Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
CKO CONFIDENTIAL KICK-OFF
RATINGS: 11 - Exceptional, 10 - Strong, 9 - Above Average
CKO CHOICE IN CAPITALS
11* ARMY over Eastern Michigan
*ARMY 31 - Eastern Michigan 19
The Army’s new triple option running game is showing remarkable results, and the Cadets figure to present
serious matchup challenges for Eastern Michigan. The Eagle defense ranks 99th against the run and is yielding
almost 5 ypc, and it’s surrendered 17 rush TDs & 38 ppg in the last 5 games. EMU is just 5-12 vs. the number in
last 17 games under HC Jeff Genyk, and QB Andy Schmitt and Kyle McMahon have combined to throw just 4 TD
passes but 6 ints. this season (last year Schmitt had a 14 TD/6 int. ratio). After rushing for 230 yds. in first two
games, sr. Eagle RB Terrence Blevins has averaged just 33 ypg on the ground. Army is a tiny favorite, and EMU
is 0-38-1 SU visiting non-conference foes since winning at Youngstown State on Sept. 10, 1988.
10* MEMPHIS over Louisville
*MEMPHIS 27 - Louisville 23
Louisville is taking to the road for the first time this season! And, while former Michigan defensive coordinator
Ron English deserves lots of credit for solidifying the shaky Cardinal defense, it is a fact that Louisville is an
unproven commodity on the road, where they were only 2-4 LY, with only one victory by more than four points.
Thus, the percentages appear to be against the Cards, who must show they’re capable of dealing with the
emerging Memphis offense featuring 6-3 juco QB Arkelon Hall (4 TDP last week at UAB), juco RB Curtis Steele
(578 YR, 6.4 ypc), and a tall and experienced cast of WRs. CKO scouts report the Tigers’ confidence is growing
following three straight victories (albeit vs. marginal competition), and proud Memphis is 16-8 when a home dog
the last 10+Ys.
10* INDIANA over Iowa
*INDIANA 23 - Iowa 19
Really don’t see enough difference between these two to warrant Iowa being made an early 5½-point road
favorite over Indiana. Hoosiers have a dynamic, veteran QB in Kellen Lewis who’s completed 61% of his passes
this season and has rushed for 1552 yds. & 17 TDs in his career. Indiana’s 2ndary got a bit healthier last week
vs. Minnesota with the return of safeties Austin Thomas and Nick Polk (combined for 17 tackles vs. Gophers).
Hoosiers have gotten consistent big plays from track star RB Marcus Thigpen, who has 309 yards rushing &
receiving and 4 TDs in the last 2 games, scoring 3 times on plays of more than 70 yards. Respect Iowa RB Shonn
Greene’s credentials (6th in the nation in rushing), but he’s a bit of a “grinder” who scored just once in Big Ten
games against Northwestern & Michigan State. Hoosier rush defense is more than respectable (3.1 ypc), and
vet defenders LB Geno Johnson and DE Jammie Kirlew are having strong seasons.
10* UTAH over *Wyoming
UTAH 41 - *Wyoming 6
Undefeated Utah has a mean streak where Wyoming is concerned, as bad blood between these two goes way back. Last season the Utes recorded a 50-0 victory and certainly are not opposed to kicking an opponent when it’s down. Just ask Utah State, as a 44-10 lead over the Aggies after 3 Qs on Sept. 13 just wasn’t good enough for Ute HC Kyle Whittingham, who watched his team punch across two more scores in 4th period. Wyoming HC Glenn’s “You’re Number One” signal during LY’s shellacking caught Whittingham’s attention, and the Cowboys are on an 0-13-1 pointspread run, rank last in the nation in scoring, and next to last in TO margin. Can’t be overly concerned about laying this many points on the road, as road favorites of 14 points or more are 11-5 this season,especially considering Wyo is coming off losses of 24, 29 and 44 pts. in last three games.
10* N.Y. GIANTS over *Cleveland
N.Y. GIANTS 31 - *Cleveland 13
Giants’ strengths way too many in this matchup. Solid at QB. Aggressive and still underrated in the OL.Three deep at RB. Plaxico Burress due to return at WR after his suspension. Intimidating pass rush. Highly-ranked run defense. Improved young depth in the secondary. A demanding but more simpatico coach who generates a daily work ethic second to few. And, best yet for this game, a warrior mentality on the road that has produced a 12- game road unbeaten string and ten straight covers away from home. Meanwhile, Cleveland RB Jamal Lewis (3.4 ypc) has lost a step, QB Derek Anderson (49.6%, 3 TDs, 6 ints.) has failed to justify his new deal, and the injurythinned defense has produced only 6 sacks in 4 games. CKO scouts say Giants fully aware they can’t afford a misstep in the rugged NFC East.
Baltimore-Indianapolis OVER (39)—Injury-depleted Indy defense giving up points, but Peyton has the targets to bail it out...
Cincinnati-N.Y. Jets UNDER (45)—Poorly-balanced Cincy offense producing only 15 ppg; Jets now have more ball control with Favre converting third downs.
HONORABLE MENTION (Nine-Rated Games):
NORTHWESTERN (+3) vs. Michigan State—NW QB Bacher threw for 520 yards and 5 TDs with no ints. in last season’s OT win at Michigan State, and the Wildcat run defense (112 ypg rushing; 3.4 ypc) is good enough to slow Spartan RB Javon Ringer a step or two...
MICHIGAN (-17) vs. Toledo—Michigan has bounced back from SU losses twice this season, and Toledo’s defense (36 ppg) will make Rich Rod’s Wolverine spread look good...
FLORIDA (-4) vs. Lsu—Tim Tebow has Florida offense on track, and this is a major revenge game for Gator side that is back in the thick of the national title race with a win over the Tigers...
LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (-21½) vs. North Texas—North Texas is on our “go-against” list, vs. Cincinnati—Bengals have scored just 6 offensive TDs in 5 games. Brett Favre threw for 6 scores in Jets last game...you do the math.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
COLLEGE KEY RELEASES
TULSA over Smu RATING: 1 80-30
TEXAS TECH over Nebraska RATING: 1 55-20
ILLINOIS over Minnesota RATING: 2 36-13
TCU over Colorado State RATING: 3 38-14
UTAH over Wyoming RATING: 4 48-7
SAN JOSE STATE over Utah State RATING: 4 41-13
LSU (+) over Florida RATING: 5 20-22
KANSAS over Colorado RATING: 5 41-17
Clemson 24 - WAKE FOREST 20 - (7:45 - ESPN) -- Both rested off wrenching
losses. Normally dependable Wake QB Skinner tossed 4 picks in loss to Navy,
& Deacs can't run (61 RYpg last 3). First RG for Tigers who are 0-6 ATS by 60
pts, & Harper only 3/5. But Davis & Spiller are rolling, so a mild Clemson call.
HOUSTON 34 - Uab 27 - (8:00 - CBSC) -- Blazers must regroup off last-second
loss to Memphis. Webb's 93 RYs & 235 PYs (4 TDs) were a pleasant change
for formerly 116th "O". Coog QB Keenum now 19/5, & note piling up >620 yds
vs ECaro. But UH just 1-8 ATS, with upsets in last 3 affairs. Points the play.
Louisville 30 - MEMPHIS 20 - (8:00 - ESPN) -- Tiger "D" back to usual form vs
Uab, winning in final 0:02, but being outstatted, despite 4 Hall TD passes, &
Steele at 304 RYs last 2 wks. Cards have 564-187 RY edge last 2 outings,
behind Powell & Anderson, & remember their 508-279 yd edge over UConn.
VIRGINIA 31 - East Carolina 24 - (12:00) -- What happened? Cavs came from
a 684-163 RY deficit in lined games, to shocking 201-79 edge in upset of MD
(44-pt cover). VA: 14 TOs in 1st 4 games, but none vs Terps. Dog is 6-0 ATS
by 105½ pts, with 5 upsets in Pirate tilts. Can't ignore 346-yd deficit last gm.
WEST VIRGINIA 44 - Syracuse 10 - (12:00) -- Just 17 ppg for the Mounties in
their last 4 outings, after 41 ppg previous 32. No White in last 1½ quarters vs
Rutgers, but allowing just 39 & 72 RYs last 2 games. 'Cuse ranks 104th or
worse in 6-of-8 major stat columns, & has run only on Akron. This by the book.
Iowa 24 - INDIANA 22 - (12:00) -- Last 3 Hawkeye RGs have been decided by 3,
1, & 3 pts SU, so why not another. Stellar "D" (#20), with RB Greene at 10.0,
6.0, 6.4, 7.6 & 5.2 ypr last 5 wks, so should continue. Indy suddenly a run "D"
force (2.0 ypr LW, after allowing 249 RYpg previously). This could go to wire.
ILLINOIS 36 - Minnesota 13 - (12:00) -- Chalk series, & this should continue that
trend. Super balance for Illini in rout of Michigan with 310 PYs & 121 RYs from
Juice. Note a 1,472-1,219 yd edge for Illini vs Mizzou, PennSt, & Mich. Minny
at 5-1 SU, & +78 ATS last 7, but Gophs were outrushed by 200 yds at OhioSt.
Michigan State 33 - NORTHWESTERN 27 - (3:30) -- Only 3.6 ypr for Ringer
LW, but still at 772 yds last 4 games. Spartans 5-1 SU, & 3-3 ATS, with losses
by ½, ½, 3 pts. Rested 'Cats off to first 5-0 start since '62 (Ara Era), with QB
Bacher tossing 3 TDs vs Iowa. Dog is 14-5 ATS in NW games. Not involved.
Oklahoma 31 - Texas 30 - (12:00 - @ Dallas - ABC) -- What a match! Sooners
#1 in the nation, averaging 49.6 ppg, covering 4-of-4 by 38½ pts, & Bradford at
18/3. Steers #5 in land, averaging 47.2 ppg, covering 5-of-5 by 59 pts, with
McCoy at 16/3 (103-of-130). Okies came from 25 RYs to 217 in a week, but
'Horns own 2nd best running "D" in the land. Have to see a classic shootout.
ARMY 27 - Eastern Michigan 20 - (12:00 - ESPNC) -- These 2 both pulled off
upsets as 20-pt dogs LW. Cadets have posted 280 & 291 RYs last 2 wks, with
187 RYs & 4 TDs for Mooney vs Tulane. EM: a 192-75 pt deficit in lined gms.
BAYLOR 34 - Iowa State 24 - (7:00) -- Bears out of their element LW: 32 FDs &
594 yds, but were +37 pts ATS previous 2, behind catalyst Griffin. Cycs saw
20-0 halftime lead vs Kansas turn into 2nd consecutive wrenching loss (34-31,
35-33), & in revenge sandwich. QB Arnaud (7 TDs last 2 games) not enough.
South Carolina 20 - KENTUCKY 14 - (12:30) -- Two of the best "D"s in the land.
'Cats (#4) held 'Bama to just 1 "O" TD, on a 78-yd run (282-35 RY deficit for
UK). 'Cocks (#1) held OleMiss without a TD over the final 2½ quarters. SC
still can't run, but Smelley opened it up with stellar 327-yd, 3-TD effort vs Rebs.
BUFFALO 26 - Western Michigan 25 - (3:30) -- Five straight wins for Broncos,
with QB Hiller at 19/4 (347 PYs vs OhioU), & RB West at 574 yds. Dog the
way to go when Bulls take the field (4-0), who backdoored it in '05. A nailbiter.
Vanderbilt 20 - MISSISSIPPI STATE 10 - (2:30) -- 'Dores off to best start (5-0) in
65 years! No Nickson over last 2½ quarters vs Aub, but Adams filled in with 2
TD tosses. And check allowing zero pts over the final 48:09. Try 16 sacks for
Vandy TY. 'Dogs allowed 438, 427 yds last 2 tilts, & rank just 101st in run "O".
Utah 48 - WYOMING 7 - (2:00) -- It continues. Cowboys are on an unfathomable
0-13 ATS run, having been outscored 113-16 the past 3 wks, along with 13
TOs. In off allowing 319 RYs. Utes overcame 28-20 deficit in final 1:30 vs
OregSt. Have allowed only 63 RYpg last 3 outings, & took this by 50 last year.
TEXAS A&M 37 - Kansas State 27 - (2:00) -- Vast improvement for Ags in LW's
loss to OkieSt (402-401 yd edge), with 5 TOs the key (previously owned 107th
ranked "O"). Are minus 60 pts ATS at home TY, but 'Cats are lost on the road,
allowing 46 ppg in their last 5 guest shots. And KSt in off a 626-296 yd deficit.
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 38 - Temple 14 - (4:00) -- Bye week just in time for CM,
which is in off 3 consecutive grinders. Lost spread to Buffalo on 65-yd pass in
final 1:30. LeFevour leads balance attack, & run "D should stymie Owls, who've
been in every game, save PennSt. Stewart for DiMichele: 3 TDs LW. Chips!
OHIO STATE 34 - Purdue 13 - (3:30) -- Boiler QB Painter went from a 359 PY
effort vs NoDame to just 112 vs PennSt, with Sheets held to only 59 yds, after
119 RYpg previous 3. Bucks took Wisconsin in final 1:08, with Pryor the real
deal (13-of-19), & Wells churning out 168 RYs. Call it somewhere near spot.
Tcu 38 - COLORADO STATE 14 - (CBSC) -- Rams' 216 RYs vs Vegas were 70
more than any previous game (Johnson: 191 yds). Two TDs in final 9 seconds
of that game. Loved Frogs' rout of SDSt, with a 396 RY edge. Allow only 22
RYpg, & are 83 pts ahead of the spread in their last 10 contests. Once more.
MISSOURI 51 - Oklahoma State 34 - (7:00) -- All the respect for the Cowboys,
& their 5-0 start, while averaging 52.6 ppg. Own #1 rushing "O", #4 total "O",
with Robinson the 5th ranked passer in the land, & Hunter the 3rd best runner.
But not about to buck Tigers, & their 15-4 ATS run, behind Daniel, who is an
astounding 15/1 for the year. #2 "O", & at 43 ppg in their last 9 lined contests.
GEORGIA 27 - Tennessee 17 - (3:30) -- 'Dawgs rested off 'Bama shellacking.
Just 50 RYs (34 for Moreno, altho he is at 6.3 ypr for the season). Vols in off
amassing 9 FDs vs NoIllinois, & are at just 96 RYpg over the last 3 wks, along
with 6, 12, & 13 pts. But a solid run "D", & may just sneak in under the spot.
SO CALIFORNIA 45 - Arizona State 10 - (3:30) -- Troy QB Sanchez (13/3) is
again having knee problems, but figures to start here. Usc has allowed just 32,
71, & 60 RYs in 3 of 4 games, with only OregSt doing anything overland, with
no hope for Devil running game, which ranks 111th in the land (37.5 ypg last 2).
Sun QB Carpenter is just 8/4 for the year, & ASU on 1-8 ATS slide. Romper!
OREGON 41 - Ucla 10 - (10:15 - ABC) -- Ducks were humbled at USC, forcing
but a single punt in 44-10 setback. But OU was at 47.4 ppg before that one, &
has a score to settle here, after Uclans pitched a shutout LY. Bruin win over
WashSt not impressive. Just 28 pts vs Coogs' previous 53 ppg "D". Revenge.
MICHIGAN 30 - Toledo 10 - (12:00) -- Still no offense in Wolve arsenal, ranking
110th in the land, & in off 180-yd deficit vs Illinois. QB Threet iffy at best. Dog
is 6-0 ATS in UM tilts (5 SU upsets), but Rockets in off 3 straight losses for 1st
time in 15 yrs, & off first MAC shutout since '85. Minus 61½ pts ATS last two.
Notre Dame 27 - NORTH CAROLINA 17 - (3:30) -- 'Heels did it with smoke &
mirrors in win over UConn, as 3 picks & 3 blocked punts offset a 23-13 FD
deficit. Tars rank just 99th, overland. Irish improving by the week, with Clausen
at 622 PYs, 6 TDs, & no INTs last 2 wks. And check 17 ppg "D" last 6 games.
AUBURN 30 - Arkansas 10 - (5:00) -- Finally a chance for Tigers to light up the
scoreboard. Super "D" (#9), but no "O" (#91). And note their last 3 games
being decided by 1, 5, 2, & 1 pt SU. But Hogs have no "D", allowing 39.2 ppg
in their last 9 outings, along with a horrible 139-31 pt deficit the last 3 weeks.
NEVADA 40 - New Mexico State 20 - (4:00) -- No reason for Reno not to run all
over porous Ag run "D", which ranked dead last in the nation, before taking it
out on hapless AlcornSt. 'Pack has run for 708 yds past 2 wks, as Kaepernick
has 8 TDs & 716 yds in those 2. Just too much of a burden for Ag QB Holbrook.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 34 - Miami-Ohio 20 - (4:00) -- Huskies stand at 2-3 SU,
with their losses coming by 4, 3, & 4 pts, & their wins by 45 & 37 pts. Ouch.
Held Tennessee to 9 FDs & 225 yds, so should somewhat control Merriweather
(133 RYs LW) & Co. The pup is 13-5 ATS in Miami games, but this an NI call.
BYU 47 - NewMexico 14 - (6:00) -- Fifteen straight wins for Coogs, who won last
2 HGs by a combined 103-0 score (+67½ ATS). Hall is now at 17/4, but note
only 103 RYs vs UtahSt's 113th rush "D" LW. Lobos have run for 613 yds the
past 2 wks, but rank just #101 in total "O", & allowed 32.4 ppg pre-Wyoming.
OREGON STATE 50 - Washington State 13 - (6:30) -- Tough loss for Beavers at
Utah, but certainly have the firepower with Rodgers (287 RYs last 2 wks), &
Moevao (313 PYs vs Utes) to further extend Coog defensive futility, which now
shows a 48-10 ppg deficit in lined affairs. OSt covered first 2 HGs by 54½ pts!
Arizona 31 - STANFORD 13 - (5:00) -- Visiting series, & we agree, as the 'Cats
feature the nation's 2nd ranked "D", with Tuitama at 13/2, & Grigsby back in
style. Averaging 43.6 ppg, & covered last RG by 18 pts. Cards improved,
covering last 3 HGs by 21, 10½, & 6 pts, but QB Pritchard isn't to be trusted.
Bowling Green 27 - AKRON 22 - (6:00) -- Shocker for Falcs, in loss to EM, as
20-pt favs. Can't run (<130 yds all 5), but QB Sheehan decent. Visitor is 5-0
ATS by 107 pts in BG games. Zips ran only on hapless Syracuse, so BG call.
KENT STATE 26 - Ohio U 23 - (2:30) -- Still no covers for Flashes, who are on an
0-11-1 ATS run, by 146½ pts, but by just a single pt in their last 2 outing. Are
suddenly potent: 432 RYs last 2 wks, behind do-everything QB Edelman. OU's
formerly solid run "O" at just 97 RYpg in lined games. QB Jackson or nothing.
CINCINNATI 30 - Rutgers 17 - (12:00) -- Anderson for Pike for Grutza at QB for
Bearcats: 2 TDs vs Marshall, with a run "D" that has contained all but mighty
Oklahoma. Contrast that to Knights, who rank 82nd both in rushing "O" & "D",
& who are minus 122½ pts ATS in 11 of their last 12 regular season contests.
TEXAS TECH 55 - Nebraska 20 - (3:00) -- Wow! Raiders sure did it up right in
58-28 romp at KansasSt: 33 FDs, 626 yds, 1 punt, with 7 TDs for Harrell. He
is now 18/3. No way can 'Huskers stay with 'em here, as Neb has allowed 47
ppg in its last 8 Big12 games, as well as atrocious 52.6 ppg in its last 4 RGs.
KANSAS 41 - Colorado 17 - (12:30) -- Time for Jays to explode. Sleepwalked
thru 1st half vs IowaSt (20-0 deficit), before pulling out 35-33 win. Reesing at
14/3, & is at 70%. Buff QB Hawkins just 30-of-69 past 2 wks, & check CU with
124, 135, & 120 RY deficits last 3 contests. Fourth straight killer takes its toll.
WISCONSIN 24 - Penn State 22 - (8:00 - ABC) -- We keep writing about it, so
why not again? Superbly balanced Lions now at 1,628 RYs & 1,463 PYs, with
659 RYs for Royster, & a sweet 9/1 for Clark. Badgers in off Bielema's first
home loss (now 16-1), by merest of margins. A 220-78 pt edge in last 6 HGs.
MIAMI-FLORIDA 31 - Central Florida 13 - (3:45) -- Yes, we know that the 'Canes
are an incredible minus 250½ pts ATS in their last 29 games, & fresh off a RY
deficit of 281-51 vs FlaSt. Rank 99th on "O", & QB Marve a huge question.
But CF managed only 280 yds vs land's worst "D" LW (SMU). Greco not enuff.
FLORIDA 22 - Lsu 20 - (8:00) -- Gators well remember LY's heartbreak, & LW's
balanced display surely proved that revenge is attainable. But their running "O"
wasn't all that impressive before their win over Arkies' sieve "D". Bengals field
a 69 RYpg "D", & Scott at 273 RYs last 2 games. Series RD always the play.
SAN JOSE STATE 41 - Utah State 13 - (7:30) -- We've been patiently awaiting
Spartans return home after riding their 19-pt cover in 1st such setup (476-146
yd edge, including a 293-6 RY advantage). Now +177½ ATS home since '06.
Ags on 3-20 SU run, & rank 108th in total "D". QB Borel not the answer here.
Tulsa 80 - SMU 30 - (8:00) -- Let's see. The 'Canes own the #1 offense in the
nation (nearly 600 ypg, along with 55 ppg in lined games), with QB Johnson
(also #1) at 23/5, including 16 TD passes the past 3 wks. Jones' Ponies can
move it (Mitchell: 351 PYs vs CFla), but field the worst rushing "O" & total "D".
Boise State 31 - SO MISSISSIPPI 27 - (8:00 - CBSC) -- Eagles 0-2 in C-USA for
1st time in league's 13-yr history, despite a 272 RY (Fletcher: 260), & 264 PY
showing vs Utep. The Broncos not normally at their best on non-division road,
but upset Oregon in last RG. Moore: 5 TDs & 711 PYs in his 2 starts thus far.
UTEP 45 - Tulane 33 - (9:00) -- Wave just can't handle solid chalk role. Are in off
monumental 51-pt ATS loss to Army. Owned #9 run "D", before 291 in that
one. Miner QB Vittatoe: 4 TD passes in upset of SoMiss (7 last 2 wks): 2nd
straight win off 9 losses. Covered last HG by 50½ pts. Should be a wild one.
Air Force 40 - SAN DIEGO STATE 20 - (9:30) -- That's right: 569 RYs for the
Falcons in LY's 55-23 wipeout of the Aztecs. AF in off a pair of tough losses
(had 2 punts blocked for TDs vs Mids), & quick shot at recovery. SDSt can't
run it, nor stop the run. Came from >600 yds to just 85 in a week. Only way.
FRESNO STATE 51 - Idaho 17 - (10:00) -- Fast chance for Bulldogs to take out
frustrations off tough loss to Hawaii (6 TOs, with 3 Brandstater INTs). Not the
best of run defense lately (234 ypr last 3), but the Vandals are helpless. Minus
106½ ATS so far TY, on 1-13 ATS run, & allowing 43 ppg in last 21 lined affairs.
HAWAII 24 - Louisiana Tech 23 - (12:05) -- Tech remembers LYs heartwrenching
loss, but despite a decent run "D" (#19: held MissSt, Kansas, & Boise to 116
RYpg), they have a 174-23 pt deficit in their last 4 RGs. 'Bows in off rare win,
with 6 takeaways the key, but note allowing 522 yds to Fresno. Not involved.
Ball State 41 - WESTERN KY 13
ARKANSAS ST 38 - La-Monroe 20
FLA INTERN'AL 21 - Mid Tenn St 17
La-Lafayette 37 - NO TEXAS 13
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
DALLAS over Arizona RATING: 2
BALTIMORE over Indianapolis RATING: 3
SAN DIEGO over New England RATING: 4
HOUSTON over Miami RATING: 5
SEATTLE over Green Bay RATING: 5
NEW ORLEANS 27 - Oakland 24 - (1:00) -- Raider bye week came at a good
time, as they blew 9-pt & 12-pt 4th quarter leads in their previous 2 games. As
a matter of fact, they were outscored 28-3 by the Bills, in their last outing. So
they've actually been in their past 3 games. The way to go thus far, is with the
visitor in Oakland games, as the guest is 4-0 ATS by 53½ pts. Third straight
HG for the Saints, who are in off Monday Nighter. At least 23 pts in each of
their last 9 games, but also 28.5 ppg in last 6 contests. Raiders 21-12 ATS as
RDs off 2 losses, while Saints are 0-10 ATS Oct HFs vs a foe off SU/ATS loss.
INDIANAPOLIS 20 - Baltimore 19 - (1:00) -- Miracle win & cover for Colts LW,
with 3 TDs in final 4:04 (68-yd fumble return, & TD off fumble). Indy still being
mauled, overland, with RY deficits of 183-53, 180-25, 236-114, & 156-79, so
this can't be that easy, as the Ravens have FD edges of 21-8, 21-11, 16-11, &
22-14 thus far. Two straight 3-pt losses for Balt, after a 45-20 pt edge in its
first 2 games. The visitor is 6-0 both SU & ATS in Colt games lately, & with the
Ravens ranking 3rd in rushing "O", as well as 1st in overall "D", they are worth
a long look. Baltimore is 13-7 ATS off scoring 14 pts or less. Down to the wire.
NEW YORK JETS 26 - Cincinnati 23 - (1:00) -- The man is something. No less
than 6 TD passes for Favre before Jet bye week. That's a career-high for him,
& ties him with Joe Namath for most ever by a Jet. Now 12/4 for the season.
Chance for NY to make a legitimate move with Cincy, Oakland, KC run. But
the Bengals shouldn't go down easily, as they've covered their last 2 RGs by
10½ & 7 pts, altho they do have an 855-385 RY deficit so far. Dog is 12-2 ATS
in Cincy games (10 upsets), & the guest is 7-2 ATS in NY tilts. Jets 1-9 ATS
in Oct vs non-division foes off a pair of losses. Despite Cincy's Dallas-Pitt SW.
TAMPA BAY 20 - Carolina 13 - (1:00) -- As we've written many times, we rarely
stray from the Bucs at home. And this year is no exception, as they've paid off
by 8 & 7½ pts in their 2 hosting opportunities to date. Garcia for Griese (shoulder),
& he was a nice 13-of-17 in that push. Panthers took full advantage of
the anemic Chiefs LW, in 34-0 blowout (441-127 yd edge), which boosts an
"O" which was ranked just 23rd at gametime. Check Williams with 123 RYs &
3 TDs. But Bucs are 9-1 ATS in the 1st of 2 HGs, vs an opponent off a pair of
wins, as well as 24-13 ATS off a loss of 3 pts or less. Tampa, as division host.
MINNESOTA 34 - Detroit 10 - (1:00) -- Yes, we know that the 14-pt opening line
on this one seems juicy, especially with the Vikes coming in off a Monday Night
appointment. But backing the Lions is a quick trip to the poor house. Check
their current 1-11 SU run, as well a their 2-10 ATS slide. They've been stung
for 35.9 ppg in their last 10 outings, & are simply worse by the week. Can't
run, & can't stop the run (720-281 RY deficit), or anything else. Orlovsky for
Kitna LW, but no matter. Minny nothing special (1-6 ATS), but the fav is 4-0 in
Viking games this year, & they are 5-0-1 ATS in this series of late. Poor Lions.
Chicago 24 - ATLANTA 16 - (1:00) -- Bears sit atop the NFC Central, with their
fine early season play. They've been a very profitable play of late (+99 pts ATS
in their last 8 games), with Orton certainly earning his stripes. Threw for 324
yds & 2 TDs vs the inept Lions (no INTs). Couple of ointment flies, of course,
not the least of which is the success of the pup in Bear games of late: 6-1-1
ATS, as well as the fact that the host is 5-1 ATS in Falcon contests. Turner
now at 543 RYs, with Ryan 4/3 for the year. But Falcon "D": 28 ppg last 12.
Atlanta 4-19 ATS hosting winning teams, & 11-24 ATS off a win of 3 pts or less.
HOUSTON 27 - Miami 17 - (1:00) -- Incredible loss for Texans LW, after leading
27-10 with 4:05 left, with 2 Rosenfels (for ailing Schaub) fumbles the culprits.
Two straight for oncoming Dolphs, behind 238 RYs from Brown, with Chad a
brilliant 39-of-49 in those 2 (37½ & 13½ pt covers). And they catch Houston
off 3 division games. But Texans averaging 31 ppg in last 6 hosters, with
Schaub's return ensuring a continuation. Miami is 14-25 ATS off a SU dog
win, while Houston is 17-10 ATS off a loss of <11 pts. Texans also 8-2 ATS off
a division game vs a foe off 2 wins. And Kubiak is 7-1 home vs a foe off a win.
WASHINGTON 36 - St Louis 13 - (1:00) -- Would love to jump on the 15 pt line
posted here, but it makes little sense. Like the aforementioned Lions, you need
only look at the Rams' dismal record, namely a 3-16-1 spread log, while failing
to reach 17 pts on 14 occasions since LY, while allowing 38.4 ppg over their
last 7 outings. For example, they led Buffalo 14-6: lost 31-14. Four straight
wins & covers for the 'Skins, with a 649-273 RY edge in those 4. Portis: 266
RYs last 2 weeks (vs Dallas & Philly, no less), & Campbell a force. Rams are
10-22 ATS away vs winning teams, while 'Skins on 8-2 ATS run. Over early.
DENVER 24 - Jacksonville 19 - (4:05) -- Finally a bit of a defensive showing for
the Broncos, who entered their game with the Bucs, off allowing 38, 32, & 33
pts. But just a single TD by Tampa, altho Denver was outrushed at home for
the 1st time. The Broncos are averaging 31 ppg in their last 6 hosters, & rank
#1 in the NFL in total "O". The 'Ville in off being manhandled by Pitt: 415-213
yd & 28-14 FD deficits, altho the Jags did have the lead entering the final 2
minutes. Last 4 J'Ville games have been decided by 4, 2, 3, & 5 pts, so more
of the same here. Broncos 25-15 ATS at home with line between -3 & +3 pts.
Philadelphia 30 - SAN FRANCISCO 20 - (4:15) -- Call similar score to LW's Pat/
49er contest. Check the overwhelming stat advantage of the Patriots: 25-12
FD, & 377-199 yd edges. O'Sullivan: 3 TDs, but also 3 INTs; Gore: from 212
RYs to just 54. This is 3rd of 6 grinders for SanFran, but the Eagles enter this
one off no less than 4 wars, losing the last 2. And note just a FG over the final
52:47 vs the 'Skins (203-58 RY deficit). Thus, a quick chance for redemption,
as well as a return to the right track. The Niners are 2-8 ATS off scoring >20
pts, & losing, & are 12-21 ATS off a spread loss as a dog. Philly bounceback.
Dallas 31 - ARIZONA 19 - (4:15) -- Matchup of old NFC East squads. Cowboys
a game back of the Giants, along with the 'Skins. Are loaded, talentwise, but
just a 2-8 spread play of late. But a closer look shows the visitor at 5-0 ATS (by
43½ pts) when Dallas takes the field. As a matter of fact, the Cowboys hold a
55-26 pt edge away from their home park thus far. Have the 2nd best "O" in
the NFL, with Romo at 11/5, & Jones in off a 10.7 ypr effort. Cards: 4 takeaways
in 41-17 rout of previously unbeaten Bills, with Warner now at 10/4. Dallas is
28-14 ATS as RFs of <7½ pts. Cards are 4-11 ATS at home off win of 7+ pts.
SEATTLE 33 - Green Bay 23 - (4:15) -- Now or never for the Seahawks, who
have a huge score to settle with the Packers, who administered a 42-20 playoff
pounding LY. As usual, home/away dichotomy in Seattle contests is firmly
entrenched. In their 2 RGs, the 'Hawks have a 78-16 pt deficit, but are at 34.2
ppg in their last 5 hosters. And the homer is 31-13 ATS in their last 44 games.
Rodgers (shoulder) played for the Pack vs Atlanta, but a crucial INT did them
in. Sure, McCarthy is 8-1 ATS vs opponents off a SU non-division loss, but
have to see Seattle taking advantage of 26th rated Packer defense. Revenge.
SAN DIEGO 29 - New England 15 - (8:15 - NBC) -- Triple revenge shot for the
Chargers, who not only lost to the Pats during the '07 regular season, but also
in the '06 & '07 playoffs. May have been peeking a bit to this one, in LW's 17-
10 loss to the Dolphins, as they had averaged 34.5 ppg in their first 4 games.
And note a current 11-3 ATS run for SD, with 1 of those misses by a single pt.
The Pats are on a 2-8 ATS run, reaching 20 pts in just 1 of their last 5 outings.
A solid showing at SanFran, but Chargers are another matter. They are 13-4
ATS off a SU loss, as well as 16-6 ATS off being upset. Grab this "must-win".
New York Giants 34 - CLEVELAND 13 - (8:35 - ESPN) -- These 2 sure had
classic all-out wars in the old NFL days. Obviously, they are miles apart now, as
the Giants continue to impress. A 523-187 yd edge over Seattle LW, with a 7.1
ypr showing. Eli? Try 65-of-97 the last 3 games. NY has won its last twelve
away games, & is 13-2 ATS away. Brown "D" has held 7 of last 8 opponents <20
pts, but Anderson is just 3/6 for the year. NY is 11-2 away off a SU win of at least
14 pts, while the Browns are 10-16 ATS off a win. Giants rank in the top 8 in all 8
major stat categories, while Cleveland checks in with the worst "O" in the NFL.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
4* Miami 37-10
3* West Va. 45-10
3* N.D. 24-20
2* Bowling Green 30-20
2* Florida 30-17
2* Western Michigan 27-21
Underdog Northwestern +3 27-23
4* Houston 28-13
3* Seattle 31-20
2* St. Louis + 27-31
2* Arizona + 28-27
3* Jets over 45
3* Colts U 39
3* Panthers U36
2* Packers over 47
2* Cowboys over 48
Underdog Play of the Week
The Spartans are 9-24 SU on the B10 road. In their last matchup in Evanston, MSU rallied from a
38-3 3Q deficit for the NCAA’s largest-ever comeback. The road tm has won 3 in a row SU and is
7-0 ATS! LY we used NW (+16) as the Big Dog play and they pulled the upset in OT 48-41 with QB
Bacher throwing for 520 yds (NW 611-481 yd edge). NW is fresh off a bye and is off to its 1st 5-0 start
S/’62, the same yr the 1st Walmart store opened in Bentonville, AR. A win here would clinch bowl
elig earlier than at any time in the program’s history (10/19/96). QB Bacher (208 ypg, 53%, 7-5 ratio)
& RB Sutton (464, 5.3) needed the wk off after being banged up. The Cats start can be credited to
their D which leads the conf with 17 sks (just 18 in ‘07) and allows 112 rush yds (3.4). MSU survived
a 4Q comeback by Iowa by stopping RB Greene on 4th & 1 at the MSU 21 with 2:16 left. The Hawks
became the 1st team to contain Ringer (#2 NCAA with 988, 4.7) who was held to 91 yds (3.6). By
game’s end MSU was playing without its entire starting secondary. The fresh Cats take advantage of
a tired Spartans team off a physical gm. FORECAST: NORTHWESTERN 27 Michigan St 23
4* MIAMI, FL over Ucf - 1st meeting and UCF is 0-4 visiting in-state schools losing by 36 ppg S/‘96.
Normally UM would not be up for a lower rung in-state school but UCF is the defending CUSA champ
and Miami is 2-3 and wants to prove there’s still a huge divide between the programs to in-state recruits.
They are off a misleading loss to rival Fla St with an ACC game on deck. LW for UCF QB Greco took over
for true Fr Calabrese in the 2H and engineered 3 scoring drives to defeat SMU 31-17. On the season
he is avg 107 ypg (53%) with a 4-3 ratio. RB Weaver, who had his 1st 100 yd rush gm LW, has 328 yds
(3.7) on the season. UM is coming off a disappointing conf loss in a game they trailed 31-10 3Q and
got to within 34-32 w/8:00 left in a game in which true Fr Benjamin (PS#54) had 274 all-purp yds. On
the ssn QB Marve is avg 135 ypg (57%) with a 5-5 ratio. RB Cooper, who has taken over for the inj’d
James and has 322 rush yds (5.4). Both of Miami’s wins are vs non-conf foes TY and the Canes need
a feel-good win to prove their still relevant to in-state players after losing to UF and FSU.
FORECAST: MIAMI, FL 37 Ucf 10
3*WEST VIRGINIA over Syracuse - This is played for the Schwartzwalder Trophy. LY WV won their
6th (5-1 ATS) in a row SU and their 55 pts were the most Syr ever all’d at home. QB White sat out the
2H with inj. The fav is 15-1 ATS! The only non-cover was last time here in ‘06 when WV won 41-17
(-25’) and WV had a 562-227 yd edge. Syr is 4-2 ATS vs ranked tms on the road and pulled a stunner
LY upsetting #18 Louisville (+37). Syr is off a bye after their 34-24 loss to Pitt, a gm they led 24-16 in
the 4Q. The Orange are all’g 157 ypg rush (4.7) and now face a potent rush attack avg 206 ypg (5.1).
LW WV held on to defeat Rutgers 24-17. QB White left in the 3Q (head, CS). If WV has to go without
White they are in capable hands with backup Jarrett “Big” Brown and RB Devine (454 yds, 5.7). WV
has huge edges on off (#33-98) and def (#33-116) and the home edge and will roll into the bye at 4-2
before facing Auburn. FORECAST: WEST VIRGINIA 45 Syracuse 10
3* Notre Dame over NORTH CAROLINA - While ND is 16-1 SU in the series, their last trip here was
in 1975 and in their only recent meeting a 3-9 NCar team covered (+24’) 26-45 in South Bend in 2006 vs
Sugar Bowl bound ND (ND ended gm on NC’s 20). This matches our #1 vs #2 Most Improved tms. NC (4-1)
is off to its best start S/’97. QB Sexton, starting for the inj’d Yates (ankle), is avg 180 ypg (57%) with a 3-1
ratio. WR Nicks has 24 rec (17.2) and Tate is avg 195 all-purp ypg. NC’s D is #1 in NCAA with 12 int. QB
Clausen, who threw for 347 yds LW vs Stanford giving us a 3H LPS Winner, is avg 250 ypg (61%) with a
12-6 ratio, however, the 6 int were in the 1st 3 gms and he has 0 since. ND’s WR Tate has 23 rec (17.3)
and Floyd has 21 (15.9). ND has struggled running the ball other than vs Purdue and prior to LW only had
1 sk (5 sks vs Stanford). These tms matchup pretty evenly on both sides of the ball (ND off #43-45, NC
def #43-51). Rare line value with ND as both are off misleading finals (see News & Notes) and the Irish
prove why they are our Most Improved. FORECAST: Notre Dame 24 NORTH CAROLINA 20
2* Bowling Green over AKRON - LY BG had a ssn high 517 yds off, incl 295 in the 1H vs Akron.
Akron RB Kennedy had a career high 178 yds (7.4) & 2 TD vs BG in ‘06. Akron is 0-11 SU the week
after playing rival Kent. BG is 1-6 as an AF and Akron is 5-1 as a HD. BG is coming off a shocking loss
as they allowed EM to score a TD with :36 left losing 24-21 as a 20’ pt HF. The Falcons were outgained
410-391 and outFD’d 23-18. Akron is coming off a shocking win thanks to a Kent St flubbed punt that
set them up for a TD with less than 5:00 left. Akron won 30-27 as a 3’ AF as Kent St missed a short
FG in the 2nd OT. The Zips were outFD’d 25-15 and outgained 413-301. This will be the Zips final HC
in the Rubber Bowl. BG has the off (#68-92) and D (#78-96) edges. BG QB Sheehan is avg 242 ypg
(66%) with a 6-3 ratio. RB Bullock leads the tm with 237 yds (4.2). Akron QB Jacquemain is avg 243
ypg (59%) with a 10-9 ratio. RB Kennedy leads the Zips with 291 yds (4.1). Akron’s weakness is run
D where they are all’g 222 ypg (4.6) so it’s time for the Falcons to work out their offensive kinks.
FORECAST: Bowling Green 30 AKRON 20
2* FLORIDA over Lsu - LY the Gators led 17-7 at HT and 24-14 early 4Q but lost 28-24 (+7) in Death
Valley as LSU went 5/5 on 4th down tries. LSU is 3-1 SU in this series but the 3 wins are by 11 pts comb.
The HT is 4-12 ATS and UF is 7-2 ATS in this series. LSU is 3-10 ATS vs SEC East tms, but UF has
struggled vs West tms also (4-8-1 ATS) incl an outright upset loss to Ole Miss a few wks ago. The Gators
are 15-5 SU & 13-6 ATS the week prior to a bye. Tebow has avg just 205 ypg pass (62%) with an 8-1 ratio
and only 157 rush (2.6) a far cry from his ‘07 Heisman ssn. LSU LB Darry Beckwith is exp to return (out
L/2). UF is banged up on the OL with their top 2 LG’s missing the last gm (CS). Meyer has never lost 2 in
a row SU at home. UF has slight edges on off (#8-21), def (#4-14) and ST’s (#1-8). LSU QB Lee makes
his 1st road start in The Swamp and has avg 161 ypg (58%) with a 6-3 ratio. RB Scott has 535 rush (7.5)
and leads the SEC in rush ypg (134). UF is 7-2 as a HF & LSU hasn’t been an AD since their 23-10 loss
(+1) to UF in the Swamp in ‘06. These 2 teams have captured the L/2 BCS Championships, but UF has
the all-important home edge and the superior QB in this one. FORECAST: FLORIDA 30 Lsu 17
2* W Michigan over BUFFALO - Last met in ‘05 as WM QB Hiller made his debut (WM -10’, 31-
21). WM is 3-0 SU vs Buff (all by 10+ pts). HC Cubit is 2-5-1 as an AF and Gill is 3-1 as a MAC HD.
Buff is fresh off a bye (but is 0-7 off bye) while WM is playing a 7th str wk and has rival CM on deck
(0-4 ATS gm prior to CM). We won a 3H Small Coll Play on WM (-7) as they beat Ohio 41-20, with a
503-356 yd edge. UB just missed knocking off CM as the gm winning FG (lost 27-25, +6’) went off the
upright as time expired. WM has the off (#46-65) and D (#66-76) edges but the Bulls have played the
tougher schedule (#11-117). Both tms beat Temple TY (UB 30-28, -6, TU QB DiMichele did play, WM
7-3, -4, DiMichele DNP). WM is led by QB Hiller, who avg 284 ypg (69%) with a 19-4 ratio. RB West
leads with 574 (5.6). UB is led by QB Willy who avg 260 ypg (64%) with a 12-3 ratio and RB Starks
has 390 (4.8) despite missing time (inj). WM’s dominance on both sides of the ball have not shown up
on the scoreboard yet but expect different results here. FORECAST: W Michigan 27 BUFFALO 21
Tuesday, October 7th Troy at FLORIDA ATLANTIC - FAU snapped a 4 gm losing streak to Troy LY
with their 38-32 road win (+16) stealing the SBC Title in Troy’s FHG. FAU is 10-4 ATS in conf play but is
off a devastating last second loss to Mid Tenn. This is Troy’s 3rd straight road gm (in 4 wks) and they were
outgained 612-416 LW vs Okla St but beat that same Blue Raiders squad 31-17 in the opener.
Thursday, October 9th Clemson at WAKE FOREST - LY CU’s Harper threw for 3 TD & ran for a 4th
in a 44-10 win (scored on 1st 4 poss). Prior to ‘07 WF HC Grobe was 4-0-2 ATS vs Clemson with his
biggest SU loss by 10 and two outright upsets. Clem’s L/3 trips here have been a comeback win and
SU losses by 28 and 4. CU was the preseason favorite to win the ACC but are 1-1 in conf play so they
need this win here to stay in the race while WF got their conf win at FSU, a team CU will also face on
the road. This could be the ACC Atlantic Title game
Uab at HOUSTON - These two have avg 60 ppg in their previous matchups. LY UH jumped out to a
35-10 HT lead in ‘07 outgaining an undermanned UAB squad 540-224 in a 49-10 win (-13’) as a 4H Key
Selection winner. UAB journeys to Houston after dropping a heartbreaker vs Memphis last Thur and is
now playing for a 7th str wk riding a 6-11-1 ATS record vs the CUSA. After a big win at #23 EC a few wks
back, UH returns from a bye where they have struggled as a DD HF going just 4-13 ATS (0-4 LY).
Friday, October 10th Louisville at MEMPHIS - This is an old CUSA rivalry with UL 5-1 SU but 1-5 ATS
(last met in ‘04, UL -13’ won on the road, 56-49). The dog is 11-1 ATS. UL HC Kragthorpe (at Tulsa) is
2-0 ATS vs Mem HC West. This is a conf sandwich game for Memphis with EC on deck while UL returns
home vs Mid Tenn. Louisville is off a bye while Memphis is off a Thurs night win over rival UAB.
East Carolina 27 VIRGINIA 17 - In their only recent meeting in ‘06, EC was -6’ at
home and won 31-21. The dog is 15-5 ATS when EC is on the road. EC is off a bye but has a home conf
game on deck. The Cavs were outscored 128-20 in their previous 3 BCS gms but finally clicked LW and
shutout MD 31-0. QB Vercia, who took over for Lalich (kicked off tm), is avg 145 ypg (62%) with a 2-5
ratio. WR Ogletree has 27 rec (11.8). The Pirates have the edge on off (#77-96) but they matchup almost
evenly on D (UVA #60-65). QB Pinkney avg 203 ypg (68%) with a 6-3 ratio. WR Harris has 33 rec (10.5).
EC is 9-3 off a SU loss under Holtz but now faces the Cavs off an upset win by 31 pts (2 TD dog).
Iowa 27 INDIANA 20 - LY in Iowa City, Hawks QB Christensen threw for 308 yd but Indy had 9 sks
and got their 2nd str upset of Iowa with their biggest margin (38-20) S/’45. Hoosier QB Lewis has avg’d
305 ttl ypg while accounting for 7 TD’s in 2 career winning sts vs Iowa. Ferentz is 3-5 SU vs Indy and
is 0-7 as an AF with 5 OUTRIGHT losses. Hawks have lost 3 str by a comb ttl of 9 pts incl LW’s 16-13
defeat at MSU in which RB Greene (NCAA’s #6 rusher w/822, 6.4) was SOD on 4th & 1 at the MSU
21 with 2:16 left. The Hawks rallied from a 16-3 deficit created in part by QB Stanzi’s 3 1H TO’s (5 of
tm’s 8 in L/2 gms) but couldn’t finish for their 8th str loss by 3 or less. Indy also lost their 3rd in a row in
an unexpected 16-7 D struggle vs Minny in which they were outFD’d 22-10. Both QB’s played but the
tm’s lone TD came on a 77 yd pass from Chappell to Thigpen (3 TD’s of 75+ in L/2). Iowa has all of the
edges especially on D (#19-69) and this is a must-win for both tms’ post season hopes.
ILLINOIS 34 Minnesota 20 - UM HC Brewster is an IL alum who campaigned to get the Illini job before
Zook. The Gophers are 6-2 SU (series) but lost LY 44-17 in Brewster’s 1st test vs Zook as the Illini ran
for a ssn high 448 yd. IL is 7-2 SU at home (series) but lost the last time here in ‘03, 36-10 (+15’). The
Illini rallied from a 14-3 deficit and scored the most pts in their history over Mich in a 45-20 win in the
Big House. B10 ttl offense leader QB Williams (243 ypg, 57%, 11-6 ratio, 404 rush yds) had the most
yds in Michigan Stadium history (431). The D settled down and tied their ssn high with 4 sks and all’d
the Wolves just 69 rush yds (2.0). After being 1-11 in ‘07, UM is 1 win away from bowl eligibility after
their 16-7 win over Indy in which they held the potent Hoosiers to just 10 FD, 293 yds and 1 offensive
TD. QB Weber (238 ypg, 68%, 8-2 ratio) and WR Decker (#3 NCAA with 50 rec, 13.9) are the league’s
most prolific pitch & catch combo. UM is #2 in the NCAA in TO margin at +10. The Gophers will have
to wait at least one more wk to start making post season plans.
OKLAHOMA 34 Texas 27 - Red River Rivalry (103rd) and UT has covered 3 str (2-1 SU) but has been
outgained L/2Y benefitting from +7 TO (OU 333-232 yd edge in ‘06). LY was the 1st RRR gm S/’97 that
was not decided by DD but surprisingly the dog is 13-7 ATS. #1 OU (4-0 ATS) cont’d its dominance
rolling BU LW 49-17 and has outgained foes by 284 ypg. QB Bradford avg 333 ypg (73%) with an 18-3
ratio. #5 Texas took care of CU on the road LW 38-14 is 5-0 ATS avg 47 ppg TY. QB McCoy avg 256
ypg (79%) with a 16-3 ratio. OU is on a 25-4 SU & 19-8-1 ATS run but struggled vs TCU (comparable
def to UT) rushing for just 25 yds on 36 carries and the Frogs penetrated OU terr 8 times and came
away with NO pts (2 punt, 3 SOD & 3 TO)! Both tms rank in the top 10 in off/def and the last time they
both came in undefeated was in ‘04 (OU won 12-0, last cover). This will be the 4th time that Stoops and
Brown bring Top 5 ranked squads into Dallas and the Sooners are 3-0 SU & ATS.
ARMY 23 E Michigan 22 - Last met in ‘92, a 57-17 Army win. Both tms are off outright wins as DD AD’s.
EM scored with :36 left beating BG 24-21 as a 20’ pt dog. Army’s option has finally started to click as they
avg 6.6 ypc and seemingly dominated Tulane 44-13 as a 19’ pt dog. However Army was outFD’d 25-13 and
outgained 486-334 D scored 2 TD incl an 81 yd FR as they were +4 TO. Army is avg 222 ypg (4.1) rush
while EM is all’g 184 ypg rush (4.9 ypc). EM is in a MAC sandwich, on 3rd AG in 4 wks and is just 3-10
ATS in non-conf AG’s. Army is 9-5 SU on HC and is trying to break a 5 gm home losing streak after ending
the nation’s longest losing streak (10 gm) LW. EM is just 1-4 ATS TY while Army has covered 2 str. Army,
after being led in rushing by QB Bowden the L/2W, was led by FB Mooney with 187 (9.8) and he now leads
with 416 (5.0). EM QB Schmitt avg 133 ypg (61%) with a 2-2 ratio. Take the points.
BAYLOR 31 Iowa St 24 - ISU is 3-14 SU & 5-12 ATS vs the B12 South. Cyclones have dropped 9 str
B12 AG’s w/the avg loss by 20 ppg. In their L/gm in ‘05, BU won its 1st ever B12 AG beating ISU 23-13
(0-37 coming in). BU is 0-9 SU & 1-7-1 ATS after facing OU but 7-3 as a HF. The Bears ran into #1 OU
LW and as usual lost 49-17. QB Griffin avg 166 ypg (56%) with a 7-0 ratio and leads with 436 rush yd
(5.7) accounting for 64% of the BU off. ISU nearly turned in the upset over KU but lost 35-33 LW. Kan
needed to rally from a 20 pt deficit to escape with the win. QB Arnaud seems to have the #1 spot avg
182 ypg (63%) with a 7-3 ratio. Both tms have struggled on the road (ISU 10-45 SU) but have won at
each others stadium in ‘04 & ‘05 (BU 2-0 ATS). Both tms are 2-3 and need a win to keep a bowl berth
alive, but BU has the off edge (#48-75) and seems to be ahead in Briles schemes at this point, compared
to what Chizik has done with the Cyclones.
South Carolina 20 KENTUCKY 13 - SC DE Norwood tied an NCAA record with 2 FR TD’s in LY’s
38-21 (-4) SC win in a Thurs PPH Nite win in which #11 SC had the ball at the UK2 at the end. It was
SC’s first win over a Top 10 tm (UK #8) S/’88. SC has won 8 in a row SU and Spurrier is 15-0 vs UK.
The visitor is 11-5 ATS while UK is 8-3 as a HD. UK is off a close loss to #2 Bama in which a fmbl by
QB Hartline (ret’d by Bama for a TD) was the difference. Hartline has avg 175 ypg (56%) with a 5-2
ratio. SC seems to be getting back on track with 3 str wins to put themselves back in bowl contention.
Spurrier stuck with QB Smelley (195 ypg, 63%, 9-7 ratio) LW and he threw for a career high 327 yds &
3 TD in their win over Miss. This is a battle of Top 20 D’s with SC having a slight edge (#11-18). UK’s D
all’d 282 rush yd (5.8) to the Tide LW, so SC RB Davis (327, 4.5) could be in for a big day. The loser of
this one risks being shutout of the bowls.
MISSISSIPPI ST 17 Vanderbilt 10 - VU has dropped 5 str in Starkville by an avg of 27 ppg, but did win
the last meeting 31-13 (-13) in ‘04 in Nashville. The fav has covered 4 in a row. VU has lost SU the L/2
times they have been an SEC AF (‘06, -1’ at Miss 10-17 and ‘04, -3 at KY 13-14). MSU is 3-6 as a HD
& 5-9 ATS off a bye. VU is in a letdown sit coming off their historic upset of #13 Aub LW with GameDay
broadcasting from their campus and VU is off to its best start S/’43. QB Nickson (59 pass ypg, 55%,
3-1 ratio, 310 rush, 5.1) aggravated a shld’r inj LW (CS) and bkup Adams threw for 153 yds & 2 TD. VU
leads the NCAA in TO margin and held Aub to 4 yd rush in the 2H LW. Despite their 5-0 start, VU is
being outgained by 54 ypg on the yr. MSU RB Dixon (groin inj, 320, 4.5) should be healthier after the
bye. QB Lee made his 1st start in the tm’s respectable loss to LSU and has avg 117 ypg (66%) with a
1-0 ratio while Carroll has avg 132 ypg (54%) with a 3-6 ratio. VU has slight edges on off (#90-99) & D
(#34-39), but a large edge on ST’s (#34-80). VU could clinch its first bowl S/’82 with a win here.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Utah 35 WYOMING 7 - LY WY HC Glenn guaranteed a win and when UT onside kicked while up by 43,
he flipped off Whittingham. UT had a 506-122 yd edge and is 7-2 SU and 10-5 ATS (series). The HT
has covered SEVEN str! WY is 6-3 (0-1 TY) as a HD. LW UT rallied for 11 pts in 1:29 for a 31-28 win
over Oreg St despite being outFD’d 20-18 and outgained 405-337. QB Johnson avg 222 ypg (67%)
with a 10-6 ratio. RB Asiata has 373 yd (5.3) while Mack has 363 (4.7) and three WR’s have more than
20 rec’s. During the wk, WY gave the starting job to Sween with “leeway” in the TO dept. Sween tossed
an int that was ret’d for a TD :15 in & on the yr WY has a -14 TO margin (T-last NCAA) and is 0-5 ATS.
Sween has thrown for 155 yd (54%) with an 0-2 ratio in L/2. RB Moore leads w/582 rush yd (5.3) & two
WR’s tie for the lead with 13 rec (in SIX GMS!). UT is playing to impress poll voters while WY is playing
for their HC’s job as the rest of us wonder who his successor.
TEXAS A&M 34 Kansas St 30 - Last meeting, in ‘05, A&M led 23-8 after 3Q’s, before KSU’s 4Q comeback
fell short by 2. KSU is 3-13 SU (4-9 ATS) on the B12 road being outscored by 11 ppg. A&M is 9-3 SU and
8-4 ATS in their B12 home opener and the HT is 4-1 ATS. A&M lost 56-28 to OkSt but outgained them
by 1 yd and fell to 1-4 ATS. QB’s McGee & Johnson are both not 100% but comb for 239 ypg (59%) with
a 10-5 ratio. KSU’s struggles cont’d LW vs TT as they have given up 37+ pts in 3 str and a rush D that
has been non-existent (all’g 258 ypg, 5.7). QB Freeman is avg 255 ypg (63%) with a 12-2 ratio. K-St is
on a 2-9 SU & 1-7 ATS run but does have a huge ST edge (#2-100) along with the better off (#27-72) &
D (#87-94). We’re well aware that A&M is 1-2 SU TY at home dropping 5 of the L/6 ATS (0-3 ATS TY) but
LW’s offensive output shows the progress the new off is making.
C MICHIGAN 30 Temple 20 - Only met in ‘06 with CM having a 499-309 yd edge on the road (-20) 42-26.
CM is 11-2 ATS at home and TU is on their 5th RG in 7 wks while CM is off a bye. TU beat Miami 28-10
as a 7 pt AD, as the D forced 4 TO incl 1 that set up a 6 yd TD drive. TU was outFD’d 20-11 and outgained
303-294. QB Stewart, in his 2nd start, improved to 178 yds (48%) with a 3-1 ratio. CM has a huge off edge
(#37-115) but TU does have the D edge (#53-109). Both have played Buff TY. CM held on for a 27-25 SU
win as a 6’ pt HF with 21-18 FD and 360-336 yd edges. TU lost 30-28 as a 6’ pt AD but was outFD’d 24-19
and outgained 449-389. CM is led by QB LeFevour who avg 254 ypg (63%) with a 7-3 ratio and is the top
rusher (318, 4.4). Despite being 3-2 SU, CM is 1-3 ATS being outscored 31-26 and outgained 406-386
with their 2 IA wins by a comb 5 pts.
OHIO ST 38 Purdue 10 - LY OSU traveled to face a 5-0 Purdue tm who was thinking upset but the Bucks
forced a school record 12 punts and finished with a 381-184 yd edge. OSU led 23-0 before PU scored a
TD w/:10 left. Tiller had won 3 in a row ATS vs Tressel prior. OSU is 26-17 as a HF but 0-3 TY. OSU broke
Wisky’s 16 gm home win streak thanks to an 80 yd TD drive directed by Pryor who scored on an 11 yd
run w/1:08 left. As the starter (L/3) Pryor has accounted for 8 of OSU’s 10 TD’s. RB Beanie Wells (385,
7.9) has 100 yds in every gm he’s played TY despite not being 100%. OSU is #21 in pass eff D all’g 155
ypg (58%) with a 7-9 ratio. PU is off a 20-6 home loss to Penn St in which QB Painter was benched in the
4Q after failing to get the Boilers into the EZ for the 3rd consec time vs the Lions. Painter has struggled
(#83 NCAA pass eff) avg 245 ypg (58%) with a 5-5 ratio but Tiller said he will start vs OSU despite backup
Eilliot’s 82 yd TD drive LW. Boilers’ short handed D allows 196 rush ypg (5.0) to rank #104 in the NCAA.
With huge edges all around, OSU bullies the Boilers.
Tcu 35 COLORADO ST 10 - HC Patterson is 4-0 SU & ATS vs CSU and TCU won here 45-14 (-9’) in ‘06. LW
it looked like SDSt was going to make a gm of it (held TCU to 2 early FG’s), but TCU ended with 498-85 yd &
28-4 FD edges in a 41-7 romp. Bkup QB Jackson (Dalton knee, CS) rushed for 131. TCU’s D is phenomenal
all’g just 29.3 ypg rush (#1 NCAA), holding every opp under 75! They now take on a CSU tm that looked
like a diff squad LW behind the power-running of G. Johnson (191 yd) who leads with 491 (5.0). CSU went
up 14-3 after 1Q but UNLV battled back and took a 28-27 lead w/6:05 left. Johnson broke through for a 10
yd TD run w/:09 left. LV tried 5 laterals on the KR before Mosure knocked it down & ran the fmbl back for a
misleading 41-28 final. CSU did have a commanding 510-347 yd edge incl 216 rush yd. QB Farris bounced
bk LW (96 yd vs Cal) and now avg 235 ypg (66%) with a 5-5 ratio. WR Greer had an outstanding gm with
211 rec yd (26.4) and leads with 33 rec (17.3).TCU does have a huge gm vs BYU on deck, so lookahead is
a possibility here, but it’s tough to go with CSU who is just 1-5 S/’99 as a DD conf dog.
MISSOURI 52 Oklahoma St 35 - Last time here (‘04), OSU came back from 17 pts down (biggest comeback
S/‘79) for a 20-17 upset. Gundy is 3-9 SU on the B12 road and MO is 8-3 SU in the series (3 losses by 3
ppg). OSU is 10-24 as an AD and MO is 10-5 as a HF. OkSt is a perfect 5-0 SU & 4-0 ATS after hanging
50+ (4th str gm) on A&M. QB Robinson avg 207 ypg (72%) with a 10-3 ratio. OSU has the NCAA’s #2 rush
off lead by Hunter (708 yds, 7.0). MO also comes in 5-0 (3-1 ATS) after snapping a 15 gm losing streak in
Lincoln (52-17). Heisman hopeful QB Daniel avg 333 ypg (76%) with a 15-1 ratio. He has led 48 drives,
33 for a score, 5 punts & zero 3 & outs! Under Pinkel MO is 14-7-1 ATS vs B12 South and OSU is 12-22-1
ATS on the B12 road. Both off are high octane (MO #2 & OSU #6), but MO has the D edge (#31-63). MO
is in a tough B12 road sandwich but has won 10 str HG’s by at least 14. The last time OSU started 5-0
was in ‘04 before they played a ranked A&M squad and lost by 16 as a fav!
GEORGIA 27 Tennessee 6 - LY UT all’d UGA only 2 FD’s in the 1H & finished with a 411-243 yd edge (RB
Moreno was held to 30 yd) in their 35-14 win. LY UT had a bye the wk prior and Fulmer’s job was on the line.
TY the Dogs are off a bye and playing to avenge the gm that cost them the SEC East and a poss National
Title berth. The last meeting in Athens prod the most pts ever in the series, a 51-33 UT win. The dog has
3 outright upsets the L/4 and the visitor has won 4 of 5 with the avg win by 16 ppg. Richt is 10-2 SU off a
bye and the Vols are 2-4 as an AD. UGA RB Moreno (489, 6.3) suffered an elbow inj vs AL, but is exp to
play, but while TE Chandler is out and starting LB Ellerbe is doubtful (knee). UGA QB Stafford avg 239 ypg
(60%) with a 7-1 ratio with true Fr Green (PS#3) his top target (22, 17.6). UT’s new off has struggled with
QB Crompton (165 ypg, 52%, 2-4 ratio) being benched LW as they barely got past NI (held to 225 ttl yd & 9
FD) and Stephens threw for 156 yds & the gm’s only TD. This is a battle of Top 10 D’s, but UGA has a huge
edge on off (#11-52) plus has huge edges coming off the bye and playing at home with revenge.
USC 38 Arizona St 7 - ASU travels to the Coliseum after suffering their 3rd str defeat and has now dropped
8 of 9 ATS. The ground gm has been the main culprit as ASU avg just 85 ypg (2.9) rush TY while QB
Carpenter cont’s to carry the tm throwing for 270 ypg (67%) with an 8-4 ratio. ASU has also lost 8 str to
USC incl LY on Thanksgiving when they were held to a ssn low 259 yd incl 16 rush (0.5) in a 44-24 romp.
USC ret’d to its winning ways smashing Oreg 44-10 in a gm in which they put up nearly 600 yds ttl off. QB
Sanchez rebounded well from the OSU loss passing for 332 yd & 3 TD but suffered a 4Q knee inj (CS).
While ASU is 6-17-1 as an AD, they did cover their last trip here (+19) as they fell behind 21-0 but rallied
to tie as USC needed a TD w/4:29 left. USC has our #1 D and has surrendered just 223 ypg at home TY
which spells trouble vs an ASU tm that is 1-9 ATS in their 2nd consec RG.
OREGON 42 Ucla 14 - UO is 14-4 as a HF and returns here after being outgained 598-239 yds in their
34 pt loss to USC. Despite the QB issues TY, the off has fared well avg 483 ttl ypg led by the 1-2 punch
of RB’s Johnson & Blount who have comb to rush for 966 yd (6.3) and 15 TD. LY in a gm that featured
as many punts as FD’s (22), UCLA held the once high-powered UO off to just 148 ttl yd in a 16-0 win as
UO was playing its 1st gm after QB Dixon was lost for the yr. UCLA got its 1st conf win under new HC
Neuheisel as they beat Wash St for the 1st time in the Rose Bowl S/’98 holding WSU to just 177 ttl yd.
UCLA has beaten UO just twice S/’00 and the last time here we used UO as a 3H LPS (-8) in a gm that
they led 30-13 before a late TD. While the HT is just 5-11 ATS, UO has its 1st bye of the ssn on deck and
should be too much for a rebuilding UCLA squad here.
MICHIGAN 34 Toledo 13 - First meeting between these 2 which are 54 miles apart. UM is in a B10
sandwich and just 1-9 as a 20+ fav. UT is 1-8 ATS (0-9 SU) when visiting a BCS tm losing by an avg of 27
ppg. The Rockets are just 5-13 as an AD (1-1 TY) and are off a devastating 31-0 loss to Ball St, their 1st
MAC shutout S/’85 & 1st at home S/’78. UT was outgained 482-157 by the Cards and hasn’t scored a TD
in 7Q’s. RB Collins (371, 7.4) ret’d but had just 11 yds while QB Opelt has struggled avg 174 ypg (59%)
with a 7-3 ratio to rank #86 in the NCAA in pass eff. Rockets allow 171 rush ypg (4.1). The Wolves are off
to their worst start S/’67 after their 2H collapse vs Illinois in which they were outgained 501-319 and UM
lost 2 more fmbl’s (T-NCAA worst 11). “Good” Threet was 5-8 for 95 yds & 1 TD as Mich jumped out to a
14-3 lead but “Bad” Threet was 13-27 for 155 the rest of the game. Wolves’ D allows 109 rush ypg (2.7).
UM needs this for bowl elig and the offense gets back on track.
AUBURN 34 Arkansas 10 - The road tm has covered 3 in a row and in their last trip here Ark delivered
another Big Dog win when +15 they upset #2 Auburn 27-10. LY Ark was held to 67 yds rush (220 yds
below ssn avg) but appeared to pull out the win on a TD w/1:36 left but Auburn got a 20 yd FG on the
last play to pull the upset on the road (visitor is 5-1 SU). Tuberville takes on his former OC Petrino, who
nearly took his job in a failed coup in ‘03. Auburn is 5-1 SU & ATS in the series. The dog is 8-3 ATS. Aub is
off a distressing loss to Vandy in which their spread off (#73) was held to just 4 yds rush in the 2H and a
missed xp was the difference in the gm. QB Todd has avg 148 ypg (57%) with a 5-5 ratio with mobile bkup
Burns only seeing spot duty. RB Tate is the top rusher (501, 4.4) and Ark has all’d 208 rush ypg (5.3). Ark
has also struggled in their new off (#74) led by QB Dick (238 ypg, 59%, 5-5 ratio). RB Smith (423, 5.7)
has been a bright spot. Ark’s OL though veteran, featuring Rimington winner Luigs, has struggled to pass
blk and has all’d 21 sks (last in NCAA) while Aub’s D has posted 13 sks. Ark is on an 0-6 ATS run (though
Aub 0-5 run) and faces their 4th consec Top 25 tm and have been outscored by an avg of 46-10 the L/3.
Aub has huge edges on D (#9-90) and ST’s (#18-108) and need a feel-good win, although their struggling
offense makes it tough (4-13 DD fav).
NEVADA 41 New Mexico St 38 - UN leads series 10-1 SU (3-3 ATS). The Wolf Pack has scored 40+pts
(avg 45 ppg) in each of the 3 meetings as WAC foes going 3-0 SU & 2-1 ATS (avg win by 17 ppg). These
two have comb to avg 73 ppg the L/3. LY there were 6 lead changes & UN got a 31 yd TD pass w/1:00 left
for the win, 40-38 (-7). NMSt is just 1-17 SU & 5-13 ATS as an AD under HC Mumme but the lone SU win
was in the Aggies’ last AG vs UTEP (34-33, +7). QB Holbrook avg 280 ypg (67%) with a 10-5 ratio. WR’s
Williams (23 rec, 16.4) & Harris (26 rec, 9.7) have picked up where they left off LY but newcomer Anderson
has been a welcome addition with his big-play abilities resulting in 12 rec (21.3). UN HC Ault is 17-1 SU
& 14-2 ATS as a HF. The Wolf Pack has the edge on off (#14-57), D (#82-111) & ST’s (#105-114). UN’s
off avg 521 ypg led by dual-threat QB Kaepernick who is avg 191 ypg (66%) with a 6-2 ratio & leads with
511 yds rush & 8 TD. He has been causing opposing DC’s fits trying to find a way to slow him down. UN’s
“M&M” WR duo of Mitchell (22 rec, 17.3) & McCoy (21 rec, 7.2) help stretch the field. This is old school
WAC football meaning the last one with the ball wins.
N ILLINOIS 31 Miami, Oh 10 - MU is actually 8-1 SU in their first MAC AG but has lost 3 in a row to NI
(1-2 ATS) and lost their last trip here (‘05, 38-27). In ‘06, NI went ahead by 3 w/7:46 left 4Q & then held
MU twice near midfield winning 28-25 on the road (-13’). The Huskies are 4-0 ATS and off a 13-9 loss to
Tenn as a 16’ pt AD. They were only outgained 225-194 and settled for 3 FG’s of 25 yds or less. NI QB
Nicholson left with a shoulder inj in the 2Q (CS) and the game was tied 3-3 at the half. Bkup QB Grady hit
just 4-10 for 39 yds but led the tm with 47 yd (3.1) rushing. MU is 1-3 ATS and lost 28-10 to Temple as a 7
pt HF. They did have 20-11 FD and 303-294 yd edges but gave up 4 TO’s. MU brought in bkup QB Belton
in the 2H to replace an ineffective Raudabaugh (44%, 65 yds). Belton threw for 178 yds (48%) with an
0-1 ratio leading them to 10 unanswered 3Q pts. NI has the off (#78-109) and the D edges (#42-92) and
ranks higher than Temple in both categories.
BYU 41 New Mexico 13 - BYU is 7-1 as a DD HF. These two have met every yr S/‘51 & LY BYU scored 24 pts
off 5 NM TO’s in a 31-24 win. Mendenhall was the DC at NM from ‘98-‘02 installing the 3-3-5. The visitor has won 6 str ATS and NM is 21-13 (0-1 TY) as an AD and 17-7 ATS in conf AG’s. LW BYU extended its shutout streak to 11Q’s before all’g an early 4Q TD in what many are calling a “disappointing” 34-14 win over Utah St. Collie went over 100 yds rec for the 3rd str gm and leads with 38 rec (13.6) while TE Pitta has 35 (14.3). QB Hall is avg 317 ypg (72%) with a 17-4 ratio and Unga has 455 rush yd (4.6). Cougs D is all’g an unprecedented 11.6 ppg TY. NM is off its 1st shutout in MWC history (& 1st shutout S/’83), beating WY 24-0 with a 350-201 yd edge.Long said that they will spend TW working on Gruner’s pass gm as he has thrown for 88 ttl yd in his 2 sts (43%) with an 0-0 ratio. RB Ferguson DNP LW (CS) & Wright finished w/120 yd (8.0). BYU has made it a habit to start quickly which will force NM to throw and with a 3-10 tm ratio, it could be a long day for the Lobos.
OREGON ST 49 Washington St 10 - The Cougars journey to Corvallis fresh off yet another beatdown as
UCLA held WSU to just 177 ttl yds on 11 FD’s (2-14 3rd down conv). Not much has gone well on either
side of the ball as they are down to their 3rd string QB in Lobbestael (164 ypg, 54%, 4-4 ratio) and own a
D that has all’d 452 ypg vs IA opp’s (outscored by a 48-10 avg). LY WSU QB Brink was int’d 6 times (5 in
the 1H) in his final HG as the Cougs were hammered 52-17. In ‘06, WSU won their 1st game in Corvallis
S/’96 but they have struggled in B2B AG’s dropping 6 of 8 both SU & ATS. The Beavers have been dynamite
at home (414-262 yd edge) TY incl their monumental upset of #1 USC. While they dropped a heartbreaker
to Utah LW (outgained the Utes 405-337), they have HUGE edges vs WSU here in both off (#23-111) and
D (#20-104). Their best ball is also usually played now as over the L2Y, the Beavers have gone 13-2 SU
and 12-3 ATS after their 5th game of the regular ssn.
Arizona 30 STANFORD 23 - The Cardinal return home after playing 4 of 5 away incl LW’s loss to ND
giving us a 3H LPS Winner. Arizona has the NCAA’s #2 D surrendering just 226 ypg after another strong
performance vs the winless Huskies and will look for continued momentum. The visitor has gone 10-2
ATS. In their last trip to Stanford, the Wildcat D held the Cardinal to just 52 ttl yds (-6 rush) marking their
lowest ydg total in school history. However, LY Stanford scored a 4Q TD & recovered a fmbl at their own
22 w/2:00 left to pull out the road victory (+13, 21-20). Despite the Cats success in ‘08, they’ve played
our #111 schedule and have struggled in Oct under HC Stoops going just 3-14 SU in his 5 year tenure.
The Cardinal, on the other hand have played a much tougher sched TY (#5) and have actually won and
covered their L/3 HG’s incl SU wins vs Cal & Oreg St. The Cats beat up a Locker-less Huskies team LW,
SU is off a misleading final vs ND and both have much to prove.
KENT ST 23 Ohio 20 - KSU faces an Ohio tm on its 3rd AG in 4 wks. The last meeting here (‘06) was
played in 33 mph winds and two poor punts into the wind set up OU TD’s, in a gm that cost KSU the East
title. LY on the road KSU dominated more than the 33-25 final leading 27-10 with a 25-16 FD edge. The
Flashes are off a disappointing 2OT loss to rival Akron. KSU had 25-15 FD and 413-301 yd edges but
gave up a 4th down 24 yd TD pass after a flubbed punt to give Akron the lead late 4Q. They were still able
to come back with a late FG to send the game to OT but missed a short FG in the 2nd OT. Despite the
loss KSU covered their 2nd str (+3’). Ohio only trailed WM 11-7 at half but lost 41-20 as a 7 pt AD and was
outgained 503-356. OU had covered 4 str IA gms (incl 2 BCS) losing by a comb 24 pts. OU QB Jackson is
avg 189 ypg (58%) with a 9-7 ratio and RB Harden rush with 339 (5.3). KSU QB Edelman is avg 137 ypg
(53%) with a 7-6 ratio and leads with 487 yds (5.1). Both tms are 1-4 SU but neither is being dominated
by opp’s. They both have suffered several key inj’s and have found ways to lose.
CINCINNATI 23 Rutgers 17 - Rutgers led 17-7 LY at home but Cincy scored 2 TD’s in :19 & went on for
the win. QB Teel passed for 334 yds (58%) but threw 3 int & was sacked twice. Rutgers got to the Cincy
17 but was int’d at the end. Last time here UC won the biggest gm in program history with the 30-11 upset
over #7 Rutgers knocking them from the BCS race as a 4H LPS Winner. Cincy defeated Marshall LW
33-10. After inj’s to the #1 and #2 QB’s, rFr Anderson made his 1st start & threw for 158 yds (62%) with 2
TD’s and ran for another. Rutgers come-from-behind drive was cut short in their 24-17 loss to WV. A team
that came into the season with high hopes on offense has struggled to find the run game, and QB Teel
has had trouble protecting the ball with a 3-7 ratio. The HT is 5-2 ATS and Cincy is 6-2 ATS vs the Knights.
Rutgers has a slight def edge (#47-49) and Cincy has off edge (#54-80), a huge ST’s edge (#10-101) and
is 27-10 S/’02 at home. While RU has struggled TY, they are looking up at Cincy in the Big East standings
which puts them in a favorable position.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
CINCINNATI 23 Rutgers 17 - Rutgers led 17-7 LY at home but Cincy scored 2 TD’s in :19 & went on for
the win. QB Teel passed for 334 yds (58%) but threw 3 int & was sacked twice. Rutgers got to the Cincy
17 but was int’d at the end. Last time here UC won the biggest gm in program history with the 30-11 upset
over #7 Rutgers knocking them from the BCS race as a 4H LPS Winner. Cincy defeated Marshall LW
33-10. After inj’s to the #1 and #2 QB’s, rFr Anderson made his 1st start & threw for 158 yds (62%) with 2
TD’s and ran for another. Rutgers come-from-behind drive was cut short in their 24-17 loss to WV. A team
that came into the season with high hopes on offense has struggled to find the run game, and QB Teel
has had trouble protecting the ball with a 3-7 ratio. The HT is 5-2 ATS and Cincy is 6-2 ATS vs the Knights.
Rutgers has a slight def edge (#47-49) and Cincy has off edge (#54-80), a huge ST’s edge (#10-101) and
is 27-10 S/’02 at home. While RU has struggled TY, they are looking up at Cincy in the Big East standings
which puts them in a favorable position.
TEXAS TECH 48 Nebraska 20 - One of our favorite 5H’s of all-time was in ‘04 as we used TT (-7) and
they ROMPED NU 70-10! Huskers are 4-10 as an AD (8-17 SU on B12 road) and this marks their FIRST
road trip in 6 wks and Lubbock is a tough place with TT 16-9 as a B12 HF (also TT HC, 14-2 SU & 13-3
ATS). TT has been unimpressive in non-conf play but took care of KSU LW 58-28 to remain unbeaten.
QB Harrell is avg 405 ypg (67%) with an 18-3 ratio. WR Crabtree has 38 rec (14.8) & 8 TD. NU has
dropped B2B gms after a 3-0 start and will be on their 3rd leg of their most difficult stretch of ‘08. QB
Ganz is avg 257 ypg (66%) with a 9-5 ratio. NU is ranked #19 in our pass eff def allowing 243 ypg (60%)
with a 5-5 ratio. Both offenses are potent (TT #3 & NU #24), but TT has the D edge (#26-64) the Raiders
have played a soft sked (#107) so far as the Huskers will be their toughest opp to date. Under Leach
TT is 43-10 in Lubbock (23-14 HF) and since this is their only HG in 5 wks look for the Red Raiders to
take care of a Husker team that hasn’t won on the B12 road since ‘06 (1-6-1 ATS AG run).
KANSAS 31 Colorado 17 - CU is 2-8 SU (4-10 ATS run) on the B12 road. LY CU held #15 KU to 31
pts & 183 yds below its ssn avg as they had FD & yd edges in a 19-14 loss at home (+3’). CU is 5-2
SU vs KU with their wins by 16 ppg and losses by 5 ppg. KU is 14-5 as a HF and CU just 3-9 as an
AD. KU beat ISU LW 35-33. It was the 3rd largest come-from-behind victory in school history erasing a
20 pt HT deficit to escape the upset. QB Reesing is avg 343 ypg (70%) with a 14-3 ratio. The Jayhawk
ground gm (only 119 ypg, 3.4.) is still struggling to get on track & now faces a CU rush D all’g 171 ypg
(4.5). LW the Buffs lost to Texas 38-14. QB Hawkins (185 ypg, 59%, 10-4) has struggled the L2W, but
CU has suffered many OL inj’s and have only 2 upperclassmen in the 2-deep! KU rolled B12 opp’s at
home LY with the avg win by 41 pts (+222 ypg), Mangino is 7-3 as a B12 HF and the Jayhawks have
the off (#25-76) & D edges (#41-50). KU needs to take care of business vs the Buffs with four ranked
B12 foes still waiting ahead (#1 OU on deck).
Penn St 27 WISCONSIN 20 - Low scoring series with the teams avg 37 ppg & PSU has scored only 2
FG’s in their L/2 trips to Madison. The HT is 4-0 SU/ATS winning by an avg of 25.5-6.7. LY PSU dominated
at home 38-7 (-6’) with 437 yds. Wisky is the 1st Big Ten team to open the ssn with Mich, OSU and
PSU in a row and after B2B comeback losses are now reduced to playing spoiler. QB Evridge has
struggled in conf play avg 187 ypg (53%) with a 2-3 ratio while being sk’d 6x (0 in 1st 3). RB Hill (512,
4.7) is splitting time with the quicker PS#3 rFr Clay (269, 6.7). UW has all’d big yds in the 2H of the L/3
gms & was 3 Fresno missed FG’s away from losing all 3. PSU is off a 20-6 win at Purdue in which they
outgained the Boilers 422-236. Big Ten pass eff leader QB Clark avg 186 ypg (65%) with a 9-1 ratio.
RB Royster has 659 yds (7.9). Lions lead the league in rush D allowing 80 ypg (2.5) with 17 sk. PSU
has the edges all around and starts a new, negative home streak for the reeling Badgers.
SAN JOSE ST 27 Utah St 10 - SJSt has won 10 of the L/11 but 6 of the L/7 have been decided by
7 pts or less. SJSt is 8-0 SU & 6-1-1 ATS as a HF under HC Tomey & the Spartans are on a 9-3 ATS
run. In ‘06 here, the Aggies led 14-0 (+17) but SJSt got a TD with 3:56 left for the 21-14 win. USU QB
Borel is avg 121 ypg (57%) with a 6-3 ratio & also has 257 yds rushing. His fav target, Nelson has 19
rec (11.3) & 2 TD while RB Turbin has 263 yds (5.2) & 3 TD. USU’s D is ranked #108 in the NCAA all’g
436 ypg. SJSt has the edge on both off (#106-112) & D (#40-99). Spartan QB Reed is avg 163 ypg
(73%) with a 4-2 ratio & also has 4 TD rushing. RB Davis has 326 yd (5.5) while WR has Richmond
has 28 rec (11.4). SJSt’s D is ranked #22 (NCAA) all’g 287 ypg. The Spartans’ DL has shown a spike
in production TY as the unit has accounted for 10 sacks (tm has 15, T-#9 NCAA) thru 5 gms led by C
Ihenacho who has 5, matching his ttl from all of LY. SJSU’s entire DL unit had 11 sks in ‘07. Both teams
have WAC AG’s on deck with SJSt facing NMSt & USU meeting Nevada.
Tulsa 48 SMU 38 - Tulsa is 5-10 SU vs SMU & the HT has won 6 str with SMU on a 4-0 ATS run. LY
was a tough loss for SMU as they led 23-22 and had the ball at the Tulsa 1 but were SOD. Tulsa got a
51 yd TD pass with :43 left for the win. SMU won 34-24 (+6’) in the last meeting in Dallas in ‘06. Tulsa
is off a 63-28 win over Rice that was actually close in the 1H. TU only led 21-14 at the half, but turned
it on after the break. Tulsa rushed for a ssn high 386 yds (7.3) and outgained Rice 577-453. Tulsa’s
maligned D (#108) forced 4 TO’s and produced 2 sks. SMU is off a 31-17 loss to UCF in which they
outgained the Knights 376-280. The SMU D (#117) actually had its best performance to date, but TO’s
and ST’s mistakes made it hard to keep UCF out of the EZ. True Fr QB Mitchell threw for 351 yds but
also 3 int, bringing his ratio to 13-15 on the ssn. TU HC Graham is 2-4 as a DD conf fav and SMU has
won the L/6 SU (5-1 ATS) at home in the series. Despite a huge off edge for Tulsa (#5-101), look for
SMU to make it a closer game than many would predict.
Boise St 31 SOUTHERN MISS 21 - LY SM all’d a ssn high 506 yds to Boise in a 38-16 loss on ESPN.
TY Boise travels to the green grass and the humidity of the South and the Broncos are just 6-10 as an
AF (3-6 under Petersen). SM is 1-0 as a HD in FIVE yrs. Boise did go into Fresno and win by 13 (-3) LY
(another hostile environment). The #15 ranked Broncos got extra rest as they beat LA Tech 38-3 last
Wed. QB Moore was 20-28 for 325 yds and 2 TD and is now completing 72% of his passes with a 7-2
ratio on the ssn. SM is coming off a 2OT home loss to UTEP, 40-37, and has lost 2 straight HG’s. SM
outgained UTEP 541-382, as RB Fletcher became the school’s all-time leading rusher with a career
high 260 yd, but needed a last second FG to force OT. Boise has the adv on off (#38-55) and on D
(#37-80), but SM has played the tougher sked (#51-99). SM HC Fedora is 3-0 ATS vs non-conf in his
1st yr and expect the prideful Golden Eagles to keep this relatively close.
UTEP 37 Tulane 23 - LY TU jumped out to a 17-0 lead & cruised to a 34-19 win outgaining UTEP 485-
412. This is the 4th meeting as each gm has been decided by 14+ with the winner scoring 34+. UTEP
is 2-1 in the series and the ATS winner has covered by DD each time. Tulane is 11-22-1 ATS in CUSA
play. UTEP is 3-12 as a fav in CUSA, 2-9 under Price. UTEP is coming off 2 consec conf SU/ATS wins
incl at SM LW 40-37 in 2OT. QB Vittatoe threw 4 TD in the win and has a 7-1 (9-4 overall) ratio the L/2.
UTEP was outgained 541-382, but played a “bend but don’t break” D in the 2H forcing 3 RZ FG’s by
the Eagles. Tulane is coming off a shocking 44-13 loss to previously winless Army. TU turned the ball
over 4x’s and 2 of those (1 FR, 1 IR) went to the house for Army scores. TU was playing catch-up the
whole gm and outgained Army 489-334, but never got closer than 10 pts. QB Moore threw 2 picks and
only has a 6-6 ratio on the ssn. Tulane travels to the Sun Bowl off a tough loss so expect UTEP to keep
their CUSA momentum going.
Air Force 24 SAN DIEGO ST 17 - LY AF had 3 plyrs rush for 100+ yd (tm ssn-high 569 yd rush) and
these 2 comb for 1,176 yd ttl off. SDSt is 7-4 ATS and the fav is 5-10 ATS in the series. SDSt is 9-15
as a HD (1st TY) but 10-3 ATS in conf HG. This is their Skyshow which routinely draws the season's
largest home crowd. In ‘06 SDSt (+13’) won outright, 19-12 but got a FG w/:02 left & added a TD picking
up a lateral on the KO. SDSt was thrashed 41-7 LW with TCU holding HUGE edges (498-95 yd, 28-4
FD, SDSt -13 yds rush!). QB Lindley went out late 1Q (CS) and bkup JC Westling hit 6-17 for 61 yd
with SDSt getting just 2 FD’s (55 ttl yds) after Lindley left. AF is off a very disappointing loss to Navy as
poor ST’s play did them in. AF had 411-244 yd & 20-13 FD edges but could not overcome 2 blk’d P for
TD’s. The Falcons bounce back well though, as they are 5-1 ATS the gm after Navy. SDSt has taken on
some below avg rush tms and all’d 245 ypg (4.9). Not counting the UT gm (UT 2-1 yd edge, only 3 pt
loss), AF avg 325 ypg rush (4.9). Five of the L/7 in series have been upsets incl 2 as DD’s.
FRESNO ST 51 Idaho 13 - Fresno leads 6-4 but has won the L/5 by an avg of 36-14 (3-0 ATS). FSU is
3-0 SU & ATS S/’05 in the 3 gms as WAC foes. Since joining the WAC in ‘05, UI is 2-20 SU & 8-13-1 ATS
as an AD & the Vandals are in a 1-13 ATS slump. UI QB Enderle is avg 175 ypg (53%) with a 9-7 ratio
while TE/WR Williams has 36 rec (13.9) & has more than 3x as many catches as the next rec (11). UI’s D
is #119 in the NCAA all’g 504 ypg & has just 2 sks (last in the NCAA). FSU’s goal for an outright WAC Title
took a hit LW with a home loss to Hawaii (32-29 in OT, -22’) as TO’s & missed FG’s loomed large for the
Bulldogs. FSU entered LW tied for #5 in the NCAA with only 4 TO’s lost but had 6 vs UH & K Goessling
missed a pair of FG’s (one with :43 to play, another in OT) that proved costly. FSU is 6-2 SU but only
2-6 ATS as a HF. The Bulldogs have the edge here on off (#31-117), def (#84-119) & ST’s (#41-96). QB
Brandstater avg 222 ypg (61%) with an 8-5 ratio but did have 3 int LW. RB Mathews has 468 yds (5.6) &
4 TD while TE Pascoe has 20 rec (9.0). FSU gets back on track before their bye.
Ball St 37 WKU 13 - LY WK had a 411-363 yd edge but lost 35-12 in a gm much closer than the final.
BSU is 5-1 as an AF but hasn’t been a DD AF S/’92. This is only the 2nd IA school to visit WK and they
nearly upset Troy with a 416-363 yd edge in a 21-17 loss. BSU is off its first shutout S/’00 with 31-0
win over Tol and is 6-0 for 1st time S/’65 and ranked for the 1st time ever. They held Toledo to 14 yds
rush. QB Davis avg 277 ypg (69%) with an 11-3 ratio. RB Lewis has 802 yd (5.6). WK is off its 27-13
loss (closest loss to a IA school) to Virg Tech being outgained only 293-243 but outFD’d 19-8. They did
outgain VT 147-118 in the 2H and outscored them 10-7. WK QB Black is avg 92 ypg (56%) with a 1-0
ratio. RB Rainey has 183 yds (6.5) and WR Cooper has 10 rec (15.1). This is BSU’s (#29 off, #61 def)
4th RG in 5 wks and WK’s (#116 off, #120 def) 2nd HG out of 7.
ARKANSAS ST 30 Ulm 23 - The HT is 4-1 SU with the avg win by 7 ppg. LY ULM was at home (+2’)
and down 13-0 early 2Q before scoring 30 unanswered pts for their largest MOV. The underdog has
covered EIGHT in a row with SIX outright upsets! ULM is 14-6 ATS on the road but ASU is 15-3 SU at
home. ULM is off a 44-35 loss vs ULL being outgained 728-383 (556-241 rush). ULM QB Lancaster
avg 167 ypg (58%) with a 5-1 ratio. RB Goodin has 313 yds (5.0) and WR McNeal has 18 rec (12.0).
ASU is off of a bye after losing 29-17 to Mem putting up 228 1H yds but only 124 in 2H. QB Leonard
avg 222 ypg (55%) with a 10-2 ratio. RB Lawson has 447 yds (8.6). WR Johnson has 11 rec (17.1).
You've got to respect the series history and take the dog.
Middle Tennessee 16 FIU 9 - The HT is 3-0 SU (FIU 2-1 ATS) as LY MT held FIU to just 145 ttl yds
and MT scored 47 in the 1st HALF! FIU rallied in the 2H to win 35-31 in their 1st meeting here in Miami
in ‘05. FIU is off their 2nd consec win (1st time since end of ‘05 ssn) beating N Texas 42-10 despite
being outgained 428-347 and outFD’d 22-13. They were down 13-0 and being outgained 160-14 in
1Q vs Toledo before putting up 35 pts (3 TD came on 4th down). FIU QB McCall avg 101 ypg (48%)
with 5-5 ratio and WR Hilton has 8 rec (35.5). MT is 5-2 as an AF. They are off their 14-13 win over
FAU snapping a 4 gm conf losing streak. Craddock threw a 32 yd Hail Mary on 4&9 as time expired
for the win. Craddock avg 269 ypg (66%) with a 7-3 ratio and WR Beyah has 18 rec (22.9). MT stops
the Panthers' modest win streak.
Louisiana-Lft 48 NORTH TEXAS 27 - Nine of the L/10 in the series have been decided by 9 or more pts.
ULL is 4-8 SU vs NT, its worst record vs any SBC tm. ULL is off a 44-35 win over ULM outgaining them
728-383 (556-241 rush) both school records. Fenroy rushed for school rec 297 yds. QB Desormeaux
avg 172 ypg (61%) with a 3-4 ratio and Fenroy has 750 yds (8.3). LY, NT rFr QB Vizza made his 1st start
& threw for 383 yds on 57 att’s but suffered 3 int in the 38-29 road loss (+8) and NT had a 527-414 yd
edge. NT is 7-1 ATS in the series (1 pt loss LY) and is off a 42-10 loss to FIU. Vizza avg 204 ypg (63%)
with a 4-6 ratio. WR Fitzgerald has 41 rec (9.7). This is ULL’s 4th AG in 5 wks. They have our #16 off
avg 331 rush ypg (7.6). NT has the #118 D but has played the #14 toughest sked. They are giving up
just 160 rush ypg (4.5). SBC visiting tms are 3-3 SU but 5-1 ATS so far TY.
Sunday, October 12th
Louisiana Tech at HAWAII - UH leads the series 5-1 SU & 4-2 ATS and the HT is 5-1 ATS. UH is 9-1
SU & 6-4 ATS in WAC HG’s. The Warriors had their 9 gm home win streak snapped 2 wks ago but UH
is coming off its 1st ever win over a ranked tm foll a 32-29 OT win at #22 Fresno. Since ‘04, UH 15-10
ATS as a HF while LT is 3-22 SU & 5-20 ATS as an AD. In the L/3Y, LT is just 1-14 SU (3-12 ATS) as
an AD. UH has the edge on off (#87-104) & D (#75-97) but LT has a huge edge on ST (#5-112). UH is
#116 in the NCAA in TO margin but won the TO battle 6-1 LW. UH has a short week with a Fri night gm
at Boise on deck while LT hosts Idaho next.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Play on a winless 0-4 or worse team that is a dog after its bye.
1991-2007: 17-2 89% THIS WEEK'S PLAY: ST LOUIS
4* HOUSTON over Miami - This is 3rd year in a row these teams will square off & the dog has covered
the L/2. HOU beat MIA 22-19 LY but failed to cover as a 5 pt HF. MIA lost QB Green to a knee to the
head as he tried to block on a WR end around & they were inspired to a 16-7 lead before HOU hit a
54 yd FG at the half. HOU got past MIA’s emotion with three 50+ yd FG’s including a 57 yarder to win
as they had a 352-285 yd edge. MIA is 5-2-1 ATS away vs an AFC foe. HOU is 5-2 ATS as a HF. MIA
was in a solid situation LW off a bye catching a SD team in their 3rd road game in 4 weeks going cross
country. MIA rolled out the Wildcat offense again (10 direct snaps 48 yds 1 TD) & RB Brown had another
good game with 125 yds rushing (5.2). MIA’s #8 defense was the key though as they held Tomlinson to
35 yds rushing (2.9) and kept Rivers off balance with 159 yds passing (46%) with a 1-0 ratio. MIA held
SD to just 3 of 12 on 3rd Dns with a spec tms fumble in the 3Q getting SD back into the game. HOU
started Rosenfels LW as Schaub (stomach virus) was pulled at the last minute. HOU exploited IND’s
weakness on the DL with 32 rush att’s (4.9) keeping Manning off the field & minus Addai’s 153 yd run
held IND to 64 yds (3.0). MIA now has to go on the road vs a HOU team that outplayed IND LW & while
the Dolphins are better than LY we’ll side with a home team that is angry & deserving of a win.
FORECAST: HOUSTON 28 Miami 13
3*SEATTLE over Green Bay - Including the playoffs, this is the 4th game in as many years with the
home team going 3-0 SU & ATS winning by a 33-20 margin. LY in the div playoffs SEA jumped out to a
14-0 lead after a pair of RB Grant fumbles. GB then outscored SEA 28-3 thru the rest of the 1H & went
66 yds in 6 plays in the 3Q to make it 35-17. SEA hit a 27 yd FG & GB had a 1 yd TD run as Grant rushed
for 201 yds (7.4) after his 2 fumbles. SEA was in a poor spot LW as they were off a bye & playing in the
EST where they always struggle. SEA was hoping the return of WR’s Branch & Engram would spark
the offense but they were outFD 21-10 & outgained 431-147 when they pulled Hasselbeck after going
down 37-6 late in the 3Q. SEA was quickly taken out of its gameplan & RB Jones who rushed for 134
ypg (5.6) vs SF & STL was reduced to a pass blocker. GB’s defensive injuries caught up to them LW
as they lost #1 DT ******* to IR, LB Hawk (groin) was ineffective & they were playing their #3 SS in a
beat up secondary. Rodgers had a good game overall (313 yds 68% 3-1) but he was clearly in pain &
now faces a SEA defense that is known for excessive blitzes. SEA is better than LW’s results & look for
them to go to the ground vs a GB team that, minus the DET game is allowing 190 ypg rushing (5.2).
FORECAST: SEATTLE 31 Green Bay 20
2* St Louis (+) over WASHINGTON - This is the 3rd meeting in 4 years & the fav is 2-0 ATS. The
technical matchups all side with WAS here as STL is 5-13-1 ATS as an AD, 12-25-1 ATS on grass &
are on an 0-7 ATS streak vs a WAS team on a 7-1 ATS run. STL has the #30 & #31 units (-3 TO’s) vs
WAS #6 & #13 units (+5 TO’s). STL improved the morale significantly by dumping Linehan over the bye
& replaced him with a discipline oriented defensive coach in former NO HC Jim Haslett. Haslett’s 1st
act was to reinstate Bulger as the starting QB & tighten up the intensity in practices. He also directed
OC Saunders to trim the 700 page playbook & feature RB Jackson (110 yds 4.6 vs BUF) & WR Holt
(15 rec 12.5) with more quick drops to help out an OL that has allowed 13 sacks (25th). LY STL was in
a similar situation being 0-8 after their bye & facing a NO team off 4 straight wins. STL won the game
37-29 as 10’ pt dogs & had a 409-299 yd edge. WAS’s defense rallied together LW as they missed 4
def starters & minus the 1Q outgained PHI 365-133. WAS is off 2 upset win vs DAL & PHI & are now
hearing about how they are an elite team in the NFC. STL is better than their record & desperate team
needing a win & getting generous points so we’ll side with them as the Ugly Dog which is now 20-9
(69%). FORECAST: St Louis 27 (+) WASHINGTON 31
2* ARIZONA (+) over Dallas - Jerry Jones takes this southwestern rival seriously as DAL is 3-1 SU
& 4-0 ATS vs ARZ since they left the NFC East. DAL is on a 2-7 ATS run. ARZ is 7-3 ATS at home. This
game features DAL #4 & #14 units (-4 TO’s) vs ARZ #5 & #12 units (+1 TO’s). ARZ doesn’t expect WR
Boldin (sinus fracture) to return until after the bye week. ARZ rebounded from their embarrassing road
loss to NYJ by stopping BUF cold with a 41-17 win. They KO’d QB Edwards (concussion) and then kept
an unprepared Losman off balance all day as they converted 4 TO’s into 17 pts. ARZ was in complete
control all day as they had 28-13 FD & 12:22 TOP edges holding RB Lynch to 55 yds (4.2) rushing. DAL
struggled to put CIN away & were a failed 2 pt conversion by CIN from being tied late in the 4Q. Romo
only had 176 yds passing (61%) with a 3-1 ratio but they rediscovered their run game with a 198 (5.2) to
61 (2.7) rush edge. Despite a roster “stocked with Pro Bowlers” the Cowboys really haven’t displayed a
killer instinct this year. They historically had a home edge with a solid fan following but ARZ’s new stadium
& recent success has taken that away. Although the loss of Boldin is a significant blow the defense has
picked up the slack. Look for Safeties Wilson & Rolle to help shut down the intermediate passing game
& provide run support in a higher scoring game. FORECAST: ARIZONA 28 (+) Dallas 27
NEW ORLEANS 30 Oakland 20 - NO is off LW’s MNF game vs MIN & lost 1st RD DC Ellis for 4 wks
before the game. The Raiders return from their bye week (0-5 ATS) with former Idaho HC Tom Cable
(11-25 SU & 17-23 ATS) who is an OL coach by trade, taking over as Al Davis’ figurehead. Former ATL
OC Greg Knapp will call the offense & Rob Ryan remains the DC. Interim rookie HC’s are 4-12-1 ATS
in their 1st game S/’89. This will be Russell’s 1st start in a dome where OAK is 0-6 ATS. NO is 2-6 ATS
vs the AFC. Brees is 7-1 ATS vs OAK from his days with SD avg 191 ypg (64%) with a 13-4 ratio & he
gives NO a massive edge here. Brees is the hottest QB in the NFL prior to MNF avg 336 ypg (72%)
with an 8-4 ratio & getting RB Deuce back vs SF gives the offense the power aspect it needed. OAK
should have a healthier McFadden (turf toe) & expect to get Fargas who is their best pass protector
back. NO is vulnerable vs the run (#19) & pass (#29) & are a beat up team overall. Firing Kiffin was a
huge mistake as the roster believed in him & look for NO to jump out to a fast start, take Russell out of
his comfort zone & make him pass though NO will give up some big yards here.
INDIANAPOLIS 17 Baltimore 14 - Including playoffs this is the 5th meeting in as many years & the Colts
are 4-0 SU & ATS. LY IND beat an injury depleted BAL team off an emotional MNF loss to NE 44-20 on
SNF as a 9 pt AF. BAL was without Rolle & McAllister & IND jumped out to a 30-0 lead in the 2Q & was up
44-7 in the 3Q. BAL switched to Troy Smith & IND allowed 13 pts in garbage time. IND had a 334-243 yd
edge & was +5 in TO’s. IND is 1-4 ATS as a HF. BAL is 1-8 SU & ATS on the road. Manning has done well
vs BAL in the reg season avg 259 ypg (67%) with an 8-1 ratio. BAL gets a break here after facing 2 of the
most physical teams in the NFL in PIT & TEN. IND has some very basic Football 101 problems as they only
avg 68 ypg (3.6) running the ball (#32) & are allowing 189 ypg (4.9) (#32) which plays into BAL’s strengths
as they are 4th rushing the ball (154 ypg 3.8) & 1st stopping the run (64 ypg 2.8). BAL played a very good
game vs TEN LW & thru the 1st 3Q had 18-8 FD & 231-67 yd edges before letting a 10-3 lead slip thru their
fingers. IND was very lucky to beat HOU LW as Rosenfels fumbled the ball twice in the final 3:54 which the
Colts converted into 14 pts for the win. BAL is utilizing Flacco similar to how PIT utilized Roethlisberger as
a rookie & with both of IND’s wins coming vs teams that self destructed late in the game we’ll side with an
angry BAL team that is executing the basic fundamentals very well & getting points.
NY JETS 30 Cincinnati 27 - The Bengals beat the Jets 38-31 LY as a 6.5 pt HF. The Jets blew a 23-10 lead
with 11:15 left in the 3Q as Palmer led the team on 76 & 57 yd TD drives to take a 24-23 lead. CIN then turned
2 TO’s into 14 pts (38-23) & with :32 left they gave up a 32 yd pass (2pt conv). CIN is in a poor spot as this
is the 3rd road game in 4 games & get a Jets team that is 6-0 ATS after a bye. NYJ are 4-0 ATS as a fav of 6
or more. LY after 5 games CIN was being outgained an avg 393-367 losing by an avg of 31-25. TY they are
being outgained 339-239 & are losing by an avg 24-15. They are playing with a talented but wounded QB &
have nothing to offer on the ground being outrushed 171 (4.5) to 78 (3.3) TY. LY after 4 games the Jets were1-3 being outgained 366-283 & losing by an avg 26-18. TY they have been outgained 341-308 with a 29-29
scoring margin & the yardage is off due to the short fields the team got vs ARZ. LY after 4 starts Favre avg’d
301 ypg (66%) with an 8-2 ratio & 7.1 ypa. TY he’s avg 233 ypg (70%) with a 12-4 ratio & 7.5 ypa & is coming
off one of his career best games. Palmer has done well in his L2 starts vs NYG & DAL & the team played here
just 3 weeks ago but the Jets don’t have the same fan fervor the Giants do. We’ll side with an increasingly
frustrated road team as long as Palmer starts vs the weakest defense (21) he’s played so far.
TAMPA BAY 16 Carolina 13 - CAR is 7-3 ATS vs TB & while they beat TB 31-23 in the season finale LY as
a 3 pt AF the Bucs were resting everyone they could to prepare for their Wildcard game. Both are in positive
technical spots as CAR is 6-0-1 ATS as a div AD &TB is 5-1-1 ATS as a div favorite. CAR is off a pair of easy
wins vs a pair of bottom tier teams as they mauled KC 34-0 & had 17-5 FD & 380-77 yd edges thru the 1st
3Q of the game but AD’s off a shutout win are 5-14-2 ATS since 1998. The stalwarts of the CAR offense
seems to be in gear again as Delhomme (236 yds 64% 2-1 LW) is throwing deep to Steve Smith (6 rec, 16.0)
with RB Williams (123, 6.3) keeping the pass rush honest. The CAR OL was without both starting OT’s LW
& while KC couldn’t exploit that TB will if they don’t return. TB returns from a trip to DEN where QB Griese
was KO’d with a shoulder inj & they went back to Garcia who had fallen out of favor with the coaching staff.
TB is a team that can deliver superior line play on both sides of the ball as minus the CHI game they have
rushed for 157 yds (5.6) with just 7 sacks. The DL gets credit for holding opponents to 100 ypg (3.7) rushing
with 11 sacks. CAR has the momentum off their 2 game home stand & TB is in a bit of a fix as while Garcia
gives them a good chance of winning he doesn’t fit the 2008 TB offense as he freelances too much. We’ll
call this at the line for now & see what CAR’s OL & TB’s injury situations are this week.
MINNESOTA 31 Detroit 17 - MIN is off a potential shootout vs NO & faces a DET team that came out flat
after their bye vs CHI. The fav is 4-1-1 ATS & MIN beat DET 42-10 as a 4 pt HF LY. MIN had a 35-10 lead at
the half & finished with 29-14 FD & 443-254 yd edges & they dominated with a 216 (5.5) - 23 (3.3) rushing
edge on the ground. DET was in a good spot at home LW catching a CHI team on a slightly short week
that was w/o susp DT Harris, its #1WR & the secondary was very beat up also. However, they still have
problems with a slow start as they went 3 & out on 4 of their first 5 drives with a fumble & were outgained
353-94 thru the 1st 3Q. DET has been outrushed 180 (4.4) to 72 (5.0) & the #28 pass defense is worse
than its rankings allowing 253 ypg (68%) with an 8-0 ratio (122.2 QBR) & a whopping 9.4 ypa. While MIN
has its own set of problems at QB they are solid in the trenches outrushing foes 141 (4.7) to 72 (2.9) prior
to MNF. MIN’s high priced DL gets a good matchup vs a DET OL that is 29th allowing 16 sacks. Kitna is
1-3 SU & 0-3-1 ATS vs MIN & is only avg 256 ypg (66%) with a 4-8 ratio. He was pulled early in the 2H
for Dan Orlovsky & at 0-4 a QB change could be coming. There is no line due to the MNF game but MIN’s
strengths matchup very well vs the DET weaknesses & we’ll call for a 2 TD win by the road team.
Chicago 20 ATLANTA 10 - This is a bit of a flat spot for CHI who are off an SNF game vs IND, a pair
of blown 4Q leads vs CAR & TB, a SNF game vs PHI & a division road game with DET & has a HG vs
MIN on deck. ATL has a bye on deck & is 3-1 SU & 4-0 ATS before it. CHI is 4-1-1 ATS as a non-div AF.
The Bears mauled a bad DET team LW as they were up 17-0 at the half with a 12-5 FD, 251-67 yd edge
with a 2-1 TOP edge. Orton had a great day passing for 334 yds (71%) with a 2-0 ratio to make up for
a tough game by Forte who only had 36 yds (2.4) on the ground. ATL had a good matchup LW, getting
points vs a beat up GB team with a wounded Rodgers & depleted defense. At the half ATL had 13-5 FD
& 240-123 yd edges and while Ryan had a very good 1H (154 yds 72% 2-0) he only threw 8 pass att’s
in the 2H as ATL tried to grind out the clock. ATL returns home where they have notched a 426-305 yd
edge but that was vs DET’s #32 & KC’s #30 defenses. Versus 2 decent defenses (TB #16 & CAR #4)
ATL has been outgained 356-251 being outscored 24-9 in both games. CHI should get DT Harris & WR
Lloyd (15 rec 16.6) back here & have faced a much tougher schedule & should get the win.
Jacksonville 21 DENVER 20 - This is a tough spot for JAX who are coming off a SNF game vs PIT &
now has to travel from sea level to DEN (17% less oxygen) on a short week. Teams are 6-22 ATS after
facing PIT. DEN remembers their 23-14 loss well as a 3.5 pt HF LY which wasn’t as close as the final
score indicated. JAX opened the game with an 18 play 80 yd drive that took up 11:44. In the 1H JAX had
a 13-4 FD edge & was up 20-7 after converting a muffed KR by DEN to start the 3Q into a FG. DEN was
SOD at the JAX 3, SOD on 4&5 & int’d at the DEN 35 after the 2:00 warning. DEN is 3-12 ATS as a HF
while JAX is 15-5-1 ATS as an AD. JAX OL issues & lack of talent at WR really hampered the offense in
the first 2 games as they were outrushed 107 (3.7) to 66 (3.0). In the L2 games they settled into their new
OL & vs the #24 & #19 defenses they had a 188 (5.1) to 97 (4.6) yd edge. JAX got WR Porter back vs
HOU & C Meester may return here. They now take on DEN’s #30 defense which is allowing 134 ypg (5.2)
rushing. JAX’s offense is slowly taking shape & their defense is better than their #18 ranking. JAX is 2-2
pending SNF & with TEN (5-0) in the division they have to look at this game with Wildcard implications.
DEN is up on the AFC West thanks to 2 bad official’s calls (SD & NO) & with a MNF road game vs NE
on deck this is a flat spot for a young team & we’ll side for the road team here.
Philadelphia 27 SAN FRANCISCO 20 - This is the 3rd meeting in 4 years with the Eagles going 2-0
SU & ATS with an avg score of 40-14 with a 499-273 yd edge. This is the 1st WC game for PHI since
the last meeting vs SF in 2006. PHI is 13-3 ATS on the road after a SU home loss but 2-7 ATS before
a bye under Reid. PHI finds themselves 2-3 & 4th in the NFC East standings after blowing a 14-0 lead
to start the game vs WAS. Westbrook was able start the game but was ineffective with 18 touches (4.7)
due to a chest injury. Thru the final 3Q PHI was outFD 21-5 & outgained 365-121 as WAS ran 75 total
plays vs PHI’s 47. While PHI has struggled in div play they have outFD non-div foes 21-12 & outgained
them 374-201 allowing just 49 ypg (2.5) rushing. NE used a very basic gameplan LW vs SF as they
stuck to the run & wore out the defense with 43 rush att’s (3.3) keeping the defense on the field for
39:52. SF kept it close until the 4Q but NE basically posted a 2-1 edge in FD’s, yards & TOP. PHI has a
great matchup with a defense that is #1 in sacks by (18) vs a SF OL that is #32 in sacks allowed (20).
SF is a much better team that 2007’s version but we’ll side with a road team that has the #9 & #6 units
(+3 TO) that travels very well vs a SF team with the #21 & #22 units (-3 TO’s).
New England at SAN DIEGO - The Patriots are staying at San Jose St instead of enduring a roundtrip
to the East. This is the 5th meeting in 4 years & the road team has covered 3 of 4. SD has legit revenge
here as LY the Patriots beat SD 38-14 in Wk 2 as a 3.5 pt HF on SNF as the Spygate scandal just
started. NE then knocked SD out of the playoffs with a 21-12 win as a 14 pt HF. SD was in very bad
shape as QB Rivers played on a torn ACL, Gates had a dislocated toe & Tomlinson left after 2 snaps
due to a knee sprain in a game played in 9° windchill. The Chargers were caught looking ahead LW &
lost to MIA 17-10 as they only ran 49 offensive plays. NE played to its depth at RB & wore out SF LW
for a 30-21 win. Can SD rebound or will NE overcome the road logistics.
NY Giants at CLEVELAND - This is the 1st MNF game for CLE since Wk 14 of 2003. These teams
met in the 2nd preseason game & the Browns 2008 troubles started there as the Giants blasted QB
Anderson & gave him a concussion. Anderson would miss the rest of preseason & the CLE offense
would suffer as combined with other injuries there was no cohesion. CLE is off a tough win vs CIN &
OC Chudzinski noted during the bye that they would alter the offense to play to the strengths of their
run. The Giants dismantled SEA 44-6 LW in a great spot but their only road game was in STL who lacks
anything resembling the crowd edge CLE brings here
Our Over/Under Section is in its 21st season. Each week we select the Top 5 plays as of Sunday Night
& list them. An * denotes an estimated line. The 3* Totals are 11-4 73%!
Here are this week's plays:
3* Bengals/Jets Over 45'
3* Ravens/Colts Under 39
3* Panthers/Bucs Under 36'
2*Packers/Seahawks Over 47
2* Cowboys/Cardinals Over 48'
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
GOLDSHEET - NFL
ARIZONA by 6 over Dallas
SEATTLE by 14 over Green Bay
OVER THE TOTAL in the Miami-Houston game
ARIZONA 30 - Dallas 24—Dallas (2-0 vs. the spread away TY) has historically had a strong following in Arizona. But Ken Whisenhunt has been having considerable success “changing the culture” of the Cards, who are now 7-3 vs. spread at University of Phoenix Stadium under their steady HC, including 2-0 as a dog. Arizona demonstrated its depth at WR last week (Larry Fitzgerald 7 recs., Steve Breaston 7, Early Doucet 6) with Anquan Boldin out. And powerful short-yardage specialist Tim Hightower (2 more TDR) helping E. James in the backfield.
(06-Dallas -6' 27-10...SR: Dallas 55-28-1)
SEATTLE 34 - Green Bay 20—Neither of these two bear much resemblance to LY’s playoff foes. But even with Aaron Rodgers (3 TDP last week despite sore shoulder) back for the Pack, much prefer Seattle, which offers good value at home (19-9-1 vs. line at extremely noisy Qwest Field since ‘05) and ought to be able to do some business vs. depleted Green Bay “D” that’s particularly strapped in the secondary after recent injuries. Clutch Seahawk WRs Bobby Engram & Deion Branch got the kinks out last week. And we know Mike Holmgren is still stinging from that lopsided loss vs. his former team last January at Lambeau. “Totals” alert—Pack “over” 18-5 last 23!
(07-G. BAY 42-Sea. 20...G.25-15 G.35/235 S.18/28 G.18/23/0/173 S.19/33/0/172 G.2 S.1)
(07-GREEN BAY -7' 42-20 (Playoffs)...SR: Green Bay 8-5
OVER THE TOTAL HOUSTON 27 - Miami 26—Second of four straight home games for Houston, which has played well enough to win last two weeks at Jacksonville and last week vs. Indy, losing one game in OT and the other in the waning minutes after a couple of “not-so-sage” Rosenfels fumbles. Rosenfels was 4-1 as a starter LY, and is getting plenty of help from WR A. Johnson & quick rookie RB Slaton. But Miami is brimming with confidence after another Ronnie Brown TD from the Wildcat formation, giving Dolphins back-toback victories over LY’s AFC title game participants! Houston “over” 4-0 TY;
(07-HOU. 22-Miami 19...H.20-17 M.25/137 H.28/74 H.20/34/1/278 M.16/29/1/148 H.1 M.0)
(07-HOUSTON -5 22-19...SR: Houston 3-0)
NEW ORLEANS 27 - Oakland 24—First game for Oakland under elevated OL coach Tom Cable, who was 11-35 in his only other head coaching job at Idaho 2000-2003, making him fit right in with the likes of Bill Callahan, Norv Turner, Art Shell & Lane Kiffin as HCs tabbed by Al Davis since Jon Gruden in 2001. Meanwhile, former Raiders such as Warren Sapp have been entertaining us with tales of strange occurrences in Oakland. All that being said, however, the Raiders have enough talent to be 2-0 vs. the spread on the road TY, and o.c. Greg Knapp is reportedly under instructions to call more plays to exploit the considerable talents of LSU product JaMarcus Russell.
(04-New Orleans +3 31-26...SR: Oakland 5-4-1)
INDIANAPOLIS 27 - Baltimore 17—Huge Manning-vs.-Flacco QB edge for Indy. But Colts’ remodeled OL must deal with the aggressive zone blitzes of Ravens, while the thinned Indy defense must inhibit the power running of Willis McGahee & 260-pound FB/RB Le’Ron McClain (266 YR, 4 TDs). Rookie HC John Harbaugh has had Baltimore fired up for every game so far, with both losses in the late going by 3 points each. However, Indy is 0-2 SU so far at “The Luke” and eager for first win at new home, so in Peyton vs. the rookie we trust.
(07-Indy 44-BALT. 20...B.19-16 B.32/98 I.27/59 I.16/22/0/275 B.22/30/3/145 I.0 B.2)
(07-Indianapolis -9 44-20...SR: Indianapolis 6-2)
NY JETS 27 - Cincinnati 16—It will be a long time before Jets again get 7 takeaways, as they did in last game vs. Arizona two weeks ago. However, they looked like a different team, with Brett Favre passing freely to open receivers and the aggressive N.Y. front seven collecting five sacks. This week, they can add some punch in the backfield with RB Jesse Chatman’s suspension concluded. Sore-elbowed Carson Palmer not much more mobile than Cards’ Kurt Warner.
(07-CINCY 38-Jets 31...C.26-19 C.41/177 N.26/84 N.20/31/1/258 C.14/21/1/218 C.0 N.1)
(07-CINCINNATI -6 38-31...SR: NY Jets 13-7)
Carolina 23 - TAMPA BAY 16—The Panthers have enjoyed inordinate recent success at Raymond James, winning their last five trips! With Jake Delhomme getting support on the ground from both DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart and through the air from Steve Smith & Muhsin Muhammad, must believe they have a considerable chance to extend their streak, especially with Bucs’ QB picture unclear once again. Carolina 20-8-2 last 30 as an underdog!
(07-T. Bay 20-CAR. 7...T.22-13 T.42/189 C.23/99 T.15/25/0/176 C.19/41/1/137 T.1 C.1)
(07-Car. 31-T. BAY 23...C.20-17 C.37/180 T.26/107 T.21/28/1/196 C.15/24/1/169 C.1 T.0)
(07-Tampa Bay +3 20-7, Carolina -3 31-23...SR: Carolina 9-6)
MINNESOTA 31 - Detroit 10—Well, so much for the thought that Matt Millen was all that ailed in Detroit. Lions need more than a new GM; they need an exorcism (by the way, was that Max von Sydow we saw at Ford Field last week?), as the mess Millen left behind now includes issues at QB after Jon Kitna was pulled (or was he hurt?) vs. Bears to go along with Detroit’s unassertive defense (37 ppg, only two takeaways). By comparison, Minnesota’s concerns seem minor, and the Vikes still have Adrian Peterson and the most dominant platoon (their “D”) on field. Minny led 35-10 at the H in LY’s game at the HHH Metrodome.
(07-DET. 20-Min. 17 (OT)...D.29-17 M.33/123 D.21/56 D.35/56/3/359 M.20/37/4/190 D.2 M.1)
(07-MINN. 42-Det. 10...M.29-14 M.39/216 D.7/23 D.27/36/1/231 M.19/26/1/227 M.0 D.0)
(07-DETROIT -3 20-17 (OT), MINNESOTA -4' 42-10...SR: Minnesota 61-30-2)
Chicago 24 - ATLANTA 16—There’s not much secret to Atlanta’s best recipe, which is to establish Michael Turner as an infantry force to minimize the pressure on promising rookie QB Matt Ryan, who is capable of generating big plays off the threat of Turner’s runs. But Chicago’s Kyle Orton (5 TDP last 2 games) is off his best back-to-back efforts since his days at Purdue, and Devin Hester (5 catches at Detroit) starting to establish himself as legit receiving threat. Bears a couple of 4th-quarter breakdowns from a 5-0 SU mark!
(05-CHICAGO -3' 16-3...SR: Chicago 12-10)
WASHINGTON 31 - St. Louis 13—It’s interesting that Jim Haslett, coordinator of one of the league’s worst defenses (37 ppg), has been elevated to be HC of the Rams. Most insiders blame St. Louis’ current plight on dubious front office moves over the past several years, combined with terrible injury luck. Now, there’s even wild speculation of a move back to L.A.! But the question here is whether the Rams (2-7 last 9 as a dog) deserve respect in an extraordinary situation (first game for a new coach) vs. solid Washington (4 straight covers) with its Campbell-Portis-Moss offense and bright young HC Jim Zorn. We’ll say not ‘til they earn it.
(06-ST. LOUIS -2 37-31 (OT)...SR: Washington 22-9-1)
DENVER 28 - Jacksonville 23—Pass vs. run? No doubt Jacksonville—with Fred Taylor & Maurice Jones-Drew—will try to play “keepaway” vs. Denver’s high-scoring spread and its explosive young passing combo of QB Cutler (10 TDs, 4 ints.), Brandon Marshall (34 recs.) & Eddie Royal (30). The Jags racked up 186 YR in a victory on this field LY. But the young Broncs are now a more mature, moe talented crew that has gone “over” 4-1 TY and 20 of its last 26 overall. And Jacksonville “over” 11 of 13 away.
(07-Jack. 23-DENVER 14...J.21-11 J.47/186 D.18/47 D.16/23/1/218 J.14/20/0/140 J.2 D.2)
(07-Jacksonville +3' 23-14...SR: EVEN 4-4)
Philadelphia 27 - SAN FRANCISCO 17—Can’t trust the S.F. offense with its 20 sacks allowed vs. the aggressive Philly defense and its 18 sacks earned. Washington—with its depth at DB and familiarity with the multiple talents of Brian Westbrook—was able to contain the Eagles for the final three quarters last week. Not sure the 49ers able to duplicate that performance. The savvy New England defense was able to lure J.T. O’Sullivan into three ints. last week.
(06-Philadelphia -6 38-24...SR: San Francisco 17-9-1)
*SAN DIEGO 27 - New England 13—Payback time for S.D. after a pair of losses LY, the first in Week Two vs. the then-rampaging N.E. offense, and the second in the January AFC title game, when LaDainian Tomlinson was out and Philip Rivers played with a tear in his ACL and TE Antonio Gates with a bum foot. The Pats’ offense that was setting records in 2007 is near the bottom of the league in 2008. Bill Belichick teams are 24-11-1 last 36 when getting points. But Matt Cassel is making only his fourth start, and the defense is giving up some long TD drives. Chargers 9-2 vs. spread last 11 at home.
(07-N. ENG. 38-S. Diego 14...N.25-14 N.32/144 S.20/52 N.25/31/1/263 S.19/30/2/149 N.1 S.1)
(07-N. ENG. 21-S. Diego 12...N.25-17 N.31/149 S.22/104 S.19/37/2/207 N.22/33/3/198 N.0 S.0)
(07-NEW ENGLAND -3' 38-14, NEW ENGLAND -13' 21-12 (Playoffs)...SR: New England 20-14-2)
MONDAY, OCTOBER 13
*NY Giants 27 - CLEVELAND 16—Considering the expected kamikaze effort from Cleveland, it’s tempting to give the Browns consideration as a substantial dog. But not THAT tempting, as Cleveland has many areas of concern. Meanwhile, the unbeaten Giants—whose performance hardly suffered vs. Seattle minus Plaxico Burress—take a 12-game road unbeaten string and 10 straight covers as visitor to the shores of Lake Erie. Besides,Derek Anderson (49.6%, 3 TDs, 6 ints.) has been shaken this season by less menacing obstacles than N.Y.’s formidable pass rush, and the possible switch to Brady Quinn not likely to boost the Brownies vs. this foe. CABLE TV—ESPN (2007 Preseason: NY GIANTS -2 beat Cleveland 37-34 at New York) (04-NY GIANTS -3' 27-10...SR: Cleveland 26-20-2)
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
THE GOLD SHEET
MINNESOTA Plus over Illinois
WESTERN MICHIGAN by 8 over Buffalo
VANDERBILT by 12 over Mississippi State
OREGON STATE by 39 over Washington State
Minnesota 30 - ILLINOIS 31—Illinois could be caught in an emotional
trough after destruction of Michigan in Ann Arbor last week. Minnesota has
covered 4 straight and had its starting OL intact for the first time this season
against Indiana, and Gopher defense is among most improved units in the
country with infusion of jucos and leadership & preparation provided by new d.c.
Ted Roof. Minny got a little dinged-up against the Hoosiers, but QB Adam
Weber (bruised knee) and WR Steve Decker (knee to head) both returned to Indy game
and are expected to be ready to go. TV-ESPN
(07-Ill. 44-MINN. 17...I.27-18 I.50/448 M.31/95 M.21/35/1/242 I.14/21/1/207 I.1 M.0)
(07-Illinois -11' 44-17...SR: Minnesota 31-27-3)
Western Michigan 34 - BUFFALO 26—Highly-regarded HC Turner Gill
(9-3 vs. spread last 12) has energized moribund Buffalo program and turned
Bulls into one of MAC’s top contenders. Well-schooled WMU still has a lot more
speed & depth on defense, however. No big surprise if Broncos’ cocksure jr.
QB Hiller (69%, 19 TDP & only 4 ints.) outduels careful UB sr. counterpart Willy
(only 3 ints. in last 12 games) and extends WMU win streak to six. (05-WESTERN
MICHIGAN -10' 31-21...SR: Western Michigan 3-0)
Vanderbilt 24 - MISSISSIPPI STATE 12—Though sizzling Vandy (1st
5-0 start since 1943!) is SEC road chalk for only 2nd time since ‘99, won’t buck
bowl-hungry ‘Dores, who held Auburn scoreless for final 3 Qs of impressive 14-
13 upset in Nashville. MSU’s QB Lee (in his starting debut) likely to make a few
miscues vs. Vandy’s ball-hawking 2ndary (11 ints.), while Bulldog stop unit has
hands full with either Vandy triggerman QB Nickson (see Special Ticker) or
dual-threat Adams. (DNP...SR: Mississippi State 10-7-2)
OREGON STATE 42 - Washington State 3—New Wazzu HC Wulff
could be excused for asking Congress for some extra bailout help to aid his
kittenish Cougars, who have little chance of avoiding embarrassment vs.
competent opposition (of which OSU certainly qualifies) with shaky 3rd-string,
RS frosh QB Lobbestael learning on the job. A lot more going for Beavers, who
narrowly missed scoring second straight major upset (at Utah) and who usually
take care of business at Corvallis (8-2 vs line last 10).
(07-Ore. St. 52-WASH. ST. 17...18-18 O.49/218 W.30/83 W.21/46/7/314 O.17/30/0/213 O.0 W.1)
(07-Osu +3 52-17 06-Wsu -3 13-6 05-OSU -1' 44-33...SR: Washington State 47-42-3)
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9
*WAKE FOREST 23 - Clemson 16—Each team had last week off to try to
shake any lingering effects from discouraging home losses in previous game.
Edge to Clemson’s speedy cast of offensive skill performers, as Wake RB Josh
Adams (953 YR & 12 TDs in 2007, just 151 & 2 TY) mired in soph slump so far.
Still, rebuilt Tiger OL keeping sr. QB Harper (just 3 TDP) from recapturing LY’s
form, too. Deacons’ opportunistic defense & special teams (nation-leading 52
takeaways last 1+ seasons!) tip scales in favor of host. CABLE TV—ESPN
(07-CLEM. 44-W. For. 10...C.25-21 C.34/145 W.37/83 C.27/36/0/266 W.24/35/1/204 C.0 W.0)
(07-CLEM. -9' 44-10 06-Clem. -16 27-17 05-WFU +6' 31-27...SR: Clemson 56-16-1)
*HOUSTON 45 - Uab 32—Scary matchup for depth-shy UAB defense
(allowing 466 ypg), as there’s little doubt prolific Houston’s quick-trigger soph
QB Keenum (68%, 19 TDP & only 5 ints.) will shred poor-covering Blazer
secondary. Cougs (no covers last 6 as favorite) also frequently find it hard to get
stops, however, so visitor should have enough weapons to hang if versatile but
TO-prone jr. QB Webb avoids giveaways.
(07-Houston 49-UAB 10...H.33-12 H.59/335 U.18/26 H.21/34/0/205 U.12/34/4/198 H.1 U.0)
(07-Houston -13 49-10...SR: UAB 4-2)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 10
*Louisville 31 - MEMPHIS 30—Tigers have won 3 straight behind rapidlymaturing
juco QB Arkelon Hall (4 TDP last week). Louisville defense improved
under new coordinator Ron English, while vulnerable Memphis stop unit
(allowing 5 ypc last 1+ seasons) will have to stack box against juking Card RS
frosh RB Victor Anderson (390 YR on 8 ypc, 5 TDs in last 3 games). But major
edge to host’s deep, experienced cast of WRs (five already have at least 1
TDC). TV—ESPN (DNP...SR: Louisville 22-18)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11
East Carolina 24 - VIRGINIA 23—Beleaguered Cavalier HC Groh certainly
not out of the woods at Charlottesville, but can’t ignore possible buy signs for
UVa during last week’s shutout home win over inconsistent Maryland. New QB
soph Verica gaining confidence, oft-injured top RB sr. Peerman is healthy, and
disappointing Cav defense discovering some machismo. Veteran ECU’s
psyche a little fragile, as two straight losses have put the kibosh on earlyseason
(06-EAST CAROLINA -6' 31-21...SR: East Carolina 2-0)
WEST VIRGINIA 37 - Syracuse 17—Underrated Mountaineer defense will
hold sway in this game. Still, sputtering WV offense (only 17 ppg in first 4 vs.
FBS foes!) currently pales in comparison to LY’s juggernaut attack that racked
up 40 ppg. Woebegone Syracuse might get just enough out of improving sr. QB
Dantley (6 TDP) & now-healthy sr. RB Brinkley (264 YR in last 2 games) to hang
inside big spread.
(07-W. Va. 55-SYR. 14...W.25-11 W.54/251 S.37/94 W.18/21/0/235 S.6/16/2/108 W.0 S.1)
(07-Wva -27 55-14 06-WVA -25' 41-17 05-Wva +2 15-7...SR: Syracuse 30-25)
INDIANA 21 - Iowa 20—Both of these teams are reeling from 3 straight
losses. Favor QB edge held by Indiana’s Kellen Lewis over Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi.
Hawkeye RB Shonn Greene has 316 YR in his last 2 games, but just 1 TD to
show for it. Conversely, Hoosier speed-merchant RB Thigpen has 4 scores in
the last 2 games, with 3 of those covering more than 70 yards.
(07-Ind. 38-IOWA 20...Ia.22-17 Ia.37/120 In.35/73 In.19/26/1/322 Ia.24/42/1/308 In.1 Ia.1)
(07-Indiana +10 38-20 06-INDIANA +19 31-28 05-IOWA -16 38-21...SR: Iowa 39-26-4
Michigan State 24 - NORTHWESTERN 23—Michigan State RB Ringer was
slowed down by Iowa, and Northwestern defense isn’t bad (3.4 ypc). Wildcats
had a week off to get star RB Sutton near 100%, and QB C.J. Bacher threw for
525 yds. & 5 TDs with 5 ints. against the Spartans last season. NW has covered
last 4 in series, and MSU defense showed some vulnerability on the road this
season, yielding 38 at Cal and 29 at Indiana. CABLE TV—ESPN2
(07-N’w’rn 48-MSU 41 (OT)...N.29-20 M.32/287 N.34/91 N.38/49/0/520 M.17/31/0/194 N.0 M.0)
(07-Nwu +16 48-41 (OT) 06-Msu -8 41-38 05-Nwu +13 49-14...SR: Michigan State 32-16)
Oklahoma 35 - Texas 22—Early reports indicate penetrating DT DeMarcus
Granger & emerging RS frosh DE Frank Alexander are expected to return to
practice to strengthen the OU defense, so prefer to side with Sooners in battle
of potent unbeatens (both SU & vs. the spread). Both teams get excellent
QBing, but the more established running game and more experienced
secondary of Oklahoma appear to be the biggest edges in this edition of the
Red River Rivalry. OU’s offseason change to a no-huddle attack figures to be
a plus vs. athletic—but young—Longhorn DBs. (at Dallas, TX) TV—ABC
(07-Okla. 28-Texas 21...O.20-16 O.41/170 T.29/61 T.19/26/1/324 O.21/32/0/244 O.0 T.1)
(07-Okla. -12 28-21 06-Tex. -3' 28-10 05-Tex. -14 45-12 all at Dal...SR: Texas 57-40-5)
ARMY 30 - Eastern Michigan 20—Both these long-suffering sides off upset
road wins last week. Army’s new triple-option attack (571 YR last 2 games!)
keeps caissons rolling along for Black Knights and sends defense-shy EMU
(permitted 17 rush TDs in its last 5!) back to drawing board.
(DNP...SR: Army 1-0)
*BAYLOR 27 - Iowa State 26—ISU is 8-4 as a dog under Gene Chizik, who
has developed considerable balance and confidence with his young offense.
But the defense (34, 35 points last two games) is tending to give up points in
bunches—not a good trait vs. BU’s talented Mr. Griffin. Will lean to host SU, but
won’t lay many points.
(05-Baylor +8 23-13...SR: Iowa State 4-3)
South Carolina 24 - KENTUCKY 17—USC confidence restored in SEC
(snapped 6-game conference losing streak) with 31-24 victory at Ole Miss. So,
favor ‘Cock squad that came alive behind QB Smelley (career-best 327 yds. vs.
Rebels), who hit 9 different receivers, including previously-injured WR
McKinley. UK’s still-developing QB Hartline generates few “explosive plays” vs.
tenacious Carolina stop unit, especially with ‘Cocks lock-down CB Captain
Munnerlyn shadowing his favorite target WR Lyons.
07-S. CAR. 38-Ky. 23...K.26-18 K.38/157 S.36/86 S.17/30/0/256 K.23/40/1/227 S.1 K.3)
(07-USC -4 38-23 06-Usc -4' 24-17 05-USC -12' 44-16...SR: South Carolina 12-6-1)
Utah 37 - WYOMING 6—Although Joe Glenn ditched his recent Wyo QB
merry-go-round last week at Albuquerque (last year’s starter Sween went all the
way vs. Lobos, as opposed to the 4 who took snaps previous week vs. Bowling
Green), it didn’t help woebegone Cowboys, who were blanked and now haven’t
covered a game in 13 months (0-13-1 vs. line last 14!). And doubt Kyle
Whittingham will show any mercy, recalling Glenn’s “one-fingered salute” to
Utes during LY’s 50-0 Utah romp.
(07-UTAH 50-Wyo. 0...U.22-12 U.51/278 W.30/37 U.19/32/1/227 W.13/32/2/85 U.0 W.3)
(07-UTAH -13' 50-0 06-WYOMING +3' 31-15 05-UTAH -3 43-13...SR: Utah 48-32-1)
Kansas State 31 - TEXAS A&M 30—Each team should be able to exploit the
other’s porous defense after A&M gave up 56 points last week at Oklahoma
State and K-State gave up 58 vs. Texas Tech! A&M defense is lacking in
speed, while Wildcats still have tackling problems, even after HC Prince has
replaced half his starters with some prized newcomers.
(05-Texas A&M -5 30-28...SR: Texas A&M 8-4)
*CENTRAL MICHIGAN 24 - Temple 19—Temple apparently found a stopgap
solution to QB Adam DiMichele’s injury with RS frosh Chester Stewart
stepping up to throw 3 TDPs in upset at Miami-O., despite missing practice
during the week due to a sore ankle. Owl defense has toughened up since
DiMichele was hurt, allowing just 17 points in 2 games, and Temple is 4-1-1 vs.
the number this season, 17-9-1 against the points last 27, and 11-3-1 last 15 vs.
MAC teams under HC Al Golden. CMU QB LeFevour always dangerous, but
Owls playing with purpose. (06-Central Michigan -19 42-26...SR: Central Michigan 1-0)
OHIO STATE 42 - Purdue 16—The Terrelle Pryor era is well underway at
Ohio State, while vet Purdue star QB Curtis Painter appears to be on thin ice
with lame duck HC Joe Tiller after being pulled last week against Penn State.
Pryor’s multi-dimensional qualities and return to health of Buckeye RB Beanie
Wells (274 total YR vs. Minny & Wisconsin) could overwhelm Boilermaker
defense that ranks 108th. Purdue has dropped 6 of last 7 spread decisions.
(07-Ohio St. 23-PURDUE 7...O.20-15 O.45/181 P.17/4 P.31/60/0/268 O.17/29/3/200 O.0 P.1)
(07-Ohio State -7 23-7...SR: Ohio State 36-12-2)
Tcu 28 - COLORADO STATE 10—To its credit, CSU has thus far endured
fewer growing pains under new HC Fairchild than MWC sources envisioned.
But the fun could end vs. TCU and its swarming, top-rated defense (only 209
ypg!) that has throttled Rams in recent meetings. Expect Frogs to stonewall RB
G. Johnson and keep CSU QB Farris on the run, and Gary Patterson very comfy
with fact he can win with two QBs (former starter Jackson effective in relief of
soph Dalton in last week’s romp past SDSU).
(07-TCU 24-Colo. St. 12...T.23-16 T.48/201 C.28/55 C.21/39/3/216 T.16/32/0/197 T.2 C.0)
(07-TCU -10 24-12 06-Tcu -9' 45-14 05-TCU -7 33-6...SR: TCU 4-1)
*MISSOURI 48 - Oklahoma State 30—In a shootout, don’t mind siding with
host, which also has the most guns. Mizzou has scored in 19 of 20 Qs TY, and
the Tigers have now gone 49 straight possessions with no three-and-outs. MU
never punted last week at Nebraska. Yes, OSU has scored 56 ppg its last four,
but the Cowboys have yet to face a tough foe on the road. MU 12-3 last 15 when
favored, and HC Pinkel says this is his best OL in Columbia. CABLE TV—
ESPN (05-Missouri -4' 38-31...SR: Missouri 27-21)
GEORGIA 31 - Tennessee 13—Following disappointing 41-30 Athens loss
vs. Bama, pumped-up, rested UGA likely to continue its superior play following
a bye week (6-1 vs. spread last 7 in scheduling spot) in double-revenge game
vs. UT. Dawgs efficient QB Stafford (60%, 7 TDs, 1 int.) owns enormous edge
over Vols untested 6-4 soph QB Stephens (just 1 TD vs. Northern Ill.),
inadequately supported by sagging ground game mustering a scant 69 yds. vs.
Huskies. If UGA’s star RB Moreno able to go (check status), Richt’s squad pulls
away from still-troubled, offensively-stagnant UT (1 meaningful TD in two SEC
(07-TENN. 35-Ga. 14...T.21-14 T.44/190 G.25/69 T.18/23/0/221 G.16/34/1/174 T.0 G.0)
(07-TENN. +1' 35-14 06-Tenn. -2' 51-33 05-Ga. +3 27-14...SR: Tennessee 20-15-2)
SOUTHERN CAL 41 - Arizona State 10—If Dennis Erickson looks more
bewildered than Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson these days, it’s because the
once-potent ASU “O” has lost its compass, with poor OL play and absence of
credible infantry diversion grounding Sun Devil attack (just 14.7 ppg last 3
losses). And now ASU might be minus sr. QB Carpenter after he left Berkeley
on crutches last week. That’s hardly a recipe for success vs. hungry SC eager
to ascend polls. TV—ABC
(07-S. Cal 44-ARIZ. ST. 24...S.25-16 S.37/133 A.35/16 S.26/40/0/375 A.22/31/0/243 S.0 A.1)
(07-Usc -3 44-24 06-USC -19 28-21 05-Usc -15 38-28...SR: Southern Cal 15-9)
*OREGON 30 - Ucla 20—Although UCLA’s win over Wazzu was about as
exciting as watching C-SPAN during recent bailout debate, Bruins at least
displaying a bit more competence on offensive end as sage o.c. Chow works
around the limitations of juco QB Craft. Meanwhile, Mike Bellotti might have a
fuller deck to utilize at QB if former starter Roper returns to active duty, as
expected, but DeWayne Walker’s quick-footed Westwood defense is
constructed better than most to deal with UO spread.
(07-UCLA 16-Oregon 0...O.12-10 U.51/156 O.39/43 O.11/39/3/105 U.4/17/2/64 U.0 O.1)
(07-UCLA +1' 16-0 06-OREGON -9' 30-20...SR: UCLA 39-22)
MICHIGAN 37 - Toledo 13—Michigan responded with wins after each of its
first two losses, and expect Rich Rodriguez to elicit a solid effort from his
Wolverines after Illinois humiliated his defense in homecoming game at the Big
House. Certainly, the Michigan spread should find some holes in shoddy
Toledo defense that yielded 41 ppg against Ball St., FIU, Fresno and Arizona.
Rockets have dropped 11 of last 12 visiting non-conference opponents.
NORTH CAROLINA 34 - Notre Dame 23—Acknowledge recent Irish uptick.
Lights going on for blue-chip soph QB Clausen (622 YP, 6 TDP & no ints. last
2 games), and improved defense permitting only 19 ppg. However, inclined to
make Domers prove it on road, where they fell by DDs at Mich. State in only trip
so far. Athletic Carolina stop unit has 11 ints. in last 4 games, and soph
Draughn (109 YR last week) an emerging ground complement to Tar Heels’ topnotch
WR corps. REGIONAL TV—ABC
(06-NOTRE DAME -25 46-25...SR: Notre Dame 16-1)
*AUBURN 30 - Arkansas 7—Though disgruntled Auburn mentor Tuberville
promised to make “immediate changes” following discouraging 14-13 loss at
Vandy, still must “lay it” vs. mistake-prone Arkansas (-8 TO margin), which has
been outscored 139-31 in 3 SEC losses so far. Just a hunch, but no surprise
if Tigers de-emphasize the spread and revert back to their tried and true ground
assault vs. Hogs frosh-laden front 7 (dead last in SEC rushing defense).
Meanwhile, floundering Arkansas attack (two meaningful TDs last 3 games)
gets stuffed by nasty Tiger defense (11 ppg).
(07-Aub. 9-ARK. 7...Au.21-11 Au.53/189 Ar.25/67 Ar.13/27/1/126 Au.13/23/0/101 Au.1 Ar.0)
(07-Aub. +3 9-7 06-Ark. +15 27-10 05-Aub. -7' 34-17...SR: Auburn 10-6-1)
NEVADA 52 - New Mexico State 27—Now that Nevada “Pistol” firing live
ammunition once more (1127 yards and 49 ppg the last two weeks!), Wolf Pack
and hot QB Kaepernick quite capable of extending margin. Besides, there are
more dimensions to Pistol (7th in national rush stats) than offered by QB
Holbrook and Hal Mumme’s one-dimensional NMSU Air Raid, which hasn’t
traveled well (Aggies only 5-13 as road dog since ‘05). Note how Pistol has
tallied 45 ppg last 3 in series, and how Chris Ault’s teams usually take care of
business as Reno chalk (13-2 in role since ‘04!).
(07-Nev. 40-NMS 38...Nm.29-23 Nv.47/285 Nm.30/103 Nm.35/49/0/407 Nv.15/28/1/237 Nv. 1 Nm.1)
(07-Nevada -6' 40-38 06-NEVADA -17' 48-21 05-Nevada -9' 48-24...SR: Nevada 10-1)
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 28 - Miami-Ohio 13—With NI feeding off competitive
13-9 loss at Tennessee, don’t mind laying it vs. still-meandering Miami, a
bankroll-depleting 1-7 vs. spread last 8 on board. RedHawks pedestrian attack
(10 ppg vs. FBS squads) makes no headway vs. hard-hitting, sr.-laden Huskie
defense permitting just 1 TD over last 13 Qs! Miami’s soft-covering 2ndary only
1 “pick” last 4 games.
(06-N. Illinois -13' 28-25 05-N. ILLINOIS -3 38-27...SR: Miami-Ohio 7-5)
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
*BYU 27 - New Mexico 12—We’re not expecting any hiccups from BYU as it
continues on course in BCS quest. But quirky series trends vs. New Mexico
(host team has failed to cover last 6 meetings) and incestuous nature of rivalry
vs. Lobos (Bronco Mendenhall once served on Rocky Long’s UNM staff) make us reluctant
to lay significant number, especially with TCU showdown just 5 days hence for Cougs. Scaled-back
Lobo “O” (backup QB Gruner mostly handing off these days) can slow pace and keep UNM within
(07-Byu 31-N. MEX. 24...B.21-16 N.36/115 B.43/112 B.18/40/1/251 N.20/38/2/231 B.1 N.3)
(07-Byu -4 31-24 06-BYU -26' 42-17 05-Byu +7' 27-24...SR: BYU 42-14-1)
Arizona 24 - STANFORD 22—Mike Stoops not taking any prisoners in quest
to save his job (UA win margin 38 ppg!). But Wildcats cruising through with
much easier schedule than Stanford, which is 2-0 SU at home. RB Gerhart
gives Cardinal valuable balance on offense.
(07-Stan. 21-ARIZ. 20...S.21-20 A.32/130 S.45/96 A.28/41/1/238 S.19/27/2/181 S.1 A.1)
(07-Stanford +13 21-20 06-Arizona -3' 20-7 05-Stanford +4' 20-16...SR: Arizona 13-10)
*Bowling Green 35 - AKRON 28—BG QB Tyler Sheehan has completed 47
of 69 passes for 584 yds., 4 TDs and no ints. the last 2 games, and expect HC
Gregg Brandon to have Falcons primed after their shocking loss at home to
20½-point dog Eastern Michigan. Akron QB Chris Jacquemain has gotten
sloppy the last month, throwing 8 ints. in last 4 games; Zips’ run game has
deserted them (162 yards in last 2 games).
(07-B. GREEN 44-Akron 20...B.28-25 A.46/243 B.38/216 B.27/37/0/301 A.14/31/2/192 B.0 A.2)
(07-BGU -6' 44-20 06-AKRON -8 35-28 05-Akron +14 24-14...SR: Bowling Green 9-7)
Ohio 30 - KENT STATE 21—Kent HC Doug Martin’s crew is 4-17 vs. the
number last 21 on the line and and 1-12 SU last 13, so see little percentage in
backing Flashes. Ohio U. just 1-5 SU this season, but Frank Solich’s bunch has
just 1 spread loss in ‘08, and QB Boo Jackson has 9 TDP in 4 games since
taking over as starter for the injured Theo Scott.
(07-Kent St. 33-OHIO 25...K.25-16 K.50/233 O.30/88 O.22/40/2/271 K.12/25/0/169 K.0 O.0)
(07-Ksu -2' 33-25 06-Ohio +6' 17-7 05-OHIO -4 35-32...SR: Ohio 37-21-2)
CINCINNATI 30 - Rutgers 17—Despite hanging tough at West Virginia last
week, regressing Rutgers has to be discouraged by its 1-4 start (only win over
Morgan State). Much prefer more cohesive Cincy, as crafty HC Kelly (27-10-3
vs. line since 2005!) continues to push the right buttons. Yes, Bearcats down
to third-string QB. But experience the only edge struggling Scarlet Knight sr.
signal caller Teel has on resourceful RS frosh counterpart Chazz Anderson (2
TDP, 1 TDR in win at Marshall).
(07-Cincy 28-RUT. 23...R.24-22 C.40/150 R.43/98 R.22/38/3/334 C.20/37/1/257 C.2 R.1)
(07-Cincy +3' 28-23 06-CINCY +6' 30-11 05-RUTGERS -13' 44-9...SR: Rutgers 7-5-1)
TEXAS TECH 56 - Nebraska 27—Nebraska HC Bo Pelini has taken the
blame for last week’s 52-17 loss to Missouri, apologizing to his team and the
state of Nebraska. But he better hold up on the self-flagellation until he is able
to add more talent to his defense, especially the secondary. TT marksman
Graham Harrell (6 TDP in 3 Qs last week at K-State) should attack with repeated
success, especially with RBs Woods & Batch providing more punch TY. (05-Texas
Tech -4 34-31...SR: Nebraska 7-2)
KANSAS 34 - Colorado 16—Colorado, which has lost two of its best young
blockers, is absorbing the attrition of three straight tough games. Buffs can
expect no relief vs. the veteran KU defense that was flat at the outset of last
week’s 35-33 escape at Iowa State, giving up first 20 points. Jayhawk ground
game still inconsistent, but QB Reesing (70.2%, 14 TDs) and his receivers are
not. CU 3-11 last 14 as dog. CABLE TV—ESPN2
(07-Kansas 19-COLO. 14...C.19-17 K.33/180 C.33/66 C.27/45/2/287 K.20/29/0/153 K.2 C.1)
(07-Kansas -3' 19-14 06-KANSAS -2 20-15 05-COLORADO -15' 44-13...SR: Colorado 41-23-3)
*Penn State 20 - WISCONSIN 19—Back-to-back losses to Michigan and
Ohio State have diminished early-season enthusiasm of Badger fans.
However, this is Penn State’s most serious test of the season, and despite loss
to Ohio State, Camp Randall remains a tough place to play. Nittany Lions have
a lot of ways to hurt opponents, but after seeing Buckeye QB Pryor & RB Beanie
Wells last week, Badger “D” will make adjustments for Penn State’s similar
weapons. REG. TV—ABC
(07-PENN ST. 38-Wis. 7...P.27-17 P.47/221 W.34/87 W.17/34/2/244 P.16/29/0/216 P.1 W.1)
(07-PSU -7 38-7 06-WISC. -7 13-3 05-PSU -12 35-14...SR: Wisconsin 8-5)
MIAMI-FLORIDA 37 - Ucf 14—Psychology dicey for Hurricanes, who, after
spotting Florida State to 24-0 lead, saw their furious second-half rally fall just
short against hated rival last week. Still, inclined to lay fair price with more
explosive Miami, which can’t afford to let ambitious upstate UCF gain any
recruiting traction in south Florida. Punchless Knights have scored only 3 TDs
in last 3 road games. CABLE TV—ESPNU
*FLORIDA 30 - Lsu 16—UF’s highly-combustible attack still not running on all
cylinders (Tim Tebow says “We don’t want to peak too early; we’re just fine.”’),
but anticipate revenge-minded Gators rising to the occasion. Expect Tebow &
his speedy corps of WRs to burn LSU’s new set of CBs, who’ve had some
communication breakdowns. On other side, Tigers inexperienced QB Lee can’t
rely much on play-action, with SEC-leading RB Scott (535 YR, 7.5 ypc) hardpressed
to pick up early-down yds. vs. UF’s tenacious front 7 (3.2 ypc). Urban
Meyer is 22-2 SU in “The Swamp,” with 21 victories by 7 pts. or more.
(07-LSU 28-Florida 24...L.25-19 L.52/247 F.32/156 F.12/26/1/158 L.14/28/1/144 L.0 F.1)
(07-LSU -7' 28-24 06-FLORIDA -1 23-10 05-LSU -6 21-17...SR: Florida 28-23-3) TV-CBS
*SAN JOSE STATE 38 - Utah State 17—Recent efforts confirming reports
from WAC sources who have insisted there is more bite to new-look USU attack
and its option looks, thanks to soph QB Borel, who dazzled BYU defenders more
than once with his footwork last week. But SJSU usually a reliable proposition
at home (where it has covered 9 in a row), and leaky Utag “D” likely exposed by
maturing Spartan juco QB Reed and San Jose OL that mended various hurts
during last week’s bye. TV-ESPNU
(07-S. Jose St. 23-USU 20...S.30-15 U.39/175 S.32/98 S.35/48/2/426 U.11/21/2/78 S.0 U.0)
(07-Sjs +3 23-20 06-SJS -16 21-14 05-USU -5 24-17...SR: San Jose State 19-10-1)
*Tulsa 62 - SMU 28—Malleable Mustang “D” one of country’s worst units, and
scattershot true frosh SMU QB Mitchell has already been picked off 15 times.
Pointspread imposing, but buck juggernaut Tulsa (56 ppg & 596 ypg—both tops
in nation!) at your own peril.
(07-TULSA 29-Smu 23...T.28-20 S.47/158 T.33/102 T.27/45/2/336 S.17/35/1/192 T.3 S.0)
(07-TULSA -13' 29-23 06-SMU +6 34-24 05-TULSA -14' 20-13...SR: SMU 10-5)
*Boise State 34 - SOUTHERN MISS 20—USM in payback mode, but Boise
showed improved “roadability” in stunning 37-32 victory at Oregon Sept. 20.
However, Broncos traveling a long way to lay double digits on grass vs. USM
team with very capable ground weapon in quick jr. Damion Fletcher (710 YR).
(07-BOISE 38-S. Miss 16...B.23-15 B.41/199 S.36/116 B.19/28/1/307 S.16/31/0/202 B.1 S.1)
(07-BOISE STATE -10' 38-16...SR: Boise State 1-0)
*UTEP 35 - Tulane 26—Tough to make “technical” case for UTEP, which is
bankroll-busting 1-13 its last 14 laying points! But psychology & fundamentals
favor melding Miners. Host’s confidence bolstered by two straight wins, while
Green Wave licking its wounds after humbling blowout home loss to Army. And
underrated UTEP soph QB Vittatoe (7 TDP, only 1 int. last 2 games) has enough
weapons to trump Tulane jr. RB André Anderson (483 YR in last 3).
(07-TULANE 34-Utep 19...U.20-19 T.45/208 U.24/104 U.28/45/1/308 T.16/23/0/277 T.0 U.0)
(07-TULANE +4 34-19 06-UTEP -13 34-20 05-Utep -7 45-21 at Ruston...SR: UTEP 2-1)
*Air Force 34 - SAN DIEGO STATE 16—Acknowledge that SDSU has pulled
the occasional surprise on Chuck Long’s watch, but such upsets have been
outnumbered by the unsightly efforts (such as allowing Air Force to rush for 569
yards in LY’s Falcon blowout at Colorado Springs). And if RS frosh QB Lindley
can’t make post due to shoulder injury, one-dimensional Aztecs (118th in
rushing) unlikely to compensate. AF is 12-2 vs. line vs. non-Navy opposition
since HC Calhoun arrived LY.
(07-A. FORCE 55-Sds 23...A.30-21 A.64/569 S.35/96 S.29/47/1/410 A.8/14/1/101 A.0 S.2)
(07-AFA -12 55-23 06-SDS +13 19-12 05-AFA -7' 41-29...SR: Air Force 17-9)
*FRESNO STATE 49 - Idaho 10—There might be a price at which we could get
interested in Idaho. But since Santa Claus probably has other things on his
mind, would rather keep going against outmanned Vandals, who have
covered 1 of last 14 on board. Good chance for Fresno to take out some
frustrations after mortifying home loss to Hawaii featuring 6 TOs and pair of
late FG misses by PK Goesling.
(07-Fres. St. 37-IDAHO 24...F.25-19 I.45/279 F.47/238 F.17/22/0/178 I.9/26/0/144 F.2 I.2)
(07-Fsu -9' 37-24 06-FSU -11' 34-0 05-Fsu -28' 40-10...SR: Fresno State 6-4)
*HAWAII 28 - Louisiana Tech 16—It’s not the Red Gun we’ve been used to
seeing the past few years, but Hawaii “O” uncovering some new dimensions
nonetheless, thanks to mobile QB Funaki, who was near-flawless (2 TDP, plus
79 YR) in last week’s upset win at Fresno. Meanwhile, new La Tech QB Bennett
(Ga. Tech transfer) has completed just 39% in first month on new job. Sluggish
Bulldogs no TDs in 8 Qs on road thus far.
(07-Haw. 45-LA. TECH 44 (OT)...H.32-24 L.49/223 H.20/45 H.43/61/1/548 L.23/36/0/187 H.2 L.0)
(07-Hawaii -27' 45-44 (OT) 06-HAWAII -37' 61-17 05-TECH -3' 46-14...SR: Hawaii 5-1)
*Ball State 41 - WESTERN KENTUCKY 16—ENORMOUS firepower edge
owned by Ball State, which has outgained impotent host WKU by more than 200
ypg! Undefeated Cards have covered 16 of last 21 and are ranked in top 25 for
first time in school history.
(07-BSU 35-W. Ky. 12...W.23-19 W.54/222 B.29/75 B.21/31/1/288 W.22/33/3/189 B.2 W.0)
(07-BALL STATE (NL) 35-12...SR: EVEN 1-1)
*ARKANSAS STATE 26 - La.-Monroe 20—Though Monroe’s defense made
Lafayette’s Tyrell Fenroy (297 YR) look like Barry Sanders last week, would still
take higher price with Warhawk squad equipped to trade points most of way
behind multi-talented QB Lancaster, who accounted for 244 yds. in 30-13 series
home win LY. ASU is 0-4 as DD home chalk since ‘98, and dog in series has
covered 8 straight!
(07-LA.-MON. 30-Asu 13...L.23-16 L.52/235 A.28/170 A.14/35/2/206 L.15/23/0/195 L.0 A.1)
(07-ULM +2' 30-13 06-ASU -6' 10-6 05-ULM +3 31-27...SR: Arkansas State 16-13)
*FLORIDA INTL. 24 - Middle Tennessee State 19—Whereas we weren’t sure
what to make of FIU’s surprising romp at Toledo two weeks ago, we’re now
ready to put the “buy” signal on much-improved Golden Panthers after last
week’s rout of North Texas. MTSU hard-pressed to survive until absent Blue
Raider infantry (117th in rushing, only 1.98 ypc) provides adequate help for
(07-MTS 47-Fla. Intl. 6...M.16-8 M.45/147 F.28/72 M.12/25/0/258 F.13/35/2/73 M.3 F.2)
(07-MTS -9' 47-6 06-MTS -10 7-6 05-FIU +6' 35-31...SR: Middle Tennessee St. 2-1)
*La.-Lafayette 45 - NORTH TEXAS 17—Anybody interested in North Texas?
Not very Mean Green have lost by at least 30 points in each of their first 6 games!
(07-LA.-LAF. 38-N. Tx. 29...N.25-14 L.36/300 N.40/144 N.35/57/3/383 L.10/20/0/114 L.2 N.1)
(07-ULL -8' 38-29 06-Ntu +11 16-7 05-Ull -4 31-28...SR: North Texas 8-4)
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Oakland SERIES: 1-5 L6… •9-3 w/rest vs opp off BB SU wins…1-5 Game Five
NEW ORLEANS 6-2 Game Six…OCT: 0-10 HF’S vs opp off SUATS loss… PAYTON: 0-6 H vs opp off BB SU losses
Baltimore SERIES: 0-4 L4 / 3-1 L4 A… 1-3 UNDER Game Six
INDIANAPOLIS 7-0 favs < 7 pts off SU win vs opp off under…7-0 HF’s off SUATS win vs opp off SUATS loss…8-2 aft Texans…4-1 Game Five
Cincinnati SERIES: 3-1 L4 A…6-0 bef HG vs Steelers…4-0 Game Six
NY JETS 6-2 off DD win w/rest…OCT: 1-9 vs non div opp off BB SU losses…2 12 H aft scoring 20 > pts BB vs opp off SU loss…0-7 UNDER Game Five
Carolina SERIES: 4-1 L5 A… FOX: 20-5-1 RD vs < .777 opp who scored 13 > pts LG…2-8 UNDER Game Six
TAMPA BAY 3-0 Game Six… 9-1 1st of BB HG’s vs opp off BB SU wins… GRUDEN: 1-10 H VS .500 > opp off DD ATS win
Detroit 14-3 off DD SU & BB SUATS losses (0-2 this year… 13-4 dogs 3 > pts off BB SU losses of 8 > pts (0-2 this yea)… 0-6 vs < .500 opp who scored 20 > pts LG… 0-4 Game Five…MARINELLI: 1-7 A vs opp off SUATS win (0-1 this year
MINNESOTA SERIES: 5-0-1 L6 / 3-0 L3 H… 4-1 Game Six… CHILDRESS: 2-9 H off A (0-1 this year)
Chicago SERIES: 5-0-1 L6… OCT: 8-0 vs .500 > opp w/rev… 0-5 off BB SU wins… 3-10 Game Six
ATLANTA 5-0 favs or dogs 2 < pts vs opp off DD ATS win… 1-11 w/rev off SU dog win 3 < pts… 2-10 non div dogs vs .500 > opp… OCT: 1-7 HF’s vs .500 > opp off SUATS win…1-4 Game Six
Miami OCT: 8-2 A off BB SU wins… 1-9 A w/rev off DD ATS win…1-6 UNDER Game Five
HOUSTON 6-1 off BB SU losses vs opp off dog game… 8-2 off div opp vs opp off BB SU wins… 2-4 Game Six.
St. Louis OCT: 7-1 vs opp off SU dog win…4-1 Game Five… 0-11 < .500 RD’s vs .500 > opp w/rev… 0-6 off DD SU loss vs .500 > non div opp… OCT: 1-7 A off SUATS loss… 1-6 off DD loss w/rest
WASHINGTON SERIES: 6-2 L8… OCT: 8-1 HF’s off div game… 0-5 off DD SU win w/rev vs opp off BB SU losses…3-0 OVER Game Six
Jacksonville 9-0 A off DD ATS loss vs opp w/rev… 1-5 UNDER Game Six
DENVER 4-0 Game Six… 0-9 HF’s off SU win & fav role LG (0-2 this year… 1-10 HF’s > 3 & < 11 pts vs opp off DD ATS loss…*4-18 .500 > off DD ATS win
Philadelphia SERIES: 3-1 L4… 7-0 A off div game… 0-4 Game Six… REID: 17-9 SUATS off SU fav loss
SAN FRANCISCO OCT: 2-10 dogs vs non div off non div… 2-8 Game Six… NOLAN: 5-1 H off BB SUATS losses
Dallas SERIES: 7-1 L8… 1-4 Game Six
ARIZONA 3-1 Game Six… WHISENHUNT: 9-1 vs opp off SU win 7 > pts
Green Bay 5-0 RD’s 4 < pts off BB ATS losses… 12-2 dogs off BB ATS losses vs opp off SUATS loss… OCT: 6-1 vs opp off DD SU loss w/rev… MCCARTHY: 7-1 vs < .500 non div opp…10-5 OVER Game Six
SEATTLE 0-7 off DD SU loss & allowed 35 > pts vs < .500 opp… 1-11 favs < 10 pts off DD ATS loss… -5 Game Five… HOLMGREN: 9-1 aft allowing 35 > pts vs non div opp
New England 9-1 Game Five… OCT: 7-1 A off non div SU win vs opp w/rev…1-10 vs opp off non div game… 2-10 off SU win & ATS loss vs < .500 opp
SAN DIEGO OCT: 6-1 favs off SU fav loss…4-1 Game Six
Monday, Oct 13th
NY Giants 11-2 A off SU win 14 > pts… 5-1 Game Five… 13-3 A when O/U line 42 > pts (1-0 this year)… OCT: 8-2 vs opp off SU dog win… 2-7 UNDER Mondays
CLEVELAND 11-1 off SU win w/rev vs .500 > opp off HG… 0-12 dogs 9 < pts aft allowing 14 < pts… 0-9 vs opp off 3 > SU wins… 0-8 dogs 1st BB non div games… 0-6 off SU win vs opp favored L2 games…1-8 < .500 off SU win 7 < pts …1-4 dogs w/rest… CRENNEL: 7-2 dog off div opp (1-1 this year)… 2-4 UNDER Game Five
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Thursday, Oct. 9th
Clemson 4-0 dogs in Game Six… 5-1 aft Maryland… 5-2 A vs con opp w/ rev… 1-5 Weekday RG… 1-4 off SU home fav L
WAKE FOREST SERIES: 5-1 L6… 9-3 off SU home loss 7 > pts… 5-2 Game Five… 0-9 bef Maryland… 1-12 favs in 2nd of BB HG… 1-5 as favs w/ con rev
Michigan St 9-1 vs rested opp… 8-3 vs undefeated opp (Gm 4 >)… 1-4 bef HG vs Ohio S
N’WESTERN SERIES: 4-0 L4… 7-0 w/ rest… 0-5 H off 3+ SU wins… 1-4 off con road dog W
Texas SERIES: 3-0 L3… 6-2 vs undefeated opp (Gm 6 >)… 7-3 as con dogs 7 < pts… 3-1 aft RG vs Colorado… 1-7 w/ con rev
OKLAHOMA 7-1 as con favs 7 < pts… 5-1 aft Baylor… 10-2 Game Six… 9-2 as favs 10 < pts vs con opp w/ rev… 3-11 bef Kansas
Vanderbilt 4-1 in 1st of BB RG… 0-6 bef Georgia… 0-3-1 vs rested opp… 1-7 Game Six… 1-5 vs .350 < opp… 1-5 L6 as con RF’s
MISS ST SERIES: 5-1 L6 / 3-0 H… 4-1 H w/ rest… 1-4 H aft LSU… 2-8 Game Six… 3-7 as HD’s off 3+ SU L
Utah 4-1 bef Colo St… 8-2 off SU weekday W… 6-3 as DD favs vs con opp w/ rev… 1-5 as DD con RF’s… 1-4 A Game Seven
WYOMING SERIES: 3-0 L3 H… 6-1 as DD HD’s… 5-2 vs opp off Thursday HG… 5-2 aft RG vs New Mexico… 0-3-1 H w/ con rev… 1-3 Game Seven
Purdue SERIES: 3-1 L4… 4-0 aft HG vs Penn St… 8-3 dogs 13 > pts w/ con rev… 0-4 Game Six.. 1-6 off DD SU home L… 1-4 bef Northwestern
OHIO ST SERIES: 4-1 L5 H… 7-1 Game Seven… 4-1 off SU road fav L… 6-2 off SU ATS con road fav W… 8-3 as conf HF’s 13 > pts… 1-4 H vs con opp w/ rev
Oklahoma St 4-1 A off 3+ HG… 1-3 when undefeated (Gm 6 >)… 3-7 Game Six… 3-7 A off BBB SU W
MISSOURI SERIES: 5-1 L6… 6-0 vs undefeated opp (Gm 6 >)… 4-1 Game Six… 0-3 aft RG vs Nebraska
Tennessee SERIES: 3-1 L4… 3-0 Game Six… 4-1-1 as dog vs con opp w/ rev… 6-2 as con dogs 11 > Pts… 0-4 A bef BB HG
GEORGIA 5-0 aft Alabama… 4-1 off con home fav L… 6-2 favs w/ rest… 1-4 favs w/ con rev… 2-5 H Game Six
Arizona St 0-10 in 2nd of BB RG… 0-5 aft California… 1-7 A w/ con rev… 1-3 Game Six… 2-5 as DD con dogs
USC SERIES: 3-1 L4 H… 10-3 in 2nd of BB HG… 3-1 aft Oregon… 2-11 in Games Four, Five, or Six… 2-10 as DD favs vs con opp w/ rev
Ucla 7-1 w/ con rev… 4-1 as DD con dogs… 5-2 bef Stanford… 2-13 Game Six… 1-4 off 3+ HG
OREGON SERIES: 3-1 L4 H… 10-1 as DD con HF’s… 4-1 aft USC… 6-2 H w/ con rev… 2-9 bef RG vs Ariz St
Arkansas SERIES: 3-1 L4 A… 5-0 as con dogs 14 > pts… * -0 off BB SU L 14 > pts… 0-5 Game Six… 0-5 aft Florida… 1-7 in 1st of BB RG
AUBURN SERIES: 4-1 L5… 6-0 Game Seven… 7-1 off SU road fav L… 7-2 as con HF’s > 13 pts… 1-4 H vs con opp w/ rev… 1-4 vs < .500 con opp
New Mexico SERIES: 3-0 L3 A… 7-0 as con dogs 20 > pts… 3-0 vs undefeated opp (Gm 6 >)… 5-1 A off DD con W.. 11-2 Game Seven… 9-2 A w/ con rev
BYU 4-1 off Weekday gm… 7-3 H vs con opp w/ rev… 1-6 aft Utah St… 2-6 HF’s > 5 pts vs con opp off DD home W… 4-10 as con favs 22 > pts
Nebraska 10-2 away off 3+ HG… 6-2 Game Six… 1-4-1 aft Missouri… 3-9 bef Iowa St
TEXAS TECH 10-1 Game Six… 4-1-1 bef Texas A&M… 6-2 off con RF role… 5-2 H vs opp off BB SU L
Colorado SERIES: 6-3 L9 A… 3-0 aft Texas… 1-4 Game Six… 1-4 A w/ con rev… 2-5 A off BB DD SU L
KANSAS 6-0 vs opp off BB DD SU L… 4-1 H vs con opp w/ rev… 4-1 bef RG vs Oklahoma… 8-3 off RG vs Iowa St… 7-3 H Game Six
Penn St 2-7 vs con opp w/ rev… 1-5 favs 17 < in 2nd of BB RG… 1-4 bef HG vs Mich… 1-4 vs opp playing 2nd of BB HG
WISCONSIN SERIES: 4-1 L5 H… 10-2 as HD’s 4 > pts… 4-1 H vs undefeated opp (Gm 6 >)… 6-2 aft HG vs Ohio St… 8-3 in 2nd of BB HG… 2-6 H Game Six
Lsu 4-1 bef S Carolina… 0-3 Game Six… 0-3 as dogs vs con opp w/ rev… 1-6 off SU con W but ATS L… 2-5-1 w/ rest
FLORIDA SERIES: 3-0 L3… 4-1 vs undefeated opp (Gm 6 >)… 4-1 as con favs 7 < pts… 3-1 Game Six… 2-5-1 H vs con opp w/ rev
Boise St 11-3 as favs off SU con W 30 > pts… 0-6 A off Weekday HG… 1-4 as non conf RF’s… 1-3 A Game Five
S MISSISSIPPI 4-0 Game Six… 7-1 vs opp off SU W 30 > pts… 0-4 vs opp off Weekday gm… 1-5 as non con HD’s
Idaho 0-3 aft Nevada… 1-4 as dog 30 > pts… 2-5 Game Seven… 2-5 vs opp off BB SU W… 3-8 in 1st of BB HG
FRESNO ST SERIES: 3-0 L3… 3-0-1 aft Hawaii… 4-1 as favs 27 > pts… 1-4 vs opp off 4+ SU L… 1-3 bef Utah St… 5-11 Game Six
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
WINNING POINTS - NCAA
MISSISSIPPI STATE* over VANDERBILT* by 20
Last week at the top of this page we cashed a BEST BET ticket with SouthCarolina over Mississippi, focusing on the notion of “SEC gravity”. Here is more of the same. In what is clearly the best conference in the nation it is going to be difficult for teams to stay on physical and emotional highs from week to week, especially when it is a team like Vanderbilt, which is not accustomed to such a lofty place in the league standings. It led to making that home affair vs. Auburn a little too much of a championship game atmosphere, in what was instead merely another regular season game. Now a team that has to work so very hard to get whatever they can has a difficult time generating that same kind of energy here, and who could blame them for even celebrating a little after that draining win – no one on this roster had even been born the last time that the Commodores were in a bowl game. It is more than just a letdown setting here, however, with Mississippi State bringing a lot of energy off of a bye week that helps to set up Sylvester Croom’s squad in a multitude of ways. Not only does it help from a game plan standpoint, as they become one of the first SEC teams to take Vandy seriously, but it also means a chance to assimilate QB Tyson Lee into the offensive schemes (17-26-175 and a touchdown off the bench at L.S.U., and the likely starter here), and for Anthony Dixon’s groin injury to heal. When healthy he is a horse between the tackles, and that is the Commodore weak spot. MISSISSIPPI STATE 30-10.
IOWA over INDIANA* by 22
After a rare non-bowl campaign in 2007, and sitting on a current three-game losing streak, Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa program are losing the favor they had once built up with the sporting public, which results in a much shorter line than we should be seeing here. It also results in an excellent opportunity for us, for while the Hawkeyes have indeed been on the wrong end of three straight scoreboards, they were the better team on the field in every one of those games. They handled Pittsburgh, Northwestern and Michigan State to the tune of +12 in first downs and 153 yards in total offense, but finished -5 in turnovers. And some of those miscues were huge, like a pair inside the Michigan State 10-yard line on Saturday to turn that result around. This is not a sloppy team fundamentally, but rather one that has had some frustrating bounces of the ball, and this is exactly the kind of setting in which we can back them to clean things up, as they control the line of scrimmageon both sides of the ball in this matchup. Emerging Hawkeye RB Shonn Greene can continue his break-out season vs. this soft defensive front (over 100 yards in every game, including 157 yards in Saturday’s loss), and an Indiana secondary that has only one interception in 147 pass attempts becomes vulnerable when play action passes are called for. And what better way to set up his players to vent some frustrations than for Ferentz to show films of last year’s embarrassing 38- 20 home loss to these Hoosiers over and over again. IOWA 36-14.
Oklahoma over Texas by 17 (at Dallas)
This year’s “Red River Shootout” is taking on a meaning that the series has not had in many seasons, but instead of it being an elimination game in the national championship hunt, we see it more as a matter of a contender taking care of business against a pretender. Oklahoma is loaded, lacks a weakness, and the Sooners have their eyes on the prize, after winning the Big 12 last year. Texas may be unbeaten, and carrying a nice historical reputation, but we see the Longhorns as having some key holes that can be exploited at this level of competition. A lead RB? They do not have one. And while those great passing numbers from Colt McCoy so far can make it appear as though they can survive without one, note that so many of those completions were short tosses, with the receivers getting yardage after the catch. That is all that his arm strength allows. Meanwhile the secondary is young and can be exploited, which no one in that soft early schedule could do, but the poised Sam Bradford and a deep Sooner WR corps surely can. OKLAHOMA 34-17.
Northern Illinois* over Miami O. by 21
It was “close but no cigar” again for these Huskies on the road last week, with losses to Minnesota, Western Michigan and Tennessee by a combined 11 points already this season, games in which just a bounce or two in their direction could have changed all of the final scoreboards. But that works to our advantage here in terms of them staying under the radar, as what may be the most improved team in the nation gets a chance to step back into conference play, where they are serious contenders. Remember that it was an alarming injury count that led to their disappointing 2007, and not necessarily poor play, and as can often be the case, a season filled with injuries means that a lot of depth has been developed for the following campaign. Meanwhile the RedHawks are a rudderless ship, not getting the leadership from the coaching staff or the QB position (under-performing veteran Daniel Radabaugh may have finally lost his starting position), and their season will only go from bad to worse. NORTHERN ILLINOIS 31-10.
Georgia* over Tennessee by 24
We don’t get teams as good as Georgia in the setting that the Bulldogs are in this week very often – off of an embarrassing loss, playing with revenge for a humiliation the previous season, and with two weeks to prepare. And because Tennessee still brings the kind of respect for past performances that means a fair line, we can put this into play. Here is a pure “A” level program on a week in which they should throw the best punches they have, particularly with Knowshon Moreno looking like he will be ready to go. That means setting a tempo that the Vols can’t match. Phil Fulmer’s squad does not have the playmakers in the skill positions to be a factor in the SEC this season, which became painfully aware for him when they could manage only 18 points in those losses to Florida and Auburn. They could not reach 150 yards either running or passing in those defeats, and even when there was a chance to step down in class vs. Northern Illinois on Saturday the offense regressed (nine first downs!), instead of getting better. GEORGIA 34-10
Penn State over Wisconsin* by 14
Although it was a genuine sweat to the final possession, the win that we got from Ohio State over Wisconsin near the top of these pages last week came in almost perfect fashion. For the second straight week the Badgers were extended for the full 60 minutes against a major Big 10 rival, and for the second time in a row they saw a lead in the fourth quarter get away. That leaves them both physically drained and emotionally fragile at this point, and that is hardly the position you want to be in when the Nittany Lions come to town. While Wisconsin was going to the final bell in a pair of heavyweight fights, State has been methodically coasting in recent weeks, and will come in as the much fresher side. And after rolling to a 38-7 win in State College last year, when the Badgers had the better QB on the field, it is asking a lot of Brett Bielema’s squad to close the gap anywhere near what the oddsmakers are calling for under the current circumstances, with the Lion speed advantages simply too much. PENN STATE 27-13.
Wake Forest*over Clemson by 3 (Thursday)
With each team having extra prep team that means we have to look to the coaching staff that is more efficient at using that time, which means Jim Grobe gets the call over a Tiger squad playing their first true road game. WAKE FOREST 23-20.
Houston* over U.A.B. by 21 (Thursday)
In the first home game since August, have to expect a little more fire than usual from the Cougars here, which is bad news for a Blazer defense that lacks the depth to match up for he full 60 minutes, like last year’s 49-10 home loss, when they were scorched for 540 yards. HOUSTON 41-20.
Louisville over Memphis* by 3 (Friday)
Running and defense has not exactly been a formula we are accustomed to seeing from Louisville in the past, but it is the right way to slow down the Tigers and hit them at their weakest point. LOUISVILLE 27-24.
East Carolina over Virginia* by 11
Cavaliers got a badly needed win to take pressure off of Al Groh and get QB Marc Verica some confidence, but off of a bye we can expect the Pirates to have their legs again, after a tough early schedule took a tool. EAST CAROLINA 30-19.
West Virginia* over Syracuse by 37
Mountaineers rolled for 55 points and 586 yards in beating the spread by two full touchdowns at the Carrier Dome last year. Not easy to find a reason why this is any different. WEST VIRGINIA 49-12.
Illinois* over Minnesota by 6
Young teams can be susceptible to a letdown off of the kind of explosive win that Illinois got at Ann Arbor, particular with an opponent coming to town that does not excite them. ILLINOIS 33-27.
Michigan State over Northwestern* by 6
Spartans should be smarting to erase the memory of last year’s 48-41 overtime home loss to the Wildcats, when C. J. Bacher lit them up for 520 passing yards,including touchdowns of 78 and 70 yards. Mark Dantonio is too good of a defensive mind to let that happen again. MICHIGAN STATE 28-22.
Army* over Eastern Michigan by 3
Power ratings for both of these squads will get some unexpected elevation. But see a better chance for the Black Knights to build some momentum, as their ground game wears down a defensive front not accustomed to such tactics. ARMY 23-20.
Baylor* over Iowa State by 6
Somewhat hidden in the Baylor/Oklahoma scoreboard result is the fact that the Bears have yet to turn the ball over a single time with Robert Griffin as the starting QB. Take care of the ball vs. this defense, and you score. BAYLOR 30-24.
South Carolina over Kentucky* by 2
Did we finally see the coming of age for Chris Smelley as the Gamecock QB? A tough call, because those signs have been there before. But so far we do not even see those signs for Mike Hartline. SOUTH CAROLINA 19-17.
Buffalo* over Western Michigan by 6
Bulls get two weeks to prepare against a Bronco squad playing their seventh straight week without a break, and it can mean a chance to control the ball with a well-oiled offense vs. a soft defense. BUFFALO 30-24.
Utah over Wyoming* by 26
We are being rather generous in awarding Wyoming a touchdown here, after the Cowboys were whipped 50-0 on the road against the Utes last year. But we are not sure exactly how they will score it. UTAH 33-7.
Kansas State over Texas A&M* by 3
In a battle of two major disappointments, we have to give the edge to a Wildcat team that at least brings some speed to the table, which means the chance to make a couple of game-turning plays. KANSAS STATE 30-27.
Central Michigan* over Temple by 15
We can not say enough about the job that Al Golden is doing with so many true freshmen in his playing rotation, which means some real building blocks for the future. But back-to-back road trips, and facing this rested host is a lot for those yearlings to overcome. CENTRAL MICHIGAN 31-16.
Ohio State* over Purdue by 20
That injury-riddled Purdue LB corps is facing some awfully difficult matchups against Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells. But is Jim Tressel likely to take it easy on Joe tiller in his last visit to the Columbus sidelines? OHIO STATE 34-14.
T.C.U. over Colorado State* by 10
A dangerous trip for the Horned Frogs, who have a quick turnaround before that huge home showdown vs. B.Y.U. in front of the national cameras on Thursday. And having beaten Houston and U.N.L.V. here, the Rams are regaining their confidence. T.C.U. 27-17.
Missouri* over Oklahoma State by 13
In a battle of two of the most explosive offenses in the land we have to favor a Tiger defense that shows the ability to make the occasional stop, especially with the Cowboys leaving campus for the first time since August. MISSOURI 41-28.
Southern Cal* over Arizona State by 25
Arizona St. ran for just 16 yards in losing by 20 at home to these Trojans last year, and a combined 75 this season in losing to Georgia and California. You can not hang with this class on the road without a run threat. SOUTHERN CAL 38-13.
Oregon* over U.C.L.A. by 17
The Ducks were out of it so early at USC last week that they did not have to extend a lot of energy, and that means plenty of fire as they look to atone for what might have been the worst offensive game of the Mike Bellotti years, a 16-0 shutout at U.C.L.A. last year in the first start after losing Dennis Dixon. OREGON 33-16.
Michigan* over Toledo by 19
At another time this would be a flat spot for the Wolverines in the middle of the conference schedule, but off of an ugly loss, and with another likely at Penn State next week, Rich Rodriguez needs to sooth the restless fans in Ann Arbor. MICHIGAN 31-12.
North Carolina* over Notre Dame by 7
The only time the Fighting Irish left South Bend they got drubbed at Michigan State, and without a run threat that can impact the flow the ball-hawking Tar Heel secondary (12 interceptions, three returned for touchdowns) will make life miserable for Jimmy Clausen. NORTH CAROLINA 26-19.
Auburn* over Arkansas by 13
There is nothing redeeming when we autopsy the Razorback losses so far, but Tommy Tuberville is 1-6 ATS in his last seven laying double-figures in SEC play, and the offense is too out of sync to take advantage of all of the openings that they will be presented with. AUBURN 29-16.
Nevada* over New Mexico State by 14
Hal Mumme managed to sneak in a win over patsy Alcorn State last week, and it was so easy that his Aggies ran for 220 yards. Now time to go from the commercials back to the regular programming. NEVADA 41-27.
Brigham Young* over New Mexico by 23
Now that the Cougars have seen their shutout streak come to an end this is merely a take care of business affair, as Bronco Mendenhall keeps a lot of bodies fresh for the physical showdown at T.C.U. ahead. B.Y.U. 33-10.
Oregon State* over Washington State by 24
With extra time to prepare, and no real look-ahead with only Washington on deck, the Beavers can not help but explode vs. a team so brittle that they have held open QB tryouts on campus to find someone to run their scout team. OREGON STATE 37-13.
Arizona over Stanford* by 1
Even with a bitter revenge motive from last year’s 21-20 home loss (they were -13), the Wildcats have to show us some moxie on the road (and a better ground game than we saw at New Mexico and U.C.L.A.) before we can trust them in a favorite’s role. ARIZONA 28-27.
Bowling Green over Akron* by 5
Just when those road outings at Boise State and Pittsburgh were starting to look even better, the Falcons threw a clunker vs. Eastern Michigan that erased all of that good will. BOWLING GREEN 26-21.
Ohio over Kent State* by 3
The Golden Flashes have now lost three different games in which they ran for 277 yards or more, which shows us how lacking the other parts of their arsenal are. OHIO 27-24.
Cincinnati* over Rutgers by 6
Does anyone do a better job of bringing young QB’s along than Brian Kelly? His latest is Chazz Anderson, who was more than good enough at Marshall, and now gets the comfort of a home crowd behind him. CINCINNATI 27-21.
Texas Tech* over Nebraska by 22
The downside of winning that easy BEST BET call on Missouri over these Cornhuskers last week is that it came in a fashion that fully exposed the Nebraska defense, and will ruin the value when we had hoped to come right back. TEXAS TECH 49-27.
Kansas* over Colorado by 16
An injury-riddled Colorado offensive line is going to make it difficult when facing the kind of blitzes that these Jayhawks are going to throw at Cody Hawkins. KANSAS 35-19.
Miami F.* over Central Florida by 18
Off of back-to-back conference losses the Hurricanes badly need someone that they can beat up on. The Golden Knights, lacking talent at QB and experience at RB, offer just that. MIAMI F. 31-13.
Florida* over L.S.U. by 1
Tigers are 0-2 ATS as road dogs in the few opportunities they have had under Les Miles, but getting two weeks to prepare should have that athletic defense well set for a Gator attack that has not been clicking on all cylinders (only 17-7 into the fourth quarter at Arkansas last week). FLORIDA 20-19.
San Jose State* over Utah State by 15
The talent and coaching gap between these programs was better viewed in the box score (30-15 first downs and 524-253 total offense), than what the 23-20 scoreboard showed in last year’s Spartan win. SAN JOSE STATE 31-16.
Tulsa over S.M.U.* by 22
June Jones finds out that he does not have the most creative playbook in Conference USA. And not enough defenders to slow down what the Hurricanes do anyway. TULSA 49-27.
Boise State over Southern Miss* by 15
Having only played once since September 20th puts the Broncos in particularly good stead here against a Golden Eagle squad that may not recover well from that double overtime home loss to U.T.E.P., and if you can not beat the Miners or Marshall on your own turf the rebuilding process is a step behind schedule. BOISE STATE 34-19.
Tulane over U.T.E.P.* by 1
As impressive as the Green Wave defense has been, the sloppiness of the rest of the team has led to five touchdowns already when the defense was on the sidelines. But they face a side that can be just as careless in this one. TULANE 28-27.
Air Force over San Diego State* by 13
We are not particularly enamored with the Falcon skill personnel, but their precision and discipline should eventually grind away vs. a program lacking in those areas. Only Aztec points last week came on a one-yard drive after a turnover. AIR FORCE 30-17.
Fresno State* over Idaho by 32
Off of a series of draining games, and with a bye on deck, it would not be a shock if Pat Hill turned the sequence into a two-week break, and merely have his team coast vs. this out-manned opponent. FRESNO STATE 45-13.
Hawaii* over Louisiana Tech by 6
Having to make this trip the week after a long plane ride to Boise does not bode well for the Bulldogs, and now that insertion of Inoke Funaki as the Warrior QB adds some new running dimensions to the attack, the preparation becomes even more difficult. HAWAII 30-24.
Ball State over Western Kentucky* by 15
Ball State has played with a lot of emotion, and a terrific focus on the field, since losing Dante Love, and with a bye week on deck there is no reason why they let up in this one. BALL STATE 32-17.
Arkansas State* over UL-Monroe by 8
The setting is supposed to make us look to the host, with an extra week to prepare and films of last year’s 30-13 road loss providing motivation, while Monroe can be flat off of that in-state grudge match vs. Louisiana, and the complete defensive collapse in that setting. But the fact that the WarHawks won easily last year despite a -3 turnover differential means that further exploration is required on this matchup.ARKANSAS STATE 31-23.
Florida International* over Middle Tennessee by 3
The Panthers showed a lot of grit against South Florida in the first game in their new stadium, and followed that up by drilling Toledo and North Texas by a combined 51 points on the road the past two weeks. So the momentum and energy is just right for the first home conference game in their new digs. FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 26-23.
Louisiana over North Texas* by 18
To fully appreciate just how awful the Mean Green are, take a look at the score at the end of the third quarter of each game, and then the final. Then just imagine how bad things could have been, had their opponents not been so sympathetic.LOUISIANA 45-27.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
WINNING PONTS - NFL
*San Diego over New England by 24
The Patriots have eliminated the Chargers the past two years in the playoffs. That was with Tom Brady.They are no longer an elite team minus their star QB. But their problems go deeper.Brady’s injury lowered Randy Moss’s value and caused a regression in the offensive line.The Patriots are more of a power club now, forced to establish the run to set up mediocre passer Matt Cassel.The Patriots do not have an elite back.They are trying to muddle through with a committee of journeyman Sammie Morris, injury-prone Laurence Maroney, injured LaMont Jordan and Kevin Faulk, who is more of a pass-catching back.The Chargers’ run defense should be better with the return from suspension of linebacker Stephen Cooper. Even more of a concern in New England is a sagging defense that is weak versus the run, doesn’t have standout defensive backs and is slow at linebacker.This is the best offense New England has seen this season.The Patriots have faced Kansas City, the New York Jets, Miami and San Francisco. Now they get LaDainian Tomlinson, Philip Rivers and Antonio Gates.The Chargers haven’t turned in an all-around “A” performance yet. They are due. Expect it to come here. Tomlinson is getting close to 100 percent. Darren Sproles, his backup, has emerged as a dangerous change-of-pace back. Rivers is having a strong season. This is a huge revenge spot for San Diego.The Chargers have covered 13 of their last 16 games, while New England is only 3-12 ATS in its past 15 games. Bill Belichick remains a top coach. But he can’t mask his team’s many weaknesses on the road against a serious Super Bowl contending club that will be highly motivated. Getting past the 49ers is one thing. Doing it against the Chargers is quite another. SAN DIEGO 40-16.
*Arizona over Dallas by 11
Arizona remains untrustworthy on the road. But under coach Ken Whisenhunt, the Cardinals have become a tough out at home, winning 8 of 10 times.They are 2-0 this season outscoring Miami and Buffalo, 72-17.The Cardinals have the passing capability to attack a vulnerable, injured Cowboys secondary even if Anquan Boldin is out a second straight week. Part of Arizona’s home/road dichotomy is its defense plays with more intensity at University of Phoenix Stadium.That defense is healthy again with the return of nose guard Gabe Watson and safety Adrian Wilson.The Cardinals can mix in their full defensive package with the versatile and underrated Wilson in the lineup.Wilson gives the Cardinals a chance to specifically scheme their game plan.The Cowboys have only one interception.They are minus four in turnover ratio. Tony Romo has committed at least one turnover in eight consecutive games. Kurt Warner has thrown for more yards and been intercepted less than Romo this season.The Cardinals put up 373 yards on Buffalo’s defense minus Boldin.The Bills defense had been playing better than the Cowboys. Romo and Terrell Owens haven’t been in sync the past couple of games and no second wideout has stepped up to take the pressure off Owens.The Cardinals believe they finally are a serious contender to win the NFC West Division, something they honestly couldn’t claim in previous years.This is a huge test for them.They’ll be holding nothing back with a bye the following week. For Dallas, though, it’s just another game.The Cowboys don’t have to prove anything.They’ve been coasting, failing to cover in three of the last four weeks. It catches up to them here in this hostile environment.ARIZONA 31-20.
*Washington over St. Louis by 3
St. Louis has been one of the worst teams in the NFL losing eight in a row with the last seven coming by 17 or more points. General manager Jay Zygmunt and disposed head coach Scott Linehan have created a poisonous in St. Louis. But this is a prime ambush spot for the Rams. Certainly St. Louis should be rested and ready following a bye week and with fiery defensive coordinator Jim Haslett replacing the overmatched Linehan. Haslett already has improved sagging team morale by re-installing Marc Bulger as St. Louis’ starting quarterback.The Rams’ offensive line has struggled in pass protection, allowing 13 sacks.Washington, though, only has six sacks and could be without its best cornerback, Shawn Springs (check status), and star pass rusher Jason Taylor (check status).The Redskins are in a huge letdown spot following back-to-back upset road NFC East Division victories against Dallas and Philadelphia.Those were two tremendously focused efforts that have to take a toll.Part of Washington’s surprising success this season is not committing a turnover in five games.A due factor could kick in.The Rams don’t lack for talent with Steven Jackson,Torry Holt and Bulger.They’re a very live ‘dog here.WASHINGTON 26-23.
*Seattle over Green Bay by 14
These two teams are really struggling since the Packers buried the Seahawks, 42-20, at home in the playoffs last season. Look for Seattle, primed for revenge, to get back on track. Bobby Engram, the Seahawks’ most consistent wideout, finally is healthy.The Seahawks rely on quickness and speed defensively. They are vulnerable to power teams such as the Giants. Green Bay isn’t explosive or power-oriented this year. Ryan Grant hasn’t scored a touchdown and the Packers have yet to get their ground game going instead relying on Aaron Rodgers, who has an extremely sore shoulder. Behind Rodgers are two untested rookies.The Packers have the worst backup quarterback situation in the NFL.They also are getting buried by injuries on defense losing star cornerback Al Harris and underrated defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins for the season.They’ve also been without safety Atari Bigby (check status). Rookie Matt Ryan and Roddy White were able to capitalize on Green Bay’s battered secondary in leading the Falcons to an upset win last Sunday.Astute Mike Holmgren will pick up on this, too, against his one-time team. The Seahawks have won and covered seven of their last eight home contests. SEATTLE 30-16.
*New Orleans over Oakland by 5
Lane Kiffin gone.And so it goes in Al Davis’ Raiders world. Five head coaches in the last seven years.The Raiders do one thing right – run the ball.They ranked fifth going into Week 5. Darren McFadden and Justin Fargas (check status) could be at full strength following last week’s bye. The Saints are thin at defensive tackle. Star rookie Sedrick Ellis is out with a knee injury. Drew Brees entered Monday’s matchup against Minnesota having thrown for the sixth-most yards through four games in NFL history. However, the Saints are on a short week and still may be short-handed if Jeremy Shockey, Marques Colston and David Patten remain out. NEW ORLEANS 26-21.
*Indianapolis over Baltimore by 10
The Colts still haven’t gotten their ground game going. It’s going to be hard to do versus Baltimore.The Ravens haven’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 23 straight games, longest streak in the NFL. Baltimore has yielded just 33 points in three home games, but gave up 23 at Pittsburgh minus Willie Parker in its lone road contest. Indianapolis is 12-0 in October since 2005. It’s the Colts only home game during a five-week span and an off-surface for the Ravens.The Colts’ defense shouldn’t have any problems with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco and a mediocre Ravens ground attack even without injured star safety Bob Sanders. INDIANAPOLIS 24-14.
*New York Jets over Cincinnati by 9
We know the Bengals can cover inflated pointspreads. But can they actually win a game? The Bengals are 0-5 and have lost 11 of their past 13 away matchups. Carson Palmer is playing with a sore elbow.The Jets went into their bye last week searching for an offensive identity. If the Jets decide tolet Brett Favre fire away they could win by three touchdowns or commit six turnovers and get upset. Running back Thomas Jones looks slow and backup Leon Washington is not a heavy-duty back. So the Jets might as well sink or swim entirely with Favre.This is the second time in four weeks the Bengals are visiting Giants Stadium. NY JETS 26-17.
Carolina over *Tampa Bay by 1
Tampa Bay has covered eight of the last 10 times it has been a home favorite. The Buccaneers, however, are unsettled at quarterback with an unattractive choice of two aged banged-up veterans, Jeff Garcia or Brian Griese. The Panthers have faced LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Michael Turner, Larry Johnson and Matt Forte and not yielded a 100-yard rusher.They are going to force the Bucs to beat them passing, which Tampa Bay might not be able to do.The Panthers are off to their best start since their Super Bowl season of 2003. It’s not a fluke.They are a well-rounded club without a major weakness. CAROLINA 13-12.
*Minnesota over Detroit by 10
1997. No, that’s not the last time the Lions won a game. Just the last time they won at the Metrodome. Minnesota has defeated Detroit 10 straight times at home. Matt Millen is gone, but the damage he created isn’t. The Lions are 1-11 SU in their last 12 games with a defense that has surrendered an average of 33.8 points during this span.They have lost 50 of their past 58 road games. Opponents have out-rushed Detroit by an average of 110 yards per game this season. So much for Detroit’s new commitment to a ground game. The Vikings, though, will be without their best linebacker, injured E.J. Henderson. MINNESOTA 26-16.
Chicago over *Atlanta by 7
The experienced and savvy Bears defense should be able to handle the Falcons and their rookie quarterback, Matt Ryan. However, the Bears must contain Michael Turner, who is averaging 162 yards rushing at home with five touchdowns in two games at the Georgia Dome.They should get star defensive tackle Tommie Harris back from suspension. It’s an off-surface for the Bears. But Chicago didn’t have any problems in a dome setting last Sunday holding Detroit to seven points. Kyle Orton has been one of the hottest quarterbacks in the NFL, throwing seven touchdown passes in his last three games. CHICAGO 24-17.
*Houston over Miami by 6
Miami already has more victories this season than all of last year following wins vs. New England and San Diego. No doubt Bill Parcells has improved Miami’s toughness. But let’s not get carried away. The Patriots aren’t the same minus Tom Brady and the Chargers have yet to reach their stride.The Dolphins face a desperate Houston squad playing at home. The Dolphins still are just 3-22 during their past 25 games.They have the worst wideouts in the league.The key for the Texans is recovering mentally from blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead to the Colts last week. HOUSTON 26-20.
*Denver over Jacksonville by 1
The best way to attack Denver is through the ground.The Jaguars have the running back depth to accomplish this. Denver’s front seven is weak and cornerback Dre’ Bly is on the downside of his career.The Broncos are 6-15- 2 ATS in their last 23 contests. Jay Cutler doesn’t have a running game to fall back on. However, he should put up numbers against a banged-up Jacksonville secondary. It’s tough for a team to play well after meeting the physical Steelers the week before.Teams are 0-4 the following week after facing Pittsburgh. DENVER 30-29.
Philadelphia over *San Francisco by 7
The 49ers’ offense remains a work in progress under coordinator Mike Martz.The Eagles have 18 sacks already.They can wreak havoc on quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan if San Francisco’s offensive line continues to have trouble handling blitzes. There is a talent gap between these two clubs. The Eagles, though, have yet to win on the road losing to Dallas and Chicago.Once Brian Westbrook is 100 percent and wide receiver Kevin Curtis (check status) and guard Shawn Andrews return to the lineup, the Eagles will be especially tough.That could come this week. PHILADELPHIA 27-20.
New York Giants over *Cleveland by 8 (Monday)
The Browns are anxious to show the nation they aren’t this rotten. But the Browns just may be this bad.The undefeated Giants are as good as they’ve looked.They are averaging 37 points in their last three games.The Giants have won their last 13 road contests, going 12-1 ATS.They have covered 11 of their last 13 games overall. This is their first road trip in four weeks.Cleveland quarterback Derek Anderson is on pace for 12 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.Anderson could be helped if guard Eric Steinbach (check status) and wide receiver Donte Stallworth (check status) are back. NY GIANTS 28-20.
**UNDER: Carolina at Tampa Bay – The Panthers have surrendered only two offensive touchdowns in their last four games, but could have trouble scoring possibly missing their two starting offensive tackles.
OVER: New England at San Diego – LaDainian Tomlinson is due for a big game versus a Patriots defense that has noticeably slipped.
OVER: Jacksonville at Denver – The Broncos have gone ‘over’ in 13 of their last 16 home games, while Jacksonville has injuries in its secondary.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
KEVIN O’NEILL’S - THE MAX
Selection and Analysis by Kevin O’Neill
@Northwestern (+3) over Michigan State
Northwestern is undefeated. And you really shouldn’t be too impressed by that. The schedule has been easy. But wins at Duke and at Iowa far from terrible. They’ve got veteran playmakers in QB CJ Bacher and RB Tyrell Sutton and the 15 starters from a 6-6 team have good chemistry and have taken a step forward. NU’s 5-0 record is not an accident. While no threat to take the Big Ten title, they’re a decent team. And they should play well this week with a week of rest. Michigan State has shown some weaknesses both of offense and defense. Javon Ringer is a tough back with a lot of stamina, but the national reputation he picked up after fourth quarter success against a Notre Dame defense that simply wore down due to their offense’s inability to stay on the field is not entirely warranted. Of his 25 carries against Iowa on Saturday, only 2 were longer than 7 yards, and 15 of the 25 gained 3 yards or less. Iowa’s run defense is certainly better than Northwestern’s, but Ringer is gaining 1.2 yards per attempt less than last year, despite not yet facing the meat of the Spartan schedule. He has gained less than 4.0 yards per rush in three of MSU’s six games thus far. Michigan State’s defense doesn’t have bad numbers, but in fact, it leaves a lot to be desired. They’ve had good success at home against poor offenses (though weather and circumstances helped), but on the road have been lit up. At Cal the Spartans allowed 38 points and 467 yards. At Indiana, Spartans permitted Hoosiers to go for 29 points on 473 yards.That’s some poor defense to go with the pedestrian offense. That’s just not the profile of a team that should be laying points on the road. I’ll be checking out Michigan State’s secondary injuries, as both Otis Wiley and Chris L. Rucker (there’s another Chris Rucker on the team) both left the Iowa game with injuries. Michigan State is playing their seventh game without an off week, while Northwestern is rested, ready, and confident. Pat Fitzgerald and his staff were a little shell-shocked after the tragic death of Randy Walker. They were also very young. Now there’s some veteran hands aboard, and Fitzgerald and his original group has a couple of years of experience. After being through the league a couple of times they’re no longer outclassed by most other staffs.Take the points with a rested, resourceful home dog against an overrated favorite that doesn’t have a lot of offensive pop and struggles defensively on the road.Northwestern by 4.
Selection and Analysis by Kevin O’Neill
@Oregon (-17) over UCLA
Oregon entered a hornet’s nest on Saturday night. The previous Thursday night USC has showed up in Oregon State without the proper attitude, and as a result they fell way behind early and came up just short. There are very few teams in America that wouldn’t have gotten roasted last weekend by a Trojans team that was rested (has yet to play games only 7 days apart) and angry. The Ducks defense was dreadful. The secondary gave up 13 completions of 15 yards or more, including TD’s of 34, 59, and 63 yards. This is a secondary that was lit up by Boise State’s freshman quarterback as well. So the pass defense is clearly a problem for Oregon. But that defense should bounce back here, and they aren’t facing a whole lot. With nothing but young quarterbacks on the Duck roster, we’re ready to forgive that blowout loss and project a bounceback here.We’re less willing to forgive another performance in LA (actually Pasadena) that night. UCLA should have put up a big number, as everyone else has against Washington State. Against 1-A teams, Washington State had allowed 7.4 yards per play, marking their defense as one of the worst five teams in college football. But UCLA’s offense is hardly up to snuff, and as a result the Bruins gained less than 4.4 yards per play, 325 yards on 74 plays. That’s pretty poor against Wazzou’s horrendous D, but that’s all the Bruins could accomplish. It’s a performance that leaves UCLA with only 8 teams gaining fewer yards per game in the entirety of 1-A college football. Despite their poor offensive numbers, UCLA was not challenged by dreadful WSU due to a decent defensive performance. But that had a lot to do with the competition. UCLA had four sacks, but that is unlikely to happen this week, as the Bruins had only four sacks heading into this game. This game may boost UCLA’s confidence, but it really says a lot more about Washington State than it does about UCLA. So Oregon was blasted at USC, and UCLA won big at home over Wazzou. But Oregon is a much better team right now, and Autzen Stadium changes everything. The comfort zone of the young Duck offensive types is a lot higher at home. And with UCLA being the first 1-A team to fail to tear up Washington State, the Oregon defense should have little problem keeping UCLA at bay. Ducks have a lot of talented weapons on offense, and UCLA doesn’t have the weapons to pressure the Oregon defense. After their devastating QB injury last season (left without a QB suited to run their offense), the Ducks lost at UCLA 16- 0 last season. That sets up a solid shutout revenge spot here. Look for the Quack Attack to roll the struggling Bruins. Oregon by 24
Selection and Analysis by Dave Fobare
@Baylor (-4) over Iowa State
In Waco Art Briles has breathed new life into the Baylor Bears. In 2007 Guy Morriss got the Bears off to a 3-1 start, but then lost eight Big 12 games in a row. Baylor has been the Big 12's official whipping boy, going just 35-101 against all opposition since the Big 12 was born. The Bears want Briles to repeat his success at Houston. In 2003, Briles was hired as head coach at Houston, where he took over a program that had an 8–26 record under the previous coach, Dana Dimel. The Cougars went 0–11 just two years before Briles's arrival. In his first season, Briles led the Cougars to a 7–5 record and a bowl appearance. Once Briles had a roster stocked entirely with his recruits Houston began to dominate going 13-3 inside Conference USA in 2006 and 2007. Briles is a highly aggressive coach who doesn't suffer losing easily. Down just 7-0 late in the first quarter last week to Oklahoma Briles decided to go for it on fourth down at the Sooner 32 yard line. That in itself is not too surprising. More and more coaches these days are making the same call. But Baylor needed to get to the 25-yard line. There were some highlights in the Bears' 49-17 loss to Oklahoma. While QB Sam Bradford was burnishing his Heisman credentials with another stellar outing, Baylor's run defense did a very nice job holding the Sooner ground game to just 3.7 yards per rush. Which brings up a rather interesting anomaly. While Art Briles has a deserved reputation as an offensive-minded coach who likes to air it out, it is on the ground that he has turned things around in Waco. Three of the first four FBS games have been played against teams ranked in the Top 25 and yet the Bears have outrushed their opposition 5.5 yards per carry to 3.6. That margin is the chief reason why my stat model makes Baylor a 13- point favorite in this game.The Cyclones haven't been favored by the schedule of late.Each of their last 3 opponents entered their game with a winning record. That triggers a negative 30-62 ATS fatigue system. Both teams are winless inside the Big 12, a situation that usually favors the home team. I've got a 55- 27 ATS situation on Baylor here based on that concept.The best tech system I have on this game is a negative 91- 182 ATS letdown system that plays against Iowa State. Teams off a competitive loss as an underdog usually have a hard time getting past the disappointment and gearing up for the next game. The Cyclones should be more disappointed than most; they blew a 20-point 2nd half lead at home versus nationally ranked Kansas en route to a 35- 33 loss. The Bears themselves were a victim of this very situation last week against Oklahoma. Gene Chizik appears to have the Cyclones headed in the right direction with attention to detail and a dose of discipline. But Art Briles has done the turnaround thing before and the Bears are well ahead of the Cyclones so far.The Iowa State pass defense has been shredded for more than 9 yards per attempt in 2008. Look for the Bears to move the ball successfully just about any way Art Briles wants. Lay the points. Baylor by 11.
Selection and Analysis by Erik Scheponik
South Carolina (PK) over @Kentucky
The Gamecocks definitely have the look of a forgotten team that can come out of nowhere and make noise in the SEC East during the final two months of the season. Preseason media tabbed them a sleeper early on, but after early season losses at Vanderbilt and vs. Georgia, everyone has seemingly jumped off of the bandwagon. Their game with Georgia was a bloody war, as hardhitting a college football game as you will see, and the loss at Vanderbilt (also a hard-fought, physical game) does not look so bad now, as the Commodores still remain undefeated. Basically, we can say that USC lost two games to quality teams by a touchdown despite winning yardage in both games. They bounced back with a big win @ Ole Miss last week, and I really believe they are going to be one of the nation’s top 15 to 20 teams by the time the season is over. The Tommy Beecher experiment is over and Chris Smelley is now back under center for the Steve Spurrier offense. He is off a huge performance at Ole Miss (327 yards, 10 yards per pass, and 3 TD), and more weapons have emerged for him to throw to in recent weeks. Down the stretch last season and early this season, it was only WR Kenny Mckinley and TE Jared Cook that opposing teams had to worry about. However, WRs Moe Brown and Jason Barnes have now emerged as threats, and the SC offense is playing at a higher level. The defense is one of the nation’s best, allowing 245 yards per game, spearheaded by 4 or 5 future NFLers in the back seven. The special teams are also a plus unit.Everything seems to be in place for a nice USC run.All they have to avoid here is a lookahead to LSU next week. Kentucky is a polar opposite to the Kentucky teams of the last few seasons. Those teams were alloffense/ no-defense, but this year it’s a very solid defense leading the way. They are allowing only 8 points per game, but besides Alabama (who they caught the week after the upset of Georgia), who have they played? No one worth mentioning, and that will come back to haunt them here. They are facing a very physical Gamecock defense, the week after facing the nation’s most physical team in Alabama. Their offense is averaging only 4.8 yards per play, and will have trouble moving the ball, while the defense will wear down in the second half.South Carolina has won 8 straight games in this series, and this price is a bargain for the more talented team. USC by 6
Selection and analysis by Matty Baiungo
@Mississippi St (+2½) over Vanderbilt
Quick, name the team in first place in the vaunted SEC East. Nope, it’s not Florida and it’s not Georgia. And it’s not even the other name programs in Tennessee and South Carolina. The geeks from Nashville are in sole possession of first place. That’s right, the Vanderbilt Commodores sit atop the perch of the Eastern division of the best conference in college football. The same Vanderbilt program that was 8-40 in conference play under head coach Bobby Johnson heading into this season. And it’s even more amazing considering not much was expected from Vanderbilt this year after they lost their “best team in ages” to graduation. Vanderbilt only returned 3 starters on offense including zero on the offensive line, and they were once again picked to finish in the basement in their division. But after five games (5-0 SU and ATS), those pundits were dead wrong. And not only does Vandy have the best record in the SEC along with Alabama and LSU, but is also ranked # 13 in the country. As far-fetched as it seems, it’s true. But is Vanderbilt really that good? Don’t think so. They opened their season as a 3½-point road underdog at Miami Ohio and they won that game 34-13. But for a SEC team to be underdog to a CUSA team shows what the oddsmaker’s thought of Vandy heading into 2008. Next up was South Carolina, a game in which Vandy was a 9½- point home dog. They won 24-17 but were out-gained by 100 yards and benefited from 3 Carolina turnovers. They won their next game over defenseless Rice 38-21, but again, they were out-gained by close to 70 yards and benefited from another two turnovers. Do you see where this is heading? They followed that inside-out win with another at Ole Miss, winning 23-17 despite getting crushed in the stats by 183 yards. Oh yeah, they received another 4 turnovers in Oxford. And last week, they came back from a 13-point deficit to beat Auburn by a point, 14-13.In their three SEC games, Vanderbilt has offensive yardage of 225, 202, and 263. To put that into perspective,Vanderbilt has the 114th ranked offense out of 119 teams. So how long can Vanderbilt carry-on this phoniness? Their magical ride ends this week in Starkville against Mississippi St, but not because the Bulldogs are any good.Vanderbilt’s game last week against Auburn was the biggest in the school’s history. Nashville was abuzz for the two weeks leading up to that game, and it was the perfect set-up for Vandy to “upset” Auburn. Vandy entered off a bye week while they caught Auburn off back-to-back wars with LSU and Tennessee. And the ‘Dores took advantage of the situation. But they lost their quarterback Chris Nickson to a shoulder injury and backup Mackenzi Adams led Vandy to the comeback win. Johnson has yet to say if Nickson will be back or if Adams will get the start, but regardless of who’s under center, Vanderbilt is good fade material in this spot. How can they possibly match last week’s intensity? They can’t, and the fact that they are a road favorite here makes this play much more appealing.Notice the lack of mentioning of Mississippi St. It was done on purpose because this selection is solely based on a play-against Vanderbilt. Even though they stink, Miss St still has the better offense (103-114) and defense (46-47) over Vandy in this game according to the NCAA’s national rankings. Mississippi St by 4.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Selection and analysis by Matty Baiungo
@Wisconsin (+5) over Penn St
Wisconsin enters off back-to-back demoralizing losses. Two weeks back, they thoroughly outplayed Michigan is every facet of the game but blew a 19-0 halftime lead in Ann Arbor. Last week, the Badgers went toe-to-toe with Ohio St before coughing-up a 17-13 lead late in the game. And there may be some concern that those two losses can carry over into this game against a pretty good Penn St team. But knowing the make-up and foundation at Wisconsin, that scenario is unlikely. Head coach Bret Bielema is a Barry Alvarez protégé, and after working under Alvarez, Bielema has mimicked his coaching style after the Madison legend. The Badgers play a tough brand of football, and to think they would come out and just go through the motions is hard to fathom, especially in front of their loyal fans. Last week’s home loss was the first under Bielema (14-0 prior), and only the second for the Badgers since 2004. Penn St is rolling along at 6-0 straight-up and 4-1 against the spread. But who have they played? A bunch of nobodies actually as the cumulative record of those six opponents is just 13-18 with only one of those teams, Illinois (3-2), having a winning record. It’s easy to put-up gaudy offensive numbers (over 44 points per game on 500 yards) against overmatched opponents, but they’ll face a stiff defense in Wisconsin that allows just 17 points per game on just over 300 yards per game. This will be Penn St’s first real test of the season, and the fact that they have yet to be in a close game makes this a bad spot for them, especially laying points on the road. And not only will Penn St’s offense be facing a real defense for the first time, but also their defense will be in for a challenge as well. Wisconsin running back P.J. Hill is a big bruising back, and he’ll be a lot different than the quick scat backs that Penn St has faced. Hill and the Badgers play smash-mouth football, which is the polar opposite of the gimmicky offenses that the Nittany Lions have faced thus far. Wisconsin knows they can’t get into a shootout and expect to win here, so look for them to play ball control and solid defense. The dynamic of this game is unfamiliar to Joe Pa’s club as they’ll be in a dogfight throughout. This series hasn’t seen a lot of points scored as the teams have averaged only 37 points per game. And if that history continues here,it definitely favors the home dog. Wisconsin by 1.
Selection and Analysis by Kevin O’Neill
@Southern Miss (+12) over Boise State
Boise’s got a terrific team. But they’ve got the strongest home field advantage in the country. In this instance they’re picking the wrong time to come to Hattiesburg. Southern Miss actually played pretty well in their home loss Saturday. They outrushed UTEP 277-116, outgained the Miners 6.6 yards per play to 5.0 yards per play yet somehow found a way to lose 40-37 in double overtime. Damion Fletcher ran for 260 yards, a career high, but three missed field goals and a critical non-call on an obvious UTEP intentional grounding penalty contributed to the disappointing result. UTEP had kickoff returns of 50 and 55 yards and Mike Price succeeded with a gutsy 4th and long fake punt from UTEP’s own-11 yard line. Despite an 0-2 start in conference play, the Golden Eagles know that they’ve got some good things going on. New coach Larry Fedora has the offense playing well, and the future here looks bright. And he’ll have their full focus this week after the disappointing loss to UTEP, as they take on a Top 25 team at home, which is a rare opportunity in Hattiesburg. Can Boise State really be up for this game? They beat this team 38-16 last year, already have a win at Oregon, and have got a huge revenge game against Hawaii in six days. So both overconfidence and a lookahead are on the docket. Chris Peterson is an excellent coach for Boise, but is only 3-7 as a road favorite. The Broncos have a tremendous home field edge but hitting the highway is often their downfall. Freshman QB Kellen Moore had an effective game in the upset win over Oregon, but the Ducks were shell-shocked in that game after losing their starting quarterbacks each of the previous two weeks. And the BSU offense is not getting the kind of run support they’ve had in decent years. They went for 132 yards on 44 carries on against Louisiana Tech, keeping their season rushing average under 3.0 yards per attempt. Ian Johnson has been less productive on the ground this year, though he is more of a receiving threat out of the backfield, earning his first 100+ yard receiving game vs. Louisiana Tech. Boise’s good, but can you expect significant production in a non-conference road game? Boise to Hattiesburg isn’t exactly effortless travel. And BSU knows they handled this bunch last year relatively easily.They may be a bit overconfident, which seems to be a problem for them on the road, as they are 3-7 against the spread as a road favorite the past two years. They can overwhelm inferior opposition on the Smurf Turf in Boise but don’t do quite as well on the road. Every reason to expect USM’s best shot here, and you can’t say the same for Boise. The Golden Eagles strong running game behind Fletcher will help control the ball and run the clock,keeping the ball away from the Broncos. Double digits look promising here. Boise by only 4.
Heavy Weight: Play against any 5-0 college football road favorite in Game Six if they are off a win of 28 or more points. Pointspread Record since 1980: 25-9 (74%) This week’s application: SMU (play against Tulsa)
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
KEVIN O'NEIL - THE MAX - NFL
Selection and analysis by Kevin O’Neill
Ravens (+4½) over @Colts
The Colts are 2-2, but it is a miraculous 2-2, with the comeback win from a 27-10 mid-4th quarter deficit even more amazing than the big win up in Minnesota. In both instances Peyton Manning made plays that earned the victory, but the opportunity to make those plays was handed to Indy on a silver platter by their opponents. Indianapolis used to be very difficult to beat in the RCA Dome, but they’re 0-2 so far in the new Lucas Oil Stadium, and the acoustics in that new building are far more favorable to the opposition, as it no longer sounds like there is a jet airplane landing on top of them. The Ravens are not a team that allows you to get away with mistakes. They’ll pressure Manning all day long, and that kind of pressure, which has always been the way to beat him, seems to bother him more now that he’s got some concern with his knees. There was a lot made in Indianapolis about how the Colts offense really made progress during their bye week with some offensive linemen back from injuries. But they gained only 314 yards on 5.4 yards per play against a Houston D that was ranked in the bottom quartile of the league. They just aren’t clicking this year. And defensively they’ll continue to miss Bob Sanders. But they really weren’t that good with Sanders in the lineup the first couple of games. The run defense has been very weak, allowing 183, 180, 236, and 159 yards on the ground in their four games. And that can be a problem against a Ravens team that runs the ball as their bread and butter. So we’re going with a Baltimore team that lost to an undefeated team despite holding their opponents to 210 yards, outgaining them by 75 yards and notching 8 more first downs. And we’re going against an Indianapolis team that escaped with a win over a winless team despite being outgained by 77 yards, earning 5 fewer first downs than that opponent, and scoring two TD’s in the last 3:36 of the game on a total of 20 yards of offense. Take the points with the team off the referee-assisted loss against the team that had a win gift-wrapped for them by a sloppy quarterback. Significantly better D plus the points here. Ravens by 3.
Selection and Analysis by Kevin O’Neill
Panthers (+2½) over @Bucs
Tampa Bay’s offense is anemic. They went into Denver, taking on a Broncos team with horrible defensive numbers (allowing 5.0 yards per rush and 8.3 yards per pass attempt) and managed not to score a touchdown until earning a back door cover with 2:02 left in the game. Brian Griese’s injury looked relatively meaningful, but even if he’s back, he hasn’t been much of a threat. If Jeff Garcia is the starter the Bucs have to count on the enmity between he and Gruden to be a thing of a past, which is doubtful. Garcia and Gruden have been on the outs all season, and really offseason as well, when Gruden was trying to find somebody, anybody other than Garcia to quarterback this team. This is a team with little explosive ability, with their longest completion of the game against a team that was being lit up on a weekly basis being a mere 17 yards. Now the Bucs have to take on a Carolina defense allowing only 3.8 yards per rush attempt and 5.4 yards per pass attempt. Both numbers have them as among the best defensive clubs in the league. And while a case can be made that they’ve played a weak schedule, we know from past experience that this is a well-coached defensive team. After a week of hype about how Larry Johnson is reemerging as one of the top backs in the league, the Panthers held him to two yards on seven carries on Sunday. Offensively the Panthers are turning things around just a little bit. Delhomme is a quarterback you can trust and Steve Smith’s two-game suspension was a blessing in disguise, as Delhomme developed rapport with other players on his club. In particular, he got reacquainted with Muhsin Muhammad, back with 22 catches in 5 games after a three-year stint in Chicago. The QB is not throwing the ball like a guy who had Tommy John surgery on his elbow; he’s winging it on a line and passing with tremendous accuracy right now. D’Angelo Williams has been solid at RB and the depth on the offensive line showed when you see how the Panthers have been able to overcome the loss of their starting tackles, both of whom will likely be back for this one. The Panthers clearly have solid chemistry on offense, which is not something you can say about Tampa Bay. This is a big divisional rivalry, and even with all the problems and injuries that the Panthers have hadover the past two years, they still have beaten the Bucs 3 of 4 times over that time. There’s absolutely no intimidation factor for the Panthers at the new Pirate Ship, as John Fox’s teams have gone into this stadium and won five times in a row. Let’s take that streak to six today. Panthers by 4.
Selection and Analysis by Dave Fobare
Jaguars (+3½) over Broncos
Are their any more fans who still believe the Denver Broncos are a running team? The Broncos haven't had a 100-yard rusher in eight games, dating to last season. The last time that happened was in Mike Shanahan's first eight games on the job back in 1995. Selvin Young, the Broncos' leading runner, is on pace for 851 yards. He has both of the Broncos' 100-yard games, each against Kansas City, in the past 17 games. Despite last week's 16-13 low scoring slugfest win over Tampa Bay the Broncos are scoring an average of nearly 30 points per game on the season. High scoring teams naturally attract too much attention from the betting public, and Denver applies to a negative 79-129 ATS system based on this concept. Teams from this system are already 0-3 in 2008, with outright upset losers on Green Bay (24-27), Buffalo (17-41) and San Diego (10-17) last weekend. The Bucs were 3-1 before Denver beat them, and that triggers a negative 48-91 ATS system that plays against NFL teams off wins over high quality foes. The best system I have in Jacksonville's favor can best be explained by referring to horse racing. Most horses in any given race did not win their last time out. So handicappers look for signs in recent losing performances that might point to a good effort today: a blazing first quarter, perhaps a good stretch run, or a nervy effort in the face of bad racing luck. The Jags made a valiant fourth quarter effort to come from behind and pull off the home upset over the Steelers before giving up the winning touchdown. That late stretch run qualifies the Jags in an 85-36 ATS system worth nearly 6 points per game.The Jags defense looks battered and bruised. They are giving up better than 22 points per game and 7.5 yards per pass. In last week's 26-21 loss to Pittsburgh the Steelers put up 300 yards and 21 first downs in the first half. The Jags were missing a pair of starters in the secondary and gave up more than 300 yards thru the air for the second week in a row. But Denver's pass defense is also giving up 7.5 yards per attempt, and they won't be able to pack the box against the Jags. The Broncos did not believe that TB QB Brian Griese could hurt them deep and they loaded up the box accordingly.Jacksonville can go deep, and they will force a weak Broncos defense to play more honestly than they did a week ago. Take the points.Jacksonville by 3.
Selection and analysis by Matty Baiungo
@Seahawks (-3) over Packers
Seattle enters off an embarrassing loss at the Giants last week. They were blasted by 38 points (44-6), and played a terrible offensive game. They only had 13 first downs and gained an anemic 187 yards of offense. Mike Holmgren is an offensive minded coach, and he wasn’t too pleased with the performance: “Well, that was a good, oldfashioned, you know what. I was a little disappointed; let me put it that way." And the offensive inabilities led to their defense to being on the field for over 36 minutes of the game. The defensive guys were also beat down as the Giants racked-up 523 yards of offense and they’ll look to make amends for their bad performance. “We have to do a better job. That was embarrassing,” Seahawks linebacker Lofa Tatupu said. “As one of the leaders of this defense I take that very personally.” But let’s draw a line through the game. Seattle was not in a good spot at all, and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I’ll say it again: NFC West teams struggle when playing in the Eastern Time Zone. And there’s no disputing that fact. Seattle has played two games in this situation already, losing both by a combined score of 78-16. Now one might argue that the situation is pointless because Seattle entered off a bye. But they still had to wake-up on Sunday morning and play a football game at 10AM on their body clock, right? If you’ve ever flown from West to East, you know that it takes days for your body to adjust to the time difference. Also going against Seattle was the bye itself. Many believed the Seahawks would be better this week as they welcomed back two of their starting receivers (lost Deion Branch again to a heel injury), but their timing based passing offense needs repetition to get into sync, and you just don’t get that in practice. QB Matt Hasselbeck also left with a hyper-extended knee, but early reports say he’s fine and be ready to go. And head coach Mike Holmgren has never been a guy to get his team to play well off a bye as his teams are just 2-11 against the spread in that situation. So forget what happened in New York. The Seahawks were up against it in many ways. Like Seattle, Green Bay is banged-up and short-handed. After not practicing at all last week, QB Aaron Rodgers played all 60 minutes with a separated shoulder. He played extremely well too, connecting on 25 of 37 for 304 yards. But he had no velocity on his passes, something a quarterback needs when playing in the common windy and rainy weather in Seattle. The Packers defense is struggling big-time allowing over 25 points per game, which is close to full touchdown more than last year. Their run defense has allowed 176 yards or more in 4 of their 5 games, and after their 3rd straight loss on Sunday, head coach Mike McCarthy said: "We're making common mistakes, things you're stressing in practice, and we need to clean it up. Our house is messy right now." Those words tell us a lot about the morale of the Packers right now. Seattle played well below their capabilities, but look for them to bounce back strong at home. Seahawks by 9.
Selection and Analysis by Erik Scheponik
Patriots (+6) over@ Chargers
Exactly where is this line coming from? Sure, San Diego despite injuries to Rivers, Tomlinson, and Gates put a real scare into the Patriots in the AFC championship game last season. Yes, San Diego will be sky high for this game as that loss last January was their second straight season-ending loss to New England. Sure, the Patriots are not the same team without Tom Brady, any NFL fan or handicapper knows that. But for each of these three points, there is an ever stronger argument on the New England side, and oh yeah… did I mention that there is a 20 point line swing from that playoff meeting last season, and that we are now catching 6 with a team that has won 22 of its last 23 regular season games and has an 80 yards per game better defense than today’s opponent? I mentioned Tom Brady’s absence, but what about the loss of Shawne Merriman for the Chargers? Most of the time the loss of an outside linebacker, even a very good one, only slightly weakens a defense, as long as the rest of a team’s front 7 is relatively healthy. However, Merriman is the closest thing we’ve seen to a Derrick Thomas/Lawrence Taylor type player in this league in a while, and his emotion and leadership have been missed just as much as the pressure he brings off of the edge. San Diego’s defense is allowing an ugly 379 yards and 26 points per game this season, and although they have forced 8 turnovers in 5 games this season, they are nowhere near the pace that produced a ridiculous 48 takeaways last season. Remember, they were a negative yardage team for the season last year, and are –55 ypg in ’08. Phillip Rivers is playing very well at QB, but LaDainian Tomlinson is averaging only 3.7 yards per rush thus far, and frankly does not look like the same player as he is playing through some nagging injuries. Without Michael Turner to back him up, along with Merriman’s absence on the defensive side, San Diego is simply not as good a team as they were in last year’s playoffs. Neither is New England obviously, but the Pats still rate top 5 in the NFL by my power rankings, and can easily move back towards the top as Matt Cassell continues to improve under center. He played his best game against San Francisco last week, and on the season he is completing 67% of his passes at nearly 7 yards an attempt. The Patriots will be staying out on the West Coast this week to avoid unnecessary travel, and you have to think that this move will help them. They are a veteran, professional bunch that will tend to their business and prepare for a big game as opposed to treating the week like a vacation. We mentioned the magnitude of this game for San Diego, but remember New England is simply the best big game team in football. They are an excellent 27-13-1 ATS as an underdog under Belichick, and with the weakness we’ve seen from San Diego so far, this is a huge overlay. Pats outright. New England by 1
NFL System from Dave Fobare,
They Need More Points:
Play an NFL team that is off 4+ losses and giving up more than 27 points per game if they are at least a 7-point dog today.Record Since 1983: 64-40 ATS (61.5%) This week’s application: Detroit Lions, St. Louis Rams
NFL System from Nelly’s Sportsline,
Continuing the Heartbreak:
Play against any NFL road favorite coming off back-to back straight up losses in games that saw them favored. Pointspread Record Since 1980: 26-10 (72.2%)
This week’s application: San Francisco 49ers (play against Eagles)
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
89 & ABOVE: SUPERIOR PLAY
88 & BELOW: ABOVE AVERAGE PLAY
MISSISSIPPI STATE 22 - Vanderbilt 15 - (2:30 EDT) -- Line opened at Pick-em, and is now Vanderbilt minus 2½. Largest early week line movement here, which mirrors public appreciation of the resurgent 'Dores, who are off to their best start in 65 years. But the Bulldogs, who have been somewhat of a disappointment so far, are rested off a close loss to mighty LSU, & catch Vandy off its draining win over Auburn. The SEC dog, taking on squads off big games, has been a profitable proposition so far, & this certainly fits in nicely with that trend. And don't forget the 24 pts that the 'Dogs posted in that loss the Bengals. Upset.
RATING: MISSISSIPPI STATE 89
Air Force 42 - SAN DIEGO STATE 20 - (9:30) --Line opened at AirForce Minus 8½, and is now minus 10. We originally liked this one, but decided against placing it among our Rated Plays on Pointwise, because of the fact that the Falcons were in off a triad of exhausting games, not the least of which was LW's tight loss to Navy. But military squads are never down, psychologically, so no reason that AF can't get back on track quickly, especially against an Aztec team which yielded 569 RYs in last year's 55-23 Falcon win. So check last week's SDSt rushing effort: a 383-(-13) yd deficit vs TCU. Spot is more than reasonable.
RATING: AIR FORCE 89
TEXAS TECH 56 - Nebraska 20 - (3:00) -- Line opened at TexasTech minus 18½, and is now minus 21. There they are again. The Raiders once more sit atop the nation in overhead production (439 ypg), with the indomitable Harrell now at 18 TD passes & only 3 interceptions. Tech exorcised a batch of demons with its ROAD destruction of KansasSt last week, as the Raiders have had their troubles when venturing from Lubbock. Check 33 FDs & 626 yds in that 58-28 win (7 Harrell TDs). Certainly worth repeating from our earlier publication, that this is Huskers' road opener, & they've allowed 52.6 ppg in their last 4 guest shots.
RATING: TEXAS TECH 88
ARMY 31 - Eastern Michigan 20 - (1:00) --Line opened at Army minus 2, and is now minus 1. Amazing that these 2 both won outright as exact-same 20-pt underdogs last week. The Cadets have turned it up, overland, as they've run for 280 & 291 yds the past couple of weeks, with the result being an eye-popping Plus 74 Pts ATS in those 2. Last week's 51-pt cover in 44-13 upset of Tulane also snapped a 10-game losing streak for the Army. And as we've already mentioned with AirForce above, military schools are always emotionally up, so no letdown from that big win. Spread minimal, & EMich caught in MAC sandwich.
RATING: ARMY 88
OREGON STATE 55 - Washington State 13 - (6:30) --Line opened at OregonSt minus 29, and is now minus 30. Would you believe the we originally had this one circled as our Top Pointwise Play? But when the line came out at about a TD more than figured, we decided to table it for the time being. Afterall, the Beavers were entering off a pair of wrenching contests, with last week seeing a 28-20 lead with 1:30 left, turning into a 31-28 loss. But they've had an extra pair of days to shed that one. Rodgers: 287 RYs last 2 games; Moevao: 313 PYs last week. Have covered last 4 HGs by 80½ pts. Cougars simply can't stop anyone.
RATING: OREGON STATE 88
SAN DIEGO 30 - New England 13 - (8:15 - NBC) --Line opened at SanDiego minus 6, and is still minus 6. Normally in the NFL, if a play stands out, it is best to ignore it, or go easy, if you must. And even the most casual fan is aware of the triple revenge aspect to this one. But we simply cannot let it pass, as not only do the Chargers have the better squad, as long as Brady isn't on the field, but the fans will be at fever pitch for this Sunday Night affair. New England knocked SanDiego out of the playoffs the past 2 years, in excruciating fashion (24-21 & 2112), & despite their dedicated play without Brady, Pats are just up against it.
RATING: SAN DIEGO 88
NEAR CHOICES (Rated 87): Tulsa, TCU, NotreDame, CentralMichigan -- NFL: Dallas, Oakland, Giants
LINE MOVES (from largest to smallest moves): Vanderbilt (Pick to -2½); TexasTech (-18½ to -21); LSU (+6 to +4); NorthTexas (+23½ to +21½); UAB (+20 to +18½); Syracuse (+25 to +23½); Temple (+10 to +9); TCU (-13 to -14½); NoCarolina (-5½ to -7); Miami-Fla (-14 to -15½); AirForce (-8½ to -10); MiddleTennSt (+2½ to +1); Hawaii (-5½ to -7) - NFL: Seattle (+1 to -3); Chicago (-1 to -2½); StLouis (+15 to +13½); Balt (+6½ to +5½); Cincy (+7 to +6); Caro (+3 to +2); Arizona (+6½ to +5½) - TIME CHANGES: Army/EastMich: now 1:00; Mo/OklaSt: now 8:00 - KEY INJURIES: AirForce QB Smith (virus) ??; ArizSt QB Carpenter (ankle) ??; Cal RB Best (elbow) ??; Cincy QB Pike (arm) out; EastCaro QB Pinkney (ankle) probable; EMich QB McMahon (shoulder) out; Fresno RB Mathews (knee) ??; Ga RB Moreno (elbow) probable: Ga QB Stafford (head) probable; Kent RB Jarvis (ankle) ??; L'Ville QB Cantwell (ankle) probable; Minny QB Weber (knee) probable; NMex RB Ferguson (shoulder) ??; NoCaro QB Yates (ankle) out; NoIllinois QB Nicholson (shoulder) ??; Oregon QB Roper (knee) ??; SDSt QB Lindley (shoulder) doubtful; TCU QB Dalton (knee) probable; Monroe QB Lancaster (head) ??; USC QB Sanchez (knee) probable; Vandy QB Nickson (shoulder) ??; WVa QB White (head) probable; NFL: Detroit QB Kitna (back) probable; Houston QB Schaub (flu) probable; Philly RB Westbrook (ribs) doubtful; Seattle QB Hasselbeck (knee) probable.
Re: Newsletters 10/7 - 10/13
Marc Lawrence Playbook
NEW ORLEANS over Oakland by 3
Mike Shanahan deadpanned that he was hurt that Al Davis employed Lane Kiffi n for 34 days longer him, which Shanahan thought meant Davis liked Lane more than Mike. “I really don’t think it’s fair. I won three more games, yet hegot 34 more days of work. That just doesn’t seem right.” Tongue in cheek aside, the fact of the matter is the Raiders were 1-3 in 1989 when they dismissed Shanahan and fi nished the season going 8-5. We wouldn’t be surprised to see similar results twenty years later. Sure, new boss man Tom Cable wasn’t much in his previous tenure as a head coach (Idaho, 2000-03: 11-42 SU and 17-33 ATS) but these Raiders own a solid defense and they run the ball effectively (155 RYG on 4.7 YPR). That fi ts nicely into a New Orleans rush defense that has had more off days than a bank loan offi cer. With Sean Payton 0-6 ATS in his career at home against opponents off back-to-back losses, and as Yogi would say, it’s suddenly déjà vu all over again for Duh Raiders.
INDIANAPOLIS over Baltimore by 1
It’s a charmed life the Manning Bros lead. From a miraculous Super Bowl win by brother Eli last season to a most fortuitous win in Houston last week by Peyton, Archie’s boys are prime examples of the adage that ‘luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation’. Were it not for a pair of guffaws by Texans’ QB Sage Rosenfels in the late stages of last week’s game, the Colts would be limping home 1-3 and in deep s**t. Instead they are 2-2 and only in it up to their necks. That’s the situation surrounding a team that is winless at home and whose defense is leaderless (allowed 794 yards in two games without star defender Bob Sanders). Enter the Ravens and their top-ranked defense, smarting off last week’s ‘inside-out’ loss to the Titans. Yes, both teams may have 2-2 records but one has earned it (Ravens: +97 YPG) while the other has not (Colts: -39 YPG). We’ll back the deserving dog.
4* BEST BET
Cincinnati over NY JETS by 7
Bretty and the Jets hit the Bye Week in dramatic fashion when they disposed of the Cardinals, 56-35, two weeks ago. It marked the fi rst time in QB Favre’s career that he tossed six touchdown passes in a game. A deeper look inside the Flyboys’ numbers, though, tells a different story. It seems this 2-2 squad has outgained only one opponent on the playing fi eld (Miami, by 16 yards) and is ranked 31st (2nd worst) in the league inpass defense. That promises to be enough to awaken Carson Palmer and the Bengal passing game from its season-long slumber. Further assurance comes from our trusty database as it reminds us that 0-4 or worse winless road dogs are 43-21-4 ATS in non-division games since 1980. The Jets’ 1-9 ATS mark in October against non-division foes off a loss and Cincy’s 5-0 ATS road dog log when winless from Game Two out versus a non-division foe (see Dallas last week) makes for a nice combination. Sorry Jets fans. Perhaps they’re blinded and maybe Bretty makes them ageless, but we’re faithless. No electric boots or mohair suits for us.
Carolina over TAMPA BAY by 3
As the late, great Ray Charles once sang in a song with Norah Jones, “Here we go again.” The theme of this analysis is the dynamic duo of head coach John Fox and QB Jake Delhomme, working in tandem once again. And just like that… nothing could be fi ner than to be in Carolina this time of the year. ThePanthers have jumped out to a 4-1 start and reside atop the NFC South Division thanks to the healthy return of Delhomme. Today he dresses up in his favorite role, that of an underdog, where he is 23-6-1 ATS in his NFL starting career when taking points. Tampa’s QB situation, on the other hand, is muddied with an injured Brian Griese headed to the sidelines in favor of Jeff Garcia. Bucs’ boss John Gruden’s distasteful 1-10 ATS mark at home against .500 or greater opponents off a spread win of 10 or more points clinches it. Like Ray and Norah say, “He’s back in town again. One more time. Here we go again.”
MINNESOTA over Detroit by 10
No longer known as the ‘Black-and-Blue’ division, this game pits two struggling rivals looking to save face sometime soon. The Lions responded to Matt Millen’s fi ring with a surprisingly lethargic effort as they battled the Rams for NFL’s worst honors. They were 14-1 ATS in games off back-to-back double-digit SU and ATS losses entering this season. After a 0-4 start this season they’re now 14-3 in this role. Considering Viking head coach Ray Childress’ 2-9 ATS record at home off a road game, we’ll suck up one more time with these ugly pigs, err Lions, here.
ATLANTA over Chicago by 1
Kudos on the nice job by rookie head coach Mike Smith with the Falcons this season. He’s instantly made the words Michael Vick a forgotten phrase while bringing a legitimate running game back into the fold. The Falcons are one of only three teams in the NFL to have rushed for more than 100 yards in every game to date (Giants and Ravens the others). Consider Chicago’s dicey 14-30 SU and 13-29-3 ATS mark in games off a win in which they allow more than 100 yards on the ground, including 4-17-1 ATS against a winning opponent, it puts the Dirty Birds in a promising situation. No surprise to see the Bears trip to 0-7-1 ATS in games off back-to-back wins. Michael who?
HOUSTON over Miami by 6
Imagine knocking off the two teams that played in the AFC title game last season and coming up as a dog in your next game – against a winless team! Talk about an Old Spice slap in the face. Then again, a quick check in our database tells us the linesmaker knows exactly what he’s doing. That’s because winless teams from Game Five out taking on an opponent off a SU dog win tend to earn their fi rst win of the campaign nearly one-half of the time. That’s because these teams are 20-22 SU and 24-17-1 ATS, including 8-3 SU and 10-1 ATS when facing a foe that won 5 or less games last season. With the small, small Texans 6-1 ATS off back-to-back defeats against an opponent that was a dog in its last game, we see Houston getting its swagger back today.
3* BEST BET
WASHINGTON over St. Louis by 3
Wow! What a run. As if beating the Cowboys in Dallas (as a doubledigit dog) wasn’t enough, the Redskins go into Philadelphia and beat the Eagles (as a touchdown dog). Their reward this week, should they decide to accept it, is to scale over a two-touchdown impost against a well-rested crew with a new coach and a fresh attitude. Gulp. Rest assured, it won’t be easy. For openers the Skins have failed three times in a row (SU and ATS) in games off a double-digit revenge victory whenfacing an opponent off back-to-back losses. Worse, they are 0-8 SU and ATS after beating the Eagles when facing a sub .667 opponent. FYI: they were favored in 7 of those games. Add in the Awesome Angle on page 2 and we would not be at all surprised should the Rams catch the Redskins taking a well-deserved nap today. To that we say bow-wow!
Jacksonville over DENVER by 4
Form takes on function in this setting and we’ll opt for the latter. That’s because the function of the Jaguars is to bounce back in a big way after blowing SU as a favorite the previous contest. That’s confi rmed by their 9-4 SU and 9-3-1 ATS mark in these games when installed as a dog or favorite of less than 4 points. They are also 9-0 ATS on the road off a spread loss of 10 or more points when taking on an opponent they beat in their most recent meeting. With Denver in lousy current form – a 4-1 squad that is allowing 390 YPG – look for the Broncos to dive to 0-10 ATS as a home favorite off a SU favorite win. Through geometric design we have built our case and it comes up Jacksonville.
Philadelphia over SAN FRANCISCO by 10
Woe are the Eagles. After jumping out to a 14-0 lead in a game they needed like blood they had their wings clipped by the Redskins in a puzzling performance last week. Today they reside in the NFC East Division cellar at 2-3 taking on the 2-3 49ers, who are one game back of the lead atop the NFC West division. It goes to prove that life in the NFL is much like real estate – location, location, location. Andy Reid now faces the task of getting his troops back up off the mat, a role in which he’s shone in his NFL career, going 9-1 SU and ATS on the road as a favorite of dog of 3 or less points after having been upset the prior game. Mike Nolan chips in with his 4-20 SU and 8-16 ATS mark against .333 or greater non-division opposition. Look for Andy to improve to 7-0 ATS on the road off a spread loss of 7 or more points off a division game. Eagles get their groove back.
Dallas over ARIZONA by 6
Since bolting from the NFC East to the NFC West, the Cardinals have taken their lumps against their former division rival Cowboys, going 0-4 ATS while scoring an average of less than 10 PPG. In fact they averaged a mere 9.5 PPG in the last seven games in this series (1-6 ATS). The tonic comes in head coach Ken Whisenhunt who has breathed new life into this once sorry program. The Hunter is 9-1 ATS in games against teams off a win of 7 or more points. Thus,with both teams off much-needed victories, we’ll likely watch this one from the sidelines.
5* BEST BET
SEATTLE over Green Bay by 14
Mike Holmgren takes on his former team for what looks to be the final time in his storied career. There’s been little to no edge in games involving Mike’s Seahawks and the Packers as he’s 5-6 SU and 5-5-1 ATS. He has, however, shown an ability to perform well at home in nondivision contests when playing off a loss, going 27-7 SU and 22-10-2 ATS, including 6-0-1 ATS when his team’s win percentage is less than .333. Green Bay is 12-6 ATS on the road under Mike McCarthy, including 9-3 versus an opponent off a loss. However, we’re not at all enamored with their running game. They surrender 66 rushing yards per game more than they gain, largely due to a stop unit that allows a whopping 5.1 YPR. The kicker is that 1-3 teams in Game Five, off one loss exact, who won 11 or more games last season are 8-0 SU and 7-1 ATS since 1980.And lest we forget, Holmgren is off the worst loss of his career, a 44- 6 destruction against the Giants last week. He won’t get embarrassed again. End of story.
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