Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Saturday Gameday News and Notes

College Cram Session Week 11: Hitting the gambling wall
By DAVID PAYNE

I’m staring at the gambling wall.

Every year, I kick off the football season with a nice little run. Then, usually right around Halloween, my bankroll splatters against the wall.

Sometimes it manages to survive; other times, I take advantage of my book’s extremely generous five-percent reload offer. That’s an extra five bucks for DP.

Judging from the buzz around Covers.com, I’m not the only one that has had a run-in with the gambling wall. Some of the most respected cappers on here got off to a rough start to November last weekend.

But why? Why does the game seem to get tougher as the season goes along?

Some say oddsmakers get a better feel for the teams. I’m not buying that.

Seventeen games last week were decided by more than 14 points of the spread, not to mention numerous totals that were way off the mark. Plus, aren’t we also getting a better grasp on the season?

I blame the majority of my late-season struggles on my gigantic brain, which out-thinks itself more and more with each losing bet.

Normally, I react by limiting my plays. But I’m changing my philosophy this year. I’m going into attack mode with simplified handicapping based primarily on line analysis.

I want to focus on the teams I’ve followed closely throughout the season and, most importantly, trust my instincts.

So there’s my November game plan. Anyone else think it sounds like a suicide note?

Has anyone else ever hit the gambling wall? Why do you think the game gets tougher? Let me know your thoughts and if you change your game plan as the season goes along.

Weather Watch

Rain is expected to impact: Arizona State-Washington, Ohio State-Northwestern, Purdue-Michigan State, Stanford-Oregon and Syracuse-Rutgers.


Three I’m Playing

Last week: 1-1

Season record: 27-15-1

Marshall at East Carolina (-8.5)

Pick: East Carolina

This line screamed, take Marshall to me.

The Thundering Herd are coming off a bye week, while East Carolina had a short week to prepare after Sunday night’s unimpressive performance at Central Florida.

Suspensions and injuries have eliminated three starters for ECU. The Pirates’ quarterback issues are also well documented. Everything points toward the Herd. Yet, oddsmakers opened the Pirates as nearly 10-point favorites.

There is a big revenge factor here. Marshall knocked ECU out of last year’s C-USA championship game with a 27-7 upset. I smell ambush.


Oklahoma State at Texas Tech (-3.5, 69.5)

Pick: Over

My gigantic brain notes that we need 10 touchdowns here.

Oklahoma State has scored at least seven touchdowns in five games this season. I think Mike Leach and Texas Tech can put up at least three.

This is a shootout between two teams that are ranked in the top five in the nation scoring offense.


Wyoming at Tennessee (-26.5)

Pick: Tennessee

Sometimes a team shuts down when they find out their coach is gone after the year. Washington and Toledo seem to be playing that role.

Other times, teams rally behind their lame duck coach come. That will be the case for Phil Fulmer and the Vols.

I’m getting SEC talent against a bottom feeder from the Mountain West, which has been held to seven points or less five times this season.  I smell shutout.

Two favorites and an over … ugh. I smell disaster.

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College football top 25 cheat sheet: Week 11
By MATT SEVERANCE

Alabama at LSU (+3)

Why Crimson Tide cover: Defensive tackle Terrence Cody returns to anchor a run defense allowing only 2.6 yards per carry and 65.6 rushing yards per game. LSU has been pushed around by Florida and Georgia already and hasn’t covered in its past four home games.

Why Tigers cover: They have won the past five meetings in this series. The faithful at Tiger Stadium should be extra hostile with former coach Nick Saban making his first return visit. LSU coach Les Miles is expected to add a few wrinkles to a struggling offense using dual-threat QB Jordan Jefferson more often.

Total (47.5): The over is 11-2 in LSU’s last 12 games following a win.


Oklahoma St. at Texas Tech (-3)

Why Cowboys cover: They’ve been a bettors’ dream, going 10-1 ATS in their past 11 games. Texas Tech also could have a bit of a letdown following last week’s instant-classic against Texas.

Why Red Raiders cover: Believe it or not, TTU’s defense leads the Big 12 with 349.6 scrimmage yards allowed per game. OSU has lost 11 straight games in Lubbock.

Total (69.5): The under is 6-1 in TTU’s last seven home games.


Penn State at Iowa (+7.5)

Why Nittany Lions cover: They had two weeks to prepare and to get star QB Daryll Clark healthy after he suffered a concussion vs. Ohio State. Clark could have a field day against a team that has given up at least 250 through the air the past two games.

Why Hawkeyes cover: They are 4-1 in their past five games following a loss and 6-2 in the past eight meetings vs. PSU. RB Shonn Green has topped 100 yards rushing each game this season.

Total (43): The under is 15-1-1 in Iowa’s past 21 games.


Baylor at Texas (-28)

Why Bears cover: They are the first non-ranked team Texas has faced in a month, so the Horns might not be quite as motivated. The Texas pass defense is awful, ranking No. 117 in the country.

Why Longhorns cover: They’ve won 10 in a row in this series, and Baylor has lost 16 straight to ranked teams by an average of more than 29 points. UT may take its Texas Tech frustrations out on the Bears, who are winless on the road this year.

Total (64): The over is 7-1 in Texas’ last eight conference games.


Florida at Vanderbilt (+24)

Why Gators cover: They can clinch the SEC East with a victory and have won 16 in a row in this series. No team is arguably as hot as UF, which has won its last four games by an average of 39.5 points.

Why Commodores cover: The ’Dores can get bowl-eligible with a mammoth upset. The past three games vs. Florida in Nashville have been close, with Florida winning by an average of nine points.

Total (49.5): The under is 12-1-1 in Vandy’s last 14 SEC games.


Oklahoma at Texas A&M (+27.5)

Why Sooners cover: After losing to Texas on Oct. 11, Oklahoma has won three in a row by a total score of 165-94. The Sooners have won five in a row in the series, while the Aggies are 1-7 in their past eight games following a win.

Why Aggies cover: Oklahoma is 0-6 ATS in the past six meetings in College Station, and OU is allowing an average of 31.3 points in its past three games this season. Sooners star DE Austin English also will sit out this game.

Total (70): The over is 4-1-1 in the past six meetings.


Cal at USC (-21)

Why Golden Bears cover: They have covered five of the past six meetings in L.A. Cal has the most balanced offense USC has seen thus far this season.

Why Trojans cover: That Oregon State loss really peeved the Trojans. They’ve outscored their last five opponents 207-27, posting shutouts in three of the last four. USC needs to win by as much as possible to help boost its BCS rating.

Total (50): The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings.


Utah State at Boise St. (-35.5)

Why Aggies cover: They just upset Hawaii last week and Utah State is 4-0 in its past four games following a win.

Why Broncos cover: They simply have not been tested in WAC games this year, winning by a combined total of 147-26. Utah State lost last year to Boise 52-0 and has been outscored 338-150 in the past seven meetings.

Total (51): The under is 6-1-1 in Utah State’s last eight games.


Ohio State at Northwestern (+10.5)

Why Buckeyes cover: They are rested, having had an extra week to prepare and have outscored the Wildcats 160-24 in the last three meetings. Northwestern is down to its third-string running back.

Why Wildcats cover: The Cats beat a ranked team (Minnesota) last week for the first time in three years. Starting QB C.J. Bacher may return after missing a game. The home team is 7-1-1 ATS in the past nine meetings.

Total (42): The under is 9-4 in Northwestern’s last 13 games.


Georgia at Kentucky (+11)

Why Bulldogs cover: Kentucky won last week but has only won consecutive SEC games once this decade. Georgia has won 10 of the past 11 meetings and is 5-1 ATS in the past six vs. UK.

Why Wildcats cover: How motivated will Georgia be this week after seeing its SEC and national title hopes taken away last week? UGA is only 1-4 ATS in its past five games. UK beat the Dawgs in its last meeting in Lexington.

Total (44.5): The over is 4-1 in UK’s last five vs. a team with a winning record.


Kansas St. at Missouri (-27)

Why Wildcats cover: Players should be fired up to win one for coach Ron Prince who announced he won’t be back next year. Mizzou is only 3-7 in its last 10 vs. a team with a losing record and barely beat Baylor last week.

Why Tigers cover: Chase Daniel and Co. should feast on a team that has allowed 110 points in its last two games and more than 200 yards rushing per game this season. KSU QB Josh Freeman is struggling with six picks over  the past two games.

Total (70): The over is 4-0 in the past four meetings.


San Diego State at BYU (-36.5)

Why Aztecs cover: With Air Force and then Utah left to play, BYU could take this game for granted. The Cougars are 0-5 ATS in their past five games.

Why Cougars cover: They have won their five home games this year by a 207-55 margin, while SDSU has been outscored 202-47 in its five road games. BYU is also 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings.

Total (60.5): The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.


Purdue at Michigan St. (-10)

Why Boilermakers cover: The underdog is 4-0 ATS in the past four meetings. MSU could be looking ahead to its next game, a potential Big Ten title tilt vs. Penn State. Purdue has handled the Spartans’ Javon Ringer in the past, limiting to 169 yards on 45 carries with no touchdowns in three games.

Why Spartans cover: Purdue just can’t beat a ranked team, losing 18 straight. The home team is 8-2 ATS in the past 10 meetings. Michigan State teams of the past might stumble here, but the program has a new identity under new coach Mark Dantonio.

Total (53.5): The over is 8-2 in Michigan State’s last 10 Big Ten games.


Georgia Tech at North Carolina (-4)

Why Yellow Jackets cover: They are 8-1 in the past nine meetings between the schools. Starting QB Josh Nesbitt, hurt in last week’s win vs. Florida State, should be good to go. Tech is 5-0 ATS in its past five road games.

Why Tar Heels cover: Their defensive strength is against the run, limiting their last three opponents to an average of 2.4 yards per carry and 62.3 per game. Georgia Tech is 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings.

Total (43.5): The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings at Chapel Hill.


Clemson at Florida State (-5)

Why Tigers cover: They have won three in a row in this series and the underdog is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings. FSU has struggled ATS in the past few Novembers, going 4-9-1. Clemson still has one of the best backfields in the country and is coming off interim coach Dabo Sweeney’s first win.

Why Seminoles cover: Maybe former Clemson coach Tommy Bowden gives his pop the lowdown on the school that just fired him? The Tigers are struggling on offense, being held to less than 100 yards rushing in each of their last three games. Clemson is only 1-8 ATS in its past nine games.

Total (44): The over is 4-0 in the past four meetings in Tallahassee.


Cincinnati at West Virginia (-7)

Why Bearcats cover: They are coming off their best performance of the season, an upset of South Florida. The Cincy defense has held its opponent to 15 points or fewer in four of the past five games. WVU is only 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games following an ATS win.

Why Mountaineers cover: West Virginia has won three straight against Cincinnati and leads the all-time series 14-1-1. QB Pat White has found his rhythm and that’s reflected in the Mountaineers five-game win streak. Cincy is just 1-5 ATS in its past six games following a win.

Total (44): The under is 4-1 in Cincy’s last five games and in WVU’s last five home games.

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Oklahoma State at Texas Tech
By Judd Hall

The past few weeks in the Big 12 Conference have looked closer to a game of “King of the Hill” than anything else. For the last month, the Longhorns wouldn’t let anyone get near the top of their mountain. But Texas found out that nothing good lasts forever…especially when you have to play in Lubbock.

Texas Tech snatched the crown from the ‘Horns last Saturday as a four-point home underdog, 39-33. While much was made about the Red Raiders’ finding a way to score a touchdown in the final seconds of the game, their defense was truly the star of the show.

Mike Leach’s defensive proved how dominating it can be in the first half against the Longhorns, allowing just 20 yards in their five possessions. And they were able to sack Colt McCoy four times for a loss of 17 yards; the Texas quarterback had only been sacked four times in one other game this season and four times total in his collegiate career.

Offensively, the Red Raiders put up their typical gaudy numbers. Graham Harrell completed 36 of 53 passes for 474 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The second of those scores hauled in by Michael Crabtree with just one second remaining on the clock.

Despite the clout garnered from beating the Longhorns, Texas Tech is only a 3 ½-point home “chalk” with a total of 70.

Eddie Franks, head oddsmaker at Brobury Sports, thinks the public might be throwing their money towards blindly. “74% of the action is already on the Red Raiders, but our public doesn't understand how tough this game is gonna be for them. They’re coming off an emotional win against Texas. And both the players and coaches are feeling the pressure of being ranked higher than at any time in Tech's history.”

Another thing to keep in mind for bettors this week is that Oklahoma State is no pushover. The Cowboys are 7-1 SU this season and ranked eighth nationally. In fact, the Cowboys barely lost to Texas as an 11 ½-point road ‘dog, 28-24.

Why are the ‘Pokes so successful this season? It’s because of their men in the trenches on offense and the guy throwing the ball. The Cowboys’ offensive line isn’t particularly large, averaging 277 pounds per player. But they have allowed just 10 sacks during the season and have seen the offense average 512.0 yards per game in 2008.

With a mobile o-line in front of him, Zac Robinson is to make smart decisions. The Oklahoma State gunslinger is the second most efficient passer in the nation with a rating of 192.5. And you can tell he didn’t let the loss to the ‘Horns phase him as he connected on 18 of 27 passes for 395 yards and five touchdowns.

When these two schools go head-to-head, the home team is the one to back as they’re 9-1 straight up and 7-3 against the spread. The Red Raiders are a pretty safe play when favored at home, going 21-4 SU and 15-10 ATS in Lubbock since 2000.

The Cowboys and Red Raiders aren’t the only teams getting it on in the Big XII as there are five other matches to keep an eye on:

Baylor at Texas: Art Briles knew it wouldn’t be easy to turn the Bears around, especially in such a powerful league. But he’s moving them in the right direction by going 1-5 SU and 4-2 ATS in his last six matches for Baylor. The Longhorns looked like they were going to win last Saturday after playing such high quality opponents each week over the last month. Still, you expected Colt McCoy to hit better than the 20 of 34 of his passes for 294 yards and two scores registered against Texas Tech last weekend. Before you give Texas a blowout win in this tilt, remember that Baylor is 4-1 ATS when playing in Austin.

Iowa State at Colorado: If you’re watching this game and are not an alumnus of either school, then you have a problem. The Cyclones have lost their last seven games, covering the spread in two of them. You’d be right in saying that Gene Chizik’s squad is nowhere what could pass as decent on defense when they’ve allowed at last 30 points in their last six matches. Things aren’t much better for Dan Hawkins and his Buffaloes. Since beating West Virginia in prime time on Sept. 18, Colorado is 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS. The ‘over’ has hit in the last three head-to-head meetings of these programs, but the Buffs are on a 4-0 run for the ‘under’ currently.

Kansas at Nebraska: There is no doubt that the Cornhuskers remember the 76-39 beating they took last year in Lawrence. But they also must know that there isn’t much of a chance for them to upend the Jayhawks this weekend in Lincoln. A big part of that is Nebraska is mistake prone when it comes to the zebras, with eight penalties called per game on them for around 68.7 YPG. That will not help the ‘Huskers as they’ve covered a home spread once in their last six Big XII home games.

Oklahoma at Texas A&M: Bob Stoops’ program could conceivably control its own destiny to the league title game and more if they win out this year. The Sooners have done their part to erase the taste of losing to Texas on Oct. 11 by going 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS since the Red River Rivalry. More of the same is expected with they head to College Station. However, Texas A&M has gone on a 3-0 ATS run in Mike Sherman’s first season with the Aggies. Also, A&M is 2-3 SU and 5-0 ATS in the last five home games they’ve had against Oklahoma.

Kansas State at Missouri: The Ron Prince era is quickly coming to a close for the Wildcats. While some can point out that he is 2-0 SU and ATS against the Longhorns, you have to know that he is 3-9 SU and 4-8 ATS in his games against Big XII North foes. The Tigers have rebounded nicely from their two-game skid by beating Colorado and Baylor by a combined score of 89-28. The recent head-to-head between these schools has Mizzou 2-0 SU and ATS. Look for more of the same this weekend.

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SEC Notes

Unless we see some shocking upsets, we’re looking at a Florida-Alabama showdown at the Georgia Dome for the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta. The Tide and Gators can clinch that scenario if each can win this week at LSU and Vandy, respectively.

I’ll have a preview of LSU-Alabama later in the week, but let’s check out the rest of the league now.

**Georgia at Kentucky**

--Georgia (7-2 straight up, 3-5 against the spread) is coming off the worst loss of Mark Richt’s tenure, a 49-10 defeat to Florida in Jacksonville. The Dawgs have now lost 16 of the last 19 games against the Gators.

--Kentucky (6-3 SU, 4-4 ATS) has won four of five home games, but the Wildcats are 1-3 ATS in Lexington.

--Rich Brooks has UK bowl eligible for a third straight season for the first time since Paul “Bear” Bryant coached at the school. The ‘Cats collected a 14-13 win at Mississippi St. as 2 ½-point underdogs. Freshman sensation Randall Cobb ran for a touchdown and passed for another. Also, just a week removed from one special-teams disaster after another at Florida, UK’s special teams made several key plays, including blocking a potential game-tying extra point.

--UGA has won 10 of its last 11 meetings against UK, but Kentucky won the last meeting at home in 2006, 24-20. The Dawgs are 5-1 ATS in the last six games against the ‘Cats.

--Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno leads the SEC in rushing touchdowns with 12. He is third in rushing yards per game (110.0), averaging 6.0 yards per carry. Although junior QB Matthew Stafford leads the SEC in passing yards per game (245.7), he has a touchdown-interception ratio of just 12/8.

--The ‘under’ is 6-2 overall for the ‘Cats, 3-1 in their home outings. The ‘under’ is 2-1 for UGA on the road.

--Most books are listing Georgia as a 10 ½-point favorite with the total at 44 ½. Bettors can back Kentucky on the money line for a plus 300 return (risk $100 to win $300).

--UGA is 1-2 ATS as a double-digit favorite this year, 0-2 ATS in such roles against SEC foes. Meanwhile, UK is 1-1 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog this season.

--Raycom Sports will have the telecast at 12:30 p.m. Eastern.

**Arkansas at South Carolina**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened South Carolina (6-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) as a 12-point favorite, but the number was down to 10 Tuesday afternoon. The number then moved back to either 11 or 11 ½ by Wednesday afternoon, where it remained Thursday. The total is 46 at most spots.

--Steve Spurrier’s team is off a 27-6 win over Tennessee as a six-point favorite. Stoney Woodson scored on a 68-yard interception return and Stephen Garcia threw a pair of TD passes to spark the Gamecocks to a 21-0 lead by intermission. They spent most of the second half burning clock with a pedestrian ground attack.

--Arkansas (4-5 SU, 4-4 ATS) has covered the spread in four consecutive games after beating previously-unbeaten Tulsa 30-23 as a seven-point home underdog. Casey Dick threw for 385 yards to lead the Razorbacks, who got the game-winning points on a 96-yard kick return by Dennis Johnson late in the third quarter.

--Dick is second in the SEC in passing yards per game (241.3), but he has a mediocre 9/11 touchdown-interception ratio. The senior QB threw a pick in the end zone when the Hogs led in the fourth quarter last week and were in field-goal range.

--Arkansas has a 2-1 spread record as a road underdog this season. The Hogs got blasted 52-10 at Texas, but they won 25-22 at Auburn and had a 13-point lead late in the fourth quarter before losing 21-20 at Kentucky.

--Arkansas is last in the SEC in scoring defense, total defense and rushing defense.

--The Razorbacks gashed South Carolina for 541 rushing yards in a 48-36 home win as six-point home favorites last season. They also won in their last trip to Williams-Brice Stadium, capturing a 26-20 win as two-point road ‘chalk.’

--The ‘under’ is 5-0 in South Carolina’s home games this year.

**Florida at Vanderbilt**

--LVSC opened Florida (7-1 straight up, 6-2 against the spread) as a 20-point favorite, but most books had the number at 24 as of Thursday afternoon. The few spots with a total had it at 49 1/2 on Thursday.

--Urban Meyer’s team is coming off a 49-10 clubbing of Georgia to avenge last season’s loss to the Dawgs. The Gators easily took the cash as 7 ½-point favorites. Tim Tebow ran for three touchdowns and threw for two more. He completed 10-of-13 passes for 154 yards.

--Since losing 31-30 at home to Ole Miss back in Week 5, the Gators have won four in a row both SU and ATS. During that stretch, UF is winning by an average score of 50-10.

--Vanderbilt (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) has lost three consecutive games since starting 5-0. Bobby Johnson’s squad is coming off a bye week that was preceded by a 10-7 home loss to Duke as a nine-point favorite. Mackenzi Adams threw a pair of interceptions against the Blue Devils.

--Vandy is 3-1 both SU and ATS at home, while Florida is 2-0 both SU and ATS on the road.

--According to the Associated Press, Meyer had this take on Vandy earlier this week: "They are very well coached," he said. "They started off 5-0, they beat South Carolina, they beat Auburn, and should have beat Georgia. I'd probably put them as the second-best team in the SEC East. We got our hands full." Note the subtle dig at UGA.

--Florida leads the SEC in scoring offense, averaging 42.9 points per game. Tebow has a 14/2 touchdown-interception ratio this season. He’ll face a stingy Vandy defense that’s fifth in the SEC in scoring defense (16.5 PPG).

--The Gators also lead the SEC in scoring defense, giving up just 11.6 PPG. Vandy has the SEC eight-ranked scoring offense (21.0 PPG).

--The ‘over’ is 5-3 overall for UF, hitting in each of its last three games. However, the ‘under’ has cashed in both of the team’s road games.

--The ‘over’ is 9-2 in UF’s last 11 SEC games. On the other hand, Vandy has seen the ‘under’ go an incredible 12-1-1 in its last 14 SEC contests. Also, the ‘under’ is 9-2 in the Commodores’ last 11 home games.

--The ‘over’ has cashed in each of the last three head-to-head meetings between these squads.

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

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--According to Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun, Spurrier said this about Fulmer, “"He had a wonderful career," Spurrier told The Sun. "I read the other day he's spent 35 straight years at Tennessee as a player, graduate assistant and coach. Thirty-five years, that's a good run.

"He's a good guy. I talked to him before the game. Not about that. But we talked. We never talked before the game when I was at Florida. We're a little more friendlier here. We can't score 50 on anybody, so we don't have too many people mad at us."

--Ole Miss and Mississippi St. are off this week, while Tennessee and Auburn host non-conference games. The Vols will take on Wyoming as 26-point favorites. Tommy Tuberville’s squad will meet UT-Martin.

--Tennessee sophomore safety Eric Berry leads the SEC in interceptions with six.

--There are two SEC players left on the board to win the Heisman Trophy at Sportsbook.com. Tebow is plus 400, while Moreno is plus 700.

--The Gators are plus 275 to win the BCS Championship at Sportsbook.com. That number was plus 700 back in August. Alabama is plus 400 (risk $100 to win $400) to win it all.

--In its "Game of the Year" section, Sportsbook.com has these lines for future SEC games:
UF -17.5 vs. So. Carolina
UGA -7 at Auburn
LSU -11.5 at Arkansas
Ole Miss -9 vs. Miss. St.
UF -10 at FSU
UGA -11 vs. Ga. Tech
So. Car. pk 'em at Clemson
'Bama -14 vs. Auburn

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Florida State suspends three players
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -Three Florida State football players have been suspended for Saturday's game against Clemson, coach Bobby Bowden said Thursday.

Bowden said wide receivers Bert Reed and Jarmon Fortson and linebacker Nigel Carr will not play this weekend for the 24th-ranked Seminoles (6-2). He said they were being disciplined for ''not meeting their responsibilities.'' He did not elaborate.

Reed was suspended before the Oct. 25 game against Virginia Tech for violating the university's class attendance policy.

''It's a shame,'' offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. ''They're still young. They'll learn and we'll keep teaching them and keep disciplining them.''

Reed, a redshirt freshman, has caught 15 passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns this season. Fortson has five catches for 61 yards and a touchdown. Carr has seen limited action this season.

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News and Notes - Week 11
By Phil Steele

Two longtime coaches announced their resignations from their alma maters this week and I’d like to wish them both the best of luck in their future endeavors. Tom Amstutz took over at Toledo in 2001 after Gary Pinkel departed for Missouri. Toledo Tom has spent almost 33 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach at Toledo and compiled a 57-38 record in 8 years as head coach. He won 2 MAC Championships and led his team to 4 bowls in his tenure at Toledo including wins in the 2001 Motor City Bowl and the 2005 GMAC Bowl. Toledo defeated 5 Top 25 teams under Amstutz and handed Michigan their first loss to a MAC team He will take a position as the director of special projects in the Alumni Relations Office beginning in January.

Phillip Fulmer is another coach who has devoted his coaching career to his alma mater Tennessee. Fulmer has spent 35 years as a player, assistant coach and head coach at Tennessee and has compiled a 150-51 record in 17 years as head coach. Fulmer won the National Title in 1998 and back-to-back SEC Titles in ‘97 & ‘98 along with 7 SEC East Titles in his tenure. Fulmer coached Peyton Manning and fifteen other first round draft picks and 90 NFL draft picks overall in his tenure. Tennessee finished with a winning record in 15 of the past 16 years under Fulmer and attended 15 bowls including 12 January 1 bowls under Fulmer.

For happier news, with last week’s win over UTEP, Rice moved to 5-1 in conference play for the first time since 1960!!! The Owls are 6-3 overall giving them enough wins to earn a bowl bid with 3 games left to play. Unfortunately, Rice’s only loss was to CUSA West leader Tulsa (5-0 in CUSA), so The Owls will most likely be shut out of the CUSA Title Game.

Louisiana’s Ragin’ Cajun RB Tyrell Fenroy became just the 7th player in NCAA history with FOUR 1,000 yard rushing seasons as he went over the mark last week vs FIU with 81 yds on 22 carries and 3 TD’s. Fenroy has 1,051 rush yds (6.9) this year and is the NCAA’s active career leader with 4,322 rush yds. The other 6 players to achieve this feat are: Tony Dorsett of Pittsburgh, Amos Lawrence of North Carolina, Denvis Manns of New Mexico St, Ron Dayne of Wisconsin, Cedric Benson of Texas, and DonTrelle Moore of New Mexico.

Coaches on the Hot Seat: With 5 coaches already given pink slips, it’s time to take a look at the hottest seats in the coaching profession right now, their remaining schedules and the likelihood of them returning to the sidelines in 2009:

1) Joe Glenn, Wyoming Current/Overall Record: 3-6/29-39 Remaining schedule: at Tennessee, at UNLV, Colorado St. Glenn told reporters that he needed to make a bowl game in order to save his job. The Cowboys currently stand at 3-6 and will be prohibitive dogs the next two weeks against a coach that just got the ax (Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer) and a fellow hot seater in UNLV’s Mike Sanford. The finale vs rival Colorado St may be Glenn’s swan song...if he lasts that long.

2) Greg Robinson, Syracuse Current/Overall Record: 2-6/9-34 Remaining schedule: at Rutgers, Connecticut, at Notre Dame, at Cincinnati. A couple of weeks ago the New York Times reported that Syracuse had already hired famous head hunting guru Chuck Neinas to look for Robinson’s replacement. Even though the Orange upset Louisville for the second straight season, the win upped his record to just 9-34 overall including 3-22 in conference play. Syracuse’s remaining slate features 4 teams that could be bowling in December with 3 of them coming on the road so the executioner is likely to be summoned soon.

3) Tommy Tuberville, Auburn Current/Overall Record: 4-5/84-38 Remaining schedule: Tennessee Martin, Georgia, at Alabama. After a failed coup attempt in 2003 which cost the athletic director and university president their jobs, my best guess is that Auburn would wait until after the Alabama game before making a decision on Tuberville’s future. Tuberville is in his 10th year at Auburn and his only losing season was his first year. If Tuberville can somehow upset bitter rival Alabama and make it to a bowl even if they are 6-6, he may get one more year to rescue his failed attempt at installing the spread. If the Tigers lose to both of their rivals (Georgia and Alabama), Tuberville will probably be another longtime coach looking for a new home.

4) Shane Montgomery, Miami (OH) Current/Overall Record: 2-7/17-28 Remaining schedule: Ball St, at Toledo, Ohio The Cradle of Coaches is the most tradition laden program in the MAC and just 5 years ago Ben Roethlisberger and company finshed 13-1 and #10 in the final AP rankings. The Redhawks last fired a coach in 1989 but could be ready to pull the trigger after Tuesday’s loss clinched their third consecutive losing season under Montgomery. MU has lost 3 straight to rival Cincinnati and have been blown out in consecutive weeks by Kent St and Buffalo. The team opened the year with MAC East title aspirations but with unbeaten Ball St still ahead, 4 wins might not be enough to save Montgomery’s job.

5) Chuck Long, San Diego St Current/Overall Record: 1-8/8-25 Remaining schedule: at BYU, Utah, UNLV The injury riddled Aztecs have already clinched a losing season and their remaining schedule virtually guarantees double digit losses. After a 70-7 loss to New Mexico San Diego St’s AD said that Long would return for 2009, a move that did not sit well with alumni who could force the administration’s hand if the team finishes out the string with embarassments vs BYU and Utah.

6) Mike Sanford, UNLV Current/Overall Record: 3-6/9-35 Remaining schedule: New Mexico, Wyoming, at San Diego St This is Sanford’s best team yet but that’s not saying much as his Rebels have topped out at 2 wins in each of his first 3 seasons in Vegas. UNLV has already played (and lost to) all of the league’s super powers but with 3 winnable games left they still have a chance to go bowling. This week’s game vs New Mexico is crucial to Sanford’s hopes for returning in 2009 but they will have to play it without QB Clayton due to a knee injury.

7) Steve Kragthorpe, Louisville Current/Overall Record: 5-3/11-9 Remaining schedule: at Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, West Virginia, at Rutgers In 2007 Kragthorpe inherited a 12-1 team that opened the season ranked in the Top 10. UL proceeded to be one of the NCAA’s biggest disappointments finishing with a 6-6 record and a non-bowl season in his debut. Kragthorpe fired both of his coordinators in the offseason which is usually a sign that a coach is unsure about his job status. The Cards are currently 5-3 but there are no gimmes left on the schedule and 7 wins would be an accomplishment. UL did upset USF two weeks ago but it speaks volumes about the state of the program that they have lost to Big East punchline Syracuse two years in a row.

8) Dennis Erickson, Arizona State Current/Overall Record: 2-6/12-9 Remaining schedule: at Washington, Washington St, UCLA, at Arizona Erickson started his career 8-0 in Tempe but the Devils have gone just 4-9 since then with non-competitve outings vs USC (twice), Texas, Oregon and Georgia. The Devils are currently mired in a 6 game losing streak but their next two games are against woeful Washington and Washington St. Unless the streak reaches 8 games, Erickson should get at least one more year on the ASU sidelines and a bowl bid isn’t out of the question.

9) Bret Bielema, Wisconsin Current/Overall Record: 4-5/25-10 Remaining schedule: at Indiana, Minnesota, Cal-Poly Bielema was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year when the Badgers went 12-1 in his debut season in 2006. He followed it up with a solid 9-4 sophomore campaign and looked like one of the brightest young coaching stars in the game. The Badgers entered the season as the media’s choice to finish #2 in the Big Ten and the team frequently stated their goal was to play in a BCS game. After a 3-0 start the Badgers held a 19-0 halftime lead over Michigan at the Big House before the Wolverines stormed back for a 27-25 win. The stunned Badgers then lost 4 out of their next 5 conference games and Bielema did himself no favors with a costly sideline penalty and questionable use of time outs in UW’s latest loss to Michigan State. AD Barry Alvarez chose Bielema as his hand picked successor but has remained silent during the team’s struggles. UW is likely to be favored to win each of their last 3 games and he will be on the sidelines again in 2009.

10) Brent Guy, Utah State Current/Overall Record: 2-7/8-36 Remaining schedule: at Boise St, at Lousiana Tech, New Mexico St Although the Aggies have been competitive the last 2 weeks with a loss to Fresno St on a last play 58 yd FG and a win over Hawaii, they have already clinched a losing season and may not be favored in any of their remaining games. Guy has just one year left on his contract which means that due to recruiting the AD will either be forced to give him an extension or let him go. With the program a distant third in the landscape of Utah college football, an extension seems unlikely.

With 4 BCS teams already looking for new head coaches, it’s a good time to look at some of the up-and-coming coaches from non-BCS teams who may be candiates for bigger and better things. Who is the next Urban Meyer?

One of my favorites is Bill Cubit of Western Michigan. Cubit is a strong disciplinarian who gets the most out of the talent he has and his Bronco team is 7-2 with their only losses to Nebraska and rival Central Michigan. In 4 years at WM, Cubit’s teams are 27-18 with upsets of Iowa and Virginia and a near upset of Florida St. This year should end in the Broncos’ 2nd bowl bid under Cubit.

Other Non-BCS coaches possibly moving up in the world:

Chris Petersen, Boise St. Petersen led the Broncos to their first BCS bowl in his first year as head coach in ‘06 and they upset Oklahoma. These Broncos could be headed for the BCS again this year.

Todd Graham, Tulsa. Even though his Golden Hurricane lost to Arkansas last week, they are still 8-1 giving Graham a 18-5 record in 2 years at Tulsa. They are definitely favored to win their 2nd CUSA Championship in the last 4 years this year.

Gary Patterson, TCU. In the preseason, all I heard about the Mountain West Conference was BYU and Utah. TCU simply dominated BYU 32-7 three weeks ago and travel to Utah tonight to decide the MWC Champion. Patterson has a 71-26 record in 8 years at TCU and should be moving up soon.

Kyle Whittingham, Utah. Whittingham took over after Meyer left and has led Utah to 3 bowls with a 33-14 career record. At 9-0 this year Utah has a legitimate chance to earn a BCS bid if he can get past TCU and BYU. Could he follow in Meyer’s footsteps to the SEC?

Brady Hoke, Ball St. Hoke has built this team up from scratch with 4 losing seasons before finishing 7-6 in ‘07 and now starting out 9-0 in 2008. They still have some tough games to play, but a chance at an undefeated season for a MAC team is very rare.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

QB OF THE WEEK: Mike Teel, Rutgers. Teel certainly has had a rough season and is only averaging 215 passing ypg (56.6%) with a 9-8 ratio this year. This week Rutgers is fresh off a bye and faces Syracuse which ranks #109 in our pass defense rankings allowing 224 ypg (64%) with a 20-5 ratio.

Other QBs to Watch:

Rudy Carpenter, Arizona St. Talk about a rough season! Arizona St goes from 10-3 last year to possibly a losing record in ‘08. Carpenter averaged 246 ypg passing with a 25-10 ratio last year and is currently averaging 230 ypg with just a 10-7 ratio this year. ASU must win out to go to a bowl and luckily face Washington this week as they have our #118 pass defense which is allowing 237 ypg (71%) with a 20-3 ratio.

Sam Bradford, Oklahoma. Bradford and Oklahoma fell out of the national picture the last few weeks after losing to Texas, but with Texas’ loss to Texas Tech last week there is new hope in Norman. Bradford averages 343 passing ypg (68%) with a 34-6 ratio and could be a factor again in the Heisman race and in the BCS Title race if a few things go their way. The Sooners face A&M which is #92 in my pass defense rankings allowing 225 ypg (65%).

RB OF THE WEEK: PJ Hill and John Clay, Wisconsin. Indiana’s defense has allowed 100 yd rushers in 3 of their 5 Big Ten games this year including 198 yds to Michigan St’s Javon Ringer, 172 to Illinois’ Jason Ford, and 115 to Iowa’s Shonn Greene. After going 5 consecutive games without a 100 yd rusher, co-starters Hill and Clay both ran for over 100 vs Michigan State as the Badgers welcomed back 2 starting OL who had missed several games due to injury. Expect Bielema to return to their power running game roots vs a team that’s allowed 193 rush ypg (4.1) in Big Ten play.

Other RBs to Watch:

Antone Smith, Florida St. FSU is off an unexpected loss and Bobby Bowden is facing the team that fired his son. Smith is only averaging 72 rush ypg (4.9) but has 11 TDs and is the workhorse for this team that averages 198 rush ypg (5.1) overall. My computer predicts that FSU will have 172 yds rushing in this game.

Knowshon Moreno, Georgia. This Georgia team needs to atone for last week’s debacle vs Florida and Moreno was held to just 65 yds last week, but is averaging 110 ypg for the season with five 100+ yd rushing games. Kentucky’s defense has been banged up the last few weeks and allowed 200+ rush yds to Alabama, Arkansas and Florida.

WR OF THE WEEK: Julio Jones, Alabama. Jones in only averaging 56 rec ypg (15.3) in Saban’s conservative offense, but he is 6’4” and LSU’s top 4 CBs are just 5’11”, 5’11”, 6’1” and 6’1”. Jones had 6 rec for 103 yds vs Tennessee’s strong secondary 2 weeks ago. LSU is #32 in my pass defense rankings, but has allowed over 200 yds passing in 4 of their 5 SEC games (220 ypg avg).

Other WRs to Watch:

Aldrick Robinson, SMU. Robinson is one of the leading WRs in the NCAA averaging 111 rec ypg on an under-the-radar SMU team. Robinson has four 100+ yd receiving games this year, and could’ve had a huge game vs Navy in their last outing if not for 35 mph winds that shut down the passing game. SMU is fresh off a bye and faces Memphis which ranks #61 in my pass defense rankings and hasn’t faced a pass offense like this in ‘08.

Eric Decker, Minnesota. Decker leads the Big Ten with 99 rec ypg (12.3) with three 100+ yd rec games. Michigan ranks #69 in my pass defense rankings allowing 252 ypg and the computer predicts that Minnesota will throw for 280 yds in the game.

DEFENSE OF THE WEEK: Tennessee. It’s been an emotional week for Tennessee players and coaches, but neither seem as if they are throwing in the towel. I fully expect these players to do their best to send Fulmer out on a winning note starting with a blowout of Wyoming this week. The defense has played decently all year and are #9 in my overall rankings and #18 in my pass defense rankings. If you take away last week’s 35 points that Wyoming scored against a banged up San Diego St team, the Cowboys have averaged just 7.7 ppg in their other games vs FBS opponents this year. UT AA Candidate SS Eric Berry should feast on Wyoming’s QBs that have combined for 15 ints and only 4 TDs this year.

UPSET OF THE WEEK: Notre Dame over Boston College. Once upon a time the Irish didn’t take this Catholic rivalry as seriously as the Eagles but that’s hardly the case anymore as the Irish have lost 5 straight in this series for the first time. Both teams have played and lost to North Carolina with the Eagles being dominated 45-24 while the Irish blew a 17-6 lead and lost 29-22 on a last second fumble. I feel that the wrong team is favored in this one.

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Games to Watch - Week 11
By Chris David

Alabama at LSU

Skinny
A perfect 12-0 regular season for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide is within reach but a tough road test at LSU on Saturday is on tap. The Tide's strength has been their defense and running game, both of which showed up in last week's 35-0 blowout against Arkansas State. Glen Coffee (894 yards, 7 TDs) has helped 'Bama lead the SEC in rushing (205 YPG). QB John Parker Wilson (1,412 yards, 8 TDs) hasn't been spectacular but certainly not shaky. Defensively, Saban's unit is ranked fourth nationally in total yards (251 YPG) and those numbers could get better against an inconsistent LSU offense. The Tigers' inability to pass (55%, 11 interceptions) has hurt the attack and has put more pressure on RB Charles Scott (889 yards, 11 TDs). Even if LSU wins this game, the Crimson Tide can still earn a trip to the SEC Championship by winning their final two contests.   

Gambling Notes
This series has been all about LSU in recent years, watching the Tigers win five in a row against the Crimson Tide. Last year, LSU rallied past Alabama 41-34 by scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes. Wilson had three touchdown passes for 'Bama in the losing effort. Alabama has been a beast outside of Tuscaloosa this season, going 4-0 both SU and ATS. The Tide's defense has helped the 'under' go 6-3. LSU and head coach Les Miles haven't treated gamblers well this season, mustering up a dismal 2-5 ledger against the number. The Tigers have watched the 'over' go 4-1 in their conference battles this season.


Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Skinny
Texas Tech went from being the hunter to the hunted after the squad from Lubbock knocked off top-ranked Texas 39-33 last Saturday at home. This week, Oklahoma State invades the Northern Texas with hopes of stealing a victory against the Red Raiders. Everybody knows about the Texas Tech offense (559 YPG, 47 PPG) but not many are aware that the defense (349 YPG) is ranked first in the Big 12. The Red Raiders dangerous dup of QB Graham Harrell (3,621 yards, 30 TDS) and WR Michael Crabtree (70 catches, 921 yards, 15 TDs) put on a show against the Longhorns last week and have been impossible to cover this year. Oklahoma State boasts playmakers too, led by QB Zac Robinson (25 total touchdowns), RB Kendall Hunter (1,220 yards) and WR Dez Bryant (15 TDs). The Big 12 South will get a little clearer after this contest but at the end of the day, both the Cowboys and Red Raiders will need to get past Oklahoma in upcoming weeks.   

Gambling Notes
Last year, Oklahoma State held off Texas Tech 49-45 from Stillwater in a game that featured a combined 1,310 yards of total offense. Robinson posted 327 yards of total offense and four touchdowns, while Harrell (646 yards, 5 TDs) and Crabtree (14 catches, 237 yards, 3 TDs) both lit up the box score as well. The home team has won six straight in this series but the Cowboys have covered three in a row. The total has gone 3-3 during this stretch. Oklahoma State is the only school that has been perfect against the spread (8-0) this year. Last week's victory against Texas was the only game that Texas Tech (1-2 ATS) covered at home this season. Things don't get any easier for the Red Raiders, with a road trip to Oklahoma planned in two weeks after this game.


California at Southern California

Skinny
The Pac 10 only has two teams listed in the latest AP Top 25 poll and if No. 7 USC defeats No. 21 California on Saturday at the Coliseum, it's fair to say that the conference will only have one school ranked. The Golden Bears enter this game with a pair of home wins over UCLA (41-20) and Oregon (26-16) but now face the daunting task of facing Southern Cal's incredible defense. The unit (211 YPG, 7.3 PPG) is ranked first nationally and they've allowed just 20 points in their last five games after giving up 27 points to Oregon State in its only loss on Sept. 25. Pete Carroll and Troy also own the best offense (460 YPG) in the conference, which continues to improve behind QB Mark Sanchez (1,884 yards, 22 TDs). Head coach Jeff Tedford has only defeated USC once in six tries and it appears that he should drop to 1-for-7 after this weekend.   

Gambling Notes
USC has won four in a row against Cal, including a 24-17 victory at Berkeley last season. The Trojans have covered three of the four during this run, while the 'under' has produced an eye opening 4-0 run. The Bears haven't been able to score more than 17 points in any of the four games during their recent skid. Cal has struggled on the road (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS) this season and the lone victory came against a hapless Washington State (66-3) squad. Southern California has absolutely dominated teams in Los Angeles this year, outscoring opponents 163-13, which has translated into a 4-0 SU and 3-0-1 ATS ledger.

Other Games to Watch

Georgia Tech at North Carolina


The Coastal Division in the ACC is still up for grabs but the winner between the Yellow Jackets and Tar Heels should definitely clear up the picture. Georgia Tech has won nine of the past 10 meetings against UNC and is a surprisingly solid 2-1 both SU and ATS on the road this year. The Heels have been plagued by injuries by head coach Butch Davis should be ready Saturday after having a week off.


Penn State at Iowa

Penn State appears to be three games away from earning a trip to the BCS Championship and only one of those contests is the road, this Saturday at Iowa. The Hawkeyes were on a roll before last week's 27-24 setback at Illinois. Can Kirk Ferentz and company regroup at home and spoil the Nittany Lions' title plans?

Cincinnati at West Virginia

After losing two in a row back in September, West Virginia has ripped off five straight double-digit wins. The Big East title appears to be in grasp for the Mountaineers but they'll have to get past a feisty Cincinnati squad that just knocked off South Florida with its aggressive defense. The winner will of this battle will surely become a big factor in the conference race.

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Weekend Football Betting Preview
by Marc Lawrence

Penn State at Iowa

Series History: Hawkeyes lost, 27-7, at Happy Valley last year. Iowa is 6-2 last eight games, including 5-1 as a dog and 4-0 if Lions are off a win.

Penn State Key Stat: Lions' opponents combined record in lined games is 27-38 this season.

Iowa Key Stat: Hawkeyes are 5-1 as home dogs of 7 or more points.

You Need To Know:  Undefeated road favorites from Game Six out are 3-14 when facing an opponent with revenge that allows less than 15 PPG on the season.


Alabama at LSU

Series History: Tigers won, 41-37, at Tuscaloosa last year.  LSU is 5-0 SU the last five games in the series.  The visiting team is visiting has failed ATS only once in the last ten meetings.

Alabama Key Stat: Tide is 1-7 as a road favorite against a winning team of a win of more than 17 points.

LSU Key Stat: Tigers are 7-3 as home dogs of less than 10 points.

You Need To Know: Defending National Champions are 13-4 as dogs versus undefeated opponents.


Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Series History: The Red Raiders gained 718 yards in a 49-45 loss at Stillwater last year, dropping to 0-2-1 the last three meetings n the series.

Oklahoma State Key Stat: including last year's win in the Independence Bow, the Cowboys are 9-0 in their last nine lined games.

Texas Tech Key Stat: Raiders are 1-6 as favorites off a SU underdog win versus an opponent off a win.

You Need To Know: The last 8 Big 12 teams to have defeated Texas are 0-8 in their next game.


Top Trends for this weekend: Ohio State is 10-0 after facing Penn State; Michigan State is 18-3 in Last Home Games; UCLA is 11-1 as a home dog; The favorite is 0-8 in Jacksonville's games this season; Atlanta is 1-10 off a double-digit ATS win when facing a .500 or greater opponent.

This Week's Super System Says: PLAY AGAINST any favorite who upset Notre Dame in its last game.

ATS W-L Record Since 1980: 19-4-2

Play Against: Pitt Panthers

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

College News & Notes
By Big Time Sports

Alabama @ LSU- Tide has allowed just 1 rushing touchdown thru 9 games…SEC opponents have scored just 87 points in 5 games…14 players have scored TD’s for ‘Bama…LSU has scored at least 3 TD’s in every game this season…Tigers allowed 51 pts to Florida, 52 to Georgia…LSU QB’s have accounted for 14 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 56% completions

Oklahoma State @ Texas Tech- last year in Stillwater, Cowboys ran 61 times for 366 yards, Tech countered with 646 passing…OSU has scored at least 55 points in 5 of 9 games…State not intimidated on road, won at Missouri, lost by 4 at Texas…WR Bryant, RB Hunter 28 combined TD’s…3 RB’s with over 6 ypc avg…Tech QB Harrell 70% completions, 30 TD, 5 INT…Red Raiders have not been held under 35 points in any game this year…Crabtree 15 rec TD, Woods 10 rush TD…TT has scored in all but 1 of 36 quarters of play

Ohio State @ Northwestern- Buckeyes have won last 3 meetings by combined 160-24…were laying between 19 and 23 points in those games…N’western QB Kafka accounted for 360 of Wildcats 363 offensive yards last week in win over Minny…’Cats have been outgained in 4 of 5 conference games

Florida @ Vanderbilt- Commodores started 5-0, have lost 3 straight…Vandy has not scored more than 14 points in a game since Sept 20th…Gators have scored 49 pts in 2 of last 3 meetings…Florida has racked up 163 pts in 3 most recent games (LSU, Ktky, Ga)…Harvin has TD in 10 consecutive games

Cincinnati @ West Virginia- Bearcats have lost 3 straight in series…Cincy has held 3 of last 4 opponents to exactly 10 pts…Mountaineers on 5 game win streak…West Va has not allowed more than 17 pts in a game since Sept 6th

California @ USC- Trojans have won 4 straight against Golden Bears…USC has allowed just 13 second half points in 8 games…Cal has limited USC to 23 and 24 points last two meetings

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Pac-10 Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

**Stanford at Oregon**

-Caesars Palace installed Oregon as a 14-point home ‘chalk’ over Stanford, with the total set at 55. FOX Sports Net will provide coverage of this contest beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET from Oregon’s Autzen Stadium.

-Stanford (5-4 straight up and against the spread) has alternated SU and ATS wins and losses the past five games after routing Washington State last weekend as a 30-point home favorite, 58-0.

-The Cardinal dominated the Cougars in first downs (22-14), rushing yards (344-73), turnovers forced (5-0) and time of possession (32:21-27:39). Running back Toby Gerhart led the charge with 22 carries for 132 yards and four touchdowns.

-Oregon (6-3 SU, 4-5 ATS) takes the field hoping to rebound from its loss to California last weekend as a 2½-point road underdog, 26-16. The combined 42 points went ‘under’ the 57½-point closing total.

-The Ducks led the Golden Bears in first down (21-16), rushing yards (206-132) and turnovers forced (5-3). Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was 7-of-21 passing for 44 yards with two interceptions, while rushing 21 times for 97 yards and a score. Running back Jeremiah Johnson paced the ground game with 20 carries for 117 yards and a touchdown.

-Oregon is 4-0 SU and ATS the past four meetings with Stanford after cruising last season as an 18½-point closing total, 55-31. The combined 86 points soared ‘over’ the 60-point closing total.

-Stanford offensive lineman Chris Marinelli (shoulder) is ‘probable’ versus the Ducks, while running back Jeremy Stewart (undisclosed), linebacker Nick Macaluso (undisclosed), fullback Owen Mareic (ankle) and safety Austin Yancy (hamstring) are ‘questionable.’

-Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli (foot) and running back LeGarrette Blount (wrist) are ‘probable’ against the Cardinal.

-Saturday’s forecast for Eugene, Oregon calls for rain, with a high of 54 degrees and a low of 46.

**Arizona State at Washington**

-Caesars Palace opened Arizona State as a 14½-point road favorite over Washington, with the total set at 53. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET.

-Arizona State (2-6 SU, 2-4 ATS) is currently mired in its longest SU losing streak (six games) since 1929. The Sun Devils haven’t won a game since September 6 when they trounced Stanford to start the season 2-0. Arizona State showed some life last weekend before ultimately falling to Oregon State as a 15 ½-point road underdog, 27-25. The combined 52 points slithered ‘over’ the 51-point closing total.

-The Sun Devils trailed the Beavers in first downs (22-14), rushing yards (109-78), passing yards (261-217) and time of possession (32:31-27:29). Quarterback Rudy Carpenter was 15-of-27 passing for 217 yards with a touchdown, hooking up with wideout Kerry Taylor six times for 81 yards. Running back Shaun DeWitty accounted for 16 carries for 110 yards in the setback.

-Washington (0-8 SU, 1-7 ATS) was embarrassed by Southern Cal last weekend as a 45 ½-point road underdog, 56-0. There was no total on that matchup.

-The Huskies were on the wrong side of first downs (25-15), rushing yards (297-71), passing yards (188-113) and turnovers forced. Signal caller Ronnie Fouch completed 14-of-33 passes for 113 yards with three interceptions, while running back Brandon Johnson had 18 carries for 54 yards.

-The Sun Devils are 3-0 SU and ATS the previous three meetings with the Huskies after prevailing last year as an 11½-point home favorite, 44-20. The combined 64 points went ‘over’ the 54-point closing total.

-Arizona State wide receiver Kyle Williams (concussion) is ‘probable’ against the Huskies, while defensive end James Brooks (ankle) and running back Ryan Bass (hamstring) are ‘questionable.’

-Washington linebacker Donald Butler (neck) and defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck) are ‘probable’ versus the Sun Devils, while cornerback Mesphin Forrester (knee) is ‘doubtful.’ Wide receiver Cody Bruns (concussion), defensive back Victor Aiyewa (groin) and running back David Freeman (ankle) are ‘questionable.’

-Saturday’s forecast for Seattle, Washington calls for a 70 percent chance of rain, with a high of 54 degrees and a low of 46.

**Oregon State at UCLA**

-Caesars Palace lists Oregon State as a 7½-point road ‘chalk’ over UCLA, with the total set at 50½. FOX Sports Net begins its coverage of this contest at 6:00 p.m. ET.

-Oregon State (5-3 SU and ATS) is riding a three-game SU winning streak after slipping past Arizona State last weekend as a 15½-point home favorite, 27-25. The ‘over’ has cashed the past two games for the Beavers.

-Quarterback Lyle Moevao was 4-of-6 passing for 43 yards with a touchdown before suffering a shoulder injury. Backup Sean Canfield stepped in to go 19-of-28 passing for 218 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Freshman Jacquizz Rodgers paced the ground game with 30 carries for 133 yards.

-UCLA (3-5 SU, 5-3 ATS) has alternated SU wins and losses the past five games after falling to Cal two weeks ago as a 19 ½-point road underdog, 41-20. The combined 61 points eclipsed the 51-point closing total.

-The game was close until Cal posted 24 points in the fourth quarter, finishing the contest with disadvantages in first downs (18-11), rushing yards (232-16), turnovers forced (4-0) and time of possession (34:25-25:35). Quarterback Kevin Craft completed 17-of-35 passes for 206 yards with four interceptions, while wide receiver Taylor Embree caught five passes for 90 yards.

-The Bruins are 3-0 SU and ATS the previous three outings with Oregon State after prevailing last year as a 2 ½-point road underdog, 40-14. The combined 54 points slithered ‘over’ the 53-point closing total.

-Oregon State quarterback Sean Canfield is expected to start, while QB Lyle Moevao (shoulder) may be available against the Bruins. Cornerback Keenan Lewis (ankle) and center Alex Linnenkohl (ankle) are ‘probable,’ while tight end Gabe Miller (hamstring) is ‘questionable.’

-UCLA defensive tackle Chase Moline (back) is ‘probable’ versus the Beavers, while wide receiver Nelson Rosario (ankle) is ‘doubtful.’ Defensive end Reginald Stokes (knee), offensive tackle Jeff Baca (hamstring), linebacker Kyle Bosworth (knee) and linebacker Joshua Edwards (foot) are ‘questionable.’

-Saturday’s forecast for Pasadena, California calls for sunny skies, with a high of 80 degrees and a low of 55.

**Arizona at Washington State**

-Caesars Palace opened Arizona as a 40½-point road favorite over Washington State, with no total posted.

-Arizona (5-3 SU, 6-2 ATS) is coming off its bye week after losing to Southern Cal Oct. 25 as a 15-point home underdog, 17-10. The combined 27 points never seriously threatened the 52½-point closing total, helping the ‘under’ improve to 3-1.

-The Wildcats mustered just 188 yards of total offense, and were on the short end of time of possession (33:34-26:26). Signal caller Willie Tuitama was 14-of-30 passing for 88 yards with an interception, while Nic Grigsby had 14 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown.

-Washington State (1-8 SU, 0-8 ATS) continued its downward spiral by getting routed by Stanford last weekend as a 30-point road underdog, 58-0. The Cougars have been outscored their last three games, 193-13.

-Quarterback Kevin Lopina completed 16-of-28 passes for 132 yards with two interceptions, while running back Logwone Mitz had 11 carries for 62 yards.

-The Wildcats are 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS the last three meetings with the Cougars after winning last season as a three-point home favorite, 48-20. The combined 68 points went ‘over’ the 59½-point closing total.

-Arizona cornerback Devin Ross (groin) is ‘probable’ against the Cougars, while running back Keola Antolin (shoulder), offensive tackle Adam Grant (hand) and defensive end Ricky Elmore (leg) are ‘questionable.’

-Washington State running back Chris Ivory (hamstring) is ‘doubtful’ versus the Wildcats, while linebacker Myron Beck (stinger), offensive guard B.J. Guerra (neck), defensive end Kevin Kooyman (stinger), cornerback Tyrone Justin (ankle) and tight end Devin Frischknecht (ankle) are ‘questionable.’

-Saturday’s forecast for Pullman, Washington calls for a 70 percent chance of rain, with a high of 51 degrees and a low of 41.

**California at Southern Cal**

-Caesars Palace installed Southern Cal as a 21½-point home favorite over California, with no total posted. ABC Sports will provide coverage of this matchup beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET.

-California (6-2 SU and ATS) has won back-to-back outings SU and ATS after running past Oregon last weekend as a 2½-point home ‘chalk,’ 26-16. The combined 42 points went ‘under’ the 57 ½-point closing total, ending consecutive ‘over’ outings.

-Signal caller Nate Longshore was 13-of-27 passing for 136 yards with a touchdown, while running back Jahvid Best had 16 carries for 93 yards.

-Southern Cal (7-1 SU, 5-2 ATS) continued its winning ways by routing Washington last weekend as a 45½-point closing total, 56-0. There was no total on that contest.

-USC is an incredible 24-0 in November under head coach Pete Carroll. The Trojans lead the country in total defense (211.6 yards per game), scoring defense (7.1 points per game) and opponent passer rating (82.3).

-USC jumped out to a 42-0 halftime advantage, and ran just three basic plays in the second half. Quarterback Mark Sanchez completed 15-of-19 passes for 167 yards with two touchdowns, while CJ Gable had 10 carries for 108 yards with two scores.

-The Trojans are 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS the past four games with Cal, with the ‘under’ prevailing each time. USC prevailed last year as a 4½-point road ‘chalk,’ 24-17, while the combined 41 points went ‘under’ the 51-point closing total.

-Cal quarterback Nate Longshore is expected to start against the Trojans, while QB Kevin Riley (concussion) and defensive lineman Cody Jones (ankle) are ‘doubtful.’ Defensive end Rulon Davis (leg) and offensive guard Noris Malele (ankle) are ‘probable,’ while kicker David Seawright (thigh), offensive guard Mike Tepper (pectoral) and offensive lineman Matt Laird (shoulder) are ‘questionable.’

-USC running back Joe McKnight (toe) is ‘probable’ versus the Golden Bears, while defensive tackle Averell Spicer (ankle) and tight end Blake Ayles (knee) are ‘doubtful.’ Fullback Stanley Havili (illness) and linebacker Michael Morgan (foot) are ‘questionable.’

-Saturday’s forecast for Los Angeles, California calls for sunny skies, with a high of 78 degrees and a low of 56.

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

What bettors need to know about OK State at Texas Tech
By CHRIS MARAKOVITZ

Head to Head

Oklahoma State has lost 11 consecutive games at Texas Tech and will be looking for their first win in Lubbock since 1944.

The teams are averaging 67 points per game in their matchups since 1999.

Last season’s 49-45 OSU win was one of the best games of 2007, featuring 1328 yards of combined offense, 62 first downs, and three lead changes in the last 12:25. Star Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree dropped a potential game-winning TD in the end zone with 11 seconds remaining.

The Situation

Texas Tech comes in undefeated with the No. 2 BCS ranking and national championship aspirations after their thrilling 39-33 victory over then No. 1 Texas last week.

This is Tech’s best start since 1938. They now hold an 11-game winning streak, longest in the nation.

OSU is 8-1 for just the third time ever and 4-1 in the Big 12 for the first time since the league was formed in 1996.

The Cowboys have BCS bowl aspirations and are still in hunt for the Big 12 South Division title.

Against the Spread

Pop Quiz: Who is the only remaining team in college football with a perfect record against the spread? Answer: Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys are 8-0 ATS. They’ve won outright as a 14-point dog (against Missouri), beat the number as a 30.5-point favorite (Iowa State) and covered everything in between.

Texas Tech is 4-2-1 ATS.

Red Raider Juggernaut

Tech’s prolific offense was on full display last week against Texas, putting up 579 yards of total offense.

QB Graham Harrell may have taken the lead in the Heisman sweepstakes, completing 36 of 53 passes for 474 yards and 2 TDs.

Harrell got plenty of help from his stellar receiving corps. Michael Crabtree’s 127 yards on 10 receptions was no surprise, but fellow WR Edward Britton added a new dimension in breaking out for 139 yards on seven receptions. 

Cowboy Offensive

OSU is no slouch on offense itself. The team is fourth in the Big 12 in scoring offense behind Oklahoma, Tech, and Missouri.

The unit is led by QB Zac Robinson, Big 12 rushing leader Kendall Hunter and WR Dez Bryant.

Bryant has stepped up big time as of late. He is two TDs shy of the school single-season record after going for 171 yards and 4 TDs last week.

Emerging Tech Defense

While Mike Leach’s potent offense gets most of the attention at Texas Tech, the performance of the defense has been essential to the team’s success.

Last week the unit sacked Colt McCoy four times, the most he has been harassed all season. The defense also limited top Longhorn receiver Jordan Shipley to 42 yards on six grabs.

An important turning point for the squad was last season’s loss at OSU. Mike Leach was so incensed by the performance of his defense in that game that defensive coordinator Lyle Setencich stepped down immediately and was replaced by Ruffin McNeil.

"I think that as soon as Ruffin took over, the defense improved immediately and has just continued to grow,” Leach told reporters recently. “He's inspired the whole group and they are a passionate about what he has taught them. I think our whole team has drawn from our defense."

No Rush for OSU
While OSU’s defense performed well earlier against an excellent Missouri squad, the Cowboys are last in the Big 12 in sacks. This is a potential trouble spot against a Tech passing game that is nearly unstoppable to begin with.

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Alabama at LSU
By Brian Edwards

Nick Saban put LSU football back on the map during his five-year tenure in Baton Rouge from 2000-2004. He led the Tigers to a 48-16 record and the 2003 BCS Championship. In addition, Saban killed it on the recruiting trail, leaving Les Miles with an enormous amount of talent that helped LSU to another national title last season.

Nevertheless, Saban will return to Tiger Stadium for the first time Saturday and be greeted with nothing but hostility. He and Miles have both spent much of the week downplaying the Saban Factor, but it certainly exists on several levels.

For starters, it will make an already electric crowd even more raucous. Also, you have Miles out to prove to his own fans that they have the better coach. He’s out to prove that LSU can get it done with his players just as much as it thrived with Saban’s recruits, most of which are now gone.

Alabama (9-0 straight up, 6-3 against the spread) is No. 1 in the nation for the first time during the regular season since 1980. Remember, the Tide had to upset Miami in 1992 to vault into the top spot and win the national championship.

By virtue of LSU’s 52-38 loss to Georgia two weeks ago, ‘Bama can clinch the SEC West with a win in this spot. If LSU (6-2 SU, 2-5 ATS) wins Saturday, it can win the division by winning out if ‘Bama loses to either Mississippi St. or Auburn in looming home games.

Saban’s bunch is coming off a 35-0 home win over Arkansas St. as a 24-point home ‘chalk.’ Mark Ingram ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns to pace the winners.

LSU bounced back from the loss to Georgia by beating Tulane 35-10. However, the Tigers failed to cover the number as 30 ½-point home favorites. The 45 combined points fell ‘under’ the 53 ½-point total.

Charles Scott was the catalyst for LSU, rushing for 114 yards and a touchdown. For the season, Scott is second in the SEC in both rushing yards (111.1 yards per game) and rushing TDs (11). Scott averages 6.7 yards per carry.

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Alabama as a three-point favorite with a total of 46. As of early Friday evening, most books had the Tide listed as a 3 ½-point ‘chalk’ with the total adjusted into the 47-48 range. LSU is plus 140 on the money line (risk $100 to win $140).

Does the Saban factor play into the line much this week? I presented that question to Eddie Franks, the Head Oddsmaker at Brobury Sports.

“While the fans and media are drooling over Saban's big return to Tiger Stadium, we don't put a whole lot of value on the hype,” Franks told VI. “As much as the fans would love to put on some pads and stick it to Saban, only a handful of players ever played under him, and even they were red-shirts at the time. With that said, the revenge veneer does affect how the public will bet.”

Alabama has been a single-digit favorite just twice this year, taking the cash in both of those opportunities. The Tide destroyed Arkansas 49-14 as a 9 ½-point road ‘chalk’ and also took out Tennessee 29-9 as a 5 ½-point favorite.

LSU has been an underdog just once this season, losing 51-21 as a seven-point puppy at Florida. This is the first time the Tigers have been home underdogs during Miles’ four-year tenure. The last time LSU was a home ‘dog was in 2002 against ‘Bama when the Tide dealt out a 31-0 shellacking as a two-point road favorite.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if LSU plays its best game of the year,” VI handicapper James Manos said. “With that said, I think I’ll be on the sidelines just watching this game. I think the 3:30 start time is a nice break for Alabama. If the game was at night, I’d probably pull the trigger on an LSU play, but I’m going to sit this one out.”

When these schools met last season, Alabama had a 34-27 lead late in the fourth quarter with LSU facing a fourth-and-long situation. But Matt Flynn connected with Early Doucet on a slant for first-down yardage, and then Doucet broke two tackles before prancing into the end zone.

A few plays later, LSU sacked John Parker Wilson, who fumbled to give the Tigers great field position. Moments later, LSU scored again to win 41-34 as a seven-point road ‘chalk.’

Wilson hasn’t put up monster numbers this season, but he hasn’t needed to. What he has done is limit his mistakes, manage games and stretch the field with big plays to freshman WR Julio Jones when needed. Wilson has completed 60.8 percent of his throws for 1,412 yards, with an 8/4 touchdown-interception ratio.

LSU hasn’t had the benefit of a veteran QB limiting his mistakes. In fact, freshman QB Jarrett Lee has made mistakes galore, throwing five interceptions that have been returned for touchdowns, including the first play from scrimmage against Georgia that set the tone in that defeat. Lee has an 11/10 TD-INT ratio.

CBS will provide television coverage at 3:30 p.m. Eastern.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--LVSC has four oddsmakers for college football. This group huddles on Sundays and each oddsmaker makes his own individual line, and then they meet in the middle to determine to opening line. For LSU-‘Bama, LVSC’s Kenny White made the number ‘Bama minus seven. Meanwhile, Mike Seba and Scott Ramsey went with the Tide as three-point ‘chalk.’ Tony Sinisi listed ‘Bama as just a one-point favorite.

--Wilson is the career leader in total offensive yards (7,241) among active SEC players. UF’s Tim Tebow (6,843) and UGA’s Matthew Stafford (6,614) are second and third, respectively.

--‘Bama is 3-2 ATS as a road favorite under Saban.

--LSU is an atrocious 1-8 ATS in its last nine home games. The Tigers are 0-4 ATS at home this season. “Considering how dominant LSU has traditionally been at Tiger Stadium, it’s shocking that it hasn’t covered the spread at home all year,” Franks said.

--The ‘over’ has cashed in the last two Alabama-LSU games, but the ‘under’ hit in four straight prior to that.

--The ‘under’ has cashed in four consecutive Alabama games and is 6-3 overall for the Tide.

--The 'over' is 12-4 in LSU's last 16 games.

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Where the action is: Saturday's key college line moves
By MICHAEL PERRY

Arkansas at South Carolina

Weather conditions: Sunny *68°F **Chance Precipitation 20%* From WSW 17 mph

Where the line opened: South Carolina -10

Where it stands now: -13

Where the wise action is: South Carolina (mainly at -10 1/2 and 11)

Over/under movement: From 45 1/2 to 44

Utah State at Boise State

Weather conditions: Few Showers *54°F* *Chance Precipitation 30% *From SSE 8 mph

Where the line opened: Boise -31 1/2

Where it stands now: -35

Where the wise action is: Boise (mainly at -32 12 and -33)

Over/under movement: Opened 50 1/2 now 52

Cincinnati at West Virginia

Weather conditions: Mostly Cloudy*60°F **Chance Precipitation 20% *From WSW 7 mph

Where the line opened: WVU -8

Where it stands now: -6 1/2

Where the wise action is: Cincy (mostly at +7 1/2)

Over/under movement: 44 to 45

Clemson at Florida State

Weather conditions: Sunny *72°F **Chance Precipitation 10% *Wind From NW 8 mph

Where the line opened: FSU -6

Where it stands now: -4

Where the wise action is: Clemson (mostly at +6 and +5 1/2)

Over/under movement: 43 to 43 1/2

Oklahoma State at Texas Tech

Weather conditions: Sunny *59°F **Chance Precipitation 0% * Wind From SE 7 mph

Where the line opened: -3 1/2

Where it stands now: --3 1/2

Where the wise action is: UNDER (mostly at 72 1/2, and 72)

Over/under movement: 73 1/2 to 69 1/2

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Re: Saturday Gameday News and Notes

Football Cheat Sheet
by: Marc Lawrence

And down the stretch they come.  No, we’re not talking horse racing.  Instead it’s the conclusion of the 2008 College Football season and with it an exciting finish awaits.

Here is this week’s take on some of the big game on taps on the College and NFL cards this weekend.  Remember, Series History reflects results in head-to-head battles between the two teams.  All results are ATS (Against The Spread) unless noted otherwise.

Penn State at Iowa

Series History: Hawkeyes lost, 27-7, at Happy Valley last year. Iowa is 6-2 last eight games, including 5-1 as a dog and 4-0 if Lions are off a win.

Penn State Key Stat: Lions’ opponents combined record in lined games is 27-38 this season.

Iowa Key Stat: Hawkeyes are 5-1 as home dogs of 7 or more points.

You Need To Know:  Undefeated road favorites from Game Six out are 3-14 when facing an opponent with revenge that allows less than 15 PPG on the season.


Alabama at LSU

Series History: Tigers won, 41-37, at Tuscaloosa last year.  LSU is 5-0 SU the last five games in the series.  The visiting team is visiting has failed ATS only once in the last ten meetings.

Alabama Key Stat: Tide is 1-7 as a road favorite against a winning team of a win of more than 17 points.

LSU Key Stat: Tigers are 7-3 as home dogs of less than 10 points.

You Need To Know: Defending National Champions are 13-4 as dogs versus undefeated opponents.


Oklahoma State at Texas Tech


Series History: The Red Raiders gained 718 yards in a 49-45 loss at Stillwater last year, dropping to 0-2-1 the last three meetings n the series.

Oklahoma State Key Stat: including last year’s win in the Independence Bow, the Cowboys are 9-0 in their last nine lined games.

Texas Tech Key Stat: Raiders are 1-6 as favorites off a SU underdog win versus an opponent off a win.

You Need To Know: The last 8 Big 12 teams to have defeated Texas are 0-8 in their next game.

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