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Thread: A Sneak Peek At CFB 2018 News/Views/Highlights !

  1. #16
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    CFB Notebook: Georgia DB Bishop arrested on felony charges
    May 26, 2018


    Georgia freshman defensive back Detravion "Tray" Bishop was arrested earlier this week on felony eavesdropping/surveillance charges.

    The alleged incident occurred in November, DawgNation.com reported Friday.

    Bishop turned himself in Wednesday after an arrest warrant was issued. He was later released from jail on a $5,700 bond.

    The arrest came after an investigation by University of Georgia police. In April, a woman filed a complaint that Bishop had recorded a sex act between them in November without her consent.

    "The complainant wished to report that there was a student going around showing people a sex tape of her ... without her consent," the police report said. "... A subsequent investigation into this incident led us into determining that the crime of unlawful eavesdropping occurred on (Nov. 5). The investigation showed that Detravion Bishop had recorded (the alleged victim) inside his dorm room without her permission and without her knowledge."

    Georgia coach Kirby Smart said, "We are investigating the matter and it's important that we gather all information relevant to the situation before we determine what policies may come into play. Then we can take appropriate action if necessary."

    --Safety C.J. Harris was denied a roster spot as a walk-on at Auburn because of a pre-existing medical condition, according to a report.

    Auburn Undercover reported that Auburn doctors refused to medically clear Harris because of the condition.

    Earlier in the week, reports surfaced that the NCAA denied Harris because of cannabis oil, which he uses to treat epilepsy. However, Auburn Undercover reported that actually Auburn's doctors were concerned about Harris' epilepsy and safety issues related to the Georgia native's condition.

    "I broke down," Harris told Georgia TV station WXGA recently when he found out he could not play for Auburn. "This is my dream. I saw everything lining up perfectly for me."

    Harris has claimed that he has not had a seizure since January 2017 because of his use of cannabis oil.

    ---Michigan offered a scholarship to an eighth grader this week.

    Tyler Martin won't graduate from high school until 2022, but his college plans may already be set.

    Martin, a Cambridge, Mass., native, led Buckingham Browne & Nichols with more than 100 tackles at linebacker and also started every game at tight end. Even though he is in eighth grade, he plays on the team's varsity squad. Buckingham Browne & Nichols is a private K-12 school.

    "He's a tremendous kid that happens to be a tremendous athlete," Browne & Nichols coach Mike Willey told USA Today. "He's worked exceptionally hard and put himself in a good position, that's why I think Michigan says, yeah, this is the kind of guy they want."
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #17
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    2018 Season Win Totals
    May 27, 2018

    The South Point in Las Vegas has recently released early Win Totals for the upcoming 2018 college football season.

    The sports book posted numbers on every FBS school after BetDSI.eu released win totals for the Power 5 schools in early May.

    Air Force
    Over 4.5 (-110)
    Under 4.5 (-110)

    Akron
    Over 4 (-110)
    Under 4 (-115)

    Alabama
    Over 11 (Even)
    Under 11 (-120)

    Appalachian State
    Over 8.5 (-120)
    Under 8.5 (Even)

    Arizona
    Over 7.5 (-120)
    Under 7.5 (Even)

    Arizona State
    Over 5 (-120)
    Under 5 (Even)

    Arkansas
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under 6 (-120)

    Arkansas State
    Over 9 (-120)
    Under 9 (Even)

    Army
    Over 7.5 (Even)
    Under 7.5 (-120)

    Auburn
    Over 9 (-110)
    Under 9 (-110)

    Ball State
    Over 4 (Even)
    Under 4 (-120)

    Baylor
    Over 6 (-105)
    Under 6 (-115)

    Boise State
    Over 10 (-110)
    Under 10 (-110)

    Boston College
    Over 5.5 (-120)
    Under 5.5 (Even)

    Bowling Green
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-110)

    BYU
    Over 5.5 (-105)
    Under 5.5 (-115)

    Buffalo
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)

    California
    Over 5.5 (-120)
    Under 5.5 (Even)

    Central Florida
    Over 9 (-120)
    Under 9 (Even)

    Central Michigan
    Over 4 (-120)
    Under 4 (Even)

    Charlotte
    Over 3.5 (-110)
    Under 3.5 (-110)

    Cincinnati
    Over 4 (-115)
    Under 4 (-105)

    Clemson
    Over 11 (Even)
    Under 11 (-120)

    Coastal Carolina
    Over 3.5 (-110)
    Under 3.5 (-110)

    Colorado
    Over 4 (-110)
    Under 4 (-110)

    Colorado State
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-110)

    Connecticut
    Over 3.5 (Even)
    Under 3.5 (-120)

    Duke
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)

    East Carolina
    Over 3 (-105)
    Under 3 (-115)

    Eastern Michigan
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Florida
    Over 7.5 (-120)
    Under 7.5 (Even)

    Florida Atlantic
    Over 9 (-110)
    Under 9 (-110)

    Florida International
    Over 5 (-110)
    Under 5 (-110)

    Florida State
    Over 7.5 (-110)
    Under 7.5 (-110)

    Fresno State
    Over 8 (-110)
    Under 8 (-110)

    Georgia
    Over 10.5 (-115)
    Under 10.5 (-105)

    Georgia Southern
    Over 6.5 (-105)
    Under 6.5 (-115)

    Georgia State
    Over 5 (Even)
    Under 5 (-120)

    Georgia Tech
    Over 5.5 (-120)
    Under 5.5 (Even)

    Hawaii
    Over 3.5 (-120)
    Under 3.5 (Even)

    Houston
    Over 7.5 (-115)
    Under 7.5 (-105)

    Illinois
    Over 3.5 (Even)
    Under 3.5 (-120)

    Indiana
    Over 5 (Even)
    Under (-120)

    Iowa
    Over 7.5 (Even)
    Under (-120)

    Iowa State
    Over 6.5 (-120)
    Under 6.5 (Even)

    Kansas
    Over 3 (-110)
    Under 3 (-110)

    Kansas State
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Kent State
    Over 2.5 (Even)
    Under 2.5 (-120)

    Kentucky
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-110)

    Louisiana Tech
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Louisville
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    LSU
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Marshall
    Over 7.5 (-110)
    Under 7.5 (-110)

    Maryland
    Over 4.5 (-110)
    Under 4.5 (-110)

    Massachusetts
    Over 5 (-110)
    Under 5 (-110)

    Memphis
    Over 8.5 (-120)
    Under 8.5 (Even)

    Miami (FL)
    Over 10 (Even)
    Under 10 (-120)

    Miami (OH)
    Over 6 (-115)
    Under 6 (-105)

    Michigan
    Over 9 (Even)
    Under 9 (-120)

    Michigan State
    Over 9 (Even)
    Under 9 (-120)

    Middle Tennessee State
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Minnesota
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under 6 (-120)

    Mississippi
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Mississippi State
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-110)

    Missouri
    Over 7.5 (-110)
    Under 7.5 (-110)

    Navy
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Nebraska
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Nevada
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under 6 (-120)

    New Mexico
    Over 4 (-120)
    Under (Even)

    New Mexico State
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under (-120)

    North Carolina
    Over 5 (Even)
    Under 5 (-120)

    N.C. State
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Northern Illinois
    Over 7 (Even)
    Under 7 (-120)

    North Texas
    Over 8 (-110)
    Under 8 (-110)

    Northwestern
    Over 6 (-120)
    Under 6 (Even)

    Notre Dame
    Over 9.5 (-120)
    Under 9.5 (Even)

    Ohio
    Over 8.5 (-120)
    Under 8.5 (Even)

    Ohio State
    Over 10.5 (-120)
    Under 10.5 (Even)

    Oklahoma
    Over 10 (-110)
    Under 10 (-110)

    Oklahoma State
    Over 8 (-120)
    Under 8 (Even)

    Old Dominion
    Over 5.5 (-120)
    Under 5.5 (Even)

    Oregon
    Over 8.5 (-120)
    Under 8.5 (Even)

    Oregon State
    Over 2.5 (-110)
    Under 2.5 (-110)

    Penn State
    Over 9.5 (-110)
    Under 9.5 (-110)

    Pittsburgh
    Over 5.5 (Even)
    Under 5.5 (-120)

    Purdue
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Rice
    Over 3 (-110)
    Under 3 (-110)

    Rutgers
    Over 4 (-110)
    Under 4 (-110)

    San Diego State
    Over 8.5 (Even)
    Under 8.5 (-120)

    San Jose State
    Over 3 (Even)
    Under 3 (-120)

    SMU
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under 6 (-120)

    South Alabama
    Over 3.5 (-120)
    Under 3.5 (Even)

    South Carolina
    Over 7 (-120)
    Under 7 (Even)

    South Florida
    Over 8.5 (-120)
    Under 8.5 (Even)

    Southern Miss
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)

    Stanford
    Over 8 (-110)
    Under 8 (-110)

    Syracuse
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    TCU
    Over 7.5 (-110)
    Under 7.5 (-110)

    Temple
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)

    Tennessee
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-110)

    Texas
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-110)

    Texas A&M
    Over 7 (Even)
    Under (-120)

    UT-San Antonio
    Over 5 (-110)
    Under 5 (-110)

    Texas State
    Over 3 (-120)
    Under 3 (Even)

    Texas Tech
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    Toledo
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-110)

    Troy
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-110)

    Tulane
    Over 5.5 (-110)
    Under 5.5 (-110)

    Tulsa
    Over 4 (Even)
    Under 4 (-120)

    UAB
    Over 7.5 (-120)
    Under 7.5 (Even)

    UCLA
    Over 5 (-110)
    Under 5 (-110)

    UL-Lafayette
    Over 5 (Even)
    Under 5 (-120)

    UL-Monroe
    Over 6 (Even)
    Under 6 (-120)

    UNLV
    Over 6 (-110)
    Under 6 (-110)

    USC
    Over 8.5 (Even)
    Under 8.5 (-120)

    Utah
    Over 7 (-110)
    Under 7 (-110)

    Utah State
    Over 7.5 (-120)
    Under 7.5 (Even)

    UTEP
    Over 2.5 (-110)
    Under 2.5 (-110)

    Vanderbilt
    Over 4 (-110)
    Under 4 (-110)

    Virginia
    Over 5 (-110)
    Under 5 (-110)

    Virginia Tech
    Over 8.5 (-110)
    Under 8.5 (-110)

    Wake Forest
    Over 6 (-120)
    Under 6 (Even)

    Washington
    Over 10.5 (Even)
    Under 10.5 (-120)

    Washington State
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)

    West Virginia
    Over 7 (Even)
    Under 7 (-120)

    Western Kentucky
    Over 4.5 (Even)
    Under 4.5 (-120)

    Western Michigan
    Over 5.5 (Even)
    Under 5.5 (-120)

    Wisconsin
    Over 10 (Even)
    Under 10 (-120)

    Wyoming
    Over 6.5 (-110)
    Under 6.5 (-110)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #18
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    Week 1 - Line Moves
    June 4, 2018


    Coming at you from the summer desert heat of Las Vegas but looking forward to the upcoming football season. It is June and that means we are only a little over a month away from NFL Training Camps opening up followed by the preseason NFL campaign kicking off in two months from now.

    Now that we are only a little over 2 Ĺ months from the College Football Season kicking off, it is certainly not too early to talk about some early season line movement that happened within the past 2 weeks - some of which I found to be quite intriguing. This all took place when lines first popped up at South Point sports book here in Las Vegas two weeks ago and the moves began. Some highlights:

    Aug. 30 – Minnesota opened up at -15 and moved to -20 as a home favorite over New Mexico State. Current offshore line is in the 17 to 18 range. This tells us that the line is likely right where it should be now as the markets over-reacted to what might have been a bit of a low opener and the line has now settled back in right in the middle of the original variance after getting pushed a little too high.

    Aug. 30 – Wake Forest opened up at -13 and dropped into single digits at -9 as a road favorite at Tulane. The line on the Demon Deacons is predominately an 8 now offshore but there is some 7.5 popping up. This begs the question of whether or not the original number was truly that far off? If this one drops to a 7 I would say the “buy sign” may be blinking bright for grabbing the undervalued Demon Deacons.

    Aug. 31 – Syracuse opened up as just a 1-point choice but sky-rocketed up to a 6-point favorite as road chalk at Western Michigan. It has held in the 5.5 to 6-point range offshore. Can the Orange really be trusted to truly pound a team on the road? If this one gets up to 7 the Broncos might be an enticing home dog option here. Key word is “might” but the point is I would keep an eye on this one.

    Sept. 1 – Oklahoma opened up at a -17 and then reached the 3-TD mark quickly at -21 the same morning as home favorite over Florida Atlantic. Offshores also have this one at -21 right now but some shops opened it up offshore as high as a -24. In other words, we’re currently right between the 17 and 24 meaning this one could be another match-up where both sides of the variance have already been exploited and the middle ground proves to be “spot on”. The Owls covered often last season and I like to fade teams off a huge ATS season as a general rule but how will the Sooners do without Baker Mayfield? This one might be one just to sit back and watch – an important thing to do early in the season.

    Sept. 1 – Notre Dame opened up as a 7-point favorite and got driven down to 1 as a home favorite versus Michigan. This was certainly one of the more intriguing early line moves and the intrigue is continuing to build as the Wolverines are now a 2-point choice offshore. I know the Fighting Irish only won 4 games in 2016 but last season (10 wins) was certainly more than just “a step” in the right direction. Also, Michigan dropped off to 8 wins in Jim Harbaugh’s third season at the helm. That third season is usually a strong one for college coaches so that is truly concerning. I am not finalizing my decision just yet but this match-up and line movement is one to watch closely as the season approaches.

    Sept. 1 – Alabama, the notorious powerhouse, opened up as a 20-point favorite and then rose to a 25-point choice in this match-up with Louisville taking place in Orlando, Florida. What is particularly interesting here is that the offshores did have the Crimson Tide as high as 28.5 points during the day as the betting markets took a liking to Alabama in this spot. Of course, the Tide are often easy to like because they dominate annually but this is an awful big spread! Have the Cardinals really fallen that far? This line has stayed “settled” around 25.5 points and will be one to watch as game day approaches.

    Sept. 1 – Nebraska opened up as an 18-point favorite (some offshores had them as low as a 17-point open) as a host to Akron and the line quickly jumped up to a -23. This is another one of those that likely has been exploited early on both sides of the variance as it now settled in at the 20.5 to 21-point range. This “middle ground” is likely where it should be.

    Sept. 3 – Florida State opened up as a pick’em in this match-up but then quickly rose to a -4 in their home match-up with Virginia Tech for week one. Offshores had the Seminoles as high as -6.5 in this one before it settled back into the 5.5 range. The markets seem to think Willie Taggart will immediately enjoy success as he replaces Jimbo Fisher down at FSU but the Hokies are entering their third season under coach Justin Fuente. Virginia Tech went 9-4 under Fuente last season and, as noted above, a 3rd season is oftentimes a top season for coaches in their tenure with a program. It is at this point that a head coach has often been able to “build the program” and “mold it” for a top performance. While it is true that the Seminoles underachieved (big time) last season, are they really ready to just come out and blow away a respectable program in Week 1? This is another one I will be watching closely in terms of movement and value.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  4. #19
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    Backing the Gamecocks
    June 6, 2018


    South Carolina has been issued a season win total of seven flat (-110 either way) by most books that have released those numbers already. The obvious play here is the 'over' and I'll be glad to explain why.

    Loyal readers remember how hard I was pushing the 2017 South Carolina team last summer. I was extraordinarily bullish on Will Muschamp’s second team in Columbia to soar ‘over’ 5.5 wins as my favorite win total of the season.

    From my Games Galore podcast, to radio spots in Omaha (Sharp & Benning on 1620 The Zone), Clemson (Qualk & Kelly on 105.5 The Roar), Memphis (Chris Vernon Show) and beyond, I was screaming from the rafters to anyone who would listen that this wager was going to be easy pickings.

    As it turned out, the Gamecocks improved to 6-2 with a home win over Vanderbilt in late October. Although we couldn’t collect until their final regular season game concluded, we had a winning ticket in our pockets before the calendar even hit November.

    South Carolina went 8-4 in the regular season and after rallying from a 19-3 second-half deficit to beat Michigan at the Outback Bowl, it finished with nine wins and loads of optimism going into the offseason.

    Remember, star WR and special-teams playmaker Deebo Samuel broke his leg to end his season in the third quarter of a Week 3 home loss to Kentucky. Samuel had scored five touchdowns in wins over North Carolina State and Missouri to start the season. Then on the first play from scrimmage vs. UK, he took a quick slant and turned it into a long TD reception. In other words, Samuel was playing like a first-team All-American (at WR AND in the return game!) and USC only had his services for 2.5 of its 13 games.

    Also, starting senior LB Bryson Allen-Williams suffered a season-ending injury in Week 3 vs. UK. He had 10 tackles, two sacks, one tackle for loss, one QB hurry, one pass broken up and one interception in three games. Allen-Williams was granted a redshirt and Samuel bypassed turning pro early to return for his senior campaign.

    Muschamp, who is 15-11 in his first two seasons at USC after taking over following a dismal 3-9 year, brings back eight starters on offense and six on defense. Jake Bentley, the rising junior quarterback, has posted a 13-7 record in 20 career starts. He became the starter as a true freshman (when he still should’ve been a senior in high school) after the Gamecocks started 2016 by going 2-4 ahead of their open date.

    Bentley guided that 2-4 squad to a 4-2 finish down the stretch of the regular season to get bowl eligible. USC lost an overtime thriller to South Florida in the postseason, but Bentley helped his team score 39 points against the Bulls.

    Bentley threw for 2,794 yards last year despite Samuel’s prolonged absence. He loses first-round selection Hayden Hurst, the star tight end, but fellow true junior WR Bryan Edwards is off a breakout year. Edwards had 64 receptions for 793 yards and five TDs in 2017.

    As a true freshman, WR Shi Smith had 29 catches for 409 yards and three TDs with ZERO drops. Another rising sophomore WR, OrTre Smith, hauled in 30 receptions for 326 yards and three TDs last season.

    South Carolina has three veteran RBs with plenty of experience, including Rico Dowdle, A.J. Turner and Ty’Son Williams. This trio of juniors combined to catch 41 balls for 279 receiving yards and two TDs. Turner helped the Gamecocks go 4-0 in the games in which he was given 11 carries or more, rushing for 121 yards on 15 totes vs. Vandy and 136 yards on 22 carries against the Gators.

    Turner ran for a team-best 531 yards and three TDs while averaging 5.4 yards per carry. Dowdle, who missed five games with a leg injury in ’17, rushed for 764 yards and six TDs with a 5.7 YPC average as a true freshman in ’16. Williams, a transfer from North Carolina, ran for 471 yards with a 5.0 YPC average in his first season with USC.

    South Carolina returns three starters on the offensive line, including OG Zach Bailey, a preseason second-team All-SEC selection in Athlon’s magazine.

    Before discussing the defensive personnel, let’s reiterate what a genius Muschamp has consistently proven to be during nearly two decades of directing SEC stop units. South Carolina finished fifth in the SEC in scoring defense last year, giving up only 20.7 points per game. The Gamecocks were +11 in turnover margin.

    The 2018 secondary will be bolstered by a pair of grad transfers, Rice safety J.T. Ibe and Texas A&M cornerback Nick Harvey. Ibe had 121 tackles, five TFL’s, eight PBU and two forced fumbles in three seasons with the Owls. Harvey missed 2017 injured but had 66 tackles, 10 PBU, one interception and 1.5 TFL’s for the Aggies in ’16.

    The defense will be led by a pair of juniors in LB T.J. Brunson and DE D.J. Wonnum. Brunson, an Athlon’s preseason second-team All-SEC pick, produced 88 tackles, two sacks, 2.5 TFL’s, two QB hurries and a 73-yard fumble return for a TD last season. Wonnum, a preseason third-team All-SEC selection, recorded 57 tackles, seven TFL’s, six sacks, five PBU, one blocked kick and a pair of QB hurries in ’17.

    Muschamp inked eight four-star signees in his latest recruiting haul. Although it won’t impact this year’s USC squad, we’ll nonetheless note that he also garnered a verbal commitment from five-star DE Zacch Pickens in late May. Pickens is ranked the No. 1 player prep player in South Carolina for the 2019 class and is the nation’s No. 14 overall player per 247 Sports’ Composite rankings. The Gamecocks’ 2019 class is currently ranked fourth in the country by both Rivals.com and 247. They’re ranked No. 2 at Scout.com and eighth at ESPN.

    The most likely immediate contributors from the ’18 class as true freshmen include DB Jaycee Horn (the son of former New Orleans Saints legendary WR Joe Horn), WR Josh Vann, OT Dylan Wonnum and DT Rick Sandidge.

    Now let’s break down the schedule. Remember, season win totals are based on the 12 regular-season games, as conference championship games and bowls do not count toward this bet. If a game is cancelled due to weather or other reasons, the wager becomes a push or no-action.

    When I scan USC’s slate, I only see one game that’s almost certainly a loss – that being at Clemson in the regular-season finale. In the recent Games of the Year released at the South Point in Las Vegas, the Gamecocks were 20-point underdogs for their trip to Death Valley.

    South Point also has USC as a 14-point home underdog to Georgia in Week 2. However, when I was interviewed for a story on SECCountry.com a few weeks ago, I said that my line was UGA -4.5. I added that I felt the number would probably open at around seven so when it was -11 initially at South Point, I was wishing I was in line to make a bet at that moment.

    But instead of dipping down into single digits, the line went up to 14. For more than a week now, I’ve been saying USC +14 vs. UGA is my favorite Game of the Year out there. In fact, I’m calling for the outright upset.

    For the sake of this conversation, however, we’ll call the crucial SEC East showdown a loss for South Carolina. We’ll call for victories in September home games vs. Coastal Carolina and Marshall. This will have the Gamecocks with a 2-1 record going into back-to-back SEC games at Vanderbilt and at Kentucky.

    Muschamp owns a 5-1 career record against the Commodores, taking the only loss when he was at Florida facing Vandy with a banged-up third-string QB (Tyler Murphy) and nearly a dozen starters out with injuries. The game in Lexington is a revenge spot after UK went into Williams-Brice Stadium and won by a 23-13 count last year.

    I think USC sweeps these two games to improve to 4-1, but I can understand if others want to call for a split with these two road assignments. Next, Muschamp’s bunch plays three straight home games and gets two weeks to prep for Tennessee. (More on UT later this summer but let’s be clear right away here: The Vols are going to be HORRIBLE in ’18!!!)

    The first two home games of this stretch are vs. Missouri and vs. Texas A&M. I believe USC will be favored by 3-7 points in these spots. Certainly, Missouri’s Drew Lock has an offense that can put up points galore on any defense, but let’s not forget that USC thumped the Tigers by a 31-13 count as a short road underdog last year.

    In its ‘17 trip to College Station, South Carolina allowed a 17-10 lead late in the third quarter to get away in a 24-17 setback. If for the sake of this convo we’re going to call at Vandy and at UK a split, then we’re going to call this a 3-0 sweep at home. Therefore, we’re 6-2 heading into November.

    Three of the final four games are on the road: at Ole Miss, at Florida, vs. Chattanooga and at Clemson. With the aforementioned ‘L’ against the Tigers, we’re at 6-3 needing one win for a push and two for a winner out of the three other November contests. Let’s call it 7-3 with a win over Chattanooga to give us a push.

    Ole Miss still has a lot of top-tier talent on offense, especially WR A.J. Brown and OT Greg Little, both of whom are in Mel Kiper’s Top 6 of his first Big Board for the 2019 NFL Draft. With that said, the Rebels are going to be abysmal on the defensive side of the ball. As for UF, it all depends on the QB and the only signal caller on the roster who has ever taken a collegiate snap is Feleipe Franks, who I’ve been on the record (for a long time now) touting as a great talent but one that’s never going to develop into an adequate SEC QB due to his lack of instincts, awareness and decision-making.

    I think USC wins at Ole Miss, although it’s far from a layup. The game at UF will depend on what sort of QB play the Gators are getting, which, if the last eight seasons are even the slightest bit of an indicator, won’t be great. Even if we call these two road games a split, we have South Carolina at 8-4 and we’re cashing in on the Gamecocks’ win total for a second straight year.

    But to be clear, I think USC is poised to go 9-3. If the Gamecocks can pull the Week 2 stunner over Muschamp’s alma mater that I believe is a strong possibility, then 10-2 and an SEC East title might happen. Whatever the case, my minority call that Muschamp was an outstanding hire for South Carolina has proven true and he has the program rapidly rising.

    Don’t waste your time on this one. Get your ass to the counter and make this bet pronto!
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  5. #20
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    2018 AAC Preview
    June 11, 2018


    2018 AMERICAN ATHLETIC PREVIEW

    Coaches Call


    Entering its fifth year of existence, the American Athletic Conference remains the top Group of 5 League heading into the 2018 football season.

    While the loop has struggled in bowl games, going 10-17 SU and 11-16 ATS, it has become a breeding ground for up-and-coming head coaches including the likes of Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Temple’s Geoff Collins, Tulane’s Willie Fritz and Tulsa’s Phillip Montgomery.

    Meanwhile, the 24 wins by Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo over Power Five or BCS Conference foes is the most of all Group of Five schools.

    Two head coaches make their AAC debut in 2018, including SMU’s Sonny Dykes and UCF’s Josh Heupel – who makes his debut as a head coach at the FBS level.

    Expect one or two of the aforementioned coaches to move on to a Power Five team in the near future.

    Talking Points

    -- Danger ahead: since the AAC formation in 2014 the conference has struggled mightily in non-conference games following a SUATS loss, going just 9-29-1 ATS. And if they are visitors in these games they fall off the face of the earth, going 1-12 SUATS. Gulp.

    -- Since the formation of the conference in 2014, the best role for AAC teams has been on the road when coming off a win and facing a foe coming off a loss. It’s where teams in the conference stand 40-23 SU and 41-21-1 ATS overall, including 32-11-1 ATS if they scored 35 or more points in their last game.

    -- Average attendance at American Athletic Conference home stadiums was 28,669, clearly No. 1 for Group of Five conferences. The problem, however, is it represented a decline of -2,942 fans per game over the 2016 season, the largest fall-off of all FBS conferences.

    Note: The numbers following each team name represents the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

    CINCINNATI (Offense - *5/2 , Defense - 7/3, 43 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: COOL HAND LUKE


    When Luke Fickell came to Cincinnati from Ohio State, he was brought on board to stop the bleeding. Former UC head coach Tommy Tuberville was dismissed not only after a public outburst against a fan but also after the Bearcats had slid gradually from back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2011-12 to just four wins in 2016. Tasked with rebuilding the program, Fickell immediately went to work compiling the best 2-year recruiting class in the Group of 5. The offense he inherited last season was thinned by graduation but QB Hayden Moore returns for his senior season, along with top RB Gerrid Doaks and WR Kahil Lewis. If Fickell’s defensive DNA rubs off (a former DC with the Buckeyes), the free fall should come to a cool halt this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Fickell is 1-5 SU and 0-6 ATS as a single-digit favorite as a head coach with Ohio State and Cincinnati.

    PLAY ON: at SMU (10/27)



    CONNECTICUT (Offense - 7/4, Defense - 2/1, 39 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: OLD DOGS AND MORE YOUTH


    When head coach Randy Edsall left the Huskies program after the 2010 season, he served five years as Maryland’s head coach and one season in the Detroit Lions’ front office. He then returned to Storrs to revive a suffocating program that went 24-49 after he left. The good news is a stagnant offense improved 9 points and nearly 100 YPG last year. The bad news is a treacherous defense declined 10 points and over 100 YPG. Worse, they were pushed around the field while managing to outgain only one foe, Cincinnati, in the final game of the campaign. New OC John Dunn, a Chicago Bears assistant and former OC with Edsall at Maryland, steps in. That didn’t work out well then, and we doubt it will again.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Huskies have been outyarded in 14 of their last 15 games.

    PLAY ON: vs. Cincinnati (9/29)



    EAST CAROLINA (Offense - 5/3, Defense - 7/3, 41 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BLACKWELL THE MAGICIAN


    From Bill Connelly of SB Nation: When you fire a good coach in the hopes of getting a great one, you end up burning your house to the ground. And it’s never good when you were the worst team in the land in Scoring Defense and Tackles for a Loss. With last year’s disaster, ECU has gone 6-18 since Montgomery took over and hasn’t had two years this bad since going 3-20 under John Thompson in 2003-04. The good news is all of the freshmen and sophomores who got lit up last year are now sophomores and juniors. And Montgomery brought in highly regarded defensive coordinator David Blackwell. In his last three years, Blackwell’s teams never allowed more than 20 points per game (15 PPG last year).

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Pirates are 2-20 SU and 0-22 ATS versus conference foes with a winning record since 2010.

    PLAY ON: vs. Houston (10/13)



    HOUSTON (Offense - *6/4, Defense - 6/2, 43 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: CHARACTER RISK


    One of four teams that did not start a senior last season, the Cougars return a total of 58 juniors and seniors. However, the controversial hire of Kendall Briles, son of disgraced head coach Art Briles and former OC at Baylor and Florida Atlantic (last year) is questionable, at best. It was Briles who asked a potential recruit, “Do you like white women? Because we have a lot of them at Baylor and they love football players.” Nonetheless, sophomore head coach Major Applewhite needs to address a defense that regressed 102 YPG behind 1st-year DC Mark Donofrio last season. Future NFL DT Ed Oliver, the best defensive player in the conference, needs to stand and deliver. If so, Applewhite figures to benefit.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Applewhite is 29-10 SU as a head coach and an assistant with the Houston Cougars.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. USF (10/27)



    MEMPHIS (Offense - 7/4, Defense - 8/2, 34 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BURNERS ON


    Memphis underclassmen started 41.6% of the team’s starts last season, meaning HC Mike Norvell brings back a highly experienced pack of Tigers. That’s good news considering major losses on the offense (QB Riley Ferguson, 4-year starting OL Gabe Kuhn, home run hitting WR Anthony Miller, and not to mention OC Darrell Dickey). Miller had 17 games of 100-plus receiving yards. Together they were a major reason that only 18% of the Tigers’ snaps came on third down last season (5th best in the nation). The good news is 4 starters (with 75 career starts) return on the OL. With Norvell averaging 9 wins and 42 PPG per season with Memphis, look for the aforementioned youngsters to carry the torch.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Memphis is 33-9 SU in it last 42 regular season games.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Houston (11/23)



    NAVY (Offense - *4 /2, Defense - 5/2, 43 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE


    How satisfying was Navy’s 7-win season last year? Mighty, when you consider the Middies played five teams that ended the season with 10 or more wins. In addition, they faced six of the top-20 rushing offenses in 2017 and held all of them, except Air Force, below their average. Plus, they also faced three of the top-16 passing offenses and held each of them under their average. The offensive surge was supplied by quarterbacks 1-and-1-A, namely Zach Abey and Malcom Perry, who were on the field as a tandem throughout the season. Abey rushed for 1,413 yards in 2017. In addition, RB/QB Malcom Perry rushed for 1,182 yards (646 as a QB). They’ll need to overcome the loss of 21 seniors from the two-deep depth charts, though.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Navy is 70-5 SU under Niumatalolo when entering the 4th quarter with the lead.

    PLAY ON: vs. Army (12/8)



    SMU (Offense - *6/3, Defense - 8/2, 45 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: WILD HORSES


    After improving each and every year from the 1-win squad he inherited in 2015 to a 7-win bowler last season, Chad Morris has moved on to Arkansas. Instead, former Louisiana Tech and Cal head coach Sonny Dykes takes over. The son of Spike Dykes, the second winningest coach in Texas Tech history, Sonny was weaned under Hal Mumme and Mike Leach and as a result has ‘air raid’ in his DNA. His first move was to bring in OC Rhett Lashlee, former Auburn offensive coordinator under Gus Malzahn. With seasoned spread QB Ben Hicks, they inherit a signal caller with 6,499 passing yards and 52 TDs under his belt. Three RBs that rushed for over 2,100 yards last season are also back. This offense could be outrageous.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Freshmen have started a total of 101 games for the Mustangs the last two seasons.

    PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Houston (11/3)



    TEMPLE (Offense - *6/2, Defense - 6/2, 41 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: YES, HE WAS A #GREAT HIRE


    It took a while but the Owls proved the hire of HC Geoff Collins to replace Matt Rhule was genius. After being out-gained in each of their first five games last season, Temple went on to out-gain each of its remaining eight foes as they lost the stats -134 YPG in their first five games in September, but won them by an average of 83 YPG the rest of the season. That’s a whopping 217 net YPG differential. And Collins had inherited a team that lost 50% of its starts to graduated seniors, to boot. He immediately implored the kids to his “#The STANDARD”, as they quickly learned that the standard expected from every player has been raised even higher last year. We can’t wait to see what’s in store this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Collins is the only coach to be a Broyles award nominee – for the nation’s best assistant coach – at three schools.

    PLAY ON: at Connecticut (11/24) - *KEY



    TULANE (Offense - *9/4, Defense - 6/2, 52 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: THE CLIMB


    The Green Wave’s slow but steady climb back to respectability (read: bowl game) under Willie Fritz fell frustratingly close last season when a bitter 41-38 season-ending loss at SMU denied Tulane what would have been its second bowl bid in 15 years. Nonetheless, Fritz welcomes back a bevy (36) of suddenly proficient sophomores and juniors – not to mention an awesome recruiting class led by no less than 18 three-and-four-star recruits. “We’ve gotten better every year we’ve been here,” confirmed Fritz. A deeply experienced offense features a rushing unit that ranked No. 20 in the nation last year, one that has rushed for 100-plus yards in 27 straight games. It’s time for the Wave to break on through to the other side.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Head coach Willie Fritz is 16-1 SU and 13-2 ATS versus .333 or less opponents.

    PLAY ON: vs. SMU (10/20) - *KEY



    TULSA (Offense - *8/3, Defense - 7/2, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: 10 UP AND 10 DOWN


    We were as wrong as the day is long on our call about the Hurricane last season. Following a 10-win effort in 2016, Tulsa appeared ready to take the next big step with an offense that improved every season under Phil Montgomery. So what happened in its 10-loss season last year? Well for openers, it’s NEVER a good thing when both your offense and defense each slip over 100 YPG. Ravaged by injuries and a lack of experience, 14 starters played their first career game last season (9 freshmen). As a result, 5 bitter one-possession losses occurred. Unfortunately, the big bag of wind will face bowlers in all six of their away games in 2018. Nonetheless, a rebound appears in order.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Tulsa is 30-8 SU and 29-9 ATS in conference games in which it scores 30 or more points.

    PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. Connecticut (11/3)



    UCF (Offense - *6/3, Defense - 6/1, 40 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: UC FAST


    Speed kills. And with former coach Scott Frost headed back to Nebraska, new head coach Josh Heupel realizes that in order to fill some mighty big shoes he will need to rely on an asset that he has an abundance of – speed. The top six blazing-fast rushers from last season lead the way. “We go five deep with RBs that can all take it to the house at anytime. These guys are going to be something special,” boasts QB McKenzie Milton. New coaches mean new schemes, but you wouldn’t know it as this power scheme fits the Knights like a glove. Coming off an historic record-setting season last year, the Knights know all eyes will be trained upon them in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: UCF was the No. 2 team in the nation in red zone defense in 2017.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Memphis (10/13)



    USF (Offense - 6/3, Defense - 5/1, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: NOT SO STRONG

    To say that Charlie Strong’s squad was hit hard by significant losses is an understatement. Gone is 3-year starting QB Quinton Flowers, owner of 42 school records, along with the top three rushers from 2017. Ouch. On the other side of the ball, the Bulls say goodbye to LB Auggie Sanchez, who made 50 straight starts and led USF in tackles each of the last three seasons. In addition, three of four starters on the DL are also gone, along with a pair of all-conference DBs. At least, for the first time since the 2011 season, the entire primary coaching staff returns. Nonetheless, we’re Strong believers and while this team will be down a notch or two, expect them to be bowling by season’s end.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: USF is riding a school-record 20 straight appearances in the Top 25.

    PLAY ON: vs. UCF (11/23)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Ex-Clemson QB transferring to NW
    June 11, 2018


    Former Clemson quarterback Hunter Johnson is transferring to Northwestern, Northwestern officials announced on Monday.

    Johnson was ranked as the nation's No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the 2017 recruiting class by 247sports.

    Johnson announced his decision to leave Clemson last month after competing for the starting job with returning starter Kelly Bryant and incoming freshman Trevor Lawrence, who was rated the nation's top overall recruit in the class of 2018 by 247sports.

    Bryant was listed as the Tigers' No. 1 quarterback in the post-spring depth chart, with Lawrence as his backup.

    "I'm thrilled to be part of the Wildcat family," Johnson said in a statement. "The program that Coach (Pat) Fitzgerald and his staff have built at Northwestern is phenomenal, and one my family has had the opportunity to get to know and trust."

    Johnson will sit out the 2018 season, then have three years of eligibility remaining.

    He completed 18 of 22 passes in seven games as a true freshman at Clemson last season.

    Northwestern expects to have quarterback Clayton Thorson, a three-year starter, back after he suffered a torn ACL in last season's Music City Bowl.

    Johnson will compete for the starting job in 2019.

    Johnson also visited Duke and considered Purdue before picking Northwestern.

    "We are ecstatic to add a player of Hunter's caliber and character to our program," Fitzgerald said in a statement.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2018 Quarterback Rankings
    June 22, 2018


    My quarterback rankings are based upon who I believe will perform at the highest level during the 2018 college football season. I do not consider how a QB projects to the NFL Draft or how/if he’ll play on Sundays in the future.

    1-Will Grier (West Virginia): As a redshirt freshman, Grier had led Florida out to a 6-0 record before getting slapped with a one-year suspension by the NCAA for testing positive for a banned substance. Grier never wore orange and blue again after Jim McElwain essentially ran him out of town. After missing the final six regular-season games of 2015 and the entire ’16 campaign, Grier finally returned to the field at West Virginia last season. He didn’t disappoint. Grier garnered third-team All Big 12 honors behind Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph. He completed 64.4 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with a 34/12 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He suffered a season-ending finger injury in the first half of a home loss to Texas in WVU’s 11th game. Grier also ran for a pair of TDs. For his career, he’s 12-3 in 15 career starts that he completed (excluding the ‘L’ vs. Texas) with a 44/15 TD-INT ratio. He has two of the nation’s top wideouts in Gary Jennings and David Sills returning.

    2-Khalil Tate (Arizona): Former head coach Rich Rodriguez didn’t turn to Tate until a Week 6 game in Boulder. Better late than never, right? Tate promptly erupted for 327 rushing yards and four TDs on just 14 carries. He also completed 12-of-13 throws for 154 yards and one TD without an interception to lead UA to a 45-42 win at Colorado. In the next three games, all wins for the Wildcats, Tate had five TD passes compared to two interceptions and rushed for four TDs. A week after gashing the Buffaloes for 327 yards on the ground, he ran for 230 and a pair of scores on 15 attempts vs. UCLA. Tate had six games in a row with the following outputs of rushing yards: 327, 230, 137, 146, 161 and 206. For the season, he ran for 1,411 yards and 12 TDs with a 9.2 yards-per-carry average. Tate connected on 62.0 percent of his passes for 1,591 yards with a 14/9 TD-INT ratio. He threw for 302 yards and five TDs in a 38-35 loss to Purdue at the Foster Farms Bowl. Seven of Arizona’s top eight pass catchers are back in 2018, in addition to the Wildcats’ second-leading rusher in RB J.J. Taylor, who rushed for 847 yards and five TDs with a 5.8 YPC average last year.

    3-Trace McSorley (Penn State): McSorley won’t have running back Saquon Barkley around anymore, but there are two five-star recruits to replace him in junior Miles Sanders and true freshman Ricky Slade. McSorley, a two-time second-team All Big 10 selection, is currently second in PSU history in passing yards and should surpass Christian Hackenberg’s numbers before the end of September. He has a 59/18 career TD-INT ratio along with 18 rushing TDs.

    4-Drew Lock (Missouri):
    Lock, who is probably the best NFL prospect among these signal callers, is third in career passing yards at Missouri and will pass Brad Smith into second place in the first half of his team’s opener vs. UT-Martin. If he can duplicate his 3,964 passing yards from his junior campaign, Lock will surpass Chase Daniel and sit atop the school’s record books. The Tigers return nine starters from an offense that averaged 37.5 points per game in 2017. Lock had a 44/13 TD-INT ratio and directed an offense that scored 45 points or more in Missouri’s last six regular-season games. Yes, you can make an argument that his stats were padded against weak defenses (18/3 TD-INT ratio in games vs. SW Missouri State, vs. Idaho and at UConn), but he also had four TD passes at Georgia, which gave up more than 19 points to only two regular-season opponents.

    5-Tua Tagoviailoa/Jalen Hurts combination (Alabama): Tua is a true sophomore that sparked a second-half comeback from a double-digit deficit against Georgia in the finals of the College Football Playoff. After making a colossal mistake by taking a sack for a huge loss on first down of Alabama’s possession in overtime (trailing by a field goal), the Hawaiian responded on the next play by throwing a bomb right on the money for the game-winning score. Tua finished the year with an 11/2 TD-INT ratio and two rushing scores. Hurts, who got most of the reps during the spring after Tua injured his hand, owns a 26-2 record in 28 career starts. He had a 17/1 TD-INT ratio last year with eight rushing TDs. Hurts, a second-team All-SEC pick in ‘17, has run for more than 1,800 yards and 21 TDs in two seasons. Nick Saban has a QB controversy on his hands. In this instance, that’s “one of those good problems.”

    6-Jake Browning (Washington): Browning goes into his senior year with 39 career starts, producing a 24-6 record in his past 30 outings. He earned fourth-team All-American honors as a sophomore in ’16 by throwing for 3,430 yards and leading the Huskies to the CFP semifinals. Browning had a 43/9 TD-INT ratio during that 12-2 campaign. His numbers sagged a bit last year, although he connected on 68.5 percent of his passes for 2,719 yards with a 19/5 TD-INT ratio. With workhorse RB Myles Gaskin (21 rushing TDs LY) back in the mix along with an offensive line ranked 13th in the nation in Phil Steele’s preseason magazine, Browning is poised for a monster senior campaign.

    7-Jarrett Stidham (Auburn): Steele’s mag ranks Stidham as the third-best NFL QB prospect. After a slow start in September (a game at Clemson in Week 2 can contribute to such an occurrence), Stidham really settled in and played outstanding football. He finished the year with an 18/6 TD-INT ratio, 3,158 passing yards and a 66.4 completing percentage. Before subtracting sack yardage, Stidham showed he can move by rushing for 383 yards and four scores. Stidham has his top-five pass catchers back, but the o-line could be a bit of a concern (ranked 53rd nationally in Steele’s Unit Rankings).

    8-Justin Herbert (Oregon): Steele has Herbert as ‘The Uno’ in terms of draft-available QBs following this season. The Ducks went 6-2 in Herbert’s eight starts last year, 1-4 in the five games when he was sidelined with an injury. As a true freshman in 2016, Herbert started the Ducks last seven games and threw for 1,936 yards with a 19/4 TD-INT ratio. He also ran for 161 yards and two TDs. Then last year, Herbert was off to a blazing start (9/2 TD-INT ratio with three rushing TDs) before breaking his collarbone in the first half of a home win over California. He returned for Oregon’s last three games, throwing six TDs compared to three interceptions. Herbert threw for at least 233 yards in the seven games when he took most of the snaps. He also rushed for five TDs with a 4.2 YPC average.

    9-Ryan Finley (North Carolina State):
    Finley led his team to its highest win total (nine) since 2010 by connecting on 65.1 percent of his attempts for 3,518 yards with a 17/6 TD-INT ratio. Since arriving in Raleigh as a transfer from Boise State, Finley has started 26 consecutive games and posted a 35/14 TD-INT ratio. The WR combination of Kelvin Harmon and Jakobi Meyers, which combined to grab 132 receptions for 1,744 yards and nine TDs in ’17, is back for another run with Finley and the Wolfpack.

    10-McKenzie Milton (Central Florida): Milton led UCF to an unbeaten season by completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 4,037 yards with a 37/9 TD-INT ratio. With 613 rushing yards, eight TDs and a 5.8 YPC average as well, he deservedly garnered fourth-team All-American honors. The rising true junior already has 23 career starts to his credit.

    Just Missed: Jake Fromm (Georgia), Nate Stanley (Iowa), Justice Hansen (Arkansas State) and Shea Patterson (Michigan).

    Underrated: Jake Bentley (South Carolina), K.J. Costello (Stanford), Jordan Ta’amu (Ole Miss), Andrew Ford (UMass), Eric Dungey (Syracuse) and Kyle Shurmur (Vanderbilt).

    Honorable Mention: Brian Lewerke (Michigan State), Brett Rypien (Boise State), Kelly Bryant (Clemson), Daniel Jones (Duke), Nathan Rourke (Ohio), Gus Ragland (Miami OH.) and Brent Stockstill (Middle Tennessee).

    **Other Notable Signal Callers**

    -- Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald might have made my Top 10, but he’s still recovering from a gruesome leg/knee injury sustained in the Egg Bowl. His wheels, not his right arm, are his biggest asset so until I see him back at full strength (that is the expectation in Starkville by August), I couldn’t put him in my Top 10.

    -- Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson wouldn’t have been in my Top 10 regardless, but he’s certainly a Top-20 QB. Thorson is second in school history in passing yards, but he tore his ACL early in the first quarter of the Music City Bowl vs. Kentucky in late December. Whether or not he’ll be ready for the season opener (or play at all in September), remains a question mark at this point.

    -- FSU QB Deondre Francois had the look of a future star when he went 10-3 in 13 starts as a redshirt freshman in 2016. He suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second half of a Week 1 loss to Alabama in Atlanta. With his team struggling while he recovered from surgery, Francois alienated himself from teammates with social-media posts from locations outside of Doak Campbell Stadium during home games late in the season. He recently had other issues with the Tallahassee Police Department, so his standing with new coach Wille Target and his staff is a bit of a mystery. James Blackman had a 19/11 TD-INT ratio in 12 starts after being thrust into the action as a true freshman. We’ll see who wins this job.

    -- Virginia Tech’s Josh Jackson had an excellent redshirt freshman campaign, throwing for 2,991 yards with a 20/9 TD-INT ratio. He also ran for 498 yards (before subtracting sack yardage) and six TDs. There were reports out earlier this month that he could be facing a lengthy academic suspension. Since then, however, he’s been cleared of whatever academic matter was in doubt and is expected to be in uniform at FSU in the Monday Night opener.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2018 ACC Preview
    June 19, 2018


    Route 66

    The 2018 ACC football season will be the 66th season for the conference. Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Duke’s David Cutcliffe and Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson are the loop’s longest tenured coaches with 11 seasons each at their respective schools.

    Johnson leads the victory parade with 182 career wins, while Swinney’s 101-30 career record at Clemson stands out as the best mark.

    Florida State’s Willie Taggart is the only new coach in the conference this season. Taggart’s 47-50 overall mark is the only one in the league with a losing record.

    Chopping Wood

    According to the NCAA, Florida State will take on the most difficult schedule of all Power Five teams this 2018 season. The Seminoles’ foes were 97-56 (.643) last season, ranking FSU ahead of Nebraska (.628), Michigan (.627), Auburn (.618), and Texas A&M (.617).

    The Seminoles will take on a whopping 10 opponents that finished the season with winning records in 2017.

    Orange Bowl Roll

    Prior to Miami’s 34-24 loss to Wisconsin last season, the ACC had won the previous five Orange Bowl games, the longest winning streak for a conference in the Orange Bowl in 72 years.

    Note: Team write-ups are excerpts from the 2018 PLAYBOOK Football Preview Guide magazine, on sale at newsstands nationwide. The numbers following each team name represents the amount of returning starters on Offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

    BOSTON COLLEGE (Offense – *10/5, Defense – 6/3, 37 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BAD GAS

    After ranking in the nation’s Top 10 overall defenses each of the previous two seasons, the Eagles’ stop-unit somehow had trouble stopping a fart in 2017. It flat out stunk and as a result, Boston College concluded its third 7-win season in the last four years. Complicating matters this year, they lost star DE Harold Landry as the 41st pick in this year’s NFL draft. However, they do get former leading tackler Connor Strachan back from an injury that caused him to miss the entire 2017 season. HC Steve Addazio does welcome back a loaded offense, one that improved 112 YPG in 2017, keyed by RB AJ Dillon who led all running backs in the ACC with 1,589 yards as a freshman last year. Facing 9 straight bowlers from Games 3-11, the Eagles will be hard pressed to snap an 8-year skein of seven or fewer victories in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Eagles are 1-9 SU and 2-7-1 ATS as home underdogs since 2014.

    PLAY ON: at Wake Forest (9/13)

    CLEMSON (Offense – *7/3, Defense – 8/4, 62 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BUILT TO LAST

    The Tigers were so deep and talented last season, they were one of only four teams that did not start a single freshman. This on a team that is 40-4 the last three seasons, winning three ACC championships and a College Football Playoff championship, while making three CFP appearances. With 51 players selected the NFL draft in nine seasons under head coach Dabo Swinney, its no wonder he commands the 2nd highest salary ($8.5 M) in all of the FBS. And they are so deep and talented this season, they welcome back 62 lettermen – including 4 first-team All-Americans (the most in school history) as well as three 600-yard rushers. In addition 8 starters are back from a defense that ranked 2nd in scoring and 4th overall. Whew. Facing 7 straight bowlers to close out the season, the Tigers benefit from not playing consecutive away games for the third straight season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Tigers have the longest current streak (85 games) without losing back-to-back games.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. NC State (10/20)

    DUKE (Offense – *7/2, Defense – 8/3, 48 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: CUTTING EDGE

    One glance at the Blue Devils’ stat-logs below tells you all you need to know about their season in 2017: they were 7-0 SUATS in games when they won the stats (first four and final three) and 0-6 SUATS in games when they didn’t (middle games 5-10). Even with that midseason siesta, Duke earned a bowl bid for the fifth time in the last six years – despite facing a schedule that featured only one losing foe from the previous season. As we’ve alluded to in the past, head coach David Cutcliffe is widely recognized as a quarterback whisperer, having coached 11 QBs who either earned all-conference honors or led their school to a bowl game victory. That will be Daniel Lewis, last year’s Quick Lane Bowl MVP, this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Duke started a total of 28 different players last season – the fewest in the nation.

    PLAY ON: at Pittsburgh (10/27)

    FLORIDA STATE (Offense – *8/4, Defense – 4/2, 54 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: TAG, YOU’RE IT

    After losing a jaw-dropping 6 of their first 9 games to start the 2017 season, the Seminoles rallied with four straight victories to salvage a winning season for the 41st year in a row. But it wasn’t enough to retain Jimbo Fisher, who moved on to Texas A&M at season’s end. Fisher’s 85 wins in 8 seasons at FSU sets a mighty high bar for incoming coach Willie Taggart. Having QB Deondre Francois back following a season-ending injury in Game One last year is a great starting point. Good news is a ton of experienced young players return, including 95.8% of FSU’s total yards on offense. However, the Seminoles were still hit hard by player losses with 6 NFL defections (no team with more). Yes, SO B Cam Akers broke Dalvin Cook’s freshman rushing record last year (1,024 yards), but the fact that the Seminoles will take on nine foes which were in bowl games last season promises to make Taggart’s debut anything but cushy.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Notre Dame holds the college football record with 42 straight winning seasons from 1889-1932.

    PLAY ON: at Miami Florida (10/6) - *KEY as a dog

    GEORGIA TECH (Offense – *9/3, Defense – 6/3, 42 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: UNFINISHED BUSINESS

    It’s seldom you’ll find a team go 4-4 in conference play and fall short of bowl eligibility. Disgruntled Yellow Jackets’ head coach Paul Johnson realizes his crew became the first ACC team to do so since Virginia in 2006. FYI: The Cavaliers won 9 games the following season. The good news for the Yellow Jackets’ last season is they had the 2nd fewest penalties in the nation. However, it couldn’t overcome a stop-unit that ranked dead last in Red Zone Defense. Finally, from our research department: a total of 12 teams gained an average of less than one turnover per game last season. Only one had a winning record (7-6 MTSU). They went 41-102 combined. The Jackets were one of the dirty dozen, and Paul Johnson knows it.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: In his 16 years as an FBS head coach, Johnson’s teams have each averaged at least 5 Yards Per Rush per season while winning 8.5 games per season.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Virginia (11/4)

    LOUISVILLE (Offense – 7/4, Defense – 4/2, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: PETRINO EXPOSED

    This was not a report Bobby Petrino looked forward to seeing. According to Fansided.com, from the Big Hit List, Louisville ranks #12 overall in teams hit the hardest by losses from last season. Among the losses are 2 NFL defections, 10 returning starters and 12 players from the 2-deep. The biggest loss, of course, is Heisman Trophy winning QB Lamar Jackson, who was the team’s leading passer (9,043 and 69 TDs) and rusher (4,132 and 50 TDs) over the last three seasons. The quarterback and running back tallies include 63 lost team starts with zero returnees. Complicating matters, the Cardinals will face 9 bowlers in 2018, including five in their last six games. Petrino will need to dig deep into his bag of scheming tricks, especially while taking on nine bowlers this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Bobby the Louse is 0-17 away versus AP Top 15 ranked opponents.

    PLAY ON: at Boston College (10/13)

    MIAMI FLORIDA (Offense – *7/3, Defense – 7/1, 41 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: RICHTER MAGNITUDE

    Despite the fact that the Hurricanes dropped each of their final three games of the season in 2017, including a crushing loss to Pittsburgh that snapped a nation-best 15-game win skein – and effectively KO’d the Canes from the CFB playoffs – UM managed to improve its record for the third straight year. Mark Richt is fully rooted in Miami and it’s showing fundamentally as Miami’s defense was No. 4 nation in Tackles For Loss as well as No. 5 in Turnover Margin (+1.00) last season. With the D-line undergoing massive changes with two senior graduates and two juniors opting out for the NFL Draft, the linebackers are the strength of the defense. Meanwhile, QB Malik Rosier returns after tossing for 3,120 yards and 26 TDs in 2017.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Mark Richt is 45-15 SU away in conference games in his career, including 34-4 as a favorite of more than 2 points.

    PLAY ON: vs. Pittsburgh (11/24) - *KEY

    NC STATE (Offense – *6/3, Defense – 3/0, 38 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: A SENIOR MOMENT

    With 22 seniors dotting the 2017 roster, it was a pivotal season for head coach Dave Doeren as Wolfpack seniors started 51.6% of the games last season. The team responded, enjoying one of its best seasons in school history winning 9 games, including the Sun Bowl. To put it in perspective, in 125 years of football, the 2017 squad was one of just six to win 9 or more games. Ten players earned All-ACC honors and the Pack finished with its highest national ranking in 15 years. Biggest loss is DE Bradley Chubb, the ACC Defensive Player of the Year and No. 5 pick in this year’s NFL draft. However, redshirt senior QB Ryan Finley has decided to return for his final year of eligibility.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Wolfpack is 31-6 SU and 22-10-1 ATS in games in where they outgain their opponent under head coach Dave Doeren.

    PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. Florida State (11/3)

    NORTH CAROLINA (Offense – *5/1, Defense – 8/3, 47 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: TARRED AND FEATHERED

    It all went to hell in a handbag for UNC head coach Larry Fedora last season. After losing star QB Mitch Tribusky as the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft in 2016, and failing to make necessary adjustments following DC Gene Chizik’s sudden retirement, the Tar Heels garnered a mere 3 victories after managing to win the stats in only three contests in 2017. As a result, they’ve now averaged 6 losses a season the last 4 years, no thanks to a rush defense that has surrendered an average 232 rushing yards in the process. Making matters worse, they must replace four starters on the OL. The good news is QBs Chazz Surratt and Nathan Elliott – who split duties last year – return in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Fedora is 12-1 SU and 11-2 ATS in regular season games versus opponents who were upset as a favorite in their previous game

    PLAY ON: at Miami Florida (9/27)

    PITTSBURGH (Offense – 4/2, Defense – 9/4, 49 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: RUSH HOUR

    A total of 15 redshirt freshmen made their collegiate debuts last season, six of which made starts. One of them was QB Kenny Picket, who engineered Pittsburgh’s 24-14 upset win over Miami in the season finale – the second of two wins for Pitt against No. 2 ranked foes under Pat Narduzzi the last two seasons. Speaking of whom, Narduzzi’s Panthers have rushed for 200+ yards 15 times, going 12-3 in those games. They have also held foes under 100 rushing yards 13 times, going 11-2 in those contests. Together, that’s a 23-5 mark. With nine starters back on defense, including the entire line, the formula to success this season is simple for these Cats: control the ground game. If they do that then three non-conference foes they’ll face in 2018 that went 34-5 combined last year will no have walks in the park.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 21 of Pitt’s 24 losses under Narduzzi have occurred against teams that went on to play in a bowl game.

    PLAY ON: at North Carolina (9/22)

    SYRACUSE (Offense – *8/4, Defense – 6/3, 42 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: ONE STEP AT A TIME

    With 15 wins the last four seasons, including consecutive 4-8 efforts behind Dino Babers, the Orange appear to be stuck in quicksand. A closer look, though, spins a different tale. Not only did the Orange improve their stats on both sides of the ball last year, Syracuse amassed 5,476 yards last season, and 5,290 yards in 2016 under Babers, the second-and-third highest totals in the 128-year history of the program. In fact, of the three active quarterbacks with 5,000+ passing yards and 1,000+ rushing yards, Eric Dungey is the only one with more than 6,000 passing yards (Duke’s Daniel Jones and Ball State’s Riley Neal the other two members). If they can win early and often, a salty season-ending schedule - five bowlers in final five games - might not matter.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Syracuse will face three teams in 2018 that are coached by former Orange assistants: Boston College, Connecticut and Western Michigan.

    PLAY ON: vs. Florida State (9/15)

    VIRGINIA (Offense – 5/2, Defense – 8/1, 43 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: IT DON’T COME EASY

    After debuting at 2-10 in 2016, Bronco Mendenhall organized a dramatic turnaround from his first season with the Cavaliers to last year when he took his troops bowling for the first time since 2011. It wasn’t easy, though, as UVA finished 1-6 after a 5-1 start. And it won’t be easy this season as well with the offense taking a major hit to graduation, including QB Kurt Benkert, who signed with the Atlanta Falcons. The hope is dual-threat JUCO QB Bryce Perkins can fill his shoes (Perkins led his team to the NJCAA title game last year). Only four away games dot the schedule, but they face 9 bowlers, including 7 of them in their final seven games of the season. Ugh.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Virginia is 2-20 SU in its final two games of the season since 2007.

    PLAY ON: as a dog vs. Miami Florida (10/13)

    VIRGINIA TECH (Offense – *7/3, Defense – 6/3, 40 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: THIS BUD’S FOR YOU

    Eight true freshmen saw significant playing time for Tech in 2017. Included was QB Josh Jackson, whose 2,991 passing yards set a Hokies’ record and were the most by any FBS freshman in 2017. In addition, five of the top six rushers return in 2018. It’s noteworthy that the Hokies’ 25-game bowl streak is the longest in the nation, and the third longest in NCAA history. It’s also no coincidence that associate head coach/defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been on the VT staff for 32 seasons, making him the longest-tenured active coach at any FBS school. FYI: Tech owns 58 games of starting experience on the defensive line – the highest total of any group on the squad. Expect more of the same from last year’s 4th best scoring defense. In late breaking news, though, Virginia Tech announced CBs Adonis Alexander (academics – 15 starts) and JUCO transfer Jeremy Webb (Achilles tendon) will miss the season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Hokies are 17-0 when leading at halftime under Fuente.

    PASS

    WAKE FOREST (Offense – 8/5, Defense – 6/2, 41 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: GIMME FOUR

    After ranking 12th or worst in the ACC in scoring the previous five seasons, an infusion of suddenly seasoned underclassmen helped the Demon Deacon explode in head coach Dave Clawson’s 4th season, averaging 35 points and 466 YPG. And with it Clawson has to consider ‘four’ his lucky number. He just completed his 4th season with Wake Forest in his 4th coaching stop. In his 4th season at Fordham, he led the Rams to a 10-2 season and a trip to the FCS playoffs. In addition, he took an 11-win Richmond squad to the FCS semifinals in this 4th year with the program. And at Bowling Green in his 4th season, his troops won 8 games en route to a bowl game.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Wake Forest had 11 players selected for 12 All-ACC positions and beat six bowl teams in 2017.

    PLAY AGAINST: at NC State (11/8) - *KEY
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  9. #24
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    2018 Big Ten Preview
    June 26, 2018


    Bring It On

    Thirteen Big Ten teams – sans Rutgers - will square off against at least one non-conference team that participated in a bowl game last season, with 24 of all 39 non-conference games featuring opponents coming off bowl trips. Michigan State and Northwestern will each face bowl teams in all three of their 2018 non-conference contests.

    Counting conference and non-conference contests, every Big Ten team will face at least five teams that played in a bowl game last season. Nebraska leads the way with nine such contests, followed by Indiana, Michigan State and Northwestern with eight apiece.

    Back For More

    Ohio State and Wisconsin will look to repeat as division champions this season. The Badgers finished 9-0 to win the West Division for the second consecutive season and the Buckeyes completed the season with an 8-1 mark to claim the East Division, giving the Buckeyes at least a share of their sixth straight division title. Last season's divisional crowns marked the fourth for the Badgers and sixth for the Buckeyes.

    Bad Ass Bowlers

    Big Ten teams rolled in the bowl games last season, going 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS. The only loss was Michigan’s mystifying disappearance against South Carolina. It reversed a lackluster 3-7 SU and 4-5-1 ATS effort the previous bowl season.

    Note: The numbers following each team name represents the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

    ILLINOIS (Offense - 8/4, Defense - 8/3, 41 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    BABY LOVE... AT BREAKNECK SPEED

    Lovie Smith went one better in 2017 when, after starting the second-most amount of freshmen in 2016 (29.2 percent of all starts), no less than 37.1% of all starts were made by freshmen last year – the most in the nation – including 31 first-time starters. Now, behind new OC Rod Smith, a long-time former offensive coordinator under Rich Rodriguez, who brings a fast-paced, run-often scheme, the Illini will hope RB Mike Epstein (who rushed for 350 yards in five games as a freshman before a season-ending injury last year) and fifth-year senior WR Mike Dudek (former Big Ten Freshman POY) can push the pace like a fast break basketball team. "I'm so excited for this offense," Epstein said. "I think it's an offense tailored to our skill guys.”

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Illinois is 3-37 SU and 14-26 ATS in its last forty Big Ten games versus .500 or greater opponents.

    PLAY ON: at Rutgers (10/6)

    INDIANA (Offense - 8/4, Defense - 4/1, 56 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    LEO THE LION

    Talk about a great hire, Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden insists, “Tom Allen is a great fit for IU. I really believe that Mike DeBord on the offensive side and Allen on the defensive side is unique. They are very experienced, thorough game-planning coaches.” Furthermore, L.A. Chargers OL Dan Feeney firmly believes that Allen has the mantra ‘LEO’, Love Each Other, working in his favor. "Everybody is buying into that.” Allen is also a devout Christian and a defensive strategist par excellence. Since his arrival, Indiana is the most improved team nationally in total defense (169.4 YPG). And that was on the heels of improving 11 PPG and 130 YPG in 2016. A school-record 13 Hoosiers earned all Big Ten honors in 2017. Color them dangerous.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Over the last 22 years, the teams for which Allen has been a member of the coaching staff have posted a combined 227-76 (.754).

    PLAY ON: vs. Purdue (11/24)

    IOWA (Offense - *7/3, Defense - 6/3, 45 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    A PIN IN THE BALLOON

    The signs of regression are in the air. The Hawkeyes lost 2 players to NFL defections, 11 returning starters have departed, and 14 players from the 2-deep are gone. Two Iowa defenders voted unanimous All-Americans are gone, including LB Josey Jewell (101.5 tackles), who was one of 5 starting seniors to depart from the defense. On offense, RBs Akrum Wadley and James Butler each graduated after combining for nearly three-quarters of the team’s rushing yardage in 2017. The good news is QB Nate Stanley had a 137.4 passing efficiency in the fourth quarter last season as the Hawkeyes outscored the opposition, 123-60, in the final stanza and overtime. Our concern is they have won 16 games the last two seasons despite being out yarded 27 YPG in the process.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Kirk Ferentz is the longest tenured FBS head football coach in the nation.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Illinois (11/17)

    MARYLAND (Offense - *8/4, Defense - 5/1, 48 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    WANTED: A NEW DJ

    The Terrapins most dynamic player, WR DJ Moore, opted to leave early for the NFL. The first-team All-Big Ten receiver led the conference in both receptions (80) and receiving yards (1,033) while pacing Maryland with 9 touchdowns. Meanwhile head coach DJ Durkin hopes to patch a defensive line that managed to produce only 16 sacks in 12 games last season (only two Power 5 conference teams, Nebraska and Oregon State, had fewer). Meanwhile, new OC Matt Canada (LSU) will look to ignite an offense that went backwards in 2017, ranking 100th or worse in three of the four major categories (scoring, total and passing offense). Interestingly, this will be Canada’s sixth school in the last eight years.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Terps are 0-9 SUATS following a win from Game Seven out the last five years.

    PASS

    MICHIGAN (Offense - *8/3, Defense - 9/3, 63 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    HOWLING AT THE MOON

    We warned last year that Michigan was in line for a fall in 2017. That’s because the Wolverines’ seniors had accounted for the highest percentage of starts of all FBS teams in 2016 (76.6%). It was a wickedly high number and meant that Jim Harbaugh would need to rely on a bevy of underclassmen to compensate for the losses. As a result, the baby Wolves are back with sharpened teeth as those same underclassmen accounted for nearly 50% of all starts made by UM last season, the 7th most in the nation. With three Big Ten revenge games on tap, and former Ole Miss QB Shea Patterson now behind center, look for a the Wolves to be howling in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The SU winner ‘In The Stats’ is 35-4 in UM games with Harbaugh as its head coach.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Maryland (10/6)

    MICHIGAN STATE (Offense - *10/3, Defense - 9/3, 49 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BACK FOR MORE

    Featuring one of the youngest teams in the nation last year, the Spartans’ 10-3 effort marked the biggest single-season turnaround in MSU football history, capped off with a resounding 42-17 win over Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. As a result, Michigan State brings back a plethora of starting experience (33 players) with confidence beyond compare that most coaches would die for. According to SB Nation, MSU has the most returning production of any team in the FBS. The Spartans are returning 239 starts (84 percent) out of a combined 286 possible starting positions from 2017’s offense and defense. The 19 position starters are second only to Kansas (20). It’s likely enough to make HC Mark Dantonio forget that all three of their non-conference games will come against bowlers.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Underclassmen accounted for 56.6% of MSU’s total team starts last season – the 4th most in the land.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Michigan (10/20)

    MINNESOTA (Offense - 7/3, Defense - 7/2, 40 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: ALL HANDS ON DECK

    As expected when taking over a program in the midst of a complete overhaul, new head coach P.J. Fleck’s boat sprung a leak last season. Through all the seepage, the Gophers managed to win every game in which they won the stats, while losing every game in which they were out-yarded. Surprisingly, they led the nation in Fewest Penalties (39) last season. Meanwhile, top-rated JUCO transfer QB Vic Viramontes appears set to take over. The strong-armed former Cal quarterback is a dual-threat option passer built like a linebacker with deceptive speed. He will operate behind an experienced OL that was pressed into action because of injuries last season. A mass exodus on the DL, though, means the lifejackets will need to be ready and standing by. FYI: Minny’s mighty 13-2 ATS mark as a conference dog of 7 or more points is noteworthy. But then again they were 13-0 ATS until Fleck arrived.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Fleck’s teams are 27-1 SU in their L28 games in which they’ve won the stats, including 16-0 the last 16.

    PASS

    NEBRASKA (Offense – 6/4, Defense - 8/3, 52 Lettermen)


    TEAM THEME:
    FROM ZERO TO HERO

    After mentoring the only team to ever go from zero wins to zero losses in just two seasons, and one of only two Power 5 schools (out of 13 openings) to hire a Group of 5 head coach in the offseason, Scott Frost finally returns to Nebraska where he won two Big Ten titles as a quarterback for the Huskers. He’ll also be looking to return Nebraska to its glory days as a storied football program. It won’t be easy, though, as the Huskers will take on the most bowlers (9) of all Big Ten teams this season, including all 5-road contests. That’s not promising for a team that was 2nd worst in the nation in Tackles For A Loss last season (3.7).

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Nebraska is 31-1 SU in season-opening games the last thirty-two years.

    PASS

    NORTHWESTERN (Offense - *7/4, Defense - 7/3, 61 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: PURPLE REIGN

    Coming off their second 10-win season in three campaigns, the Wildcats are one of two Big Ten teams (Michigan State the other) that will square off against postseason foes in all three of their non-conference games this year. Hopefully, SR QB Clayton Thorson returns healthy after tossing for nearly 6,000 yards and 37 TDs the past two seasons. QB coach guru Terry Shea insists the 6’ 4” Thorson has NFL skills and likely would have left early for the draft had he not suffered a knee injury in the Music City Bowl last season. The bigger hole is replacing RB Justin Jackson, the Wildcats’ all-time leading rusher (now with the San Diego Chargers). In addition, three new coaches have been added to the staff.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Pat Fitzgerald has never had a player selected in the first three rounds since taking over the program 12 years ago.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Michigan State (10/6)

    OHIO STATE (Offense - 7/3, Defense - 4/2, 49 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: ET TU BRUTE

    That Urban Meyer’s .851 winning percentage is the highest among active – and 3rd highest all-time (Knute Rockne .881 is No. 1) – of all coaches with at least 10 years of experience, speaks for itself. The Buckeyes won their 36th Big Ten title last season and will look to repeat as conference champions for the first time since last doing so in 2009. Having the nation’s strongest running back tandem in 1,000-yard rushers J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber (each gained 1,000 yards while starting every game as freshmen in 2017 and 2016, respectively) is a powerful weapon, to say the least. That and 229 career starts back on both sides of the ball makes Brutus a badass Buckeye this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: When Ohio State visits Maryland in November, it will mark only its 3rd back-to-back road game in four years.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Michigan State (11/10)

    PENN STATE (Offense - *8/5, Defense - 3/2, 39 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: SHADES OF THE PAST

    If it seems like James Franklin’s Penn State squads have closely resembled Joe Paterno’s glory teams its because they have. Last year was the first time since 1985 and 1986 that the Lions appeared in a second-straight New Year’s Six bowl game. And a 20-3 record in its last 23 games is the best span since going 20-3 from 1990-1995 – not to mention its 24.6 scoring differential in 2017 was tops in the nation. Big holes must be filled, though, with the loss of star RB Saquon Barkley to the NFL, as well as the void of 69.6% of games started by seniors last year. QB Trace McSorley (57 TD passes the last two seasons) helps fill some of the vacuum. Meanwhile, five new coaches have been added to the staff.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Of the 780 minutes played in 2017, Penn State only trailed for 37 minutes, 42 seconds.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Pittsburgh (9/8)

    PURDUE (Offense - *9/4, Defense - 4/1, 53 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: BOILER REPAIRED

    Safe to say that behind numbers that improved across the board on both sides of the ball, Jeff Brohm’s first season with Purdue last year was a total success. In fact, a 3-0 SUATS mark in the Boilers’ final three games banished an awful 0-12 SU and 5-7 ATS record established over the course of Purdue’s final three games the previous four years. And according to Ralph Michaels of Cal Sports, the Boilermakers snapped a 5-year streak of having played UNDER their season win-total. As a result they also increased attendance 13,433 per games last season – best of all Power Five teams. Unfortunately, seven of the eleven starters that led to a defensive resurgence for the Boilermakers are gone. Instead, Brohm must rebuild a front seven that improved over 100 rushing yards per game. A 9-win ATS season looks to be a reach this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Brohm is 14-0 SU and 13-1 ATS from Game Eleven out.

    PLAY AGAINST: as a dog vs. Wisconsin (11/17)

    RUTGERS (Offense - *7/4, Defense - 8/2, 42 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: ON THE BANKS OF A MUDDY RIVER

    Rutgers welcomes its 9th offensive coordinator, John McNulty, in as many years. He certainly has the experience and the potential to bring a spark to an offense that needs new life, having coached the likes of Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, Antonio Gates and many others. His offense thrived in a previous stint with Rutgers (under Greg Schiano) when the Knights became the first team in FBS history with a 3,000-yard passer and two 1,000-yard rushers in 2007. The good news is the Knights will take on just six bowl foes this season. The bad news is they conclude the season with five of them. Fortunately, the defense has improved in both seasons under Chris Ash. It’s time for the offense to stand and deliver.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Rutgers has outgained 3 foes in 24 games under Ash: Kansas, Morgan State and Norfolk State.

    PLAY ON: vs. Illinois (10/6)

    WISCONSIN (Offense - *9/5, Defense - 4/1, 44 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: LOADED FOR BADGER The best news for Wisconsin this year is likely the absence of an Ohio State sighting on the schedule: the Badgers are 44-6 during the regular season since 2006 when they don't play the Buckeyes. More important, though, is the fact that 10 of UW’s offensive starters in the Orange Bowl are back. They also return 100% of their offensive line starts (including 3 All-Americans), 100% of their passing yards (QB Alex Hornibrook 20-3 as a starter) and 92.3% of their rushing yards (RB Jonathan Taylor 2,072 total yards). Plus, UW returns its kicker, holder, long snapper, punter and kickoff specialist from last year from a team that was No. 2 team in the nation in Time Of Possession last season. Lots to like about the Badgers this year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Wisconsin and Penn State are the only Big Ten teams that have posted a winning season the last 13 consecutive years.

    PASS
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  10. #25
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    2018 Big 12 Preview
    July 3, 2018


    Call Me Champ

    In its 22-year history, the Big 12 championship has been won by nine different schools... three of who are no longer members of the conference. The current Big 12 champion is the University of Oklahoma Sooners who have won the most championships with 11.

    From its formation in 1996 until 2010, the championship was determined in the Big 12 championship game. Following the departures of two schools in 2010, the conference discontinued the championship game in favor of a round-robin format to determine the champion. Today the teams reside in two divisions with the winners squaring off in a Big 12 title game to determine the league champ.

    Boomer Sooner


    Of the ten teams currently residing in the Big 12 only Oklahoma owns a winning record against all other foes, posting a 421-147-24 all-time mark. Only Texas (312-141-10) and West Virginia (36-31) sport overall winning records against the same ilk.

    Rival This

    There are currently eight ongoing rivalries in the conference, led by Kansas-Kansas State (Sunflower Showdown – 115 games), followed by Baylor-TCU (The Revivalry – 113 games), Oklahoma-Oklahoma State (Bedlam– 112 games) and Oklahoma-Texas (Red River Showdown – 112 games).

    Note: The numbers following each team name represents the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback.

    BAYLOR (Offense - *9/2, Defense – 9/3 52 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    MISSION CALLING

    When he came to Baylor from Temple, head coach Matt Rhule immediately signed 27 recruits. The Bears featured 54 different players that started at least one game last year – the most in the land. And with it, his 27 first-time starters in 2017 were the third most in the nation. As a result, the Bears return 93% (2nd nationally) of their offensive production, plus 88% of their defensive leaders, including 16 of the top 20 tacklers. In addition, the Bears inked five Division-1 transfers to the roster in 2018. So yes, the times are a-changing in Waco. However, while Baylor is a “mission team” in 2018 the fact is the Bears are just 1-17 in their last 18 regular season games.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: In Rhule’s first year at Temple the Owls were 2-10. They improved to 6-6 the following season.

    PASS

    IOWA STATE (Offense - *6/3, Defense – 6/2, 46 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    SOUP’S ON

    The Cyclones snapped a 4-year losing skid with an 8-win breakout season under 2nd-year head coach Matt Campbell last season. In the process, they defeated a school-record three ranked teams and made a Top 25 appearance for the first time since since 2005 – while winning their fourth bowl game in school history. With nine players back on offense who have seven or more career starts, and six starts back on defense who all earned conference honors, they appear to be in good hands. They institued the slogan “Win in The Dark” for 2018. The concept is simple. Games are won or lost in the offseason when nobody is watching. Remember... four of last season’s 5 losses came by a TD or less.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Seldom-used walk-on QB Kyle Kempt stunned Oklahoma as a 31-point dog in his first college start last season.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Kansas State (11/24) - *KEY as a favorite

    KANSAS (Offense - *9/3, Defense – 10/3, 61 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    ROCK PAPER SCISSORS

    The tenderfoot Jayhawks started only 8.7% of their games with seniors last season, the fewest in the nation. With only 3 wins in three seasons at Kansas, head coach David Beaty needs the seeds of consecutive Top 20 recruiting classes to start bearing fruit immediately. QB Peyton Bender started 8 games last season while becoming the fastest Wildcat quarterback to reach 1,000 passing yards in the school’s 127-year history. Still, with KU just 1-32 SU against FBS opposition under Beaty – and being forced to face 8 bowl squads in their final eight games of the season – they’ll need to win early and often in order to save his hide. Behind a suddenly experienced unit, look for the best season in Beaty’s tenure in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Kansas is 5-74 SU in conference games since 2009.

    PLAY ON: at Kansas State (11/10)

    KANSAS STATE (Offense - *8/4, Defense – 5/2, 37 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    YOUTH IS SERVED

    While slipping in the stats on both sides of the ball in 2017, the Wildcats also gave up claim to being the only team in the land to finish in the Top 15 in Red Zone offense for three straight years when they finished mid-pack (No. 63) last season. It was disappointing considering Bill Snyder had started the youngest team in his career at KSU in 2016 when underclassmen made 135 starts. The Wildcats then combined for 123 starts by sophomores (114) and freshmen (9) last season. The cardiac Cats notched three wins last year after trailing by 10-plus points – the most in school history. Snyder’s troops have also been the best team in the nation in non-offensive touchdowns the last 19 seasons, netting MORE THAN 2.5 more preseason than the yearly average. They also held their final 8 opponents under their scoring average last season. With a pair of 1K rushers in Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon back, a re-adjustment looks in store in 2018.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Bill Snyder is just the fourth person in the history of college football to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as an active coach.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Oklahoma State (10/13)

    OKLAHOMA (Offense - 6/3, Defense – 6/2, 42 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    LINCOLN LUXURY

    According to Fansided.com, from the Big Hit List, the Sooners are #16 overall with player losses from last year including 15 players from the 2-deep gone. It’s one reason they will turn to 43 freshmen players on the roster. The biggest loss, of course, was last year’s Heisman Trophy winning QB Baker Mayfield, the former walk-on and No.1 pick in this year’s NFL draft. His replacement is Kyler Murray, former Texas A&M quarterback and a high school legend in Texas. Lincoln Riley hired former Nebraska and Notre Dame DC, and UConn head coach, Bob Diaco in what may be the best offseason move made by the Sooners. That’s a really good move considering all three non-conference games are versus bowl foes.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    Oklahoma is 124-27 in regular season Big 12 games since 2000. That’s 21 more wins than the next best school (Texas).

    PLAY ON: at Iowa State (9/15) - *KEY

    OKLAHOMA STATE (Offense – 5/2, Defense – 7/3, 39 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    TRUE COWBOY

    Mike Gundy has spent more than half of his life either quarterbacking or coaching at Oklahoma State. His team currently presides over the greatest success in the history of the program. Yes, he is a Cowboy through and through. However, he’ll need to replace record-setting QB Mason Rudolph and WR James Washington, the most lethal duo in OSU annals. Rudolph tossed for a whopping 13,618 yards and 92 TDs in four seasons, while Washington finished his career No. 7 all-time in the FBS with 4,472 yards and 39 TDs. Remember this before signing off on the 2018 Cowboys, though: OSU is one of only five schools to appear in every set of College Football Playoff rankings since 2015, joining Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    The Cowboys are 11-0 SU and 10-1 ATS off consecutive wins versus an opponent off consecutive losses under Gundy.

    PLAY ON: at TCU (11/24)

    TCU (Offense - 5/2, Defense – 6/2, 44 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME
    : OVER THE HILL

    While no one left early for the NFL, no FBS team must replace more offensive starters this season than TCU, who tied UTSA with nine. Only Colorado State (15) must replace more total starters than the Horned Frogs, and only Navy (21) and UTSA (20) lost more seniors from their two-deep than did TCU (19). Included among the missing is QB Kenny Hill, who bailed the team out when Trevone Boykin left early for the NFL draft two years ago. Head coach Gary Patterson will once again leave the play calling to OC Sonny Cumbie, whose ground attack ran the ball 55% of the time last season. Meanwhile, Patterson will no longer coach the LBs this season, allowing him to concentrate solely on head coaching duties.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: TCU forced 55 TOs the last three seasons. The Frogs forced 100 TO’s the previous three seasons

    PLAY AGAINST: at West Virginia (11/10)

    TEXAS (Offense - *7/3, Defense – 6/2, 37 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    YOUNG HORNS

    After Texas started the 2nd most underclassmen in the nation in 2016, highly touted new head coach Tom Herman continued to proceed on a similar course in his debut with the Longhorns in 2017. As a result, UT freshmen have now started 138 games the last three seasons. With it, Texas landed 7 of the state’s top 10 recruits this offseason. Note that five of UT’s six losses last season came by 10 points or fewer, while four of them were by 7 points or fewer. Both of those marks were the most among Power Five Conference teams in 2017. Also, the Longhorns are the only program in college football to play 11 Power Five opponents in each regular season from 2015-18.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Longhorns head coach Tom Herman is 9-1 ATS in his career as an underdog.

    PLAY ON: vs. Maryland (9/1)

    TEXAS TECH (Offense - 7/5, Defense – 10/3, 85 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME:
    CHANGING OF THE TIDE

    Kliff Kingsbury was able to utilize the same starting lineup the final 11 games of the season last year. And while the Red Raiders’ prolific offense slipped mightily, Kingsbury will benefit from having all five OL starters, plus the bulk of the backups, returning in 2018. The headline-making news last season, though, was a DEFENSE that improved 110 YPG behind DC David Gibbs – from a team that had yielded 508 YPG collectively under Kingsbury prior to last year. For as improved as the Texas Tech defense was in 2017, expect the stop-unit to be even better this season. That’s because 10 starters (154 career starts) and 10 additional two-deep players are on Texas Tech’s list of defensive returners. It’s what happens when freshmen make 144 starts over the past four seasons. Now that’s a change.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: As a head coach and an OC, Kingsbury’s teams have ranked an average 6th in total offense in his career.

    PLAY ON: at Kansas State (11/17) - *KEY

    WEST VIRGINIA (Offense - *7/4, Defense – 6/3, 40 Lettermen)

    TEAM THEME: TIME WILL TELL

    SR QB Will Grier, the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year, returns. He completed 250-of-388 passes for 3,490 yards and 34 TDs before a broken finger in the first quarter of the Texas game ended his promising season. Considering the fact that the Mountaineers bring a total of 303 starts back from last season’s squad, they are more experienced than they might appear on the surface. Included are Grier’s top two WR targets David Sills and Gary Jennings, who passed on the NFL for another season in Morgantown. However, a normally reliable stop unit could be a sticking point as they allowed a Big 12-worst 204 rushing YPG last season. In addition, WVU must also replace three senior starters from the secondary. Not having any consecutive road games will help but the team will only go as far as its revamped defense carries it.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Mountaineers are 13-4 SU and 14-3 ATS away against foes coming off a SU favorite loss.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Texas Tech (9/29) - *KEY as a favorite
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  11. #26
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    Handicapping Penn State (9.5)
    July 4, 2018


    The Penn State Nittany Lions are coming off consecutive 11-win seasons under head coach James Franklin, so the bar is set high for Penn State heading into the 2018 regular season. The Nittany Lions are considered serious contenders to win the Big Ten title this season and they are given an outside shot to reach the College Football Playoff. The schedule is favorable for the Nittany Lions, as they get Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan State at home, but a late season trip to Michigan won’t be easy.

    Let’s look at the schedule for Penn State for 2018 to see if they will go over or under their win total of 9.5 games.

    Penn State 2018 Regular Season Win Total

    Over 9.5 (-115)
    Under 9.5 (-115)

    2018 Penn State Schedule Analysis

    Sept. 1 vs. Appalachian State

    The home opener for Penn State may not be a cakewalk, as Appalachian State is one of the top teams in the Sun Belt. The Nittany Lions should have too much talent, but if Miles Sanders isn’t ready to replace Saquon Barkley and new offensive coordinator Ricky Rahne doesn’t have everyone on the same page, this game could be close.

    Sept. 8 at Pittsburgh
    The Panthers won just five games last season and lost 33-14 to the Nittany Lions in University Park. Perhaps this game will be closer, but Penn State should go to 2-0 on the season.

    Sept. 15 vs. Kent State

    This should be a rout, as Kent State is one of the worst teams in the MAC. They won just two games last season and they are no threat to Penn State.

    Sept. 21 at Illinois
    The Nittany Lions shouldn’t have too much trouble against an Illinois team that still isn’t very good. Illinois has won a total of five games the last two years and they don’t figure to win this one.

    Sept. 29 vs. Ohio State
    The first big test of the season for Penn State comes at home against the Buckeyes. There is a good chance this will be a matchup of unbeaten teams ranked in the top ten and it could decide who wins the Big Ten East.

    Oct. 13 vs. Michigan State
    This game won’t be easy, but the Nittany Lions get a bye after playing the Buckeyes and it is at home. The Spartans won at home last season, so revenge will be on the minds of Penn State players for this game.

    Oct. 20 at Indiana
    There is no question that this should be a letdown spot for the Nittany Lions. The question is whether Indiana is good enough for it to matter. The answer is probably not, so this should be a road win for Penn State.

    Oct. 27 vs. Iowa
    The Hawkeyes nearly upset Penn State last season at home, but this time around the game is at Penn State. The Nittany Lions should pull away to win a low scoring contest this time around.

    Nov. 3 at Michigan
    There is no doubt that this game won’t be easy for the Nittany Lions, as they rarely win at the Big House. They are just 1-7 in their last eight trips to Michigan. The home team has won the last two games in this series by at least 29 points.

    Nov. 10 vs. Wisconsin
    This is another very difficult game for the Nittany Lions, as the Badgers could be the top team from the West Division this season. Penn State has won five of the last six meetings against Wisconsin.

    Nov. 17 at Rutgers
    The last two games for Penn State should be pretty easy, as they get Rutgers and Maryland. Even at home, Rutgers should be no threat to Penn State.

    Nov. 24 vs. Maryland
    The regular season finale should be a rout, as Penn State has won the last three games against Maryland by a combined margin of 135-47.

    2018 Penn State Nittany Lions Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    Oddsmakers have the win total for Penn State at 9.5 and that is a really good number. The most likely scenario has the Nittany Lions going 9-3 or 10-2. We’ll lean toward 9-3 and under the total.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Handicapping Mich. State (8.5)
    July 5, 2018


    The Michigan State Spartans are coming off an impressive 10-win season that included wins over Michigan and Penn State. The Spartans return a lot of talent from last year’s squad, so head coach Mark Dantonio should have a team capable of challenging for the Big Ten East title this season.

    Michigan State’s season will once again come down to games against Michigan and Penn State in addition to a huge home game against Ohio State.

    Let’s look at the schedule for the Spartans for 2018 to see if they will go over or under their win total of 8.5.

    Michigan State 2018 Regular Season Win Total
    Over 8.5 (-115)
    Under 8.5 (-115)

    2018 Michigan State Schedule Analysis

    Aug. 31 vs. Utah State


    The opener for the Spartans takes place on a Friday night and it should be an easy win, as the Aggies are no threat to win on the road against a quality team.

    Sept. 8 at Arizona State

    This will be the first meeting between the teams since 1986. It will likely be a rude awakening for new ASU head coach Herm Edwards, as the Spartans have far more talent on both sides of the ball than the Sun Devils.

    Sept. 22 at Indiana

    The Spartans are coming off an early bye week. They should have no trouble on the road against an Indiana team that they have dominated through the years.

    Sept. 29 vs. Central Michigan

    The Spartans get another easy game, as they host Central Michigan. This series has been controlled by Michigan State since 2009 when they were shocked by the Chippewas. Michigan State has won the last three meetings by a combined 116-24.

    Oct. 6 vs. Northwestern

    The Wildcats have given Michigan State trouble, winning three of the last four meetings. That success should end here, as Michigan State is playing at home and has more talent than the Wildcats.

    Oct. 13 at Penn State

    The first of the three key games this season for Michigan State is on the road at Penn State. The Nittany Lions will be looking for revenge, as they lost at Michigan State on a last second field goal a year ago. Michigan State has won two of the last three games at Penn State.

    Oct. 20 vs. Michigan

    The Spartans get another huge test in East Lansing, as they host the Wolverines. This two week stretch will determine whether or not Michigan State is going to contend for a division title.

    Oct. 27 vs. Purdue

    This is a letdown spot for the Spartans, but the game is at home and Michigan State has won the last seven meetings in this series.

    Nov. 3 at Maryland

    The Terrapins beat Michigan State two years ago, but this year’s Spartan team is much better than the one two years ago. The Spartans have been held to 17 points in each of the last two games against Maryland but that shouldn’t be the case this time around.

    Nov. 10 vs. Ohio State

    This game might decide the Big Ten East title if the Spartans can take care of business earlier in the season. Ohio State had no trouble winning at home last season against the Spartans, but this game is at East Lansing.

    Nov. 17 at Nebraska

    This is a dangerous game for Michigan State, as it comes after a huge game against Ohio State and it comes against a Nebraska team that should have new head coach Scott Frost’s system fully in place. Nebraska won the last meeting by a score of 39-38 in 2015.

    Nov. 24 vs. Rutgers

    The regular season finale should not be any problem, as Michigan State is 4-0 against Rutgers since they joined the Big Ten. Michigan State has won the last two games by a combined margin of 89-7.

    2018 Michigan State Spartans Regular Season Win Total Prediction

    When you look at the schedule for the Spartans there are eight games that they should win and then four toss-up games. If the Spartans win the games they are expected to win, and win just one of those other four they will go over their win total of 8.5. That seems very likely, so over the total is the way to go with the Michigan State Spartans for 2018.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Mountain West Outlook
    July 5, 2018


    With six bowl teams and three bowls wins the Mountain West is coming off a solid season although the league has failed to provide a New Year’s six representative since Boise State won the Fiesta Bowl in the first season of the College Football Playoff system four years ago.

    Expectations are high for Boise State to be a team that could run the table to be in that conversation this season but this is a conference that has offered some surprises in recent years, including Fresno State’s rise to the West title last season after failing to win a FBS game the previous season. Here is an early summer look at the 12 Mountain West teams and the season ahead in 2018-19.

    MOUNTAIN OUTLOOK

    Boise State:
    Bryan Harsin is 42-12 at Boise State including posting an 11-3 record last season after defeating Oregon in the Las Vegas Bowl. Harsin’s name certainly has come up in consideration for major conference openings and that isn’t likely to change with another double-digit win season expected. Boise State takes on a few difficult non-conference games and will face a difficult draw from the West though the toughest conference games will be home games. Brett Rypien returns as one of the top passers in Broncos history but last year’s team took a big step back on offense and was led by a sound defense that was very tough against the run. That defensive success should continue with 10 defensive starters back in 2018 as the Broncos are the clear favorite in the division with the potential to emerge in the national conversation if they can win at Oklahoma State in September.

    Utah State: In what felt like a critical season for Matt Wells, Utah State rebounded with a steady season getting back to a bowl game and ultimately finishing 6-7 with an Arizona Bowl loss in overtime. The Aggies possess a veteran offensive line and sophomore quarterback Jordan Love showed some potential last season. The Aggies have an ideal scheduling draw in conference play missing the top contenders on the west side but they are one the road for the key Mountain division games which makes a rise to the top unlikely. Another bowl-eligible season looks possible with a pair of favorable non-conference tests and favoritism likely in all six home dates. Wells has seen his defense get worse each of the past two years and returning to the strong results from his first three seasons in Logan will determine whether or not the Aggies take a leap forward in 2018.

    Wyoming: Despite having a NFL draft pick at quarterback Wyoming had terrible offensive production last season, averaging only 288 yards per game in conference play. The Cowboys were outstanding defensively allowing only 17.5 points per game on the season and that unit keyed a second straight bowl bid and the program’s first bowl win since 2009. This year’s team should again dominate defensively with stars at every level of the defense. The offense could actually improve as well with a more stable offensive line helping the running game back to the success the Cowboys had as division champions in 2016-17. Wyoming has a pair of power five non-conference games plus drawing last year’s West champion on the road as there are some hurdles ahead in trying to match or surpass the eight-win count from last season. Boise State and Utah State will both have to head to Laramie for a potential edge as Wyoming is a threat in the Mountain race.

    Colorado State: Mike Bobo’s squad doesn’t return a great deal of experience for his fourth season in Fort Collins but a few notable transfers will put major conference talent in his offense. The Rams have made but lost bowl games every season under Bobo with three consecutive 7-6 campaigns. While expectations for a breakthrough are growing it will be a tough act to deliver in 2018. Colorado State does have a preferable draw of the West teams missing the top two threats but a very tough non-conference schedule with three power five dates will leave little margin for error in Mountain West play regarding bowl eligibility. Ultimately a Colorado State defense that surrendered 436 yards per game while going 5-3 in league games last season doesn’t look likely to be greatly improved.

    Air Force: After winning 10 games in 2016, that count was cut in half for Air Force last season, missing a bowl game for the first time since 2013. The Falcons lack proven depth on the offensive line which is always the key component of the option attack but top rusher and passer Arion Worthman returns. The pull from the West features three difficult games with two road tests vs. quality teams and the non-conference schedule is a bit tougher than expected with Army and Florida Atlantic coming off strong seasons. Air Force is 20-4 S/U at home the past four seasons and the Falcons will need to maintain an edge in Colorado Springs to have a successful season with most of the pivotal swing games coming at home.

    New Mexico: A great rebuilding run for Bob Davie collapsed last season as the Lobos fell to 3-9. Davie wound up suspended for a month in the winter surrounding misconduct allegations as New Mexico isn’t well positioned for a great season. There is some returning experience and this team lost a couple of very tight games last season to fall from 9-4 to 3-9. The schedule in 2018 is daunting with perhaps the three best West teams on the path and four very difficult home games in conference play. The Lobos have a talented young quarterback and the top rusher from last season back but the defense could slide backwards after two respectable seasons with capable defensive numbers. Ultimately a lot is adding up for potential problems for New Mexico to have a successful season and it won’t be a shock if the program looks to go another direction at some point.

    WEST OUTLOOK

    San Diego State:
    The Aztecs went 2-0 vs. the Pac-12 last season with a pair of early season upsets but after a 6-0 start, a pair of home losses ended a two-year run on top of the MWC. San Diego State also missed in bowl action losing to Army but Rocky Long has guided this team to a 32-9 record the past three years combined. Christian Chapman is back at quarterback but replacing record setting running back Rashaad Penny could be a challenge. The defense also loses a few contributors but this year’s squad is a threat to get back to the MWC title game. An opening game at Stanford could determine whether or not San Diego State could have more at stake this season. The quartet of road games in league play is daunting as another runner-up finish in the West is realistic as well.

    Fresno State: The Bulldogs delivered one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football history as veteran head coach Jeff Tedford turned in a 10-4 season at his Alma Mater after inheriting a team that went 1-11 the previous year. The Bulldogs improved dramatically on both sides of the ball and turned around a lot of close game fortune, winding up falling just short in the MWC Championship but winning the Hawai’i Bowl. Matching last season’s success will be difficult but much of last season’s roster is intact. The schedule is difficult outside of the conference with three perilous non-conference games plus having to play two of the top Mountain squads including making a trip to Boise. A lot went right for Fresno State last season and while the Bulldogs are still a threat in 2018 a slight slide back to the pack looks possible on the 2018 schedule.

    UNLV: The Rebels have improved in win-count by one each season under Tony Sanchez and a continuation of that pattern would get the Rebels in a bowl game for the first time since 2013. The schedule ahead features two non-conference road games that will be difficult to win as at least a 4-4 league campaign looks necessary which is the mark the Rebels hit last season. UNLV faces two of the lesser Mountain foes in its path and has a pair of winnable road games in the division. Returning talent on both offense and defense should lead a solid squad with quality in the backfield and a defense with veteran linebackers. The numbers need to get better defensively with 5.4 yards per rush allowed last season while the offense only scored 29 points per game despite posting 427 yards per game as more efficiency will be needed to complete the rise for a breakthrough campaign.

    Nevada: Jay Norvell had a disappointing first season at Nevada with the Wolf Pack dipping to 3-9 for the worst season for the program in more than a decade. Nevada allowed at least 30 points in all but three games as the defense has regressed in back-to-back seasons. The offense has capable numbers with Ty Gangi ultimately taking over and delivering a productive season but a program built on running the ball successfully needs more consistent results on the ground. Nevada has a fairly difficult MWC slate as the four home games will all be difficult and winning on the road has been a challenge with Nevada 0-6 in road games last season. The non-conference schedule also features two power five schools and a tough road game at Toledo as a season of improvement isn’t assured even with a low bar to reach and a decent group of returning players.

    San Jose State: Brent Brennan stepped into a tough situation but his first season in San Jose was a challenge with the Spartans outscored by 26 points per game on average with only a three-point win in the season finale a FBS victory for the team. Road games at Pac-12 powers will make September difficult and San Jose State isn’t likely to be competitive in four difficult road games in MWC play. The home dates offer some potential however and matching or topping last season’s win count is realistic even with the rebuilding still clearly a work in progress. Goals will need to be modest for the Spartans this season but several teams have been able to regroup quickly for a major turnaround in this conference in recent years.

    Hawai’i: The Warriors were a surprise bowl team in 2016 but fell to just 3-9 last season as Nick Rolovich enters his third season with growing unrest. His squad has lost several contributors due to transfers as this will be a very inexperienced team. John Ursua will be the leader in the receiving corps but there isn’t a lot of depth behind him in a system that relies on multiple receiver sets and efficient quarterback play remains a question mark. Defense was the weaker side of the ball last season as well and the three wins came vs. UMass, FCS Western Carolina, and San Jose State last season as competing with the top MWC teams looks unlikely. There are winnable games on the schedule and the Warriors avoid Boise State from the Mountain side while drawing preferable matchups at home.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Conference USA Outlook
    July 5, 2018


    Conference USA made some noise last season with Florida Atlantic dominating the conference with a 9-0 campaign and a dominant bowl win under the guidance of firebrand Lane Kiffin. UAB’s revival also provided a great storyline while Louisiana Tech, Marshall and Middle Tennessee State were also bowl winners as underdogs.

    EAST OUTLOOK

    This season the East discussion will again start with Kiffin and Florida Atlantic as he surprised many by not making a leap after one season to a major conference program. Here is a look at the seven teams in Conference USA East and an early outlook for the 2018 season.

    Florida Atlantic: The Owls outscored conference foes by an average of more than three touchdowns per game then winning the title game by 24 points and their bowl game by 47 points. The Owls will need to replace quarterback Jason Driskel but nearly the entire defense is back in action this season. The opening month offers three difficult non-conference games including games at Oklahoma and at UCF as the Owls will get a chance to shine in a bigger spotlight this season. The gap between FAU and the rest of the East was severe last season and that could be true again but the Owls will have to play three road games against the likely stronger teams in the division. The crossover draw of Louisiana Tech and North Texas is also a difficult pairing as FAU will earn a repeat title if they accomplish what they are heavily favored (-150) to do in this conference. Devin Singletary could emerge as a potential Heisman long shot if he can surpass his 1,900 yard 2017-18 season and should the Owls stun a re-tooling Sooners team in the opener (currently +21) this squad will be certainly be on top of the Group of 5 rankings.

    Marshall: Doc Holliday is 61-42 in eight seasons at Marshall including 5-0 in bowl games. The Herd bounced back from an ugly 2016 campaign to finish 8-5 last season despite going just 4-4 in conference play. Marshall lost those Conference USA games by a combined total of 19 points including a five-point loss in Boca Raton with the Herd out-gaining Florida Atlantic but struggling with turnovers. Marshall has a lot of starting experience back for the 2018 season however excellent quarterback Chase Litton is not among the returnees which will make ascending to the top of this division a challenge with a much more pass oriented offensive scheme than Florida Atlantic relies on. Marshall was fantastic defensively against the run last season allowing just 121 yards per game on 3.4 yards per carry and the Herd get to host both Middle Tennessee State and Florida Atlantic for a favorable division draw. Marshall also pulls UTSA and Southern Miss from the West for one of the better overall schedules in the conference as a return to the postseason looks likely for this team. A pair of games vs. the SEC and ACC in September also allows for marquee opportunities with the program picking up wins over Purdue and Cincinnati in the past three seasons.

    Middle Tennessee State: The Blue Raiders played much of the 2017 season with a backup quarterback and having Brent Stockstill for the entire season could make Middle Tennessee State a serious threat in Conference USA. Middle Tennessee State won four of its final five games including a bowl win over Arkansas State with the lone miss coming in triple overtime. Middle Tennessee State beat Syracuse last September and three SEC schools are on the schedule this season which will make the postseason margin of error much smaller than most of its division counterparts. The conference draw isn’t ideal as while the Blue Raiders will host Florida Atlantic, three of the four road games in C-USA play are challenging and they will also have to play one of the top west division threats in geographically misplaced UAB, though that game is the home finale. Facing seven road games and three power five games make the path to a great season difficult for the Blue Raiders but a lot of experience returns on both sides of the ball for a team that will be a threat to win in every conference game.

    Old Dominion: After a 10-win 2016 season Old Dominion slipped to 5-7 last year but after a 2-6 start the Monarchs picked up wins in three of the final four games. The five wins last season were of extremely low quality however and against top competition the Monarchs were out-classed with three losses by at least 30 points against the top tier of Conference USA. The offense took a huge step back last season from the 2016 numbers scoring just over 20 points per game but the returns could be stronger in 2018 with nine starters back in action. Old Dominion will need to win seven games to make a bowl game as they will play two FCS foes but a rebuilding Rice squad is part of the West draw and East Carolina is also on the schedule as it won’t be a shock if the Monarchs get back to a winning ledger. Old Dominion gets many of the key division race swing games at home and the returning roster should lead to better statistics on both sides of the ball after the team was soundly out-scored and out-gained last season.

    Western Kentucky:
    Mike White wound up with strong numbers at quarterback last season but the Western Kentucky offense dropped dramatically in production with a coaching change. Mike Sanford still got this team to a bowl game but it took some good fortune with several narrow wins. The offense has very little returning experience and production and making a fifth straight bowl game will be a great challenge for the Hilltoppers. Western Kentucky has road games at Wisconsin and at Louisville in non-conference play while also going on the road against three of Conference USA’s projected top teams. Pulling UTEP from the west is a plus while the home slate in league play is manageable but ultimately this program looks likely to land several tiers below the great squads of 2015 and 2016.

    Florida International: It was a season of redemption for Alex McGough and Florida International with an 8-5 2017 season led by Butch Davis in his first season ‘back’ in Miami. The long-time quarterback has departed however and the season ended with a lopsided bowl loss against Temple. The 2018 schedule offers many of the easiest conference games coming on the road while two power five non-conference tests will add to the loss column as a step backwards in record is likely. The offense lost top players at every position while the defense was gutted with the top four leading tacklers from last season departing. This was a fortunate team that went 4-4 in league play despite being outscored and out-gained by more than 50 yards per game on average. Florida International hasn’t had a winning road record since 2011 and the best opportunities this season will be in some of those road games. Ultimately this looks like a team that won’t be able to compete with the top division rivals.

    Charlotte: in three seasons in Conference USA Charlotte has just four league wins. The 49ers finished 1-11 last season and the lone win was an overtime result at home. There were a few close calls along the way but the offense managed just over 14 points per game on average for the season. Charlotte has a chance to surpass last season’s win count early this season as the opening month slate is favorable with four of the first six games at home without any overly demanding matchups. The 49ers don’t get to play any of the bottom West teams in the draw however and a road heavy late season schedule will take a toll. The program has been patient with Brad Lambert in his sixth season and improvement in record is likely this season though competing for a bowl bid likely will need to wait. This could be a very respectable defensive team but the offense isn’t going to be able to compete with the top teams in the conference.

    WEST OUTLOOK

    The West offers a muddled collection of teams with a case for five different squads to be on top. It won’t be a surprise if several teams wind up tied at 6-2 or 5-3 and tiebreakers are needed in the West in 2018 as there is no clear front runner as there is on the East side. Here is a look at the seven teams in Conference USA West and an early outlook ahead of the 2018 season.

    Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs made a major statement in bowl action with a 51-10 win over SMU in the Frisco Bowl. That win clinched a fourth straight winning season for Skip Holtz in Ruston and after slipping to just seven wins last season this year’s team has a chance to get back to the nine-win campaigns of the previous years. Facing two SEC teams on the road limits the overall ceiling for this group and the Bulldogs have to play at Florida Atlantic in the East draw as well to put several major hurdles on the slate. J’Mar Smith emerged as a quality playmaker at quarterback last season however and the running game has always been productive under Holtz. Last season’s defense was among the better units in Conference USA and it should remain a quality group in 2017. It likely won’t take perfection to win this division as the Bulldogs will be in the mix and they get to host one of the top threats in UAB.

    North Texas: The Mean Green improved by four wins last season and Mason Fine returns as likely the top quarterback in the conference coming off throwing for 4,000 yards with 31 touchdowns last season for a nine-win team. North Texas was the division champion at 7-1 last season but there were numerous close calls as the Mean Green only outscored foes by 21 points if you count the conference championship loss. Both league losses came to the same Florida Atlantic squad last season however but the Mean Green again draws the East favorite this season along with a capable Old Dominion team in the crossover games. Despite the strong record last season this wasn’t a quality defensive team but the Mean Green could flip a -11 turnover margin from last season as well. With five wins by seven or fewer points last season the 2017 squad was fortunate but having a great quarterback helps one win those types of games and the Mean Green are a threat for another solid season.

    UAB: After ending the football program for two years UAB returned as one of the feel-good stories of the season as Bill Clark led the team to an 8-5 record last season. UAB had a lot go right last season as the scoring and production numbers were more indicative of a .500 squad and four wins came by seven or fewer points. The West is clearly the lighter side of Conference USA however as there will remain favorable opportunities for wins and three of the four non-conference tests are also of the winnable variety. This year’s team has most of last season’s offensive production back in action and while the defense must replace a few key players this can again be a competitive team that can return to the postseason and compete for the division title. A good offensive line and a veteran quarterback can go a long ways as the Blazers could rise to the top of the West.

    Southern Miss: The Golden Eagles won eight games last season as Jay Hopson has kept the program in the postseason in both of his seasons in Hattiesburg. This will be one of the least experienced teams in the conference however even with the return of the two viable quarterback options for Southern Miss. This was a very respectable defensive team last season that was steady against the run and the pass but some of the numbers were built with a few dominant showings against the bottom of this division. Southern Miss will play one of the weaker schedules in the nation this season with only a September game at Auburn in the ‘certain loss’ camp as they avoid Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee State and will play games with Marshall and Louisiana Tech at home. This year’s team likely isn’t as strong as last season’s squad with the Golden Eagles posting fairly dominant numbers in a 6-2 league campaign but matching last season’s record isn’t out of the question with this slate.

    Texas-San Antonio: The Roadrunners finished with a winning record last season but they played just 11 games thanks to a hurricane-related cancelation. The schedule starts with a bang this season facing three power five teams in succession to open the season but it won’t be a surprise if UTSA can reverse course with three wins in a row after that. UTSA draws two decent teams from the East and has a fairly tough set of home games in league play for a squad with little returning offensive experience other than running back Jalen Rhodes. The defensive numbers from 2017 are eye-popping with just 17.0 points per game and 288 yards per game allowed albeit through what wound up being an extremely weak schedule. Losing a great deal of leadership from last season plus facing a more challenging schedule likely leads to a decline in San Antonio this season however the gap between the top five teams in this division isn’t likely to be substantial.

    UTEP: Dana Dimel is the new leader at UTEP after a long run as a Kansas State offensive assistant. Inheriting a 0-12 program there are obvious issues at UTEP but expectations will be quite grounded. UTEP managed only 12 points per game on average last season as clearly the worst offensive team in the country and the defense faced great strain as well despite keeping the team in a handful of games. There is a lot of player turnover on the roster but the opportunity for quick improvement is possible. Quarterback injuries plagued the team last season as the Miners had to dig far down the depth chart and the 2018 schedule offers a handful of promising opportunities with only a few games where UTEP has little chance to compete. Dimel won’t be able to deliver a miracle turnaround in year one but getting the team in the win column looks likely especially if a few transfers with potential live up to their billing.

    Rice: The Owls mad a change with David Baliff let go after more than a decade in Houston. The 1-11 season and four straight seasons of decline in record made the move justifiable especially with last season’s offense averaging only 16 points per game. The Owls had very little production in the passing game last season and making a quick improvement for the program will be challenge for new head coach Mike Bloomgren, a Stanford assistant since 2011 that doesn’t really have ties to the program or area. It will likely be a long transition season for the Owls although in this division there are opportunities for wins. Rice plays at Hawai’i and will play 13 games this season though seven of those games are on the road. Topping last season’s win count looks likely with numerous favorable chances including a FCS opener but there will likely be several lopsided losses as well as a marginal defense lost the top five tacklers from last season.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  15. #30
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    Sun Belt Outlook
    July 5, 2018


    The Sun Belt splits into two divisions this season and the conference could continue to grow in stature after a strong 3-1 bowl showing last winter, plus a marquee win over the SEC in the regular season. The conference has been a proving ground for major conference coaching candidates particularly in the SEC and now having a championship game to showcase the future is bright in the SBC.

    The Sun Belt trims down to 10 this season with the departure of New Mexico State (now an independent) and Idaho (now playing at the FCS level) and forms five-team East and West divisions. That count allows for a nice schedule with only one missed opponent on the league slate but also means some imbalance in the divisions and the schedules in the debut season of the division format.

    Appalachian State and Troy tied on top of the conference standings at 7-1 last season with those teams absent from each other’s schedules last season. This year they meet in the regular season finale with that matchup expected to decide the fate of the East division champion and title game representative. Arkansas State will be the overall favorite for the conference title as the clear frontrunner in the East.

    EAST OUTLOOK

    Troy:
    The Trojans wound up 11-2 overall last season and shared the Sun Belt regular season title. The scheduling draw in 2018 is favorable in the new division format as they won’t play West favorite Arkansas State in the regular season. The big matchup with Appalachian State will be on the road as will games with Georgia Southern and UL-Monroe as the Trojans will need to maintain Neal Brown’s 9-3 S/U road record from the past two seasons to continue as a threat for the league title. Non-conference tests early with Boise State and Nebraska will be telling with Troy delivering the headline-making upset over LSU last season. Troy also must replace prolific quarterback Brandon Silvers and the top two rushers from last season but many key players return from a defense that allowed just 18.5 points per game last season and was especially stingy against the run. The offensive line should remain first rate with three All Conference caliber returnees which could help ease the quarterback transition.

    Appalachian State: Scott Satterfield has turned in winning seasons in four straight years since the Mountaineers joined the FBS level, including a combined 30-9 mark the past three seasons with three straight bowl wins with an impressive 34-0 win over Toledo last season. The Mountaineers must replace highly productive quarterback Taylor Lamb, a four-year starter however as it will be difficult to maintain the recent production. Last year’s squad didn’t match the success of the 2015 and 2016 squads as they drew a very light schedule in the SBC and still had a number of a narrow wins vs. lesser teams. Jalin Moore returns to lead the rushing attack and Victor Johnson is one of the top offensive linemen in the conference but there are questions on the front-seven on defense while quarterback play will be closely monitored replacing a school legend.

    Georgia Southern: The Eagles won nine-games in both 2014 and 2015 but made a mid-season coaching change last season with interim head coach Chad Lunsford doing enough to earn the spot full time moving forward. This year’s team has a chance to make a big move forward after winning just two games last season as there were many competitive losses and this is one of the most experienced teams in the conference. The Eagles are a deep sleeper for the conference title as they will host the three Sun Belt favorites and the road schedule is manageable once a September game at Clemson is out of the way. With an upset or two a rise to bowl eligibility looks possible as Georgia Southern should get back to its winning ways of the first half of the last decade.

    Georgia State: The Panthers went 7-5 in Shawn Elliott’s first season in Atlanta, ultimately picking up the programs first ever bowl win with a Cure Bowl victory over Western Kentucky for a successful campaign. Most of the producers from last season depart however aside from top receiver Penny Hart who could be the top target in the conference. As one of the few pass-first teams in the conference the Panthers can be a tough matchup but this was an erratic squad that had a few ugly losses last season despite the winning final record. Georgia State has a very tough road schedule in conference play this season and falling back below.500 looks like the most likely scenario for a program that has alternated disastrous and moderately successful seasons the past four years.

    Coastal Carolina:
    Coastal Carolina won its first FBS game last season but then lost nine in a row before a pair of wins to close the season. Well regarded head coach Joe Moglia missed last season for medical reasons as this team should find its footing with better depth but the SBC draw is fairly difficult missing arguably the worst team from the West draw and facing a challenging quartet of league home games. Opportunities for wins aren’t plentiful for Coastal Carolina who had a massive statistical gap with the rest of the league in most areas but Moglia has done nothing but win since taking over the program as the Chanticleers could make a bit of noise.

    WEST OUTLOOK

    Arkansas State:
    The Red Wolves slipped to 7-5 last season for a second straight season of slight decline under Blake Anderson. Four of five losses last season came by single-scores however and Arkansas State looks like the clear frontrunner in the West. The Red Wolves don’t have to play Troy from the East draw and the roster returns most of last season’s offensive talent led by quarterback Justice Hansen. This squad out-gained its foes by 150 yards per game on average in conference play but the defense regressed form the 2016 results, finishing 6-2 in league play. A tough non-conference schedule will again take a toll but the Red Wolves are deserving of the top billing in this division and the conference overall.

    Louisiana-Monroe: Monroe could be considered a threat in the West if only for giving Arkansas State a battle last season with a loss despite scoring 50 points. The Warhawks improved dramatically on offense in Matt Viator’s second season and a lot of key players return for an expected 2018 breakthrough. Boosting the chances for success in the SBC slate is the absence of Appalachian State on the schedule however the Warhawks will be playing seven road games with the program going 4-25 S/U on the road the past four years combined. The defense allowed 532 yards per game last season as and two of the unit’s top players from last season are gone as shootouts will be the norm for this group.

    Louisiana: The Ragin’ Cajuns nabbed Billy Napier as their new head coach and it won’t be a shock if he is leading a SEC squad a few years down the road. A former Clemson and Alabama assistant he was the offensive coordinator at Arizona State last season and could have instant success in Lafayette. The Cajuns won five games last season and were competitive in most losses. The offense wasn’t the issue last season and will again be the strength of the team in 2018. The defense that allowed 40 points per game last season returns just three starters however. Winnable home games are ahead as getting back to a bowl game after last season’s absence looks possible but getting stops will be a challenge.

    South Alabama: Joey Jones had a number of big wins at South Alabama but provided inconsistent season results since the program joined the FBS level. He has been replaced by Steve Campbell who has been at Central Arkansas the past four years. The offense really took a big fall last season as the Jaguars offered adequate defense by Sun Belt standards last season. This year’s team has some returning experience on both sides and should be competitive despite going through a major transition. Ultimately all six road games look likely to be losses and a similar season to 2017 looks realistic.

    Texas State: The Bobcats have posted back-to-back 2-10 seasons under Everett Withers and this squad will again be rated towards the very bottom of the FBS ranks. There is some experience back and a couple of close misses last year offers some promise for improvement. Unfortunately the best opportunities for wins could be road games with some of the better SBC teams visiting San Marcos but there are a pair of winnable opportunities at home in non-conference play. A new quarterback takes over an offense that netted just 17 points per game however and competing with the high-powered offenses in this division will be a challenge. The defense has enough talent to keep this team in a few games as improving the win count slightly is possible.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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