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Thread: Cnotes 2018 College Football Thru The Bowl Games News- Trends-Stats-Best Bets !

  1. #26  
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    Quote Originally Posted by CNOTES View Post

    HAW at CSU 07:30 PM
    HAW +17.0
    O 58.0

    WYO at NMSU 10:00 PM
    WYO -3.5
    U 46.5
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  2. #27  
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    Your welcome Varkey...............
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  3. #28  
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    Week Zero Rewind
    August 26, 2018
    By Brian Edwards

    College football fans were treated to a four-game appetizer of games on Saturday, whetting the appetite for this week’s main course. It’s being called Week Zero and here’s what we found out.

    Hawaii sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald had himself a game in his first career start at Colorado State, completing 26-of-37 passes for 418 yards and three touchdowns without an interception. McDonald also rushed for a team-high 96 yards and two TDs on merely 13 attempts.

    Cedric Byrd, a juco transfer making his FBS debut, hauled in 11 receptions for 181 yards and one TD. Senior WR John Ursua had seven catches for 123 yards and two TDs, including a fourth-and-goal grab on the opening drive that allowed the Rainbow Warriors to draw first blood.

    As a 17-point underdog, Nick Rolovich’s squad darted out to a 37-7 lead with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. CSU quickly launched a comeback with 20 unanswered points to trim the deficit to 37-27 with 8:15 left. However, Hawaii responded with a field goal to make it 40-27.

    Mike Bobo’s squad didn’t quit, though, scoring on a nine-yard TD pass from K.J. Carta-Samuels to Izzy Matthews with 4:42 remaining to pull to within six. But Ryan Meskell’s 35-yard field goal, his third make of the night, gave the Rainbow Warriors a 43-34 win.

    Hawaii hooked up money-line supporters with a gorgeous +700 return (paid $700 on $100 wagers). Rolovich’s team was also a sweet money-line winner for first-quarter bets (+260) and first-half plays (+330).

    Carta-Samuels connected on 34-of-50 throws for 537 yards and five TDs compared to just one interception in the losing effort. Preston Williams, a former 5-star recruit by Butch Jones to Tennessee who sat out last season as a transfer, had nine receptions for 188 yards and two TDs. Olabisi Johnson had six catches for 157 yards and two TDs.

    My first pick of the season (and only of the weekend) was on the CSU-Hawaii showdown to go ‘over’ 56 points. That was a winner before the third quarter ended. I posted my play on Wednesday, but 56 was still available late Friday afternoon. On Saturday morning, the total started moving North and closed at 58 or 58.5 at most spots.

    New Mexico State hosted Wyoming in the late game hoping to post a fourth straight win over a Mountain West Conference foe. The Cowboys weren’t willing to play along, though. They dominated the Aggies from start to finish in a 29-7 victory as 5.5-point road favorites. The 36 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 46-point total.

    Craig Bohl’s team enjoyed a 450-135 advantage in total offense. Nico Evans was the catalyst offensively, rushing 24 times for 190 yards and two TDs.

    Wyoming gave up its only score at garbage time when NMSU QB Matt Romero found Drew Dan for a 31-yard TD pass with only 1:16 left. The Cowboys host Washington State at War Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Meanwhile, the Aggies are in a horrible spot on super-short rest going to Minnesota to face the Gophers on Thursday night.

    UMass is an under-the-radar team I’ve spent a lot of time talking about this summer on my Games Galore podcast over at (feel free to subscribe on I-Tunes if you wish!). I took the Minutemen to go ‘over’ 5.5 wins at a -120 price.

    Mark Whipple’s club has a dynamic offense led by senior QB Andrew Ford, who has a 50/18 touchdown-to-interception ratio during 20 career starts. Ford, who had a 22/4 TD-INT ratio last year, led UMass to a 63-15 win over Duquesne as a 21.5-point home ‘chalk.’ The 78 combined points went ‘over’ the 69.5-point total.

    Ford completed 13-of-19 throws for 186 yards and two TDs without an interception. Andy Isabella had five catches for 131 yards and two TDs, and the senior WR also had a 14-yard rushing score. Bilal Ally rushed for 109 yards and one TD on nine attempts, while Marquis Young ran 15 times for 90 yards and one TD. Back-up QB Ross Comis threw for two TDs without an interception and rushed for 49 yards and one TD on just two carries.

    Senior safety Brice McAllister, a grad transfer from UConn, had two interceptions and a pick-six for 60 yards. The Minutemen, who are 9-2 against the spread in their past 11 games as road underdogs, are 18-point ‘dogs at Boston College in Week 1.

    Rice jumped out to a 16-0 lead midway through the second quarter against Prairie View A&M as a 23-point home favorite. The Panthers scored 21 second-quarter points, however, to take a 21-19 edge into halftime. They extended the lead to 28-19 going into the fourth quarter.

    Rice, playing its first game under new head coach and former Stanford offensive coordinator Mike Bloomgren, cut the deficit to 28-26 with 11:46 remaining on Austin Walter’s eight-yard TD run. Then the Owls forced a punt and a bad snap flew over the punter’s head and resulted in a game-tying safety with 10:15 left.

    Rice would get into field-goal range on its final drive to set up a game-winning attempt. Jack Fox was good from 23 yards out on the game’s final play to give the Owls a 31-28 non-covering victory.

    Rice RB Emmanuel Esukpa rushed for 173 yards and one TD on 32 carries. Walter added 83 rushing yards and two TDs on 11 attempts. The Owls will play host to Houston on Saturday.

    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

    -- Michigan confirmed reports of a foot injury to redshirt freshman WR Tarik Black on Sunday. He is being termed as out indefinitely pending further evaluation. The four-star recruit in the 2017 class started the Wolverines’ first three games last year before going down with a season-ending foot injury. Black had 11 receptions for 149 yards and one TD in those three games.

    -- Scott Frost has named true freshman Adrian Martinez as his starting QB. The Cornhuskers open at home Saturday vs. Akron. They were favored by 23.5 points over the Zips as of Sunday afternoon. We should note that Martinez did enroll early and participate in spring practice. Also, RB Tre Bryant announced his retirement due to lingering injuries to both knees. In Nebraska’s first two games last year, Bryant rushed for 299 yards and two TDs with a 5.9 yards-per-carry average.

    -- Kentucky starting offensive tackle Landon Young is out for the season after sustaining a knee injury at practice last week. Young, a junior, has started nine career games in his first two years with the Wildcats, who have one of the nation’s top RBs in Benny Snell.

    -- Rutgers has named true freshman Artur Sitkowski as its starting QB. Like Nebraska’s Martinez, he enrolled early and was at spring practice. The Scarlet Knights open at home vs. Texas State from out of the Sun Belt Conference.
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    Michigan WR Tarik Black out indefinitely
    August 26, 2018

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan wide receiver Tarik Black is out indefinitely with an injured right foot.

    Football program spokesman Dave Ablauf says Black was hurt during practice Saturday and is still being evaluated. A timeframe for his return has not been determined.

    The 14th-ranked Wolverines open the season Saturday night at No. 12 Notre Dame.

    Black had 11 receptions for 149 yards and a touchdown in three games last season before needing surgery on his left foot.

    If Black is out for an extended period, it would be a setback because he has been one of Shea Patterson's top receivers in practice, along with Donovan Peoples-Jones and Grant Perry.


    Petersen downplays UW as Pac-12 fave
    August 26, 2018

    SEATTLE (AP) Chris Petersen wanted to make clear that No. 6 Washington is not carrying the weight of the entire Pac-12 into its opening matchup against No. 9 Auburn.

    He also made certain to emphasize the Huskies aren't facing the entire Southeastern Conference when they travel to Atlanta.

    ''We're not playing their whole conference. It's our first game. It's one game against a really good team. It's going to be a team a lot of people are going to talk about through the whole season. We know that. That's what it is,'' Petersen said Sunday. ''The coaches have this in perspective. It's one game against a good team and win or lose we have a bunch after us and no matter what happens it doesn't make or break our season. It just doesn't. That's the mindset. We're on to the next thing. What did we learn? How can we improve, no matter what happens in that outcome?

    ''They understand we're playing a really good team going in from a really good conference ... but we can't make it bigger than it is.''

    As much as Petersen is trying to downplay the significance of the opener against the Tigers, it still does have massive importance in whether either team will find itself in the College Football Playoff conversation. It's also an opportunity for the Pac-12 to get an early marquee victory after a lackluster bowl season in which the conference went 1-8, including Washington's loss to Penn State in the Fiesta Bowl.

    ''To put all this on us, we have to see how the season plays out,'' Petersen said. ''Everybody is like, `Last year because of the bowl record' and all that kind of stuff. They're all putting this as, `This is a chance, this has to happen.' We don't see it like this. Nobody else is playing Auburn in our conference except for us.''

    This will be the 13th time Washington has opened the season against a ranked opponent, but only once have the Huskies faced a top-10 team: 1998, when they opened the season with a 42-38 win at No. 8 Arizona State. Washington has its highest preseason ranking since 1997, when the Huskies began the season No. 4, rose to No. 2 in September and finished ranked 18th after going 8-4.

    Clearly it's the biggest opener of Petersen's tenure at Washington - although his return to Boise State three years ago with the Huskies had major personal undertones because of his history as the coach of the Broncos. The matchup with Auburn has also quieted critics who took shots at Washington's weak non-conference schedules in recent years - schedules that were mostly created before Petersen ever set foot on Washington's campus. What were supposed to be important home-and-home games against Rutgers each of the past two years instead became fuel for poking holes in Washington's resume when making comparison with other teams that were vying for playoff consideration.

    There won't be the same criticisms this year, no matter what the outcome is on Saturday. But that also means there's little margin for error.

    ''I think the players and fans might like it better than the coaches. Because you just know there's going to be, it's those first-game things like, `Huh? How did that happen?' When you're playing a team as good as Auburn, that can be painful,'' Petersen said. ''That can hurt you bad. But it's very challenging. It makes you have your game right, right from the start. If not, you know you're going to pay the price. Our kids understand that.''


    Freshman J.T. Daniels named starting QB for No. 15 USC
    August 26, 2018
    By The Associated Press

    LOS ANGELES (AP) Freshman J.T. Daniels has won the competition to start at quarterback for No. 15 Southern California.

    Coach Clay Helton announced his decision in a news release Sunday night, ending the 3 1/2-week audition for three strong contenders to be the successor to Sam Darnold.

    When he takes the Coliseum field against UNLV on Saturday, the 18-year-old Daniels will be the first true freshman to start at quarterback for USC since Matt Barkley in 2009. Only three true freshmen have ever started a game at quarterback for the Trojans: Barkley, Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer (1998) and Rob Johnson (1991).

    ''I am honored that Coach Helton picked me as the starter,'' Daniels said in a statement released by the school, which hasn't allowed freshmen to speak to the media during camp. ''I understand this it is a huge responsibility and I need to work hard to be prepared to handle it. It was a tight competition between all the quarterbacks throughout camp. We pushed each other every day. I felt that Coach's decision wouldn't be wrong whoever he picked.''

    Daniels is a passing prodigy who was named the 2017-18 Gatorade Male High School Athlete of the Year and the 2017 Gatorade National Football Player of the Year at Mater Dei High School in Orange County. He then graduated one full year early to enroll at USC this fall, likely sensing the chance to contend for the starting job immediately.

    He looked sharp from the start of his fall camp competition with redshirt freshman Jack Sears and sophomore Matt Fink, who both had marginally more experience in the Trojans' offense.

    ''At the completion of camp, it became clear to me and our staff that JT had taken a step ahead of Matt, Jack and (walk-on sophomore) Holden (Thomas),'' Helton said in a statement. I thought the quarterback competition was very competitive and fair and I am satisfied with how our staff handled the process. We look forward to each young man continuing to grow and progress at the position and we are very fortunate to have each one here at USC.''

    Helton didn't formally make his decision until watching a mock game Saturday in which all three quarterbacks got a chance to impress the coaches. Helton then said he planned to speak to the families of all three quarterbacks before announcing his decision.

    ''I reminded each (quarterback) that they need to keep pushing to be ready to play when called upon,'' Helton said. ''After this camp, we have no doubt that each one can lead our team when asked to do so. All are eager to keep working hard.''

    Fink is the only candidate with any collegiate playing experience, making three brief appearances last season. Sears was Darnold's successor at San Clemente High School, and he redshirted last season behind Darnold.

    Daniels won't get an easy path in his first September at the controls of USC's offense. After the Trojans open at home against the capable Rebels, they'll make consecutive road trips to No. 13 Stanford and No. 23 Texas.

    He also has big cleats to fill after the departure of Darnold, who won a Rose Bowl and a Pac-12 championship in his two seasons in charge. Darnold then was the third overall pick in the NFL draft by the New York Jets, and he has a strong chance to be their opening week starter after an excellent preseason.

    Helton also released his opening-week depth chart for the Trojans on Sunday night, with Fink listed as Daniels' backup. Sophomore Austin Jackson will start at left tackle, and Bubba Bolden was picked as a starting safety alongside veteran Marvell Tell.

    Helton's depth chart didn't identify a starting tailback, listing Aca'Cedric Ware, Vavae Malepeai and Stephen Carr as co-first stringers.
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    Wisconsin's defense work in progress
    August 26, 2018
    By The Associated Press

    MADISON, Wis. (AP) The bar is set high for the Wisconsin defense.

    The roster might turn over, but the fourth-ranked Badgers' D rarely crumbles. Since 2013, Wisconsin is second nationally in both scoring defense (16.1 points) and total defense (282.6 yards).

    But to return to that level this year, Wisconsin might need some young or inexperienced players to grow up quickly. So far, coach Paul Chryst likes what he has seen in the preseason.

    The first test for the team's unusual defensive blend of top-flight talent up the middle and untested replacements on the edges comes Friday night against Western Kentucky in the season opener.

    ''I like what the guys have done. There's a group that's played a lot of football on defense that we have an idea of what to expect,'' Chryst said after practice on Sunday. ''And then we'll have a number of players where this will be their first snaps.

    ''I feel like they're confident and ready for that next challenge, but it is a challenge,'' he added.

    Wisconsin will rely on a playmaking core up the middle for veteran stability, starting with preseason All-American inside linebacker T.J. Edwards. A key cog since his freshman year, Edwards has more starts (39) than anyone else on defense.

    Returning to top-10 status on defense might take a little time as guys get used to each other in game action, but Edwards said he is excited by the possibilities.

    ''We definitely set our goals high and we want to be around (being a top-flight defense). But I think it comes with chemistry,'' he said. ''With having a lot of new pieces, it's something that we're going to have to build during the games and kind of figure out how everyone plays.''

    Wisconsin is breaking in new starters at defensive end, outside linebacker and cornerback. At safety, promising redshirt freshman Scott Nelson takes over a starting job alongside four-year starter D'Cota Dixon. Even quarterback Alex Hornibrook has noticed how well Nelson has played in camp.

    ''Scott's a playmaker. He's an opportunist,'' Dixon said. ''He's much ahead of the game for his age.''

    He'll begin his college career as a starter, as will another redshirt freshman, cornerback Faion Hicks. Sophomore Caesar Williams, who played two games last season, was listed as the other starter on the season's first depth chart.

    ''If you don't have a huge natural separation, I think one thing that can separate is consistency, and I think that's what you see in them, the consistent approach,'' Chryst said.

    Outside linebacker might have the smoothest transition with Andrew Van Ginkel and Zack Baun taking over as the starters. Both players have seen snaps as backups, and Van Ginkel showed his playmaking prowess late last season with a combined two interceptions and a fumble recovery against Ohio State and Miami.

    Senior nose tackle Olive Sagapolu, who regularly draws double teams, will anchor a line that will have redshirt freshmen Matt Henningsen and Kayden Lyles starting at end because of injuries to presumed starters Garrett Rand and Isaiahh Loudermilk.

    Rand is out for the year, while Loudermilk could be back for Big Ten play. Lyles was moved over from offensive line when camp started to help with depth.

    It's a work in progress, though the Badgers do have the luxury of a manageable nonconference schedule before the conference opener on Sept. 22 at Iowa.

    They also have a rock at inside linebacker in Edwards, who can help raise the level of play of his young teammates.

    ''I think I can try to be a better leader vocally, but in terms of doing things outside my game, I'm not worried about it at all,'' Edwards said. ''I know those guys are going to make those plays when the time comes.''
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    Monday’s six-pack

    Interesting point spreads for next weekend’s college football:

    — Northwestern @ Purdue (-3) Thursday night

    — Colorado State vs Colorado (-7.5) in Denver Friday night.

    — Washington vs Auburn (-2.5) in Atlanta

    — West Virginia (-9.5) vs Tennessee in Charlotte

    — Michigan (-1.5) @ Notre Dame

    — Miami (-3) vs LSU in Cowboys Stadium, Dallas

    Quote of the Day
    “I fell in love with my country when I was a prisoner in someone else’s. I loved it not just for the many comforts of life here. I loved it for its decency, for its faith in the wisdom, justice, and goodness of its people.”
    John McCain

    Monday’s quiz
    How many major league teams has Buck Showalter managed?

    Sunday’s quiz
    Milwaukee Brewers were the Seattle Pilots in 1969, their first year of existence; they moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers the next season.

    Saturday’s quiz
    Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins played his college football at Michigan State.

    Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a sports weekend…….

    13) There are two NFL handicapping contests at the Westgate in Las Vegas; in one you put up $1,500, pick five NFL games a week, and lot of people get prizes (30? 50?). First prize last year was right around $1M- they wound up with 2,748 entries, so $4,122,000 was in the pot.

    This year, 1,768 people have signed up so far, with 13 days to go for more people to enter.

    The second contest is winner-take-all, with a $5,000 entry fee. Last year, 94 people entered, so first prize was $470,000. This year, 64 people have entered, as of Saturday.

    12) Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas also a contest, one where you pick seven games a week, but they can be college games, too. Entry fee is $1,000, and top 20 finishers get paid.

    11) If you like to bet on sports, you should listen to SportsXradio, which is on 10-12 pm every weeknight here in the east. It is on radio station 720am in Las Vegas, or you can listen on Shows are archived if you can’t listen to them live.

    Why do I say this? They have a guy named Joe Lisi on Friday nights who knows a ton about college football- he pegged 17-point underdog Hawai’i as a SU winner at Colorado State. Host Ken Thomson is as sharp about sports as anyone in the country.

    10) Nebraska will be starting a true freshman QB in Scott Frost’s first season coaching the Cornhuskers; Adrian Martinez was supposed to go to Tennessee, but when Butch Jones was told to take a hike, Martinez went elsewhere.

    Martinez had an operation on his throwing shoulder and missed his senior year of high school ball; will be interesting to see him play next week.

    9) Bad news for my A’s; Sean Manaea (shoulder) goes on the DL. All five members of the A’s starting rotation from the start of the season are now either hurt, or coming back from injury.

    Oakland is 45-16 since June 16, but the Manaea injury is a problem.

    8) Seattle Seahawks’ rookie punter Michael Dickson is getting rave reviews this summer; he has great hang time on his punts and stuck a couple of them inside the Minnesota 10-yard line in this weekend’s game. Dickson is an Australian who played college football at Texas.

    7) Pirates’ pitcher Chris Archer wore neon green baseball shoes when he pitched in Milwaukee Sunday; kind of like Baylor’s basketball uniforms- very bright. Wonder if it distracted hitters at all.

    6) They drew 3,000 fans in downtown Las Vegas for a Raiders watch party when the Silver and Black played in Green Bay last week; it’ll be fascinating to see how the Raiders’ move to the desert works out.

    5) Toronto 1B Kendrys Morales has homered in seven straight games; the record is eight, held by many, including Dale Long, who wound up doing weekend sports on Channel 10 here in Albany.

    4) Michigan Wolverines’ WR Tarik Black probably broke his foot Saturday at practice and is expected to miss an extended amount of time; he is an important part of their offense. Black also missed ten games last year with a foot injury.

    3) Albany Great Danes’ basketball team has six international students; they have players from four different countries. No players from New York City, only 148 miles down the road.

    2) Weird seeing Matt Holliday playing for Colorado again; when we started our fantasy baseball league (a keeper league) in 2005, the first three players I drafted were Holliday, Adam Dunn and Brandon Webb.

    Holliday was totally awesome in ’07, knocked in 150 runs; in ’09, Colorado traded him to the A’s, who held on to him for half the season before dealing him to St Louis, in a horrific pair of trades that set the A’s back at least a couple years. Wish he had stayed in Colorado.

    1) Odd thing: Holliday’s dad was at one time the baseball coach at Oklahoma State, but he got fired. When Holliday was on the A’s, Brett Anderson was his teammate; Anderson’s father was the guy who replaced Tom Holliday at OSU. Had to be at least a little awkward.

    Then in 2012, when Frank Anderson left Oklahoma State, Holliday’s brother Josh replaced him, and remains the Cowboys’ baseball coach to this day.
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    Thursday's Top Wager
    August 27, 2018

    By Kyle Markus

    College Football Preview - New Mexico State Aggies at Minnesota Gophers

    The New México State Aggies broke a 57-year bowl drought by advancing to the Arizona Bowl last season and emerged victorious over Utah State. They would love to make it back-to-back postseason berths with another appearance in 2018, and an upset victory over the Minnesota Gophers in the season opener would be a nice start.

    New México State has some momentum but lost star receiver Jaleel Scott as well as three-year starting quarterback Tyler Rogers. The offense must prove it can move the ball against a big-conference foe. Minnesota finished under .500 a year ago and is aiming to make a bowl game this year. The Big Ten is loaded, so winning games like this is essential in that pursuit.

    The Gophers are sizable favorites but don’t be surprised if the Aggies keep it much closer than advertised in NCAA football gambling.

    The New México State Aggies and Minnesota Gophers will face off on Thursday, August 30th, 2018 at 7 p.m. ET at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

    We'll have college football odds at available for every game of the 2018 NCAA football season.

    Odds Analysis

    The line currently favors the Gophers by 17.5 points, and they are getting the majority of the action to cover. Minnesota is the -825 moneyline favorite, so it would be quite the upset if New México State came in and sneaked away with the victory. The Aggies will pay off at +700 for a win. While it’s not super likely, these are very solid odds for the underdog in NCAA football gambling.

    Player to Watch

    Matt Romero -- The junior college transfer is taking over the reins on offense for New México State. The dual-threat quarterback has talent but this is a tough start to the season. Minnesota should have the physicality edge and returns plenty of talent from a group that was solid a season ago.

    The Aggies averaged nearly 30 points per game a season ago but that could be a tough task to duplicate against a significantly better team than they usually face. There are some good players returning, but the offensive expectations should be tempered considering the location, the strength of the foe, and Romero’s inexperience.

    Key Stat

    Five. that’s the number of bowl games in a row the Gophers qualified for before last year’s 5-7 campaign. The defense has what it takes to get the team back to that status as long as the offense also pitches in. Minnesota is in its second year with P.J. Fleck at the helm and believe they can start picking up the pace as the players better understand his schemes. The Gophers are not at the level of teams like Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan or Wisconsin in conference, which means out-of-conference wins are integral for bowl eligibility.

    Free College Football ATS Picks

    Minnesota should be able to win this game, but it’s going to be a little close for comfort. The Gophers’ offense could sputter early on which will allow New México State to remain competitive.

    Take Minnesota to win on the moneyline but the spread is too high. New México State will cover the spread in college football wagering.

    College Football ATS Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers 31, New Mexico State Aggies 20
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    Francois named FSU starting QB
    August 27, 2018
    By The Associated Press

    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Deondre Francois has been named Florida State's starting quarterback, coach Willie Taggart announced on Monday.

    The junior beat out James Blackman and Bailey Hockman for the opportunity to start for the No. 19 Seminoles in the season opener against No. 20 Virginia Tech on Sept. 3.

    Francois threw for 3,350 yards, 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2016 when he was named the Atlantic Coast Conference's rookie of the year. He suffered a season-ending knee injury last year in the Seminoles' opener against Alabama.

    Blackman stepped in to start after Francois' surgery. As a true freshman, Blackman threw for 2,230 yards, 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

    Hockman took a redshirt in 2017, his first year on campus, and often ran the Seminoles' scout team.
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    Wednesday’s six-pack

    Most strikeouts in their first 200 starts:

    1) Chris Sale 1,628

    2) Pedro Martinez 1,600

    3) Nolan Ryan 1,574

    4) Randy Johnson 1,456

    5) Bob Feller 1,411

    6) Sam McDowell 1,409

    Quote of the Day
    “Training with professional players like Miles (Bridges), seeing what hard work really is … man, I used to think that I work hard, but then coming out here, working out two-a-days and your body is aching and you have to keep grinding, keep going. It’s been been an experience. It’s taken me a while to get used to it, but it’s fun to be put in environments with greatness.”
    basketball prospect Darius Bazely

    Wednesday’s quiz

    Albuquerque Isotopes are the AAA farm club of which major league team?

    Tuesday’s quiz

    Chris Sale (1,628) has the most strikeouts of any pitcher in his first 200 starts.

    Monday’s quiz
    Buck Showalter has managed four teams: Arizona, New York, Texas, Baltimore.


    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

    13) If you care about such things, Minnesota’s Mike Zimmer is 43-21 against the spread as an NFL head coach. Hue Jackson is 17-30-1; he coached the Raiders for one year, before coaching Cleveland the last two seasons.

    12) Someone at SouthPoint Casino in Las Vegas wagered $20,000 on the Houston Texans to win the AFC title at 10-1 odds; so if the Texans make the Super Bowl, that person banks $200,000.

    11) Dodgers had their fantasy football draft this week; Clayton Kershaw took Lions’ QB Matthew Stafford in the 8th round. When Stafford was playing HS football in Texas, his center was….Clayton Kershaw.

    10) If he hits all his incentives, Odell Beckham will make $19M a year from the Giants; there are 52 guys in the NBA making $19M a year. Seriously. 52.

    9) Highest-paid major league managers:
    $6M a year: Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon, Bruce Bochy
    $4M a year: Terry Francona, Buck Showalter

    Showalter is the only one of those five guys who hasn’t won a World Series; he has a 9-14 career record in playoff games.

    8) Lowest-paid major league managers:
    $700,000 a year: Jim Riggleman, Mike Shildt, both interim managers (Shildt got the full-time job Tuesday, so he’ll be getting a big raise)
    $800,000 a year: Alex Cora, Scott Servais, Brian Snitker

    7) Chris Davis plays first base for Baltimore; he hit 47 homers in 2015, 38 in ’16, but is hitting .167 this year, with a .246 on-base %age.

    Davis is making $23M a year, now thru 2023. To make matters worse, from 2023-37, he gets an additional $42M in deferred payments. Yikes.

    6) Not only does Nebraska have a true freshman starting at QB this season, his two backups are walk-ons, one is another true freshman, the other a transfer from Scottsdale CC.

    5) Feast or Famine: Washington Nationals have scored double digit runs in nine games this year; they’ve been shut out 13 times.

    4) University of Albany’s freshman class has students from 23 different states and 21 countries. They have a basketball player from Fullerton, CA; if you live near Disneyland, why in the name of Jim Cantore are you spending four years in upstate New York?

    3) St Louis Cardinals named interim manager Mike Shildt their full-time skipper; Cardinals are 26-12 since Shildt took over as manager on July 15.

    2) Chicago Cubs are 14-1 at home in games where the winning run scored from the 7th inning on; they’re 11-10 on the road in games like that.

    1) Dwayne Wade’s son will be a junior in high school this fall; he picked up his first scholarship offer last week; Nebraska offered him a full ride to play for the Cornhuskers.
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  10. #35  
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    Thursday's Tip Sheet
    Joe Nelson

    Thursday Night College Football Opening Night

    While college football had a brief preview last weekend with six teams in action the Thursday night schedule will officially allow the first full weekend of the season to commence. While lacking a prominent headlining game on the schedule, three major conference teams are in action while the Big Ten and the American are featuring rare opening night conference games.

    Here is a quick look at the four games on the schedule Thursday night.

    Match-up: Central Florida Knights at Connecticut Huskies
    Venue: At Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut
    Time/TV: Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, ESPNU
    Line: UCF -23, Over/Under 75
    Last Meeting: 2017 at UCF, UCF (-38) 49-24

    Central Florida is a fitting team to kick off the 2018 schedule Thursday night as they were the only team to go undefeated in the 2017 season, even claiming the national title locally while finishing the season with an impressive Peach Bowl win over Auburn on New Year’s Day. The success had a cost as Scott Frost left for Nebraska after just two seasons and another former Big XII quarterback is now leading the way in Orlando with Josh Heupel hired from Missouri where he was the offensive coordinator. Heupel has McKenzie Milton under center to help the transition with Milton passing for over 4,000 yards last season with 37 touchdowns and only nine interceptions.

    Connecticut has limited expectations this season, the second campaign in Randy Edsall’s second stop leading the Huskies. This squad finished just 3-9 last season with a major transition moving toward an up-tempo offense that leans on the passing game. The numbers improved with scoring and production up dramatically last season but the defensive numbers worsened from Bob Diaco’s 2016 squad by a similar increment. Few starters return on the rebuilding defense for 2018 but this should be a team that can take another step forward offensively.

    UCF had just survived a close call at SMU last season when they hosted Connecticut as an 8-0 squad that had climbed into the top 15 of the national polls. The Knights grabbed an early lead but wound up caught in a close game into the fourth quarter as the Huskies trailed by only 11 before UCF added three fourth quarter touchdowns to win comfortably 49-24 but finishing well short of the massive spread with only a 519-413 yardage edge for the Knights.

    This year the spread has been adjusted downward significantly but the total is priced about 10 points higher than last season with Connecticut expected to be a productive offensive team that passes often. Quarterback David Pindell had modest numbers taking just over a third of the snaps for Connecticut last season and like Milton he is smaller in stature than prototypical quarterbacks and has good mobility as the Huskies will aim for a shootout result.

    Historical Trends: Central Florida is 15-21-1 ATS as a road favorite since 2003, Connecticut is 29-18-1 ATS as a home underdog since 2001.

    Match-up: Northwestern Wildcats at Purdue Boilermakers
    Venue: At Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana
    Time/TV: Thursday, Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, ESPN
    Line: Purdue -1.5, Over/Under 52.5
    Last Meeting: 2017 at Northwestern, Northwestern (-6.5) 23-13

    Northwestern and Purdue both made the postseason last year out of the Big Ten West but both could face tougher paths this season. The West teams draw five of nine conference games on the road this season and both squads will play two of three crossover games with heavyweight East squads. The non-conference schedules for both teams are also difficult as this toss-up opening game will carry a lot of weight towards the season goals.

    Last season Northwestern had a 20-0 lead in the first half before Purdue rallied for a competitive finish, winding up with a yardage edge for the game but never getting closer than the 10-point final margin in the second half. The Boilermakers nearly spoiled the favorite cover before committing the only turnover in the game inside the 10-yard line with about a minute to go. The Wildcats have won in this series each of the past four seasons and in six of the last nine meetings since 2008, going 5-2 ATS in those games.

    Northwestern won 45-17 at Purdue two years ago but that was before Jeff Brohm took over the team. The former Western Kentucky head coach led a successful first season with nearly as many wins as Darrell Hazell had produced in four seasons. The offense displayed much more success running the ball last season while the defense made a massive improvement statistically. The defense will be the biggest area of concern this season with heavy personnel losses from last season while the offense has many key players back including both quarterbacks that split time last season with David Blough and Elijah Sindelar expected to share time again this season.

    Pat Fitzgerald is entering his 13th season at Northwestern and the program has been to three straight bowl games with 27 wins the past three years combined. While Wisconsin is the favorite in the West, many see Northwestern as second in line after posting a 7-2 conference record last season. This game will be critical in any entertainment of that notion as the next two Big Ten games will be against Michigan and Michigan State. Clayton Thorson returns after a steady 2017 season at quarterback but 1,300-yard rusher Justin Jackson will need to be replaced.

    Historical Trends: Northwestern is 10-6 ATS at Purdue since 1982, Purdue is 15-26 ATS at home since 2012.

    Match-up: New Mexico State Aggies at Minnesota Golden Gophers
    Venue: At TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Time/TV: Thursday, Aug. 30, 7:00 PM ET, BTN
    Line: Minnesota -20.5, Over/Under 45.5
    Last Meeting: 2013 at New Mexico State, Minnesota (-16.5) 44-21

    New Mexico State was one of the teams that played last Saturday and the Aggies had a forgettable opening performance with very poor results for the offense in a 26-7 loss hosting Wyoming. It appears that replacing long-time quarterback Tyler Rogers will be a challenge as the Aggies posted just 144 passing yards behind Matt Romero and Nick Jeanty. The Aggies also wound up with negative rushing yards in the game and the only score for the team came with 1:16 remaining and the outcome well past decided.

    New Mexico State is on the road the next two weeks with this a tricky turnaround going from Saturday night and traveling to Minnesota for a Thursday night game. The poor result last week sours momentum from a great 2017 season with a 7-6 finish in Doug Martin’s fifth season, getting the team’s first bowl appearance and win since 1960. The Aggies now have little margin for error for a return trip playing an Independent schedule. While some challenges for the offense replacing Rogers along with the top rusher and receiver from last season were expected, the defense was considered a possible strength with nine starters back after showing great improvement last season. Wyoming rushed for 312 yards last week on 5.5 yards per carry which should mean a favorable opportunity for Minnesota.

    Amidst great self-promotion and fanfare P.J. Fleck’s first season with the Gophers fizzled as a 3-0 start wound up with a 5-7 finish in the standings and only two Big Ten wins. The offense was among the worst of all power conference programs with only 22 points per game and 309 yards per game. The answer this season will be a freshman quarterback as Zack Annexstad was a mild surprise to win the job this summer. The Gophers do have a veteran offensive line and should remain a quality defensive team looking for a breakthrough second season.

    The opening result for New Mexico State has meant a growing favorite spread for Minnesota with the Gophers failing as a heavy favorite in opening games the past two seasons in narrow wins. After being shutout in each of the final two games of the season last year pressure will grow on Fleck and with a more challenging game next week at home this is a critical game for Minnesota but also a spot where the Aggies, with a game under their belt, can certainly play better that they did last week.

    Historical Trends: New Mexico State is 16-23-1 ATS as a double-digit underdog since 2012, Minnesota is 17-24 ATS as a home favorite since 2007.

    Match-up: Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Tulane Green Wave
    Venue: At Yulman Stadium in New Orleans, Louisiana
    Time/TV: Thursday, Aug. 30, 8:00 PM ET, CBSC
    Line: Wake Forest -5.5, Over/Under 55
    Last Meeting: 2016 at Wake Forest, Wake Forest (-14.5) 7-3

    These teams opened the 2016 season in Winston-Salem with a 7-3 win for Wake Forest in a game with no second half scoring. Wake Forest won despite only 10 first downs and 175 total yards in what was a great defensive showing for Tulane in the debut of Willie Fritz on the sidelines. Fritz led a very successful two-year run at Georgia Southern but has gone 4-8 and 5-7 the past two seasons at Tulane. The Wave have a team capable of taking the next step with most of last season’s offense back in action but the schedule ahead is difficult, particularly on the road. For a bowl season Tulane will need an upset at some point and this home opener is likely one of the best opportunities.

    Tulane only lost twice at home last season falling to South Florida by six and to Cincinnati by one and wins at home over Army and Houston offer some promise. Jonathan Banks is an experienced quarterback that had solid production passing and rushing last season while LSU transfer Justin McMillan is also on the roster. Tulane had a season of regression on defense last year and with minimal returning experience improvement isn’t likely for a Wave team that allowed 5.4 yards per rush last season.

    Wake Forest had problems stopping the run last season and one of the worst losses of the season came against another triple-option team falling 38-24 at Georgia Tech. The Demon Deacons have returning experience but replacing long time quarterback John Wolford has been a challenge. Kendall Hinton has been suspended for the first three games while Jamie Newman is injured as freshman Sam Hartman is expected to start. He’ll likely lean on the top returning receiver Greg Dortch who can also be a factor on special teams.

    Wake Forest won eight games last season and Dave Clawson has returned the program to a respectable place. A breakthrough season of contention isn’t expected in the tough ACC Atlantic. Holding on to a bowl bid isn’t a given either as this is an important game in reaching the needed win count for Wake Forest as well with Notre Dame on the non-conference schedule and no easy outs on the ACC slate.

    Historical Trends: Wake Forest is 12-18-2 ATS as a road favorite since 1982, Tulane is 22-30-2 ATS as a home underdog since 2004.
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  11. #36  
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    10 possible FCS wins over the FBS in Week 1
    August 29, 2018
    By STATS LLC Editorial

    (STATS) - Games are not won on paper, of course, but the possible FCS wins over FBS program in the first full week of college football are leaping off the page with possibility.

    It won't be surprising if a number of FCS teams put the pieces together from an entire offseason of preparation to produce upsets in Week 1.

    There have been 26 FCS wins over the FBS in Week 1 the last six seasons, and this Labor Day weekend, there are 42 matchups between the two Division I levels.

    "I think (an FCS win over the FBS) validates the level that your program is functioning at," said coach Mike Houston, who led The Citadel to a win at South Carolina in 2015 and James Madison past East Carolina last year.

    Here are 10 possible FCS wins to watch for this week (kickoff times ET):

    Thursday, Aug. 30

    No. 5 Kennesaw State at Georgia State, 7 p.m.

    2017 Cinderella Kennesaw State is now a national title dark horse, but this is the fourth-year program's first matchup against the FBS. Its triple option offense ranked No. 1 in rushing in the FCS.

    Friday, Aug. 31

    Monmouth at Eastern Michigan, 6:30 p.m.

    Over 93 percent of Monmouth's offensive scoring is back, with running back Pete Guerriero and wide receiver Reggie White Jr. the chief weapons. Former Drake coach Chris Creighton is in his fifth season at Eastern Michigan, which struggled to win close games last year.

    Saturday, Sept. 1

    No. 2 James Madison at North Carolina State, noon

    The visiting Dukes, the 2016 FCS champions and 2017 national runners-up, are seeking to beat an FBS opponent for the third time in four years. A retooled defense will be hard-pressed to slow an N.C. State team that is coming off its winningest season (9-4) since 2010.

    No. 19 Villanova at Temple, noon

    The Mayor's Cup will be on the line for Philadelphia rivals whose series is deadlocked at 16-16-2. Villanova has reloaded with a handful of starters who are back from season-ending injuries, including All-America safety Rob Rolle.

    No. 14 North Carolina A&T at East Carolina, 6 p.m.

    After beating sixth-ranked Jacksonville State this past Saturday night, the visiting Aggies can't afford to be flat emotionally. They've beaten FBS programs Kent State and Charlotte in the last two seasons.

    Richmond at Virginia, 6 p.m.

    Richmond handled UVA 37-20 in the 2016 season-opening matchup. If new quarterback Kevin Johnson settles in quickly, the Spiders should be able to move the ball well.

    No. 18 Nicholls at Kansas, 7 p.m.

    Nicholls returns 16 starters from its first playoff season since 2005. In the last two years, the Southland Conference team has lost by two points to Georgia, one to South Alabama and 10 to Texas A&M.

    South Dakota at Kansas State, 7:10 p.m.

    The Coyotes eliminated Nicholls in the playoffs, and, like the Colonels, they head to the Sunflower State with a veteran lineup. Still, quarterback Austin Simmons has big shoes to fill - Chris Streveler, the 2017 Missouri Valley offensive player of the year.

    Northern Arizona at UTEP, 7:10 p.m.

    This wouldn't even be an upset because coach Jerome Souers' squad is favored against UTEP, which had the only winless season in the FBS last year. Quarterback Case Cookus should have a big game.

    No. 3 South Dakota State at Iowa State, 8 p.m.

    Iowa State has lost to an FCS opponent in three of the last five seasons. Even without all-world receivers Dallas Goedert and Jake Wieneke, Jackrabbits quarterback Taryn Christion is dangerous.
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  12. #37  
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    FCS teams opening the season in conference games
    August 29, 2018
    By STATS LLC Editorial

    (STATS) - Eight FCS teams don't have the opportunity to wade their way into the deep end of the pool this week.

    It's jump right in to open the 2018 season.

    Four conference games, including three with ranked teams, are part of the FCS schedule in Week 1. On Thursday, Rhode Island faces Delaware and archrivals New Hampshire and Maine meet in CAA Football. On Saturday, Holy Cross travels to Colgate in the Patriot League and The Citadel takes on Wofford in the Southern Conference.


    (all times ET)

    Rhode Island at No. 15 Delaware, 7 p.m.

    URI hasn't had a winning season since 2001, but it was generally competitive despite a 3-8 record last season. Delaware, which holds a 22-9 series lead, has a surprise season-opening starter at quarterback, redshirt junior Pat Kehoe over incumbent J.P. Caruso.

    No. 7 New Hampshire at Maine, 7 p.m.

    UNH coach Sean McDonnell and Maine counterpart Joe Harasymiak are relieved the "Battle for the Brice-Cowell Musket" will shift back to a season-ending matchup in 2019 after this second straight season opener. UNH, which has a seven-game winning streak and a 55-43-8 edge in the series (it began in 1903), likely has too much offense for the Black Bears.


    Holy Cross at Colgate, 1 p.m.

    The Bob Chesney era at Holy Cross begins against the Patriot League's preseason favorite. Colgate has the most returning starters in the league (18) and Holy Cross returns the fewest (nine). Despite winning the last six meetings, Colgate trails 40-35-5 in the series.

    The Citadel at No. 10 Wofford, 6 p.m.

    This could be the quickest game of the week because both offenses run triple options. Josh Conklin is making his Wofford coaching debut as last year's SoCon champ hosts the 2016 champ - their first season-opening meeting since 1998. The Citadel holds a commanding series lead at 47-21-1.
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    FCS Game of the Week: Northern Iowa at Montana
    August 29, 2018
    By STATS LLC Editorial



    Week 1 Matchup: No. 13 Northern Iowa (0-0) at No. 24 Montana (0-0)

    Kickoff: 9:05 p.m. ET at Washington-Grizzly Stadium (25,217) in Missoula, Montana

    SWX, video stream

    Montana leads 6-0 (last meeting: Montana won 20-14 at UNI-Dome on Sept. 10, 2016)

    The Skinny: The storyline is three-time Big Sky coach of the year Bobby Hauck beginning his second stint at Montana, where he was 80-17 from 2003-09. He inherits a team that was 7-4 last season and has missed consecutive FCS playoffs for the first time since 1991-92. Northern Iowa went 8-5, tying for second in the Missouri Valley Football Conference and reaching the playoff second round a year ago.

    Hauck has reunited with offensive coordinator Timm Rosenbach, with UNLV transfer Dalton Snead expected to run an offense which has plenty in the skills positions, including RB Jeremy Calhoun and WRs Keenan Curran and Jerry Louie-McGee. The Jesse Sims-led defensive line has the necessary size to match Northern Iowa's physical offensive line, but the Griz defense surrendered too many points (29 per game) last season. All-America LB Josh Buss hasn't been 100 percent healthy during preseason camp.

    UNI coach Mark Farley is 142-72 in 17 seasons, but he's 0-3 against Montana. He returns a veteran offense that seeks to run the ball with Marcus Weymiller, and QB Eli Dunne (2,704 yards, 26 TDs) figures to attack the Griz's retooled secondary. The defense is less experienced than the offense, but has standouts in OLB Rickey Neal and CB Xavior Williams. Although much of his kicking is indoors, PK Sam Drysdale is 23 of 27 on field goals in his career.

    Prediction: UNI is overdue in this series and talented enough to outmuscle the Griz on the road. The vocal crowd and emotion of the night can lift the home team. This game is a tossup: Northern Iowa, 28-24.
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  14. #39  
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    COLLEGE FOOTBALL PICKS: Michigan, Auburn, Miami start fast
    August 29, 2018
    By The Associated Press

    After a quiet offseason in college football, the final month leading up to kickoff was dominated by scandals.

    As lousy as off-the-field issues can be in the sport, and the topics were unsettling in August, the games rarely disappoint and are the reason fans tolerate the bad news.

    The season starts with its traditional marathon holiday weekend schedule, a fair amount of which will be nothing more than scrimmages. No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia start the season with FCS tuneups and there will be plenty of lopsided match-ups involving FBS teams, too. At least a few games are thankfully appointment viewing.

    But most of all college football is back and there is a lot of it spread out over the five days. Try to enjoy it.

    The picks:


    No. 21 UCF (minus 23) at UConn

    The other defending national champions open on the road ... UCF 42-24.


    Western Kentucky (plus 35+) at No. 4 Wisconsin

    Badgers start with two suspended receivers, but TB Jonathan Taylor and that massive o-line should be enough for now ... WISCONSIN 48-14.

    Utah State (minus 23+) at No. 11 Michigan State

    Experienced Aggies are good enough to make the Spartans work into the fourth quarter ... MICHIGAN STATE 31-13.

    San Diego State (plus 14) at No. 13 Stanford

    Aztecs pulled the upset last year of the Cardinal ... STANFORD 34-17.


    No. 1 Alabama (minus 24+) vs. Louisville at Orlando, Florida

    Tua or Jalen? Does it really matter? ... ALABAMA 45-17.

    Oregon State (plus 38) at No. 5 Ohio State

    Game one of three without Urban Meyer on the sideline. Whatever issues that might cause the Buckeyes, it's doubtful the Beavers will be able to exploit them ... OHIO STATE 56-10.

    No. 6 Washington (plus 1+) vs. No. 9 Auburn at Atlanta

    After 1-8 bowl season the Pac-12 can really use this one ... AUBURN 27-20.

    FAU (plus 21) at No. 7 Oklahoma

    Lane Train can't keep up with the Sooner Schooner ... OKLAHOMA 55-21, BEST BET.

    Appalachian State (plus 23+) at No. 10 Penn State

    App State has maybe the greatest upset in college football history on its resume, but is 0-5 against Power Five schools since moving to FBS ... PENN STATE 39-14.

    No. 14 Michigan (plus 1) at No. 12 Notre Dame

    Rivalry has been dormant for three years. It ended with the Irish shutting out Brady Hoke's last Michigan team and resumes with Jim Harbaugh looking for a statement victory ... MICHIGAN 23-17.

    UNLV (plus 26) at No. 15 Southern California

    Will the Trojans start freshman QB J.T. Daniels? ... USC 42-14.

    No. 17 West Virginia (minus 7) vs. Tennessee at Charlotte, North Carolina

    Mountaineers enter the season with lots of hype and a Heisman contender quarterback in Will Grier. Tennessee is rebuilding with a new coach ... WEST VIRGINIA 28-17.

    No. 22 Boise State (minus 10+) at Troy

    Two of the best from outside the Power Five ... BOISE STATE 21-13.

    No. 23 Texas (minus 13) at Maryland

    Hard to guess where the Maryland players' heads will be considering their last month ... TEXAS 28-20.

    Bowling Green (plus 31+) at No. 24 Oregon

    Ducks debut their latest digs with numbers that will allow even the folks in the nose-bleed seats at Autzen Stadium to identify who is in on the play ... OREGON 56-21.


    No. 8 Miami (minus 3+) vs. No. 25 LSU at Arlington, Texas

    The U. is lined up for a 5-0 start if it can handle an LSU team breaking in a new quarterback ... MIAMI 23-16.


    No. 20 Virginia Tech (plus 7+) at No. 19 Florida State

    New `Noles coach Willie Taggart debuts with a conference game and a chance to make a great first impression ... FLORIDA STATE 31-20.


    Northwestern (plus 1+) at Purdue - (at)dvolpi88

    How can Jeff Brohm follow-up a solid first season with the Boilermakers? ... PURDUE 24-21.

    North Carolina (plus 7) at California - (at)raybelkora

    Player suspensions for selling (their own) shoes has the Tar Heels depleted ... CAL 28-23.

    Northern Illinois (plus 10+) at Iowa - (at)JeffMiles9

    Hawkeyes face NIU sackmaster Sutton Smith with both their starting offensive tackles suspended ... IOWA 28-14.

    Mississippi (plus 2+) vs. Texas Tech in Houston - (at)TurnerDad

    NCAA-sanctioned Rebels can't play in the postseason, but they have potential to be fun to watch with All-America WR A.J. Brown ... OLE MISS 35-28, UPSET SPECIAL.


    Overall record last season: 253-90 straight; 156-169-7 against the spread.

    Bowl record: 23-17; 20-18-1.

    Upset specials: 5-9 (straight up).

    Best bets: 8-5 (against the spread).
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    ACC Report - Week 1
    August 28, 2018
    By Joe Williams

    2017-18 ACC STANDINGS

    Team SU Conference ATS Over/Under
    Clemson 12-2 8-1 8-5-1 4-9-1
    North Carolina State 9-4 6-2 5-7-1 5-8
    Wake Forest 8-5 4-4 8-4-1 5-7-1
    Boston College 7-6 4-4 8-4-1 5-7-1
    Louisville 8-5 4-4 5-8 6-7
    Florida State 7-6 3-5 4-7-2 4-8-1
    Syracuse 4-8 2-6 6-5-1 2-9-1

    Miami-Florida 10-3 7-2 5-8 3-10
    Virginia Tech 9-4 5-3 6-7 3-9-1
    Georgia Tech 5-6 4-4 7-3-1 5-6
    Pittsburgh 5-7 3-5 5-5-2 2-9-1
    Virginia 6-7 3-5 6-7 6-7
    Duke 7-6 3-5 7-5-1 4-9
    North Carolina 3-9 1-7 5-7 6-6

    Wake Forest at Tulane (Thurs. - CBS Sports Network, 8:00 p.m. ET)

    These two teams opened the 2016 season in Winston-Salem, with the Demon Deacons slugging it out for a 7-3 win over the Green Wave. Wake never threatened to cover the 14-point number, and 'under' (42.5) bettors never even broke a sweat in that contest. The Demon Deacons opened as eight-point favorites, but that has been bet down to six points as of Wednesday morning. The line is substantially higher than it was in that 2016 game, holding steady around 55. The Deacs were 1-1 ATS on the road last season, and 1-2 ATS away from home if you count their bowl game. They have only been favored on the road three times since the start of the 2015 season, going 1-2 ATS during the span. The Demon Deacons have been favored by three or more points on the road just three times since the start of the 2010 season. The last time Wake covered as favorites by three or more points away from home was back on Nov. 28, 2009 at Duke. Tulane is just 1-6 ATS in their past seven against the ACC, but 7-3 ATS in their past 10 non-conference games and 5-1 ATS in the past six at home.

    Syracuse at Western Michigan (Fri. - CBSSN, 6:00 p.m. ET)

    The Orange and Broncos square off for the first time ever, and the game will take place in Kalamazoo with Syracuse favored by 5 1/2 points as of Wednesday AM. Syracuse has posted a total of 15 wins ove rthe past four seasons, while Western Michigan looks to bounce back after an injury-filled .500 season. The Orange have posted wins in four consecutive regular season openers, although a good chunk of those have been against FCS sides. Western was just 2-4 ATS in six home games last season, although they were a respectable 4-2 SU. The last time the Broncos were an underdog at home was Nov. 11, 2015 against Bowling Green, losing 41-27 as a three-point 'dog. They also lost that same season to Michigan State as an underdog at home, but covered a 16 1/2-point number.

    Army at Duke (Fri. - ESPNU, 7:00 p.m. ET)

    The Blue Devils open the campaign at home against the Black Knights in a much tougher matchup than usual. The past two years have featured opening game wins against FCS foe and Bull City rival North Carolina Central, and the Eagles have been their opponent for the past three home openers, too. In fact, this is the first time since Sept. 1, 2012 that the Blue Devils have opened with an FBS team at Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham. They won that day by a 46-26 margin against Florida International, covering a three-point number. Duke will be looking to avenge a 21-16 setback in West Point last season, as Army won outright as 3 1/2-point favorites. These teams also met Oct. 8, 2016 in Durham, with the Blue Devils slugging out a 13-6 win in front of the home fans as 5 1/2-point favorites. In other words, the home team is 2-0 ATS in the past two meetings. These teams have met for each of the past three straight years, and the 'under' is a perfect 3-0.

    Massachusetts at Boston College (ACC Network, 1:00 p.m.)

    The Eagles host the Minutemen in Chestnut Hill in a Bay State matchup, and Boston College opens as a hefty 18-point favorite. The total has also jumped from 60 to 63, as bettors are confident coach Steve Addazio's bunch can improve upon their seven-win showing. Running back A.J. Dillon rushed for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, and he'll be running behind an offensive line returning all five starters. UMass rolled up a 63-15 win last week against FCS Duquesne to cover a 21 1/2-point number, but a game against an FBS opponent on the road is a totally different story. Still, UMass has a high-octane offense and they have covered four of the past five on the road, and five of the past seven overall. BC closed out last season 8-1-1 ATS in their final 10, and 4-1-1 ATS in the past six against winning sides. The over has cashed in UMass' past seven non-conference battles, and seven of their past eight overall. The under is 19-7 in the past 26 at home for BC, however, and 24-11-1 in their past 36 overall.

    North Carolina at California (FOX, 4:00 p.m.)

    The Tar Heels head out to the left coast looking for revenge against the Golden Bears. Cal posted a 35-30 victory, winning outright as a 12 1/2-point favorite, while the 'over' connected. It was the first of many losses for UNC in a lost and injury-plagued season, as they went just 3-9 SU. However, the Tar Heels did end up 4-0 ATS in their final four games after a trying 1-8 ATS start. Cal lost their final two games of 2017 to fall just short of bowl eligibility, although like Carolina they were able to close on a high note by covering three straight, and five of their final six. California also covered all five of their home games last season against FBS opponents, and they're 9-2 ATS over the past 11 at home against FBS clubs.

    Louisville vs. Alabama from Orlando, Fla. (ABC, 8:00 p.m.)

    The Cardinals and Rolling Tide will do battle at Camping World Stadium in Orlando as they look to get off to a good start. Louisville is unranked. Alabama is No. 1, and they're favored by 24 1/2 points. This game might not be terribly competitive. Louisville posted at least 31 points in each of their eight victories last season, and they averaged 46.0 points per game (PPG) in their final three regular-season outings while going a perfect 3-0 ATS. All of that would be impressive if their first opponent was anybody but the Tide. This will be the first time these clubs have faced each other since the Cards bounced the Tide 34-7 in the Fiesta Bowl to close out the 1990 season. The Cards are just 1-7-1 ATS in their past nine non-conference battles, while Bama is 5-2 ATS in their past seven on a neutral-site field, 6-2 ATS in their past eight against the ACC and a perfect 5-0 ATS in their past five showings on fieldturf. The total trends differ for these two teams, too. The under is 6-0-1 in the 'Ville's past seven neutral-site battles, and 5-1 in their past six non-conference tilts. The under is 8-2 in Bama's past 10 non-conference battles, but the over is 19-6-1 in their past 26 neutral-site affairs.

    Miami-Florida vs. Louisiana State from Arlington, Tex. (Sun. - ABC, 7:30 p.m.)

    The Hurricanes look to rebound after fizzling down the stretch. The Tigers will look to regain their championship form, and can get off to a big start against a Top 10 foe. Miami opened the season 10-0 SU, turnover chains were the rage and everyone was saying "The U is back!" However, a 24-14 loss to unranked Pittsburgh as a 12-point favorite cooled off playoff talk, a blowout loss in their first-ever ACC title game appearance to Clemson squashed more of their excitement and a 34-24 setback to Wisconsin really cast a pall on what should have been a celebration. The Canes ended up failing to cover in their final four. The Tigers were a little more consistent, winning nine of their 12 regular season games, but they lost to Notre Dame in their bowl to lose an un-LSU-like fourth time in a season. Neither of these sides have been particularly strong in neutral-site or non-conference battles. UM is 5-11 ATS in their past 16 on fieldturf, and they're 1-7 ATS in their past eight neutral-site battles. LSU is 1-4 ATS in their past five against the ACC and 0-3-1 ATS in their past four non-conference battles. The total might be the way to go, and you might want to go under. The under is 6-0 in Miami's past six neutral-site games, and 5-1 in their past six against the SEC. The under is 4-0 in LSU's past four neutral-site battles, and 6-2-1 in their past nine out of conference tilts.

    Virginia Tech at Florida State (Mon. - ESPN, 8:00 p.m.)

    The Willie Taggart Era gets underway in Tallahassee on Monday night in the standalone game, and it also happens to be the season opener and an important battle for ACC supremacy. The 'Noles opened as 5 1/2-point favorites, but the line has blown up to 7 1/2 as of Wednesday morning. The Hokies haven't fared very well on the road lately, going 1-4 ATS in their final five to close out 2017. And, for what it's worth, they're 0-4 ATS in their past four appearances on a Monday. The Seminoles didn't do well in the ACC last season, going 0-6-2 ATS in their final eight conference games, and they needed a make-up game to become bowl eligible in 2017. The under is 35-17 in Va. Tech's past 52 ACC games, while the under is 20-7-1 in the past 28 inside the ACC for FSU. However, the 'over' has connected in the past five meetings in this series, while the home team is 4-0 ATS in the past four battles.

    Other Games

    James Madison at North Carolina State (ESPNU, 12:00 p.m.)

    Furman at Clemson (ACC Network, 12:20 p.m.)

    Alcorn State at Georgia Tech (ACC Network, 12:30 p.m.)

    Albany at Pittsburgh (ACC Network, 3:30 p.m.)

    Richmond at Virginia (ACC Network, 6:00 p.m.)
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  16. #41  
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    Sep 2005
    Las Vegas
    Big 12 Report - Week 1
    August 29, 2018
    By Joe Williams

    2017 BIG 12 STANDINGS

    Team SU Conference ATS Over/Under
    Oklahoma 12-2 9-1 8-6 8-6
    Texas Christian 11-3 7-3 6-8 4-10
    Oklahoma State 10-3 6-3 7-6 9-4
    Texas 7-6 5-4 8-4-1 3-10
    West Virginia 7-6 5-4 5-7-1 7-5-1
    Kansas State 8-5 5-4 6-6-1 6-7
    Iowa State 8-5 5-4 11-1-1 4-9
    Texas Tech 6-7 3-6 7-6 5-8
    Baylor 1-11 1-8 5-7 5-7
    Kansas 1-11 0-9 4-8 7-5

    Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma (FOX, 12:00 p.m.)

    The Lane Train rolls into Norman looking to shock the world and put FAU further on the map. While hope might spring eternal in Boca Raton, Fla., as the team is favored to win Conference USA for a second consecutive season while doing it with a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate in RB Devin Singletary, the Sooners are not North Texas. Or Akron. Vegas understands it all, as Oklahoma is favored by three touchdowns. FAU also enters this game with only one win in school history against a Power 5 team, and that came back on Sept. 15, 2007 in a victory against Minnesota in front of 10,759 fans in what is now Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. While the Owls are 26-12 ATS in their past 38 road games, they're 0-8 ATS in the past eight against Big 12 clubs. Oklahoma has covered four of their past five out of conference, 11-2 ATS in the past 13 at home and 5-2 ATS in their past seven vs. C-USA schools. As far as the total, the over is 4-1 in FAU's past five on the road, but 4-1 in their past five non-conference tilts. The over is 5-2 in Oklahoma's past seven outside of the Big 12.

    Texas vs. Maryland at Landover, Md. (FOX Sports 1, 12:00 p.m.)

    Texas and Maryland met in Austin last season and the Terrapins stunned the Longhorns by a 51-41 count, and there was doom and gloom surrounding head coahc Tom Herman for the first month of the season before getting on track. After failing to cover, or even win, as 18-point favorites, Texas rattled off a 6-0-1 ATS run. Maryland won their first two games of the season, averaging 57.0 points per game (PPG). It was all downhill from there, as they ended up 4-8 SU and 5-7 ATS. Texas has fared well in neutral-site battles, going 4-0 ATS in their past four. However, while they're 6-2 ATS in their past eight non-conference games, and 5-2 ATS in the past seven in September, the Longhorns are a dismal 0-4 ATS in their past four against the Big Ten. The Terps have managed a poor 1-4 ATS mark across the past five neutral-site battles, and they finished 2-6 ATS in the final eight of 2017. The under is 12-1 in the past 13 games on grass for Texas, and 4-1 in their past five neutral-site affairs, but the over is 4-0 in Maryland's past four neutral-site contests and 7-2 in their final nine of 2017.

    Mississippi vs. Texas Tech at Houston, Tex. (ESPN, 12:00 p.m.)

    In another neutral-site battle, it's SEC vs. Big 12 at NRG Stadium in Houston. Ole Miss opened as a one-point favorite, but Texas Tech is now up to being a favorite by 2 1/2 points as of Wednesday morning. The Rebels haven't had a lot of success in recent seasons outside of the conference, going 1-4 ATS in the past five. However, the Rebels are an impressive 7-2-1 ATS in the past 10 neutral-site battles. The Red Raiders have posted a 4-1 ATS mark in their past five non-conference affairs, while posting a 20-6-1 ATS mark in their past 27 battles in the month of September. The under has also hit in four of the past five for the Rebels on a neutral-site field, but the over is 5-1 in their past six non-conference battles. The over has cashed in 16 of the past 21 neutral-site games for Texas Tech while going 20-9 in the past 29 outside of the Big 12.

    Tennessee vs. West Virginia at Charlotte, N.C. (CBS, 3:30 p.m.)

    The Volunteers and Mountaineers will tangle at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, and it will be a mixed crowd. Knoxville is a rather quick jaunt on I-40 and down I-77, while Morgantown is just a handful of hours to the north via I-79 and I-77, and the 600 toll booths on the West Virginia Turnpike. There has been a lot of gamesmanship by the head coaches as far as the depth chart is concerned heading into this game. Head coach Dana Holgorsen looks to build on a seven-win campaign against a Vols squad which lost a school-record eight games in 2017. There is hope with QB Jarrett Guarantano, who went 4-2 as a started down the stretch. Speaking of QBs, Will Grier is an early Heisman hopeful for Holgorsen's bunch, and the Mountaineers have four offensive line starters back to protect him. The good news for Tennessee is that they have won nine consecutive season openers. The bad news is they are 6-34 across their past 40 against ranked teams since the start of the 2010 season. Tennessee enters with a 6-1 ATS mark over their past seven neutral-site battles, while West Virginia is just 3-13 ATS in the past 16 neutral-site tilts and 2-5 ATS in the past seven out of conference.

    Other Games

    Missouri State at Oklahoma State (Thu. - FOX Sports 1, 8:00 p.m.)
    Southern at Texas Christian (No national TV - 12:00 p.m.)
    Nicholls at Kansas (ESPN+, 7:00 p.m.)
    South Dakota at Kansas State (ESPN3, 7:00 p.m.)
    Abilene Christian at Baylor (No national TV - 8:00 p.m.)
    South Dakota State at Iowa State (No national TV - 8:00 p.m.)
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  17. #42  
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    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Las Vegas
    Pac-12 Report - Week 1
    August 29, 2018
    By Joe Williams

    2017-18 PAC-12 STANDINGS

    Team SU Conference ATS Over/Under
    Washington 10-3 7-2 7-6 7-6
    Stanford 9-5 7-3 7-6-1 6-8
    Washington State 9-4 6-3 7-6 6-7
    Oregon 7-6 4-5 6-7 6-7
    California 5-7 2-7 8-4 5-7
    Oregon State 1-11 2-9 3-9 9-3

    Southern California 11-3 9-1 3-10-1 8-6
    Arizona State 7-6 6-3 7-6 6-7
    Arizona 7-6 5-4 6-7 9-4
    UCLA 6-7 4-5 4-9 8-5
    Utah 7-6 3-6 9-3-1 6-7
    Colorado 5-7 2-7 3-8-1 6-6

    San Diego State at Stanford (Fri. - FOX Sports 1, 9:00 p.m. ET)

    The Cardinal open their season Friday night on The Farm, and they will have revenge on their minds. Head coach David Shaw's bunch took a 20-17 loss in San Diego on Sept. 16, 2017 as an 8 1/2-point favorite as the 'under' (47.5) cashed. That was a road game. The Cardinal was much better at home last season, posting a 6-0 SU and 4-2 ATS mark. Meanwhile, the Aztecs will be looking to replace all-everything RB Rashaad Penny, now playing his football on Sundays for head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. The Aztecs are just 5-12-1 ATS in the past 18 non-conference battles and 6-13 ATS in the past 19 against the Pac-12 despite that win last season against Stanford. The under might be the attractive play. The under is 4-1 in San Diego State's past five against the Pac-12, while the under is 4-1 in Stanford's past five at home and 7-3 over their past 10 games overall.

    Colorado vs. Colorado State at Denver, Colo. (Fri. - CBS Sports Network, 9:30 p.m. ET)

    The Buffaloes head to Broncos Stadium at Mile High in Denver looking to add to the unexpected woes of the Rams, their rivals from up the road in Fort Collins. Colorado State suffered an inexplicable home loss against Hawaii in Week Zero, 43-34. QB K.J. Carta-Samuels wasn't the problem, as he threw for 537 yards and five touchdowns against the Warriors, but the pass defense of the Rams couldn't stop anyone. That might be a problem against experienced QB Steven Montez. The Buffaloes have posted a 3-1-1 ATS mark in the past five meetings in this series, while the under has hit in each of the past four meetings. More on the under, it is 6-0 in the past six for Colorado and 13-3 in the past 16 against Mountain West foes. The under is 5-1 in Colorado State's past six against the Pac-12 and 6-2 in the past eight neutral-site contests.

    Oregon State at Ohio State (ABC, 12:00 p.m. ET)

    The Beavers make the cross-country trek from Corvallis to Columbus for the Battle of OSU's, although the telecast will be dominated by the scandal involving Urban Meyer, his assistant Zach Smith and the domestic abuse allegations. Will it be a distraction for the Buckeyes, as they start their season? Vegas doesn't seem to think so, installing the Bucks as a 38 1/2-point favorite. Oregon State could catch a break, at least early on, as there might be some sluggishness on the other side as they slowly jell after all of the distractions. The Beavers are a dismal 1-4 ATS in the past five non-conference battles, 1-6 ATS in their past seven road games and 16-34-1 ATS in the past 51 games in September. Ohio State has posted an impressive 12-3-1 ATS in the past 16 against Pac-12 foes.

    Washington vs. Auburn at Atlanta, Ga. (ABC, 3:30 p.m.)

    The Huskies and Tigers play in one of the more underrated first-week battles in a showdown of Top 10 schools. Washington opened as a 2 1/2-point favorite, but bettors have flipped that around and are backing Auburn, who is now a 1 1/2-point favorite as of Wednesday morning. Neither of these sides have been particularly good in non-conference games, as Washington is 1-5 ATS in their past six non-conference battles, while Auburn is 0-5-1 ATS in their past six outside of the conference and 1-5 ATS in their past six neutral-site tilts. Perhaps bettors will lean to the under, as the total has gone under in five of the past seven for Washington in a neutral-site contest. The under is 5-0-2 in Auburn's past seven neutral-site battles and 12-3-2 in their past 17 outside of the SEC.

    Washington State at Wyoming (CBS Sports Network, 3:30 p.m.)

    In one of the more intriguing matchups of Week 1, the high-octane Washington State offense will look to solve the suffocating defense of Craig Bohl's Wyoming side. The Cowboys posted an impressive 29-7 victory as five-point favorites at New Mexico State, a bowl team from a season ago. The Cougars do not have the luxury of a game under their belt, and they have to open on the road against a tough team. They are just 1-4 ATS in their past five road games, 1-4 ATS in their past five non-conference tilts and 2-5-1 ATS in the past eight against the Mountain West Conference. Wyoming is 5-1 ATS in their past six at home, 9-2 ATS in the past 11 games overall and 3-1-1 ATS in the past five against the Pac-12. While the over is 4-0 in Washington State's past four on the road, the under is 5-2 in the past seven non-conference tilts. The under is also 13-3 in Wyoming's past 16, 7-2 in the past nine non-conference battles and 4-0 in the past four against the Pac-12.

    UNLV at Southern California (Pac-12 Conference, 4:00 p.m.)

    The Runnin' Rebels travel to venerable Los Angeles Coliseum to battle the Trojans in the opener for both sides. USC is installed as a 26-point favorite as of Wednesday morning. The Trojans will be starting freshman quarterback J.T. Daniels, as the 18-year-old gets his feet wet. He'll need to learn on the job quickly, as ranked teams from Stanford and Texas await in the next two games. The Rebels have been pretty outstanding on the road over the past couple of seasons, going 6-1 ATS in the past seven road games and 7-3 ATS in their past 10 in the month of September. USC is 1-5 ATS in the past six at home, 1-6 ATS in the past seven in September and 0-5 ATS in the past five non-conference battles. Perhaps the over is the play, as the total has gone over in eight of the past nine non-conference games for UNLV while going 5-1 in their past six aganst the Pac-12. The over is 6-2 in USC's past eight overall and 11-5-1 in the past 17 non-conference contests.

    North Carolina at California (FOX, 4:00 p.m.)

    The Tar Heels head out to the left coast looking for revenge against the Golden Bears. Cal posted a 35-30 victory, winning outright as a 12 1/2-point favorite, while the 'over' connected. It was the first of many losses for UNC in a lost and injury-plagued season, as they went just 3-9 SU. However, the Tar Heels did end up 4-0 ATS in their final four games after a trying 1-8 ATS start. Cal lost their final two games of 2017 to fall just short of bowl eligibility, although like Carolina they were able to close on a high note by covering three straight, and five of their final six. California also covered all five of their home games last season against FBS opponents, and they're 9-2 ATS over the past 11 at home against FBS clubs.

    Cincinnati at UCLA (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)

    The Bearcats and Bruins will do battle in the Rose Bowl with UCLA favored by more than two touchdowns. Neither of these sides have fared particularly well against the number in recent seasons, especially against unfamiliar foes. Cincinnati is just 8-20 ATS in their past 28 games overall, and they're 4-10 ATS in the past 14 in the month of September. In addition, Cincy is 0-5 ATS in the past five games on grass. In Cincinnati's past 17 non-conference games the Bearcats have managed a dismal 4-13 ATS mark. The Bruins haven't been much better, going 7-17 ATS in the past 24 on grass, 4-11 ATS in the past 15 overall and 1-8 ATS in the past nine games in the month of September. In addition, the Bruins are a terrible 1-8 ATS in the past nine non-confernece battles. The under is 8-2-1 in Cincinnati's past 11 outside of the conference, while going 22-10-1 in the past 33 games overall. The under is 4-1 in UCLA's past five games at home, but the over is 5-2-1 in their past eight non-conference battles.

    Bowling Green at Oregon (Pac-12 Network, 8:00 p.m.)

    Oregon has been facing some FCS teams in the month of September in recent seasons to open, but this year they'll at least face an FBS club. The Ducks are still favored by more than four touchdowns to knock off Bowling Green from the MAC. Bowling Green heads into this one looking to turn around some ugly trends. They're 3-10 ATS in their past 13 games overall, while going 0-9 ATS in the past nine non-conference games and 0-9 ATS in the past nine in the month of September while going 3-7 ATS in the past 10 on a fieldturf surface. The Ducks haven't been much better, going 8-18-1 ATS in the past 27 games overall, 4-10-1 ATS in the past 15 in September while going 2-6-1 ATS in the past nine non-conference battles. Total bettors might be hammering the over this week in this battle. The over is 7-0 in Bowling Green's past seven overall, and 4-0 in their past four on the road. The over is 52-19-1 in the past 72 games at home and 37-18-2 in the past 57 games in the month of September.

    Texas-San Antonio at Arizona State (FOX Sports 1, 10:00 p.m.)

    The Roadrunners and Sun Devils do battle for the second time in the past three years as head coach Herm Edwards makes his college football debut at the helm. The last time UTSA played Arizona State in the Alamodome, the Sun Devils escaped with a 32-28 win on Sept. 16, 2016 while easily covering a 21 1/2-point number. The Roadrunners have covered each of their past four against the Pac-12, and they're 5-1 ATS in the past six non-conference battles, too. The Sun Devils are 12-5 ATS in the past 17 games at home, but they're 0-5 ATS in the past five non-conference battles. The under hit in the final seven regular season games for UTSA, while going 4-0 in the past four road games. The over finished up 5-1 in the final six for Arizona State, however.

    Brigham Young at Arizona (ESPN, 10:45 p.m.)

    The Cougars and Wildcats do battle in Tucson in an attractive late-night matchup to close out the Week 1 slate, at least the games in the conterminous 48. Arizona opened as a 15-point favorite, but the money has been on BYU, betting the line down to 11 1/2 points. The Cougars enter the game with a 4-0 ATS mark in their past four non-conference tilts, while going 5-2 ATS in the past seven Pac-12 contests. Arizona hasn't been as fortunate against the number, although they're 5-2 ATS in their past seven at home. The Wildcats have covered just twice in the past eight non-conference battles, and they're 5-12 ATS in the past 17 September outings. The under is 4-0 in the past four meetings in this series, while going 14-5 in BYU's past 19 no-conference battles. The under is also 8-3 in the past 11 on the road for the Cougs. For Aizona, the over is 6-2 in their past eight home games, and 4-1 in their past five non-conference battles.

    Other Games

    Weber State at Utah (Thu. - Pac-12 Network, 8:00 p.m.)
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  18. #43  
    RX Semi-God
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    Sep 2005
    Las Vegas
    College Essentials - Week 1
    August 29, 2018
    By Tony Mejia

    The first weekend of the college football season featured only two games where FBS teams squared off against one another and produced an upset right out of the gate.

    Hawai’I had a great weekend, capturing the Little League World Series less than 24 hours after its largest university held off 17-point favorite Colorado State to start 1-0 in Mountain West play. Wyoming won its first game post-Josh Allen thanks to an impressive defensive effort in a 29-7 victory at New Mexico State.

    We’re now off and running with every other team set to debut in games scheduled daily beginning Thursday.

    Here’s a look at the games I’m most excited about between Friday and Monday, a top ten that you can’t miss and should be wagering on if so inclined.

    Friday, Aug. 31

    Western Kentucky at Wisconsin (-37.5/52.5), 9:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Badgers nearly ran the table last season, losing in the Big Ten Championship when they failed to get one last scoring drive against Ohio State. With Jonathan Taylor back to run behind a loaded offensive line, hopes are high in Madison. The Hilltoppers lost five of six to end Mike Sanford’s first season with a thud, losing to Georgia State in the Care Bowl. They’ll play five running backs and are breaking in a new starting quarterback in senior Drew Eckels, so keep that in mind if you’re tempted to take the points. The Badgers will begin answering the question of whether they have the firepower at receiver with Quintez Cephus and Danny Davis both suspended.

    San Diego State at Stanford (-14.5/49), 9:00 p.m. ET, FS1: After a tough loss at USC last September, the Cardinal dropped out of the national title conversation by losing at the Aztecs as an eight-point favorite. SDSU’s star running back Rashaad Penny is now with the Seahawks but there are high hopes that Juwan Washington can follow adequately in his footsteps. He hasn’t even been practicing due to the risk of injury, so Stanford will have to deal with a fresh back. Counterpart Bryce Love should already be playing in the pros, so we’ll see if his gamble to stay in school pays off beyond getting a degree in human biology to realize his other dream of becoming a pediatrician. Special kid. The Aztecs will have a strong plan in pace with Rocky Long having so many defensive starters back, so it will be on K.J. Costello to ensure the Stanford passing game takes advantage after failing to capitalize on the room to succeed Love’s presence provides.

    Saturday, Sept. 1

    Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma (-21/68.5), 12:00 p.m. ET, FOX: Points are expected to pile up here as early numbers have placed this total near 70 and the ‘over’ should still be a popular play. It’s Lane Kiffin vs. Lincoln Riley, two offensive masterminds, going at in a season opener, so they’ll have had plenty of time in the lab to show off a few wrinkles that could overwhelm the defense. The Owls are stepping up in weight class significantly and haven’t seen a quarterback emerge to take the reins, so that’s going to be a concern in a hostile atmosphere in Norman. It would spice things up if Oklahoma transfer Chris Robison starts for Florida Atlantic. Kyler Murray replacing Baker Mayfield was always the expectation, so now it’s time to see if the former elite recruit who never lost in high school can produce at a high level consistently before beginning his journey in the A’s farm system. The Sooners are laying a big number, so he’ll need to be sharp to keep this from getting too interesting. Impressive OU RB Rodney Anderson will shoulder a heavy load, but FAU’s Devin Singletary is also a pro. It’s expected to be sunny, so weather shouldn’t be a concern.

    Washington at Auburn (-1.5/49), 3:30 p.m ET, ABC: This one reigns as the top matchup of the weekend given the rankings and title aspirations both harbor. Huskies QB Jake Browning has gotten a reputation as a player who struggles in the biggest moments and took a step back after a brilliant sophomore year, so we’ll see how he attacks his senior season. Counterpart Jarrett Stidham is a potential No. 1 NFL overall pick given his arm and athleticism. Going up against SEC defenses will test him weekly, but don’t sell Washington short. Taylor Rapp is a tremendous safety leading one of the country’s top secondaries to the table. If Greg Gaines is back to his old self up front, Auburn will have some trouble moving it effectively. The dome at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium takes any weather concerns out the window and certainly gives the SEC’s Tigers the edge since their fan base will help create a great atmosphere and make life difficult for an offense that will lean on elite running back Myles Gaskin. It’s easy to dismiss what looks to be the Pac-12’s top team entering the season due to the league’s lack of success over the past few years but that would be foolish in this case. Washington has the coaching talent to take advantage of a season opener in which Gus Malzahn may believe his defense is ahead of the offensive, potentially slowing this contest down.

    West Virginia (-10/61) vs. Tennessee, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS: The Mountaineers have the nation’s most prolific returning passer in Will Grier and genuine Big 12 title aspirations, so it’s no surprise to see them as a double-digit favorite against the rebuilding Vols. There is significant SEC talent, especially on the defensive side of the ball, that West Virginia must contend with in order to move it. The prospect of WR David Sills and Gary Jennings helping Grier light up a Vols’ defensive backfield that will start a pair of true freshmen. New head coach Jeremy Pruitt can coach and scheme up a defense, but this will be a tough first test for him and his staff in Charlotte. Tennessee has entrusted Jarrett Guarantano over Stanford transfer Keller Chryst with the keys to the offense despite a shaky freshman season, so the offense is somewhat of a mystery. Thunderstorms are a possibility here as well.

    Michigan at Notre Dame (PK/47), 7:30 p.m. ET, NBC: We’ve got ourselves a pick’em here in addition to the possibility of inclement weather, so I’d wait until closer to kickoff to pick a side in this potential classic. Jim Harbaugh is entering a critical fourth season in Ann Arbor and has his best quarterback since arriving back at his alma mater with Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson at the controls. Unfortunately, talented receiver Tarik Black has been ruled out for a few months with an injury so Michigan will be down a playmaker in South Bend. The Wolverines topped the country in pass defense last season and will pose a major challenge for Irish QB Brandon Wimbush with so many starters back. Sophomore Ian Book might get in a series if the junior incumbent can’t produce results early but has remained the backup despite helping take down LSU in January’s Citrus Bowl. There are plenty of moving parts here. The last meeting between these former annual rivals saw Notre Dame help usher in the Harbaugh era with a 31-0 home win in 2014 that spelled the beginning of the end for Brady Hoke’s tenure. How will Brian Kelly fare now? Whichever team loses faces a major buzzkill.

    Louisville vs. Alabama (-24.5/60), 8 p.m. ET, ABC:
    Nick Saban has another tremendous defense in place, but the Crimson Tide will have to prove it on the field given the roster turnover. Redshirt senior Christian Miller and juniors Raekwon Davis and Anfernee Jennings are worthy leaders who should make life difficult for Lamar Jackson’s replacement, Jawon Pass. Bobby Petrino will have a strong offensive game plan in place with so long to prepare for a daunting challenge, so we’ll likely see this QB race between Heisman Trophy favorite Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts play out immediately. They’ve been listed as co-starters. The Tide are a 25-point favorite in Orlando, where rain is always a concern. Will having a new set of coordinators and a host of new faces derail the Tide or have them ready to show out. The ‘Ville will need standout WR Jaylen Smith to prove he’s a quick learner. He underwent an emergency appendectomy at the start of fall camp and is still coming along, which is unfortunate timing given the opening game opposition.

    BYU at Arizona (-11.5/60.5), 10:45 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Cougars are looking to bounce back from their first losing season since 2004 and have chosen Tanner Mangum over highly touted freshman Zach Wilson to lead the offense out on the field in Tucson. Former Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin has taken over after the Rich Rodriguez era ended and promises to push tempo in order to make QB Khalil Tate continue to shine since he’s got Lamar Jackson-like skills. This should be compelling given where both programs are entering the season. BYU tight end Matt Bushman was a freshman All-American last season but wasn’t handed the starting job, which is likely a message thing. With WR Dylan Collie and RB Squally Canada in the mix, Mangum will have weapons to move the ball on the road. The speculation is he’ll have a long leash. The ‘Cats will have to give Tate time and room to work without suspended senior left tackle Layth Friekh after losing three starters to graduation. The other key returnee, center Nathan Eldridge, has been hampered by knee issues and may not be up to speed if he can go. Getting the offensive line prepared has been one of Sumlin’s top objectives upon arrival.

    Sunday, Sept. 2

    Miami, FL (-3.5/48) vs. LSU, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC:
    The luster off the Bayou Bengals since they’ve been denied double-digit victories for four years and counting. The chances of Ed Orgeron changing that this season don’t look great and will be virtually non-existent if they fail at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium given the schedule ahead. LSU’s defense will have to replace a number of key figures but has a chance to again be solid with coordinator Dave Aranda at the controls. The Tigers have a new quarterback too, though Orgeron won’t say who he’s chosen between Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow and lightly experienced sophomore Myles Brennan. Miami hadn’t won 10 games since their 2003 team finished in the top-5 but won its first 10 last year in Mark Richt’s second season at the helm. They were beaten in their final three games last season but return plenty of talent on both sides of the coin, including QB Malik Rosier and RB Travis Homer. Rosier has been streaky, so improved consistency will likely end up being the key to this game and the Hurricanes’ season. Keep an eye on the matchup between UM receiver Ahmonn Richards and LSU corner Greedy Williams.

    Monday, Sept. 3

    Virginia Tech at Florida State (-7/57), 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN: The Willie Taggart era in Tallahassee opens against one of his new conference’s top programs, so there’s the potential for a rough start. Of course, the ‘Noles could also hit the ground running if Deondre Francois can pick up where he left off before being injured last season. He beat out James Blackman for the QB job and has a lot of talent to work with against a Hokies defense that lost a significant amount of talent. Bud Foster is one of the best in the business but it’s tough to expect to put together one of his typical stingy units immediately, especially since this opener is on the road. In Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech has perhaps the ACC’s top offensive threat and is capable of stealing this one. The schedules ease up for both teams in the first few weeks, so this is no deal-breaker even though it doubles as a crucial league game right out of the gate. The winner is set up to go on a run, so our Monday night college fill-in carries major consequences.
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  19. #44  
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    Louisville vs. Alabama
    August 29, 2018
    By Brian Edwards

    Matchup: Louisville vs. (1) Alabama
    Venue: at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
    Time/TV: Saturday, Sept. 1, 8:00 p.m. ET, ABC

    From 1973-2006, Nick Saban was the football version of Larry Brown. He never stayed at one job for more than five years.

    If Saban and the Miami Dolphins medical staff hadn’t doubted how quickly Drew Brees had recovered from the nasty shoulder injury suffered on his last play as a San Diego Charger, Brees and Saban might still be in South Florida. Instead, the ‘Fins signed Daunte Culpepper ahead of Brees and we know how that went down.

    If Rich Rodriguez would’ve taken the Alabama job offered to him by former AD Mal Moore while Saban still had another 4-5 games left in his last season with Miami, perhaps Saban would’ve stayed with the Dolphins? Maybe he would’ve ended up at another SEC school?

    We’ll never know. What we do know is that Saban is about to enter his 12th season in Tuscaloosa. During the first 11 years of his tenure, Saban has won five national championships. Five!

    And he might not be done yet. Alabama will begin its quest for a sixth national title in 11 years on Saturday night when it takes on Louisville in Orlando at Camping World Stadium.

    As of Wednesday morning, most books had Alabama listed as a 24.5 or 25-point favorite with a total of 60.5. The Cardinals had 15/1 money-line odds at William Hill (risk $100 to win $1,500).

    Alabama finished last season 13-1 straight up and 6-7-1 against the spread. After winning its first 11 games, the Crimson Tide lost 26-14 at Auburn in its regular-season finale at Jordan-Hare Stadium. This gave the Tigers the SEC West title, but they got thumped by Georgia at the SEC Championship Game to open the door for Saban’s team to sneak into the College Football Playoff.

    The Tide is the only school that’s made the CFP in all four years of its existence, going 5-2 with a semifinal loss to Ohio State in 2014 and a last-second loss to Clemson in the 2016 finals.

    Alabama returns seven starters on offense but only three on defense. Seven of the top-nine tacklers on defense are gone, as is star wide receiver Calvin Ridley, who left for the NFL a year early but still finished third in school history in career receiving yards with 2,781.

    With the exception of the Iron Bowl at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Nov. 24 when most books have Alabama favored by nine over Auburn in Games of the Year, Alabama is currently favored by 14 or more in each of its regular-season games. Unless Saban’s club is decimated by injuries, suspensions or shockingly poor play at the QB position, it figures to be favored by at least three touchdowns in its first eight games.

    Therefore, Alabama’s season will essentially come down to three games in November – at LSU (11/3), vs. Mississippi State (11/10) and vs. Auburn. This space and seemingly most other pundits feel that MSU is superior to LSU this year, meaning the Tide gets its two toughest games at home.

    As I often say, things happen during a football season. We’ll see dozens of torn ACL’s, high-ankle sprains and injuries to other body parts between now and the end of October. Those injuries, in addition to suspensions and chemistry issues, can completely change the dynamic of any football team in an instant.

    My point? Nothing is a given in college football. With that said, it’s hard to imagine Alabama not getting back to the CFP for a fifth straight campaign. And I hate making a statement like that before the first snap. Hell, I loathe when prognosticators pencil a team in to go undefeated in mid-October. But I guess I’ll be “that guy” this year and take it even a step further: I really can’t envision a scenario where Clemson and Alabama aren’t back in the CFP.

    Certainly, the odds in Las Vegas and offshore support this notion. has Alabama with -275 odds to make the CFP. Clemson is at -225. The offshore book has the Tide as the +210 ‘chalk’ to win the CFP (risk $100 to win $210) and the -170 favorite to win the SEC.

    The offseason banter in Tuscaloosa has predictably centered around the QB position. Since taking over as the starter in Week 2 of his true freshman season in ’16, Jalen Hurts has helped Alabama to a 26-2 record in 28 career starts. He was 24-1 going into last year’s Iron Bowl with the only defeat coming to Clemson in the CFP finals when a last-second TD pass by Deshaun Watson lifted the Tigers to victory.

    But Hurts struggled mightily in the loss at Auburn. In the CFP semifinal win over Clemson by a 24-6 count last year in New Orleans, it was the defense that was the catalyst. Hurts and the offense did enough, but it was clear that this unit wasn’t playing well going into the finals against Georgia.

    When the Bulldogs went to intermission ahead 13-0 in Atlanta, I felt like it was a no-brainer for Saban to give Hurts the hook in favor of 5-star recruit and true freshman Tua Tagovailoa. He did just that and it certainly paid dividends.

    Tagovailoa did make some mistakes, including an interception early in the third quarter. Nevertheless, he made enough plays in the passing game to ignite the offense. Alabama eventually pulled even at 20-20 and when it missed a potential game-winning field goal late in regulation, we went to overtime. UGA put up a field goal on the first possession of the extra session.

    Then on Alabama’s first play from scrimmage, Tagovailoa made a crucial (freshman) mistake and was sacked for a 16-yard loss. UGA fans could nearly taste the school’s first national title since 1980. But on the next play, Tagovailoa made a pass that had NFL scouts drooling when he hit fellow true freshman WR DeVonta Smith for a 41-yard scoring strike to give the Tide the win and another ‘natty.’

    Saban has named Tagovailoa and Hurts co-starters for the U of L game. Perhaps Saban is just trying to keep Hurts engaged? Maybe all the talk out of Tuscaloosa that Tagovailoa was clearly going to be the starter was a bunch of nonsense? Whatever the case, it’s clear that Tagovailoa is the much better passer. However, Hurts has lots more experience, is less prone to committing turnovers and his scrambling skills are a non-stop threat to opposing defenses.

    Remember, Hurts had a 17/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year. He also ran for 855 yards (999 before subtracting yardage for sacks) and eight TDs while averaging 5.6 yards per carry, garnering second-team All-SEC honors one year after being a first-team All-SEC choice. Other than the second half of the CFP finals vs. UGA, Tagovailoa played almost exclusively at garbage time. He had an 11/2 TD-INT ratio and a pair of rushing scores.

    Phil Steele’s SEC Unit Rankings in his preseason magazine tabs Alabama tops in the league at QB, RB, offensive line, defensive line, linebacker, defensive backs and in team chemistry. The only units not atop the conference are WRs (sixth) and special teams (seventh).

    Senior RB Damien Harris has 2,194 career rushing yards after producing 1,000 with 11 TDs and a 7.4 YPC average in 2017. Najee Harris (6.1 YPC) and Josh Jacobs (6.2 YPC) are more-than-capable reserves at RB.

    Three true sophomores are set to start at WR, including Smith. Henry Ruggs had 12 receptions for 229 yards and six TDs in ’17, while Jerry Jeudy had 14 catches for 264 yards and two TDs.

    Center Ross Piershbacher and OT Jonah Williams are preseason first-team All-Americans in Steele’s mag. Harris is a second-team All-American, as is DE Raekwon Davis. The Alabama o-line is ranked third in the country by Steele.

    Alabama’s defense must replace three first-round draft picks in safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (11th to Miami), DT Daron Payne (13th to Washington) and LB Rashaan Evans (22nd to Tennessee). Davis will anchor the d-line after recording 69 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1.5 tackles for loss and two QB hurries and one interception last season.

    Mack Wilson and Dylan Moses are going to take on bigger roles as starting LBs. Wilson produced 40 tackles, four interceptions, four QB hurries, 2.5 TFL’s and two passes broken up while starting two games and playing in a reserve role otherwise. Moses also started just two games, registering 30 tackles, four TFL’s, 1.5 sacks and one interception. Moses and Wilson were both five-star recruits coming out of high school.

    Alabama is dealing with several injuries. LB Terrell Lewis (ACL) is out for the season and LB Christopher Allen is ‘out’ indefinitely with a knee injury. Harris, the sophomore RB, is ‘questionable’ with a knee injury, while starting OT Matt Womack is ‘doubtful’ with a foot injury. Womack started all 14 games for the Tide last year. Finally, second-string safety Daniel Wright is ‘questionable’ with a shoulder issue.

    Louisville finished ’17 with an 8-5 SU record and a 5-8 ATS mark. Bobby Petrino’s squad won seven games by double-digit margins and went 4-1 both SU and ATS in its final five regular-season contests. However, the Cardinals ended the Lamar Jackson Era on a disappointing note by losing 31-27 to Mississippi State at the Taxslayer Bowl even though the Bulldogs were without star QB Nick Fitzgerald and gave a true freshman his first start under center.

    U of L brings back seven starters on offense and four on defense. The offense averaged 42.5 PPG in ’16 when Jackson won the Heisman Trophy. Although still prolific, this unit scored at a 38.1 PPG clip last season. Jackson threw for 3,660 yards with a 27/10 TD-INT ratio in ’17, in addition to rushing for 1,601 yards and 18 TDs with a 6.9 YPC average.

    You simply can’t replace numbers like that. As much as I dislike Petrino as a human being, I trust his coaching acumen on the offensive side of the ball enough to confidently say that this team is still going to score a lot of points.

    Jawon Pass is the third-year sophomore left to fill Jackson’s shoes. As a redshirt freshman in ’17, he completed 23-of-33 throws (69.7%) for 238 yards and two TDs without an interception. Pass ran 13 times for 62 yards and one TD with a 4.8 YPC average.

    Pass has an elite group of wideouts to target. Steele ranks U of L’s WRs as the 10th-best unit in the nation and tops in the ACC. Senior Jaylen Smith missed three games in ’17 but still earned first-team All-ACC honors. He had 60 receptions for 980 yards and seven TDs, while Dez Fitzpatrick had 45 catches for 699 yards and nine TDs. Seth Dawkins brought down 42 grabs for 642 yards and four TDs.

    There’s a lack of depth and experience at running back. It appears that it’ll be a rotation between redshirt freshman Colin Wilson, Dae Williams and Trey Smith. Williams, who rushed for 235 yards and three TDs with a 6.2 YPC average in ’17, is listed as ‘questionable’ vs. ‘Bama due to an undisclosed injury.

    U of L’s offensive line is ranked by Steele as the nation’s 27th-best. OT Mekhi Becton, who started 10 games as a true freshman last season, is a third-team preseason All-ACC choice.

    U of L’s defense lost DC Todd Grantham to Mississippi State before last year. Petrino replaced Grantham with Peter Sirmon, who saw his ‘D’ allow 27.4 PPG. Petrino sent Sirmon packing to replace him with veteran DC Brian Van Gorder, who has served in the same post at schools like Notre Dame, Auburn, Georgia and with the Atlanta Falcons.

    Van Gorder is hoping that the arrival of four Power Five transfers will bolster this unit. Junior LB Boosie Whitlow started three games in two years at South Carolina before sitting out all of ‘17 due to transfer rules. CB P.J. Mbanasor started two games at Oklahoma in two years before transferring last season. In addition, Marlon Character is expected to start at safety after beginning his career at Auburn and then leaving for a junior college. Finally, CB Rodjay Burns will be in the DB rotation after leaving Ohio State and sitting out ’17.

    Four of U of L’s top-five tacklers are gone, but leading tackler Dorian Etheridge is back. The sophomore MLB enjoyed a banner true freshman campaign in ’17, producing 83 tackles, three TFl’s and two PBU. DE Jonathan Greenard was outstanding last season when he tallied 48 tackles, 8.5 TFL’s, seven sacks, eight QB hurries and one PBU.

    Petrino is 34-18 in his second tour of duty at Louisville, but he’s still looking for his first 10-win season. He is 2-4 both SU and ATS in six games played on a neutral field. The Cardinals covered the spread in a 31-24 loss to sixth-ranked Auburn as 10.5-point underdogs in the 2015 opener at the Ga. Dome in Atlanta.

    On Petrino’s watch the past four seasons, U of L has been a double-digit ‘dog just the one time noted against Auburn. The Cardinals were 9.5-point ‘dogs and took the cash in a 23-17 loss at Clemson in 2014.

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

    **B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

    -- Sportsbook’s season win total for ‘Bama is 11 (‘over’ -120, ‘under’ -110), while Louisville is at seven (‘under’ -125, ‘over’ -105).

    -- Petrino went winless against Alabama in four games during his tenure at Arkansas. The Razorbacks lost those games by an average of 23.0 PPG.

    -- Alabama hasn’t played at this venue since its bowl game to conclude the 2010 season when it blasted Michigan State by a 49-7 count as an eight-point ‘chalk.’

    -- Alabama is opening the season with a neutral-field game for the seventh straight year. The Tide is 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in the six previous openers. The lone non-cover came in Atlanta when Saban’s bunch beat West Virginia 33-23 as a 25.5-point favorite in 2014. All six victories have come by double-digit margins, including W’s over FSU (24-7 in ’17), USC (52-6 in ’16), Wisconsin (35-17 in ’15), Va. Tech (35-10 in ’14) and Michigan (41-14 in ’13).
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  20. #45  
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    Oregon State at Ohio State
    August 29, 2018

    By Kyle Markus

    College Football Preview - Oregon State Beavers at Ohio State Buckeyes

    The Ohio State Buckeyes believe they have what it takes to win a national championship this season. Their journey will begin this week when they face off against the Oregon State Beavers, but it will be without coach Urban Meyer. He has been suspended for the first three games of the season after the mishandling of domestic violence allegations.

    Meyer is one of the best coaches in college football and his absence should be felt in this one, but Ohio State will still be the sizable favorite at home. The Buckeyes are breaking in a new quarterback and lost some talent to the NFL but boasts plenty of talent.

    Oregon State will be hard-pressed to win this game but hopes to at least remain competitive in NCAA football gambling.

    The Oregon State Beavers and Ohio State Buckeyes will face off on Saturday, September 1st, 2018 at 12 p.m. ET at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The game will be nationally televised on ABC.

    We'll have college football odds at available for every game of the 2018 NCAA football season.

    Odds Analysis

    Ohio State is a massive 37.5-point favorite in this matchup, a spread that’s hard to find when two Power Five teams face off. But the Buckeyes are national title contenders and the Beavers are coming off a season in which they captured just one game. Ohio State is giving 75 percent of the action despite the massive spread.

    The scoring total is listed at 64 points. The “over” is getting 64 percent of the action in college football gambling.

    Player to Watch

    Dwayne Haskins -- The Buckeyes have named Haskins the starting quarterback following an offseason competition with Tate Martell. Haskins saw limited work a season ago, completing 40-of-57 passes for 565 yards with four touchdowns and an interception.

    J.T. Barrett moved on to the NFL after last season, opening up the battle to replace him. Martell is an athletic player and should see time this season, but Haskins will get the first chance under center. He hopes to play well from the beginning and it’s an easy landing. Oregon State allowed 43.0 points per game in 2017, which was third-worst in the country.

    The Beavers are going to be inferior at nearly every position when these teams match up, which should allow Haskins to dominate. The true tests will come later in the season as Ohio State proves whether or not it is a true national championship contender, and Haskins will look to get comfortable in the spotlight in this one.

    Key Stat

    6. That’s the number of times in a row Oregon State has failed to cover a game in September. The Beavers have gotten off to slow starts of late and have to be crisper in order to change that narrative in this one.

    Oregon State has only covered in one of its past seven season openers so the Beavers will need to play better out of the gate in order to buck these recent trends. It can be a poor coaching strategy if a team continues to fall short on covering spread consistently early in the season, or it means the oddsmakers have misperceived the team’s talent.

    Free College Football ATS Picks

    Ohio State is one of the best programs in the country and should be able to run roughshod over the Beavers. The Buckeyes have to replenish this season but sign great recruiting classes each year and have talent waiting in the wings.

    Oregon State has a new coach but there are a bunch of talent issues in Corvallis. Even without Meyer the Buckeyes are not going to miss a beat. This is a big spread but Ohio State is the pick to cover with a blowout victory in NCAA football wagering.

    College Football ATS Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes 55, Oregon State Beavers 13
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  21. #46  
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    Thursday's Best Bets
    August 28, 2018
    By BetDSI

    Thursday College Football Betting Preview

    After wetting our CFB appetites with a couple games last Saturday to open the collegiate football season, the year begins in earnest this week with five days of action that begins on Thursday. We've got four games featuring FBS teams against one another on Thursday night and half of those games are actually conference battles in the AAC and Big 10.

    However, it's one of the non-conference games on the schedule that caught my eye in terms of a betting perspective. So let's get right to breaking down this game, as hopefully we can kickstart a full weekend of college football action with a few more units in our bankroll.

    Best Bet 1 and 2: New Mexico State +21 and Over 45.5

    Admittedly this isn't the greatest spot at all for the New Mexico State Aggies as it's a quick turnaround for them after they lost 29-7 at home last Saturday. That lackluster performance, combined with the lack of rest they've had between games is a major reason why this line has been bet up heavily in Minnesota's favor (opened at -18 and reached as low as -17) since Saturday night as there wasn't a whole lot to like from the Aggies offense in their season opener.

    Yet, if you are going to get saddled with a short week, there is probably no better time to deal with it than the first two weeks of the year, and the Aggies do have the added benefit of getting those early season jitters out of the way.

    Putting up a measly seven points in garbage time against Wyoming last week was highly disappointing for a New Mexico State program that was 6th in the country in passing yards a year ago (340.2/game) as new starting QB Matthew Romero (a JuCo transfer) did nothing but dink and dunk the football (16-for-27 for just 140 yards) against that stout Wyoming defense.

    It was obvious Romero was feeling some nerves being on the big stage for the first time and I expect him to play much looser and more aggressive in his second outing. Coming in as big underdogs, he and the rest of the Aggies don't really have a choice other than to be aggressive to give themselves a shot.

    Minnesota's defense is a solid one, but with only one returning starter from a year ago, quite a few freshmen projected to get the starting nod, and a defensive unit coming in with the mindset that they won't have to do much to win the game, I don't believe the Gophers will be all that good at slowing the Aggies offense down.

    The talent gap Minnesota has is obviously there given the large spread, but focus, perspective, and nerves can hit them just as they hit the Aggies offense a week ago and I do believe we get New Mexico to put up 17+ points this week. Remember, last week's poor showing offensively likely skewed this total a lot lower than it probably should be as well.

    Finally, Minnesota has named true freshman Zack Annexstad as their starting QB and his ascension to that role is another big reason why I'm taking the points with the visitors and backing the high side of this total. Annexstad is going to feel some nerves as well and with this being his first game at any collegiate level, trusting him to cover all those points is tough. There could be mental and physical mistakes that end up hurting Minnesota drives because of it and quite often those lead to points the other way.

    Annexstad was named the starter for a reason though and I do believe we see him put up some decent numbers as well. Making the most of his opportunities in regards to scoring TD's as opposed to settling for FG's is the goal as a big favorite here, and I would not be surprised to see Minnesota – a team that averaged just 22.1 points per game a year ago, start off 2018 with a 30+ point effort.

    In the end, I've got this game finishing somewhere in the range of 31-17 for the Golden Gophers and given the room for error on both sides with that projection, correlating a big underdog that nobody wants a part of after already seeing them play one game with the 'over' – another minority side with showing just 30% on the high side of the total – is how I'm attacking this contest.
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  22. #47  
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    Friday's Top Wager
    August 28, 2018

    By Kyle Markus

    NCAA Football Game Preview - San Diego State Aztecs at Stanford Cardinal

    The San Diego State Aztecs have established themselves as one of the stronger non-Power Five programs in the country, giving powerful teams trouble in recent years. They will have more chances in 2018, beginning with a season-opening matchup against the Stanford Cardinal.

    San Diego State won 10 games a year ago, including an upset of this very Stanford team. However, starting the season strong won’t be as easy. The Aztecs lost star running back Rashaad Penny to the NFL, as he was chosen in the first round of the draft by the Seahawks. The Cardinal are on the short list of teams expected to contend in the Pac-12 this season, and while this is not a conference game, it could be a good barometer of Stanford’s strength.

    This is one of the more marquee opening-week matchups of the college football season in NCAA wagering.

    The San Diego State Aztecs and Stanford Cardinal will face off on Friday, August 31st, 2018 at 9 p.m. ET at Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, California. The game will be nationally televised on FS1.

    We'll have college football odds at available for every game of the 2018 NCAA football season.

    Odds Analysis

    Stanford is listed as a 14.5-point favorite as San Diego State’s loss of key personnel and the change in location has the oddsmakers believing the Cardinals will win this one comfortably.

    Previous Matchup

    The Aztecs hosted Stanford in mid-September a season ago. Even though the Cardinals was ranked No. 19 in the country, San Diego State came away with the 20-17 victory. Quarterback Christian Chapman found David Wells on an 8-yard touchdown pass with 54 seconds remaining to give the Aztecs the comeback win.

    Penny carried the ball 32 times for 175 yards and a touchdown. Stanford running back Bryce Love was even better, rushing 13 times for an incredible 184 yards and two scores. However, the Cardinal got nothing out of its passing game, as Keller Chryst completed 9-of-20 passes for 72 yards with a pair of interceptions.

    Player To Watch

    Love -- The dominant performance against the Aztecs was a harbinger of things to come for the Stanford running back in 2017. He finished the season with 263 carries for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns. Love averaged a robust 8.1 yards per carry a season ago and enters 2018 as one of the front-runners for the Heisman Trophy.

    His presence is one of the main reasons Stanford is the team to beat in this matchup. San Diego State can’t let him run wild because the Aztecs have to expect the Stanford passing game will be better this year.

    Free College Football ATS Picks

    San Diego State is a solid program and even without Penny the team’s running game should remain strong. However, Stanford has the better team this year as well as the home field advantage. Take the Cardinal to capture this victory, but the spread is too high.

    San Diego State will cover in NCAA football gambling.

    College Football ATS Pick: Stanford Cardinal 31, San Diego State Aztecs 17
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  23. #48  
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    Saturday's Top Wager
    August 29, 2018

    By Kyle Markus

    College Football Preview - Mississippi Rebels vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

    The Texas Tech Red Raiders have spent years boasting one of the most explosive offenses in college football. This year, they are giving defense a try. Texas Tech has questions on the offensive side of the ball but is expected to be competitive because of its newfound ability to slow down opponents. That will be tested in Week 1 when it faces the Mississippi Rebels in an interesting Big 12/SEC showdown.

    Mississippi had an offense that got rolling by the end of the year and returns a lot of talent. This is a very intriguing matchup and may help detail which team has the potential to push for a quality bowl game at the end of the year.

    A lot of early-season games are expected to be blowouts but this one is stacking up as a game that should be competitive in NCAA football odds.

    The Mississippi Rebels and Texas Tech Red Raiders will face off on Saturday, September 1st, 2018 at 12 p.m. ET at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN.

    We'll have college football odds at available for every game of the 2018 NCAA football season.

    Odds Analysis

    The game is being played at a neutral site at the home of the NFL’s Houston Texans. The Red Raiders are listed as the two-point favorites and they are getting a little more than 54 percent of the action to cover the spread.

    The scoring total is listed 67.5 points, and the “over” has been the more popular choice. Mississippi is the +105 underdog on the moneyline, while Texas Tech is listed as the -125 favorite. The Rebels are the more popular choice on the moneyline in college football gambling.

    Player to Watch

    A.J. Brown -- The Texas Tech defense must concentrate on Mississippi’s star wide receiver. Brown had 75 catches for 1,252 yards and 11 touchdowns a season ago. He is projected to be a first-round pick in the NFL draft this April and should be fed early and often in this one.

    Texas Tech has some solid players on defense but there isn’t anyone that is likely to consistently shut down Brown all game. If he can haul in a touchdown and surpass 100 receiving yards, it should give the Rebels a decent shot at the victory. Brown put up big numbers last year despite the team changing quarterbacks in the middle of the season and figures to dominate in 2018.

    Key Stat

    10. That’s how many defensive starters Texas Tech is returning this season. So even though the Red Raiders gave up a middling 32.2 points per game and finished under .500 a year ago, the return of so much experience is the reason for optimism.

    Texas Tech was really bad defensively two seasons ago before taking a nice step forward. The rush defense, especially, played well and if the group can continue that in 2018 a bowl game could be on the horizon.

    This is a big game for those chances and a winnable one. The Red Raiders were good at forcing turnovers a season ago, coming away with 29 of then. If the group can be opportunistic in this one it will be in good shape to pick up the win.

    Free College Football ATS Picks

    Mississippi is ineligible for a bowl this year, which might take some of the luster off the season opener. Texas Tech fans could be more amped up, which could lead to a de facto home field advantage even though this is a neutral site.

    The Red Raiders are slight favorites and should be able to cover this spread on the strength of a nice defensive effort to open the year in NCAA football wagering.

    College Football ATS Pick: Texas Tech Red Raiders 33, Mississippi Rebels 27
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  24. #49  
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    Thursday games

    Central Florida went 13-0 LY, after going 0-12 in 2015; now they’ve got a new coach, with Frost off to Nebraska. UCF won 49-24, 24-16 in its last two games with UConn; Knights have QB with 23 career starts- their offensive line has 85 career starts, which is good. UCF covered seven of its last ten road games; they’re 10-5-1 vs spread in last 16 games as a favorite. UConn is 17-44 the last five years; since 2014, they’re 5-10 as home underdogs. Huskies have a senior QB with 4 career starts; their OL has 63 career starts.

    Northwestern won its last four games with Purdue, winning 45-17/38-14 in last two visits here. Both teams have 100+ starts returning on OL; Wildcats have a senior QB with 39 career starts. Northwestern is 7-6 vs spread in its last 14 road games; they’ve got seven starters back on both sides of the ball. Purdue has nine starters back on offense, only four on defense; they covered seven of last eight tries as home favorites. Boilers lost three of last four season openers that were against I-A opponents. Purdue has two QB’s with experience; which one will start?

    New Mexico State got whacked 29-7 at home by Wyoming Saturday; Aggies were outgained 449-135, had 51 penalty yards and minus-9 rushing yards- not good. Since 2015, State is 9-8 vs spread as road underdogs- they’ve got 17 starters back, 9 on defense, a new QB and an OL with 103 starts. Minnesota has 7 starters back on both sides of ball; they’ve got a new QB. Since 2015, Gophers are 4-11 vs spread as a home favorite.

    Wake Forest QB Hinton (2 starts LY) is suspended for this game. Deacons (-17) nipped Tulane 7-3 at home in the 2016 season opener. Wake has 14 starters back (8 on offense, 4 on OL- 132 returning starts!!!); they are 1-3 as road favorites the last eight years (0-2 under Clawson)- they covered eight of last 10 non-ACC games. Tulane has 14 starters back, 9 on offense (91 starts on OL); Green Wave is 3-2 as home underdogs under Fritz. Tulane has a senior QB with 11 career starts. Last two years, ACC teams are 8-4 vs spread when facing an AAC opponent.

    Friday/Saturday’s best 13 games

    Colorado won its last three games with Colorado State 17-3/44-7/27-24; Buffaloes are 12-8 as favorites under MacIntyre, but were just 1-4 LY. Buffs’ QB Montez has 15 career starts; they’ve got only 10 starters back, four on offense. Colorado State (last week’s info). Under Bobo, Rams are 6-8 vs spread out of conference; they covered nine of last 12 games as an underdog. Last three year, Pac-12 teams are 18-15-1 vs spread when facing a Mountain West foe.

    Northern Illinois (+3) upset Iowa 30-27 in last meeting five years ago; Huskies covered four of last five games vs Big 14 opponents. NIU has 14 starters back, 8 on offense- their OL has 111 starters back. Huskies are 10-3 vs spread as home underdogs under Carey; their QB is a sop with only 7 career starts. Iowa is 12-22-1 vs spread in its last 35 home games; they’ve got 13 starters back, 7 on offense. Hawkeyes’ QB is a junior with 13 starts. Last three years, MAC teams are 19-10-1 vs spread when playing a Big 14 opponent.

    Maryland (+17) went to Austin LY and shocked Texas 51-41, running ball for 263 yards, but Terps had a terrible off-season, with a player dying in conditioning workouts. Hard to tell what effect that will have, but it won’t be good. Maryland is 5-7 vs spread at home with Durkin; their OL has 105 returning starts, but their QB has almost no experience. Texas covered four of five on road in Herman’s first year; Longhorns have two experienced QB’s- their OL has 102 starts. Last four years, Big X teams are 6-5-1 vs spread when playing a Big 14 opponent.

    Vanderbilt won its last three games with Middle Tennessee, winning 47-24 (-3) in last meeting here in ‘16. Commodores have 12 starters back, 7 on offense- their senior QB Shurmur (30 starts) is son of the NJ Giants’ coach. Vandy is 13-14 vs spread at home under Mason, 4-8 when a home favorite. MTSU has 17 starters back, 9 on defense; senior QB Stockstill (32 starts) is the coach’s son. Blue Raiders are 6-10-1 in last 17 games as road underdogs. Last three years, SEC teams are 13-6-1 vs spread against Conference USA opponents.

    Arizona (-1.5) beat BYU 18-16 in last meeting two years ago, on a neutral field. Arizona debut for Kevin Sumlin, who was 13-19-1 as home favorite in his last job (Tex A&M). Since 2012, Wildcats are 11-13-1 as home favorites; they’ve got 16 starters back, 9 on defense- their mobile junior QB Tate has 9 starts. Arizona’s OL has 66 returning starts. BYU has senior QB with 21 starts; their OL has only 39 returning starts. Cougars have 14 starters back, 7 on both sides of ball; they’re 7-3 as road underdogs under Sitake.

    Long trip into SEC country (Atlanta) for Washington squad that has senior QB with 39 career starts, an OL with 97 career starts. Under Petersen, U-Dub is 17-14 vs spread away from home. Huskies have 17 starters back, 9 on defense. Since 2014, Auburn is just 5-14-1 vs spread in out of conference games; Tigers have junior QB with 17 starts- their OL has only 40 returning starts. Auburn has 13 returning starters, 7 on defense. Last seven years, SEC teams are 8-3 vs Pac-12 opponents, but Pac-12 teams won both matchups LY.

    Ole Miss-Tex Tech haven’t met since 2009; last two years, Rebels were 2-6 vs spread outside the SEC. Ole Miss has 15 starters back, 8 on offense- their OL has 102 returning starts. Rebels’ QB is a senior with only 5 career starts. Tech has a new QB; they’ve got 10 starters back on defense- their OL has 93 returning starts, but only one starter is a senior. Under Kingsbury, Red Raiders are 9-8-1 vs spread out of conference. Last seven years, Big X teams are 11-10 vs spread when facing an SEC opponent. This game is in Houston, so Tech will have crowd edge.

    West Virginia has 12 starters back, 7 on offense; their OL has 65 returning starts, the senior QB has 16 career starts. Mountaineers covered only one of last nine neutral field games. Tennessee has a new coach, their 5th coach in 11 years. Since 2012, Vols are 12-15 vs spread out of conference. Tennessee’s OL has 51 returning starts; their grad transfer QB had 13 career starts at Stanford. Last seven years, Big X teams are 11-10 vs spread when facing an SEC opponent. This game is in Charlotte, NC, so crowd support should be fairly even.

    North Carolina QB Surratt is suspended here for selling his sneakers; some of UNC’s offensive line are also out. Cal (+12) won 35-30 in Chapel Hill last season, throwing for 363 yards. Tar Heels have 13 starters back, 8 on defense; their OL has only 19 returning starts- since 2015, UNC is 10-4 vs spread on road. California covered nine of its last 12 home games; they’ve got 18 starters back, 10 on offense. Bears’ junior QB has 12 starts; their OL has 76 returning starts. Last four years, ACC teams are 8-3 vs spread when facing a Pac-12 team.

    Home side won last four Michigan-Notre Dame games; teams last met in 2014. Irish won 31-0 in last meeting here. Wolverines are 6-8 vs spread on road under Harbaugh; their new QB is Ole Miss transfer Patterson, who started 10 games at Ole Miss. Michigan has 17 returning starters, 9 on defense; their OL has 54 returning starts. Notre Dame has 15 returning starters, 9 on defense; their OL has 65 returning starters, their QB has 12. Since 2011, Irish are 14-11 vs spread at home- they covered their last three games as a home underdog.

    Alabama hasn’t announced their starting QB yet; obviously both are good. Crimson Tide covered four of its last five season openers. Alabama has 103 returning starts on its OL, but has only three returning starters on defense- they’ve got injury problems at linebacker. Louisville is 6-4 vs spread in its last ten games as an underdog; Cardinals have a new QB- their OL has 79 returning starts, their defense has only four returning starters. Last three years, ACC teams are 20-14-1 vs spread when playing SEC opponents. This game is in Orlando.

    Miami has 14 starters back, 7 on both sides of ball; Hurricanes’ OL has 55 returning starts, their QB has 14 starts. Miami covered only one of its last seven games on a neutral field. LSU has five starters back on both sides of ball; their OL has only 35 returning starts. Tigers will also have a new QB. Since 2012, LSU is 11-17 vs spread outside the SEC. Last three years, ACC teams are 20-14-1 vs spread when playing SEC opponents. This game is in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX. These teams haven’t met since 2005.

    Virginia Tech-Florida St split their last four meetings; they haven’t met since 2012. Tech has 12 starters back, 7 on offense; their OL has 51 returning starts. Hokies’ sophomore QB has 13 starts. Since 2013, Tech covered six of last eight games as road underdogs. First game at Florida State for Taggart, who is coaching his third different school in three years. Seminoles have 12 starters back, but only four on defense; their OL has 90 career starts. Looks like Francois returns at QB after missing almost all of LY with an injury. Since 2014, FSU is 10-14 as a home favorite.
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  25. #50  
    RX Semi-God
    Join Date
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    Las Vegas
    Week 1 Upset Alert
    August 29, 2018

    NCAAF Week 1 Upset Alert

    Now that the first full week of the 2018 college football season has finally arrived, it's an exciting time knowing that Saturday's for the next three months will be chalk-full of highly entertaining games and great betting opportunities. Yet, continually laying the “chalk” each week can get you and your bankroll in trouble if you're not being selective enough or doing the right amount of homework, as each week we see numerous upsets in the college football world.

    This weekly piece at will take a look at some of those potentially 'live' underdogs from various point spread ranges, and hopefully those that aren't scared to expose themselves to a little more risk will back a few of these underdogs on the ML as well.

    Upset Alert #1: Underdogs in the +1 to +9 point spread range

    SMU +4.5 over North Texas

    SMU opens up the 2018 campaign on the road against a North Texas team that's got eyes on returning to the Conference USA championship game. The Mean Green were flat out embarrassed in that title game against FAU last year (41-17) and let those down feelings affect them in their Bowl loss (50-30) against Troy. All of that should be water under the bridge to start this year off, but the did lose 54-32 at SMU last year and it's not like the Mustangs haven't gone out and made improvements themselves this off-season.

    SMU went out and hired Sonny Dykes to be their new HC and his “air raid” attack should further the development of this program throughout 2018. SMU has also been a program that tends to play very well early on in the year before struggling mightily in conference play, and that also bodes well for them in this spot.

    Sure, the revenge angle is working against the Mustangs after last year's win over North Texas, but it's not hard to see the same end result happening again. Dykes was brought in to SMU to win and win now, and we could easily see SMU start off the year 1-0 SU and ATS.

    Upset Alert #2: Underdogs in the +10 to +19 point spread range

    Cincinnati +14.5 over UCLA

    Cincinnati is in Year 2 of the Luke Fickell era and they are hoping for much better results overall. The Bearcats were a disappointing 4-8 SU and ATS a season ago, but with a returning senior QB in Hayden Moore leading the attack, Cincinnati should improve on that record greatly this year. It could easily start with an upset win over a UCLA program that's going through plenty of changes themselves.

    The Bruins are moving on from the Josh Rosen era and into the Chip Kelly era and that alone should make it an interesting season to be a UCLA fan. Kelly flamed out in the pro ranks after a very successful tenure at Oregon, and obviously both he and the administration at UCLA believe he can jump right back into that collegiate boat and keep on paddling downstream. The arrogance Kelly had about “his system” proved to be his downfall in the pros, and I would not be surprised to see it take a few weeks or so before this UCLA team really gets off the ground.

    So not only are their drastic changes from a philosophical standpoint for this Bruins team, but handing over the reigns of the offense to sophomore QB Devon Modster might not be as smooth as expected either. This is also a situation where Kelly as inherited a program where he's done no recruiting in terms of the starters on the field, and if he becomes thick-headed like he was in the pros trying to force guys into doing things they aren't comfortable or even able to do, jamming those square pegs into round holes is going to equate to quite a few losses for UCLA early on.

    Finally, with a huge game at Oklahoma on deck, chances are we see UCLA look past what was a bad Cincinnati team from a year ago. We've already seen some reverse line movement work in the Bearcats favor, but I'm not so sure an outright victory is completely out of the question either for Cincinnati.

    Upset Alert #3: Underdogs in the +20 and above range

    Rice +25.5 vs Houston

    Calling for an outright upset with any underdog of +20 points is probably a little too ambitious, but grabbing all these points with a home dog that's already dealt with those “first game jitters” and probably had one eye looking ahead to this showdown with Houston.

    Rice didn't look good at all last week as they need a 12-0 scoreline in the 4th quarter to come back and beat a Prairie View A&M team that was catching 23 points that day. Rice's one dimensional attack with RB's Emmanuel Esukpa and Austin Walter carrying the ball a collective 43 times for 256 yards and 3 TD's started to get bogged down in the middle portion of that contest and at the same time Rice's defense had rough 2nd quarter as well.

    However, Rice went into that second frame with a 13-0 lead and then made the mistake of thinking the final 45 minutes would continue to be a cakewalk. It took them some time to get things back in high gear, but they did it just in time, and now that focus that I'm sure was already partially on this Houston – a program that obliterated Rice (38-3) a year ago – can come to fruition in a game that should be much closer than a line like this suggests.

    Conversely, Houston is a program that many are high on this year, but I am not sure I see it. A middle of the back finish in the AAC is likely the end result for this team, and when you look at the Cougars schedule, this game has the feel of being one of those dreaded “trap” games. Yes, having a trap game out of the gate isn't likely given that every player is amped up for the start of a new season, but with games against Arizona and Texas Tech the next two weeks for the Cougars, can you really blame them if they look past a Rice program that they beat up on last year and just watched struggle against an FCS team last week?

    That's how I envision this game playing out and while it will end up being another SU loss for Rice in the end, it won't be by more than three TD's.
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