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NCAAF: Look Ahead and Let Down

NCAAF: Look Ahead and Let Down

Look Ahead and Let Down
By Judd Hall

We learned a couple of things last Saturday. One, Ohio State is God awful against the elite teams of the nation. And two, the trap game is alive and well on the college gridiron. The Sun Devils were clearly looking ahead at their big non-conference matchup with Georgia, losing at home to UNLV as huge 26-point favorites, 23-20. East Carolina was due for a down game after big wins over the Hokies and Mountaineers…just really didn’t see it being that against the Green Wave.

Let’s take a look at a couple of games that could be affected by either what a team just faced or are set to face the following week.

Looking ahead in Happy Valley…

It never fails to amaze me to see Joe Paterno roaming the sidelines for Penn State. Particularly because nobody has had the guts to fire him at the school, but I guess it’s hard to let go of a living legend. Another reason for his retention could be the fact this year’s club could be one of the better teams he’s had since the turn of the new millennia (Insert joke about JoePa’s age here). You can see how well the sportsbooks are thinking of the Nittany Lions as they’re heavy 28-point home favorites against Temple.

Admittedly, that is a huge line to even think about there being an upset…to the Owls of all teams. And I’m not saying that Al Golden will be taken off the field on his team’s shoulders, but they could keep it in the realm of respectability. And after the two heartbreaking defeats they’ve endured, it would be welcomed to just cover the spread.

The Owls don’t really show it in the standings since they are 1-2 straight up. However, this former doormat of the Big East has posted a perfect 3-0 record against the spread. Do you know the last time Temple accomplished something so glorious for the gambling public? Try 2003 when they started the year 4-0 ATS. The first team they played during that streak happens to PSU.

Penn State could be guilty of taking the Owls lightly this Saturday because it could be silently looking towards its game with the Fighting Illini the following week. No doubt that the Lions will be thinking about exacting some revenge on Illinois after losing to them the year before.

Lending credibility to Temple keeping it close is the fact that the Nittany Lions are 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS in the match before playing Illinois.

Those Irish eyes are taking a nap…

Last spring Charlie Weis marked Notre Dame’s tilt with the Wolverines on the board as a “must win” date. The Irish responded by taking Michigan to task, winning 35-17. The liberal haired quarterback Jimmy Clausen wasn’t as accurate as Weis would like, completing just 10 of 21 passes. But his 147 yards and two touchdowns helped ND run the Maize and Blue over. This was nice payback consider Weis got ran over during the game.

Given the importance of the win the Fighting Irish last Saturday, you can reasonably assume that they’ll be a little off when playing in East Lansing against Michigan State. Most betting shops are under the same belief by making the Spartans 8 ½-point home favorites.

This isn’t the same team Weis beat that had John L. Smith pimpslapping himself after a loss. Mark Dantonio has revitalized the Spartans with a new scheme on defense and a solid ground game led by Javon Stringer.

As talented as Notre Dame is on its roster, it can’t overcome the mental letdown they’ll suffer after beating the Wolverines. Meanwhile, the Spartans will be fresh off of a trap game of their own by trudging past Florida Atlantic last Saturday.

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