Thursday, November 13, 2014

Linesmithing: Lines I like (And other misc. football notes)

After the College Football Playoff Committee fell in love with the Pac-12 this week and vaulted Oregon into the number 2 spot (over unbeaten and defending B(C)S champion Florida State) and then followed that up with the ultimate shrug of the shoulders to beloved (by ESPN and CBS anyway) Alabama you thought the end of the world was nigh.

And while I'm not overwhelmed by either move (I explained on Monday why the Tide should not be included in the top four) I was surprised that they seem to be so reliant on strength of schedule and so discounting of actual wins and losses.  Regardless, I think it's all going to play out before the season is finished as many of these teams in the top 10 are going to end up playing one another and we're going to end-up with a pretty well-defined Top 4 by the end of the season.  Sure, whoever's at numbers 5 & 6 will raise a stink but I believe that's going to be hollow at best.

Looking to this week, in the lines I like, I believe it's going to be a week for the underdog....


1. Duke (-5.5) vs. Virginia Tech - A week for the underdog except in this game.  I think Duke is hugely underrated by both Vegas and the CFP Committee and is going to show just how good they are against a reeling Hokies team. Does Beemer need to be worried?  Pick: Duke to cover.

2. Ohio State (-12) @ Minnesota - At 7-2 I think the Golden Gophers might be a tougher test than was Michigan State. Coach Jerry Kill is a very good football coach and is getting every last drop of talent out of this team.  Pick: Minnesota to cover.

3. Rice @ Marshall (-21) - After a loss to Old Dominion this Owls team looked done. But two things happened on the way to football oblivion. First, it appears that the ODU team is pretty good and then the Owls have gone and played much better. Pick: Owls to cover.

4. Mississippi State @ Alabama (-8.5) - The Media, and by that I mean ESPN (which backs the SEC Network) and CBS (whose only football property of note is the SEC), are in love with the fighting Sabans. The reason for this is because they desperately need Alabama to be included in the CFP to close their narrative of "bestest conference evah!". I still think Bama is overrated and has a lot of holes, both offensively and defensively. Pick: Miss State on the money line.

5. Utah @ Stanford (-7.5) - In this game Utah is suffering from the Oregon hangover. They got whipped by the Ducks, and suddenly everyone thinks they can't play football. It's been a few weeks but people forget that Stanford got whipped by the Ducks as well.  Pick: Utah to cover.

6. Auburn @ Georgia (-2.5) - The mystery that is Georgia continues to befuddle both line-makers and betters. Here's a tip, when Georgia faces a really good defense they struggle. Auburn has a really good defense. Pick: Auburn on the money line.

7. Louisiana State University @ Arkansas (-2.0) - I had to do a double take when I first saw this line. Arkansas is 0-for-Karma in the SEC since Bielema took over. Pick: LSU on the money line.


Weekly Go Blue! but #FireBradyHoke Discussion

Mercifully, there is no Michigan debacle this week as the team enjoys an idle weak in preparation for Maryland and Ohio State to finish the season.  Offensively, this team is broken beyond repair, something we saw in the 10-9 slog-fest win over Northwestern.

I've seen people say that Brady Hoke has not 'had the chance' to lead a team with his type of QB under center. This is a ridiculous argument on it's face when you consider that he's had 4 recruiting classes now to bring 'his type' of QB into the fold. Hoke has so far shown and inability to recruit or make consistently good coaching decisions.  It's time for Michigan to cut ties and bring in a coach with an offensive mind-set. It's looking more and more like letting Rich-Rod go was a hasty mistake.

Also on the coaches hot-seat: Tony Levine.

The University of Houston Cougars are 5-4 and should creep into bowl eligibility with upcoming games against two pathetic teams in Tulsa and SMU after being idle this Saturday.  That said, a loss to a very mediocre Tulane team destroyed any hopes UH could have had at winning the very mediocre American Athletic Conference.

With a new, partially completed (notice all of the bare concrete?) stadium and a renewed energy around campus life and the athletic program in general, these big losses at key moments (Tulane was homecoming) are starting to pile up.

Worse yet, the Cougars have yet to beat a quality team.  They have wins over Grambling State, UNLV, Memphis, Temple and South Florida. Any time they play a team with a quality record, they seem to crater and are overmatched.

If anything, this means that UH will beat SMU and Tulsa but will be beaten by Cincinnati and should finish the season 7-6.  Given the talent and expectation surrounding this team that's very disappointing.  UH should end the Levine experiment and bring in a young, quality Head Coach for next year.  Right now they're playing more reminiscent of the Dana Dimel/Love Coach era than they are the Briles/Sumlin era and that has to be a concern.

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