Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Pointwise Newsletter

1--Oregon over PURDUE 45-24
1--MISSOURI over Nevada 56-20
2--FRESNO STATE over Wisconsin 34-20
3--SAN JOSE STATE over San Diego State 31-14
4--CONNECTICUT over Virginia 31-7
4--CLEMSON over n.c. state 45-10
5--TCU over Stanford 44-14
5--Air Force over HOUSTON 36-24

NFL Key Plays

2--JACKSONVILLE over Buffalo 30-16
3--TAMPA BAY over Atlanta 26-13
4--San Diego over DENVER 27-17
4--Miami (+) over ARIZONA 19-20
5--SEATTLE over San Francisco 31-13

Last week "1" rated plays were 1-1, now 2-2 on the year
All rated plays last week--College 5-3 (now 8-8 on year)
NFL--3-2

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Winning Points

*BEST BET*

Pittsburgh over *Cleveland by 24
Are the Cleveland Browns ready for prime time? They sure didn’t look the part last Sunday. So has anything changed? No, not really.The Browns lack the edge rushers to bother Ben Roethlisberger, especially after losing linebacker Antwan Peek for the season.The Browns also are thin and weak in the secondary. The Steelers have a history of physically man-handling the Browns. They can do it again by running a now healthy Willie Parker, or attack through the air where Roethlisberger has many options, including Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes and tight end Heath Miller. Pittsburgh has had Cleveland’s number, beating the Browns during the past nine meetings,covering eight times.The Browns need a successful ground game to keep the Steelers’ pass rush and assorted blitzes from teeing off on Derek Anderson. Pittsburgh, however, is one of the toughest clubs to run on.The Steelers ranked No. 3 last year. Their rush defense has been in the top-10 each of the past four seasons.The Browns had one of the most feared passing attacks last year. It’s not in sync yet. A preseason injury to Braylon Edwards has messed up his timing with Anderson. Edwards had four drops against the Cowboys. No doubt Cleveland’s “Dawg Pound” will be packed for this Sunday night prime time matchup. It won’t matter, though, because the Browns aren’t ready.The pressure of lofty preseason expectations and being featured on prime time works against them.The Steelers hold mental and physical edges. The Browns need a high-scoring offense to hide their many defensive blemishes. Right now they don’t have it.There are not enough consistent producers behind Edwards and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. with veteran Joe Jurevicius out.Anderson has a strong arm, but lacks accuracy and tends to go hot and cold.The Steelers are the more consistent and better all around team. PITTSBURGH 38-14.

*BEST BET*

Miami over *Arizona 8
Even when they were so bad last season the Dolphins still lost by just a field goal six times. Now Miami has better coaching and front office personnel with proven winner Bill Parcells in charge.The Dolphins should be a very live ‘dog in this spot, especially coming off a home loss last Sunday to the Jets.Anytime you can get a rising AFC team taking a decent amount of points against a mediocre NFC club such as the Cardinals, it’s a sound investment. Miami’s defensive front is underrated. Its linebackers are active.Parcells and new head coach, tough guy Tony Sparano, have made the Dolphins stronger and more physical in the trenches.This should pay dividends against the finesse Cardinals whose strength is in their two outstanding wide receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin.The Cardinals are a light-hitting, sloppy tackling team. Quarterback Kurt Warner is overthe-hill and so is their lead running back, Edgerrin James. Both players have a lot of mileage on them. Don’t be surprised if each is replaced in the starting lineup by mid-season.Warner still can move a team between the 20’s,but is prone to mistakes and has trouble putting up touchdowns in the Red Zone.This is the type of matchup where the Cardinals could put up the better statistics, but lose the war.The Dolphins can’t come close to matching Arizona’s two top wideouts. However, the Dolphins have a very heady, veteran quarterback, Chad Pennington, and two solid running backs. Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown, who is nearly 100 percent healthy, are among the top running back tandems in the NFL.They can churn up yardage and maintain ball-control against a soft Cardinals defensive interior. This is Arizona’s only home game during the first four weeks. So the Cardinals may be pressing. They’ve dropped 18 of their last 26 home contests in September. MIAMI 24-16.

*PREFERRED*

New Orleans over *Washington by 9
Quiz time.What quarterback has passed for the most yards during the past two plus seasons? No, it’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. If you said Drew Brees go to the head of the class. Unlike the Redskins, the Saints and their quarterback are in sync with their offensive system.Taking advantage of an improved Reggie Bush, Brees shredded Tampa Bay’s respected defense last week for 343 yards and three touchdowns. He can take advantage of Washington’s overrated secondary and banged-up defensive line.The Saints have improved their defense with the addition of rookie tackle Sedrick Ellis and linebacker Jonathan Vilma. Their secondary remains vulnerable.However, Jason Campbell isn’t fitting into new coach Jim Zorn’s version of a West Coast offense.The Redskins lack the rhythm and timing at this early stage to make the schemes work. Zorn already has come under fire for his inability to manage a game.The Redskins were out-gained by the Giants opening week, 354-209. Zorn is in above his head matching wits with astute offensive mind Sean Payton.To beat the Saints, you must keep their offense off the field and take advantage of their secondary. The Redskins can’t do either one at this stage. NEW ORLEANS 26-17.

Buffalo over *Jacksonville by 4
Effort, solid coaching and outstanding special teams play. Those are three things you can almost always count on when backing Buffalo. Special teams especially can’t be overlooked when handicapping Buffalo. Just ask Seattle coach Mike Holmgren. The Jaguars could only manage 33 yards rushing behind a beat-up offensive line against Tennessee last week. If the Jaguars can’t run, they are in big trouble because they don’t have the wideouts to scare secondaries.The Bills are off a big home win.They should come into this matchup in a strong frame of mind knowing Jacksonville destroyed them at this venue last year, 36-14. It’s a revenge spot.The key for Buffalo is offensive improvement.Trent Edwards is in his second season as a starter.He’s more confident with his downfield passing. Marshawn Lynch is developing into a top running back. The receiving corps is improved with the addition of second-round draft choice James Hardy. Expected to play for the first time this season is left tackle Jason Peters, the Bills’ best offensive lineman.He finally ended his holdout just days before the start of the regular season. The addition of Peters gives the Bills not only better pass protection,but bigger rushing holes for Lynch. BUFFALO 21-17.

*Kansas City over Oakland by 6
The Raiders won last year at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time in six years. Oakland had lost by a combined 11 points during its previous four visits to Kansas City. The Chiefs actually have a better chance of winning with backup quarterback Damon Huard replacing injured Brodie Croyle.Kansas City was 0-7 with Croyle as its starter.The Raiders are committed to a ground attack.They are deep at running back. Kansas City ranked 28th in rush defense last season.However, the situation is terrible for Oakland, traveling off a Monday night game and playing at an early start time coming from the West Coast. The Raiders’ passing attack remains a work in progress. KANSAS CITY 16-10.

Tennessee over *Cincinnati by 3
The Bengals’ offensive line didn’t look good during preseason. Carson Palmer then proceeded to possibly play his worst game ever opening week. Coincidence? Palmer certainly is capable of bouncing back in big fashion.The Titans are 11-4-2 ATS in their last 17 away contests.They have covered 15 of 22 times as a ‘dog during the Vince Young era, although Young (check status) suffered a knee injury last Sunday. His replacement,Kerry Collins, is a more accurate passer but lacks Young’s big-play ability and mobility.The Titans had the fifth-stingiest defense last year.They held Jacksonville to only 187 yards in capturing their opener.TENNESSEE 16-13.

Indianapolis over *Minnesota by 1
The Vikings are missing suspended star offensive left tackle Bryant McKinnie. Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson’s strength is his mobility, but that’s limited by his wearing a knee brace. Minnesota also is on a short week after played on the road Monday night.The Colts, though, need to be careful. It’s nearly impossible to run on Minnesota. Peyton Manning didn’t practice until a week before the season. He could still be rusty. He also doesn’t have his trusted center, Jeff Saturday. Sack leader Jared Allen can make things round on any quarterback. The Colts opened their new stadium opening week and have a key AFC South showdown at home next week versus rival Jacksonville. INDIANAPOLIS 21-20.

Green Bay over *Detroit by 4
For the first time in 15 years, the Lions face the Packers not having to see Brett Favre.The Packers were 23-9 against Detroit with Favre under center.The Packers have won 11 of 16 road contests under Mike McCarthy, covering eight of their past 10 away contests.The Packers may be missing center Scott Wells (check status), a key to their offensive line. Detroit’s ground game could pick up as veteran Rudi Johnson gets more acclimated. Note to totals players.The Packers are 21-6 ‘over’ in their last 27 games on artificial turf. The Lions still aren’t tackling any better under Rod Marinelli. GREEN BAY 24-20.

*Carolina over Chicago by 1
The Bears have too much inexperience on offense and their offensive line is in transition. That keeps us from calling for an outright road upset.Yet this should be a very tight game, featuring plenty of running and short passes.The Panthers have little speed at the flanks with star wide receiver Steve Smith still under team suspension. He’ll return next week. The Bears defense still remains very respectable when healthy.The Panthers are much better taking points than being the favorite. They also haven’t been very profitable at home, going 5-12-1 in their last 18 at Bank of America Stadium.CAROLINA 17-16.

New York Giants over *St. Louis by 11
The Rams have bigger problems than their one-dimensional offense with declining skill position players and weak offensive line. Their defense remains horrific, surrendering 522 yards to the Eagles last week. St. Louis is just 4-9 ATS in its last 13 home contests, while the Giants have won 11 straight road matchups.The Giants are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 away games.Osi Umenyiora is out for the season and Michael Strahan is in the announcing booth.Yet the Giants still maintain a fierce pass rush thanks to rising star Justin Tuck and aggressive blitzing schemes by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. NY GIANTS 28-17.

*Tampa Bay over Atlanta by 14
Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan and running back Michael Turner both had outstanding debuts for Atlanta last week.Keep in mind that was at home on carpet against a porous Lions defense.Now, though, the Falcons take to the road to face a Buccaneers defense that almost always ends the season ranked in the top 10. Long-time Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin is going to have a few tricks up his sleeve for Ryan, who will be making his first NFL road start. Expect Kiffin to mix in a few blitz packages.The Buccaneers swept the Falcons last season, winning by a combined margin of 68-10.TAMPA BAY 24-10.

*Seattle over San Francisco by 6
The 49ers’ defense plays softer on the road and their offense remains a work in progress under new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Yet the Seahawks are no bargain right now with a beat-up offensive line and a cluster injury problem at wide receiver with Bobby Engram out and possibly no Deion Branch and Nate Burleson. Those are their three best wide receivers. What Seattle mainly has going is a solid defense and one of the strongest home-field advantages. The Seahawks are 43-14 at home since 2001, the second-best home mark in the NFL during this span. It’s the first road start for San Francisco’s six-year career journeyman quarterback J.T.O’Sullivan. SEATTLE 16-10.

*New York Jets over New England by 3
Tom Brady is 12-2 versus the Jets.The bad news is Brady could be finished for the season after suffering an injury to his left knee. Untested Matt Cassel looked OK filling in for Brady last week.Things would be much more difficult in this spot for Cassel, though, being on the road. Jets coach Eric Mangini coached under Patriots head man Bill Belichick for six years.The Jets will know all about Cassel. Even with Brady, the Patriots had failed to cover in nine of their last 10 games. On the flip side, Brett Favre is still learning his new teammates.The Jets could be without kicker Mike Nugent,who suffered a thigh injury. NY JETS 23-20.

*Houston over Baltimore by 7
Expect a bounce back from Houston playing at home. But until the Texans get some semblance of a ground attack, it’s hard to back them with a lot of confidence. The Texans rushed for just 75 yards against Pittsburgh last week. Baltimore has a solid run defense, too, ranking No. 2 last year. The problem for Baltimore is putting points on the board with rookie Joe Flacco at quarterback. Houston’s defense was supposed to be improved,but it didn’t look good last week. Flacco needs plenty of help, which he doesn’t have.The Ravens’ offensive line is in transition and their wideouts are average at best. HOUSTON 21-14.

San Diego over *Denver by 7
Only four times in Mike Shanahan’s 14 seasons as Denver’s head coach have the Broncos failed to score a touchdown.Two of those times occurred last year in games against the Chargers. San Diego out-scored Denver, 64-6,in sweeping the Broncos. Denver has plenty of incentive after suffering their worst home loss since 1966 to the Chargers last year, 41-3. Motivation is all good and well, but the Broncos don’t have enough defense to pull the upset.Their run defense is weak and their secondary is not as good as perceived.The Chargers have covered in nine of their last 10 games. SAN DIEGO 24-17.

*Dallas over Philadelphia by 4 (Monday)
Both teams are hurting for depth at wide receiver because of numerous injuries to their wideouts. But Donovan McNabb and Tony Romo still have big-play targets. The Eagles have played the Cowboys tough at Texas Stadium, winning and covering six of their past eight visits. This includes the last two when the Eagles held Dallas to a combined 13 points. The Eagles have no love lost for former teammate Terrell Owens. The Eagles have covered nine of the past 11 times they’ve been underdogs during the past two plus seasons. DALLAS 24-20.


OVER/UNDER

**UNDER: Tennessee at Cincinnati – The Bengals’ defense is ahead of their offense, while the Titans lack dangerous wide receivers.

UNDER: Oakland at Kansas City – Two bad passing offenses means lots of running and tight defense.

UNDER: San Francisco at Seattle – The last four in this series have gone ‘under.’The Seahawks best receivers are hurt.


HISTORICAL TRENDS

Oakland at Kansas City – The teams split last season with Kansas City winning 12-10 on the road and Oakland winning, 20-17, at Kansas City.

Tennessee at Cincinnati – The Bengals buried the Titans, 35-6, at home last year.

Indianapolis at Minnesota – The Colts defeated the Vikings, 31-28, at home in 2004.

New Orleans at Washington –Washington beat New Orleans, 16-10, on the road in 2006.

Green Bay at Detroit – Last year, the Packers won 37-26 on the road and 34-13 at home.

Chicago at Carolina – The Panthers beat the Bears, 29-21, on the road in the 2005 playoffs.

New York Giants at St. Louis – The Giants rolled past the Rams, 44-24, at home in 2005.

Buffalo at Jacksonville – The Jaguars blasted the Bills, 36-14, at home last season.

Atlanta at Tampa Bay – The Buccaneers swept the Falcons last season,winning 31-7 on the road and 37-3 at home.

San Francisco at Seattle – The Seahawks swept San Francisco last year,winning 23-3 on the road and 24-0 at home.The past four in the series have gone ‘under.’

Miami at Arizona – The Cardinals nipped the Dolphins, 24-23, on the road in 2004.

New England at New York Jets – The Patriots knocked off the Jets twice last year, 38-14 on the road and 20-10 at home.The host team is 2-16 ATS in the series.

Baltimore at Houston – The Ravens edged the Texans, 16-15, at home in 2005.

San Diego at Denver – The Chargers rolled past the Broncos 41-3 on the road and 23-3 at home last season.

Pittsburgh at Cleveland – The Steelers swept the Browns last year, 34-7 on the road and 31-28 at home.The Steelers are 22-4 SU during the past 26 head-to-head meetings. Pittsburgh is 9-0 SU, 8-1 ATS in its last nine versus the Browns.

Philadelphia at Dallas – The teams split last season with Dallas winning 38-17 on the road and losing 10-6 at home.The Eagles are 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight at Dallas.

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Winning Points

*BEST BET*

CLEMSON* over N. C. STATE by 40
Two weeks ago we had Alabama over the Tigers at the top of this page, exposing the fact that a team that might be the ACC’s best was not ready in the trenches to match up to a physical SEC opponent. That result worked in two ways for us –obviously getting the win was sweet, but it also came in a way that sets us up well to come right back in here at a price much shorter than it should be. Now they step way down in class to where their issues in the trenches are not a factor, and that means those explosive skill people can do their thing at will – much like they did in last year’s 22-point win at Raleigh, when they had staggering edges of 608-202 on total offense, and 340-55 rushing. The mind-set is also going to be there,with the conference opener offering a whole new lease on the season, which means the energy to explode early, and with only South Carolina State on deck there is also no reason to back off at any time. Meanwhile the Wolfpack were not nearly as fluid on offense as the 34 points vs. William & Mary would show, with half of that scoreboard production coming after turnovers (they could only manage 11 first downs and 67 yards rushing, despite stepping down in class). And in terms of a shatter factor on the road, note that Tom O’Brien’s squad has been out-scored 88-0 over their last 9+ quarters vs. lined opponents, dating back to last November.There are simply not enough playmakers in the skill positions to keep the pace here, and we do not see this favorite letting up in this setting. CLEMSON 47-7.

*BEST BET*

SOUTHERN CAL* over OHIO STATE by 24
Give Pete Carroll ample time to prepare, and you can see something special – just check the performances of the Trojans in bowl games and season openers starting with the end of his second campaign, when he had enough time to get the program back in order. And with two weeks to prepare, this game fits into those molds. But give him that same preparation time with a seasoned corps of seniors on defense (five Trojan defenders will likely go in the first round of the NFL draft next April),which allows him to put many chapters of his intricate playbook into action, and you have the makings of a most special season. And it does not hurt that the offense has both talent and depth, with QB Mark Sanchez having a vast array of WR’s and RB’s to work with. That spells bad news for an Ohio State team that was out-classed in terms of speed in those BCS showdowns to Florida and L.S.U. the past two years, and now faces the most unusual challenge of facing a superior team on the road in a non-conference setting. Once again it will be the inability of the offense to make things happen that sets the tone here which puts the Buckeye defense on the field far too long, and eventually leads to Southern Cal wearing them down and breaking this open in the second half. And as for trying to write last week’s sluggish showing vs. Ohio U. off as merely a “look-ahead”, if Bobcat QB Theo Scott is not injured early do the Buckeyes even win the game? Not the way to build momentum. SOUTHERN CAL 37-13.

*PREFERRED*

Michigan over Notre Dame* by 14
Yes, the Michigan offense is going to be a work in progress until Rich Rodriguez can get his own recruitments on the field. But he still brings far better personnel than what he is up against here, and it means time for us to get back in play against Charlie Weis again. It was a sin of omission to not back San Diego State last week,but how could anyone trust an injury-riddled Aztec DL that had been run through by Cal Poly? Yet if not for a fumble literally two inches from the Notre Dame goal line in the fourth quarter on Saturday, State would have been ahead by two touchdowns,and likely would have won the game. That is all there is in South Bend, folks, with the Fighting Irish getting two full yards less per rush at home than Cal Poly could on the road vs. the same defense. With Michigan winning the last two in the series by a combined 64 points, there is a lot more gap to make up than this pointspread is calling for, and off of last year’s shutout the Wolverines can control this with defense again. MICHIGAN 27-13.

T.C.U.* over Stanford by 24
For most programs a non-conference home game against Stanford is hardly a big deal, but that is not the case for Gary Patterson and his Horned Frogs here.Because not only of their abilities, but also their physical style of play, getting opponents from BCS conferences to come to Fort Worth is becoming difficult, and when they held Mike Leach and that explosive Texas Tech offense to a lone field goal here two years ago that task became even harder. So in a season in which they have big-time aspirations, and sandwiched only between Stephen F. Austin and SMU, they will be primed to play to their peak this week. That spells bad news for Jim Harbaugh’s squad, both in terms of the emotional focus (it will not be easy to get his team up for this trip, after opening with back-to-back Pac 10 games), and also the physical matchups. The Cardinal have to be able to get Toby Gerhart and the running game untracked to be successful until their passing game develops, and overland yards will not be found against this defense. T.C.U. 34-10.

Iowa* over Iowa State by 23
Kirk Ferentz has had control of the state of Iowa for so long that year’s 15-13 at Ames in the first go-round against Gene Chizik will have been a particular sore point over the last 12 months. When a favorite does not even score as many points as the chalk that they were laying it is a humbling experience. But that was part of an injury-riddled 2007 in which a lot of new precedents got set for his program.Now many of those walking wounded are back, and the Hawkeyes have opened with the kind of offensive balance (back-to-back games of over 200 yards both running and passing) and rock-ribbed defense that we are accustomed to seeing. Now it is time to do some serious editing of year’s DVD, and we see flaws that they can clearly exploit. Note that in opening with 92 points on the scoreboard in two wins the Cyclones have yet to reach 400 yards in a game, taking advantage of 10 turnovers. And a defense that has allowed 423 yards rushing at 5.4 per carry will have been missed by those that were only looking at the scores. IOWA 37-14.

Arizona State* over U.N.L.V. by 12
Arizona State is not in Georgia’s class, something that we might be writing about near the top of these pages next week. But the Sun Devils do not know that, and having lived on or near so many campuses through his career Dennis Erickson also recognizes just how much that game means. So off of a Pac 10 win over Stanford,and with that monster showdown on deck. Just where does the motivation come from this week? One of the great subtleties of football handicapping is that often the worse an underdog appears in a given setting, the better their odds o cashing a ticket, because it makes it do difficult for the favorite to find a spark during preparation.And it also means that if the game is in hand there is no desire to increase the margin, since Erickson would like to avoid injuries and keep his starters fresh.The Rebels suit our purposes just fine here, and in QB Omar Clayton and RB Frank Summers they do have the kind of weapons that can take some time off of the clock and get points on the scoreboard. ARIZONA STATE 31-19.

Rutgers* over North Carolina by 5 (Thursday)
Is it possible that Greg Schiano has already taken the Rutgers program about as high as it can go, and now faces a struggle to maintain a winning level? Tar Heels are a work in progress, but do have an upside. RUTGERS 27-22.

Kansas over South Florida* by 4 (Friday)
The Bulls got sloppy with a late lead at Central Florida, which took that game much deeper into the night, and makes this transition even more difficult. Do they dare make a side from the struggling Big East the favorite? KANSAS 27-23.

Navy over Duke* by 3
We are seeing a legitimate spark from Duke so far under David Cutcliffe (91 offensive snaps vs. Northwestern), and even some fans showing up. But the precision of the Navy option tests the discipline and depth of a defense that can be worn down.NAVY 30-27.

Vanderbilt* over Rice by 6
Although the Commodores made a solid account of themselves in that television how case last week, this is an awkward sandwich in between two SEC games, and an offense that has only managed 585 yards in the first two games, not reaching 100 passing either team, will not cover spreads easily. VANDERBILT 30-24.

Auburn over Mississippi State* by 11
A significant revenge motive to the Tigers, who turned the ball over five times in a 19-14 home loss year, with one of the interceptions returned for a TD. But still not sure about the timing of their passing game vs. this class of defense on the road.AUBURN 24-13.

Ball State over Akron* by 6
The fact that the Zips could score at will at Syracuse only masks the fact that injuries in their own DL mean trouble rushing Nate Davis. And when there is no pressure on defense, that Cardinal passing game can click. BALL STATE 30-24.

Toledo over Eastern Michigan* by 2
Rockets blasted off on this defense to the tune of 52 points, 324 rushing yards and 276 through the air at home year. And they will enjoy re-entry into the M.A.C. orbits after having to open over their heads at Arizona. TOLEDO 31-29.

Missouri* over Nevada by 21
In theory, a case could be made that facing Texas Tech last week helps the Nevada defense to tactically prepare for this matchup. And holding Graham Harrell to 19-46 is indeed an achievement. So why don’t we believe?. MISSOURI 45-24.

*CLOSE CALLS*

Texas Tech* over S.M.U. by 33
Mustangs lack any ability to slow this tempo down by running the ball, and with only Massachusetts on deck, Mike Leach does not have to hold back in the “Battle of the Passing Playbook” ego contest. TEXAS TECH 53-20.

Nebraska* over New Mexico State by 24
Cornhuskers have the advantage of two games under their belts, while the Aggies have yet to play. But well into the 4th quarter at Lincoln last week, it was impossible to tell if the home team, or visiting San Jose State, was the superior side (check that box score). NEBRASKA 44-20.

Brigham Young* over U.C.L.A. by 8
Note the nature of last year’s 27-17 Bruin win – they trailed 435-236 in total offense but made TO’s their friends, including an INT return for a TD. Now Max Hall has had a full season in this system to learn how to avoid those mistakes.B.Y.U. 27-19.

Oregon over Purdue* by 4
Not sure that Joe Tiller can get the grass tall enough to negate the advantages in team speed that the Ducks bring. But the Oregon QB’s do not bring much of a road resume. OREGON 31-27.

Texas* over Arkansas by 23
If you sold Bobby Petrino stock two years ago, when it was at is peak, good for you.When you need major rallies at home two straight weeks to escape at home vs. Sun Belt lightweights, a trip like this can become a nightmare. TEXAS 37-14.

Georgia over South Carolina* by 10
Gamecocks have the kind of defense that can keep all of those Georgia skill people under control for a while. But when their own offense can not move the chains or the clock, eventually their defensive huddles wilts in the second half. If it can happen vs. Vanderbilt, then it certainly can vs. this class. GEORGIA 26-16.

Houston* over Air Force by 4
Although the Cougar speed on offense can find plenty of room vs. the slower Falcon defenders, when their own defensive unit was on the field at Oklahoma State last week it often looked like a basketball fast break. They were not even hitting hard enough to have fouls called. HOUSTON 35-31.

Oregon State* over Hawaii by 12
That re-built Beaver defensive front has not been able to stop Stanford or Penn State overland, and now have to shift gears and rush the passer. But with so many new faces in the Hawaii offensive huddle, another road trip is not what the doctor ordered this early in the season. OREGON STATE 35-23.

Wisconsin over Fresno State* by 2
The Bulldogs have had plenty of time to prepare since Rutgers, and will have a frenzied crowd behind them. But they were soft against the run last season, and now face a much more physical opponent than they are accustomed to. WISCONSIN 23-21.

Penn State over Syracuse* by 23
There should be plenty of blue and white in the Carrier Dome this week, with the Orange not even coming close to filling the seats these days. And who could blame the home fans? Lion speed will enjoy this playing surface. PENN STATE 36-13.

Virginia Tech* over Georgia Tech by 5
Paul Johnson’s spread attack sputtered and wheezed at Boston College, with only 12 first downs, 235 yards and three lost fumbles. But the defense kept them in the game long enough to be able to win it, and that unit can do the same against the unimposing Hokie offense. VIRGINIA TECH 19-14.

Western Michigan over Idaho* by 11
The fact that the Broncos consider themselves to be bowl-worthy this season adds a little more spark than usual for this trip, and with only a home game vs.Tennessee Tech on deck they have no cause for looking ahead. WESTERN MICHIGAN 38-27.

Central Michigan over Ohio* by 8
Have top believe that the Chippewas have the better tools to rebound from the step-up challenges that each team faced last week, particularly with the Bobcats likely to be physically and emotionally drained after leading outright into the fourth quarter at Columbus. CENTRAL MICHIGAN 28-20.

California over Maryland* by 12
After last week’s clunker with Maryland at the top of these pages it is apparent that we have to re-evaluate that status of Ralph Friedgan’s program. And with the lines missing these two teams by 72 points last week, you can be sure that the oddsmakers will make major adjustments as well. CALIFORNIA 31-19.

Baylor* over Washington State by 5
When the oddsmakers have no choice but to install Baylor as a favorite, it tells just how bare the cupboard is in Pullman. Now let’s begin to watch bear QB Robert Griffin develop. BAYLOR 28-23.

Buffalo* over Temple by 7
We keep doing double-takes every time that we study the box score between these two from year – 42-7 Buffalo on the scoreboard, with 414-141 in total offense. We know that the talent gap is not that wide, but are in no hurry to play a correction just yet. BUFFALO 26-19.

Tennessee* over U.A.B. by 34
Of course all of that Tennessee down time was spent preparing to defend Tim Tebow next week. But Phil Fulmer is feeling just enough heat to give the home fans plenty of celebration moments, and to also build some confidence for his team,before that showdown. TENNESSEE 47-13.

East Carolina over Tulane* by 10
It is rare when the conference opener actually represents a letdown spot for a team, but that is the case here for the Pirates, off of those Virginia Tech and West Virginia upsets. And while Alabama may have indeed been yawning last week, we have to attack at least some meaning to those Tulane defensive numbers (11 first downs,172 yards and no offensive touchdowns allowed). EAST CAROLINA 27-17.

Marshall* over Memphis by 1
Thundering Herd could be in a fragile state after that good early showing at Wisconsin turned into a 51-0 run-out over 2.5 quarters. But the Memphis defense is not going to make many stops on the road. Or at home, for that matter. MARSHALL 31-30.

Connecticut* over Virginia by 8
The Huskies will bring more than the usual non-conference focus after losing a 17-16 decision in the road to the Cavaliers last year, but it is not easy laying any points at all with an offense that did not score a touchdown in regulation at Temple (and did not score at all until the fourth quarter). CONNECTICUT 20-12.

Oklahoma over Washington* by 21
The nature of last week’s frustrating ending vs. Brigham Young can be devastating for an already fragile Husky squad. And with the defense fading badly in the second half of each of the first two games, that lack of depth is a huge problem against the precision of Sam Bradford. OKLAHOMA 38-17.

Arizona over New Mexico* by 7
Mike Stoops has his Wildcats playing with a sense of urgency, in what is a pivotal year for the program. And films of last year’s mistake-filled 29-27 home loss to these Lobos should be enough to create plenty of spark on the practice fields this week. ARIZONA 27-20.

Boise State* over Bowling Green by 13
Falcons appeared to actually come out too high against Minnesota last week, which can happen to that level of program when the television spotlights are on. Now the question is how much it affects their psyche going forward. BOISE STATE 37-24.

Utah over Utah State* by 21
Off of that big win at Ann Arbor, and off of a revenge affair vs. U.N.L.V., the Utes are entitled to take this one off, particularly with a conference clash vs. Air Force on deck. But the underdog just does not bring enough for us to take advantage of the setting. UTAH 34-13.

San Jose State* over San Diego State by 7
The depleted Aztec defensive front actually held up well in South Bend, but does that actually tell us more about the Fighting Irish? And will many notice just howwell the Spartans played in Lincoln last week, something that the scoreboard hides? SAN JOSE STATE 27-20.

Michigan State* over Florida Atlantic by 19
With less than a minute to play at home vs. U.A.B. last week, Florida Atlantic led by a TD, and was trailing in total offense, before a 73-yard TD run altered the general appearance of both the scoreboard and the box score. But we know better.MICHIGAN STATE 36-17.

Alabama* over Western Kentucky by 28
Nick Saban took matters so lightly against Tulane that he might feel the need to crank back up at least a bit here, before opening SEC play at Arkansas next week.ALABAMA 37-9.

Arkansas State* over Southern Miss by 3
After rolling for over 400 yards at Texas A&M, and 255 overland at 5.7 per rush,the Red Wolves averaged 14.8 yards per snap vs. Texas Southern. That is correct,per snap. So even though it was against weak competition, we have to begin to pay some attention. ARKANSAS STATE 30-27.

Kentucky* over Middle Tennessee by 17
By beating Maryland outright, the Blue Raiders now have forewarned a Kentucky team that is off next week. KENTUCKY 30-13.

Illinois* over UL-Lafayette by 21
The Cajuns can only do one thing right, which is to run the football. But two weeks into the season, Illinois is allowing 201 yards per game overland, at 5.4 per rush. And that includes four quarters against Eastern Illinois. ILLINOIS 44-23.

L.S.U.* over North Texas by 45
Since his Tigers did not get a chance to play last week, and with SEC play vs.Auburn on deck, Les Miles needs a legitimate workout. The problem is that North Texas can not supply one, so he may have to substitute early just to avoid bad habits from setting in. L.S.U. 55-10.

Kansas State over Louisville* by 1 (Wednesday)
We are not enamored with the polish of the Wildcats, particularly away from Manhattan. But until we see some kind of positive results from the Big East, all shadings must be against that grouping in competitive non-conference affairs.KANSAS STATE 28-27.

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

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*KANSAS CITY over OAKLAND by 6
With the Oakland Raiders, there are two constants: turnovers and penalties. Make every possible positive case you want to make about how their secondary is improved, how big-armed QB Jamarcus Russell can stretch defenses, how Darren McFadden is an incredible asset to what can finally be an improved running game…but always remember that the Raiders are an organization where incompetence begins at the top with Al Davis, then trickles down to the coaches and players. The Raiders have talked about improving for six years. Hasn’t happened yet. There is only one football for each side, and the Chiefs’ veteran, defensive-minded braintrust will not be overmatched by any of what is going on here. Herman Edwards,Gunther Cunningham and new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will be watching the Raiders do whatever it is they might try to do on national TV vs. Denver on Monday Night,passing around the Cheez Doodles and Mountain Dew and making notes on how they can counter it. Sure, the Chiefs are young and have lost 10 in a row since the middle of ‘07. But the Raiders’ constant coaching staff and personnel shuffles frequently causes them to play younger than the sum of their ages. KANSAS CITY, 19-13.

TENNESSEE over *CINCINNATI by 3
Carson Palmer suffered through one of the worst days of his NFL career, passing for less than 100 yards and putting up a career low single game passer rating. Things should improve – at least slightly – against the Titans, but Tennessee’s defense is no pushover and the Bengals will be handicapped by a running game that looks to be a problem all season. Tennessee’s formula will be simple: run, run and run the football some more. Jeff Fisher knows the key to winning games is winning the battle for time of possession, and the possibility of Kerry Collins taking over for an injured Vince Young may even help the Titans win the battle of turnovers, albeit reducing the big play potential of Young’s quarterback scrambles. As we predicted in the offseason, Cincinnati will have problems all season long, as the defense hasn’t improved and the offense still lacks a consistent method of moving the ball on the ground – a situation that won’t be helped if Palmer can’t improve his accuracy and rapport with his all-star receivers. TENNESSEE 17-14.

BEST BET
INDIANAPOLIS over *MINNESOTA by 14
Minnesota enters this season with tremendous expectations placed upon them – expectations that might not truly be fair. Despite boasting one of the league’s best run defenses and playing in a weak conference lacking depth, the Vikings also feature a young and unproven quarterback and one of the more porous secondaries around. Coming off a short week and facing a good opponent and good quarterback coming off a sloppy game,we’re not too interested in the Vikings. There is a very strong possibility that Tony Dungy decides to have Peyton Manning come into this game throwing early and often to receivers that will overwhelm an undersized group of Minnesota cornerbacks. Once the Colts jump out to an early lead, they will settle for the two and three yard runs to eat time of possession while placing the onus on Tarvaris Jackson and a group of no-name receivers to catch up to them, effectively taking Adrian Peterson out of the game.Peterson remains one of the league’s most explosive performers and a touchdown threat every time he touches the ball, but his offensive supporting cast remains the same as ever, until proven otherwise. INDIANAPOLIS 31-17.

NEW ORLEANS over *WASHINGTON by 4
The Redskins offense should be able to muster some firepower at home and against a weak defense such as New Orleans, but the question is whether they will be able to keep up with a high flying attack that is sure to pass early and often throughout all four quarters.Washington is certainly not as bad as they looked in week one, and have the benefit of extra days of rest to prepare for this match-up, while rookie head coach Jim Zorn should learn some valuable lessons after reviewing game film from last Thursday. That being said, the difference between these two teams will be New Orleans’ most valuable player, Drew Brees.Jason Campbell has a long ways to go before he is considered in the same class as Brees,and while the completions will be easier to make against this soft secondary, the Redskins will be unable to keep up with the sheer depth of offensive personnel that the Saints will bring to the nation’s capital. NEW ORLEANS 28-24.

*DETROIT over GREEN BAY by 3
If nothing else – and there was definitely nothing there for them last Sunday in Atlanta - you have to like the set-up for the Lions. They have one more day than the Packers to prepare for the game, and they had a chance to scout Green Bay’s performance in a division game vs. the Vikings on Monday Night. Lions’ coaches were passing around the Wheat Thins and Yoo Hoo, watching Aaron Rodgers on the move and in the pocket against Minnesota’s Cover-2 defense, and figuring out how their own Cover-2, several years in the making yet still with its lunch getting eaten by a rookie QB last Sunday, can minimize what Rodgers does best while setting him up to do as many bad things as possible. It’s also not a bad thing for the Lions to be catching the Packers off a short week after the Pack was forced to bang bodies with Minnesota, which boasts two of the biggest offensive and defensive fronts in the NFL.The Pack might be wanting that extra day to heal up from the bruises that come from messin’ with Sasquatch. The Lions want to be running the ball more frequently this season, and 0-21 deficits have a way of ruining such plans. Running it more in this situation might give them a few more yards than they’d normally get while loosening up that tight pass coverage the Packers like to employ. DETROIT, 23-20.

*CAROLINA over CHICAGO by 7
Carolina pulled out an inspiring upset of San Diego in week one, showing a balanced rushing attack anchored by two young running backs and displaying a strong front seven on defense that helped to stymie the Chargers offense. The return of Jake Delhomme made a huge difference, as he was able to engineer a late game drive that enabled the Panthers to score the game winning TD, something that would not have happened with Vinny Testaverde or Matt Moore at quarterback. While the Panthers may find it more difficult to attack this defense, their own defense will face an offense that does not have the capacity to move the ball like the Chargers. Regardless of whether Kyle Orton or Rex Grossman is taking snaps under center for Chicago, the Bears will be depending on a combination of defense and special teams to score points – not a bad thing for an underdog, but the Panthers appear to be competent in all areas of the game. Bears rookie running back Matt Forte is an untested commodity, and Orton will not receive any help from a suspect wide receiver corps that does not feature a single proven NFL player. CAROLINA 20-13.

NY GIANTS over *ST. LOUIS by 3
‘Oh my God, the Giants have won 10 straight road games and the Rams were 0-5 SU, 1-4 ATS as a home dog last year and lost 38-3 last week. What an opportunity!’ Yeah, to be on the Rams, maybe, who are as healthy as they are going to be this year, especially on the offensive line, whose first unit never saw the light of the dome in the 2007 regular season.This comes at a time when the Giants are missing the bookend defensive ends whose talents triggered a 58-sack season last year, but 1 sack opening night against the Redskins,who used a still-green quarterback named Campbell. Veteran producer Marc Bulger will hang in the pocket longer than a kid like Campbell. That’s why Bulger gets hurt so frequently. It’s also why he has a lot of TD passes in his career. Unlike the Redskins, the Rams have the right running back for their blocking schemes -- Steven Jackson -- and an offensive coordinator,Al Saunders, who could use only two pages in his 2,000-page playbook when he had limited stiffs as his quarterbacks for four games he planned as Washington’s OC against the Giants in 2006 and 2007. NY GIANTS, 24-21.

*JACKSONVILLE over BUFFALO by 1
The score was 22-14, Jacksonville, early in the fourth quarter on this field in late November a year ago. The Bills were badly injured all over the place. Their #1 RB Marshawn Lynch did not play. Yet there they were in the Jags’ red zone, within one TD of tying it. Until J.P. Losman took turned the gun on his own team with yet another turnover. Balloon popped, Jags win 36-14, a deceptive final score that gets Trent Edwards one step closer to being a better choice as Bills’ starting QB. The Cover-2 defense that we advertised as poison to Seattle in the Super Best Bet winner on Buffalo last week, will limit the long ones by David Garrard. The Jags will attack it with their running game and probably get an impressive rushing total – not necessarily what anyone would want from their favorite of greater than a field goal. JACKSONVILLE,23-22.

*TAMPA BAY over ATLANTA by 6
Let’s not get too crazy about the Falcons after they jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead in the first game for the new coaching staff, and rookie QB Matt Ryan. But with bowling-ball RB Michael Turner, they do have the kind of weapon that gives a four-man defensive front all it can handle in the Tampa-2 defense, because when they are attacked between the tackles for four quarters, they get all pouty and winded because the corners can’t help them contain that kind of rushing attack. Interesting. This particular overrated Tampa Bay team is to be respected, but never feared as a favorite of more than a field goal. We didn’t expect to be looking with this kind of interest at the Falcons just yet, but... TAMPA BAY, 20-14.

*SEATTLE over SAN FRANCISCO by 7
The Seattle offense may take a few weeks to get on track with Matt Hasselbeck looking visibly rusty after missing most of the preseason due to injuries and the majority of their wide receiver group sidelined by one malady or another. However, even the Seahawks at 70% should be enough of a match for the lowly 49ers. Practice in Seattle will be spent emphasizing the quarterback-to-wide receiver connection, and while the lack of healthy receivers will hurt the overall consistency of the Seattle attack, the 49ers will be starting J.T. O’Sullivan in his first road game in one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. The noise will hurt communication among the offensive personnel, but even if the receivers could hear what O’Sullivan was saying, it’s doubtful that the shaky offensive line could stand up long enough against the Seattle pass rush to do anything about it. SEATTLE 24-17.

BEST BET
*ARIZONA over MIAMI by 18
It’s Rag-Arm on the road for the Dolphins. The Arizona coaches have seen Chad’s act before, when they were employed in Pittsburgh and the Steelers would habitually shut down the Jets’ offense. Arizona’s personnel isn’t as good as Pittsburgh’s, but Miami has worse personnel than the Jets and the Dolphins’ first-season coaches and many new players have not yet to had an opportunity to mesh on a game week-to-game week basis. The Cardinals were 4-0 ATS vs. AFC opponents in this coaching staff’s debut season a year ago. Pennington knew a lot of secrets about the Jets’ defensive calls and tendencies,and yet the Dolphins scored only 14 points last Sunday. To get a handle on Arizona’s personnel and defensive tendencies, the Dolphins need more than the five weeks lead time with inside info they had on the Jets, which did not translate to either a win or a cover despite having a pair of solid running backs. Miami is a planeload of mistakes still waiting to happen on both sides of the ball. ARIZONA, 35-17.

NEW ENGLAND over *NY JETS by 2
Tom Brady’s status is in question for this week’s game against the Jets after leaving last week with a knee injury, but Patriots nation has to feel better after Matt Cassel acquitted himself well in a regular season game. Cassel consistently made good decisions and even threw some excellent passes to Randy Moss. While a serious injury to Brady would bode poorly for New England in the long term, the true storyline for this game will be the battle of the coaching minds, mentor versus student, Bill Belichik versus Eric Mangini. Brett Favre showed that his old bones still have some solid throws left in them, while Thomas Jones showed more spark in week one than he did all last season for the Jets. One thing you can count on is for Belichick to come in with a game plan that will exploit the gunslinger mentality of Favre. Expect a close game and a low total score for two teams that will struggle to consistently move to ball through the air. NEW ENGLAND 20-18.

BEST BET
BALTIMORE over *HOUSTON by 6
As stated last week, you want no part of these Ravens against a good defense.Cincinnati? Not a good defense. Cincinnati’s D was so bad, that even Flacco Joe could manage a game to victory. We said some nice things about the Texans in the Zone Blitz,and perhaps they will eventually live up to them. But we also stated that John Harbaugh went about some unseen business while targeting a quick start to his Year One as head coach of the Ravens. Last week, he had Cincinnati’s ex-receivers coach on his side. What was Carson Palmer? Oh, 10-for-25, 99 yards? Hey, who out there still thinks that past big stats of overrated quarterbacks, and ATS records like Baltimore’s 3-13 ATS last year,is what makes winners here and now in the NFL? For this game, Harbaugh has the ex-Houston defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in his locker room. Fangio knows better than anyone else that the Houston defense hasn’t made a key stop since Hector was a pup.He was once one of the coaches begging and pleading for them to make one. Put check marks next to Baltimore for defense, special teams, uniquely tailored game plan, and hiddenvalue for all the fumbles from last year that won’t be made now that they’ve cleared McNair and McGahee the heck out of that offensive backfield. BALTIMORE, 20-14.

RECOMMENDED TOTAL
UNDER 42
SAN DIEGO over *DENVER by 7
The Broncos will be handicapped by coming off a short week of rest and just now working in star receiver Brandon Marshall into the mix after his suspension for numerous offfield incidents. San Diego has owned the Broncos over the past three seasons, going 4-2 SU and 4-1-1 ATS in the past six meetings, and after putting up such a desultory performance against the Panthers in week one, should be looking for a little redemption.However, keep in mind that LaDainian Tomlinson is still working himself into game shape after not taking a single snap in the preseason, as has been the pattern over the past few seasons, and both Phillip Rivers and Jay Cutler will be challenged by facing off against two of the AFC’s best pass defenses. The Chargers should prevail through a superior overall offensive attack, but don’t expect many points. SAN DIEGO 17-10.

BEST BET
PITTSBURGH over *CLEVELAND by 17
The additions of Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers didn’t do much to improve Cleveland’s defensive line in week one and you have to question whether they’ll be able to win the battle in the trenches against a team historically known for their strength in the lines.Pittsburgh showed that they are capable of getting out to fast starts, demolishing the Houston Texans with a balanced offensive attack and swarming defense that gave the Texans little room to breathe. As poorly as the Browns looked for the majority of the afternoon against the Cowboys, there’s little reason to expect a different result this week. The absence of Joe Jurevicius showed in the way Derek Anderson couldn’t consistently move the ball in the air as his steady presence underneath robbed the Browns of their ability to stretch the field consistently with Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. Cleveland clearly overachieved last season and took people by surprise, something that won’t happen again this season. Even in last year’s run, the Browns were unable to take on their division’s best team, and with Pittsburgh healthy and primed to start the season strong,don’t expect the Browns to avenge their embarrassing home opener against the Steelers.PITTSBURGH 31-14.

MONDAY NIGHT, SEPTEMBER 15
*DALLAS over PHILADELPHIA by 4
The early gauntlet was thrown down when Philly won by 35 points, Dallas by 18 on opening day. Tony Romo got banged around by Cleveland’s pass rush, which wasn’t very good last year, and Philly will get in his face, too. Important, new speedy offensive playmakers on both teams this season. Felix Jones on Dallas, DeSean Jackson on the Eagles. The Cowboys got a lead and padded it on the ground last week against that statue of a Cleveland quarterback who their new defensive assistant Grantham knew he could rattle, hence the Best Bet winner on the Cowboys. But the Dallas D can’t be as confidently prepared vs. McNabb,Westbrook and the rest. Let the shootout start. DALLAS, 30-26.

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Sports Reporter

COLLEGE

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 11

*RUTGERS over NORTH CAROLINA by 3
The Rutgers defensive front four is smaller than you think, head coach Schiano replaced four assistants in the off-season, and the Tar Heels are better-coached and better-stocked now than when they lost 21-16 to Rutgers in the final season of the Bunting regime. Head coach Butch Davis hired Schiano at Miami-FL, so there is some intimacy here, which favors the road dog, who will add a few very quick kick returners who did not suit up in the opener vs.McNeese State. Rutgers had the worst FG to TD ratio in the Big East last season, and redzone woes continued in the Week 1 loss vs. Fresno, compounded by a new field goal kicker who they might want to kick in the butt. RUTGERS, 26-23.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 12

*SOUTH FLORIDA over KANSAS by 1
Home team has the better defense, visitor has the better offense. Home team is coming off an intra-state rivalry, ESPN2 overtime win against the basic offense of Central Florida. Home team’s QB Grothe isn’t as accurate as KU’s QB Reesing. From the spread, Kansas’ running backs can probably play gash n’ go against a USF defensive front that would rather be rushing the passer than stopping the run. The rushing gains can minimize the bad down-and-distance situations for a Kansas team that specializes in avoiding them, and USF’s defensive ends won’t get there in time against Reesing’s short drops. Not seeing the home favorite opening up a margin. SOUTH FLORIDA, 30-29.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 13

NAVY over *DUKE by 4
Navy needs the Kaipo kid at quarterback. He hasn’t played yet, due to a hamstring injury. The kid playing for him, Bryant, is advertised as the better passer, which makes him what, the 300th best passer in the land, if that? Come on. Navy is not a passing team. Who cares if he’s a better passer when they only pass 6 times a game? However, if Duke coach David Cutcliffe, and the ex-Tennessee coaches he took to Duke with him, were at all interested in quirky offenses, they’d have applied for jobs at one of the academies, or Nicolls State, or someplace like that. ‘You want me to tell you a little somethin’ about the triple option, son? Well, alright then, you see, it goes like, well, er, ahem, wait a minute, it’ll come to me, uh,isn’t it in one of them there textbooks you boys carry around with you?” NAVY, 37-33.

*VANDERBILT over RICE by 11
The Owls have a better chance in a battle of SAT scores, but they should be able to keep this interesting. Rice will look to chuck it all over Nashville against the ’Dore secondary, which is their defensive strength. Although a lower-tier SEC squad, Vandy has nice athletes at corner and safety who can run and tackle in space. Look for the home team to put the ball in the hands of QB Chris Nickson in an attempt to keep it out of the hands of visiting signal caller Chase Clement. Nickson will likely be the best athlete on the field and will be tough for the Owls to hunt. VANDERBILT, 31-20.

AUBURN over *MISSISSIPPI STATE by 10
These two offenses will likely score less than a tax accountant at a nightclub. After a twogame competition, Auburn coaches have turned to QB Chris Todd to lead the charge, to which he said, you have “to take care of the ball and be smart.” Don’t expect him to pull any Brett Favres out there for risk of being pulled. MSU hasn’t scored more than 19 points in a game vs. Auburn in the last five years and that probably won’t change. Coach Croom directs a nondynamic power running game which when forced to throw, targets the same WR. The revenge-minded visitors won’t mind bottling up the ground attack while keeping a sub-par aerial game on the tarmac. AUBURN, 21-11.

BALL STATE over *AKRON by 10
The teams haven’t met since 2005 and the Akronites might be shocked at how good Nate Davis is up close and personal. Also, Wisconsin and Syracuse pretty much ran the same five plays against them, with QBs who are not allowed to freelance. Ball State’s playbook is bigger,bigger, their offensive speed is faster, and Davis can make something from nothing. Until this season, a game like this between West and East division MAC teams didn’t count in the divisional standings. Now, it does, so Ball can take it seriously towards their stated goal of winning the damn conference because they have to gain the best record in the West first. BALL STATE, 30-20.

*EASTERN MICHIGAN over TOLEDO by 3
Toledo drove at will against the Eastern Michigan defense in last season’s game, when the Easterns were playing for the 10th straight week without a bye. Who has circled the 600 yards and 52 points allowed in that game? EMU’s defense. Toledo no longer has Jalen Parmele, the 220-pound back who took advantage of the small, tired EMUs last year. But DaJuane Collins is close to the same size. EMU had already gotten two games in this season before Toledo strapped on their helmets in Tucson last Saturday night. EASTERN MICHIGAN,31-28.

*MISSOURI over NEVADA by 28
Call Reno 911. The Wolfpack showed their teeth by battling Texas Tech, but Mizzou is a bit more balanced on offense and QB Daniel has more weapons than his Big 12 counterpart Harrell. Look for Daniel to control the game by spreading out the pigskin to a laundry list of RBs, WRs, and his big tight end. He can also tuck it himself, but had zero rushing attempts last week when they put him in bubble wrap. Nevada’s offense is not to be taken lightly and can chew yards and score points. Problem is…they need the ball to do anything and the Tigers can be a bit selfish when it comes to sharing. MISSOURI, 49-21.

*TEXAS TECH over SMU by 42
Home head coach Mike Leach to all good Texas junior high and high school football players observing: ‘Sons of Texas, this June Jones guy at SMU thinks he’s gonna come into our great state from those luas out in Hawaii, with a pass-happy system and convince you to go to SMU. Well, our passing system is more intricate and successful than his, so if you’d like to go to school in Dallas, and we Lubbock fellas are on the schedule when you get there, this could happen to you:’ TEXAS TECH, 62-20.

*NEBRASKA over NEW MEXICO STATE by 24
We had NMSU circled until two things happened: (1) Nebraska fell flat last week vs. Silicon Valley power San Jose St., and (2) Hurricane Gustav forced the cancellation of the Aggies first game (bye in week one). So now, QB Chase Holbrook leads his game-rusty squad into the Red Sea to face a bent Husker team eager to lose the taste of Northern California. With heightened senses, first-year boss Pelini will pound the running game and use play-action to push around a physically inferior defensive front. Holbrook will find success against an average- at-best secondary, but our funds are best applied against this overrated bunch in future weeks. NEBRASKA, 48-24.

RECOMMENDED
*BYU over UCLA by 19
This week’s best-seller: “College Football Math”, by John Q. Public. BYU barely edged Washington. UCLA beat Tennessee (from the mighty SEC). UCLA has an all-star coaching staff. BYU’s coach shares his name with an untrained horse. Therefore, UCLA is better than Washington and UCLA should beat BYU. Thanks, John, but we’ll use our own formula.The Bruin hype machine is in full swing after the Vols coaching staff handed them a victory in Neuheisel’s return to Westwood. A defense that pressured UT’s new offensive schemes won’t be nearly as fierce against a seasoned, dynamic Cougar offense that boasts multiple play-makers. They are super-comfortable in the offense, as evidenced by an average scoring drive last week of 10 plays and 74 yards. Sure, defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker faced BYU twice last year with success, but he lost six starters from that defense and must march his troops into enemy territory for the first time this year.In that vain, UCLA QB Craft’s Jekyll & Hyde routine could turn into Hyde & Hyde in the thin air of Provo, Utah. A young Cougar defense won’t have to deal with as much here as they did against the fleet-footed Jake Locker up in Seattle last week. BYU, 33-14.

OREGON over *PURDUE by 3
It is all football, all the time for the Ducks right now. For the players who actually attend class,the Fall Semester doesn’t begin until September 29. When Purdue – with a 1 game vs. 2 possible disadvantage -- shows that it’s tough enough in the running game (given the lack of experienced receivers they have going into this season) then you can think about backing them against a well-balanced power-conference foe. Similar spread offenses and always suspect 4-3 base defenses here, no matter what they’re saying about that Ducky D to this point. Usually, when the opponent has a decent offensive system in place, the Oregon defense allows them to live up to the hype. OREGON, 31-28.

BEST BET
*TEXAS over ARKANSAS by 34
Mack Brown has been at Texas long enough to understand the importance that this game holds to his alum base. Bobby Petrino, well, his history is stooped in the WAC/Pac-10/Big East, so he might need a history lesson. Brown’s focus will be there, as will his team’s superior talent. Petrino’s Razorbacks have needed two final-drive, fourth down conversions to survive Western Illinois and Louisiana-Monroe. Texas is a completely different animal and don’t look for one of those traditional Longhorn sleepwalking jobs this season.The energy in the locker room is real, and QB Colt McCoy has his team firing out of the gates. He’ll use his arms and legs to spit-roast the visiting Hogs from the opening kick. Arkansas QB Dick is average and doesn’t have much around him besides an undersized starting tailback (5’7, 175 lb) and an NFL-caliber tight end. New Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp coached against Dick while at Auburn, and knows his weaknesses.He’ll bring pressure and force the visitors into bad situations – not where Dick excels. McCoy has the look of a seasoned vet wanting to make amends for his sophomore slump. He gets a hanging curveball this week and will go yard. TEXAS, 48-14.

GEORGIA over *SOUTH CAROLINA by 6
The Gamecocks are struggling through bad offensive play and internal turmoil just two games in. They always get up for the Dawgs and should be ready to do battle at home.Despite decent stats against weak opponents, UGA’s offensive front has been just okay and now faces a big-time challenge against one of the better defenses in the country. Georgia QB Stafford is a more traditional type who won’t cause as much trouble as did Vandy athlete Nickson. If no WR really steps up to make plays, look for Spurrier’s defense to contain stud TB Knowshown Moreno. Question is – can Darth Visor scrap up enough offense to upset the lands #2? His top WR McKinley is likely out, his RB’s are docile, and his QB’s have an affinity for throwing picks. Answer – no. GEORGIA, 20-14.

SUPER BEST BET
AIR FORCE over *HOUSTON by 17
If you had to guess how Houston’s defense would adapt to playing against a flexbone offense, you’d probably have to anticipate that the results would be comical. When Art Briles was head coach, the Cougars had trouble stopping anything that moved, let alone something quirky like this. The new head coach with the Big 12 roots, and his Big 12,Pac 10 and NFL assistants, would need seven months to teach “C” class defensive players how to get ready for this assignment, not the allotted seven days, especially with them coming off an opponent – Oklahoma State -- that the coaching staff could sink its collective knowledge and football background into. How does first-year defensive line coach Jim Jeffcoat help his front four get a handle on Air Force’s offense, given his days as a Dallas Cowboys defensive assistant and DE player? The Texas Tech offense that Houston is operating is just fine and dandy, but it doesn’t necessarily attack the deep vertical areas where Air Force’s secondary is most vulnerable. The Falcons see this offense every year against BYU. May the Force be with you. AIR FORCE, 45-28.

*OREGON STATE over HAWAII by 10
The Beavers will use their athleticism at the skill positions to spread out a slower Hawaii defense en route to win #1. Warrior QB Tyler Graunke was inserted after the half last week and proceeded to go for 218 yards and 3 TDs. OSU’s secondary is experienced and should be able to corral an inexperienced group of islander wideouts. OREGON STATE, 31-21.

WISCONSIN over *FRESNO STATE by 3
As stated in the Zone Blitz, head pup Pat Hill has called this game the most important in their program’s history. That’s big given the level of competition that he plays. Knee-jerk reaction would be to follow the trendy pick and roll with the Bulldogs. Let’s discuss before we jump.Hill’s team did struggle running the football against heavyweights last year: 2.9 and 1.7 ypc vs. A&M and Oregon. His defensive front seven will also face 1,600 pounds of linemen blocking for a 230 pound tailback. Marshall had some success last week, but they didn’t have to worry about All-American tight end Travis Beckum, who is expected back for the Badgers.Expect a battle that is won with a three-pointer. WISCONSIN, 27-24.

PENN STATE over *SYRACUSE by 32
Possible letdown for the Lions in the dome this week, but who’s really willing to take sides with the Big East doormat that couldn’t contain Akron’s up-tempo spread offense? PSU also runs the spread, but will likely back it down to the bare bones offense they used against Coastal Carolina in week one. PENN STATE, 46-14.

MICHIGAN over *NOTRE DAME by 3
New Irish defensive collaborator Tenuta didn’t see many spread offenses during his time in the ACC. When he did, in a bowl game, the Utah offense made him and his players look like total idiots. Lucky for him and the Irish that Michigan isn’t equipped to excel in their system at the moment. But the Michigan defense is very well equipped to stand toe-to-toe with anybody until the final gun sounds, doing more than its share to spark momentum. It’s looking like Notre Dame’s defense is gonna have to do its share of the dirty work, too, because the police are standing by to arrest the offense for loitering and indecent exposure. It also looks like some Notre Dame players have either been recruited from high school gymnastics teams, or been eating rabbit food compared to some of the opposition. What’s up with this? MICHIGAN, 16-13.

*IOWA over IOWA STATE by 17
Iowa lost the its intra-state rival in ugly fashion last season, when they were caught in injury and suspension fallouts. Iowa State – with senior leadership that no longer exists – took advantage in what was a major point-to game for then first-season head coach Chizik. Now,it’s a major point-to game for Kirk Ferentz. All the Hawkeyes need is a little bit of offense to grind out some revenge, and a second straight shut-out for the defense is not out of the question. IOWA, 23-6.

*VIRGINIA TECH over GEORGIA TECH by 3
Remember the words of the coach who lost to G-Tech on opening day: “Good luck, ACC.” There are many potentially over-pursuing, fly-to-what-they-think-is-the-football newcomers on that Virginia Tech defense. Georgia Tech isn’t executing their new fluky-duky offense as good as they will in the future, but there will be plenty of Hokies caught out of position during the course of the afternoon. However, Paul Johnson’s offense fumbles, and he doesn’t care about it on the way to eventually getting things right. Although any decent defense is liable to intercept Va. Tech’s QB Sean Glennon, who is running out of excuses for being a team-killer, the Hokies have attempted to compensate for him by already holding the Blacksburg bonfire for Tyrod Taylor’s intended redshirt. Any participation by Taylor would create some confusion-causing running around for Tech’s defense to worry about. VIRGINIA TECH, 23-20.

*CLEMSON over NORTH CAROLINA STATE by 17
It sure didn’t flatter NC State that South Carolina came back and lost to Vanderbilt in the next game after beating the Wolfpack 34-0. If Clemson can manage to get the running game going, then NC State’s defense will be just as tired as it was in the second half against South Carolina. Clemson has their issues as far as matching up against their own kind, which NC State is supposed to be, but NC State’s offense got only 11 first downs and 2.2 yards per carry vs. William & Mary and is forced to use Harrison “Bad as Heck” Beck at quarterback.CLEMSON, 27-10.

WESTERN MICHIGAN over *IDAHO by 12
The Vandals really, really want to run the football. Trouble is, they rarely have the lead. Same story this week against WMU, who can move the rock up and down the gridiron. They rolled up yards against Nebraska and Northern Illinois, and will do so against a lesser defense in Idaho. QB Hiller will get ’em going in the first half and the defense will get enough stops for the visitors to coast home. WESTERN MICHIGAN, 35-23.

BEST BET
CENTRAL MICHIGAN over *OHIO by 16
CMU allowed 56 points at Georgia last week. Ohio nearly upset Ohio State in Columbus,limiting the Buckeyes to two offensive touchdowns. Slam-dunk for the home team, Ohio,right? Not so, Mister Mo. Central Michigan was just doing what it does when matched up against bigger, stronger, more talented opponents – going through the motions on defense and maintaining their tempo on offense By playing fast on offense against opponents like Georgia, they set themselves up to tire earlier, make more mistakes, put their defense on the field too long, and let a game get away from them. But it all builds strength – and value -- for when the Chippewas drop down in class later on. Boo Jackson looks like a player at quarterback for Ohio, more with his legs right now than with his arm. But the fact of the matter is that there wasn’t much of an opportunity for Ohio State to prepare for Jackson’s antics, since Theo Scott had gone almost all the way for Ohio against Wyoming seven days earlier. For Ohio to be competitive, it usually helps to have an opponent that isn’t executing its offense well. Wyoming never does, and Ohio State’s #1 offensive player was out. All hands will be on deck for Central Michigan in the MAC opener, a proven scoring machine vs. this class of opponent. When you’re CMU quarterback Dan LeFavour and you have what it takes to play the whole game at Georgia, get sacked only once in 43 attempts and throw only one interception that wasn’t your fault,you’re in the driver’s seat vs. Ohio. CENTRAL MICHIGAN, 42-26.

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

CALIFORNIA over *MARYLAND by 6
It’s way too easy to like Cal in this game. So, when Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen pulled a Mike Gundy last week and lambasted the media for knocking his lousy, benched and now-injured QB Jordan “The Stiff” Steffy, you had to be wondering, and thinking. Two games and one ugly Sun Belt road loss (like Maryland at MTS last week!) after Gundy booted Bobby Reid for Zac Robinson at Oklahoma State last year, Okie State outscored the vaunted Texas Tech offense 45-42 with its new quarterback. Chris “Ho-Hum” Turner is now the Maryland starter, but the Terps running backs are pretty good, no Pac 10 defense brings it on the road except for USC’s, and who out there wants to be burned when Ralphie Boy finally puts the zippy-footed mystery named Josh Portis behind center? CALIFORNIA, 33-27.

*BAYLOR over WASHINGTON STATE by 1
WSU has been waxed by solid teams led by experienced QBs. Baylor first-year boss Briles continues to groom his first-year QB Griffen, so this is a slight reprieve for the Cougars. But at least there is some positive energy in the Bear camp. The new system tasted success in the form of 51 points against Northwestern St., which is better than the rotten egg sandwiches first-year coach Wulff is eating on the Palouse. Give the edge to Briles and the home field in a battle of basement dwelling newbies. BAYLOR, 28-27.

*TCU over STANFORD by 14
TCU was a penalty- and turnover-laden mess for most of ’07. When a team cleans up its messes, it tends to put future favorable gaps on the scoreboard. The Horned Frogs gained nearly 500 offensive yards on Stanford’s field in a 4-point win last season, including 10.1 yards per pass attempt. TCU wasn’t too healthy when they went into the Farm that afternoon,but Stanford was coming off the ultimate upset win against USC. TCU, 34-20.

*BUFFALO over TEMPLE by 8
Owl see ya’ later. Temple covers the spread by a mere 3.5 points vs. UConn in the rain and we’re supposed to be afraid of them? No way, Jose. UConn’s RB Andre Brown got too many carries (36) and too many yards against the Temple defense last Saturday. The Turner Gillians figure to spread the meanness with a pair of running backs – Starks and Thermilus – to better bully them and wear them down like they did in last season’s game in Philly, which was a Best Bet winner on the UB-doobies for all of us. Temple’s offense has been on the field for only 22 and 25 minutes in their 2-0 SU and ATS mini-streak. BUFFALO, 24-16.

RECOMMENDED
*TENNESSEE over UAB by 39
Through last week the UT coaching staff continued to fume over the UCLA loss. That frustration will be taken out this Saturday, as they exercise the Rose Bowl demons in front of 107,000 Neyland Stadium faithful. The Vols’ growing pains in new offensive coordinator Dave Clawson’s system were painfully evident in week one. The o-line is experienced (4 starters back) and will make big-time strides in the 12 days in between games. It will help that the UAB defense is a wet paper towel – giving up 10.2 yards per pass attempt and 7.8 ypc against FAU last week. Probably doesn’t help that the Blazers still don’t have 85 scholarship players on their roster. So you can certainly expect Tennessee to score early and often. QB Crompton will have more than enough time to find a trio of talented WRs and the RB unit will run to daylight for 60 minutes. What about UAB? Will they put up enough points to cover a significant number? Nope. UT’s defense is tough and will be out to avenge the second half misfire experienced in week one. TENNESSEE, 49-10.

EAST CAROLINA over *TULANE by 18
Not good to have a down-program Tulane team in only its second season in Bob Toledo’s offensive system, with only one game under their belt this season, against an East Carolina group that started playing for Skip Holtz when they were raw freshman and have consistently moved the football while becoming a turnover-getting group on defense, and playmakers on special teams. Slight letdown expected from ECU coming off the two power-conference targeted affairs that produced 2-0 SU and ATS, but Tulane has failed to capitalize on many supposedly favorable set-ups in the past. That’s why they’re Tulane. EAST CAROLINA, 38-20.

*MARSHALL over MEMPHIS by 4
It would be easy to write off Marshall after they went from leading 14-0 to losing 14-51 at Wisconsin last Saturday afternoon. But that’s a dangerous way to operate. Memphis’ offense can’t wear anybody down, and their defense is just like Marshall’s – hasn’t made a big stop since Moby Dick was a minnow. Memphis has all these 6’4” to 6’6” receivers, and nobody with a good enough arm/brain combination to make enough plays in games that turn into shootouts. They are not ready to name a dormitory after JC transfer Arkelon Hall. Marshall coach Snyder has rubbed his starting QB Cann’s nose in mistakes he made at Wisconsin that helped balloon the final margin. MARSHALL, 30-26.

*CONNECTICUT over VIRGINIA by 13
Stories just came out about Virginia’s #1 QB Peter Lalich drinking and weeding this summer,while on probation for an underage drinking charge. He has certainly played the position like he was under the influence. UConn has revenge for a narrow defeat to a better Virginia team last season, but they have problems converting yards to points. Luckily for them, Virginia has bigger problems with that. Cavs’ coach Al Groh will call his old UVA assistants at Temple,looking for info on the team that Temple took to OT last week. But does Temple have time to pick up the phone? CONNECTICUT, 26-13.

OKLAHOMA over *WASHINGTON by 25
Who is really surprised that Washington is 0-2? We’ll be more surprised if they are 1-2 after this weekend. Willingham’s crew does tend to play better against more conventional offenses (see Oregon, compared to BYU), but OU has way too much firepower and Stoops likes to use it early in the season. Cinci’s athletes gave the Sooners some trouble, so athletic QB Locker could make some plays, but he cannot do it alone against one of the nation’s best.OKLAHOMA, 42-17.

BEST BET
OHIO STATE over *USC by 3
Stroll through any Southern California sports bar and you’ll here some variation of this,“Ohio St. only beat Ohio by 12 – Trojans will smoke ’em next week”. We’ll leave the smoking for the Penn State players, making money is for the Buckeye backers. Yes, USC looked good beating Duke on the road…excuse me, it was Virginia, but in name only because UVA has Duke’s talent. The USC offensive line is inexperienced and faces an enormous challenge against the Buckeyes’ front seven. QB Mark Sanchez has yet to prove that he can make plays when pressured in a big game and until we see it, we won’t believe it. Ohio State matches up better with USC’s pro-style game than it did against Florida and LSU in the last two title games. Jim Tressel & Co. will have had two weeks to prepare (Ohio week, and this week) for this battle royale, likely the primary reason the Bobcats hung tight. In a game of matchups, this one is a dead heat that will come down to the smallest guys on the field. Ohio State kicker Pretorius was 6-of-7 from 40+ last year and he’ll be the king of Columbus next week. OHIO STATE, 26-23.

ARIZONA over *NEW MEXICO by 12
Bad news for the Lobos – Arizona’s defense looks almost as good as their offense meaning your anemic offense won’t catch a break. Wildcats look for 3-0 and to avenge last year’s 29-27 loss in a game that saw Tuitama throw for 446 yards. His squad is a bit more balanced this year and they’re playing with confidence. New Mexico is at the other end of the barrel staring at an 0-3 start – all home losses. ARIZONA, 30-18.

*BOISE STATE over BOWLING GREEN by 15
The Falcons are road tested in winning at Pitt this year and played in Boise in 2005, so don’t expect the smurf turf to freak them out. That said – winning here ain’t easy, especially for a team coming off of a 42-17 home loss. Boise played Cupcake U. in week one and then had a bye, so the kids are rested and healthy. Boise’s skill position play-makers will make up for the lack of QB and o-line experience against a defense that has proven generous this season.BOISE STATE, 39-24.

UTAH over *UTAH STATE by 28
Utah’s offense is too balanced for the home Aggies to slow it down enough to hang. The Utes put up 225 rushing and 215 passing against a better UNLV defense. As for Utah St.’s D, after the Ducks’ 66-24 win vs. USU last week, Oregon true freshman QB Chris Harper said, “It felt like high school all over again.” Enough said. UTAH, 49-21.

*SAN JOSE STATE over SAN DIEGO STATE by 6
Tomey’s home Spartans are the more experienced and sport the better offensive line. Long’s Aztecs did have the best QB on the field at Notre Dame last week, but it looks to be a one man show. Gotta have eleven to win. SAN JOSE STATE, 27-21.

*ARIZONA STATE over UNLV by 19
The roadie Rebs could catch ASU peeking ahead to a desert battle with Georgia next week.They also have the talent to hang, at least for the first half. It is critical that the Devils keep QB Carpenter healthy, but even in a route of Stanford he was getting smacked around.Coaching staff will keep it simpler and involve the backs a bit more here as they plan for the near-term future. ARIZONA STATE, 36-17.

RECOMMENDED
*MICHIGAN STATE over FLORIDA ATLANTIC by 25
You know the drill. For Florida Atlantic, games on the road in big stadiums vs. power-conference foes are mercenary affairs. They will erect a statue to Howard $chnellenberger after he retires someday, for the money he has directed into the university. It’s an FAU depth-building trip on several fronts – piggybank and roster – while Javon Ringer, on turf, speeds around inferior defensive dudes to control the affair, and the Spartans pad the lead by building some confidence in their passing game after that. Rusty (Big Play) Smith might hit a few long ones against a suspect secondary to make things interesting. MICHIGAN STATE, 47-22.

*ALABAMA over WESTERN KENTUCKY by 31
Western ran the ball 60 times in last week’s victory – but will be lucky to run 60 plays total this week. The ’Bama defense will be tasked with keeping the opponent to 10 points or less while the offense rests its injured offensive linemen for a battle at Arkansas next week.ALABAMA, 34-3.

*ARKANSAS STATE over SOUTHERN MISS by 1
Southern Miss will revert to RB Damion Fletcher up the middle, left and right, which powered them to 51 points against another Sun Belt foe in the season opener. They couldn’t use him much against Auburn – because of trailing early and all the way, and because an SEC defense would have continued to eat him up regardless (14 carries, 40 yards). But ASU isn’t the hapless Lafalot defense, and the home team’s own offense is known to chew its share of clock. ARKANSAS STATE, 24-23.

*KENTUCKY over MIDDLE TENNESSEE by 12
In MTSU’s win against Maryland last week, the Blue Raiders held it for 40 minutes, ran 82 plays, and had 20 third-down conversion attempts. The difference this week is that the ’Cats defense has claws. Head coach Rich Brooks will employ the run ball/protect ball/defend ball strategy all year, so don’t expect a lot of “easy” covers like last week. Road dog could stick around for a while if their passing game heats up – but Brooks has better athletes that will salt away the home win. KENTUCKY, 24-12.

*ILLINOIS over LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE by 28
Lafalot head coach Ricky Bustle to world: ‘Just shoot me, or get me to the Sun Belt season in a hurry.’ Up in class, up in distance, down in the dumps. The over/under on Illinois interceptions from ULL’s bad passers is 3, despite ULL having having an extra week to prepare.The Illini have a bye next week, in advance of Big Ten season. ILLINOIS, 45-17.

*LSU over NORTH TEXAS by 42
Tigers are a big-time home favorite this week in football, but may play the role of underdog against Hurricane Ike. Assuming the game is played, LSU will employ the same strategy it did against Appy State – hand it off three times, throw it once, hand it off three times, etc…Resistance will be minimal, but the North Texas athletic department payday will be substantial.LSU, 48-6.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 17

KANSAS STATE over *LOUISVILLE by 1
Kansas State hung tough two years ago when Louisville was the dominant Flying Petrinos and the Wildcats were struggling. Louisville, the Coach Krags version, ain’t very good now.KANSAS STATE, 23-22.

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Power Sweep

4H Penn St over SYRACUSE - The Syracuse dome advantage has been nonexistent (0-6 HD) and last year we used our College GOY on USF (-16’) here and it was an easy 41-10 winner. Syr is 7-5 ATS vs ranked teams and upset #18 L’ville in ‘07. Penn St was just 1-4 as an AF LY but they are also 7-1 as a favorite vs non-conf. PSU QB Clark is making his 1st road start although the Lions fans will be well represented. LW Penn St rolled over Oregon St 45-14. Clark showed his grasp of the new Spread HD offense vs Oregon St and now faces our #106 def that allowed 478 yds to Akron. LW SU went with backup QB Dantley (former NBA’r Adrian’s son) but got similar results a 42-28 loss. HC Robinson is now 7-30 at Syracuse. This is an old rivalry that was played every year from 1922-’90 and Penn St leads the series 40-23-5. The Lions are 4-0 ATS as DD away fav since 1999 outscoring those opp’s 45-13!!! Could we go against Syracuse again as our September 5H? FORECAST: Penn St 52 SYRACUSE 10

3H BAYLOR over Washington St - A pair of new HC’s face off here as WSU QB Rogers makes his first true road start. The Cougs new hurry-up offense faltered in their conf opener LW vs Cal as they suffered a tremendous beatdown (3H Winner) falling 66-3 to the Golden Bears. Baylor HC Briles has his offense headed in the right direction with new QB Griffin going 15-19 for 294 yds w/4 ttl TD’s in their expected romp of IAA NW St. In 2006 Baylor went into Seattle and almost pulled the upset (+13) with WSU getting a last second 17 yd FG to win 17-15 (WSU 336-246 yd edge) in a gm in which Rogers made his college debut leading WSU on 2 successful drives in relief. The Cougars also delivered a 5H Bowl POY against Baylor in the ‘94 Alamo Bowl. Wash St is 9-5 ATS in their road opener and has faced a similar off vs OKSt (367 ttl yds) while Baylor is 4-11 ATS at home. However, the Bears are 8-4 ATS off a SU win and have a new attitude with Briles at the helm. FORECAST: BAYLOR 30 Washington St 13

3H USF over Kansas - THIS IS OUR FRIDAY NIGHT MARQUEE GOY! USF has won 10 straight non conf HG’s (3-1 ATS) and beat #5 West Virginia 21-13 at home on a Friday night LY & had a huge win on the road over #17 Auburn. These two met in ‘06 as we won with a 4H LPS on Kansas (-3’), 13-7. Last year we won our College 5H GOY on USF as they dominated Syracuse 41-10 (-16’). KU won all 5 road games LY (4-1 ATS), has 15 starters back and is ranked #13. Kansas took on the #100 schedule LY and finished #7 while USF took on the #24 schedule and after their embarrassing bowl loss fell out of the polls. Kansas is 2-9 SU in road openers while USF is 50-11 at Raymond James Stadium. LW QB Reesing threw for a career high 412 yds leading Kansas to a 29-0 win over LA Tech. USF squandered (look-ahead) a 14 point lead with less than 3:00 minutes left, but pulled off the OT win over UCF LW. USF has upset the L/3 ranked tms it has faced and HC Leavitt is 6-2 ATS vs ranked teams. The Bulls are our #1 Surprise Team and a Darkhorse National Title Contender with something to prove here. Leavitt will have USF pumped for this nationally televised meeting and this Fri Marquee GOY is free as our thanks for purchasing Power Sweep. FORECAST: USF 34 Kansas 17

OTHER SELECTIONS

2H NOTRE DAME over Michigan - LY ex-UM RB Hart vowed that the Wolves would win and they mauled ND 38-0 as both came in 0-2. UM is struggling as rFr QB Threet made his 1st start vs Miami but Sheridan guided the Wolves to its game clinching 4Q TD drive. HC Rodriguez admitted frustration that neither QB has taken command. Rod’s 1st WV team had a new QB & OL and lost 34-10 in its road opener. The veteran UM D has allowed 42 rush ypg (1.1) with 9 sks. Weis is 7-14 ATS at home including LW’s ugly 21-13 opening win over SDSt in which the Irish forced a goal line fmbl early 4Q while trailing 13-7. QB Clausen did rally the Irish with two 4Q TD passes. The Irish did miss a FG, botched another and fmbl’d away the ball on the SDSt 3. The dog is 11-2 ATS in the series. The Irish are the most improved team in the country and get legit revenge on a young offense in transition. FORECAST: NOTRE DAME 23 Michigan 10

2H SOUTH CAROLINA (+) over Georgia - SC’s 16-12 upset (+3’) cost GA a potential BCS Champ shot LY. Afterwards Spurrier said, “It’s not like they were some big, powerful tm.” That’s plenty of motivation and add in the fact that GA was held without a TD for the 1st time in 6 years. GA QB Stafford (PS#2) is off to a great start avg 244 ypg (63%) with a 4-0 ratio while RB Moreno (PS#14) has shined as the feature back (227, 8.7, 6 TD). SC has had a few extra days to prepare for this off their disappointing Thurs night upset loss to Vandy. SC lost 24-17 despite a 325-225 yd edge as ST’s & TO’s cost them. QB Beecher st’d the opener (12-22 for 106 with 4 int) and Smelley st’d the Vandy loss (28-44 for 325 yds, 4-2 ratio in 2 gms). Star WR McKinley suffered a hamstring inj and missed most of LW’s gm (check status). This is always an early ssn battle (1st 3 games L/16Y) and the defenses (both in top 5 TY) have dominated lately as they’ve avg’d 26 ppg the L/3Y. Georgia has won 3 in a row in Columbia by 9 ppg. Though Richt is 25-4 SU in opponents’ stadiums, UGA is 2-4 ATS the L/2Y as an AF and Spurrier needs to win this gm to have any hope of competing in the SEC East race. FORECAST: SOUTH CAROLINA 17 (+) Georgia 16

2H IOWA over Iowa St - Not only has Iowa St covered four straight with a pair of upsets (17 pt dog LY, 9 pt dog ‘06) they’ve covered by 17 ppg. New Cyclone QB Arnaud (132 ypg, 77%, 2-0) is making his first road start and really hasn’t been challenged TY. ISU lost almost 50% of their letterman and it will be tough for this team to break an 11 game road losing streak (2-6 ATS run), but they are on a 4-1 SU & 3-1 ATS run. The Hawkeyes may have looked ahead the L2Y with conf road openers on deck but LY’s loss cost them a bowl so they’ll be attentive. Iowa rFr QB Stanzi tossed 3 TD (162 yds, 80%) in his 1st start LW but Ferentz says that the job remains open. Iowa has scored 17+ in just 4 of the last 10 meetings. Despite a 2-6 mark recently, Iowa is 24-11 ATS as a HF while Iowa St is 7-3 ATS in their first road game. LY Iowa St won without an off TD (see PH). Iowa has blown out its 1st 2 foes by a combined 88-3, outgaining them on avg by 266 ypg . Meanwhile, Iowa St has scored 40+ in its 1st 2 (most S/’76) as they’ve taken advantage of TO’s (+6) & ST play but they were outgained by Kent St LW (410-374). FORECAST: IOWA 38 Iowa St 17

OTHER GAMES

Thursday, September 11th - North Carolina at RUTGERS - In 2006 NC was at home (-4) and lost 21-16 but did come up empty on two drives deep into RU territory. They had a TD called back, were SOD and were int’d at the 21. NC has not won a road game outside the state of NC since 2002. An ACC team (Maryland) did come in here (+18’) and delivered another Big Dog Play outright upset in their 34-24 win LY. NC has 18 returning starters and while RU has 15 they must replace their key player RB Rice (2012 rush). The teams are fairly even on off with RU having the D (#32-72) and home edges. NC has a big ST’s edge (#62-116).

Saturday Games - DUKE 38 Navy 27 - The Mids have won 4 in a row vs Duke by an avg score of 35-22. LY QB Lewis threw for 428 yds & WR Riley had 235 yds & 4 TD’s as we won with a 4H College Totals play on OVER 53 and it went over in the 1H! Duke led 43-35 in the 4Q and covered by 11 with Navy getting a FG on the last play for the SU win. Duke has 17 returning starters and an upgrade at coach with Cutcliffe while Navy only has 13 returning starters and loses outstanding Coach Johnson and this is only Niumatalolo’s 3rd game as head man. Navy figures to have a good crowd which negates a home edge. Navy is coming off their Friday night loss to Ball St. SB White has rushed for 476 yds (14.9) in 2 gms. While Navy has the offensive edge (#45-83), Duke has a large defensive edge (#43-112) with a solid D front. Duke is in a new role as they have not been a favoritesince 2005 (-3 vs EC). LW Duke outgained NW 472-328 & outFD’d them 28-14 but key mistakes led to their demise. QB Lewis has 397 pass yds (59%) with a 2-0 ratio while true Fr J Williams has 13 rec (11.8). While Navy leads the series 20-12-5, Duke has a new sheriff in town who has instilled some confidence.

VANDERBILT 37 Rice 27 - Vandy is coming off a huge win at home, defeating S Carolina for a second straight year. Vandy was actually outgained 325-225 in the 24-17 win, but forced 3 SC TO’s. The Commodores have a few extra days of rest but wins are not the norm, and they are just 2-7 ATS after a SU win. Vandy’s QB Nickson has gone 14-22 with a 2-0 ratio vs 2 good defenses and now should have success against LY’s #102 pass D that has allowed 350 ypg in their 1st 2. Rice QB Clement’s numbers are down from where he left off LY (413 ypg pass L4 in ‘07, 288 TY), but he has a 7-2 ratio and is completing nearly 62% during his first 2. Anytime Clement is at the helm the backdoor is open as Rice is 9-4 ATS as an AD. Johnson is 4-8 ATS as a HF and 5-10-1 vs non-conf. Rice has lost 13 in a row SU to BCS conf schools losing by an avg of 32 ppg (lost to Baylor by 25 LY!). Rice is more experienced with 16 ret sts (Vandy 9) but Vandy does have 6 starters back from a D that allowed just 296 ypg at home in ‘07.

Auburn 23 MISSISSIPPI ST 6 - LY we won a 4H LPS on MSU as they upset Aub 19-14 (+13). Aub suffered 5 TO’s in that gm which ended the Tigers’ streak of 14 consec SU wins in SEC openers (12-2 ATS). Aub did outgain MSU LY 323-213 and had outscored them by an avg of 38-7 the 4 years prior. In the L/5Y Auburn is 4-1-1 ATS playing an SEC team with revenge. Tuberville is also 8-1 ATS in SEC openers while MSU has lost 6 straight conf home openers incl 2 straight shutouts and is 2-6 ATS as an SEC HD. Aub QB Todd finally grabbed ahold of the starting job after hitting 21 of 31 for 248 yds LW and will make his 1st road start vs a Bulldogs D that all’d 49% comp at home LY and only 34% the L2W. MSU QB Carroll has avg 165 ypg (56%) with a 3-3 ratio in 2 gms. Aub has a large edge on offense (#40-109) and also an edge on def (#6-35). Aub’s D didn’t give up a pt in the 1st 102 mins of action TY and held SM to 6 yds in the 1Q LW. LY MSU gained just 135 ypg pass (excl Ark) and without the threat of the deep pass Aub will stack the line. This is a legitimate revenge game and Aub has won their L/3 in Starkville by 30 ppg while Miss St is 3-8 as a HD. We went against MSU in their opener and won a 3H LPS on LT and even though Aub has perhaps their most important gm of the season on deck (LSU), they should roll.

Ball St 37 AKRON 30 - The Cardinals are 1-11 S/’96 in road openers with the avg loss by 27 ppg but 10 of those loses were vs BCS teams and LY they won 38-16 (-3’) at E Mich. The HT is 5-1 SU with BSU’s last win here in 1993 (last met ‘05). The Cardinals are 5-1 SU & ATS vs MAC East tms. Akron is 6-3 SU in home openers and this is the final season at the historic Rubber Bowl. Akron covered all 4 in the HD role the L/3Y with 3 outright upsets and almost beat MAC Champ C Mich in ‘07. Akron is off a 42-28 (+4’) win over Syracuse with a 478-353 yd edge but was tied at 28 in the 4Q. Ignore the current stats as Akron has faced the far tougher schedule so far with two BCS conf tms (1-1 SU & 2-0 ATS) on the road. Ball St has the off (#37-79) and D (#82-102) edges.

Toledo 28 E MICHIGAN 24 - Both teams are off losses as DD AD. However Toledo was outgained in their season opener 452-244 by Arizona, while EM was only outgained 418-342 by Mich St, had a TD called back (holding) and was stopped at the 1 yd line on a fake FG. UT HC Amstutz opened 14-0 vs Michigan MAC schools but is on a 1-6 SU run. UT is 14-4 SU vs EM winning by an avg of 21 ppg and losing by an avg of 4 ppg. EM is 3-9 SU in MAC openers but Toledo is 0-5 ATS as an AF. Toledo lost their last trip here but won at home in ’07, 52-28 with a 610-417 yd edge. EM is 3-5-1 as a HD. Toledo rates a large edge on offense (#70-104) but EM has a large ST edge (#64-117) and is at home. The defenses are almost identical (EM #92-UT#94).

MISSOURI 49 Nevada 21 - 1st meeting. In 4 of MU HC Pinkel’s first 5 yrs at Mizzou, the Tigers lost SU to a non-BCS team unexpectedly (BG twice, Troy & NM) but MU has since soared to new heights. Mizzou has won 16 of its L/19 gms going on a 13-3 ATS run during that stretch. The Tigers are 13-1 SU & 9-2 ATS at home s/‘02 vs non-conf tms. MU has the edge on off (#12-25), def (#58-85) & ST (#81-97). Nevada is 1-12 SU & 5-7 ATS vs ranked tms since ‘95. The Wolf Pack is 1-11 SU but is 5-4 ATS away vs BCS tms with the lone SU win at Washington in ‘03 (28-17, +17’). UN HC Ault dropped his first 7 gms as an AD but is 4-2 since. This is the Wolf Pack’s road opener & UN allowed 483 ypg away in ‘07. UN has had 2 road gms vs ranked BCS tms in the L/2Y & mailed it in with losses by an avg of 52-15 (Neb 52-10 in ‘07, ASU 52-21 in ‘06). UN has a bye on deck while MU hosts Buffalo next.

TEXAS TECH 52 Smu 14 - In HC Jones’ first year at Hawaii the team went from 13 ppg to 31 ppg. LW SMU led 30-6, had its 2nd most pass TD’s (Mitchell had 370 yds, 65%, 5-0) in a gm, 1st pair of 100+ WR’s S/’99 and snapped an 11 gm losing streak. The Mustangs have gone 4-1 ATS as a DD dog but have struggled vs Leach’s offense going 1-3 ATS while getting outscored by 34 ppg. Tech has been less than impressive so far with Harrell avg 417 ypg (60%) with just a 3-3 ratio as they were outgained LW 488-421. SMU will catch some tms unprepared for the pass attack but this TT D practices against one of the best daily and saw another mobile QB who likes to throw LW holding Nev’s Kaepernick to 264 yds (not bad for the Pistol off). Leach also has a big ego and will want to show who the state of Texas’ premier pass attack is. Jones said his new offense probably would not hit stride until after Wk 3. Leach is 23-13-1 as a HF and only has a IAA and a bye on deck. TT is 12-0 SU (9-3 ATS) vs SMU S/‘89 winning every gm by DD’s (avg margin of victory 28 ppg) incl 49-9 LY. Harrell has avg’d 381 ypg (72%) with a 9-1 ratio in 2 starts vs SMU (just 6Q’s). Look for the Red Raiders to handle the Mustangs in this old SWC rivalry as Leach can’t be happy with LW’s performance. TT delivered one of our favorite 5H winners of all-time, a 70-10 demolishing (-7) of Neb at home in ‘04. Is SMU next?

NEBRASKA 52 New Mexico St 17 - Nebraska set school records with 677 rush yards and 883 total yards in their last mtg in 1982. Neb was just #84 in pass D LY and lost 6 of their top 8 in the secondary. A surprising stat is that LY Nebraska threw for 324 ypg and NMSt 332, almost identical and both had losing records. Neb has played 2 gms already but this will mark NMSt’s opener (bye & hurricane). Husker QB Ganz is avg 281 ypg (61%) with a 4-3 ratio and the secondary is allowing 279 ypg (60%) with a 2-3 ratio. Aggies are 4-12 as an AD and have their top rivals on deck but they do have a veteran QB in Holbrook. The Aggies were outscored by a 47-18 avg on the road in ‘07. Neb was solid vs WM, but LW led SJSt early 4Q 14-12 before a KR TD & the Spartans lost their starting QB (outgained 353-315). Huskers need a feel-good win and should hold nothing back with a bye on deck. Pelini will have his sights set on a 3-0 start as no tm will be taken lightly after no bowl LY. We have used Nebraska numerous times as 5H’s incl ‘06 when they delivered as the Game of the Year! Will we give Pelini his first honor?

BYU 31 Ucla 23 - 3rd meeting in 370 days and LY the tm that deserved to win lost both. In Sept, BYU had a 435-236 yd edge but lost 27-17. In the bowl UCLA was depleted at QB but had a 316-265 yd edge but had their chip shot 28 yd FG on the gm’s final play blk’d and lost 17-16. UCLA OC Chow spent nearly two decades as OC with BYU. BYU is 8-3 as a HF but UCLA is 5-1 as an AD. UCLA had a bye LW but RB Bell, WR Everett and TE Paulsen are exp to miss here (check status). QB Craft will not be intimidated here as he was thrown in as starter while at SDSt (inj’s to top 4 QB) and hit 20-32 for 216 vs BYU with a couple of 3Q TD drives. BYU is off a 28-27 win (1st non-conf AG win S/’02) vs Wash helped by a very ?? celebration pen (blk xp) after Locker ran it in w/:02 left. QB Hall is avg 412 ypg (78%) with a 5-1 ratio. After a 213 yd performance in the opener, WR Pitta topped 100 LW (10 rec, 17.2 on yr) and RB Unga has 200 yd (4.9). We won a 3H LPS going vs BYU LW playing a P10 team but they win the rubber match against the beaten up Bruins. BYU has delivered numerous 5H GOY’s. Will they get the call again.

Oregon 44 PURDUE 27 - Oreg is 8-1 ATS away vs non-conf and 5-0 ATS away vs the B10 incl LY’s win at Mich. Despite inj’s the Ducks offense (#5) is avg 29 FD/gm, 592 ypg & 55 ppg. QB Roper (concussion in opener) started in their 66-24 wipeout of USU, a 2H winner on these pages, but #1 TB Johnson (shoulder) had to leave the game in the 1st series (check status). Ducks underrated D (#21) has allowed just 2 TD drives by the 1st string so far. The secondary will give Boiler QB Painter his 1st ‘08 test. The Boilers are just 1-5 ATS home vs non-conf and are not as battle tested having only beaten IAA N Col, a game in which they were outFD’d 22-17 & had 2 blk’d P’s set up TD’s. PU is 1-3 as a HD and hasn’t beaten a ranked team at home SU S/’03. In their L/4 vs power teams PU has come up short getting manhandled by Ohio St, Mich, Penn St and Wisky.

TEXAS 48 Arkansas 13 - Texas last hosted Ark in ’03 and was upset (-13’) 38-28 which broke a 20 game home win streak. QB McCoy has put the “soph slump” talk to sleep with a 252 pass ypg avg (76%) with a 7-1 ratio and is also the tm’s top rusher. He will feast on a young Ark secondary that allowed ULM QB Lancaster to throw for 270 yds LW. Ark QB Dick has adjusted well to Petrino’s offense avg 321 ypg (63%) with a 4-1 ratio and has led the tm to wins on their final drives in each of the L2 wks. Hog RB Smith rushed for 157 yds & 2 TD’s after missing the opener (susp). The second mismatch will be an improved UT DL against an Ark OL getting their 1st true test in pass blocking in their first road game. The scheduling edge also goes to UT with Rice on deck and the Hogs having their SEC opener vs Bama. This used to be one of the best rivalries in the NCAA and most assuredly was the focus of UT’s preseason prep with Brown being 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS vs the Hogs. This is the only BCS tm the Horns face in the first 5 wks. UT is 9-3 as a HF of 17+ and we won our Underdog POW on ULM last week as they almost pulled the outright upset. This is a big step up in competition for Petrino & Co after struggling to get past W Ill and ULM in the first 2 wks. Also UA’s young tm (15 true frosh plyd in opener incl 6 starters!), with only 10 starters back from LY, has a more important gm on deck. We have used Ark 6 times as a 5H, will we do it again?

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

TEXAS 48 Arkansas 13 - Texas last hosted Ark in ’03 and was upset (-13’) 38-28 which broke a 20 game home win streak. QB McCoy has put the “soph slump” talk to sleep with a 252 pass ypg avg (76%) with a 7-1 ratio and is also the tm’s top rusher. He will feast on a young Ark secondary that allowed ULM QB Lancaster to throw for 270 yds LW. Ark QB Dick has adjusted well to Petrino’s offense avg 321 ypg (63%) with a 4-1 ratio and has led the tm to wins on their final drives in each of the L2 wks. Hog RB Smith rushed for 157 yds & 2 TD’s after missing the opener (susp). The second mismatch will be an improved UT DL against an Ark OL getting their 1st true test in pass blocking in their first road game. The scheduling edge also goes to UT with Rice on deck and the Hogs having their SEC opener vs Bama. This used to be one of the best rivalries in the NCAA and most assuredly was the focus of UT’s preseason prep with Brown being 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS vs the Hogs. This is the only BCS tm the Horns face in the first 5 wks. UT is 9-3 as a HF of 17+ and we won our Underdog POW on ULM last week as they almost pulled the outright upset. This is a big step up in competition for Petrino & Co after struggling to get past W Ill and ULM in the first 2 wks. Also UA’s young tm (15 true frosh plyd in opener incl 6 starters!), with only 10 starters back from LY, has a more important gm on deck. We have used Ark 6 times as a 5H, will we do it again?

HOUSTON 37 Air Force 24 - 1st meeting. Service Academies have the rep of being great travelers but AF is just 8-13 SU (4-2 ATS LY) on the road. This is UH’s only HG vs a IA foe this month and they are 5-10 ATS in their first lined HG. AF is in a huge MWC sandwich beating WY LW and facing Utah next week. QB Smith has only passed for 90 yds (69%) with a 1-1 ratio but is the #2 rusher (134, 4.2) while Halderman leads with 172 rush yd (19.1!). Hou built a 16-14 HT lead LW (all OKSt pts off UH TO’s) but couldn’t hold off the Cowboys in the 2H in a 56-37 loss, delivering us a 2H College Total win on the OVER. Hou gave up 699 yds ttl off (#2 OKSt hist). QB Keenum is avg 390 ypg (65%) with a 9-0 ratio and his fav target is WR Hafner with 182 rec yds (12.1). While Hou’s DC Skladany has his work cut out facing the OkSt pass attack one week foll by AF’s option this week, AF’s D (only all’d 173 ypg pass w/8 sks in 1st 2) is traveling to take on our #39 off, in their toughest test yet.

OREGON ST 38 Hawaii 17 - OSU returns home for the 1st time this ssn after being hammered in Happy Valley 45-14. LY’s dominating rush D has now allowed 225 rush ypg this ssn after finishing #1 in the NCAA LY giving up just 71 ypg! Riley is 15-0 SU at home vs non-conf opponents (OSU has won 24 straight) and in 2006 his unranked Beavers were fresh off their big win in the Civil War and came away with the upset win on the islands against a #24 Hawaii squad 35-32 (+8’) despite being outgained 504-326. The Warriors actually trailed IAA Weber St 17-7 at the half before establishing themselves in the 2H for the 19 pt win as QB Graunke relieved 1st time starter Funaki (just 87 pass yds). They do have a trip to the Swamp under their belt and a bye next week but are still a young team (8 ret sts) playing in front of a loud Corvallis crowd. While OSU has just 3 starters back on D, they do have one of the top CB combos in the NCAA and were #10 in our pass D rankings LY (153 ypg allowed, 54.5% TY). With OSU off 2 losses and a bye on deck, LY’s Sugar Bowl participant will have their full attention. We’re 2-0 on 5H games involving Oregon St. Do we make it 3-0?

FRESNO ST 27 Wisconsin 23 - Fresno plays “anyone, anywhere, anytime” but this one is in front of the Red Wave. Under Hill, the Bulldogs have hosted 5 current BCS teams going 4-1 SU & ATS. The Bulldogs won 24-7 at Rutgers on Labor Day despite being outFD’d 22-16 as Brandstater and Ajirotutu hooked up for 2 crucial big plays which broke open a scoreless game at the half. Fresno did allow 5.0 ypc rush LY but just 106 yds (3.1) in the opener. UW QB Evridge hit 17-26 for 308 yds as the Badgers scored the gm’s L/51 pts in a 51-14 win over Marshall. RB Hill had only 57 yds LW as the Herd loaded the box. TE Beckum & LB Casillas haven’t played in the 1st 2 but both are expected back here. The Badgers are 0-4 as an AD under Bielema (opened as 1’ fav). FSU upset UW in Madison in 2001 and almost repeated in ‘02 losing 23-21 (+9’). The red t-shirts have been printed all summer with this game being the focus of the season and emotions will be at a crescendo for the “red wave”.

VIRGINIA TECH 21 Georgia Tech 17 - The winner of the four ACC gms in this series has an avg margin of victory of 23 ppg. We used GT as a 3H LPS in their last trip to Blacksburg and they actually dominated leading 38-13 after 3Q as a 10 pt dog! LY we used VT as our Thurs Night ESPN play and they dominated GT on the road 27-3 as a 3 pt dog! This is the first matchup for a Bud Foster D vs a Paul Johnson option offense. GT does have just 9 starters back (VT 10) and their young QB is taking on a confusing D. Johnson is 14-4 ATS as an AD but GT has the youngest squad in the ACC w/75 Fr & So and it showed LW as the offense only managed 235 ttl yds but they somehow pulled out the 19-16 win over BC. RB Dwyer has rushed for 220 yds (7.6) and QB Nesbitt has 110 (4.2). GT has the offensive edge (#59-85) but VT has a slight defensive edge (#36-44) and solid sp tms edge (#50-84). Beamer is 10-3 as a conf DD fav but the dog has been dangerous in this series.

CLEMSON 38 NC State 7 - Clemson has won 4 in a row SU in the series and LY dominated more than the final of 42-20 would indicate as they had 200-1 yard edge after 4 poss and rolled up a 608-192 yard edge. Clemson has avg 269 ypg rush the last 3 meetings. The dog is 5-1 ATS and the visitior is 7-1 ATS in the series. Clemson, who has 16 starters back, is playing their ACC opener in a IAA sandwich so they will give their “A” game especially after their embarrassing 34-10 loss to Bama on National TV in Wk 1. NCSt only has 10 ret starters but O’Brien is 9-3 ATS as an AD. QB Beck, who took over for the inj’d Wilson, has passed for 246 yds (61%) with a 2-1 ratio. Wilson however, is expected to return & start here (check status). RB Brown has rushed for 144 yds (3.8). Clemson is 8-12 as a HF. The Tigers have the edge on both sides of the ball (off #31-97, def #30-83). QB Harper has passed for 380 yds (65%) with a 1-1 ratio. RB Davis has 120 yds (6.3) and Spiller 82 (10.3). When you expect Bowden to win, he tanks so now the Tigers should roll with lowered expectations.

W Michigan 34 IDAHO 17 - This is only Idaho’s 6th non-conf true HG vs a IA tm since moving up to IA in ‘96. LY Idaho hosted N Ill and it was a strange one as the Huskies led 35-7 thanks to 2 return TD’s but only won 42-35. Idaho had a 606-356 yd edge but had 3 long drives in the 4Q with the game out of reach. Cubit is 1-4 as an AF but Akey is 0-5 ATS in the Kibbie Dome. After being demolished in their opener vs Arizona (outgained 521-112), the Vandals beat IAA Idaho St 42-27 thanks to a blocked punt and being +3 TO’s as they only had a 419-397 yd edge and were outFD’d 25-18. WM is off a 3 pt win over NI but were outFD’d 23-19 and outgained 439-384. Idaho has their WAC opener on deck, while WM will host IAA Tenn Tech. Idaho QB Enderle has just 218 total pass yds while WM QB Hiller is avg 264 ypg (64.6%) with a 5-1 ratio (342 yd vs Nebraska). WM has a huge edge on off (#64-118) and def (#70-116) and has traveled to tougher places to play the last couple years (Neb, Iowa, Missou, WV, Fla St & Virginia).

C Michigan 31 OHIO 30 - CM is on an 11-1 run SU away from home vs the MAC (7-3-1 ATS). Rematch of the 2006 MAC Title gm when CM outgained Ohio 457-224. OU has won 5 straight home openers (4 vs IAA), including 2005’s OT upset of Pitt 16-10. CM has the more veteran squad but Solich is 4-2 ATS as a HD. Ohio almost beat Wyoming on the road in Wk 1 and put a scare into #3 Ohio St as they led 14-12 into the 4Q before giving up 14 unanswered pts (2-0 ATS). The Bobcats were only outFD’d 17-15 and outgained 272-254. CM didn’t worry #2 Georgia as they were outgained 552-309. CM is 10-0 SU & 9-1 ATS vs MAC East tms while Ohio is 5-4 SU & ATS vs MAC West tms since 2005. Ohio starting QB Scott was knocked out of the OSU game (check status). His backup Boo Jackson (PS#63JC) had 55 yds rushing but hit just 9 of 25 pass att (86 yd) with 3 int. QB LeFevour is avg 234 ypg (60%) with a 5-1 ratio. CM has the offensive edge (#30-102) but Ohio has the defensive edge (#51-113).

California 31 MARYLAND 17 - 1st meeting. Cal makes their 1st visit to the EST S/’01 fresh off their ssn opening win vs Mich St and LW’s demolition (3H LPS Winner!!) of WSU where they handed the Cougars their most lopsided loss in the 69-game series. The RB duo of Best and Vereen impressed again rushing for a combined 280 yds on just 23 carries (12.2). MD dropped the ball LW against MTSt as QB Turner completed just 46% of his passes w/3 costly int in his 1st start of ‘08. The Terps continued their struggles during the 1st 3 gms of the ssn moving their current ATS run to just 1-12. The Terps are 4-11 ATS vs non-conf opponents but you have to believe the Fridge made this game his main priority in the 1st month of the ssn. Cal has big edges on off (#7-74) and def (#13-62). The Bears have won 5 of 6 road games vs non-conf foes and need a strong showing here to keep up their early ssn momentum in preparation for the rest of their P10 slate.

TCU 41 Stanford 13 - After delivering a winning performance in Wk 1, the Cardinal lost convincingly for the 3rd consec ssn vs ASU LW in Tempe giving us a 4H Top Weekly LPS Winner and now move on to Fort Worth with revenge on their minds after blowing a 31-17 3Q lead to TCU LY in Palo Alto (Stanford is 6-2 ATS in 2nd of a B2B road). TCU is 10-2 SU vs BCS conf schools and comes into this gm somewhat under the radar with all the MWC talk being about BYU and Utah despite solid performances vs NM and IAA foe SF Austin LW. The Frogs are 10-4 as a HF (8-3 as a DD fav) and arguably have the best D in the MWC (165 ttl yds allowed, 3 ppg, 19 ttl FD’s all’d) which could prove to be troublesome for a Stanford team who is making a 2nd straight road trip into a hotter climate.

BUFFALO 20 Temple 17 - This is the MAC opener for both teams. TU was “welcomed” into MAC play LY vs UB as they were outgained 414-141 (-36 yds rush). LY at Buffalo, TU had 11 true Fr play (9 others 1st start), fielding the youngest tm in school history. Buf was 3-1 at home vs the MAC LY with 3 DD wins. Temple is 2-29 SU on the road. Buf is 2-0-1 all-time as a HF. Both teams are very experienced with Temple having all 22 starters back. Both teams are 1-1 SU with loses to Big East teams but are 2-0 ATS. The Owls led Conn 6-0 until the 4Q in a steady rain but lost in OT by 3 and were outFD’d 21-10 and outgained 379-298. The Bulls hung tough with Pitt trailing 17-16 in the 4Q and were only outgained 352-348 (each had 22 FD). Temple has the defensive edge (#48-73) but Buffalo has the offensive edge (#57-112) and the Bulls RB Starks has 276 yds (5.4) which is more than the Owls entire team (212, 3.3). LY’s dominance by Buffalo on the road is worth noting.

TENNESSEE 48 Uab 13 - UAB has already faced CUSA’s #1 team Tulsa (outgained 601-414), the SBC’s #1 team FAU (outgained (554-482) and now travels for a 2nd straight week to face an SEC team. The Blazers finished LY in the bottom 10% in both off and def and while overmatched LY they did cover 4 of their first 5. UAB’s off is led by QB Webb who has avg 248 ypg (54%) with a 4-1 ratio and is also the tm’s top rusher with 202 (5.6). Tenn has had 2 weeks to stew over a Labor Day loss (6-1-1 ATS off a loss) and Fulmer will want to work out his offensive concerns (QB Crompton 19-41 for 189 yds, 1 int) with Florida on deck. The biggest mismatch this week is UAB’s DL which allowed 5.7 ypc rush LY (6.9 TY) vs the Tenn OL which allowed FOUR sks LY and rushed for 5.7 ypc at home vs non-conf. UT was on a 10-26 ATS run as a HF but was 4-1-1 LY. While UT only won their last meeting 17-10 (-21’) in ‘05, they have covered their L/2 at home vs CUSA. UT has large edges on off (#22-94) & defense (#27-114). UAB plays BCS schools tough losing the L/5 but 4 of those were by 10 points or less. UT needs some confidence however and will make a strong showing at home and Fulmer is 17-9-1 ATS off a SU loss since 2000.

East Carolina 27 TULANE 10 - EC is 7-2 SU (3-6 ATS) vs Tulane with both losses being in the dome. The HT is now 7-2 in this series. LY EC jumped out to a 21-6 halftime lead and rolled 35-12 at home (-12). EC is coming off 2 straight upset wins against BCS schools (V Tech, WV) and has another one on deck (NC State). The Pirates controlled the game against WVU, outgaining them 386-251. QB Pinkney has completed an amazing 80% in the first 2, with a 2-0 ratio. The Pirate D held WVU’s explosive QB White to 169 total yds. Tulane is coming off a tough 20-6 loss to Bama in which they outgained the Tide 318-172. TU’s special teams let them down as they allowed a PR TD, missed 2 FG’s (41, 23) and all’d a blk’d punt for a TD. Both teams have veteran squads but this is TU’s 2nd game while EC is in their 3rd (Tulane lost to Houston 34-10 in a similar situation LY). TU is 3-10-1 as a HD and 4-11 ATS in home openers while Holtz is 2-2 as an AF. EC has excelled as a dog but being a big road favorite is another story.

MARSHALL 38 Memphis 26 - LY Memphis won 24-21 with backup Hudgens at QB. He threw for a career high 346 yds as we won our ESPN Thurs Night play. Both teams are coming off losses. Memphis (0-2) dominated early but lost to Rice LW after allowing 29 4Q pts. The Tigers outgained Rice 523-430. QB Hall completed 29-38 (76%) for 373, but threw 2 int, with the 2nd being ret’d for the gm winning score with only :11 left in the gm. Marshall is coming off a loss to Wisc in which they actually led 14-0, before allowing 51 unanswered pts. Marshall HC Snyder is 8-5-1 ATS at home and this is their only IA home opp this month. They have 17 starters back and make our Most Improved list. Memphis is just 2-8 ATS in CUSA road openers and 12-18 in CUSA road gms. The HT has covered all 3 meetings.

CONNECTICUT 31 Virginia 10 - Last year in their first ever meeting the Cavs squeaked out a 17-16 win at home (see PH). Conn has won 8 straight (7-1 ATS) at Rentschler Field and is 24-13-1 ATS at home this decade. The Huskies have 17 ret starters while Virginia has just 11 and has a young QB and OL making their first road trip. LY the Cavs were 3-0 ATS as an AD but in their last rebuilding year (‘06) VA went 0-5 ATS. LW Conn edged out Temple in OT 12-9 on the back of RB Brown who had a career high 214 yds. He helped overcome sloppy play incl 3 missed FG’s that had them trailing 6-0 after 3Q in poor weather conditions (rain/wind). VA pitched a shutout over IAA Richmond 16-0 despite having only a 3 pt lead after 3Q. The Huskies have the off (#58-90) & def (#31-53) edges. HC Edsall will have Conn prepared after LW’s scare and look for the Huskies to avenge LY’s loss

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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Gold Sheet

KEY RELEASES
KANSAS CITY by 14 over Oakland
TAMPA BAY by 20 over Atlanta
OVER THE TOTAL in the Chicago-Carolina game

KEY RELEASES
UCLA by 3 over Byu
OREGON STATE by 26 over Hawaii
FRESNO STATE by 11 over Wisconsin
WASHINGTON Plus over Oklahoma

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Power Sweep

4* Penn St. 52-10
3* Baylor 30-13
3* USF 34-17
2*Notre Dame 23-10
2* South Carolina + 17+-16
2* Iowa 38-17
Underdog Ohio St. + 10

4* Carolina 31-17
3*Houston 28-13
2*Tampa 27-6
2*New Orleans 24-17

3* Titians U39
3*Bills U37
3* Giants 042
2* Falcons U38
2* Patriots U38

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Thanks for putting these up. I've been buying the Sports Reporter since the third issue was publish way back when....32 years ago or so.  But when I went to buy it this week, the price had risen to $8 and issue, and we were getting a Xeroxed copy.

That was it! Ever since former owner Richard Bomze sold out to Winning Points, this rag has done nothing but go downhill and the price rise. The SR always prided themselves on hitting 60% for the year on their Best Bets in the football season, and would post their college basket record right on top when it was BB season.  Now they won't DARE post it.

Two years ago, they had a BB selection on whoever was playing the Broncos at Denver. I'm not going to look up the stat now, but it was something like the Broncos against non-division opponents at home were like 2-12-1 over the last 3-4 years. Great selection and the pick won!  Two weeks later, the same situation appeared. Guess who he picked? DENVER!!! WTF?  I emailed Bobby Smith, their editor, and asked him what was going on and what changed. At the time, I wasn't getting their Mid- Week Update, so I can't say he dropped or changed the pick, but in the following weeks newsletter, he apologized for the Denver selection. Naturally, Denver lost again, but at least I went against them and won with the pick.

This looks like a nice site and I hope to visit it regularly in the weeks to come. I'm involved in the Hilton and Stations Contest and I hope you can get someone to post all the players plays and standings since Feist obviously isn't going to do it this year.  Wonder what happened there.

Keep up the good work and good luck with your site. I'll try and spread the word, and actually have mentioned your site in a few forums already when they asked where they can get Hilton results. I go by "stuckinvegas" at the Rx and Eog.

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Thanks BAGIANT  smile

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Hey BAGiant,

Welcome to the site and thanks for the kind words. It's good to see some new faces around here.

We are for sure going to have something for the Hilton Contest standings. I am putting it together right now with a couple people. We hope to have weeks 1 and 2 by the beginning of week 3. The site still isn't ready and when it is we will have about a week of data entry.

We look forward to reading your posts. If you need anything give us a shout.

Michael Cash
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I don't need anything but winners....which hopefully I'll supply right here.Maybe you've heard of me...maybe you haven't, but I've been a long standing member of Ron Raymonds Phoenix Sports.com. Google me if you want. I specialize in the NFL, and have about 40 years of betting the NFL.  I've taken my lumps over the years, but have learned from every bad beat I had. If you don't learn from your mistakes, then you shouldn't be in this game. I've had 40 years of learning.

I can tell you some theories I have that most won't agree with, but have proven out over the years. I've already stated in another thread about the first game on the board trick! I'll go into more detail later, but it pays to listen instead of calling me full of BS. If not for two bad week 16's in the Hilton and Stations Contests the last two years, I would have been in the money both years. Went 0-5 two years ago and 1-4 last year. This year I'm going to fade myself in week 16! ???

I would like to post the Bookies Battle the Pointspread right here, as well as my Sunday S~H~O~C~K~W~A~V~E, which is my money line underdog picks to win straight up! Makes for good reading, and can turn a profit over the year.  last year wan't great, but two seasons ago I was up over $3000.

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Ron Raymond is very good in the CFL and have followed him for awhile,love his ATS Database trends to  wink

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The Gold Sheet!! Confidential Kick-Off!!
America’s Handicapping Leaders For Over 50 Seasons!

CKO CHOICE IN CAPITALS
* - Denotes Home Team

RATINGS: 11 - Exceptional, 10 - Strong, 9 - Above Average

11 *MICHIGAN STATE over Fla. Atlantic

Late Score Forecast:

*MICHIGAN STATE 45 - Fla. Atlantic 17
Michigan State HC Mark Dantonio has the Spartan program headed in the right direction, as the team has covered 8 of last 12 after a bit of a slow start to his tenure early last season. MSU showed itself to be a bit of a bully last week in manhandling Eastern Michigan 42-10 behind future pro RB Javon Ringer's 5 TDs. Expect MSU QB Brian Hoyer to regain form as he gains rapport with RS frosh WR B.J. Cunningham (8 recs., 17.4 ypc) and vet Mark Dell transitions into his new "go-to" guy to replace Devin Thomas. Florida Atlantic has not been competitive as a big underdog outside of the Sun Belt, dropping 11 of its last 12 spread decisions as a double-digit dog against non-conference foes, with an average margin of defeat of more than 37 points. Owl HC Schnellenberger will take the paycheck and focus on winning the Sun Belt.

10 *SOUTHERN CAL over Ohio State

Late Score Forecast:

*SOUTHERN CAL 37 - Ohio State 16
Southern Cal has made a habit of covering against non-conference foes the last two seasons, covering 8 of last 9 encounters outside Pac-10 play, with the only spread loss coming as a 47-point favorite. The Trojans appear to be as good as advertised, as QB Mark Sanchez' knee appears sound and he was very sharp against the Cavs. Obviously, facing Ohio State is a step up for USC, but the Buckeyes have some questions entering this game. The biggest and most obvious is the health of lead RB "Beanie" Wells. Reporting on Wells' foot injury has been a nightly staple on the Big Ten Network, interesting, since HC Jim Tressel is guarding information on the subject as closely as the Pentagon guards the nuclear launch codes. Buckeye players who were recruited by USC have provided some "locker room" material, but doubt Trojans need more motivation for this game, and they have the better athletes.

10 *AKRON over Ball State

Late Score Forecast:

*AKRON 37 - Ball State 33
he Gold Sheet's MAC scouts were beating a path to the bookmaker early this week, eager to grab substantial points with Akron in its home opener. The Zips are brimming with confidence following their impressive win at Syracuse last week. Versatile sr. RB Dennis Kennedy (originally at Ohio State) is back to his fine 2006 form after an injury-plagued 2007 campaign. And rapidly-maturing jr. QB Chris Jacquemain (68%, 5 TDP, only 1 int. in first 2 games) now has new troika of targets--touted juco Deryn Bowser, converted DB sr. Andre Jones, and West Virginia transfer Jeremy Bruce (combined 24 catches for 285 yards)--in his WR arsenal. Can't knock potent Ball State offense. But Cardinal defense has plenty of holes, and Akron (6-1 last 7 as dog at Rubber Bowl) will find enough of them to have good chance at springing small upset.

10 IOWA STATE over *Iowa

Late Score Forecast:

IOWA STATE 23 -*Iowa 24
Long-time Midwest scouts report that upbeat 2-0 Iowa State has clearly shown it has fully integrated the systems and philosophy of knowledgeable 2nd-year HC Gene Chizik, who has also upgraded recruiting. So they urge us to take generous DD spread vs. Iowa squad that hasn't proven much by whipping outclassed Maine and Florida International. Cyclones will continue to effectively rotate soph QBs, 6-3 Arnaud (77%) and athletic, swift 6-1 Bates (138 YR so far), both of whom have shown they can take full advantage of a variety of weapons, including go-to sr. WR Sumrall (54 recs. LY; 8 TY) and versatile soph RB A. Robinson (465 YR & 23 catches last 5 games), who returns to action after missing Kent State with a bruised leg. Rebuilding Hawkeye defense (just 5 starters back; new CBs) will be hard-pressed to contain nicely-balanced, growing ISU attack. Meanwhile, expect Iowa's new starting soph QB Stanzi, who replaces inconsistent jr.Christensen, to make a few miscues vs. maturing, fired-up Cyclone defense, which has limited hated rival to 17 pts. or fewer in 3 of past 4 meetings. History repeats in a bitter rivalry recently dominated by Cyclones, who've covered 9 of past 10!

10 MIAMI at *Arizona

Late Score Forecast:

MIAMI 20 - *Arizona 17

(Sunday, September 14)

Expect Miami to improve substantially now that unusual Pennington-vs.-Favre, Dolphins-Jets first game is out of the way. CKO insiders say no-nonsense Dolphin HC Tony Sparano, an OL guru as an assistant, is quite pleased with the potential of the Miami OL, especially rugged rookie top-pick LT Jake Long, second-year C Samson Satele, and powerful former LT-turned-RT Vernon Carey. Thus, expect Dolphins to begin running with more authority as that unit jells in front of hard-running Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown. Chad Pennington (2 TDP in opener vs. his former team) figures to be a good ball-control caretaker of the offense. So Arizona best not be full of itself after its Game One victory over still-marginal S.F. and QB J.T. O'Sullivan in his first start. Cards 0-5 last 10 years laying more than 7 points!

TOTALS: UNDER the total in the Michigan-Notre Dame game--Neither offense figures to improve a great deal in just one week. Both coaches leaning on their defenses in early going...OVER (47) in the Philadelphia-Dallas game (Monday Night)--Philly has a healthy QB McNabb & RB Westbrook, and the Cowboys might have the best offense in the NFL.

HONORABLE MENTION (Nine-Rated Games): KANSAS (+3½) over South Florida (Friday Night)--Kansas is on a 16-3 spread roll, and QB Reesing completed 84% (!) against La Tech last week while UCF took S. Florida to OT...PENN STATE (-26½) over Syracuse--Orangemen showing few signs of life, while explosive Penn State well-focused following off-field distractions...OHIO (+3½) over Central Michigan--See value in backing Bobcats as a home dog. Ohio dropping back into their own class after two tough road losses (but covers) at Wyo & Ohio State...MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE (+16½) over Kentucky--Blue Raiders have covered 4 of last 5 outside of Sun Belt play, and QB Joe Craddock has new weapons in frosh WRs McDonald & Beyah. CHICAGO (+3) vs. Carolina--Bears' rookie RB Forte & a healthy LB Urlacher the missing ingredients for Chicago's defense-first, no-mistakes-on-offense, win-with-special-teams Super Bowl formula.

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Gold Sheet Key Releases

College:
UCLA by 3
Oregon State by 26
Fresno State by 11
Washington Plus over OU

Pro:
KC by 14
TB by 20
Chi-Car Over

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are you in the Hilton this year BA? If so what is your team name?

Michael Cash
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Re: Football Newsletters Sept 9/11 - 9/17

Marc Lawrence  2-MINUTE HANDICAP

FRIDAY. SEPT 12
Kansas 3-0 L3 vs Big East opp… 4-1 favs Game Three… 4-1 off non conf H win 21 > pts… 5-2 in 1st RG… 2-7 as RF’s off BB HG     

S FLORIDA 3-0 Weekday HG… 5-2 as HF/HD 4 < pts… 5-2 H bef BB RG… 5-2 Game Three… 0-2 aft C Florida   


SATURDAY, SEPT 13


Auburn SERIES: 5-1 L6 / 3-0 A… 6-0 bef LSU… 4-0 in 1st RG… 4-1 w/ conf rev… 1-4 L5 as DD RF’s   


MISSISSIPPI ST 5-1 H off SU W vs opp w/ rev… 0-4 in 2nd of BB HG… 1-5 as HD’s > 7 pts… 2-5 Game Three 


Nevada 6-1 Game Three… 4-1 in 1st of BB RG… 5-2 off SU non conf home loss… 1-4 as non conf DD RD’s


MISSOURI 4-0 L4 vs WAC opp… 6-1 in 2nd of 3 straight HG… 5-1 as non conf favs 14 > pts… 4-1 home Game Three


Smu  5-1 off unlined SU W… 1-9 L10 vs Big 12 opp… 1-4 as dogs 24 > pts… 2-8 Game Three     


TEXAS TECH SERIES: 3-1 L4 / 3-0 H… 8-0-1 in 1st of BB HG… 5-2 as DD favs vs non conf opp w/ rev… 0-4 off SU non conf road win… 4-12 Game Three (3-7 as favs)   


Ucla  SERIES: 5-0 L5… 8-1 as non conf dogs 3 > pts… 4-1 bef HG vs Arizona… 8-2 A vs non conf opp w/ rev… 5-2 Game Two   


BYU 9-2 L11 as non conf HF’s (4-1 favs < 10)… 5-2 H w/ non conf rev for regular season SU L… 3-12 Game Three… 3-7 H vs Pac 10 opp
   
       
Oregon 9-0 in 1st RG…  8-1 A vs non conf… 8-2 Game Three… 0-3 off BB SU H wins


PURDUE 4-1 as non conf HD’s 4 > pts… 5-2 off unlined SU win… 0-3 in 2nd of 3 straight HG… 2-5 dogs in Game Two 


Arkansas  SERIES: 4-0 L4… 7-2 as non conf dogs 8 > pts… 0-4 bef Alabama… 1-6 Game Three… 1-4 dogs off BB HG… 1-3 in 1st RG


TEXAS  4-0 as favs 24 < pts in 1st of BB HG… 0-6 L6 vs SEC opp… 1-7 bef Rice… 3-7 Game Three… *3-7 as non conf favs 13 < pts


Georgia 5-2 in 1st RG… 0-3 as favs in 1st of BB RG… 1-3 in 1st Conf gm… 3-7 as conf RF’s 3 > pts

S CAROLINA 5-2 aft Vanderbilt… 0-5 as HD’s vs conf opp w/ rev… 1-4 as HD’s off SU road fav L… 1-3 Game Three


Wisconsin  6-2 as favs 14 < pts in Game Three… 5-2 in 1st RG… 1-4 bef RG vs Michigan… 1-4 as non con RF’s 6 > pts


FRESNO ST 7-0 off SU road dog W… 7-1 L8 as non conf HD’s… 5-2 dogs in Game Two… 1-5 aft Weekday gm

Penn St SERIES: Visitor 3-1… 6-1 Game Three… 0-4 in 1st RG… 0-7 bef Temple… 1-9 L10 vs Big East opp


SYRACUSE 23-5 in 2nd of BB HG… 7-2 Game Three… 7-2 as non conf HD’s… 9-3 off non conf home W


Michigan 4-0 bef Wisconsin… 4-1 Game Three… *0-7 as non conf RF’s… 1-9 in 1st RG


NOTRE DAME SERIES: 3-1 L4 H… 3-1 Game two… 0-4-1 L5 w/ rev… 1-8 in 2nd of BB HG… 1-5 as HD’s < 13 pts


Georgia Tech 5-1 dogs in 2nd of BB RG… 4-1 as conf dogs > 7 pts… 6-2 away w/ conf rev…             1-3 Game Three


VA TECH SERIES: 4-1 L5… 8-2 Game Three… 9-3 vs conf opp / rev…  7-3 favs off unlined SU win 21 > pts… 1-4 favs in 2nd of BB HG                       


NC State SERIES: 4-1 L5 A… 8-1 as conf dogs 8 > pts… 7-3 dogs w/ conf rev… 0-5 off unlined SU W… 1-3 bef E Carolina


CLEMSON SERIES: 4-1 L5… 4-1 September vs conf opp… 4-1 Game Three… 4-1 vs conf opp w/ rev… 1-4 in 2nd of BB HG

Uab 6-0 dogs 4 > pts in 2nd of BB RG… 4-1 away vs SEC opp… 9-3 as dogs 20 > pts… 5-2 Game Three 


TENNESSEE 5-0 as DD non conf favs… 6-1 in 1st of BB HG… 5-2 off SU road fav L… 0-2 off Weekday gm… 1-4 Game Two
   
     
Oklahoma 4-1 Game Three… 4-1 off BB HG… 2-6 as favs vs Pac 10 opp… 3-8 as RF’s 20 < pts off BB SU W


WASHINGTON  5-1 home Game Three… 0-3 bef Stanford… 1-4 in 2nd of BB HG… 1-4 as dogs 20 < pts off BB SU L


Ohio State SERIES: 0-5 SU / 0-3 SU A… 5-1 as non conf dogs vs opp off SUATS W… 4-1 off BB HG… 4-1 away aft MAC gm… 5-2 Game Three


USC 7-0 as HF’s off SU W 28 > pts… 5-0 as favs vs Big 10 opp… 5-1 Game Two… 9-2 w/ rest… 2-7 bef RG vs Oreg St
   
       
Unlv 0-7 in 2nd of BB RG… 1-8 aft Utah… 1-6 Game Three


ARIZONA ST 5-1 in 3rd of 3 straight HG… 6-2 Game Three… 8-3 aft Stanford… 5-2 as non conf favs 17 > pts                   


*ADDED GAMES

La-Lafayette 1-9 w/ rest… 1-7 off SU L 21 > pts… 1-6 Game Two… 3-7 as dogs > 17 pts


ILLINOIS 5-2 Game Three… 5-2 bef Penn St… 3-13 favs > 3 pts in 2nd of BB HG… 2-6 off SU unlined W


N Texas  0-8 Game Three… 0-5 L5 vs SEC opp… 1-7 in 1st of BB RG


LSU 5-1 Game Three… 9-2 as non conf favs 21 > pts… 11-4 bef Auburn


NFL

Oakland 4-16 A vs opp w/rev…1-4 Game Two


KANSAS CITY SERIES: 1-4 L5 H / series host 0-9… 4-1 Game Two


Tennessee 5-0 RD’s off SU dog win… SEPT: 6-1 off div game vs opp off SU loss… 2-6 Game Two


CINCINNATI 0-6 H vs non div opp off SU win… 0-5 AFC favs off DD ATS loss…  LEWIS: 0-7 fav off DD SU loss…2-6 O/U Game Two


Indianapolis SEPT: 6-0 RF’s vs non div opp…9-1 bef Jaguars


MINNESOTASERIES: 3-1 L4…9-0 HD’s w/rev off div game…1-8 O/U Game Two


New Orleans SERIES: 4-1 L5 A… 5-1 O/U Game Two


WASHINGTON 10-1 dogs after scoring < 10 pts vs opp off SU win… 1-10 < .500 HF’s vs opp off SU win…SEPT: 1-9 H off SU loss…1-6 O/U Game Two


Green Bay SERIES: 4-0 L4 / 3-1 L4 A… SEPT: 2-9 off div game vs opp w/rev (McCarthy 1-5)…3-0 O/U Game Two


DETROIT SEPT: 7-0 H off non div SUATS loss… 1-5 Game Two


Chicago SERIES: 1-4 L4… SMITH: 5-0 A vs opp off SU dog win


CAROLINA  0-12 favs Game One –Six vs .500 > opp… 0-7 favs 1st HG…SEPT: 1-6 favs w/rev
                                       off non div game


NY Giants SERIES: 4-0 L4… 12-3 A when O/U line 42 > pts…6-2 Game Two


ST. LOUIS  SEPT: 6-1 HD’s…0-6 off DD SU loss vs .500 > non div opp… 1-6 Game Two


Buffalo SEPT: 8-1 A vs opp off SU loss…14-3 Game Two


JACKSONVILLE SEPT: 8-1 vs non div opp off SUATS win …SEPT: 9-2 H vs non div opp…0-4 O/U Game Two


Atlanta  5-0 A vs opp off SU dog win… 6-1 off DD SU dog win vs div opp… 0-8 dogs off SU win vs opp who allowed 21 > pts LG…SEPT: 1-6 dogs off SUATS win

TAMPA BAY 9-0 favs 4 > pts off DD ATS loss… SEPT: 9-2 off SU div loss… 1-6 O/U Game Two


San Francisco SEPT: 10-1 vs opp off DD SU loss…SEPT: 7-1 off SU loss… 1-7 < .500 dogs off div game w/rev vs div opp


SEATTLE SERIES: 3-1 L4 H…SEPT: 10-1 vs opp off DD SU loss…8-2 Game Two… 1-8 H off non div SUATS loss vs div opp… HOLMGREN: 2-10 fav off DD SUATS loss


Miami SERIES: 3-0 L3… 10-1 non div dogs 6 > pts…8-2 A vs NFC opp… 2-22 O/U Game Two


ARIZONA 1-7 .500 > off div game… 1-4 Game Two     


New England 5-1 Game Two… BELICHICK: 11-2 vs div opp off SUATS win


NY JETS SERIES: 2-6 L8 / 0-9 L9 H / Series Host 3-16…  SEPT: 1-7 H off SUATS win


Baltimore SEPT: 5-1 dogs off div game vs non div opp… 4-0 O/U Game Two


HOUSTON  SEPT: SU winner 18-2 Texans’ games… 7-1 w/rev vs .500 > opp off DD ATS win…1-5 Game Two… KUBIAK: 7-1 H vs opp off SU win


San Diego SERIES: 4-0 L4…SEPT: 10-1 A vs opp w/rev… 4-1 O/U Game Two


DENVER 15-2 off DD SU win w/rev vs div opp… 0-3 Game Two… SHANAHAN: 12-4 w/div revenge vs opp off loss


Pittsburgh SERIES: 8-1 L9 / 5-0 L5 A… 1-8 A vs div opp off DD SU loss… TOMLIN: 0-5 A off SU win


CLEVELAND  10-0 off non div game vs opp off non div game…  SEPT: 8-0 vs opp favored last game… 7-0 off SU loss 17 > pts… 8-1 Game Two… 1-8 dogs off non div game vs div opp off DD SU win…2-10 H w/rev off non div game vs div opp


MONDAY, SEPT 15
Philadelphia  SERIES: 3-1 L4 / 3-1 L4 A… REID: 7-0 SUATS Mondays off win 7 > pts


DALLAS  5-1 Game Two… SEPT: 2-10 favs vs .500 > opp… PHILLIPS: 12-3 H off win vs opp off win

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Red Sheet

Air Force 38 - HOUSTON 24 - (3:30 EDT) -- Line opened at Houston minus 3½, & is now minus 5. The Falcons are one of the top spread streakers, & are currently on a nice 8-1 run vs the pts.And, as usual, they are doing it with their splendid overland game, which has piled up 694 yds thus far. Defensively, they've allowed a total of only 18 FDs in the early going, & caused 5 TOs in last week's 23-3 demolition of a decent Wyoming squad. Not the best of teams for this Cougar "D' to face on the heels of allowing nearly 700 yds, 379 of which came on the ground. The Coogs can crank it up, overhead, with Keenum tossing 9 TD passes already,but are on an 0-6 spread run, by 70½ pts. Love the underdog role here.RATING: AIR FORCE 89

MICHIGAN STATE 47 - Florida Atlantic 17 - (Noon) -- Line opened at MichiganSt minus 16½, & is now minus 17. Simply no questioning the improvement of the Spartans since no-nonsense coach Dantonio arrived in East Lansing a year ago. From 3 consecutive losing seasons, to a near upset of BostonCollege in the '07 Champs Sports Bowl. MichiganSt is on a nice 8-3-2 spread run, with 1 of those misses by a mere ½ pt in its opening 30-23 loss at California,so note the Bears' 66-3 romp over WashingtonSt last week. With Ringer off a 5-TD game, & veteran Hoyer doing the tossing, see no letup, as the Owls, behind QB Rusty Smith, were also a bowl team LY. Thus, you have total focus with the better team.RATING: MICHIGAN STATE 89

CLEMSON 48 - North Carolina State 10 - (Noon) -- Line opened at Clemson minus 19½, & is now minus 18½. To say that the Tigers laid an egg in their opening week game with Alabama, would be a gigantic understatement. They ranked 9th entering that one, & crawled away with a 34-10 loss, in which they were outrushed by an incomprehensible 239-0, with their pair of stellar RBs, Harper & Stiller, being completely shackled. But got off the mark last week vs the Citadel (who wouldn't?), & should keep it going vs an NCSt team which has amassed a total of 21 FDs in its 2 games to date, & has little or no overland game to take much needed time off the clock. And a year ago, Clemson had a 608-202 yd edge vs Wolfpack.RATING: CLEMSON 88

TCU 45 - Stanford 13 - (7:00 -- Line opened at TCU minus 13½, & is now minus 12½. In '05 & '06, the Frogs
were one of the best propositions in college ball, with their near weekly routs. But a year ago, it took them 9 games to approach their recent profitable status. So note their current 5-1 spread run, with their only miss by just 1 pt. This season, they have a highly impressive 49-19 FD edge & that includes a 20-9 edge over always dangerous NewMexico. The Cards have had their moments, to be sure, including their epic upset of USC LY, & have a solid run "D", but note that they have been outscored by 60 pts in their last 3 RGs. RATING: TCU 88

FRESNO STATE 35 - Wisconsin 20 - (10:30 - ABC) -- Line opened at Wisconsin minus 2, & is now minus 1½. As you know, we had the Bulldogs in their opening week tussle with Rutgers, & did not like what we were witnessing in the first half, when they were badly outplayed, but managed to escape with a 0-0 tie at intermission. And then they did what we expected, with a 24-7 win, behind the running of Matthews (163 yds & 3 TDs), & the passing of Brandstater. Are now on a 7-2 ATS run, covering their last 2 by 36 pts. The 10th ranked Badgers came from 404 RYs to 158 in a week, & have allowed >30 pts in their last 4 RGs. RATING: FRESNO STATE 88

Pittsburgh 31 - CLEVELAND 20 - (8:15 - NBC) -- Line opened at Pittsburgh minus 4, & is now minus 5. Weoriginally gave the Browns the benefit of the doubt in this one, figuring that they just couldn't be "one-year wonders", as they lit it up with regularity a year ago. Sure, they did absolutely nothing right in their hometown 28-10 wipeout loss to the Cowboys, with a FD deficit of 30-11, along with a 488-205 yd disadvantage. But the Steelers provided the perfect opponent in which to erase the sudden doubts, with this NBC Sunday Nighter. But respected sources tell us that the Browns are simply not in the class of this Pitt team which opened impressively:Ben 13-of-14, & 138 RYs from Parker. Spread reasonable.RATING: PITTSBURGH STEELERS 88

NEAR CHOICES (Rated 87): Oregon, Missouri, BoiseSt, OregonSt - NFL: NewOrleans, J'Ville, Philly LINE MOVES (from largest to smallest moves): NotreDame (+4 to +1); Kansas (+6 to +3½); Duke (Pick to -2½); OregonSt (-9½ to -12); California (-11½ to -14); Baylor (+5 to +2½); Buffalo (-4 to -6½); UCLA (+10½ to +8½); Oregon (-5 to -7); Rice (+8½ to +7); Nevada (+28 to +26½); Houston (-3½ to -5); Syracuse (+28 to +26½); USC (-9 to -10½); BowlingGreen (+17 to +15½); WesternKy (+29 to +27½); NoTexas (+42½ to +41)

NFL: Chicago (+6½ to +3); NYGiants (-6 to -8½); Cincinnati (+1 to -1); Miami (+8 to +7); Washington (Pick to -1); Pittsburgh (-4 to -5) - TIME CHANGES: Toledo/EasternMich: now Noon; SanJoseSt/SanDiegoSt (now 8:00) - KEY INJURIES: LaLafayette RB (concussion) probable; Marshall TE Slate (knee) probable;Navy QB Kaheaku-Enhada (hamstring) probable; Nevada RB Lippincott (knee) out; OhioSt RB Wells (foot) probable; SoCarolina WR McKinley (hamstring) doubtful; Texas A&M RB Goodson (knee) probable; Texas A&M QB McGee (shoulder) questionable; Vanderbilt WR Smith (foot) doubtful....

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