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SPOOKY'S WALKING DEAD, THE RETURN FROM PUNTA CANA COLLEGE FOOTBALL EXPRESS
Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend........
13) Who are Tigers going to play in the World Series? Looks like St Louis right now-- either way, Detroit has a long layoff until Wednesday.
12) Patriots have run 39 more plays than anyone else in NFL, but they’re still just 3-3; they’ve lost both games where they struggled in red zone. Jets have worst red zone offense in NFL, but are better on defense.
11) Virginia Tech (+8.5) will need to play better at Clemson this week to pull the upset. Falling behind 20-0 is OK against Duke, it won’t work in Death Valley- Hokies got smoked by North Carolina the week before.
10) Cowboys played well last week but lost at Baltimore; they need a win at Carolina, which was struggling badly before its bye.
9) Johnny Manziel is best freshman QB in America; his Texas Aggies step up in class this week, when LSU comes calling. A&M beat La Tech in wild 59-57 game last week- they ain’t getting 59 this week.
8) Steelers are 0-5 vs spread in last five road games; they’re visiting Bengal team Sunday night that lost last two games, to Dolphins/Browns.
7) Over/under in Baylor-Texas game is 80. Longhorns were down 36-2 at the half last week in their big rivalry game with Oklahoma. The natives in Austin are extremely restless.
6) Buffalo Bills allowed 17 or less points in their three wins, 45+ in their losses; don’t see the Titans hanging 45 on anyone, but can Bills win as a favorite? Can Tennessee win consecutive games?
5) Get a map. Find Kansas. Find West Virginia, then explain to me how these schools are in the same league.
This is a very good game, but geography teachers all over America have to be hating college sports these days.
4) Robert Griffin III makes his first visit to Swamp Stadium, where the Redskins upset the Giants LY, just their second win in last eight visits. RGIII makes the Redskins more fun to watch, but can he upset the world champs in this division rivalry?
3) Vanderbilt is -7 over Auburn this week; any coach who is +7 against Vandy is automatically on the hot seat, even if he did win the national title two years ago.
2) Steve Spurrier takes his Gamecocks back to the Swamp, Spurrier’s alma mater; South Carolina-Florida is best college game of the week.
1) Ravens’ defense ain’t what it used to be; Texans have looked very mortal playing in primetime last two weeks. Look for Arien Foster to get lot of work against the Ravens Sunday.
A drunken and sick list of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind.......
13) Have to be some nervous people in the Browns’ coaching offices, with Mike Holmgren “retiring” at season’s end. Chances are, unless the squad gets hot in the last 10 games this season, the new owner will clean house and bring in his own people.
12) Now that Lance Armstrong has been dumped by Nike and doesn’t work with Livestrong, what does he do with himself? Is he a viable spokesman for anything?
11) Wedding receptions are big business; why don’t more people have divorce parties, to celebrate their new beginning? I don’t intend for that to be mean-spirited, either, just seems like a good way to start a new chapter in your life.
10) Every time I see Mitt Romney, a vision of Wink Martindale hosting High Rollers flashes into my head; I can’t help it.
Is it possible they’re related?
9) If you like the NFL in general and the Patriots in particular, read Greg Bedard in the Boston Globe; he has very astute analysis.
8) No pressure on new UConn coach Kevin Ollie or anything, but Huskies are $8M short of raising enough money to build a new $32M practice facility. Not lot of great D-I players in the Nutmeg State, UConn needs a wider recruiting net than lot of Big East schools. Curious to see how the former NBA player does.
7) Sylvester Stallone will begin filming Rambo V soon; hope it turns out better than Rocky V, one of the worst movies ever made. Seriously, people are still going to go to theaters to watch another Rambo movie?
6) Southern Mississippi has had 18 straight winning football seasons, but new coach Ellis Johnson is 0-6 this year; a tough way to begin your head coaching career, especially at a school that’s been left standing in the musical chairs game of switching conferences.
5) Thought it was odd for Kansas hoop coach Bill Self to admit having interest in coaching in the NBA before he retires. Kansas just signed him to an extension for serious money, and he admits he has a better job than most NBA guys. Not sure why anyone would want to coach in the NBA, other than no longer having to recruit 17-year olds.
4) ACC-Big East-Big X leagues all had media days Wednesday; wouldn’t it be smarter to spread them out to maximize publicity?
3) Nine I-A teams lost to I-AA teams this season; why schedule these teams? If the game is close, it makes your program look weak and if you kill them, you’re ripping off your fans, charging them for a glorified scrimmage.
2) Speaking of which, ACC football teams have 25 non-conference wins; 13 of the 25 are against I-AA teams. They’re 12-14 vs I-A conferences.
1) I’m just guessing here, but it must be fun hanging out with ARod off the field, or am I missing something?
When I was sitting in the sportsbook, here is a List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud.........
13) If you had an inspiration at halftime Monday night and wagered $100 on the Broncos to win when they trailed 24-0, you would’ve cashed a ticket for $1,250 two hours later.
12) On their bye week, Eagles fired DC Juan Castillo, who had been a coach on offensive side of ball before becoming DC. Andy Reid hasn’t been able to ably replace the late Jim Johnson, who was a terrific DC.
11) Tremendous college hoop tournament in the Bahamas next month; Duke-Louisville-Memphis-VCU-Missouri-Minnesota-Stanford-Northern Iowa. Tough thing is that one of those teams will go home with three losses. This is always held at the Atlantis in the Bahamas. A great place to visit if you never have gone. I have a timeshare there and its second to none.
10) Right after the Chargers’ difficult 35-24 loss Monday night, second week in row they imploded in second half, some nitwit from the press asked Norv Turner about his job security. Hey stupid, 3-3 coaches don’t get fired. Maybe he will at the end of the year, but that’s the time to ask that question, not on October 15. Turner seems like a decent guy; if he was a bastard, he doesn’t get asked that question Monday night.
9) Was looking through an old book of pictures about the NBA; they had a shot of the ’96 draft board, 16+ years ago, when Allen Iverson was picked 1st, Kobe Bryant 13th, Steve Nash 14th, Derek Fisher 22nd. Just for trivia buffs; Peja Stojakovic went 14th, in between Bryant and Nash. Funny thing I was there at the draft held at the Meadowlands. Only one I ever was at.
Imagine 12 guys getting drafted ahead of Kobe Bryant?
8) Kevin Kolb is out for several weeks for Arizona Cardinals; multiple ribs separated from his sternum, which sounds really, really painful. I’m sure there’s a medical term that doesn’t sound quite as bad, but Kolb is out for a few weeks (that medical term is rib cartilage injury).
7) Giants were +$575 to win the World Series after Game 1 of the NLCVS; after they won Game 2, that went down to +$360. Cardinals went from +$180 to +$260 after their loss.
6) NASCAR/FOX signed up to show races on TV thru 2022, an 8-year extension. I like watching the races, because a) I know very little about it and don’t care who wins and b) their announcers are so enthusiastic about the sport. That makes it more fun to listen to.
5) A man from Chicago bought a gallon of barbecue sauce intended for use on McDonald's McJordan sandwich in 1992 for $9,995 on eBay. Its on days like this you realize that some people have too much money.
4) The NHL made a surprise offer to NHL Players' Association that was highlighted by a 50-50 split in hockey-related revenue and a full 82-game season starting November 2. Hopefully we'll have hockey soon.
3) North Texas upset UL-Lafayette 30-23 in a rare chance to appear on national TV Tuesday night. Sun Belt football has gotten a lot better.
2) ESPN was going to sign Stan Van Gundy as part of its pre/post-game NBA crew, but David Stern nixed it. So much for free speech; Van Gundy would be awesome on TV. ESPN should jump on him and add him as a college analyst. He could be a big star on TV, he's outspoken.
1) Not caring who won the Charger-Bronco game Monday night, it was just cool to sit back and enjoy watching greatness and make no mistake about it, Peyton Manning is great.
John Fox is a very good coach but has never had a top-flight QB; he has to be pretty giddy about what lies ahead for his Broncos.
So sick from the Punta Cana trip so not sure how much I will be on the forum tomorrow, so will post a few plays for Saturday to get it all started. Buy point where needed. And if you really believe how about a 2 team money line parlay with BYU and Middle Tennessee State that will pay almost 40-1. Lets do it. GL
Saturday's List of 13: Random stuff with the weekend here........
13) Have to laugh at Bronx Bomber fans suggesting that Alex Rodriguez get traded, usually for another team’s top young pitching prospect. Uh-uh, ain’t going to happen. Rest of major leagues doesn’t exist to be a safety net for your failures, and ARod's contract is a huge albatross right now.
12) Why would any of the other 29 major league teams trade for ARod? Why? How much of the $22.8M average salary (over the NEXT FIVE YEARS) would Bronx have to eat in order for you to bail them out of having him on their team? 70%? 80%?
If Bronx ate 75% of his contract, the new team would have to pay him an average of $5.7M a year, but if his skills are declining now, what will they be like in 2017? And it almost has to be an AL team, so he can DH now and then. We won’t even get into his…..um….lack of focus during games. Good luck getting rid of him.
11) Game of musical chairs between college conferences is still being played out. CAA expanded with College of Charleston, but was turned down by Davidson, pair of Southern Conference schools.
10) Its not often you see puddles in fair territory in a big league ballpark, but there were two pretty big ones at the Cardinal game Wednesday, after the 3+hour rain delay.
9) Timberwolves’ star forward Kevin Love broke his hand, is now out 6-8 weeks; he hurt the hand doing knuckle pushups, which will probably now be outlawed in Minnesota. I know they're illegal in my house.
8) Thru six weeks, best red zone offenses in NFL, based on points per possession: Packers 6.12, 49ers 5.75, Broncos 5.65.
Worst: Jets 3.26, Chiefs 3.47, Rams 3.79.
7) Best red zone defenses: Bucs 3.44, Seahawks 3.69, Cardinals 3.71. Worst: Colts 5.95, Bills 5.71, Cowboys 5.58.
6) New Jersey DMV isn’t allowing people to smile on license pictures anymore; seems that it screws up the facial-recognition software. Terrific.
5) A high school kid in Washington made a 67-yard FG; kid in Utah made a 65-yarder.
Penn State and few other D-I schools need to contact these kids, because their kickers are life-and-death to make 35-yarders right now.
4) Was watching an NBA preseason game and someone took a foul line jumper; you just don’t see many of those anymore. Everything is dunks, 3’s and end-of-shot clock fadeaways.
3) San Diego State will be playing basketball in Big West after this season; they’re going to be like UNLV was 25 years ago, an absolute power, since they’re already raking in lot of talented transfer players.
They are far and away better than any current BW program. Not sure how the football team will fare playing in the Big East (seriously, they are) but the hoops team is set for as long as Steve Fisher is coaching there.
2) Red Sox want Toronto skipper John Farrell to be their next manager; they’re apparently talking compensation with the Blue Jays now, but what if all that falls through? How could Farrell go back to Toronto next year? Will Toronto stall the Red Sox, then just fire Farrell after Boston hires someone else? Weird situation.
1) Then there are the Rockies, who interviewed Jason Giambi for their vacant manager’s job. I’d have thought Giambi would manage a strip club before he managed a ballclub, but you never know. Takes a tremendous leap of faith to hire someone (Ventura/Matheny worked out well) who has never managed before. Anywhere.
Nebraska hasn't played Northwestern since 66-17 beatdown in a bowl 12 years ago; Cornhuskers had week off after getting crushed 63-38 at Ohio State- they're 0-2 on road this year, despite scoring 30+ points in both games- they allowed 344-371 rushing yards in the losses. Nebraska is 9-5-1 as road favorite under Pelini; Wildcats are 8-9 as home dog under Fitzgerald. 6-1 Northwestern had an 11-point 4th quarter lead in its only loss; they've converted just 5 of last 22 on third down, after being 10-17 in previous game. Big Dozen home teams are 9-6, home dogs 2-1.
4-3 New Mexico won three of last four games, ran ball for 300+ yards in all four games; since '08, they're 7-14 vs spread as road dogs, losing last four and seven of last eight games vs Air Force, losing last five visits to Academy by average score of 32-19. Favorites are 8-3 vs spread in last 11 series tilts. Flyboys allowed 285-252 rushing yards in last two games, one of which went OT, the other decided by one point. Four of last five AFA games were decided by 6 or less points; they're 3-11 vs spread in last 14 games as a home favorite. MWC home favorites are 4-0.
Clemson beat Virginia Tech twice LY (23-3 at home, 38-10 in ACC title game) after losing previous five games vs Hokies; underdogs won SU in last four series games. Tigers are 6-3 vs spread in last nine games as HF; they scored 45.3 ppg in last four games vs I-A opponents, even scoring 37 in game they lost. Tech is 0-2-1 vs spread in last three games as dog; they're 2-3 SU in last five games, and were down 20-0 to Duke LW but rallied to win going away. ACC home favorites are 8-6 against spread. Clemson allowed 49-31-31 points in its last three games.
BYU-Notre Dame haven't met since '05; Irish are playing solid defense, allowing 25 points in last four games (Stanford's only TD last week was scored by defense, though refs helped Irish out in OT, too)- since 2003, they're 16-29-3 vs spread as home favorites- their home wins this year are by 3-7-7 points. BYU got beat at home by Oregon State's backup QB last week; they're 0-2 on road, losing 24-21 (-4) at Utah, then 7-6 at Boise State (+6.5). Cougars covered five of last seven games as road dog. Notre Dame best not look ahead to next week's Oklahoma game.
Stanford is 0-2 on road, scoring 13 points in both games; they're 9-2 last 11 games as road favorite. This rivalry was moved here from its longtime spot on Rivalry Saturday because of its being close to Pac-12 title game; Stanford won 31-28/48-14 last couple years, after 1-7 series skid. Cal is 3-4 but won its last two games, allowing 17 points in each; Bears are 1-6 as home dog, since 2005. Cardinal lost four of last five visits here; they played in OT last two Saturdays, getting hosed on goal-line call in loss at ND last week. Underdogs covered four of last six series games.
Michigan State won/covered last four games with Michigan, winning last two visits here, 34-17/35-21; faves are 6-3-1 vs spread in last 10 series games. Wolverines won last two games, scoring 44-45 points, since loss at Notre Dame; they're 6-3 as home favorite under Hoke. State has been hurting on offense, scoring 16 or less points in three of last five games (2-3 SU, 0-5 vs spread; were favored in all five). Michigan outscored its last four opponents 61-6 in second half. Four of last five games for both sides stayed under total.
TCU is home dog for first time since 2006; since '03, they're 4-0 as home dog, but are also 1-6 in last seven games overall. as a dog. Brutal stretch of games starts here for Frogs, who might not be favored again this year. TCU won 49-21 at Baylor last week behind backup redshirt freshman QB Boykin- they've gained 961 TY in last two games. Texas Tech qon both its road games, is now 10-3-1 vs spread in last 14 games as a road favorite- they won at Texas State (58-10, -19), Iowa State (24-13, -2) in only two road games this year. Big X road teams are 10-5 vs spread in conference play; road favorites are 4-4.
Oregon State is unlikely 5-0, having been underdog in four games, away for three; Beavers won 42-24 at BYU last week with backup QB Vaz in lineup for starter Mannion (knee) who may be back here. OSU lost 27-8 (+5) at Utah LY, getting outrushed 225-32 in first meeting as conference rivals. Utes allowed 32 ppg in losing last three games, by 30-10-7; they are 6-5 in last 11 tries as road underdog, 0-3 SU on road this year, with losses by 7-30-7 points. OSU is just 2-9 vs spread in last 11 games as a home favorite; they've got home wins this year, by 3-13 points. Pac-12 home favorites are 4-7 vs spread in conference play.
Kansas State is 6-0, with road wins at Oklahoma/Iowa State; they've got terrific senior QB and +11 turnover ratio; they're 14-2 vs spread in their last 16 games as a road underdog. Wildcats already faced solid passing offenses in Miami/Oklahoma- they defend better than West Virginia-- in WVU's last three games, they allowed 63-49-45 points, so they're trying to outscore teams. Mountaineers are 3-5 under Holgorsen as home faves they played Baylor-Texas-Tex Tech last three weeks, brutal stretch for a college team. Big X home favorites are just 1-6 against the spread.
Texas A&M allowed 57 points to La Tech in Shreveport, will have to do lot better here, vs LSU team that had tough games vs Florida/So Carolina last two Saturdays, and has Alabama on deck after its bye. LSU scored a total of only 18 points in splitting pair of road games- they're 12-9-2 as road favorites under Miles, but 0-2 this year. Aggies had to hang on last week for 59-57 win after leading 34-7; since '04, they're 9-5-1 vs spread as home underdogs, and are dog here for first time in '12. A&M won five games in row since opening 20-17 loss to Florida, with La Tech best team they've beaten. SEC home underdogs are 4-5 against spread.
Spurrier's Gamecocks are 5-2 vs spread vs Florida, his alma mater, with 17-12/36-14 wins last two years, after being 1-12 in previous 13 games with Gators. Carolina had 215-239 rushing yards in those games, but not sure if Lattimore is playing here. Carolina played Georgia/LSU last two weeks, so tough scheduling spot for them; SC is 13-8-1 as road dog with Spurrier as coach. Florida has outscored opponents 98-23 in second half; they're 4-3 as home favorites under Muschamp, 1-1 this year. SEC home favorites are 10-6 vs spread this season. All three of Florida's games in The Swamp stayed under the total.
UL-Monroe won last three games since losing 47-42 to Baylor, 31-28 in OT at Auburn; this is 5th road game in seven weeks for Warhawks, who are 23-15 as road dogs since '06, 8-6 under coach Berry. ULM won two of three vs Western Kentucky, with all three games decided by 5 or less points, and road team winning last two. Hilltoppers won four games in row since 35-0 loss at Alabama; they're 2-4 as home favorites since they moved to I-AA. Monroe allowed total of 41 points in last three games. Sun Belt home teams are 3-9 vs spread in conference play, 2-5 if favored. Western Kentucky has covered its last 15 games overall.
Middle Tennessee won 49-28 at Ga Tech, go for another BCS scalp here, vs 6-0 Mississippi State squad that beat Tennessee at home last week and visits #1 Alabama next. Blue Raiders are 4-2 but lost to McNeese St, a I-AA team; they scored in last minute to win 34-30 at FIU last week- they're 13-15 as road underdogs under Stockstill. Miss State is 7-4 in its last 11 games as a home favorite. Teams haven't met since 2009, when Bulldogs (-4.5) beat MTSU 27-9. SEC non-conference home favorites are 6-13 vs spread. Sun Belt road underdogs are 12-4.
-- Kentucky is 6-14-1 vs spread in last 21 SEC home games.
-- Nebraska is 9-5-1 vs spread in game following last 15 losses.
-- Central Michigan covered only two of its last 20 games.
-- Temple is 10-3-1 vs spread in last 14 home games as a home dog.
-- Iowa covered seven of its last nine games with Penn State.
-- Underdog is 8-3 vs spread in East Carolina-UAB series.
-- Baylor beat Texas last two years, 48-24/30-22.
-- Iowa State covered eight of last 12 as a Big X road underdog.
-- NC State covered its last seven games coming off a bye.
-- Memphis is 6-12 vs spread in last 18 games as a home dog.
-- Auburn has been outscored 62-3 in the fourth quarter.
-- 10 of last 11 Florida State-Miami games were decided by TD or less.
Sunday's List of 13 and a big Thank You to Jimmy the Greek: Wrapping up a college football Saturday.......
13) I'm old enough to remember how helpless Kansas State's football team was before Bill Snyder came to Manhattan; the coaching job he's done with the Wildcats ranks up there with any in the history of the game. K-State went to Morgantown and crushed West Virginia 55-14. Could the national championship trophy be coming to the Little Apple?
12) Well, they'd have to beat Alabama to win the national title, and it does not look too likely that the Crimson Tide is losing anytime soon. Alabama went to Knoxville and methodically drubbed the Vols 44-13. All of this because Nick Saban chose Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees when he was coaching the Dolphins. Otherwise, he'd still be in Miami.
11) Congrats to the Duke Blue Devils, who scored a TD with 0:13 left to not only beat rival North Carolina, but to become bowl eligible for first time since 1993. Tar Heels lost in Durham for first time since 1988.
10) Baylor's defensive coordinator better start looking for a new job; Bears lost 56-50 to Texas, have now lost games this year when they scored 63 and 50 points. Either that, or allocate more recruiting assets to defense.
9) Unbeaten Rutgers was down 10-0 at half at Temple, but did what good teams do; they spanked the Owls in second half, and won 35-10. Knights and Louisville are a pair of unbeatens in the Big East.
8) Louisiana Tech is really good; they had a 56-21 lead at halftime of a 70-28 demolition of an overmatched Idaho squad. If Tech scored 57 points on Texas A&M last week, you know they're torching WAC defenses.
7) Northwestern led Nebraska 28-16 with 7:00 left, but collapsed down the stretch and lost 29-28 to the Cornhuskers, who threw the ball for 342 yards. Looked a lot like their late collapse in a loss at Penn State.
6) This happened Friday night, but it bears mentioning; SMU scored four TDs on defense in a bizarre 72-42 win over favored Houston. They ran back three INTs for scores and also ran a fumble back, as Cougars turned ball over nine times. Did I mention Houston was favored?
5) When San Diego State beat Colorado State last week, they didn't have a penalty, the first time since 1973 they went penalty-less in a game.
4) The new SEC schedule is creating scnearios where teams are playing three quality teams on consecutive Saturdays, which rarely happened until now. West Virginia/South Carolina looked awful this week, and that is a big reason why. Up until now, teams would put in a bye week before their bigger games. This is more like an NFL schedule.
3) Penn State had lost eight of its last nine games against Iowa, but they went to Iowa City and thrashed the Hawkeyes, 38-14, fifth win in a row for Bill O'Brien's club, after an 0-2 start.
2) You wait and see; if K-State QB Collin Klein becomes frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy, NBC and other Notre Dame apologists will push for Irish LB Monti Te'o to become the first defensive winner of the award.
1) UL-Monroe did it again, winning 43-42 in OT at Western Kentucky; down 42-35 in OT, the Warhawks scored a TD, then went for the win and got it, adding another chapter in the story of what will soon become their first winning season at the I-A level.