LSU vs. Mississippi State, 7:00PM ET
Zach Mettenberger joined the Heisman race with his stellar performance last Saturday versus Georgia. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the Tigers, the defense was downright brutal trying to defend Aaron Murray and the UGA offense. LSU has issues in its defensive backfield and it uncharacteristically didn’t generate any pressure with its front four last weekend. The Tigers are 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four conference games, while the Bulldogs are 5-1 against the number in their last six home games and 5-1 ATS in their last six home games versus a team with a winning road record. Take the value with the home dog. FREE PICK: MISSISSIPPI STATE +7
Arizona State vs. Notre Dame, 7:30PM ET
While Stephon Tuitt and Louis Nix remain some of the best defenders in the country, Notre Dame’s defense hasn’t been nearly as impressive this season as it was a season ago. Meanwhile, junior quarterback Taylor Kelly has thrown for more than 300 yards in each of Arizona State’s first four games and junior transfer Jaelen Strong has racked up 433 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Fighting Irish could have a difficult time keeping up on the fast track of Cowboys Stadium and their offense isn’t nearly consistent enough to keep pace. Brian Kelly’s squad is 0-5-1 against the spread in its last six games overall and 0-3-1 ATS in its last four games versus a team with a winning record. Lay the points with ASU. FREE PICK: ARIZONA STATE -6
Lions vs. Packers, 1:00PM ET
The Lions are coming off a statement game against the Bears but they’ve always struggled in Green Bay. They’re 0-4 against the spread in their last four games versus the Packers and 4-11-1 ATS in their last 16 trips to Lambeau Field. Detroit has also had trouble over the years away from Ford Field, and is 1-4 against the number in its lat five road games. Green Bay should be well rested coming off the bye and is well aware that it can’t fall further behind in the NFC North. Expect Aaron Rodgers’ best effort and for the Pack to win in a rout. FREE PICK: PACKERS -7
Saints vs. Bears, 1:00PM ET
The Saints are firing on all cylinders offensively, while Rob Ryan has made an immediate impact for their defense. Despite injuries, Ryan is getting the most out of his players and is generate consistent pressure on a weekly basis. That said, the Saints are coming off a short week of practice and had to leave a day early for Chicago because of inclement weather. Not only has their routine been affected, but they’re also taking on a Bears team that will be plenty pissed off after their ugly performance a week ago in Detroit. The Bears are 5-1 against the spread in their last six games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game, while the home team is 4-0-2 ATS in the last six meetings between these two teams. FREE PICK: BEARS PICK’EM
Cam Newton recently told ESPN that Auburn was “best for Cam Newton” and that’s why he chose to play there and not Mississippi State. Not because his dad shopped around his services to the highest bidder.
“I had no dealings with nobody at Mississippi State during the time that I came to Auburn,” Newton said. “But Mississippi State knows it was between Mississippi State and Auburn. And if you’ve been following this, there’s no secret. But I felt that, as a whole, Auburn possessed what’s best for Cam Newton, and that’s why I decided to come here on my decision.”
He said telling Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen — who had been an assistant at Florida when Newton went there two years prior — he would be going to Auburn was difficult. ESPN reported Nov. 9 that Newton had told a Mississippi State recruiter that his father had chosen Auburn because “the money was too much.
“I’m not here to talk about any reports,” Newton said.
“I called Coach Mullen. I told him what I had in my heart at the time. I talked to him and his wife, Miss Megan, and we had an excellent conversation. They wished me the best, and I wished them the best.”
Newton may be telling the truth but a couple of things don’t add up here. First of all, did he tell a Mississippi State recruiter that his father had chosen Auburn because of the money or not? If he didn’t and he has nothing to hide, why not deny the report? Instead, he skirts the issue by saying he’s “not here to talk about any reports.”
Granted, maybe somebody instructed him to say anything but I thought honesty was always the best policy? If you have nothing to hide, then scream it from the rooftops until somebody listens.
The other thing that doesn’t add up is why he chose Auburn over Mississippi State. It’s not like Auburn was a powerhouse program before he got there and he already had a relationship with Bulldogs’ coach Dan Mullen. So why Auburn? Was it money perhaps?
Anthony Stalter is having a hard time believing that Cecil Newton didn’t ask Mississippi State for cash and when they didn’t deliver, he turned around and got something from Auburn instead. That’s just one outsider’s opinion, but it’s not difficult to connect the dots. The sad part is that Cam is now caught up in something from which he may or may not have benefited. Anthony Stalter is not suggesting he’s innocent, but it sure sounds as though Cecil was the catalyst for this entire situation.
And shame on him (Cecil, not Anthony Stalter) if he was.
Remember the first time you saw this picture — if you’ve seen it — and thought to yourself, “someone’s going to get killed catching a post pattern.”? Well, apparently the Big Ten — and the NCAA — thought the same thing, and Illinois and Northwestern will play their game today at Wrigley Field like you used to play in your backyard — always going toward the “good” end.
No, your eyes aren’t fooling you there. That is the goalpost attached to the wall at Wrigley. The wall that literally cuts into the paint of the end line.
The good news for Northwestern, Illinois and the Big Ten is that this mess of a field has drawn a lot of attention to a game that really doesn’t mean anything. People will tune in to see the wall in the endzone, and how the teams react to always going the same way.
It’s not the only game that is using a baseball field to create attention and ratings, as Notre Dame will play Army at Yankee Stadium tonight. The thought of these two playing at Yankee Stadium — even though it’s the new Yankee Stadium — has evoked a lot of memories of this historical rivalry. And these are two programs that love it when you’re focusing on history, because their history is a lot better than their present.
Both games are pulling in huge money for tickets, probably just for the spectacle. But even on a weak day in college football, neither game is big enough to crack the top five games of the week. Read the rest of this entry »
Milton McGregor may become a name that grows synonymous with the Cam Newton pay-for-play scandal involving Auburn and Mississippi State.
The FBI is looking into whether or not McGregor (an Auburn booster) was involved in the recruitment process for Newton last year. Apparently the FBI arrested McGregor last month in a bribery sting over an attempt to buy off politicians in order to pay off gambling debts. Just two years ago, he reportedly gave Auburn one million and is considered to be a major booster for the school.
Those that believe the university didn’t have anything to do with a pay-for-play deal with Newton and that a rouge booster was involved now have a catalyst in McGregor. This doesn’t mean Auburn would be let off the hook, but in the eyes of the NCAA it’s better if a booster acted alone in this situation.
In a related report, ESPN.com says that a Mississippi State booster named Bill Bell told the NCAA that he received a text message from Kenny Rogers outlining a payment plan for Newton to sign with MSU. According to the report, there was a three-way phone conversation between Bell, Rogers and Cam’s father Cecil about how the payments would work ($80,000 the day after Cam signed, $50,000 30 days later and then another $50,000 60 days later).
“When he asked for it, it was like, ‘Bam! He (Rogers) told me this kid’s dad is going to want money and the next day he sent me a text message. He didn’t say anything other than, ‘This is what I want and I want it in three installments.’ ”
“(Cecil Newton) didn’t come out and say, ‘I want $180,000,’ He inferred it and talked about it, but not directly. Kenny would talk about it in front of him, and [Cecil Newton] never corrected him or said, ‘No, that’s not what we’re doing.’ ”
“He said it was going to take more than just a relationship with Dan Mullen and that Cam’s relationship with Mullen wasn’t what Mullen thought it was. That’s when he said, ‘Dan Mullen is going to have to put a smile on my face if he thinks he’s going to get my son.’ “
I’m no Columbo, but if you read between the lines it appears as though Bell told Rogers and Newton to buzz off but McGregor obliged to pay the freight. And thus, that’s why Cam is currently running around on Saturdays in an Auburn Tigers uniform.
But that’s just speculation on my part and I encourage everyone not to jump to conclusions before all the facts come out. There is new information on this scandal everyday and I’m sure mores to come.