cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:15 PM

Marshall vs. FIU

December 20, 2011

Mario Cristobal inherited a 0-12 team when he took over the Florida International football program from Don Strock in 2007. Strock had been the school’s first head coach when it created a team in 2002.

The Golden Panthers went 1-11 in Cristobal’s first year, 5-7 in 2008 and 3-9 in ’09. They turned the corner last year, going 6-6 to garner their first postseason bid. In the Little Caesar’s Bowl, Florida International (8-4 straight up, 6-6 against the spread) beat Toledo 34-32 as a 1 ½-point underdog.

With the success of an eight-win campaign, interest in Cristobal has naturally heated up. He has interviewed with Pittsburgh and is expected to get an offer Wednesday, so this distraction is hovering over the Panthers.

This development has not impacted the line for tonight’s Beef O’ Brady’s Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. As of early this morning, most betting shops were listing FIU as a four-point favorite over Marshall from out of Conference USA. The total was 48 ½ at most spots.

As of early this afternoon, however, the line was up to 4 1/2 and the total was adjusted to 49. Gamblers can take the Thundering Herd to win outright for a plus-170 return (risk $100 to win $170).

Cristobal’s potential exit isn’t a given by any means. He played at the University of Miami and South Florida has been his home for a long time. The reality is FIU can’t compete financially with Pitt but if it can step up a decent amount (remember, Isaiah Thomas is the hoops coach), Cristobal might stay and wait it out for a better opportunity in the future.

FIU jumped out to a 3-0 start thanks to impressive wins at Louisville (24-17) and vs. Central Florida (17-10), but then it lost back-to-back games as home favorites vs. Louisiana (36-31) and Duke (31-27). The losses to the Ragin’ Cajuns and the Blue Devils began a 0-6 ATS slide.

However, FIU comes to St. Pete with a three-game winning streak both SU and ATS. The Panthers closed the regular season with a 31-18 win at Middle Tennessee as 7 ½-point road favorites.

FIU is led by senior quarterback Wesley Carroll, a transfer from Mississippi State. Carroll has completed 59.7 percent of his passes for 2,224 yards with a 14/4 touchdown-to-interception ratio. His favorite target is senior wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, who has a team-high 64 receptions for 950 yards and seven touchdowns.

Hilton has amassed 1,756 all-purpose yards and is a serious threat in the return game. Junior WR Wayne Times has 51 catches for 531 yards and a pair of TDs. The ground game features sophomore RB Kedrick Rhodes, who rushed for 1,121 yards and eight TDs while averaging 5.0 yards per carry during the regular season.

Marshall (6-6 SU, 7-5 ATS) had to win three of its last four games to earn bowl eligibility. The Herd beat East Carolina 34-27 in overtime in its regular-season finale as a one-point home favorite.

Freshman QB Rakeem Cato was the catalyst, connecting on 23-of-29 throws for 341 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Travon Van and Tron Anderson both had a rushing touchdown with Martinez’s one-yard plunge putting Marshall ahead to stay in the extra session.

Cato has a 13/10 TD-INT ratio. Junior Aaron Dobson is one of C-USA’s top wideouts, hauling in 10 TD passes.

Marshall has the Defensive Player of the Year in C-USA, senior DE Vinny Curry, who has 11 sacks, 21.5 tackles for losses, six forced fumbles and three blocked kicks. This unit also has C-USA first-teamer Omar Brown, a senior safety who made four interceptions in 2011.

Doc Holliday’s team has been an underdog eight times, going 4-3-1 ATS with a pair of outright victories. The season opener at West Va. was a ‘no play’ since weather cancelled the game before 55 minutes was played.

FIU has been a single-digit favorite four times, posting a 1-3 spread record.

The ‘under’ is 8-3-1 overall for FIU, cashing at a 6-1 clip in its last seven games. The ‘under’ is 7-5 overall for Marshall, but the ‘over’ has hit in four of its last five outings.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--FIU’s campus in Miami is about a four-hour drive to St. Pete.

--While Huntington, WV., is a long way from St. Pete, Holliday is notorious for his ability to recruit in the Sunshine State. The Herd has plenty of players from Florida so I would warn bettors not to think of FIU as the team that’ll enjoy a major advantage in terms of crowd support.

--While most had turned away by the time Wyoming was on its last possession at the end of a blowout loss against Temple in the New Mexico Bowl this past Saturday, there was plenty of pending action at stake with the Cowboys in Owls’ territory on the final drive. Trailing Temple by a 37-7 score, Wyoming backers for second-half wagers still had a chance and the total (closed 51 at most books) was yet to be decided. With three seconds remaining, QB Brett Smith found Kody Sutton on a screen pass and the RB darted 14 yards into the end zone. This made it a 37-13 score for 50 combined points. Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen opted to go for two to put all bets on the total at stake on one play. The first conversion try was an incomplete pass but a flag for pass interference gave the Cowboys another shot. On the next attempt, Smith ran three yards for the score to make it a 37-15 final and give ‘over’ backers a winner. Also, with Temple leading 28-7 at halftime, it was made a three-point ‘chalk’ for halftime plays. This was an adjusted number of Wyoming plus-24 which became a winner thanks to Sutton’s TD and the subsequent conversion.

--The total came down to the wire in Saturday night’s New Orleans Bowl, too. This number closed at 59 ½. Therefore, this wager was on the line when Ragin’ Cajuns place-kicker Brett Baer set up for a 50-yard field goal on the game’s final play. With Louisiana trailing San Diego St. by a 30-29 score, the ‘under’ would cash with a miss and the ‘over’ would hit if Baer came through. Baer did exactly that to lift the Ragin’ Cajuns to a 32-30 triumph in the school’s first-ever bowl game.

--South Carolina defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has been named as the new head coach at Southern Miss, replacing Larry Fedora, who bolted for the North Carolina job after a successful four-year tenure with the Golden Eagles. This is a big loss for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks, who have had outstanding defenses during Johnson’s rein as DC.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:17 PM

FIU-Marshall meet Tuesday in St. Petersburg


St. Petersburg Bowl
Tropicana Field - St. Petersburg, FL
Kickoff: Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Florida International -4, Total: 48

FIU is trying to close out the winningest season in school history with a fourth straight victory, while Marshall looks to finish the 2011 campaign with a winning record when the two schools clash in Tuesday’s St. Petersburg Bowl.

This game features two huge talents with Thundering Herd DE Vinny Curry (11 sacks, 6 FF, 21 TFL this year) and Golden Panthers WR T.Y. Hilton (8 rec. TD in 2011, 6 career return TD). These teams have two common opponents, as both schools beat Louisville, and FIU topped UCF 17-10 at home, but Marshall lost 16-6 at UCF. Like many evenly-matched football teams, the winner will likely be the school that doesn’t turn the ball over. And in this instance, that team is FIU, with just one turnover in the past three games. Marshall has coughed it up 11 times in its past three games. The Panthers also have a more consistent offense and a top-notch special teams unit led by Hilton. The pick here is FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL to win and cover.

This FoxSheets trend also backs the Golden Panthers:

MARSHALL is 4-16 ATS (20.0%, -13.6 Units) in road games after a game where they forced 3 or more turnovers since 1992. The average score was MARSHALL 22.3, OPPONENT 28.9 - (Rating = 2*).

The Panthers have been very efficient on offense lately, scoring 33.3 PPG on 339 total YPG in the past three contests. Hilton has found the end zone in each of these games, including a 97-yard punt return TD against Florida Atlantic. Hilton is a big reason his team leads the nation in punt return average (15.9) and ranks fifth in kick returns (26.3 avg). But the Panthers have many more contributors than just Hilton. Senior QB Wesley Carroll has thrown 14 TD and only 4 INT this year, but he’ll have to watch out for Curry and Marshall star safety Omar Brown who had 4 INT in one game against UAB in October. FIU RB Kedrick Rhodes has piled up 1,121 rushing yards and 8 TD this season. Rhodes has five 115-yard performances in 2011, including 117 yards on 20 carries (5.9 YPC) the last game at Middle Tennessee. He has helped the team rush for 515 yards (172 YPG) in the past three contests, but Marshall has held its past two opponents to 171 yards on 66 carries (2.6 YPC).

After scoring a mere 13.2 PPG in their first six games this year, the Thundering Herd offense has been much more potent in the second half of the season, averaging 30.8 PPG. Freshman QB Rakeem Cato’s confidence is growing, and he’s coming off a tremendous performance against East Carolina. He completed 23-of-29 passes for 341 yards, 2 TD and 0 INT in leading his team to a 34-27 overtime win. Junior WR Aaron Dobson caught both of the touchdowns, giving him six scores in the past five games. Marshall’s running game has been weak all year, reaching 200 yards just once (217 vs. Rice). At 123 rushing YPG, the Herd rank 92nd in the nation in run defense. Meanwhile, the Panthers have the 23rd-best run defense in the land, allowing only 121 YPG.

Marshall is 6-1 in bowl games since 1998 and FIU played in its first-ever bowl last year, and won a 34-32 thriller over Toledo with a last-second field goal.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:20 PM

Bowl Games Record:

Date WLT Pct Net Units Record
12/17/11 4-­2-­0 66.67% +­900 Detail
Totals 4-­2-­0 66.67% +900

Tuesday, December 20

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Florida International - 8:00 PM ET Marshall +4 500

Marshall - Over 48.5 500

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:24 PM

TCU Tackles Louisiana Tech In Poinsettia Bowl

We’re not sure TCU (No. 19 in Don Best Linemakers Poll; 10-2 straight up, 5-7 against the spread) is all is all that excited about playing in the Poinsettia Bowl.

On the other hand, if our sources are to be believed, red-hot Louisiana Tech (8-4 SU, 10-2 ATS) can’t wait to get on the field Wednesday night at Qualcomm Stadium.

Thus, it might be time to consult Dr. Phil for his psychological take on a matchup that might be more compelling than a lot of observers believe.

The Horned Frogs return to San Diego for a relatively-new bowl game they helped christen back in 2006 when rolling past Northern Illinois, 37-7. And for the sixth renewal of the Poinsettia Bowl, TCU is back for an encore. The Don Best odds screen indicates that Las Vegas betting outlets and the wagering public believe it will be a successful venture, with the Horned Frogs favored by 10-11 points at the various sports books in town, and the total between 55 and 56 points.

Kickoff on Wednesday night at Qualcomm Stadium will be at 8:00 p.m. (ET), with ESPN providing the TV coverage.

Indeed, this does not rate as a normal trip to San Diego, usually a welcome development in December, for TCU. The Frogs can be excused for being a bit disappointed after their BCS hopes were dashed two weeks ago. BCS frameworrk suggested TCU had a realistic shot of stealing a major bowl invitation after Houston's loss to Southern Miss in the C-USA title game.

It was no stretch to envision that result opening the door for the Mountain West champion Frogs to finish in a qualifying position (meaning in the top 16 of the final ranking and ahead of the highest-ranked Big East rep) for Sugar or Fiesta bids, but poll dynamics reared their ugly head and kept head coach Gary Patterson's squad out of a big-money payday for the first time since 2008.

Mountain West sources reported profound disappointment in Fort Worth after not getting a third straight BCS call, and Patterson has had to do an extra pump-up job on the Frogs to get them ready after the BCS slap.

Meanwhile, WAC sources indicate underdog La Tech can't wait for a chance to continue what was one of the nation's hottest streaks (seven straight wins and covers) down the stretch.

Another development worth monitoring is the situation regarding in-demand Bulldog coach head coach Sonny Dykes, reportedly in consideration for several higher-profile openings. On short lists but bypassed for jobs at Ole Miss and Kansas, Dykes remains in Ruston, although new rumors have him on the radar at Houston, whose job has opened after Kevin Sumlin’s move to Texas A&M. Stay tuned for further developments.

Still, the fact Dykes remains in the fold should be a positive for Tech as it returns to bowl action for the first time in three years, when Derek Dooley’s La Tech beat Northern Illinois by a 17-10 count in the Shreveport Independence Bowl.

Underestimate the Bulldogs at your own risk. Even earlier in the 2011 campaign, before La Tech caught fire down the stretch, it was doing enough to get noticed. Consider that three of its four losses were by a grand total of six points vs. well-regarded Southern Miss, Houston (which the Bulldogs led by 27 points in the third quarter) and in OT at Mississippi State. Only once, in a late-September and mistake-filled game vs. Hawaii, did the Bulldogs lay an egg this season.

Although it’s not quite the full-throttle Air Raid attacks Dykes coordinated during his recent assistant stints at Texas Tech and Arizona, junior QB Colby Cameron nonetheless emerged as an effective game manager after taking over the starting duties from true frosh Nick Isham at midseason. Cameron was able to get multiple receivers involved as he tossed 11 touchdowns and just two picks in five-and-a-half games after taking over for Isham.

Dykes' "O" also has balance provided by RBs Lennon Creer, the ex-Tennessee transfer who gained 838 rush yards despite a variety of nagging hurts, and frosh caddy Hunter Lee, who gained another 582 yards in relief. Creer is likely to be available at full strength for the bowl game.

And there might be opportunities for Dykes' strike force to do some business vs. a Frog "D" that leaked a bit more than some of defensive coordinator Dick Bumpas' recently top-ranked units. Especially through the air, where TCU allowed 21 TD passes and collected only nine picks.

The Frogs were in rebuild mode this year, especially in the secondary, which accounted for some of those collapses. By the end of the season, Bumpas’ 4-2-5 was posting better numbers, but this is not the shut ‘em down defense we have been used to seeing over the past few years in Fort Worth.

Outscoring soph QB Casey Pachall and a potent TCU attack scoring 41 ppg will be a tall order for La Tech, but given the pointspread cushion, and the general successes of double-digit pre-New Year’s bowl underdogs (who have covered at a better than 60% clip since the mid ‘70s), a valid technical case can be presented for the Bulldogs on top of their current 7-game cover streak.

Let’s also not forget that some of those aforementioned defensive shortcomings contributed to TCU's subpar 2-6 mark as double-digit chalk this season. There are fundamental and technical cases to be made for La Tech staying within earshot in San Diego.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:26 PM

No. 15 TCU takes on Louisiana Tech Wednesday


Poinsettia Bowl
Qualcomm Stadium - San Diego, CA
Kickoff: Wednesday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: TCU -9.5, Total: 56

Two teams riding seven-game win streaks collide in Wednesday’s Poinsettia Bowl between Louisiana Tech and No. 15 TCU.

The Bulldogs have covered the spread in all seven wins (five on road), thanks in part to 22 takeaways. TCU has averaged 41.6 PPG during its win streak, but only went 4-3 ATS. The Bulldogs Louisiana Tech has a strong run defense (122 YPG, 25th in FBS), but the Horned Frogs average 210 rush YPG (20th in FBS) with three players tallying 600+ yards each. TCU also has the edge at QB with Casey Pachall (24 TD, 6 INT) more accomplished than Tech’s Colby Cameron (11 TD, 2 INT). Since joining the Mountain West Conference, the Frogs are 5-1 in bowl games, including 2-0 in the Poinsettia Bowl. The pick here is TCU to win and cover.

This pair of FoxSheets trends also support the Horned Frogs:

Gary Patterson is 25-13 ATS (65.8%, +10.7 Units) after 5 or more consecutive straight up wins as the coach of TCU. The average score was TCU 37.5, OPPONENT 14.9 - (Rating = 1*).

LOUISIANA TECH is 5-16 ATS (23.8%, -12.6 Units) off a blowout win by 21 points or more over a conference rival since 1992. The average score was LOUISIANA TECH 25.9, OPPONENT 36.4 - (Rating = 1*).

The WAC Champion Bulldogs are making their first bowl appearance since 2008 when they knocked off Northern Illinois by a 17-10 score in the Independence Bowl. This year, they are 10-2 ATS, including a 7-0 ATS (5-2 SU) on the road and 7-0 ATS as an underdog or pick ‘em. Tech’s offense has been much better under Cameron than it ever was before freshman QB Nick Isham got injured. In five games with Cameron, the team is scoring 34.8 PPG and gaining 446 total YPG. He has worked very well with WRs Taulib Ikharo and Quinton Patton, an all-WAC selection. Ikharo has 19 catches for 229 yards and 3 TD in the past three weeks, and Patton has 24 catches for 462 yards and 5 TD over the past five games. Cameron expects to exploit TCU’s 56th-ranked passing defense (220 YPG), but he’ll try to avoid throwing in the direction of Tank Carder. The two-time MWC Defensive Player of the Year has 66 tackles and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns. DE Stansly Maponga (9 sacks, 5 forced fumbles) is also a force for TCU.

The Horned Frogs will first establish the run, but they can also throw the football with Pachall, who has eight multi-touchdown games, including a 5-TD effort (with 473 yards) at Boise State. The Bulldogs are third in the nation with 20 defensive interceptions, but they have also allowed 253 passing YPG (95th in FBS). Pachall will not be working with his main co-offensive coordinator, Justin Fuente, who is now coaching at Memphis, but Pachall will be well aware of Tech’s top two defenders. WAC Defensive Player of the Year LB Adrien Cole has 121 tackles and 13 TFL, while Christian Lacey has 8½ sacks including 5½ sacks in his past four games. In addition to TCU’s big advantage in rushing the football (210 rush YPG to 122 rush YPG), the Frogs also have the edge in kick returns, as senior Greg McCoy is averaging a whopping 31.6 yards per return (4th in nation).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/20/2011 07:29 PM

Poinsettia Bowl

December 20, 2011

Wednesday’s bowl action heads to San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium, where Louisiana Tech (8-4 straight up, 10-2 against the spread) will try to knock off No. 16 TCU (10-2 SU, 4-5 ATS) in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. Kickoff is set for 8:00 p.m. EST and some gamblers could be scratching their heads for this matchup.

The Horned Frogs are the more known of the two programs and they’ve been made prohibitive favorites. However, the Bulldogs from the Western Athletic Conference could be barking loudly in this spot and the sharp money tends to agree.

TCU opened as a 12 ½-point favorite at most sports books in early December. On paper, the Frogs are the better team and the first number seems fair. However, these non-conference affairs are more about the matchup rather than the talent and it appears the sharp money agrees. Since the number came out, the line has been knocked down to 9 ½ and even 9 points at most outfits.

The question is why?

For starters, some bettors will argue that it’s hard for TCU to get up for this particular game. After winning the Mountain West for the third straight season, head coach Gary Patterson and the Horned Frogs just missed out on their third consecutive trip to a BSC bowl. The school beat Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl last season and came up short to Boise State (10-17) in the Fiesta Bowl a year prior.

Without debate, it’s fair to say that the Poinsettia Bowl is clearly a step down. However, keep in mind that Patterson and TCU have made two trips to this bowl (see history below) and they showed up both times. Also, the Frogs will be leaving the MWC after the season for the Big 12.

Another obvious reason bettors are fading TCU is the opponent, Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs captured the WAC after closing out the season with seven straight wins, which came after a tough 1-4 start. And if you look at the setbacks, there’s even more of a reason to back second-year coach Sonny Dykes and his crew.

Louisiana Tech lost to the two teams that collided in the Conference USA championship by a combined three points, Southern Mississippi (17-19) and Houston (34-35). Also, they fell to a decent SEC foe in Mississippi State (20-26) in overtime on the road.

While three of their four losses were quality, you can knock La. Tech for its wins too, considering five came against teams with losing records and one was against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent (Central Arkansas) as well. Regardless of the competition, it’s hard to discount the Bulldogs’ current seven-game winning streak, especially since five of the victories were on the road. We shouldn’t forget that TCU also enters this bowl with seven straight wins too and its two losses this year came by two points to Baylor (48-50) and seven points to SMU (33-40) in overtime.

The Horned Frogs could’ve had three setbacks but they managed to pull one of the biggest upsets of the season when they nipped Boise State 36-35 as 16-point road underdogs. Quarterback Casey Pachall tossed the touchdown and eventual game-winning two-point conversion before the Broncos missed a field goal late. Pachall (2,715 yards, 24 TDs, 6 INTs) has played very well in his first season under center for TCU, who averaged 41.7 points per game this season.

Bowl Betting Notes

The Horned Frogs were 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS on the road
The Bulldogs went 5-2 SU and 7-0 ATS away from home
TCU watched the ‘over’ go 8-3 this season
La. Tech saw the ‘under’ go 7-4, which included a 6-1 mark on the road
TCU is 3-1 in its last four bowl games under Patterson, but only 1-3 ATS and the largest margin was seven points
The Mountain West is 0-2 both SU and ATS in bowls this season
The WAC is 0-1 SU and ATS
TCU Bowl History (Last Five)

Jan. 1, 2011 Rose Bowl - TCU 21, Wisconsin 19
Jan. 4, 2010 Fiesta Bowl - Boise State 17, TCU 10
Dec. 23, 2008 Poinsettia Bowl - TCU 17, Boise State 16
Dec. 28, 2007 Texas Bowl - TCU 20, Houston 13
Dec. 19, 2006 Poinsettia Bowl - TCU 37, Northern Illinois 7

Louisiana Bowl History (Last Five)

Dec. 28, 2008 Independence Bowl - Louisiana Tech 17, Northern Illinois 10
Dec. 31, 2001 Humanitarian Bowl - Clemson 49, Louisiana Tech 29
Dec. 15, 1990 Independence Bowl - Louisiana Tech 34, Maryland 34, tie
Dec. 16, 1978 Independence Bowl - East Carolina 35, Louisiana Tech 15
Dec. 17, 1977 Independence Bowl - Louisiana Tech 24, Louisville 14

Poinsettia Bowl History (2006-2010)

Dec. 23, 2010 - San Diego State 35, Navy 14
Dec. 23, 2009 - Utah 37, California 27
Dec. 23, 2008 - TCU 17, Boise State 16
Dec. 20, 2007 - Utah 35, Navy 32
Dec. 19, 2006 - TCU 37, Northern Illinois 7

Notes: The Mountain West has won all five installments of the Poinsettia Bowl since it started in 2006

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/21/2011 06:18 PM

Bowl Game Record:

Date WLT Pct Net Units Record
12/20/11 1-­1-­0 50.00% -­50 Detail
12/17/11 4-­2-­0 66.67% +­900 Detail
Totals 5-­3-­0 62.50% +850

Wednesday, December 21

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Louisiana Tech - 8:00 PM ET Louisiana Tech +10 500

Texas Christian - Over 55.5 500

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/21/2011 06:20 PM

Boise State Broncos Back In Las Vegas Bowl

Of the many indignities within the 2011 bowl season, the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl might top them all. The combination of a top-quality team overlooked by the controversial BCS and relegated to a minor event, plus an entry with arguably not much business being in the postseason in the first place and having fired its coach since the end of the regular season...only to allow him to coach in the bowl game.

Indeed, for those who don’t much like the college football postseason process, the Las Vegas Bowl really does have something for everybody!

The specifics of the matchup tell us that Arizona State (6-6 straight up, 4-8 against the spread) will be facing Boise State (11-1 SU, 4-8 ATS; No. 9 in current Don Best Linemakers Poll) in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl on Thursday night, December 22. Kickoff for the clash at Sam Boyd Stadium will be at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern), with TV coverage provided by ESPN.

The Don Best odds screen notes a slight move downward in prices as we approach kickoff, with most Las Vegas wagering outlets early in the week now pricing the Broncos as 13½-point favorites (down slightly from the key number at 14), and the total mostly sitting at 66.

Boise can certainly feel a bit jilted by this postseason assignment, and some Mountain West observers are wondering just how the Broncos will respond to another low-level bowl date on a cold and windy December weeknight at a remote locale on the way to Hoover Dam after blowing a clear shot at a BCS slot by losing a bitter 1-point verdict to TCU in November.

If the scenario sounds familiar, it should because Boise was in much the same situation a year ago after also blowing a BCS chance due to faulty field-goal kicking in the penultimate regular-season game at Nevada. The Broncos had to settle for this Sam Boyd Stadium date last December, too, and came out a bit flat in similar Vegas Bowl dynamics before finally putting away a deflated Utah team that was forced to use its backup QB. The final score was 26-3 in Boise’s favor.

Meanwhile, the Sun Devils are rewarded with a bowl assignment despite collapsing down the stretch, losing and failing to cover their last four games and blowing a Pac-12 South title that seemed to be theirs for the taking much of the fall.

Neither team took those late-season developments lightly. Boise, infuriated by another BCS snub, announced it would be moving its football operations from the Mountain West to the Big East in 2013. As for ASU, it hit the eject button on head coach Dennis Erickson after the late-season fade and the Devils' third straight non-winning regular season.

Erickson, however, is being allowed to coach one final game, much as predecessor Dirk Koetter was five years ago when permitted to lead the Sun Devils in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl vs. June Jones’ Hawaii Warriors. That didn’t work out too well for ASU, a 41-24 loser in Honolulu, but the Sun Devils don’t seem to learn from past mistakes, having just hired another serial carpetbagger like Erickson, Pitt’s Todd Graham, to coach the team beginning next year.

As for June Jones? He figures in the current ASU narrative as well, apparently being offered the job to replace Erickson before big boosters in the Valley of the Sun pulled the rug out from under AD Lisa Love and nixed the deal.

Indeed, we wonder if SoapNet might be a more appropriate network to televise this game than ESPN.

It’s also worth noting an uncharacteristic recent pointspread slump for Boise, with no covers in its last six games. After several years of providing excellent value laying big points at home, the Broncos failed to cover all six of their games on the familiar blue carpet in 2011. Boise even failed to cover its last two away from home after a sparkling 12-1 spread mark its previous 13 on the road.

This spread, however, is not as prohibitive as the many that Boise had trouble overcoming in the last half of the season.

As for ASU, although usually within earshot in its late-season slump, we must consider that those four straight losses to conclude the season came against moderate-to-heavy-underdog sides, suggesting there was plenty of dysfunction going on in Tempe down the stretch.

The defensive shortcomings that proved so costly to the Sun Devils vs. the likes of UCLA and Washington State could prove especially problematic vs. well-protected (sacked only 8 times) and prolific (140 career TD) Boise senior QB Kellen Moore and the well-oiled Bronco "O" scoring 43 ppg. Moore and several Broncos are also making their final appearances after long and distinguished careers in blue and orange, suggesting a possible emotional effort could be forthcoming from Chris Petersen’s team.

As for Petersen, he seems to be content enough in Boise to remain with the Broncos after another round of courtship by a variety of suitors, including UCLA. Sources say the program’s stability figures to continue into the future with Petersen so comfy in his position. And at least the Broncos are familiar with these surroundings, making their third Sam Boyd Stadium appearance in the past year.

Another very underrated Boise stop unit (ranked 10th in scoring "D") also should not have too difficult a time containing slow-footed ASU QB Brock Osweiler, whose efficiency waned as the season progressed and the Sun Devil “O” become more imbalanced as it mostly discarded the run.

Pac-12 sources also report no special Devil effort is likely forthcoming for Erickson, who will ride off into the distance after the game, a long coaching career likely coming to an inglorious conclusion in the desert off Boulder Highway.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/21/2011 06:23 PM


Wednesday, December 21

Poinsettia Bowl: What bettors need to know

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. TCU Horned Frogs (-9.5, 55.5)


1. Two surprise conference champions riding seven-game winning streaks square off in the Poinsettia Bowl. No. 15 TCU finished with a perfect record in the Mountain West, including a dramatic victory over preseason favorite Boise State, to claim its third consecutive title. Louisiana Tech — picked to finish fourth in the WAC — dethroned preseason favorite Hawaii to claim its first conference title.

2. From a motivational standpoint, the Bulldogs might have an advantage. They’re making just their sixth bowl appearance and first since 2008, while the Horned Frogs will play in a bowl for the seventh consecutive season on the heels of back-to-back BCS bowl appearances.

3. These teams feature very similar playmakers on the defensive side of the ball. TCU linebacker Tank Carder was named the Mountain West’s Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season, while Louisiana Tech’s Adrien Cole earned the same honor in the WAC after posting 121 tackles, 12 of which were for loss.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN

LINE: TCU opened as high as -11, but has been bet down to 9.5. The total opened 55.5 and has climbed to 56 at some shops.

WEATHER: Fog is in the forecast for Qualcomm Stadium, with game-time temperatures in the high 59s.

ABOUT TCU (10-2, 7-0 Mountain West Conference, 6-6 ATS): After losing eight starters from 2010, including quarterback Andy Dalton, the Horned Frogs’ offense was expected to struggle this year. But that hasn’t been the case at all as sophomore quarterback Casey Pachall filled the hole left by Dalton by tossing 24 touchdowns to only six interceptions. TCU finished ninth nationally with 41.7 points per game, but all that success led to one drawback — co-offensive coordinator Justin Fuente left the program to become the head coach at Memphis, which has won only five combined games in the past three seasons.

ABOUT LOUISIANA TECH (8-4, 6-1 Western Athletic Conference, 10-2 ATS): The outlook was bleak for second-year coach Sonny Dykes when his Bulldogs stumbled out of the gates in 2011 with a 1-4 start. But Louisiana Tech steamrolled through the back half of the schedule, winning seven straight games, five of which came by double digits. Dykes was named the WAC Coach of the Year, helping engineer an offense that averaged 30.6 points and 398 yards, both in the top 50 nationally. Junior quarterback Colby Cameron took over for injured freshman Nick Isham five games ago, and since that point the Bulldogs scored 35 points per game on 445 total yards.


* Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games.
* Horned Frogs are 0-6 ATS in their last six non-conference games.
* Under is 4-1 in Bulldogs last five non-conference games.
* Under is 7-0-1 in Horned Frogs last eight Bowl games.

PREDICTION: TCU 30, Louisiana Tech 28. The Horned Frogs will have enough firepower to come away with a victory, but this one will be a fight to the end.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:32869 Followers:38
12/21/2011 06:24 PM


Wednesday, December 21

Tale of the tape: Louisiana Tech vs. Texas Christian

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. Texas Christian Horned Frogs (-9.5, 55.5)


TCU owns one of the most balanced offenses in the country, piling up more than 440 total yards per game comprised of 233 passing yards and 210 rushing yards. Quarterback Casey Pachall ranks seventh in the country in passing efficiency with 24 TDs and only six interceptions, while running back Waymon James averaged 7.7 yards per carry and piled up 824 rushing yards. Matthew Tucker tops the team with 11 rushing touchdowns. Wideout Josh Boyce has huge big-play ability, averaging 16.6 yards per catch to go along with nine touchdowns.

Louisiana Tech quarterback Colby Cameron has the Bulldogs on an offensive roll since taking over as starter five games ago. He has completed 56.4 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions over that stretch. Cameron has hit nine different receivers in those five games, but Quinton Patton is his top target with 73 catches and 10 touchdowns with 1135 receiving yards. Lennon Creer paces the Bulldogs on the ground with 838 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, but he averages only 4.2 yards per carry.

Edge: TCU


TCU ranks 30th in the nation allowing 21.2 points per game and 32nd in total defense giving up 346.3 yards per contest. The weakest part of the Horned Frogs’ defense is pass coverage, where they allow about 220 yards per game. Linebacker Tank Carder was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive season after notching 66 tackles (4 ½ for a loss) and taking his two interceptions to the end zone.

The Bulldogs give up 22.5 points per game and are pegged 55th nationally in total defense giving up about 375 yards per game. Louisiana Tech’s run defense is solid allowing 122.1 yards per game on the ground and the Bulldogs sit third in the nation with 20 interceptions. However, their pass defense is having a lot more problems than TCU’s, giving up 253 yards per contest and their red zone defense ranks last in the WAC.

The Horned Frogs have the edge here, but the Bulldogs’ takeaways make it close.

Edge: TCU

Special teams:

Both clubs have some serious playmakers on special teams. Louisiana Tech punter Ryan Allen won the Ray Guy Award as the nation’s best punter, averaging 46.3 yards per attempt with 29 punts of 50-plus yards. Meanwhile, Greg McCoy averages 31.6 yards per kickoff return and took a pair of kicks back to the house for TCU to earn the Mountain West Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year award.

Edge: Even

Word on the street:

"Do you want to have an eight-game winning streak or a one-game losing streak? Do you want to be preseason ranked or do you not want to be ranked at all? Because that's what's in jeopardy for the team that returns next year." - TCU coach Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"This team's in a great situation. The way coach Dykes set up the team, we have a lot of competition out there. Coming into every year, if you compete as hard as you can and continue to push others, you have a good chance of getting better players to come in and help out because they want to play in that atmosphere." – Louisiana Tech receiver Taulib Ikharo.

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