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.

What an Opening Saturday in College Football!

More Les Miles' magic propelled the Tigers to a comeback win over Wisconsin.

If this is what we are going to get every Saturday through January of 2015 then I think we’ll all be quite pleased. While there will be weekends with more upsets and perhaps more exciting action, this opening Saturday proved one important thing; I don’t think there is one dominant team out there at the moment. Let’s start with the two big games in Texas.

LSU rallied to beat Wisconsin last night in Houston by scoring 21 unanswered points to win 28-24. The Badgers have to be violently ill this morning after having a powerhouse SEC team on the ropes only to get knocked out in the end. Badgers’ QB Melvin Gordon carried his team with 140 yards rushing and a touchdown but new QB Tanner McEvoy could do nothing in the passing game. He went just 8 for 24 for 50 yards and two picks.

The Tigers meanwhile looked uninterested, fundamentally unsound and lazy while falling behind Wisconsin early and into the second half. Les Miles as expected started Anthony Jennings who was miserable at QB. Brandon Davis came in for a series and didn’t look much better. Jennings was able to find a groove in the second half though throwing two touchdown passes to rally the Tigers to victory.

Wisconsin will have to figure out the QB situation because those numbers by McEvoy won’t get it done. LSU meanwhile has tons of work to do but can build on the comeback win.

FSU's Jimbo Fisher has some things to work on despite winning last night in Arlington.

Up the road in Arlington, defending national champion Florida State survived 37-31 against a very tough and game Oklahoma State team. The Seminoles were thought to be as good on defense as they are on offense but giving up 364 yards and 8 of 16 on third downs is not going to get this team a return trip to Cowboys Stadium for the title game.

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was great when he needed to be despite two turnovers. He threw for 370 yards, a touchdown and a fantastic 28-yard TD run. The big concern going forward for FSU is the running game which put up just 106 yards. The Seminoles’ offensive line is considered the best in the country but they looked anything but against a younger, more inexperienced defensive front from Oklahoma State.

Sometimes it’s games like these that give you a shot in the arm or are a real wake up call. If I’m Florida State this morning I’m hoping that this is exactly the case.

Other games of note…

UCLA needed three defensive touchdowns to win on the road against Virginia 28-20. If Brett Hundley expects to be a Heisman candidate then he has to play better than he did… Ohio State defeated Navy 34-17 to begin the ‘season without Braxton Miller’ campaign. The Midshipmen actually led 14-13 in the third quarter… There was no gigantic upset in the Big House this time as Michigan rolled to a 52-14 win over Appalachian State. This was a much less talented Mountaineer team than was the 2007 team however… Second ranked Alabama survived a tough contest with West Virginia winning 33-22 in Atlanta. The Tide rolled to over 500 yards of offense with running backs Derrick Henry and T.J. Yeldon both going over 100 yards on the day. The alarming part for Bama is that WVU QB Clint Trickett threw for 365 yards which is the most ever against a Saban-coached Bama team. He broke the record set in the Tide’s last game which was a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma… The clear front-runner in the Heisman race has to be Georgia’s Todd Gurley who rushed for 198 yards and three TDs in the Bulldogs’ 45-21 rout of Clemson. He also had a 100-yard kickoff return for touchdown too.

Rejoice! College Football Saturday is Back

Hutson Mason takes over for Aaron Murray in Georgia as the Bulldogs welcome Clemson.

It’s finally here! Football Saturday is back!

Clemson (+8) at Georgia (O/U 54) – The Tigers enter 2014 having to replace a lot of offensive talent which means Head Coach Dabo Swinney will rely on a seasoned defense to carry his team early in the season. Georgia enters the post-Aaron Murray era with QB Hutson Mason who will benefit from having Heisman Trophy hopeful Todd Gurley in the backfield.

Cole Stoudt replaces Tajh Boyd at QB for Clemson and although it was in mop-up duty last season, he threw five TD passes. The Georgia defense struggled mightily last season and I’m not sure how quickly they turn things around. I sense a close game in Athens so take the Tigers and I like the over.

Jeff Driskel returns from injury to lead the Gators into 2014.

Idaho (+37) at Florida (O/U 50) – It’s been an incredibly long offseason in Gainesville following last year’s horrendous season. The Gators and Head Coach Will Muschamp will feature a very good defense and an offense that returns quarterback Jeff Driskel who missed most of last year with an injury. His absence led to many of the problems for the Gators.

Last season, the Vandals surrendered 80 points to Florida State and now they play a Gators’ team that has won 24 straight season openers. I like Florida to cover and I love the over.

Fresno State (+21) at USC (O/U 58) – Is anyone happier to actually play a game than Steve Sarkisian and the Trojans? The last week has seen the coach be called a ‘racist’ by a former player and he’s had to deal with Josh Shaw’s heroic story-turned police investigation. USC and Fresno saw each other in the Las Vegas Bowl where the Trojans routed the Bulldogs 45-20.

USC has excellent talent in the top 22 players but the depth is hurting a bit. Fresno State has to replace record-setting QB Derek Carr who could be starting for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. I like USC to cover today simply because I think  they’ll be excited to play football and remember, this was a ten-win team last season. I love the over as well.

Florida State (-19) vs Oklahoma State (O/U 64) – The defending national champions open their season in Cowboys Stadium against the Cowboys from Oklahoma State. Like USC, the Seminoles have to be happy to get back on the field after a ‘crabby’ offseason for Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston.

Mike Gundy has done a great job for his alma mater in Stillwater but he could use a signature win but it won’t happen here. The Seminoles have too much speed and talent in all of the right places and I expect them to cover tonight. I also love the over.

LSU (-5.5) vs Wisconsin (O/U 50) – The good news for Wisconsin is that they are one of the Big Ten’s top teams for 2014. The bad news is that they have lost six of their last seven bowl games which means the jump in competition has been an issue. The fact that the Badgers return just three starters on defense doesn’t bode well for them either. The Tigers always reload well and that’s the case again in Baton Rouge. QB Zach Mettenberger is off to the NFL and Head Coach Les Miles seems likely to play both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris in the opener.

The game is being played in Houston but that favors the Tigers significantly who don’t have a long way to drive. The amount of newcomers on the Wisconsin defense worries me and it looks like the Badgers will go with untested QB Tanner McEvoy. I like the Tigers to cover and I’ll take the under as the Tigers will limit Melvin Gordon forcing the Badgers to throw.

Big 12 Conference Odds for 2014



Bob Stoops and his Sooners have their sights set on a Big 12 Title.

The Big 12 odds are right here so I’m not waiting any long, let’s go.

Oklahoma 2/3 – The Sooners return nine starters on defense and will look to build on a strong finish in 2013 that featured a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. The road schedule is light with only Texas in the Cotton Bowl being the toughest trip. They get a revenge game against Baylor at home along with rival Oklahoma State in the finale.

Baylor 11/4 – QB Bryce Petty is back after a year in which he threw 32 TD passes and just three interceptions. The defending Big 12 Champs have just four starters back from a defense that struggle at times last year. The road to defending their title will be tough. They play at Oklahoma and at Texas, but they have a very weak non-conference schedule and get TCU, Oklahoma State and Kansas State at home.

Can Charlie Strong revive the Longhorns despite doubts within the fan base?

Texas 15/2 – The Charlie Strong Era begins in Austin and the pressure will be huge for an immediate turn-around. The Longhorns lost only 16 lettermen and return seven starters on offense and eight on defense. The first six games feature BYU, UCLA in Arlington, Baylor and then Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl. Three of their last five games are on the road as well.

Kansas State 10/1 – Bill Snyder enters his 23rd season in Manhattan with a team that returns 11 starters (6/O and 5/D). Road games are not easy with trips to both Oklahoma and Baylor but the home schedule isn’t easy either with Auburn, Texas and Oklahoma State coming in.

Oklahoma State 10/1 – With just eight starters (4/O and 4/D) back, the Cowboys could take a step back in 2014. They open with defending National Champion Florida State in Arlington and then finish the season on the road at Baylor and at Oklahoma. That’s a tough challenge for a rebuilding team.

TCU 14/1 – The Horned Frogs had very uncharacteristic season in 2013 going just 4-8. The good news is that eight starters return on both offense and defense. They have to play at Baylor and at Texas but get Oklahoma and K-State at home. I expect at least a bowl appearance this season.

Texas Tech 20/1 – Kliff Kingsbury enters his second season in Lubbock following an 8-5 record in 2013. Don’t forget however, this team had been 7-0 before losing their last five regular season games against much stiffer competition. Nine starters return on offense but just four on D. They get Texas and Oklahoma at home and Baylor in Arlington in the finale. Road games include Kansas State and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weeks.

West Virginia 66/1 – Dana Holgerson is in year four at West Virginia and with a 21-17 record some would say he’s on the hot seat. It won’t be easy to change those thoughts with an opener in Atlanta against Alabama. They also play at Oklahoma State and Texas while entertaining Oklahoma, Baylor and Kansas State.

Iowa State 100/1 – This is likely Paul Rhodes’ final season in Ames if things don’t turn around a bit. He’s 27-36 which isn’t terrible for a coach at Iowa State, but it isn’t great either. The good news is that ISU has 10 starters back on offense and five on defense. The bad news is that road trips to Iowa, Texas and Oklahoma State await the Cyclones in their first seven games. A bowl game is possible but there is little room for error.

Kansas 100/1 – Charlie Weis is just 4-20 at Kansas and this is his make or break year. The good news for Weis is that he gets 17 starters back on offense and defense. The bad news is that his Jayhawks still have to travel to Duke, Baylor, Oklahoma and Kansas State.

The Pick: The Sooners will ride their win over Alabama into the 2014 season and with stability at quarterback now I believe they’ll clip the Baylor Bears for the title. If you want a long shot, look at Texas Tech who has a favorable schedule with the big teams at home.

Incidents in College Football and Basketball Prove Fans Have Lost It

Rashaan Evans has felt the wrath of Auburn fans after he chose to attend Alabama on signing day.

I don’t know when it happened exactly but I’m quite sure that college sports’ fans and fans in general have pretty much jumped the shark. Maybe ‘jumping the shark’ isn’t the right way of saying it. Lost their minds? There, that sounds much better.

This past week has shown us that fans of college sports teams have gone overboard with their level of enthusiasm.

In one case, Oklahoma State University basketball star Marcus Smart flew into the stands at Texas Tech University. Smart had hustled down court to block a lay-up attempt when his momentum carried him into the seats behind the basket.

Smart was getting to his feet when he clearly heard something directed at him that must not have been very nice. Smart’s head whipped around to see a man in a Texas Tech polo flapping his gums at Smart.

Smart was suspended for three games which is fair. Fan Jeff Orr should be banned from games period.

Smart lost his cool and shoved the fan. While I believe Smart was wrong, I also believe that if he were my child, I would have had no problem with his actions. Tech ‘superfan’ Jeff Orr admitted he called Smart a “piece of crap” yet Smart claims it was a much more racial comment.

Either way, Orr needs to be removed by the University, not himself from all future Red Raider events at least for the year. He claimed he will not attend any more basketball games this year home or away but it should be a decision the university makes, not him.

In the world of college football this past week we have yet another sign of fans who take things way too seriously. Last Wednesday of course was National Signing Day for those players signing a national letter of intent. Basically, this is where they decide where they are going to take their football talents.

It really has become a national holiday of sorts which is sad unto itself, but it took an even sadder step when a young man from Alabama committed to play for Alabama.

In most situations we’d think that any young man from the state of Alabama who chooses to play for the Tide would be loved and worshipped. This is not the case because this young man, Rashaan Evans, is from Auburn, Alabama.

Yes, that Auburn.

The Tigers were so sure that Evans was going to sign with them that they had already posted a bio page on their website for him.

Evans, who is a five-star linebacker, instead chose to play for the Crimson Tide. In the week that has passed since his announcement, Evans has been chastised and criticized on social media and even in person in some cases.

Auburn fans are not taking his decision well and are not only taking it out on him but on his parents’ business as well. So bad has it been that Auburn fans have gone to school board meetings at Evans’ high school in order to get him suspended.

His teachers have reported that they have been asked to fail him or find ways to get him in trouble and he’s even been told by fans that they want him to blow out his knee in the first game.

As sad and disturbing as this is, it’s probably even worse knowing many of these “fans” probably have never even attended a class at Auburn let alone graduate from the school. Are these people so desperate that they take to harassing a teenager?

None of this should really surprise us though should it? And that I find sad as well.

Great College Hoops Action Tonight

Lamar Patterson and the Pitt Panthers host Duke in a big ACC match-up.

In making my transition from the National Football League and college football, I’ve been able to focus some attention on the NBA but now I finally am returning to the last place where basketball truly is played as close to the way it was intended as possible. It used to be that Monday night was always the biggest night in college hoops action but these days you can find big games nearly every night across your television dial.

This Monday night however feels like a throwback with classic Big East and Big 12 match-ups and a potentially new rivalry in the ACC. Let’s get to them shall we?

Duke (+3.5) at Pitt – As it’s maiden voyage into Atlantic Coast Conference continues, the highlight of said voyage arrives for Pitt tonight. The Duke Blue Devils come to Western Pennsylvania for the first time with both schools being members of the same conference. Not surprisingly, this has been the hottest ticket in Pitt basketball history as students have braved the cold to camp out and hope for tickets.

The Panthers are unbeaten at home in the Petersen Events Center and they will need to rely on their very efficient shooting and unselfish play to beat the Devils. While this isn’t the usual dominant Duke teams we’ve seen in the past but this is still a very good team under Coach K. Pitt is 5-1-1 against the spread in their last seven games while the Blue Devils are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five road contests.

Look for big games from Lamar Patterson of Pitt and Jabari Parker of Duke but it might be the scrappy guys who make the difference. Take the Panthers giving the points to win at home.

Marcus Smart leads the Cowboys into Norman to face the Sooners.

Oklahoma State (-3) at Oklahoma – The 11th ranked Cowboys travel to Norman to play their rivals and 25th-ranked Sooners. Oklahoma State is 16-3 while Oklahoma is 16-4. Both schools already have two losses in Big 12 Conference play while conference leader Kansas is 6-0. The Cowboys are 2-5 against the spread in their last seven road games and they are also 1-4 against the spread in their last five road games at Llyod Noble Center in Norman.

OK State is led by  Marcus Smart and Markel Brown who average about 17 and 16 points respectively per game. Cameron Clark and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma average almost the exact same points per game respectively as well.

The Sooners are 19-4 straight up in their last 23 games at home but I like the Cowboys to cover because of a little bit tougher schedule.

Villanova (-5) at Georgetown – The #4 Wildcats hit the road to the nation’s capitol where a rather disappointing Hoyas’s team  is waiting for them. At 17-2, Villanova trails Big East Conference newcomer by just a half a game for the Big East lead. Georgetown is just 11-8 but is just 3-5 in the Big East Conference.

Jayvaughn Pinkston and James Bell each average 15 points per game to lead ‘Nova. The Hoyas are led by D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera who averages 17 points per game and Markel Starks who averages 16 points per game. The difference between the two teams however is that Villanova gets more scoring from other players than Georgetown does and that explains Villanova scoring about ten points more per game than the Hoyas.

The Wildcats are 1-4 against the spread when playing at Verizon Center in Georgetown while the Hoyas are 8-2 straight up in their last ten against Villanova. I expect that Georgetown will play well but these are drastically different teams. I look for Villanova to cover and get the win in Big East play.


MAC Decided Tonight; Big Ones on Tap Tomorrow in College Football

Heisman hopeful Jordan Lynch leads the Huskies against Bowling Green for the MAC Title.

Tonight the MAC takes center stage in college football and that is but a mere appetizer for what’s to come tomorrow. Check it all out right here.

Bowling Green (+4.5) vs. Northern Illinois (at Ford Field) – The Mid-American Conference is in the spotlight for a second straight year and in the center of that spotlight is Northern Illinois. Last season, the Huskies finished off a perfect season by beating Kent State. The win sent them to Orange Bowl. They have the same opportunity tonight as they play Bowling Green. A win pretty much guarantees another BCS trip while a loss sends the Huskies to far less financially rewarding pastures.

I do not expect the Falcons to go quietly however. Bowling Green is 5th in the nation in scoring defense at just 13 points per game while the Huskies’ D gives up about 10 points more per game. I was impressed that Bowling Green went to Buffalo last week and knocked off the Bulls 24-7. The winner of that game grabbed the MAC East Title and the Falcons did just that on the road.

The difference in this one however is the amazing Jordan Lynch who will be under center for NIU. If Lynch is not in New York as one of the four Heisman Trophy finalists then there ought to be an investigation. He will be the difference in a fairly tight ball game but I like the Huskies to cover.

Texas (+15) at Baylor – This one is fairly simple. Should Oklahoma State lose against rival Oklahoma in the early game in the Big 12 then whoever wins between the Longhorns and Bears wins the conference and the BCS bid. In terms of on the field with these two we have to credit Mack Brown who has guided his team to an 8-3 record when many thought he’d be lucky to get to six wins when the ‘Horns were 1-2 on the season.

Baylor bounced back nicely from losing to the Cowboys and still has hopes for a BCS game. QB Bryce Petty has announced he will return for his senior season which should provide some motivation for the Bears. I like Baylor to win but the 15 points is just too much so take Texas.

Look for Chelf to stay on his hot streak against rival Oklahoma.

Oklahoma (+10) at Oklahoma State – You already know the scenario from the game listed above and quite frankly I expect the Cowboys to put a significant whooping on the rival Sooners tomorrow. The Cowboys are 1-4 straight up in their last five home games against OU and I believe the over/under of 58 will go over with the Sooners averaging 31 points per game and the Cowboys averaging 41.

Sadly at 9-2, the Sooners’ season has been a disappointment with a loss to Texas and a serious blowout loss to Baylor. Injuries have not helped but Bob Stoops knows he can’t use them as an excuse. Regardless, I like Oklahoma State to cover.

Ohio State (-6) vs. Michigan State (Lucas Oil Stadium) – The Buckeyes’ defense was exposed last week by a very average Michigan offense and you can bet Mark Dantonio paid attention. His concern however will be stopping Ohio State because they can run the ball with several threats and Braxton Miller can throw it well too. I really want to take Sparty but OSU is too athletic. Take the Bucks to cover.

Missouri (-3) vs. Auburn (Georgia Dome) – Here’s the big question; can Auburn re-focus after such an amazing win over their most hated rival? I think they can but this year has been pretty magical for a Missouri team too that had to manage without their starting QB for much of it. Mizzou leads the SEC in both sacks and interceptions and I like them to cover.

Duke vs. Florida State (-29) (Bank of America Stadium) – Jameis Winston was cleared of any charges from an alleged sexual assault that happened a year ago. While being investigated he stayed sharp and played pretty well. Now that this is off his mind, how much better will he be? The Blue Devils have been an outstanding story but this one is over early. I’m taking the Seminoles to cover.

Oklahoma State Allegations Are Not Shocking

WIll the allegations brought forth by Sports Illustrated cost Mike Gundy his job?

The new report by Sports Illustrated on the allegations of misconduct at Oklahoma State University isn’t receiving the type of reaction that I think the popular magazine was looking for. Oh it’s generating some buzz in many circles but are the alleagations of paying players, drug use, academic fraud and hostesess luring players really that surprising?

This report comes on the heels of the NCAA investigating Heisman Trophy Winner Johnny Manziel who may or may not have signed autographs for money. We know Manziel signed a large amount of autographs for specific brokers but he claims he accepted no payment. Once the NCAA sat down with Manziel and his cadre of lawyers, they must have realized they had no proof and decided to move on.

You know and I know the NCAA is a broken system. It’s broken in nearly every possible way from the top down. Based upon that fact and the recent Manziel situation, the Oklahoma State report has a very ‘ho-hum’ feel to it.

Now if this report were about Notre Dame or USC or Florida then maybe we’d be a bit more up in arms but this is Oklahoma State University we are talking about here. They aren’t even the most prominent football school in their own state so why should the nation pay much attention to this?

Will Miles come under fire at LSU for possible violations while he was at Oklahoma State?

I don’t think it’s the nation that has to be concerned. College football fans already know how susceptible to corruption the sport is. The people that need be concerned are those named in this report who are still at OSU or those who are still invloved with the sport but are now at different universities.

Take Les Miles for example. School officials in Baton Rouge right now have to be busy going over Miles’ handiwork since he’s been running their football program. Many of the allegations levied against the Cowboys happened on Miles’ watch so it doesn’t take a scientist to figure what worked at OSU would work even better at a traditional power like LSU.

By the way, think the folks in Ann Arbor aren’t taking a monstrous sigh of relief this week? Miles was nearly headed back to coach the very school he played and coached at before turning it down.

College football is the most lucrative college sport there is and it has that title far and away from college basketball. While some schools do identify their success with basketball, schools know that the real money is made by the success of the college football program.

Based upon last year’s numbers, the highest grossing athletic departments in America are dominated by traditional football schools. The top 13 schools, with Texas leading the way, are dominated by their football programs. Only the 14th school, Louisville, earned more in basketball than football.

What does this mean? It means that if schools are going to cheat and are going to cut corners and are going to offer things that just can’t be turned down by an 18-year old kid then they are going to do it in football.

I honestly don’t know what will come of this report on Oklahoma State but don’t be surprised if some other schools start to fall as well. If you think these types of things don’t go on in the SEC or the Big Ten or the Pac-12 then I suggest you open your eyes and get a gosh darn clue. Maybe things at other schools aren’t as rampant and ‘in-your-face’ as they claim to have been in Stillwater but there is no way the top programs in America are as crystal clean as you might think. That should not be shocking at all.

Big 12 Win Totals for 2013

Baylor's Seastrunk could be in the race for the Heisman Trophy this season.

The Big 12 should once again feature high-flying offenses and defenses lacking in stopping power. Here are projected win totals for the Big 12 in 2013.

Baylor 8 (+105 over/-135 under) – Lache Seastrunk could be a Heisman candidate this season at running back but the big question is about QB Bryce Petty and whether or not he is ready to handle the load. The defense is never very good and relies on takeaways. The Bears have an easy non-conference schedule but finish the season at OK State, TCU and home with Texas. I think eight is the right number here.

Iowa State 5.5 (+160 over/-200 under) – I think the Cyclones and Paul Rhodes take a step back in 2013. They have to replace key players and leaders at QB,WR and LB. Non-conference schedule includes Northern Iowa, Iowa and Tulsa which very well leave them at 1-2. They have road trips to Baylor, Oklahoma and West Virginia. I’m going with the under in Ames.

Kansas 3.5 (-125 over/-105 under) – While the Jayhawks were within a TD in five losses, the other six were blowouts in a 1-11 year. Things will be better but I’m not show how much. They should get wins over the three non-conference opponents and manage a win or two in conference play behind year two of Charlie Weis. I like the over in Lawrence.

Kansas State 8 (+135 over/-165 under) – Bill Snyder and the Wildcats must replace Collin Klein at QB but should be OK elsewhere. The offense was 11th in the nation in scoring and a respectable 28th in points against. The non-conference schedule should be an easy 3-0 but those games are followed by road trips to Austin and Stillwater. I really feel like eight is the right number.

Bell replaces Landry Jones at OU and offers a different style of play.

Oklahoma 8.5 (-160 over/+130 under) – Dual-threat QB Blake Bell takes over for Landry Jones at QB for Bob Stoops who needs a big season in Norman. The Sooners have road games at Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and Baylor plus the Red River Rivalry in Dallas. I think Bell could be a star but I’m going with the under due to the road schedule.

Oklahoma State 9.5 (-115 over/-115 under) – The Cowboys prolific offense returns Clint Chelf at QB. OSU opens with a tough Mississippi State team but has a very favorable schedule the rest of the way with the only potentially tough road game at Texas. They get TCU, Oklahoma and Baylor at home. If they can find a replacement for Joseph Randle in the backfield I like the over.

TCU 8 (-150 over/+120 over) – The Horned Frogs were an uncharacteristic 7-6 last year but the Big 12 is a different league than the Mountain West was. They open in Dallas with LSU and have road games at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and K-State. I’m not convinced the Frogs have settled in just yet so I’m going with the under.

Texas 9.5 (-130 over/EVEN under) – To say Mack Brown is on the hot seat is an understatement. He needs a winner and he needs it now. Many teams would kill for a 9-4 record but not in Austin. The good news is the offense returns 10 starters. Bad news is they have some playmakers to replace on defense. There is too much talent and athleticism not to be great but I think the Horns will be. Texas plays at BYU, Baylor and in Dallas against OU but I think the over is the play.

Texas Tech 7.5 (+135 over/-165 under) – The Red Raiders were second in the nation in passing but were near the bottom in the nation in points allowed. So what else is new in Lubbock? Former Tech QB Kliff Kingsbury returns to coach and will keep the offense humming. The D does return seven starters, but they have their fifth coordinator in five years. The schedule isn’t horrible with road games at Texas and Oklahoma but I still think the over is a tall order this year. Take the under.

West Virginia 6 (-115 over/-115 under) – The Mountaineers were one of the hottest teams in the country to start out last year but faded fast because of a porous defense. WVU will get three wins in non-conference play but the conference schedule features trips to Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State. Replacing Geno Smith and Tavon Austin will not be easy either. That said, I think the Mountaineers manage seven wins.


Rivalry Week in College Football: Saturday Games

#4 Florida visiting #10 Florida State is just one of the huge rivalry games on Saturday that will have a big impact on the BCS standings.

Following on from Thursday’s look at Friday night’s Rivalry Week games, CasinoReview returns with a lowdown of those rivalry games taking place on Saturday, some of which will have serious implications within the hunt for the National Championship.


#1 Notre Dame @ USC

The Jeweled Shillelagh won’t be the only thing up for grabs at the Coliseum on Saturday. Notre Dame (11-0) will look to remain perfect on the season, which should be enough to book the Irish a spot in the BCS National Championship Game. USC (7-4, 5-4 Pac-12) has owned the Irish in recent years and will be looking to resuscitate a disappointing year ahead of Bowl season.

Favorite: Notre Dame Spread: 4 Total: 46


Auburn @ #2 Alabama (“The Iron Bowl”)

Last week’s chaotic results washed away the Tide’s surprise loss to Texas A&M. A win over arch-nemesis Auburn (3-8, 0-7 SEC) will sew-up the SEC West, and send Alabama (10-1, 6-1 SEC) to the Championship Game in Atlanta next weekend, where Georgia lays in wait.

Favorite: Alabama Spread: 34 Total: 46


#5 Oregon @ #15 Oregon State (“The Civil War”)

Stanford’s upset win over the Ducks means it’s now very unlikely that Oregon (10-1, 7-1 Pac-12) will be considered for the National Championship. In fact, Oregon’s division hopes are now in jeopardy and anything less than a win in this rivalry matchup against Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) will be disastrous. If the Ducks take the ‘W’, they’ll then have to hope UCLA knocks off Stanford.

Favorite: Oregon Spread: 12.5 Total: 64.5


#4 Florida @ #10 Florida State

Quarterback Jeff Driskell will start for Florida (10-1, 7-1 SEC) but the Gators will be up against the wall in this one, with bookies preferring the Seminoles. Florida State (10-1, 7-1 ACC) has beaten Florida two straight times, and will be looking to make it three in a row for the first time since 1998-2000. The winner of this one can expect to climb the BCS ladder.

Favorite: Florida State Spread: 7 Total: 44.5


Georgia Tech @ #3 Georgia (“Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate”)

Georgia (10-1, 7-1 SEC) has already booked its place in the SEC Championship Game, a win in which will most likely send the Bulldogs to the National Championship. This week is about taking home the Governor’s Cup though, something Georgia has done in 10 of the last 11 seasons. An upset win for the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech (6-5, 5-3 ACC) would send Georgia tumbling out of the national title conversation.

Favorite: Georgia Spread: 14 Total: 64.5


#12 South Carolina @ #11 Clemson

If Florida State falls to Florida and the Tigers defeat the Gamecocks, not only will Clemson (10-1, 7-1 ACC) take home Hardee’s Trophy but also the Atlantic Division, setting up a clash with Georgia Tech for the ACC championship. South Carolina (9-2, 6-2 SEC) has won the last three meetings between the sides though, making this anything but a dead cert.

Favorite: Clemson Spread: 4 Total: 61.5


#21 Oklahoma State @ #13 Oklahoma (“The Bedlam Series”)

Last year Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12) took home the Bedlam Bell, snapping Oklahoma’s (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) eight-year hold on the trophy. This season, the Cowboys will look to keep a hold of it. The Sooners however are not out of the Big 12 title picture and need a win over their state rivals to keep pace with Kansas State, who owns the tiebreaker in the series.

Favorite: Oklahoma Spread: 9 Total: 72.5


#19 Michigan @ Ohio State

Michigan’s (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten) hopes of taking the Legends Division outright this year were extinguished by Nebraska’s victory over Iowa on Friday afternoon. Now the Wolverines will look to play spoiler and hand Ohio State (11-0, 7-0 Big Ten) its first loss of the season. A win for the Buckeyes and the undefeated season that comes along with it will leave a bitter taste in the mouths of those playing for the postseason-banned school.

Favorite: Ohio State Spread: 4.5 Total: 54.5


Whilst those games will have some impact on the final BCS rankings and the National Championship hunt, a number of other games this weekend can determine whether teams will be Bowl eligible or not. There’s also bound to be some pure hatred flying around also. Don’t expect any of these to be pretty.


Illinois @ Northwestern

Illinois (2-9, 0-7 Big Ten) will hope to take home the Land of Lincoln Trophy for third straight year, securing its first conference win of the season in the process. Northwestern (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten) will look to pile more misery on the so-far hapless Illini.

Favorite: Northwestern Spread: 18.5 Total: 50.5


Southern Mississippi @ Memphis (“Black and Blue Bowl”)

Southern Mississippi (0-11, 0-7 CUSA) seeks its first win of the year in Memphis (3-8, 3-4 CUSA). A rivalry game is as good a time as any to notch a debut victory.

Favorite: Memphis Spread: 3.5 Total: 51.5


Troy at Middle Tennessee (“Battle for the Palladium”)

A win will not only give Troy (5-6, 3-4 Sun Belt) the Palladium Trophy but also makes the side Bowl eligible. Middle Tennessee (7-3, 5-1 Sun Belt) will look to prevent that, particularly as it looks to remain in the hunt for the Sun Belt Conference title.

Favorite: Middle Tennessee Spread: 3 Total: 67.5


Mississippi State @ Ole Miss (“The Egg Bowl”)

A 7-0 start for Mississippi State (8-3, 4-3 SEC) fizzled out once the Bulldogs came up against ranked opposition. Now the side will look to win the Golden Egg Trophy, something Ole Miss (5-6, 2-5 SEC) – looking to become Bowl eligible – will try to prevent.

Favorite: EVEN Spread: EVEN Total: 54.5


Indiana @ Purdue

Purdue (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) is another side looking to become Bowl eligible. The Boilermakers will do so with a win over Indiana (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten), and take home the Old Oaken Bucket in the process.

Favorite: Purdue Spread: 6 Total: 62.5


Virginia @ Virginia Tech

Finally, Virginia Tech (5-6, 3-4 ACC) will look to become Bowl eligible with a win over rivals, Virginia (4-7, 2-5 ACC). History is on the side of the Hokies, who have won the Commonwealth Cup in eight straight seasons, and 12 of the last 13.

Favorite: Virginia Tech Spread: 10 Total: 49.5