Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How the Conference Championships Will Play Out

After some thought last night, I changed my picks slightly in some individutal games(changes are italicized). I really feel like right now this Miami team feels defeated and does not have much left. Virginia Tech is riding a high after their thrashing of Clemson and will not underestimate Miami in the Orange Bowl. BC will have the Atlantic Division wrapped up with their win over Wake this weekend (changed) and a victory against Maryland. The Eagles will have to travel to Miami on just five days after that game. Another game I feel pretty shaky about in the ACC is this weekend's Georgia Tech-NC State game. The Jackets should win this one, but they have a history under Chan Gailey of losing one game each year to an inferior opponent. With last week's huge win over Miami basically securing their spot in Jax and Amato's job on the line, don't be shocked if NC State pulls of the upset.

ACC - Atlantic Division
Boston College 3-1, 7-1
Predicted Wins: @Wake, vDuke, vMyld,
Predicted Losses: @Mia
Predicted Finish: 6-2, 10-2 Atlantic Champs

Wake Forest 3-1, 7-1
Predicted Wins: None
Predicted Losses: vBC, @FSU, vVT, @Myld
Predicted Finish: 3-5, 7-5

Maryland 3-1, 6-2
Predicted Wins: vWake, vMia
Predicted Losses: @Clem, @BC
Predicted Finish: 5-3, 8-4

Clemson 4-2, 7-2
Predicted Wins: vMyld, vNCST, vSCar
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Finish: 6-2, 10-2

ACC-Coastal Division
Georgia Tech 4-1, 6-2
Predicted Wins: @ NC State, @UNC, vDuke, @Georgia
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Finish: 7-1, 10-2 Coastal Champ

Virginia Tech 3-2. 6-2
Predicted Wins: vMia, vKenSt, @Wake, vVirg
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Finish: 6-2, 10-2

Miami 2-2, 5-3
Predicted Wins: @Virg, BC
Predicted Losses: vVT, @Myld
Predicted Finish: 4-4, 7-5

Current ACC Standings:

Boston College3-1.7507-1.875
Wake Forest3-1.7507-1.875
NC State2-3.4003-5.375
Florida State2-4.3334-4.500
Georgia Tech4-1.8006-2.750
Virginia Tech3-2.6006-2.750
North Carolina0-5.0001-7.125

The SEC picture is much more cloudy than that of the ACC. Tennessee is still very alive in the East, but has some huge games versus LSU and at Arkansas coming up. In the West, Arkansas has three very tough games remaining (@ So. Carolina, vTennessee, vLSU) though they can lose one and still make it to Atlanta. I have a feeling Tennessee is going to come up a little short in the East looking at their schedule remaining against Florida's. Arkansas has its work cut out for them as I am sure teams will load the box against them to stop their rushing attack.

Florida 5-1, 7-1
Predicted Wins: @Vand, vSCar, vWCU, @FSU
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Finish: 7-1, 11-1 East Champs

Tennessee 3-1, 7-1
Predicted Wins: vLSU, @Vand, Kent
Predicted Losses: @Ark
Predicted Finish: 6-2, 10-2

Arkansas 4-0, 7-1
Predicted Wins: Tenn, @MsSt
Predicted Losses: @SCar, vLSU
Predicted Finish: 6-2, 9-3

Auburn 5-1, 8-1
Predicted Wins: vArkSt, vUGA, @Alab
Predicted Losses: None
Predicted Finish: 7-1, 11-1 West Champs

S. Carolina3-3.5005-3.625
Ole Miss1-5.1672-7.222
Miss. State0-5.0002-7.222

Monday, October 30, 2006

Who Is On Top Heading Into November?

1. Boston College 1. Florida
2. Clemson 2. Auburn
3. Georgia Tech 3. Tennessee
4. Virginia Tech 4. Arkansas
5. Wake Forest 5. LSU
6. Maryland 6. South Carolina
7. Miami 7. Alabama
8. Florida State 8. Georgia
9. Virginia 9. Vanderbilt
10. NC State 10. Kentucky
11. North Carolina 11. Ole Miss
12. Duke 12. Miss St

National Top 10
1. Ohio St
2. Michigan
3. West Virginia
4. Louisville
6. Florida
7. Auburn
8. USC
9. Tennessee
10. Arkansas
Next: Cal, Arkansas, Notre Dame

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Tech, Gators Close in on Division Titles

Another brutal week ATS (2-6). Over/Under saved me a little bit going 3-1. Another saving grace was 12-1 SU picks.

Next week's preview will have some different angles on the spreads including a possible teaser games.

The Hokies dominated the Tigers in a Thursday night game. Clemson looked like a totally different team than the one who blew out Georgia Tech just five days priop. The loss is a huge one for Clemson as they now need several losses by teams in front of them to make the ACC Championship. Let's take a look at what I thought were the keys to the game.
Keys for Virginia Tech:
1. Watch Out for Thunder and Lightning
CJ Spiller ran for 41 yards - long of 13 yards, 2 rec for 7 yards; James Davis ran for 30 yards and 1 TD - long of 9 yards. The Hokies used eight and sometimes nine men in the box to stop the Tigers. VT held Clemson to just 166 total yards
2. Glennon or Whitaker, Does It Matter?
Glennon was 9-15, 108 yards, 0TD, 0INT, 6 rushes for -12 yards. Even. Glennon only had to throw 15 times as Branden Ore ran all over the field.
3. Make the Special Teams Special Again
Hokies did not have any big plays on special teams, but played solid.
Keys for Clemson:
1. Run Until You Can't
The Tigers only ran the ball 28 times and it looked like they were running sucessfully, but decided to rely on the pass to come back.
2. Take Your Gaines With Your Losses
Gaines Adams played well, but was not near the dominant force last week. The whole Tiger defense looked tired in the second half maybe because of their five day turnaround with travel.
3. Strike Early
The Tigers got on the board first, but then gave up 24 answered.

The Yellow Jackets are now two wins away from clinching a spot in the ACC Championship after defeating Miami. The Hurricanes had a fumble recovery for a TD, but could never get going on offense and appeared to wear down in the fourth quarter. Two fumbles, including the last play of the game, epitomize the struggles of this year. Miami is simply not making the plays they have in the past - dropped interceptions (2 this game), 3 fumbles, allowing 7 sacks. Larry Coker is likely gone now that the Hurricanes ACC title hopes are on life support.
Keys for Miami:
1. Establish a Ground Game
Miami ran for 71 net yards, but freshman Javarris James did rush for 113 yards on 19 carries
2. Down for the Count?
Miami ran out to a 10-0 lead, but were dominated in the 2nd half and simply wore down.
3. Kyle Wright > Reggie Ball
Wright was 20-31, 246 yards, 1TD, 1INT, 1FUM, 7Sacks. Ball was 11-27, 188 yards, 2TD 0INT 1FUM 4 Sacks.
Keys for Georgia Tech
1. Line of Scrimmage
Tech established a physical ground game with Choice rushing for 107 yards. Ball was sacked four times. However, the Georgia Tech defense sacked Kyle Wright seven times and held James to just 64 yards on 18 carries minus a big 49 yard run
2. Calvinism
Calvin Johnson 5-68yards-1TD
3. Punch in the Mouth
The punch in the mouth was delivered first by Miami on the first play, but the Tech defense responsed with seven sacks forcing 4 turnovers. The knockout punch came from Tashard Choice TD pushing him over 100 yards rushing.

The Gators raced out to a 21-0 lead early in the third, but the Bulldogs fought back and had a chance to tie in the fourth quarter before Florida ran out the clock. This game was full of defense as neither offense really got going in this game. Matt Stafford struggled again in passing the ball, but showed some good feet in running for one TD. Lets take a look at what I thought would be the keys to the game.
Keys for Georgia:
1. Find a Leak in the Florida Line
Georgia never sacked Chris Leak, but did force 1INT
2. Specialize
Henderson returned just one punt for five yards even though Florida punted six times.
3. Take Your Lumps
Lumpkin rushed 11 times for 43 yards and 1 TD, but also had a fumble returned for a TD
Keys for Florida:
1. Gator Bait
Florida sacked Matt Stafford four times and forced him into two picks and two fumbles
2. Where Theres a Wynn Theres a Win
The Gators outrushed Georgia 163 to 98 with a combination of Tebow, Harvin, and Wynn carrying the ball eight times each.
3. Percy Have Mercy
Harvin was the leading rusher for Florida with 8 carries for 37 yards, but did not have a huge impact in the game.

The Vols stayed in the SEC East race with a big, road victory in Columbia. Erik Ainge led the charge completing 72% of his passes and throwing 2 TD. The Gamecocks turned the ball over three times to Tennessee's one in the loss and failed to get the ball to Sidney Rice in the end zone. Lets take a look at what I thought would be the keys to the game.
Keys for Tennessee:
1. Newton Discovery
Newton was Spurrier's leading rusher with 85 yards on the ground and 1TD. Newton was not sacked the entire night.
2. Volunteer for Blocking
Ainge was only sacked once and was given time to complete 21 of 29 passes. The Vols managed 94 yards on the ground as well.
3. Balancing Act
The Vols threw for 254 yards, but did rush 23 times as compared to 29 times passing.
Keys for South Carolina:
1. Stretch the Field
The Gamecocks did have four completions of 20 yards or more and two for 30+ yards
2. Rice
Sidney Rice had only 3 catches for 52 yards and was held scoreless, but he was also held most of the night by Tennessee defenders.
3. Last Year Was Last Year
The Vols took a 14-0 lead aided by an interception return for a TD, but the Gamecocks pulled ahead 17-14 in the 3rd quarter. The difference between this year and last year is the play of Erik Ainge.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Divisional Battles (and Revenge Games too)

Miami 5-2 @ #23 Georgia Tech 5-2 (-5, 37) 3:30 ABC
This game is for the Coastal Division as both teams have one loss.
Miami Notes:
Common Opp: None
ATS: 1-4-1 Away: 1-1 (0-2ATS) O/U:0-6-0
Larry Coker - ATS: 27-33 Away Dog: 5-0 (thru 2005)
Georgia Tech Notes:
Common Opp: None
ATS: 3-3-0 Home: 4-1 (1-2 ATS) O/U: 3-3-0
Chan Gailey - ATS: 23-24-2 ATS Home Fav: 9-9 (thru 2005)

Keys for Miami:
1. Establish a Ground Game
Unless Miami did not watch last week's tape, then they will know how well Clemson rushed the ball against a fast, but small GT defense. The Hurricanes have capable backs, but the 0-line has not played very well this season. I think the GT defense can be worn down over four quarters if you stick with the run.
2. Down for the Count?
There is more than Hurricane players swirling around Miami these days. With the Peach Brawl last year, the Louisville stomp, and the FIU melee this Miami team has been through a lot and the coach who has been through it with them may not be around much longer. Still, one of Miami's goals is to get to the ACC Championship, is still very well in sight. The question is does the desire still exist if Miami gets down 10-14 points in this game.
3. Kyle Wright > Reggie Ball
Both of these QBs have been much criticized for the play as starters; some is deserved some is not. Whichever QB plays better gives their team a much better chance to win since the fortunes of their teams depend heavily upon their play according to the statistics. However, the play of these two is determined very much so by the protection they receive.
Keys for Georgia Tech
1. Line of Scrimmage
Tech was absolutely dominated at the LOS last Saturday and must do a better job this week to win.
2. Calvinism
The offensive coaching must believe in this guy. They must believe he can beat double coverage; they must believe that if they just get the ball in his hands good things will happen. Calvin Johnson needs at least five catches and/or a TD for the Jackets to pull of the win.
3. Punch in the Mouth
Miami has been blasted by the media for the poor play and sportsmanship ever since the end of last season. Yet, they still have the talent to play with everyone in the ACC. Miami still thinks they are the bully on the ACC block, but a lot of teams do not fear them anymore. Georgia Tech wants to show last year's upset was not a fluke. I think if Georgia Tech can get up two scores in this game with their defense, they can start making reservations for Jacksonville.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 17 Miami 13 (Miami Covers, Under)

Georgia 6-2 vs #9 Florida 6-1 (-13, 41) Jacksonville, Fl 3:30 ABC
The Game Formerly Known as the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party
Georgia Notes:
Common Opp: vTenn 33-51
ATS: 2-5-0 O/U: 3-4-0
Mark Richt- ATS: 34-28 (thru 2005)
Florida Notes:
Common Opp: @Tenn 21-20
ATS: 3-4-0 O/U:2-5-0
Urban Meyer- ATS: 6-6 ATS (thru 2005)
Florida has won 14 of the last 16 meetings

Keys for Georgia:
1. Find a Leak in the Florida Line
Auburn wrote the book on how to beat Florida in the second half a few weeks ago by getting pressure on Leak and causing turnovers. Georgia is very capable of getting pressure with the bookends of Charles Johnson and Quentin Moses.
2. Specialize
The return game is one area where Georgia has a decided advantage. Mikey Henderson must get loose for a big punt return. If I am Florida, I don't even kick the ball to him.
3. Take Your Lumps
Kregg Lumpkin is a solid back who can carry the ball 20-25 times a game. But it seems Georgia has wanted to try and move the ball through the air more even with an unproven QB and questionable WR. If Lumpkin can move the ball on the ground, this will set up the passing game and take pressure of Stafford.

Keys for Florida:
1. Gator Bait
Florida's defense is licking their chops at playing a true freshman at the WLOCP. The Gators need to bring pressure and see how Stafford reacts. Florida's DBs are good enough to play man coverage on UGA's WR.
2. Where Theres a Wynn Theres a Win
The team that rushes for more in this game usually wins and unless Tebow sees a lot of action, DeShawn Wynn will be the main horse for the Gators. Wynn looked pretty good against Auburn in the first half, but never got going in the second half. It is important that Florida establishes the run before going long.
3. Percy Have Mercy
Percy Harvin is an electriflying player who can take the ball from a handoff, pass, or a reverse. He is the best athlete on the field and is a threat to take it all the way every time he touches the ball.
Prediction: Florida 28 Georgia 10 (Florida Covers, Under)

#10 Tennessee 6-1 @ South Carolina 5-2 (+3, 44) 7:45 ESPN
Even if this game does not live up to the hype, here is a Battle of the Babes from the two schools.
Tennessee Notes:
Common Opp: @UGA 51-33
ATS: 5-2-0 Away: 2-0 (2-0ATS) O/U:3-3-1
Phil Fulmer - ATS: 79-82-1 Away Fav: 24-24 (thru 2005)
South Carolina Notes:
Common Opp: vUGA 0-18
ATS: 5-1-0 Home:2-2 (2-1ATS) O/U 3-3-0
Steve Spurrier - ATS: 6-5-1 Home Dog: 1-2 (thru 2005)

Keys for Tennessee:
1. Newton Discovery
Ever since Syvelle Newton took over the QB duties in Colombia this South Carolina offense has been a different unit. Spurrier is a master at taking advantage of the mismatch and the Vols will need to account for him running or passing on every down.
2. Volunteer for Blocking
Against Florida, the Vols could not run the ball allowing the Gators to sell out on defending the pass. The Vols must block better than they did in that game.
3. Balancing Act
Erik Ainge has played much better this season and he has some really good receivers to throw to. Still, the Vols must have a running game as they will not be able to pass all game against the Gamecocks.

Keys for South Carolina:
1. Stretch the Field
With Newton's ability to run and a somewhat anemic rushing attack, South Carolina needs to stretch the field early to keep the Vols from keying on Newton and Rice.
2. Rice
Spurrier will find ways to get the ball in the hands of his best player. Last week, it was from the running back spot with seven rushes and a TD. Tennessee will likely double cover Rice for much of the game, but that is not an excuse for not getting him the ball.
3. Last Year Was Last Year
South Carolina beat Tennessee for the first time in 12 years last year. ESPN Gameday will be in Colombia for a game between old rivals Spurrier and Fulmer. Williams-Brice Stadium will be rocking, but South Carolina needs to realize this is not the Tennessee of last year.
Prediction: Tennessee 28 South Carolina 27 (S. Carolina Covers, Over)

Other ATS Games: (changed these from the first posting)
Buffalo (+34) @ Boston College
Matt Ryan will likely not play in this game (if Tom O'Brien is smart)
Maryland (+4) vs Florida State
Things have run amuck in Tallahassee while it looks like the Terps are pulling it together
Northern Illinois (+16) @ Iowa
The Hawkeyes will be without Drew Tate and the QB in his place has thrown 1TD and 4INT
Nebraska (-5.5) @ Oklahoma St
Cornhuskers should be pretty angry after letting one slip away last weekend vs Texas
Other ACC & SEC Games:
Vandebilt Over Duke
Maryland Over Florida State
Wake Forest Over North Carolina
Virginia Over NC State
Boston College Over Buffalo
Alabama Over Fla Intl
Arkansas Over La-Monroe
Auburn Over Ole Miss
Kentucky Over Miss St

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

James Davis 50/50 for Va Tech Game

#12 Clemson 7-1 @ Virginia Tech 6-2 (+4, 42) Thurs 7:45 ESPN
Keys for Virginia Tech:
1. Watch Out for Thunder and Lightning
In 2000, Va Tech's opening game with Ga Tech was canceled due to thunder and lightning. If thunder (James Davis) and lightning (CJ Spiller) show up again, then the Hokies may have wished this game was canceled too. Davis has a sore shoulder, but I will be surprised is he doesn't start. The Tigers will likely line up with seven or eight men on the o-line and pound the ball with their RB tandem. The Hokie d-line is small and quick much like Ga Tech's is, so that does not bode well for Beamer. Also, don't sleep on these two catching balls out of the backfield. Spiller pulled two jukes last seen in NCAA Football 07 last week on the way to paydirt.
2. Glennon or Whitaker, Does It Matter?
Sean Glennon has been the starter for much of the season, but his poor play in both of the Hokies losses has caused Beamer to insert Ike Whitaker more and more. Whitaker gives the Hokies more a running option. Of course the Tigers had no problem with the dangerous Reggie Ball last week. Whomever the Hokies trot onto the field, they have to get better play out of this positon if they want to win. I am gonna say that the Hokies can have no more than one turnover from the QB position and throw at least one TD.
3. Make the Special Teams Special Again
The Hokies special teams has not been as effective this year in big games as in the past. In fact, the Hokies had a kick blocked of their own this season by one team's walk on place kicker (GT's Troy Garside). This is an area you could count on the Hokies dominating and with Clemson's troubles kicking the ball and covering kicks, Va Tech needs to return to its old form. Watch out for Josh Morgan in the middle on punt blocks.

Keys for Clemson:
1. Run Until You Can't
If you were a Clemson fan last week, you were probably yelling "why throw the ball" as Clemson did 16 times. The Tigers o-line has been dominant this year and that is an understatement. The Hokies allow under 100 yrpg, but they have not faced an attack like this. Just like Ga Tech, Clemson faces an undersized line that can be worn down.
2. Take Your Gaines With Your Losses
Gaines Adams was unreal coming of the edge last week letting the country know why he is a likely first round pick in April. If the Tigers can get pressure with their front four, their next seven is good enough to shut down the speedy Va Tech receivers and slow the running game.
3. Strike Early
Blacksburg will be rocking for this Thursday night game in what should be chilly temperatures. Ga Tech struck early with 21 unanswered and took the crowd and the Hokie team out of their game. A Lightning strike early would make the Hokies play from behind, which does not play to their strength on offense. Also, both teams have a five day turnaround to this game, but Clemson will be traveling on Thurs morning. If they get behind, those tired legs may get more tired.

Clemson Notes:
Common Opp: UNC 52-7, Ga Tech 31-7, @BC 33-34
ATS: 6-2-0 Away: 2-1 (1-2-0 ATS) O/U: 5-3-0
Tommy Bowden ATS: 45-40-2, Away Fav: 5-8-1 (thru 2005)

Va Tech Notes:
Common Opp: @UNC 35-10, Ga Tech 27-38, @BC 3-22
ATS: 3-3-0 Home: 4-1 (2-2-0 ATS) O/U: 3-3-0
Va Tech won last 3 meetings by at least 20 pts(1998, 1999, 2001)
Frank Beamer ATS: 122-89-7, Home Dog: 12-6-1 (thru 2005)

Prediction: Clemson 24 Virginia Tech 17 (Clemson Covers, Under)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Podcast Reviewing Oct 21 Games

Week 8 Review Podcast

Pictures from this weekend:

Next Week's Big Games:
#12 Clemson @ Virginia Tech (Thursday) 7:45 ESPN

Miami @ #23 Georgia Tech 3:30 ABC

#9 Florida vs Georgia (Jacksonville) 3:30 CBS

#11 Tennessee @ South Carolina 7:45 ESPN

Florida State @ Maryland 7:00 ESPN2

Tigers Lead Power Rankings

1. Clemson
2. Boston College
3. Georgia Tech
4. Virginia Tech
5. Wake Forest
6. Florida State
7. Maryland
8. Miami
9. NC State
10. Virginia
11. North Carolina
12. Duke

1. Auburn
2. Florida
3. Arkansas
4. Tennessee
5. LSU
6. South Carolina
7. Alabama
8. Georgia
9. Vanderbilt
10. Kentucky
11. Miss St
12. Ole Miss

1. Clemson
2. Auburn
3. Florida
4. Arkansas
5. Tennessee
6. LSU
7. Boston College
8. Georgia Tech
9. Wake Forest
10. Virginia Tech
11. South Carolina
12. Florida State
13. Alabama
14. Georgia
15. Maryland
16. Miami
17. NC State
18. Vanderbilt
19. Virginia
20. Kentucky
21. Miss St
22. Ole Miss
23. North Carolina
24. Duke

Top 10
1. Ohio St
2. Michigan
3. USC
4. West Virginia
5. Louisville
6. Texas
7. Clemson
8. Auburn
9. Florida
10. Arkansas

Next: Tennessee, Cal, Notre Dame

Friday, October 20, 2006

ACC Showdown in Tiger Town

#13 Georgia Tech @ #12 Clemson (-7.5, 47) 7:45 ESPN
This matchup has been one of the closest rivalries in the nation over the last 10 years. The favorite in this series 0-11 ATS in the last 11 games. Clemson has the advantage on offense with the stellar running of James Davis and CJ Spiller and the solid play of QB Will Proctor. The Georgia Tech offense has come alive this year under a new system and the play of Reggie Ball. Ball, much maligned during his career has thrown 10 TD to 5 INT this season, which is a much better ratio than his first three seasons.

Defensively, Tech has the stronger defense because of DC Jon Tenuta's blitzing schemes. Leading the way is LBs KaMichael Hall and Philip Wheeler. Clemson lost two starting LB to injury before the season, but has played very well on defense outside of the Boston College game. Tech does much better against pocket passers, which Proctor is, but he also scrambles fairly well.

Both teams have had their share of struggles in the kicking game. ESPN Gameday will be at Clemson for the first time ever creating a buzz in Tiger Town like never before. Georgia Tech usually plays its best on the biggest stages.

Keys to the Game:
1. Play of Reggie Ball
I know its a cliche that the QB has to play well, but this is especially true for Georgia Tech. Ball is 25-17 in his career with 47TD and 46INT. In 25 wins, Ball has thrown 36TD, while in 17 losses he has thrown just 8 with 27INT. This season, the senior is playing well throwing 10TD to 5INT. Mark it down, if Ball throws more INT than TD, then Georgia Tech will not win this game.
2. Point of Attack
Clemson has an outstanding tandem at tailback and they along with the offensive line are the reason the Tigers lead the nation in scoring offense. Meanwhile, Georgia Tech uses speed and deception in its defense which is 7th in the nation against the run. Jon Tenuta will sell out on the blitz sometimes and if the holes are now plugged, it could lead to a big gain. If Georgia Tech can plug those holes effectively, they will slow the running game and get pressure on Will Proctor and win this game.
3. Special Teams
Not because these two teams are good special teams, but because they are not very good. The main bright spot has been the two punters, but the field goal kicking and kickoff coverage has been frightful for these teams. Whichever team can sure up their woes will have a decided advantage in this area of the game.

10/29/2005CLEM 9 - GATCH 10CLEM 2.5U 46
9/11/2004GATCH 28 - CLEM 24GATCH 7O 47
9/20/2003CLEM 39 - GATCH 3CLEM 5.5P 42
9/14/2002GATCH 19 - CLEM 24CLEM 1U 45.5
9/29/2001CLEM 47 - GATCH 44CLEM 13O 54
Clemson Last5:
10/12/2006TEMW 63-9W -44O 56
10/7/2006@ WFRSTW 27-17L -14U 44.5
9/30/2006LTECHW 51-0W -31.5U 54
9/23/2006NCARW 52-7W -16O 49
9/16/2006@ FSUW 27-20W 4O 46.5
Georgia Tech Last 5:
10/7/2006MDW 27-23L -14.5O 43
9/30/2006@ VATCHW 38-27W 8.5O 37
9/21/2006VIRGW 24-7W -16.5U 39.5
9/16/2006TROYW 35-20L -17.5O 38.5
9/9/2006SAFRDW 38-6- -- -

Prediction: Clemson 24 Georgia Tech 21 (GT Covers, Under)

#21 Boston College @ Florida St (-4, 41.5) 3:30 ABC
The big question in this game is the health of BC QB Matt Ryan. He was limping in the 4th quarter of the Eagles last game vs Va Tech and is questionable for Saturday. If he can't go, then BC is in trouble, but if he can and is effective then the Eagles have a good shot to be only the fourth ACC team to win at Doak Campbell Stadium. FSU will win this game with their defense and the energy of their home crowd however, they cannot afford numerous turnovers from a shaky Drew Weatherford.
Recent Meetings:
9/17/2005FSU 28 - BCOLL 17FSU -1O 38.5
FSU Last 5:
10/14/2006@ DUKEW 51-24W -23O 43
10/5/2006@ NCSTL 20-24L -9.5O 40
9/23/2006RICEW 55-7W -30.5O 46
9/16/2006CLEML 20-27L -4O 46.5
9/9/2006TROYW 24-17L -25.5U 44
BC Last 5:
10/12/2006VATCHW 22-3W 2.5U 42
9/30/2006MAINEW 22-0- -- -
9/23/2006@ NCSTL 15-17L -6.5U 42
9/16/2006BYUW 30-23W -6.5O 52.5
9/9/2006CLEMW 34-33W 1O 44.5

Prediction: FSU 24 BC 17 (FSU Covers, Under)

Miami @ Duke (+17.5, 41.5) 1:00
With the suspension of a 1/5 of the Miami team, the Hurricanes would be wise to use a ball-control offense in order to keep their guys fresh. It will be interesting to see if Larry Coker is able to circle the wagons from the incident last week or if the Hurricanes continue a spiral downward. I think Miami will rally together in this game similar to how they did last week scoring 21 unanswered in the second half after the brawl against Fla Intl.
Recent Meetings:
10/8/2005DUKE 7 - MIAMI 52MIAMI -36.5O 47
Miami Last 5:
10/14/2006FLINTW 35-0W -27U 40
10/7/2006NCARW 27-7P -20U 44
9/30/2006HOUW 14-13L -17U 48.5
9/16/2006@ LOUL 7-31L 5U 53.5
9/9/2006FLAMW 51-10- -- -
Duke Last 5:
10/14/2006FSUL 24-51L 23O 43
10/7/2006@ ALABL 14-30W 26.5O 41
9/30/2006VIRGL 0-37L 4P 37
9/16/2006@ VATCHL 0-36L 34U 43.5
9/9/2006@ WFRSTL 13-14W 20.5U 40.5

Prediction: Miami 28 Duke 7 (Miami Covers, Under)

Miss St @ Georgia (-18.5, 39.5) 1:00
Two teams trying to find themselves though they are in very different situations. Georgia is looking to rebound after a shocking loss to Vanderbilt and will insert freshman Matt Stafford at QB. The Bulldogs have struggled mightily on offense this season and a defense that once led the NCAA in scoring defense has surrendered 75 points in the last two games. Miss St is winless in the SEC, but will come into this game with some confidence after seeing what Vandy did. I don't think they have the talent to beat Georgia, but they could hang around for 3+ quarters.
Recent Meetings:
9/24/2005GEO 23 - MISST 10MISST 16U 42
10/4/1997MISST 0 - GEO 47GEO -10.5- -
10/5/1996GEO 38 - MISST 19GEO -3.5- -
9/23/1989MISST 6 - GEO 23GEO -8- -
9/17/1988GEO 42 - MISST 35MISST 14- -
Georgia Last 5:
10/14/2006VANL 22-24L -14.5O 39
10/7/2006TENNL 33-51L 2.5O 37.5
9/30/2006@ MISSW 14-9L -17.5U 37
9/23/2006COLW 14-13L -26.5U 36.5
9/16/2006UABW 34-0W -17.5U 40
Miss St Last 5:
10/14/2006JACSTW 35-3- -- -
10/7/2006WVIRGL 14-42L 20.5O 47
9/30/2006@ LSUL 17-48W 34O 41.5
9/23/2006@ UABW 16-10W 9.5U 37.5
9/16/2006TULNEL 29-32L -12.5O 37.5

Prediction: Georgia 20 Miss St 6 (Miss St Covers, Under)

South Carolina @ Vanderbilt (+3.5, 41) 3:00
South Carolina has been night and day since Syvelle Newton became the QB in week 3. The Gamecocks only loss since then was a 7 point defeat to Auburn where they had chances to tie the game late. Vanderbilt will need to keep its emotions in check after a such a big win for their program in Athens last week. I remember last year after a big Vandy win they lost to Middle Tenn St at home, so I have my doubts on whether the momentum from last week stops at game time on Saturday. But even if South Carolina doen't beat Vanderbilt on the field they feel they have the better looking girls.
Recent Meetings:
10/22/2005VAN 28 - SOCAR 35Push -7.0O 51
9/4/2004SOCAR 31 - VAN 6SOCAR -3.5U 46
10/25/2003VAN 24 - SOCAR 35VAN 15.5O 42
9/28/2002SOCAR 20 - VAN 14VAN 9.5U 48.5
10/20/2001VAN 14 - SOCAR 46SOCAR -17- -
South Carolina Last 5:
10/7/2006@ KENTYW 24-17W -3U 52
9/28/2006AUBL 17-24W 13O 37
9/23/2006FLATLW 45-6W -28.5O 42
9/16/2006WOFFW 27-20- -- -
9/9/2006GEOL 0-18L 2.5U 38.5
Vanderbilt Last 5:
10/14/2006@ GEOW 24-22W 14.5O 39
10/7/2006@ MISSL 10-17L -1.5U 41
9/30/2006TEMW 43-14L -32.5O 44
9/23/2006TENSTW 38-9- -- -
9/16/2006ARKL 19-21W 6U 41

Prediction: South Carolina 27 Vanderbilt 20 (S. Carolina Covers, Over)

Other Games:
UCLA @ Notre Dame (-13.5, 51)
Notre Dame Covers, Over

Rutgers @ Pitt (-6.5, 45)
Rutgers Covers, Under

Monday, October 16, 2006

Power Rankings Week 7

1. Auburn
2. Florida
3. Arkansas
4. Tennessee
5. LSU
6. South Carolina
7. Alabama
8. Georgia
9. Vanderbilt
10. Ole Miss
11. Kentucky
12. Miss St

1. Clemson
2. Georgia Tech
3. Boston College
4. Wake Forest
5. Florida St
6. Virginia Tech
7. NC State
8. Miami
9. Maryland
10. Virginia
11. North Carolina
12. Duke

Top 10
1. Ohio St
2. Michigan
3. USC
4. West Virginia
5. Louisville
6. Auburn
7. Florida
8. Texas
9. Tennessee
10. Cal

Next: Notre Dame, Clemson

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A lot of "Fight" Still Left in Some Teams Tanks

Week 7 provided some thrillers and upsets in the ACC and SEC this week. Florida's dream of an undefeated season went down at Auburn, Wake kept their ACC title hopes alive, Vanderbilt defeated Georgia on homecoming in Athens, and Miami literally beat down Florida International, but more on that later.

If you just looked at the score in this game you would think Auburn handled Florida relatively easily, but the Tigers scored a TD on the last play of the game due to a fumble on a hook and ladder play (it cost me the Under in this game...aargh). Auburn won this game in the second half with the pressure created by their front seven. They continually pressured Chris Leak not allowing him to set up in the pocket and beat with his deadly accurate arm. Kudos to DC Will Muschamp for making an adjustment at halftime. A controversial call in the fourth quarter when Florida looked like it was setting up for a go ahead FG or TD may have been the deciding factor. Chris Leak was being pressured by Tray Blackmon and appeared to be throwing the ball when it came of his hand and was pickedup by Auburn. Leak's arm was going forward, but it was very hard to tell if the ball came out of his hand or if Blackmon knocked it out. I personally thought it was a pass and intentional grounding, which would have given Florida a FG try stil, but the call and review was that of a fumble. Video Replay In the first half, Florida looked to be rolling on offense as the Gators came out running the ball very effectively with the combination of DeShawn Wynn and Percy Harvin. Harvin looks like a star in the making in Gainesville if he can stay healthy. The Tigers were not very effective of offense for much of the game scoring nine points off a blocked punt from a bad snap and a holding call in the endzone resulting in a safety. Florida out played Auburn, but gave the Tigers opportunities and Tubberville's crew capatilized.

I think this was just round 1 of 2 as these two teams are likely to meet again in Atlanta for the SEC Championship. It will be interesting to see if Urban Meyer goes more with Tim Tebow against Georgia because Chris Leak was not able to get it done in the second half. I highly doubt it as it is fairly obvious that Tebow is mainly a running force right now and cannot run the full offense just yet. Auburn is right back in the SEC West race, but now must root for Tennessee and LSU to beat Arkansas as the Hogs must lose two and Auburn must win out in order for the Tigers to head to Atlanta. Florida is off next week and plays Georgia the week following while the Tigers step out of conference vs Tulane.
Auburn Covers, Over (on the last freakin play)

Maybe the Tennessee game was not an abberation? The Commodores waltzed into Athens with some confidence having lost three SEC game very close and walked out with a victory. Georgia's two quarterbacks could not get anything going on offense for much of the day only managing one offensive touchdown. It also appears the tailback by committee is not clicking on all cylinders either and the situation may not be helped with an injury to Thomas Brown. The Bulldogs D played well most of the afternoon intercepting a Chris Nickson pass in the 4th quarter to put Georgia up 22-21, but the balance Vanderbilt attack was able to move the ball for three TD drives and the game winning kick right down the field.

For Georgia, they must regroup quickly as Mississippi St comes into town next weekend and they may be licking their chops (if Miss St can do that) thinking they to have a chance to win. If I am Mark Richt, I go ahead and the ball over to Matthew Stafford or Joe Cox as it is obvious Joe Tereshinski is not going to win ball games for you. Vanderbilt is now a couple of victories away from being bowl eligible something they failed to do last year with a first round pick at QB. The tandem of Nickson and Earl Bennett is developing into one of the best in SEC and teams should take notice or else they may fall victim too.

Found: FSU Offense. If only the Seminoles could play the fine academic institutions of Rice and Duke every week. FSU got it started with a fumble recovery for a TD and added on with a blocked extra point returned for two points. The Blue Devils were able to muster 24 points on a good FSU defense.

FSU has a huge game with Boston College next week in Tallahassee. The Seminoles cannot afford another ACC loss if they want any shot at defending their conference championship. BC must also keep pace with NC State, Clemson, and Wake who all have one conference loss as well. For Duke, basketball practice has begun. They may have a shot against UNC at the end of the season.
FSU Covers, Over

It could be said that Miami won the game and the fight in the third quarter too. With 9:00 left in the 3rd quarter, the Canes had just kicked the extra point when all hell broke loose. It appears that after scoring a TD, Miami's James Bryant points at the FIU bench and takes a bow to the crowd. On the try, and FIU player begins pushing a Miami o-lineman after the play excessively. Meanwhile, FIU players are now going after the Miami placekicker and holder. All the while, the refs are just throwing their flags on the field and not bothering to stop the action before it really gets out of hand. Miami players clear their bench and come to the aid of their kicker and holder after an FIU player kicks a Miami player in the head. During the melee, video shows Anthony Reddick of Miami swing his helmet at an FIU player and Brandon Merriweather stomping on the leg of another FIU player. After several minutes the teams are separated and sent to their benches.

This not what Larry Coker needed and this will likely be the last draw for him unless the Canes win out, including the ACC Title. Even then, Miami may decide they need to go in another direction. It appears as if FIU started the brawl and Miami was just defending their turf. Many fans are ragging on Miami about how this was classless of them, but I wonder how many fans would be saying the same thing if THEIR team was involved in a brawl that they did not start? But above that, there is no place for swinging helmet and stomping on other players. Anthony Reddick and Brandon Merriweather will be lucky if they suit up again this year. I think Reddick deserves a suspension for the rest of the year for his helmet swinging.
Miami Covers, Under
Decide for yourself:

Pictures of this week's action from the AP and Reuters:

This Week: 6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS, 4-4 O/U
Season: 34-11 SU, 19-24 ATS, 29-14 O/U

Thursday, October 12, 2006

What Was Going to Be an SEC Championship Preview

#3 Florida @ #11 Auburn (-1.5, 38) 7:45 ESPN

Recent Meetings
10/19/2002AUB 23 - FLA 30AUB 8.5O 50
10/13/2001FLA 20 - AUB 23AUB 26.5U 50.5
12/2/2000AUB 6 - FLA 28FLA -10U 52.5
10/14/2000AUB 7 - FLA 38FLA -8.5U 54
10/16/1999FLA 32 - AUB 14FLA -16O 45
10/7/2006LSUW 23-10W -1U 43
9/30/2006ALABW 28-13L -16.5O 40.5
9/23/2006KENTYW 26-7L -26.5U 54
9/16/2006@ TENNW 21-20L -4.5U 46.5
9/9/2006CENFLW 42-0W -22U 50

10/7/2006ARKL 10-27L -13.5U 43.5
9/28/2006@ SOCARW 24-17L -13O 37
9/23/2006BUFFW 38-7L -41.5U 48.5
9/16/2006LSUW 7-3W -3.5U 41.5
9/9/2006@ MISSTW 34-0W -21.5U 38

Team Updates:
Florida is 2 for 2 in its four game gauntlet through the SEC West after dispatching LSU easier than expected. Urban Meyer is brilliantly using both Chris Leak and Tim Tebow to keep teams off balance defensively. The Gators are still searching for a run game to complement Leak's passing and a stout defense. Florida should be used to a hostile environment after playing Knoxville a few weeks ago.

Auburn is probably still scratching their heads after Arkansas came into the Plains and ran all over the Tigers defense. Also, the Auburn offense is not the same as it was last year, especially Kenny Irons who has been bottled up much of the season. This does not look like a break out game for Tubberville's crew against a tough Florida D.

All signs point to a Gator victory as the only advantage Auburn has is the homefield. The Tigers will need some turnovers to get their offense off and running as I don't think Brandon Cox and Co. can make three or four full drives against Florida. These two teams may very well meet again in Atlanta come the first week of December.

Prediction: Florida 17 Auburn 16 (Auburn Covers, Under)

Vanderbilt @ #14 Georgia (-13.5, 38) 12:30 Lincoln Financial


Recent Meetings:
10/15/2005GEO 34 - VAN 17GEO -16O 48
10/16/2004VAN 3 - GEO 33GEO -23U 46
10/18/2003GEO 27 - VAN 8VAN 26U 48
10/19/2002VAN 17 - GEO 48GEO -25- -
10/13/2001GEO 30 - VAN 14GEO -7.5
10/7/2006@ MISSL 10-17L -1.5U 41
9/30/2006TEMW 43-14L -32.5O 44
9/23/2006TENSTW 38-9- -- -
9/16/2006ARKL 19-21W 6U 41
9/9/2006@ ALABL 10-13W 14.5U 40.5
10/7/2006TENNL 33-51L 2.5O 37.5
9/30/2006@ MISSW 14-9L -17.5U 37
9/23/2006COLW 14-13L -26.5U 36.5
9/16/2006UABW 34-0W -17.5U 40
9/9/2006@ SOCARW 18-0W -2.5U 38.5

Team Updates:
Vanderbilt is coming of a disappointing loss at Ole Miss this past Saturday in a game they were the favorite. QB Chris Nickson has proved to be an adequate replacement for Jay Cutler, by Nickson may be slowed by a gimpy ankle this Saturday. The Commodores have been very balanced on offense this season.
Georgia will be licking its wounds after a 18 point loss to Tennessee last week at home. Mark Richt has said that both Joe Tereshinski and Matt Stafford will play in the first half. Neither QB has shown much this season and will mainly rely on the tailback by committee system the Bulldogs have used. Defensively, Georgia ranks statistically very high, but failed in their first test against a good offense.

I don't think Vandy will be able to do much on offense vs Georgia, but the same goes for the Bulldogs when they have the ball as well. Still, Georgia has a lot more talent and speed than the Commodores and will want to put last week behind them in front of them Homecoming crowd. Georgia is typically not a good home favorite vs SEC competion, but they have covered four of the last five vs Vandy. The ankle situation with Nickson will be something to watch.

Prediction: Georgia 21 Vanderbilt 7 (Georgia Covers, Under)

Florida State @ Duke (-21.5, 41.5) 1:00


Recent Meetings
10/22/2005FSU 55 - DUKE 24FSU -30O 48.5
11/6/2004DUKE 7 - FSU 29DUKE 30U 45
9/27/2003FSU 56 - DUKE 7FSU -30- -
9/21/2002DUKE 17 - FSU 48DUKE 45- -
9/1/2001FSU 55 - DUKE 13FSU -30- -

10/5/2006@ NCSTL 20-24L -9.5O 40
9/23/2006RICEW 55-7W -30.5O 46
9/16/2006CLEML 20-27L -4O 46.5
9/9/2006TROYW 24-17L -25.5U 44
9/4/2006@ MIAMIW 13-10W 4U 38
10/7/2006@ ALABL 14-30W 26.5O 41
9/30/2006VIRGL 0-37L 4P 37
9/16/2006@ VATCHL 0-36L 34U 43.5
9/9/2006@ WFRSTL 13-14W 20.5U 40.5
9/2/2006RICHL 0-13- -- -

Team Updates:
The Blue Devils gained some confidence last week leading Alabama in the 2nd half, but they could not hold on in the 4th quarter. This team has been very up and down, losing big one week and then playing it close the next week.
FSU has had 9 days to let the NC State loss sit in their stomach and I doubt they like it much. Drew Weatherford is not playing very well at QB and the Seminoles are still searching for a run game.

Prediction: Florida St 35 Duke 7 (FSU Covers, Over)

Fla. Intl. @ Miami (-25.5, 40) 7:00


Recent Meetings
No recent meetings
10/7/2006@ NOTEXL 22-25L 1O 41
9/30/2006ARKSTL 6-31L -7.5U 41
9/23/2006@ MDL 10-14W 20.5U 45
9/16/2006BGRENL 28-33L 4O 48.5
9/9/2006@ SOFLOL 20-21W 20U 42

10/7/2006NCARW 27-7P -20U 44
9/30/2006HOUW 14-13L -17U 48.5
9/16/2006@ LOUL 7-31L 5U 53.5
9/9/2006FLAMW 51-10- -- -
9/4/2006FSUL 10-13L -4U 38

Team Updates:
Fla Intl is 0-6 coming into this game, but they have lost four game by five points or less. They are a pass-happy team that can't really run the ball very well.
Miami probably gained some confidence back after defeating UNC by 20 last week, but it is confirmed that this is nowhere near the Miami teams of old. Kyle Wright is still struggling largely due to the fact his offensive line cannot protect him. Javarris James has emerged as a 100 yard rusher the last few weeks.

Fla Intl has a very good chance to cover in this game because Miami is simply not able to dominate teams like they used to. I think Fla Intl will be able to put some pressure on Kyle Wright like everyone else has and get a turnover in this game.

Prediction: Miami 28 Fla Intl 10 (FIU Covers, Under)

Other Games:
Michigan @ Penn St (+5.5, 41)
Penn St Covers, Under

Baylor @ Texas (-26.5, 48)
Texas Covers, Over

Ohio St @ Michigan St (+14, 54)
Ohio St Covers, Under

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Temple vs Clemson Preview


Temple vs #12 Clemson (-44, 56) Charlotte, NC 7:30 ESPNU

Temp ATS: 2-3-1 O/U: 2-3-1
Clem ATS: 4-2-0 O/U: 4-2-0

Recent Meetings:
Clem 37 Temp 7 2005 (Clem -37, 53)
Clem 37 Temp 7 1991 (Clem -27.5)

Team Updates:
Temple comes into this game as possibly the worst team in Division I-A. They lost to Buffalo in their first game then followed that up with two games scoring 0 points while allowing 62 in each of those games. There is nothing positive going on with Temple right now, so much that they sold this home game back to Clemson who moved the game to Charlotte.

Clemson is riding sky high and already making plans for Jacksonville and the ACC Championship. With a showdown versus Georgia Tech next Saturday, expect Clemson's starters to play no more than one quarter in this game. By the beginning of the fourth, Tommy Bowden will have moved his mind to next weekend. The Tigers will be without their best wideout Chansi Stuckey again, but it won't matter against the Owls.

I like Temple to cover in this game beacause of the fact Clemson has a huge ACC showdown the following Saturday against a team who has a bye this week. The Tigers will be up big at halftime and will just try to get through the second half without any more injuries to an already banged up football team.

Prediction: Clemson 45 Temple 3 (Temple Covers, Under)

Monday, October 9, 2006

Power Rankings Mid-Season

Methodology behind the Power Ranking - I look at four things: who you have beaten and how you won, who you lost to and how did you lose, teams head to head record, and your most recent game. 
SEC was shaken up this weekend with the big upset of Auburn by Arkansas along with Florida-LSU and Georgia-Tennessee.  NO other conference can come close to matching the SEC 1-6, though the bottom 5 is very average.
1. Florida

Gators have passed every test they have faced with flying colors

2, Tennessee

Very impressive 2nd half in Athens vaults them to number two

3. Auburn

Beaten soundly at home; needs win against Florida this Saturday

4. Arkansas

Front runner in SEC West as only unbeaten

5. LSU

Killed themselves with turnovers in the Swamp; hopes of SECCG are gone

6. Georgia

Richt must decided who to go with at QB because neither will lead them to

7. South Carolina

Syvelle Newton has given them a new life on offense

8. Alabama

Was behind to Duke at home…. Bear Bryant would not impressed

9. Kentucky

Just can't break through in SEC East, but playing teams tough

10. Ole Miss

Starting to turn it around with two solid games in a row

11. Vanderbilt

Disappointing loss at Oxford for a team who looked like they had made strides

12. Miss St

May go win less in SEC this season


ACC standings are starting to shake out a little bit, but both divisions have three teams with legit shots of going to Jacksonville.  Who thought that only 2 years into the full expansion that Miami and FSU would not middle of the road teams?

1. Clemson

Came from 14 behind to win by 10 at Wake Forest

2.Georgia Tech

Come from behind win over Maryland in a game they wouldn't have won in the past

3. Virginia Tech

Off this past week

4. NC State

Amato went from fired to contract extension in three week span

5. Boston College

Off this past week

6. Florida St

Rest of ACC has caught up to FSU and no longer fears their swagger

7. Miami

Covered the spread this past week… finally

8. Wake Forest

Blew a great chance to take the lead in Atlantic Division

9. Maryland

Tough loss at Georgia Tech; still having trouble stopping run

10. Virginia

Continues their losing streak to Big East

11. North Carolina

Only win remains 3 point victory over Furman

12. Duke

Held their own in Tuscaloosa for 3+ quarters

Saturday, October 7, 2006

SEC Has An Upset Stomach

The SEC was turned upside down on Saturday and it was not necessarily who won and who did not, but how the games unfolded.

The Gators used five LSU turnovers and a jump pass from Tim Tebow to soundily beat the Tigers in the Swamp. But LSU was very much into this game and was looking to take the lead in the 2nd until a fumble on the Florida 1 yard line gave the ball and the momentum to the Gators. From there, the two QB tandem of Chris Leak and Tim Tebow took it to LSU. If the fumble on the goalline was not enough, LSU also fumbled a kickoff into their own end zone resulting in a Safety. Les Miles' club ended the game with five turnovers wondering what could have been after Auburn lost.

The Gators are now 2-0 in their four game gauntlet with a date with Auburn next week. Many thought, myself included, that Auburn would be the higher ranked and favored team, but now the Gators are the team to beat in the SEC. LSU really disappointed me because they came out and self destructed in a big game. The Tigers had a real chance to grab the lead in the Western Division, but now are essentially out of the SEC and BCS race.
Florida Covers, Under

Part I of the SEC turned upside was not the fact that Tennessee won this game, but check out that score. The two teams had matched the total by halftime and that was just the beginning. The Vols scored a key TD at the end of the halftime, which gave them life after being down 17. In the second half, Tennessee Defensive Coordinator John Chavous decided to put eight men in the box to stop Georgia's dominating running game and force Joe Tereshinksi to beat him with his arm. The strategy helped force five turnovers in the second half and catapulted the Vols to 37 second half points. The 51 points are the second highest total in Sanford Stadium history and came against a defense who was leading the NCAA in scoring defense this season. Erik Ainge really showed composure when his team was down by 17 and the Vol offensive line did a great job protecting him from the vaunted Georgia defensive line.

The Vols are now back in the thick of the SEC race, but still have some tough games ahead at South Carolina and Arkansas. The offense should be riding sky high after scoring 44 points on Georgia and the defense should be encouraged by alllowing just one field goal in the second half. Phil Fulmer should be concerned about his special teams who allowed two touchdowns. For Georgia, it is back to chalkboard on offense and defense. It was painfully obivous that Joe Tereshinski is not going to lead you to a SEC Championship, so a decision must be made if you want to hand the ball over to Matt Stafford at the risk of hurting his confidence if he struggles.
Tennessee Covers, OVER (Big Time)

This was a game the Yellow Jackets would have lost over the past four years. They gave up a touchdown on kickoff return, fumbled on their own nine causing seven points for the Terps, but found a way to win. But a fourth quarter comeback greatly aided by Maryland fumble inside their own 20 and a defensive stand inside the 10 gave Tech the victory. Reggie Ball threw for one touchdown, ran for another, avoided the big mistake, and handed the ball over to the defense. If the comeback wasn't enough to get your heart in your throat then a Maryland pass completion down to the seven yard line would. But the Georgia Tech defense had one more stand in them sacking Sam Hollenbach on third and fourth down to put the game in hand.

When you are down in the fourth quarter, championship teams find a way to win and that is what Georgia Tech did today. They now have an off week before a showdown at Clemson on October 21. Maryland will feel like they should have won this game, but they could never complete a drive for a touchdown which you have to do if you want to win as the underdog.
Maryland Covers, Over

The Deacs dominated this game for three quarters, but fortunately for Clemson they play four quarters. A blocked field goal retured for a TD started the Clemson rally and a CJ Spiller run capped it off. Wake had a chance to go ahead more than their 14 point halftime lead, but a fumble on the Clemson one ended their first scoring chance. The Tigers' Will Proctor came back to Earth somewhat struggling most of the game after playing lights out in Clemson's first four games.

Some Wake fans may take this as moral victory, but if the Deacs had held on they could have been a serious threat to win their Division. As it stands now, they will probably fall back in the pack and now must hope to get a bowl invite. The Tigers found a way to win this game despite being dominated for three quarters and that is what elite teams do. A warmup session vs Temple this Thursday and then the showdown with Georgia Tech in two weeks.
Wake Forest Covers, Under

Now to the biggest upset of the day..
Auburn's Tommy Tuberville may have been looking ahead when he made comments regarding college football's need for a playoff system. Maybe Tuberville should have paid more attention to this Saturday as his team was soundly beating with Arkansas taking Auburn into the bathroom and sticking the Tigers head in the toilet and flushing. This does not happen to you when you are the bully on the SEC block. Ole Miss held home field in a win over Vanderbilt. Miss St played well for a half and actually scored 14 against West Virginia. South Carolina survived a tough road game beating Kentucky by a touchdown.

Miami finally showed some life in a 27-7 drubbing of North Carolina. Duke almost went into Tuscaloosa and came out with a win, but close is only good in horseshoes and grenades. Virginia continued their losing streak to the Big East with a loss to East Carolina.

This Week: 6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS, 4-4 O/U
Season: 28-7 SU, 15-20 ATS, 25-10 O/U

Monday, October 2, 2006

LSU = Gator Bait?

#9 LSU @ #5 Florida (-2.5, 40) 3:30 CBS

LSU Offense vs Florida Defense
PF 38.0/YPG 412.0/PYPG 267.5/RYPG 144.6
PA 9.4/YPG 248.0/PYPG 197.8/RYPG 50.2

Florida Offense vs LSU Defense
PF 30.2/YPG 438.4/PYPG 271.1/RYPG 167.2
PA 7.4/YPG 193.3/PYPG 124.2/RYPG 69.2

Keys to the Game:
Florida's Ability to Run-
The Gators regular TB DeShawn Wynn is questionable for this game and the other Gator runners have not been consistent threats on the ground this season. Florida rushing ypg is somewhat inflated because of the running of their QBs. If Wynn cannot go, then Ketahn Moore will be the featured back, but I also expect to see Tim Tebow get a lot more snaps. The Tigers have been stingy allowing just over 69 yards on the ground per game.

Effectiveness of Chris Leak-
Leak is a very dangerous drop back passer, but his abilities are somewhat hidden in Urban Meyer's spread option offense. When Leak runs the option, everybody knows he will pitch it. If Leak can connect on the deep balls to stretch the LSU defense, then he will also be able to run some of that spread option because of the step back and throw threat.

Special Teams & Turnovers-
With two teams as evenly matched as they are in this game, one mistake could cost a team the game. Both teams have gamebreaking abilities in their returners and solid kickers. Neither team has been prone to turn the ball over either, so something has to give.

Prediction: Florida 14 LSU 13 (LSU Covers, Under)

#13 Tennessee @ #10 Georgia (+2.5, 38) 7:45 ESPN

Tennessee Offense vs Georgia Defense
PF 32.0 /YPG 429.2/PYPG 296.2/RYPG 133.0
PA 6.8/YPG 233.4/PYPG 133.6/RYPG 99.8

Georgia Offense vs Tennessee Defense
PF 25.6/YPG 297.0/PYPG 163.6/RYPG 133.3
PA 16.6/YPG 284.2/PYPG 157.4/RYPG 126.8

Keys to the Game:
Georgia's Revolving Door QBs-
Joe Tereshinski will start after being out since the South Carolina game with a high ankle sprain. If he struggles, how soon will the hook come and will that effect Tereshinski's play? I expect to see Matt Stafford enter the game at some point in the first half unless JTIII has thrown 4 TDs already. The QBs must be able to pass the ball downfield to prevent Tennessee from stacking eight in the box.

Vols Ability to Run-
Tennessee was essentially a one-dimensional team vs Florida as they could not get anything going on the ground. LaMarcus Coker has emerged as a reliable runner in the Vols backfield after the injury to Arian Foster. Georgia is coming to come after Erik Ainge with their stud defensive ends, so Tennessee will need to establish a run to prevent the Bulldogs from teeing off on the pass.

On the Road, Lesser Ranked, and Favored-
Tennessee enters this game in an unusual situation. They must be able to compose themselves and play with the chip on their shoulder developed from losing five out of the last six to Georgia. The crowd will be wild and fired up knowing this could make or break their season.

In the end, I think Georgia doesn't have enough on offense to be able to score more than 14, while the Vols offense has improved since the beginning of the year.

Prediction: Tennessee 17 Georgia 16 (Georgia Covers, Under)

#15 Clemson @ Wake Forest (+16.5, 47.5) 12:00 ESPN

Clemson Offense vs Wake Forest Defense
PF 43.4/YPG 445.2/PYPG 204.6/RYPG 240.6
PA 10.6/YPG 273.0/PYPG 194.8/RYPG 78.2

Wake Forest Offense vs Clemson Defense
PF 23.8/YPG 317.0/PYPG 149.6/RYPG 167.4
PA 13.4/YPG 239.6/PYPG 170.4/RYPG 69.2

Keys to the Game:
Can Wake Slow Down Clemson-
The Tigers are ranked 2nd in the nation in scoring offense with 43.4 ppg, though most of that has come against overmatched teams. Will Proctor is playing very well in his first year starting and the rushing attack has been unstoppable. Wake's defense is no slouch either allowing just over 10 ppg and just 273 yards of total offense. I highly doubt Wake can win a shootout with the Tigers, so they need to use ball control and keep the ball out of the hand of Clemson by having no turnovers.

Clemson's Enthusiasm-
Tommy Bowden's team is used to playing in front of 80,000+ in Death Valley every week. This week they will play in front of 30,000 against a school more known for golf than football. But Wake has won two of the last three in this series and those wins have sprung up "Fire Tommy Bowden" websites. The Tigers need to come out fast and impose their will on the Deacs and not let them build confidence as the game goes on.

In the end, Clemson has their most talented team in years and will be too much talent for Wake.
Prediction: Clemson 31 Wake Forest 17 (Wake Covers, Over)

Maryland @ #18 Georgia Tech (-13.5, 40) 3:30 ESPNU

Maryland Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
PF 22.2/YPG 312.0/PYPG 165.2/RYPG 146.8
PA 14.8/YPG 275.4/PYPG 206.8/RYPG 68.6

Georgia Tech Offense vs Maryland Defense
PF 29.0/YPG 346.8/PYPG 172.8/RYPG 174.0
PA 19.8/YPG 331.0/PYPG 176.5/RYPG 154.5

Keys to the Game:
Coming Back Down to Earth-
Georgia Tech is sky high after thumping Virginia Tech on the road and with a bye week next week and Clemson the week after, you wonder if the Jackets are looking a little bit ahead. Winning the big one and losing the little one have been a habit in the Chan Gailey era, but many say this year is different. The players talk about how "together and focused" this team is. Georgia Tech knows they are better than Maryland, but they still have to got out and execute with their talent.

Calvin Johnson-
He is big for both teams. Maryland needs to know where he is at all times, but so do Reggie Ball and the Georgia Tech offense. Johnson has caught 4 TDs in his last two games amassing close to 300 yards as well. I expect Maryland to double team the All-American most of the game and force Georgia Tech to go elsewhere

Where's the Blitz?-
Jon Tenuta will begin blitzing Ralph Friedgen's club as soon as they land in Atlanta, but where will he blitz from? On most downs, Tenuta is bring at least give guys and will hit your QB all day. Sam Hollenbach's drop back passing style plays right in the hands of the speedy Tech defense who does not fare as well against scramblers. Watch to see if the Maryland running backs can pick up the blitz effectively. If they don't, it may be a long day for the Terps.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 28 Maryland 14 (Georgia Tech covers, Over)

Other Lines of Interest
West Virginia @ Miss St (+20.5, 49)
Prediction: West Virginia 34 Miss St 10 (WV Covers, Under)

Virginia @ East Carolina (-6.5, 43)
Prediction: Virginia 24 East Carolina 20 (Virginia Covers, Over)

Duke @ Alabama (-28.5, 38.5)
Prediction: Alabama 35 Duke 3 (Alabama Covers, Under)