Friday Football News and Notes

Friday Football News and Notes

Kansas at USF
Brian Edwards

Kansas came out of nowhere to put together a magical 2007 season, winning 12 of 13 games, including a 24-21 win over Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. Most importantly for our purposes, the Jayhawks cashed tickets at an incredible 11-1 against-the-spread clip.

With that said, there were skeptics (my hand is raised) who felt KU would come back to the pack this season even though it had six starters returning on offense and nine on defense. Why, you ask? Well, Mark Mangino’s team unquestionably had the benefit of a great schedule last year.

In other words, the Jayhawks didn’t have to play three of the Big 12’s premier teams – Texas, Oklahoma and Texas Tech. This time around, KU plays all three of those programs. Also in 2007, KU faced this quartet of non-conference foes: Central Michigan, SE Louisiana, Toledo and Florida International.

But in coming to Tampa to face South Florida (2-0 straight up, 0-1 ATS), Mangino’s program has certainly stepped up to the plate to not only face a quality opponent, but to do so on the road in a tough environment.

When I say ‘tough environment,’ I’m talking about coming to the Sunshine State during mid-September when the humidity is absolutely brutal. Sure, it gets hot in Kansas, but you can’t prepare for the type of heat you deal with in Tampa this time of year. It’s the equivalent of playing in Boston, New York or Buffalo in December.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened USF as a four-point favorite with a total of 53. As of Thursday morning, most spots had the Bulls marked as 3½-point ‘chalk.’ Kansas (2-0 SU, 1-11 ATS) is plus 140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

The Bulls beat UT-Martin 56-7 in their non-lined season opener. In Week 2, they had to go to overtime before capturing a 31-24 win at UCF. However, the Knights took the cash as 13 ½-point underdogs. The 55 combined points slipped ‘over’ the 48-point total thanks to the extra session.

Matt Grothe threw for 346 yards and three touchdowns, including a 25-yard scoring strike to Taurus Johnson for the game winner in OT. Johnson finished the game with six receptions for 143 yards.

Jim Leavitt’s squad appeared to be en route to a comfortable victory when it held a 14-point lead late in the fourth quarter. But UCF scored a pair of TDs in a 66-second stretch and knotted the game at 24-24 with 1:40 remaining.

From a statistical perspective, the Bulls dominated UFC. They netted 504 total yards compared to just 226 for the Knights. Nevertheless, it took overtime to escape Orlando with the ‘W.’

KU goes on the road for the first time here after notching home wins over Florida International (40-10 as a 37-point favorite) and La. Tech (29-0 as a 22-point ‘chalk’). Junior QB Todd Reesing, who was a second-team All Big 12 selection after posting a 33/7 TD-INT ratio last year, has picked up right where he left off.

Reesing was flawless against the Ragin’ Cajuns, connecting on 32-of-38 passes for 412 yards, three TDs and zero interceptions. For the season, he has completed 76.7 percent of his throws for 668 yards with a 6/1 TD-INT ratio. Obviously, those are Heisman-like numbers that Reesing takes into this nationally-televised contest.

Senior WR Dexton Fields will not be available, though. Fields left the FIU game with a leg injury and did not play against La. Tech. He has been downgraded to “out” this week. Fields had 63 catches for 834 yards and six TDs in 2007.

Also, the Jayhawks are most likeley going to be missing starting CB Kendrick Harper, who left last week’s game on a stretcher after sustaining a neck injury.

Sophomore WR Dezmon Briscoe has been Reesing’s biggest playmaker, hauling in 16 receptions for 201 yards and four TDs. Junior RB Angus Quigley leads KU in rushing with 131 yards on just 21 carries.

Both of USF’s top running backs are “questionable” this week. Sophomore Mike Ford, who averaged 4.7 yards per carry and had 12 rushing touchdowns in 2007, sprained his ankle in Week 1 and missed last week’s game against UCF. Ben Williams, who had six TDs last year and averaged 4.0 YPC, also has a sprained ankle.

Mangino’s team was a road underdog only once last season, winning 30-24 at Kansas St. as a three-point ‘dog. As for USF, it went 5-1 SU and 4-1 ATS at home in 2007. The Bulls went 3-1 ATS as home favorites last year and are 14-7 ATS as home ‘chalk’ since 2001.

These schools have only met once when KU collected a 13-7 win as a 3 ½-point home ‘chalk’ in 2006.

ESPN2 will provide television coverage at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--As of 12:55 p.m. Eastern on Thursday, various media outlets are reporting that Ohio St. RB Beanie Wells has been downgraded to "doubtful" at USC due to lingering soreness in the foot he injured in Week 1.

--I talked to South Carolina play-by-play announcer Mike Morgan via e-mail on Wednesday, and Morgan told me he would be “shocked” if the Gamecocks’ stud WR Kenny McKinley plays Saturday against Georgia.

--Ohio State hasn’t been a double-digit underdog since it beat Miami 31-24 as a 12-point ‘dog in the 2002 BCS title game.

--Maryland has been a double-digit underdog at home just four times during Ralph Friedgen’s eight-year tenure. The Terrapins, who are 14-point home ‘dogs against Cal this week, are 1-3 both SU and ATS in those four spots. They beat FSU outright 20-17 as 11-point home ‘dogs in 2004.

--Virginia starting QB Peter Lalich won't make the trip to UConn this week, head coach Al Groh announced Wednesday night. Lalich is being left behind to concentrate on legal issues. The Cavs will give sophomore Marc Verica the first start of his career. He can't do much worse than Lalich, right? Lalich has a 0/3 TD-INT ratio and has led UVA to just 23 points in two games.

--Nevada suffered a huge loss when senior RB Luke Lippincott tore his ACL in last week’s 35-19 defeat to Texas Tech. Lippincott, who led the WAC in rushing with 1,420 yards and 15 TDs in 2007, is out for the season. The Wolfpack are huge underdogs Saturday at Missouri.

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: Friday Football News and Notes

INDIAN COWBOY'S NCAAF RESEARCH

Kansas vs. South Florida


Note that South Florida returns home after an extremely tough battle against UCF where they did not cover and managed to get out alive with a victory in an in-state battle. Remember, South Florida went into that game as a 2 touchdown favorite and failed to cover. They do return home where the last opponent they played at home they defeated 56-7 against Tennessee Martin. There was no spread for this game. Kansas is 1-1 ATS this year as they failed to cover the first game against Florida International as the spread was 30, but did manage to cover the 21 point spread against La Tech winning 29-0. Kansas returns a startling 10 on defense and 7 on offense and this team does have a higher ranking coming into this game at 12th. South Florida currently sits at 17th. Grothe was the leading rusher for South Florida last year and the last 2 years in fact and he returns to the helm once again this year for the Bulls. These 2 teams met back in 2006 where the final score was actually 13-7 in a hard fought defensive battle. Todd Ressing for Kansas has thrown for 6 touchdowns and 1 interception thus far while Grothe has thrown for 5 touchdowns and 2 picks, although Ressing's numbers look better - of course, it's arguable that South Florida faced a tougher competition on the road. There are 2 additional Kansas freshman that are cleared to play for this game. The line that opened up for this game opened up at -4 and has gone down to -3.5, it has come down slightly with the public's preference to Kansas on the highway.

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Line on the move as Ike forces Washington St.-Baylor to Friday
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

WACO, Texas (AP) -The Washington State-Baylor football game has been moved up to Friday night to avoid complications with Hurricane Ike on the Texas coast this weekend.

The game was originally scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Saturday to be broadcast on FSN. Kickoff is now scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday night.

Oddsmakers opened the Bears as 1 1/2-point favorites, but some have moved that number up to -3. Other books have taken the game off the board completely. There was no total posted as of Friday morning.

Baylor officials said the approaching hurricane would cause travel problems for Washington State fans, as well FSN production crews, many of who are in the greater Houston area. Houston may be directly impacted by Ike.

Baylor officials said television or webcast information of the game could be announced later.

Texas had already postponed its game Saturday against Arkansas in Austin, about 100 miles south of Waco. TCU, which is located in Fort Worth about 100 miles north of Waco, moved kickoff for its game Saturday against Stanford from 6 p.m. to noon.

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Kansas Jayhawks vs. South Florida Bulls

Oddsmakers currently have the Bulls listed as 3½-point favorites versus the Jayhawks, while the game's total is sitting at 47.

Kansas stiffled Lousiana Tech in Week 2, holding their opposition scoreless in an easy 29-0 victory.

The Jayhawks managed to cover the 21-point spread in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the posted total (52.5).

South Florida put up a touchdown in overtime in Week 2 to pull out a 31-24 win over Central Florida.

The Bulls failed to cover the 13.5-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the night's posted total (47.5).

Current streak:
Kansas has won 2 straight games.
South Florida has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Kansas: 2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS
South Florida: 2-0 SU, 0-1 ATS

Kansas most recently:
When playing in September are 8-2
When playing on grass are 6-4
After outgaining opponent are 9-1
When playing outside the conference are 9-1

South Florida most recently:
When playing in September are 8-2
When playing on grass are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When playing outside the conference are 9-1

A few trends to consider:
Kansas is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Kansas is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
Kansas is 14-1 SU in its last 15 games
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kansas's last 5 games on the road
South Florida is 10-2 SU in its last 12 games at home
South Florida is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games

Next up:
Kansas home to Sam Houston State, Saturday, September 20
South Florida at Florida International, Saturday, September 20


Washington State Cougars vs. Baylor Bears

Oddsmakers currently have the Bears listed as 1-point favorites versus the Cougars, while the game's total has not yet been posted.

Nico Grasu booted a field goal for Washington State's only points in their 66-3 loss to California in Week 2.

The Golden Bears had no trouble covering the 13.5-point spread in that contest, while the combined score went OVER the posted total (51.5).

Current streak:
Washington State has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Washington State: 0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS
Baylor: 1-1 SU, 0-1 ATS

Washington State most recently:
When playing in September are 5-5
When playing on grass are 4-6
After being outgained are 6-4
When playing outside the conference are 7-3

Baylor most recently:
When playing in September are 6-4
When playing on grass are 3-7
After outgaining opponent are 5-5
When playing outside the conference are 5-5

A few trends to consider:
Washington State is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
Washington State is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games
Washington State is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games on the road
Baylor is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games at home
Baylor is 1-9 SU in its last 10 games

Next up:
Washington State home to Portland State, Saturday, September 20
Baylor at Connecticut, Friday, September 19

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Kansas, South Florida eye climb in rankings
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) -The similarities between No. 13 Kansas and No. 19 South Florida don't end with the Jayhawks and Bulls both having mobile quarterbacks who run, throw and - most of all - win.

The teams, relative newcomers to the college football spotlight, burst onto the scene a year ago when each climbed as high as No. 2 before falling out of contention for a spot in the BCS Championship Game.

Both began this season ranked in the Top 25 - a first for South Florida - and view their nationally televised matchup Friday night as a chance to showcase what their programs are all about.

''This is a statement game for both of us,'' USF All-American defensive end George Selvie said.

''It's a Friday night game. Everybody in the nation is going to be watching us, two ranked teams going head-to-head. Both of us have got something to prove. The nation doesn't know if we're for real or not.''

The Jayhawks agree.

''It is a big game for us to go play a ranked team like ourselves,'' Kansas cornerback Chris Harris said. ''Everyone says we always play cupcakes, so this is about respect for us, playing a team that is ranked. We are going to try and prove that we should be ranked higher.''

The Jayhawks (2-0) and Bulls (2-0) have come a long way from the first meeting between the teams two years ago. Kansas won 13-7 in Lawrence after neither managed to score in the opening half.

Kansas coach Mark Mangino recalled walking away that night feeling USF, whose program was launched from scratch a little over a decade ago, had a bright future under Jim Leavitt, who worked with Mangino for five years while they were assistants at Kansas State.

''I realized that they had some really talented players,'' Mangino said.

''We thought that the quarterback had the potential to be pretty good, but he was young when he was here. Their defense was as good as any that we had played that year in the Big 12.''

That quarterback is Matt Grothe, who has developed into one of the country's top dual threats. He was USF's leading rusher last season and equally capable of shredding defense throwing the ball.

He reminds some Kansas players of the Jayhawks' Todd Reesing, who has thrown for 668 yards and six touchdowns in two games.

''He is a lot like some of the quarterbacks in the Big 12. Most of our quarterbacks can run and throw. It's not something that we haven't seen before, but it is something that will prepare us better for our conference games,'' Kansas safety Darrell Stuckey said.

Grothe conceded there are similarities, adding that both defenses should know what to expect Friday night.

''They see the same type of quarterback all year (in practice),'' said the junior, who threw for 346 yards and three TDs in South Florida's 31-24 overtime win at UCF last week.

''They do some similar things that we do. Both sides of the ball,'' Leavitt added. ''They are very good at what they're doing. They've got a tremendous quarterback. They're a good football team all the way through.''

Reesing has a trio of receivers who rank among the nation's leaders, beginning with Kerry Meier, who has 18 receptions in two games. Dezmon Briscoe has 16 catches and four touchdowns, while Daymond Patterson has 11 catches.

One of the keys for South Florida figures to be getting pressure on Reesing, who has thrown one pick in 90 pass attempts this season.

''I don't know if it's so much with him or anybody, you always want to try to get some pressure somewhere at certain times,'' Leavitt said.

''He's seen a lot of defenses, this is not the first time someone has talked about getting pressure to him. I mean he's played a lot of people, there's a lot of good coaches out there. Just cause someone says you're trying to do that doesn't mean you can.''

Selvie is one of the nation's best pass rushers, but Mangino said the Jayhawks cannot become preoccupied with him.

''When you focus on one aspect of a team's defense, if they have enough good players, they will hurt you somewhere else,'' Mangino said.

''You have to keep it in perspective. You want to do some things to keep Selvie from having a major impact on your offense, however there are so many other quality football players out there that you can't just focus on one guy.''

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