The time has come to reap the benefits, to sow the oats, to troll the bass, to cull the hogs. Yes indeed there are football games being played with lines involved.
First and foremost, a big up to Northern Illinois for getting my season started off right. If those guys can win me as much this year as they did last year, I’ll buy Michael Turner a lead blocker.
If somehow, someway, you have been able to overcome the retched economy and can fork over some spare change, I would recommend the following investments:
DISCLAIMER — all lines current as of last time I checked them.
TCU (-6 1/2) over Tulane
Apparently the Greenwave have decided to keep playing football (just not against UGA). TCU is 7-3 in their last ten road openers and are also my pick to be this year’s BCS buster.
Virginia (-16) over Duke
If you look at most trends, this seems like a bad play. However, Al Groh has come into his own as a coach for gaming purposes. After going 4-4 against the spread in ACC games his first year, the Wahoos improved to 6-2 against the spread vs conference opponents last season. Duke is the most improved team in the ACC, however, they will still be fighting for eighth place (look out Yellow Jackets). Matt Schaub keeps his name on the Heisman radar and the Cavs win by at least two TDs (+PATs) and a field goal.
Missouri (-3 1/2) over Illinois
Brad Smith will be this year’s Sennaca Wallace (a versatile Big XII QB who dazzles the public in September but then gets planted into the ground like a lawn dart at your little brother’s feet in October). This is Smith’s time to shine (with Mizzu being 6-3-1 against the spread versus the Big 10 over the last 13 years), especially against an Illini team that is a mere 2-6 against the spread when playing Missouri since Jimmy Carter was in office.
Minnesota (-31) over Tulsa
Too bad they couldn’t get Kent to show up for a All Golden Mascot fest. The Golden Hurricanes have quite a bit to prove in this game — namely that they are one of the top 115 Division I-A teams (look out Buffalo and a directional Louisiana). But the boys from the state the lets Kirby Puckett rape drunk girls have a bit to prove themselves. They want to keep Glen Mason (winningest UM coach since the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor) around for a potential run at the Gaylord (huh-huh, huh-huh) Music City Bowl. And they have some statistical backing. The Golden Gophers are 5-2 against the spread when they are three TD favorites since 1993 (they were 21 point favorites seven times in the past ten years?), and are a rousing 6-2 against the spread in their last eight home openers. The Golden Hurricanes (who have yet to provide a major conference with a winning football coach) are a paltry 3-11-1 against the spread in their last 15 games on turf. But, as Lonnie Smith will tell you, the HHH Metrodome turf will cause an athlete to run in wacky ways. Most of those ways will be seen Saturday night on highlight reels of Asad Abdul-Khaliq making Tulsa defenders look silly.
UConn (-5 1/2) over Indiana
A few years ago the Huskies moved up to I-A and folks started making jokes (no Rebecca Lobo does not have any eligibility left and she cannot start at tight end), but they have quietly become a gambling goldmine. The boys from the Nutmeg State have been an astounding 19-9 against the spread versus their I-A opponents. This will be UConn’s first game in Rentschler Stadium (which is not only revitalizing their football program, but East Hartford as well). The team who’s QB became a decent receiver for the Steelers (no, the other one) are 0-3 against the spread in their last three home openers. And this weekend, the Hoosiers have the privilege of becoming UConn’s first Big 10 (11?) opponent and victim.
Texas A&M (-29) over Arkansas St.
Coach Fran becomes the best thing to come after RC since Moonpie. Don’t buy it? Look at some of Alabama’s dominating performances last year (beat Tennessee by 20, beat LSU by 31). Granted that was his second year, but granted this is Arkansas St, and granted the Aggies are 51-3-1 versus non-conference opponents since a year before Nirvana’s Nevermind hit the stores. Dennis wants to prove to all the Aggie faithful (that seldom talked about 13th Man) that he is worth the money. And Reggie McNeil wants to walk into the Dixie Chicken or The Tap on Saturday night and have his pick of the litter. With motivations like that, gig the 29.
Texas (-29) over New Mexico St
The Longhorns get Cowboy like attention on a Sunday (except from those pinko-commy-bastard that chose to spend Labor Day at South Padre or Corpus Christi). Plus, UT-Austin has so many other factors going for them. Any O-line run by Mac McWhorter (McWhorter Hall! McWhorter Hall!) is gonna be a force to reckon with. And since I’m on the UGA references, always smile at a team with a Williams at WR, be he Roy, Reggie, Mike, Will, Sam or Buck.
Cincinnati (-8) over ECU
This is as good a time as any to announce to the public that I have accepted the position of President of the Gino Guidugli for Heisman committee. Forget Roethlisberger, Holcomb and Kitna, this is the Ohio QB to watch.
UCF (+20) vs Virginia Tech
The boys play Beamerball and take care of business but don’t cover against the eventual MAC East runner-ups (OK, don’t totally forget about Roethlisberger).
SUCKER BET OF THE WEEK
Penn St (-25) over Temple
The Nittany Lions are a pathetic 5-9 against the spread in their last 14 openers. JoePa celebrates a win (but not a cover) with a bowl of Wheaties and Medamusal.
UPSET OF THE WEEK
West Virginia (+3) over Wisconsin
Over the past couple of weeks it has become trendy to pick the Badgers to win the Big 10 and contend for the Sears Trophy. It has also become trendy for female pop stars in their early 20’s to make out with Madonna… but… where was I? Oh year, The UW-Madison-West Va game. Rasheed Marshall and Quincy Wilson are gonna get pundits talking about them as they pull off the upset in Morgantown. Also, people will start to realize that Rich Rodriguez made Tommy Bowden’s career (well, aside from nepotism).
Clemson 41 UGA 37
Shoot out in Death Valley. This will go down to the final minuets, and an inability by the Dogs to score in the red zone will cause David Greene to lose his first road game, thus causing Mark Richt to seek out his secondary for something to “ease the pain”
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