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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Marc Lawrence, PlaybookSports.comCarrying on with our yearly tradition at HRI, we will bring you our top upsets of the weekend on the college and pro gridirons through the bowl season and NFL playoffs. Let the games begin:

FLORIDA STATE (+2 ½) by 10 over LSU

Because of an accounting error, new head coach Brian Kelly – who signed a 10-year, $95 million contract last off-season — was overpaid by $1 million in his first campaign. We should all be so fortunate… and the Tigers were also lucky when they coerced Kelly out of South Bend, albeit with a Brinks truck. As always, though, there is a price to pay for success and LSU was forced to pony up when only one team was hit harder than the Bengals in this year’s NFL draft, when 10 players heard their name called. In fact, of all the SEC teams, only Georgia has been as negatively affected by the draft over the past two seasons. Today’s outcome will most likely have major implications on the pos-sibility of these two teams making the CFP down the road, and keep in mind that the Tigers are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games away from the Bayou when forced to lay points. Meanwhile, the Seminoles dress up comfortably inside this week’s SMART BOX with no less than 18 starters back from last year’s 10-win squad which improved on offense by 8 points and 104 yards per game, while the defense allowed 6 points less and 58 yards less per contest. With it, FSU is No. 4 overall in the Returning Production Rankings. They are 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in this series since 1980, including 4-0 SUATS when facing an LSU squad that won six or more games the previous season. However, we seal the deal with this gem, aka THE CLINCHER: Florida State is 9-0-2 in 11 previous contests in Orlando.

HAWAII (+4) over Stanford by 6

The Warriors appear to be tracking in the same point spread pattern they established last year under rookie head coach Timmy Chang when they rang the register in eight of 12 games after leaving Vanderbilt with more money in last week’s opener. They return to the Island with a neat 6-4 SU and 8-2 ATS ledger in their last ten lined home openers, including 6-1 ATS when taking points. And while we’re not wild about Hawaii’s miniscule 1.6 yards per rush effort at Vandy, we’re bullish on QB Brayden Schager after he lit up the Commodores for 351 yards and 3 TDs while completing 77% of his passes. Now that Stanford’s secondary has been warned, we can delve into the sad demise of the once great program. Under head coach David Shaw, the Cardinal went bowling nearly every season and were always a threat to sneak into the conference title game. The dream went to hell in a handbag started in 2019, and Shaw’s slide resulted in a 14-28 over four seasons. Despite a record of 96-54 – the best of any head coach in school history – Shaw was shown the door. Things immediately went south for new Cardinal head Troy Taylor, who moved from Sacramento State to a Power 5 job with Stanford, only to see the Pac-12 implode, leaving his team without a conference next season. Making matters worse for The Tree tonight, the Well-Oiled Machine jumps on the bandwagon, noting that new CFB head coaches are 7-18-2 ATS in Game One with a team that won three or fewer games the previous season. Adding to Taylor’s woes is Stanford’s wobbly 1-8 SUATS mark in its last nine road games. Having to fi ll the recently worn-out shoes of iconic 13-year head coach Shaw is one thing. Doing it in the midst of an ongoing conference apocalypse is another! Despite the notion the Grass Skirts are in a rebuild phase, we’ll look for even more commotion with Timmy’s troops today behind the staying power of THE CLINCHER: Hawaii is 7-0 ATS as a home dog in Pac-12 games since 2010.

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