I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at Florida State the last couple of days. Word is that Bobby Bowden is going to retire tomorrow. I have absolutely no doubt that he is doing the right thing – he has no business coaching anymore. That being said, I wasn’t expecting him to go easily. It will be very interesting to see what happens with this team next year. We have heard for a long time about how good Jimbo Fisher is, but now he has no safety net and no one to blame. I don’t like anything about the Seminoles, but the sport is unquestionably better when they are an elite squad.
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Today is the Grey Cup, the championship game of the Canadian Football League. It takes place in Calgary, and pits the Western Conference champs the Saskatchewan Roughriders against the Eastern camps, the Montreal Alouettes . The game is the most popular televised event in Canada each year, and the trophy that the winner will hoist is an old one – it was first awarded in 1909. Even if you aren’t a Canadian, this game, which kicks off after 6:30 pm eastern time, is worth a look. To get you up to speed on this contest here are five things you’ll need to know if you aren’t familiar with the league:
Here’s the best of a relatively light day of college football:
Oklahoma State (+8) at Oklahoma – It amazes me that the Cowboys are still getting as little respect as this line indicates given the seasons the two teams have had. This one really matters for the Cowboys, and only counts for pride for Oklahoma.
New Mexico (+44.5) at TCU – Boise State did their job yesterday. Now TCU needs to avoid a humiliating upset to secure a BCS bid. This is a chance for style points for the Horned Frogs.
There was a lot of good sports action yesterday. Here’s a look at the biggest stories to come out of the day:
1. Detroit has a long, long, long way to go. There were a couple of good things going on in their game against Green Bay, but not many. Matthew Stafford looks like a deer in the headlights, and I can’t imagine that getting chased around the field before throwing yet another interception is helping him become a better quarterback. I’m not writing the guy off yet, but this isn’t positive.
Happy thanksgiving from everyone here at Madduxsports.com. We hope you have a great day watching football and basketball with your families, and eating enough food for 16 people.
All the best!
So, when do the Cavs admit that they made a mistake and try to do something about it? And what can they do? Shaq has now missed six games in a row with injury, and he has been a mere shadow of himself when he has played – 11.3 points and 6.9 boards. TheCavs made a big splash getting him to fix their problems up the middle, and they messed up their salary cap this year in the process. If Shaq isn’t the answer then the team won’t likely be able to go all the way, and that means that LeBron is more likely to leave town. I could see management starting to panic soon if something doesn’t change, or if Shaq doesn’t showed both some health and some marked improvement. Panic is always fun to watch – unless the team panicking is one you are a fan of.
It’s impossible to have an issue with either of the MVPs named in baseball over the last two days. Rarely has the choice ever been so obvious in both leagues at the same time. The only shocking thing about it in the American League was that Joe Mauer wasn’t a unanimous winner. One moron didn’t vote for him – a Seattle voter who is actually in Japan. Do Minnesota games not get broadcast in Japan? Did Mauer’s stats not get translated into Japanese? The guy should have his vote taken away for clearly being incompetent. Worse than the fact that he didn’t vote for Mauer is that he did vote for Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera had a nice season and all, but he went quiet down the stretch when it mattered down the stretch, and he spend more time dealing with the cops than he did running the bases at the end of the year. Cabrera was good, but if you think he was better than Mauer then you are just stupid.
I was looking ahead to Thursday’s Thanksgiving football games today when I had a few spare minutes, and something really jumped out at me – this could be a really, really bad day for sportsbooks . The public pays more attention to football on Thanksgiving day than on most days, and the fact that there are three games means that people will be drawn to parlays and teasers even more than usual. The public also has a blind, undying love for the favorites, so it’s bad news for books that there are three very obvious favorites on Thursday. The Packers will be a popular pick over the Lions. The Cowboys are a public favorite at any time, never mind when they are at home against the Raiders. The Giants are popular all the time and will be very popular this week against a freefalling Denver team. Books will be desperately hoping for an upset of some sort or this could be ugly. The worse news from my point of view is that none of those games is particularly riveting. Matthew Stafford showed he had some game yesterday, but the Packers are a significantly better opponent, and it’s not clear how healthy he is. Bruce Gradkowski gave the Raiders a nice boost, but they aren’t at home this time, and they aren’t a good road team. The Giants aren’t playing great football right now, but compared to the Broncos they look like world-beaters. The chances are high that this won’t be a stunning display of football. Last year’s games weren’t any good, so I was hoping for more this year. Maybe next year.
Ha! I knew if I kept doubting the Bengals for long enough they would come through for me. Losing to the Raiders? Really? People have been trying to paint the Bengals as an elite AFC team for a few weeks now, but you can’t be an elite AFC team and let the Raiders score 10 points in the last minute of the game to beat you. What I think we are actually learning about the Bengals is that they are playing in a division that just isn’t as good as we thought it was. We thought that the AFC North was among the best there was, but Baltimore continues to struggle, and Pittsburgh just lost to the Chiefs (of all things). And then there is Cleveland – they couldn’t even protect a massive lead against the pathetic Lions. The Bengals have, in my view, benefited from playing in this troubled conference and look better than they are as a result. Outside of the division their only wins are against the Bears and the Packers – two flawed teams as well. Needless to say, I’m not drinking the Cincinnati kool-aid. This is not a serious contender.
I am not looking forward to this day of college football. as a major Michigan fan this is normally my favorite day – the brilliant rivalry that is Michigan-Ohio State. This year I just face it with frustration and dread, though. Our team is lousy, we’re not bowl eligible, and we are more than likely going to lose badly. Again. Painfully frustrating. I may or may not be able to watch the whole game. Either way, I will be paying more attention to other games than I normally do on this day. These ones are the most interesting to me:
North Carolina (+3.5) at Boston College – I like the progress that North Carolina is making and would like to see them wind up raked. They are just clinging to the last spot in the polls, though, so they really can’t afford to lose this one. Boston College would be close to climbing into the polls themselves with a win here.
Minnesota (+11) at Iowa – The Hawkeyes stand a good chance of making the BCS if they win here, and the bigger the win the better. If that’s not motivation for a big showing – by both teams – then nothing will be.
Oklahoma (-6.5) at Texas Tech – This team doesn’t mean a thing for either team in a real sense, but it still should be fun as both sides try to salvage some pride.
TCU (-30.5) at Wyoming – TCU needs to keep winning to maintain their chances of glory. Wyoming is outclassed, but they can be a tough, feisty team at home – just ask Texas. Wyoming won the last time these teams met in Laramie.
UConn (+6) at Notre Dame – The Charlie Weis death watch continues. I’m not at all convinced that he can do anything to save himself, but a loss here would be fatal.
LSU (+4.5) at Ole Miss – LSU is at number 10 and could play themselves higher in the rankings with a win here. They aren’t going to make the BCS barring a miracle because there are already two SEC teams ahead of them, but the motivation will still be high here for pride. Mississippi has a better record than their play should warrant, and could earn a nice bowl with a win here, too.
Virginia (+21) at Clemson – C.J. Spiller is a beast and Virginia can’t stop the run. This one could be a big factor in the Heisman race.
Penn State (-3) at Michigan State – If Iowa loses then Penn State would be playing for a BCS bid here. That isn’t likely, but it would make for a classic. Either way, this one should be a good one.
Cal (+7) at Stanford – The Cardinal have been amazing the last couple of weeks, but can they maintain the momentum when they play a slightly lesser opponent? This one is always a war anyway because of the rivalry, but this time around it should be fascinating.
Kansas (+27.5) at Texas – The Longhorns have their fate in their hands – stay on track and they are headed to the BCS championship game. This one won’t be close if Texas is focused because Kansas is self-destructing.
Oregon (-6) at Arizona – The Pac-10 is offering by far the most drama in the country right now, and this is yet another game that will help to determine the conference champion and the bowl rankings. Arizona needs a big win.