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Friday's List of 13: Things I'm looking for this weekend outside of some relief from all this pain and discomfort I am having post-op........
13) Broncos’ coach John Fox goes back to Charlotte this week; he led the Panthers to their only Super Bowl appearance, but was allowed to walk after the 2010 season, in a cost-cutting measure. Sunday Fox gets a measure of revenge.
12) UCLA opens refurbished Pauley Pavilion tonight against Indiana State, the only school John Wooden coached at before moving west. Little eerie that UCLA never redid Pauley until after Wooden passed away. I'm curious to see how the places looks now.
11) Kansas State QB Collin Klein appeared to have a right arm/wrist injury last week, but no one in Manhattan is talking; 7.5-point spread at TCU says Klein will play.
10) Lakers are 1-4 and Steve Nash has a broken bone in his leg; curious to see if Mike Brown can hang onto his job until Christmas.
9) Mark Sanchez played for Pete Carroll at USC, now he’ll play against him in Seattle Sunday. When Sanchez left school early, Carroll said he should’ve played another year at USC. Tension ensued. Seahawks are a much better team at home. Sanchez was a better QB two years ago.
8) West Virginia allowed 49-55-39 points in last three games; they won a game this year when allowing 63 points—how many they giving up at pass-happy Oklahoma State this week? WV’s DC DeForest worked for OSU for 11 years, as did Holgorson two years ago.
7) College basketball tips off this weekend with three games on various battleships, and one on an Air Force base in Germany. Outside shooting takes on a whole new meaning when the game actually is….outdoors.
6) Perception Bowl in Tampa: Everyone’s happy with the improving 4-4 Bucs, while San Diego is 4-4 and some Charger fans want to fire Norv Turner. WR Vincent Jackson is an ex-Charger and a huge part of the Bucs’ turnaround.
5) How will Alabama/LSU bounce back against capable foes the week after an emotional, last-second Alabama win? Tigers weren’t playing that well before last week, then they played a great game against Bama but let it slip away late.
4) Knicks are NBA’s lone remaining unbeaten team; last time that happened was 1959. Hell, they hadn’t been 2-0 since 2000. Knicks-Mavs Friday night should be fun.
3) Falcons are 8-0, but have lost five of last six visits to Superdome. Saints won three of last four games, but hardly looked impressive in dispatching freefalling Eagles Monday night.
2) Louisville Cardinals are quietly 9-0, with five wins by 7 or less points; they’re less than a FG favorite at Syracuse, where they’ve won three of last four visits. Cards’ QB Bridgewater is one of most underrated players in country.
1) Texans-Bears could be a Super Bowl preview, but then you look at these 7-1 teams, and both clubs lost to Green Bay, so maybe the Packers will go win the Super Bowl. Still way too early to tell.
This is first regular season Florida State-Virginia Tech game since 2008; Hokies (-3.5) beat FSU 44-33 in ACC title game two years ago, but this is worst season Tech has had in over a decade, losing four of its last five games, with seven turnovers, 29 points in last two. Over last 11 years, Tech is 3-0 vs spread when a home dog. Since '06, Florida State is 8-11 as road favorites, 5-5 under Fisher, 0-3 this year; all ix of their I-A wins are by 12+ points; they even had 16-0 halftime lead in their only loss, at NC State. Seminoles outscored last three foes 57-10 in second half. ACC home underdogs are 7-7 vs spread in conference play. Four of last five Seminole games stayed under the total.
UL-Monroe QB Browning left last week's game with some kind of leg injury (ULM ain't saying), never returned, isn't listed on depth chart for this game, so assume he is out, big blow for Warhawk squad headed for its winning season at I-A level. ULM is 4-0 vs spread on road this year, 4-0 as an underdog with two SU wins- they won SU at Arkansas, but were just 2-11 in 3rd down last week with Browning sitting out most of game. ASU is 0-3 as home favorite this year, after being 7-2 last couple seasons; they've won last four games (3-1 vs spread), scoring 39.3 ppg. Sun Belt home favorites are 3-14 vs spread in conference play this year. Seven of nine ULM games this season went over the total.
Pittsburgh is on short week after letting Notre Dame off hook Saturday in South Bend; Panthers were 1-14 on 3rd down conversions, Irish were 10-20, overcoming Pitt's +3 turnover edge. UConn lost last four games, outscored 49-3 in second half of those games; since '05, UConn is 11-2-1 as as home underdogs- they're 2-2 at home this year, with both losses by a FG. Pitt is 1-3 on road, losing 14-13 at Syracuse as well as in OT at Notre Dame; they've covered six of last eight tries as a road favorite. Big East home teams are 8-10 vs spread in conference, home dogs are 1-2. Pitt won three of last four series games, but lost three of last four visits here; underdogs covered five of last six series games. Four of last five UConn games stayed under total; three of last four Pitt games went over.
8-2 Northwestern led 14-10 at halftime in both its losses this year; they were outscored 48-28 in second half of those games. Michigan showed renewed spark in passing game with Gardner getting first start under center (12-18/234 after 23-65/256 in previous two games combined). Wildcats are 2-9 in last 11 series games but covered three of last four, despite last seven series losses being by 12+ points- they’ve lost four of last five visits here (3-2 vs spread). Wolverines are 6-4 as home favorite under Hoke, 2-2 this year; they’ve allowed total of 23 points in last three home games. Since 2003, Northwestern is 11-3 vs spread as a road underdog. Last three Wildcat games, five of last six Michigan games stayed under the total. Big Dozen home favorites are 12-10 vs spread this year.
Well-coached Wake Forest covered four of five games with single digit spread this year. Home side won five in row and 14 of last 16 Wake Forest-NC State games; Deacons lost last two visits here, 38-3/21-17. 5-4 Wake is at Notre Dame next week and has Vandy after that, still needs win to be bowl eligible; they covered six of last nine tries as road underdogs (2-1 in ’12). Wolfpack got crushed 33-6 at home by 9.5-point underdog Virginia last week, after Tar Heels stung them in last minute week, before, so State is reeling, turning ball over nine times in those two games (-6, -7 for season)- in last four games, they’ve run ball 108 times for measly 205 yards (that includes sacks). Last four Wake Forest games and five of last seven State games stayed under the total. ACC home favorites are 14-8 vs spread in conference play.
9-0 Louisville won three in row, six of last eight games vs Syracuse, winning three of last four visits here (only loss was in ’08, as 13-point favorites); Cardinals have road wins at FIU (28-21), winless Southern Miss (21-17 in monsoon), Pitt (45-35)- five of their nine wins are by 7 or less points, but they have excellent QB’s which means lot in close games. Orangemen are 3-1 at home, losing by point to 8-2 Northwestern in season opener; they’ve run ball for 211 yards/game over last three weeks, but also allowed 71 points in last two games, rallying from down 23-3 at half to beat 3-6 South Florida, 37-36. Big East home teams are 8-10 vs spread in league play, 1-2 as home dogs. Last three Syracuse games and three of last four Louisville tilts went over the total.
Georgia Tech lost four of last six games, already fired DC Groh; those two wins were vs BC team that’s going to fire its coach, and Maryland team that was using a freshman LB at QB because of severe injury hits- their defense figures to struggle vs Tar Heel offense that scored 48-43 points in winning last two home games. UNC has been struggling on defense, allowing 33+ points in three of last four games, allowing 20+ points in first half of all three of those games. Tech won three in row, 12 of last 14 games vs North Carolina, with underdogs 5-2-1 vs spread in last eight series games; Yellow Jackets won five of last seven visits here, with both losses by 21 points (‘04/’08). Over is 6-1 in last seven Tech games, 3-1-1 in last five Tar Heel tilts.
Alabama is still #1 in country after dramatic, last-minute 21-17 (-8.5) win at LSU, game where Tigers outgained Bama 435-331, but couldn’t execute any of several gambles which would’ve turned game their way. Texas A&M has better offense than LSU; they’ve won six of last seven games, scoring 30+ points in all five wins- A&M lost only two times they scored less than 30, 20-17 (-2.5) at Florida, 24-19 (+3.5) at home to LSU. Aggies didn’t force a turnover in either game. Last week was first time Alabama won game by less than 19 points; they’re just 1-3 as home favorites this year, despite winning home games by 35-33-19-31 points. Five of last seven Aggie games, six of last eight Bama games stayed under the total. SEC home favorites are 13-10 vs spread in conference play this season.
Nebraska won six of last seven games, but three of its last four wins were by 4 or less points; they’ve allowed 24+ points in four of last five games, but are 3-1 as home favorites this year, after 12-20 from ’07-’11. Cornhuskers (-3) won 17-14 at Penn State LY, in eerie game that was first PSU home game after all the Sandusky stuff broke; game was 17-0 at one point. Both teams completed less than half its passes; Lions outgained Nebraska 375-331. O’Brien has done nice job getting most out of transfer-depleted Lions; they’re 6-3, covering seven of last eight games, and covered three of four as an underdog, after having been 1-7 as road dog from ’06-’11. Three of last four Penn State games, five of eight Nebraska games went over total. Last road trip of season for bowl-ineligible Lions.
Arizona State/USC are both struggling mightily. Sun Devils lost last three games, allowing 43-45-36 points- they were outscored 83-43 in first half of those three games. ASU is 0-3 vs spread as underdog this year, 0-3-1 in last four tries- they beat USC 43-22 (-2.5) LY in Temple, its first win in last dozen series games; total yardage was 402-392 Trojans, but -4 turnover ratio decided winner. USC allowed 39-62 points in losing last two games; USC teams just don’t give up 730 yards and 62 points like they did last week to Oregon in the Coliseum. Trojans are 9-12 in last 21 games as a home favorite. Sun Devils lost last six visits here, but are 2-0-1 vs spread in last three and 5-1-1 vs spread in last seven series games overall. Pac-12 home favorites are 12-9 vs spread in league play. Three of last four ASU games went over the total.
West Virginia covered its last seven tries as road underdogs; its last win anywhere was 48-45 (+7.5) at Texas, last time they were a dog; problem is, that game was five weeks ago. Mountaineers’ defense has fallen apart, allowing 49-55-39 points in losing last three games, two of which were at home; last week’s OT loss to TCU came at hands of Horned Frogs’ backup freshman QB, whp passed for 279 yards. In last three games, only 36 of 209 plays (17.2%) run by opponents came on 3rd down (23.1% of WV’s plays were on 3rd down). OSU QB Lunt was knocked goofy last week, but they still passed for 417 yards at K-State, as backup Chelf is capable leader. Since ’07, Cowboys are 18-7-1 vs spread as home favorites, 3-0 this season. Teams last met in ’87 Sun Bowl.
Condition of Kansas State QB Klein’s right wrist/arm/hand is major topic of conversation for everyone except those who know what problem is; he led Wildcats to TD last week after getting the injury, but took hard hit on TD run, his last play of game. Wildcats are 3-0 on road, winning as dogs at Oklahoma/West Virginia; if Klein can’t go, mobile redshirt freshman Sams gets nod; he is said to be capable. Since ’04, K-State is meager 3-12 vs spread when laying points on road. TCU has taken lumps in move up from MVC, due in large part to QB Pachall getting tossed for year (rehab); Horned Frogs allowed 56-36-38 points in last three games, and gave up 37 in home loss to Iowa State before that. Big X home underdogs are 4-5 vs spread in conference play. Over is 3-1-1 in last K-State games, 3-1 in last four TCU tilts.
Missouri lost three of last four games, is 1-5 in first season of SEC play (4-5 overall), but they played tough defense last week, losing 14-7 (+17) at Florida; Tigers outgained Florida 335-276 but threw four picks, were -3 in turnovers. It was 4th time in five weeks Mizzou held opponent under 20 points. Tennessee has opposite problem; they lost four of last five games, with only win 55-48 over Troy of Sun Belt (TY, 722-718, Troy); Vols have only two takeaways in last four games, have allowed 23+ points in first half in each of last six games. Tennessee is 1-3 as favorite this year, 0-3 at home; Mizzou is 2-3 as underdog, 2-1 on road. SEC home favorites are 13-10 vs spread in conference play. All eight of Tennessee’s lined games went over total; six of last seven Mizzou games stayed under.
Stanford beat Oregon State last two years with Luck under center (38-0/38-13), but are still just 4-7 in last 11 games vs Beavers; Cardinal is +8 in turnovers in last four series games, winning 36-28/38-0 in last two played here. Favorites covered six of last nine series games (3-4 in last seven here). 7-1 Beavers won SU all four times they were underdog this year; they’re 14-6 vs spread in last 20 games as road dogs. Stanford was held to 13 points in both losses (@Washington/@ Notre Dame) this year; they’re 1-3 as home favorites this year, after having covered 14 of previous 21 games in that role. Cardinal hasn’t turned ball over in last two games, has +11 turnover ratio this season. Pac-12 home favorites are 12-9 vs spread in league play. Both teams are starting QB who began season as the backup.
LSU has to bounce back from huge effort/bigger disappointment in last-minute loss vs Alabama last week; they’ve won last 12 games vs Mississippi State, and covered 15 of last 18 (3-3 in last six). Bulldogs lost last seven visits here (2-5 vs spread), with four of last five by 18+ points; they’ve been crushed 38-7/38-13 last two weeks (trailed both games 24-0 at half), after starting season 7-0, so they need big effort here to avoid freefall (finish with Arkansas/Ole Miss). Tigers are 3-4 as favorites this year, 2-2 at home; their last three I-A wins were all by five or less points. Tigers have 20 takeaways in last seven games, are +8 in turnovers last three games. Seven of eight MSU games, four of last five LSU games stayed under the total. Big number for LSU to cover with possible post-Bama hangover, but they’re 12-7-1 vs spread in game following last 20 losses.
Fresno State covered eight of last nine games, four of five on road; only one of last five opponents scored more than 20 points. Bulldogs covered seven of last nine as a road favorite. Nevada’s defense has fallen apart, allowing 37-39-48 points in last three games; they’ve scored 31+ points in all three losses this year- since ’02 they’re 10-7 as home underdogs, 2-0 since ’10. In last four games, Nevada foes converted 32 of 59 on 3rd down. Wolf Pack won last four games with Fresno State by average score of 43-28; underdogs are 6-3-1 vs spread in last 10 series games, 4-1 in last five played here, with Bulldogs losing last two visits, 35-34/41-28. MWC home underdogs are 6-4 vs spread in league play. Four of last five Fresno games stayed under total; last three Nevada games went over.
-- Wyoming failed to cover last five tries as a road favorite.
-- Temple is 10-3-1 vs spread in last 14 games as a home underdog.
-- Memphis won/covered its last six games vs Tulane.
-- Underdogs covered seven of last nine Houston-Tulsa games.
-- Michigan covered just six of last 19 conference home games.
-- UL-Lafayette covered 14 of last 16 tries as a road underdog. Underdogs covered seven of last eight Virginia-Miami games.
-- Visiting team covered last six Texas-Iowa State games.
-- Rutgers covered six of its last seven games with Army.
-- Underdog covered five of last six Kansas-Texas Tech games.
-- Syracuse is 3-10 vs spread in last 13 Big East home games.
-- Road team is 11-5-1 vs spread in Ole Miss-Vanderbilt games.
Some notes from Friday night's college hoop action........
-- Trevor Lacey banged home a 3 at the buzzer, Alabama holds off gritty South Dakota State 70-67. We'll see the Jackrabbits in March.
-- Florida State beat South Alabama 80-39 LY; this year? Not so much, as the Jaguars upset FSU in Tallahassee, 76-71, as 14-point underdogs. USA was 0-24 from the arc in LY's game, 9-15 last night.
-- Bad night for hoop on battleships; they cancelled Ohio St-Marquette, and Florida-Georgetown was called off at half. Moisture on the court.
-- George Mason upset Virginia, big game in that state; Patriots better enjoy it, Virginia will probably never play them again.
-- Bucknell 70, Purdue 65. Uh-oh. Bad start for the Boilermakers.
-- UCLA's star recruit, Shabazz Muhammad, is ineligible, which isn't good for the youthful Bruins, who pummeled Indiana State anyway in opening of refurbished Pauley Pavilion. $136M worth of refurbishing.
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but..........
13) Federal authorities dropped their investigation of former Syracuse assistant basketball coach Bernie Fine this week, meaning the school canned him for no reason, other than the bogus charges brought by his shady accusers embarrassed the school.
Where does Fine go to get his life back? His job? His good name? His reputation? The money he’s lost? Media doesn't seem quite so interested about this as they did about crucifying the guy last year.
12) Damn, Mike Brown lasted five games this season before the Lakers pulled the plug on him. Coaching an NBA team is crazy, has to be, but its also crazy money, while it lasts. Brown has been canned from teams that had Lebron James and Kobe Bryant on them.
Where does he go from here? He will get paid another $11M from the Lakers; maybe he should go have lunch with Jason Bay, who just got $21M to walk away from the Mets.
11) Saints’ owner Tom Benson bought the NBA’s Hornets for $338M, presumably to keep them in New Orleans, but there were tons of empty seats at their game with Philly this week, not a good sign.
Benson could make a pretty penny selling the team to a group that would move the team to Seattle, where they supported the Sonics so well for many years, but had the team stolen from them by commissioner Stern.
10) Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, banned from ESPN’s NBA pre/postgame shows by Stern, has a gig doing college games on NBC College Sports. If he’s half as good as his brother Jeff, the network got itself a steal.
9) People are weird sometimes. Some collector recently paid $48,000 for some of John Lennon’s hair; guy’s been dead since 1980. Go figure.
8) Why did Colorado Rockies interview Jason Giambi for their manager’s job? Would they hire a guy who was still an active player to be their skipper, or did they just want to pick his brain?
They wound up hiring Walt Weiss, who has a decent amount of off-field experience since his playing days ended, but he coached his son’s high school team LY. Don’t see many high school coaches jumping straight to the big leagues.
7) Colts are getting good production out of speedy WR Donnie Avery, who the Rams drafted ahead of DeSean Jackson when he came out of college (Houston). Avery did next to nothing for the Rams, except get hurt a lot and do a TD dance in Washington when the Rams were down 38-10. That went over well.
6) Why was Florida’s last SEC game November 3rd? They finish with UL-Lafayette, a I-AA team and Florida State. Very unusual.
5) Did you know it took 14 years to carve out Mt Rushmore?
4) As a result of injuries to his defense that made the unit much younger, Ravens’ DC Dean Pees has moved to the press box during games, which allows him to see more and better organize his players. Its an interesting aspect of football coaching, how some coaches sit up in the box, while others are with the players on the sidelines, where they can’t see the game nearly as well.
3) Not sure if this is legal, but if I managed a baseball team, I’d have a coach upstairs, looking things over away from the dugout, the way they do in football, and I’d call him up now and then for input.
2) USC plays rivals UCLA/Notre Dame on consecutive Saturdays, then would have the Pac-12 title game after that, if they qualified; that kind of scheduling has to change, its just doesn’t help the Trojans at all. USC has always played its home game with Notre Dame in late November; when they visit South Bend, its been in October. Moving the UCLA game to earlier in the season (like Cal-Stanford) makes more sense.
1) Speaking of the Trojans, supposedly a student manager at USC “acted on his own” and deflated several footballs, so that Matt Barkley could get a better grip on them and pass better. The manager was fired when this all became public.
I have no idea of how all this works and while anything in this crazy world is possible, I’m saying it is highly doubtful that this kid did anything like that without some knowledge/request/order with/from a USC coach/player.
I’m just saying, why would he do this on his own? It makes zero sense. That’s just my opinion, I could be wrong. I hope Im wrong.
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday...... Another winning week and killer day on the Express in College Football again!!
13) Texas A&M wins 29-24 at Alabama, a shocking result, but we're seeing how college teams cannot get up emotionally for big games in consecutive weeks. Look up some schedules from 15-20 years ago; before the big games, teams had the week before off, to gear up. Can't do that now.
12) I'm not going to say much about the butchered replay call in the Penn State-Nebraska game, because it cost me a contest pick this week and I'm bitter about it, but I'll say this; the name and picture of the replay official has to be put on TV before every game, so these people, whoever they are, know they are accountable for their decisions.
That call was: best case: missed badly/worst case: corrupt as hell. Thats all I'm going to say about it, but I hope that replay official got fired.
11) If you had Army +18 Saturday, skip this item; they were tied 7-7 with less than 11:00 left at Rutgers, were down 21-7 in the last minute, but the backup QB fumbled, and a defender ran 73 yards for the covering TD with a miserable 0:40 left. Sometimes life ain't fair.
10) 18 players have left the Washington State program since the start of the season, as Mike Leach weeds out guys he doesn't want around. State had an awful first half against UCLA, trailing 37-7, but they put on an impressive rally, falling short 44-36 late Saturday night in Pullman.
Leach is going to win at Wazzu, but its going to take another year or two.
9) West Virginia lost its last four games, allowing 198 points (49.5 ppg) in the four games. Some teams appear not to care about defense at all.
8) Congrats to Lock Haven State, which beat Cheyney State 15-7, ending a 52-game losing streak. No one deserves to lose for five straight years.
7) Bad news for NBA's Rockets: Head coach Kevin McHale is taking an indefinite leave of absence to deal with a family matter.
Good news: Former Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson is interim head coach, and now he can text players as much as he wants; its legal in NBA. He texted a little too much for the NCAA's liking when he was at Oklahoma and Indiana, as he broke numerous NCAA recruiting rules.
6) Miami lost 41-40 at Virginia on a TD with 0:06 left, the fourth Hurricane game this year where the losing side scored 32+ points. Miami had won the previous three of those games. A terrible pass interference call kept the winning Virginia drive alive.
5) Northwestern coughed up a 24-14 lead with 17:00 left, as Michigan tied game after a ridiculous jump ball completion that led to the tying FG in last :05. In OT, the Wolverines won 38-31, a bitter loss for the Wildcats, who are 7-3 but could just as easily be 10-0.
Does it seem to anyone else that Northwestern has blown late lead after late lead the past couple of years. At some point isnt it the coaches fault. My lord how do you keep losing like that.
4) Texas Tech escaped with a 41-34 OT win over lowly Kansas, but not before Red Raider coach Tommy Tuberville was seen on TV slapping an assistant coach in the head, knocking his hat askew. Weird thing to see, football is an emotional game, but its usually asistants who are emotional, not the head coach.
3) Two of the best coaching jobs in America are being down out west in the Mountain West, where Fresno State/San Diego State are both 8-3. Tim DeRuyter is a first-year coach at Fresno, while Rocky Long has Aztecs in bowl contention despite losing his QB and star RB from LY. Well done.
2) Biggest upsets of the week: 16-point underdog UMass won 22-14 at Akron, and 16-point dog Florida Atlantic won 37-28 at Western Kentucky. FAU has been playing great the 2nd half of the season and Coach Pellino may have gotten something right in his first season there. FAU has covered a bunch of games now and were a live underdog this week as I mentioned on the express.
1) Florida trailed UL-Lafayette 20-13 late in game, tied it with 1:42 left, then blocked a ULL punt and ran it in for a TD with 0:02 left, stunning the Ragin' Cajuns 27-20. Gators looked awful, but Sun Belt teams have spunk.