Posted 10/24/2008 at 08:03 PM
Week 9 -- love it! We start to really separate the contenders from the pretenders this weekend. This is the best collection of games we've seen all season.
Let's just jump right into some top-fives:
Five Best Games:
1-Oklahoma State at Texas
2-Georgia at LSU
3-Penn St. at Ohio St.
4-Texas Tech at Kansas
5-USC at Arizona
Five Unbeatens most likely to fall:
1-Oklahoma St. (at Texas)
2-Texas Tech (at KU)
3-Penn St. (at Ohio St.)
4-USC (at 'Zona)
5-Alabama (at UT)
Great stat from ESPN.com's Chris Low: Alabama has trailed for one minute and 15 seconds this season.
Great stat from Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News: Auburn has taken the lead to halftime eight times this year.
With a 4-4 record, there is growing sentiment that Tommy Tuberville is in trouble. Like I said Thursday on the Power Hours, it would be unprecedented if Auburn fired a coach that's beaten Alabama six consecutive times. I think Auburn would be making a mistake if it gets rid of Tuberville. With that said, there's no doubt that the way his team plays in the coming weeks will tell us a lot. If I'm Clemson, I have Tuberville on my short list. Maybe that would best for both parties.
And by the way, I absolutely loved Tuberville, the River Boat Gambler, calling for the perfectly executed onside kick after taking a 17-3 lead in the first half Thursday at West Va. Of course, the Tigers failed to take advantage and eventually lost a 34-17 decision. But you have to love Tuberville's moxy in calling for a daring play that worked perfectly.
1:00 a.m. Saturday morning: Boise St. was impressive and lucrative for its backers Friday night. The Broncos stayed undefeated and very much in the BCS mix by winning 33-16 at San Jose St. as seven-point road favorites. The 49 points jumped 'over' the 41-point total.
12:15 p.m. ET.: Ok, we've got three Big 10 games underway with Minnesota taking an early 7-0 lead at Purdue. How about the job Tim Brewster is doing in his second season with the Gophers, who are hoping to improve to an improbable 7-1 with a win today. Texas Tech scored quickly in its first drive against Kansas to take a 7-0 lead, but the Jayhawks are on the move on their first drive as well. Buckle your seat belts in Lawrence today. And Todd Reesing just threw a TD pass and the game is about to be knotted at 7-7 with the PAT pending. Wake Forest has taken a 7-0 lead at Miami. Great stat from Marc Lawrence: Under Randy Shannon, the 'Canes are 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS as home favorites against ACC foes.
Wisconsin has drawn first blood at home against Illinois, taking a 3-0 lead. Purdue has answered with a field goal and trails Minny 7-3.
I'm on two games during this early set -- Kansas -1 and Kentucky +26. Unfortunately, I just realized that I never put Cincy in my pick pack after liking that game all week. Oh, brother. Not that it's a given winner by any means, but the Bearcats are out to a 3-0 lead at UConn. I've got six games in my pick pack today, including the side and total for LSU-UGA. I've also got a guaranteed MLB pick going in the World Series tonight.
12:40ish: Texas Tech and Kansas haven't stopped each other yet, as they are tied at 14-14. Look at Boston College, which is out to a 10-0 lead at UNC. UF and UK are underway at The Swamp. The Gators picked up one first down, but they were then forced to punt.
One play after blocking a Kentucky punt, the Gators are on the scoreboard thanks to a three-yard TD run by Tim Tebow, who has now rushed for four TDs this season to go with his 10/1 TD-INT ratio. Not bad for a kid having a "down" year, right?
1:40: Ok, a bunch of games have gone to halftime. I've been saying all week that Texas Tech is a fraud and Graham Harrell and Co. just spent the first half making me look like a fool. The Red Raiders are up 35-14 at intermission. Nevertheless, I still like a second-half wager on KU. Most books have the Jayhawks at minus 2 1/2 and since they trail by 21, that equates to KU being an 18 1/2-point 'dog. I suggest a KU second-half wager.
As for the other games at the half, there aren't many that offer big value from the original line. With that said, I think Illinois is worth consideration. The Illini are tied with Wisconsin at 10-10 and they are 1 1/2-point 'chalk' in the 2H. I like the Zookers there.
Other scores at the half: UNC leads BC 24-17, Wake leads UM 10-3 at Dolphin Stadium. Minny holds a 10-6 advantage over Purdue, while Cincy leads UConn 13-10.
The Gators are all over UK 35-3 late in the second quarter. UF has blocked a pair of punts that led to 14 points, and it also blocked a field goal that eventually led to another TD. Percy Harvin has a pair of TDs (1 rushing, 1 receiving), Brandon James has a TD and Jeff Demps has a TD, in addition to Tebow's aforementioned TD run.
Oklahoma has a 28-21 lead at K-St. late in the second quarter.
2:45: Dumb, Da-dum-dum-DUMB! That's me for backing KU to begin with and then again in a 2H wager. Make no mistake, Texas Tech is putting on the best performance of the afternoon to date. The Red Raiders are absolutely clubbing KU by a 56-14 count early in the fourth quarter. But enough about this chafe game...
OU now has a 55-28 lead over K-St. -- at halftime! There's the best wager of the day so far -- 'over' in OU-KSU. It's already a winner at intermission. Sam Bradford has three TD passes and DeMarco Murray has a pair of TD runs. The Gators continue to pound UK 49-3 midway through the third quarter. Miami has rallied to take a 16-10 lead over Wake Forest.
Indiana is clinging to a 21-19 lead against Northwestern. Minnesota is up 17-6 at Purdue. Wisconsin leads Illinois 20-17, while UConn has a 20-16 advantage over Cincy. Finally, UNC is pulling away from BC with a 38-17 lead.
3:45ish: My plays got absolutely DESTROYED in the early set of games. During this next set of action, I have LSU and the 'under.' On the first play from scrimmage in Baton Rouge, the Dawgs got a pick-six off Jarrett Lee for a 7-0 lead. However, the Tigers answerd with an excellent drive and just scored to make it 7-7. I'll be back shortly but for now, I've got to crop some NFL pictures and get a cover story ready for VI's NFL arena. I should be back sometime in the second quarter of these 3:30 kicks. But before I go, here are some teams that cashed winners earlier: Florida, Texas Tech, UConn, Miami, Minnesota, UNC and Wisconsin. Ball St. remained unbeaten, but the Cardinals did fail to cover for the first time all year, leaving just three perfect ATS squads -- Texas, Oklahoma St. and Ga. Tech. Back in a bit...
4:30ish: Let's play catch-up. BYU is getting all it wants at home against UNLV. The game was tied 28-28 going into the final stanza, but the Cougars just went ahead 31-28 and there's still more than 10 minutes remaining. UGA has a 21-10 lead over LSU, but the Tigers have the ball back early in the second quarter. Va. Tech leads FSU 10-7 early in the second quarter, but Hokies' QB Tyrod Taylor has been injured and will not return. The 'Noles are about to punt.
Oklahoma St. just got on the board to cut its deficit to 14-7 at Texas. A possible surprise is brewing in Pittsburgh, as Rutgers leads the Panthers 27-14 in the second quarter. Rutgers WR Kenny Britt already has three TD catches. Ga. Tech has a 14-10 advantage at home against UVA.
Michigan and Michigan State are tied at 7-7, while Cal leads UCLA 10-7.
5:10 p.m.: Most of the 3:30 games have gone to intermission. Va. Tech leads FSU 13-10, while UGA leads LSU 24-17. Texas has a 21-14 lead over Oklahoma St. Ga. Tech has a 14-10 advantage over UVA, while RU leads Pitt 34-24. Ok, let's see if I can fare better with some 2H suggestions. Pitt is -6 in the 2H so when you take into account its 10-point deficit, the Panthers become four-point underdogs when they were originally 9 1/2-point 'chalk.' That's 13 1/2 points of value from the original line, so Pitt is the play if you're looking for 2H action in that Big East contest.
LSU is minus one-half point so that equates to LSU +6.5 for the game. I think you take LSU 2H or leave it alone. Perhaps look at the 'under' in the 2H? The total is 24, equating to 65, so an 'under' play offers 16 points of value from original total (49). So Pitt, LSU and LSU 'under' look like the 2H options that represent the most value compared to the original lines.
6:40ish: My picks have been absolutely ATROCIOUS today! But I'm almost over it so I won't sulk too much. Instead, let me get you up to date. Va. Tech just scored to cut FSU's lead to 27-20. The Hokies' TD allowed 'over' backers to cash (44 was the tally). The 'Noles closed as seven-point 'chalk' at most books, so this is a major nut-cutter for our purposes with about eight minutes left. Ok-St. is about to have at least one shot at a Hail Mary to beat Texas. The Cowboys trail 28-24 with eight seconds left and are at midfield.
The Hail Mary fails and Texas remains unbeaten and No. 1. However, the Cowboys take the cash and remain unbeaten ATS. And they are the only team remaining that's perfect ATS since Ball St., Texas and Ga. Tech all failed to cover today. In fact, the Yellow Jackets lost outright at home to UVA. Look at Al Groh's squad! Wow, the Wahoos have won four in a row. There's still time left in Baton Rouge (about 8 minutes), but the Dawgs have a 45-31 advantage.
Sunday: I finally managed a few W's Saturday night, cashing with Alabama and Arizona. The Wildcats gave USC all it wanted in a 17-10 loss as 16-point underdogs. The Tide took care of Tennessee easily, 29-9. Georgia held on to beat LSU, 52-38.
Editor's note: Brian offers more thoughts in this Week 9 Rewind.