NEW MEXICO over Tcu by 3
We had considered going with Gary Patterson’s well-coached Frogs here (covered 3 straight season openers) but with New Mexico recently placed on a 3-year NCAA probation for recruiting and academic violations, Rocky Long’s Lobos should bust through the gate with an urgency to ‘get it done now’. Coming off a superb 9-4 season that included a 23-0 shellacking of Nevada in last year’s New Mexico Bowl (Lobos’ fi rst bowl win in 46 years!), UNM can improve head coach Rocky Long’s record as MWC underdog to 26-15 with a pointspread cover today.
A closer look at the Horned Ones reveals a tendency to perform much better at Fort Worth: Patterson stands 22-15 ATS at home but sinks to a 17-24 spread mark away from Amon G. Carter Stadium, including just 8-15 as a road favorite. The Lobos should also be snarling over last year’s 37-0 humiliation by the Frogs, Long’s third consecutive loss to Patterson. We’ll go with a pack of wild wolves to raise the ATS mark of HD’s in season-opening conference games to a perfect 4-0.
Intriguing matchup between two promising teams that never quite seem to ‘make it over the hump’. That just might change in 2008 for Michigan State, our choice for ‘sleeper team’ in the Big 10. All six Spartan losses in ’07 were by 7 or fewer points and talented RB Javon Ringer is the most dynamic player on the field today. Hard-nosed SR QB Brian Hoyer compliments head coach Mark Dantonio’s style, playing with passion and purpose, to a tee. Dantonio also answers this week’s TRIVIA TEASER (see page 2).
Cal owns a sorry 0-5 ATS mark at home before back-to-back road games – plus the Bears can’t focus the week before taking on Washington State, failing to cover in fi ve of the last six such games. Worst of all, California is the ONLY team in the nation to slip both offensively and defensively each of the last three years. With experienced QB Nate Longshore losing his starting job to SO Kevin Riley, the Bears may continue to slip, slide away.