Friday, November 30, 2007

Championship Weekend

ACC Championship
Virginia Tech vs Boston College 1PM ABC

Jacksonville FL
Line: VT –4, 46

A rematch of the late October thriller where the Hokies frustrated then Heisman candidate Matt Ryan for 56 minutes in a driving rain storm until the senior came up with two TD passes in the final 4 minutes to give BC the win and remain undefeated at the time. Fast forward six weeks and the two teams meet again this time with an BCS bowl at stake (most likely the Orange Bowl).

The biggest difference for Virginia Tech is that they come into this game with a healthy Tyrod Taylor. The true freshman did not play in the first matchup and since his return a few weeks ago has given Frank Beamer’s club a different look on offense with Glennon and Taylor seeing time in the pocket. Taylor will likely start, but we will definitely see Glennon also in the first half. The tandem has worked so far, but you have to wonder if Glennon might press a little coming off the bench knowing his snaps may be limited if he cannot move the ball.

Boston College won its way into this game with another come from behind victory over Clemson on the road. In the first matchup, their defense played very well allowing the Eagles to stay within 10 points of VT the entire game. However, their offensive line was beaten like a drum for most of the night against a fast Virginia Tech defensive line. The Hokie D will also have LB Vince Hall for this contest; he was injured back in October.

Keys to Victory for Boston College:
-Rattle the VT quarterbacks
Like I said, the VT QBs may press a little knowing they want to impress in the snaps they have. The Hokies have been very good at holding onto the ball, especially late in the season.
-Give Matt Ryan time
Ryan was being chased all night by DE Chris Ellis. The BC o-line needs to find a better way to protect because Ryan will find an opening if given time. Ask Clemson.
-Establish a running game
The BC run game has been non-existent since the beginning of the year. A solid run threat will prevent the Hokies form pinning their ears back on the pass rush.

Keys to Victory for Virginia Tech:
-Get a rush with just 4
The Hokies were very good at this in the first game allowing them to shut off the quick pass BC likes because they could drop 5 or 6 defenders into coverage
-Keep BC defense off balance
This goes with the VT QB dual threat and specifically to Tyrod Taylor. It is assumed that when Glennon is in the game, the passing game will be more present and Glennon will not run. When Taylor is in, he needs to be a threat to throw the ball down field to keep the Eagles secondary out of the box.
-Beamer Ball
This has come to mean special teams over the years and Virginia Tech was beaten at their own game allowing BC their final score with an onside kick recovery. The Hokies are their best at special teams when a potential momentum change is apparent. Just ask Georgia Tech.

I like Virginia Tech in this game because they have been playing better football than they were in October and Boston College is not playing as good. Virginia Tech should also travel very well leading to more a home field advantage at the old Gator Bowl. VT will not experience the same disappointment again.

Virginia Tech 24 Boston College 17
Virginia Tech Wins, Covers, Under




SEC Championship
LSU vs Tennessee 4PM CBS

Atlanta, GA
Line: LSU – 7.5, 61

One team was expected to be here while the other was left for dead in Tuscaloosa about a month ago. I do not think Tennessee is the best team in the East, more like the third best, but they won it on the field. The Vols come into the game with all the momentum having won their last two by a combined 3 points and 4 OTs, but have they used up their 9 Lives? Tennessee has overcome a porous defense with brilliant QB play from Erik Ainge and an offensive line who keeps Ainge’s orange (or white) jersey clean.

LSU will have a tough time getting up for this game. Wait, this is for the SEC Championship? Well, expectations were for a national title this year and those faded dramatically when an Arkansas DB stepped in front of Matt Flynn’s pass in the end zone last week. Throw in that Les Miles is the subject of rumors of his departure to Michigan next week and DC Bo Pellini is rumored to be heading to Nebraska and you have a tired, confused Tiger team. Somebody needs to tell this team that an Oklahoma win and a Pittsburgh win could land the Bayou Bengals in the BCS Championship or that if they lose then they could fall from BCS Championship to Cotton Bowl in a two week span.

Keys to victory for Tennessee:
-Ainge has a signature game
The senior has accomplished a lot in Knoxville, but if he even wants to be mentioned in the same breath as the great UT QBs, then he has to have a great game to give the Vols a chance
-Pound the ball
The Vols would much rather pass then run, but they need to take a look at what Arkansas did to LSU on the ground especially inside the red zone. Ever since Glenn Dorsey went down to a questionable chop block at the hands of Auburn, he has not been a force on the line and the Tigers have struggled stopping the run.
-Make LSU pass the ball
For some reason, the Tigers want to throw the ball 40+ times a game. Matt Flynn is an ok passer, but he is not a pocket gunslinger. The LSU offensive line is huge and Jacob Hester is almost guaranteed yards out of the backfield. This may sound crazy to Vol fans who think their young secondary is vulnerable to LSU’s speed, but I would take may chances with Flynn or Perrilloux throwing the ball.

Keys to Victory for LSU:
-Use both Flynn and Perrilloux
Matt Flynn may be the starter, but Perrilloux brings a different element especially in the red zone with his size and running ability. This may be more out of necessity than design as Flynn has a bum shoulder that could limit his action.
-Run the ball
I thought LSU got lucky to win the Alabama game. They were passing the ball nearly every down against Alabama’s undersized front 7. What did the Tigers do when they got the ball for the winning score? Gave the ball to Jacob Hester. What did they do in the Florida game? Gave the ball to Jacob Hester.
-1 Game Season
It does not look like the Tigers will reach the BCS Championship, but they need to realize the importance of winning the SEC. It is the toughest conference in the nation and at worst would leave them in the Sugar Bowl, which is nearly a home game for them in New Orleans. Forget the game last week, forget the BCS, forget who may or may not be coaching next year.

I think LSU will bounce back and win this game. They have showed a fearless attitude all year and their talent advantage will overcome the Volunteers momentum

LSU 30 Tennessee 24
LSU Wins, Tennessee Covers, Under


LSU needed a comeback from
#1 pick JaMarcus Russell last year in Knoxville

Sean Taylor 1983-2007

By now, you all know the news about former Miami Safety and current Washington Redskins Safety Sean Taylor. My best memories of Taylor were of his intimidating presence in the Hurricane secondary during a national title in 2001 and should have been title in 2002. I still remember the Miami – FSU mud bowl in 2003 where it seemed like Taylor was everywhere. I remember a photo shopped picture on a Miami board with multiple Sean Taylor’s in the secondary just waiting for Chris Rix to throw the ball.

Sean Taylor’s death is very sad and although there are many murders in this country it hits a little harder to sports fans. Much has been said in the media regarding Taylor’s checkered past and how he was working to turn his life around. It is too bad the people around him had not begun to turn their lives around as well.

His Miami home was burglarized a week prior and a kitchen knife was found on his bed. Nothing was taken from the home. I am in the corner of Antrel Rolle that this was not random and that Taylor was targeted. It has been said that his friends warned him to get out of Miami. I believe the previous burglary was a practice run of sorts. Most burglaries where the intent is to steal occur during the day when no one is home and neighbors are not home. Let me reiterate that Taylor’s death is very saddening. I feel for his family, his fiancĂ©e, his baby, the Washington Redskins, and Miami Hurricanes football families. I wish he had heeded the advice of friends and seen the signs.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Power Rankings Week 14

SEC

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

I know… having LSU still at number 1 is blasphemy after they lost their second game. But they have lost two games in a combined 6 OT. Sure, Georgia has greatly closed the margin, but I still have LSU at number one… for now. Aforementioned, Georgia just keeps rolling; Mark Richt best coach in the country from mid-October on. Tennessee has showed me a lot these past two weeks. You could say they were lucky to win both of those games and you would be right. You could also say they made the plays when they had to win those games and you would be right. The win over LSU may have been Houston Nutt’s last game at Arkansas, but if so then he went out beating the number 1 team on the road. Depth and schedule finally caught up with Kentucky. Alabama played valiantly, but not even the great Nick Saban can over come poor QB play. Ocean floor meet South Carolina. The Gamecocks lost that game when CB Carlos Thomas went out with an injury.

ACC
1. Virginia Tech

2. Boston College
3. Clemson
4. Virginia
5. Wake Forest

6. Florida State

7. Georgia Tech
8. Maryland
9. NC State
10. North Carolina
11. Miami
12. Duke

Virginia Tech quieted their commonwealth neighbors for another year. Is Boston College really looking forward to a rematch? Matt Ryan can’t play like he did a few weeks back against the Hokies. The Danny Ford calls may have quieted a little bit after Clemson’s victory over South Carolina. Wake was impressive in their thrashing of Vanderbilt in Nashville; the ACC has to take them when they can get them vs the SEC. Florida State broke Tim Tebow’s hand…too bad they couldn’t break their losing streak against the Gators. Georgia Tech lost their 7th straight to rival Georgia in a woulda, coulda, shoulda game that was the last for a beleaguered Chan Gailey. Maryland rose up and snapped the Wolfpack in shutout win on the road to get the bowl committees excited. Duke played North Carolina close once again, but could not pull it out. The football season ended for these two a few weeks back when basketball started.

Top 10
1. West Virginia

2. Missouri
3. LSU
4. Georgia
5. Ohio State
6. USC
7. Oklahoma
8. Kansas
9. Virginia Tech
10. Florida
Next: Hawaii, Arizona State, Boston College

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Rivalry Weekend Thoughts

Rivalry Week Record: 8-2 SU, 7-3 ATS, 2-8 O/U
Season: 36-26 SU, 34-24-1 ATS, 28-32-1

Mark Richt has done the best coaching job in the country since October 14th. This is very, very early, but Georgia is setting up very nicely for next year and a national title run.

It is not totally inconceivable that Georgia can be in the BCS Championship. They need for Pitt to win, Oklahoma to win, and Tennessee to win. However, in my opinion you should have to win your conference to play for the MNC. See Nebraska 2001.

With the Tennessee win, the Georgia Tech game became a $10+ million game for the Bulldogs because with a win they are likely headed to a BCS bowl game in the clubhouse at 10-2.

Georgia Tech had 3 golden opportunities in their loss to Georgia to score 3 touchdowns. Georgia recovered two fumbles and knocked another out to get 3 touch backs. The biggest swing was on a fumble recovery by Tech which they fumbled out of the end zone to give Georgia the ball on their own 20 early in the 3rd quarter.

I think Georgia Tech will move quickly on a coaching decision and by that I mean whether or not Chan Gailey will be back next year. If you are a Yellow Jacket fan you hope if a change is made, it is not made just because the fan base largely wants it. Ask Nebraska and Ole Miss how that worked out. Of course you could also ask how it worked out for Georgia and Ohio State.

I don't really know why Clemson is even considering firing Tommy Bowden. He has 9 wins, could have 10 this year and, most importantly, is 7-2 against South Carolina. How do you fire a guy who has won over 75% of his games against your biggest rival. I wonder which is more successful season in Death Valley? An ACC Title with a loss to South Carolina or no title, but a win over South Carolina?

Same goes for Arkansas and Houston Nutt. I know many Razorback fans are upset with Nutt, but you don't fire a guy who has been to 2 SECCG games and won 8 games this year, including a win at #1 LSU. The SEC is a very tough conference and I don't want to tell Arkansas fans where there place is in the SEC, but LSU doesn't win the west every year, neither does Auburn nor Alabama.

This guy disagrees with me...


Darren McFadden had a heisman like effort on Friday and got that signature win over the #1 LSU Tigers. He hasn't played great in every game, but neither has Tebow. You can't go wrong with either guy and the SEC must be giddy about it.

Speaking of Tebow, he was marvelous again yesterday, but the win did come with its price as the Heisman hopeful has a broken hand and will have a cast on for two weeks. The Gator QB is such a valuable weapon, but his having to run the ball so much this year cost the Gators the SEC East title. Urban Meyer cannot run him that much (and Tebow cannot call his own number so much) next year if the Gators want to get back in the national title race because defense whether intentionally or not will be gunning for him.

Ole Miss fired Ed Orgeron after 3 years. The Rebels finished 0-8 in the SEC for the first time ever and lost a 14 point lead in the 4th quarter to arch rival Mississippi State. Ole Miss gave Florida all they could handle and nearly beat Alabama, but in the ultra competitive SEC almost doesn't get it done.

Year 1 of the Nick Saban era and 1 more loss to Auburn. The Tigers have won 6 in a row which is there longest streak in the series history. Alabama is now hoping for a bowl game, but at 6-6 and 4 straight losses they don't look that attractive. Then again its Alabama and there is always interest in Alabama football.

I think the QB switching finally came back to byte the Ol Ball Coach this year. The 5 game slide started with Spurrier annoucing that Blake Mitchell, the backup at the time, would get some snaps in the Vanderbilt game. Current starter, Chris Smelley, who replaced Mitchell because of poor play, was obviously shaken up and never seemed to recover. It may come down to South Carolina or Alabama for a bowl bid.

Miami does have a reason to look forward to next year with a great recruiting class coming in next year.. if they can hold onto them. Also, Randy Shannon needs to get back to basics. Lack of fundamentals are killing Miami.

The ACC office can rest easier now that Virginia Tech will be in Jacksonville. You had to think a Virginia-Boston College matchup was not going to bring very many fans.

LSU got a reprieve when Tennessee had to play 4OTs. You will have two very tired teams in Atlanta. It is not totally out of the picture of LSU playing in the BCS title game. They have to beat Tennessee, hope Oklahoma beats Missouri, Pitt beats West Virginia. Oklahoma would need to scrape by Missouri though. Nobody has two losses as tough as LSU's with both coming in 3 OT.

Speaking of Tennessee, they don't appear to be the best team in the East. In my opinion, they are the 3rd best team in the East. But you have to give them credit because they won every game they had to, including beating Georgia 35-14.

I hope the Fire Rich Brooks mantra doesn't start in Lexington. You can fire a coach for "mediocrity" and should in basketball at UK, but not at football.

Around the country...
The atmosphere at the Missouri and Kansas game looked awesome on TV. They will do it again next year in KC. I wish more teams would do this once in a while, but the money of having home games is too much of a draw. Games like Georgia-Florida, Texas-Oklahoma are so special because of the neutral field atmosphere.

Can you believe UCLA has a shot at the Pac 10 title and the Rose Bowl? They need to beat USC and have Arizona beat Arizona St. It could happen.

The Big 10 is really missing out by not having ANY games Thanksgiving weekend. Then their teams get to have a nice month and a half off before a bowl game while other conferences have 3-4 weeks off.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Palmetto State Battle: Clemson South Carolina

South Carolina vs Clemson 7:00 ESPN2
Line: Clem -3, 53.5
Clemson leads 63-37-4


So Clemson wet the bed last week and they are out of the ACC title race. They can still stick it to their in state rival South Carolina who has lost 4 games in a row after being ranked as high as #6. Clemson has won 14 of the last 19 games and 8 of the last 10. They have also won 8 of the last 9 meetings in Columbia.

QB Cullen Harper is tops in the ACC in passing efficiency and ranks 6th in the nation. The junior has 26 TD passes, a Clemson season record. Those kind of stats were needed this year because the Tigers have not been able to run the ball nearly as well as last year with James Davis and CJ Spiller. If they can get those guys going, it could be a long night for a swiss cheese South Carolina run D.

South Carolina scored the final 17 points last year to win at Death Valley 31-28. Clemson missed a very close field goal at the end that would have sent the game to overtime. It looked like the Gamecocks would be coming into this one as favorite until Steve Spurrier started messing with the QB situation. Then came the last second loss to Tennessee, Darren McFadden , more McFadden, some Tim Tebow, and now the Cocks are fighting for a bowl. South Carolina is horrible against the run allowing 209 ypg. Turnovers have also been a sore spot for the Gamecocks while the Tigers are nearly +1 per game. Both teams are stellar against the pass ranking in the top 10. However, South Carolina will be without their top DB Captain Munnerlyn.

For South Carolina to win, they need to feed off the home crowd early and hope Clemson is still sulking over last week. Blake Mitchell needs to be on cue with his receivers as Spurrier will have good enough schemes to win the game. If Clemson jumps out, they will have to play all 60 minutes because did last week.

Clemson 31 South Carolina 27
Clemson Wins, Covers, Over

Georgia Georgia Tech - Clean, Old Fashioned Hate

Georgia Tech vs Georgia 3:30 ABC
Line: UGA -3.5, 48
Georgia leads 58-38-5

Saturday will the last game for 18 Georgia Tech seniors. This group has 30 victories and 3 bowl appearances, but they are 0-3 against Georgia. This could also be Georgia Tech's Chan Gailey last game as head coach. Many rumors are swirling around Atlanta as to what this game means for his future. Gailey has led Tech to 5 bowls in 5 years and has never finished below .500 in conference, but he is 0-5 against Georgia - a sore spot that cannot be bandaged easily for many Tech fans.

Tech’s Tashard Choice leads the ACC in rushing for the second year in a row and could be the first back to lead the league in rushing for two straight years since Thomas Jones. Georgia will counter with redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno who has had 5 straight 100 yards games; the first Bulldog since Herschel Walker to accomplish this feat. Both teams are much better at running than passing, both averaging above 175 ypg on the ground while under 200 yards passing per game.

Tech ranks very good against the run allowing just 89 ypg on the ground good for 8th in the nation. They allow under 300 yards total ranking them 7th in total defense. Georgia is also very good on defense having found cohesion at the LB corp after some starting lineup shuffles. Neither team is great at the turnover margin, but Georgia has done a very good job of taking the turnovers they get and turning them into points while Tech has struggled getting points off opponent miscues. This has been especially important in this game. GT has had 3 turnovers each of the last 2 years in this game, while the Bulldogs have had just 1. A controversial fumble last year turned out to the difference for Georgia in the win.

This rivalry has been extremely close over the last few years but Georgia has made the plays and taken advantage of their opportunities. For Georgia Tech to pull the upset, they need Choice to be a force on the ground and they cannot turn the ball over. I think they can do this, but Georgia will also play very well (even if they are checking the Tennessee-Kentucky score). Mark Richt has done the best coaching job of anyone in the country in the second half of the year and will make sure the Dawgs are focused on what they can control.

Georgia 23 Georgia Tech 13
Georgia Wins, Covers, Under

Mark Richt has never lost a non conference game in the regular season, including 6 wins over Georgia Tech

Sunshine State Battle

Florida vs Florida State 5:00 CBS
Line: Fla -13.5, 58.5
Florida leads 30-19-2

Florida has won 3 straight in the series that was one of the best in the 90s. The Gators have not won four straight since 1983-86. FSU has played better as of late, but is leagues behind their in state rival. You have to wonder how long Bobby Bowden is going to stay. It is probably one day longer or victory than Joe Paterno (and the reverse for Paterno).
Even though the Gators have won 3 straight, this rivalry is as fierce as ever. Urban Meyer refers to FSU as “the school out west”. Spurrier called them Free Shoes University.

One bright spot for the Noles has been their defense. Mickey Andrews is still doing the job on defense for the Noles as they rank 15th nationally in rushing defense and 24th in scoring defense. FSU LB Geno Hayes lead the ACC in tackles for loss and said he was tired of the Tim Tebow talk and plans to end it on Saturday. Offensively, the Noles are still struggling. For all the grief former OC Jeff Bowden took, his offenses averaged more points per game than Jimbo Fisher’s this year.
They will be going up against the #5 scoring offense averaging 43ppg. The Gators are 18th in total offense with 455 ypg. The Gators are going to ride their horse Tim Tebow. As Tebow goes, so goes Gators. If the Noles are able to penetrate the Gator D, it will have to be by the pass as the Gator secondary is young and apt to leave the deep ball open. The Gators are much better defending the run than the pass ranking 14th in rushing defense, but 94th against the pass.

This was the game in college football in the 90s, but with FSU's demise it doesn't have the national title implications for both sides. I think the Gators are able to win this one pretty easily.


Florida 38 Florida State 21
Florida Wins, Covers, Over

Where else can you dress like this for a football game in November?

Tennessee Goes for 23 Straight

Kentucky vs Tennessee 1:30 CBS
Line: Kent –2.5, 65
Tennessee leads 70-23-9

Its very simple for Tennessee; if they beat the Wildcats for the 23rd straight time then the Vols are going to Atlanta to play the suddenly beatable LSU Tigers. If they lose then Georgia goes. With Navy’s win over Notre Dame earlier this year, Tennessee holds the longest consecutive win streak in DI at 22 straight over Kentucky. This is probably the Wildcats best chance to win in a long time.

It seems like the Vols have 9 lives this year. They have been blown out in three games on the road this year against good teams (Florida, Cal, Alabama) and won just one (Miss St). They needed a FG pushed right to beat Vandy last week after being down 24-9 in the fourth quarter. However, the Vols have to a little peeved that they have a better record and could be going to the SECCG with a win yet they are an underdog.

Andre Woodson will be playing his final game in Lexington as will LB Wesley Woodyard, WR Keenan Burton and the rest of the Wildcats seniors. This group came to Lexington hoping to turn around a program who had previously used football as a bridge to basketball season. It was just a few years ago that Rich Brooks was under serious heat and what thought to be gone, but AD Mitch Barnhart stuck with the former Oregon and St Louis Rams coach.

Despite the disparity in records, these teams are very close in talent. Both have great QBs, good receivers, but suspect defenses. As mentioned earlier, if Tennessee wins they are going to Atlanta. I just don’t think they are the best team in the East and they have played very poorly on the road this year. In this crazy year of college football with upsets and streaks broken, I think another falls on Saturday in Lexington.

Kentucky 37 Tennessee 35
Kentucky Wins, Tennessee Covers, Over

Rivalry Week Continued

Rivalry Week is the best week of the college football season. Some will say the bowl games are the best week, but you don't have to listen to other team 365 days a year if you lose that game.

North Carolina vs Duke 3:30 ESPNU
Line: NC –14, 47
North Carolina leads 53-35-4

A rivalry usually reserved for basketball season, but these two go at it hard on the football field as well. UNC has won 16 of the past 17 meetings. Despite a disappointing record, all of the Tar Heels losses this year have come by 7 points or less.

Offense will be hard to come by as Duke ranks 117th in offense while Carolina checks in at 100. But Duke is also equally bad on defense allowing 440 ypg of offense. This could game could have a lot of turnovers as both teams are negative in turnover margin on the year.

This is pretty big spread for a rivalry as big as this one. Duke has lost the last two by a combined four points despite being 7 and 21.5 point underdogs. North Carolina has much better talent, but you can truly throw that out in this game. Even with the disappointing seasons, Tobacco Road fans have basketball to look forward to.

North Carolina 30 Duke 24
UNC Wins, Duke Covers, Over

NC State vs Maryland 12:00 Raycom
Line: NCS –2.5, 47
NC State 30-29-4

The winner of this game is likely to go to the Humanitarian Bowl and fill the ACC’s 8th bowl spot. This game really
blossomed into a rivalry about 5 years ago when the Terps and Wolfpack were vying for ACC supremacy along with Florida State. I remember when Maryland won late on Philip Rivers senior Day in Raleigh in what had to be the biggest senior day celebration for 1 player I have ever seen.

Both teams are pretty bad on offense. NC State has a decent passing attack with
Daniel Evans, but they both rank below 90 in total offense in the country. NC State is not very good against the run, which could be good news for Maryland RBs Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore.

Maryland has been decimated by injuries especially on the offensive and defensive lines. The Wolfpack have a had comeback of sorts winning four of their last five to be in this position. I think the Terps have found a continuity from all the injuries and win on the road.


Maryland 24 NC State 21

Maryland Wins, Under

Wake Forest vs Vanderbilt 2:00PM

Line: WF –1, 46

An overlooked intra-conference game this weekend is Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. This is a battle of the brains and
two football challenged programs historically. Vanderbilt is coming off a heartbreaking loss to Tennessee where they lead 24-9 in the 3rd quarter only to miss a 49 yard FG with under a minute to go for the win. Vandy is going for their 6th win to try and become bowl eligible. The Commodores have the longest bowl drought in the BCS conferences.

Neither team has much offense amassing under 340 ypg each. Vandy has a pretty good defense led by LB Jonathan Goff. The Dores rank in the top 35 in the major
defensive categories. Wake plays smart and does not turn the ball over ranking 17th in turnover margin. They are lead by Riley Skinner at QB and Alphonso Smith at CB.

Vanderbilt has been very close to bowl eligibility under Bobby Johnson and will find a way to get it done this year.

Vanderbilt 23 Wake Forest 21
Vandy Wins, Under


Boston College vs Miami

Line: BC –14.5, 47.5

Have you ever seen the Doug Flutie’s hail mary pass to beat Miami in 1984? That was the last time BC beat Miami. Miami
needs this one to finish .500 and become bowl eligible, though I think they will have a hard time finding a slot this year. They should have beaten NC State and could have beaten North Carolina or Georgia Tech as well.

You have to wonder how strong BC will play having wrapped up an ACCCG bid. But this game could mean a lot if the Eagles don’t win the ACCCG because they don’t travel very well.


Miami is downright awful on offense. Not Notre Dame bad, but close. Most of their bad rankings come because they cannot pass the ball. Kyle Wright has been banged up all year and has again been prone to turnovers, but he is better option than Kirby Freeman who completed just 1 pass against NC State in a loss a few weeks back.

Miami may have just as much apathy on their side knowing they are probably not
going to a bowl game even if they do win. The Canes do have a good recruiting class coming in next year and may pack it in early.

Boston College 34 Miami 14
BC Wins, Covers, Over

Friday, November 23, 2007

Battle for the Commonwealth Virginia Virginia Tech

Virginia vs Virginia Tech 12:00 ESPN2
Line: VT –3.5, 38.5
All Time Series: VT leads 47-37-5

The winner will go to the ACC Championship Game in Jacksonville to play Boston College next week. This rivalry has heated up in the last few years since Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004. The matchup features if the highest rankings ever in the series (VT 8th, UVA 16th). The series has been dominated by the Hokies as they have won last the last 3 by a score of 93-29 and 7 of the last 8.

The Cavaliers are undefeated at home this year and have a total of 5 games by 2 points or less, which is an NCAA record. They have one of the best defensive ends in Chris Long who ranks 5th nationally in sacks. The other 10 guys are also getting it done – the defense ranks 10th nationally in scoring defense and 20th in rushing defense.

The Hokies are no slouches on defense either. They rank in the top 6 in scoring defense, pass efficiency, rush defense, and total defense. The Hokies are also very adept at creating turnovers ranking 8th in the nation.

A total under 40 points catches most peoples eye’s but it justified by two teams who rank 99th (Virginia) and 103rd (Virginia Tech) in total offense.

The Hokies are accustomed to winning on the road as they are 11-1 away from Blacksburg since joining the ACC in 2004. Virginia comes into this game with a chip on their shoulder – they are underdogs at home and play second fiddle when it comes to football in the commonwealth. All that being said, I still like VT in this one.

Virginia 18 Virginia 14
VT Wins, Covers, Under

Colin Cowherd doesn't think much of Virginia football

Rivalry Week Iron Bowl

Auburn vs Alabama 8:00 ESPN
Line: Aub –4.5, 44.5
Alabama leads 38-32-1

I think Auburn-Alabama is the fiercest rivalry in all of college football. There are no pro sports teams in Alabama and the game has featured college football legends like Bear Bryant, Bo Jackson, Kenny Stabler, and Pat Sullivan. Auburn has won 5 in a row and going for a record 6th straight victory over the Tide.

This players in this game will be overshadowed by the coaches: Tommy Tuberville and Nick Saban. Tuberville’s name has been linked to the Texas AM job. I think Tommy is just jockeying for a better contract from Auburn. Saban will be in his first Iron Bowl, but is familiar with the Tigers from his days at LSU.

Auburn is coming off a bye week after a blowout loss to Georgia a week prior. Alabama had an embarrassing loss to Louisiana-Monroe last week causing Saban to conjure up comparisons to 9/11 when describing the loss’ effect on the team.

Rumors have come out of Tuscaloosa that things are not well under Saban. Favoritism, racism, and squabbles amongst teammates have dotted the Internet message board chatter.

Alabama has managed to get up for the big games this year and play well. I think the bye week gives Auburn and big advantage as does playing at home. The Tigers have a much better defense than the Tide and that will be the difference.

Auburn 27 Alabama 20
Auburn Wins, Covers, Over

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Power Rankings Week 13

Not much movement in the power rankings for the ACC and SEC this week. The top 10 was turned upside down again this week with Oregon and Oklahoma losing.

SEC
1. LSU
2. Georgia

3. Florida
4. Auburn
5. Tennessee
6. Arkansas
7. Kentucky
8. Vanderbilt
9. Miss State
10. South Carolina
11. Alabama

12. Ole Miss

Georgia continued its push for an SECCG berth with a win over Kentucky at home.
Florida rolled over Fla Atlantic and Tim Tebow managed to stay under 10 TDs for the game.
Tennessee controls its destiny in the East, though it looked like for most of Saturday that Vanderbilt was going to nip the Volunteers for the second time in three years.

Arkansas got past Miss St so Houston Nutt avoided being Croomed, though he still may be out at the end of the year.
South Carolina stopped their losing streak… by having a bye week
Alabama…..Saban > than Mike Shula?, not in year 1. I thought they had poured a lot into the LSU, but evidently it was their whole season

ACC

1. Virginia Tech
2. Virginia
3. Boston College

4. Clemson
5. Wake Forest
6. Georgia Tech
7. Florida State
8. Maryland
9. North Carolina State
10. North Carolina
11. Miami

12. Duke

Boston College was behind the whole game, but Matt Ryan brought the Eagles back again on the road to land an ACCCG appearance.
I though Clemson was potty trained, but evidently not. Cullen Harper didn’t really man up against Ryan.
Georgia Tech scraped past North Carolina, but it more so that North Carolina beat themselves at the end.
Florida State held on against Maryland after jumping out early.
Wake Forest stopped NC State’s four game winning streak with a convincing win.
Miami needs to beat BC to become bowl eligible. Two years ago they were thinking national title at #3 in the nation.

Top 10
1. LSU

2. Ohio State
3. Kansas
4. Missouri
5. West Virginia

6. Georgia
7. Oklahoma
8. USC

9. Virginia Tech
10. Arizona State
Next: Texas, Florida, Hawaii
Dropped Out: Oregon

LSU remains at the top with a 17 point win over Ole Miss on the road.
Ohio State moves up with the loss of number two and three. However, I think West Virginia matches up very well with the Buckeyes.
Kansas and Missouri are in position for a national title and they play this Saturday in Kansas City. I think the winner could change my mind about who is number 2.
USC and Arizona State battle in the desert on Thanksgiving with both trying to pounce on the Pac 10 BCS with Oregon out.
Oregon was dropped all the way out because without Dennis Dixon they are barely a top 20 team in my opinion.

Friday, November 16, 2007

November 17 Predictions

For once, the ACC has the headliner games of the week led by Boston College at Clemson.

Georgia Tech vs North Carolina 12:00 ESPN
GamePlan
Line: GT -10, 42.5

Georgia Tech became bowl eligible last week, but needs this one to really feel secure about their postseason hopes. They have had what many would consider a disappointing season and grumblings about the future of the program are being heard. North Carolina has had a tough go as of late losing a close game to rival NC State last week. The Tar Heels’ record may not be much better than last year, but they have been in many more games at the end.

Tashard Choice is back from knee surgery and showed no ill effects in a 170 yards performance at Duke last week. The Yellow Jackets continue to struggle in the passing game. Junior QB Taylor Bennett again completed less than 50% of his passes, but he did throw 2 TDs matching his season total. His wide receivers have not been giving him much help with dropped passes.

North Carolina’s philosophy on offense has been a 5 step drop and wing it downfield. QB TJ Yates leads the ACC in interceptions largely because of the lack of a running game. The Heels managed just 12 yards rushing a NC State defense that had been playing like a matador in a bull fight against the run.

Here is a fact for you…North Carolina has not won outside the state of North Carolina since 2002. They have had so many close games this year and need a “big win” to gain so momentum for next year (sorry, Duke won’t cut it). Georgia Tech may be caught looking ahead to next week’s game vs Georgia, where their bowl might be (San Francisco and San Jose bring back memories), and what their coaching situation will be going forward.

Georgia Tech 24 North Carolina 20
Georgia Tech Wins, North Carolina Covers, Over

Clemson vs Boston College
7:45 ESPN2
Line: Clem -8, 52.5

People are calling this the biggest game in Clemson history since 1981. I don’t know if I would go that far, but it is Tommy Bowden’s biggest game ever at Clemson. These two teams are heading in opposite directions with the Tigers flying high after a two game bump in the road earlier in the season and the Eagles experiencing a two game bump after winning eight straight to start the year.

Clemson looks great statistically on offense and defense. BC looked great statistically until two weeks ago. People have seemed to figure out this Eagle defense and exposed its weakness. Maryland, a team playing numerous second stringers, scored on 7 of their first 8 possessions.

This the classic game that would make Clemson wet their pants over the last several years, but
I think they already wet their pants against Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech and now have become potty trained. Death Valley will be rocking and the Tigers rock Boston College to a third straight loss.

Clemson 38 Boston College 17
Clemson Wins, Covers, Over

Georgia vs Kentucky 12:30 SEC TV

Line: UGA -7.5, 61

If you look up momentum in the dictionary it would say "Georgia Bulldogs with Mark Richt out of character tactics". The Bulldogs have also uncharacteristically scored 40+ points in three straight games. A month ago, all of the focus of the SEC was on Kentucky after they upset LSU and had ESPN Gameday and Florida coming to town. After the loss to Florida, they got "Croomed" by Mississippi State and QB Andre Woodson fell out the Heisman race. So what is Mark Richt using this week to motivate his team? No team celebrations or black jersey are expected this week. Instead, the once conservative Richt is passing out pictures of Kentucky fans tearing down the goalposts after the victory of the Dawgs last year.

I think this game could be an old fashioned SEC offensive shootout. Wait a second... that makes no sense. Kentucky really can't stop anyone especially on the ground and Georgia is running the ball very well with Knowshon Moreno behind an improved offensive line. Georgia will give up some yards as well and when given time Woodson can pick apart even the best defenses. Kentucky climaxed a few weeks ago... Georgia is climaxing now. Dawgs get it done at home in the 4th quarter.

Georgia 35 Kentucky 28
Georgia Wins, Kentucky Covers, Over

Bonus Game... just because Duke has a shot against Notre Dame!
Notre Dame vs Duke 2:30 NBC

Line: ND -6, 48

Just when you think Notre Dame can't get any worse, they did against Air Force. Both teams are top academic schools, both teams have 1 win, both teams have not won a conference game (ok, so Notre Dame isn't in a conference). Notre Dame is awful and there is no good excuse or reason why they are this bad. The recruiting services have rated their recent classe top 10 nationally. They really have not played a decent team close - Duke has played decent teams close including Wake Forest and Virginia.

Call me an ACC homer or a Domer hater, but I think Duke has a real shot to win if they believe
they can. Duke QB Thaddeus Lewis has had a few rough games and is due for a big game. The Irish thought this was a definite win at the beginning of the year. Six points is a lot for a team that is 3-7 ATS this year and most of the losses have not even been close.

I think Duke extends the misery of the Domers in a not so surprising upset.

Duke 17 Notre Dame 16
Duke Wins, Under
Last Week: 3-2SU, 2-3ATS, 3-2O/U
Season: 26-21, 26-18-1, 24-22-1