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Picking this week’s games

I’m on a roll now.

Last week was my second-straight 7-3 week against the spread and I’m now at 24-16 (.600) on the season. Let’s see if I can keep it going. Here are my 10 plays of the week, with all lines courtesy of Docsports. My picks are in bold.

West Virginia -28 vs. Kansas

South Carolina -4 at Kentucky

Notre Dame +2 vs. Stanford

Tennessee -3 vs. Florida

Utah +13 at UCLA

Michigan State -7 vs. Nebraska

Baylor -15.5 at Texas

Oklahoma State -17.5 vs. Iowa State

Alabama -6 at Ole Miss

Mississippi State -2 vs. Texas A&M

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Picking this week’s games

I finally got on track this season by going 7-3 in my picks last week. On the year, I’m now 17-13 overall (.566), so hopefully I can keep my momentum going. Here are my 10 picks against the spread for this week, with my choices in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Baylor -23 at Iowa State

Colorado at California OVER 66 total.

Texas A&M -10 vs. Arkansas

Nebraska -21.5 vs. Illinois

WSU +13.5 at Utah

Oregon State +9 at USC

Notre Dame -10 at Syracuse

Louisiana Tech at Auburn OVER 61 total

Maryland +4 at Indiana

Michigan State -28.5 vs. Wyoming

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Picking this week’s games

So, I got lazy and decided to take last week’s games off. After all, I’d gone 10-10 against the spread in the first two weeks. And while that’s not bad in some places, it’s definitely not up to par in my book. No matter, I’m back at it again this week. Here are the my top 10 plays for this week. Picks in bold. Lines courtesy of Docsports.

Missouri – 14 vs. Indiana

Washington -35 vs. Georgia State

Texas A&M -35 at SMU

Clemson +14.5 at Florida State

Mississippi State +10 at LSU

California +8 at Arizona

Washington State +24 at Oregon

Wyoming -4 vs. Florida Atlantic

Duke -17 vs. Tulane

Maryland +1.5 at Syracuse

 

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FSU paid a heavy price when it beat Citadel

Clemson will visit Florida State on September 20, and the most important thing that the Seminoles had to do last Saturday against The Citadel was to make sure that their players would be in full health after the game, but price per head agents saw that this didn’t seem to work.

FSU beat the Bulldogs, 37-12, but the Seminoles paid a price as three of their defensive linemen had no choice but to pull out due to lower leg injuries thanks to the Bulldog’ cut-blocking system.

“When you play these kinds of teams [triple-option offenses] they’re constantly cutting those knees and ankles,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Those guys that cut and chop like this, it’s crazy. I’d rather play more conventional teams.”

Nile Lawrence-Stample, Eddie Goldman, and Justin Shanks ended up leaving the game and were not able to return to action.

In the first half, Goldman – who after the game was in crutches and wearing a boot – left the field after going down. The player doesn’t just weigh 320 and is 6-foot-4, but he happens to be one of the team’s defensive linemen with the most experience. If the player is out of action for a lengthy amount of time, all of the defense could be affected.

“He’s a threat to O-linemen, so obviously they wanna double team him,” said Reggie Northrup. “That frees me up to go make plays.”

Derrick Mitchell Jr – another defensive lineman – was able to make it all the way through without being injured, and after the player’s teammates went down, he knew that he had no choice but to intensify his game.

“I wasn’t going to go out there and play conservatively,” said Mitchell. “I feel like when you do try and play conservative because of things like that, that’s when you get those injuries.”

If the player’s injuries prove to be serious, the Seminoles will use the services of freshmen Giorgio Newberry, Demarcus Christmas, and Derrick Nnadi. This change could end up being be very tough for other teams, but many price per head agents believe that

Florida State, being the No.1 team in NCAA football, should be fine.

“I feel like coach Odell Haggins and coach Sal Sunseri do a good job distributing the reps among the first and second string,” said Mitchell. “We all just rotate, first and second string, no matter what.”

Now the Seminoles hope that there will be enough time for Shanks, Goldman, and Lawrence-Stample to fully recover before their ACC showdown in two weeks.

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Picking this week’s games

I went 5-5 against the spread in my season debut. Here’s to a stronger week two. Now for my 10 plays of the week, lines courtesy of Docsports.com (picks in bold):

Arizona -8 at UTSA

Boston College +4.5 vs. Pittsburgh

Washington State -4 at Nevada

Navy -3 at Temple

Michigan State +11.5 at Oregon State

Missouri -4 at Toledo

Auburn vs. San Jose State 65.5 total (OVER)

Notre Dame -4 vs. Michigan

UCLA -23.5 vs. Memphis

Hawaii +10.5 vs. Oregon State

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Thoughts from week one

kiffinsaban

There’s nothing like an 18-hour college football Saturday. Here are a few thoughts on the Heisman race and the rest of it….

Todd Gurley made the biggest splash of the weekend by rushing for 198 yards and three touchdowns — with another TD on a 100-yard kickoff return — against Clemson. However, I think it’s pretty silly to say that it’s his Heisman to lose or that he is even the front runner right now. For one thing, it’s really no one’s Heisman to lose when it’s this early in the season. If it was early November and Gurley was still producing like he did against Clemson, then it might be his to lose. Point being, you can’t build a Heisman resume off just one game. And in determining the front runner, it’s important to take into account a long view of the season. How does the schedule set up? What kind of numbers is he likely to have when the votes are due? How will his team perform throughout the season? All those factors are why I have Marcus Mariota as the current front runner. Of course, if doesn’t play well on Saturday against Michigan State, that calculus will change a bit.

— More on Gurley. I’ve been high on him since he came out of high school. At that time, Georgia had a rather overhyped, average back named Isaiah Crowell. All the pundits had convinced themselves that Crowell was an elite back. So when he was suspended for a drug charge, the lament was that Georgia’s running game was in trouble. I didn’t think so as I had seen tape of Gurley and knew that he had rare speed for his size (10.75 100m in high school) as well as very good athleticism. Plus, there was also the very talented Keith Marshall coming to Athens. When I tweeted that both were better than Crowell, people didn’t want to believe it. I’d say it turned out well for Georgia.

— It was a good weekend if your surname was Hill. Texas A&M’s Kenny Hill threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns in a thrashing of South Carolina. BYU’s Taysom Hill put up 405 yards of total offense and five combined touchdowns against Connecticut. Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill had 278 all-purpose yards in his FBS debut. Arizona’s Austin Hill returned from injury to catch three passes for 110 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown reception. Bronson Hill of Eastern Michigan rushed for 114 yards on 19 carries against Morgan State. And, okay, call it a stretch, but LSU’s Kenny HILLiard rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries against Wisconsin.

— Great players make great plays at crucial moments and that’s what Jameis Winston did against Oklahoma State when he hurdled his way to a decisive 28-yard touchdown against Oklahoma State. But Winston was rather ordinary for much of the game against the Cowboys and his passer rating was below 140 for the second-straight outing. The Heisman talk is now centered around guys like Gurley, Hill and Mariota. Just goes to show you how tough it is to win that second trophy. But there’s plenty of time for Winston to get back in the conversation (though he won’t win, of course).

— I have to admit, it was pretty funny seeing the ‘Kiffin Cam’ during the Alabama-West Virginia game. The body language coming from the Alabama offensive coordinator on the sidelines was priceless — the slumped shoulders, the blank stare, the Why do bad things always happen to me? look after a poorly-executed play. Saban, of course, defended his coach, noting that the Tide had 538 yards of offense against the Mountaineers. Of course, this misses the point as Kiffin is the king of producing meaningless yards.

— Oregon’s offense has a bit of a new twist. It’s using more two-back sets and utilizing Byron Marshall as a wide receiver in some situations. Marshall lined up all over the place and caught eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns against South Dakota. The combination of Marshall, Thomas Tyner and Royce Freeman gives the Ducks a formidable and versatile backfield.

— Navy is a machine. That is not a fun team to play. But it certainly is fun to watch.

— As expected, Auburn’s offense was still explosive despite missing Nick Marshall for parts of its game against Arkansas. But I think it was pretty impressive for the Tigers defense to hold the Hogs to 328 total yards. Arkansas’s talented running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams combined for just 102 yards.

— UCLA certainly looks to be a long way from contending for a playoff berth right now, but the Bruins have to be excited about their pass rushing situation. Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa was impressive against Virginia after returning from an injury that kept him out all last season. Also noteworthy was the play of lightning quick sophomore linebacker Deon Hollins. Both are going to be tough for opposing lines to handle from here on out.

— Hawaii looks much improved in Norm Chow’s third year. I thought quarterback Ikaika Woolsey showed some promise against Washington while 245-pound running back Joey Iosefa was a real load. It appears the Warrior offense is finally getting untracked, as its 424 total yards against a stout Washington defense comes on the heels of 624 and 608-yard efforts to close out last season. I’m hoping Hawaii can find some success this season to hold off the drive to eliminate its football program.

— Finally, this catch by Nebraska wide out Jordan Westerkamp was so impressive, one of my straw poll voters put him on his Heisman ballot this week:

 

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Weekly picks

I was pretty solid picking games against the spread last year. Time to get started for week one of the 2014 season. All lines courtesy of Docsports. These are the 10 games I think are the best plays of the week:

Texas A&M +10.5 at South Carolina — This should be a shootout and I think the total of 61 will be surpassed. A&M freshman Speedy Noil should have a fine debut as the Aggies upset the Gamecocks in a close one.

Texas A&M 38, South Carolina 34

Arkansas at Auburn (57.5 total) — I like the OVER on this game as we should see a lot of points, with Auburn scoring the vast majority of them.

Auburn 45, Arkansas 24

Fresno State +22 at USC — The Trojans are installing a new scheme and have been hit by some key injuries on defense. I think Bulldogs quarterback Brandon Connette, the Duke transfer, will give USC enough trouble to keep this one from getting out of hand. Look for a big game from Buck Allen.

USC 35, Fresno State 17

Colorado (-3) vs. Colorado State — The Buffaloes will be much improved in Year 2 under Mike MacIntyre and we’ll see the first signs of that against their in-state rival.

Colorado 28, Colorado State 21

Nebraska (-21.5) vs. Florida Atlantic — Big Red should be improved this year behind Ameer Abdullah. I like Tommy Armstrong’s potential.

Nebraska 45, FAU 17

Washington (-17) at Hawaii — The Huskies are as talented as they’ve been in 15 years and should roll in this one despite starting a young quarterback.

Washington 41, Hawaii 17

LSU (-5) vs. Wisconsin – Too much athleticism and talent for Wisconsin to handle in this one.  The Badgers will keep Leonard Fournette in check, but that will open things up for quarterbacks Jennings and Harris.

LSU 24, Wisconsin 17

California at Northwestern (60 points) — I like the OVER on this. The combination of Cal’s offense and its (lack of) defense should ensure a lot of points being scored.

Northwestern 45, California 41

Arizona (-23.5) vs. UNLV — New quarterback Anu Solomon will have a big game throwing to his stellar receiving corps and the Running Rebels will have a tough time against the Wildcats defense.

Arizona 55, UNLV 21

Penn State (+2) at UCF — Christian Hackenberg picks up where he left off last year and James Franklin wins his debut as Nittany Lions head coach.

Penn State 27, UCF 17

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