I am not a happy guy right now. See, I like Louisville. A lot. That means my faith is being truly tested. The third ranked Cardinals were playing their third game, and it shouldn’t have been a contest. They were playing Western Kentucky – a team that hadn’t beaten a top three team in 41 years – and they were favored by 19.5. In the end it wasn’t a contest, but the wrong team ran away with it. It was tied at the half, but Western Kentucky came out strong early on in the second half and never looked back. Ultimately, they won by 14 in a game that went under the total by 17 points. The result is disturbing, but beyond that it raises some key issues when it comes to handicapping Louisville:
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Since this is essentially the end of the regular season, this will be our last look at top 25 games to watch. Worry not, though – we’ll find lots of (hopefully) interesting ways to fill the space.
The biggest problem this week has is that a few games that would other wise be interesting are meaningless. I would have loved, for example, to see what Cincinnati could do against a weak Syracuse team. Cincinnati’s BCS bid has been secured, though, so the intensity won’t be there – staying healthy is the priority. Kansas at Missouri is a game that could have been good but is also absolutely meaningless. There are still plenty of gems, though:
There is absolutely nothing wrong with watching college football on a Friday morning. In fact, I could get used to it. Neither the West Virginia – Pittsburgh nor the Nebraska – Colorado games were classics, but they were both entertaining and a good way to spend a day. I had Colorado to cover so I was pleased, but I am disappointed for them that they didn’t become bowl eligible. The Nebraska wins that I don’t have to worry about watching the Gator Bowl – the Huskers against an ACC team is not a recipe for a good game.
While you all are down there eating turkey and watching football, I’m stuck up here in Canada watching football and wishing I has some turkey. Enjoy it while you can.
I was going to do a take on the Turkey Awards for college football today. But then I saw this one, and I couldn’t possibly do better. Check it out. I am particularly fond of the Kevin Hart story.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants – It’s very well documented and obvious what Coughlin has done in the last season and a half in New York. What is remarkable about him, though, is that somehow his teams keep covering the spread no matter how much of a love affair the media has with them. He is in the midst of his fifth season with the Giants. He’s already guaranteed to have a profitable season for bettors this year since he is 9-2 ATS. He has then had only two non-profitable season, and both were barely so – 8-8 and 7-8-1. He was 10-5-1 ATS n 2005. Last year he was 10-6 ATS and a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs. Not only is he 9-2 this year, but he has covered his last six in a row despite the fact that everyone in the public regularly reads that they are the class of the league. That tells me that he has his team focused and playing their best instead of just well enough to win. That’s a bettor’s wet dream. He wasn’t as impressively reliable with Jacksonville, but he was still solid – he had four profitable seasons in eight years, and he never covered fewer than seven games. In his first job at Boston College, Coughlin had two very profitable years, and was 6-6 ATS in the third.
Worst NFL Game of the Week – Baltimore at Cincinnati is going to be an ugly blowout. Kansas City at Oakland features two teams playing together that nobody really wants to watch. There is some hope their, though – Oakland is coming off a win, and Kansas City at least has shown offensive potential. It won’t be a good game, but it at least has the potential to be interesting. The clear winner, though, is Miami at St. Louis. Miami is fine, but St. Louis is so indescribably bad that there can’t be one positive thing said about them, or one good reason to watch this one.
1. It sucks to be Texas Tech. With one lousy performance they cost their school a shot at a national championship and probably a Heisman, and instead of a huge bowl in front of a massive national audience they will be stuck in something like the Cotton Bowl that no one really cares about. I don’t feel nearly as bad for them, though, as I do for those, like me, who thought that this team was for real. The Big 12 is now officially a confusing mess.
You may have missed it (in fact, unless you live in Canada the the chances are pretty high that you did), but the Grey Cup, the championship of the Canadian Football League, was played in Montreal today. The Grey Cup has been contested since 1909, and it is a great excuse for Canadians to get together, have some drinks, and revel in their Canadianism. This year it was played between my hometown Calgary Stampeders and the Montreal Alouettes. The game is played in a different site every year like the Super Bowl is, so it was just a fluke that Montreal enjoyed a home game. It didn’t help. My boys won 22-14 in a game that was a pick ’em, and a party ensued.
After a couple of weeks that haven’t exactly been soaked in excitement, on paper at least, we have another classic week of college football. Here are the games I will be paying attention to. My remote finger will be getting a workout:
Michigan State (+16) at Penn State – The Big Ten doesn’t have a conference championship, but this is a de facto one this year. If Penn State wins they are the champions and headed to the Rose Bowl. If Michigan State wins then Ohio State goes (unless, through some miracle, Michigan wins tomorrow, in which case the Spartans head to Pasadena). There is going to be some good running in this game that will be fun to watch. I can see this one going a lot of ways. My first sens when I saw the line, though, was that it didn’t give Michigan State very much respect considering they are 6-1 in the conference.
Michigan (+20.5) at Ohio State – This one won’t be pretty, but I have to be loyal and watch my boys mercifully end their season. And heck, maybe they can pull it off – we did beat UCLA yesterday, after all.
Texas Tech (+7) at Oklahoma – THE game. I am literally counting the minutes until this one kicks off. There are lots of things I think about this one, but not much that I know for sure. I think, for example, that the Red Raiders have a pretty big edge defensively. And that the Red Raiders should be able to protect Graham Harrell despite Oklahoma’s potent pass rush. In other words, I think I think that Texas Tech is the real deal. By about midnight eastern time we’ll know if I’m right, or if I’m deluded.
BYU (+7) at Utah – The Holy War is always fun to watch, but it’s been a while since we have seen one with stakes this high. Utah has a spot in the BCS all but locked up if they can win this one. And they can. But it won’t be easy. there is a very good chance that this one is going to be a thriller.
I am a fan of most sports, and particularly fond of several, but in my world the two college sports are king. College football is the perfection of fall, and winter is far more palatable thanks to college basketball. I like the NBA, too, but college ball is just so much better. I was just thinking about tonight’s games, and it got me thinking about why I like the sport so much. Here are ten reasons: