College Football Review; So Long Lane Kiffin

Lane Kiffin was fired as Coach of the Trojans following an embarrassing loss to Arizona State.

For many years Lane Kiffin was perceived as a person who was not exactly the most honest and friendly guy in the world of coaching. Ask the Oakland Raiders or Tennessee Volunteers and they can probably confirm those suspicions. As of early Sunday morning, the USC Trojans can claim they probably know of his short-comings as well as the University fired him following the team’s blowout loss to Arizona State.

Far be it for me to defend Lane Kiffin but USC officials actually told Kiffin to find his own way home from LAX at 3am. The team went on ahead while the fired coach found his own way. Athletic Director Pat Haden has always been known to be a stand-up guy but if he is the person responsible for Kiffin being left at the airport then shame on him.

Former assistant and Ole Miss Head coach Ed Orgeron has been named the interim coach and former Trojans’ player Jack Del Rio has been tabbed as a top candidate for the job. He is currently the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos.

I was surprised Kiffin was even hired in the first place at USC considering his less than stellar reputation but they hired him anyway. Perhaps he has been a stooge all along put in place just to help the Trojans get through some NCAA sanctions. Either way, I’d be surprised to see Kiffin get a head job any time in the near future.

The Southeastern Conference has long prided itself as one of the great defensive conferences in the nation but that trend seems to being dying a swift death. Two weeks after Alabama and Texas A&M had a track meet in College Station, LSU and Georgia staged one of their own in Athens with the Bulldogs winning 44-41.

Murray proved that Johnny Manziel isn't the only QB putting up big numbers in the SEC.

Not to be outdone were the Aggies who were hanging 45 on Arkansas while giving up 33 to the Razorbacks. So what gives? Well, it appears to me that the offensive skill positions in the SEC have caught up to the defensive skill positions at least for the time being. If you look at defenses like Bama, LSU and Georgia, they all suffered heavy losses through the NFL Draft and are playing lots of young and inexperienced guys.

To me, it’s nothing more than a cyclical thing. It won’t be but a few more years when we are watching 13-10 slugfests in the Deep South again.

Oregon and Stanford appear to be headed for yet another epic Pac-12 showdown on November 7th. The top two teams in the conference both put serious whippings on their opponents on Saturday with the Ducks beating Cal 55-16 and the Cardinal beating Washington State 55-17.

What could be shaping up could be very interesting for the final year of the Bowl Championship Series. Although it’s still early in the season, one of those two will eventually suffer a loss. We know Alabama will probably need to lose twice to lose a shot a the title game. That, or there need to be unbeaten teams in both the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

The point of the matter is that regardless of who wins the showdown in November, the loser is still not out of any discussion regarding the national title game unless one significantly blows out the other. There are many factors that could alter things but as for right now, the Oregon-Stanford game could end up being the biggest game of the season.

Until the next biggest game of the season happens of course….

Lions offense powered by Bush not Stafford and Johnson

This season the Detroit Lions are off to a great start after just four games. The Lions are currently tied for first in the NFC North. The Lions record is 3-1 as is that of the Chicago Bears. Detroit has won two straight games and is 2-0 in the division, which is of great importance when the postseason nears.

When bettors look at the Lions and point spreads for their games, they often think of Calvin Johnson and Matthew Stafford.

They wonder how many yards passing Stafford will have and how many touchdown passes. With Johnson they ask themselves how many catches, yards and touchdowns will he have and how will that affect the game’s outcome.

Nevertheless, this season the one player powering the offense more than Stafford and Johnson is all-purpose back Reggie Bush.

Stafford and Johnson thus far have not lived up to the top billing they were and still have been getting. The reason the Lions are 3-1 and their offense has been generating points is Bush.

Bush returned from a slight knee injury to show Detroit’s rivals the Chicago Bears that when he can play at full speed he makes the offense for Detroit go. On Sunday, Bush had 22 touches in the game and accumulated 173 yards.

Of course, Joique Bell the No. 2 back for Detroit has done well, and subbed well during week 3 for the injured Bush, but the explosiveness Bush has is not comparable.

Bush has a game-breaking versatility that few others possess. His rushing skills and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield make Bush the perfect complement to Johnson’s threat over the middle and down the field.

Even though the Lions beat Chicago to stay abreast the Bears, a real test for them is this weekend.

Detroit will face the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay has not played well and sits at 1-2 after having a by-week with Carolina.

Nevertheless, a standard of excellence is obtained when a team can shut the Packers down offensively and outscore them. Detroit will have that opportunity this weekend.

The line opened on sites like betonline, topbet and Bovada with the Packers -7, but has come down to 6.5.

Back Half of NFL’s Week Four Schedule Has Potential

Peyton Manning has been on fire and now the Eagles have to face him in Denver today.

There are many games on the docket today that offer interesting possibilities but I’m looking at the late games on the slate for some wagering action. This also happens to be the first week in which teams have their bye-weeks which if I were a fan or coach would drive me nuts having it this early. Either way, let’s get to the games.

Philadelphia (+11) at Denver -Chip Kelly and the Eagles bring their fast-paced offense to Denver to take on the top team in the National Football League in the Broncos. There was much ado about the Eagles after their fast-paced first half in the opener against the Redskins. Since then, they have been electric at times but have also struggled with turnovers.

Peyton Manning might be playing as well now as at any point in his hall of fame career and if the Eagles are giving the ball away that spells doom for Philly. The Eagles’ defense is 30th in the NFL and now they have to face Manning? While 11 points is a lot to give in the NFL, it isn’t enough today. The Eagles are 1-5 against the spread in their last six. Take the Broncos with confidence.

Dallas (-2) at San Diego – This line to me is nothing more than an over-reaction to the dominance of the Cowboys last week in their win over St. Louis. The Rams basically proved that with their pathetic performance on Thursday night. San Diego meanwhile is very close to being 3-0 on the season with a win over Philly and two last-second losses to Houston and Tennessee.

Tony Romo has looked good in recent weeks and part of that has been due to a better running game. He will look to take advantage of a San Diego defense that is ranked 31st in the NFL. The flip-side is that Philip Rivers also looks pretty good and perhaps as good as any time in his recent career. The Chargers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at home which worries me, but I really like the Chargers today.

Smith has done some good things but must cut down on the turnovers for the Jets to win in Tennessee today.

New York Jets (+3.5) at Tennessee – Each team has key players out today and several who are banged up yet will play. Both team are surprisingly 2-1 on the season and each could argue they should be 3-0. The Jets have ridden an outstanding defense which ranks third in the league while the Titans are pretty good as well ranking eighth.

So what will this game boil down to? Turnovers and special teams in my opinion. Even thought he Jets’ offense is significantly better than the Titans, the Jets are also -6 in the turnover department while the Titans are +5. Tennessee is also 4-1-1 in their last six games against the spread. Give the points and take the Titans.

Washington (-3.5) at Oakland – If you told me one of these teams would be 0-3 when they met in week four I would have without hesitation said Oakland. The Redskins enter with the worst defense in the NFL. They are struggling against both the run and the pass and are getting very little pressure on the quarterback.

Matt Flynn will get the start today for the Raiders due to a concussion to Terrelle Pryor. Flynn was very shaky throughout the preseason which is why they went with Pryor. I look for huge doses of the Raiders’ running game today. Washington enters with the third best offense in the NFL but that is very misleading as they have trailed in their first three games.

RGIII has looked better and better over each successive game, but he still isn’t himself in my opinion. I like this one to go down to the wire but I just can’t see the ‘Skins going 0-4. Take Washington.

Broncos Laying Double Digits against Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles have a huge task on their hands as they face the Denver Broncos today at Sports Authority Field in Denver. The Eagles are 10.5-point underdogs on lines at Bovada, topbet, betonline and

The point total is fairly high at 57, but not surprising with the amount of points the Broncos have been scoring and the up-tempo offense that new Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly has installed.

The Eagles are 1-2 SU and ATS, while the Broncos are 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS. Manning has 12 touchdown passes this season without a single interception.

His 12 TD passes are the most in NFL history through three games. Even though Denver has a short week, they are still laying double figures.

The point spread has been quite firm all week, but the point total being high has attracted a number of UNDER bettors. Numbers, at the opening, were up at 59.5, but have been bet down to the current 57.

Remember live odds are also available on books such as topbet and betonline amongst others.

The Eagles are 1-5 ATS over their past six games overall and over their past nine games played in September are 1-7-1 ATS.

Against losing teams, the Broncos have a record of 4-0 ATS in their past four games. Over their past eight games overall the Broncos are 6-1-1 ATS.

The OVER has cashed out five times in the past six games the Eagles have played and 4 times out of the past five games the Broncos have played.

Over the past 26 games played in Denver, the OVER point total has cashed out 19 times.

The Eagles offense under Kelly has helped to rejuvenate the play of quarterback Michael Vick. Impressive numbers by the Eagles rushers and receivers are being put on the board, but the defense is letting them down. The defense is No. 30 in total yards allowed and No. 26 in points allowed.

What more can be said about Manning? He did complete 32 of his 37 passes last week against Oakland. Four of his five incompletions were dropped passes. His play has been phenomenal.

Pick: Broncos in a high scoring game 42-28

Roger Goodell Lives in a Fantasy World That is Ruining Football

Despite the NFL settling the lawsuit over head injuries, Roger Goodell will continue his assault on violence in the game in the name of 'player safety.'

There are four commissioners of the four major professional sports in the United States and North America. If you polled fans across the country as to which of those commissioners is the least liked, you’d probably have a neck and neck and neck and neck race for the dubious title. The National Basketball Association is headed by David Stern and the National Hockey League is run by Gary Bettman. Major League Baseball has been under the watchful eye of Bud Selig since the 1990’s and the NFL is run by Roger Goodell.

The position of commissioner is not one of envy. In fact, it’s very difficult to make everyone happy so therefore the majority of fans end up hating those in these positions. While this poll might be close, I really believe the commissioner least like right now is Goodell.

This is a trend that has become more prominent in recent years because former NFL commissioners Pete Rozelle and Paul Tagliabue never faced the overwhelming criticism that Roger Goodell hears about daily. As much as I don’t like Goodell, I can’t put it all on him. He was the one selected by the owners of the 32 franchises and he continues to do their bidding today.

The Steelers and Vikings will play the first of two regular season games in London on Sunday.

This week, the NFL plays it’s first of two regular season games in London, England. The stadium will be quite full despite the fact many Brits don’t have a clue the game is even going on. This is Goodell’s way of making the game more ‘global.’ The fact that he would love to see a franchise in Britain one day is not hidden by him one bit. These games are a test to see whether or not a team could in fact exist there.

This is the first step on Goodell’s hypocrisy parade. The remaining steps include stripping the game of big hits in the name of ‘safety,’ wanting to add more games, wanting to add playoff teams and continuing to limit the defense’s ability to actually play defense.

Goodell and the owners have recognized the popularity of fantasy football and its billion-dollar enterprise. Fantasy football relies on points mostly from offensive players. Therefore, increasing the offense’s ability to score more points by eliminating as much of a defensive presence as possible feeds both the fantasy football industry as well as his own.

Fantasy football doesn’t stop with just leagues run at or either. The popularity of the hobby also is enticing to restaurant and bar owners who love bringing in groups to have their fantasy drafts. More drafts equals more money and then you invite those players back with 60″ televisions showing every game that’s currently being played.

While some people will be there to cheer on their favorite team, the majority of patrons will be their to follow their fantasy football players. The amount of money generated by fantasy football is in the billions and there is no way Roger Goodell and his owners were not going to have a slice of that pie.

He can claim all he wants to that the recent settlement over head injuries was about ‘player safety,’ because the real truth is that he wants a safer and more offensive game to feed fan interest. If he were really about ‘player safety’ he wouldn’t be discussing an 18-game schedule. If he were really about ‘player safety,’ he wouldn’t be talking about adding teams to the playoffs.

The truth however is that Goodell and the owners are running the most powerful professional sport and pastime in America and even though there are millions who have already stopped watching the game because it has been butchered by rules, there are millions more watching to see how their players do.

Sadly, they are all on different teams.

Ole Miss vs Alabama Line Bet Down to 14.5

When a team loses nine consecutive times to another like the Mississippi Rebels have against the Alabama Crimson Tide, it rarely gets support from public bettors, but for today’s matchup between the two teams that is not the case.

The Rebels ranked No. 21 in the nation and undefeated have been bet down as road underdogs to 14.5 points.

On many of the online sportsbooks, the line opened with Alabama as a favorite last Sunday by 18 points. However, sharp money from the start thought that line to be too high, and surprisingly following along with sharp money this week was the public.

Sharp bets most always are understandable due to looking out for value, and especially against teams such as Alabama, which often lays a couple of points more than it should. Odd makers inflate the spread to offset the appeal by the public for the team.

However, for this game, some books online such as betonline,, Bovada and topbet are saying that the Ole Miss Rebels are attracting nearly equal action on public play in ticket counts and money and more money going on straight bets.

One sports book operator said that wise money put on the Rebels had lowered the line from 17 to 14.5.

It does not happen often when an underdog is supported by the public. They could be just following along and hopping to jump aboard the Rebels bandwagon or have reached a point where they are tired of always losing on the Crimson Tide at home.

Over their past 8 home games, the Tide has covered twice. However, the Rebels have covered in six out of eight head-to-head games versus Alabama.

One other reason many of the small money bettors are taking Ole Miss is they finally saw a team give it to Alabama. Texas A&M might have lost against the Crimson Tide two weeks ago by a touchdown, but the number was covered.

Not only that, but the Aggies accomplished something that has not been seen in college football of late, they made the defense for Alabama look beatable by scoring 42 points.

This weekend will most likely end the way it began, with Alabama undefeated and ranked No. 1. However, for those laying money on the spread, Mississippi and 14.5 is as good a bet as any.

Huge Conference Games Highlight My Picks for Saturday



The Mad Hatter Miles brings his unbeaten Tigers to Athens to play the Bulldogs.

Season Record 6-11, Last Week 2-2

The fact that Michigan didn’t cover last week wasn’t a huge surprise, but the fact that they needed a late comeback against UConn left me wondering how good this Michigan team really is. No concern for me this week as the Wolverines are off. I’ve learned my lessons with them but I’m still looking for some good action. Here are some games I do feel good about though.

LSU (+3) at Georgia – Scoring hasn’t been a problem for the Tigers who are averaging 43 points per game. The offense under former NFL coordinator Cam Cameron has been much more balanced but still relies on Jeremy Hill and the running game. Defensively, the Tigers will face a future NFL quarterback in Aaron Murray who will test them more than they have seen yet this season.

Georgia is no slouch is the scoring department with an average 40 points per game and will rely much more heavily on the passing game than LSU will. For me the question will be whether the Dawgs can play enough defense to slow down the Tigers. I also give the Tigers an advantage on special teams. The Tigers are 9-1 straight up in their last ten road games so I love them getting three.

Gary Andersen gets a rude welcome to Big Ten play as his Badgers open at Ohio State.

Wisconsin (+7) at Ohio State – The Badgers are one goofy ending away from being unbeaten right now as they enter the Horseshoe in Columbus. Ohio State is coming off a 76-0 win over Florida A&M and will also get QB Braxton Miller back but it isn’t like Kenny Guiton struggled in his place. Urban Meyer claims he has ‘co-starting’ QBs which in my mind isn’t a good thing. Pick one and going with him.

The question will be whether the Badgers can slow down the Buckeyes on offense and they’ll use their running game in an effort to do that. OSU will load up and force Badgers’ QB Joel Stave to beat them. Wisconsin is 1-5 against the spread when they visit Columbus and I think that trend continues. Take the Buckeyes to win by ten or more.

Oklahoma (-3.5) at Notre Dame – If Devin Gardner of Michigan could tear up the Irish secondary then what will Blake Bell and Oklahoma do? The Irish survived against Michigan State last week but the offense they will see in the Sooners will be much more explosive than anything the Spartans could show.

The thing with the Sooners though is they run the ball as well as they pass and they are giving up just nine points per game. Irish QB Tommy Rees has to take care of the ball and must get the Irish into the end zone rather than settle for field goals. OU will be looking for revenge after their loss to Notre Dame last year in Norman. I like the Sooners to cover.

Virginia (+5) at Pitt – The Cavaliers had an impressive win to open the season over BYU before getting destroyed at Oregon. They bounced back with a win over VMI but now they face an offense in Pitt that scored 58 points against Duke last week. The problem for the Panthers is that they gave up 55 points to the Blue Devils.

The Cavs are 4-12-1 in their last 13 games against the spread and while I think they will be able to score on Pitt, I have concerns that they might not be able to score enough. In what should be another ACC shootout, I like the Panthers to win by more than five on Saturday.

Irish are Underdogs at Home vs Sooners

End of September, leaves starting to turn and Saturday college football between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Life for a college football fan just cannot get much better.

The Oklahoma Sooners enter this matchup on Saturday afternoon with an overall record of 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS. The Sooners started the season, in an early line as the underdogs in this matchup, but after changing quarterbacks and an open week to make more preparations, the Sooners are now the favorites in sportsbooks like topbet and Bovada.

Sooner quarterback Blake Bell, in just his first start at Oklahoma on September 14, had 413 yards passing and four touchdowns versus Tulsa.

Bell, often times used prior in short-yardage situations, replaced Trevor Knight the starting quarterback and gave Oklahoma the spark they have missed all season.

Notre Dame enter this matchup 3-1 SU and 0-3-1 ATS. Their offensive spark is still missing with Tommy Rees at quarterback. Last week the Irish squeaked out a victory over Michigan State but only gained 220 yards on offense.

The current line has the Sooners as the favorite on most sportsbooks by 3.5 points. When the first lines were released this summer, sportsbooks such as betonline and topbet had the Irish as a 1-point favorite.

However, those changed over the past 10 days due to the Irish not playing well offensively and the change Oklahoma made inserting Bell into the lineup.

Last season, the Irish were dogs by 10.5 points at Norman and defeated the Sooners easily 30-13. The Irish defense held the Sooners to just 15 yards on the ground.

This is just the third game that the Irish are dogs at home since Brian Kelly took over as head coach four seasons ago. In those two previous home games the Irish were underdogs, Notre Dame was 1-1 ATS.

Oklahoma’s defense has played stellar this season, allowing just nine points a game. However, they have faced weak competition thus far and even though the offense of Notre Dame is not explosive, it is better than any Oklahoma has seen to date.

The Irish defense is not what it has been over the past three seasons. The team ranks No. 96 in the nation in 3rd down defense, which means they spend more than their share of time on the field defending.

Pick: I like the Sooners late, 21-17.

Predicting MLB’s Award Winners for 2013

I see no way Miguel Cabrera doesn't win the American League MVP Award this year.

I’m certainly guilty of spending way too much time lately on pro and college football but considering football is the most popular sport in America these days I should probably be excused. With that in mind, I’m making my return to baseball and in doing so I’m preparing for the playoffs by focusing on the award winners.

These are my selections for Major League Baseball’s post-season award winners.

American League Most Valuable Player

Once again the selections boil down to the new crowd favorite and the old crowd favorite with a potential exception. The new crowd loves Mike Trout because ‘saber metrics’ always seem to give him the advantage over the old crowd favorite Miguel Cabrera. The only other player in the discussion is Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson who has stats very similar to those of Trout.

To me, this isn’t even close. Cabrera is closing in on his third straight batting title and will take two of the three legs of the Triple Crown missing only on home runs. His team is also in the playoffs whereas Trout’s is not. Trout is a phenomenal talent who will no doubt win this award, but Cabrera is the best hitter on the planet right now and has done it consistently.

National League Most Valuable Player

This is another three-man race but this one really could go in any direction. Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks will win two-thirds of the Triple Crown with 35 home runs and 123 RBI’s while hitting over .300. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has an argument of his own for the MVP.

McCutchen's all-around game deserves the NL MVP Award.

Molina is considered the top defensive catcher in the game today and once again has the Cardinals in the post-season. He also is batting .314 which for a catcher is incredible.

The guy that really should get this award though is Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen who is as valuable to his team as anyone could be. He is the leader of a Pirates’ team that has made the playoffs for the first time since 1992 and is one of the top defensive outfielders in the game. He has batted .300 plus all year and has 20 homers and nearly 200 hits.

American League Cy Young Award

This will come down to three guys who have all pitched their teams to division titles or at least very close to one in one case. Bartolo Colon has a league best ERA of 2.64 and has three shutouts. He has been an incredible factor in the rise of the Athletics. Yu Darvish has been good in 2013 as well. He has 260 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of under .200.

The guy who has to win the award is the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. While his run support has been huge, he also has pitched a ton of innings and has gone at least six innings in 27 of 31 starts. Factor in as well the less than stellar year of Justin Verlander and it makes Scherzer’s year that much more impressive.

National League Cy Young Award

This really comes down to just two guys in Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel. While the Braves’ Kimbrel has been outstanding in closing 49 games this season for Atlanta with a low ERA and WHIP of .91, Kershaw has to be the guy who walks away with the award.

Kershaw has an ERA of 1.88 with 224 strikeouts and a WHIP of under one. He has been the stabilizing force for the Dodgers who roared from last place in the NL West to win the division.

AL Rookie of the Year

There will be significant attention paid to Jose Iglesias who helped Boston get out front in the East and then helped Detroit overcome the loss of Jhonny Peralta to suspension. While it wouldn’t shock me to see him win, I have to think it will be either Wil Meyers or Chris Archer of Tampa Bay.

NL Rookie of the Year

There will be a massive call for the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig to win this award and with good cause, but the most impressive rookie all season has been Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez. Teams batted just .182 against him and he finished 12-6 for one of the worst teams in baseball.

San Francisco in Crucial Matchup with St. Louis

Who would have thought that the San Francisco 49ers would be 1-2 after three weeks into the NFL season?

That is the case and tonight they visit NFC West rivals the St. Louis Rams in a crucial test for the 49ers. San Francisco must find a way to win and get on track or their season could be last early.

The Rams are also 1-2 but that is more to be expected than with the 49ers. The loser of this matchup with be 2½ games behind the first place Seattle Seahawks in the division.

San Francisco has lost two straight to Seattle and Indianapolis by a combined score of 56-10. St. Louis had also lost two straight to Atlanta and Dallas.

In last year’s two head to head games between the two teams, the Rams were 1-0-1 SU and 2-0 ATS. What is even more impressive is the Rams were 4-1-1 SU as well as 6-0 ATS in their six division games last season.

Currently the line has San Francisco favored by 3 points with the point total resting on 42. Both lines have moved slightly after opening at 3.5 and 43.

San Francisco started out looking like the NFC defending champions with their opening game win over the Green Bay Packers, but since then the wheels have started to fall off.

The passing game for the Niners has struggled over games 2 and 3 with Colin Kaepernick only completing 26 of this 55 passed for a paltry 277 combined yards after throwing for 412 yards in game 1. In games 2 and 3, Kaepernick threw no passes for touchdowns and 4 for interceptions.

With few receivers beyond Anquan Boldin and an injury-slowed Vernon Davis, the 49ers passing offense has been less than stellar.

The running game has not been any better with just 115 yards against Indy after rushing for 102 in just the first half.

The defense for San Francisco has had its problems as well. The defense has given up 28 points per game this season. Last season the 49ers defense allowed just 17 per game.

St. Louis will attack the 49ers defense in the air on Thursday. The Rams do not have much of a running game so Sam Bradford their quarterback will have to take to the airwaves if he hopes to win this game.

The 49ers depth will be tested on defense with Smith out. In addition, Patrick Willis a starting linebacker has an injured groin and Nnamdi Asomugha a backup cornerback has a bum knee.

The 49ers have not covered in any of the previous three meetings against the Rams. However, in those games, sportsbooks such as topbet, betonline, and Bovada had the 49ers as favorites by a touchdown or more.

Since Jim Harbaugh became the head coach, the 49ers are 23-15-2 ATS.

This game should be a new start for the 49ers. I lean to the 49ers big, with the OVER cashing out at 30-17.