Posted 09/08/2007 at 12:15 PM
12:10 p.m. Eastern: Oh boy, Marshall just took the lead on West Virginia with a bomb following an excellent punt return. The Thundering Herd have a 10-6 lead with 5:27 left in the second quarter. What'd I say on yesterday's chat? I said, "Stay away from eating the 'chalk,' this is a crazy rivalry game."
Also, Wake just threw a pick setting up Nebraska with good field position. Deacs playing without QB Riley Skinner, catching nine at most spots. Wake is 28-14 ATS as a 'dog during Jim Grobe's tenure.
12:12ish: Nice stand by Wake's 'D.' The 'Huskers settle for a field goal and a 3-0 lead. By the way, I don't fault Brett Hodges (Skinner's fill-in) for that interception. The tight end inexplicably quit running on the route.
We're getting close to kick-off in Music City. I smell an upset (albeit moderate since the line is only 3 1/2) from Vandy in Nashville today. However, I should mention that 'Bama has won 19 in a row over the Commodores.
12:20: Wow, Wake backers are pissed. The Demon Deacons just had a touchdown on a well-thrown deep ball by Hodges, but Kevin Marion dropped it. Ouch! Wake just punted.
Northwestern and Virginia are out to 7-0 leads. The Wahoos need to beat Duke by at least four TDs to cool off the hot seat for Al Groh in Charlottesville. And look at this...Akron out to a 2-0 lead at Ohio St. Two-run homer, I mean a safety.
12:25: Bradford to Malcolm Kelly for a TD and Oklahoma draws first blood against Miami. Wait, check that. Looks like they're reviewing the play...
12:30: Crowd going nuts in Norman. The TD stood, the kicker hit a boomer for a touchback and then the Sooners got an 11-yard sack on first down. By the way, I was wrong on Power Hours the other day when I said Kyle Wright would start this week. I misinterpreted Wright's "probable" status, but Kirby Freeman is the starter at QB for Miami, which just went three and out.
Speaking of crowds going nuts, Marshall has a 13-6 lead over West Virginia in Huntington. Are the Mountaineers worth a look for a second-half wager? Certainly, the value from the original line (25ish) will be there. Most spots have W. Va. as a 14-point favorite in second half, so that's 7 for the game, an 18-point difference from original number.
12:45ish: Let's play catch-up. 'Canes get a field goal to cut deficit to 7-3. Wake has first and goal traling 3-0. 'Bama got a long punt return to set up one-yard TD run, 7-0 Tide. UVA leads Duke, 14-2. Cavs laying 18 in that game. Zips still lead Bucks 2-0 at end of first quarter.
12:55ish: You think Michigan fans are rooting for Akron right now? Oklahoma added a TD to go up 14-3 on the 'Canes. (article in SI this week on Randy Shannon is a must-read) 'Bama looking strong with a 10-0 lead at Vandy. (relax, my boy Earl Bennett is about to start making plays) A fumble recovery set Wake up for a field goal, tying the game at 3-3. However, Nebraska is driving. Back shortly...
1:20: Wow, it's a wild one in Nashville. Vandy had an electric punt return for a touchdown, but it was called back on a facemask penalty that apparently occured way before the 'Dores even fielded the punt. Anyway, Chris Nickson threw a pick on the next play. Then 'Bama was driving, only for John Parker Wilson to throw an interception. Now Vandy is driving and in field-goal range, trailing 10-3 early in the second quarter.
1:30: That West Virginia second-half bet that I hinted at is looking damn good, as the 'Neers have opened up a 27-16 advantage with about three minutes left in the third quarter. OU now up 21-3, but the 'Canes are in the red zone. Oh wow, Sam Keller just connected on a fourth-down pass and then on the next play, he found his tight end down the field for a TD. 'Huskers about to take a 13-10 lead with just seconds left until intermission. UVA up 17-2 on Duke at the half. As for Ohio St., the Bucks have a 3-2 lead over the Zips at the break. Vandy had a wide-open receiver on a fourth-down try in 'Bama territory, but Chris Nickson was way off the mark. I like Nickson, but he's playing awful so far today. 'Bama still leads 10-3. Stay tuned...
2:00ish: Nevada, fresh off taking woodshed treatment at Nebraska last week, is ahead 24-10 at Northwestern at halftime. The Wolf Pack went off as a 10-point underdog. Speaking of the 'Huskers, they need to hunker down on defense. Wake has a first-and-goal situation in its first drive of the second half. W. Va. is clinging to a 34-23 lead with about nine minutes left. 'Bama is setting up for a field goal that could put it ahead 16-3 at intermission. (Vandy as a second-half play could be worth a look. The 'Dores have caught several bad breaks in the first half.)
2:15ish: Watch out for the 'Canes, who just made it a one-possession game in Norman with a field goal (OU, 21-13). Wake is back in the lead, 17-13. This is a great game in Winston Salem that looks like it's going to go to the wire.
3:35ish: Let's get caught up. Nebraska edged Wake 20-17 in a game that could've gone either way. Crazy finish included a Nebraska interception of Hodges in the end zone, Callahan electing to go for a fourth-and-two at around Wake's 40 with 1:59 left, the Deacs getting that fourth-down stop, a Nebraska interception getting nullified by instant replay and then, to end the game, Wake throwing incomplete on fourth-and-10 although a Nebraska defender could've (maybe should've) been flagged for holding and/or interference.
Nickson left the Vandy game after one play in the third quarter. The 'Dores were done from there, eventually dropping a 24-10 decision as 'Bama took the money and handed me my first 'L' of the day.
Oklahoma went on to mash Miami, 51-13. Hello! So now I have the same question coming out of the Notre Dame result against G-Tech last week: Is Oklahoma that good, or is Miami that bad? I think the answer is the same on both questions -- a little of both.
Not only did West Va. cover for halftime bettors (mentioned much earlier), but the Mountaineers erupted in the second half and garnered a push (for some gamblers, depending on when you placed a wager on the Mountaineers) in a 48-23 win over Marshall.
As for the Zips, they couldn't pull the monster shocker, losing 20-2 at Ohio St., which has major issues on offense.
Miami (OH.)-Minnesota and Northwestern-Nevada are being decided in the final minute.
3:45ish: A few thoughts coming out of the one o'clock games:
1-What's the line on Arkansas at Alabama (5:45 p.m. Eastern on ESPN) going to be? I'm guessing 'Bama minus four. The Tide looked good today -- real good. John Parker Wilson didn't have his best game by any means, but that's the point. With Wilson playing shaky, 'Bama won by two touchdowns on the road in an SEC game thanks to premier special teams, outstanding defense and a solid running game. I know Vandy's Chris Nickson was out in the second half and the Commodores did have their two biggest plays of the game (a bomb to Earl Bennett and a punt return for a TD) called back on penalties, but 'Bama left a lot of points out there as well.
A brutal three-game stretch looms for the Crimson Tide: vs. Arkansas, vs. Georgia and Florida State in Jacksonville. Before the season started, most 'Bama fans would've probably said, "Give me a 2-1 record in that stretch and I'll take it." But now, with the first two games at home and the Seminoles looking extremely beatable, you know Tide loyalists are thinking a 7-0 record going into the Tennessee game in Tuscaloosa on Oct. 20. We shall see...
2- As I suggested all week, that was the classic look-ahead spot for Nebraska, which failed to cover as a nine-point favorite at Wake Forest. Callahan's Corhuskers were fortunate to escape with the outright 'W,' and they should be thrilled as they catch the plane back to Lincoln.
I tell you what, there's no doubt that Nebraska has an excellent shot to knock off USC next week. The line was USC minus 10 at Sportsbook.com when the offshore website released Games of the Year odds back in early August. I'm thinking it'll be 7 1/2 this week.
3- If Washington beats Boise St. (the Huskies lead 14-0 early and their redshirt freshman QB looks legit!) today, Ohio St.'s trip west next week looks tough. Watch out for this Washington team. And watch out for the Buckeyes to collect some L's in the very near future. They looked terrible against Akron today.
4- Virginia is horrible. The Cavs failed to cover in a 24-13 win over Duke.
4:18: With the Texas line dipping to around eight, I'm thinking an Auburn-Texas teaser looks gold. And by the way, you don't want to miss out on this easy winner that you only have to pay for if it wins.
4:30 Saturday Stats:
1-Budweisers had so far today: zero.
2-Meals eaten: two (2 eggs over medium, sausage links, grits and sweet tea for a 9:00 a.m. breakfast, chicken salad sandwich for a late lunch)
3-Record: 0-1 (Vandy cost me, BC in progress, Eagles looking ok)
4-Cuss words towards Vandy's Nickson: At least seventeen.
5-Correction: I had the Mets run line in baseball so I'm 1-1 today.
6:00: Just when I thought I'd heard it all, I hear this from former Notre Dame coach and current ESPN analyst Bob Davie: "When you see that, you know it's an indicator of a lack of discipline on your football team." Davie was referencing South Carolina, which had Georgia stopped twice and facing punting situations on UGA's first drive, only to be flagged (well after both plays) for a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties to give the Dawgs first downs. For starters, it appeared both teams had players talking a little smack, so both calls against the Gamecocks appeared to be terrible -- and entirely too influential -- calls. But regardless, Davie calling out Spurrier? What a joke!! Spurrier is one of the top-five college coaches of all time. Davie is the worst coach not named Gerry Faust in Notre Dame history. Bottom line: Pipe down, Davie, you're a complete scrub.
Fittingly, UGA missed a field goal on the drive.
6:05ish: Allright, let's get caught up again. While perennial powers Nebraska and Alabama appear to be on the way up, Michigan and Florida St. appear to be... well, just really piss-poor football teams right now. Oregon has a 32-7 lead at Michigan. UAB has a 10-3 lead at FSU. Wow!
7:30: The latest: Oregon pounded Michigan by a 39-7 count. Holy smokes! If I'm Lloyd Carr, I drive an hour out of Ann Arbor and get a hotel tonight. His house might not be the safest place this evening. FSU still trails UAB 17-10 in the third quarter. (Yes, I'm smiling and laughing.) Washington beat Boise St., 24-10. Northwestern ended up winning, but Nevada covered. South Carolina is killing itself with penalties, yet still leads 10-3 at halftime between the hedges.
I'm not about to jinx my games, but let's just say they're looking much better than the early ones and if I didn't mention it earlier, BC did cover that number against N.C. St.
9:30ish: Allright, the winners are flowin' now: South Carolina, Mizzou and Florida-Troy 'over.' Couple that trio with BC and I'm 4-1 with Auburn pending. Not bad. I had been calling that outright win by South Carolina since June. Ole Miss sorta threatened a backdoor push, but the Tigers held on. I love it when an 'over' play covers before halftime, and that's exactly what happened with Florida-Troy. The total was 53 1/2 and it was 49-7 at halftime. Tim Tebow now has an 11/1 TD-INT ratio for his career. For all of you clowns who said he couldn't pass, I'm laughing at you -- still!