Friday, September 07, 2012
Marc Lawrence’s College & Pro Upsets Weekend Sept. 8-9
Miami Fla over KANSAS ST by 3
Hurricane Bill will like this. Heck, if you ask him he still thinks that Miami beat Ohio State in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl. And while it’s obvious this isn’t one of Miami’s fi ner editions (the 500 yards they allowed last week to BC will tell you that), the Hurricanes should be playing with a chip on their shoulder for a second straight week as they look to take apart another foe that beat them at home in 2011. The Canes got their revenge in Chestnut Hill last week and a 7-0 ATS mark with non-conference revenge along with a 6-1 ATS log in the second of back-to-back road games should have them doing the same in Manhattan, The ‘Cats, who are 2-8 ATS versus a non-conference foe off a SU win, are at the top of our fade list in 2012 and with good reason: they did so much (10 wins) while doing so little ‘in the stats’ (outgained by 57 YPG) in 2011. In fact, Bill Snyder’s bunch picked up ast week where they left off, allowing 418 yards to Missouri State (picked to fi nish last in the MVC) in a 51-9 win – a game that was actually tied at 9-9 in the third quarter! In what should come down to a ‘last team with the ball wins’ scenario, we’ll grab the points –though we won’t need ‘em – in this high noon payback upset special.
UCLA over Nebraska by 3
Impressive debuts by both squads last week, although Big Red lost “Superman” RB Rex Burkhead to a Grade 1 MCL sprain. Fortunately for the Huskers, they have a plethora of depth, making it easy for HC Bo Pelini to be certain that Burkhead is 100% before moving him back into the lineup. Better news for Big Red is QB Taylor Martinez and his careerhigh 354-yard, 5-TD performance in last week’s smashing of Southen Miss. Meanwhile, the Bruins (apparently fed up with USC hogging all the press) racked up 348 yards on the ground and 651 total yards overall en route to a 25-point over Rice in Jim Mora Jr.’s impressive debut last Thursday.
Like a winning lottery ticket, the numbers all favor the home team: 9-1 ATS as non conference HD’s, 5-1 ATS in the fi rst of 3+ home games and 5-1 SUATS versus the Big 12 when the Angelinos are off a SUATS win. That’s hand-in-glove stuff to go along with Nebraska’s 1-4 ATS log as favorites versus the Pac-12 and anemic 2-9 ATS mark in Game Two. We’re looking to make some more hay with these Bruins – and backed by this week’s INCREDIBLE STAT (see page 3), we think we can do just that. Corn Boys lost three away from Lincoln last year by 13, 28 and 31-point margins – and are vulnerable here.
Army over SAN DIEGO ST by 6
After losing virtually its entire front seven, defense was a big question for San Diego State heading into this season. But in Game One last week, the supposedly outmanned Aztecs continually frustrated Washington’s
offense, holding the Huskies to a mere 21 points while easily grabbing the cover (U-Dub a 16-point favorite). However, recent history suggests a different outcome today. First, Army’s SR QB Trent Steelman is behind
center for the 4th straight year, keying a ground attack that averaged 347 YPG last season. The Cadets also owe SDSU for a sour 23-20 loss at West Point last season, despite outgaining the Aztecs 446-292 (Army rushed for a whopping 403 yards). A poor 0-4 SUATS record in its last four lined home openers and a head coach, Rocky Long, with a 3-4 SU and 2-5 ATS effort in lined home openers sure fi ts the profi le. Black Knights may be kicking off the season in ‘Navy’ quarters but they’re 76-53-1 ATS when facing a foe off a SU loss in Game One. Back the ‘Be All You Can Be’ boys.
TENNESSEE over New England by 4
It’s not often you fi nd teams that win nine games who fail to make the playoffs but when you do, you can rest assured they take the field with a vengeance the next season. In fact, teams in this role this century own a splendid 116-69 SU mark at home, with only 31 of the 185 games resulting a in losses of more than 7 points. (Where else can you fi nd neat stuff like this other than in the PLAYBOOK?) The Titans, who managed nine victories in their fi rst season under Mike Muchchak’s lead in 2011, arrive with a lofty 9-3 ATS mark in their last twelve tries as home dogs. Enter the Patriots, last year’s losing team in the Super Bowl. Our AWESOME ANGLE on page 2 tells us what we need to know today about these guys. In addition, our database chips in with this nugget: teams who won 15 or more games last season are 5-17 ATS when they open the season on the road the following year, including 5-10 SU and 1-14 ATS when the Over/Under total in the game is set at 40 or more points. Oh yeah, Tennessee also well remembers their last meeting with the Patriots, a 59-0 thumping at Foxboro in 2007. It proved to be the largest deficit of any game in the NFL in our database, which dates all the way back to 1980. That being said, remember the Titans. We certainly do.
Buffalo over NY JETS by 3
How rotten was the AFC East this preseason, you ask? After the dust had settled, a 1-14 collective effort resulted with the four lowest-scoring teams in the league all taking up residence in this division, led by the paltry 7.8 PPG averaged by the Jets. And what do we fi nd when backing winless preseason favorites in season-opening games? Disaster comes to mind, considering the fact that 0-4 preseason teams are a wretched 2-16 ATS against avenging foes in Game One of the regular season. The fact that the Bills were 0-fer as well actually bodes well in their favor as these teams become hungry dogs on the highway when taking 2 or more
points, going 9-3-1 ATS. History works well in Buffi e’s favor, too, as the visitor in this series is 8-1 ATS. Until we see something we haven’t from new OC Tony Sparano’s offense, the Flyboys are on our fade list.
TAMPA BAY over Carolina by 3
What does having a self-proclaimed American Idol do for a bad football team? It short-tracks them to star status even though they remain a lousy team. That’s what the infusion of Cam Newton has meant for the Panthers, a team that has enjoyed ONE winning season the last six years. For it all, Carolina dresses up as road chalk on opening week in spite of dropping 16 of their last 20 games away from Charlotte, while going 0-3
SU and ATS the last three years in road openers. That’s what happens in a matchup when Superman meets Pee Wee Herman, aka the Bucs. The difference with this Tampa team is two-fold in 2012. One, new coach Greg Schiano takes over for Raheem ‘In Your Face’ Morris, and the players dig it. Second, talented QB Josh Freeman – who worked hard and lost 20 lbs in the offseason – is under the tutelage of new QB coach Mike Sullivan, who spent the past two seasons with Eli Manning. With that we turn to the Bucs’ 5-0 ATS mark in Games One-Four when playing with division revenge (lost twice to the Panthers last year by 32 and 19 point margins). We also idolize the fact that Carolina is 1-7-1 ATS in its fi rst favorite role of the season the last nine years. We’ve cast our vote and the winner of today’s contest is… Josh Freeman!
Marc Lawrence can also be found at Playbook.com - One Click Handicapping