MistaFlava's ***CFB Power Picks*** (Week 1)


MistaFlava's College Football ***Power Picks*** (Week 1)

2006 CFB Season Record: 0-0 (0%)

Welcome to my 2006 edition of the College Football season. I have been working hard over the year on providing analysis as well as winners to the reading public and will continue to do so this year. Here are my picks for week 1 and hopefully you enjoy the season of reading and winning.


Boston College Eagles -11

This is not about opening the season with a win for the Eagles, it’s more about opening the season with a bang. Sure this looks like a trap line at -13.5 but the Eagles should have absolutely no problems winning by two touchdowns or more (of course with door open for late Moose FG). The Eagles have two experienced RB's in Whitworth and Callender but the two have never been all that impressive and relying on the running game to win this thing would be a mistake. Matt Ryan replaces Quinton Porter at QB but Ryan has tons of experience. Interceptions have been and will always be a concern with this kid because his release has a very predictable edge to it for opposing defenses and he often lets go of the ball too early under pressure. The run is not where you beat CMU. The Chippewas allowed only 3.2 yards per carry last season and are returning 7 starters on defense. However, CMU's secondary is atrocious. The key to this game for the Boston College Eagles is going to be to make sure Ryan has enough protection in the early going. The line needs to establish their presence early because CMU's defense line is experienced and they will come after Ryan with everything they have. The Eagles have one of the best, if not the best O-Line's in the ACC with Beekman leading the way. I am not too sure how a MAC School like Central Michigan is going to find a way to penetrate that line with pressure. Seeing that CMU's secondary is prime for the picking, this could turn into an ugly blowout. However, I don't see that happening. Once Boston College goes up by 2-3 touchdowns, they will rely heavily on the run to wear down CMU which should be good enough to run the clock out with a comfortable lead. The Eagles are always a good team to be on the road as they are 14-7 ATS in their last 21 road games, something not many teams in the Country can claim.

The Central Michigan Chippewas have some talent but definitely don't have enough talent to come close to running with the big boys. Sure this is the home opener and the Chippewas are going to be jacked up as hell on National Television but how in the hell are they going to do anything against Boston College. Starting QB Brian Brunner is a sophomore and although his scouting chart indicates potential skill down the future, he is nothing like Kent Smith was last season. Boston College's weakness at this point in the season has to be their secondary and their Defensive Line. Central Michigan's one and only playmaker is RB Ontario Sneed who is coming off a fabulous season of 1065 rushing yards. However, I caution anyone putting too much value into this because Sneed's success was in huge part related to Kent Smith's ability to move out of the pocket and create confusion in opponent's defensive lines. As much as BC's defensive line needs work, Tom Obrien's got a Spaziani still runnning his defense and the man has shown in the past that he can work with younger guys on the defensive side of things. The Eagles are going to come at Brunner hard because he only has 3 pass attempts in his career and the butterflies are going to be flying like never before. Brunner is going to make mistakes and when the Chippewas need some big plays, they are going to rely solely on Ontario Sneed which is never going to work against a team like Boston College. Brian Kelly is going to do some big things with CMU this year but this is a tough opening match and I don't see the Chippewas having any success. Sure it's the third year of Kelly's offense but it's going to take a long time for Brunner to learn it and execute it against teams that are willing to let him work on it. The Chippewas have a horrendous history of season openers and are 3-8-1 ATS in their last 12 season openers. Their only hope in this game is that Boston College's has a complete self implosion but that would be something for the dreamers. Give me BC in a 2-3 touchdown win.
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Miami Ohio RedHawks +5.5

The Northwestern Wildcats come into this very emotional game with a bunch of just that…emotions. The death of head coach Randy Walker was a complete disaster to this program and the obvious bet would be to back a very motivated Northwestern team. I disagree guys. As much as Northwestern wants to win this game, losing coach Walker is a big time deal and a big time tragedy affecting this team a lot more than people realize. Pat Fitzgerald is the new coach and although Fitz knows this system inside out, don’t expect QB CJ Bacher to have a damn clue about what it going on out there. Replacing Brett Basanez and having to play an emotional game on the road is a lot to ask for from a sophomore quarterback who has 53 lifetime snaps. Sure Bacher knows a bit about this offense and sure the Redhawk defense is very young and they have very little experience but do you guys really see this kid running out there and leading the Cats to more than a FG win? I don’t. Most cappers will look at this game and think in their heads that no matter who is running the Northwestern offense, they should be able to demolish a Miami defense that returns only two starters this season. We all know Northwestern is going to score a boatload of points this season and they might even do it in this game. However, the defense should make a few plays strictly off adrenaline and those plays might be big enough to make a difference when it comes to the final score. RB Tyrell Sutton is stud and he is playing behind a massive Big 10 offensive line. However, there will most certainly be times of confusion in this offense because working in a new QB in the Big 10 takes time and losing Basanez and his tendencies will still take time to adjust to for the Wildcats. Sutton is going to have some big time yards against a weak ass LB corps but the real question mark is the Northwestern defense who will probably not be able to stop Miami Ohio’s counter attacks. The combination of emotions, a new Offensive Coordinator and a jacked up Redhawks youthful and inexperienced defense is going to give Northwestern a lot more problems than people think.

The Miami Ohio Redhawks have just the type of offense that can match Northwestern point for point and even touchdown for touchdown. Again, the emotions are going to be flowing like muscle juice on the field tonight but did you all forget that Miami Ohio is just as jacked up as Northwestern playing in their home opener like this? I don’t know what it is but from what I can remember the last 4-5 years, Miami Ohio has always done a good job keeping games close against Big 10 teams. Offensively, losing their starting QB from last year is going to hurt the Redhawks. But will it really? I’ll get to that a bit later. If some of you guys come in here after the game and read my writeup again, I am calling for the following to be the difference in this game. Ryne Robinson is the best punt returner in the country and possibly the best of all-time in the NCAA. He needs only 259 punt return yards to be the all-time NCAA leader and the fact that Northwestern is horrendous on special teams, will change the face of this game. The Wildcats have the worst special teams unit in the Big 10 if you ask me and that is where they got burned big time in 2005. With so much happening to this NW coaching staff in the off-season, special teams is probably something this team has yet to work really hard on. Well Ryne Robinson is a game breaker and we are going to see some fireworks from this future NFLer in this game. Ryne, assuming he gets a few touches, will most definitely put his team in a position to keep this one close. QB Mike Kokal is supposed to start this game. Kokal has not shown much promise in the games he has played but he is very familiar with the system and that does count for something. RB Brandon Murphy was a 1000+ yard rusher in 2005 for the Redhawks and since the Northwestern defensive line and LB unit is as weak as they get, I see Murphy having a monster game in his 2006 debut and take a lot of pressure off Kokal. This house is going to be rocking. We are going to witness a definite shootout but I don’t play totals so playing the OVER is not something I want to do. There will be no mercy shown for Northwestern and Kokal doesn’t have to have the best of games for Miami to win. Ryne Robinson will be the hero here and he will bring me the money. The Redhawks are 7-4-1 ATS since 1995 against Big 10 teams and they have always been trustworthy on the ATS front when it comes to home openers. Join me and make some money on Miami.
I'm on BC as well. Good luck, dude.
Ball State Cardinals -4.5

The beauty of betting on MAC games is that you are basically flipping a coin. I have not been screwed more by a conference over the last few years than I have been by the MAC Conference but I don’t give a rat’s ass. The Eastern Michigan Eagles are garbage. I could end my writeup there because it’s the truth but let’s have a deeper look at why they won’t win this game or even come close to winning this game. The Eagles return seven starters on each side of the ball which is quite impressive. However, and I do tell you that this will be the difference, QB Tyler Jones does have the experience of playing 9 games for the Eagles last season but Jones is going to be put in a big time pressure situation for the first time and this kid is not in a position to make big plays in a high intensity road game. Sure Jones has great legs and did play decently when called upon last year but my feeling is that he is going to try and do way too much to put his team in a position to win. The Eagles had big time problems with turnovers in 2005 and with a virtual kid running their offense once again this season, you can be sure Jones is going to lose the handle on that ball a few times. We are going to see some pressure blitz defense all night from Ball State. They have arguably the best linebacking corps in the MAC this season and these three guys have worked had in practice this week. Jones has one hell of a receiving team on his side but there is no question in my mind that he is not going to have time to get them the ball. If he moves out of the pocket, which he will try, the three LB’s on Ball State had more than 140 tackles between themselves last season and Hoke has these kids playing like there is no tomorrow. Even with Seiss out, Dunbar was great in Junior College and he has done well enough this week to be called a decent replacement. I know that this LB corps is a big question mark but I see them doing a good job in their first game. Eastern Michigan is going to try and create some protection for Jones but while doing so, they are going to leave Jones vulnerable for stupid mistakes. Too much time to think is never good for guys playing their first game like Jones. The home team in this series has never done too well and I expect that to continue here. The Eagles are one of the worst teams in the Country and having to break in a new QB is going to be a disaster. The offense isn’t used to the system and Ball State is working on a high from last season.

The Ball State Cardinals look like they are in good shape. I never thought I would ever say that but after watching them bring home the cash money in five of their last seven games in 2005, I am convinced that they are going to make me some big money this season. Why not start here where they have one of the easiest opponents they will see all season at home? QB Joey Lynch is one hell of a survivor. Do you guys remember the amount of times his ass got sacked last year but he survived and found a way to lead this team to three wins in their last four games. Lynch passed for 18 touchdowns and almost 2000 yards last season and 10 starters back on offense and a team that’s knows what they need to do to win this year playing in front of him, Lynch should be able to beat those numbers. Eastern Michigan have the worst secondary in the MAC this year and I look for Lynch to go deep big time tonight. The Ball State wide receivers are very quick and probably underestimated by the betting public. Lynch is going to have a lot of time to get rid of the ball in this game. Eastern Michigan would probably be making a big mistake if they didn’t go after Lynch hard. The Cardinals don’t have a proven running game as of yet but don’t overlook what they can do in this game. RB’s BJ Hill and Larry Bostic are very quick and they can get you some good yards when you need them. If the running game has any kind of success, Lynch is going to have some of the biggest big play opportunities he has had in a long time. Once again, the Eagles secondary is trash and if he has time to get rid of the ball, Ball State will score in the 40’s here. The first quarter probably won’t generate much in terms of offense from the Cardinals but once this team settles down, they are going to demolish the Eastern Michigan defense. The game between these two teams was a crazy one last year and I expect this to be a little bit more one-sided. Betting on this team is not a popular choice of mine but I like Lynch a lot and I think he can be a money man this season. Ball State has been great as a MAC Home Team in the ATS level and they have been great in their series against the Eagles over the years. Today should be no different and Ball State is going to win this by at least 10 points or more in a bashing.
Iowa State Cyclones -8.5

I don’t care what Toledo has done in the past and I don’t care if 100% of the betting public is going to be on Iowa State in this game, I am not missing out on this money train. This is one of the matches I had penciled off on the schedule sometime last spring and the line is a lot better than I thought it would be. The Toledo Rockets are one of the best teams in the MAC regardless of what anyone says and regardless of who they have lost this season. However, get this straight right now, the Rockets have always depended on their high profile and high octane QB’s to lead them to big wins and big ATS covers on the road. Well that luxury is gone for now and I will not be backing this team once this season. With Gradkowski leaving this team and this offense, the Rockets are going to have all sorts of problems scoring points. New QB Clint Cochrane is very familiar with the spread offense and he did play something like 5-6 games in 2005 but that doesn’t mean he can walk into a Big 12 house and do anything but get his ass kicked in this game. The oddsmakers are banking on Toledo’s offense to have some type of success against a very suspect Iowa State defense but how is that going to happen? RB Scooter McDougle had some good numbers but that kid is who he is because of Gradkowski and with a new QB running the show, he is going to get his ass stuffed all night. Iowa State’s defense is as suspect as any defense in the Country right now. However, I have the same feeling as I have for other games tonight and that feeling says that this young and inexperienced defense is going to react well to starting the season at home with a pumped up crowd and they are going to have an above average performance. That is pretty much all they need against a team like Toledo because Cochrane is going to mess this game up big time. He has a good receiving corps and one of the best MAC O-Lines around but this is the Big 12 and those credentials are pretty much useless if you ask me. I don’t even know if Cochrane is going to be able to hear anything and going to the no-huddle might with some hand signals is something that this team has talked about and worked on in practice. Working in a new QB should never be done in a rowdy house like this one and the Iowa State faithful are going to be the difference in this one. Don’t forget that Toledo is used to playing on the artificial turf and that this is their only grass surface game this year. The adjustment is quite large for some of these players and they have been garbage ATS wise on grass over the last few years.

The Iowa State Cyclones have tons of potential this season and they have the ability to open some eyes. Well all eyes are on them here because this game is being played on a quiet season opening Thursday night and the Cyclones have to make this a statement game. Not a problem. This is a team that is playing with a chip on their shoulders after blowing their last two games of the year last year. I would go as far as saying that Iowa State has such a good offense this year that they are going to be involved in quite a few shootouts. RB Stevie Hicks had tons of injuries last year but when this kid is healthy, he can overpower just about any defensive line. The Toledo linebackers are a bunch of inexperienced clowns who are going to run around chasing Hicks and Meyer all night long. Without a decent LB crew to contain the potent attack of the Cyclones, the Rockets might head home on Friday having allowed 50+ points to this Iowa State offense. QB Bret Meyer is a threat both in the air and on his feet and although he does have a bad tendency to throw into coverage and roll to the outside when he should be looking downfield, I think Meyer is going to thrive on his Houston Bowl MVP performance and pick apart the Toledo defense. In true Big 12 fashion, if the Cyclones have a reasonable lead late in this game, Meyer is going to continue to attack the defense and run the score as high as he can. As I mentioned before, this is a statement game and scoring as many points as they can is going to be important. You can’t really go against a team like the Cyclones who are returning 10 starters on offense this year and who should be more than motivated playing in their first home game of the year. Jack Trice Stadium is one loud mother, you can ask any road team that has come in here the last few years. Iowa State is 7-3 ATS the last two seasons in this stadium and they have always dominated MAC Conference teams that have ventured into this place. The noise is going to be just enough to motivate this team to whip the living crap out of Toledo and their experience on offense is going to erase any kind of problems they have on defense. What difference does it make anyways since Toledo is going to have all sorts of issues with their new QB and the noise? Cyclones in a big time win.
South Carolina Gamecocks -7

Another bet with my cock. How fancy. Call me an idiot for putting money on a season opener where Steve Spurrier is involved but I can promise you that if you follow me on this one, you will not regret your decision. The line has not moved all week and for whatever reason, has remained virtually the same for the better part of the month. Until this morning that is when the additional .5 showed up and we now have to win this by a touchdown. Once again, this is not a big deal. You’re going to have a lot of so-called experts calling for the upset in this game but I am still missing something when it comes to those thoughts. How can the Bulldogs even come close to winning this game? The big problem with South Carolina last year was scoring points. They averaged less than 24 points per game and if they are going to be contenders in the SEC this year, that is going to have to change starting tonight. Mississippi State is a well coached team but they don’t have enough talent to compete against this…errr…offense. Spurrier has been working hard with the first unit on special plays and he has the gift of returning 8 starters on this side of the ball. It will be very interesting what kind of trickery Spurrier comes up with in this game because the Bulldogs are decent defensively and everytime the Cocks cross that middle line, scoring points is going to be a must. Every time I talk about this game with someone, they tell me that you need something special to score early on the MSU defense. Well we have the perfect man in Spurrier to ensure that special things happen early. QB Blake Mitchell is a big kid coming off a decent season and I expect better things from him having spent the summer working with Spurrier. The offensive line is shit and the Cocks have virtually no running game to brag about. However, Mitchell has experience, he has Spurrier’s complex gameplan all knocked up in his head and he has the Wide Receivers that can make big plays. Sidney Rice is stud and you and me both know that we are going to see SC go for all the big plays early. The Gamecocks and their performance will all depend on Blake Mitchell’s ability to convert Spurrier’s gameplan. There are no South Carolina ATS advantages in this game but they should be able to win by more than a touchdown.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are bad and I still have no clue why oddsmakers are giving them this much respect in their home opener. I mean do they really think the Bulldogs have a shot at winning this game with Sylvester Croom guiding a bunch of nobodies onto the field? There is so much talk about the Bulldogs and their defense but there is no chance in hell that they will do enough to contain an angry Steve Spurrier offense that is looking for an early season statement game. Ellis Johnson is a good defensive coordinator but he is working with mediocre players who have played well together at times but when it comes to talent, they don’t matchup with the Gamecocks. Whether QB Mike Henig or QB Tray Rutland gets the start tomorrow, the Gamecock defense is going to have a fun time looking good against one of the most useless offensive teams in the nation. The Bulldogs are horrendous with the ball in their hands. Conner is gone this year and now that Henig looked horrible in practice this week as well as in all the spring time events, this game could virtually turn into a big disaster for Croom’s boys. The Bulldogs averaged a mere 13.7 points per game last season and that was with an experienced QB. Henig is an assclown and a half when he goes out on the field and his job will be in jeopardy by the time halftime comes rolling around. Sure the South Carolina defense took a big hit in the off-season but they still have enough talent with Fred Bennett being their big play maker in the secondary. This is a secondary that lost quite a few players to the NFL draft but that are still very well coached and are still capable of shutting down a pathetic offense like Mississippi State’s attack. I just don’t see how the Bulldogs can improve on their points total this year. The last six seasons, Mississippi State has lost their SEC season opener both straight up and on the ATS front. They just don’t matchup well with other SEC teams and this could very well turn into another one of those blowout games. Even if it doesn’t, the Gamecocks should be able to score at least 21 points on Miss State while the Bulldogs will not be able to score more than 10 points. I am going with Spurrier to make me money for the first of many times this season.
Nevada Wolfpack +12.5

The Nevada Wolfpack venture into the darkness of Fresno California for a televised game that is the only game being played on this edition of FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. How exciting that I am betting on this game as well. Pat Hill versus Chris Ault has been a rivalry for quite sometime now and both coaches have been through enough season openers to know how important they are. We all remember the blowout of 2004 when Nevada walked into this same stadium but got their sorry little heads chopped off and sent packing to a dismal start. I do have that fear that Fresno State is all about payback for that big win Nevada had against them in that shocker last year but can the Bulldogs really pull that off with a bunch of new players? QB Jeff Rowe doesn’t get to shine with Nevada but he is one of the most underrated QB’s in the game of college football today. They have the weird pistol offense that should be able to tear into the Fresno State defense like there was no tomorrow. Rowe keeps the chains moving, he is a smart guy and best of all, he knows this offense better than anyone has ever known it in Ault’s 22 years as head coach. RB Robert Hubbard comes into this system ready to explode and the way things are setup, Hubbard is going to have a decent game on the ground against a Fresno defense that is concerned with what Rowe is doing. If the Nevada running game can get established early, Rowe is going to have some big plays and Nevada is going to control the clock to the point where this boisterous crowd has to shutup and observe what is happening. The Rowe-Spencer connection is going to be the highlight of this night because I don’t see who in the Fresno State secondary is capable of beating Spencer to a ball. Since Rowe is so familiar with this system, Spencer will accidentally be left open in the middle and that is where the chains are going to keep on moving. All odds are against Nevada having to play against revenge and all that but Rowe is a superstar and the Wolfpack want to prove something in this game.

The Fresno State Bulldogs are coming off an up and down season that saw them almost beat USC but then lose to teams like none other than Nevada. Could this game really be the one that decides the WAC Conference winner? By the looks of things I would say yes and I would say that Fresno now has even more motivation to win this game big time. Question is though…can they blow the Wolfpack out. I don’t think so. RB Dwayne Wright is where Fresno’s faith lies in this game because the Bulldogs are going to be using a new QB in Tom Brandstater. This kid has 13 lifetime pass attempts and although the Nevada defense is putrid, can this kid really take advantage or will he make too many mistakes that the Bulldogs can’t keep up with Nevada? I do know one thing and that is that the Bulldogs are going to run the ball a lot in this game, hoping to keep Rowe and his crew of gangsters off the field as much as possible. Pat Hill doesn’t trust this QB at all and it showed in practice this week. I hate betting on QB’s that redshirted the previous year because they always come into season opening games looking like a chicken with their heads cutoff. On top of not having a big playmaker at the QB position, the Bulldogs have to deal with Nevada’s secondary which is one of the best in the WAC Conference this season. Their coverage is sure to put tons of pressure on Brandstater and kids like him make mistakes all the time. Once again, I am so sure that Fresno State is going to chew up as much clock as possible on every drive by using the running game of Wright who should be good for a 150+ yard rushing night. Nevada’s LB’s are pretty good and they certainly put a stop on Wright once they get a read of what Fresno is doing. Both teams are sure to exchange scores at some point in the first half but Fresno’s second half gameplan will be to keep Rowe off the field which I don’t think is going to work. The Bulldogs have had some big games against Nevada in the past but the question marks are too big in this game and I am backing the school of the Wolf.
Michigan Wolverines -25.5

The Vanderbilt Commodores were nothing with Jay Cutler, they are were nothing before Jay Cutler and unless hell freezes over tonight, they are going to be even more nothing without Jay Cutler. This guy was the entire team and I don’t care what anyone says, there is no chance whatsoever that any other QB can step in here and do what Cutler did the past three seasons. Cutler is going to be a great pro in the NFL and that is very tough to replace. The man taking his job is Chris Nickson who has three total attempts in his Vandy career and he completed only one of those. Nickson is going to try and do what it takes to score some points against Michigan but this is really not how he wanted to make his first career collegiate start. Sure he can bullshit us about this being the greatest way to start his career but deep down inside he knows he is screwed against Michigan and he knows that the Big House will be rocking so loud that he won’t be able to hear himself think. A lot of experts are calling for Vanderbilt to be competitive in this game but without an offense to keep the Michigan defense on the field long enough, the Vanderbilt defense is going to have problems. Mike Debord and Ron English are the new coordinators for Michigan and getting their shit together might be a little tougher than we all think. However, Vanderbilt is used to staying close in games and all that was created by Cutler who would pull magic tricks out of his butt to cover spread. Michigan’s defense is going to have to contain Bennett and White who are Vandy’s two best receivers. However, Michigan has the best secondary in the Big 10 and they have one of the strongest LB corps in the Conference. Nickson is going to be flustered left and right in this game and the turnovers that the Big Blue defense are going to create will be more than enough to get good field position and win this game. Vanderbilt has a chance to score maybe one touchdown but that touchdown is going to have to come when Michigan is up by a lot of points and they periodically leave their guard down. Vanderbilt has done well ATS wise under Cutler but the fun ends right here, right now.

The Michigan Wolverines are locked, loaded and ready to win the Big 10. I know Ohio State thinks they have something to say about that but that is a whole other story for another day. The Wolverines have high expectations coming into this season because most of this team has been together for a while now, they know how they play together and they have learned the system as a unit. Coach Carr’s ass is on the line from the opening kickoff to the final whistle of each and every game this year and I have a feeling some of the guys on the team want to win for coach Carr. RB Mike Hart is back in business and he is going to have his biggest game in a long time. The Vanderbilt Commodores are returning only six starters on a defense that allowed 29.2 points per game last season which is a clear indication that Michigan is going to have no problems scoring 40 points in this game. QB Chad Henne has no excuses this year. Vanderbilt is too weak at all the defensive positions for Michigan not to turn this into a big blowout in the Big House. Henne is going to have tons of time to get rid of the ball in this game but he can’t forget about Hart because once Hart gets going and gets his 20+ carries, that is when Michigan is at its best and that is when Henne has the openings and the reads he has been looking for all game. The offensive line is still very sketchy for the Wolverines but Hart is the type of running back that can make a line unit improve in no time and in this particular case, I think Hart is going to make this O-Line look like a bunch of geniuses. In the end, Lloyd Carr knows that there is no messing around or else he will be fired and his team won’t go anywhere. This is the one game they have to make a big statement to the Conference and they have to take advantage of the big openings that Vanderbilt is surely going to present. Jay Cutler was the man, is the man and will always be the man but he’s not here today. The Wolverines have not been good ATS wise in Big House openers but this one is going to be cakewalk.
Marshall Thundering Herd +21.5

This is probably the one play this week that is the shadiest in the eyes of my readers because West Virginia is being picked as a possible National Title Contender and I am already fading them in their home opening game of the season. Well get over it. Marshall is coming off a 4-7 season in 2005 but they did play a lot better than their record would indicate. No matter how you look at this thing, this is still a big in-state game that many have wanted to see for a long time. This is now year #2 of Mark Snyder’s coaching tenure and some of the guys have already shown signs that they are learning his game plan. He has 26 guys returning who have started at least one game before and that matters a lot when you are trying to teach younger players your system. The big question mark for me remains QB Bernard Morris who is still being called un-experienced and I have heard that he still needs some work. Well, I beg to differ about that experience part. He did start 7 games last season and in those seven games ended up passing for 1121 yards and running for almost 400 yards. Do you all remember RB Ahmad Bradshaw? He ran for 997 yards last season in 11 games and was the one who was busted for stealing someone’s PS2 system. Regardless, this is one of the TOP 25 running backs in the Country and his ability to hit the hole should open things up for Morris. West Virginia has a very solid defense but their secondary is weak and can picked apart without problems. The Mountaineers play in the 3-4 and if they were wise, they would concentrate on putting all the pressure on Morris to force him into mistakes. I don’t see it happening. I am sure that Bradshaw is going to get the respect he deserves as a RB and as WR, which means that we should see a Morris-Bradshaw longbomb connection at some point in this game which could be the difference. Marshall has wanted this matchup for a longtime but they feel that West Virginia has never given them the light of day or the respect to play in this in-state game. Well now is the time and Marshall is 4-1 ATS lifetime versus current Big East teams. I like them a lot here.

The West Virginia Mountaineers are everyone’s pick to win the weak Big East over Louisville and they are also the pick to possibly be the last team standing at the end of the season with a National Title win. I don’t buy it. This is all talk about a team like the Mountaineers who have a very predictable attack plan. It takes a smart coach to know how to defend the whole Pat White to the left side attack and I think that Marshall’s Mark Snyder has the staff on his defense to seriously trouble QB Path White and his crew. The Mountaineers went 11-1 last year and looked like a damn good football team. White had 1012 gross rushing yards in 2005 but the question remains, can White pass the ball if he has to? Can White show that he has some type versatility and not go to the left side and create some big time plays? Nope. He has not shown anything but the plays to the left side and teams are going to start picking up on that sooner or later. RB Steve Slaton adds to the running threat which could be a concern for Marshall seeing that their defensive line is weak. However, Marshall does possess some very quick players on defense that cover one side of the field to the other faster than most players in this Country. Dennis Thornton and Matt Couch are two very quick Linebackers and they are going to be shadowing White and Slaton all day long. Marshall’s defensive weakness is most definitely their DB’s, who are young players that could at times be flustered in this game if they don’t come out with their heads screwed. But again, I don’t think Pat White can get them the ball. He is going to try and do too much in his first game with all the expectations this team has and it will cost them. Younger QB’s like White don’t tend to react well to season home opening games where experts have picked their team to win it all and the crowd is buzzing like a bumble bee. Marshall’s defense is not the most talented around, but they are quick and they execute. The Mountaineers are only 4-9 ATS in their last 13 home games and they usually let teams stick around longer than they should here. Marshall will come close to winning.
Tennessee Volunteers +2

The Pac 10 comes into an SEC House in Week 1 of the season and you are telling me that the oddsmakers have plastered a tiny line like this on this matchup? I mean sure the public is going to bite hard on this fat piece of meat called the Golden Bears and why shouldn’t they? Well I am on the other side. The Golden Bears have demolished their last two seasons opening road opponents by double digits but if you think for one minute that they can walk into this sea or orange at Neyland Stadium and make a season opening statement, well more power to you. Should California somehow win this game, they are going to win the PAC 10 this season and there is no doubt about it. The problem with California and what they have done the last 3-4 seasons is that they have had week schedules and if you look for a list of good opponents they have beat, the list pretty much ends where it starts. The Pac 10 is overrated big time. However, California do have tons of talent on their side and on paper, beating Tennessee should be a cakewalk. However, do you trust QB Nate Longshore this early on in the season? I mean the kid had one start as a freshman and I still think he is going to start over Joe Ayoob who we may see in the 2nd half of this game. Tedford did say he was going with Longshore so I’ll take his word for it here. If Ayoob starts this game and plays the entire game, I don’t know how this would turn out. If Longshore is at the helms, Tennessee wins big time. Sure he has size and speed but Tennessee’s D-Line is near tops in the SEC and their DB’s are all very quick and can make some huge plays against a younger quarterback. RB Marshawn Lynch is stud and the Cal running game might the best in the Country. This Tennessee D-Line are somewhat experienced and could stop California in their nervous footsteps right off the get go. I have to admit that taking Cal is very tempting but who have they beat on the road over the last 5-6 years? Nobody. They don’t even have a decent road record to speak of and that means a lot. I like Cal as big road dogs but I don’t like them in games where the spread determines the winner. I’ll Volunteer to pound this one.

The Tennessee Volunteers know they can win, their fans know they can win but does their man in charge QB Erik Ainge think they can win? We’ll see today. This is Ainge’s third time around now and there can no longer an any excuses as to why he is not performing the way he should. Tennessee is coming off a pathetic 5-6 season under Fullmer and let me tell you that things can only go up from here. The team is returning enough starters on offense to be effective once again this season and they should have more than the measly 18.6 points per game they scored in 2005. His offensive line is an even bigger question mark coming into this game because their toughness and speed was questioned big time after last season and it looks like those summer time weightlifting and speed training sessions have not done too much. That means that our boy Erik Ainge will have to show up and pick apart a California defense that is ranked by many as one of the best in the PAC 10 and possibly the Nation. This is a Tennessee team loaded with superstar youngsters who have yet to blossom. Several players on this team are heading to the NFL and if everyone steps up to the plate, they can blast anyone in the Country. Easier said than done. Cutcliffe is the new offensive coordinator in Tennessee and in my opinion that could completely change the Erik Ainge we know and it could turn him into a powerhouse monster. RB Adrian Foster will be the biggest surprise of this game because he is easily going to be undervalued by the California defense who will concentrate on making Ainge mistakes, something he is very good at. If you forget about Foster, this kid can run all over you and make you pay for your ignorance. He ran for 879 yards last season in five starts as a freshman and he should be able to take a lot of pressure of Ainge to start this game. Tennessee has now won 11 straight season opening games and as long as Fullmer is coaching here, that is not about to change. He knows how to prepare his kids for the big openers and since Cal usually sucks on the road, Tennessee is going to win the first big game of this young college season.
Wisconsin Badgers -10

This is probably one of my favorite plays this week because as much as you want to feel like Wisconsin would come out flat against a team like Bowling Green in their home openers, this could be one of the ugliest blowouts we see all week. Well I know why the line is low like it and that’s because this is Bret Bielema’s first game as head coach of the Badgers and he takes over for coach Alvarez. This is actually quite the big change but I think Vegas has overacted to the change and they have given us a gift line. Sure this is a Wisky team that returns only three starters on offense but what I liked about Alvarez is that the backups were just as experienced and he always made sure that his 2nd unit players knew what they were doing out there. I know Wisconsin has to rebuild their entire running game as well as their entire receiving corps but what does that mean? They have still recruited top notch Big 10 players and I have a feeling some of the newcomers are going to step things up big time. RB PJ Hill is probably going to be the starter come tonight’s game but is that really a bad thing? I mean this kid is tough as nails, he can run just about anyone over but he does lack the experience. QB John Stocco has been having some knee problems again but he is slated to start this game and as long as he does start, Wisconsin will have a good leader controlling the tempo of this game. It will be up to Stocco to guide some of these young guys into the right direction and I have a feeling he learned enough under Alvarez to accomplish this. As bad as Wisconsin might look in the first half of this game, it is very important to remember that the Bowling Green defense is still the Bowling Green defense that allowed 27.6 points per game last season and they return only five starters this time around. The Bowling Green defense might look good early but that will be the fault of Wisky’s offense. Give it to the second half and Wisconsin runs away with this thing. Wisconsin never did well as a double digit road game with Alvarez running the team but Bielema begins a new era and he begins it with a win.

The Bowling Green Falcons are coming off a 6-5 season and that was with an NFL caliber quarterback running their offense. They averaged 33.8 points per game last season but they return only five starters on offense and defense and could have just as many problems as Wisconsin when it comes to breaking in new players and adjusting to the season opening jitters. It happens. Bowling Green QB Anthony Turner looked pretty bad in the games he played last year throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions. Wisconsin’s strength on their rebuilding defense is the D-Line as well as the secondary who are going to give Turner headaches all night if he thinks he can beat them deep. What good is an offensive line like Bowling Green’s if you don’t have the players to utilize it. The Falcons don’t have much of a running game to speak of and they should have size problems all night against a big and powerful Wisconsin defensive line that will be trying different things this year. I don’t think we will see much scoring in this game until the third and fourth quarters. Without Omar Jacobs running the show here in Bowling Green, the Falcons are going to struggle badly on the offensive side of things and if Wisconsin goes for the early shootout, the Falcons are going to have problems keeping up. Although I don’t see Stocco winning another shootout like last year so Wisconsin’s defense is going to have to work hard to keep that BG offense off the field at all times. Bowling Green lost their entire receiving corps and working in new kids against a decent Wisconsin secondary is going to be an issue. Losing 130 catches, 20 touchdowns and some 2000 receiving yards is not good and I don’t know if Bowling Green will find a way to put points on the board. Regardless, it will take a few games for the Falcons to get their juices flowing and playing against Wisconsin is not what the doctor ordered. Don’t forget that this game is being played in the Cleveland Browns home stadium and the home team advantage is basically being tossed out the window. Bowling Green has done well ATS wise against non-conference teams but that was with Jacobs and this is with Turner. Wisky to the bank.
Utah Utes +3

If you had asked one year ago if I would have ever considered betting on Utah to win this game straight up in UCLA home opening game, I would have told you no chance in hell. My my how things have changed since and how I think Utah can easily win this game. I have seen the line at 3,4, 5 and even 6 at times but now that I have decided to finally place my wagers, the line is back down to 3 and the public is continuing to pound hard on UCLA. Why though? Utah is coming off a 7-5 season in 2005 and they return 13 total starters on both sides of the ball. More importantly, this will be Kyle Whittingham’s second season at the helms of this team and we are going to see one of the most underrated teams in the Country shock the world again today like they have done for the past few seasons. QB Brett Ratliff is the starter this year since Johnson decided to redshirt. Ratliff in my opinion is a better choice than Johnson and this kid is going to show us a side we have never seen before in tonight’s game. He has an 8-2 ratio of touchdown to interception and was a superstar in Utah’s huge demolishing win over Georgia Tech in the Emeral Bowl. Ratliff does lack experience but he has shown that he can light up the scoreboard and that should really work for him against a UCLA defense that is probably the worst in the PAC 10. The Bruins allowed 34.2 points per game last season and things are nowhere near about to change. Dewayne Walker is supposed to have changed some things around here but will those changes become apparent in his first game as new defensive coordinator? I think not. The Bruins were 118th against the run last season and although Utah doesn’t have an established back for this game, several guys could emerge with big games against a very weak defense. Ratliff can really move on his feet and I see him making some big time plays on the ground in this game. This is a Utah team with a prime time list of WR’s to compliment Ratliff and I see Utah scoring tons of points in this game. Utah is 21-4 ATS as a road underdog since 1994 and they are 9-3 ATS in road openers. I think Utah can pull off the upset.

The UCLA Bruins are coming off a fabulous 10-2 season that saw them whip Northwestern in half in the Sun Bowl. Things, however, have changed big time and UCLA could go from a winning season to a very mediocre season with 5-6 wins. You have to understand that this is a complete rebuilding year for this program and Utah comes into this game with a full head of steam. Gone are Maurice Drew and Drew Olson who were both the reason that this team had 10 amazing wins last season. Also gone is Marcedes Lewis the tight end who was the best receiver on this team. Safe enough to say that Karl Dorrell has his work cutout for him and if he is not careful, Utah could come out with a stunner. QB Ben Olson is apparently a talent to be reckon with this big tall goof is going to need more time to get used to the system Dorrell is running and this won’t happen overnight. Utah’s defensive line is big and strong and although they may not match UCLA speed for speed, they do have heart and they will work hard to make Olson beat them. Should Olson decided to air the ball out, he better be careful because this is one of the most experienced secondaries in the Country and guys like Weddle, Harper and Evans are just waiting there for this kid to make mistakes. The key to this game will be whether or not Olson can have a good debut and whether or not he can counter punch everything Utah is going to throw his way. Olson has all the tools in the world to dominate but like I said before, he is going to come out struggling and struggling against Utah is not good. The Utes are experienced and waiting to pounce on teams that underestimate them. UCLA has been dominant over the years when it comes to home openers but Oklahoma State did come in this house and beat them in 2004. UCLA is going to come from behind and make this game close but in the end, Utah is going to have too much talent and shocking surprises for UCLA to handle.
Army Black Knights -5

Once again, the Army Black Knights are one of the few teams that I think are going to have a very solid ATS season and it will not be the last time I bet on these guys this season. Army is coming off a 4-7 season which was a big improvement over past season and which has now opened to door for Army to achieve their first winning season in a while and finally get back to their guaranteed Bowl game for the first time since 1996. This is year #3 of the Bobby Ross system and with an experienced quarterback running this team, the Black Knights are going to open some eyes more so this season than any of the previous 4 or 5. The Black Knights are playing with extreme confidence in this game after demolishing Arkansas State in their only matchup last season. The tides have not turned and Army is a team that won’t be pushed over like it has for a long time. QB David Pevoto is finally starting to understand this offense and with 8 returning starters on his side, should see a big improvement from what he did last year. Replacing Zac Dahman is not an easy task but Pevoto has been around watching and now this is his time to shine. Pevoto showed he is a big strong passer against Connecticut last year and I expect much of the same in this game tonight. I don’t have any doubts that Pevoto is going to make some mistakes and his pass first approach will be a nice change from Dahman’s run first but in the end Pevoto should have no problems picking apart an Arkansas State defense that will think too highly of themselves. I don’t necessarily think Army is going to have to score a lot of points in this game to win because Arkansas State might have problems scoring points themselves. One thing is for sure though, Army has that blowout win on their minds in this game and I could see them pouring it on near the end when the game is getting out of hand. Several players remember the blowout loss of 2005 and it will be fresh on their minds. Army has a bad ATS history in road openers and as road favs but like I said before, this is Bobby’s reward season and he will lead his team to some good things.

The Arkansas State Indians are coming off a 6-6 season including their first ever Bowl Game and their first ever Sun Belt Conference Championship. Even more impressive was their performance in the New Orleans Bowl against Southern Mississippi. However, the loss of several key players is going to take it’s toll on this team and Steve Roberts is going to have a long season. The QB position remains up in the air a few days before the game and that is not good news. Both Hewitt and Leonard might see some playing time in this game but will it really matter who is throwing more interceptions? Both are too young and inexperienced to know what it’s like to face a team the following season after getting blowing out of the sky almost 10 months ago. There is no reason for Army not to have a repeat performance against a younger and less experienced Arkansas State team. The Indians don’t have a running game to speak of as they have a bunch of freshman trying out for the position and Army’s defense is full of seniors who are going to be hungry for a winning season in the last campaign of their careers. The Army defensive pass rush is the best it has been in years and I see them brining a lot of pressure to the new QB and forcing a lot of mistakes. The Knights are still vulnerable when it comes to the deep pass but the question is whether or not Arkansas State can take advantage of this and convert the big play opportunities they will have. I have read a lot about this game is it seems like both teams are going to make a ton of mistakes but the more experienced team is going to come out on top and that is Army. Losing a starting QB and a 1000 yard rusher is disaster for a Sun Belt Conference team and although their defense remains decent, they won’t be bailed out of situations as many times as they were in 2005 which is going to cause problems. Indian Stadium had some turf installed in the summer which is going to be a huge change for the home team guys. Arkansas State is 6-15 ATS on turf over the last five years so that could be considered bad news. Army should win this by a large enough margin.
Hawaii Warriors +16

This is one of the only games this week where I see the betting public as being 50-50 on both sides of the ball because when the naked first looks at this line, it looks too good to be true. It looks like Alabama could easily steamroll these clowns from Hawaii who are opening the season on the mainland. In past year, yes that would be true and Hawaii would probably walk into this game and get their asses handed to them. However, times have changed and this is Hawaii team is going to open some eyes with oddsmakers early on. This Hawaii offense is one of the most dangerous in the Country and a dangerous offense can put points up on just about anybody. I know this game is being played off the Island, a place where Hawaii has not had much success but the Warriors and coach Jones have practiced on the mainland and from what I have read they are ready to go. QB Colt Brennan won’t be beating Timmy Chang numbers anytime soon but he does have one hell of an arm and leads the spread offense just as effectively as Chang ever did. In fact, I think Brennan is a better overall QB and I see him having tons of success this season. Brennan has some of the best wide receivers around to catch his passes and as long as he has so many threats open down the field, Brennan will find a way to get them the ball. Alabama’s big weakness on defense this year is their secondary. This is a unit that needs time to gel and it won’t happen here in this game. Hawaii WR’s Davone Bess and Ryan Grice-Mullen are some of the fastest and most explosive kids around and the Bama DB’s are going to have issues covering these kids all night. Robinson and Castille won’t do a bad job covering these two but I do believe that the Hawaii receivers will somehow find a way to get the best of them and in the end it will be that one touchdown that makes the difference on the spread. Brennan has his hands full though. Alabama is going to send some serious pressure his way at times and other times they are going drop a bunch of guys down into coverage and hope he throws a pick. Hawaii won’t win but they will play well. The Warriors have loved playing on grass over the years and this is another chance for them to make a name for themselves off the island.

The Alabama Crimson Tide are coming off a 10-2 season and if you ask me right away, it is going to be very difficult for them to reproduce this type of season. I see Alabama eventually finishing in the TOP 25 when this is all said and done but I have a feeling their season takes a few games to really take off and that won’t happen against a high powered offense like Hawaii. This is a game where the Tide have to take advantage of a team like Hawaii and blow them out of the water early. However, Alabama rarely does that and their emphasis in this game is going to be on strong defense. Alabama, like many years before, have been content with winning games 10-7 and I am sure that stopping a high powered offense like Hawaii would make them feel a lot better than scoring 30 points on Hawaii. QB John Parker Wilson looked good in his performance against Auburn but he does lack experience and he needs to be careful with what Hawaii throws at him. Hawaii defensive line is very big, strong and solid and although Bama should be able to push them around, it won’t as easy as the Tide think. RB Ken Darby is going to be the key to Bama winning this game and controlling the clock because with a new quarterback being worked in and Alabama trying to take it easy to start the year, controlling the clock with Darby is the only way they can win. Darby should power his way to quite a few first downs but Hawaii is tough as nails at times and he might have a few problems. Also, if Wilson decided to air the ball out, he is going to turn it over at least twice. Hawthorne and Martinez are solid CB’s for Hawaii and that have made some big plays in the past. Darby is going to see at least 25-30 carries and that should be enough to keep this game very low scoring and it should be enough for Alabama to escape with a very small win. I don’t think they have a chance to win this game by a large margin. Alabama has never fared well ATS wise in season openers and they usually suck against teams from the WAC. Warriors to the bank.
USC Trojans -8

Reggie, Reggie, Reggie…oops that was last year. Well I don’t think I’ll be watching too many USC games this year seeing that there are better teams in the Country to watch but the bottom line is that the Trojans just lost a ton of talent and starters to the NFL and replacing those guys won’t be an easy task. Or will it? There is so much recruited talent on this team and Pete Carroll is such a good preparation coach that the Trojans have absolutely no excuse for not coming out guns blazing in this game with their talented backups from last year. Well all know that teams love to gun for the best which is what teams did the last two seasons. However, USC no longer has it’s two poster boys Bush and Leinart and teams will probably start to underestimate them like they did in 2003 when the Trojans went 10-2 ATS and made some people mad cash. QB John David Booty is the big man on campus right now and he was supposed to be the QB here and not Leinart. Things didn’t work out and now Booty has a big chance to show the world that he can be just as effective and can possibly win a National Title. The Trojans have by far the best group of wide receivers in the Country and that is going to help Booty turn into a big superstar. Jarrett or no Jarret, Stevie Smith is still around and Booty is going to have some nice plays available deep downfield should he choose to go that way. Arkansas is very very good defensively and they have some big time playmakers that can turn this into an upset right off the get go. However, will their D-Line hold up long enough to keep USC from moving the chains on every single possession? Will the Arkansas offense give this defense a shot to rest on the sidelines and not have to sustain the USC pressure every 5 minutes? I don’t think so. This is a defense that thrived on being on the sidelines long enough last season to avoid being on the field too much. That luxury is gone. USC would be wise to establish the running game early by introducing us to their next group of superstar RB’s. The Arkansas line might crumble early and the points might start flowing before we hit halftime. The most dangerous USC teams have been the ones that were underestimated like this version of the team. The Trojans are 8-1 ATS in their last nine season opening road games which tells me that Pete Carroll has the guys ready.

The Arkansas Razorbacks are coming off a pathetic 4-7 season and let me tell you that Razorback fans have no patience for another garbage season. Well too bad. The Razorbacks are being called the most improved team in the Nation this year but like other most improved teams in past years, these teams never come out with a bang. It takes time to become the most improved team and Arkansas won’t start contending until a bit later this season. I won’t be backing them at all this year but I will be very skeptical to go against them more than this once because I feel this is the one game we can make some money off the head of the Razor. QB Casey Dick is supposed to be the starter for this game but I really don’t trust this kid against a very quick and explosive USC defense. There is no longer that pressure on USC to improve defensively because we all know they allow points but we also all know that they create a lot of turnovers and they create huge plays when they need to. We all know it. This game might stay close for a bit but the Arkansas offense that averaged 25.7 points per game won’t be able to do the same in this game. USC’s defense is actually much better this year than it was last year and their Linebacking corps is arguably the best in this country. RB Darren McFadden is going to be the main man for Arkansas and looking at last year’s numbers for USC, he should be able to have a huge rushing game. However, USC are very quick off the line, they have worked hard in the off-season at their gap speed and McFadden might be in for a rude awakening in his sophomore season debut. I am calling for the USC defense to completely control McFadden to the point where Dick is going to make big mistakes that change the face of this game. USC and Arkansas are on different levels no matter what you think and Pete Carroll has his team ready to go as if they were mid-season right now. Arkansas will have their chances in this game but key mistakes will blow them and blow the cover…possibly late in the game. Arkansas has never covered the spread in a game against a PAC 10 team and today should be no different.
Houston Cougars -14

This is the season opener for a Houston Cougars that is pretty much going to become a betting addicts favorite team to bet on this season. I have a feeling this is the Cougars team that is going to become that one team every year that has a great ATS record and that everyone is always scratching their heads at the end of the season wondering why they didn’t bet on them. This is the infamous Battle of the Bayou Bucket ladies and gentlemen and hopefully I can have this game on TV and watch what should be one hell of a battle…cough…sorry blowout. The offense on this team is returning 7 starters in total and they should have a great shot at contending for the Conference Title once all the dust settles and teams have lost some big games. For those of you who don’t remember, QB Kevin Kolb is a monster passing QB and he has hooked up big with some of his receivers over the last few years. Kolb is going to have WR Vincent Marshall open for some big big plays all day long against a Rice defensive unit that is returning enough players but that doesn’t sport much on the talent level of things. The bottom line here is that Rice has one of the worst defensive units in the Country. They allowed 40.6 points per game this season and things can only get worse with these guys. Kolb is going to pass for close to 500 yards in this game and I don’t see how Houston could fail to put up at least 40 points on this putrid defense. RB Jackie Battle is very experienced and is back in the mix of things this year. Battle has explosive speed and tremendous power and he was the MVP of the Hawaii Bowl back in 2003. Battle is going up against one of the weakest D-Lines in the Country and I expect him to have a huge game much like the rest of his team. The offense should have it’s best performance of the season in the opener and anything else would be a big disappointment. Houston have very high expectations for themselves and they know how important a statement game can be at this stage of the season. They are too quick on offense and too powerful for Rice and this game is going to get very very ugly. Art Briles is going to make sure his team comes out firing on all cylinders for a huge win/

The Rice Owls and the Owl faithful of Houston are expecting big things from a team that is returning a total of 17 starters from last year. All that optimism is worth about as much as toilet paper coming out of my ass because unless they have someone reliable running this new spread attack that head coach Todd Graham brings to the program, the Owls are going to crash hard. Do you know how difficult it can be for an offense to go from a triple option attack and all of a sudden become a spread team? It takes a couple of season for this type of transition to take place but most people in Houston don’t know what the hell is going on and they are hoping that Rice can come out and compete right off the bat. Not happening. Houston’s defense is probably just as good as their offense this year because they return 10 starters and they are going to give the offense several chances to run away with this game. The Houston linebackers and the Houston secondary are tops in the CUSA Conference this year and can you imagine what they are going to do to QB Chase Clement or whoever the hell is running this new offense. They are going to demolish them all game and create several turnovers. The offensive line doesn’t know any better than to run the triple option so it will be quite easy for this defense to penetrate a bunch of lost fat slobs who are going to get grilled time and time again this season for not protecting their new QB. This is a very big rivalry game but this is also as bad as Rice has been in years. With a new coach and a new QB trying to turn things around, we won’t see any improvements from this program until possibly late in the year. Unfortunately for them they have to play a team that wants to win and impress the Nation and that spells disaster. Rice has done well as a home dog in the past but this is a new era and things are going to change. Cougars in a blowout.
BYU Cougars +6.5

Too easy if you ask me. This is definitely a game where I would pick BYU to pull of the straight up win upset and although I have considered them on the Money Line, I don’t have the balls at this time of the season to pull off a stunt like that. Alright so for the time being, they are giving us less than a touchdown and I am willing to take it. Much like Arizona this season, huge things are expected from BYU and it all comes down to execution. You have to trust the mormons here because they are an experienced bunch and they are facing a team that can be dismal at times. BYU finished 6-6 last season and are now in year #2 of Bronco Mendenhall’s system. QB John Beck is one of the most underrated QB’s in the Country at this point in the season and most people have no idea who he is and that he is coming off a 27 touchdown season. Beck has all the tools in the world to drive opposing defenses off the wall and he has enough confidence to go for big plays when big plays are open. Complimented with one of the most underrated RB’s in the Nation, Beck should shine in this game, a game that is being slated as the battle of the shining stars. RB Curtis Brown ran for 1123 yards last season and had 14 touchdowns. Arizona always have solid defense with Stoops at the helms but their one and only weakness this season has to be the defensive line which is horrendous news considering that Brown is going to be gunning for huge gains almost all night. If Arizona drops into coverage to block Beck from big gains, Brown will eat things up on the ground and take advantage of the new D-Line members. The spread attack is finally working at BYU and it showed late last year when BYU was scoring about 40 points per game. Like I said before, Arizona’s D-Line is not known to be aggressive and they are rather weak this year. They had less than 30 sacks in 2005 and unless some pressure can be put on Beck, he is gong to shine like a star and win this game for the Cougars. Rarely do you see such a matchup where the underdog is getting 6.5 points and I am loving every minute of this. BYU has to make a statement now and with Beck leading the way, they can easily do this.

The Arizona Wildcats are absolutely dying for an opening day home win that actually matters. This is finally a lined game where they are favored and should be able to win but will the curse continue or will Stoops have his guys ready to kick some ass? Only time will tell. Arizona was horrendous last year but they do return 17 starters and expectations in Tucson have been raised to a new level. In the minds of their fans and of the program directors, losing this game is not an option and losing this game has never crossed anyones minds. Well wakeup and smell the roses boys because BYU can beat you and will beat you if that attitude doesn’t change. QB Willy Tuitama is a future Heisman Trophy contender who has the pure raw skills of some of the best QB’s in the Nation. He was outstanding last season but also showed signs that he is young and working with an offensive unit that does not allow him to shine. Tuitama should almost transfer out of Arizona because he is going nowhere fast in this offense. BYU has one of the worst secondaries when it comes to man coverage and Tuitama is going to have some open looks all night long. The question remains, can the kid overcome his nerves and use those opportunities or will he fall flat on his face and have a forgettable performance. I think a mix of both. RB Chris Henry is the key to the puzzle for Arizona having success tonight and if Henry is not running the ball well, Arizona is going to have a very tough time matching the Cougars touchdown for touchdown. BYU’s defense is very vulnerable but I don’t see Arizona’s offense doing anything special that could hamper the Cougars chances of winning this game. I expect the teams to go back and forth all game with the win coming down to the final drive. I see BYU winning the game, if not, Arizona will steal it on a late FG or a late play by Tuitama to win. Regardless, Arizona will not win by more than a few points. Money please.
Miami Hurricanes -3.5

Merry Christmas to all and thank you very much Las Vegas for these beautiful odds. I find it quite ironic that I bet on this game every single year and that somehow, I just keep on winning and keep on picking the right side. I swear it’s been about 4-5 straight seasons that I pick the winner of this rivalry game and why not do it again this year. The Florida State Seminoles are coming off an 8-5 season as well as an Orange Bowl loss against Penn State that has them ready for this season. Bobby Bowden has his head so far up his ass to begin the year that I don’t even know if FSU could beat the Canes with a bunch of High School players playing for Miami. The word on the street right now is that QB Drew Weatherford has made strides of improvement by the millions in the off-season and that he is ready to take this Seminoles team back to the National Title game. Keep dreaming guys. Weatherford will have a great season no doubt but the bottom line remains that he is not going to walk back into this Orange Bowl and beat the Canes to open the season. RB Lorenzo Booker is also talking a bunch of trash about running for 1200 yards this season and I just don’t see why these guys are talking so much before the season even starts. Miami’s defense is one of the best in the Nation and they have some of the best athletes I have ever heard of. I just don’t see what Weatherford and Booker are going to be able to produce against the top LB and DB units in the ACC and against a defense that has produced some defensive monsters in the NFL. Kenny Phillips and Brandon Meriweather are going to make Weatherford wish he never stepped out on that field tonight and they are going to do it on National Television. This defense has been educated in the off-season on the art of not taking stupid penalties and we will see Miami’s old school defense rear it’s pretty little head like back in the good old days. Coker knows his ass is on the line but his defense will bail him out. Florida State is 2-6 ATS in their last eight meetings with the Canes and you can add loss number seven tonight.

The Miami Hurricanes used to be one of my favorite teams to bet on and this season I will be betting on them on several occasions once again. They are out of my betting penalty box and back where they belong, in the winners circle. Coker and the boys are coming off a very disappointing 9-3 season and brawl filled loss in the Peach Bowl against LSU. Things have to change fast and the coaching staff knows it. The funny thing is that even though WR Ryan Moore and RB Tyrone Moss are not going to play in this game, Miami is another one of those teams that has too much 2nd unit talent not to come out and play almost the exact same way was these guys. How many times have we seen a Miami player go down to serious injury only to have an emerging superstar replace him and take all his minutes? All the time. This team is so full of talent that they should have no problems making some big plays against a Florida State defense that is not as strong as previous seasons. Greg Olsen is a beast when he runs across the middle and QB Kyle Wirght already has enough confidence to come out and take risks in the opening game at home. Wright was pretty damn good in his sophomore campaign and although he did throw too many interceptions for my liking, I expect Wright to have worked on his footwork in the off-season and have worked on some small technicalities to avoid the big mistakes. Wright is the best QB in the ACC by a large margin and he has the best supporting crew in the ACC. These two teams hate each other more than anyone else and Wright is not going to hold back in this game. He is going to show how much he improved in the off-season and how it is not Weatherford that is the most improved QB in the ACC. The Canes should have no problems forcing the Noles into some big mistakes and I see this game being a runaway by the time the fourth quarter comes rolling around. Final play of the week for me goes to the Canes and the cash money.

Wow, do you actually write all these by yourself?! Good luck tonight and have a great season! :cheers:
i agree with you 100% on miami, how in god's green earth are they not in the top 10?????
Thanks for the hard work, Mista.
On a number with you. Fading a couple.
Good Luck:smiley_acbe:
sweet write-ups Mista. appears you and I are on the same page here. hope it works out for us!! money;
wow, great write up although i don't agree with some of the plays. u make me wanna change my picks...lol

best of luck tonight
Tough start to the season is right.

However, I feel like I went 4-1 with Boston College and Iowa State both blowing their covers very late in the game in horrendous fashion. I don't mind the 2-3 as long as I know that I was close in those two games. It happens.

Good Luck tonight guys!
Nevada Wolfpack +12.5

money; money; money; money; money;

2006 CFB Season: 3-3 (50%)

Alright boys, tomorrow is the big day, let's make some mad cash! Congrats to all winners.
BOL MistaFlava :shake: :beer:

Hell-of-a Writeup on each game. Great work there. I love your card for this weekend. I hope we clean the books out bro. money;
Sparky1019 said:
BOL MistaFlava :shake: :beer:

Hell-of-a Writeup on each game. Great work there. I love your card for this weekend. I hope we clean the books out bro. money;

Thanks Spark...since my Jays are officially not making the post-season once again, I'll be cheering for your Yanks. GL

love army...t hanks for the insight on that game and the TURF ats.

On most of your other plays.
Season Record: 8-8 ATS (with Miami -3 pending)

Very bad week to open the year but I am glad that we now have a feel for all the teams and things will only get easier from here.

Congrats to all winners and see you next week!
tough break but could have been worst be happy you broke even bro you will have you 10-2 weekends this season i went 8-5