The langurs, are giant, gray monkeys with black faces, and they will be on a leash and accompanied by a trainer. They'll be positioned outside various venues and tasked with keeping wild monkeys from causing havoc in and around the Games.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
The langurs, are giant, gray monkeys with black faces, and they will be on a leash and accompanied by a trainer. They'll be positioned outside various venues and tasked with keeping wild monkeys from causing havoc in and around the Games.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
There was plenty to cheer about over the weekend. And even though I was .500 with my gambling record here on Walker Sports, I managed to hit a big one, and that's enough to make me happy. In addition, for those of you keeping score at home, I'm still up on the year, and doing better every week. It's important to get a good jump on the college football schedule, because one teams go into their conference schedules, things can get hairy, and those lines are not as inticing as they seem.
Alabama 24 v. Arkansas 20: This was Arkansas game. While I may be happy Arkansas came through and covered the 7.5 points, their coach and star QB Ryan Mallet cannot be happy with the effort the Razorbacks put forward in the fourth quarter. On a brighter note, Arkansas has to be happy with the fact they pushed Alabama farther than we have seen anyone push them this season.
Stanford 37 v. Notre Dame 14: This Standford team is legit. Yes they have a stud quarterback in Andrew Luck, but they are also a physically imposing team. Not something one would typically expect from a Stanford team. Brian Kelly's Notre Dame team simply is not ready to face this level of competition. Covering the 5 points was a breeze for the Cardinals.
Mississippi State 24 v. Georgia 12: Last one between the hedges please remember to turn the lights out. The lights have gone out on the Mark Richt era in Athens Georgia. I was never a big fan of this year's Bulldog team, but I did not think they would drop to 0-3 in the SEC. I'm not sure there's any way Georgia can pull themselves out of this one. Mississippi takes care of business and easily covered the 1 point and handed me my first loss on the week.
Auburn 35 v. South Carolina 27: This was a great SEC battle. The Gamecocks are still a good team. Some would argue they may be the best team in the SEC East. We will know more about that once Florida takes on Alabama on Saturday. One thing I am becoming quickly aware of is how good Auburn really is. They may play in some close games, but they know how to win. Auburn easily came up with the cover and handed me my second loss on the week.
Let's take a look at the results and see how everyone shapes up moving forward.
Bloomer Snatcher: Take the over Oregon v. Arizona State. Bloomer was all over this one. Anytime you stick two talented Pac 10 teams in a game it's pretty much a lock they will go over 46 points.
War Eagle: Tough week for our resident Auburn fan. The Skins look like one of the worst teams in football, and Arizona just disproved our previously stated Pac 10 rule.
Black Dragon: Finally the king of the mountain takes a tumble. Mark Richt proved he has lost the ability to motivate his players, and you can believe his time between the hedges has to be short lived.
Congratulations to Bloomer Sntacher to snatching up the RFD Lock Pick of the week.
Black Dragon 3-1
Bloomer Snatcher 3-1
War Eagle 2-2
Monday, September 27, 2010
1) Alabama Crimson Tide: Arkansas gave the Tide a scare Saturday evening, but in the end it was the defense that bailed the Crimson Tide out. Things don’t get easier this weekend with a matchup against the quickly improving Florida Gators.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes: Wake me up when Ohio State finally reaches their Big 10 schedule and starts playing real teams.
3) Boise State Broncos: Well Boise State has passed all their test for the season. They go on the road and knock off Virginia Tech, and then they hold serve at home against a then ranked Oregon State team. Now the Broncos need to win out, and hope for some love from the pollsters.
4) Nebraska Corn Huskers: It’s a strange day when the Nebraska Cornhuskers can sneak into the top five and hardly anyone takes notice. This is a very good team, and with the Big 12 South falling apart, Nebraska could find themselves representing the conference in the Big 12 once again.
5) TCU Horned Frogs: It must be pretty strange to be the ‘other BCS Busting team,’ but that’s what TCU is. It took some late game heroics to get by SMU on Friday. The Horned Frogs will have to improve if they want to continue to impress voters.
6) Florida Gators: The Gators are looking better, but they get their first true test of the season when they take on topped ranked Bama on Saturday night. If they can pull the upset, the entire BCS will go into shock.
7) Oregon Ducks: They survived a shootout in the desert on Saturday night, but that’s not surprising. The Ducks can score points and they can score them in bunches. The rest of the Pac-10 better be ready for this offensive juggernaut.
8) Wisconsin Badgers: Big 10 football can be difficult to watch sometimes, but if you’re a Badgers fan you have to be proud of what this team has accomplished thus far.
9) Oklahoma Sooners: It’s hard to believe but the Sooners have flown mostly under the radar this season. Saturday’s game against an underwhelming Cincinnati team was not impressive.
10) LSU Tigers: Good out of conference win against West Virginia on Saturday. Now it’s time to buckle down for the SEC, no more give-me games from here on out.
11) Utah Utes: Yet again, the Utes are a sneaky good team, and they could find themselves in their third BCS game.
12) Arizona Wildcats: Could this be the year that the Wildcats are for real? The Pac 10 is going to be one difficult conference to navigate this fall.
13) Auburn Tigers: A sneaky quality win Saturday evening. The Gamecocks are a good team, and Auburn proved they could bounce back from a shaky performance last week and pick up a hard earned victory.
14) Arkansas Razorbacks: Tough loss against Alabama. For three quarters Arkansas looked like they could play with the top teams in the country. Unfortunately Ryan Mallet was unable to come through with a clutch performance when his team needed him.
15) Stanford Cardinals: It’s almost a disservice placing the Cardinals at 15th. They are a talented team and Andrew Luck can play. Do not worry Stanford fans, as the season progresses the Cardinals will move up.
16) USC Trojans: Matt Barkley can play, and this team is better than they have shown thus far. The big question is, are they just going through the motions?
17) Iowa Hawkeyes: Just remember the Hawkeyes did this last year. Wait around and capitalize on other teams mistakes and they found themselves in a BCS game.
18) Miami Hurricanes: I know it’s early but this Miami team is disappointing. Anything short of a trip to the ACC Championship will warrant a firing.
19 South Carolina Gamecocks: I was looking forward to seeing something special from Spurrier’s bunch this year. But they did play tough, and are still good enough to make noise in the SEC East.
20) Michigan Wolverines: Okay we get it, the Wolverines are back. Now can they play some real competition?
21) Texas Longhorns: Horrible loss Saturday. You cannot give up over 200 yards on the ground to an unranked team.
22) Penn State: They made Temple look far too good.
23) Michigan State Spartans: The coach has a heart attack and the players remain focused and go out a win. Now that’s a solid program.
24) Air Force: This is a good team, and chances are you will never see them play.
25) Nevada: If you want a clinic on how to run the ball just watch Nevada play.
Friday, September 24, 2010
Dallen is here courtesy of our good friends over at UR7s.com who we are looking forward to working with throughout the season.
The USA sevens program will have their second selection camp this weekend with head coach Al Caravelli assembling just over 30 players in Chula Vista, San Diego.
Earlier in the summer Caravelli traveled throughout the United States attending various sevens tournaments, including the USA National competition in San Francisco and the National All Star Championships (NASC) in New York. About 70 players were put on the radar with an invite to a summer training camp, after which that number has been reduced to 32. Since none of the USA players are paid full time rugby professionals many still have work or university commitments. While this will hopefully change in the near future, this is how the USA Eagles will prepare for the upcoming 2010/2011 IRB World Sevens Series.
“Each assembly is more and more competitive, and it is all about continually raising the bar on our performances” Caravelli told UR7s.com.
Also invited to this training camp are several club sevens coaches including James Walker and Greg Commins (Belmont Shore), Andy Katoa (Aspen), Aaron Manheimer (Chicago Lions), Craig Hartley (OMBAC), John Tyler (Pacific Coast), Evan Haigh (OPSB), Chris Harvey (MARFU) and Sean Horan (Old Blue). A few other coaches have been invited, and this is an excellent opportunity for them to watch and take part in the sevens program.
“The goal in having these coaches here is to show what we are doing at the national level and try spread that through the entire country” explained Caravelli, and the other goal: “For the athletes it is to select the pool of players that will be competing in the upcoming IRB Series, as well as the Pan American Games next year”.
Continuity in the player squad is vital, as the past IRB champions have shown, with Samoa only using 14 players when they won the Series last year. Before that South Africa used just 15 players when they won in 2008/2009. “In 2008/2009 we used 38 players, then 27 players in 2009/2010, with my goal of having around 21 players or less this season” said Caravelli.
“We have a great foundation of players with the likes of Matt Hawkins, Zach Test, Marco Barnard, Shalom Suniula, Nese Malifa, Mark Bokhoven, Thretton Palamo, Colin Hawley and Mike Palefau all returning. What I am excited about this camp is the quality of athletes and the quality of rugby players” said the national coach.
The training camp will be held at the Olympic Training Center (OTC) in Chula Vista (San Diego, California) from Friday 24th September to Sunday 26th September. A squad of 21 players will then be selected, with alternates for the 2010/2011 IRB Sevens season.
A warm-up tour to Singapore for the famous SCC 7s tournament is planned before the Dubai and George IRB Sevens events take place.
USA 7s Selection
Camp Aldridge, James Blaise, Gerson Craigwell, Miles Degutes, Matt Efthimiou, Dimitri Halalilo, Jack (Siaki) Hall, Troy Hawkins, Matthew Hawley, Colin Jones, Gareth Leland, Hunter Kelm, Duncan Komognan, PJ Malifa, Valenese Marshall, Kyle Mauer, Rocco Mokate, Taylor Palamo, Thretton Palefau, Mike Pangelinan, Zach Pati, Don Poynter, Jonathan Pulu, Mile Regas, Nick Roses, Pete Ross, Alex Sakalia, Supeli Suniula, Shalom Test, Zach Tiberio, Peter Vainuku, Siosaia Vota.
UR7s.com columnist Dallen Stanford played 7s for the USA from 2006-2009. He represented Belmont Shore at Nationals this year, finishing second in the nation. Dallen is an ambassador for the Tackling Cancer Foundation, and also writes for RugbyZone, Rugby IQ, Eagles XV and Pakis Corner.
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We have a small pool currently going around the office with three of the members of the Walker Sports staff ( Bloomer Snatcher, War Eagle, and Black Dragon). The pool started on opening weekend of the college football season, and will continue through the last week. The rules are simple.
- Each person gets one lock pick of the week
- Any game with a spread is game for play
- The player always gets the best line available on the game they picked
Each Friday, we will post their picks, and a one sentence explanation of their pick. On Monday we will do a wrap up, and give update the running standings.
Here are this week's picks.
Bloomer Snatcher: Oregon v. ASU. Like the Ducks need a reason, but being among the Sun Devil coeds is worth 3 touchdowns. Give me the OVER the 54.5 in a classic 45-33 Pac 10 tilt.
War Eagle: "Shoe-In-of the Week" Give me the Redskins laying 4 at the Rams. I also like Arizona laying 6.5 against Cal.
Black Dragon: Georgia +1 covers against Mississippi State. There have been rumors circling Mark Richt's future in Athens for years. If he wants to keep those rumors from becoming true, he better coach his team to a win on Saturday and avoid the three game skid.
Black Dragon 3-0
Bloomer Snatcher 2-1
War Eagle 2-1
Thursday, September 23, 2010
The college football season is in full swing, and many programs are entering their conference schedules, which means things are about to get even crazier for some schools. To this point in the season I have been killing it with my picks sitting at 12-3 thus far. However, I'll be the first to admit it's easy to get on a hot strict, but it's a lot harder to remain on it. Looking across the board at this week's upcoming games, sure there are a few easy picks that will give you guaranteed winners, but that's not what I'm here for. I'm here to help you pick the difficult games. Also just by chance, this week the bulk of our attention will be focused on the SEC.
Alabama v. Arkansas +7.5: What an amazing SEC game to get the weekend started. Alabama is the defending national champions and they bounced Duke right off the field last weekend. Saturday they will face a much tougher opponent in the top ranked Razorbacks who are lead by NFL-Ready quarterback Ryan Mallet. The Arkansas QB has made a name for himself this season, and with a strong showing on Saturday he can put himself at the top of the list for the Heisman Trophy. Perhaps the factor helping the Razorbacks the most is the 'Bama defense. Yes, that sounds strange, a Nick Saban defense actually helping an opponent, but it can happen. Alabama lost a ton of talent during the off season, and their secondary is completely new. To this point in the season, the Alabama secondary has not faced a team that can put on the aerial assault that Arkansas can put together with Ryan Mallet at the helm.
This is a very difficult game to pick, a spread of 7.5 points is a lot of points for a team to give up to a fellow top 10 team and a conference foe. In my personal history I've struggled when dealing with Alabama. They always seem to find a way to make games far more interesting than they should be. I have also been banging the drum for Arkansas and Ryan Mallet all season, and I cannot jump off the bandwagon now.
Make a moderate play for Arkansas to shock the world and cover the 7.5. If the line drops or you can tease it to 6.5 or 6, start leaning towards Bama.
Stanford -5 v. Notre Dame: This line has grown from 3.5 to a big 5 points so far this week, obviously there are plenty of people who favor Stanford in this one. Notre Dame is coming off a heart breaking loss to Michigan State last week. That being said, you can tell Brian Kelly is doing his best to up the standard of play in South Bend. The problem is Stanford is for real. Andrew Luck is among the best quarterbacks in the country.
Stanford has been on a roll this season, and they are gearing up to make a legit run at a Pac 10 title. Notre Dame is improving but losing a game in the manor they did last weekend is hard to overcome. Especially for a young program, that has experienced two close losses in as many weeks. The spread for this game is sitting at 5 points and favors Stanford, despite the growing spread I like this. I also like the talents of Andrew Luck.
Stanford wins and covers the 5.
Georgia +1 v. Mississippi State: Georgia is on a horrible downward spiral at the moment. They have dropped two games that you can bet Mark Richt had tagged as wins going into the season. Every year it seems like Richt is on the hot seat as Georgia's head coach. If he wants to keep those rumors as just rumors, the Bulldogs must win this game.
The spread is only +1 and in some books it's already become a pick'em game. If you can get this game with Georgia as the dog, it's a must pick game.
Georgia wins the game and covers.
Auburn -3 v. South Carolina: Auburn fought hard and held on against a scrappy Clemson team last weekend, and remained undefeated. Somehow the War Eagles find a way to keep winning. I'll be the first to admit that I'm not completely sure how they are doing it. What I do know is the Old Ball Coach has one more run in him. South Carolina looks better than they ever have, and for the first time the Gamecocks are beginning to adopt some of the swagger possessed by their coach. South Carolina has a lot of speed and a lot of options on the edges. Look for them to exploit that when playing Auburn much in the same way Clemson did last week.
The spread favors Auburn by 3 points, and based on their shaky performance against an average Clemson team, I'm not sure they can cover that number.
South Carolina covers the 3 and don't be surprised when they win the game.
What's the movie about? Here you go, filmed in Scotland and Kansas City, Play On is about a young, selfish Scottish rugby player who finds a few lessons in rugby and in life in Kansas City.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
How did this Phd student go from riding the bus to rolling around in her new tricked out car? The answer is easy, she just beat out few hundred other women and won the High Heel-A-Thon put on by the 'Regis & Kelly' show in New Yorks Central Park. Now granted winning a race is not the same as playing a rugby game in the WPL, where Berstein's Washington Furies play, but when asked how did she prepare for the event Ida credited her rugby training for getting her ready.
For what it's worth Ida is an impressive athlete who has played for the USA 7's teams, and lead the MARFU 7's program to a championship in this summer's All Star Championships. Just to prove how tough she is, Ida took a dive at the finish line, and appeared on the podium sporting some wicked looking cuts and scrapes. However, in true rugger fashion, she didn't let a few scars stop her from celebrating and enjoying the moment.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2010
How good are the All Blacks you may ask? Just check out this video of a few of the boys showing off their skills.
1) Alabama Crimson Tide: Well Duke didn’t provide any opposition, but at least Bama got their Hesiman Trophy winner back on the field.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes: Another year, and Ohio State dominates the competition within the state of Ohio.
3) Boise State Broncos: No trap game against Wyoming for these guys. Not only did they win, the Broncos covered the 23 point spread. Now here comes another big test in Oregon State, likely the only ranked team Boise will play from here on out.
4) Nebraska Cornhuskers: How good are the Cornhuskers? They made Washington’s Jake Locker look like a typical Washington quarterback. The Nebraska defense is something to watch.
5) TCU Horned Frogs: Instate rival Baylor never stood a chance against the Horned Frogs. Too much defense, and a near perfect day for Andy Dalton will be the problem most any team faces when playing TCU.
6) Florida Gators: Tennessee put in a good fight, but the Gators appear to finally be finding their stride, which could be dangerous for the rest of the SEC.
7) Oregon Ducks: Drubbing Portland State 69-0 does little to impress me, but I am still a big fan of the Oregon Ducks.
8) Texas Longhorns: Texas Tech made their game interesting, but in the end, the Longhorns were too tough.
9) Arkansas Razorbacks: Hello mainstream America, it’s time for you to meet Ryan Mallet. He’s 6’7 and he knows how to engineer a game winning drive.
10) Wisconsin Badgers: Sneaky good team here, but can they navigate what will be a tricky Big 10?
11) LSU Tigers: Hanging in there for the moment, but this season could prove to be very difficult for the Bayou Tigers.
12) Arizona Wildcats: Gutsy win over the weekend. Bring in a top 10 ranked opponent, blow them out in the first half, then hold on for the win in the second half.
13) Utah Utes: Good team here. Too bad they will likely miss out on the BCS despite remaining in the top 15 all year.
14) South Carolina Gamecocks: Could this be Steve Spurrier’s final dance? If so, he appears poised to go out on top.
15) Auburn Tigers: Hard fought win on Saturday night. I’ll be the first to admit, that I underestimated this program. They can challenge for the SEC West, and maybe the SEC.
16) USC Trojans: Why did the Trojans fall in the rankings, because they walked through the motions against Minnesota and barely came away with a win. USC will struggle when they get into the PAC 10 schedule.
17) Stanford Cardinals: Andrew Luck can play. Stanford will factor into deciding the PAC 10 Championship.
18) Iowa Hawkeyes: Disappointing loss out West. It’s hard to travel and play a late game under the lights in a hostile environment, but it’s division one football, and that’s what you’re supposed to do.
19) Miami Hurricanes: They had a week off to look at the film from the Ohio State game. Now it’s time to set all of that aside and move forward. There’s a lot of football to play.
20) Michigan Wolverines: UMass proved to be more difficult than they should have been. Nonetheless this is a game Michigan loses a year ago, but that’s not the case with Denard Robinson running the show. He had a down week and he totaled over 300 yards total offense, think about that.
21) West Virginia Mountaineers: I’m not sure what to think about the Mountaineers…
22) Penn State: The Big 10 is no place to break in a freshman quarterback.
23) Oregon State: Big game coming up with Boise State. Can the Beavers play BCS buster to the ultimate BCS darling?
24) Michigan State: Great win on Saturday with a gutsy call on fourth down. Now let’s hope their coach can recover from his post game heart attack and keep the ball rolling.
25) Air Force: Welcome to the party! It’s always fun to have one of the armed services in the top 25.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Another amazing week is in the books, and I'm sitting happy with my picks from last weekend. A .500 record for the weekend is nothing to sneeze at, and I'm still up for the year. One thing I am certain about is the we are in for a roller coaster ride of a season and the lead up to the BCS Championship. Nonetheless, I'll leave all those worries for the guys working on the Walker Sports college football poll. Right now, I'm only worried about gambling action and the spreads.
Arkansas 31 v. Georgia 24: This was was my GOTW lock of the week, and once again it came through big for me (that's 3-0 on the season for GOTW). Despite being the only ranked team, Arkansas entered the contest as the dog. Simply put it was too good of an opportunity to pass up. Ryan Mallet is a real deal quarterback, and his late game heroics have pushed him back into the Heisman talk. The spread on the game favored Georgia by 2 points, but judging from the results it's obvious Arkansas had no problem handling Georgia. For UGA fans, it's now time to pull out those "Fire Mark Richt" signs.
Winner Arkansas plus the cover.
Virginia Tech 49 v. East Carolina 27: Virginia Tech finally got themselves back into the winners column on Saturday, and not a moment too late. 0-3 would have looked horrible and even the even the loyal Virginia Tech faithful would have struggled to remain on the bandwagon. Virginia Tech took care of business, but they were not able to dominate their opposition. The line for this game was set at a massive 19 points, and no one was buying into that. It still amazes me the line never dropped from there considering the fact that anyone who's seen ECU play knows they can put up points. Even in defeat, ECU proved they can score on just about anyone.
Winner East Carolina covers the 19
Auburn 27 v. Clemson 24: When I picked this game last week, I knew it would be dicey, but I figured, why not take a chance. The spread sat at Auburn -7 and they have been playing some great football (Hear that Auburn faithful? I'm giving your boys a compliment). Clemson has some talent, but like a typical Clemson team they are lacking direction. In the end, this wound up being the type of slugfest you should expect from these caliber clubs. Once the game went to overtime I knew I was screwed. Only tripple OT could have saved me.
Winner Auburn, but Clemson covers the 7
Texas 24 v. Texas Tech 14: Okay so this was a long shot and I knew it, but what can I say I'm a Tubberville guy. Texas Tech is playing some good football this season, and they are well on their way to improving on the ground work Mike Leach established. However, there is still only one big dog in Texas, and that's UT. Mack Brown still have the talented players and staff to keep his program afloat even during a rebuilding year.
Texas wins the game, Texas Tech fails to cover the 2.5
Saturday, September 18, 2010
It's hard to believe we are already in the third week of the college football season, but it's here. NC. State and Cincinnati battled it out on Thursday night to get things started off. Since this post is going up so late (sorry guys) we are going to get right to the point and skip some of the usual break down. One thing to keep in mind when reading this weeks picks, I am 7-1 against the spread this season.
Arkansas v. Georgia: This is a great battle in the SEC. Georgia is coming off of a difficult lost last weekend to South Carolina and they will be looking for redemption this week. Arkansas has one of the best quarterbacks in the country in Ryan Mallet and Saturday will be his first chance to show the country what he can do.
The spread was sitting at Georgia -2 but it is moving quickly so don't waste any time getting in on this one. Georgia is a good team, but their defense has been a wreck this year. I like Arkansas to have a coming out party.
Winner Arkansas wins and covers the 2.
East Carolina v. Virginia Tech: Obviously this season has not gone the way Virginia Tech wanted it to. An opening loss to Boise State is acceptable, but dropping a home opener to James Madison was not on the agenda. Virginia Tech has to bounce back this week and put a W in the win column. If the Hokies want to win they will have to put up points against the high scoring East Carolina team.
This game has a massive spread, with Va. Tech sitting at -19.5 and I am a bit leery of it. Nonetheless it's too good of an opportunity to pass on. Make a moderate play and take ECU to cover the 19.5. Their offense is too good and they will be able to keep this game interesting.
Winner Virginia Tech wins the game, ECU covers the 19.5
Clemson v. Auburn: Two Southern schools going at it in this classic. Auburn has been a surprise team this for me this season. Even working their way into the top 25. Clemson is a solid squad but this is not their best group. The spread favors Auburn by 7.5 and I like those odds. Too many people are sleeping on the talent in Auburn.
Winner Auburn wins and covers the 7.5
Texas v. Texas Tech: A few years ago this game nearly decided the national title, this year the game may not have the same impact on the national stage, but it's still important for bragging rights in the state of Texas. The Longhorns have worked hard to replace a lot of talent on the offensive side of the ball. They are also struggling to establish a rushing attack that defenses will be forced to contend with. Texas Tech has actually improved since losing Mike Leach as their head coach. Tommy Tuberville has stepped in and installed his brand of offense, and the Red Raiders are rolling.
The spread has Texas Tech as a 3.5 point dog and I like that. If there ever was a time to catch Texas sleeping this is it. Look for Texas Tech to make a statement.
Winner Texas Tech pulls the upset and covers the 3.5
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Oklahoma 47 v. Florida State 17: The Jimbo Fisher era hit its first roadblock on Saturday when they traveled to Norman Oklahoma to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. The Seminoles were not ready for the speed of Oklahoma on offense, or defense. Bob Stoops had his boys fired up, and they made plays all over the field. The Sooners offense appears to have found its grove after getting off to a sluggish start in week one. More impressive was the Oklahoma defense which stepped up with a strong performance and kept a Florida State team that posses a few weapons in the contained all game.
The spread on this game favored the Sooners by 7.5. I’ll admit I was leery of the line at first and only advised people to make a moderate play. The good news is if you listened to me, you got a moderate gain from it.
Sooners won and covered the spread.
Ohio State 36 v Miami 24: This was the type of game that if you’re a gambler you have to love the action, but if you’re just a sports fan it was fairly unimpressive. There was never any doubt that Ohio State was in control of this game from the early moments. Once again a Jim Tressell team was well prepared to play in the big spotlight. Tyrelle Pryor was efficient with is passing as was Miami’s Jacory Harris. In the end, we saw a very similar story to what we saw in Norman. The Miami Hurricanes simply were not ready to play on the big stage.
The spread on this game sat at Ohio State -8.5 going into Saturday. I liked the size of that spread and I also liked Harris’ ability to make plays with his legs. While Miami was able to engineer a few late drives to keep this one respectable they were never able to cover the 8.5.
Ohio State won and covered the spread.
Alabama 24 v Penn State 3: There was never a moment of doubt with this one. Alabama came out with one goal and they achieved it. Mark Ingram was not in the line, but the Crimson Tide did not need their Heisman winner to put away the schools one time rival. While this game is a big game in regards to the name involved, it was never that close on paper. Alabama is the number one team in the country and coming off a national champion. Penn State put together a solid year last season, but they are depleted in talent and starting a true freshman at quarterback. A road game in the SEC is not the place to learn your trade.
The spread on this game was Alabama -12. From about the five minute mark in the first quarter this spread was safe, and it was cover city all day.
Michigan 28 v. Notre Dame 24: You have to love the Walker Sports lock pick of the week, and Michigan and Notre Dame brought the entertainment Saturday. Rich Rod has found his quarterback in Denard Robinson, just look at the stats. He’s accounted for over 800 total yards of offense in two games. Notre Dame is a lot more entertaining with Brian Kelly as their head coach. There’s no doubt he has brought a spark to the program. However, anytime a team is down to their third string quarterback and hoping he can lead a game winning drive down the field, theres some problems even if that quarterback has the name Montana.
The spread on this game favored Notre Dame and sat at -4 going into kickoff on Saturday. Notre Dame gave it everything they had, but in the end, the injuries were too much to overcome. Injuries and Denard Robinson.
Michigan pulls the upset and covers the 4.
Monday, September 13, 2010
There has been a little storm brewing the past few days up in Jets camp. Granted, that is nothing unusual considering the Jets are a Rex Ryan coached team. However, the most recent controversy involves more off the field issues than on the field. We all know about Erin Andrews, our favorite sideline reporter. Well she has a Mexican counterpart and her name is Ines Sainz. Ms. Sainz paid a visit to Jets practice, and apparently she did not take kindly to Rex Ryans version of fun. Well hopefully the former beauty contestant doesn't take offense to this post.
With the second week of the college football season in the books, it’s time to revive the one and only Walker Sports College Football Top 25 Poll. Sure you can have your Harris, Coaches, and AP Poll, but in our mines, the Walker Sports Poll is the only one that matters. Plus we always crown a true national champion. For those of you who do not remember, take a moment to look at our first Pre-Season poll that came out a few weeks ago.
The Walker Sports Poll will continue to be updated each Monday so remember to check back each week.
1) Alabama Crimson Tide: Bama put up big numbers against Penn State on Saturday evening. We will know more about this team once Mark Ingram comes back to full strength. For now they are still the team to beat.
2) Ohio State Buckeyes: Miami gave them a run on Saturday, but the Buckeyes stood strong. Terelle Pryor is playing at a Hesiman Trophy caliber rate. If he can guide Ohio State through a difficult October this could be a special season in Columbus.
3) Boise State Broncos: No team lost more by watching another team lose than Boise State. The Virginia Tech loss will hurt this program in the long run.
4) Oklahoma Sooners: Last time the Sooners lost 5 games in a season, they came back the next year and won a national title. With the way they manhandled Florida State on Saturday, it looks like Bob Stoops group could be on their way to another national championship game.
5) Nebraska Cornhuskers: The Huskers have flown mostly under the radar this season, but it's still early.
6) TCU Horned Frogs: Somehow people have forgotten about this powerhouse. If Boise State should falter, you can believe TCU is ready to fill the void as BCS Buster.
7) Florida Gators: Tim Tebow is not calling the shots under center anymore and it's pretty obvious. The Gators will struggle to keep their top 10 ranking this season.
8) Oregon Ducks: Don't think this team is legit? Just see what they did to Tennessee over the weekend. A second consecutive trip to the Rose Bowl is possible.
9) Texas Longhorns: The Longhorns are climbing a lot of peoples rankings. We want to keep an eye on them for another week or so. We hoped UCLA would give them a test, but judging from their play on Saturday, that will not be the case.
10) Iowa Hawkeyes: One of the best teams that you never watch play. If you want to see discipline and effective defense? Watch the Hawkeyes.
11) Wisconsin Badgers: This is a stacked team that has a lot of experienced players and a power running game. Big 10 football at its best.
12) Arkansas Razorbacks: Ryan Mallet is legit, that much is true. It will take every bit of his talent to get the Razorbacks through the SEC West.
13) LSU Tigers: No matter what LSU does, you always have to wonder if they are once coaching mistake away from disaster.
14) Utah Utes: Knock off a ranked Pitt team in the opening week, and you get a few eyeballs on you. Being a ranked team is a familiar feeling for the Utes.
15) USC Trojans: The Trojans did not look good Saturday night against a rebuilding UVA team. USC may not be playing for anything in terms of post season honors but there's still a lot of pride in that jersey, and the Trojans will need to play better going forward if they want maintain that pride.
16) South Carolina Gamecocks: Impressive victory over a quality, albeit depleted, Georgia team.
17)Auburn Tigers: Don't look now, but the Tigers are quietly rebuilding. It will be interesting to see how they hold up going into the SEC schedule.
18)Arizona Wildcats: Don't look now, but the Wildcats are finally stepping up in the PAC 10. Just remember it was the Citadel they knocked off on Saturday
19)Stanford Cardinals: Impressive shutout of PAC rival. Andrew Luck is the next great PAC 10 quarterback, believe that.
20) Miami Hurricanes: The Canes still have a ways to go before they step into the national spotlight.
21) Michigan Wolverines: We don't want to go overboard with this one, as Michigan has shown some flashes of success under Rich Rod in the past just to let us down. However, Denard Robinson seems poised to put Michigan back on the front page and into the headlines for the right reasons.
22) West Virginia Moutaineers: An impressive win against Marshall on Friday night. It looks like Pitt is going to have some company atop the Big East.
23) Houston Cougars: Case Keenum is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Friday night he put on an aerial display. Houston is not a legit BCS Buster, but they can put up some big points and exciting numbers.
24) Penn State Nitny Lions: Sometimes it's hard breaking in a freshman quarterback. Penn State is finding that out the hard way.
25) Georgia Bull Dogs: Losing your best player due to an NCAA violation is no way to start your SEC campaign.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Last weekend FSU quarterback Christian Ponder was efficient in his work, completing 12-14 passes for 146 yards and 4 touchdowns. Many accused the ‘Noles of holding back some of their playbook last week against Samford, much like a NFL team would do in the preseason. Judging by the results that could have been the case, FSU dominated in all aspects of the game, but they never showed that swagger we expect from a FSU team. First year head coach Jimbo Fisher knows what his boys are up against this weekend, and he believes they are up to the challenge. Florida State is traveling across the country to play in Norman Oklahoma in a stadium where the Sooners hold a NCAA leading 31 –game home winning streak, a school record. Fisher also understand that many will look at the outcome of this game as a measuring stick to see just how far the Seminoles have come, or need to progress. The keys to success for Florida State lay with their defensive line and its ability to control the line of scrimmage, and Christian Ponders ability to keep control of the ball and move the ball down the field. This is also a big game for Ponder as he can toss his name into the ring of NCAA leading quarterbacks with a big win on the road. Florida State is no stranger to playing big games early in the season. Last year they took on Miami and BYU during the month of September. Traveling to Norman will prove to be a much more difficult task than going to Utah.
For Bob Stoops he will be looking across the field at his brother Mark who is the new defensive coordinator for Florida State. However, do not expect Bob to pull any punches to protect his ‘bro. Bob Stoops knows this is a must win game for his Sooners. Look for Oklahoma to open up their playbook a bit this week and test the waters. Florida State has plenty to work on when it comes to defense. Yes Mark Stoops has added some spark to a unit that ranked in the bottom 15 in the NCAA last season, but Samford is one thing, Oklahoma is another. If Oklahoma’s offensive line can control the line of scrimmage it will be a long day for the Seminoles. They will look to utilize their running game with draw plays and some quick screens, and then come back and find their tight ends that were nonexistent last weekend.
The spread is sitting at Oklahoma -7.5 which makes it a tricky line. Florida State has come up big in these games in the past, and they burnt me last season when they traveled to BYU and racked up a big win. In all honesty I’d generally advice staying away from this line unless you absolutely want the action. In that case, make it a moderate play at best.
Winner: Oklahoma wins the game, and covers the 7.5.
Miami v. Ohio State -8.5: The Ohio State Buckeyes are the best equipped team in the country, and they know it. They also know if they want to make the most of this loaded roster they must take full advantage of the precious few games they have against quality opponents. The first quality opponent comes to Columbus on Saturday and they are the Miami Hurricanes. When you’re looking at Ohio State, all the focus has to be on one person, Terrelle Pryor. He is the leader of the Buckeyes offense and with his ability to pass as well as take off and run he is one of the best all around quarterbacks in the country. Ohio State experienced their best success last season when Jim Tressel took the reins off Pryor and let him play football. The Result was a coming of age party in the Rose Bowl. Now it’s up to Tressel to fight his instincts and let Pryor make plays. Don’t get me wrong, Pryor is a pass first quarterback, and he’s good with that alone, but the added weapon of his speed and his legs makes him nearly unstoppable. Saturday’s game will go as Pryor goes.
The Miami Hurricanes are fighting to regain their place in the national spotlight. A win over Ohio State would help them take huge steps in that direction. Jacory Harris is emerging as an elite quarterback, but he has struggled to make the big plays on the big stage. The lights will be bright in Columbus and if the Miami offense is to have success it will come from Harris. He must take care of the football. The Hurricanes run a balanced attack, but with the strength of Ohio State’s defense, they will not be able to simply run the ball down their throat. At some point Jacory Harris will need to convert a third and long. The key to Miami’s success will come from their defense. Ohio State struggles with teams that have great team speed, and Miami is full of that. The Hurricanes defensive line must use their speed to get up field and create pressure on Terrell Pryor. Close Pryor in and take away his space, that’s the key to success when playing him. Terrell Pryor is a much improved passer, but he can still make mistakes. He kills you when he breaks the pocket and remembers that he can run.
This game has a hefty spread that favors Ohio State at -8.5. The Buckeyes are a good team, and Tressell is a good coach. He always has his boys ready for these big games. This is good for Ohio State fans bad for gamblers. Jim Tressell is notorious for sitting on leads in the second half and milking the clock, thus making an 8.5 point spread a dangerous line.
Winner Ohio State wins the game, but Miami covers the spread.
Penn State v. Alabama -12: This a game that has taken an interesting twists in the last 72 hours. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram is likely out for Saturday due to a bad knee. Enter sophomore running back Trent Richardson. He may not be Mark Ingram but Richardson can play. He’s a tough physical runner who requires more than one person to bring him down. You can expect a healthy dose of the ‘Bama running game on Saturday because Nick Saban wants his team to inflict their will on Penn State.
Penn State is in a rebuilding year with a freshman quarterback making his second start and he is doing it in one of the toughest environments in the country. Penn State needs to control the clock and keep the ball away from Alabama if they want to win. On defense Penn State needs to play strong against the run. If they can bottle up Richardson and force Greg McElroy to throw the ball, they will have a chance to make plays on defense and take the crowd out of the game.
There’s a massive 12 point spread on this game that favors Alabama. The key to this game is the first quarter, Penn State has to jump out early and take the crowd out of the game, and force McElroy to make plays. That may be the blueprint for Penn State if they want to win, but I doubt it will happen.
Winner Alabama wins the game and covers the 12
Michigan v. Notre Dame -4: It’s an age old rivalry of two of the most storied programs in college football. Both teams have had immense amounts of success and they have both experienced epic downfalls as of late. 2010 appears to be the rebirth of both these storied programs.
Brian Kelly is calling the shots at Notre Dame, and he appears to have brought a spark of life to the program that has not been seen in years. Kelly’s wide open attack has made the Domers a fun team to watch once again. They will also test many of the secondary’s they play this year. The problem with bringing Brian Kelly in as the new head coach is, Kelly does not coach defense, and that was Notre Dame’s biggest problem last year. Notre Dame has to find a way to defend Michigan’s spread option.
The Michigan Wolverines appear to have finally found their quarterback, and it was just in time to save Rich Rodriguez. The savoir for the Wolverines offense comes in the form of quarterback Denard Robinson. The sophomore QB stepped in last week against UConn and ran for 197 yards and passed for 187. Yes, that’s a lot of work for one player, but if Rich Rod wants his offense to be successful, that’s what his quarterbacks have to do. With Robinson at the helm last weekend, the Michigan offense finally flowed the way it was meant to be.
The spread for this game favors Notre Dame by 4 points. Notre Dame looked solid last week against Purdue but their defense still struggled. In Denard Robinson, they face a duel threat like they have never seen before. This is going to be a high scoring game with two teams that want to move the ball down the field. The key will be which team has the most efficient possessions.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Minnesota Vikings v. New Orleans Saints -5.5: This is a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship game. Arguably one of the best conference title games ever played. Brett Favre did everything he could to lead the Vikings to victory and in the end, it was Brett being Brett that cost Minnesota a chance at a Super Bowl. The Vikings will be out for revenge on Thursday night, but despite only being 9 months removed from such a memorable game, a lot has changed.
Brett Favre claims he is ready to take the Vikings to the promise land, but this blogger has plenty of doubts about that. First off the injuries to the Vikings will hamper what was a prolific offense in 2009. No Sidney Rice means Favre will need some time to adjust as he looks for a new favorite receiver. Time is one thing the Saints defense does not allow quarterbacks to have. Despite having many of the same players, the Vikings are retooling their offense just a bit, and one has to expect there to be a small learning curve as a result.
The key to Thursday night’s game will be the Saints defense. We all know what the Saints offense can do with Drew Brees at the helm. You can expect plenty more of that. The key will be for the defense to generate as much pressure as they did last season. The Saints were successful in last year’s NFC title game because they attacked Brett Favre. That’s the way a Gregg Williams defense plays, they get to the quarterback and they put him on the ground every play. Part of the reason the Saints defense was so successful was due to their secondary. When a defensive coordinator can rely on his secondary to shut down receivers, it gives them the ability to send more players on blitz packages.
The spread for this game is sitting at Saints -5.5 as of Wednesday afternoon. While Minnesota fans may not like it, it is a respectable line. The Vikings will come crashing back down to earth after exceeding expectations last year. Combine that graded regression with the sheer insanity that will be the Super Dome on opening night, and you have a dangerous combination if you’re a Vikings fan.
Winners Saints win and cover.
Dallas Cowboys v. Washington Redskins +3.5: Walker Sports is based out of Washington DC, and it’s ‘Dallas Week’ in our nation’s capital. Now I’ll be the first to admit all the hype that the local media is circulating over this game is a bit humorous, but you have to appreciate what they are trying to do. After watching Fed Ex Field rock on Monday night for a college football game, there’s no reason it can’t do the same on Sunday night.
The Cowboys were many people’s pick to make a run to the Super Bowl, but after watching them in preseason action, there are plenty of question marks surrounding this team. Most notably is on the offensive line which has suffered some injuries to key players. Once the line began to collapse, Tony Romo had no time in the pocket, and was sacked 9 times during the preseason. I don’t care how good your skill positions are, if the offensive line cannot provide time for the quarterback it’s all a waste. Bottom line this unit has to play better, or it won’t matter who the Cowboys play because they will struggle.
The Washington Redskins have overhauled their entire team, and there will be immediate and obvious changes. Donovan McNabb is an obvious upgrade at quarterback. The biggest question surrounding McNabb is did he get enough reps during the preseason, since he missed the final two games with an ankle injury. In the backfield the Skins will once again call on Clinton Portis who appears to be in the best shape we have seen him in since 2007. On the defensive side of the ball, the Redskins have plenty of questions. Everyone knows about the Albert Haynesworth distraction, but there are bigger issues. Most importantly, the Skins made the switch from a 4-3 defense, to a 3-4, and while they appeared to make adjustments in the preseason, they will experience some growing pains. One glaring hole is apparent in their run defense.
Baltimore Ravens v. New York Jets -2.5:: If you talk to a lot of people around the league there is a legit chance this Monday night match up could be a preview for the AFC Championship. The Jets were the darlings of the playoffs last year. Over the course of the offense the Jets have reached a level of exposure that only rivals the Cowboys. Head coach Rex Ryan is full of bravado when he speaks about his team, and with star cornerback Revis back in the fold he has plenty to be proud of when it comes to the Jet defense. Once again they will be a unit that terrorizes opposing teams. The front seven is stout against the run, and the secondary will isololate receivers and force quarterbacks to throw the ball into bad places. The glaring issue the Jets will face in 2010 is their offense. Simply put Mark Sanchez is not the answer at quarterback. From what we have seen during the preseason he has done little to advance his on the field skills or his leadership. When watching Sanchez play it becomes obvious he has lost some of that confidence he once had. The Baltimore Ravens are not the team you want to play when you are still looking for your confidence.
Cincinnati Bengals v. New England Patriots -4.5:: Get your popcorn ready because the bright lights are on every time Ocho Cinco and T.O. take the field. This time they are making their regular season debue as teammates when the Bengals take on the New England Patriots. The Bengals made a few tweaks to their offense, and now it’s time for them show what they can do. Surprising to most people last season the Bengals were a run first team. Quarterback Carson Palmer had one of his worst year’s on record, but the offense was bailed out by the efforts of Cedric Benson who ran the ball like a mad man. The key for the Bengals in 2010 will be finding a balance and not abandoning their running game all together.
Winner Cincinnati Bengals cover the 4.5 point spread.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
Sure college football season just started, but we are only a few weeks away before college basketball. In an effort to wet your appitite for a little basketball action, we have the 50 greatest dunks of all time. This list was compiled by a YouTube user, so feel free to comment on how yu think they did.
The 2010 NFL season is just around the corner and there is plenty to talk about ahead of Thursday’s opening game in New Orleans. With so much going on, let’s get right down to business and start breaking down the NFC North.
Green Bay Packers: This is the year of Aaron Rogers. Last year Rogers lit up NFL scoreboards, and caught the eye of fantasy owners everywhere. This year Rogers won’t sneak up on anyone with his ability to pass the ball, but he will still turn plenty of heads. The turning point for the Packers last season came when their offensive line finally gelled together and gave Aaron Rogers sometime in the pocket. Early season indications show the Packers O-Line should pick up where they left off at last season. Ryan Grant is still a solid back who can get Green Bay 1,000 yards on the ground.
On defense the Packers linebacking core is as good as it gets. They are fast and aggressive. They key off the entire defensive unit. The Packer linebackers showed a great ability to blitz the rushing lanes and get into the back field to disrupt plays. Of course in the secondary the Packers have the defensive player of the year in Charles Woodson who proved he still has a little big left in the tank. The biggest obstacle for the Packers defense will be keeping the pressure up. During their lost to the Cardinals in last year’s post season, the Packers got away from what they do best, which is pressuring the quarterback and causing confusion. As a result, Green Bay found themselves in a shootout they could not win. That is one of the dangers of having a young team. If a team gets up on them they can become flustered and before you know it, they are in a track meet. Green Bay has learned from last year’s mistakes and they will be better suited to stop a fast paced offense.
Minnesota Vikings: Brett Favre is back and everything is right in Minnesota…. Sort of. Yes Favre is a massive upgrade at quarterback over Tavaris Jackson. This is a fact that no would argue. However, if you think Brett is coming back to have another season like he did in 2009, then you are mistaken. Favre put up career numbers last season and he got the Vikings to the NFC Championship. This year Favre is hurt before the season even started, and the chances of his arm finding lightning in a bottle are very slim.
There are several reasons the Vikings will experience some regression this year. First off, is Brett Favre’s health. Sure he is the iron man, but more than anything it was his ankle that kept him away from football all summer. Dr. James Andrews has cleared Favre to play, but he is not at 100%. One good hit could end one of the most storied careers in football (New Orleans will give it a helluva test on Thursday). A second concern about the Minnesota Vikings is their health at receiver. Sidney Rice experienced a breakout year last season when pairing with Brett Favre. He will begin this season on the PUP list while recovering from hip surgery. Rice is expected to miss upwards of eight weeks. Percy Harvin has the skills to replace Rice as the No. 1 receiver, but he is also battling health issues. It was just a few weeks ago when Harvin was carted off the Vikings practice field after suffering the effects of a major migraine. Harvin missed a good portion of the preseason due to migraines, and he could experience a relapse at any moment, which would mean time off the field. The final worry for Vikings is Adrian Peterson. Yes you read that correctly. Peterson is a powerful back who can run over a defender or run away from them. However, he puts the ball on the ground at an alarming rate. This is why I skipped him in all of my fantasy leagues this year. A back who fumbles the ball at a steady rate is a liability.
The Vikings are still a good team, but they will hang closer to the Chicago Bears in terms of record than they will the Green Bay Packers.
Chicago Bears: There are a lot of questions surrounding the Chicago Bears; Is this Lovie Smith’s last season? Will Matt Forte overcome his sophomore slump? Can Jay Cutler play at an elite level? Does Julius Peppers find his inspiration once again? Does Mike Martz have one more great run as an offensive coordinator left in him? Here are my answers to those questions, and in them you will see exactly what I think about the Bears.
1) No. Lovie Smith never really lived up to the hype since taking over as the Bears head coach. Yes he got them to the Super Bowl, but since then the Bears have been mostly forgettable. While I’m not promising a Super Bowl run, Chicago will be much improved this year, and the defense will be revamped. Finishing the year above .500 will help a lot as well.
2) Yes, to a degree. Matt Forte has shown flashes of the explosion that made him a breakout back his rookie season. There is no question that 2009 was a disappointment, but Forte appears to be ready to return to form in 2010. The biggest obstacle in his way may be his offensive coordinator. Backs under Mike Martz have a way of disappearing in the offense, unless their name is Marshall Faulk.
3) Yes. Mike Martz will not allow Jay Cutler to play at the same level he played at last season. If you look at the stats Cutler was not horrible last year. He simply turned the ball over too much. The new Martz offense will have him chucking the ball around more, but he will be more careful.
4) Yes. Ask anyone from the greater Charlotte area and they will tell you that Julius Peppers has mailed it in for the last two seasons. Now he has a new contract, likely the last of his career, and he needs to secure his legacy. If things are going well in Chicago, Peppers will play well and server as a leader on that defense. In an ideal situation Urlacher and Peppers are the veteran leaders who push each other and help to re-energize their careers.
5) Yes. Mike Martz put together the greatest show on turf. Yes that was a long time ago, but Martz also transformed Jon Kitna into a 4,000 yard passer at Detroit. That is no small feat. Martz can become too pass happy with his offense, but when he is in balance, he knows what he is doing. In Chicago Martz has as good of an arsenal of weapons at his disposal as he’s had in years. Jay Cutler is a solid quarterback, and with proper guidance he will cut down the number interceptions he threw last season. Matt Forte is a Pro-Bowl caliber back who can be used in a number of ways out of the backfield. At receiver the Bears have speed in Johnny Knox and they have some size in Aromashodu gives them a big target, and Devin Hester is still lurking as a shifty target.
The Bears will be much improved this year, and they will push the Vikings in the NFC North.
Detroit Lions: Matthew Stafford has put his mark on the Motor City, and the Detroit Lions are better for it. The Lions may be at the bottom of the NFC North, but they will be far improved from the teams you’ve seen over the past few seasons. The Biggest reason is Stafford he has brought hope to the Lions. Last season as a rookie, he proved he was ready to be a leader, and his teammates bought into it. Calvin Johnson is one of the best receivers in the league and now he has a guy who looks to go to him early and often. Thanks to some free agent acquisitions, they have revamped the defense and will be able to stop some teams. Detroit is still a long way from reaching the big stage, but they are taking steps in the right direction. If nothing else, the 2010 Detroit Lions will be fun to watch.
For those of you keeping score, we had a record weekend at the Walker Sports front office. A perfect 3 for 3 in picks, makes entering the work week a little bit easier than normal. The 2010 College football season kicked off with a bang. The action was intense and there were a few surprises, if week one was any indication, we could be in for an amazing football season.
Boise State 33 v. Va. Tech 30: This was the final game of the weekend and man did the college football gods save the best for last. Boise had their entire 2010 campaign riding on the outcome of week one. That pressure did not phase them, nor did the 60,000 screaming Hokie fans who were ready to welcome the Broncos to the East Coast. Boise played a masterful game, jumping out to an early 17-0 lead and taking the Virginia Tech fans out of the game. However, Tech proved they are one of the most resiliant teams in the country when they battled back and took a lead going into the fourth quarter. This game was excellent and messy at times, the exact sort of ballancing act you expect from a top tier program in their first hit out of the season. In the end, Boise' Kellen Moore engineered an amazing 60 yard drive down the field and into the endzone that put the Broncos up and secured the win.
The spread on this game was all over. When I first wrote my preview Boise State was a 1.5 point favorite that line was down from 2.5 where it opened. By game time on Monday night the money had pushed the line in the opposite direction. Virginia Tech was a 2 point favorite. It's always nice when you win, but it's even better when you can double up with some sweet action like that.
LSU 30 v. UNC 24: There was no line on this game thanks to the off the field issues with North Carolina but that did not stop me from finding someone to give me some straight up gambling action. LSU looked great in the first half of this game. They were all over the Tar Heels and held a commanding 30-20 lead. The second half would not be so easy. UNC ran off 14 unaswered points, and had a legit attempt at scoring the go ahead touchdown with time expering. In the end, it was an imppressive effort from Carolina. UNC was missing 12 players and from all indications they could lose even more before the end of the season. It's hard to go out and perform at a high level when there is so much turmoil surrounding a team. It's even harder to stage a gutsy comeback when you've already been gutted. LSU walked away with the victory, but UNC proved they will not go quietly this season.
TCU 30 v. Oregon State 21: This was my big money game of the week. The spread sat at Oregon State +13.5. TCU is a good team, but they lost a lot of talent on defense to the NFL. It's early in the year, and the new guys are still trying to adjust. Oregon State is a good team. They are ranked in the top 25 and they have a Heisman Trophy candidate sitting in their backfield. Now I'm not surpised at all tht Oregon State failed to pick up the win, but they were good enough to be pesky and keep it close. If you're a gambler that's all you need. Despite a close scare late in the fourth, Oregon State kept the cover in the bag and made for an enjoyable Saturday.
Friday, September 03, 2010
Boise State vs. Virginia Tech +1.5: I'll be completely honest this is one of the most interesting college football match ups I have seen in years. Boise State is no longer the hidden secret hanging out in the WAC, and hoping to pounce on an unsuspecting BCS team in a bowl game. They are a bonifide, ranked third nationally powerhouse. On the other side of the ball, Virginia Tech has been the staple of the ACC since joining the conference. While it has been over a decade since the Hokies played for a national championship, this year's team has the best shot that Virginia Tech has had since Mike Vick fell into the starting roll.
You can throw everything you know about the Virginia Tech football program out of the window. The days of stout defense and crippling special teams are gone (to a degree). The 2010 Hokies have an offense that can contend with any team in the country, and they are not afraid to let it fly. Viringia Tech is returning a ton of starters on offense, including all the skill positions. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor has finally grown into the roll of leader and game manger. He understands what he needs to do, to keep the Hokies in ball games, and guide successful drives that end with touchdowns and not field goals. The key to the Hokies offense will be their rushing attack. Ryan Williams and Darren Evans both ran for over 1,000 yards when they had the starting job to themselves, now they will combine their effort.
Boise State has a fast and athletic defense, but if there is a weak spot it is in their linebacking core. Virginia must find a way to exploit this weakness if they want to be successful on Monday night. If Virginia Tech wants to apply pressure to the Boise State linebackers, they will need a good performance from their offensive line. One of the few weak spots on the Hokies offense is their offensive line. This is a young unit that needs to come together quickly and exploit the point of attack. If the Virginia Tech linemen can get a solid intial surge and then reach the second level, they will create gapping holes for Evans and Williams to run through.
When you talk about Boise State you have to talk about their offense. More specfically you need to talk about Heisman Trophy candidate Kellen Moore and his pin point accuracy with the football. For the Broncos Moore's amazing accuracy and Virginia Techs rebuilt secondary is a match made in heaven. Boise State will use multiple spread formations in hopes of catching an inexperienced Virginia Tech secondary off guard. The Broncos, will have to go to their rushing attack more than a few times on Monday night if they want to keep the defense guessing. Also whenever you are playing a Chris Peterson coached team, you have to be on the lookout for a trick play. Boise State loves to pull out the trickery in big games, and this year's season opener will be no different.
Currently the spread is sitting at 1.5 favoring Boise State. This is a close game and typically I would advise against betting a game which is virtually a pick'em. However, I am very high on Boiser State this year, and what better way to welcome them to the BCS fracous than racking up a win against a top ten opponent on opening night.
Winner: Boise State
LSU vs. North Carolina: This game has taken a lot of twist and during it's buildup over the past few weeks. North Carolina is a team that had hopes of making it to a BCS Bowl game, and he first step on that long journey began with a trip to LSU. However, thanks to some agents and other shady dealings it appears the Tar Heels may sit upward of 15 of their startes including a handfull from their vaulted defense. As a result of this turmoil the spread for this game has been pulled from the board as of Thursday night.
This is a big game for both Butch Davis, and LSU's Les Miles. There are plenty of people who think Miles is on the hot seat after suffering a few average seasons down in Death Valley. The SEC West is going to be very dangerous this season, and Miles will need to rack up wins against ranked opponents wherever he can. Dropping the season opener to UNC would be disasterous and nothing short of a SEC West title would save Les Miles job.
Just because there is no spread for this game, does not mean I will not pick a winner. This is a solid LSU team but not a great one. It is doubtful they will contend for the SEC West, more or less a BCS game apperence. Despite all of that, the North Carolina program is bogged down in controversy that just does not seem to want to go away. Butch Davis has done an amazing job keeping his team together and keeping their focus on the field and away from off the field distractions. That being said, I just don't believe that Carolina is deep enough to be able to lose multiple starters and still go on the road and pick up a win.
Oregon State vs. TCU -13.5: