cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 03:44 PM

Pitt Panthers In Cincinnati For Thursday Night Clash

The second week of the college football season starts in style Thursday night with the Pittsburgh Panthers visiting the Cincinnati Bearcats.

ESPN will have this Big East battle starting at 8:00 p.m. (ET). The Don Best college football odds screen opened the Bearcats -2½ and immediately moved them to 3½-4 point favorites. The total currently sits at 49.

Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh on the road last year 26-23, just failing to cover the 3½-point spread. The Panthers are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between the teams and the home squad is 4-1 ATS in the last five.

The spread move this week is at least partially due to Pittsburgh’s shocking 31-17 loss to Youngstown State last Saturday as 18 ½-point home favorites. The Panthers averaged 6.4 yards per play vs. 5.6 for their FCS counterpart, but losing the turnover battle 2-0 really hurt.

The defense was also to blame for Pittsburgh after giving up four long touchdown drives. Only having one starter return from the front-seven was tough, and the unit will have to play much better this week.

First-year coach Paul Chryst is the former offensive coordinator for Wisconsin and has switched the offense from a spread to a pro-set. There have been an incredible four Pitt coaches in the last 18 months, although Mike Haywood only lasted two weeks.

Don Best football analyst Kenny White believes Chryst is the right man for the job long term, but growing pains were obvious in the Week 1 loss.

The Panthers will need to rely more on stud running back Ray Graham (71 rushing yards last week at 5.1 ypc). Don Best’s Brian Blessing believes they have an advantage in playing last week, while Cincinnati was off.

Coach Butch Jones will start his third season (14-11 straight up record) with the Bearcats on Thursday. They earned a share of the Big East title three of the last four years and have 55 wins over the past six seasons.

Blessing likes Cincinnati’s improvement to 10-3 SU last year that ended with a Liberty Bowl victory over Vanderbilt, and this is a veteran group having grown up together. There are seven returning starters on defense, versus just four on offense (two on the o-line).

Junior quarterback Munchie Legaux is on the all-name team, but needs to do better than his 47.4 completion percentage last year (116 attempts). He’s a good athlete with good size (6-foot-4, 203 pounds), but simply needs to be more accurate.

White gets the last word on this game and believes having a game under its belt is worth 3-4 points for Pittsburgh. These are two evenly matched teams overall and he likes the Panthers to get revenge for last year's defeat to the Bearcats and win this contest outright.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 03:49 PM

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati

September 5, 2012

While this week's Thursday college football schedule does not bring us the multi-game slate that the opening week featured, the ESPN matchup this week will be a critical game in the Big East conference race as Pittsburgh visits Cincinnati.

Matchup: Pittsburgh Panthers at Cincinnati Bearcats
Venue: Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio (FieldTurf)
Date: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Time/TV: 8:00 PM ET - ESPN
Line: Cincinnati -4, Over/Under 49
Last Meeting: 2011, Cincinnati (+3½) 26-23 at Pittsburgh

Cincinnati will open the season a week later than most with the opportunity to host Pittsburgh in this primetime matchup, also kicking off the conference season in the Big East. This year the conference race looks like it will be close and both of these teams figure to be in the mix. Last year, West Virginia won a tiebreaker over Cincinnati and Louisville at 5-2 in conference play, while Pittsburgh was a game behind at 4-3. With just eight teams in the conference it is a wide-open race, but there is little margin for error with only a seven-game schedule determining a BCS bowl spot. That will change next year with Boise State, San Diego State, SMU, Houston, UCF, and Memphis scheduled to join the league, while Syracuse and Pittsburgh move out.

Not having played last week allowed Cincinnati to have a much better result than Pittsburgh had last week. In his debut as a head coach, former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst took an opening loss at home against Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) member Youngstown State, 31-17. Now the Penguins have a strong program and opened the year ranked 18th in the initial FCS poll, but it still will linger as an embarrassing defeat for Chryst and a Panthers program in dire need of some stability on the sidelines. The spread was Pitt -18½ where available, so it was not even close to the biggest upset of the week spread-wise, as that belonged to Texas State (+35 ½) beating Houston.

The game was tied 7-7 after the first quarter and Youngstown State took a 14-7 lead in the second quarter, impressively scoring on long drives on its first two possessions. Pittsburgh's first drive ended in a fumble despite featuring a veteran offense that returned nine starters including senior quarterback Tino Sunseri and senior running back Ray Graham, who was guilty of the turnover. The Pittsburgh offense would get a field goal before halftime to only trail by four at the break but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the night. The yardage in the game was relatively even but Youngstown State had just one penalty and no turnovers, while rushing the ball consistently with 204 yards on 46 carries.

Last season Pittsburgh's defense allowed 351 yards per game, a big leap from the numbers posted in the Dave Wannstedt era, even though the points allowed under now Arizona State head coach Todd Graham last season did not increase substantially. The big difference proved to be passing efficiency as that was an area that Wannstedt teams always excelled in on defense. Last year teams completed almost 61 percent of passes against Pittsburgh and while Youngstown State was below that mark in the opener the Penguins were able to create a few big plays and got three touchdown plays in the air. The defense was supposed to be the question mark for Pittsburgh this year, especially with Chryst being an offense-minded coach. Plus the defense only had a handful of returning starters but the offense has to take much of the blame for this loss.

It takes time for new coach to institute new schemes and there are some dramatic changes this year for Pittsburgh. That comes after dramatic changes under Graham last season. The personnel is there for Pittsburgh to be an effective scoring team but it will take some time and with a big home game looming against Virginia Tech next week, an 0-3 start could be looming if the Panthers fail to show improvement this week. Sunseri has made 13 career starts at quarterback and Ray Graham rushed for nearly 1,000 yards last season. All the top receiving threats for Pittsburgh are back in action this year as well but the offense could not get much going last week.

After going 4-8 in 2010 in his first season at Cincinnati, head coach Butch Davis delivered a 10-3 season last year, going 5-2 in the conference to tie for the Big East lead. This is not an experienced team as only four projected starters on offense started for the Bearcats last season and the big question mark is at quarterback as long-time QB Zach Collaros departs. Junior Munchie Legaux takes over and he did see significant action last season, making 116 attempts and he has started three games while appearing in 11 in his career. A bigger question for the offense is in the backfield as running back Isaiah Pead had a huge year for the Bearcats last season. There are players to fill in with Jameel Poteat and change-of-pace back Ralph David Abernathy likely seeing carries but Pead will be tough to replace.

Cincinnati should have an experienced defense with seven returning starters and this was a unit that improved dramatically last season despite limited experience, going from 28 points per game allowed in 2010 to just over 20 points per game allowed last season. Cincinnati was very effective at stopping the run last season, allowing just 95 rushing yards per game on just 2.7 yards per carry, some of the better marks in the nation. Those statistics are a bit skewed however as two opponents ended up with negative rushing yards in games vs. Cincinnati last season. Cincinnati had 46 sacks last season and they will need big plays from the defense again to come close to last season's record as this was a fortunate team last season finishing +12 in turnovers for the year.

The Bearcats have Delaware State next week and then a bye week so this is the only big game in the first four weeks of the season. It should be an advantage for Pittsburgh to have a game under its belt however and the Panthers have to be motivated for a redeeming performance after the disappointing opening game. This could be another tight game between two teams with hopes of a Big East title.

Last Meeting: Last season in early November Cincinnati won 26-23 in Pittsburgh to move to 3-0 in Big East play at the time. It was a second conference loss for Pittsburgh which effectively bounced the Panthers from the race. Pittsburgh actually led 23-13 in the third quarter last season but Cincinnati would take the lead with 13 points in the span of just over four minutes late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh had to punt on its first three possession of the fourth quarter but then got an interception near midfield. That drive ended up in a failed fourth down attempt on the edge of field goal range. The defense again held and Pittsburgh eventually had a field goal attempt to tie the game, but the 50-yard attempt was not close in the closing seconds. Pittsburgh had more yards in the game and more efficient numbers but Cincinnati came out on top with the kicking game being a big factor with four field goal makes from now sophomore kicker Tony Miliano.

Series History: Pittsburgh has lost straight up in three of the last four meetings but is 4-3 SU and 5-2 against the spread since Cincinnati joined the conference in 2005. Four of the last five meetings have been decided by seven points or less and the favorite is 4-3 in the seven games. The current spread matches the largest spread in this series since 2008 and Cincinnati is just 1-2 SU and ATS hosting this series since the teams became Big East foes. The last time these teams played in Cincinnati it was not a competitive game as Pittsburgh won 28-10 but it was memorable for heavy snow falling and Cincinnati posting just 75 yards in the game.

Pittsburgh Historical Trends: The Panthers have been a strong ATS performer on the road in recent years, mostly under Wannstedt. Since 2006, Pittsburgh is 16-15 SU and 20-10-1 ATS in road games. Last season Pittsburgh was 1-3 SU and 2-2 ATS in those games, covering in two of the three road games in conference. Pittsburgh is on a 10-3-1 ATS run as a road underdog since 2007. After losing narrowly as a very slight underdog early last season at Iowa, Pittsburgh covered in all five remaining games last season playing as an underdog. Pittsburgh is 8-14 SU and 15-6-1 ATS since 2007 when getting points as well as 34-24-1 ATS since 1999 as an underdog. The Panthers have typically not been as strong as a slight underdog however, going just 8-9-1 ATS as underdog of less than seven points since 2004.

Cincinnati Historical Trends: The Bearcats are 53-19 SU and 38-28 ATS at home since 2000, including going 29-8 SU and 19-14 ATS since 2006. Last season Cincinnati went 4-1 SU at home with the lone loss coming by just three points against West Virginia. It looks odd now but Cincinnati was actually a three-point favorite in that game against the eventual Orange Bowl champions as the Mountaineers had just lost to Louisville in the previous game. Cincinnati is 24-5 SU but just 15-14 ATS as a home favorite since 2004 but the Bearcats are 11-7 ATS as home favorites of less than seven since 1995. Cincinnati has only been a home favorite of less than a touchdown twice in the last three seasons, losing outright both times. Cincinnati has not lost its home opener since 2001, putting together ten consecutive SU wins although each of the last six came against FCS competition.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 03:51 PM

Cincinnati tries to put Pittsburgh in 0-2 hole


Kickoff: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Cincinnati -4

After getting drilled 31-17 by 18-point underdog Youngstown State on Saturday, the competition gets much tougher for Pittsburgh when it visits conference foe Cincinnati on Thursday night.

The Panthers lost to an FCS program for the first time in school history, as the Penguins held the football for 35:10, converted 11-of-16 third downs and never trailed for the entire game. Pittsburgh has dropped three of the past four meetings with Cincinnati, but has a 5-2 ATS mark in the series since the Bearcats joined the Big East. Cincy finished 10-3 last season, but returns just four offensive starters. QB Munchie Legaux was second on the depth chart in 2011, but he’s the starter now after leading his team to wins in its final two conference games, throwing for 386 yards and five touchdowns.

Can the Panthers bounce back in their Big East opener? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.

Pittsburgh’s offense wasn’t that bad against YSU, gaining 369 yards with 8.0 yards per pass and 4.6 yards per carry. Senior QB Tino Sunseri completed 19-of-30 passes for 239 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT. He hasn’t been great in two career starts versus the Bearcats though, completing 38-of-61 passes for 376 yards (6.2 YPA), 1 TD and 2 INT. Senior RB Ray Graham played for the first time since tearing his ACL last year, rushing for a respectable 71 yards on 14 carries (5.1 YPC) against the Penguins, but he did lose a costly fumble. Panthers new head coach Paul Chryst has to be much more concerned about a defense that allowed an FCS school to gain 381 total yards, including 204 on the ground. Despite the poor showing on Saturday, Pittsburgh has been a great wager in Big East play over the past two seasons, going 11-3 ATS (79%).

Legaux did not play in the 26-23 win over Pittsburgh last year, but leading WR Anthony McClung (team-best 683 rec. yds, 6 TD in 2011) had a team-high 73 receiving yards in the victory. With Isaiah Pead moved on to the NFL, senior RB George Winn will attempt to fill Pead’s shoes in 2012. Winn averaged 5.5 YPC in limited duty last year, but showed his speed on a 69-yard touchdown run in the Liberty Bowl victory over Vanderbilt. Although Cincinnati’s great defense excelled against the run last year (96 YPG, 6th in FBS), it struggled a bit in the passing game, allowing 261 YPG (99th in nation).

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 03:56 PM


Week 2

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati
The Panthers look to bounce back from last week's 31-17 loss to Youngstown State and build on their 5-1 ATS record in their last 6 games following a double-digit loss at home. Pittsburgh is the pick (+4 1/2) according to Dunkel, which has the Bearcats favored by only 2. Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+4 1/2). Here are all of this week's lined games.


Game 301-302: Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (8:00 p.m. EST)
Dunkel Ratings: Pittsburgh 90.268; Cincinnati 92.382
Dunkel Line: Cincinnati by 2; 45
Vegas Line: Cincinnati by 4 1/2; 49
Dunkel Pick: Pittsburgh (+4 1/2); Under

Long Sheet

Week 2

Thursday, September 6


PITTSBURGH (0 - 1) at CINCINNATI - 9/6/2012, 8:00 PM
Top Trends for this game.
PITTSBURGH is 11-3 ATS (+7.7 Units) against conference opponents over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
PITTSBURGH is 2-0 against the spread versus CINCINNATI over the last 3 seasons
CINCINNATI is 1-1 straight up against PITTSBURGH over the last 3 seasons
2 of 2 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


Week 2

Trend Report

Thursday, September 6

8:00 PM
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Pittsburgh's last 6 games on the road
Pittsburgh is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games
Cincinnati is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Pittsburgh
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Cincinnati's last 10 games

Short Sheet

Week 2

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati, 8:00 ET ESPN
Pittsburgh: 11-3 ATS vs. conference opponents
Cincinnati: 10-1 Under on Thursdays

Armadillo's Write-Up

Week 2

Thursday's game

Underdogs covered four of last five Pitt-Cincinnati games, with visitor winning four of the five; Pitt won two of last three visits here, but they lost 31-17 last week to I-AA Youngstown State, giving up 204 rushing yards, not a good start to the Paul Chryst era. Pitt covered 14 of its last 17 games coming off a loss. Since 2007, Pitt is 10-1-2 vs spread as a road underdog. Cincinnati is 7-10 as a home favorite last three years; this is its season opener. Bearcats lost 3 starters on OL, have a mobile QB who has played some WR. Pitt has a senior QB who has made 27 starts for three different head coaches. Panthers have 9 starters back on offense, 5 on defense; Cincy has only 4 back on offense, but 7 on defense.


Week 2

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati: What bettors need to know

Pittsburgh Panthers at Cincinnati Bearcats (-4, 48.5)

Pittsburgh won’t have much time to recover from a season-opening 31-17 loss to Youngstown State and that may be a good thing. The Panthers dive right into the Big East schedule at Cincinnati on Thursday.

Pittsburgh will no doubt come in angry and will face a new-look Cincinnati team playing its first game. The Bearcats are replacing their quarterback, top running back and two first-team, all-Big East players on defense.

However, Cincinnati is a contender. Munchie Legaux takes over at quarterback with some experience and has talented receivers. The Bearcats also have seven starters back on defense.

Pittsburgh, which is 8-3 overall and 3-1 at Cincinnati, has to be heartened by the return of running back Ray Graham from knee surgery. Still, the Panthers' inexperienced defense must improve quickly for first-year coach Paul Chryst.

TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Cincinnati -4

WEATHER: There is a chance of thunderstorms for the start of Thursday's game. The forecast in Cincinnati is calling for a 20 percent chance of rain with winds blowing west at 5 mph, giving way to partially cloudy skies and temperatures in the low 70s.

PITTSBURGH (0-1, 0-0 Big East): The Panthers did not play well on either side of the ball against Youngstown. Their defense, with eight new starters, had its streak of 25 games with at least one sack snapped and Youngstown converted 11 of 16 third-down opportunities. Chryst suspended six players for disciplinary reasons before the opener, including starting defensive tackle Tyrone Ezell, but few stepped up. Graham, who led the league in rushing before getting injured in the eighth game last year, returned to average more than five yards per carry. Quarterback Tino Sunseri will make his 28th straight start after throwing for 239 yards Saturday.

CINCINNATI (2011: 10-3, 5-2 Big East): The Bearcats have plenty of practice time this month, with only two games until a Sept. 29 clash with Virginia Tech. That should help them focus on the only Big East game until Oct. 26. Legaux was impressive in three starts last season, going 2-1, and has veteran receivers Kenbrell Thompkins and Anthony McClung among his options. The pair combined for more than 90 receptions and 1,200 yards in 2011. Senior George Winn and promising sophomore Jameel Poteat will replace running back Isaiah Pead. All-Big East safety Drew Frey leads the defense for coach Butch Jones.

* Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Under is 5-1 in Panthers’ last six road games.
* Bearcats are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
* Home team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.


1. Cincinnati has won at least 10 games in four of the last five years and at least tied for the league title three of last four.

2. Pittsburgh has won its last four Big East openers, and five of its last six.

3. Cincinnati’s Pat O’Donnell led the Big East in punting last season.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 06:37 PM

Thursday, September 6

Game Score Status Pick Amount

Pittsburgh - 8:00 PM ET Pittsburgh +5.5 500 Best Bet

Cincinnati - Under 49.5 500 Best Bet

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 06:42 PM

Beehive State Battle Finds Utes Visiting Aggies

Thirty-six months is a long time to wait. For the Utah State Aggies, it marks the amount of time they have been stewing to get another crack at the much-disliked, downstate Utah Utes.

Friday night, the Utags finally get their long-awaited chance.

Indeed, it’s been three years since these once-annual rivals have renewed hostilities on the gridiron. At that point, the series had been a Utah-dominated affair, as the Utes hadn’t lost to USU since 1997.

But the Utags finally get another crack to reverse that series trend on Friday at Logan. The Don Best college football odds screen notes that the visiting Utes are posted as 7-7½ point favorites at various wagering outlets across Nevada, with the total currently hovering between 52½-53½.

Kickoff time at Romney Stadium – and no, it’s not named after Mitt; rather long-ago coach Dick Romney, who was in fact a distant cousin of George and Mitt Romney – will be at 8:00 p.m. (ET) on Friday, with ESPN2 on hand to provide TV coverage.

That underdog role, however, suits the host Utags just fine, as they covered the spread in all three of their chances as the 'short' last season and are 25-11 vs. the number getting points since 2007. The bulk of that success has come as a road underdog, but USU has upgraded considerably over the past couple of years, to the point where it believes it can compete on even terms with Pac-12 opposition such as downstate Utah.

To wit: Utah State is off of its first bowl season since 1997, and a year ago came within seconds of scoring significant road upset wins over eventual bowl winners Auburn and BYU. USU’s 7-6 straight-up mark a year ago might even be a bit deceiving, as the Utags lost four games by four points or fewer, including a pair of one-point setbacks (in OT vs. Colorado State and in the Famous Idaho Potato against Frank Solich’s Ohio U).

Gridiron matters, however, are looking up in Logan, as USU was hoping it would when hiring head coach Gary Andersen off of the Utah staff following the Utes’ unbeaten, 2008 Sugar Bowl season. More importantly, following last fall’s turnaround campaign, Andersen, suddenly regarded as a hot coaching commodity, doubled down on his commitment by extending his contract, to the delight of AD Scott Barnes.

Of course, USU is also looking forward to a move to the Mountain West next fall, as along with San Jose State and La Tech escapes the building burning that is the WAC.

Andersen’s challenge this season is to fill a couple of gaps left by the departure of decorated performers on each side of the line of scrimmage, RB Robert Turbin and LB Bobby Wagner, both drafted by the Seattle Seahawks, where each figures to make contributions this fall. Wagner, in fact, has already been named as a starter by Seattle head coach Pete Carroll.

But the cupboard is hardly bare in Logan, where Andersen has a pair of QBs, soph Chuckie Keeton and senior Adam Kennedy, who each won a year ago. The electric Keeton got the majority of work in the season opener last week vs. Southern Utah, and appeared in superb form when completing 22-of-26 passes for 303 yards in an easy 34-3 Utag win.

USU also might have found a post-Turbin answer at RB, where Joe Hill and Kerwynn Williams combined for 179 yards rushing vs. the FCS Thunderbirds. Offensive coordinator Matt Wells likely uses this RB-by-committee approach, which suits the smallish Hill and Williams just fine, being that neither has the sort of frame to handle a heavy workload as did the powerfully-built Turbin a year ago.

It’s also worth noting that WR Matt Austin, given an extra sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA, remains in the fold and caught passes worth 119 yards in the opener, suggesting that USU retains the sort of balance it did a year ago when ranking 20th nationally in total offense stats. The 34 points vs. SUU also replicated last year’s prolific 33.6 ppg, which was good for 23rd nationally.

Of course, the question on Friday night is how the Utags will match up vs. a much-upgraded foe from last week’s SUU. Downstate Utah also has high hopes that it can improve from last year’s 8-5 team that won its bowl game (the Sun vs. Georgia Tech) in exciting overtime fashion after narrowly missing a chance to represent the newly-formed Pac-12 South in the first-ever conference title game.

A key development for Utah will be the progress of junior QB Jordan Wynn, who was out for much of the 2011 campaign due to a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury. That followed an injury to his right shoulder the previous fall that took a lot of velocity off of Wynn’s fastball when he was in the lineup in the early stages of last season.

Wynn had developed a sidearm-type delivery last year, a result of the previous shoulder injury. Results were somewhat promising, however, in last week’s season-opening 41-0 win over outmanned Northern Colorado in Salt Lake City.

The Utes can use a passing game upgrade after ranking 99th nationally in that category a year ago when suffering minus Wynn for much of the season. In fact, Utah slipped to 109th in total offense last season, promoting some Pac-12 observers to suggest that head coach Kyle Whittingham did a better job than many realize when steering the Utes to those eight wins.

The offense, now coordinated by former QB Brian Johnson (the hero of the 2008 Sugar Bowl season), still pivots around the ground game and slashing RB John White, a former juco who danced for 1,519 yards rushing in 2011 and picked up where he left off in the opener vs. Northern Colorado by gaining another 119 yards on the ground.

Regional sources, however, have alerted to a new weapon in the Utah arsenal in the form of 6-foot-7, 228-lb. true frosh QB Travis Wilson, whose style reminds of Tim Tebow and who made an immediate impact in the opener by rushing for a pair of TDs in short-yardage formations. Wilson is more than a one-trick pony, however, also boasting a rocket arm, and look for Whittingham to spot this secret weapon a bit more as September progresses.

One last note worth mentioning in this series rivalry is that the road team has a 5-0-1 spread mark in the last six meetings. Although the Utags are a lot more formidable outfit than they were the last time downstate Utah saw them in 2009.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 06:48 PM

Utah at Utah St.

September 6, 2012

Our first edition of Friday Night Lights in 2012 takes us to the Beehive State, where Utah (1-0 straight up, 0-1 against the spread) will go on the road to take on Utah St. in Logan at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

As of late Thursday afternoon, most betting shops were listing the Utes as 7 ½-point favorites with a total of 52 ½. Gamblers can take Utah St. (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS) on the money line for a plus-250 return (risk $100 to win $250).

Kyle Whittingham’s team opened the season last Thursday with a 41-0 win over Northern Colorado as a 42 ½-point home favorite. John White rushed 24 times for 119 yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Jordan Wynn connected on 19-of-27 passes for 200 yards and a pair of scores. Jake Murphy was on the receiving end of both of Wynn’s TD passes and finished with six receptions for 78 yards.

Utah’s defense limited the Bears to merely 114 yards of total offense.

Utah St. captured a 34-3 win over Southern Utah as a 20 ½-point home favorite in its season opener last Thursday. Sophomore QB Chuckie Keeton completed 22-of-26 throws for 304 yards and two touchdowns. Joe Hill ran for 116 yards and three TDs and needed just 11 carries to do so. Matt Austin brought down five catches for 116 yards and one TD, including a 35-yard TD grab.

Utah went 8-5 last season with a 30-27 overtime win over Ga. Tech as a two-point ‘dog in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Utes return nine starters on offense and seven on defense.

However, one of those defensive starters, leading returning tackler Brian Blechen, is suspended for the first three games of the year. Blechen, a junior strong safety, had 78 tackles, two sacks and three interceptions in 2011.

Utah St. went to the postseason last year for the first time since 1997, but the Aggies blew a lead in the final minute of a 24-23 loss to Ohio in the Idaho Potato Bowl on the smurf turf in Boise. The Aggies lost outright as two-point favorites.

Gary Andersen’s squad brings back six starters on offense and defense.

After a stellar freshman campaign, Keeton appears poised for a monster season. He has 13 career TD passes compared to only three interceptions. Yes, just three picks on 200 passing attempts as a freshman and sophomore. That’s taking care of the football and exactly what Andersen wants from his signal caller.

These schools haven’t met since 2009 when Utah won a 35-17 decision but Utah St. covered the number as 20 ½-point underdogs. The 52 combined points resulted in a push for bets on the total.

As a home underdog during Andersen’s four-year tenure, the Aggies own a 2-3 spread record with one outright win over BYU by a 31-16 count in 2010.

Utah has compiled a 12-12 ATS mark in 24 games as a road favorite on Whittingham’s watch.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--While appearing on the Tim Brando Show on Wednesday, Paul Finebaum had this to say when asked about Tennessee’s win over N.C. St. and the status of UT head coach Derek Dooley: “It was what you had to have. You’re starting the season in a national game on a big platform. Whether or not N.C. St. turns out to be any good really doesn’t matter. Now [Tennessee] has momentum and excitement. If Derek gets by Florida, the hot-seat stuff is out the window. He’ll be around next year. And that may give him some time to relax and do some coaching rather than worrying about saving his job.”

--Penn St. RB Bill Belton, who is an integral part of Bill O’Brien’s offense, has been upgraded to ‘probable’ at Virginia after leaving last week’s loss to Ohio in the second half with a sprained ankle. PSU cornerback Stephon Morris also sprained his ankle against the Bobcats, but he is ‘probable’ at UVA. The Cavs are 10-point favorites at most spots.

--Purdue is 5-7 ATS in 12 games as a double-digit underdog during Danny Hope’s four-year tenure. The Boilermakers are catching 14 points Saturday at Notre Dame. As for the Irish, it is 6-3-1 ATS in 10 double-digit ‘chalk’ situation under Brian Kelly.

--I have no clue how the Florida-Texas A&M total is in the 50s. I made it 45. Have the oddsmakers seen UF’s anemic offense the last 14 games? Seven of the Gators’ last eight contests have had 48 combined points or less.

--South Carolina has a 17-13 spread record in 30 games as a home favorite since Steve Spurrier took over in 2005. The Gamecocks are 22-point favorites Saturday vs. East Carolina. As of Thursday, South Carolina QB Connor Shaw remained ‘questionable’ with a bruised right (throwing) shoulder.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 06:51 PM

Utah looks to retain dominance over USU Friday


Kickoff: Friday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
Line: Utah -7

Two in-state rivals coming off blowout wins meet on Friday night when Utah visits Utah State at Romney Stadium in Logan, UT.

The Utes demolished Northern Colorado last Thursday, outgaining the Bears 414 to 114 in a 41-0 shutout. Utah State had little trouble with Southern Utah on the same night, winning 34-3 with a yardage advantage of 581 to 209. Utah has taken 12 straight meetings (7-5 ATS) with USU, winning by a total score of 433-144 (24.1 PPG margin). The Aggies have been a great underdog play in the past three seasons though, going 14-6 ATS when getting points.

Will the Aggies finally end their long losing streak in this rivalry? For the answer, connect to The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts picks for every key college football game throughout the 2012 season.

Wynn played very well in the season opener, especially considering he missed the last nine games of the 2011 campaign because of a left shoulder injury. Although he threw an interception on his first drive, Wynn still finished with 200 yards passing on 19-of-27 completions (70.4%), including two touchdown tosses. The Utes also found out that they have a pretty strong backup QB in 6-foot-6 freshman Travis Wilson who rushed for two touchdowns and completed both of his pass attempts. White also had a big night with 119 rushing yards (5.0 YPC) and a score. Not to be overlooked was Utah’s defense that prevented Northern Colorado from crossing midfield for the entire game in pitching its first shutout since 2007. Utah, which finished fourth in the nation with 33 takeaways last year, forced two turnovers in the opener.

Utah State also has a strong quarterback in Chuckie Keeton, who was nearly perfect last week against Southern Utah, completing 22-of-26 passes for 304 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. Senior WR Matt Austin will be Keeton’s first option in the passing game, as he caught five balls for 119 yards and a 35-yard score in the win over SUU. Sophomore RB Joe Hill also had a monster game in his first collegiate start, running for 116 yards on just 11 carries (10.5 YPC), including rushing touchdowns from 27, 19 and 33 yards out. But not all was crisp in the season opener, as the Aggies turned the ball over twice and committed a whopping 10 penalties for 120 yards.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 06:58 PM

ACC Report - Week 2

September 6, 2012

Saturday - Miami (Fla.) at Kansas State (FX, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Five-Star Game

U. Miami at Kansas St. The Hurricanes opened with a solid road win in conference last weekend at Boston College, and now set their sights on paying back K-State for a last-minute loss in South Florida last season. The Hurricanes, who are looking to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2009, are looking to hand the Wildcats their first loss in the past nine September games. If they're going to do it, they need QB Stephen Morris and RB Duke Johnson to duplicate their success of a week ago. The Hurricanes are a TD dog in this game, and they are 3-7 ATS in their past 10 games on fieldturf. However, they are 5-0 ATS in their past five road games, including last weekend in Chestnut Hill. For K-State, we mentioned their September record, but they're usually beating up cream puffs at this time of year. Miami poses their biggest challenge so early in the season in quite some time. While K-State is 10-3 ATS in their past 13 games overall, keep in mind that they have covered just nine times in their past 30 non-conference games. That makes the speedy Hurricanes worth a look.

Saturday - Penn State at Virginia (ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Four-Star Game

Penn St. at Virginia It's been well documented how the Penn State football program has fallen. No need to re-hash all of that. However, the new era opened last weekend, and things looked pretty positive in the first half. The Nittany Lions, spurred on by a crowd in full-throat, led Ohio 14-3 at the break. Then, the wheels came off. Now, Penn State hits the road, and the team will need to band together without the support of their home crowd. The good news is that the crowd at Scott Stadium shouldn't treat them too poorly. The bad news is that the Cavaliers are a solid squad coming off a 43-19 pasting of a good FCS team from Richmond. The Nittany Lions are just 3-12-1 ATS in their past 16 games overall, and 2-5 ATS in their past seven trips from Happy Valley. However, UVA is 0-4-1 ATS in their past five non-conference games. While many people will kick Penn State while they're down, the best advice might be to shy away from this one, unless you can get the spread in single digits. However, the under looks mighty attractive. The under has cashed in seven straight for the Cavs, and is 12-3-1 in the past 16 for the Nittany Lions. A total of 45 points might be a tall order, especially based on what we saw from Penn State a week ago.

Saturday - North Carolina at Wake Forest (ESPN3, 3:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup Three-Star Game

N. Carolina at W. Forest The Tar Heels and Demon Deacons meet for just the second time since the 2007 season. That's hard to believe, since these in-state rival schools are separated by roughly 80 miles. The Heels thumped the Deacs 49-24 at Kenan Statdium in Chapel Hill last season. This weekend's game might have a little of the same look, as UNC opened with a 62-0 win against Elon, while Wake squeaked by their FCS opponent, Liberty, by a 20-17 score. Wake will need to key on stopping QB Bryn Renner and RB Gio Bernard. Renner threw for 338 yards and three scores last October in UNC's win over Wake, and Bernard rolled for 154 yards and two trips to the end zone. For Wake, WR Michael Campanaro is the player to watch, as he opened with 96 yards and a score last weekend. This line opened at six, and blew up to 10 1/2-11 within a matter of days. Wake is getting little respect, and rightly so. Look for the Tar Heels to run away in the second half with a victory by more than two touchdowns.

Saturday - Duke at Stanford (Pac-12 Network, 10:30 p.m. ET)
Matchup Two-Star Game

Duke at Stanford Duke looked like a legitimate FBS conference team with a convincing 46-26 victory over Florida International last weekend at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham. In fact, it might have been the most impressive victory in David Cutcliffe's tenure as head coach. QB Sean Renfree was impressive, throwing for 290 yards and two scores. WR Conner Vernon is one of the most dangerous, and underrated, players in the nation. He rolled up 180 yards and a score in the win vs. FIU. Meanwhile, Stanford posted an uninspiring 20-17 win over San Jose State in the first game of the post-Andrew Luck era. The Cardinal, still nationally-ranked, are not expected to be as prolific on offense, but they will still be a force. The biggest threat to Duke's somewhat leaky defense will be RB Stepfan Taylor, who gouged SJSU for 116 yards and a score last weekend. A few things to note - Duke scored two defensive/special teams scores last week to make their total more impressive than perhaps it was. Duke has not won consecutive games to start a season since 1998, and their last win against a ranked team came in 1994. Duke's last win on the road against a ranked team, oddly enough, came against Stanford way back in 1971. The Cardinal will be a popular pick among those looking to recoup some lost funds from the afternoon, and the public is still giving Duke no love despite their impressive opening game win.

Saturday - North Carolina State at Connecticut (SNY, ESPN3, 12:00 p.m. ET)
Matchup One-Star Game

N.C. St. at UConn There was a lot expected out of N.C. State last week, but they looked rather flat in their loss to Tennessee in Atlanta. The most surprising performance came from All-ACC DB David Amerson, who was undressed on a pair of scoring strikes. That just isn't supposed to happen. Amerson and the Wolfpack will be looking to atone for that setback in Storrs this weekend. The good news for bettors is that N.C. State is 4-1-1 ATS in their past six meetings against Big East opponents, and they are 18-7-1 in their past 26 games following a straight up loss. UConn has protected their home field well, covering in four of their past five home games. However, they have followed up their past five covers with an ATS loss. At first glance, one might see the records and think UConn is the better team. They're not. Head coach Tom O'Brien should have the ship righted, and the Wolfpack sailing back to Raleigh with a solid road win in tow.

Other Games to Watch
Matchup Notes

Maryland at Temple The Terrapins were atrocious last weekend, nearly falling to FCS opponent William & Mary. They survived three interceptions by QB Perry Hills, a true freshman, as they snuck by the Tribe 7-6. This weekend, they'll face a Temple team which is much better than their recent history. Temple thumped crosstown rival Villanova by a 41-10 score last week, but they lost RB Montel Harris (hamstring). He may or may not play in this one, and the success of the offense, in part, has to do with his availability. Check back on that before finalizing your plans. Watch DB Vaughn Carraway, who could give the mistake-prone Hills fits in just his second career start. It's odd seeing Temple installed as a double-digit favorite, but the way both teams looked last weekend, it's hard to risk any scratch on the Terps.

Clemson at Ball St. The Tigers opened their 2012 campaign with a solid win and cover over Auburn in the Georgia Dome last weekend. It was more impressive by the fact WR Sammy Watkins was serving the first of a two-game suspension. They didn't miss a beat, as WR DeAndre "Nuke" Hopkins racked up a single-game school record with 13 receptions, 119 yards and a score. Ball State, meanwhile, posted solid offensive totals in an opening game 37-26 win against Eastern Michigan. The Cardinals have a couple of players Clemson will have to pay some mind. RB Jahwan Edwards rolled up 200 rushing yards and three scores vs. EMU, and WR Jamill Smith was good for 119 yards on seven grabs. This game has the makings of a back-door cover (+27.5). While Clemson should fire out to a big lead early, they might turn the second half over to their second-string defense. With Ball State's high-octane offense, they could turn a big lead into a respectable score.

Always remember the 3 G's Girls,Golf, Gambling not in any particular order......:2thumbs:
cnotes Posts:33205 Followers:38
09/06/2012 07:01 PM

Big 10 Preview - Week 2

September 6, 2012

Week one is in the books! Ten of the 12 Big Ten squads went home with wins, while two of the most prestigious programs (Penn State & Michigan) are still searching for win number one. Three squads make west coast trips this weekend (Nebraska @ UCLA, Wisconsin @ Oregon State, and Illinois @ Arizona State)

Nebraska (-5.5) at UCLA - 7:30 PM EST - Fox

Neb: Last week vs. Southern Miss: W 49-20
UCLA: Last week at Rice: W 49-24

Nebraska makes the Big Ten headline game of the week as they travel to the Rose Bowl for what they hope might be the first of two trips this season. The Huskers got off to a great start last weekend with a 49-20 blowout of Southern Miss. QB Taylor Martinez, often criticized for his passing inefficiency, completed 26-of-34 passes for 354 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively the Blackshirts held Southern Miss to just 260 yards and one offensive touchdown.

UCLA showed increased offensive firepower in an easy win at Rice in its opener. The Bruins exploded for 646 yards and 49 points against the Owls. Most impressive was the Bruins' 343 rushing yards on a 9.3 YPC average. Redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley looks like a star in the making after completing 21-of-28 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns. Nebraska will have their hands full with this re-vamped offense.

UCLA is 12-2 SU & 10-4 ATS in its last 14 home openers including a 5-2 ATS mark against BCS foes. Nebraska is 11-4 SU & 10-5 ATS in their last 15 true road openers.

Injury update: Nebraska star RB Rex Burkhead sprained his MCL last week and will likely miss this game against UCLA.

Michigan (-21) vs. Air Force - 3:30 PM EST - ABC

UM: Last week vs. Alabama: L 14-41
AF: Last week vs. Idaho State: W 49-21

The Wolverines need to avoid a "hangover" and get over the Alabama loss quickly, as Air Force will present a tricky challenge with its triple-option attack. The Falcons' Cody Getz ran for 218 yards on 17 carries in a win over Idaho State last week. Defensively the Wolverines allowed 232 rush yards (5.5 YPC) to the Tide last week and they'll have to tighten up here. Michigan has strong athletes on a stout defense, but they can't let Air Force build any momentum. Alabama makes a lot of teams look bad, and most of the nation would have difficulties hanging with the Tide. But that doesn't make last week's 41-14 loss any less upsetting.

Denard Robinson didn't get his senior season started off on a high note against 'Bama. He had two total touchdowns, but completed just 11-of-26 passes for 200 yards with two interceptions while rushing 10 times for just 27 yards. He and the rest of this offense should be able to tally more than 269 yards and 11 first downs against Air Force. The Falcons allowed 386 yards per game and 220 rush yards per game in 2011 and returned just three starters for 2012. Idaho State racked up 431 yards and 24 first downs against this Falcons "D" last week.

Since 1998, Air Force is 4-5 in true road games against BCS schools. The Falcons are 13-3 in road openers and 3-3 against BCS schools with those three losses by just 4 points per game. Michigan is 11-0 at home over the last three years against non-conference opponents (average score of 40-17).

Injury update: Michigan lost starting cornerback Blake Countess to a season-ending ACL tear.

Wisconsin (-7.5) at Oregon State - 4:00 PM EST - FX

Wisc: Last week vs. FCS Northern Iowa: W 26-21
OSU: Last week: Cancelled (hurricane)

The Badgers head out to the West Coast after a close-call against Northern Iowa. It wasn't a typical September Wisconsin blowout at Camp Randall. The Badgers nearly squandered a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and looked shaky at times defending the pass late in the game. The good news: new starting QB Danny O'Brien played extremely efficient in his first start for the Badgers, completing 19-of-23 passes for 219 yards with 2 touchdowns and no INTs. This was not a confidence boosting win for Wisconsin and the Badgers will need a much better performance here in their first road game.

The Beavers had their season opener against Nicholls State cancelled because of Hurricane Isaac, so Wisconsin won't have any fresh film on Oregon State, but OSU may be a bit rusty out of the gates. Wisconsin shutout the Beavers in Madison last season, but OSU returns 15 starters, including promising sophomore QB Sean Mannion. The Beavers also return their top four rushers, top receiver, and six of the top seven defenders. They'll be primed for the opportunity to avenge last year's embarrassing loss.

OSU is on a 1-6 SU & 2-5 ATS run against non-conference foes. Wisconsin has won 10 straight road/neutral openers by an average of 13 points per game (4-0 vs. BCS foes).

Michigan State (-23.5) at Central Michigan - 3:30 PM EST - ESPNU

MSU: Last week vs. Boise State: W 17-13
CMU: Last week vs. FCS SE Missouri State: W 38-27

MSU will also have to avoid a "hangover" here, this of the winning kind. The Spartans had a huge opening game win over #24 Boise State. Defensively this unit lived up to the hype. MSU held the Broncos to just 206 yards (including 37 rush yards on 24 carries), 14 first downs, and they kept the BSU offense out of the end zone. Offensively the Spartans racked up 461 yards including 213 rushing yards (210 from RB Le'Veon Bell), but this unit was far from perfect. They turned the ball over four times, including three interceptions from new starting QB Andrew Maxwell.

CMU dominated the stats category against SE Missouri State, but still needed a late 4th quarter touchdown to pull away for the win. They tallied 324 yards (7.4 YPC) on the ground, including 282 and four touchdowns combined for RB's Anthony Garland and Zurlon Tipton. They turned the ball over three times (two fumbles & one interception). CMU got dominated by MSU last season. MSU jumped out to a 31-0 halftime lead and won 45-7 (held CMU to just 112 total yards and eight first downs).

CMU is 3-5 all-time against Michigan State (last win was in 2009) and this is the first time hosting the Spartans. MSU has lost three of the last four true road openers including last year's 13-31 loss at Notre Dame.

Ohio State (-17.5) vs. Central Florida - 12:00 PM EST - ESPN2

OSU: Last week vs. Miami OH: W 56-10
UCF: Last week at Akron: W 56-14

Both of these squads beat on up MAC opponents from Ohio in their openers last weekend. Ohio State got off to a really strong start under new head coach Urban Meyer. QB Braxton Miller was the star of the game. He passed for 207 yards and two scores while rushing for a game-high 161 yards and another score. He led this offense 538 yards, 56 points, and 27 first downs. Defensively the Buckeyes held Miami OH to -1 net rush yards on 20 carries and forced three Red Hawk turnovers. They'll have a much more difficult time against UCF on Saturday.

UCF didn't have eye-popping stats in their 56-14 win over Akron last week as they used four turnovers to create short scoring opportunities and build a 35-0 halftime lead. UCF returned eight starters on both offensive and defensive units from a year ago and there is a lot of talent on both sides, and it'll take a huge effort to pull the upset in the Horseshoe this weekend.

UCF is 3-11 SU but 9-5 ATS in its last 14 true road openers (1-9 SU against BCS-foes). OSU is 10-2 ATS in its last 12 games when favored by 17 or more and 6-1 ATS when favored by 17 or more against non-conference opponents.

Injury update: OSU starting RB Jordan Hall will miss his 2nd straight game with a knee injury while starting linebacker Storm Klein will serve the final game of his suspension.

Purdue (+14) at Notre Dame - 3:30 PM EST - NBC

PU: Last week vs. FCS Eastern Kentucky: W 48-6
ND: Last week vs. Navy: W 50-10

You won't find many wins as lop-sided as Purdue's was over FCS Eastern Kentucky last week. Purdue had +357 yards and +23 first downs in the 48-6 win. Again, it was an FCS opponent so take those stats with a grain of salt. Still, it was a promising season opener for the Boilers. Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush was suspended for the opener, but sixth-year senior Robert Marve took over and excelled. He hit 30-of-38 passes for 295 yards and three touchdowns. Head coach Danny Hope has named TerBush the starter for this weekend. Still, expect Marve to play-along with third-stringer Rob Henry.

The Irish looked really good in their opener against Navy. Without top running back Cierre Wood suspended the Irish still racked up 293 rush yards (6.4 YPC) and four rushing touchdowns. Defensively they held Navy's rushing attack to just 3.7 YPC and no rushing touchdowns. They could be vulnerable here as they'll have to get over their jet lag from the trip back from Dublin.

Notre Dame had a huge advantage with +275 yards and +17 first downs in last year's blowout 38-10 win over Purdue. Purdue is 1-14 SU & 5-10 ATS the last 15 trips to South Bend. Notre Dame has won six of the last seven overall against the Boilers including four straight wins by 15 points per game.

Illinois (+2) at Arizona State - 10:30 PM EST - ESPN

Ill: Last week vs. Western Michigan: W 24-7
ASU: Last week vs. FCS Northern Arizona: W 63-6

Both teams looked better than expected in their openers -- Illinois dispatched Western Michigan without much trouble, and Arizona State housed Northern Arizona 63-6. In Tim Beckman's debut at Illinois, his defense limited Western Michigan to 259 yards with minus-six yards rushing on 19 attempts. The offense is still a work in progress as they totaled just 248 yards and 13 first downs. ASU doesn't present an elite defense, but they'll be better than Western Michigan.

Under first-year coach Todd Graham, the Sun Devils notched 554 yards of offense with 305 coming on the ground. The Sun Devils don't figure to run for 305 yards a second straight week with the Illini defense coming to Tempe. Sophomore QB Taylor Kelly had a strong debut, completing 15-of-19 passes for 247 yards and a touchdown. He won't have as easy of a time here against a ferocious Illinois front-four.

Arizona State had +122 yards and +5 first downs in last year's meeting in Champaign, but the Illini took the 17-14 victory. Illinois is 11-3 ATS in its last 14 true road openers.

Injury update: Illinois' QB Nathan Scheelhaase injured his ankle in the 3rd quarter and is questionable for Saturday night. If he can't go, it will be sophomore Reilly O'Toole taking the snaps.

Iowa (-3.5) vs. Iowa State - 3:30 PM ECST - Big Ten Network

Iowa: Last week vs. Northern Illinois: W 18-17
ISU: Last week vs. Tulsa: W 38-23

This has always been a well-balanced rivalry game, and this one figures to be a pretty good game. Iowa showed it has a lot of work to do after a nail-biting win against Northern Illinois. The Hawkeyes were held to just 270 yards and needed a late touchdown to take a one-point lead over the Wolfpack. A big positional question for the Hawks heading into the season was RB, so it was good to see Damon Bullock run for 150 yards on 30 carries. The defense won this game for Iowa as this unit held Northern Illinois to just 201 total yards and 12 first downs.

Iowa State fought off an early nine-point deficit to beat Tulsa 38-23. The Cyclones got a strong performance from senior quarterback Steele Jantz, who completed 32-of-45 passes for 281 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. RB's Shontrelle Johnson and Jeff Woody combined to rush for 174 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. They're sure to face a nastier defense in Iowa City this weekend though.

The Hawkeyes look to avenge last year's overtime loss in Ames in which Iowa State won in a shootout, 44-41. The Hawkeyes have won four of the last six outright, but Iowa State has covered 11 of the last 14 overall.

Northwestern (+3.5) vs. Vanderbilt - 8:00 PM ECST - Big Ten Network

NU: Last week at Syracuse: W 42-41
Vandy: Last week vs. South Carolina: L 13-17

Northwestern won a shootout over Syracuse in week one. Sophomore QB Trevor Siemian led the Wildcats on a touchdown drive with just 44 seconds left to give Northwestern the one-point victory. Siemian and Kain Colter combined to complete 22-of-32 passes for 213 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. Defensively the Wildcats have a lot of work to do. This unit allowed Syracuse to gain 596 total yards, and four touchdown passes from Orange QB Nassib.

Vanderbilt threw a big-scare into #9 South Carolina in its opener. Vandy's stingy defense held South Carolina to just 272 total yards and 17 points. The offense was a major issue. Vandy managed just 276 yards, including 62 rush yards on 36 carries (1.7 YPC). Still, the Commodores showed a lot of improvement against USC and they'll have to avoid a hangover in their first road game here.

Northwestern won at Vanderbilt in 2010, 23-21. The Wildcats never trailed in that game, but prevented a Vandy two-point conversion late in the game to seal the win. NU has won five straight home openers by an average of 27 points per game - but only one of those games was against a BCS opponent.

Penn State (+9.5) at Virginia - 12:00 PM EST - ABC

PSU: Last week vs. Ohio: L 14-24
Virg: Last week vs. FCS Richmond: W 43-19

It was a crushing loss to Ohio for Penn State last week. Penn State jumped out to a 14-3 lead at halftime against the Bobcats in front of a raucous crowd at State College. But PSU had lapses on both sides of the ball to give up the lead and the game. Defensively the Nittany Lions allowed 499 yards to Ohio, including 324 through the air. That defense will need to tighten up or it will get torched again against a competent Virginia offense here.

Virginia racked up +279 yards over Richmond and +12 first downs in the blowout win last Saturday. Virginia QB Michael Rocco completed an efficient 25-of-37 passes for 311 yards and a touchdown while three different running backs combined to score four rushing touchdowns.

The Cavaliers are 4-1 since 2004 in non-conference home games against BCS Schools. PSU is 1-6 since 2000 against non-conference BCS Schools on the road.

Minnesota (NL) vs. New Hampshire - 12:00 PM EST - Big Ten Network

Minn: Last week at UNLV: W 30-27

The Gophers have an excellent chance to improve to 2-0 with a win over FCS New Hampshire on Saturday. Minnesota found a way to leave Las Vegas with an overtime victory over UNLV last week. The defense and running backs shined in that game but QB MarQueis Gray will have to improve if Minnesota will contend going forward. The Gophers also must play more disciplined after being flagged 11 times in the opener. New Hampshire is a solid FCS program, and Minnesota can't take anyone lightly after falling at home to FCS North Dakota State by 13 points last season and to FCS South Dakota by three points in 2010.

Indiana (-14) at UMass - 3:30 PM EST - ESPN3

Ind: Last week vs. Indiana State: W 24-17
UMass: Last week at UConn: L 0-37

The Hoosiers got their first win in almost an entire year by beating Indiana State last Saturday. Now they look for their first win over an FBS team since 2010. Any win is valuable for the Hoosiers, who matched their victories total from 2011 on Saturday night, but they'll need to make significant strides going forward. IU has to shore up its rush defense after allowing Indiana State's Shakir Bell to rack up 192 yards Saturday night. QB Tre Roberson also put forward a strong performance. Indiana has been a double digit road favorite just twice since 1992. The Hoosiers are just 16-74 straight up on the road since 1995.

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