Posted 10/18/2008 at 02:12 AM
Happy Game Day, gamblers. My Gators are off this week so I'm looking forward to being able to monitor other teams and games more closely. Here's a few quick-hit thoughts going into Week 8.
Phillip Fulmer is set to make his final stand tonight against Mississippi St. With the way Tennessee AD Mike Hamilton has been talking this week, it's clear Fulmer has to win out to save his job. If the Vols lose outright at home to the Bulldogs, I won't be surprised if Fulmer gets canned Monday morning.
If Sylvester Croom's team delivers the death blow to Fulmer's tenure, it won't be the first time the Bulldogs have handed out a pink slip. They ended Ron Zook's tenure at Florida in 2004 and their win over Alabama was the catalyst for Mike Shula's dismissal in 2006.
I don't think there's anything that can save Greg Robinson or Ty Willingham. Washington hosts Oregon St. as a 15-point underdog with QB Jake Locker still out. If the Huskies get trounced, Willingham may be gone on Monday. Syracuse is a 24-point 'dog at USF.
Let's get to some top fives:
Five Possible Upsets:
1-Ole Miss at Alabama
2-Missouri at Texas
3-South Carolina vs. LSU
4-Michigan St. vs. Ohio St.
5-Virginia vs. North Carolina
I'm calling this one: Ole Miss beats Alabama today. The Rebels are 12 1/2-point underdogs and they are as generous as +350 underdogs on the money line. Houston Nutt teams are 5-8 straight up against top-five teams. His teams are 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 games as double-digit 'dogs.
I'm staying away from the Mizzou-Texas game, but I won't be surprised at all if Chase Daniel and Co. go into Austin and knock off the top-ranked Longhorns.
I'm calling this one as well: South Carolina beats LSU tonight. In fact, I'm starting to think the Gamecocks might deal one out in double-digit fashion behind big games from QB Stephen Garcia and WRs Kenny McKinley and Jason Barnes. S-Car. is a 2 1/2-point 'dog, +120 on the money line.
I'm not messin' with Michigan St.-Ohio St. either but again, I won't be surprised if 'dog wins outright. As a matter of fact, I will be quite amused if the Spartans win. And if Javon Ringer goes for 200 yards, he becomes a major player in the Heisman conversation.
Wahoos have produced back-to-back home wins over Maryland and East Carolina. North Carolina is looking to win in Charlottesville for the first time since 1981. Remember, the Tar Heels lost dynamic playmaker Brandon Tate to a season-ending injury last week. UVA is a 4 1/2-point puppy, +170 on the money line.
2:45 a.m.: Best game nobody is talking about: Pitt at Navy. The Panthers are looking to avenge a 48-45 double-OT loss to the Midshipmen in a mid-week thriller last season. Dave Wannstedt's team has won four in a row. Since surprising South Florida, the Panthers enjoyed an open date. They are three-point favorites. Navy has won three straight games with each victory coming as an underdog. The Middies won at home against Rutgers before going on the road and knocking off Wake Forest and Air Force.
11:50: We're minutes away from the noon kicks. ESPN2 will have the Ga. Tech at Clemson game that just screams "stay away" to me. Just like Christian Alexander said on Thursday's edition of the Power Hours, "This will go one of two ways. This will either spark the Tigers or things will get even worse."
Purdue at Northwestern is the ESPN game. I didn't get involved in this matchup, but my ever-so-slight lean was to the Wildcats laying four.
The early game I'm most looking forward to is Vandy at Georgia. I'm on the Commodores catching double digits.
12:35: Quick check on scores: Ga. Tech got a pick-six on an ugly-looking trick play for a 7-0 lead. The Yellow Jackets just missed a field goal and Clemson has gone back to Cullen Harper after Willy Korn was ineffective. The Tigers have yet to make a first down at the 1:10 mark of the first quarter.
UConn and Rutgers are tied at 3-3, while Maryland has a 7-0 lead against Wake Forest.
2:55: Forgive my absence, as I've been polishing off my NFL writing and handicapping, and I also went to grab a quick bite to eat. Clemson trailed 14-3 at intermission, but the Tigers are now nursing a 17-14 lead at crunch time. Georgia has its hands full with Vandy -- again. The Commodores trail 21-14 at the end of the third quarter, but UGA is facing a 3rd and 13.
Texas Tech is a fraud. The Red Raiders lead Texas A&M 30-23, but they aren't worthy of their top-10 ranking. They have L's galore looming.
What's gone wrong at Wisconsin? The Badgers are being destroyed at Iowa, which has a 38-9 lead in the final stanza. Northwestern backers are looking solid, as the Wildcats lead Purdue 34-19 in the fourth quarter.
Ga. Tech has reclaimed the lead in Death Valley (21-17). Vandy has the ball back at its own 14. Maryland is dominating Wake Forest 19-0.
3:05ish: Clemson was just stopped on fourth and long, so Ga. Tech has the ball and the lead with about 2:40 left. Vandy keeps (Teddy KGB voice from Rounders...) hanging around, hanging around. The 'Dores must have 'alligator blood.'
Quick Thought: ESPN color analyst Andre Ware is HORRIBLE!
Back to Vandy, which just forced UGA to punt again. The 'Dores are looking good as 14 1/2-point 'dogs and the outright win is still very much in play.
We have our first final of the day: East Carolina has beaten Memphis 30-10, taking the money as an 8 1/2-point home favorite. The spread cover is ECU's first since it beat West Va. back on Sep. 6.
3:15: Rutgers has won a 12-10 decision over UConn, but most books closed RU as a three-point favorite. Vandy's drive stalled, but a punt has pinned UGA at its own five with a little more than eight minutes remaining. We are minutes away from kick-off at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, where I am calling for an outright upset by the Rebels.
4:20: UGA held on for a 24-14 win, but the 'Dores cashed a ticket for me as 14 1/2-point 'dogs. Maryland ended up destroying Wake Forest, 26-0. That surprises me. These teams covered early: Northwestern, Iowa, USF, Central Michigan and Nebraska. Texas Tech remained undefeated, but the Aggies took the money.
To the 3:30 games in progress... 'Bama has a 7-3 lead over Ole Miss early in the second quarter. Ohio St. is all over Michigan St., 21-0. Kansas and Oklahoma are tied at 7-7, as are Duke and Miami.
For this set of games, I'm on Ole Miss, Kansas and Baylor as double-digit 'dogs. I still have my guaranteed play for tonight pending.
5:00: What idiot called for an upset in Tuscaloosa today? Oh, that was me. Woops! 'Bama is all over the Rebels 24-3 at intermission. Ohio St. is playing its best game of the year to date, throttling Michigan St. 28-0 in the second quarter. And here's a shocking early score: Michigan leads Penn St. 10-0 late in the first quarter.
Look at the Dookies, who have a 17-7 lead over Miami. I love it! Kick some dirt in Cry-ami's eyes! Randy Shannon has a 8-10 career record going into today.
USC has a 41-0 lead at halftime at Washington St. Oklahoma maintains a 14-7 lead over KU, but the Jayhawks are in the red zone. Todd Reesing threw an interception on a previous KU trip into the red zone.
Penn St. just got on the board and trails 10-6 with the PAT pending. Oklahoma St. doesn't look flat against Baylor, leading 28-6 at intermission. The Cowboys are laying 17 in that game. Ole Miss trails by 21 at halftime and the Rebels are plus 4 1/2 in the second half. That equates to plus 25 1/2, which is 13 1/2 points of value from the original line. I don't know if you play that if you are already involved with Ole Miss at plus 12 but if you have no action on the game, I think Ole Miss is the halftime wager. Even if you have a 'Bama -12 ticket, perhaps you come back (for a lesser amount) with a small taste of the Rebels in the second half. You certainly get a nice opportunity to hit the middle (or hedge, whatever you want to call it).
5:40ish: Michigan maintains a 17-7 lead over PSU and I'm smelling an easy halftime bet on the Nittany Lions, although that will be a better situation if PSU is still down 10. Joe Paterno's team has the ball with less than five minutes left in the second quarter deep in its own territory. Look at Ole Miss, which scored on a fake field goal and just intercepted John Parker Wilson.
USC has gone ahead of the number (42) for the first time with a 48-0 lead at Washington St. (How bad do the Cougars SUCK? They are winless SU and ATS.) Duke leads Miami 24-21, while OU has a 24-17 lead on KU at intermission. Pitt appears to be on its way to a fifth straight win with a 35-14 advantage on Navy.
6:01 p.m.: Ole Miss had a nice drive going but were stopped on fourth and short in the red zone. The Rebels trail 24-10 early in the fourth quarter. Penn St. got a score before half to make it 17-14. The Lions are -13 in the 2H (second half). That means they are -10 for the game. Not as tempting as what it would've been if the Wolverines would've maintained a 17-7 advantage. But still, Penn St. is the 2H play if you make one.
6:15: This second half has been all Ole Miss. Jevan Snead just threw a TD pass to pull the Rebels within 24-17 with 9:27 left. They are that close despite another Dexter McCluster fumble in 'Bama territory and failing on a fourth and short in the red zone. This just in: That dude they call Houston Nutt knows how to coach. He has five wins over top-five teams in his career, and he just might get No. 6 today.
In Norman, Kansas refuses to flinch. The Jayhawks are exchanging haymakers with the Sooners and currently trail 31-24 in the third quarter. On 'Bama's kick return, the Tide was just flagged for holding, pinning them deep in their own territory. This just in: Nick Saban is not happy.
Back in a bit... gotta go watch 'Bama-Ole Mis in hi def.
7:15: Alabama survived with a 24-20 win thanks to a fourth-down stop in the final minute with the Rebels in 'Bama territory. Once again, Ole Miss loses a heartbreaker. That's the best 3-4 team in college football history. The Rebels took the cash as double-digit 'dogs and EASILY cashed 2H bets per my suggestion. The Buckeyes rolled up Michigan St., 45-7. Well, Shannon is now 9-10 as Cry-ami dominated Duke in the 2H in a 49-31 triumph. Pitt looked outstanding today in a 42-21 win at Navy. OU leads KU 45-25 with six minutes left, but the backdoor is open for the Jayhawks, who have the ball in their own territory.
As expected, Penn St. is dominating Michigan in the 2H. The Lions have the ball and a 36-17 lead with more than 11 minutes left. The 2H play I suggested is looking stellar and PSU is now threatening to cover the original number (24ish).
Virginia has beaten UNC in OT. The Wahoos now own an incredible 16-4 spread record as home 'dogs during Al Groh's tenure, which isn't looking nearly as tenuous as it was a few weeks ago.