Another profitable week going 2-1 and hitting the double unit play for 2 units on the plus side.
My overall record is now 37-26-3 and a spectacular 9-4 in two unit plays for a 13 unit profit on the year. I really hope the crowded elevator that comprises my readership has been tailing these double unit plays adding a little bit more mustard to your bets on these plays. If you have, you've got to be one happy camper. I really like the card this week and I think you will too. On to the plays.
Doublin' up has been berry berry good to me.
USC-3 @ Arizona State. Thursday Night. It's a primetime college spotlight game for the glamour boys from SoCal. With the injury to Dennis Dixon, there's a conference title on the line as well as a shot at a Rose Bowl berth. That's right, that same USC program that was left for dead after a game effort in a loss at Oregon is now back in the title hunt with a chance to do what it does best...win meaningful games in November, a month in which Pete Carrol is undefeated in his tenure at USC. And they get to do it on a national primetime stage with the nation's undivided attention. A perfect spot for a bunch of 5 star pre-maddonas or prima donnas. I can't decide which.
The University of Spoiled Children.
In the last 3 games, ASU has been outrushed by Cal, Oregon and UCLA averaging 2.7, 2.7. and 3.4 yards per carry respectively. Take away a 71 yard TD run by Keegan Herring late in the UCLA game, and the Sun Devils would have posted a meager 80 yards on the ground and 1.8 yards a carry. USC should be able to take away the running game early with only its front 7, forcing Rudy Carpenter to throw the ball 40 times to move the ball. That allows SC's talented front 4 to get after the passer and force Carpenter to throw into coverage, which means, you guessed it, TO's.
On the flip side, this will be the healthiest USC has been all year. John David Booty has managed the last two games very well throwing 3 TD's and no picks, instead relying on Chauncy Washington and the 5 Oline war-daddies to pound opposing teams into submission. I really like how a healthy USC Oline matches up with the undersized Sun Devil front. USC will be able run the ball effectively enough and find success in playaction because of it. On defense, they'll make ASU one dimensional and force a couple key turnovers. USC 28-21.
Boise State +3.5 @ Hawaii. Friday.The Broncos travel to Hawaii to face the Rainbow(no offense to Henry James) Warriors with a WAC title on the line. This is one of the those games that, as cliche as it sounds, may well come down to who has the ball last. Hawaii's got problems however with the uncertainty of Colt Brennan's health status and just the overall look of vulnerability June Jones' squad has shown in several games this year. They needed a late field goal and overtime to take care of a Karl Malone-less LA Tech team, allowed 37 points at home to a horrible Utah State club, needed two TD's in the last 4 minutes of a game at San Jose State to force OT (including a gift fumble by the Spartans with 1 minute to play), and were outplayed by Nevada needing a field goal with 11 seconds to play to win by two. Folks this is a team that's been looking to drop a game for a good while.
Boise on the other hand has gotten consistently better all year which has been a function of its improved quarterback play since the Washington loss. Taylor Tharp is quietly having a spectacular year after coming of age against Southern Miss. He's completing 62% of his passes, averaging 8.28 yards per attempt, while throwing 27 TD's to 8 picks. That's significantly better than Matt Ryan folks. And they have Sooner killer Ian Johnson healthy, and toting the rock at an all-american level. They can match Hawaii's firepower on that side of the ball.
The true advantage is found on the other side of the ball where BSU gives up half a yard less per pass attempt and half a yard less per rush than its opponents are averaging. This against a tougher schedule than Hawaii's with a respectable non-conference slate that included Washington, Southern Miss, and Wyoming. Compare that to Hawaii's non-con of Northern Colorado, UNLV, and Charleston Southern. On defense Hawaii is holding opponents to half a yard per play less than average, which, when considering the schedule ain't that great. With questions about Brennan's health and considering I get the better team with the points, I'll take Boise State. They win outright 41 to 35.
When we drop the Rainbow the gays have won.
**Texas -5.5 @ TAMU. 2 units. Friday.**The annual grudge match features two teams heading in different directions. Texas now has a decent shot at sliding into the conference championship game, while the Aggies will be looking forward to finding the next Jackie Sherrill and going to the Gallery Furniture bowl. Texas seems to be rallying around an us vs. them situation, real or imagined, while the Aggies will be taking the field for a coach they're probably not too fond of.
"But it's a rivalry game, anything can happen", you say. I somewhat agree and that certainly was the case last year. This year, however, is different. First, this is a two loss Texas team that has gotten virtually zero respect from the linesmakers after the KSU loss. They were two TD dogs vs. OU, 3 point faves @ OSU, and a short 6 point fave at home against a Tech team with a horrendous defense. Now, we get a short line against a team that won't be going to a decent bowl and will be trotting out a lameduck coach with a ton of lamenting lame duck seniors.
As for Texas' state of mind, I can't ever remember a Longhorn club and Mack Brown specifically, publicly acknowledge and address the revenge angle. Brown specifically mentioned Kellen Heard's chickenshit hit on McCoy in last year's game by saying the 'Horns won't seek revenge or be motivated by a late hit. Well ofcourse not, Mack, that's not your style. But it's interesting because it's not his style to justify such things with passing mention either. And with guys like Brian Orakpo and Colt McCoy mentioning the hit specifically, I think the team is more motivated by the aggie shenanigans than Mack lets on. As a bettor, I like the Horns emotional state much better than the ags. That wasn't the case last year.
The numbers are compelling for a Horn romp as well, especially when one considers how the teams matchup. It's no secret that the ags don't like to throw it and the Horns certainly don't like to defend it. It's the old story of the two guys that bow up to fight but never do. "One is scared and the other is glad of it." The one thing the Horns do well is stop the run giving up 92 yards per game. They also give up just 2.9 yards per rush vs. teams that rush for 4.3 on average. That's a stellar yard and a half difference. If the Horns can just hold TAMU to under 4 yards a carry, they win going away. If McGee's forced to chunk it around at all, bad things happen for the ags.
On offense, Texas seems to have found an identity with the newfound success of Jamaal Charles and a dedication to pounding the football. Any success in the run game sets up the explosive Jermichael Finley and a sure-handed stable of receivers to move the ball through the air. I fully expect Texas to be able to pound TAMU's base nickel defense into submission setting up opportunities to Finley down the field. The aggie defense allows half a yard more than their opponents average through the air while allowing opponents to rush for their average on the ground. That is bad news for a team giving up 421 yards per game facing an offense averaging 471 yards per. If Texas gets even near its average, it's blow out city. Which it will be. Again, I get that this is a rivalry, but certain factors off the field, and certainly matchups on it more than make up for the rivalry angle. Texas 38 to 17.
Rumor has it he'll be looking for Kellen Heard this Friday.
Oklahoma State +11 @ Oklahoma. The manchild brings his OSU Cowboy's into Norman in hopes of knocking in-state rival out of the conference championship game. The Sooners are a bonafide mash unit forced into using 3rd string defensive ends, losing their most explosive player in DeMarco Murray, and maybe even down to the backup QB. That's not good news if you're trying to play your way into the title game by winning outright. It's horrible news if you're trying to cover a two TD spread.
Look, I know OSU can't stop anyone with a starting QB and starting tailback, but they can certainly move the ball on just about anyone. But I'll take the points with first part of the equation being up in the air at the moment. It also helps the underdog when the weather man calls for cold, rainy, and windy conditions. It also helps the mobile QB with a decent running game.
I'll take the points here but as a Longhorn fan I'm hoping for the upset. That may be a bit much to ask. OU 28 to 27.
Good luck everyone and Happy Thanksgiving.