Can the Kansas City Chiefs keep it going?

The Kansas City Chiefs had the top pick in the latest NFL draft, and now they’re sitting at 7-0 with everyone calling Andy Reid a genius. But are they really that good, and does this make them a good bet in Vegas?

Andy Reid deserves a ton of credit for turning around this team. Everything revolves around the defense, where the Chiefs already had a lot of talent. They play very aggressive defense and they’v been causing a ton of turnovers. With the defense being the core, Reid went out and got Alex Smith to fit into his natural role as a game manager. The Chiefs love to run the ball, and then they don’t ask Smith to take any chances. This conservative approach has been critical to their success so far this season.

Still, is this sustainable? With an excellent defense they of course will be a contender all season long. But will they keep getting the critical turnovers? There’s always some luck associated with that. The Chiefs have had the good fortune of playing some terrible football teams. Also, they’ve faced a string of backup quarterbacks in Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick, and this week they get Jason Campbell. Later this year reality may set in as they will face Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning twice, Philip Rivers twice and RG3.

Then we have the issue of the offense. How long can they ride Alex Smith and his low yards per attempt numbers?

If you look at the NFL lines this week you’ll see the Chiefs as a 7.5 favorite over the Cleveland Browns. This game is interesting for a number of reasons. With Campbell starting, it’s really impossible to predict what we’ll see with the Cleveland offense. If he’s rusty or plays like he did last year, the Chiefs will have another win to celebrate. But if he can be a competent quarterback like the guy who was 4-2 in 2011 with the Raiders before getting hurt, then the Browns be come a formidable opponent.

The Browns do have an aggressive defense, and DC Ray Horton has promised to let them get more aggressive this week now that they’re healthy. And while he didn’t say it, Alex Smith is no Aaron Rodgers. The Browns will likely stack the box and blitz often in order to stuff the running game and dare Smith to throw passes downfield.

So be careful of this game. With the large spread this one seems like a coin flip that will turn on the unpredictable play of Jason Campbell. And if you’re in a n elimination pool, then this is a classic trap game. It should be a fun one to watch.

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Houston loss has big-time BCS implications

It didn’t take long today for the Bowl Championship Series to get a significant shake up. Sure, we already know who’s going to play in the national title game — because if we’ve learned nothing this year, it’s that every game matters … unless you play in the SEC — but the other games still were up for grabs today.

Houston, which had gone through the season unbeaten and found itself in the top 10, had the inside track to the Sugar Bowl as the top non-AQ school in the country with a ranking inside the top 12. I’m not sure if today’s loss to Southern Mississippi would knock the Cougars outside of the top 12 (it probably should), but it doesn’t matter, as they’re not Conference USA champions, meaning they’d have to get in as an at-large. Good luck with that.

So who gets the spot? Well, if Houston falls behind Michigan, it’s likely enough to get the Wolverines into the top 14, making them a shoe-in for an at-large spot. Then again, Michigan is likely to get there anyway, and most projections have them playing in the Sugar Bowl against Houston already. TCU would be the non-AQ school with the best chance, as it sits at No. 18 in the BCS standings right now, and only needs to get to No. 16 to earn an auto-bid. Head spinning yet? If a non-AQ school wins its conference and finishes in the top 16, it can get an automatic berth in a BCS game provided the champion from at least one AQ conference is ranked below it. Thank you, Big East.

If TCU doesn’t jump two spots (which is possible but not all that likely), then an at-large selection would fill the slot. The most likely choices are Boise State, Kansas State and, if it loses today, Oklahoma State.

As for the Big East, Cincinnati’s win against UConn leaves a three-way tie at the top of the league, so the final BCS standings will determine who gets the bid. Barring something crazy, that will be West Virginia, which is currently the only Big East team in the top 25, sitting at No. 23.

Central Florida shocks No. 15 Houston

The first upset of Week 11 in college football came courtesy of Central Florida, which knocked off No. 15 Houston 37-32 at BH Networks Stadium on Saturday.

Turnovers doomed the Cougars throughout the day. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead early in the first quarter, Houston was knocking on the door of another score after quarterback Case Keenum led his team inside the red zone. But Bryce Beall fumbled at the 1-yard line and the Golden Knights recovered to halt a potential touchdown. After its defense forced a three-and-out, Houston again fumbled in UCF territory, only this time the Knights turned the gift into points by kicking a 35-yard field goal.

Nick Cattoi gave Houston a 17-3 lead by returning the following kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, but UCF answered with 21 answered points to take a 23-20 lead late in the third quarter. A Keenum interception midway through the fourth led to yet another UCF score to essentially put Houston away for good, although the Cougars did tack on two touchdowns with under four minutes remaining in a frantic comeback that fell just short.

This was a rather impressive win by the Knights, who have struggled with consistency this season. Senior quarterback Brett Hodges outplayed Keenum today, completing 21 of 25 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore running back Brynn Harvey racked up 139 yards and three touchdowns on 35 carries. Granted, they got some help from Houston, which shot itself in the foot repeatedly with turnovers. But UCF capitalized on the Cougars’ mistakes and pulled off one of the better upsets of the year.

If SMU beats UTEP today, Houston will fall one game behind the Mustangs in the Conference USA West standings. The Cougars hold the potential tiebreaker between the two teams because they beat the Mustangs 38-15 earlier this season, but their fate is now in SMU’s hands.

The good news is that Houston plays two cupcakes in Memphis and Rice the next two weeks. The bad news is that SMU plays Marshall and Tulane, which aren’t exactly powerhouses.

Cougar fans better start rooting hard for UTEP.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Houston stuns No. 5 Oklahoma State 45-35

There’s always an interesting dynamic that happens in sports when a team has high expectations entering a season after overachieving the year before.

Oklahoma State surprised a lot of people last year on its way to compiling a 9-3 record and making a trip to the Holiday Bowl (a 42-31 loss to Oregon). Entering this season, many pundits thought the Cowboys would contend in the Big 12 and those thoughts were confirmed after they waxed Georgia 24-10 last week.

But the Cowboys learned a huge lesson today: They’re not going to sneak up on opponents like they did last year.

Led by incredible junior quarterback Case Keenum, unranked Houston went into Stillwater on Saturday and knocked off No. 5 Oklahoma State 45-35. Keenum was 32 of 47 passing for 367 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He also rushed five times for 16 yards and a score.

While they still racked up 35 points and 436 total yards, Oklahoma State’s offense struggled at times today and couldn’t overcome costly penalties and four turnovers. Signal caller Zac Robinson was 18 of 31 for 240 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted by Jamal Robinson, who took the gift 26 yards for a score with only 3:14 remaining in the game.

OK State obviously still has a chance to win the Big 12 considering neither Georgia nor Houston were conference opponents. (Sam Bradford’s injury makes things a little more interesting in the conference as well.) But the Cowboys have issues on both sides of the ball, including being able to generate a consistent pass rush on defense and converting in the red zone offensively. OK State also lacked overall fundamentals today, which is why the Cowboys had so many dumb penalties and turned the ball over four times.

The Cowboys certainly aren’t as bad as they played today against Houston. But considering the Cougars flat out took it to them, maybe Oklahoma State isn’t as good as everyone thought either.

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