Saturday, October 15, 2011
College and Pro Upsets October 15-16
Navy over RUTGERS by 7
This non-conference tilt fi nds two teams arriving in Piscataway on opposite ends of the ATS ladder. The Midshipmen enter off a 29-point ATS beating at the hands of Southern Miss while the Knights come in off a 30.5-point ATS romp over Pitt. In fact, the Sopranos enter off back-to-back SU underdog conference revenge wins. The problem for Schiano and company this afternoon, however, is that three more conference revengers await on deck. And despite a perfect 4-0 ATS series mark at home since 2001, in NCIS terms we call this ‘clear passage’ for the Naval Academy. We’ve had a good read on Ken Niumatalolo’s group all season long and we expect this determined bunch to improve to 30-5 ATS as road dogs off back-to-back SU losses. Grab what you can get but you won’t need it as the Middies rectify a bad day for the military last week (0-3 SU and ATS) in a big way as they invade ‘the banks of the Old Raritan’ early and often on this Saturday.
OREGON ST over Byu by 6
The Utes’ other primetime companion from Mormon land, BYU, isn’t exactly enjoying a banner season either. In fact, the Cougars’ current 3-game win streak is about as phony as those emails we’ve been getting lately that swear we’ve inherited $300 million from some diplomat in Nigeria. The public was ready to pounce all over this line when it came out: BYU opened as the favorite but the points were quickly gobbled up until the Beavers assumed the chalk role. No matter; today’s trip to Corvallis marks the fi rst time in a month the ‘Y’ has left Provo in its rear-view mirror and we think that’s a great spot to back Mike Riley’s resurgent rodents, hungry for more after bagging their fi rst win of the season last week against Arizona. Riley has constructed a 10-4 ATS log when playing off a SU underdog win, including a water-tight 6-1 ATS effort versus .666 or less adversaries. BYU has come up near empty in today’s role, posting a pallid 1-9 SU and 2-7-1 ATS record versus the Pac-10/12 in games where both sides come in off a win. And let’s not forget that replacement QB Riley Nelson – who stepped in for the ineffective Jake Heaps last week – will be making only his second start in an exceedingly hostile environment. Nelson, who found plenty of room to run against San Jose State when his protection broke down, won’t have as much success against an OSU defense yielding a respectable 3.7 yards per rush. Don’t let the Beavers’ 1-4 start fool you; this is a major step up in class for Nelson – and we don’t think he’s ready. Lay the points as Oregon State gnaws out a win and cover.
Ohio St over Illinois
We’re sure you’ve seen at least one movie where ‘the dead are brought back to life.’ We’ll go you one better: we saw the real thing take place last Saturday at the end of one week’s time. It all started on October 1 when Ohio State’s lifeless corpse of an offense was wheel-barrowed out of the Horseshoe after being throttled by Michigan State, shut out for all but the last 10 seconds of the game. However, when stretched out for the autopsy last week in Lincoln, Nebraska, the Buckeye offense was somehow miraculously reanimated – steamrolling through the stunned Cornhuskers for a 27-6 third quarter lead. Unfortunately, that was all they had. Nebraska awoke like the U.S. military after Pearl Harbor and following a 28-0 Team Corn retaliation, it was Ohio State signing the wrong end of a 34-27 treaty. Suddenly, the Buckeyes have dropped three out of four and have to stay on the road today against an Illinois team looking to start the season 7-0 SU for the fi rst time since 1951. To appreciate the worth of Jim Tressel to the Ohio State program: OSU has been outgained in four of its last fi ve games – and the Buckeyes were 18-1 ‘In the Stats’ in their previous 19 games. Regardless, the Buckeyes are featured in this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT on page 3… and we seldom turn a deaf ear to advice that is, quite frankly, incredible… so we’ll go to the land of Lincoln wearing scarlet and gray. With ALL the pressure weighing squarely on the Illini in this ‘step-up’ contest, and the Tribe having dressed up as favorites just ONCE in the last 17 meeting in this series, we’ll look for Luke Frankenstein to pump a full four quarters-worth of life into the monster bearing his name. Which is just another way of saying Buckeyes, outright.
FRESNO ST over Utah St by 3
Granted, Utah State’s 63-19 demolition of Wyoming as a 10-point favorite was a real attention-getter. And, yes, Fresno State looked completely overmatched in its embarrassing 57-7 home loss to Boise State last Friday night. But do those two disparate results really justify making the Aggies 4-point road chalk over a Bulldogs’ team that hasn’t loss outright to USU (won 41-27 last year at Logan) since 2006? Recent series history favors the upstart Aggies as they’ve cashed in fi ve of the last six meetings and covered three straight on this fi eld. Strong, indeed, but it must be noted that Utah State has NEVER been favored in this matchup – and they stand just 1-7 SU all-time versus the Bulldogs. We also can’t forget this little nugget: USU is 6-50 SU in its last 56 road games, with only three wins coming by more than 4 points. Today’s Homecoming game marks the end of a three-game home stand for the slumping ‘Dogs but the remaining schedule is stacked with winnable games. Considering FSU head coach Pat Hill has gone 3-1 SU and ATS as a home dog off back-to-back losses, we think it’s time for the healing to begin.
CLEVELAND over Oakland by 6
Like we mentioned above – albeit in phony fashion – the Rayduhs dug deep and won the game they wanted for Al. However, we have absolutely zero interest in backing them in their fi rst favorite role of the season… and against a rested opponent, no less. Rest works wonders for mediocre teams against mediocre opponents and that looks to be the case, once again, this week in the Coliseum. These non-division foes have met a rather large fi ve times since 2003 (that’s what happens when you both fi nish last in your division just about every season) with Cleveland boasting a 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS record. There’s also a little something extra in the Brownies when they travel to the AFC West as they own a 6-1 ATS log. Toss in Oakland’s brutal 1-13 ATS mark as favorites of less than 8 points along with a winless 0-4 ATS log against rested opposition and you can see why the Black Hole may be empty before this one is over. Grab the points as the visitors catch the Raiders ‘jogging.’
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping