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Joe Nelson - Blogs

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BETWEEN THE LINES - OCT. 11

By Joe Nelson
Posted 10/12/2010 at 11:04 AM


With the initial BCS rankings coming out next week there have been some interesting developments.
Boise State projects to be the #1 team in those rankings but it surely will be short lived as the upcoming schedule is going to severely penalize the Broncos no matter how dominant the scores are. TCU is still in the mix and Utah is gaining a bit of a buzz but those programs will collide in a few weeks. Ohio State and Oregon would set-up an appealing Rose Bowl style championship match-up but both teams have serious hurdles to pass with the Buckeyes facing a significant test this week. The team that is under the radar is Oklahoma as the Sooners will surely be favored in every remaining game. Oklahoma has not been overly impressive but the dominant win over Florida State is a nice trump card. If Nebraska and Oklahoma both end up undefeated, the Big XII championship will be an incredible game and the winner can certainly guarantee a spot in the title game even though the Big XII looks down this season.

There are still undefeated SEC teams that might have a say in how things play out. LSU and Auburn will meet next week in a huge game but both teams will have to face Alabama later in the year. The Tide took a big plunge in the polls and will face a few tricky scheduling situations but this is still one of the few elite teams in the nation. Florida on the other hand appears to have taken a big step back and with QB John Brantley banged up and limited offensive production more losses could be ahead even though the remaining schedule is appealing.


 
In the NFL there are no undefeated teams and no clear cut favorites in either league. While AFC looks vastly superior to the NFC, the NFC won three of four match-ups last week with the huge Monday night game still in play. The big plays last week were often non-offensive touchdowns as six teams had unconventional scores last week with three teams having multiple unconventional scores. Not surprisingly all six teams benefiting from those big breaks won and covered with four of those teams winning outright as underdogs. Overall there were four interception return touchdowns last week, four fumble return touchdowns, plus a kickoff return score and a blocked punt returned for a score.
Arizona, Oakland, and Detroit were the biggest beneficiaries as all three teams were out-gained but delivered convincing wins by at least eight points.


Underdogs continue to dominate in the NFL as blindly taking the dog on Sundays would have netted you back-to-back 9-4 days. Dogs have cashed at over 63 percent this season so when in doubt taking the points has made sense. If it were the other way around, the lines would be adjusted but there should still be dog value out there even with the outstanding records delivered by taking the points through five weeks.


Another interesting NFL situation this week will be the return of several key players from the standard four-game suspensions. Santonio Holmes and Brian Cushing returned last week, Ben Roethlisberger is next. Will Vincent Jackson or Logan Mankins be moved this week?

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