College Football News and Notes Week 6

Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Michigan QB Henne ready to play against Eastern Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Chad Henne is ready to resume his full-time quarterbacking duties for Michigan.

The senior quarterback sat out home wins against Notre Dame and Penn State while nursing a knee injury, but returned last weekend to lead Michigan past Northwestern.

On Monday, Henne pronounced himself ready for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan at the Big House. Henne said he had a partial ligament tear in week two when his right knee was driven into the ground after being hit from behind in a loss to Oregon.

Against Northwestern, Henne played in the first series before yielding to freshman Ryan Mallett. Henne returned to play the entire second half, leading Michigan on two scoring drives. His fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Adrian Arrington gave Michigan its first lead before Mike Hart capped the 28-16 win with a touchdown run.

Henne said he experienced only limited swelling and had no pain in the knee Sunday, a day after completing 18-of-27 passes for 193 yards and three touchdowns.

He said he won't allow his game to change while his knee continues to heal.

''If it happens, it happens. I'm going to be the same person in the pocket,'' Henne said. ''I'm not going to shy away from the pressure or someone in my face. I'm still going to try and make plays.''

Michigan coach Lloyd Carr expressed satisfaction with Henne's return Saturday.

''He did a great job managing the game and managing our offense,'' Carr said.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Outside the Top 25: College football betting

Tuesday is my column day. I find it gives me enough time to get over the shock of Saturday’s results and gear up for another week of madness.

The day breaks down with me spending a good part of the day going over the numbers, results and injuries in my ongoing quest to unearth some shred of value in the second tier of NCAA football games. I'm seeking a rock the oddsmakers haven’t overturned or a cranny where they didn’t look.

Amazingly, after my best efforts, it was those wise and thoughtful readers who posted responses to this column which offered the most valuable insight into last week’s games.

A number of readers disagreed with my opinion that Miami would thump Duke last week, correctly pointing out that the Hurricanes’ win the previous week over Texas A&M didn’t really prove as much as I had thought. Surprise, surprise, Kyle Wright throws a couple of picks that allow Duke to hang around for all but the last two minutes of the game.

Readers also took issue with my affection for New Mexico over BYU. As it turned out, I underestimated the BYU defense which went into Albuquerque, stymied the NMU passing game and notched a win on the road.

Don’t get me wrong, I also made a few good calls last week. It just goes to show you that when we put our heads together, we’re always better off. I thank everyone for their responses to this column and I encourage readers to jump in and add their two cents again this time around. Even if it’s just to call me an idiot.

Utah at Louisville (-14 ½)

How does that saying go? Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. How many times are bettors going to get fooled into believing that this Louisville team will do anything other than embarrass themselves on the football field this year?

Personally, I’m not willing to drink Steve Kragthorpe’s Kool-Aid (or eat Papa John’s pizza, for that matter). The defense has been absolutely horrendous all year and Brian Brohm looks like he’s going backwards after tossing four interceptions in the last three games. I know Utah’s season is in competition with Louisville’s for “Most Disappointing Performance”, but I just don’t see the Cardinals running up the score on anyone at this point.

Northwestern at Michigan State (-14 ½)

Wow. Big game for Northwestern this past weekend as they led Michigan at halftime and ended up covering the spread in a 12-point loss. Too bad about that fourth quarter. Quarterback C.J. Bacher wasn’t great all game, but he completely fell apart in the fourth quarter, committing four of his five turnovers when the game was on the line. If that meltdown carries over into this week, it won’t help them against the Spartans. Under new coach Mark Dantonio, MSU seems to have shaken its penchant to blow leads and give up in close games. They hung tight with Wisconsin in Camp Randall on Saturday, trading scores throughout the game and covering as 7-point underdogs. It was thanks to a team effort with contributions from almost everyone in a Michigan State uniform. Suddenly the Spartans are scary.

Vanderbilt at Auburn (-7)

Auburn had its problems at the start of this season, but nobody goes into The Swamp and knocks off the Gators by accident. This Auburn team has all the elements it needs to win in the SEC. Regardless of what happened in the early going, they will continue to improve in the upcoming weeks.

A young offensive line is finally starting to come together and Brandon Cox finally has some time to throw the ball. Vanderbilt has a better team than they’ve had in years past, but they haven’t come within arm’s length of a pointspread at Auburn in 20 years. With oddsmakers serving up the smallest home handicap for the Tigers against Vanderbilt in a decade and a half, I don’t expect the streak to end this year.

Arizona at Oregon State (-4)

Arizona has a glaring weakness on defense, but lucky for Mike Stoops and his Wildcats, Oregon State is not equipped to attack that soft spot. The Arizona secondary is full of holes and they’ve already been lit up by quarterbacks like New Mexico’s Donovan Porterie and Washington State’s Alex Brink. Things got even more desperate after free safety Dominic Patrick sprained his knee last week. Now Stoops is looking at moving his best cornerback, Antoine Cason, over to safety.

But even with all their problems defending the pass, don’t expect Sean Canfield to take advantage. The Beavers’ sophomore quarterback has thrown nearly twice as many picks as touchdown passes this year and his passer rating is among the worst in the Pac-10.

Central Florida at East Carolina (+3 ½)

Don’t be fooled. This is not East Carolina, the emerging powerhouse that we’ve seen in recent years. This is East Carolina, rebuilding team. They upset Houston last week, but they took advantage of a young quarterback who threw a pair of bad interceptions in the first half. That isn’t likely to happen against Central Florida, a team that runs the ball on average 48 times per game. East Carolina has been pretty average against the run. When they face Kevin Smith on Saturday, the running back with the best yards-per-game in the nation, they’ll have to improve in a hurry. Smith will help UCF take control of this game and grind the Pirates into the turf.

Tulsa at UTEP (+3)

Admittedly, Paul Smith threw a couple of picks last week and his Golden Hurricane couldn’t cover the 23 points against UAB. That still does not explain this line. This Tulsa offense is absolutely lethal and UTEP has shown an amazing inability to stop anyone through the air. They rank fifth to last in passing defense in the country and have allowed an average of 277 passing yards per game. Of course, Tulsa’s defense isn’t exactly anything to write home about, but I’m putting my money on Smith to put on an aerial clinic against a vulnerable opponent.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Ferringo Examines Early Line Moves
by Robert Ferringo

It's time once again for that weekly waltz that occurs between our friends over at the Las Vegas Sports Consultants and the sharp gamblers that pry apart the early college football spreads. Essentially, the LVSC recommends the lines to their clients, the sportsbooks, each week and the books respond by posting a suitable opening number. The sharps then come along like ravenous wolves encircling a wounded animal, ready to pounce on any number that they feel displays weakness or vulnerability. The result is an early week steam move on those seemingly weak lines, and that helps set the number that a majority of bettors in the general public will then have to wager on.

Just as there is a science and an art to setting the lines, it also requires a certain amount of skill to be able to red these opening line movements. Like stockbrokers, handicappers and bettors can learn a lot about a game by the way the early line moves break. So while I am no J.P. Morgan, I am here to try to shed some light on some of the college football games with the most significant variance from the time of the spreads' release on Sunday to the open wagering on Monday morning.

Over the past two weeks the strongest initial college line movements have only precluded a win against the spread for the team getting heavy early action in four of 13 instances. Either the sharp money is getting a bit dull or the books are intent to short worthy favorites. To this point, sharp action has gone 14-14 against the spread in college movements and 12-7 ATS in the NFL movements. That's 26-21 ATS (55.3 percent) overall. Here are some of the most noticeable and significant early steam movements in both the college and pro football opening lines:


Wisconsin at Illinois (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 6)

Open: Wisconsin -1.0.
Current: Illinois -3.0.

No love for Bucky. The Badgers have been one of the least-impressive 5-0 teams in the nation, posting a 1-3 record against the number while slogging out wins against supposedly inferior competition. Wisconsin couldn't cover in either of its first two Big Ten games even though both were played at home, and now the No. 5 Badgers are dogged on the road against an unranked foe. That's a huge red flag. And the fact that the Illini possess the Kryptonite for burly Big Ten clubs - speed - tells me that this potential "upset" is just loaded with value.

Central Michigan at Ball State (Noon, Saturday, Oct. 6)
Open: Ball State -7.5.
Current: Ball State -12.0.

The Chippewas have been gashed by injuries this season and apparently the books believe their 35-10 thrashing of equally thin Northern Illinois was an aberration. Ball State has lost three straight in this series but has the talent on the home field on its side. CMU's secondary should be no match for Nate Davis and Co. and the Chippewas are just 21-43-2 on the road in conference play. Be wary if this line moves much more (I expect it to hit 14) because the last time the Cardinals were a double-digit favorite they were hammered, 38-14, at Eastern Michigan in 2003.

Georgia Tech at Maryland (Noon p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6)

Open: Maryland -1.0.
Current: Georgia Tech -2.0.

The three-point shift in the line isn't what got my attention in this ACC matchup. But the fact that Georgia Tech is involved with a crossover spread like this in back-to-back weeks did. Last week the Jackets opened as a small favorite but the line instantly steamed to Clemson laying a field goal in Atlanta. The Jackets sprung the upset easily. This week Tech is on the opposite end, laying points on the road to a conference foe.

Texas Christian at Wyoming (2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6)
Open: TCU -2.0.
Current: Wyoming -2.0.

War Memorial Stadium should be rocking when the defending Mountain West champs roll into town. TCU's margin of victory over its past two games (13) belies the fact that this clearly isn't as talented of a Horned Frogs club as the ones that posted back-to-back conference titles. Wyoming had an extra week to prepare, is 13-6 ATS as a home dog since 2001, and is 8-2 ATS with revenge off a win against an opponent off back-to-back victories.

Oklahoma at Texas (3:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6)

Open: Oklahoma -6.5.
Current: Oklahoma -10.0.

The Red River Rivalry brings us the most significant early line movement, as this number skyrocketed through several key numbers on the way to its present position. It's pretty clear which team the books feel is the best equipped to bounce back from an upset last Saturday (OU to Colorado; Texas to K-State) and the fact that each of the last nine meetings has been decided by double digits certainly bore consideration. Longhorn backers do have some hope: teams off a straight-up loss as a favorite of 20 or more points that were instilled as a favorite the following week are just 3-15 ATS since 1997.

South Florida at Florida Atlantic (4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6)
Open: South Florida -21.5.
Current: South Florida -16.0.

Is that a Let Down I smell? South Florida is coming off what most observers feel is a program-defining victory over West Virginia last Friday night. The Bulls were playing at home in prime time and now they're expected to go on the road against an inferior in-state school and maintain their intensity level? Doubtful. South Florida is 7-3 as a road favorite over the past six years, but not only do they have to fight against a possible let down but they also may get caught looking ahead to a underrated rivalry game against dark horse Central Florida next weekend. I'm not predicting a loss here, but FAU could make things interesting.

Cincinnati at Rutgers (8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6)
Open: Rutgers -6.0.
Current: Rutgers -3.0.

The Bearcats have been a wrecking crew this season and are one of my favorite teams in the country. But it may be time to sell on a team that's gone 4-0 ATS to this point in the season and coming off a 29-point road victory. Last year Cincinnati stunned Rutgers as a home dog just one week after the Scarlet Knights dropped Louisville (are you listening South Florida?) so there is a revenge factor at work. The bottom line is that this Cincy team may be even better while last week Rutgers may have been exposed. But are we getting enough points for optimum value?

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Inside the Boxscores - Part I
By Matt Fargo 

ARKANSAS STATE 35 Memphis 31

In what looked like an easy win for the Tigers turned into a nightmare. Memphis pulled ahead 31-6 at the break following an 88-yard fumble return for a touchdown but the Indians stormed back. They returned a punt for a touchdown midway through the 3rd quarter and then scored the game’s final three touchdowns to pull off the improbable win. Despite gaining only 80 yards in the 2nd half, Memphis got the two-point cover.

BOISE STATE 38 Southern Miss 16

Boise St. racked up 506 yards of offense as it scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and was never threatened by the Golden Eagles. Southern Mississippi put a small run together as it scored the final touchdown of the first half and scored again to open the second half to pull within 12 points but the Broncos shut it down the rest of the way. Boise St. scored the final 10 points to get the cover.

(6) SO FLORIDA 21 (13) West Virginia 13

West Virginia outgained the Bulls 437-274 but turnovers and injuries were the differences in the upset. South Florida forced six turnovers including an interception for a touchdown to open the scoring. Four of the turnovers by the Mountaineers occurred in Bulls territory while South Florida didn’t do itself any favors by committing four miscues of its own. The Bulls easily covered as a touchdown underdog.

ILLINOIS 27 Penn State 20

Penn St. started the scoring with a field goal but the Illini returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and never relinquished the lead while easily covering. The Nittany Lions finished with four turnovers which led to 10 Illinois points while two miscues took place inside the Illini 25-yard line. The Nittany Lions won the yardage battle 427-336 but had three interceptions and a turnover on downs in their final four possessions.

Michigan 28 NORTHWESTERN 16

Northwestern outgained the Wolverines 417-380 and took a 16-7 lead into halftime but the offense was shutout in the second half thanks to four turnovers on its final four possessions. Two of those led to Michigan touchdowns that covered only 42 combined yards. The Wildcats crossed midfield only twice in the second half but they were still able to bring home the cash by 4.5 points.

(1) L-S-U 34 TULANE 9

Tulane held tough for the first 36 minutes before the Tigers pulled away in the second half. The Green Wave fumbled on their third play of the game which led to a short field goal attempt that was missed by LSU and the defense allowed only 89 total yards in the first half. The offense mustered only 227 total yards however including 88 yards rushing on 33 carries (2.7 ypc). The 41-point spread was never in jeopardy.


Miami jumped ahead 10-0 in the first quarter after two possessions but Duke pulled to within three points on two different occasions including midway through the fourth quarter. Two possessions were costly however as the Blue Devils fumbled at the Miami 17-yard line in their first possession of the third quarter and then turned it over on downs at the Miami 40-yard line late in the fourth. Duke easily cashed the +24-point ticket.

(15) VIRGINIA TECH 17 North Carolina 10

North Carolina dropped its 4th straight game but this one was in its grasp. The Tar Heels outgained the Hokies 306-241 but two costly turnovers proved to be the difference. They started the second half with a fumble in the Virginia Tech endzone which resulted in a touchback and then tossed an interception on its next possession that led to a touchdown. The Tar Heels scored after but it was too late for the win although they covered easily.

(23) PURDUE 33 Notre Dame 19

Notre Dame moved to 0-5 but did cover for the first time this year. The Irish had their best offensive game of the season as they outgained Purdue 426-371 but they missed a field goal, threw an interception inside the redzone and turned it over on fourth down twice in Boilermakers territory. Notre Dame pulled to within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter but the Boilermakers matched it on their next possession.


Connecticut outgained the Zips 465-251 but Akron was able to hang around for the first half. The Zips took the lead late in the second quarter but the Huskies returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to start a 35-0 run. The Zips had a chance to respond at the end of the first half but they were stopped at the five-yard line to end the half. Connecticut easily covered the 14.5 points as it held Akron to 66 yards in the second half.

BALL STATE 49 Buffalo 14

Ball St. did not let down after the near miss at Nebraska as it racked up 507 yards of offense while holding Buffalo to just 219 total yards. This included 274 yards rushing on 48 carries (5.7 ypc) as the Cardinals jumped out to a 35-0 lead and never looked back. 159 of the Bulls 219 yards came after the 5th Cardinals touchdown and Ball St. easily covered the two-touchdown spread.

CENTRAL MICH 35 Northern Ill 10

Northern Illinois actually outgained the Chippewas 521-381 but it committed six turnovers, two of which led to 14 points while Central Michigan also returned a kickoff back for a touchdown. The Huskies threw interceptions on four of their final five possessions all of which took place in Central Michigan territory. The Chippewas managed only 76 yards in the second half but still covered by 22 points.

Indiana 38 IOWA 20

Indiana jumped out to a 21-0 lead as the defense kept the Hawkeyes in check through the first half by allowing only 59 total yards. Iowa responded with a stronger second half with three long touchdown drives but it was too late as the lead was too much to overcome. Iowa outgained the Hoosiers 428-395 but three turnovers and nine penalties did not help its cause. Indiana was getting 8.5 points which it certainly didn’t even need.

ARMY 37 Temple 21

Temple remained winless as it dominated the game by outgaining Army 463-330 but there were too many mistakes. The Owls turned in over five times which led to 14 points while the special teams gave up both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns, the latter opening the game. Still, it was tied at the half but the Owls had three turnovers and gave it up on downs twice in the second half, resulting in an easy cover for Army.

TEXAS A&M 34 Baylor 10

This game was actually closer than the Aggies had hoped as they outgained Baylor 552-254 but still only had a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M did respond with the final two touchdowns but the score should have been much worse. The Aggies missed three field goals while also throwing an interception in their own territory that set up a Bears field goal. The last Aggies score provided the frontdoor cover.

(11) SO CAROLINA 38 Miss State 21

Mississippi St. had control of this game as it had a four-point lead midway through the third quarter but the Gamecocks got it going with three straight touchdowns to end the game, the final one resulting in a three-point cover. South Carolina outgained the Bulldogs 402-258 but a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and an interception inside the redzone killed three scoring chances.

NAVY 31 Air Force 20

Air Force outgained the Midshipmen 474-381 and held a three-point lead at the end of the third quarter but the final quarter was a disaster. The Falcons allowed Navy’s two longest touchdown drives while the offense fumbled at their own 35-yard line and also missed a field goal, its second miss of the day. That first miss was preceded by a turnover on downs at the Navy five-yard line. The Midshipmen covered by 8.5 points.

(12) GEORGIA 45 Ole Miss 17

Mississippi tied this game at 17-17 late in the third quarter but Georgia ran away with it by scoring the final 28 points of the game. The Rebels were outgained by only 86 total yards but a fumble at the Georgia four-yard line on their second possession and then a turnover on downs late in the game at the Georgia 19-yard line stalled two drives. Two turnovers led to 14 points and the easy cover for the Bulldogs.

(8) KENTUCKY 45 Fla Atlantic 17

Kentucky kept rolling along as it tallied 514 total yards while holding the Owls to 307 yards and scored touchdowns on its first four possessions. The score should have been much worse but the Wildcats had two turnovers inside the redzone and also missed a field goal. Kentucky was up by 21 points late in the fourth quarter and returned an interception for a touchdown for the frontdoor cover.

COLORADO 27 (10) Oklahoma 24

Oklahoma was cruising along with a 24-7 lead thanks to two interceptions that resulted in two short touchdown drives but then the tides turned. The Sooners committed three turnovers in the second half, including a muffed punt, which led to 10 Colorado points. The Buffaloes forced a late punt which set up the game winning field goal as time expired. Colorado held Oklahoma to just 230 total yards while covering by 26 points.

(25) NEBRASKA 35 Iowa State 17

Iowa St. outgained the Cornhuskers 415-369 and jumped ahead 10-0 before Nebraska fought back. The Cornhuskers scored the next three touchdowns and Iowa St. was looking to pull back within four but threw an interception that was returned 93 yards for the touchdown. The Cyclones did get another touchdown back which secured the cover but their third interception at their own three-yard line set up the final Nebraska score.

UTAH 34 Utah State 18

Utah won its 10th straight meeting against its in-state rival as it outgained Utah St. by only 50 total yards. The Aggies scored first to take a 7-0 lead but Utah scored 34 of the next 37 points to pull away. Included in this was a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. Utah St. used a 44-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter to set up a short touchdown drive and the backdoor cover.

MIAMI-OHIO 17 Syracuse 14

Syracuse was feeling the hangover from the Louisville win as it managed only 86 total yards in the first half. The RedHawks jumped ahead 14-0 thanks in part to a Syracuse interception that set up a short field. Miami did its best to let Syracuse back in the game as it threw two interceptions to start the second half. The Orange pulled to within three points late and got the ball once again but could not move past their own 13-yard line.

Kent State 33 OHIO U 25

Kent St. scored on its first three possessions and held off a late rally from the Bobcats. Ohio scored with three minutes remaining and then got the ball back again with less than two minutes remaining but failed on a fourth down attempt in its own territory. The Golden Flashes rushed for 233 yards while holding Ohio to just 88 yards on the ground. Kent got the cover and was helped out by 17 Bobcats penalties for 170 yards.

(24) Kansas State 41 (19) TEXAS 21

Kansas St. won going away even though it was outgained 330-272 as it scored 21 points on an interception return, a punt return and a kickoff return. The Longhorns finished with four interceptions which led to 20 points that was the ultimate difference. Texas drove 80 yards on its second possession of the second half to pull within three points but managed only 61 yards the rest of the way as Kansas covered by 34.5 points.

(3) California 31 (14) OREGON 24

Oregon outgained the Bears 497-400 but had four turnovers, all of which occurred in the fourth quarter. The final one was the most devastating as the Ducks fumbled into the Bears endzone with 16 seconds left and it went out of bounds which resulted in a touchback. In the possession prior to that an interception at the California 17-yard line killed another drive. The Bears covered the number outright.

(5) WISCONSIN 37 Michigan State 34

Wisconsin was outgained by the Spartans 564-461 but was able to build a late 10-point lead that it almost squandered. Michigan St. scored on it next two possessions to tie the game and after the Badgers retook the lead, it has a chance to tie again but missed a 53-yard field goal. The Spartans did force a punt but were stopped on downs at the Wisconsin 38-yard line with 1:09 remaining. Michigan St. did get the cover by four.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Inside the Boxscores - Part II
By Matt Fargo   

GEORGIA TECH 13 (22) Clemson 3

The defenses were the story here as Georgia Tech outgained the Tigers 256-228. The Yellow Jackets fumbled on their first play from scrimmage but Clemson was held to a field goal. On the day, the Tigers missed four field goals which obviously made a difference in both the win and Georgia Tech cover. Clemson was held to just 34 yards rushing on 32 carries (1.1 ypc).

Maryland 34 (21) RUTGERS 24

Maryland dominated the line of scrimmage as it outgained the Scarlet Knights on the ground 239-82 and 458-392 in total yards. Rutgers scored first on a field goal but the Terrapins responded with two touchdowns only to see the Scarlet Knights match that and take a three-point lead into halftime. Rutgers was down by three late in the fourth quarter but could not convert on fourth down and Maryland punched it in on the next play.

Louisville 29 NC STATE 10

Louisville outgained the Wolfpack 498-334 but still needed two fourth quarter scores to put the game away. NC State pulled to within six points and then moved the ball to midfield on its next possession before being forced to punt. The Cardinals put up a touchdown and the Wolfpack fumbled on their next drive and lost it on downs to end the game. The 13 fourth quarter points solidified the cover for Louisville.

NEVADA 27 U-N-L-V 20

There were four lead changes and four ties before the Wolf Pack scored the winning touchdown with 27 seconds remaining and grab the 3.5-point cover. The Rebels tied the score but Nevada was able to drive the field in just 35 seconds for the win. Both teams had costly interceptions in the redzone. Nevada scored on its final three possessions while UNLV had a chance to match that but turned it over on downs.

Texas-El Paso 48 S-M-U 45

It took overtime to decide this shootout as the teams combined for 1,074 yards of offense and 61 first downs. The Mustangs picked off a pass early in the fourth quarter and scored on their next offensive play to take a 14-point lead. The Miners had drives of 79 and 66 yards to tie the score while the defense forced two punts for SMU. The winning touchdown in overtime got the win and also the five-point cover for the Miners.

FLORIDA STATE 21 Alabama 14

Defense dominated for three quarters but the offense came alive for both teams in the final period as each team put up two touchdowns. Alabama was forced to punt on each of its first 10 possessions and then fumbled on its own five-yard line on its 11th possession to set up Florida St. with an easy touchdown. The Tide did score twice but never got closer than seven points. The Seminoles covered the field goal spread.

(16) Hawaii 48 IDAHO 20

Hawaii took a 7-0 lead before the Vandals tied it but the Warriors then ran off 31 unanswered points to pull away. Hawaii outgained Idaho 485-303 but most of the Vandals yards came in garbage time as 164 of those yards came in the final 18 minutes of the game. Idaho finished with five interceptions but Hawaii was even worse with five interceptions and a fumble. Despite the late Idaho run, Hawaii covered by four points.

U-C-F 37 UL Lafayette 19

Central Florida outgained the Cajuns 466-314 but it was La-Lafayette that looked to have the upper hand early. It drove inside the redzone three times in its first four possessions however it came away with just six points on three field goal attempts. The Golden Knights scored one of its touchdowns on a blocked punt but they could not cover the 22.5 points as they fumbled twice inside the Cajuns 30-yard line in the fourth quarter.


UCLA fumbled in its first two possessions, both on the first play of the drive, but allowed just a touchdown off them. The Beavers jumped ahead 14-0 before UCLA scored the final 40 points of the game. Oregon St. had a two-point lead going into the fourth quarter but the Bruins scored four touchdowns on four possessions, two aided by two fumbles. Oregon St. finished with five turnovers that led to 21 points and an easy UCLA cover.

Western Mich 42 TOLEDO 28

Toledo jumped ahead 14-7 but the Broncos scored 28 unanswered points to pull away for the easy win and cover. Western Michigan had two turnovers in its first four possessions but then scored touchdowns on five of its next six possessions. Toledo rushed for 224 yards on 36 carries (6.2 ypc) yet the Broncos won the time of possession by over 15 minutes as they ran 28 more plays from scrimmage.

TULSA 38 U-A-B 30

Tulsa racked up 695 yards of offense as it built a 22-point lead but the Blazers did not give up. They had a rough start as they punted five times to go along with two turnovers in their first seven possessions. UAB scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull within eight points with 3:47 remaining but the Golden Hurricane did not give the ball back as they ran out the clock.

ARKANSAS 66 North Texas 7

Arkansas dominated from start to finish as it gained 713 yards on offense including 446 yards rushing on 55 carries (8.1 ypc) while the defense allowed 329 total yards. The score could have been even worse but the Razorbacks fumbled twice in the fourth quarter, once at the two-yard line and once in the North Texas endzone. The Mean Green did enter Arkansas territory six times but scored just once, missing the cover by 24 points.

VANDERBILT 30 Eastern Mich 7

Vanderbilt dominated on defense as it allowed only 173 total yards while forcing six turnovers including five interceptions, one that was returned for a touchdown. In total, the Commodores had 20 points off turnovers. The Vanderbilt offense generated only 341 yards as it tossed four interceptions, three of which occurred inside the Eagles 33-yard line, wiping out 173 yards of offense. A field goal with 2:06 left gave it the cover.

VIRGINIA 44 Pittsburgh 14

Special teams were the difference as the Cavaliers scored four touchdowns in the first quarter. The Panthers tried an onsides kick to start the game but failed, giving Virginia a short field. Pittsburgh also fumbled a punt return and allowed a 45-yard punt return the next possession. The Panthers pulled to within 16 points but the Cavaliers tacked on two late touchdowns for the easy cover. The Panthers were outgained by only 54 total yards.

East Carolina 37 HOUSTON 35

East Carolina was outgained 484-329 but squeaked out the victory thanks to two missed field goals by the Cougars in the fourth quarter. The final 38-yard kick was missed with just three seconds remaining. It was back and fourth the whole way and the Pirates did their best to give it away as they allowed a 100-yard kickoff return for a score at the end of the third quarter while the offense mustered only 15 yards in the fourth quarter.

TROY 24 UL-Monroe 7

Troy had the only score of the first half as it intercepted a pass and ran it back for a touchdown. The Warhawks had the best offensive opportunity in the half but they were stopped on fourth down at the Trojans one-yard one. Neither team did itself any favors by committing 20 penalties in total. Troy tacked on the final 10 points of the game which got it the cover by 5.5 points.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE 47 Florida Intl 6

Middle Tennessee scored all 47 points in the first half as it outgained the Golden Panthers 316-32 in the first 30 minutes as the cover was locked in the first quarter. Florida International finished with only 145 total yards and it crossed midfield twice. Its lone touchdown came on a blocked punt in the Blue Raiders endzone. In eight second half possessions, Middle Tennessee punted six times and fumbled in the other two.

T-C-U 24 Colorado State 12

TCU outgained the Rams 398-271 as it rushed for 201 yards while holding Colorado St. to only 55 yards on 28 carries (2.0 ypc). The Rams pulled to within four points after the Horned Frogs led off the game with an 83-yard scoring drive but TCU ran off the next 17 points to pull away. The Rams pulled to within 3.5 points of covering but they threw two interceptions on their final three possessions to miss coming in the backdoor.

(2) U-S-C 27 WASHINGTON 24

The game was not as close as the final score indicates as USC outgained the Huskies 460-190 but turnovers almost did them in. The Trojans picked off Washington at the eight-yard line, saving a touchdown but USC gave it back and Washington took advantage with a short field and a touchdown. The Huskies also returned an interception for a touchdown to tie the game in the second quarter. Washington covered from start to finish.

(4) Ohio State 30 MINNESOTA 7

The Buckeyes shut down the powerful Minnesota rushing attack, holding the Golden Gophers to just 45 yards rushing on 29 carries (1.6 ypc) while the offense ran for 250 yards on 47 carries (5.3 ypc). Minnesota did have some chances but missed a field goal on its opening drive, threw two interceptions in Ohio St. territory and was stopped on fourth down at the Buckeyes four-yard line. Minnesota still covered by a point.

Auburn 20 (9) FLORIDA 17

Auburn had the game won however a timeout was called prior to the kick but the Tigers nailed the second attempt for the huge upset. The Gators were down by two touchdowns heading into the final quarter but scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions, the first coming off an Auburn fumble. An interception led to the Tigers first field goal while Florida also fumbled at the Auburn 29-yard line and missed a field goal as well.


BYU jumped ahead 14-0 including an interception return for a touchdown on the fourth play of the game. The Lobos stormed back and tied the game at 21 apiece thanks in part to a Cougars fumble at their own 19-yard line. BYU was up by four points midway through the fourth quarter and New Mexico fumbled on its own 22-yard line to set up the late field goal and the cover. BYU scored 24 points off turnovers.

ARIZONA 48 Washington St 20

Arizona racked up 567 yards of offense as it got into Cougars territory on 11 of its 12 possessions. Washington St. scored on its opening drive of the second half to tie the game at 20-20 before the Wildcats ran off the final 28 points of the game and covered easily. Following that, the Cougars managed just 103 total yards the rest of the way and they finished with only 71 yards rushing on 25 carries (2.8 ypc).

(18) Arizona State 41 STANFORD 3

Arizona St. had just 96 yards and only six points in its first six possessions but exploded for 344 yards and five touchdowns the rest of the way. One of those touchdowns came on an interception return, one of three turnovers for the Cardinal. Stanford finished with only 235 total yards and 13 first downs while going just 2-14 on third down. The Cardinal never got past the Sun Devils 25-yard line.

(20) Cincinnati 52 SAN DIEGO ST 23

The Bearcats string of blowouts continued as they outgained San Diego St. 547-377 while also returning an interception 58 yards for a touchdown. Cincinnati finished with 263 yards rushing on 50 carries (5.3 ypc) while holding the Aztecs to just 65 yards on 24 carries (2.7 ypc). The Bearcats scored touchdowns on six of their first seven possessions and finished a perfect 5-5 inside the redzone.

FRESNO STATE 17 Louisiana Tech 6

Fresno St. was outgained by the Bulldogs 282-262 and trailed 6-0 at halftime before scoring the only 17 points of the second half. After its second field goal, Louisiana Tech punted on its next six possessions. It got to the Fresno 33-yard line late in the fourth quarter but was stopped on fourth down and then ended the game at the Bulldogs 18-yard line as time expired but still covered the number by a point and a half.

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Louisville's Stripling suspended for Friday
October 3, 2007

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -Louisville running back George Stripling was suspended from Friday night's game against Utah for violating team rules.

Coach Steve Kragthorpe did not elaborate Wednesday on why Stripling was disciplined.

Stripling, second on the team with 171 yards and one touchdown, is the second Louisville player suspended this week. Wide receiver JaJuan Spillman was suspended indefinitely on Monday.

Stripling serves mainly as a backup to starter Anthony Allen and fullback Brock Bolen.

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Texas Tech LB Tillman suspended
October 3, 2007

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) -Texas Tech linebacker Kellen Tillman was suspended indefinitely after his arrest on a marijuana possession charge.

Tillman, who missed last week's game for undisclosed disciplinary reasons, was arrested Monday when police responding to minor traffic accident found marijuana in the car he was driving. Tech coach Mike Leach, who had reinstated Tillman as a starter the day of the arrest, suspended him Tuesday.

Leach called the incident ``a huge distraction.''

``We've just got to see what happens and get to the bottom of it,'' he said. ``We've got a season to play and games to coach. He's just going to have to figure it out.''

Tillman's attorney, Dan Hurley, said the marijuana did not belong to his client. Hurley said Tillman has passed two urine tests since his arrest.

Tillman believes a friend who used his car stashed the drug in the upper part of car's console and that the accident probably knocked the marijuana loose, Hurley said.

According to police, an officer walked up to one of two cars stopped in the center turn lane of a street on Monday and saw what he believed to be marijuana. Tillman, the only person in the car, was arrested at the scene, Lubbock police Lt. Scott Hudgens said.

Tillman, a 23-year-old senior, posted $750 bond and was released a short time later. If convicted, he faces up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Leach hasn't disclosed why Tillman was benched for Saturday's 75-7 victory against Northwestern State. Tillman had 21 tackles and a sack in Texas Tech's first four games.

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U-M receiver Mario Manningham to miss Eastern game for violating team rule

Michigan wide receiver Mario Manningham is not expected to play Saturday against Eastern Michigan after violating a team rule.

Multiple people with knowledge of the violation confirmed his one-game punishment.

U-M coach Lloyd Carr was unavailable for comment, and Manningham’s grandfather, Gerald Simpson, said he was not aware of the penalty.

Manningham, a junior who leads the team with 29 catches for 402 yards and two touchdowns, has had an up-and-down season.

He had his best game against Northwestern last weekend with a career-high 10 catches for 123 yards and a touchdown.

But he hasn’t been that productive all season.

Before the Notre Dame game, Carr said of Manningham: “I don’t think he’s played as well as he can.”

At the time, Carr would not elaborate, saying, “that’s part of coaching. We’ll deal with that. He’s done some very good things. I just think he’s capable of playing better, and I’m confident he will.”

Manningham did not start against Penn State but entered on the first series and drew some postgame attention after he did the “worm” dance on the field to celebrate the victory. A video of the dance has drawn more than 17,000 viewers on YouTube.

There were moments early this season when Manningham appeared to be out of sync with the quarterbacks.

On Monday, U-M quarterback Chad Henne identified what he felt was the biggest reason for the offensive inconsistency this year, without pointing out an individual.

“It was more getting on the right page with our receivers, them running the right routes, them going full speed at times and us making smart decisions — putting the ball where it needs to be,” he said.

Two other wide receivers — Adrian Arrington and Greg Mathews — have drawn significant praise from Carr this season for their work ethic and effort.

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Alabama's D-line sustains another loss
October 3, 2007

Associated Press

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's defensive line wasn't back to full strength for very long.

Nose tackle Brian Motley played for the first time this season against Florida State after recovering from a broken foot. Now, starting defensive end Bobby Greenwood is likely out for Saturday's game against Houston with a sprained ankle.

He will be replaced by sophomore Brandon Deaderick.

"We'd like to get to where we have our five guys that we feel are all kind of starters for us up front," coach Nick Saban said. "Depth at that position has been critical for us all year."

In fact, Crimson Tide defensive linemen have combined for just two sacks in five games, and Greenwood had one of them. Saban said he was "very questionable" for the game.

"That's definitely tough, because Greenwood's a guy that you can count on," end Wallace Gilberry said. "You can count on him doing his job and being in the right place at the right time."

Deaderick has played in all five games. He was arrested over the summer on charges of criminal mischief, resisting arrest and providing a false name in an off-campus incident also involving two teammates but has applied for youthful offender status.

Motley, meanwhile, is a redshirt freshman who had won the No. 1 job in spring practice after moving over from the offensive line.

"He worked extremely hard to get back," Saban said. "He's got good leverage, he's got good lower-body explosion, he's got good quickness, he's smart. He's certainly a guy that we welcome back and we need to come back."


ACADEMIC FACTOR: Alabama coach Nick Saban believes the ability to accept partial academic qualifiers is a factor in the rise of Big East Conference teams like No. 6 South Florida.

The theory drew the ire of USF coach Jim Leavitt, who called Saban's facts "not right."

"Whoever gave him that information needs to correct it," Leavitt told the Tampa Tribune. He said only two of his players are partial qualifiers and only one starts.

Saban said Monday that the stricter rules for the Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference, for instance, helps "create a lot of parity."

"When you play those schools, you're playing against guys that you couldn't recruit," he said.

He used South Florida as an example. "I think there's six guys starting on South Florida's defense that probably could have gone to Florida or Florida State, but Florida and Florida State couldn't take them," Saban said.


BIG PLAYS: Saban declined to say whether cornerback Lionel Mitchell would return to the starting lineup, but he did give a hint of how that decision is made.

He wants his defensive backs to "practice fast" and "finish plays" -- not just in games but practice.

"And if you don't do it, when the speed of the game gets to what it is against the good skilled players that we play against, you're not going to be in position to make the play," said Saban, who frequently works with the defensive backs. "You're going to be one step behind in the down, and it's going to affect our ability to be successful."

Freshman Kareem Jackson replaced Mitchell in the starting lineup against Florida State. Mitchell gave up the winning touchdown catch in an overtime loss to Georgia, though Saban didn't cite that as a factor in his benching.

"All the corners have to do a little better job of playing with consistency and not giving up the big play," Saban said. "That's something that's been a problem."

The Tide allowed three big offensive plays against the Seminoles, including two of 50-plus yards. Linebacker Darren Mustin said the coaches had an interesting analogy before the season on the importance of the not just doing the right thing most of the time.

"If 99 percent of the ATMs work throughout America, a whole bunch of people are going to go without money," Mustin recalled a coach telling them. "If 99 percent of babies are delivered to the wrong parents, a whole bunch of babies are going to the wrong people.

"You've got to give 100 percent. You can't have 99 percent. You've got to give it all."

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Could injury reports cure gambling concerns?
October 3, 2007

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- With West Virginia quarterback Pat White hurting and uncertain to play Saturday against Syracuse, it took oddsmakers a couple extra days to make the Mountaineers a 241/2-point favorite.

No matter when West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez decides whether White will play, he won't tell anyone outside the program until game time. That inside information is too valuable -- to gamblers.

"We're really concerned about a 'runner' for gambling. It concerns us to death," said Texas coach Mack Brown, who warns players to keep team information to themselves. "We tell our players, if you're going to talk, even to your parents, don't talk about injuries."

That secrecy, however, increases the information's value and leaves major college football programs vulnerable, said RJ Bell, president of, a Web site that provides information for gamblers.

"What we have in college football is a culture and context where there is no official information," Bell said. "Clearly what it leads to is the high value of inside information."

In the wake of the NBA betting scandal involving former referee Tim Donaghy, accused of selling inside information to bookies, perhaps it's time for college football to have an official injury report.

Last week, Texas A&M coach Dennis Franchione admitted he was charging boosters $1,200 for a secret newsletter with injury updates he wasn't making public. Franchione said the dozen or so boosters signed an agreement to keep the information confidential and there's been no evidence showing it was used for gambling.

The NCAA bylaws prohibit providing information to "individuals involved in or associated with any type of sports wagering activities."

Michigan State quarterback Brian Hoyer said he takes a cautious approach when talking about the team.

"Yeah, to be honest with you, you never know who's doing what, so you've just have to stay tightlipped," he said. "We always say, 'Anything with the team stays inside with the team.' You can't let anything like that out because you never knows who is going to take it to a bookie or whatever and say, 'I just heard from so-and-so that their running back is out.' So in this era, you have to be careful about everything you do."

Bell said providing more official information, the way the NFL does, might alleviate some of the NCAA's worries about gambling.

The NFL releases a weekly injury report, which lets everybody -- teams, fans and gamblers -- know who's hurt and how likely it is the ailing player will play.

Because it would involve students' medical records, the NCAA has no jurisdiction and couldn't be involved in putting together an injury report. That would leave it up to each conference.

Western Athletic Conference commissioner Karl Benson said his league last year briefly discussed a leaguewide policy on how all coaches -- not just football -- would disclose injuries after some women's volleyball players at Hawaii refused to sign a release allowing the school to discuss their injuries.

In the end, the WAC stuck with the status quo and let the schools determine their own policies, Benson said.

Several years ago, Southeastern Conference sports information directors talked about a weekly injury report, but it never went past the SIDs.

Coaches haven't always been so tightlipped about injuries.

Grant Teaff, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association who coached at Baylor for 20 seasons starting in 1972, would let the medical staff speak directly with reporters.

Over the years, some coaches started holding back information to keep the competition guessing, and there was a domino affect. If your opponent wasn't being forthright, than why should you, Teaff said.

Stricter federal health privacy laws have caused some schools to be even more restrictive about releasing information. Those same laws mean every player would have to give permission to be listed on an injury report.

Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said that alone might be enough to derail the idea of a conference producing an NFL-style report.

Although Teaff doesn't support the idea of an injury report, he said it warrants warrants discussion.

Even so he's not optimistic coaches would support it and guessed at least 60 percent would be against it.

Count Oregon State coach Mike Riley among those in favor.

"It sure would be good for me and for us as coaches ... not have to dance around this stuff," said Riley, who coached in the NFL with the San Diego Chargers, "where you don't have people sneaking around trying to find out information and posting it on the Internet."

USC coach Pete Carroll, who coached the New York Jets and New England Patriots, is glad to be done with an injury report and doubts it would solve anything.

"I've been part of that," he said. "As standardized as it is, it's still hokey."

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Look Aheads and Let Downs

Alright, how many of you out there thought that five of the Top 10 teams in the country would fall last weekend? I better not see any hands raised because that was just a fluke thing to have happen. All is not lost for the likes of Florida, Rutgers, West Virginia, Texas and Oklahoma. They all have conference titles to go after, if not longshot opportunity at the national championship for four of those five programs.

Let’s take a look at who is poised to get caught in the dreaded “look ahead” and “let down” spots, while searching for a quality “bounce back” candidate.

Looking towards the light…

Boston College didn’t look all that sharp in its 24-14 win over UMass. The Eagles now must gear up to fight another bird of prey when Bowling Green’s Falcons come to Chestnut Hill as 20-point road ‘dogs this Saturday. And while you could look at this in the conceited point of view by saying it’s the Mid-American Conference playing the ACC school, you are dismissing the Falcons all too quickly.

Bowling Green has played two BCS schools closely, winning against one of them using a spread offense that has scored 34.5 points per game. Plus, BC has the revival of “The Holy War” coming up next week against a depleted Notre Dame side. That adds up to a chance for the Eagles hiccupping this week as far the spread is concerned.

Going down with the ship…

It was great to see the Auburn kicker, Wes Byrum, perform the “Chomp” last week after beating the Gators as a 17 ½-point road ‘dog, 20-17. While it was a huge win for them, it could be setting them up for a big letdown. And that rude awakening arrives in the form of the Commodores this Saturday.

I know that it is hard to imagine that Vanderbilt could trip up a team that just beat a top-five squad as a 7 ½-point road underdog, but let’s look at this a little deeper. Vandy has played fairly well this year going 3-1 SU and 2-1 ATS. And this is the closest line the Commodores have had against Auburn in five years. They covered the line then and should do the same now.

Red River sink or swim…

Nobody would have guessed that both Oklahoma and Texas would lose prior to their annual meeting at the Texas State Fair, but that’s the way the ball bounces. While both schools took a bad loss to lesser opponents last Saturday, the Sooners have the best chance of bouncing back in this year as 11-point favorites in Dallas, Texas.

The Sooners are averaging 54 PPG this year with a freshman quarterback Sam Bradford. Their defense is allowing just 14.8 PPG this season. Meanwhile, the Longhorns have looked soft in all, but one of their matches 2007. Texas signal caller Colt McCoy suffered a mild concussion last week and says that he’s okay for this week, but the Sooner defense has 17 sacks so far this season. Oklahoma should have no problem in handing the ‘Horns their second consecutive loss of the year.

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Kentucky at SOUTH CAROLINA (Thursday)...Hot UK has covered 9 of past 10 games. Wildcats’ elusive RB Little (547 YR, 6.7 ypc), who hails from Anderson, S.C., pumped up for chance to perform in front of family and friends.

Utah at LOUISVILLE (Friday)...L’ville returns to Papa John’s for 1st time since suffering the biggest upset loss in TGS history (vs. Syracuse, Sept. 22)! Utah is 15-5 as road dog since 1997 (albeit just 2-3 L3+Ys). L’ville’s already embroiled 1st-year HC Kragthorpe lost vs. Utes in LY’s Armed Forces Bowl when he was Tulsa head man.

Virginia Tech at CLEMSON...Clemson will be sky high in "Death Valley" following ugly 24-7 upset loss at Blacksburg LY, which snapped then-torrid Tigers (ranked 10th nationally) 7-game win streak. Clemson’s high-octane attack compiled just 166 yds. & 8 FDs.

Wake Forest at DUKE...Not surprised visitor has covered 4 straight between these nearby schools on "Tobacco Road." WF soph QB Skinner, who got his 1st start due to injury year ago, completed 22 of 29 for 235 yds. But due to stellar performance by Duke QB Lewis (21 of 32 for 305 yds.), Deacons needed to block 28-yd. FG attempt on final play of game to escape with 14-13 win.

Kansas at KANSAS STATE...After KSU had dominated rivalry for nearly a decade (9 straight wins & covers from ‘95-‘03), KU has turned it around in Lawrence, capturing last two when hosting. But Jayhawks have now failed to cover last 6 in Manhattan, losing by avg. 31 pts. KSU committed season-high 6 TOs in 39-20 loss LY, with KU scoring one TD on 42-yd. int. return.

Florida at LSU...LSU eager to show that LY’s 23-10 loss to the defending national champs was a fluke. Tigers did have 8 more FDs and outgained Gators 318-288, but they couldn’t overcome season-high 5 TOs and a blocked punt. Florida’s "franchise" QB Tebow shined in nationally-televised clash, throwing 2 TD passes (remenber the jump pass right before halftime) & had 35 YR in 9 carries.

Iowa at PENN STATE...Penn State thrilled to finally get another crack at Iowa (last meeting in ‘04) after dropping 5 straight in series (4 of those losses by combined 18 pts., 2 in OT).

Cincinnati at RUTGERS...Rutgers has been aching for rematch following stunning 30-11 upset loss at Cincy LY. Scarlet Knights claimed they were emotionally drained from 28-25 upset win vs. L’Ville week before. Rutgers trailed 10-0 in 2nd Q, when Knight QB Teel threw an int. (4 for game!) returned 84 yds. for Bearcat TD. Rutgers ace RB Rice especially revved-up after gaining season-low 54 yds. in 18 tries. Cincy HC Kelly is 21-5-2 vs. spread last 2+Ys, mostly at Central Michigan.

Stanford at SOUTHERN CAL...Trojan HC Carroll might not mind running up the score after Stanford HC Harbaugh reportedly raised his ire when Harbaugh said in preseason this would be Carroll’s last year as USC head coach. Harbaugh also said at Pac-10 football media day, "USC may be the best team in the history of college football." Carroll quipped, "I love Jim, don’t you? I’m glad he thinks that."

Iowa State at TEXAS TECH...TT has been good bully in Lubbock, going 9-4 as DD chalk since 2002 (0-1 TY). Red Raiders will take great delight in beating ISU’s new HC Chizik, who served as Texas co-d.c. in both ‘05 & ‘06

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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.

The Ferringo 15 only managed a 6-6 weekend, dropping their mark to a combined 29-17 ATS on the season. As I suspected, some of our teams have peaked from a value perspective and I think they may struggle over the next few weeks as the books start to overcompensate. Without further ado, here is our Week 6 version of the Ferringo 15:

1) South Florida (3-0 Against the Spread) - The Power of the Ferringo 15 was in full effect last Friday as the Bulls blasted West Virginia. But beware Florida Atlantic. The number on USF's next game has dropped faster than Katie Couric's ratings and it's tough not to expect a letdown after that monumental win for their program. They're on the road, against inferior competition, and the Bulls barely escaped with a 21-20 win at home against a comparably talented Florida International squad.

2) Purdue (3-1 ATS) - The Boilers became the first team not to cover against lowly Notre Dame last week, just one week after barely covering against lowly Minnesota. Since they've been out of MAC play they haven't exactly been overwhelming. Perhaps the ship has sailed. I actually think that a blowout loss at the hands of Ohio State could actually increase their stock heading into a Michigan game that I think they win outright.

4) Anyone Playing Notre Dame (4-1) - Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later. The Irish used a late comeback to manufacture their first payday of the season. And, judging by the early line movement, they're taking some action for their upcoming tilt against UCLA. Notre Dame pulled a win out of its ass last year against the Bruins and I think that this game is going to be a mismatch from start to finish.

5) Oklahoma (4-1) - Every week I've had the same thing to say about Oklahoma: Wow. Well, no need to alter my sentiments this week. A stunning loss in Boulder has taken some of the shine off this nuclear weapon. And here's a harrowing stat for this weekend's Texas game: teams off an upset loss as a 20-plus point favorite are just 3-14 ATS the following week if they're posted as a favorite.

6) Cincinnati (4-0) - Just like my boys in South Florida, the word is out on the Bearcats. I really like the way they tore an undermanned San Diego State team apart last week without looking ahead to Rutgers. There is no doubt in my mind that the Bearcats are better than Rutgers, but it remains to be seen if they can handle the emotion they'll be facing from the revenge-minded Knights. This is Cincy's third road game in four weeks as well so you have to wonder if there will be some wear on those tires.

10) Central Florida (3-1) - George O'Leary's boys have been putting a lot of pressure on teams with CUSA's No. 1 offense. But the key to this team as a moneymaker is that skull-cracking defense. Central Florida is just 5-11 SU on the road in conference play since the start of 2003 and they are just 17-26 ATS on the road since opening day of 2000.

7) Kentucky (4-1) - Here we have another team that we've been on from the start of the season that may have reached its peak value. The Wildcats have not only been winning, but winning dramatically as an underdog in its last two weeks. It's tough to top that combo for UK backers. But now they get into the thick of the SEC schedule, with bluebloods like Florida and LSU coming up this month.

8) Boston College (3-1) - I think this Bowling Green game is actually a potential landmine for Eagles backers. B.C. has been sleepwalking through the past two weeks against Army and UMass. They have Notre Dame on deck, followed by a bye, and then the heart of the ACC slate. The Eagles haven't covered in a game against a MAC foe in their last three tries. We're going to learn something about Jeff Jagodzinski based on how he handles this one.

9) Oregon (4-1) - This is a critical juncture in Oregon's season. They have to stew about their stunning home loss to Cal for two weeks until they host Washington State for homecoming on Oct. 13. They always struggle with the Cougars. Then they have an obvious look ahead spot at Washington before hosting USC. This is dangerous territory for a program that has become too adept at midseason collapses.

10) UCLA (4-1) - Their 28-point fourth quarter eruption at Oregon State shows that the Bruins are back at the top of their game. I don't think the Bruins will be looking past Notre Dame this week with a huge game against Cal on the horizon. UCLA has unfinished business with the Irish. They dominated the line of scrimmage last year in a 20-17 loss, and the Bruins should overwhelm Notre Lame again this week.

11) Kansas (3-0) - Finally, a test. The Jayhawks get credit for thrashing inferior opponents. But now they're matched up against a school that can throw some blows. Kansas has endured six straight Manhattan muggings at the hands of the Wildcats. The home team has won five of six in this series and even though K-State is coming off a huge upset win they do have revenge on their side.

12) Missouri (3-0) - The Tigers have been rolling on offense, but I hate backing favorites that have a defense I don't trust. Nebraska can score. Missouri can score. But whose defense can get a stop or force a turnover? The Huskers have dropped their last two games in Columbia by 17 points apiece and you definitely have to wonder about whether Sam Keller has that Big Time Game in him because I know Chase Daniels does.

13) Arizona State (4-1) - I, personally, think that the Sun Devils are slowly tick-tick-ticking their way to the top of the roller coaster. I just don't think they're as good as they've been playing and I'm not overly impressed with any of their wins. But they've won and cashed consistently so here they are. ASU has won seven of 10 in their series with Washington State, including last year's 47-14 mauling.

14) South Carolina (3-1) - If their line against Kentucky, presently set at 3.5, were this small and Jasper Brinkley was still on the field I'd be throwing the house on the Gamecocks. But the guy was USC's defensive heart and soul and they're meeting up with one of the SEC's top offenses. Steve Spurrier is 14-0 in his career against the Wildcats and USC has won seven in a row in this series. But four of the last five have been decided by a touchdown or less.

15) Illinois (3-1) - Here's a hearty "Welcome Back!" to the Fightin' Illini. Illinois was No. 11 on our original F15 but then got laid out by Missouri. After their big win against the Nittany Lions our boys are back in the mix and boasting the one thing that no Big Ten team seems to have an answer for: speed. Unfortunately, Juice Williams hasn't turned the corner yet as a passer, which will make them a dicey road bet. But they're at home this weekend against an imminently beatable Wisconsin team.

Others receiving votes: UNLV (3-2), Indiana (3-1), Ball State (4-1), Vanderbilt (2-1), Rutgers (2-1), Ohio (3-1), Troy (4-1), Army (3-1).

Dropped out: Iowa (3-2).

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Overrated College Teams
by T.O. Whenham

With the season suddenly turning into a circus last weekend, a lot of teams took a freefall down the college football rankings. It must have been a very difficult week for those who had poll ballots to fill out, because it would be hard to find enough teams to move up so that the teams that deserve to drop can drop as far as they deserve. That means that there are going to be teams that are overrated. The public pays a great deal of attention to the rankings, and will give a team much more respect if it has been voted somewhere into the top 25. That means that there can be value on the opponents of ranked teams if the team is ranked higher than they deserve to be and if they may not be able to play up to the standard of their ranking. Here's a look at five ranked teams that are, in my opinion, overrated and over-ranked right now.

No. 5 - Wisconsin. Sure, they're unbeaten, but the Badgers have done little to impress this year. After a decent season opening win over Washington State, they struggled to beat UNLV, let the Citadel score 31 points, barely snuck by an Iowa team that had lost to Iowa State the week before, and held off Michigan State by a field goal. That puts them at 1-3 ATS, and they haven't covered since the opening weeks. The way they are playing they could be challenged by the upstart Illini this week, or several other games down the road. This is certainly a Top 25 team, but they really don't look like they belong in the Top 10. The public seems to share that opinion - Illinois is favored by three at home.

No. 8 Kentucky. This is a great story, and Andre Woodson has been exceptional, but No. 8 is way higher than they should be at this point in their development. They are 5-0, and 4-0 ATS, but you have to look deeper. Three of their wins, against Eastern Kentucky, Kent State and Florida Atlantic, were to be expected. The win against Arkansas was solid, but they are certainly not the team they were last year. The victory over Louisville looked better at the time than it did after that terribly flawed team went out and lost to Syracuse the next week. They have done what they have done, and they deserve the respect they have received, but now they have South Carolina, LSU and Florida in three straight weeks, and I suspect that they are not ready to perform over that stretch like the eighth best team in the country should.

No. 15 - Virginia Tech. I watched the Hokies beat North Carolina on Saturday. That's three hours of my life I wish I could get back. Their defense looked good, though not nearly as good as it should given the talent they have, and the hype they came into the season with. Offensively they are just painfully inept. They don't have a solid quarterback, and their latest choice, Tyrod Taylor, is nursing a groin injury. If he misses time it's not much of a loss, though - he managed only 66 yards passing against North Carolina. The team is 0-4 ATS, and their absolute destruction by LSU is testament to the depth of their problems. So is the attitude of coach Frank Beamer. When he was interviewed walking off the field after the win last weekend he looked like he wished he had retired last offseason. Virginia Tech looks like one of those teams that is only as high as they are because they started high. If they had started unranked they would probably still be there.

No. 20 - Cincinnati. I think that the Bearcats are a great story, and coach Brian Kelly is certainly deserving of a major program in the near future, but this is a hollow ranking. They are 5-0, and 4-0 ATS. People are making all sorts of noise about what a surprise this is, but one look at their schedule tells you that it was probably expected, and certainly not that much of a stretch. A big win over Oregon State was impressive, but the Beavers aren't exactly a powerhouse. The other four wins are over S.E. Missouri State, Miami of Ohio, Marshall and San Diego State. They were favored by at least seven in all of those games with a line. At the very least they should be 4-1 over that stretch given their talent, so 5-0 should not be a shock, and it shouldn't really have them in the Top 20. Over the next four weeks they face Rutgers, Louisville and South Florida, so we will see how they measure up in the Big East. The team hasn't been ranked since 1976. They had better enjoy it, because I don't think that it will last for long.

No. 23 - Purdue. I'm a Big Ten guy, so I hate picking on my conference, but this is the second team from that group that deserves a spot on this list. They are 5-0, and more than 44 points scored per game is a sure way to grab the attention of the public and the poll voters. It's also a pretty good way to hide the flaws of a team. Their offense is potent, but their defense is completely useless. They let Minnesota gain 469 yards and score 31 points. The Gophers had 277 yards and seven points the next week against Ohio State. Notre Dame looked almost competent, with 252 passing yards and three touchdowns. The team has shown very little ability to stop anyone through the air, and this could be a real problem the next couple of weeks against Ohio State and Michigan. Heck, Anthony Morelli could even look good against the Purdue secondary.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Big Ten Report

Illinois looks to surpass its win total for the last two seasons combined. Penn State and Iowa square off in a battle between programs that are winless in conference action. Unblemished records are on the line when Purdue hosts Ohio State. And Wisconsin looks to maintain its undefeated record despite numerous close calls.

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


The Illini won the biggest game of the Ron Zook era with their 27-20 upset of Penn State last weekend, matching their combined win total of the previous two years. They’ll have a chance to top that win this weekend when they host the 5th-ranked Badgers as 2.5-point home favorites.

Much of Illinois’ success this year has been the result of a dominating ground game. Running back Rashard Mendenhall and quarterback Juice Williams lead an offense that is sixth in the country with 255.6 rushing yards per game. Wisconsin allowed 241 rushing yards on 6.5 yards per carry against Michigan State last week. If the Illini can match that, and they easily could, they could post their second consecutive huge win.

Illinois very nearly upset Wisconsin last year, taking a 24-10 lead into halftime before being outscored 20-0 in the second half. The Illini were 22-point road favorites in that matchup and are 2.5-point home favorites this time around. They haven’t been favored over the Badgers since 2001 but are 4-2 ATS during that stretch. Dating back to 1981, Illinois is 6-1 ATS versus Wisconsin following a win.


Indiana improved to 4-1 with its 38-20 road win over Iowa, marking just the second time since 1994 that it has gone 4-1 to start a season. The Hoosiers will aim to improve to 5-1 for the first time since 1994 when they host Minnesota Saturday as 14-point favorites.

Hoosier quarterback Kellen Lewis is coming off a career-best 322 passing yards and now gets to pick apart Minnesota’s nation-worst pass defense. The Gophers are allowing 368 passing yards per game so Lewis and lanky wideout James Hardy, who has caught seven of Lewis’ 14 touchdown throws, should have a field day.

This meeting marks the first time since 1998 that the Hoosiers have been favored over Minnesota. Indiana has lost the last two meetings by an average of 29 points but has won three of the last four meetings in Bloomington. This game also marks the first time since 2000 and just the second time since 1994 that the Hoosiers are double-digit home favorites in conference action. Indiana has lost the last four contests under that scenario.


Kirk Ferentz was once considered a strong candidate for an NFL coaching job. That candidacy has probably lost all steam after the Hawkeyes lost their seventh straight conference game and third straight overall. They’ll trap to snap both streaks this weekend as 9.5-point road dogs at Penn State.

The Hawkeyes were, at the very least, competitive through four weeks behind a stellar defense that allowed just 29 points. Then the Hoosiers came into town and dropped 38 points in one game. The Iowa offense isn’t explosive enough to score that many points so the defense will have to return to its previous form if the Hawkeyes are to stay close with Penn State.

Iowa has had Joe Paterno’s number over the years, going 6-1 both SU and ATS since 1996. The Hawkeyes have won all four meetings, both SU and ATS, in Happy Valley. They were underdog in each of those four games, covering by an average of 13.1 points per meeting.


The Wolverines won their third straight game, albeit in ugly fashion, in Chad Henne’s successful return to the lineup. Michigan was outgained in its 28-16 win over Northwestern but five forced turnovers made the difference. They’ll turn their attention away from conference action this week when they host Eastern Michigan as 30.5-point favorites.

Henne started the game, gave way to backup Ryan Mallett late in the first half, and returned to lead Michigan to 21 unanswered second-half points. The Wolverines, namely Henne, will have a chance to get healthy before returning to Big Ten action when they host a bad Eastern Michigan team. The Eagles are 115th in the country in total offense and will have little chance of moving the ball against a Michigan defense that has allowed an average of just 8.3 points per game over its last three outings.

This game marks the third time since 1998 that these programs have met with the Wolverines winning both games by an average of 47 points per game. Additionally, Michigan has never lost to a member of the MAC, going 12-0 SU and 7-4 ATS. Finally, the Wolverines have been favored by 30 or more points 22 times since 1980 but are just 8-14 ATS in those games.

Michigan State

The Mark Dantonio era in East Lansing finally saw its first loss after winning its first four games. Now the question becomes whether Dantonio repeats former Spartans coach John L. Smith’s history of letting the season unravel or if he quickly gets the team back on track. Michigan State fans everywhere will find out this weekend when the Spartans host Northwestern as 14.5-point favorites.

Last year’s meeting with Northwestern was home to the biggest comeback in college football history. The Spartans trailed 38-3 midway through the third quarter but scored 38 unanswered points in just 22 minutes of game action to pull out a 41-38 win. Dantonio would prefer if they didn’t go that route this time around.

Michigan State has been favored in the last three meetings between the programs but has failed to cover each game and are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings overall. Conversely, the Spartans have been double-digit favorites in conference play 11 times since 1998, going 7-4 ATS in those contests.


The Minnesota defense showed signs of improvement but the offense regressed from previous performances. Head coach Tim Brewster is just 1-4 in his inaugural season at the helm and needs both units to come together if the Gophers are to turn things around. Brewster will be hoping for just that when Minnesota plays in Indiana as 14-point dogs.

The sad of state of affairs for the Minnesota defense can be exemplified by the fact that the 30 points and 459 total yards allowed both marked season-lows. The Gophers still remain among the nation’s worst in almost every defensive category and will have their hands full against Indiana’s 23rd-ranked scoring offense.

Minnesota hung 63 points on the Hoosiers in last year’s meeting en route to a 63-26 win. Minnesota is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five Big Ten contests, a stretch that started with its win against Indiana. The Gophers have won the last two meetings by an average of 29 points and have covered six of the last eight meetings. This game marks the first meeting since 1998 that Minnesota is receiving points and the first time since 1997 that it has been double-digit dogs.


The Wildcats put forth a spirited effort but dropped their third straight game in a 28-16 loss to Michigan. They were once again without running back Tyrell Sutton, who has back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons on his resume, and could very well be without him for the remainder of the season. Northwestern will try to move on when it plays Michigan State as 14.5-point road underdogs.

Perhaps the biggest difference between Northwestern’s two wins to open the season and its current three-game skid has been the play of quarterback C.J. Bacher. The junior QB threw four touchdowns and no interceptions in the season’s first two games but has thrown for zero scores while throwing seven picks in the last three games. Bacher threw three touchdowns in last year’s meeting with Michigan State and will need a similar effort in this meeting if the Wildcats are to compete.

Northwestern has lost two of its last three games against the Spartans but has covered each and has done so as underdogs of 9.5 points or more. The Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games overall as the dog and are 8-1 ATS in their last nine games following a double-digit home loss. Michigan State, meanwhile, is just 1-5 ATS in its last six games as a home favorite and 3-13 ATS in its last 16 conference battles.

Ohio State

The Buckeyes extended two winning streaks with their 30-7 win over Minnesota, lengthening their regular season streak to 23 straight and their conference streak to 16. They can match the school record for consecutive Big Ten victories with a win over Purdue as 7-point road favorites this weekend.

The Ohio State defense continues to stymie opposing offenses, holding a potent Minnesota offense to just seven points and 277 total yards. The Buckeyes are now second in the country in total defense, third in scoring offense, fourth in rushing defense and sixth in pass defense. They’ll get their first real test when they take on Purdue’s eighth-ranked offense this weekend.

These two programs haven’t met since the 2004 season, a meeting that saw the Buckeyes lose 24-17 as 5.5-point dogs. Prior to that meeting, though, Ohio State had gone 9-1 SU and 7-3 ATS in the previous 10 meetings. The Buckeyes have fared very well recently both on the road and as favorites, going 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road contests and 17-6 ATS in their last 23 games as the favorite.

Penn State

Any slim hopes the Nittany Lions had of winning the Big Ten conference were completely eliminated when they fell at Illinois to drop to 0-2 in conference action. Penn State will look to get one in the win column when it hosts Iowa, also winless in conference action, as 9.5-point favorites.

The Penn State running game has averaged fewer than four yards per carry the last two weeks and won’t fare much better against Iowa’s 14th-ranked rush defense. That puts the offensive load of the shoulders of quarterback Anthony Morelli, which is a scary thought for Nittany Lions fans. Morelli has completed just 52 percent of his passes the last two weeks with three interceptions compared to just one touchdown. He has thrown eight touchdowns with just one pick in Penn State’s three wins so the Nittany Lions need him to be careful with the ball.

Joe Paterno has struggled against the Hawkeyes recently, going 1-6 both SU and ATS in the last seven meetings, including losses in all four home games. The Nittany Lions were favored in all four of those contests but lost all four outright. Both teams have struggled in conference action, though, with Penn State going 0-4 ATS in its last four Big Ten contests and Iowa going 1-6 ATS in its last seven conference battles.


The Boilermakers improved to 5-0 for the first time since the start of the 2004 season. They proceeded to lose their next four games during that campaign and will look to avoid a repeat this year. It won’t be easy as Purdue hosts fourth-ranked Ohio State as 7-point underdogs.

The high-octane Purdue offense, which is averaging 45.4 points per game, will get its first real test when it takes on an Ohio State defense that is allowing just 7.2 points a game. The Boilermakers have scored at least 33 points in each of their five games while the Buckeyes have allowed just 36 points all season. Purdue needs to prove that its previous five games, all coming against weak defensive units, weren’t flukes if it is to remain undefeated.

Purdue is just 4-16 SU and 9-11 ATS versus Ohio State since 1981 but has fared well lately. It may just be 2-3 SU in the last five meetings but is 4-1 ATS in those contests, including a SU and ATS win the last time these teams squared off in 2004. Overall, the home team has gone 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings.


All signs point to the currently undefeated Badgers to fall eventually as they have looked less than impressive in each of their last four wins, squeaking out fourth-quarter wins in three of those four victories. That loss could come this weekend when Wisconsin travels to the play the upstart Illini as 2.5-point underdogs.

The usually stout Badger defense hasn’t been quite the same as previous editions. It is 53rd in the nation with more than 360 total yards allowed per game and must tighten up its run defense against Illinois. Wisconsin allowed Michigan State to run for 241 yards last week and must now try to contain the Illini’s sixth-ranked run offense.

Wisconsin has won the last four meetings between the programs SU but has lost the last two ATS. The Badgers needed a big second-half comeback to beat Illinois last year and won’t be able to fall behind early in this year’s meeting. This game marks the first time since 2001 that Wisconsin has been the dog in this series, which doesn’t bode well. The Badgers are just 4-7 ATS as the underdog versus the Illini since 1981.

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Re: College Football News and Notes Week 6

Michigan won't have to forfeit games
October 4, 2007

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -Michigan won't have to forfeit any football games for using an ineligible freshman player.

Michigan last month reported an administrative error involving safety Artis Chambers to the Big Ten. Chambers played in three games, including a 14-9 victory over Penn State, but wasn't eligible under the conference's freshman rules.

He will keep his athletic scholarship and can continue practicing with the team, but he will miss the rest of the season, the university said Thursday. The conference said Michigan (3-2 overall, 2-0 Big Ten) will not have to forfeit games.

Athletic director Bill Martin previously said he could not talk about Chambers' case because of privacy laws. Coach Lloyd Carr has declined comment.

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