Key Games Involving Teams Looking for a Playoff Berth

If Miami is to upset the 'Noles, Duke Johnson will need to have a big game.

Florida State (-3) at Miami (O/U 61.5) –  For the first time in a long time Miami enters the Florida State game with a legitimate chance to knock off the Seminoles. They’ve won four of five and they are powered by their fantastic running back Duke Johnson. That said, they’ll need more than just him to pull off the upset.

With Jameis Winston’s Title IX hearing pushed back to the first week of December I think you’ll see him play a little better. His off-field problems won’t be front and center in his mind. The defense will focus on Johnson and will force the Canes’ passing game to beat them.

Trends: FSU is 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games… The total has gone UNDER in nine of Miami’s last 13 games against the Seminoles… Florida State is 4-1 straight up in their last five games when playing Miami on the road… The Hurricanes are 2-4 ATS in their last six game at home against FSU.

The Pick: The Seminoles just keep finding ways to win and I think it continues in a fairly tight game. Take them to cover and take the UNDER.

Dak Prescott faces his biggest challenge against the Alabama defense.

Mississippi State (+8) at Alabama (O/U 52) – A top-ranked team has been this much of an underdog since the 2013 BCS Title game when Bama was favored over #1 Notre Dame by ten.

A lot of people look at this current Alabama team as being a bit flawed. They’ve got a few injuries and the offense other than Amari Cooper isn’t all that exciting but then you look at the numbers. The defense is giving up more than 150 yards less than the Bulldogs’ defense does.

Offensively the Tide are out-passing Dak Prescott and the Bulldogs but trail them in running the football. Normally I’d say this should be a close game but I just don’t feel that way here. Bama plays in these games all the time while Mississippi State is facing its’ most important game in their history.

Trends: Mississippi State is 1-7 straight up in their last eight games when playing at Alabama… The total has gone UNDER in six of Alabama’s last seven games against the Bulldogs… Miss. State is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games against the Crimson Tide… Bama is 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games.

The Pick: I have a feeling Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide will roll. Take them to cover and take the UNDER as well.

Arizona State (-9) at Oregon State (61.5) – The Sun Devils’ win over Notre Dame has catapulted them into college playoff discussion and rightfully so. Now they must go to a place where they haven’t won since 2005 if they wish to keep that talk going.

The Beavers have lost four straight games and three of those were at home. Senior Quarterback Sean Mannion entered this season as a top NFL prospect but he’s been hampered by an poor offensive line that has seen him get sacked 28 times.

In most years I’d worry about ASU going to Corvallis especially after such a big win but I’m not so sure this time around.

Trends: The total has gone OVER in all five of ASU’s last five games at Oregon State… The Beavers are 1-7 against the spread in their last 8 games at home… The Sun Devils are 0-5 ATS in their last five games against Oregon State… The Beavers are 2-6 straight up in their last eight games home.

The Pick: The Beavers still need a win to become bowl eligible and still face Oregon as well. I don’t think it matters as I like the Sun Devils to cover and I like the OVER.

Two Other Games

TCU (-28.5) at Kansas – Any time a spread goes over four touchdowns I run and hide. Take the Jayhawks.

Ohio State (-14) at Minnesota – The Buckeyes are coming of an emotional win in East Lansing and now have to deal with a very good Gophers’ team. I sense a letdown. Take Minnesota.

Putting the Bow on Another Crazy Saturday

Bryce Petty and the Baylor Bears throttled the Sooners in Norman to stay alive in the playoff chase.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more strange in the the world of college football, the second Saturday of November came along. Here’s a look at the craziness.

The Oklahoma Sooners still held out hope for a Big 12 title heading into their home game against 12th-ranked Baylor. Things were certainly looking good as the Sooners led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter. Ahem, that 14 points is all that OU would score. Their defense on the other hand gave up 45 unanswered points in the Bears’ 48-14 thrashing of Oklahoma in Norman.

Minnesota and Wisconsin will play at the end of the season in Madison for the Paul Bunyan ax. Both remained on a crash course for the Big Ten West title with wins Saturday. The Gophers blew out Iowa 51-14 while Wisconsin went to West Lafayette and beat the Boilers 34-16. Both teams must face Nebraska before then and the Gophers still have the Ohio State Buckeyes as well so there is still much to be determined.

Alabama survived in Death Valley and Nick Saban couldn't be happier. I think...

In Death Valley where LSU Had Coach Les Miles has lost just three times in 50 night games there, the Alabama Crimson Tide defeated the Tigers in overtime 20-13. Bama kicked a field goal to tie in the final seconds then scored immediately in OT. The defense took over from there forcing four-straight incompletions to earn the win.

With the Tide’s win, there are four other games from yesterday that will impact their standing heading into Tuesday’s “Big Reveal.”

A lot of people were trying to make an argument for Notre Dame should the Irish finish with just the one, close loss to Florida State. That argument is no longer valid after the Irish were left for dead in the desert by Arizona State. QB Everett Golson threw for over 400 yards but turned the ball over five times in the 55-31 loss. With this development, the Irish are on the outside looking in while ASU will have built up its’ standing with just one loss.

Another one-loss team hoping to survive the regular season was Auburn. No one however, could have seen their 41-38 loss to Texas A&M coming. The Aggies just weeks ago were beaten by Alabama 59-0 but behind new QB Kyle Allen they held off a late charge by the Tigers. Auburn will now have to be the litmus test as to whether a two-loss SEC team can make it. They still have to survive road trips to Georgia and Alabama though.

In an elimination game, the Ohio State Buckeyes went into East Lansing and dropped 49 points on the Spartans in a 49-37 win that gives Ohio State control of the Big Ten East Division. The loss for the Spartans means a chance at the college football playoff is now gone. For the Buckeyes, it means they stay alive. Their one loss was to Virginia Tech and is probably the worst loss of any of the one-loss teams so there is no guarantee OSU gets in but at least they are in position.

The other elimination game was in the Big 12 where TCU knocked off fellow one-loss tea Kansas State 41-20. The Horned Frogs have road trips to Kansas and Texas before finishing the season at home against Iowa State. On paper, it would appear TCU is a shoo-in to finish with just the one loss to Baylor. The really intriguing part here is if both finish with one loss.

Baylor finishes with Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Kansas State all at home. The nod would have to be given to the Bears should they also finish with just one loss

My top Four for right now would be Mississippi State, Florida State, Oregon and Alabama.


Giants at ‘Skins Highlights Nice Thursday Night Football Schedule

Kirk Cousins put up huge numbers last week and may have to again against the Giants.

NY Giants (+3.5) at Washington (O/U 45) – The long-time NFC East rivals clash in a very crucial early season game. Why is it crucial? Because both teams are 1-2 and the loser drops to 1-3. Philadelphia is already 3-0 and Dallas is 2-1. While being 1-3 is not a death blow by any stretch it doesn’t make things very easy heading into the second fourth of the schedule.

The Giants rank 22nd in total defense and 22nd against the pass and that’s not good with Kirk Cousins lighting up the Eagles last week. If New York cannot get consistent pressure it could be a long night.

The ‘Skins currently rank fourth in both total defense and against the run. New York ranks 25th in total offense and 18th in rushing. This is where the G-Men will have to make their mark in order to keep Washington pass rushers at bay.

Trends: The G-Men have won seven of their last ten against the Redskins straight up and are scoring six points more than Washington per game over that span… The Redskins are 1-10 SU in their last 11 games… New York is 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games against Washington… The total has gone UNDER in five of Washington’s last seven games against the Giants at home in FedEx Field.

The Pick: Eli Manning was better last week but the ‘Skins pass rush may be too much. Take Washington to cover and take the UNDER.

Mike Gundy's Cowboys welcome the Red Raiders Thursday night to Stllwater.

Texas Tech (+13) at Oklahoma State (O/U 71.5) – Despite the fact that Oklahoma State likes to throw the ball around a good deal, I’m sure Mike Gundy took notice of badly the Red Raiders were run over by Arkansas’ running game.

This reminds me of a typical Texas Tech team. Good offense but a defense that lacks toughness and playmakers.

Trends: The Red Raiders have not beaten the Cowboys since 2008 which amounts to a five-year losing streak… Oklahoma State is 5-0 straight up in their last five against the Red Raiders in Stillwater… Texas Tech is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at OSU… The total has gone OVER in four of the Cowboys’ last six games at home against the Red Raiders.

The Pick: OSU to cover and I like the OVER

UCLA (-5.5) at Arizona State – So far in 2014, the Bruins have escaped all three of their games with wins despite looking less than dominant. UCAL has defeated three unranked opponents by a total margin of just 18 points.

Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley has had little to no time to pass and now is banged up and questionable for this one. The Sun Devils are also 3-0 against unranked opponents of a lesser variety but they handled all three.

ASU has QB issues of their own however with Trevor Kelly out with a foot injury. Great teams find ways to win when they aren’t playing their best and the Bruins have done that. Can they do it again this week?

Trends: These two teams have split their last ten meetings with UCLA averaging 30 points per game and Arizona State averaging 33… UCLA is 2-4 against the spread in their last six games on the road… ASU is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games against UCLA… The total has gone OVER in four of UCLA’s last five games when playing ASU… The Sun Devils are 10-2 straight up in their last 12 games at home.

The Pick: I think UCLA’s luck runs out tomorrow night. Take the home dog Devils and the OVER.

Odds to Win the 2014 Pac-12 South Division

I expect Brett Hundley and the UCLA Bruins to capture the Pac-12 South.

On Wednesday I gave you the Pac-12 North odds and who I liked to win it. Today, I’m presenting the Pac-12 South which I believe is a four-horse race.

UCLA 5/4 – Jim Mora, Jr. enters his third year in Los Angeles and brings with him high expectations coming off a very nice 10-3 record. Nine starters return on offense while the defense returns eight. Dual-threat quarterback Brett Hundley returns to lead the offense as does Freshman of the Year Myles Jack who plays on both sides of the ball. The only scary road trips are against Texas in Arlington and at Arizona State. The Bruins get USC and Stanford at home to finish the season. Another 10-win season is very possible.

USC 7/4 – It’s year of Steve Sarkisian and expectations are high. Cody Kessler is one of seven starters who return on offense and he has already been named the starter at QB. Seven starters also return on defense which bodes well for a team facing a tough start to the season. The Trojans get always tough Fresno State at home before traveling to Stanford and then across the country to Boston College. Trips to Arizona and UCLA also await. SC does get Notre Dame, Arizona State and Oregon State at home. I think eight wins is the number but some will expect higher.

Todd Graham's Sun Devils could repeat with some big road wins in 2014.

Arizona State 3 /1 – Todd Graham has a very nice 18-9 record in two years at ASU but the real test begins as the Sun Devils return just two starters on defense and only six on the offensive side of the ball. I like the job he has done since leaving Pitt in the middle of the night, but the chances of repeating as South Division champs are going to be very difficult. The schedule is brutal in my opinion with trips to USC, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona. The home schedule isn’t much better with Notre Dame, UCLA and Stanford coming to Tempe. A step back is highly possible in 2014 but there is a lot of talent on the roster too.

Arizona 10/1 – Rich Rodriguez enters year three in the desert and comes off an 8-5 record and a bowl victory. Last year’s Wildcats surprised a few teams like Oregon and USC but lost to a few schools they probably shouldn’t have. Seven starters return on offense and six on the defense which was beaten up in conference play. The schedule features only two road games of note; at Oregon and at UCLA. The other three should provide wins. At home, the Wildcats get USC, Washington and Arizona State. I expect another eight win season in Tucson.

Utah 33/1 – Kyle Whittingham has a really strong 75-39 overall record entering his tenth season in the Beehive State. Six starters return on both sides of the ball as the Utes look to make a splash in the Pac-12 South. Utah faces a tough road schedule with trips to Michigan, UCLA, Oregon State, Arizona State and Stanford. I think the goal here for Whittingham and company is to get back to .500 and a bowl game but that road schedule worries me.

Colorado 50/1 – In year one, Mike McIntyre went just 4-8 but he gets eight starters back on both sides of the ball. The Buffaloes’ defense surrendered over 40 points in seven of their eight losses and three times gave up over 50. Colorado has just four road games and the neutral site rivalry game against Colorado State in Denver. Three of those four are brutal though as they travel to Oregon, Arizona and USC. I think six wins is the goal here and I think it’s very workable as well.

The Pick: Toss out Colorado and Utah right now as they just don’t have the horses. The wild-cards are the schools in the desert and the favorites are the schools from LA. I like the Bruins to take the Pac-12 South in 2014.

No NBA? No NHL? No Problem!

Indiana's Paul George is my guy in the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest

There’s a really good chance that if you reading this that you are probably a sports fan. There’s also a good chance that you like to wager an occasional buck or two on sports. Lastly, there’s a really good chance you know that there are no NBA or NHL games to wager on this evening.

The National Basketball Association is on their All-Star Break down in New Orleans while the National Hockey League has suspended play so that many of its stars can participate in the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

You’re probably asking the question, “Why not go with some college basketball games?” That’s a really fair question except for the fact that the only game worth wagering is Arizona at Arizona State. If you’re dying to know my thoughts on that one read on.

Otherwise, for now you’re stuck with my picks for the winners of All-Star Weekend in the NBA.

Rising Stars Challenge

Portland's Damian Lillard will have a hand in just about everything during All-Star weekend.

This one features Coaches Grant Hill and Chris Webber coaching up the best first and second year players in the league. What you need to know is that like the actual All-Star game, little defense is played.

Despite Damian Lillard leading Team Hill, I’m going with Team Webber behind Anthony Davis, Trey Burke and Jared Sullinger.

Skills Challenge

Defending Champ Damian Lillard returns as does DeMar DeRozan. Lillard will be teamed with rookie Trey Burke to comprise Team One of the Western Conference and Team Two is comprised of Goran Dragic and Reggie Jackson.

DeRozan is joined on Team One of the East by Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee while Team Two is Michael Carter-Williams and Victor Oladipo.

Lillard is the overwhelming favorite but I’m taking the rookie Trey Burke in this competition.

Three-Point Contest

Kyrie Irving returns to defend his title from last season and has three other Eastern Conference competitors with him. Bradley Beal, Arron Afflalo and Joe Johnson throw their hats into the ring represent their conference.

In the West, 2012 champion Kevin Love looks to get back in the winner’s circle. He is joined by fellow Western Conference entrants Marco Belinelli, Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard.

Look for an Irving-Curry final with Curry pulling out the victory.

Slam Dunk Contest

Your Eastern Conference dunkers are Paul George, Terrence Ross and John Wall while the three players from the Western Conference are Harrison Barnes, Damian Lillard and Ben McLemore.

I kind of feel guilty that I don’t have Lillard winning anything to this point because he’s the only player in every event and deserves huge props for that. I believe you are going to see some very athletic dunks from this crew but don’t expect LeBron-esque style off the wall dunks because the arena just doesn’t allow for that.

I really like Indiana’s Paul George to win the dunk contest this year.

And now for Arizona at Arizona State….

When these two in-state rivals met in mid-January, the Wildcats took the Sun Devils out behind the woodshed. Arizona beat ASU 91-68 and left little doubt as to who the better college basketball team was in the state of Arizona.

Since that loss, the Sun Devils have gone on to win five of six with their one loss being a six-point loss at Stanford. Arizona State scores the basketball very well, but the Wildcats play pretty good defense too.

This will not be the blowout the first meeting was but I do expect a very close Wildcats’ victory.


College and Pro Football on Tap Tonight

Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins need to stop the bleeding but will it start with the Bengals tonight?

Pro Football on the Southeast corner of the US and college football on the Northwest corner of the country highlight two games I’m looking at for your wagering options.

Cincinnati (-3) at Miami – Last we left the Cincinnati Bengals; they were dropping a 49-9 butt-kicking on the New York Jets in Paul Brown Stadium. This is of course the same Jets’ team that a week prior beat the New England Patriots and the week before that lost at home to a down Pittsburgh Steelers’ team.

Therefore, what do we take from the Bengals? For starters, this is a team that is now 6-2 and already has a firm grasp on the AFC North which vying to be the NFL’s worst division in 2013. This is also a team that has won four straight including a really big road win in Detroit prior to their beat down of the Jets.

Quarterback Andy Dalton is playing as well as he has during his three-year career. He threw five touchdown passes against the Jets and made it look pretty easy at the same time.

What will be interesting with Cincinnati is to see how the defense reacts to having lost linebacker Ray Maualuga for the next three to four weeks with a knee sprain. He’s played very well in 2013. The team also learned this week that safety Taylor Mays was going on the Injured Reserve list with a bad shoulder.

The strength of the Bengals’ defense is undeniably their front seven which gets great pressure and stops the run, so more may be asked of them in Maualuga’s absence.

For Miami, a short week might be the best medicine to cure their “Patriots’ Hangover.” The Dolphins led 17-3 into the second half in Foxboro before succumbing to the Pats 24-17. That 3-0 start down in South Beach now seems like forever ago as the Fins have lost four-straight.

A big part of the problem has been a lack of consistency in running the ball. Miami ranks just 23rd in the NFL with about 89 yards rushing per game. Often thought to be the strength of the team, the defense is suddenly lacking in firepower as well. They are giving up almost 30 points a game in those four losses and are getting beaten both on the ground and through the air.

This game clearly has a lot more impact for the Dolphins than it does for the Bengals but Cincinnati is streaking in one direction while the Dolphins are headed in the complete opposite. Take the Bengals to cover even on the road.

Graham's Sun Devils are torching scoreboards in the Pac-12 right now.

Arizona State (-12) at Washington State – If you’ve been lulled to sleep by Pac-12 powers Oregon and Stanford in recent weeks who could blame you? In their shadow is lurking the Sun Devils who are quietly leading the weaker, yet respectable Pac-12 South Division. They are averaging over 45 points per game and are fresh off a win at home over Washington where they laid 53 on the Huskies.

Now ASU travels north to play Washington State. The Cougars sit at 4-4 and boast an offense under Mike Leach that has no problems passing the football. They rank 6th with over 383 yards passing per game while the rushing attack is the complete opposite. They rush for just 58 yards per good which is good for 123rd in the nation.

The Sun Devils need to be careful here. They are not going to have any problems scoring points against the Wazzau, but they should expect a shootout either way. The over/under is 71 and I’m all over the ‘over’ here. I do suggest however, you take the Cougars and the points. I expect a lot of points and I can see Washington State keeping it close.

Four Games in College Football That Caught My Eye

I like Manziel and the Aggies to bounce back in a big way against the Mustangs.

Season Record 4-9, Last Week 2-2

I say a little improvement last week and had all four winners correct but a flat performance by Notre Dame and an iffy one by Northern Illinois cost me a perfect record against the spread. Let’s hope this week works out better.

SMU (+28) at Texas A&M – Everyone is expecting the Aggies to have a let down following their tough loss to Alabama last week. I’m not buying it. The Aggies discovered they could play with the Tide once again and will be fueled by the fact that a BCS Title game re-match could happen if they win out.

SMU comes in with a fantastic passing game but a poor running attack. Not the combination you want against an Aggies’ defense that gives up a lot of yards on the ground. The Mustangs are 3-7 ATS in their last ten road games and that number could be a signal to look for the Aggies to win back and I think they will behind Johnny Manziel who looks better than he did last year.

Michigan (-19.5) at UConn – Last week, Michigan avoided one of the worst upsets since…. well, since they were beaten at home by Appalachian State and then Toledo. Akron had three shots at the end zone from with the five yard line but couldn’t complete the deal and the Wolverines survived.

There is no way that Brady Hoke’s Wolverines didn’t get the message this week in practice about their poor performance against the Zips and I believe that will propel them in their first road game of the 2013 season. UConn has lost games to Maryland and Towson State. Yes, I said “Towson State.” The Huskies boast a 1-4 record at home ATS in their five and have one of the worst running attacks in college football. I don’t see how this spread isn’t higher. Take the Wolverines and run.

Can Butch Jones and the Vols bounce back against rival Florida?

Tennessee (+16) at Florida – The Gators enter the classic match-up with Tennessee off a bye week in which they had plenty of time to sulk over a tough loss to Miami in South Florida. Tennessee spent last week getting taken to the woodshed by Oregon early and often. The Vols bring a record of 1-3-2 into the Swamp against the spread in their last six games against the Gators.

Tennessee runs the ball very well at a clip of over 240 yards per game, but now they face their stiffest test with the Florida defense. The Gators will force Tennessee to throw the ball much more than they want to and with a passing attack ranked 114th in the country who could blame them? I think the Gators cover at home in Gainesville.

Arizona State (+6.5) at Stanford – Both teams enter this pivotal Pac-12 showdown at 2-0 but something will have to give. The Sun Devils are in the top ten in the nation in passing while Stanford is among the top 25 in defense. The biggest question for ASU is are they ready to win a big game? Yes, they defeated Wisconsin last week in Tempe, but are they ready to go on the road and win?

The Cardinal have been very matter of fact in wins over San Jose State and Army. They scored 34 points in both games and had very good balance offensively. Two numbers stick out in this contest however. ASU is 4-7-1 ATS in their last 12 games against the Cardinal and the Sun Devils are 1-5 ATS in their last six trips to Palo Alto. I’m going with Stanford to win by at least a touchdown.

An Early Preview of Saturday’s Action

Stanford's Kevin Hogan leads the Cardinal against unbeaten Arizona State this weekend.

It may be Tuesday but it’s never too early to start looking ahead to the college football slate on Saturday. What this coming week brings is a lack of great match-ups compared to the last couple of weeks but it also brings some curious and potentially dangerous lines because of one-sided games.

Western Michigan (+19) at Iowa – Western Michigan enters at 0-3 while the Hawkeyes are 2-1. The records don’t really tell the whole story though. Western Michigan played valiantly in defeat at Michigan State where they easily covered. They then shot themselves in the foot at home in losing by three to Nicholls State but then went into Evanston and gave Northwestern a good battle before succumbing 38-17.

Iowa has lost to MAC Champion Northern Illinois 30-27 in Iowa City and has beaten Missouri State and Iowa State by 14 and 6 points respectively. I think Iowa wins the game but WMU plays good defense and has a few weapons on offense. 19 is just too high in my opinion.

Purdue at Wisconsin (-22.5) – The Badgers have to be stinging from that bizarre and unnecessary loss at Arizona State Saturday night. The Boilers can’t be feeling much better knowing they had Notre Dame on the ropes but let the Irish score three touchdowns in about four minutes to escape West Lafayette with a win.

This is really not a good Purdue team. They caught the Irish flat (see Michigan also being flat after the ND game) and still couldn’t take advantage. I’d be very intrigued by giving the points in a hostile Camp-Randall Stadium.

MSU's Mark Dantonio knows the Spartans must get the offense clicking against Notre Dame.

Michigan State at Notre Dame (-6) – Prior to last weekend’s game against Youngstown State, the Michigan State defense had outscored the MSU offense 28-13. The Spartans offense finally got going against the Penguins to the tune of 55 points but now they take their 3-0 record to South Bend where the Irish will pose the biggest offensive threat to the staunch MSU defense thus far.

Notre Dame is struggling a bit defensively but they seemed to right the ship a bit in the second half against Purdue. Tommy Rees needs to take care of the ball and Brian Kelly needs to settle on a running back rather than continue with the ‘running back by committee’ approach. I see a close game developing right now and I’d be very careful in taking the Irish.

Colorado State at Alabama (-36.5) – This isn’t about ‘if,’ it’s about ‘by how much?’ Alabama is not going to lose to Colorado State on Saturday but will they have a letdown from the big win at Texas A&M? To start with, maybe, but it won’t last long. Nick Saban won’t let his team lose focus with more big conference games down the road. Right now, I’m leaning towards taking the Tide to cover.

Arizona State at Stanford (-6) – Monster game out west that will have Pac-12 title implications. Arizona State benefited from the goofy ending to beat Wisconsin and Stanford wasn’t all that impressive early on against Army.

The one thing to watch for in this game is the run defense of the Sun Devils. They were burned pretty badly by the Badgers who rushed for 231 yards. For Stanford, they’ll need to pressure Taylor Kelly in order to slow down the nation’s eighth best passing attack. With USC already suffering a conference loss, this is a big game for ASU in the Pac-12 South.

Obviously Stanford has national title hopes and those could be helped by a strong win over the Sun Devils. I’m inclined to think the Cardinal will cover right now, but that ASU offense can keep them in games so be careful.

College Football Week Three; What We Learned

McCarron showed he is much more than just a 'game manager' in the win over Texas A&M.

The third week of college football is in the books and with it goes one of the craziest Saturdays in college football history. There was of course the shootout in College Station, another near ‘Appalachian State’ moment for Michigan and a bizarre ending to a great game in the desert. These were just the top stories in another awesome week for teams coast to coast. Here’s what we learned from week three…

Alabama is Not Invincible despite Win. Look, Alabama is very, very good and quarterback A.J. McCarron is not appreciated nearly enough for being more than a ‘game manager.’ The problem is that Alabama’s defense has some issues, especially in the secondary. Other teams will be torched by Johnny Manziel but the Aggies exposed not only the secondary but also the lack of a big-time pass rusher for the Tide.

Because Bama proved they could score at will with Texas A&M, they will mask the deficiencies on defense, but make no mistake; this is not the Alabama defense we are used to seeing. Nick Saban will find ways to mask certain issues, but only to a certain extent. Either way, the Tide took a huge step towards another SEC title game appearance with the win.

Akron gave the 11th ranked Wolverines everything they could handle.

Michigan Survives Major Scare at Home. I can tell you first-hand how crazy close Michigan was to losing to Akron because I was there in the Big House. The crowd was flat and so was the team and the Zips took advantage of several Wolverines’ miscues to stay in the game. Keep in mind this Akron team has not won on the road in 28 straight games now.

Despite the struggles of QB Devin Gardner who accounted for four turnovers, the Wolverines still managed to take the lead with two and half minutes to play but Akron wouldn’t die. The Zips faced a third and one from the Michigan two yard line with under 15 seconds left. A toss sweep failed miserably and was followed by a timeout. On the fourth down the Zips chance at glory escaped as the ball fell to the turf on a desperation pass.

Michigan was clearly flat following a huge a night game win over Notre Dame the Saturday before. Even the Irish were flat for most of their win over Purdue. The lesson learned for Michigan is simple. You cannot take anyone lightly anymore regardless of poor they may be. Akron was a 37-point ‘dog coming in.

Bizarre is the Only Word for Badgers’ Loss to Arizona State. Wisconsin traveled to the desert to face the Sun Devils Saturday night and despite a defense that was gassed by being on the field for 92 plays, the Badgers still had a shot for game-winning field goal. Well in field goal range and with no timeouts left, Badgers’ QB Joel Stave needed to only spike the ball to stop the clock and bring on the field goal unit. Trailing by two, the Badgers were going to have a chance.

Inexplicably, Stave moved to his left and then placed the ball on the ground rather than spike it. The clock kept running and before the Badgers’ could stop the clock it expired. What happened? If it was ruled a fumble? Why didn’t Arizona State take over? If it was an incomplete pass, why didn’t the clock stop?

Should Wisconsin run the table the rest of the way, not easy by any stretch, this bizarre finish could come back to haunt them.




Rivalry Week in College Football: Friday Games

LSU will look to hoist the Golden Boot for the second consecutive season Friday as it takes on Arkansas.

Welcome to Rivalry Week!

Once you’re done with the turkey, stuffing and NFL games, get ready for an absolute doozy of a week in College Football. As well National Championship implications, Week 13 is home to no fewer than 19 rivalry games, any of which could see an upset victory for an upstart team.

To get you in the mood, CasinoReview brings you an overview of those games that will take place on Friday night. Once you’re done here, be sure to come back on Friday for some College Football betting tips, before we take a closer look at those Saturday rivalry games on, well, Saturday.


Arizona State @ #24 Arizona (“Duel in the Desert”)

After a solid start to the season from both schools, #24 Arizona (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) and Arizona State (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) have fallen off the pace as conference play has taken a hold of the schedule. Now the only thing to separate the two will be this matchup. The Wildcats will look to lift the Territorial Cup for a second consecutive season.

Favorite: Arizona Spread: 3 Total: 68.5


#7 LSU @ Arkansas

Not only will #7 LSU (9-2, 5-2 SEC) look to take home the Golden Boot on Friday night, but a win will keep the school’s slim hopes of a place in the SEC Championship Game alive. The Tigers will need a win from Texas A&M and a loss for Alabama. Meanwhile, Arkansas (4-7, 2-5 SEC) will look to wind up a (very) disappointing season by playing spoiler.

Favorite: LSU Spread: 13.5 Total: 51


Utah @ Colorado (“Rumble in the Rockies”)

Colorado (1-10, 1-7 Pac-12) has had a season to forget (to say the least) but a win over rival Utah (4-7, 2-6 Pac-12) would at least be something to smile about as the season comes to a close, particularly as the Buffaloes also lost to Colorado State to open the season. Utah haven’t fared much better this season. The Utes are 1-1 in rivalry games this season, having lost to Utah State and beaten BYU early in the season.

Favorite: Utah Spread: 23 Total: 53


#14 Nebraska @ Iowa

Not only is the Heroes Trophy on the line but so are Nebraska’s (9-2, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes of going to the Big Ten Championship Game next weekend. A win over the Hawkeyes will book the Cornhuskers’ place. A loss, coupled with a Michigan win, will prematurely end Nebraska’s season. Meanwhile, Iowa (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten) will look to break the Cornhuskers’ four-game winning streak in the head-to-head as well as a five-game losing streak this season.

Favorite: Nebraska Spread: 14.5 Total: 53


#25 Washington @ Washington State

Washington State (2-9, 0-8 Pac-12) can get its first conference win of the season by knocking off #25 Washington (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) on Friday night, taking home the Apple Cup in the process. As far as solitary wins in a season go, that would be worth writing home about. The Huskies will have other ideas though, and will feel confident riding a three-game winning series winning streak – and a four-game winning streak this season – into the game. The Apple Cup for a Washington side that has impressed at times this season.

Favorite: Washington Spread: 10.5 Total: 51


Remember to check back on Saturday for CasinoReview’s rundown of the top rivalry games set to take place on Saturday. Expect news on the Iron Bowl and the Civil War, as well as Florida’s trip to Florida State and USC hosting  #1 Notre Dame.