Friday, November 07, 2008
Marc Lawrence’s College Football Upsets for November 8
N.C. State Plus over Duke
The Blue Devils’ brief flirtation with a winning record may have disappeared in last week’s agonizing OT loss at Wake Forest but they’ve gained a world of respect under new coach David Cutcliffe, having won as many games this season – four – as they did in FOUR YEARS under previous leader Ted Roof. Things aren’t going quite as well in Raleigh where the ‘Tom O’Brien Experiment’ continues to sour:
the Pack’s 2-6 SU record in ’08 puts them at 7-11 overall under the formerly-successful Boston College head man. But a trip to the ATS archives tells us that NC State’s victory drought is about to come to a much-needed end. For starters, the Pack has ruled this series with an iron paw, winning 12 of the last 13 meetings SU. State was also favored in 12 of those 13 games – and the one time they were made the pooch, the Lupines responded with an outright win. The Pack has also compiled a solid 9-3 ATS mark as dogs versus a foe off a SU loss and chief wolf O’Brien removes any lingering doubt with his perfect 5-0 SU and ATS record as an underdog of less than 7 points playing with rest. As for Duke, OT losers have failed miserably the following week as conference home chalk, going 18-36-2 against the number, including 8-22 off a SUATS loss. The Devils have also been left blue in their last dozen attempts as favorites, posting a poor 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS record. O’Brien temporarily silences the naysayers with a big ACC win here.
Last Week: 2-2 Season: 21-13
Oklahoma State Plus over Texas Tech
How does the Big 12 keep doing it? Every week the conference conjures up a primetime marquee matchup with national championship implications – and this Saturday is certainly no exception. The Red
Raiders, of course, remained unbeaten after an electrifying last-second win over #1 Texas and the Cowboys prepped for this showdown with a 59-17 surgical dissection of Iowa State. And just like last week, this heavyweight affair features a pair of quarterbacks worthy of Heisman contention, Tech’s Graham Harrell (474 yards passing and 2 TDs vs.Texas) and OSU’s Zac Robinson (395 yards passing against ISU). For the stat freaks who point out that Okie State’s last win at Lubbock came way back in 1944, we’ll counter with the fact that the Red Raiders had NEVER beaten a No. 1 ranked opponent until last week – a scenario that brings our ‘BRILLIANT DISGUISE’ angle from Playbook #9 to the forefront. Mike Gundy’s Cowboys are 3-0-1 as conference road dogs of 7 or fewer points and have carved out a superb 9-1 ATS mark when playing off a SU Big 12 home win of 21 or more points. Let’s be honest: the Red Raiders’ last second win over the Longhorns was nothing short of miraculous and in this week’s battle of 500-yard offenses, we look for Mike Leach’s magic to finally run out.
Texas A & M Plus over Oklahoma
That was some initiation Sooners’ head coach Bob Stoops dished out to new Huskers’ head man Bo Pelini: OU jumped on Nebraska with a 35-0 first quarter and rolled up 62 total points with alarming ease. That kind of shellacking would mean a lot more to us if Oklahoma didn’t have its Revenge Game of the Year waiting on deck against Texas Tech. Mike Leach’s Red Raiders tagged the Sooners with one of two regular season losses in '07 and you know Oklahoma will be looking ahead to that rumble at some time before or during this date with the Aggies. Currently just 4-5, Texas A&M could use a 13th or 14th man this season but they HAVE fashioned a two-game winning streak and own enough talent to throw a scare into the Sooners if the breaks go their way. The Aggies are 6-1-1 ATS playing their Last Home Game and have covered six of their last seven tries as double-digit home dogs – plus this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT points us in A&M’s direction.
LSU Plus over Alabama
From laughingstock to No. 1 in less than two seasons – that’s quite an accomplishment for Alabama head coach Nick Saban. But now the Nictator must return to Baton Rouge and if our handicapping expertise has something to say about it, the Tide looks to be in a heap of trouble down in Cajun country. For openers, Bama is a SMART BOX fade (‘As The Noose Tightens’) this week while the host Bengals qualify as a ‘play on’ team from last week’s ‘Puttin’ On The Stats’ SMART BOX. The Tide usually falters in their Last Road Game in a season, going just 1-5 ATS lately, a stat that fits just fine with LSU’s strong 7-3 ATS mark as home dogs of 10 or less points. Les ‘The Mad Hatter’ Miles has posted six SU wins in eight tries at home when challenging an undefeated foe (3-0 with the Tigers) and has already met his annual quota of SU losses with two. This just in from our powerful database: defending National Champions are 13-4-1 ATS as dogs versus opponents with visions of being the next National Champ (undefeated), including 10-1-1 if the foe is off a win of 15 or more points. Say goodbye to the new No. 1; they call it Death Valley, right?
UCLA Plus over Oregon St
Those who ignore history will look at the 5-3 Beavers laying a TD to the 3-5 Bruins and immediately side with OSU. Not so fast, my friend! Oregon State has been skinned both SU and ATS in five consecutive series games with the Bruins, losing the last three outright as favorites. The dam-builders have also struggled away from the pond this season, going 1-3 SU with their lone win coming over woeful Washington. Despite an expected final game thrashing by Southern Cal, UCLA can still become bowl eligible by winning today, then beating Washington and Arizona State. Bruins are money in the bank in the role of home underdogs, clawing their way to an 8-4 SU and 11-1 ATS in their last dozen tries. And if you’re still wavering, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel is the answer to this week’s TRIVIA TEASER on page 2. What more could you want?
Louisville Plus over PITTSBURGH
Hey, you think Steve Kragthorpe is on the hot seat after losing two years in a row to Syracuse? This from our good friend, the retired 5* General Tom Scott: “THE FIRE UNDER HIS ASS MAKES THE TOWERING INFERNO LOOK LIKE A PILOT LIGHT!” Fortunately for Stevie boy, the host Panthers show up as a ‘Play Against’ in this week’s ‘Anti Irish’ AWESOME ANGLE. Pittsburgh has failed to cash a ticket in its last six games at the Ketchup Bowl and head coach Wannstedt owns a certifiably bad 2-7 ATS record as home chalk of less than 10 points. Louie laid 10.5 points to the Panthers on this field two years ago and let’s face it: Kragthorpe needs this game like Ma needs Donna.
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping