Wednesday, October 28, 2009

College Football Notebook: Ducks & Trojans Clash

College Notebook by Micah Roberts
Gaming Today Las Vegas

Only one top-10 team was upset in week eight with Miami falling in overtime to Clemson, 40-37, but there were nearly a couple of giant take downs that would have really shaken things up in the BCS rankings.

Alabama needed a blocked 44-yard field goal with seconds left to preserve a tough fought 12-10 victory over Monte Kiffin’s attacking Tennessee defense, keeping the dream 1-2 match-up in the SEC Championship game alive.

Iowa scored a touchdown with one second left at Michigan State to secure a 15-13 win and remain unbeaten and in control of their own destiny for the Big-10 title and a possible chance at the BCS Title game.

This week’s games could present a real shake up for some of the top teams on the road, most notably USC and Texas.

Oregon and the offense run by QB Jeremiah Masoli welcome the Trojans Saturday night and will give USC all they can handle. Last week against Oregon State, USC’s stingy defense gave up a season high 36 points and 482 yards, something that Oregon should find encouraging in their Rose Bowl quest.

Oregon is 4-0 in conference play and has looked like one of the best teams in the country this season following their season opening loss to Boise State.

Texas visits Stillwater for a battle against a regrouped Oklahoma State team that will present Texas with their toughest hurdle among their final five games. Should Texas get by this week, their plan of making the BCS Title game becomes all the more easier.

Nevada Crystal Ball

 Since starting the season 0-3, Nevada has won four straight and in each of those wins the sharp bettors have been dialed in to how they’ll perform. In every instance since the Wolf Pack’s last loss, the opening spread has moved 2 whole points or more by kickoff.

Two weeks ago at Utah State, the move was against Nevada who opened -9 and closed at -7, barely winning 35-32. On the three other occasions, the moves have all been massive onslaughts siding with Nevada, including last week’s 70-45 pounding of then one-loss Idaho. The game opened -13 and closed at -17.

Next up for the Pack this week is a visit by Hawaii. It might be a good idea to watch which way the opener moves and follow the sharp who has a really good read on this team right now.

Move of the Week

The sharpest of all the betting sharps in the world made a huge push on Oregon last week at Washington, laying the opener of Oregon -6.5 and betting all the way up the ladder to -10 with early action on Monday and Tuesday. By kickoff there had been some buy back on Washington at +10 and most books closed the game at 9 or 9.5.

The move seemed peculiar just because of how well Washington had played at home all season going 4-0 ATS, including big wins against top ranked USC and a ranked Arizona. Couple that with the big look ahead game Oregon had with USC in Eugene and it seemed like a good spot for the Huskies.

But that is why this particular sharp is who he is; he sees match-ups beyond what we all see. Oregon rolled 43-19 making Washington look more like last season’s winless squad rather than the competitive team they had been this year.

Middle of the Week

Purdue opened a 10-point favorite over Illinois. By Thursday, a little Illini money had come in dropping the game to -9.5. By kickoff the game had been pushed up to -10.5 and of course the game landed on 10 with Purdue winning 24-14.

In a similar, but not entirely same instance, Ball State opened -3 at Eastern Michigan. Dog money came in early dropping the game to -2 where most of the action was taken up till kickoff when it moved to 2.5 with more favorite money. Of course it lands on 2 with Ball State winning 29-27 and the sports books giving back most of the money on pushes and lose the early bets.

Yo-Yo Move of the Week

UNLV opened a 3-point favorite at New Mexico and the Lobos money came in at about the same time and rate of the Oregon moves pushing New Mexico to a -1.5 favorite. By kickoff, the Rebels were pushed back to a -1.5 favorite. The end result was that the opener was the proper line as UNLV won their first road game of the season 34-17 giving Rebels Head Coach Mike Sanford a career road mark of 8-17 ATS.

No Love for the Super-Frosh?

It’s surprising not to hear many in the media talking about the remarkable exploits of Pitt’s freshman tailback Dion Lewis who had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the year last week in their 41-14 win against South Florida. The 111-yards pushed him over the 1,000-yard mark for the season and his two touchdowns gave him 11 with four games remaining.

His name hasn’t been mentioned for the Heisman, even though he has more yards and TD’s than everyone’s favorite, Mark Ingram of Alabama. Part of the criteria of being a Heisman candidate, beyond numbers, is a player’s contribution to the team’s success.

Ingram has definitely been the key to Alabama’s undefeated run, but Lewis has also been just as valuable. Consider that Pitt is 7-1, undefeated in the Big East, and is off to their best start since 1982, Dan Marino’s senior year.

Behind Ingram in most of the expert opinions are the nationally televised favorites of Tim Tebow, Colt McCoy and Jimmy Clausen. Popularity and coverage look to be what this award is about based on those candidates.

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