Thursday Night Football

Thursday Night Football

Southern Methodist Mustangs vs. Tulane Green Wave

Oddsmakers currently have the Green Wave listed as 18½-point favorites versus the Mustangs, while the game's total is sitting at 49.

SMU was crushed 48-7 by TCU in Week 4, as 24-point underdogs at home. The 55 points made it OVER the posted total of 52.

Cole Loftin caught five passes for 52 yards with a TD in a losing effort.

Andre Anderson ran for 158 yards and a touchdown to lead Tulane to a 24-10 win over UL-Monroe in Week 4.

The Green Wave covered the 5-point spread, while the combined score played UNDER the day's posted total of 46.5.

Current streak:
Southern Methodist has lost 2 straight games.

Team records:
Southern Methodist: 1-3 SU, 0-2-1 ATS
Tulane: 1-2 SU, 3-0 ATS

Southern Methodist most recently:
When playing in September are 4-6
When playing on turf are 1-9
After being outgained are 1-9
When playing within the conference are 0-10

Tulane most recently:
When playing in September are 3-7
When playing on turf are 4-6
After outgaining opponent are 2-8
When playing within the conference are 3-7

A few trends to consider:
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Southern Methodist's last 7 games on the road
Southern Methodist is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Tulane
Southern Methodist is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Tulane
Southern Methodist is 1-13 SU in its last 14 games
Tulane is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Southern Methodist
Tulane is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Southern Methodist
Tulane is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games at home
Tulane is 5-11 SU in its last 16 games

Next up:
Southern Methodist at Central Florida, Saturday, October 4
Tulane home to Army, Saturday, October 4


Southern Cal Trojans vs. Oregon State Beavers

Oddsmakers currently have the Trojans listed as 25-point favorites versus the Beavers, while the game's total is sitting at 51.

Mark Sanchez threw four touchdowns as USC ran over Ohio State 35-3 in Week 3, as 12-point favorites. The combined 38 points went UNDER the posted total of 44.

Sanchez completed 18-of-29 pass attempts for 172 yards for the Trojans. Damian Williams had 50 yards receiving with two touchdowns in the win.

Jacquizz Rodgers rushed for two touchdowns in Week 3 to lead Oregon State to a 45-7 win over Hawaii.

The Beavers had no trouble covering the 14-point spread in that contest, while the combined score fell UNDER the day's posted total (58).

Current streak:
Southern Cal has won 2 straight games.

Team records:
Southern Cal: 2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS
Oregon State: 1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS

Southern Cal most recently:
When playing in September are 10-0
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 8-2
When playing within the conference are 7-3

Oregon State most recently:
When playing in September are 3-7
When playing on turf are 8-2
After outgaining opponent are 5-5
When playing within the conference are 6-4

A few trends to consider:
Southern Cal is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Southern Cal is 22-3 SU in its last 25 games on the road
Southern Cal is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Southern Cal is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing Oregon State
Oregon State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games at home
Oregon State is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games at home
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Oregon State's last 5 games at home
Oregon State is 8-3 SU in its last 11 games

Next up:
Southern Cal home to Oregon, Saturday, October 4
Oregon State at Utah, Thursday, October 2

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Re: Thursday Night Football

Top-ranked Trojans wary of unheralded Beavers
September 23, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) -No. 1 Southern California looks to be super strong, the Pac-10 appears pretty weak, so the Trojans should have an easy time of it Thursday night in their conference opener at Oregon State.

Or should they?

``We look at this game knowing that it's Pac-10 time,'' USC coach Pete Carroll said Tuesday at his weekly meeting with reporters. ``Pac-10 games have always been challenging and difficult. It doesn't matter which week or who you're playing or where you're playing, they're just hard, difficult challenges.

``We've had difficult times with Oregon State in years past, in particularly playing there. We have great respect for their program. We'd love to play a nice football game and get out of there with a win and get on back home.''

The Trojans (2-0), who have beaten Virginia 52-7 and No. 14 Ohio State 35-3, are favored by 25 points and have a 58-9-4 record in the series. But the Beavers have won two of the last three games between the teams at Reser Stadium including a 33-31 victory in 2006 that snapped USC's 38-game, regular-season winning streak.

``I remember it being cold, loud,'' USC defensive lineman Kyle Moore said. ``It's different, you have the sports turf. The fans are very enthusiastic.

``We just can't let teams that are not supposed to beat us beat us this year.''

Oregon State also beat USC 31-21 as the home team in 2000 - the year before Carroll became the Trojans coach - and led 13-0 before losing 28-20 on a cold, foggy night in 2004.

Carroll downplayed the difficulty of playing at Oregon State, although he added: ``I don't think anybody could ever anticipate what it's like to play in fog like we played a few years ago.''

That kind of weather is unlikely at this time of year, although Oregon State coach Mike Riley, when asked on a conference call about fog machines, said playfully: ``They should be arriving tomorrow.''

Carroll pointed to four USC turnovers in the game two years ago as the determining factor.

``That didn't have anything to do with the stadium, didn't have anything to do with anything,'' he said. ``The ball came out of our hands a couple times. You do that no matter where you play in the game of football, you jeopardize your changes to win. They played an extremely efficient football game against us that day, and they got a great win.''

Maybe what happened didn't have anything to do with the stadium, but that doesn't mean the players haven't been reminded about the past.

``The coaches make sure and let us know. We try to let the younger players know,'' Moore said.

``We've talked about what has gone on,'' guard Jeff Byers said. ``(But) it's a football field; it doesn't change. You can't worry about a loud crowd, crazy fans. We love to play in front of people like that.''

Pac-10 schools are winless in five games against Mountain West Conference schools and are 12-12 in nonconference games, but Carroll said: ``I don't think that the conference is down at this point. I think there was a weekend where a lot of teams got beat. We'll see what happens as the season goes on.''

Oregon State (0-2, 1-2 Pac-10) lost at Stanford 36-28 and No. 12 Penn State 45-14 before beating Hawaii 45-7 on Sept. 13 in its home opener.

``This is a team that can make it really hard on you,'' Carroll said. ``They had a rough game against Penn State and all that, but this looks like the same kind of team we always prepare for, so we hold them in very high regard. They're really well-schemed. This is one of my favorite defenses in the conference year in and year out, the style they play, the manner in which they play their secondary. They're always very aggressive, their run numbers are always down.

``I think every game is difficult. We get everybody's best shot. It's normal for Oregon State and all of the teams in our conference to play USC. It's not normal for Virginia or for Ohio State to do that.''

The Trojans will be without cornerback Shareece Wright, who will probably miss several games due to a fractured vertebra. He was injured in the Ohio State game and hasn't practiced since that time, although the hairline fracture wasn't diagnosed until Monday.

Carroll had said Wright was being disciplined after being charged with felony resisting a police officer earlier this month, but would have played against Oregon State had he been cleared medically.

Wright will be replaced by Josh Pinkard, a fifth-year senior who missed most of the 2006 season and all of last year because of knee injuries.

``I'm really excited for Josh to get this opportunity to start,'' Carroll said. ``He's an unusual athlete in that he's so big for a corner and he's really fast and he's really talented athletically. He's a good hitter, he's smart, he gets it. I'm anxious to see him in the role where he's actually starting, he's coming back with it. It's two years of sitting and waiting.''

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Re: Thursday Night Football

What bettors need to know: USC vs. Oregon State
By CHRIS MARAKOVITZ

Line Moves

According to Covers.com the line opened at 21, jumped immediately to 23 and then up to 24 within hours.

The upward trend has continued with the line currently at 25½ and rising.

Weather

Early weather reports show a 30 percent chance of rain for Thursday in Corvallis with winds of 10 to 15 mph. It is expected to be around 70 degrees.

Matchup History

USC has lost just twice to Oregon State since 1968, a span of 33 games. The most recent came in the Trojans’ last trip to Corvallis in 2006 when they had their 27-game Pac-10 winning streak snapped.

John Booty’s 2-pt. conversion pass was batted down with seven seconds left to give Oregon State the 33-31 victory as a 10½-point underdog.

Eager Beaver Fans

Excitement is running high in Corvallis for this nationally televised Thursday night game against the top-ranked team in the country.

Expect a charged-up atmosphere at Reser Stadium where the Beavers are 28-16 under Mike Riley, as opposed to 15-22 on the road.

Then again, USC coach Pete Carroll is 31-9 on the road.

Preparation

Due to bye weeks, the Trojans have had extra time to prepare for each of their first three games, including this one. After this week’s Thursday nighter they’ll have another 10 days to prepare for Oregon on Oct. 4.

Pete Carroll is 16-5 after a bye.

A Shot in the Arm

Oregon State is coming off a bye too. More importantly, the Beavers are coming off a dominating 45-7 win over Hawaii that gave the team a much-needed boost of confidence after opening with two losses.

There’s no shame in losing at Penn State as the Beavers did in Week 2. However, the 36-28 opening game loss at Stanford was a disappointment.

A boost in morale was particularly needed for an OSU defensive line that, after leading the nation in rushing defense last year, was dominated at the line of scrimmage by both Stanford and Penn State.

USC Without Top Cover Corner

Holes in the USC lineup are hard to find. Still, the Trojans must be at least slightly concerned that their best cover corner Shareece Wright is out for “a number of weeks.”

Senior Josh Pinkard, an experienced player and starter in 2005 before missing last year with injuries, should be fine in place of Wright. However, the loss of Wright hurts the depth at the position.

Coach Carroll may now have to rethink his preference to redshirt freshman T.J. Bryant.

Receivers a Strength for OSU

USC will definitely need more than two corners to defend an OSU receiving corps that is perhaps the biggest strength of the team.

The Beavers opened the season with the pair of Sammie Stroughter and James Rodgers, both potential gamebreakers. The position has been strengthened by the emergence of Shane Morales. Morales doesn’t have the speed of Stroughter and Rodgers but runs excellent routes and has sure hands.

Morales leads the team in receiving with 22 receptions for 284 yards and 2 TDs. Stroughter has 21 for 255 and 3 TDs. They are ranked second and fourth respectively in receiving in the Pac-10.

Sanchez The Real Deal?

Some labeled the QB position as a question mark for the Trojans coming into the season. After two games it seems possible that Mark Sanchez will be an improvement over the departed John David Booty.

At the highest levels, QB play can be the difference between a national championship team and a one or two-loss team that falls just short.

The sometimes inconsistent Booty threw for 23 TDs and 10 picks last year for the Trojans, the poorest ratio in years for a USC QB.

In the national championship season of 2004 Matt Leinart threw for 33 TDs and 6 picks. That’s just two more INTs than Booty’s total of four in last year’s meltdown loss to Stanford alone.

Between Carson Palmer’s senior season and three seasons of Leinart, Trojan QBs finished in the top-10 nationally in passer rating every season.

In two seasons as starter Booty was 25th and 28th.

Now the question remains whether Sanchez will more closely resemble Booty or his Heisman-winning predecessors. As we speak, Sanchez ranks 13th in passer rating, completing 43 of 63 for 510 yards with 7 TDs and 2 picks.

Quizz Show

OSU starting RB Jacquizz Rodgers, a true freshman, reminds many of the school’s all-time leading rusher Ken Simonton with his diminutive 5-foot-7, 193-pound frame.

Rodgers has rushed for 263 yards and 4 TDs. He became the second Beaver freshman since Simonton to run for over 100 yards in a game when he dashed for 110 and 2 rushing touchdowns against Hawaii. He also picked up 76 receiving yards and 1 TD reception against the Rainbows.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

(1) USC (2-0 SU and ATS) at Oregon State (1-2 SU and ATS)

Southern Cal, which took a week off after flattening then-fifth-ranked Ohio State, opens up Pac-10 Conference play by heading north to Corvallis, Ore., to take on Oregon State at Reser Stadium.

The Trojans proved they deserved to be a 10½-point home chalk, and then some, with a 35-3 bashing of the Buckeyes on Sept. 13. USC racked up 348 total yards while allowing just 207, and won the turnover battle 3-1. QB Mark Sanchez (17 of 28, 178 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) was efficient and effective, and RB Joe McKnight ripped off 105 yards on just 12 carries.

The Beavers also took last weekend off after routing Hawaii 45-7 as a 14-point home favorite Sept. 13, winning and cashing for the first time this season. Oregon State racked up 485 total yards – including 217 on the ground – while yielding just 211 yards (57 rushing). QB Lyle Moevao completed 20 of 34 passes for 268 yards and three TDs against the outmatched Rainbows.

USC has won eight of the last 10 clashes in this rivalry, but Oregon State has split the cash in those meetings. Last year, the Trojans rolled 24-3 as a 15½-point home favorite, but two years ago at Reser Stadium, the Beavers pulled off a 33-31 home upset as a 10½-point pup to end USC’s 27-game conference winning streak. In fact, the home team is 5-0 ATS in the last five meetings, and Oregon State has gone 3-0 ATS (2-1 SU) in its last three home contests against the Trojans.

The Trojans are just 1-4 ATS in their last five on artificial turf, but their ATS trends are all positive from there, including 6-1 overall, 4-1 on the road, 7-1 after a bye and 9-4 against losing teams. The Beavers are also on a bevy of positive pointspread streaks, including 8-3 overall, 5-0 at home, 5-0 after a bye, 5-1 after a SU win and 6-2 in conference play, though they are in a 2-6 ATS rut against winning teams.

The under for Southern Cal is on a 10-3 overall tear and is on further runs of 5-0 against losing teams, 7-1 after an ATS win, 8-2 after a SU win and 20-7 in Pac-10 play. Also, Oregon State sports under streaks of 8-2-1 after a bye week and 4-1 at home.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER


SMU (1-3, 1-2 ATS) at Tulane (1-2, 3-0 ATS

Southern Methodist, already set for its fifth game of the season, travels to the Superdome in New Orleans for a Conference USA matchup against Tulane.

The Mustangs have little time to regroup after getting bounced 48-7 by Texas Christian on Saturday, failing to cash despite being a 24½-point home underdog. That came on the heels of a 43-7 blowout road loss at the hands of Texas Tech – though SMU barely cashed as a 36½-point underdog. Against TCU, the Mustangs were outgained 498-210, going backward on the ground with minus-8 net rushing yards.

Tulane also suited up Saturday, beating Louisiana-Monroe 24-10 as a five-point home chalk to maintain its perfect 2008 ATS mark, which includes spread-covers against ranked foes Alabama and East Carolina. Against Louisiana-Monroe, the Green Wave finished with impressive advantages of 454-182 in total yards and 24-9 in first downs.

Tulane has gone 2-1 SU and ATS in the last three years of this rivalry, narrowly cashing last year in a 41-34 overtime victory as a 6½-point road favorite. In fact, the road team has cashed in each of the last three meetings.

The Mustangs are mired in ATS funks of 2-4 overall, 1-5 against losing teams, 3-7 in CUSA contests and 18-35 in September. Likewise, the Green Wave are only 6-17-1 ATS in their last 24 conference matchups, but they sport positive ATS streaks of 5-1 overall, 4-0 in September and 4-1 against losing teams.

The over is 13-6 in SMU’s last 19 conference tilts, but the under has cashed in five of SMU’s last seven games on the highway. For Tulane, the under is on tears of 12-5 overall, 5-2 at home, 4-1 after a SU win and 6-2 against losing teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: TULANE

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Re: Thursday Night Football

USC at Oregon St.
Christian Alexander

#1 Southern California (2-0, 0-0 Pac 10) at Oregon State (1-2, 0-1 Pac 10)
Thursday, September 25
9:00 PM ESPN
Reser Stadium (FieldTurf)

You have to feel a bit sorry for West Virginia don’t you? First they lose out on a chance to play for the national championship last season by choking big time against Pittsburgh. Then their coach and native son Rich Rodriguez bolts for Michigan and now Rodriguez’s replacement – Bill Stewart – seems unable to build on the success the Mountaineers had established in Morgantown.

That’s actually putting it too kindly. In other words, Stewart appears to have the program headed in reverse. Last Thursday night the Mountaineers took another step in the wrong direction by losing on the road to Colorado. Granted, the Buffaloes are improving and can hold their own at home but it sure looked like West Virginia was the more talented team.

While it pains me (not really) to be the beneficiary of such a train wreck, I’ll certainly take the W and the profits and I’m guessing so will you. The Colorado (+3) winner last week brings my Thursday night record this season to 3-1.
   
Looking ahead to this week, we get a chance to travel further west and get an opportunity to check out the #1 ranked team in the country.

I went to Southern Cal’s season opener, at Virginia, and let me assure you, this team is for real. Granted, their opponent that day was clearly one of the 10 worst teams in Division 1-A football this season, but still, even a casual observer had to notice the talent of the Trojans.

This Thursday night, coach Pete Carroll and Southern Cal will try to remain undefeated as they visit Oregon State. It might sound silly to say the Trojans will try to remain undefeated. after all, they are favored by over 25 points. Then again, just remember what happened the last time USC paid a visit to Corvallis.

In 2006, Oregon State snapped the Trojans' 27-game Pacific 10 Conference winning streak with a stunning 33-31 defeat of the #3 team in the country. That night – besides denying USC a two-point conversion in the final seconds - the Beavers forced four turnovers and dominated on special teams, elements that will surely have to go their way again this time if they are to pull another shocker.

This time around, coach Mike Riley and his program will try to become only the second team in the 115-year history of Oregon State football to defeat a #1 team. The first time you ask? The 1967 OSU team took down O.J. Simpson and #1 ranked Southern Cal Trojans 3-0.

One thing I can virtually guarantee you off this Thursday night. This game will have a lot more points scored than just three. Although the forecast says it may rain a bit on Thursday in Corvallis, it should be cleared up by game time and besides, it will take a lot more than a few drops of moisture to slow down these Trojans.

The bright spot – among many – thus far for USC has been the play of QB Mark Sanchez. It would be unfair to label Sanchez as a question mark heading into this season because his talent has long been obvious. That said, as he began his first full season as a starter, there were those that wondered if he could live up to the accomplishments of recent USC QB’s such as Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart – both Heisman winners.

So far, so good.

To date, Sanchez has taken home the hardware for Pac-10 offensive player of the week after both outings this season – the aforementioned demolition of Virginia (52-7) and an equally impressive destruction of Ohio State (35-3). He is 15th nationally in passing efficiency (166.6 rating) and has seven TD passes against just two interceptions while completing 43 of 63 passes (68.2)for 510 yards.

The play of Sanchez has taken away most of the spotlight that was originally planned to go on the plethora of talented running backs at Southern Cal. The group certainly hasn’t disappointed on the field. Simply put, Joe McKnight (18 rushes/165 yards), C.J. Gable (13 rushes/91 yards), Allen Bradford (14 rushes/57 yards), and Stafon Johnson (13 rushes/51 yards) give Carroll an embarrassment of talent at the running back position and numerous weapons to burn defenses.

As is usually the case with teams loaded with offensive talent, those players get the bulk of the media attention. But make no mistake, this team is equally as good on defense.

Anyone that saw LB Rey Maualuga return an interception 48 yards for a touchdown against Ohio State got a brief glimpse of probably the best defensive player in the nation this season. Maualuga and LB Brian Cushing, another lock for All-American make for one the fiercest LB tandems in college football.

What really makes things not fair is that Maualuga and Cushing sit behind a rock solid defensive line loaded with defensive ends Kyle Moore and Everson Griffen and tackles Averell Spicer and Fili Moala. The dominating play of that line often leaves Maualuga and Cushing free to roam and do what they do best – disrupt an offense.

Having talent like that goes a long way in explaining how Carroll is 78-14 (.848) since heading to L.A. to take over the program in 2001. That’s the best winning percentage of any current Division I coach with at least five years experience and remember, that’s taking into account Carroll’s first year on the job when he went 6-6. Do the math on that and you’ll find that in the six seasons plus since that inaugural campaign Carroll has only dropped eight games, and those losses coming by a combined total of 30 points (3.75 average). Staggering.

With that detail on the table, it should really come as no surprise that even with a nice home field advantage – and trust me, Reser Stadium will be rocking Thursday night – the Beavers have quite a hill to climb if they’re going to shock the world again.

Let’s not forget, this team already has two losses and while one of the those was expected (45-14 loss at Penn State) the other was a disappointing start to the season when they lost at Stanford 36-28. Oregon State got back on track last time out with an easy win over Hawaii (45-7) but they obviously know it will take much more to win this game.

To have a chance, the Beavers simply must get production from starting QB Lyle Moevao and the aerial attack. With WR’s Shane Morales and Sammie Stroughter, Moevao has the weapons to punish a secondary but they main question is will he have the time to allow his receivers to get open or will he be running for his life…or flat on his back.

With time, Moevao should be able to connect with Morales and Stroughter, currently the top receiving tandem in the Pac-10 with 43 receptions for 539 yards and five touchdowns.

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Re: Thursday Night Football

[b]Thursday Night Football: USC versus Oregon State Preview[/b]
by Matt Severance

The oddsmakers at Sportsbetting.com list Southern Cal as a 25-point favorite for Thursday night's game at Oregon State, but there are a few reasons that bettors should be wary of wagering on the Trojans.

--There could be a natural letdown factor for USC. The Trojans' last game was the much-hyped matchup against Ohio State, which ended in a Southern Cal rout. Thursday night's game in Corvallis is USC's first game since, and the 1-2 Beavers don't exactly bring the attention that the Buckeyes did. "I don't think anyone holds their focus forever," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "We try, but it doesn't happen."

--There is a 30 percent chance of rain on Thursday night. Why does that matter? Here's a great stat from the USC sports information department: The Trojans are only 21-21-2 straight up "in games in which it rained during a major portion of the contest." Now that's a trend!

--Oregon State has won two of the past three games against USC at Reser Stadium and ended the Trojans' 38-game winning streak in their last trip to Corvallis with a 33-31 shocker. However, USC did win last year's matchup in Los Angeles, 24-3.

Still, despite those three factors, it's hard to imagine USC being upset by the Beavers. After all, the Trojans have won 44 of 50 conference games since 2002 and have not dropped a Pac-10 opener since losing, 34-31, at California in overtime in 2003. And they are 58-9-4 overall against Oregon State in the series and have won 31 of the past 33 meetings.

USC has yielded the fewest points in the nation and is allowing 197.0 yards per game, second-best in the country. The swarming defense has forced seven turnovers and recorded seven sacks and rendered that Ohio State offense inept.

The Trojan offense has been no slouch, averaging 453.0 yards per game with a nice balance between the run (186.0 ypg) and the pass (267.0 ypg). QB Mark Sanchez threw four touchdown passes against Ohio State, and has thrown for 510 yards, seven TDs and two interceptions this season - he must be considered among the early Heisman front-runners.

Oregon State, meanwhile, was considered a sleeper in the Pac-10 this year but has been a disappointment so far, losing at Stanford, 36-28, and No. 12 Penn State, 45-14, before beating Hawaii, 45-7, on Sept. 13 in its home opener.

OSU's passing game has been a strength so far, especially with top WR Sammie Stroughter healthy in 2008 after missing most of last season because of a kidney injury. With Stroughter back in the lineup, the Beavers rank first in the Pac-10 with 307.3 passing yards per game (the Trojans allow 145.5 per game). Stroughter is the Beavers' second-leading receiver with 21 catches, three of which have gone for touchdowns. He also averages 12.1 yards per punt return, tied for second in the Pac-10, and burned USC with a 70-yard punt return for a TD in 2006.

"He hurt us two years ago. We're very aware of who he is," USC safety Taylor Mays said. "It's hard to stop guys like that. You just try to contain him and make him play within what our defense is trying to do."

The line for this game opened at 21 on Sportsbetting.com but has been moving upward consistently, with it currently at 25.

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Trend Sheet

SOUTHERN METHODIST vs. TULANE
Southern Methodist is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Tulane
Southern Methodist is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Tulane
Tulane is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Tulane is 5-11 SU in its last 16 games

SOUTHERN CAL vs. OREGON STATE
Southern Cal is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games
Southern Cal is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games
Oregon State is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing Southern Cal
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Oregon State's last 6 games when playing Southern Cal

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#1 USC at Oregon State [ESPN | 9 PM ET]

USC (-25, O/U 51): The Trojans had a week off to savor their dismantling of Ohio State but now they must travel to Corvallis, where they were upset by Oregon State in their last visit. Everything is working for USC right now. The Trojans talented stable of running backs must be licking their chops facing a Beavers defense that lost its entire front seven from a year ago and have been getting gashed on the ground so far this season. Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao has some weapons at his disposal but he’ll be going up against a USC defensive unit that has only allowed one touchdown in two games.

USC is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games following a bye week.
USC is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 road games.

Key Injuries - CB Shareece Wright (neck) is OUT.
WR Patrick Turner (thigh) is probable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 41 (OVER - Total Play of the Day)

Oregon State: The largest crowd ever will be present to root on Oregon State as they attempt to upset USC for the second time in three years at home. After getting their first win of the year over Hawaii, the Beavers had a week off to prepare for the mighty Trojans. Oregon State ranks ninth in the nation and leads the Pac-10, averaging 307 passing yards through three games. They’ll definitely be challenged by a USC defense only giving up half that (145.5 yards) but this will be the best passing team the Trojans have faced up to this point. The Beavers need to find a run defense in a hurry or it will be a long night for all those fans in Corvallis.

Oregon State is 2-11-1 ATS in its last 14 games in September.
Oregon State is 7-0 ATS in its last 7 games on turf.

Key Injuries - G Jeremy Perry (knee) is questionable.
K Justin Kahut (hip) is questionable.

PROJECTED SCORE: 14

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Re: Thursday Night Football

INDIAN COWBOY'S NCAAF RESEARCH

SMU vs. Tulane


What is nuts about this game is that it opened up at -14.5 and now has risen up to -18 in many books. More than two-thirds of the public favor the home team here in Tulane. Tulane actually beat this team by a touchdown in overtime last year on the road, so indeed, SMU does have revenge coming into this game. But, SMU also comes off back to back losses including scoring just 14 points total between Texas Tech and TCU. They did beat a division II team in Texas State in their first game. Tulane has covered its first three ballgames of the season, including playing Alabama very tough on the road and losing by two touchdowns. They also covered very nicely at home against East Carolina which was my POD for that week as they nearly won that game outright at home. They took out some frustration on UL Monroe winning 24-10 and easily covering the five point spread. As per this game, my only lean here is on Tulane to get it done at home, but the line is simply too rich for my blood with everyone jumping on the home team here. No thanks.

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USC (2-0 SU&ATS) at Oregon St. (1-2, SU&ATS)
By Jimmy Sirody

Barely two games into the season, many are wondering if any of the nine dwarfs in the Pac-10 can challenge USC. Picking against the Trojans right now is akin to forecasting an overnight economic recovery.

However, let's not forget that upsets do happen. Oregon State's win over the Trojans in 2006 came with the Beavers a 15-point dog and the Men of Troy were coming off a bye week. Last year, Stanford knocked off USC 24-23 despite being 41-point underdogs.

Of course, what happened two years ago probably has no relevance to what OSU is facing Thursday night at Reiser Stadium, a powerhouse USC team that many think will play in the BCS title game.

The Trojans have yielded the fewest points in the nation and are allowing 107 yards per game, second best in the country. The defense has forced seven turnovers and recorded seven sacks.

Oregon State has very good reason to feel overwhelmed when they watch what USC did to Virginia and Ohio State. The relatively young Trojans may be just hitting their stride. The USC team the Beavers knocked off in 2006 was prone to mistakes and seemed headed for a fall after three unimpressive conference wins.

After an uneven start, OSU methodically wore down Hawaii in Corvallis 12 days ago, racking up 200-plus rushing yards in a 45-7 victory. The Beavers came up short in their first two games on the road at Stanford and Penn State by a combined score of 81-42 and they allowed a total of 449 yards rushing in the process.

Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao has thrown for 922 yards and six touchdowns in three games. However, the Beavers must run the ball effectively against the Trojans, a tall order against a defense that has allowed 103 rushing yards on 55 attempts.

The Trojans feature a lot of speed in their starting front seven. If OSU can get guard Jeremy Perry, an excellent pass blocker back, that could go a long ways in the protection schemes.

Defensively, the Beavers first order of business will be to limit Joe McKnight. He leads a deep stable of Trojans backs with 9.2 yards per carry on 18 touches. Of course, they will also have to contain quarterback Mark Sanchez, the Pac-10's most efficient passer and the conference's Offensive Player of the Week after each of his two starts.

The USC defense hasn't allowed a touchdown in its last seven quarters and has surrendered only one in its first two games. They rank in the national Top 10 in every statistical category. They will miss starting cornerback Shareece Wright, who will be sidelined for several weeks with a hairline fracture in one of his vertebrae. Wright has played a major role in USC's first two games and his absence will be felt on special teams as well as at cornerback.

The Trojans offense has scored 20 points in 80 of 83 contests while the defense has held 12 of its last 22 opponents to 14 points or less. Of USC's 12 offensive scoring drives in 2008, seven have taken three minutes or less (including three under two minutes).

USC has struggled in its last two visits to Corvallis. The Trojans won 28-20 in 2004 in the infamous "Fog Bowl.'

Oregon State is 0-6 against the spread off a home win by 17 points or more. However, the Beavers have cashed five of six as home dogs versus Top 10 teams. They have 'covered' five straight at home, five straight off a bye, six of eight against conference foes and eight of 11 overall.

The Men of Troy are just 1-8 in weeks 5-9 the last three seasons. USC is 7-1 ATS off a bye and 7-2 ATS off a SU win by more than 20 points.

Most offshore books opened the Trojans as 21 1/2-point favorites.

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