Posted 10/03/2009 at 02:22 PM
2:22 p.m. Eastern: Good afternoon, ladies and gents. Another Saturday of bets and ballgames and for most -- Budweisers galore. For me, no Budweisers. I'm on the clock and that's fine. I'll get to those in abundance later. Let's talk some football...
The Gators and Longhorns are off today, but second-ranked Alabama (at least the Tide is No. 2 in my mind/ratings) is in action. After struggling early and leading only 7-6, 'Bama was backed up inside its own five and Kentucky nearly got a safety on a crushing hit from LB Micah Johnson on 'Bama freshman RB Trent Richardson (who shredded most of Emmitt Smith's prep records at Pensacola Escambia High School last year). However, the line judge ruled that Richardson's progress was stopped at the one-inch line. Several plays later, Greg McElroy made a clutch throw on third down to give the Tide some breathing room. A few minutes afterward, 'Bama was in the end zone with less than a minute left for 14-6 advantage. Then Nick Saban's squad got a pick-six to go up 21-6 with just a few ticks left until intermission.
That had to leave Rich Brooks and Co. extremely frustrated. And now he's steaming pissed because Alabama has 10 quick points early in the third quarter for a 31-6 lead. The 'Cats closed as 16-point 'dogs, so UK backers are down two possessions and in serious trouble. Randall Cobb, the dynamic WR who played some QB last year, is now under center in favor of Mike Hartline.
Now to other action...Michigan St. appears poised to hand Michigan its first loss, although we have seen Tate Forcier rally R-Rod's squad to several comeback victories in the fourth quarter. The Spartans lead the Wolverines 20-6 with a 330-83 yardage advantage.
Brooks has gone back to Hartline at QB.
Unbeaten Wisconsin has a 17-13 lead at Minnesota early in the fourth quarter. The Gophers closed as 2 1/2-point home 'chalk.'
2:30: Perhaps I buried Kentucky backers too soon? Hartline just found Cobb on a fly route down the left sideline for a long TD pass. Cobb beat Javier Arenas, who opened the game with a long kick return to set up 'Bama's first TD. 'Bama now leads by a 31-13 count. Still 3:36 left in the third.
At the VI Seminar back in August and in many articles last fall, winter and spring, I talked about how irresponsible and borderline incompetent it was for Clemson to even consider hiring Dabo Swinney as its next head coach, especially with Phillip Fulmer and Tommy Tuberville readily available. Now perhaps money has/had something to do with it, as I'm sure the school still paying Tommy Bowden rather lavishly. But Dabo Swinney?! How about Brian Kelly? Too late for him now, as Kelly is going to land a very big-time job come this January. Anyway, I bring this up (again) because a horrible Maryland team -- one that lost 52-13 at Cal and lost at home to Middle Tennessee and Rutgers, and garnered its lone win in overtime against James Madison -- is leading Clemson 24-13 in the third quarter. The Terps closed as 12 1/2-point home 'dogs and were +350 on the money line (risk $100 to win $350).
2:50ish: Midway through the fourth quarter, Purdue is clinging to a 21-19 lead against Northwestern. The Boilers closed as 7 1/2-point favorites. Down 38-13, Kentucky has third and goal from inside 'Bama's five. UK backers have to have a TD here with 13:00 minutes left.
Touchdown UK on an Alfonso Smith run off left tackle. We're about 40 minutes away from kickoff between the hedges -- LSU at UGA. Remember, the Dawgs stroked the Tigers 52-38 in Baton Rouge last year. I'm big on the total in my pick pack that also still has four plays pending tonight. I'm 4-1 in Week 5 so far, cashing mid-week games with winners on La. Tech, CU-WVU 'over,' Pitt and Utah St. last night. Speaking of the Aggies, they have covered the spread in six straight lined games dating back to last season.
For the season, I'm No. 2 on VI in guaranteed picks with a 10-5 ledger (67%). I had hit five in a row until the Pitt-Louisville game last night stayed 'under.' I have this pay-if-it-wins-only selection pending for tonight's UM-OU showdown in South Fla.
What the hell is wrong with North Carolina? The Tar Heels are officially joining forces with Illinois as one of the nation's most disappointing teams. Virginia is about to polish off a 16-3 upset win in Chapel Hill.
3:15: Michigan's Tate Forcier is at it again. He has rallied the Wolverines to a 20-20 tie to send the game into overtime in East Lansing. We gotta get a nickname for this Forcier kid and it has to involve 4th-quarter heroics.
Minny trails Wisky 31-28 with 1:20 left in the 4th. The Gophers have the ball, 1st and 10 at their own 21, but no timeouts left. And Minny just got sacked -- ouch!
Northwestern rallied to beat Purdue, 27-21. That's a generous plus-220 payout (or more at some books) for bettors taking the Wildcats to win outright. Clemson has cut its deficit to 24-21 at Maryland. There's 3:54 left in College Park.
4:30: Michigan St. not only beat Michigan in overtime, but it covered the number as a four-point home favorite in the 26-20 victory. Washington leads Notre Dame early by a 7-6 score. LSU leads UGA 6-0, which is a horrible start for my 'over' (51) play. Joe Cox missed a wide-open A.J. Green five yards behind the rest of the defense on what would have surely been a TD, and Jordan Jefferson threw an inexplicable interception in the end zone on a 3rd-and-3 play from the 10 yard line.
BC has an early 7-3 lead over the 'Noles thanks to a sack on a fourth-and-goal play from the one. Jimbo Fisher sent QB Christian Ponder on a roll-out pass (nice call on fourth and goal!) that never had a chance.
5:00 Boy oh boy, The Mad Hatter can really leave you scratching your head at his baffling decisions, especially when it comes to clock management. LSU just let another great scoring opportunity get away at the end of the first half (I'll go in detail on it in this week's Rewind), so the Bayou Bengals lead 6-0 over UGA at intermission. Cox has looked awful so far.
BC has a commanding 21-6 lead over FSU at halftime. Hmmmm, I'm thinking an FSU second-half wager might be attractive. The first book showing a number on my live-odds feed shows FSU -4 (-120). This equates to FSU +11 for the game since it trails by 15 points. I recommend that play on the 'Noles.
8:35: Thrilling finishes in South Bend, Athens and Chesnut Hill for the 3:30 games. LSU wins a thriller thanks to a pair of TD runs by Charles Scott. Notre Dame beats Washington in overtime by a 37-30 count. And Boston College drops FSU to 2-3 with a 28-21 victory. With that said, FSU second-half bets cashed (per my recommendation). The 'over' (in the second half, that is) also cashed in miraculous fashion thanks to two late TDs in the LSU-UGA game. That number was 22 1/2 after LSU led 6-0 at halftime. That equated to 28 1/2 for the game.
Oklahoma leads Miami 7-0 early. Jacory Harris has thrown a pair of interceptions in the first quarter, so I'm thinking he can cancel those plans of wearing a pink suit to the Heisman ceremony. His only trip to NYC in the near future seems to be if Miami puts Rutgers back on the schedule.
In these night games, I'm on Auburn, Auburn-Tennessee 'under' and Miami. Auburn has an early 3-0 lead.
I'm going to now sign off to work on my Week 5 Rewind that'll include all sorts of nuggets, including plenty of banter about the Mad Hatter's shaky coaching even in an LSU victory.