Three rookie QBs and Sam Bradford, playing for his third OC in three years.
10) There is a perception amongst gamblers that the replacement refs are helping the home teams, creating the reality of some Las Vegas books making home teams lay an extra half-point, or get a half-point less.
9) My observation about the replacement refs is that most of them are intimidated, so teams should throw 80% of their pass plays towards their sidelines, where they can bitch at the refs on close plays and pick up an extra call or two. This would especially hold on critical third down plays. I’m not kidding; lot of times we’ve seen a guy on the sideline yell at the ref and then the ref reaches and throws a flag.
8) Eli Manning completed eight passes for 243 yards in the 4th quarter alone vs Tampa Bay last week; shouldn’t the Cowboys come out in no-huddle against the Bucs this week?
7) Peyton Manning is 0-5 with three INTs on passes that went 20+ yards downfield; it’s a small sample, but a situation worth following.
6) 65 of 92 Super Bowl teams started that season 2-0; last 0-3 team to make the playoffs? The ’98 Buffalo Bills.
5) Actor Ed O’Neill, who played Al Bundy on TV and the reporter in Blue Chips, was in training camp as a defensive lineman with the Steelers in 1969, same year Pitt drafted Joe Greene and LC Greenwood. Needless to say, O’Neill got cut, but he’s done alright for himself since.
4) I had forgotten that Hubert Davis quit ESPN and is an assistant hoop coach at North Carolina. I’ll miss his pleasant nature on TV.
3) What a basketball odyssey Darko Milicic has had; I was 100% wrong about him, thought he was going to be super in the Vlade Divac mold as a great-passing big man who was a terrific teammate.
It never happened and now he’s a journeyman bouncing from team to team, making a freakin’ fortune anyway. Darko will be on the Celtics this season; I still find myself rooting for him. He was so highly thought of the Pistons drafted him ahead of Dwyane Wade. Whoops.
2) When you hear a pitcher has an oblique injury and Lord knows there are a lot of them, know that if the injury is on the same side as his pitching arm, its not as severe as if the injury is on the opposite side. You learn these kind of things when you root for the A’s.
1) NFL almost fined Alex Smith $15,000 because he wore an SF Giants’ ballcap to a press conference; only thing that probably saved him was NFL’s new agreement with New ERA, which makes hats for both MLB and NFL. Giants’ skipper Bruce Bochy wore a 49ers’ cap to his press briefing the next day, to show support for Smith.
NFL takes its licensing agreements very, very seriously. Too bad they don’t take the officiating in their games that seriously.
With a few more weeks until Punta Cana lets start cashing some more tickets to help pay for the trip. Buy point where needed. Couple really tough losses, damn. Last second scores cost me a couple wins. So gonna add a couple totals for tonight to add to the night card I posted earlier. Too many plays I posted today but too late to go back on that. GL and good night.
Home side won last five Clemson-Florida State games, with favorites covering three of last four; Tigers lost five of last six visits to Florida State, with five of six losses by 14+ points (lost 16-13/41-27 last two times here). Clemson is 5-2 as road dog under Swinney; they ran ball for 320 yards in 26-19 win over Auburn, only good team they’ve played this year, which is one more than Florida State has played. Seminoles are 13-8 as favorite under Fisher, 8-6 at home; they crushed first three cupcakes they played by combined score of 176-3, but two were I-AA teams, and FSU had revenge motive against Wake (had lost four of previous six to Deacons).
Georgia won 14 of last 15 games with Vanderbilt, winning last five (2-3 vs spread), with only two of five by more than 10 points. Improved Vandy lost six of last seven visits here but went 4-3 vs spread in those games; they outrushed Georgia 199-117 in LY’s 33-28 (+11) home loss, but used different QB in last week’s I-AA walkover, benching returning starter Rodgers (Aaron’s brother), after he completed 30-56 passes in opening losses to South Carolina/Northwestern. Vandy is 2-6 as road underdog last 2+ years. Dawgs are 8-5 in last 13 games as home favorite, 0-2 this year (won 45-23/56-20 over stiffs)- they play Tennessee/South Carolina next two weeks, better not look ahead.
First road game for RichRod’s Arizona squad that hammered Oklahoma State 59-38 at home two weeks ago; Wildcats lost last four games with Oregon by average score of 51-36, so total of 77 seems reachable. Underdogs are 4-2-1 vs spread in last seven series games, but 1-3-1 in last five played here. Oregon has run ball for average of 329 yards/game in first three wins. Arizona was 4-6-2 as road dog last four years under Stoops; Ducks are 11-8-1 as home favorites under Kelly, 0-2 this year (won 57-34/42-25 over lesser foes, taking foot off gas in second half). Scary thing about Oregon is they start a redshirt freshman QB and three sophs on offensive line.
UCLA is vastly improved under former NFL coach Mora, averaging 622 yards, 41 ppg in 3-0 start, including 36-30 upset of Nebraska; Bruins won seven of last nine games with Oregon State, but weird thing is, this is first time in last four meetings here they’ve been favored over State (dogs covered nine of last 12 series games, four of six here). Beavers are usually slow starters, but they upset Wisconsin 10-7 at home two weeks ago, in their only game so far this year (opener was ppd, had bye last week). Since 2004, Bruins are 19-10 vs spread as home favorites; since ’06, Oregon State is 15-9 as road underdog. OSU had soph QB with 12 career starts; entire OL is juniors/seniors.
USC’s national title hopes took huge hit last week with loss at Stanford, when they ran ball for only 29 yards (had only 81 rushing yards vs Hawai’i). Trojans won last eight games with Cal, covering six of last seven; they won last three played here by average score of 29-9. Cal lost winnable 35-28 game at Ohio State last week, victimized by a lousy kicker; they’ve allowed 31+ points in all three games, including 50-31 win over I-AA Southern Utah. Bears are 5-3 vs spread in last nine games as road dog- they’ve got senior QB with 27 career starts (most at Buffalo of MAC) and OL that starts three seniors, two freshmen. Since 2003, USC is 11-6 vs spread in game following a loss.
Auburn won national title with Cam Newton two years ago; since then, they’re 9-7, 1-2 this year, with only win in OT over UL-Monroe in game where total yardage was 418-410. If ULM runs ball for 165 yards vs Auburn (Clemson had 320), what will Bayou Bengals do? Over last decade, War Eagles are 7-3 as home underdog, 4-1 under Chizik, but they’ve completed just 34-67 passes this year with soph Frazier under center. They’ll need better balance to come close to pulling upset. First road game for LSU QB Mettenberger, who will rely on OL with four returning starters; Tigers ran ball for average for 268 yards/game in first three wins. Miles covered his last five tries as a road favorite. Six of last eight series games were decided by 7 or less points.
Georgia Tech relentlessly runs its option offense, so if you can’t stop the run, you’re dead; Miami allowed 32-52 points in two away games vs I-A opponents this year, giving up 542-518 TY, allowing 308 rushing yards at K-State, then 222 vs I-AA Bethune-Cookman last week. Hurricanes are 4-2 as road underdogs under Golden; they’ve pounded Tech last three years, 33-17/35-10/33-17, but were favored in all three games, in series where favored covered seven of last nine meetings. Tech is 10-8-1 as home favorite under Johnson; they’ve got senior QB with 20 career starts- their OL starts four juniors and a senior. Conference favorites are 8-7 vs spread this young season.
Mizzou-South Carolina last met in lower-level bowl seven years ago. Missouri is in Columbia, South Carolina is too, just two different Columbias. Both teams have QB injury issues; Gamecocks’ Shaw has bum shoulder—his replacement Thompson looked more than competent in big win last week. Mizzou QB Franklin declined painkilling shot last week, so he didn’t play; not sure if/how that affects team morale/chemistry. RS freshman Berkstresser beat Arizona State 24-20 in his first start, but completed just 21-41 passes, and isn’t nearly as mobile as Franklin. Since 2003, Mizzou is 10-7 vs spread as road underdog. Gamecocks covered seven of last ten as a home favorite.
Over last 14 years, Notre Dame has been favored to beat Michigan four times; they lost all four SU (all were in last six years). Underdog is whopping 14-2 in last 16 series games, with Michigan winning last three meetings, all by exactly 4 points, despite allowing average of 512.7 TY in those games. Wolverines are just 4-8 as road underdogs since Lloyd Carr retired; they’ve got mobile senior QB making 31st career start and three starters back on OL. Irish off to solid 3-0 start but scored only 20 points in beating Purdue/Mich State last two weeks. ND completed only 14-32 passes last week. Kelly has option to go to better passer Rees, if things get dicey. Since 2004, Irish are 12-24-1 as home favorites.
Minnesota’s mobile senior QB Gray (used to be WR), is out hurt (ankle), so soph Shortell (2 starts LY) is playing and doing OK (15-23 with four TDs); Gophers are 3-0, winning at UNLV in OT and beating Western Michigan by 5, hardly stellar feats, but wins nonetheless. Minnesota is just 6-11 as home favorites since Glen Mason left town after ’06 season, but Coach Kill has won at lower levels (So. Illinois/No. Illinois) and is making progress here. Syracuse allowed 42 points each in losses to Northwestern/USC, then struggled to beat I-AA Stony Brook 28-17 last week. Orange has senior QB who has improved a lot- they’re 5-7 as road dog under Marrone. Big East non-conference underdogs are 4-0-1 vs spread this year.
Over last five years, Kansas State is 13-3 vs spread as road underdog, covering last six such games; mobile senior QB Klein (started 2 games at WR couple years ago) has completed 73% of passes this, 25-32 vs Miami/North Texas, their I-A foes, but K-State has been hammered by Oklahoma of late, losing last five meetings by average of 22 points (56-17 LY). Hard to tell much about Oklahoma yet this year; they struggled at UTEP in opener (was 7-7 at half) before they won 24-7, then beat I-AA opponent after that, before last week’s bye. Sooners have terrific senior QB Jones (39 career starts); since 2006, they’re 23-11-1 vs spread as a home favorite. Was OU holding back before their conference opener?
Utah split pair of in-state rivalry games last two weeks, edging BYU in wild finish last week, after rare loss to Utah State the week before; over last decade, Utes are 13-8 vs spread as road underdogs (9-8 under Willingham). Utah lost its #1 QB (shoulder/quit football) so they’re using stopgap guy while trying to work more mobile sub in to play in running situations. Utah is 11-16 vs spread in last 27 games that followed a win. Arizona State (-3) went to Utah and waxed Utes 35-14 LY, thanks to + 5 turnover ratio. Young ASU lost 7 starters on both side of ball; they’re playing two QBs and coming off first loss (24-20 @ Missouri team playing without its #1 QB). Since ’07, Sun Devils are 15-11 as a home favorite.
Sun Belt teams are an impressive 13-5 vs spread in non-conference games this year, 2-2 as favorites, 0-2 at home; Western Kentucky upset in-state rival Kentucky last week, as Coach Taggart gradually upgrades his program- they were outgained 328-224 at Alabama the week before, not so bad- they’ve got senior QB making 34th career start and four returning starters on OL. WKU is 1-4 vs spread as a home favorite since moving to I-A. Southern Mississippi is 0-2 with 12 new starters and new coach; they outgained East Carolina by 96 yards last week, but -3 turnover ratio doomed them. C-USA teams are 9-15 vs spread out of conference this year, 4-7 as road underdogs.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up an active sports Saturday.........
13) Florida State looked really, really good in ringing up 667 yards on a good Clemson team, pulling away to beat the Tigers 49-37. Clemson led by 10 points in the second half before the Seminoles got hot.
12) Central Michigan scored 9 points in game's last 0:45 as Chippewas went to Iowa City and stunned a lackluster Hawkeye squad, 32-31.
Somewhere, Central Michigan alum Dick Enberg is smiling.
11) When was last time Northwestern/Minnesota were both 4-0?
10) Oregon State won at UCLA, then the whole team went to In 'n Out Burger before heading back to Corvallis. Beavers deserve to be ranked this week, starting season off by beating Wisconsin/UCLA.
9) Army scored 40-37 points the last two weeks, but somehow lost both games- they lost 49-37 at Wake Forest, in game where total yardage was in favor of the Deacons, but not by much (517-506).
8) 84,923 suckers paid to see Nebraska lay waste to Idaho State, 73-7; do they charge as much for that game as they do for their conference games? It is embarrassing that teams like Nebraska play I-AA teams, and in no way are they only ones. Florida State played two of those stiffs this month.
7) So Duke plays Memphis in football; why not play them in basketball, too? Oh thats right, Memphis could beat them in basketball. Memphis is awful in football, and has been since they fired Tommy West.
6) Good comeback by Colorado, 69-14 losers at Fresno State last week; they were down 31-14 in 4th quarter at Washington State yesterday, before a late rally gave the Buffs a wild 35-34 win in Pullman.
5) Rutgers already has three road wins; by the way, interesting story this week about how awful lot of NFL types despise Bucs' coach Greg Schiano, for his poor treatment of NFL scouts while he was coaching Rutgers. Will be interesting to see how the Bucs going forward from here.
4) Miami Hurricanes were 31-52/436 passing, rang up 609 total yards in a 42-36 OT win at Georgia Tech, a game Tech once led 36-19, after Miami had raced to a 19-0 lead. Not often you score 36 points in a row and lose.
3) The wheels have completely fallen off at Arkansas, which lost 35-26 at home to Rutgers. Game opened as a pick 'em in Vegas last Sunday, but so much action came in on Arkansas that it was taken off board and re-posted at Hogs -7. 72,543 Arkansas fans went home very unhappy.
2) Fresno State scored two defensive TDs at Tulsa, but missed the PAT after both TDs, and wound up losing 27-26 to Golden Hurricane. Looks as if Fresno State has an improved team.
1) Congrats to the Reds/Giants, who clinched their divisions in baseball last night; 11 days to go in the season, still much to be decided. Best wishes to Cincy manager Dusty Baker-- get well soon.