Sunday Football News and Notes
Sunday Football News and Notes
By Judd Hall
Intrastate rivalries are just one piece of what makes college football great. As the first weekend of the season winds down, we get to see bragging rights for the year awarded in Colorado and Kentucky.
Who will get to puff out their chests? Let’s break down the games…
Kentucky at Louisville
The “Battle for the Bluegrass” has been synonymous with Kentucky and Louisville basketball. All that has changed over the past few seasons as these schools have pieced together quality programs on the gridiron.
The Cardinals and Wildcats have played at the highest levels at the same time in the past few seasons. Louisville taking the 2006 matchup en route to a Orange Bowl berth, while UK came out the victors last season to help make 2007 one of its more memorable campaigns.
As heated as the rivalry has become, this year’s chapter shows two clubs that will be down. Louisville is welcoming back 11 starters from last season, while Kentucky has 14 first-stringers coming back to Lexington.
Perhaps the new blood is why the sportsbooks have opened up with the Cards as 3 ½-point home favorites with the total holding steady at 56½. Bettors can back the Wildcats to win outright for a plus 145 return (risk $100 to win $145).
Louisville appears to have the advantage on offense here thanks to the man under center, Hunter Cantwell. The Paducah, KY native has been chomping at the bit to take over the Cardinals’ offense. He completed 64.3 percent of his passes last year for 700 yards and five touchdowns. Not great numbers, but his 3-1 record as a starter is nothing to toss away lightly.
What might take its toll on Cantwell and the Cardinals’ offense is the Kentucky defense. The Wildcats are bringing back eight starters on the defensive unit. Unfortunately, they have just one starter back on a secondary that gave up 23 passing touchdowns in 2007.
The Wildcats will be starting the season with sophomore Mike Hartline at quarterback after Curtis Pulley was kicked off the team. This normally would sound like a drop off in talent since UK was blessed by Andre Woodson last year. Hartline should be okay with the front line making sure he stays upright to connect with lone returning wideout, Dicky Lyons Jr.
Home teams have been positive bets for the public in this series as evidenced by the 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS record they posted in the last four meetings. Meanwhile, the ‘under’ has gone 3-1 in that stretch as well.
Louisville is 7-1 SU and 5-2 ATS in home openers since 2000.
This matchup will be shown on ESPN at 3:30 pm EDT.
Colorado vs. Colorado State, in Denver
When you watched the Rams and Buffaloes face off in Denver over the past few years, you expected a great game. I guess that was destined to change eventually…like this season.
Gone from Colorado State’s sideline is Sonny Lubick, who did nothing short than bring respectability to the program in 15 seasons. Enter alum Steve Fairchild to take over the team, along with a rebuilt staff.
Fairchild will have a decent offense coming back, with seven starters returning. Although, he’s going to need new signal caller Billy Farris to prove he can be the leader they need to have any chance at going bowling in 2008.
Farris’ debut will no doubt be a bumpy one as he faces a stout Colorado defense. The Buffs were able to pick off 17 passes last season, while allowing 261.8 yards per game through the air. And those numbers are bound to improve with nine starters back from that unit.
Knowing that info makes it easy to under stand why Colorado is an 11 ½-point favorite with a total of 57. A line that large means you can take a flier on the Rams to win SU at plus 360 (risk $100 to win $360).
It also doesn’t help when the Buffaloes are 4-1 SU and 2-3 ATS in the last five meetings of these rivals.
Fox Sports Net will be showing this battle at 7:30 pm EDT.
Re: Sunday Football News and Notes
INDIAN COWBOY'S DAILY RESEARCH
Colorado vs. Colorado State
Dan Hawkins has gone 8-17 in his first 2 years at Colorado, although this team did beat Oklahoma at home and note that they did beat Texas Tech twice, having said that, this team needs to get better and it will do so this year. They have a QB in Cody who is returning and will be even more seasoned this year, they have upgraded on defense, albeit with freshman talent, they have a good recruiting class that rolled in, This team beat Colorado last year 31-28 in overtime, but note that this game is Denver and Colorado State does have considerable revenge coming into this game. State returns 2 of the better running backs they have had in a while and 4 offensive lineman. They have RB's Kyle Bell and Gartrell Johnson and are returning Quarterback Bill Farris who has a new crop of young receivers to work with. I just find it hard to believe that with a fairly vet offense, on neutral setting, in such a big rivalry the Rams are such a big dog.
Kentucky vs. Louisville
Note, several things going on in this game including the fact that the Kentucky qb Pulley will not be playing as he is off the team, the spread started off at -3 and has remained that way, the total opened up at 58 and has gone down slightly to 56, Mark Hartline is the new quarterback considering Pulley was kicked off the team earlier this year, Lyons still remains as the main wide receiving threat for Kentucky, note Andre Woodson was drafted and he is no longer there, Hunter Cantwell is the new quarterback for Louisivlle, note that not only is he no Brian Brohm but also the fact that the wide receivers for Louisville are very inexperienced, Louisville does have an experienced offensive line to their benefit, but this team only returns 4 starters on defense, it comes down to who was deeper last year given the key changes and new faces to the team, lean on Kentucky and the SEC here.