Posted 09/13/2008 at 12:21 PM
12:15 p.m. Eastern: Good afternoon ladies and gents, Week 3 is here! The only early game I have action on is Clemson (-18 was my line on Wednesday), and this play is certainly off to an inauspicious start. Cullen Harper's first pass was a pick-six the other way, but the Tigers did block the PAT attempt. Clemson on the move in the red zone looking to answer. Duke out to a 7-0 lead over Navy (that's gonna be a shoot-out in Durham; I considered the 'over' but didn't pull the trigger).
Harper just hit Jacoby Ford for a TD pass in Death Valley. However, the play is being reviewed to see if Ford's knee hit at the one-yard line. (was ruled a TD)
Speaking of plays that needed reviewing, what on earth was South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt thinking on Kansas' first drive last night? On third and long, KU quarterback Todd Reesing scrambled toward the USF sideline and his knee clearly hit the ground about 1.5 yards shy of the first-down marker. As Reesing's knee clearly hit short, Leavitt immediately pointed right at Reesing as his knee hit. In other words, Leavitt saw it with his own eyes (no need to ask an assistant watching the replay up in the press box). Reesing got a generous spot, however, giving Kansas the first down. Before the next play, Leavitt had at least 30 seconds to decide whether or not to burn a timeout and request a review (of course, he would get the timeout back if the replay showed he was right, which it did!). What does Leavitt do? Nothing! And the Jayhawks scored a TD 3-4 plays later. Unreal.
12:30: Quick update on scores: Look at Maryland! The Terps out to a quick 14-0 lead over Cal after losing by double digits at Middle Tennessee last week. Check that, the Bears have cut the deficit to 14-3. Navy has pulled into a 7-7 tie with Duke, which closed as a 2 1/2-point home favorite.
12:45: The Terps add another TD to go up 21-3 on Cal and every gambler in America has to be questioning themself for not backing the Fighting Friedgens as double-digit home 'dogs at noon Eastern against a west-coast squad. Iowa has a 3-0 lead over Iowa St.
I hope everyone that bought my pick pack last night was able to "buy the hook" as I backed USF at a generous number of three early in the week, so I got a push. However, 3.5 or even four was the number all day Friday. My picks have hit a little hiccup with a terrible loser on Rutgers Thursday and a push last night (that I admit was probably an 'L' for some buyers -- sorry!). However, we're still sitting on an 11-4 overall record for the season that's still good for No. 1 on VI. Most of my action for Saturday is going tonight. Like I said, I have Clemson right now with pending action for the USC-Ohio St. game (side and total), along with side plays for ECU-Tulane and Fresno-Wisky. Click here to check it out. Please forgive the shameless self-promo but on a 6-0 run in baseball the last three nights with this pick pack available for today.
The games that I gave consideration to but didn't make the cut in my pick pack: I thought long and hard about fading Syracuse with Penn St. -27ish, but I just felt like it was so many points on the road. It's probably going to be a winner, though, and if you go for big parlays for craps and giggles, throw PSU in there. Also, I like SMU-Texas Tech to go 'over' (68ish last time I looked). Last but not least, I almost pulled the trigger on Oregon St. laying 13 at home against Hawaii. Warriors having to travel East for second time in three weeks was a major motivator. Again, I didn't play those games but did have fairly heavy leans on Penn St., SMU-TT 'over' and Oregon St.
1:35ish: Most of the noon games are going to intermission, so let me shop for some halftime lines that might be worth a look. I see nothing appealing to me. If you subscribe to making second-half wagers when you can get a bunch of value compared to the original line, then maybe you look at Cal? The Bears trail Maryland 21-6 at intermission and are 7 1/2-point favorites in the second half. That equates to being plus 7 1/2 for the game. Since Cal was originally a 14-point 'chalk,' that 21.5 points of value from the original line. I haven't watched much of the first half, so I don't have an opinion.
Looking ahead to later in the day, let's name five players on the hot seat tonight (meaning these cats better play big if their teams are going to get victories).
1-Mike Davis (South Carolina)
2-Todd Boeckman (Ohio St.)
3-P.J. Hill (Wisconsin)
4-Jake Locker (Washington)
5-Anthony Dixon (Mississippi St.)
If South Carolina is going to pull an upset without All-SEC WR Kenny McKinley, RB Mike Davis is going to have a big game. He's going to need to break tackles and move the chains, allowing the Gamecocks to be able to set up play-action passes and keep the ball away from UGA's potent offense.
Boeckman is going to have be on his A-Game for the Bucks to have a shot at the upset in Tinseltown. Everyone wants to talk about Ohio St. running the ball and controlling the clock, and that's true. But they also are going to need to get several big plays from the passing game.
A good way to keep a raucous crowd out of the game is by running the football between the tackles with a workhorse like P.J. Hill. He needs to run hard and take care or the ball (no fumbles). If Hill has a big game, the Badgers will enjoy their flight home.
Locker is up against it today. He's facing one of the toughest teams in the country, but his team is at home. And Locker is a total stud. He needs to have a career day but if he does, his team might have a shot at pulling the upset (and saving their coach's job in the process)
Bottom line: If Mississippi St. is going to pull the upset, RB Anthony Dixon is going to have to have a big game. He's facing a top-10 defense in Auburn's, but he's capable of 100-plus-yard effort and it's imperative that the Bulldogs get that.
2:45: Ok, I have officially lost ALL respect for Tommy Bowden. And I'm not even going to mention the thank-you-sir-can-I-have-another phone call to Nick Saban just hours removed from that seal clubbing the Tigers took in Atlanta. Well, I guess I just did, but that's not the point.
The point is that Tommy is a moron. Clemson currently leads 20-9 over N.C. St. midway through the fourth quarter. I laid the points with the Tigers so that's why I'm focused on this scrub game. Anyway, Cullen Harper has played horrible today, throwing a pick-six and fumbling on a play when he clearly should've slid well before losing the ball.
But regardless of what Harper does or is doing, Clemson has two of the best RBs in the nation -- C.J. Spiller and James Davis. Yet Bowden refuses to give them the football. On third and two late in the third quarter, what does Clemson do? Run the ball up the gut with perhaps the country's best between-the-tackles bruiser in Davis? Nope. Run a quick pitch to Spiller so he can get to the outside and not only make the first down, but possibly take it to the house? Nope. Instead, Bowden and Co. go five-wide and throw the ball. Incomplete, of course, forcing them to settle for a field goal. Unreal. Unreal!
Almost 3:30: Crazy end -- at least for our purposes -- to the Clemson-N.C. St. game. As I mentioned earlier, I had Clemson minus 18. Unfortunately, I'm sure most bettors got 19 or even 20 by backing the Tigers this morning. So with Clemson up 27-9 on the last play of the game, an N.C. St. bomb was intercepted at the goal line (conserving the push for me). Instead of downing it or running out of bounds, dude started scampering down the sidlines with blockers in front. For a good 40-yard stretch, it appeared Clemson backers might get one of the most miracle covers ever. However, the Clemson DB got tackled at about N.C. State's 28 after a 70-yard-plus return.
We're minutes away from kick-off at Williams-Brice Stadium. In these mid-afternoon games, I have only one game going -- Tulane +13.5 vs. East Carolina. I see the game scoreless midway through the first quarter. I'll take that. Big letdown spot for the Pirates, who simply want to escape the Big Easy with the outright 'W' anyway they can get it. I love this ECU squad, which has cashed tickets for me as a home 'dog in back-to-back weeks. But I think I'm jumping off 'em and actually going against 'em at the right time. We shall see...
Quick check on some finals:
1-Duke beats Navy, 41-31. The Blue Devils are now 2-1 SU, 2-0 ATS.
2-Illinois never threatens to cover in 20-17 home win over UL-Lafayette.
3-FAU covers in 17-0 loss at Michigan St. as a 18-point 'dog.
4-Maryland holds off Cal, 35-27. How's that for nail-biter on halftime bets?
5-Mizzou has 62 early in the fourth quarter against Nevada. Hello!
I'm gonna check out SC-UGA kick in hi-def. Back shortly...
3:50ish: As I predicted in my SC-UGA preview, Spurrier was running thin on patience with his QB(s), and Stephen Garcia just made his much-anticipated debut for the Gamecocks. He ran for seven yards on a QB draw. Dawgs and 'Cocks are scoreless with 7:43 left in the first quarter. Tulane and ECU are still scoreless early in the second quarter.
4:20: East Carolina has taken a 7-0 lead by returning a blocked field goal for a touchdown. Ouch, that's a 10-point swing against me. Who the hell is the special-teams coach for the Green Wave? They have given up three TDs on special teams in the last six quarters.
The Georgia-South Carolina game is moving along at a snail's pace due to clock malfunctions and an inept officiating crew that doesn't have a clue. Neither team can do a thing offensively and we're scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
Penn State is out to a quick and easy 14-0 lead at Syracuse midway through the first quarter. Meanwhile, Tulane just answered with a TD to knot the score at 7-7. Va. Tech has a 7-3 lead at home over Ga. Tech. The Yellow Jackets are catching seven in that matchup. BYU is all over UCLA 21-0 early in the second quarter. Purdue has also jumped all over Oregon, leading 20-3. Penn St. just tacked on another score for a 21-0 advantage.
4:40ish: In THE Scrub Game of Week 3, Notre Dame has a 21-10 lead over Michigan. And look at BYU with a 35-0 lead on UCLA in the first half. South Carolina is driving although it trails 3-0. One play later, touchdown Gamecocks! Chris Smelley to Moe Brown on a go route. Perfect throw. 7-3 South Carolina lead.
6:00: Georgia just took a 14-7 lead on South Carolina with 5:12 left in the third quarter. BYU is dealing the biggest pimpslap of the day, leading UCLA 59-0 late in the third quarter. Down in N'awlins, ECU is in big trouble. The Pirates trail Tulane 24-21 with less than five minutes remaining. Va. Tech has gone ahead of the number early in the four quarter. The Hokies, who are seven-point home favorites, have a 17-9 lead against Ga. Tech. As I suspected, Penn St. appears poised to cash tickets with a 45-6 lead at Syracuse late in the third quarter. I've decided I'm going to punish myself and write on the chalk board 100 times -- "I will go against Syracuse every single week until it doesn't work. I will go against Syracuse..." Jeez! I can't believe I didn't fade the Orange this week. Unexcusable!
South Carolina is on the move in UGA territory. ECU just took the lead back on Tulane, 28-24, with less than two minutes left. Can the Pirates hold on? I have to mention Ball St., which cashed another ticket today in a 41-24 win at Akron. I'm telling you: Ball St. QB Nate Davis is a big-time player. Ga. Tech just scored and got the two-point conversion to make it a tie in Blacksburg. Maybe I spoke too soon about the 'Cuse, which just scored to make it 45-13 (catching 28).
6:20ish: East Carolina's BCS dreams remain alive, as the Pirates have survived at the Superdome. ECU wins a 28-24 decision, but Tulane backers take the cash as a double-digit underdog.
7:00ish: It's nut-cuttin' time. South Carolina, on its next drive after Mike Davis fumbled at the UGA two (resulting in touchback), puts together another solid drive only to be stopped on downs inside UGA territory. Dawgs now trying to run the clock out as SC has only one timeout left. Crucial 3rd-and-2 coming up now. Notre Dame drills Michigan 35-17, but Charlie Weis has a torn ACL and MCL after a player collided with him on the sidelines. SC gets a stop and burns its final time out with just under 2:00 left. They'll get another chance.
Va. Tech got a late field goal to beat Ga. Tech 20-17, but the Yellow Jackets took the cash. SC has first down at own 9 with 1:42 left. Tough task, but Smelley is in a nice rhythm. We shall see...
Purdue has 23-20 lead on Purdue late. Check that, Ducks have tied it at 23-23. SC has two nice gainers to about midfield with 1:00 left. With 33 seconds left, UGA has been flagged for pass interference, giving SC the ball at UGA's 17. Couple of plays later, UGA's Rashad Jones picks off an SC pass and Georgia will win 14-7. The 'under' cashes. Dawgs survive, but they clearly got outplayed in the second half by South Carolina. Doesn't matter, though.
Going into the 7-8 o'clock games, here are the best bets we've seen so far today:
1-Maryland +14 in 35-27 win that wasn't that close.
2-BYU -8.5 in 59-0 win over UCLA. Hello!
3-Penn St. -27-28 in 55-13 win at Syracuse.
4-Missouri -26 in 69-17 win vs. Nevada.
5-Oregon St. -13 vs. Hawaii (Beavers lead 45-7 late 4th).
What were the three games I said (see above) I shoulda/coulda/woulda put in my pick pack but didn't? That would be Penn St. and Oregon St. and we'll see what happens with SMU-TT total. Four-letter word(s)!!!!!!
Dinner time, I'll check back later. Good luck with your bets tonight!
Editor's note: For the rest of Brian's take on Saturday's action, check out his Week 3 Rewind.