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Thread: Cnotes preview of 2019 college football conference outlook

  1. #31
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    2019 Mid-American Preview
    July 29, 2019


    PREVIEW

    2019 Mid-American Conference (MAC)


    Long Time Between Drinks Of Water

    The MAC hasn’t produced consecutive conference champions since 2011-12, and four different programs have claimed the league title over the last four years. Northern Illinois enters the 2019 season as the defending champion, but the Huskies have question marks on both sides of the ball and 6-year veteran head coach Rod Carey has left the program to take over the Temple program. Meanwhile, Ohio U appears the team to beat in 2019.

    Rivalries Abound

    The MAC has its fair share of intense rivalries, including the Battle of the Bricks (Ohio vs. Miami), the Michigan MAC Trophy (Central, Eastern, and Western Michigan), the Battle of I-75 (Toledo vs. Bowling Green) and the Wagon Wheel (Akron vs. Kent State). Rest assured, despite being Group of Fivers, these rivalries remain intense.

    Bowl Busts

    The MAC has been a major disappointment in bowl games, especially the past 11 seasons as they are just 16-46 SU and 20-38-2 ATS overall, including 1-5 SU and 2-4 ATS last postseason.

    Worse, in bowl games against foes coming off a loss the MAC has gone 3-22 SU and 4-20-1 ATS since 2008, including 0-7 SUATS as either a pick or a favorite (see Buffalo last year). Yikes.

    The numbers following each team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The RPR represents each team’s overall, offensive and defensive rankings in overall returning production experience.

    EAST DIVISION

    AKRON (Offense - *7/3, Defense - 3/1, RPR: 101/55/115)


    TEAM THEME: WHIPLASH

    The Zips No. 2 ranked Red Zone Offense in 2018 was not enough to save Terry Bowden’s hide. As a result, Bowden is gone after seven seasons in the Rubber City and new head coach Tom Arth enters with a new playbook. Arth, a Northeast Ohio native and former QB at Cleveland St. Ignatius and the Indianapolis Colts, served as a head coach at John Carroll and UT Chattanooga, where he was 49-21, including 5-3 in Division III playoffs. His Moccasins at UTC had the top recruiting class in the Southern Conference. Arth insists that Akron has no returning starters and that every position must be earned. Stay tuned as he cracks the whip.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Zips have been outyarded in 29 of their last 39 games overall.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Kent State (10/12)


    BOWLING GREEN (Offense - *8/4, Defense - 5/2, RPR: 98/43/120)

    TEAM THEME: NO MO JINKS

    The Mike Jinx era in Bowling Green was doomed before it started. After taking over a 10-win squad with heavy graduation losses, the Falcons won only 9 games the next three seasons. Bill Connelly of SBNation.com called it the “dumbest coaching search in college football” when they brought in Jinx, an inexperienced former running back aide at Texas Tech (a school known for its air-raid passing attack). The next savior up is Scot Loeffler, who coached-up Tom Brady and Tim Tebow (sounds like an oxymoron if ever there was one). He’s also had big busts at Boston College and Virginia Tech. Even worse for Loeffler, his starting QB Seth Doege decided to bail into the transfer portal. Uh-oh.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Falcons went 39-6 SU in games where they won the stats, and 6-37 SU when they lost the stats over the last seven years.

    PLAY ON: vs. Toledo (10/12)


    BUFFALO (Offense - 5/4, Defense - 3/1, RPR: 127/122/112)

    TEAM THEME: WHERE HAVE ALL THE BISON GONE?

    On the heels of a record-setting 10-win season in 2018, the Bulls will have a new look in 2019. One of the biggest priorities heading into the new campaign will be finding a replacement for Bulls’ starting quarterback Tyree Jackson, the 2018 MAC Offensive Player of the Year, who declared for the NFL Draft. In addition, all-MAC receivers Anthony Johnson and K.J. Osborn have departed. Head coach Lance Leipold can rely on the return of four starting offensive linemen but make no mistake – Jackson leaves large shoes to fill. He was the primary reason the SU stats winner in Bulls’ games was 14-0 SU and 13-0 ATS last season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Since joining the MAC in 1999, Buffalo is 10-62 SU versus winning opponents.

    PASS


    KENT STATE (Offense - *9/4, Defense - 6/0, RPR: 8/6/34)

    TEAM THEME: SEVEN DEAD IN OHIO

    When the Flashes brought Sean Lewis in to replace Paul Haynes and his 14-41 record with Kent, they were optimistic that the former Dino Babers assistant at Syracuse would pick up the pace. The offense responded by improving 91 yards and 11 points per games behind Lewis’ new playbook. The problem was, like Babers’ defenses, the stop-unit couldn’t stop a fart when they allowed more than 500 yards in five contests (all losses). And therein lies the dilemma. A once-solid defense has now regressed across the board for three straight years. Seven road games, including visits to Arizona State, Auburn, and Wisconsin, could have them guzzling Imodium by season’s end. Gulp.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Flashes 1-28 SU and 9-20 ATS in games in which they score less than 24 points.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Bowling Green (9/21)


    MIAMI OHIO (Offense - 5/3, Defense - 5/2, RPR: 95/89/86)

    TEAM THEME: A BAD CASE OF ARRHYTHMIA

    At first glance, a 6-6 record last year looked like another disappointing season as the RedHawks have now gone 8 straight years without a winning record. But a deeper look inside the numbers tells another story as Miami won 5 of its final 7 games of the season while going 8-1 ATS and averaging 34 points per game to conclude the campaign. Unfortunately, the offense was gashed as 55.2% of the starts made last season (8th most in the nation) were by 19 seniors. When the Hawks opened spring camp, there was not a single quarterback on the roster that had ever thrown a pass in a college game. So while the spirit is willing, the heart is fluttering.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Miami Ohio led the nation in Red Zone Offense (.977) last season.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Ohio U (11/6)


    OHIO U (Offense - *4/2, Defense - 6/2, RPR: 113/119/69)

    TEAM THEME: ALL BY MYSELF

    For the second season in a row, the Bobcats squared off against only two teams during the regular season that owned a winning record the previous year. As a result, Frank Solich’s troops notched 9 wins in 2017 and 2018. The question begs how will they fare this year against an itinerary filled with no less than 6 foes that went bowling last year? We do know this: OU has managed to win four MAC division titles while also going bowling 10 of the last 11 years. With a boatload of experience suddenly gone (54.8% of last years starts were by seniors), Solich is left to fend for himself in 2019.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Ohio U has played 26 games decided by a TD or less the last five seasons.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Kent State (10/19)


    ************************************************

    WEST DIVISION

    BALL STATE (Offense - 8/5, Defense - 9/2, RPR: 18/56/10)

    TEAM THEME: NEU LOOK GROWING OLD

    With 10 wins in three seasons, Cardinal head coach Mike Neu realizes his job is suddenly on the line. For a team that retains most of its two-deep, and with only two home foes with winning records last season, Neu couldn’t have asked for anything more. For nothing else, he has made numerous pit stops as a head coach at minor programs, including the Augusta Stallions, Carolina Cobras, and the New Orleans VooDoo. The former New Orleans Saints quarterbacks coach also started 38-of-41 games at quarterback in his four seasons at Ball State. A string of 6 straight bowl foes from Games Four thru Nine will likely determine Neu’s fate.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: BSU is one of only two FBS schools to average less than 10,000 fans (UL-Monroe the other) – or 100K fewer fans than Michigan.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Western Michigan (11/5)


    CENTRAL MICHIGAN (Offense - *8/3, Defense - 3/1, RPR: 76/10/124)

    TEAM THEME: CHIPS ANNOY

    Ouch. After winning 7, 6, 7, 7, 6 and 8 games each of the previous six seasons, the Chippewas fell off the map last year with just one win. The culprit was an offense that ranked dead last in the FBS, and whose failure led to the annoying departure of one of our favorite coaches in John Bonamego who managed to beat cancer while coaching CMU. Thus, as a four-year bowler, the Chips become a ‘mission team’ in 2019 under new head coach Jim McElwain, the former head honcho at Florida. He immediately signed seven 3-star offensive recruits, which should be good news with the Chips being ranked in the Top 10 in return production.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Chippewas are 5-0 ATS as dogs of 20 or more points since 2013.

    PLAY ON: at Ball State (11/16)


    EASTERN MICHIGAN (Offense - 6/2, Defense - 4/1, RPR: 117/100/107)

    TEAM THEME: FLIGHT SCHOOL IN PROGRESS

    It’s been a slow but steady rise for the Eagles in five seasons under head coach Creighton, whose troops have witnessed defensive improvement for three straight years. Closer inspection finds 11 of the 13 losses they suffered the past two seasons came by a touchdown or less, a sure sign this team is aching to breakthrough. In order for Creighton to keep his troops on track, he’ll need to overcome an inordinate 7 away games dotting this year’s itinerary. Given EMU’s 11-49 record in seasons they’ve been forced to play 7 away games, the task could prove tricky. But we’re not betting against Creighton. Not with five JUCOs coming in to fill holes on defense this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Eastern Michigan has allowed the fewest points in school history last season each of the last two seasons.

    PLAY AGAINST:
    at Northern Illinois (11/19)


    NO ILLINOIS (Offense - *6/3, Defense - 7/2, RPR: 37/61/29)

    TEAM THEME: KEEP CALM AND HAMMOCK ON

    On the heels of winning its fifth MAC championship last year, for the first time since 2013 NIU will open the season with a new head coach, Thomas ‘Easy Breezy’ Hammock, a former running back with NIU and an assistant coach with Wisconsin, Minnesota and the Baltimore Ravens. The good news for Hammock is the Huskies return QB Marcus Childers, who threw for 2,175 yards on 234 completions on 397 attempts. In addition, their top four rushers are back, as well as the top four tacklers from a defense that allowed a mere 2.7 yards per rush in 2018. The big test will come with three consecutive road games at Utah, Nebraska, and Vanderbilt in September.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Huskies are 35-13 SU and 32-15-1 ATS in their last forty-eight road games.

    PLAY ON: at Miami Ohio (10/19) - *KEY


    TOLEDO (Offense - *6/3, Defense - 5/2, RPR: 107/57/82)

    TEAM THEME: ROCKETS RED GLARE

    Mark it down. Like his predecessor, Jason Candle will be the next Toledo head coach to move on to a Power 5 conference. For the past nine years with the Rockets, Candle has been instrumental in UT’s success. First as an assistant, and then as a head coach, his teams have gone 79-37 while appearing in 8 bowl games over that span. With 13 seasons under his belt as an assistant, Candle was just 27 years old when he was named an offensive coordinator at Mount Union. It didn’t hurt that UT scored at least 50 points six times in 2018, a school record, as well as eleven times in Candle’s three years as the lead Rocket.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Rockets were one of four teams that did not start a single freshman last season.

    PLAY ON: vs. Northern Illinois (11/13)


    WESTERN MICHIGAN (Offense - *8/3, Defense - 10/4, RPR: 1/9/6)

    TEAM THEME: YOU AGAIN

    Meet America’s most experienced team. According to SB Nation’s Bill Connelly, as confirmed by the RPR numbers above, the Broncos bring back more playing experience this season than any FBS squad. And after head coach Tim Lester lured the second-best class in the MAC with 19 three-star recruits in his first year, he didn’t stop there: eight 3-star WRs and TEs, four 3-star OL and a pair of 3-star RBs dotting the roster. And we didn’t even mention the return of QB John Wassink, who broke his ankle in the Toledo game (WMU was riding a 6-game win streak prior to the injury). Look for the Broncos to kick up a storm this year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: As many as 14 seniors will be starting for the Broncos in 2019.

    PLAY ON: at Syracuse (9/21)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  2. #32
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    Pac-12 could have morning kickoffs
    July 24, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    LOS ANGELES (AP) The Pac-12 has heard plenty of criticism from fans and coaches about a third of games being played at night last year.

    That has led Commissioner Larry Scott to possibly try a new scheduling approach this season.

    Instead of ''Pac-12 After Dark'', welcome to ''Breakfast with the Pac-12''.

    Scott said Fox and conference athletic directors are in preliminary talks about morning kickoffs for some games, which would put them in the network's key noon Eastern time slot. Any morning kickoffs, which would be at 9 a.m. Pacific and 10 a.m. Mountain, would be voluntary and not dictated by Fox.

    ''That would be new and somewhat out of the box, but I've tried to put everything on the table,'' Scott said. ''I think there are some schools and markets that might respond positively.''

    Coaches are split about the possibility of a morning kickoff. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said the sooner they can start, the better.

    ''We'd adjust. We've played those games before. It's been few and far between, but we've had those 10 a.m. kickoffs in the past. We'd jump at the chance for that,'' he said.

    Stanford's David Shaw said he would be somewhat resistant.

    ''All the studies we've all read and conducted ourselves on our campus, our sleep studies, it is better for young people to perform athletically if they get a full night's sleep,'' Shaw said. ''And I don't know that you can find any group of 18- to 22-year-old young people that are going to go to bed at 10 o'clock at night to get up at 6 o'clock in the morning to make sure they can perform athletically.''

    SOMETHING TO PROVE

    Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert remembers watching as a boy as Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota led the Ducks to conference titles.

    After deciding to return to school instead of declaring for the NFL draft, Herbert hopes to join that fraternity of quarterbacks as a senior.

    Herbert threw for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior last season but Oregon still finished fourth in the Pac-12 North.

    ''We've been through the highest of highs and lowest of lows and we've seen all the success that's been at Oregon so we're capable of looking at it and realizing this isn't where we wanted to be,'' Herbert said. ''There's a direction that we're heading and I think we need to keep going that way.''

    Oregon was a narrow pick to win the Pac-12 North in the annual media poll released Wednesday after finishing one point ahead of rival Washington. The Ducks also received 11 votes to win the Pac-12 title game.

    Herbert was pleased to receive the nod. However, he recognizes it means nothing if Oregon can't back it up on the field.

    PRESEASON TEAM


    Utah placed five on the preseason all-conference team.

    Four of the players are on defense - linemen Bradlee Anae and Leki Fotu along with defensive backs Julian Blackmon and Jaylon Johnson. Running back Zack Moss was the lone pick on offense.

    Colorado wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr was the only player to be listed on all 33 ballots.

    Oregon and Stanford had four players apiece. Ducks quarterback Justin Hebert was first team on all but two ballots and Cardinal defensive back Paulson Adebo was listed on 32 of 33.

    LEACH THE TEACH


    If Washington State coach Mike Leach found the latest offensive innovation during his foray into academia this past spring, he doesn't seem to be tipping his hand.

    Leach taught a five-part seminar called ''Leadership Lessons in Insurgent Warfare and Football Strategies,'' and students had to design plays as part of the final project. Having overseen an offense that has averaged at least 320 yards passing per game in each of his first seven seasons with the Cougars, Leach was certainly qualified to grade their work.

    Whether any of those plays will be added to the playbook of Leach's ''Air Raid'' spread offense is another matter. Offensive lineman Liam Ryan did not notice anything out of the ordinary during spring practice in March and April.

    However, given Leach's penchant for surprise, Ryan won't rule out seeing one of those plays show up in the fall.''

    ''We did not practice anything different in spring ball so I have no idea what goes on in his mind,'' Ryan said. ''He'll pull out something, I know that for sure.''

    NEW BOWL

    The Pac-12 will be adding the Los Angeles Bowl to its postseason lineup when it begins in 2020.

    The Los Angeles Bowl will feature a matchup between teams from the Pac-12 and Mountain West in the NFL stadium under construction. The Pac-12's commitment to the game runs through 2025.

    ''We are thrilled to partner with the Los Angeles Bowl and bring a Pac-12 presence to the new state-of-the-art facility at LA Stadium, in one of the biggest markets right in our footprint,'' Scott said.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  3. #33
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    Numbers/ratings in this list are from Phil Steele’s college football magazine:

    13) Top 3 quarterbacks in country:
    Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Too Tagovailoa (Alabama), Justin Herbert (Oregon)

    12) Top three offensive lines in country:
    Oregon, Georgia, Clemson

    11) Most experienced offensive lines in country:
    Oregon, UL-Monroe, UL-Lafayette, Texas Tech

    10) Teams who lose lot of close games one year tend to improve the next year; these teams had 4 net close losses last year:

    Arkansas, Nebraska, North Carolina, Western Kentucky (2 have new coaches this year)

    9) Teams who win lot of close games one year tend to regress the next year; these teams had 4 net close wins last year:

    Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas

    8) Michigan State gained 18.3 yards per point LY, 2nd-worst in country, which means their defense/special teams provided very little help to the offense. As a result, Spartans regressed from a 10-3 record in 2017 to 7-6 LY.

    Here is how Michigan State fared the last six years:
    2013-15: 36-5 W-L, +46 turnover margin
    2016-18: 20-18 W-L, -1 turnover margin

    7) Then there is Utah State, which gained only 10.46 yards/point LY, best in country, as they jumped from 6-7 to 11-2, and their coach jumped to Texas Tech for more money.

    Aggies were +14 in turnovers LY, after being -2 in turnovers from 2015-17.

    6) These four teams had the best defensive yards/point in country LY:

    Clemson, Fresno State, Kentucky, Mississippi State— Bulldogs have only 9 of 22 starters back this season; other three teams all have only four starters back on defense. Experienced teams tend to get the most out of what they have, then take a step back when new guys step n.

    5) These three teams had the best defensive yards/point in country LY:
    Bowling Green, Louisville, Western Michigan

    Louisville went 57-21 from 2012-17, then went 2-10 LY and fired the coach; Bowling Green also fired its coach, who was 9-27 the last three years (they were 28-14 from 2013-15).

    4) Toughest schedules in country this fall:

    South Carolina, Auburn, USC, Texas A&M

    3) Since 1991, 353 teams went -10 or worst in turnovers; 67% of them improved the next year, only 23% got worse:

    -17: UTEP, UConn, -14: East Carolina, Rutgers, -12: Louisville, UL-Monroe

    2) Since 1991, 440 teams went +10 or better in turnovers; only 28% of them improved the next year, 64% got worse:

    +22 Georgia Southern, +16 Kansas, +14: UCF, Utah State, +13: Syracuse, Ohio U.

    1) Over the last seven seasons, 53 teams were +14 or better in turnovers; 45 of those 53 teams did worse the following season.

    Kansas went 3-9 with a +16 turnover ratio, which isn’t easy; they fired the coach and brought in Les Miles, so the Jayhawks will be a fascinating study for the next couple years. Miles will improve their talent base.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Monday’s 6-pack

    College football recruiting budgets: (from 24/7 Sports)

    1) Georgia $2,626,622

    2) Texas $1,823,307

    3) Clemson $1,790,976

    4) Texas A&M $1,710,101

    5) Florida State $1,581,347

    6) Michigan $1,397,784
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2019 Mountain West Preview
    August 4, 2019
    VegasInsider.com
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    MWC 2019 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE PREVIEW

    Can You Spell Defense?

    Forget the ‘The Wall” that our self-proclaimed genius president is hell-bent on building at American taxpayer expense. All we need instead is a blueprint of the top defenses residing in the Mountain West Conference these days.

    The strength of the Mountain West Conference each of the last two years has been its defense. That’s’ confirmed by the fact that no less than three teams finished both the 2017 and 2018 football seasons ranked in the Top 25 in overall defense: #11 San Diego State (314.5), #22 Boise State (332.6) and #23 Wyoming (335.2) in 2018; and #17 Fresno State (321.6), #19 Wyoming (326.2), and #21 San Diego State (334.6) in 2019.

    20 for 20

    As the Mountain West Conference begins its 21st football season this year it’s worth noting that have more than held their own in games outside the conference. And a stellar 62-48-1 ATS mark as dogs of 20-plus points since its inception, including 17-7 ATS in season-opening games sets the table for the MWC this season.

    Bowling For Dollars

    Speaking of non-conference clashes, the MWC has more than held its own in bowl games, going 52-43 SU all-time.

    More importantly, they stand 12-3 ATS all-time as bowl dogs of 6 or more points. Remember that.

    The numbers following each team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The RPR represents each team’s overall, offensive and defensive rankings in overall returning production experience.

    MOUNTAIN DIVISION

    AIR FORCE (Offense - *8/4, Defense - 7/2 RPR: 75/72/74)

    TEAM THEME: BABY STEPS

    Coming off consecutive 5-7 seasons, AFA head coach Troy Calhoun is like a calf in a rodeo... fit to be tied. While calf roping is a cruel sport, so are losing seasons in Colorado Springs. In fact, you need to go back to 1981 to find the last time the Flyboys posted three straight losing seasons. Remember, Calhoun has averaged 7.25 wins per season with Air Force while suffering consecutive losing seasons only ONCE (until the last two years), when he bounced back to go 10-3 in 2014. Meanwhile, it should be pointed out that the Falcons suffered five losses by 8 or fewer points last season. Look for a reversal of fortune in 2019.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Falcons are 8-1 ATS as dogs of 20 or more points since 1996.

    PLAY ON: vs. Army (11/2)

    *********************************

    BOISE STATE (Offense - 6/5, Defense - 7/2, RPR: 88/120/22)

    TEAM THEME: GO FISH

    There is something to be said about being the biggest fish in a small pond. It’s the status Boise State has attained. The last time a Broncos football team failed to win 8 games in a season was 1998. The most consistent Group of Five team in the nation has knocked off six of their last ten Power Five foes. Helping matters this year, Boise featured 20 underclassmen that made starts last season. Sans QB Brett Rypien in 2019, BSU will take on only 4 foes that had winning records last season, practically guaranteeing them another double-digit win campaign in 2019. As we said, it’s better to swim in a lake with fishes than in an ocean with sharks.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Broncos are 75-2 SU in games vs. .500 or fewer foes with Bryan Harsin on the sidelines (as OC 2006-2010 and since 2014).

    PLAY AGAINST: at BYU (10/19)

    ***************************************

    COLORADO STATE (Offense - *5/2, Defense - 6/3 RPR: 125/126/96)

    TEAM THEME: RAISON D’ETRE

    Mike Bobo’s neuropathy problems were nothing compared to what the Rams suffered through when they were forced to replace the 2nd most overall total starters (15) in the nation, including seniors that had made a whopping 69.6% of all starts. If Joe Jackson were their head coach, we’d have called them the Shoeless Rams. Last year’s results spoke for themselves as a 3-win season snapped a 6-year bowl skein, thus making them a bonafide “mission team” in 2019. This season you can expect them to benefit from a 2017 recruiting class that included 23 members, 19 of whom saw playing time last year – including six true freshmen that combined to make 30 starts.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE:
    The Rams are 0-23 SU all-time versus ranked opponents.

    PLAY ON: at Utah State (9/28)

    ***************************************

    NEW MEXICO (Offense - *8/4, Defense - 2/2, RPR: 115/80/117)

    TEAM THEME: EARLY BIRDS GET THE WORM

    We’re as shocked as anyone that Bob Davie is still roaming the sidelines in Albuquerque these days. Coming off a pair of 3-9 seasons, and suspended 30 days over sexual allegations last season, we’re guessing this will be his make-or-break year with the Lobos. Last year Davie hit the JUCO circuit hard to replenish a delicately young roster and it failed to materialize. With it, even more JUCO transfers and two new coordinators are in place in this last gasp salvage attempt. To do so, he’ll need to capitalize on a soft early schedule. We do know that Davie is 45-25 against losing foes but only 17-45 against winning opponents in his career. And therein lies his future.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Lobos are 1-13 SU and 3-11 ATS in Game Eleven of the season since 2005.

    PLAY ON: vs. Liberty (9/28)

    ******************************************

    UTAH STATE (Offense - *2/1, Defense - 7/3, RPR: 104/110/68)

    TEAM THEME: TAPIOCA

    Rest assured, the Aggies will miss Matt Wells, now calling the shots at Texas Tech. The proof is in the pudding: Utah State was 32-16 SU in conference games under Wells. They were 24-42 SU the previous nine seasons. Returning to take over the reins is former USU head coach Gary Andersen, named WAC Coach of the year in his final season in Logan in 2012. He was also the first head coach at Utah State to notch a winning record since Phil Krueger (1973-75). While the offense was pillaged by graduation losses, QB Nathan Love returns after setting five school records in 2018, including 32 TD passes and 3,567 yards. Andersen will have his work cut out for him.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Aggies were tied with New Mexico State with most Special Teams touchdowns last season.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Wyoming (11/16)

    ****************************************

    WYOMING (Offense - *5/3, Defense - 6/1, RPR: 120/102/113)

    TEAM THEME: BOHL BOUND

    Last year we maintained that head coach Craig Bohl’s force-feeding of youngsters three seasons ago would pay dividends. It did not pan out as expected in 2018, but we remain firm in our conviction that the Cowboys are closer to the 8-win seasons they enjoyed in 2016 and 2017 than the 6 wins they posted last year. For openers, last year’s unit closed out the season on a 4-game stampede. The chip they carry on their shoulder this season is that they were a 6-win bowl-eligible team that was bypassed by bowl committees, snapping a two-year bowl run under Bohl. Remember, they lost their top two RBs, best WR and starting guard to injuries before the season last year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Wyoming is 6-1 ATS as a bowl dog against sub .800 opponents.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Air Force (11/30)

    ************************************************

    WEST DIVISION

    FRESNO STATE (Offense - 3/1, Defense - 6/4, RPR: 129/127/121)

    TEAM THEME: WHAT GOES UP...

    Since joining the MWC in 2012, the Bulldogs have won three league championships and four division titles. It goes without saying that head coach Jeff Tedford has been instrumental in the program’s success as they finished last season nationally ranked for the first time since 2004. Now, however, the bar rises to a completely new level in 2019. Only three starters are back on offense and none of them is QB Marcus McMaryion, who was 21-4 as a starter. On top of it all, OC Kalen DeBoer left the program for Indiana. With the worst RPR in the FBS, fortunately, they will face losing teams in six of their first seven games. Beware.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Fresno State is the first team in FBS history to secure back-to-back double-digit winning seasons following a double-digit loss season.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Nevada (11/23)

    **********************************

    HAWAII (Offense - *9/5, Defense - 9/3, RPR: 9/34/9)

    TEAM THEME: KULIA I KA NU’U

    Meet one of the most experienced squads in college football this season. With 9 starters back on each side of the ball, the Warriors also hold down a No. 9 overall RPR ranking. Led by gunslinger QB Cole McDonald – ranked 1st in passing yards in the MWC and 8th overall in the nation – and a front wall that brings back all five starters from 2018, the grass skirts represent the best talent Nick Rolovich has had in his three years in Honolulu. Our concern, though, is a defense that surrendered season-high yardage in half of their games last season, coughing up 24 or more points in 10 of its 11 FBS games. Fasten your seat belts as is could be a bumpy ride for Rolo’s boys this year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Hawaii is 0-9-1 ATS as a favorite under Nick Rolovich

    PLAY AGAINST: as a favorite vs. San Jose State (11/9)

    **********************************

    NEVADA (Offense - 6/2 , Defense - 4/2, RPR: 66/40/98

    TEAM THEME: UP IN THE AIR

    Jay Norvell’s offense has gone from Air Raid to Air Pistol, but no one in Reno is complaining after an 8-win season last year, the Wolf Packs best tally since 2010. While it’s nowhere near the Chris Ault and Colin Kaepernick attack from 10 years ago, Nevada’s offense has improved in each of Norvell’s two seasons in Nevada. But with OC Matt Mumme and QB coach Timmy Chang calling the shots, it still falls far short of expectations. Three-year starting QB Ty Gangi is gone, leaving a large hole, but Norvell hit the recruiting trail hard and managed to land a star-studded class of defensive recruits. Our guess is they’re bowl bound again this year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Nevada is 0-8 SUATS away off a win in which the Pack were not an underdog under Norvell.

    PLAY AGAINST: at San Diego State (11/9)

    ********************************

    SAN DIEGO STATE (Offense - *7/3, Defense - 6/0, RPR: 42/57/51)

    TEAM THEME: ROCK AND ROLL

    Rocky Long’s secret to success is no secret at all: he loves to pound the ball down your throat and backs it up with a tough-as-nails defense. It’s resulted in 8 bowl trips in eight seasons (after SDSU had been bowling just three times in 23 previous years). However, after three consecutive double-digit win seasons, the Aztecs somehow slipped to 7 wins last season when they dropped their final four games of the campaign. Fear not, though, as an experienced offensive line, a healthy Juwan Washington, and a deep supporting cast of running backs, insure another powerful ground attack. Meanwhile, the Aztecs’ defensive back-eight looks to be the best in the conference. Don’t knock the Rock this year.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: After previously going 41-10 SU and 32-15-2 ATS from Game 6 out with Long, the Aztecs went 1-7 ATS from Game 6 out last season.

    PLAY ON: at Hawaii (11/23)

    *****************************************

    SAN JOSE STATE (Offense - *7/4, Defense - 6/1, RPR: 71/68/72)

    TEAM THEME: ROAD TO RECOVERY

    There are misleading stats and then there are misleading stats. In San Jose State’s case, a pair of 1-7 efforts in conference play the past two seasons under Brent Brennan would look, on the surface, to be a telling tale. Yet the Spartans were 6-2 ATS in MWC play last year after covering only 3 of 8 conference games in 2017. Could that be a buy sign? Improvement in the passing attack, as well as the rush defense, lends promise for continued growth this year. And if that improvement comes, it will likely happen over the course of their first five games of the campaign, as the Spartans will tackle 6 bowlers over their final seven games of the season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The ‘In The Stats’ winner in Spartans games is 53-9 SU the last five seasons.

    PLAY ON: at UNLV (11/23)

    **************************************************

    UNLV (Offense - *9/4, Defense - 5/1, RPR: 39/17/87)

    TEAM THEME: BOWL OR BUST

    Hometown hero head coach Tony Sanchez enters the final year of his contract with the Rebels riding on the hot seat. And it’s also a good bet that the flames will be lowered by season’s end. Finally playing with a full deck of scholarship players, this UNLV team has something they haven't had on the defensive side of the ball in a very long time... depth. In addition, the Rebels will be returning almost every key member on offense, led by a healthy Armani Rogers behind center. He’ll operate behind an offensive line that goes three-deep across the board with an electrifying cast of wide receivers. This is, hands down, the best team that Sanchez has had with UNLV.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Rebels have enjoyed just one winning season over the last 18 years.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Nevada (11/30)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Friday’s 6-pack

    College football spreads for Labor Day weekend:

    — UCLA @ Cincinnati (-3)

    — Utah (-5.5) @ BYU

    — Colorado State vs Colorado (-11)

    — Purdue (-9) @ Nevada

    — Ole Miss @ Memphis (-6.5)

    — South Carolina (-7) @ North Carolina
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Herbert wants to see continued growth
    August 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    EUGENE, Ore. (AP) When Justin Herbert looks at the arc of his career at Oregon, he sees it through the lens of the team as a whole.

    The Ducks went 4-8 under Mark Helfrich in Herbert's freshman year. Then there was Willie Taggart's lone season at the helm before Mario Cristobal led a more united Oregon to a 9-4 record last year.

    That growth is one of the reasons Herbert returned for his senior season.

    ''I came here and we weren't a great football team. We were kind of a group of individuals that year,'' he said. ''I think the past couple of years we've done a really good job of coming together and becoming a team.''

    While Herbert has grown more comfortable taking on a leadership role and speaking to the media, he has always shied away from discussing individual accomplishments - preferring instead to keep it about the team.

    But those accomplishments are considerable, and he's among the reasons Oregon was picked to finish atop the Pac-12 North in the league's preseason media poll. The Ducks edged Washington by a point.

    Herbert, mentioned as a Heisman candidate heading into last season, threw for 3,153 yards with 29 touchdowns. He has thrown at least one touchdown in 28 straight games, the longest current streak in the nation.

    Over his 28 career starts, the Ducks have averaged 38.3 points a game. A local kid from Eugene's Sheldon High School, Herbert has thrown for 7,070 yards and 63 touchdowns in his three years so far.

    While there was speculation he might bolt for the NFL after his junior season, Herbert announced shortly before Oregon's 7-6 victory over Michigan State in the RedBox Bowl that he would stay for his senior year. Barring disaster, he should be among the top quarterback prospects in next year's NFL draft.

    ''I think it's a really special group of guys - all the guys sitting over there, they're great to be around, they're great teammates,'' Herbert said at Oregon's media day at the start of fall camp. ''The coaching staff and all the staff, it's really special. It's really something I wanted to be around for another year.''

    And there's something else: Herbert will be joined this season at Oregon by his brother, tight end Patrick Herbert, a four-star recruit who was among nearly a dozen early enrollees for the Ducks.

    The younger Herbert is already grabbing attention from Cristobal, who said he worked with the tight ends and tackles on the first day of practice.

    ''My first chance to really kind of get in there with him and he responded great and that's his DNA. The family DNA. We all know his family,'' Cristobal said. ''Expecting big things from Patrick and we really think he's in the mix to play this year.''

    The elder Herbert will be looking for a new primary target this season. Dillon Mitchell, who topped the league last season with 75 catches for 1,184 yards and 10 touchdowns, left Oregon early and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings. The team also took a hit this week when senior receiver Brenden Schooler underwent a foot procedure. He is projected to miss six to eight weeks.

    A newcomer in the mix is Juwan Johnson, a graduate transfer from Penn State who had 81 catches for 1,123 yards and two touchdowns over three seasons with the Nittany Lions.

    ''I feel the chemistry is there. All the hard work that we've put in in the spring and the summer is definitely going to pay off,'' Johnson said. ''I'm giving him feedback, he's giving me feedback on what he likes to see. Obviously, I'm new to the system, so he's teaching me things and I'm picking up new things.''

    Cristobal said Herbert's task this season is to control the offense.

    ''There's going to be some times this year where a guy like that is going to have to take over a football game. We've all seen it and he's already done it a number of times. It's the next natural part of his growth just like he has done as a leader,'' Cristobal said. ''He's done a great job as leader: Great job being able to communicate with the football team, get in front of them, lead by example but also be able to voice his reasons, his concerns or what he feels is important. When your quarterback does that I think it gives you a tremendous advantage.''

    Herbert is managing the expectations on him, as well as on the Ducks as a whole, in much in the same way he did last season. He's ignoring the outside noise.

    ''I would say not to let it distract you too much, just focus on you, focus on our guys, our team,'' he said when asked if he'd learned anything from the attention he got last year. ''Listen to the people that really matter to you, and not let it distract you too much, I'd say.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Veteran quarterbacks abound in SEC
    August 8, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) It is the year of the veteran quarterback in the Southeastern Conference.

    Tua Tagovailoa and Jake Fromm are the headliners, but the league is loaded with experienced passers with double-digit starts under their belts at their current school or elsewhere.

    The SEC has eight returning starters at quarterback and could have as many as five graduate transfers leading offenses. The teams are hoping that's a recipe for success in a league that hasn't produced a first-round pick at quarterback since Johnny Manziel in 2014.

    ''I think it's unique that you would have five graduate transfer quarterbacks possibly starting in our conference, and it's also a really good year for the quarterback in the SEC,'' said Kirby Smart, Fromm's coach at Georgia. ''It seems in my experience having been in the SEC for a lot of years, whether as a coach or a player, I don't know that there's been a year where there's been so many quarterbacks that have the experience they have.

    ''Some of them may not have the experience at that university, but they have experience. That's usually not a good sign for defensive coordinators in our conference. ... It makes it really tough because that position determines a lot of the outcomes of games. That's your leader and the guy that touches the ball every play.''

    There's little true star power beyond Fromm and Alabama's Tagovailoa , the Heisman Trophy runner-up last season. Either or both could snap that first-round QB drought for a league that routinely sends a bounty of talent into the NFL at other positions. Both are also surrounded by talented playmakers and blockers.

    Florida's Feleipe Franks, LSU's Joe Burrow and Kentucky's Terry Wilson all are also back after helping lead their teams to 10-win seasons.

    South Carolina's Jake Bentley has started 32 games over the past three seasons. Texas A&M's Kellen Mond (20 starts) and Tennessee's Jarrett Guarantano (18) have started in multiple seasons as well.

    ''I think it's great for the league,'' Fromm said. ''You get great competition week in and week out, and that's what everybody wants. That's what everybody wants to see. We're excited about it.''

    Even most of the teams with new starters have seasoned vets, though Auburn and Mississippi will be starting freshmen.

    The biggest name among the new guys is Missouri's Kelly Bryant , who led Clemson to the national championship game two seasons ago. Bryant started 18 games but left after losing the starting job to talented freshman Trevor Lawrence.

    His presence greatly eases the worries about replacing four-year starter Drew Lock. Even South Carolina coach Will Muschamp, who faced Bryant at Clemson, predicts ''a very smooth transition.'' Muschamp praised Bryant's accuracy and mobility.

    ''But I probably think his best attributes as a player is his intangible qualities,'' the Gamecocks coach said. ''The guy is an outstanding leader. He positively affects people around him. He gets guys going and believing in what you need to do to be successful.''

    At Arkansas, graduate transfer Ben Hicks was a three-year starter at SMU while Nick Starkel is a former Texas A&M starter.

    Vanderbilt has Riley Neal, who passed for 7,393 yards and 46 touchdowns over three seasons at Ball State.

    Mississippi State grad transfer Tommy Stevens spent two seasons under coach Joe Moorhead at Penn State. He's battling Keytaon Thompson for the starting job.

    LSU's Burrow started last year as a grad transfer from Ohio State. He finished a solid debut season with 394 passing yards and four touchdowns in a Fiesta Bowl win over Central Florida.

    He's the first LSU quarterback to pass for 2,500-plus yards and rush for at least 350 in the same season. LSU coach Ed Orgeron expects to free him up for more runs this season.

    ''He reminds me of Bobby Hebert, a quarterback that I played with who was a tremendous football player that had all of the intangibles of a leader,'' Orgeron said. ''Joe's very tough. Joe's going to lead by example. His team believes in him. We expect him to have a great year.''
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Clemson football flagged for 8 violations
    August 7, 2019
    By The Associated Press


    COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) Clemson's national championship football program was flagged for eight secondary NCAA violations during a yearlong period from July 2018 through this past June.

    The school's athletic department released a summary of the infractions Wednesday.

    None of the violations were considered major and all issues about the penalties have been resolved, according to the school. In all, Clemson self-reported 14 violations in the year ending on June 30.

    Names of athletes, coaches or staffers involved in the infractions were not in the summary provided to The Associated Press by Clemson. The month and day when the violation occurred was blacked out in the report.

    The football violations reported by the school included a homeowner paying a player above the going rate for work around the home on three separate occasions. Two violations involved players on social media in a promotional capacity.

    The other five infractions were committed by football staffers and included reimbursing an athlete for ground transportation expenses above the school's mileage rate.

    Others involved the school publicizing the signing of a football recruit before he had signed with the program. Another was for the football staff impermissibly mailing out a printed questionnaire to 221 prospects about life-skills programming before Sept. 1 of their junior years in high school.

    Perhaps the strangest violation came when staffers wrongly used confetti as part of a photo shoot that took place on a student-athlete's official visit, the school said.

    Clemson began fall camp last week and opens the season at home against Georgia Tech on Aug. 29.

    Two of the remaining violations occurred in the men's basketball program, one for a player using his name to promote a company's sale of apparel via social media, according to the summary. The other was for the basketball staff providing images and likenesses of two players to an event company who used the images in a ''commercial promotion,'' the school said.

    The final four secondary violations were reported by volleyball, men's soccer and men's and women's tennis.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    2019 Pac-12 Preview
    August 11, 2019
    By Marc Lawrence


    It Was So Bad That...

    On the heels of a disastrous 2018 campaign, the PAC-12 is in need of a makeover, the likes of which no plastic surgeon can immediately change the look of this plummeting Power-5 Conference.

    It was so bad that UCLA and USC each suffered a losing season in the same year for the first time since 1958. It was so bad that the PAC-12 has gone 7-15 SU and 3-19 ATS in bowl games the last three years ... with only ONE WIN by more than 3 points. It was so bad that since the College Football Playoff was introduced, the Pac-12 has made two appearances — going 1-2 — and failed to appear in three of the five seasons, missing out each of the last two years. Sheesh.

    Newbie

    Unlike five new head coaches that entered the league last season, the highest number of new coaches on the sidelines in one season for the Pac-12, the loop welcomes just one newbie in 2019 – Colorado’s Mel Tucker.

    Ralphie has been running in the wrong direction for far too long. During the past 13 years, the Buffs have produced one winning season and fired three coaches. Competing in the PAC-12’s soft South division, Tucker looks to reverse the Buffaloes path this season.

    The numbers following each team name represent the amount of returning starters on offense and defense, along with the number of returning linemen, with an asterisk (*) designating a returning quarterback. The RPR represents each team’s overall, offensive and defensive rankings in overall returning production experience.

    NORTH DIVISION

    CALIFORNIA (Offense - *4/3, Defense - 7/1, RPR: 52/104/21)


    TEAM THEME: UNBEARABLE THOROUGHFARE

    Thanks to a Top 10 nationally-ranked defense that led the Pac-12 in Yards Per Play (4.59) and improved 113 yards per game, head coach Justin Wilcox guided the Bears to the Cheez-It Bowl in his second campaign with Cal. The good news is the defense returns 13 players – including leading PAC-12 Defensive Player Of The Year candidate LB Evan Wheeler - that started a combined total of 135 starts last season while losing only 5 that made 45 starts a year ago. Signature wins last year included surprises over Pac-12 champion Washington and at USC. The challenge this year will be to improve on last year’s accomplishments. To do so they will need to navigate a salty conference road slate with visits at Oregon, Stanford, UCLA, Utah, and Washington. Gulp.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Cal finished last season ranked No. 129 (last) in both red zone offense (.718) and most turnovers lost (31).

    PLAY ON: at Stanford (11/23)


    OREGON (Offense - *10/5, Defense - 7/2, RPR: 32/37/46)

    TEAM THEME: JUSTIN TIME

    With the bloodletting the Pac-12’s reputation has suffered the past two seasons, including nary a playoff team, they desperately need a team to emerge and raise the conference’s stock. With 6’ 6” QB Justin Herbert – 4.06 GPA with 7,070 passing yards with 63 TDs and 17 INTs – shirking the NFL Draft in favor of returning for his senior season, the Ducks just maybe the placebo the loop needs. But the fact of the matter is head coach Mario Cristobal has yet to prove himself at this level. With no consecutive road games, and behind a 2019 signing class that ranks among the best in OU history, there should be no excuses in 2019.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Oregon averages 39.4 PPG in Herbert’s 27 starts for the Ducks.

    PLAY ON: at Stanford (9/21) - *KEY


    OREGON STATE (Offense - *7/2, Defense - 9/2, RPR: 23/73/3)


    TEAM THEME: WAKE UP CALL

    Jonathan Smith’s debut in Corvallis put Beaver backers to sleep last season. The team was 1-10 against FBS foes and ranked dead last in the Pac-12 in Yards Per Play allowed – by nearly a yard-and-a-half. In addition, Oregon State finished the year last in sacks allowed (4.0 per game) and second-last in overall scoring defense (45.7 PPG). Compounding matters, OSU has dropped 34 of its last 38 Pac-12 performances. When asked about re-building the culture in Year Two, Smith intoned, “We feel good on the direction we’re headed.” To that, we say it can only be up. It starts with an experienced squad of returning starters and overall production with 6th-year senior Jake Luton at the helm.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Beavers have been outyarded in 24 of their last 25 away games.

    PASS


    STANFORD (Offense - *4/2, Defense - 5/2, RPR: 108/112/70)

    TEAM THEME: WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?

    Questions abound on The Farm these days. The running game slumped to 11th in the Pac-12 last season behind an injured Bryce Love, but having to replace WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (last year’s leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns) might prove more critical than losing Love to the NFL. Nonetheless, QB K.J. Costello (17-7 as a starter) will carry the burden. The bigger concern is a defense that has slipped badly in the last two years. The 410 yards allowed last year is the most ever allowed under Shaw, breaking 2017’s yield of 405 YPG. Still, while Shaw is no Vince Lombardi, he remains highly respected among his peers. Look for him to deliver answers this season.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The team that won the stats in Cardinal conference games last season went 3-6 SU and 3-5-1 ATS.

    PLAY ON: vs. Washington (10/5)


    WASHINGTON (Offense - 7/4, Defense - 2/1, RPR: 118/53/130)

    TEAM THEME: YOUNG PUPS

    Coming off three-straight double-digit win seasons, including three consecutive New Year’s Six bowl games, it’s safe to say head coach Chris Petersen is going to miss both 3-year starting QB Jake Browning and RB Myles Gaskin this season. With it, Petersen must replace the winningest class in school history. The rebuild begins with five-star Georgia transfer QB 6’ 6” Jacob Eason, who comes in to take over for Browning. Eason promises to be the PAC-12 Newcomer of the Year. On the defensive front, the Huskies must replace all but two starters – including the entire defensive line – as well as LB Ben Burr Kirven, whose 176 tackles were nearly 100 more than any other Washington player last season. A favorable schedule finds them at home in four of their first five games. Unfortunately, it may not be enough.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Head coach Chris Petersen is 1-11 ATS in his career in games when coming off a SU favorite loss.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Utah (11/2) - *KEY


    WASHINGTON STATE (Offense - 7/4, Defense - 6/2, RPR: 77/84/65)

    TEAM THEME: TRANSFER U

    QB Gage Gubrud transfers in from Eastern Washington where he tossed for nearly 10,000 yards to fill Gardner ‘Ginsu’ Minshew’s shoes. And big shoes they are as Minshew passed for 4,779 yards and 38 touchdowns while leading Wazzu to its first 11-win season last year after transferring in from East Carolina. The bad news is standout LT Andre Dillard departs. The good news is the rest of the OL is back. The better news is Gubrud will have all four of last year’s top targets back in 2019, which means the mad scientist (read: head coach Mike Leach) should be up to the task of replicating the 9 wins a season he’s averaged the last four years.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Cougars are 11-1 ATS as conference road dogs under Mike Leach vs. winning foes coming off a SUATS win.

    PLAY AGAINST: vs. Stanford (11/16)


    SOUTH DIVISION

    ARIZONA (Offense - *7/4, Defense - 8/1, RPR: 33/76/11)

    TEAM THEME: FATE BY TATE

    Kevin Sumlin came up short – real short – in his first year with the Wildcats last season. A majority of the disappointment can be attributed to the wobbly condition of star QB Khalil Tate. An early-season ankle injury saw Tate’s rushing yardage drop from 1,411 yards to 224 last year. This was after Tate dominated the conference in 2017, earning an unprecedented four-straight Pac-12 Player of the Week awards. The upside to the injury is that Tate’s passing game improved leaps and bounds as he threw for 26 TDs (as opposed to 14 in 2017). Healthy this season, Tate figures to become a dual-threat for a team loaded with returning experience.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Arizona is 5-1 SU and 5-0-1 ATS in Last Home Games.

    PLAY ON: at Arizona State (11/30)


    ARIZONA STATE (Offense - 8/4, Defense - 7/1, RPR: 44/103/14)

    TEAM THEME: SOPHOMORE BLUES

    Herm Edwards’ first year on the job started strong but ended a bit flat when the Sun Devils’ 7-6 record mirrored that of the 2017 squad. Nonetheless, they were picked to finish last in the Pac-12 South but finished second instead. The largest degree of improvement came on the defensive side of the ball where ASU improved by 8 points and 45 yards per game thanks to the extraordinary play of freshmen linebackers Darien Butler and Merlin Roberson. The offense loses two key components this season, though, in QB Manny Wilkins and star WR N’Keal Harry. The good news is workhorse RB Eno Benjamin returns along with most of the offensive line. Still, Year Two could have Herm singing the blues.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: The Sun Devils are 13-2-1 ATS as conference home dogs of more than 5 points.

    PLAY AGAINST: at Michigan State (9/14)


    COLORADO (Offense - *8/4, Defense - 6/1, RPR: 43/44/63)

    TEAM THEME: TUCK RULES

    New head coach Mel Tucker is a defensive guru who has never been a head coach in college football. However, Tucker served as interim head coach with Jacksonville in the NFL. His most recent stops were as a defensive coordinator at Georgia and an assistant head coach at Alabama. Meanwhile, Colorado will debut a new up-tempo offense in 2019 that will alternate pistol and play-action formations that will change on a dime behind dual-threat SR QB Steven Montez. It will be interesting to see if this new offense - led by future NFL WR Laviska Shenault - combined with an always reliable Tucker defense can carry the Buffaloes to only their 2nd winning season in the past 14 years.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: After a 5-0 start to the season last year, Colorado closed out the campaign going 0-7.

    PASS


    UCLA (Offense - *9/4, Defense - 10/3, RPR: 34/75/16)

    TEAM THEME: BETTER INGREDIENTS, BETTER RESULTS

    A 3-9 season under first-year coach Chip Kelly was disappointing, but the Bruins showed signs of life from mid-October out when they averaged nearly 30 PPG over that span. UCLA also eclipsed its 2017 rushing totals by more than 400 yards last season. And therein lies the key to success: Kelly’s non-stop offense evolving into a more balanced attack to keep opposing defenses back on their heels. Big Chip’s mission this season is to reclaim a passing attack that compliments the ground game and this season, Kelly’s recruits fit his system (last year he inherited Jim Mora’s kids). With a year under his belt and a boatload of experience returning, look for Chip to fulfill that mission.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Kelly was 28-1 SU against sub .800 college football opponents until last season (3-5).

    PLAY ON: at Stanford (10/17)


    USC (Offense - *6/2, Defense - 5/2, RPR: 79/21/118)

    TEAM THEME: CAUTIOUS CLAY

    Graham Harrell, the ex-Texas Tech quarterback who put up big numbers the last three seasons as the OC at North Texas, should prove to be a good hire for the Trojans this season. “I’m very excited for the 2019 season,” said a concerned Clay Helton, who has seen more than a third (10) of his overall coaching victories come over AP Top 25 teams, including 3 Top 5 wins. Things went terribly sideways for USC last season after witnessing a 19-game win streak at the Coliseum under Helton go down the tubes with three consecutive losses in their final three home games. It’s time for SO QB JT Daniels to deliver.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: 1965: the last time both USC and Florida State each failed to go bowling in the same season.

    PLAY ON: at California (11/16)



    UTAH (Offense - *7/2, Defense - 7/4, RPR: 21/3/81)

    TEAM THEME: BOWL ME OVER

    When starting QB Tyler Huntley was forced to miss last year’s Holiday Bowl with a broken collarbone, and leading rusher Zack Moss was kept out with a knee injury, it dropped head coach Kyle Whittingham’s record to 11-2 SU all-time in bowl games. Fortunately, with Huntley and Moss back, the Utes return a bevy of experience on offense. The bad news is the top four tacklers on defense have departed. The Utes can thank their lucky stars to have DE Bradlee Anae, a PAC-12 Defensive Player Of The Year candidate, back in 2019. The biggest holes this season, though, will be replacing two national-award winners in PK Matt Gay and P Mitch Wishnowsky. A favorable schedule finds no consecutive away games, thus paving the way to another bowl season for Whittingham and the Utes. Utah should prove to be the team to beat in 2019.

    STAT YOU WILL LIKE: Head coach Kyle Whittingham is 17-5 SU against the other four Power Five conferences.

    PLAY ON: vs. Arizona State (10/19)
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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    Wednesday’s 6-pack

    Odds to win Mountain West football title:

    5-4- Boise State

    4-1- Fresno State

    6-1- San Diego State

    7-1- Air Force

    10-1- Utah State

    25-1- Nevada

    Quote of the Day

    “Daniel Jones looks like he’d play Eli Manning in a movie about Peyton Manning.”
    Chris Carlin

    Wednesday’s quiz
    Which current NFL head coach was once a QB who led his college team to a 42-40 win after they trailed 31-0 in that game?
    Hint: He also won an NFL playoff game after his team trailed by 32 points.

    Tuesday’s quiz
    Cowboys coach Jason Garrett played college football at Princeton and was later Nick Saban’s QB coach with the Miami Dolphins.

    Monday’s quiz
    When Jon Gruden won the Super Bowl coaching Tampa Bay, Bill Callahan was coaching the Raiders.

    ***************************

    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

    13) Phillies fired hitting coach John Mallee Tuesday, replacing him for rest of this season with 75-year old Charlie Manuel, who managed the Phillies when they won the 2008 World Series.

    Manuel managed the Phillies for nine years, winning NL pennants in 2008-09. He wasn’t at the Phillies’ game Tuesday night.

    12) Must be a ton of $$$ involved in running fantasy football leagues. ESPN had a live fantasy draft on national TV Tuesday night, as they wrapped up a 26-hour fantasy football marathon. Fantasy drafts are usually fun to be a part of, just not so much fun to watch.

    Related comment: ESPN has gone down the drain in recent years, just don’t like the way they do things as much anymore, but the 26-hour football thing they did this week was good. Maybe they should try something like that for baseball next spring.

    Actually, it is surprising that ESPN doesn’t tout NBA fantasy leagues, seeing how they talk about the NBA 365 days a year now.

    11) The more I think about it, it makes sense that I suck at fantasy football because I can’t grasp the concept that quarterback isn’t the most important position on fantasy teams.

    10) Mariners 11, Tigers 6— How bad do you have to be for Detroit to be -$160 against you? Tigers are now 11-41 in their last 52 games, just an awful team, but Seattle is pretty terrible too.

    9) Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck’s calf strain has turned into a high-ankle issue, which is bad news for Indy- they can’t pinpoint exactly what the problem is.

    8) Oregon Ducks landed 6-11 center N’Faly Dante, who moved up from Class of 2020 to this year’s freshman class, as Oregon restocks a roster ravaged by five early departures last spring.

    Dante figures to team with UNLV transfer Shakur Juiston to lead the Ducks back to the NCAAs; this news pushed Oregon back into the preseason top 25.

    7) Baseball stuff:
    — Colorado Rockies DFA’d veteran C Chris Iannetta.

    6) New England Patriots’ recent history in divisional games:
    — Won 28 of last 31 games with the Bills, won last 8 visits to Buffalo.
    — Won 14 of last 16 games with the Jets, six of last eight in NJ.
    — 6-5 in last 11 games vs Dolphins, 1-5 in last six visits to Miami.

    5) Houston Astros are in line to become the first team ever not to issue an intentional walk all season.

    4) Arizona State announced that true freshman Jayden Daniels will be its starting QB on August 29, with true freshman Joey Yellen as his backup; this is thought to be the second time a I-A team has gone into the season with two true freshmen atop their QB depth chart- Texas Tech in 2013 had Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb, both of whom are in the NFL now.

    3) There are people in this world who actually get upset about the ketchup/mustard debates that pop up on social media. I mean, we have some screwed-up things going on in the world today, condiments should be the least of our problems.

    I once had a date go in the ashcan (imagine that?) because my female companion got annoyed when I asked for ketchup to put on my food. This happened in Chicago, and apparently putting ketchup on food is mostly frowned upon there. Who knew?

    2) Braves 5, Mets 3— Ronald Acuna led off the first inning by hitting a ball off the wall in deep right-center field, but didn’t hustle out of the box and only got a single. He later scored anyway.

    Acuna homered later in the game and threw a runner out at home from left field; he is really, really good, but he is still only 21 and will probably get even better.

    1) Awful Announcing released their ratings for local TV announcers; I’m going to do my own ratings later this month, but in their ratings, Padres-Giants-Mets were top three teams.

    Nationals-Pirates-Tigers were three lowest-rated announce teams; I would strongly disagree with the Detroit ranking. Jack Morris is really good when he talks about pitching, and Kirk Gibson is a solid analyst. Matt Shepard asks his analysts good questions and they discuss the answers openly. Very unfair rating.
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

  12. #42
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    2019 college football

    August 24


    Florida’s QB has 21 starts, but their entire offensive line has only 24- very young. Miami has a new coach, new QB, and three sophs starting on OL. Gators are 7-7-1 vs spread in last 15 games on neutral fields. Last year, SEC teams were 8-1 vs spread (6-3 SU) when playing an ACC team, 5-1 when favored. Mullen covered nine of his last 10 non-SEC games. Last 10 years, Miami is 1-8 vs spread on neutral fields- last three years, they’re 8-6 vs spread outside the ACC. These teams last met six years ago, when Miami (+3) beat Florida 21-16- both sides changed coaches twice since then.

    Arizona has a senior QB (20 starts); they’ve got 15 starters back- their OL has 52 returning starts. Wildcats are 7-11-2 vs spread in last 20 games as a road favorite, 6-12 vs spread in last 18 games outside Pac-12; since 2013, Wildcats are 12-7-1 ATS as a double digit favorite. Hawai’i is 1-4-1 ATS in last six games as a home underdog; since 2014, they’re 9-16-1 ATS in non-MW games. Rainbows’ OL has 81 returning starts- their junior QB has 12 starts. Last two years, Mountain West teams are 11-9 vs spread when playing a Pac-12 opponent (9-8 as a dog).
    Remember the 3 G's Gambling, Golf, Girls not in any particular order.....

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