College Football News and Notes Week - 4

Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

Big Ten Report
VegasInsider.com

First-year head coaches Mark Dantonio (Michigan State) and Bill Lynch (Indiana) improved to 3-0. Michigan won the battle of high-profile winless teams. Purdue continued to put up huge offensive numbers. Iowa suffered an embarrassing loss. And Northwestern suffered a really embarrassing loss.

Here’s a look back at the week that was and a look forward to the week that will be in the Big Ten.

Illinois

Week That Was: The Illini put forth their most dominating offense effort of the Ron Zook era in their 41-20 road win at Syracuse. A dominating rushing attack that covered 378 yards on 7.4 yards per carry was the catalyst but Illinois also employed an unusually efficient passing attack. The Illini completed 75 percent of their passes for 130 yards, doing just enough to keep the Syracuse defense off balance. The Illinois defense also did its part, allowing the Orange to average just 1.9 yards per carry on the ground. Illinois’ two wins in just three games already matches the season total of the previous two years.

Week That Will Be: Illinois kicks off its conference schedule this weekend against Indiana. The Big Ten has not been good to the Illini in recent years as they are just 2-30 SU and 11-21 ATS since the start of the 2003 season. They have lost their last four conference openers and have done so by an average of 22.5 points per game. Illinois is actually a 2.5-point road favorite in this matchup, just the sixth time that has occurred since 1999. The Illini went 3-2 SU and 2-3 ATS in the previous five occurrences.

Indiana

Week That Was: Indiana improved to 3-0 on the season following a 41-24 thrashing of Akron. The win marks just the third time in the last 14 years that the Hoosiers have started the season with three straight victories. The Indiana offense continued its onslaught on opposing defenses, tallying 338 rushing yards and 475 yards total. Quarterback Kellen Lewis evoked memories of Antwaan Randle El with his performance, running for 199 yards and two scores and throwing for 137 yards and three more touchdowns. The Hoosiers are now seventh in the country in rushing offense, 20th in total offense and 10th in scoring.

Week That Will Be: The Hoosiers will look to start the season 4-0 for the first time since 1990 when they host Illinois as 2.5-point dogs. Indiana won last year’s 34-32 with a last-second field goal that capped a 27-7 run to close the game. The Hoosiers struggled to stop the run in that game but have excelled in that facet so far this season as they are allowing fewer than 66 rushing yards per game, good for 10th in the country. Indiana has won the last two meetings with the Illini both SU and ATS, covering by an average of 12.3 points per game. The home team has gone 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings between the programs.

Iowa

Week That Was: Iowa suffered a major letdown when it fell 15-13 to in-state rival Iowa State as 17.5-point favorites, losing on a last-second field goal from the Cyclones. The Hawkeyes have now dropped seven of their last 10 games against the supposedly lesser Iowa State program, including four of the last five on the road. The Iowa offense took a big step back from its good showing against Syracuse the previous week, posting just 233 total yards.

Week That Will Be: The Hawkeyes will be forced to rebound against seventh-ranked Wisconsin this weekend. Iowa’s defensive statistics are among the best in the country but have come against Northern Illinois, Syracuse and Iowa State, which are each ranked 102nd or lower in the country in scoring offense. The Hawkeyes will have their hands full against Wisconsin’s 29th-ranked offense. Iowa held on to Bruiser the Bull for four years before falling to the Badgers 24-21 last season. The Hawkeyes, who are 8-point dogs in this year’s meeting, have fared well in this spot in the past. They have gone 22-14 ATS as conference road dogs of nine points or less since 1980, including a 6-2 ATS record with revenge.

Michigan

Week That Was: The Wolverines notched their first win of the year in what was the most anticipated game between winless teams in recent memory. Michigan did it a big way too, blanking Notre Dame 38-0 in a thoroughly dominating effort. Running back Mike Hart backed up his guarantee by carrying an offense that started freshman Ryan Mallett in place of the injured Chad Henne. Hart totaled 187 yards on the ground with two touchdowns. The Michigan defense finally stopped somebody, but that could be more because of Notre Dame’s ineptitude on offense.

Week That Will Be: Michigan will try to make it two in a row when it hosts Penn State in its Big Ten opener. Mallett is still listed as the starting quarterback but Henne has taken a few snaps in practice this week. Henne is currently listed as day-to-day and head coach Lloyd Carr hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Henne playing this weekend. The Wolverines have won eight straight meetings between the powerhouse programs, going 6-2 ATS in those games. Michigan has gone just 2-4 ATS in the last six meetings in Ann Arbor, though. The Wolverines have been home dogs just nine times since 1982, going 4-5 SU and 5-4 ATS in those contests.

Michigan State

Week That Was: It wasn’t pretty but the Spartans improved to 3-0 under Mark Dantonio with a 17-13 win over Pittsburgh. Much of Michigan State’s success in recent years has been due to offense but this victory was due to defense. The Spartans held Pitt to just 292 total yards and an 0-for-12 conversion rate on third down while forcing three turnovers. Michigan State has been in this spot before, though, starting each of the last two seasons with three straight wins only to miss out on a bowl game.

Week That Will Be: Michigan State’s season fell apart last year with a come-from-ahead loss at home to Notre Dame. The Spartans have a chance to return the favor this season against an Irish team that has underachieved like no other in college football. They have fared well against Notre Dame recently despite last year’s meltdown. Michigan State is 7-3 SU and 7-2-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings between the teams and is 15-8-2 ATS versus the Irish since 1980. This meeting marks the first time since 1980 that the Spartans, who are 12-point favorites, have actually been favored in South Bend. They have been favored just three times in the last 24 meetings overall, going 1-2 ATS in those contests.

Minnesota

Week That Was: A rash of turnovers and a feeble defense negated another strong showing from the Gophers offense in Minnesota’s 42-39 upset loss to Florida Atlantic. The Gophers totaled 470 yards of offense but saw many scoring opportunities wasted by seven turnovers. The Minnesota stop unit, now ranked 116th in total defense, failed to slow down a Florida Atlantic offense that was averaging just 16.5 points per game coming in. The Gophers surrendered a whopping 580 yards, including 463 through the air, and forced zero turnovers.

Week That Will Be: The Gophers will have their hands full when they host Purdue as 14-point dogs this weekend. Minnesota is among the worst in nation on the defensive side of the ball and now must take on a Purdue team that boasts the conference’s best offense. If the Gophers can’t stop Florida Atlantic, they’ll have all sorts of problems stopping a Boilermaker offense that is sixth in the country in total offense. Minnesota has had its troubles with Purdue in the past, going just 1-7 SU and ATS in the last eight meetings. The Gophers are just 5-12 ATS as the dog in the series since 1980.

Northwestern

Week That Was: If not for Michigan’s loss to Appalachian State, Northwestern’s 20-14 loss to Duke would be the conference’s most embarrassing loss of the season. Duke has been the laughingstock of college football for some time but that didn’t stop the Wildcats from losing at home to the Dukies. Northwestern dominated every facet of the game but were done in by 13 penalties and two untimely turnovers.

Week That Will Be: Northwestern pretty much secured itself a losing streak with its loss to Duke because it opens with its Big Ten schedule with Ohio State this weekend. The Wildcats are just 1-20 SU and 8-12-1 ATS versus the Buckeyes since 1980. They are 23-point dogs in this year’s meeting, marking the 17th time in 22 meetings that they have been dogs of 20 points or more. Northwestern is just 6-9-1 ATS in the previous 16 meetings under that scenario but are 3-1 ATS in the last four occurrences with the lone loss coming in last year’s 54-10 defeat.

Ohio State

Week That Was: The Buckeyes had their share of doubters going into last week’s road game at Washington but they put those doubts to rest with a convincing 33-14 win. The Ohio State offense had its best showing of the season, posting 263 rushing yards and 481 yards overall. The defense played well again, forcing four turnovers and holding the Huskies to 6-of-17 on third down conversion attempts. The Buckeyes are now third in the country in total defense and fifth in scoring defense through three games.

Week That Will Be: The Buckeyes have beat up on Northwestern more than any other team in the nation and will look to continue with the beat downs this weekend. Ohio State is 20-1 SU versus the Wildcats since 1980 with an average margin of victory of 32.5 points per game. The Buckeyes, who are 23-point favorites, have beaten Northwestern the last two years by scores of 48-7 and 54-10. Seeing as Northwestern just ended Duke’s 22-game losing streak, Ohio State could post a similar result in this year’s meeting.

Penn State

Week That Was: The Nittany Lions picked up a 45-24 win over Buffalo in a game that was a lot closer than it should have been. Buffalo has been one of college football’s worst teams in recent years but gave Penn State all it could handle. The Lions trailed in both total yards and time of possession in the win. The 395 yards Penn State allowed surpassed the total it allowed in the first two games combined. Starting tailback Austin Scott may have lost his starting gig after fumbling on consecutive touches in the first quarter. Rodney Kinlaw got a majority of the carries, rushing 23 times for 129 yards and a score.

Week That Will Be: Penn State has its best chance in years to snap its losing streak to Michigan this week. The Lions have lost eight consecutive games to the Wolverines but this Michigan team isn’t the same as previous editions. Penn State is 3-point favorites in this year’s meeting, marking the first time since 1999 that it has been favored and the first time since 1998 that it has been favored in Ann Arbor.

Purdue

Week That Was: Purdue led 24-0 after the first quarter and 38-0 early in the third quarter in coasting to a 45-22 win over defending MAC champion Central Michigan. The Boilermakers ran for 223 yards and passed for another 360 in totaling a season-high 583 yards. The margin of victory could have been much larger if not for five Boilermaker turnovers. The results weren’t all good, though, as starting running back Jaycen Taylor was lost for the season with a broken arm.

Week That Will Be: The Boilermakers offense has to be licking its collective chops with Minnesota on the slate this week. Purdue is averaging nearly 320 passing yards per game, good for the 15th in the country, while Minnesota is allowing 431 passing yards per game, 118th in the nation out of 119 teams. Additionally, the Boilermakers are seventh in the nation with nearly 50 points in the game while the Gophers are 104th in the country with more than 36 points allowed per contest. Purdue, which is a 14-point favorite, has won eight of the last nine meetings between these programs, averaging 37.0 points per game in those games.

Wisconsin

Week That Was: The ninth-ranked Badgers remain undefeated at 3-0 but for the second straight looked less than impressive in picking up the victory. Wisconsin was tied at 21 with Citadel heading into halftime but pulled in the way in the second half to secure a 45-31 win. Running back P.J. Hill led the offense with 188 total yards and five touchdowns. The defense struggled, though, allowing 23 first downs and 377 total yards.

Week That Will Be: Wisconsin, an 8-point favorite, brings its nation-long 12-game winning streak into Big Ten play this week against Iowa. The Badgers ended a four-game skid to the Hawkeyes last year, winning 24-21 on the road. Starting quarterback Tyler Donovan earned his first collegiate victory as a starter last year in that game, throwing for 228 yards and two scores. Wisconsin has won 21 of its last 22 games at Camp Randall, going 14-6 ATS in those games, but the lone SU loss came to Iowa in 2005.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

Tulane player suspended from team, school after being arrested in stabbing case
ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW ORLEANS -- Police arrested Tulane football player Ray Boudreaux on Friday in connection with the Bourbon Street stabbing that left five people hurt last weekend.

Boudreaux was arrested early Friday at his home in Metairie on five counts of attempted murder, according to police, who said the knife used in the stabbings was found in his house.

Tulane suspended Boudreaux from school and the team.

Boudreaux stabbed five people in a fight between two groups at a French Quarter bar that ended on the streets Sunday, police said, citing a surveillance camera that caught the stabbing.

Police Sgt. Joe Narcisse said a tipster recognized Boudreaux on the video.

Boudreaux, a 5-foot-10-inch running back, started two of the eight games he played for Tulane last year and had 175 yards.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

College Football Power Rankings: The Ferringo 15
by Robert Ferringo

Polls and rankings can be a gambler's best friend when it comes to wagering on large groups of vicious and volatile college students, the type that paint their faces, don high density polyurethane shells, and assemble each week to thrash each other on the gridiron. Polls and rankings set the general consensus on how strong a certain team is, regardless of Truth, and that makes them a tool for exploiting a misinformed betting public.

But this ranking system is going to work a little differently. We have enough rampant conjecture across the nation in regards to college football so I have set out to provide my faithful readers with some info that should enrich their gambling lives. The result: the Ferringo 15.

The Ferringo 15 is my Profit-Power Rankings, a ladder or hierarchy based on which teams are the most profitable on the field. I'm not trying to give you some other convoluted, random, speculative power rankings based on my own biases. So instead of Ohio State moving up or down the polls on the basis of how badly they blew out Northwestern the previous Saturday I'm going to rank each team based on past, present, and projected future achievement against the spread.

Below I've listed teams that have been and hopefully will continue to be the most profitable teams for bettors this season. It's still early in the season so there will likely be a lot of fluctuation from week to week. But after we've had some time to get the lay of the land these rankings will be buttressed by solid, visceral performance.

Up to this point, the Ferringo 15 teams have gone a respectable 13-7 ATS. We're in the shadow of conference play, and it will be interesting to see how many of these teams go from live, valuable dogs to square, exploitable chalk, but we will see. Without further ado, here is our Week 4 version of the Ferringo 15:

1) South Florida (1-0 Against the Spread) - Fresh off their not-so-stunning upset over Auburn, the Bulls have had two weeks to prepare for ACC foe North Carolina. South Florida is getting some respect, as indicated by their 14-point chalk against the Tar Heels, so they may slip from atop the polls here. Also, they have West Virginia next Friday so they may be caught looking ahead this weekend.

2) Purdue (2-0 ATS) - Points - points everywhere!!! The Big Ten has been pathetic in the nonconference and there's been one constant in their struggles: these big, hulking teams have had a lot of trouble with speed and teams that run a spread offense. The Boilers aren't nearly as quick as some Big East or SEC teams, but their quirky style and excellent play from Curtis Painter should be good for at least two nice upsets.

3) South Carolina (1-1) - Steve Spurrier has assembled a defense worthy of an SEC contender, and it's going to be on display this weekend at LSU. The Gamecocks have covered eight straight road games and with the Ol' Ball Coach's knack for coming up big in primetime games I think we have a winning combo.

4) Anyone Playing Notre Dame (3-0) - So far, so good. The Irish nation is still in a total state of disarray. And looking at their schedule, this week's game against traditionally shaky Michigan State may be their last chance at a win until November. The good news is that even if they're getting 24-30 points the offense is so awful that they won't cover it.

5) Oklahoma (3-0) - Through three games, the Sooners have outscored their opponents 184-26. Yes, that's an average score of 61-9 and that is unreal. I think Bob Stoops is more than a little bitter that he and his boys were at the butt of the Boise State jokes all offseason. This team is a wrecking ball.

6) Cincinnati (2-0) - Mark it down right now - this team is going to DOMINATE someone in a mid-level bowl game. I mean, it's not going to be close. I made the same prediction with Rutgers last year and they slaughtered K-State. It doesn't even matter who the quarterback is; Grutza and Mauk can both make plays and earn cash.

7) Washington (2-1) - Jake Locker is the real deal and was a half away from yet another upset last week. Because the Huskies play such a brutal schedule we're going to continue to get great value on them all season. I think they'll score two straight-up upsets this season, but the trouble will be pinpointing the two.

8) Boston College (3-0) - I called the Eagles to take the ACC crown back in August and they're making me look real good so far. I do think that they'll struggle with Army this weekend in a letdown spot, but the rest of the schedule looks golden. Their two toughest matchups will be at Va. Tech and at Clemson, but B.C. is a combined 9-1 ATS in their L10 against that pair.

9) Oregon (3-0) - We've seen this before from the Ducks, who have a habit of tantalizing in September. We will actually learn a lot about this team this week against Stanford. With a date with Cal on the horizon, we'll see if this squad of Ducks can dominate a weaker opponent and show that they can stay focused.

10) Memphis (1-0) - The Tigers looked just bored enough last weekend against Jacksonville State to get a touchdown spotted to them at Central Florida this week. With 33 of the 44 starters in last year's two-point Knights win suiting up on Saturday I think that getting seven points could be mighty tempting. I also think the winner of this game ends up winning the CUSA East.

11) Iowa (2-1) - We're going to find out a lot about this Iowa team this weekend at Wisconsin. The Badgers struggled with both UNLV and The Citadel over the past two weeks and could be ripe for an upset. The Hawkeyes have won four of five against the Badgers, but they did lose last year.

12) UCLA (2-1) - What an absolute bloodbath in Utah. The Bruins' pass defense has been a sieve and such an atrocious loss should be a huge red flag. However, I'm not going to penalize them as much because I actually think it may have increased the value on this team.

13) Georgia Tech (2-1) - Tashard Choice is likely to be on the shelf for at least two weeks with his hamstring injury, opening the door for a Jackets free fall. Their loss to Boston College may have actually increased their value, since it drops them back in the pack of ACC also-rans. But with that defense they are going to be a tough W from here until January.

14) Missouri (3-0) - Are they a true threat in the Big 12 or a flash in the pan? I don't know, and frankly, as long as they keep covering I don't care. Chase Daniels simply gets it done on offense, and as a result there is no number too big for them to handle. The problem is that as they continue to win their defense isn't going to be up to the task of covering inflated lines. Chase to the rescue? We will see.

15) Central Florida (2-0) - With 17 starters back and a thumping running game, UCF is going to be tough to top. They may have peaked with their near-miss against Texas, but I think they'll be a dog in at least three more games this year. Take the points and take the cash, this could end up being the best team in CUSA.

Others receiving votes: Kansas (2-0), Indiana (2-0), Arizona State (2-1), New Mexico (2-1), Kentucky (2-0), Vanderbilt (1-1), Rutgers (2-0), Tulsa (2-0), Buffalo (2-1).

Dropped out: Hawaii, UNLV, New Mexico State

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

Doc's Friday Public Action Report
by T.O. Whenham

It was a very good week for us last time out, which means that it was a very bad week for the public. All five games that we looked at ended up going against the public. I guess there is something to this after all. This week there are eight college games in which the point spread isn't responding as expected to the public action, and one NFL game, too. Here's a look:

NCAA Football

Baylor
(-3) at Buffalo (Saturday, Sept. 22, 6 p.m.) - The Baylor Bears have drawn 70 percent of the bets, yet the line has dropped from 5.5 to three. This seems to be a case where the public is betting based on records and conferences without looking deeper. Baylor's 2-1 mark is pretty weak - they were shut out by a very disappointing TCU team, and their wins are over an awful Rice team and Texas State. They have proven nothing. Buffalo is 1-2, but they stayed tight with Penn State last week. The books clearly are not afraid of action on Baylor here.

Penn State (-2.5) at Michigan (Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.) - 71 percent of action is on Penn State, yet the game has fallen off the key number of three. The public is reacting to the dismal start for Michigan, while the books are likely saying that Michigan is still the team that started the year as No. 5, they are at home, and they have beaten Penn State eight times in a row. Based on the movement, Michigan is the play.

Memphis (+7) at Central Florida (Saturday, Sept. 22, 3:30 p.m.) - Central Florida earned a lot of national respect with their near upset of Texas last week, but the books don't seem to be buying it. The line has fallen from 7.5 to seven despite the UCF support of 78 percent of bettors. Memphis isn't very good, but Central Florida isn't expected to be either, and so it isn't surprising that the action on UCF seems to be overly enthusiastic in the minds of the books. They are inviting action on UCF, which makes Memphis worth a look.

Georgia Tech
(-3.5) at Virginia (Saturday, Sept. 22, 12:00 p.m.) - More than eight out of 10 bettors are on Georgia Tech, but the line dropped from four to 3.5. At first I was surprised that the line was moving in favor of Virginia - they were blown out by Wyoming and have two fairly meaningless wins over Duke and North Carolina. The books are likely responding to the fact that Georgia Tech isn't as good as thought, though. They had a now meaningless blowout over Notre Dame and another nothing win over Samford, and then were exposed by Boston College. This line movement would indicate that the books are more certain that last week showed us the real Yellow Jackets than the public is.

Clemson (-7.5) at NC State (Saturday, Sept. 22, 12:00 p.m.) - Clemson is getting love from 81 percent of bettors, and still the line dropped from 8.5 to 7.5. It's obvious why the public is on Clemson - they love an undefeated team, especially one with a high profile coach. NC State is just 1-2, but their record looks better than the numbers. They lost as big favorites to Central Florida, but UCF's game against Texas last week showed that they are better than they were thought to be at the start of the year. Similarly, Boston College would have been favored by even more than they were if we had seen their domination of Georgia Tech already. The Wolfpack is still not very good, but they could easily be better than 0-2 ATS, and the books seem to be showing that this line is more accurate than the previous two. That means that there could be value in NC State.

Iowa (+7) at Wisconsin (Saturday, Sept. 22, 8:00 p.m.) - Everyone loves Wisconsin (or at least 82 percent of bettors do) but the line has dropped from 7.5 to the key number of seven. The Hawkeyes are clearly being punished by the public for their embarrassing loss to Iowa State as 17.5 point favorites last week. The books aren't afraid of Wisconsin action, though. That's likely because what we have seen from the Badgers shows us that their defense isn't as good as it should be, and that they will struggle to score against Iowa more than they have against their first three opponents. Iowa is worth a look.

Troy (-8.5) at UL Lafayette (Saturday, Sept. 22, 7:00 p.m.) - This was supposed to be a showdown between the two best teams in the Sun Belt Conference, but they only have one win between them. The books are clearly happy with action on Troy - the line has dropped from 10.5 past the key number of 10 to 8.5 despite the support of 79 percent of bettors for Troy. Frankly, I'm at a bit of a loss to explain the movement, but the size of the move makes the game very worthy of attention. The books seem like they are practically daring you to bet on Troy. That makes UL Lafayette intriguing.

Arizona (+14) at Cal (Saturday, Sept. 22, 6:00 p.m.) - The biggest contrary line move of the week sees 79 percent of bettors backing a Cal team that has seen their line fall from 17 to 14. The public loves Cal, and the Bears haven't returned the favor - they are 0-2 ATS in their last two. It would seem that the books are again looking to have the public pile on California on what could be an inflated line. The Wildcats are a hard team to love right now, but the defense should be getting better and the offense is working better than we are used to. Arizona upset Cal as 17-point underdogs last year when Cal was 8-1 and Arizona was 4-5, so an upset isn't unprecedented. Take a look at Arizona.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

College cram session: Week 4 betting news & notes
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Bettors have soaked up three weeks' worth of 2007 results, giving them a decent idea of conference strength going into Week 4. That means a lot now because there are many non-conference games on the slate.

The Big East (10-7 against the spread), Big 12 (18-14 ATS), Sun Belt (11-8 ATS) and Mountain West (12-9 ATS) have been the big winners in non-conference battles through Thursday night’s game in Miami.

To nobody’s surprise, the ACC (7-13 ATS) and Independents (1-7 ATS) are bringing up the rear.

In the realm of totals, C-USA (14 of its 22 non-conference games have played over the total), Sun Belt (12 of its 19) and SEC (nine of its 15) have provided higher-scoring games than expected.

The ACC (12 of its 20 non-conference games have played under the total) and Independents (six of their eight) have regularly played under the total.

Betting notes on some of today’s non-conference meetings appear below.

North Carolina Tar Heels at South Florida Bulls (-12 ½, 50)

The No. 24 Bulls play their first game in school history as a ranked football team. They haven’t laid this many points since hosting Florida International more than a year ago. The Tar Heels lost to East Carolina in their sole road game this season, but covered the spread as 5 ½-point underdogs.

South Florida is 8-2 SU and 7-2 ATS in its last 10 games, 4-0 SU and 3-0 ATS against non-conference opponents during that span. That includes a 17-point win over the Tar Heels when the Bulls visited Chapel Hill last year.  However, North Carolina is a different team with Butch Davis on the sideline and T.J. Yates throwing touchdowns.

UNC is averaging 29.3 points per game this season after averaging only 18 in each of the previous two seasons. Yates, a redshirt freshman, has tossed nine touchdown passes and already owns two of the school’s top 10 passing games in terms of yardage.

East Carolina Pirates at West Virginia Mountaineers (-24 ½, 58 ½)

East Carolina’s Patrick Pinkney is another first-year starting quarterback exceeding expectations in the Carolinas. He’s posting big numbers after being penciled in as the Pirates’ third-string QB over the summer.

Unfortunately for the school’s backers, East Carolina does better against the spread when Pinkney’s handing the ball off rather than airing it out. East Carolina covered in its opener at Virginia Tech by taking on the Hokies in the trenches in a low-scoring game. The Pirates’ last two games have both been aerial battles, but they’ve gone 0-2 ATS.

However, they have covered the spread in their last two head-to-head meetings with the Mountaineers.  Ironically, both games involved a nearly identical spread as bettors are seeing for today’s game. West Virginia beat East Carolina as 24-point favorites two years ago, 20-15, and then as 21-point favorites last year, 27-10.

Miami (Ohio) Redhawks at Colorado Buffaloes (-12 ½, 50)


Miami covered the spread in its first two games, when running backs Brandon Murphy and Andre Bratton combined for 275 yards on the ground. The Redhawks failed to cover last Saturday against Cincinnati with both Murphy and Bratton sidelined with serious injuries.

The Redhawks now face another BCS-conference squad without the pair when they visit Boulder. Miami was a 14-point underdog at most sports books through Thursday, but the spread has since narrowed by more than a point.

Austin Sykes will carry the ball more than any of the Redhawks, but true freshman Thomas Merriweather will also be pressed into service.

"We feel (Merriweather is) a star for the future," Miami head coach Shane Montgomery told reporters during his weekly teleconference. "He wasn't ready coming out of fall camp. He's going to have to be ready now."

Colorado State Rams at Houston Cougars (-7, 65)


They’ve already pushed their in-state rivals to overtime and came within a touchdown of a top-10 team. It’s safe to say Colorado State is easily the best team in the nation mired in a nine-game losing streak.

“People keep saying that we played really well against Colorado and that we played well against California, and I get so mad when I hear that,” safety Klint Kubiak told The Coloradoan. “It's like people think that playing well and losing is OK. I hate that.”

If they’re looking for a break, then they’re in luck. They had a bye last week and the Rams have won and covered three straight seasons immediately following their bye week. Colorado State leads the nation in time of possession due to Kyle Bell’s power running game. That bodes well against a Houston squad that allowed 336 rushing yards in its season opener.

Baylor Bears at Buffalo Bulls (+3, 54)

What happens when the laughingstock of the Big 12 South meets its MAC East counterpart? Likely a lot of passing yards, considering the notoriously poor pass defenses at both schools.

Blake Szymanski and Drew Willy are also posting great passing numbers at schools not accustomed to good quarterback play. Baylor’s Szymanski has 1,039 passing yards and 11 touchdowns, but Buffalo’s Willy impressed with his accuracy against a pair of ranked opponents.

It could translate into a shootout at UB Stadium today, with both offenses exploding since being shut down on opening day. The Bears posted 76 points and 960 total yards of offense over their last two games, while the Bulls put up 66 and 809 respectively in theirs.

New Mexico State Aggies at Auburn Tigers (-16, 54 ½)

Though the SEC is above .500 ATS versus other conferences so far this season, it hasn’t been helped by Auburn’s 0-2 ATS non-conference record. The usually powerful Tigers have a two-game losing streak that concerns them far more than their ATS mark. The Tigers’ anxiety makes the visiting Aggies even more worried about a trip to Auburn than normal.

“I kind of feel like we’re getting Auburn when it’s mad,” New Mexico State head coach Hal Mumme said this week. “This is not a good feel for us.”

The Aggies have faced two BCS-conference opponents since Mumme took over in 2005 and lost both games by at least four touchdowns.  However, both losses occurred before quarterback Chase Holbrook started running Mumme’s Air Raid offense and scaring the opposition’s secondary.

Arkansas State Indians at Tennessee Volunteers (-20, 59 ½)


Arkansas State, 2-0 ATS so far, scared a powerhouse school when Texas only managed a 21-13 win at home as a 39 ½-point favorite. The Indians now have the chance to scare another giant, but the spread has been essentially chopped in half.

The relatively narrow spread can be attributed to Tennessee’s descent as much as the Indians’ improvement. The Volunteers are 3-5 SU and 2-6 ATS in their last eight games dating back to last year.  Their recent disaster in the Swamp reiterated their defensive and special team faults that Cal exploited in the season opener. Tennessee failed to cover the spread as a 7-point underdog in both losses.

Arkansas State last visited an SEC school last November during a 27-0 loss at Auburn. The Indians managed only 86 yards of total offense through the first three quarters at Jordan-Hare Stadium.  However, they should fare better in Knoxville today because the Vols are allowing 460 yards per game so far this season.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week - 4

Where the action is: Saturday's college line moves
COVERS.com

North Carolina at. South Florida – line moved from -13 ½ to -12 ½

This is the noon game on ESPN, which is why it’s getting a little more action than it might otherwise. So far bettors aren’t feeling the much talked about Bulls can cover a big number against a struggling ACC squad.

The Bulls are 3-0 (2-0 against the spread) and are coming off a win over Auburn two weeks ago. North Carolina, meanwhile, is 1-2 (1-1 ATS) and its only win came against Division I-AA James Madison. The Tar Heels are trying to shake off a pair of losses that came by a combined five points.

UNC’s biggest problem is that it can’t keep its offense on the field. The Heels rank last in college in time of possession; South Florida ranks 82nd with five more minutes per game with the ball.

Duke at Navy  - line moved from -10 to -14

Duke finally snapped a 22-game losing streak last week when it upset Northwestern. Now the public is expecting a major letdown and has steadily bet Navy throughout the week to move the Midshipmen up four points to -14.

Navy is the best rushing team in the nation with nearly 380 yards per game but starting quarterback Kaipo-Noa Kaheaku-Enhada could be slowed today by a pair of sprained ankles. The Middies also lost their two best starters on defense for the season a couple weeks ago, which played a big factor in their loss to 7-point underdog Ball State last week.

Michigan State at Notre Dame – line moved from +13 to +10

Regis Philbin’s pep rally at Notre Dame on Friday seemed to be enough to convince bettors to put their cash on the Irish. Notre Dame has steadily moved to a smaller underdog all week and is now at +10 at several sportsbooks.

MSU is 3-0 and Notre Dame is 0-3 to start but the two clubs have just one covered spread between them. The Irish have yet to score an offensive touchdown this season so they’ll have to find a way to get to the end zone if they hope to earn the cash for the first time in 2007.

The biggest mismatch statistic in this game is that Michigan State ranks first in the nation with 17 sacks and Notre Dame ranks worst in the nation in sacks allowed with 23.

South Carolina at LSU – line move from -18 ½ to -17 ½

This line has bounced from –16 ½ early in the week to as high as -18 ½ yesterday and it is coming back down again. There are two main factors for the move: LSU starting senior QB Matt Flynn is questionable and torrential downpours are expected tonight in Baton Rouge.

Flynn has been limited in practice this week and his status remains uncertain with a sprained ankle. Ryan Perrilloux would start in his place if necessary and the sophomore actually has more yards, more TD passes and a better completion percentage this season.

Surprisingly, the total has only moved about one point from 46 to 45 despite the fact that public safety officials are watching the weather closely today to determine if the game can go ahead. So far the game is still on but fans in Baton Rouge had better bring some sturdy umbrellas.

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