Thursday, October 11, 2007

October 13 Predictions

South Carolina @ North Carolina 3:30 ABC
Line: SC -7, 47.5

The setting..
A meeting between old ACC rivals. If you talk to South Carolina fans, you would be surprised to hear how big of a rival the Tar Heels are even though they hardly ever play them. South Carolina decided to leave the ACC in 70s and many theories have been tossed around as to why, including perceived favoritism towards the North Carolina schools.

Line of scrimmage..
SC Rush Off 130.7 ypg vs UNC Rush Def 152.0 ypg
UNC Rush Off 104.2 ypg vs SC Rush Def 193.8 ypg
SC Off 2.7 sacks per game vs UNC Def 2.3 sacks per game
UNC Off 2.8 sack per game vs SC Def 1.8 sacks per game

The Gamecocks have been soft against the run this year which is uncharacteristic of a Tyrone Nix coached team. Good think the Tar Heels running attack has been anemic at best. Both teams are prone to giving up sacks. The Heels defense has improved greatly under Davis and is making some modest strides from seasons past. The stats don't show it, but South Carolina has shown the ability to control the LOS (vs Georgia) though the loss of Jasper Brinkley at LB hurts.

Slight Edge South Carolina

QB Play
SC Chris Smelley 810 yards 54.2% 6TD/3INT; Team 10TD, 8INT
UNC TJ Yates 1386 yards 61.3% 9TD/8 INT

Both teams are hoping to get improved play from their QBs this week. Smelley took over for senior Blake Mitchell against LSU and played on par with Heisman candidate Andre Woodson last week. Yates has been a gunslinger for the Heels as many games they have forced to throw to come from behind.
Slight Edge South Carolina

SC is 4-1 ATS
UNC is 3-2 ATS
SC is 10-1 ATS in last 11 road games
SC is 8-1 ATS in last 9

North Carolina has always had talent as evidenced by their NFL list of players. Davis turned Miami around on the defensive side first and is attempting to do the same in Chapel Hill. The win by North Carolina last week assured that the Gamecocks will not be over looking this game. The Gamecocks are hot as of late and have been very good on the road ATS.
Slight Edge South Carolina

South Carolina Wins, Covers, Over

Georgia Tech @ Miami 12:00 ESPN
Line: Mia -2.5, 42.5

The setting…
The Yellow Jackets have won two in a row in this series. Both teams are coming off road losses as favorites. Both teams have had inconsistent QB play this year. Both teams have a lot of talent and speed on the defense. Both teams would rather run than pass. The Georgia Tech win in 2005 came when Miami was 8-1 and ranked #3 in the nation. Since then, GT is 13-10 and Miami is 12-10.

Line of Scrimmage
GT Rush Off 199.3 ypg vs Miami Rush Def 111.3 ypg
Miami Rush Off 156.2 ypg vs GT Rush Def 68.5
GT Off Sacks 0.7 pg vs Miami Def Sacks 3.7 pg
Miami Off Sacks 1.7 pg vs GT Def Sacks 4.2 pg

Both teams like to run the ball and both teams are good at stopping the run. Both teams can really get after the QB too. Georgia Tech leads the ACC in sacks with 25, but has only forced 2 INT meaning QBs are holding onto the ball rather than throwing it up. Neither QB will have much fun in the pocket as it will be the fastest defense each as faced so far and Bennett nor Wright are very nimble.
Advantage: Even

QB Play
GT Bennett 1016 yards 53.1% 2TD/2INT
Mia Wright 1096 yards 64.3% 8TD/8INT

Same story here. Neither team's QB is a world beater as they rely mostly on the run. Kyle Wright has played much better this year and needs some redemption after going 0-2 vs GT so far in his career. Taylor Bennett had a break out half against Maryland in the second half, but he has yet to put together two good halves of football. Neither of these teams is very good against the pass either ranking in the bottom 2 of the conference.
Advantage: Even

Intangibles/Coaching/ ATS
GT is 2-3 ATS, 2-3 O/U
Mia 2-4 ATS, 3-3 O/U
GT is 0-3 ATS as Fav
GT is 2-0 ATS as dog
GT been outscored 41-3 in the first quarter of games they have lost.

Randy Shannon has been through a lot in just 6 games as coach - blown out by Oklahoma, blowing out Texas A&M. The Canes responded nicely after being down 27-0 to UNC last week charging back to within 6. Georgia Tech's problem in their losses has been not playing with any emotion to start the game as evidenced by the 1st quarter scores in their losses. Can get GT get up for this game and play with emotion or will they let an average Miami offense jump out to 14 points in the first quarter?
Slight Advantage Miami

Prediction: Miami Wins, GT Covers, Under

Georgia @ Vanderbilt 6:00 ESPN2
Line: UGA -6, 45

The setting…
This season sets up just the way it did last year for Georgia. After a big loss to Tennessee last year, Georgia then lost at home to Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs lost by 21 last week in Knoxville and now comes Vanderbilt. The Commodores coaching staff have put starter Chris Nickson on notice that his job is in jeopardy by playing Mackenzie Adams, though most of the team including All-SEC WR Earl Bennett believe Nickson will bounce back and play well after a few bad weeks.

Line of Scrimmage
UGA Rush Off 160 ypg vs Vand Rush Def 145 ypg
Vand Rush Off 141.6 ypg vs UGA Rush Def 130 ypg
Vand Off Sacks 1.4 per game vs UGA Def Sacks 1.5 per game
UGA Off Sacks 1.5 per game vs Vand Def Sacks 2.2 per game

Mark Richt admitted that Tennessee whipped Georgia up front last week largely due to the inexperience of the Bulldog line. Vandy doesn't have the horses of Tennessee, but will be no pushover. The Bulldog rushing attack to a hit as Thomas Brown is out. Knowshon Moreno and Kregg Lumpkin will split carries. UGA is big up front and will slowly wear down the Commodore lines.
Slight Advantage UGA

QB Play
UGA Stafford 1163 yards, 55.9% 9TD/4INT
Vand Nickson 757 yards, 53.6% 6TD/5INT

Matt Stafford has had trouble living up to the sophomore hype so far this season outside of the winning pass vs Alabama. His completion % is not where he wants to be, but part of this is due to inconsistency at the WR position with drops. Vandy has had QB issues of their own. Chris Nickson started out with a lot of promise two years ago, but is being pushed by backup Mackenzie Adams. Expect both to play.
Slight Advantage UGA

UGA 3-2 ATS 2-3 O/U
Vand 2-2 ATS 0-4O/U
Road team is 9-3 ATS in last 12

Vandy gets to take on Georgia after a Tennessee loss again this year. If the Commodores can get out on top early, the Bulldogs may start to think back to last year. The key for Georgia will be to put Vandy away when they have the chance. They didn't do that last year and came back to hurt them in the end. Richt has been masterful on the road with just 4 losses since 2001.
Slight Advantage UGA

Georgia Wins, Covers, Under

Auburn @ Arkansas 7:45 ESPN
Line: Ark -3, 49.5

The setting…
Two disappointing starts for these two SEC West teams. Inconsistent QB play has plagued both though Auburn’s Brandon Cox has played much better the last two weeks after being benched. Auburns inconsistency has been at running the bal where a tailback by committee has not been able to hold onto the ball. The Tigers did get Brad Lester back last week, the leading returning rusher from a season ago. No secret to what Arkansas is going to do. Run with McFadden, Run with Jones, Pass with McFadden. Despite the “predictability” of this, the duo lead the nation in rushing.

Line of Scrimmage
Ark Rush Off 338.4 ypg vs Aub Rush Def 116.3 ypg
Aub Rush Off 161.7 ypg vs Ark Rush Def 151.1 ypg
Ark Off 0.8 sacks per game vs Aub Def 1.5 sacks per game
Aub Off 2.5 sacks per game vs Ark Def 1.2 sacks per game

Everybody knows Darren McFadden and Felix Jones are going to run the ball, but so far nobody has been able to slow them. It was against Auburn last year that McFadden burst onto the national stage and into the Heisman race as the Hogs destroyed Auburn on the Plains. The Razorbacks don't allow many sacks because they don't throw the ball that much. Meanwhile, Brandon Cox has appeared to be a sitting duck at times in the pocket with a shaky line, but there has been much improvement over the last two weeks from this unit.
Slight Advantage Arkansas

QB Play
Ark Dick 736 yards, 52.6% 7TD/4INT
Aub Cox 963 yards, 59.1%, 4TD/7INT

When talking about Arkansas QB position you have to consider McFadden out of the "Wildhog formation". Most of Brandon Cox's subpar numbers do not include the last two outings where he was very solid in two victories. Even with McFadden, the Razorbacks are very anemic in the passing game.
Slight Advantage Auburn

Ark 2-2 ATS 4-0 O/U
Aub 3-3 ATS 2-4 O/U

Houston's Nutt could buy himself some more time in Fayetteville with a win here. Auburn is hot right now, but Arkansas has had their number of late. McFadden and Jones are putting up incredible numbers, but the Hogs are having a tough time translating that into wins against good teams. Auburn looked very sharp last week against Vanderbilt and appear to have found a way around their turnover problem which cost them dearly in their two losses.
Advantage Even

Auburn Wins, Over

Other Interesting Games
South Florida -11.5 vs Central Florida
South Florida’s first game as being the hunted and playing a team with a chip on their shoulder. For the first 10 years of the program it was always the other way around, but the Bulls have reached a level now to where they have rivals looking up to them.

Purdue @ Michigan -5.5
The Boilers employ a spread offense that gave Michigan fits… make that nightmares in their first two games of the year. However, I don’t think Purdue has the team speed that Oregon had especially at QB running the draw. Joe Tiller’s club relies more on the short passing game to move the ball and draws with Kory Sheets. Still, this game should be interesting considering the Wolverines troubles against this type of offense in the past and that they are a 5.5 point favorite.

Boston College -13.5 @ Notre Dame
This is an underrated rivalry in college football (not in the religious cycles). BC has almost always been the underdog and I still remember when they beat the Irish after their big win over FSU in 1993 which knocked the Golden Domers out of the national title race (FSU went onto win the title that year ironically). Notre Dame got a lot of confidence in their 14 point win over UCLA last week and BC travels to Virginia Tech next week.

Wisconsin @ Penn State -6.5
Penn State hasn’t shown me anything to make me think they are a top 3 or 4 Big 10 team. I know they have the Badgers at home, but Anthony Morelli is struggling and the off field incidents are mounting in Happy Valley. Even Joe Pa got into the act this past week as a confrontation between him and another motorist was reported by police not too far from campus. I don’t think the Nittany Lions are entirely focused on the Badgers right now.

Louisville @ Cincinnati -10.5
The Cardinals of Bobby Petrino have flown the nest. I don’t think Louisville could stop a tortoise right now on offense and the Bearcats are riding high.

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