College Football season kicks off with Florida vs Miami

Are the Miami Hurricanes back now that Manny Diaz is at the helm? We’ll see tonight as they take on the #8 Florida Gators to open the college football season.

Much of the talk regarding Miami has centered around freshman QB Jarren Williams beating out Tate Martell for the starting job, but the bigger factor may involve the Miami’s lack of experience along the offensive line.

The spread has stayed around Florida -7 leading up to game time. This should be a fun one.

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College Football Week 11, NFL Week 10 Free Picks

LSU vs. Alabama, 8:00PM ET
This shouldn’t be the typical LSU-Alabama defensive slugfest for four quarters. The Tigers have had communication issues in their defensive backfield all season, which has led to some big plays for the opposition, and their pass rush has been inconsistent as well. On the other side, the Tide’s secondary is thin and the defense as a whole hasn’t looked as dominant as it has in recent years. But perhaps the biggest difference in this year’s matchup compared to recent meetings is that LSU finally has a quarterback capable of making plays down the field. Zach Mettenberger has given the Tigers a true vertical passing game and with that, scoring shouldn’t be an issue in this one.

Houston vs. Central Florida, 7:00PM ET
Despite being 7-0 and 4-0 in conference play, Houston has received no love from oddsmakers. That’s been great for bettors, however, as the Cougars have covered the number in all but one game this season (last week versus South Florida when they won but failed to cover as a 19-point favorite). Houston is 5-0 against the spread in its last five road games and 4-0 ATS in its last four games following a bye week. The Cougars are also 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games overall, 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in November and 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight up win. Take the points.

Cowboys vs. Saints, 8:30PM ET
When teams are able to generate pressure from the interior of their defensive line and push the pocket into Drew Brees’ face, he struggles. That’s what happened last week when the Jets shocked the Saints in East Rutherford. That said, the Cowboys don’t employ Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson or Quinton Coples on their defensive line, so Brees and the Saints should have a bounce back game on Sunday night. New Orleans is 20-6 against the spread in its last 26 home games, 5-2 ATS in its last seven games versus NFC opponents and 10-4 ATS in its last 14 games in Week 10. The Saints are simply a different team at home and should win this one by a touchdown-plus.

Raiders vs. Giants, 1:00PM ET
Let’s see, neither of these teams can run the ball with much success and both defenses have been downright brutal this season – smells like an over to me. The Raiders allowed Nick Foles to throw for seven touchdown passes last week and while Eli Manning is in the midst of another down season, he should pick apart Oakland’s ragtag secondary. The over is 4-1 in the Giants’ last five home games and 5-2 in the Raiders’ last seven games in November. This one should sail over.

Fade Material: College Football Week 11 Predictions

Penn State University head coach Joe Paterno looks toward the scoreboard during his team’s game against the University of Illinois in their NCAA football game in Champaign, Illinois October 3, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (UNITED STATES SPORT FOOTBALL)

Technically I went 2-2 last Saturday but I did produce this gem, which was worth another win in my eyes:

My 2-2 effort last week puts me at 21-13-2 ATS for the season. Again, chances are two of these four picks will be winners while two will be losers. Soooo, have fun with that.

My two winners? Iowa (+4) and UCLA (+8.5). My two losers? Alabama (-4.5) and Texas A&M (+14).

My latest .500 week puts me at 23-15-2 on the season and once again, if you can figure out which two picks will hit and which two won’t, you’ll have a 4-0 Saturday. It’s like a game. A twisted, nauseating game.

Nebraska @ Penn State, 12:00PM ET
One of two things are going to happen this week at University Park. Either Penn State is going to play the most inspired football of the season or the Jerry Sandusky/Joe Paterno fiasco is going to bury them. I’m banking on the latter, which is why I’m riding the brutal-against-the-spread Huskers this week. Nebraska will be fired up and while Penn State may show plenty of emotion at the start, I think they’ll run out of steam eventually.

Michigan @ Illinois, 3:30PM ET
I’m going right back to the well in picking against Michigan. Outside of trouncing Northwestern, the Wolverines have played poorly in two of their three road games this season. While Illinois is going backwards, this is a good opportunity for the Illini to snap their current three-game losing streak. They also seem to play Michigan tough, which is supported by their 4-1 record against the spread in the last five games these two teams have met.

Louisiana Tech @ Ole Miss, 7:30PM ET
I’m choking on chalk this week but I really love this matchup. Some bettors will look at this game and all they’ll see is the WAC vs. the SEC, and the fact that Ole Miss is getting points at home. But in some respects, this is the Bulldogs’ season. They take down a SEC opponent on the road and regardless of whether or not they catch Nevada, their season will be a success. As for the Rebels, will their hearts even be in this one? They’ve been terrible all year and now they have a non-conference game that means absolutely nothing to them. Even though LA Tech is favored, I like the Dogs in an “upset.”

Hawaii @ Nevada, 10:15PM ET
I’m choking on chalk this week. Hawaii has had issues coming to the mainland, as evidence of its embarrassing 40-20 loss to UNLV in Week 3. UNLV is one of the worst teams in college football this season and it steamrolled a Warrior team that was a 17-point favorite. Nevada is 4-1 against the spread in its last five home games against Hawaii and the home squad is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings between these two teams. I hate that the line is a full point and a half above the key number of 14 but I like the Wolf Pack anyway.

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Fade Material: College Football Week 8 Predictions

The University of Alabama Crimson Tides Trent Richardson runs past the University of Texas Longhorns Aaron Williams to score a touchdown during the second quarter in the NCAA’s BCS National Championship football game in Pasadena, January 7, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

If you can’t trust a Vandal, whom can you trust?

Idaho cost me an opportunity for back-to-back 4-0 Saturdays by failing to score at the goal line in the closing seconds against New Mexico State. A touchdown and PAT would have sent the game into overtime while giving the Vandals (+1) a chance to cover. But realizing that if they won I would be 8-0 in the last two weeks, Idaho threw the game, stalled out on fourth down and handed me a 3-1 record. The nerve!

Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State (thanks to Steve Spurrier, who took a safety to run the clock out last week, allowing the 3-point underdog Bulldog team to cover) were winners last week, while Idaho was my lone loser. That runs my season record to 17-9-2.

Arkansas @ Mississippi, 12:20PM ET
Houston Nutt’s football team has issues. Ole Miss ranks 11th in the SEC in total offense and 12th in total defense, which isn’t a good sign with Arkansas coming to town. Razorbacks’ quarterback Tyler Wilson ranks second in the SEC in passing efficiently and total offense, leading a passing attack that averages 336.8 yards through the air. Wilson has too many weapons to use against an overmatched Rebels defense. Arkansas is 6-1 against the spread in its last seven games against Ole Miss, which is 1-6 ATS in its last seven home games.

Air Force @ Boise State, 3:30PM ET
This one could be a bloodbath if Boise State doesn’t get in its own way. The Falcons lead the Mountain West in total offense and rushing offense, but their defense will have a tough time slowing Kellen Moore, who has now thrown for 120 career touchdown passes. Boise State has won its last two games by a combined 100 points, which is the exact number Air Force has allowed over its last two outings. I just don’t think the Falcons can keep pace if the Broncos start to roll.

Tennessee @ Alabama, 7:15PM ET
With LSU coming up next Saturday, this could very well be a trap game for Alabama, although either way Tennessee still has to figure out a way to score without Tyler Bray under center. Matt Simms was a small disaster last week at home against LSU while completing just six passes and throwing two interceptions. Thus, how well do you think he’ll fare this Saturday on the road in Tuscaloosa? Even if Trent Richardson and the ‘Bama offense doesn’t get rolling until the second half, I don’t envision Simms figuring out Tide’s stingy defense.

Texas Tech @ Oklahoma, 8:00PM ET
I realize the Red Raiders lost their last two games but they also played Texas A&M and Kansas State – two top 20 teams. For Oklahoma to be giving up four touchdowns after the way it played last Saturday in Kansas (a rather sloppy performance despite the 47-17 score) is a little surprising. True, Tech’s defense couldn’t stop a nosebleed right now. But led by Seth Doege, their offense usually hangs with opponents. If the Sooners have as much trouble in the red zone on Saturday as they did last weekend in Kansas, I like Tech to cover.

Last Week: 3-1
Season Record: 17-9-2

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Fade Material: College Football Week 7 Predictions

REFILE – CORRECTING ID Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst coaches against the TCU Horned Frogs during the third quarter of the 97th Rose Bowl game in Pasadena, California, January 1, 2011. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

Well I’ll be a son of monkey’s uncle: I had my first 4-0 Saturday of the year last week. Never thought I’d see the day.

I ate that chalk like it was no tomorrow with picks of Alabama (-29), Stanford (-29) and LSU (-13), but they all covered somewhat easily. My best pick wound up being a 10-point dog in Wake Forest, which won outright at home against Florida State. That pushes my season record to 14-8-2, which can only mean one thing: A 0-4 Saturday is right around the corner…

Indiana @ Wisconsin, 12:00PM ET
This is one of those games when you look at the line and say, “Thirty-nine and a half points? Indiana is getting 39.5 points? Oh, they have to cover that spread. All they need to do is show up!” Then you check the score two minutes in and it’s already 14-0 Wisconsin and they’re lining up to kick a field goal to add to their lead. The last time these two teams met, the Badgers put up 83 points on the Hoosiers in Indiana, without Russell Wilson under center. So no, I don’t mind laying the nearly 40 points with Wisconsin. If I get burned on a backdoor cover so be it. But this one won’t be close and it’s just a matter of when the Badgers will take their foot off the gas in the second half. Hopefully it’s well after they have a cover in hand.

South Carolina @ Mississippi State, 12:20PM ET
The Bulldogs have been one of the nation’s biggest disappointments after winning nine games a season ago. They started the year ranked in the top 20 but have quickly faded from memory. While South Carolina has one of the most feared running back-receiver duos in the country courtesy of Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffrey, I think this is the one day Mississippi State raises its game and pulls off the upset. The Gamecocks had to suffer through some turmoil early this week when Stephen Garcia was finally given the boot and now they have to hit the road against a SEC opponent looking for one signature victory to turn their season around. I think the Bulldogs get that victory here, although take the field goal as insurance.

Oklahoma State @ Texas, 3:30PM ET
Last Saturday was the first time all year that Texas faced an offense that could put points on the board and the Longhorns were absolutely crushed by high-powered Oklahoma. Even though they return to Austin this week, things don’t get any easier for Mack Brown and Co. The Cowboys own the nation’s top-ranked scoring offense, averaging more than 51 points per game. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon should have a field day against a Texas secondary that was lit up by Landry Jones last weekend. Even though the Longhorns hold a 14-2 advantage over the Cowboys in Austin, I think it’s going to be a long day for Texas.

Idaho @ New Mexico State, 8:00PM ET
For my “Who cares?” pick of the week, I’m going with the Vandals, who are 5-1 against the spread in their last six trips to New Mexico State and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against the Aggies. The road team is also 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings between these two squads while the underdog is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 overall meetings. For whatever reason this game stood out to be as a mistake by the oddsmakers (not that they make mistakes). I like Idaho to roll.

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