Wednesday, November 15, 2006

"Fear the Thumb" Iron Bowl Style

This will be the first of two rivalry weekens in the SEC and ACC. Maybe the biggest rivalry of them all is Auburn-Alabama (or Alabama-Auburn). This rivalry is great because both programs have been successful historically, it is an in-state rivalry meaning fans live amongst each other, and no pro sports in Alabama means this is as big as it gets.

Auburn -3, 40 (5-2, 9-2) @ Alabama (2-5, 6-5) 3:30 CBS
Auburn 9-2-04-6-06-23-025.713.86-4-0
Alabama 6-5-06-5-06-10-422.917.67-4-0

Other Monetary Interests:
Over is 7-2 in ALAB last 9 games overall.
ALAB are 3-10-2 ATS in their last 15 home games.
Road team is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 meetings.

"Fear the Thumb" is the motto for this game on both sides as Auburn looks for its 5th win in a row over Bama, but the Tide want to stick that thumb where Tubbervile won't be able to find it. Alabama can come into this game with some confidence despite winning just 2 SEC games this year because they saw how bad Auburn looked last week and how good they made Georgia look. Shula has been unable to beat Auburn in his first three tries and the last man who did that left for Kentucky because of his Iron Bowl deficiencies (Bill Curry). In addition to a fifth straight win, the Crimson Tide will also want to prevent this Auburn senior class from winning its 40th game, which would be a Tiger record. The Tigers have also never lost in Tuscaloosa, though for many years all games were played in Birmingham.

I think I will be going against the public here, but I think Alabama has a real shot to win this game. Alabama is at home and they have typically played to their competition level this year. They took Arkansas to over time, Tennessee to three points, covered vs LSU, and played even with Florida for three quarters. Moreso, I think this Auburn team is reeling faster than the Republican Party and is not healthy (see Brandon Cox and Kenny Irons)

Prediction: Alabama Wins, Covers, Over

Miami -3, 37 (2-4, 5-5) @ Virginia (3-3, 4-6) 12:00 Lincoln Financial
Miami 5-5-02-6-14-21-321151-8-0
Virginia 4-6-04-6-03-21-416.4193-6-1

Other Monetary Interests:
Under is 7-1 in MIAMI last 8 conference games.
MIAMI are 2-9-1 ATS in their last 12 games overall.
Under is 9-2 in VIRG last 11 home games.
Under is 6-2-1 in VIRG last 9 games overall.
Under is 19-7-1 in VIRG last 27 games on Grass

The Miami players will be playing with heavy hearts again this week as many attended Bryan Pata's funeral this week. The Hurricanes played valiantly last week, but when they needed a play at the end, they simply could not execute and that has been the theme of this year. Miami needs this game to become bowl eligible, but so does Virginia. Kirby Freeman will again start for Miami and played well enough to give you some confidence heading into this weekend (their receivers are another story).

The Canes have been a very bad bet this year and who knows how they are truely dealing with the death of one of their team leaders inside closed doors. If Miami plays up to 80% of their talent, they would win this game. Jerrad Sewell had a smooth middle of the season after struggling early, but is struggling again.

Prediction: Miami Wins, Virginia Covers, Under

Virginia Tech -2, 38.5 (4-2, 8-2) @ Wake Forest (5-1, 9-1) 7:00 ESPN2
Virginia Tech 8-2-05-4-06-12-126.810.63-6-0
Wake Forest 9-1-06-3-04-15-023.613.42-7-0

Other Monetary Interests:
VATCH are 9-1 ATS in their last 10 road games
VATCH are 11-3 ATS in their last 14 night games
Under is 7-2 in WFRST last 9 games overall

How long can this Cinderella season last for Wake Forest? The experts think it will end this week vs the Hokies as the Deacs are Home Dogs (not an unfamiliar scenario). Outside of Branden Ore, the Hokies are below average on offense and their defense is not playing up to the level of the Hokies teams of years past. I myself want to think Wake's run is coming to an end, but I have been proven wrong the last two weeks. The key for Wake is turnovers as they lead the ACC and are 10th nationally in turnover margin. They have generated at least one turnover in every game this season and have produced 15 in their last five games.

Here is my quandry - I am big believer in what teams records will be at the end of the year. If VT wins this game they will also likely defeat Virginia and be 10-2. I don't think VT is a 10 win team. If Wake wins, they will have 10 wins and next week will set up a showdown with Maryland. The Deacs have played well enough (outside of Duke game) to win 10 games. So, there's my pick.

Prediction: Wake Wins, Covers, Under

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