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  #76  
Old 09-02-2017, 12:45 PM
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Late Afternoon Games:

SOCAR at NCST 03:00 PM

O 53.0


NEV at NW 03:30 PM

NW -24.0

O 60.5


FLA at MICH 03:30 PM

FLA +5.0

UTEP at OKLA 03:30 PM

OKLA -43.0

TEM at ND 03:30 PM

TEM +18.5

TROY at BSU 03:45 PM

BSU -10.5

O 60.5


EWU at TTU 04:00 PM

TTU -10.0

UK at SOMIS 04:00 PM

O 57.0

STON at USF 04:00 PM

USF -35.0

WMU at USC 05:15 PM

U 59.0

APP at UGA 06:15 PM

APP +12.5

M-OH at MRSH 06:30 PM

O 48.0
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Old 09-02-2017, 06:41 PM
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Evening Selections:

ALA at FSU 08:00 PM

FSU +7.5

O 51.0


VAN at MTU 08:00 PM

O 57.5


ARST at NEB 08:00 PM

NEB -14.5

SUU at ORE 08:15 PM

ORE -36.0


LSU at BYU 09:30 PM

BYU +14.0

U 48.0


IW at FRES 10:00 PM

FRES -32.5

MTST at WSU 10:30 PM

WSU -41.0

NAU at ARIZ 11:00 PM

NAU +24.5
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:03 AM
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Sunday's Tip Sheet
September 2, 2017

Bettors have a pair of solid non-conference games lined up on Sunday night. Let’s take an in-depth look at both contests to help you out on deciding who you want support at the window.

**Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia**


-- These former Big East rivals will square of in Landover, MD, where the Redskins call home in NFL action. FedEx Field is located 214 miles away from Morgantown and 285 miles from Blacksburg. These schools haven’t met since 2005. Virginia Tech has a 9-3 record in this rivalry.

-- As of Saturday afternoon, most betting shops had Virginia Tech installed as a four or 4.5-point favorite with a total of 51.5. The Mountaineers were available on the money line for a +175 return (risk $100 to win $175).

-- Virginia Tech went to the ACC Championship Game in its first season under Justin Fuente, coming up on the short end of a 42-35 decision against eventual national champ, Clemson. The Hokies took the cash as 10.5-point underdogs, however. Also, they overcame a 24-0 halftime deficit to rally past Arkansas for a 35-24 win as seven-point ‘chalk’ at the Belk Bowl.

-- Fuente’s first team finished 10-4 straight up and 8-6 against the spread. The negative was losing twice as a double-digit favorite at Syracuse (31-17) and vs. Ga. Tech (30-20) but after four consecutive seasons of winning eight games or fewer, the vibe out of Blacksburg was all positive going into the offseason.

-- Virginia Tech returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. Josh Jackson, a redshirt freshman, has won the starting QB job and will replace Jerod Evans. Jackson will rely heavily on senior wide receiver Cam Phillips, who had 76 receptions for 983 yards and five touchdowns last year. Junior Travon McMillian will get the bulk of the carries after rushing for 671 yards and seven TDs in 2016. McMillian averaged 4.6 yards per carry.

-- Virginia Tech has one of the top defensive coordinators in all of college football in Bud Foster. His unit gave up 22.8 points per game last season. This group has 11 of its top 14 tacklers back, including junior outside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, who was a third-team All-American selection in ’16. Edmunds produced 106 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, nine QB hurries, three passes broken up, one forced fumble and one interception. Senior MLB Andrew Motuapuaka recorded 114 tackles, 3.5 TFL’s, two sacks, five QB hurries, four passes broken and three interceptions.

--West Virginia is off its best season since joining the Big 12 in 2012. Dana Holgorsen’s squad went 10-3 SU and 5-8 ATS, but it lost a 31-14 decision to Miami as a 2.5-point underdog at the Russell Athletic Bowl. Holgorsen has taken WVU to five bowl games in six years, going 2-3 in those postseason appearances. This was Holgorsen’s second year with a double-digit win total (10-3 in ’11), but the Mountaineers hadn’t won more than eight games in their first four years of Big 12 play. Holgorsen is now 46-31 at WVU, going 4-4 in eight neutral-site games with a 2-6 spread record.

-- This game will mark the return of former Florida QB Will Grier, who led the Gators out to a 6-0 start in ’15 before being issued a one-year suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. After the end of the season, Grier decided to transfer to WVU and had to sit out ’16 per transfer rules. He has two years of eligibility remaining. As a redshirt freshman ’15 with UF, Grier completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,204 yards with a 10/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. He also rushed for 116 yards and two scores.

-- WVU brings back only eight of 22 starters, five on offense and merely three on defense. Senior RB Justin Crawford returns after rushing for 1,184 yards and four TDs with a 7.3 YPC average. Sophomore Kennedy McKoy started a pair of games at RB as a true freshman, producing 472 rushing yards and four TDs while averaging 6.5 YPC.

-- WVU lost its top two pass catchers, but senior Ka’Raun White appears poised to have a breakout year. White had 48 catches for 583 yards and five TDs last season. Junior Jovon Durante had 35 catches for 331 yards and two TDs, but he elected to transfer Florida Atlantic a few weeks ago. Marcus Simms, a sophomore WR who had six catches for 95 yards and one TD in 10 games as a freshman, is currently suspended.

-- WVU lost four of its top five tacklers from the best defense of Holgorsen’s tenure. That unit allowed 24.0 PPG. One of the three returning starters is out indefinitely with a knee injury. That would be sophomore LB David Long, who recorded 65 tackles, two sacks, 2.5 TFL’s and two QB hurries last season. WVU’s defensive leader is senior LB Al-Rasheed Benton, who had 80 tackles, three QB hurries, one TFL and one interception in ’16. Senior LB Kyzir White had 58 tackles, three sacks, four TFL’s, five PBU and one QB hurry.

-- ABC will have the telecast at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.

**Texas A&M at UCLA**


-- As of Saturday afternoon, most spots had UCLA listed as a four-point favorite with a total of 57. The Aggies were +160 on the money line.

-- When these teams met in College Station in last season’s opener, UCLA trailed 24-9 with less than five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. But the Bruins scored on back-to-back drives and after Josh Rosen threw a 62-yard TD pass to Kenneth Walker, his two-point conversion pass to Austin Roberts knotted the score. In overtime, Texas A&M got a one-yard TD run from Trevor Knight and then got a stop to capture a 31-24 win. The Aggies covered the number as four-point home favorites, while ‘under’ backers took a tough-luck push when the 55 combined points hit right on the total.

-- Rosen threw for 343 yards and one TD in the losing effort at A&M, but he was intercepted three times. UCLA had a 468-442 advantage in total offense. RB Soso Jamabo rushed for a team-high 91 yards on 23 carries. For the Aggies, Trayveon Williams ran for 94 yards on 15 totes, while Christian Kirk had 107 all-purpose yards on 11 touches.

-- This is a crucial season for Texas A&M sixth-year head coach Kevin Sumlin, who has seen his last three teams get off to hot starts only to collapse down the stretch. The end result has been three straight 8-5 campaigns after his tenure started with an 11-2 record in ’12 and a 9-4 ledger in ’13. Sumlin owns a 44-21 record at A&M and a 79-38 career record that includes his time at Houston.

-- Texas A&M won its first six games last season and had a 14-13 lead in the third quarter at top-ranked Alabama. However, the Crimson Tide scored 20 unanswered points en route to a 33-14 victory. The Aggies would lose five of their last seven contests, including their last four SEC games. They lost at Mississippi St. and vs. Ole Miss (against a starting QB taking his first-ever collegiate snaps) as double-digit favorites. Also, A&M dropped a 33-28 decision to Kansas St. at the Texas Bowl.

-- Texas A&M returns five starters on offense and seven on defense. Williams enjoyed a banner freshman campaign, rushing for a team-best 1,057 yards and eight TDs while averaging 6.8 YPC. Keith Ford also ran for 669 yards and six TDs, averaging 5.3 YPC, so the Aggies are set in the backfield with a pair of quality players. They lost three excellent WRs in Josh Reynolds, Speedy Noil and Ricky Seals-Jones. However, Christian Kirk is back after garnering first-team All-American honors for his special-teams play. Kirk had 83 catches for 928 yards and nine TDs and also scored three times on punt returns.

-- Texas A&M lost its top two tacklers and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft in Myles Garrett. Nevertheless, John Chavis’s unit will be a solid group in ’17. Senior DBs Armani Watts and Donovan Wilson are All-SEC candidates. Wilson tallied 59 tackles, 4.5 TFL’s, two QB hurries, two PBU, one interception and one sack in ’16, while Watts produced 56 tackles, one sack, five TFL’s, three PBU, two interceptions and one QB hurry.

-- Sumlin has named redshirt freshman Nick Starkel as his starting QB. He’ll be making his first career start on the road, which is typically a difficult task.

-- Texas A&M senior starting cornerback Nick Harvey is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Harvey recorded f66 tackles, one interception and 10 PBU last season.

-- UCLA won at least eight games in each of Jim Mora Jr.’s first four seasons, but it limped to a 4-8 record last year after losing Rosen to a season-ending shoulder injury. Before going down in the sixth game, Rosen completed 59.3 percent of his throws with a 10/5 TD-INT ratio. He also had a pair of rushing TDs. As a true freshman in ’15, Rosen started all 13 games and connected on 60.0 percent of his passes for 3,668 yards with a 23/11 TD-INT ratio.

-- UCLA lost four one-possession games last season. The Bruins won at BYU and at home over UNLV, Arizona and Oregon St. They bring back nine starters on offense and six on defense.

-- UCLA returns its top-five rushers and its top two WRs, but the ground game was a joke last season. Jamabo rushed for a team-high 321 yards and three TDs, but he averaged just 3.9 YPC. In fact, the Bruins top three rushers each averaged 3.9 YPC or fewer. WR Darren Andrews is off a 55-catch campaign that netted 709 receiving yards and four TD grabs. Jordan Lasley had 41 receptions for 620 yards and five TDs.

-- UCLA’s defense allowed 27.5 PPG in ’16. This unit will be led by senior LB Kenny Young, a second-team All Pac-12 pick last year when he had 90 tackles, five sacks, 3.5 TFL’s, two PBU and one interception.

-- UCLA owns an 11-13 spread record in 24 games as a ,home favorite on Mora’s watch. The Bruins are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 such spots.

-- Texas A&M has compiled a 4-7 spread record as a road underdog during Sumlin’s tenure.

-- Kickoff on FOX is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:05 AM
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Sunday’s six-pack

— Undrafted rookie Cooper Rush won the backup QB job in Dallas.

— Patriots traded #3 QB Jacoby Brissett to the Colts for WR Phillip Dorsett, who was their first round draft pick in 2015.

— JJ Watt’s tremendous fundraising efforts have now raised over $17M.

— Marlins 7, Phillies 4— Giancarlo Stanton hit his 52nd home run.

— Miguel Cabrera’s suspension was reduced to six games; it started Saturday.

— Get well soon to Tigers DH Victor Martinez, who will undergo cardiac ablation surgery to fix a recurring heartbeat issue.

************************

Sunday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a college football Saturday

13) Alabama 24, Florida State 7— Horrific night for the Seminoles; QB Francois looks like he suffered a serious knee injury late in the game- they have no experience behind him.

FSU’s special teams imploded late in the third quarter, allowing a blocked punt, then fumbling the ensuing kickoff after an Alabama FG.

12) Maryland 51, Texas 41— Longhorns scored TD’s on defense, on a blocked FG and on a punt return, but STILL LOST BY 10 POINTS!!!! Texas was favored by 18.5. Oy.

Maryland also scored a TD on a blocked FG; they ran ball for 263 yards, threw it for 219 and their backup QB played the whole 4th quarter. Great win for the Terrapins.

11) USC 49, Western Michigan 31— Amazingly misleading final score; game was tied 14-14 at the half, was 28-28 with 7:30 left in 4th quarter. It was 35-31 with 4:00 left, but Trojans scored two TD’s in last 3:49 and won their opener, gaining 521 total yards.

USC has a backup long snapper named Jake Olsen who has been blind since he was 12 years old. He came in and made a perfect snap on a USC PAT late in the game. Good for him.

10) Oklahoma State 59, Tulsa 24— Cowboys averaged over 10 yards a play, but Tulsa converted 16-26 on third down, ran 98 plays, which is a huge red flag for an OSU defense that has to try and stop Big X offenses down the road.

9) Michigan 33, Florida 17— Gators’ defense had two pick-6’s in a 1:29 span early in 2nd quarter, but those were Gators’ only two TD’s of the game. Young Wolverines made two FG’s of 50+ yards and added a defensive TD late in the game. Florida had ten kids suspended for this game; for their sake, hope those ten kids are mostly on offense.

8) James Madison 34, East Carolina 14— Not only did the Pirates lose at home to a I-AA team, JMU was a 2.5-point road favorite. Not often a I-AA team is a road favorite at a I-A opponent.

7) There have already been 45 games this year where a I-A team played a I-AA team. Lot of schools treat these I-AA games are dress rehearsals for their conference games, an “exhibition” game with regular season prices, where you can work some of the kinks out. Not sure how much they help, especially if you lose, like ECU, Georgia State, UNLV and Baylor did.

6) Liberty 48, Baylor 45— Speaking of which, Matt Rhule’s debut in Waco didn’t go very well.

Howard 43, UNLV 40– Caylin Newton is Cam Newton’s brother; he threw for 140 yards, ran for 190 more, as Howard upset the Runnin’ Rebels.

Missouri 72, Missouri State 43— This game was 48-35 at the half. when you give up 35 points in a half to any team, especially a I-AA team, you have defensive issues.

Mizzou gained 815 yards, threw for 521, but they’re an SEC team and if you’re going to win SEC games, you damn sure better have a solid defense.

5) California 35, North Carolina 30— Golden Bears (+12.5) come east and post the upset, with soph QB Bowers throwing for 363 yards and four TD’s, including passes of 54, 67 yards.

4) Illinois 24, Ball State 21— Cardinals outgained the Illini 375-216 but couldn’t give the MAC an upset win. Illinois scored the winning TD with 2:06 left, then Ball State missed a 54-yard FG at the end. Cardinals were 12-21 on third down.

3) Nebraska 43, Arkansas State 36— Red Wolves have only 2 returning starts on their offensive line this year- that almost never happens!!! Despite being so young up front, junior QB named Hansen threw for 415 yards and three TD’s. Cornhuskers led 41-26 with 10:00 left, but when the game ended, Arkansas State had the ball on the Nebraska 10-yard line.

2) Louisville 35, Purdue 28— Lot tougher than expected. Cardinals committed 16 penalties for 110 yards, offsetting the 524 yards they gained from scrimmage.

1) Iowa 24, Wyoming 3— Hawkeyes held Cowboys’ QB Josh Allen without a TD, in a game where total offense was only 263-233 in good weather. Iowa’s offense has lot of work to do.

Flashback to 2003: Iowa (-10) beat Miami OH 21-3 in both team’s opener. Miami came to Iowa City with a highly-touted veteran QB, but also failed to score a touchdown that day.

Before you write off Josh Allen, remember that Miami’s QB that day was Ben Roethlisberger.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:07 AM
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FCS Team of the Week: Howard's upset historic
September 3, 2017


(STATS) - It wasn't the biggest win of Mike London's coaching career, but Howard's 43-40 stunner at UNLV on Saturday night was the unlikeliest.

In London's first game guiding Howard, the 45-point underdog Bison posted the biggest point-spread upset in college football history.

"It's all relative," said London, who won the 2008 FCS national title at Richmond and then coached Virginia. "I've been at a place where we beat Miami and Florida State in the same year, and it hadn't been done. A place like Howard that's looking for redemption in its program ... a big win on the road against a team like this is a great win for the program, particular for the players and the football alum that have experienced some success and those that want to experience success."

Howard has posted only one winning record in the last 15 seasons and finished 2-9 last year, but the struggling MEAC program's outlook is much different under London. When even a credible loss against an FBS opponent probably might have sufficed to open the new era, the Bison caught UNLV napping, especially on true freshman quarterback Caylin Newton.

The brother of Carolina Panthers signal caller Cam Newton accounted for 330 total yards, including 190 on 21 carries, three total touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. His 4-yard TD run with 7:34 left put Howard ahead for good.

Senior running back Anthony Philyaw, the MEAC's preseason offensive player of the year, finished with 133 yards from scrimmage and scored two straight touchdowns after UNLV had surged ahead 33-21 in the third quarter with 24 straight points. Leland Lassiter recorded a team-high 11 tackles.

"I'm extremely proud of this team," London said, "to come on the road, play a (FCS) opponent, time difference. Just so proud of the effort, the tremendous effort, the culmination of this day led up from the early workouts to so many things. I give a lot of credit to the players and the coaches that put the game plans together. We're so happy for the outcome."

Can the FCS Team of the Week make it two straight against the FBS? Next Saturday, they travel to Kent State, which lost to MEAC member North Carolina A&T last season.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:09 AM
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Tennessee's Jones feeling heat going into opener vs Ga Tech
September 3, 2017


ATLANTA (AP) Butch Jones is feeling the heat on Rocky Top.

Heading into his fifth season as Tennessee's coach, Jones desperately needs a breakout performance to show he's got the Volunteers on the right track.

A loss to Georgia Tech in Monday's prime-time opener at $1.5 billion Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be a huge step in the wrong direction.

''It's a great opportunity for our football team, for our football program, to go to Atlanta and play against a very, very good football team in a great environment, a great new stadium,'' Jones said, trying to keep things positive.

While only the first game in a very long season, this will surely set the tone for both programs.

Georgia Tech wants to build on a strong finish to 2016 with another victory over a Southeastern Conference team. The Yellow Jackets went 3-0 a year ago against the SEC, including season-ending victories over Georgia and Kentucky.

''It's a huge deal,'' said Parker Braun, an offensive guard for the Atlantic Coast Conference school. ''It's another good opportunity to play an SEC team. We don't get very many opportunities to do that, so when we do play a team from the SEC, it's important to show what we can do on our side.''

Jones has done his best to shield Tennessee's players from the chatter outside the program, which hasn't won a conference title since its national championship-winning season in 1998.

''All of us want to win,'' tight end Ethan Wolf said. ''We don't feel pressure that we have to go out and win for whoever. It's all about us and it's all about the work that we put in and how much we love to play this game. The pressure is not really as heavy as you'd think.''

The game was shrouded in mystery at the most prominent position on the field.

Both teams had to replace experienced quarterbacks - Joshua Dobbs at Tennessee, Justin Thomas at Georgia Tech.

Neither coach had named a starter.

''I want them competing,'' said Jones, who will go with either little-used junior Quinten Dormady or redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano. ''They may compete all the way through pregame warmups. I think that's healthy.''

Four quarterbacks were listed as possible starters for the Yellow Jackets, though it seemed likely either Matthew Jordan or TaQuon Marshall would get the nod. Redshirt freshmen Lucas Johnson and Jay Jones were also competing for playing time.

''It will be one of those four guys,'' coach Paul Johnson said coyly. ''I promise.''

---

Some things to watch for when the Vols take on the Yellow Jackets in the second Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game of the Labor Day weekend:

DEFENSIVE WOES:
Tennessee gave up far too many long runs down the stretch, which doesn't bode well facing Georgia Tech's challenging offense. The Yellow Jackets ranked 10th nationally a year ago with an average of 258.1 yards per game on the ground. It is imperative that the Vols stay in their gaps and don't bite on the option fakes that allow the run-oriented scheme to break long plays. Not as big of a concern for Tennessee is having nobody on the roster with more 2 1/2 sacks a year ago. Georgia Tech averaged only 12.3 passes per game last season.

MISSING IN ACTION: Dedrick Mills, who was Georgia Tech's leading rusher and MVP of the TaxSlayer Bowl, was kicked off the team a couple of weeks ago for violating athletic department rules. He'll be replaced by KirVonte Benson, who has never run the ball in a college game. Tennessee has its own worries. Offensive lineman Chance Hall went down with a season-ending knee injury, starting left tackle Drew Richmond was suspended for the opener, and linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. won't play because of a knee injury.

GETTING THEIR KICKS
: Georgia Tech is one of only six FBS programs without a single player who has attempted a field goal or punt at the college level. Freshman Pressley Harvin III won the punting job, but Johnson has not announced who would handle the kicking duties: freshman Brenton King or sophomore Shawn Davis. Tennessee is in good shape at punter with Trevor Daniel, but its kicking situation was also up in the air with incumbent Aaron Medley facing a strong challenge from freshman Brent Cimaglia.

VOLS ON THE BALL:
Tennessee's new quarterback will have a couple of impressive weapons at his disposal. John Kelly rushed for 630 yards last season, including 515 over his final six games. Jauan Jennings had 40 receptions and seven TDs, including a Hail Mary touchdown reception as time expired to beat Georgia.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE:
The Georgia Tech campus is less than 2 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium, so it would be logical to assume this is essentially a home game for the Yellow Jackets. But Tennessee has a much larger fan base, so there will definitely be plenty of orange in the sellout crowd of more than 70,000. For sure, this will have the feel of a true neutral-site game. There is plenty of historical significance, as well. Once bitter rivals in the SEC, this will be first meeting between the schools since 1987.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:18 AM
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Sunday, September 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

W VIRGINIA (10 - 3) vs. VIRGINIA TECH (10 - 4) - 9/3/2017, 7:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
W VIRGINIA is 10-23 ATS (-15.3 Units) against ACC opponents since 1992.
W VIRGINIA is 6-19 ATS (-14.9 Units) in games played on a neutral field since 1992.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TEXAS A&M (8 - 5) at UCLA (4 - 8) - 9/3/2017, 7:30 PM
Top Trends for this game.
TEXAS A&M is 10-22 ATS (-14.2 Units) as an underdog of 3.5 to 10 points since 1992.
TEXAS A&M is 5-15 ATS (-11.5 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 3 seasons.
UCLA is 28-14 ATS (+12.6 Units) in home games in non-conference games since 1992.
UCLA is 4-14 ATS (-11.4 Units) in games played on a grass field over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
TEXAS A&M is 1-0 against the spread versus UCLA over the last 3 seasons
TEXAS A&M is 1-0 straight up against UCLA over the last 3 seasons
1 of 1 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sunday, September 3

12:00 AM
WESTERN CAROLINA vs. HAWAII
Western Carolina is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
Western Carolina is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Hawaii is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Hawaii's last 6 games

7:30 PM
WEST VIRGINIA vs. VIRGINIA TECH
West Virginia is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Virginia Tech
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of West Virginia's last 5 games when playing Virginia Tech
Virginia Tech is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games
Virginia Tech is 6-2 SU in its last 8 games when playing West Virginia

7:30 PM
TEXAS A&M vs. UCLA
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Texas A&M's last 18 games
Texas A&M is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of UCLA's last 7 games
UCLA is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games

******************************

College football

Sunday/Monday’s games


Virginia Tech has a new QB; their offensive line has 72 returning starts. Since 2011, Hokies are just 19-34-1 vs spread when favored. Since ’10, they’re 13-20-1 in non-ACC games. Tech has only 5 starters back on offense. West Virginia lost 8 starters on defense, 6 on offense; since ’12, they’re 7-12 vs spread outside the Big X. WVU is 7-9 vs spread in last 16 games when getting points. Mountaineers’ OL has only 46 returning starts. ACC-Big X don’t meet often; last five years, ACC teams are 6-5 vs spread when facing a Big X squad.

Pac-12-SEC games don’t happen much; since 2011, SEC teams are 7-3 vs spread when they play a Pac-12 opponent. Under Sumlin, Texas A&M is 12-13 vs spread out of conference; since 2013, they’re 3-7 vs spread when getting points. Aggies lost 6 starters on offense; they’ve got a new QB, their OL has only 48 returning starts. UCLA has 9 starters back on offense; their OL has 85 returning starts. Since 2014, Bruins are 5-10 vs spread as a favorite; they’re 1-8-1 vs spread in last 10 non-conference games.

Prepping for the option can be tough, but Tennessee has had more time, seeing as this is their opener. Vols’ offensive line has 111 returning starts, #2 experienced OL in country. Tennessee is 13-16 vs spread when favored under Jones- they’ve got 7 starters back on both sides of ball. Georgia Tech has 8 starters back on both sides, but has a new QB; Jackets are 9-5 vs spread in last 14 non-league games, 9-11 in last 20 games when getting points. Last two years, ACC teams are 14-9 vs spread when facing SEC opponents.

****************************

West Virginia Mountaineers vs Virginia Tech Hokies (-4, 51.5)

Mountaineers' ordinary pass protection vs. Hokies' sack-happy home D

This hotly anticipated matchup features two teams ranked in the top 25 who haven't faced each other in 12 years - and much of the focus will be on new Mountaineers' quarterback Will Grier, who last played with the Florida Gators in 2015. Grier looked good in Gainesville, but he had better hope his offensive line is better than it was last year. The Hokies boasted one of the best defenses in the nation in 2016.

The Mountaineers were an average pass-protection unit last season, ranking 63rd out of 128 qualifying teams in sacks allowed per game (2.1) in games against other FBS foes. They were worse down the stretch, giving up eight sacks over their final three games of the season - and now have to deal with the loss of All-American center Tyler Orlosky to the NFL. Grier will need to work fast or risk winding up on his back more than a couple of times Sunday night.

The Hokies defense will be licking its chops after putting together one of the most dominant showings in the nation last season. With a secondary ranked in the top five in Division I coming into the season, the Hokies are in great position to make life miserable for Grier and the rest of the West Virginia passing game.

***************************

No. 22 West Virginia Mountaineers vs. No. 21 Virginia Tech Hokies (-4, 51.5)

* The Mountaineers called a run on nearly 57 percent of their plays last season, but that should shrink with the addition of former Florida Gators quarterback Will Grier. That said, West Virginia will still lean on a run game that ranked 25th in the nation in yards per game (227.8) and 28th in yards per carry (5.2).

* The Hokies boasted a top-30 scoring offense last season (34.9 points per game) but are replacing quarterback Jerod Evans (3,552 passing yards, 846 rushing yards, 41 total TDs) with redshirt freshman Josh Jackson. The Hokies allowed foes to convert on third down just 28.6 percent of the time (fifth-best nationally).

LINE HISTORY:
Oddmakers think this will be one of the closest games this weekend opening with the Hokies favored by a field goal. They have since been bet up one point to the current number of Virginia Tech -4. The under has seen some action here, with the number hitting the board around 54.5, it is currently down to 51.5.

TRENDS:


* West Virginia is 0-4 ATS in its last four neutral site games.
* Virginia Tech is 4-0 ATS in its last four games overall.
* Over is 4-1 in West Virginia's last five neutral site games.
* Over is 13-3 in Virginia Tech's last 16 non-conference games.

************************

NCAAF
Dunkel

Week 1


Sunday, September 3

West Virginia @ Virginia Tech

Game 209-210
September 3, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

Dunkel Rating:
West Virginia
94.093
Virginia Tech
101.543
Dunkel Team:
Dunkel Line:
Dunkel Total:
Virginia Tech
by 7 1/2
48
Vegas Team:
Vegas Line:
Vegas Total:
Virginia Tech
by 4
52
Dunkel Pick:
Virginia Tech
(-4); Under

Texas A&M @ UCLA


Game 211-212
September 3, 2017 @ 7:30 pm

Dunkel Rating:
Texas A&M
90.835
UCLA
95.953
Dunkel Team:
Dunkel Line:
Dunkel Total:
UCLA
by 5
64
Vegas Team:
Vegas Line:
Vegas Total:
UCLA
by 3
56 1/2
Dunkel Pick:
UCLA
(-3); Over



Monday, September 4

Tennessee @ Georgia Tech

Game 213-214
September 4, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Dunkel Rating:
Tennessee
95.646
Georgia Tech
95.107
Dunkel Team:
Dunkel Line:
Dunkel Total:
Georgia Tech
Even
49
Vegas Team:
Vegas Line:
Vegas Total:
Tennessee
by 3
56 1/2
Dunkel Pick:
Georgia Tech
(+3); Under


***************************


NCAAF

Sunday, September 3


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sunday's NCAAF Game of the Day: West Virginia vs. Virginia Tech
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Virginia Tech Hokies (-4, 51.5)

No. 20 West Virginia and 22nd-ranked Virginia Tech each will break in a talented new quarterback when they renew their rivalry by meeting for the first time in 12 years in the season opener on Sunday at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. Will Grier, who went 6-0 at Florida in 2015 before testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs and being suspended, gets the call for West Virginia and redshirt freshman Josh Jackson starts for the Hokies.

Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen told ESPN.com that his job will be to keep the eager Grier calm and relaxed while he lets the game come to him, saying "He’s not going to be able to make up for a year and a half in one game.” Grier won’t have to do it all himself as West Virginia boasts a deep group of running backs that is led by Justin Crawford, who is the leading rusher among those returning in the Big 12 (1,184 yards). Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente told reporters Jackson has been incredibly consistent and has a great demeanor as he starts his first game in place of Jerod Evans, who left early for the NFL. “I’m very comfortable with the offense,” Jackson, a dual-threat signal-caller from Ann Arbor, Mich. told reporters. “I don’t think we’re going to dial anything back.”

TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, ABC.

LINE HISTORY:
Oddsmakers opened the Hokies as 4-point favorites and that line quickly grew as high as 5, before fading back to the opening number. The total hit the betting board at 55.5 and has been bet down 4.5-points to an even 51.

WEATHER REPORT:
Weather conditions should be perfect for football with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70’s at kickoff.

INJURY REPORT:


West Virginia - QB Will Grier (Probable, Suspension), S Dravon Askew-Henry (Probable, Knee), WR Marcus Simms (Eligibility, Suspension), LS David Long Jr. (Early October, Knee)

Virginia Tech - CB Brandon Facyson (Probable, Wrist), WR Caleb Farley (Out For Season, Knee)

WEST VIRGINIA (2016: 10-3 SU, 5-8 ATS, 5-8 O/U):
Holgorsen told reporters he likes where his team is, and the seventh-year coach must be especially pleased with the Mountaineers’ depth at running back as sophomores Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway also will play big roles. Grier, who averaged 277 yards through the air in beating Tennessee and Ole Miss back-to-back two years ago, has a strong top target in senior receiver Ka’Raun White (48 catches, 583 yards last year). Senior linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton (80 tackles in 2016) leads the defense along with defensive backs Dravon Askew-Henry and senior Kyzir White.

VIRGINIA TECH (2016: 10-4 SU, 8-6 ATS, 8-6 O/U):
The Hokies hope to give Jackson time to develop with strong work from a defense that is led by linebackers Andrew Motuapuaka (senior) and Tremaine Edmunds (junior), who combined for 220 tackles last year, and a solid secondary paced by junior Adonis Alexander. Jackson’s most-experienced target is senior Cam Phillips, who has recorded 165 receptions for 2,063 yards and 10 touchdowns in his career, and senior guard Wyatt Teller anchors the line. Travon McMillian has accumulated 1,713 rushing yards over the last two years and could be pushed by fellow junior Steven Peoples and sophomore Deshawn McClease.

TRENDS (Dating back to last season):

* Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.

* Hokies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.

* Over is 4-1 in Mountaineers last 5 neutral site games.

* Over is 5-1-1 in Hokies last 7 neutral site games.

* Over is 13-3 in Hokies last 16 non-conference games.

* Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Virginia Tech.

CONSENSUS:
The underdog Mountaineers are getting 61 percent of the money line action from users and the Over is picking up 69 percent of the totals wagers.
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CFB Aug/Sept Best Bets: ( All Best Bets Based On 5 Units Per Play )

DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

09/02/2017 11-21-0 34.38% -60.50

09/01/2017 6-3-0 66.67% +13.50

08/31/2017 9-4-0 69.23% +23.00

08/26/2017 5-5-0 50.00% -2.50

Totals:............31 - 33........48.43%....-26.50





SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 3

GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

WVU at VT 07:30 PM

VT -4.5

U 53.0


TAM at UCLA 07:30 PM

TAM +4.5

O 59.0
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Va. Tech beats West Virginia, 31-24
September 3, 2017


LANDOVER, Maryland (AP) Josh Jackson passed for 235 yards, ran for 101 and accounted for two touchdowns in his first start for Virginia Tech, and the No. 21 Hokies made a last-second stand to beat No. 22 West Virginia 31-24 on Sunday night.

The 52nd meeting between the Appalachian region rivals was the first since 2005. It ended up being a classic at FedEx Field, which turned into Lane Stadium northeast at the end. Hokies fans screamed along to ''Enter Sandman'' after Virginia Tech held the Mountaineers out of the end zone on two last plays from the 15.

After 11 years, the Hokies get to bring the Black Diamond Trophy back to Blacksburg.

Jackson, the redshirt freshman who won a three-way competition for the job, was up and down with his passing, but showed off some nifty moves running in the opener for both teams. His 46-yard keeper up the middle set up Travon McMillian's 3-yard touchdown run that put Virginia Tech up 31-24 with 6:30 left.

West Virginia's new quarterback looked good, too. Florida transfer Will Grier, who left Gainesville after being suspended by the NCAA for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2015, pass for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

Usually reliable Virginia Tech kicker Joey Slye missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt with 1:55 that gave the Mountaineers a chance.

Grier slinged and scrambled West Virginia down to the Virginia Tech 15, but his second-to-last pass into the end zone under pressure was a little behind David Sills and it went through the receiver's arms. Grier's last throw sailed high and away, but a couple of penalties on the West Virginia offensive line made it moot.

THE TAKEAWAY


West Virginia: Along with breaking in Grier, West Virginia is looking to find him some reliable targets from an inexperienced bunch. Former quarterback prodigy David Sills (nine catches, 94 yards and two touchdowns) and Jennings (13 for 189 and a touchdown) looked good against a Virginia Tech secondary that ranks among the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies are going with a committee of running backs and 190-pound sophomore Deshawn McClease made a case to be in the mix along with Steve Peoples and Travon McMillian. McClease slipped three tackles on the way to a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 17-10 for Virginia Tech in the third quarter. He finished 51 yards on eight carries.

UP NEXT


West Virginia: The Mountaineers return home to take on East Carolina in Morgantown.

Virginia Tech: The Hokies face FCS opponent Delaware next week before traveling to East Carolina on Sept. 16.

***********************

UCLA stuns Texas A&M, 45-44
September 3, 2017


LOS ANGELES (AP) Josh Rosen faked a spike and threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley with 43 seconds remaining and UCLA overcame a 34-point deficit to stun Texas A&M 45-44 on Sunday night.

Rosen was 35 of 59 for 491 yards and four touchdowns, and Jalen Starks and Soso Jamabo had touchdown runs for the Bruins in the opener for both teams. They overcame a deficit of more than 20 points for the first time since the 2005 Sun Bowl against Northwestern.

Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond was stopped short of the first-down marker on a scramble with 20 seconds left to close out the biggest FBS comeback since 2006.

UCLA scored on five straight possessions after trailing 44-10 with 4:08 to play in the third quarter. Rosen threw touchdown passes of 9 and 42 yards to Darren Andrews before finding Theo Howard for a 16-yard score on a broken play with 3:08 remaining.

UCLA got the ball back with 2:39 to go and drove 51 yards in seven plays, including an 11-yard throw and catch to tight end Caleb Wilson. Rosen capped the remarkable comeback with a fade to the far corner of the end zone after faking the spike to freeze Texas A&M's defense. JJ Molson kicked the winning extra point.

Wilson had 15 receptions for 203 yards, and Andrews had 12 catches for 147 yards.

Trayveon Williams rushed for 203 yards and two touchdowns, and Keith Ford added 114 yards rushing and three touchdowns for Texas A&M. The Aggies lost for only the second time in six openers under coach Kevin Sumlin.

Rosen spent much of the game under constant pressure from Texas A&M for the second straight season until mounting the stunning comeback. After being sacked five times last season in a 31-24 overtime loss at College Station, Rosen was dropped three times and lost two fumbles in his return after missing the final six games last year with a shoulder injury.

Texas A&M had largely dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball before melting down, rushing for 382 yards and limiting UCLA to 70 yards on the ground. Williams had a 72-yard run where he bounced outside and raced down the UCLA sideline, which set up a 2-yard rushing touchdown by Ford, and the sophomore added a 61-yard scoring run late in the first half.

Redshirt freshman Nick Starkel got the start at quarterback for Texas A&M, and completed his first three throws during an 11-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 5-yard touchdown run by Ford.

The touted freshman Mond entered the game on the sixth possession for Texas A&M and played the entire second half after Starkel suffered an apparent left foot injury. Starkel returned to the sideline on crutches with his foot in a walking boot.

Mond was 3 of 17 for 27 yards and rushed for 55 yards on 15 carries, and Starkel was 6 of 13 for 62 yards.

THE TAKEAWAY


Texas A&M: Sumlin's hot seat gets hotter. Plenty has been made of late-season implosions over the previous three years, but this game summed up those failures in 60 horrifying minutes

UCLA: Rosen can roll. When they finally turned loose their star quarterback, the Bruins looked nothing like the inept offense that did practically nothing for most of the game. UCLA has plenty to work on, but Rosen is more than capable of taking them back to a winning record and more.

UP NEXT


Texas A&M: The Aggies return home to host Nicholls State on Saturday

UCLA: The Bruins host Hawaii on Saturday, as the Rainbow Warriors seek their first 3-0 start since 2007.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:29 PM
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Monday’s six-pack

Since 1980, the 10 largest pointspread upsets in college football history:

+43— Howard over UNLV, 9-2-17

+39— Stanford over USC, 10-6-07

+36.5— Texas State over Houston, 9-1-12

+36— Syracuse over Louisville, 9-22-07

+36— UTEP over BYU, 10-26-85

+36— Temple over Virginia Tech, 10-17-98

+35.5— Central Michigan over Western Michigan, 11-11-00

+35— Oregon State over Washington 10-19-85

+33— Appalachian State over Michigan, 9-1-07

+33— Liberty over Baylor, 9-2-17

— Florida State QB Deondre Francois is out for the year after his knee injury Saturday nite.

— UCLA 45, Texas A&M 44— Aggies led 44-10 in 3rd quarter. Really, they did.

— Virginia Tech 31, West Virginia 24— WVU was on the Tech 10-yard line when game ended.

— USA 81, Argentina 76— Americans were down 20 in third quarter. Jeff Van Gundy’s team comes home with the gold medal from the AmeriCup tournament— a great road win.

************************

Monday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….


13) If you have season tickets for an NFL team, you buy 10 games at regular season prices; the obvious problem is this: 2 of those 10 games are exhibition games.

NFL should reduce the price of those two unwatchable preseason games to $25, which would allow people who don’t normally go to exhibition games to go. At some point, the owners have to stop sucking every last dollar from the consumer. Its not good business. Greed isn’t good.

12) 37 Buccaneers sat out their exhibition game Thursday night; assuming all of those guys are making the squad, that means only 16 players who will be Bucs in Week 1 played vs Washington.

11) NFL owners get stadiums built for them; they’re rich people with a sense of entitlement that is out of control. At some point, NFL owners need to give something back to their communities.

10) Seahawks acquired defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson from the Jets on Friday. In return, Seattle sent WR Jermaine Kearse and a 2018 2nd-round draft pick to New Jersey.

9) A professional golfer named Kelly Kraft (#64 in FedEx Cup standings) made a 12 on the par-5 second hole Friday, shot a 44 on the front nine, then withdrew with a foot injury. Oy.

8) Nigel Williams-Goss transferred from Washington to Gonzaga, sat out 2015-16, then helped the Zags make the Final Four last year. He skipped his senior year at Gonzaga, was drafted in the second round by Utah, but instead of getting a two-way contract with Utah, he is off to Serbia to play ball for $130,000 this season. Curious decision.

7) 49ers cut QB Matt Barkley, who figures to get picked up by someone (Buffalo??). Browns cut Brock Osweiler, who still banks $16M from Cleveland— Osweiler is headed back to Denver with a hefty bank account, but with very little success on the field.

6) Baseball players who are September 1st call-ups making minimum MLB salary ($535,000 a year) will earn $90,628 for the rest of the season.

5) Was reading where Justin Verlander approved his trade to Houston one minute before the trade deadline. Supposedly there was a chance he would be traded to the Cubs, but that fell thru.

4) UL-Lafayette 51, SE Louisiana 48— Ragin’ Cajuns ran two kicks back for TD’s; Lions ran a punt back for a score. With 0:42 left, SE Louisiana scored a TD to make score 49-48- they went for two points and the win, but their QB fumbled and ULL ran it back for two points of their own. Game was 35-35 at halftime.

3) Cleveland Browns’ three QB’s (Kizer-Kessler-Hogan) have a total of zero NFL wins to their credit. Browns are paying Brock Osweiler $15M+ to be a backup in Denver.

Dolphins signed K Cody Parkey, which means RPI alum Andrew Franks is out of a job, at least for now.

2) Indians 11, Tigers 1— Cleveland has won 11 games in a row.

1) Jets, Jaguars, Browns picked up five guys each off the waiver wire; Ram picked up three, the Colts four. Most of the better teams didn’t add anyone— you can get a little bit of a feel of who the better teams are by seeing which teams add which players.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:35 PM
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Monday, September 4

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

TENNESSEE (9 - 4) vs. GEORGIA TECH (9 - 4) - 9/4/2017, 8:00 PM
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
There were no past matchups in this series during this time period.

*********************

Monday, September 4


8:00 PM
TENNESSEE vs. GEORGIA TECH
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Tennessee's last 5 games
Tennessee is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games
Georgia Tech is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Georgia Tech's last 9 games


-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, September 4

Tennessee @ Georgia Tech

Game 213-214
September 4, 2017 @ 8:00 pm

Dunkel Rating:
Tennessee
95.646
Georgia Tech
95.107
Dunkel Team:
Dunkel Line:
Dunkel Total:
Georgia Tech
Even
49
Vegas Team:
Vegas Line:
Vegas Total:
Tennessee
by 3
56 1/2
Dunkel Pick:
Georgia Tech
(+3); Under


------------------------------------------

NCAAF
Armadillo's Write-Up

Week 1


Prepping for the option can be tough, but Tennessee has had more time, seeing as this is their opener. Vols’ offensive line has 111 returning starts, #2 experienced OL in country. Tennessee is 13-16 vs spread when favored under Jones- they’ve got 7 starters back on both sides of ball. Georgia Tech has 8 starters back on both sides, but has a new QB; Jackets are 9-5 vs spread in last 14 non-league games, 9-11 in last 20 games when getting points. Last two years, ACC teams are 14-9 vs spread when facing SEC opponents.

-------------------------------------------

Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech
September 3, 2017

Butch Jones’s fifth season as the head coach at the University of Tennessee is a critical one for the program and his tenure at the school. Jones has posted back-to-back nine-win seasons, but he’s been unable to win the SEC East during a four-year window that can be dubbed as the Dark Ages for the division.

Tennessee finished 9-4 straight up and 5-7-1 against the spread last year, failing to win the East despite its nearly unquestioned status as the preseason favorite. As I’ve repeatedly said and written in recent months, UT’s 2016 campaign can be looked at two different ways.

On one end, the Volunteers’ 2-4 finish in their last six SEC games can partly be blamed on a wild rash of injuries that kept key players on the sidelines. There was also the double-overtime loss at Texas A&M that could’ve gone either way.

Viewed from a different angle, you could say Tennessee was lucky to have won at Georgia on a Hail Mary pass on the game’s final play. There was also the win vs. Florida thanks to a comeback from a 21-0 deficit late in the second quarter. In addition, UT captured a fortunate overtime victory vs. Appalachian State. The Mountaineers led by double digits at intermission and would’ve won in regulation if not for a missed extra point and a field goal.

Whatever the case, those in the media – and there are plenty of them – who think Jones’s job security is on solid footing are downright delusional. Jones owns a 30-21 record at UT, but he’s 14-18 in SEC play. On his watch, the Vols are winless in 11 games against Top-10 opponents and they’ve limped to a 6-15 mark versus Top-25 foes. Making matters worse, he’s already lost to Vanderbilt twice and is 0-4 against Will Muschamp.

It isn’t just the results on the field that have aggravated the rabid UT fan base. Jones maddeningly leaned on all sorts of excuses early in his tenure, constantly creating a narrative about how young and inexperienced his team was. Before his team’s road openers in his first three years, he would literally conduct interviews by explaining the stats -- percentages and all – about how many of his players would be getting on an airplane for the first time in their lives.

There was also his infamous ‘Champions of Life’ quote and his early exit from the postgame interview (before nearly all of the press core had arrived) following last year’s loss at Vandy. And now here we are on the eve of the 2017 opener with Jones seizing an opportunity to throw out a built-in excuse yet again.

“They already have an advantage on us because we were told they were inside the dome practicing with full pads for a two-hour practice (Tuesday),” Jones told the Associated Press.

Really, Butch? With his team poised to take on Georgia Tech at the brand-new Merceds-Benz Dome in Atlanta on Monday night, he’s worrying about the Yellow Jackets being able to practice at the venue? Unbelievable.

As of early Sunday night, most betting shops had Tennessee installed as a 3.5-point favorite with a total of 55.5. The Yellow Jackets were available on the money line for a +145 return (risk $100 to win $145).

Tennessee returns 14 of 22 starters, seven on each side of the ball. But the Vols lost their three best playmakers in quarterback Josh Dobbs, running back Alvin Kamara and WR Josh Malone. They’ve also lost a pair of starters to season-ending injuries already.

Junior OT Chance Hall and junior LB Darrin Kirkland have gone down with knee injuries. Hall had started 13 games in the last two seasons. Kirkland will especially be missed this week against Paul Johnson’s run-oriented offense. Kirkland has 17 career starts to his credit. Despite missing five games with an ankle injury last year, he recorded 45 tackles, four tackles for a loss and one sack.

Junior QB Quinten Dormady is poised to make his first career start for UT. The former four-star recruit has appeared in 11 career games, but only in mop-up duty. Dormady completed 11-of-17 passes (64.7%) last year for 148 yards. He threw for 209 yards as a freshman with one TD pass and zero interceptions.

Dormady’s favorite target will be Jauan Jennings, a junior who has started 15 career games. Jennings had 40 receptions for 580 yards and seven TDs in 2016. Senior TE Ethan Wolf has made 35 career starts. He had 21 catches for 239 yards and two TDs last season. Josh Smith, who had 13 grabs for 97 yards and one TD in ’16, is listed as ‘questionable’ due to a collarbone injury.

UT’s defense gave up 28.8 points per game in ’16. This unit has its top five tacklers back and will need to be vastly improved for the Vols to hang around in the SEC East race. Senior safety Todd Kelly had a team-high 71 tackles and two interceptions in ’16.

Georgia Tech brings back 16 of 22 starters from a 9-4 team that beat Kentucky 33-18 as a 3.5-point ‘chalk’ in the TaxSlayer Bowl. The Yellow Jackets went 3-0 against SEC foes, beating Georgia and Vanderbilt as well. They closed the ’16 campaign with four consecutive victories, including a 30-20 win at Virginia Tech as 14-point underdogs.

Johnson will turn to junior Matthew Jordan as his new starting QB. Jordan appeared in nine games last year, starting in the win at Virginia Tech. He ran for 121 yards and two TDs against the Hokies. For the season, Jordan rushed for 243 yards and six TDs while averaging 3.7 yards per carry. He completed 3-of-9 passes for 111 yards with one TD and one interception.

Johnson dismissed last year’s leading rusher from the team a few weeks ago. Dedric Mills rushed for 771 yards and 12 TDs with a 5.1 YPC average as a freshman, but he won’t be around for his sophomore season. Look for Clinton Lynch and Qua Searcy to get the most touches out of the backfield. Lynch ran for 415 yards and two TDs with an 11.2 YPC average in ’16, while Searcy had 273 rushing yards and two scores. Lynch also had 16 receptions for 490 yards and six TDs.

Georgia Tech’s defense gave up 24.5 PPG last year and brings back eight starters. Senior safety Corey Griffin registered 82 tackles, four TFL’s, one sack, three passes broken up and two interceptions.

These schools haven’t met since 1987 when the Yellow Jackets won a 29-15 decision.

Even though the game is being played in Atlanta, gamblers shouldn’t look at this as a road game for the Vols. They’ll probably have just as many fans in attendance as the Yellow Jackets.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.
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Old 09-03-2017, 11:39 PM
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CFB Aug/Sept Best Bets: ( All Best Bets Based On 5 Units Per Play )

DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD

09/03/2017 3-1-0 75.00% +9.50

09/02/2017 11-21-0 34.38% -60.50

09/01/2017 6-3-0 66.67% +13.50

08/31/2017 9-4-0 69.23% +23.00

08/26/2017 5-5-0 50.00% -2.50

Totals:............34 - 34........50.00%....-17.00
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NCAAF

Monday, September 4


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Monday's NCAAF Game of the Day: Tennessee vs Georgia Tech
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tennessee Volunteers vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (+3.5, 55.5)

Tennessee and Georgia Tech will meet in brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for Monday’s season opener, but who will line up at quarterback for both teams remains unknown - at least publicly. Tennessee coach Butch Jones and Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson have not announced who will start under center, as the No. 24 Volunteers and Georgia Tech begin their campaigns looking to replace long-time starting quarterbacks.

The Volunteers have junior Quinten Dormady, a backup the last two years, and redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano battling to replace Joshua Dobbs. “We have a pretty good idea who the quarterback will be for us, and we have a pretty good idea who the quarterback will be for them as well,” Jones told reporters this week. The Yellow Jackets most likely will go with junior Matthew Jordan, who played at times while former starter Justin Thomas was injured last season, but could go with junior TaQuon Marshall or a pair of redshirt freshmen. “We may play all four in the first game,” Johnson told reporters. “Who knows?”

TV:
8 p.m. ET, ESPN.

LINE HISTORY:
Tenessee opened as 6-point favorites but Georgia Tech money has pushed that number down to 3.5. The total hit the betting boards at 61 and has dropped down to 55.5.

INJURY REPORT:

Tennessee - WR J. Smith (Probable, Shoulder), DB S. Wiggins (Questionable, Hip), DL S. Tuttle (Questionable, Knee), LB D. Kirkland Jr. (Out For Season, Knee), OL D. Richmond (Elig Sept 9, Suspension), WR J. Jones (Out For Season, Knee), OL C. Hall (Out For Season, Knee).

Georgia Tech - RB C. Lynch (Questionable, Undisclosed), LB D. Curry (Out, Lower Body), OL A. Marshall (Out, Lower Body).

WEATHER REPORT:
Dome. Mercedes-Benz Stadium will, eventually be a retractable roofed stadium but the roof opening mechanism will not be ready until later in the year.

ABOUT TENNESSEE (2016: 9-4 SU, 6-7 ATS, 9-4 O/U):
The Volunteers look to replace most of their offensive firepower from last season, but return running back John Kelly (630 yards rushing in 2016) and receiver Jauan Jennings (seven receiving touchdowns). Dormady played in four games last season, completing 11-of-17 passes for 148 yards. Defensively, Tennessee brings back its top four linebackers from a season ago and an experienced secondary.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (2016: 9-4 SU, 7-4-1 ATS, 6-5-1 O/U):
The Yellow Jackets will deploy the triple-option offense, but lost leading rusher Dedrick Mills after he was dismissed from the program in August for violating team rules. Jordan directed an upset at Virginia Tech last season and rushed for six touchdowns in nine games, attempting just nine passes on the season, but does have experienced running backs in Clinton Lynch (905 all-purpose yards) and J.J Green. Georgia Tech brings back five defensive backs who combined for eight interceptions a season ago.

TRENDS:


* Volunteers are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
* Yellow Jackets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. SEC.
* Over is 8-0 in Volunteers last 8 neutral site games.
* Under is 4-0-1 in Yellow Jackets last 5 games in September.

CONSENSUS:
The Volunteers are picking up 57 percent of the action from users and the Over is picking up 61 percent of the totals wagers.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:44 AM
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Monday's Best Bet
September 4, 2017


Monday College Football Best Bet (ESPN, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech


The final game of the first week of full college football action kicks off tonight as the NCAA likes to try and grab that MNF audience a week before the NFL season starts.

It's a great move for college football as more eyes will definitely be on this stand alone game, and in turn, more betting action will surely follow. Tonight's game is another primetime showdown between the SEC and ACC, and although a Tennessee/Georgia Tech tilt doesn't have anywhere near the potential impact on the college football landscape that Alabama/Florida State did on Saturday night, the overall betting handle could be very similar.

It's another season of high expectations for a Tennessee program that's failed to live up to them in recent years, and coming out of the gate to face Georgia Tech's triple-option attack is a unique challenge in Week 1.

sportsbetting.ag Odds: Tennessee (-3.5); Total set at 55.5

Tennessee enters 2017 with the 25th ranking in the AP poll but they've been in a similar position in year's past and can never seem to do much better than a marginal Bowl appearance in late-December. Last year it was three weeks of consecutive losses (Texas A&M, Alabama, South Carolina) in early October that derailed their campaign, and sadly for Volunteers fans that's a familiar refrain over the years.

This program can never seem to put it all together for 12+ weeks and I've got a tough time believing 2017 will be any different. They've got to go to Alabama this year for a game in late-October, and games against Florida, Georgia, Missouri, and LSU won't be easy either.

But this opener will be nothing like any of those as they'll be dealing with Georgia Tech's triple-option and there have been many a good program that fall victim to the Yellow Jackets unique style of play.

The biggest advantage triple-option programs generally have is the notion that they are extremely proficient at what they do, and opponents aren't that familiar with it because it's quite rare. Unless you are a school that sees Georgia Tech on a yearly basis, or a service academy rival (Air Force, Army, Navy), the triple-option can throw a defense for a loop and a SU loss that schools never thought was coming gets put in the standings.

However, that advantage usually works it's best for teams like Georgia Tech in any week but Week 1, simply because there just isn't enough time in a single week for opponents to sufficiently prepare for the triple-option. It's such a one-off thing that coaches have a tough time getting their players to understand the gap integrity and responsibilities each player has on every play, and when there are holes left, you'd better believe strong triple-option teams will exploit them.

All of those concerns don't particularly apply to Tennessee tonight as they've had all summer to work on stopping the triple-option attack and that should work decidedly in their favor tonight. Yes, there will be some miscues that Georgia Tech will take advantage of, but all in all, this Tennessee team has much more talent on the field from top to bottom on both sides of the ball, and should easily come out on top should they execute.

The biggest advantage Georgia Tech typically has is rendered obsolete in Week 1, and the Volunteers know that with the schedule they've got this year, they've got to come out of the gates hot. The neutral site negates any other potential advantage Georgia Tech would have as the home side, and Tennessee's 6-0 ATS run at neutral sites suggests we will see the good Tennessee Volunteers program show up.

Just like Saturday's SEC/ACC game played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the favorite will come away with the SU and ATS victory and allow the SEC to proclaim dominance over the ACC Conference – at least for now.

Odds per - sportsbetting.ag

Best Bet: Tennessee -3.5
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:48 AM
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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4

GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS

TENN at GT 08:00 PM

GT +3.0

U 55.5




************************************************** *********


NCAAF Opening Line Report: Huge rematch from last season highlights Week 2

“Everyone knows exactly what happened in this game last year, and I don’t know if anyone is expecting anything different.”

No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners at No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (-5.5)

Ohio State (1-0 SU and ATS), coming off a season in which it reached the College Football Playoff semifinals, was sluggish out of the gate in Week 1 at Indiana, trailing 21-20 late in the third quarter. However, the Buckeyes didn’t allow a score the rest of the way and scored the final 29 points in a 49-21 victory as a 20-point favorite Thursday.

Oklahoma (1-0 SU and ATS) didn’t have nearly that kind of trouble with nonconference foe Texas-El Paso, rumbling 56-7 Saturday as a massive 43-point home favorite. But playing in The Horseshoe won’t be nearly as comfortable, as the Sooners try to avenge a 45-24 loss to Ohio State as a 2-point home underdog in Week 3 last year.

“Everyone knows exactly what happened in this game last year, and I don’t know if anyone is expecting anything different,” Cooley said. “The Buckeyes found their offensive rhythm in the second half of their opener, and it’s easy to say the Indiana defense is comparable, if not better, than Oklahoma’s. This number will probably head north quickly.”

Cooley was spot-on, as less than an hour after Bookmaker.eu’s opening line posted Sunday evening, the Buckeyes were bet up to -7.5.

No. 13 Auburn Tigers at No. 5 Clemson Tigers (-6)

Defending national champion Clemson (1-0 SU and ATS) no longer has Deshaun Watson at quarterback, but it hardly mattered in its Week 1 tuneup game for this ACC-SEC clash. Kelly Bryant threw for 236 yards and a touchdown, and ran for another 77 yards and a score as Clemson crushed Kent State 56-3 laying 38 points at home Saturday.

Auburn (1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS) likewise had no problem with Georgia Southern in a 41-7 Saturday stomp, though it settled for a push as a 34-point home fave. Auburn and Clemson have met four times in the last seven seasons, with Clemson taking the last three SU, including a 19-13 road win giving 7.5 points last year.

“Is this the year Auburn snaps the streak? Tough to say, but one thing that seems to be certain is that we won’t see a shootout,” Cooley said. “This has been a tightly contested game over the last five years or so, and these rivalries always seem to play out like that. Pro bettors might find some value with Auburn here.”

No. 15 Georgia Bulldogs at Notre Dame Fighting Irish (no line)

Georgia opened the season with a victory, but it came at a cost. Starting quarterback Jacob Eason suffered a sprained knee in the first quarter against Appalachian State on Saturday. The Bulldogs (1-0 SU and ATS) went on to win 31-10 as a 12.5-point home chalk, but Cooley held off on posting a line for Georgia-Notre Dame until it’s clear whether Eason or freshman Jake Fromm will be the starter.

Notre Dame (1-0 SU and ATS) is coming off a 49-16 rout of Temple as a 19-point favorite. The Irish are looking to put behind them a dismal 4-8 SU and ATS season.

“We’re anticipating Eason will be out for this one, but we’ll wait to hang a line just to be sure,” Cooley said. “If he’s out, the freshman will have his hands full at South Bend. That injury obviously will be built into the line, as will the public’s propensity to back Notre Dame.”

No. 14 Stanford Cardinal at No. 4 Southern California Trojans (-5.5)

Star QB Sam Darnold and Southern Cal (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) got all they could handle from Western Michigan until well into the fourth quarter Saturday. The Trojans needed two touchdowns in the span of 36 seconds – the second one on an interception return with 3:13 remaining – to pull away for a 49-31 victory as a hefty 28-point home favorite.

Stanford (1-0 SU and ATS) comes in off a week of rest, after roasting Rice 62-7 laying 29.5 points on Aug. 26. The Cardinal probably needed the break, as it was the ultimate neutral-site game, played in Sydney, Australia.

“You get the feeling that this ballyhooed USC squad is due for an early upset,” Cooley said. “USC didn’t look great against the run, and the power-run game is what the Cardinals hang their hat on. Stanford has owned this rivalry of late, and this could be another notch in the series win column.”

The Cardinal won and cashed the last three meetings with the Trojans, including a 27-10 home victory last year as a 7.5-point fave. That said, shortly after Bookmaker.eu installed USC a 5.5-point chalk Sunday night, the Trojans were bet up to 6.5.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:39 AM
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No. 25 Tennessee pulls off remarkable 42-41 win over Ga Tech
September 4, 2017


ATLANTA (AP) No. 25 Tennessee rallied from a pair of 14-point deficits in the second half and stopped a 2-point conversion in the second overtime, stunning Georgia Tech 42-41 despite giving up five rushing touchdowns to TaQuon Marshall and getting thoroughly dominated statistically Monday night.

Bolstering the outlook for embattled coach Butch Jones, the Volunteers pulled off a remarkable season-opening victory at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in a game they seemed to have no business winning.

John Kelly scored the tying touchdown in regulation on an 11-yard run with 1:29 remaining, and then added two more TD runs in overtime. Marshall, in a remarkable performance in his first college start, matched Kelly's scores with a pair of his own, finishing the game with 249 yards rushing and a school record for rushing TDs.

After Marshall got to the end zone on a 13-yard run in the second overtime, Georgia Tech decided to go for the win right there rather than a tying PAT and a potential third overtime. But Marshall was stuffed as he tried to cut inside, and a desperation pitch was ruled an incomplete pass, ending the game.

Georgia Tech rushed for 535 yards, finished with 655 yards overall and held the ball for 41 minutes, 27 seconds during regulation. Tennessee was held to 369 yards and ran just 59 plays, compared to 96 by the Yellow Jackets.

But Tennessee came up with two crucial turnovers, most notably J.J. Green's fumble when the Yellow Jackets appeared to be driving for a clinching score. Georgia Tech also missed two field goals.

Green was hit from behind by Rashaan Gaulden at the Tennessee 25, the ball rolled forward and Micah Abernathy fell on it for the Vols at the 7 with 4:50 remaining. Tennessee drove nearly the length of the field for the tying score.

New Vols quarterback Quinten Dormady hooked up with Marquez Callaway on a 40-yard reception and Kelly finished off the drive. The running back finished with 128 yard on the ground.

Callaway, stepping up big when top receiver Jauan Jennings went out with an injury in the first half, also had a pair of touchdown catches and finished with four receptions for 115 yards.

Georgia Tech still had a chance to win in regulation, driving into position for walk-on Shawn Davis' 36-yard field goal attempt on the final play. But the kick was low, Paul Bain got a hand on it and the game went to OT.

Tennessee went ahead for the first time all night on its final touchdown and PAT.

It was all the Volunteers needed.

THE TAKEAWAY

Tennessee: A huge boost for a team that hasn't won a Southeastern Conference title since its national championship season of 1998. On the down side, the Vols clearly have a lot of work to do defensively after allowing Georgia Tech to march up and down the field all night long. But Dormady, taking over at QB for Joshua Dobbs, bounced back from a shaky start to complete 20 of 37 for 221 yards with no major mistakes. Callaway also looks like the type of player who can be a huge help offensively, especially if Jennings is out for an extended period with what appeared to be a hand or wrist injury.

Georgia Tech: It will be interesting to see how the Yellow Jackets bounce back from such a crushing defeat. Marshall proved a worthy successor at quarterback to three-year starter Justin Thomas, not only with his running ability but also showing a good arm (5 of 9 for 120 yards). The defense totally broke down toward the end of the game, giving up a 50-yard touchdown to Callaway on a short pass in the flats and not slowing the Vols at all in overtime. Davis earned the kicking job in preseason camp over freshman signee Brenton King, but his tenure was short-lived. King will get a shot in the next game.

UP NEXT

Tennessee: The Vols host Indiana State in their home opener on Saturday.

Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets also face a six-day turnaround in their return to campus, hosting FCS school Jacksonville State at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
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Old 09-05-2017, 12:43 AM
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4th Quarter Covers - Week 1
September 4, 2017


Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the opening college football weekend.

Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Ohio State (-20) 49, Indiana 21: The Hoosiers looked like an upset threat in this hyped Big Ten opener, as the underdog cover didn’t even seem in question as the Hoosiers led 14-6 well into the second quarter. Ohio State scored to get within one point before the break before a lull in the scoring after halftime. Ohio State would score three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the third quarter with a pair of big play scores to turn the game around leading 35-21 heading into the final frame when Indiana had led 21-20 with just a few minutes remaining in the third quarter. Taking advantage of a turnover Ohio State slipped past the spread early in the fourth quarter to lead 42-21. Indiana reached midfield on its next possession to threaten the number but an interception ended the threat and Ohio State went 87 yards to burn six minutes of clock, punching in one more touchdown for a 28-point final margin in game that felt much closer than that most of the way.

Arizona State (-26) 37, New Mexico State 31: A one-point game at halftime, Arizona State scored four straight times to start the second half to lead 37-13 early in the fourth quarter on a spread that dipped as low -22 before climbing back up right before game time. Those following the line move were burned as New Mexico State played to the end, scoring 18 points in the final nine minutes including a 29-yard touchdown pass as time expired. With a total that fell as low as 69 at closing, the Aggies didn’t bother attempting an extra-point after that score that didn’t impact the outcome but certainly could have impacted total wagers.

Wisconsin (-27) 59, Utah State 10:
The Badgers had a slow start, trailing 10-0 for the first 28 minutes of the game before a turnover helped the Badgers to tie the game by halftime. Wisconsin took charge in the second half and slipped past the spread just before the start of the 4th quarter and eventually tacked on three more scores in the final 10 minutes to create a somewhat misleading lopsided final.

Louisville (-25) 35, Purdue 28 (66): Purdue made it clear early this was going to be a competitive game and that the underdog would be the right side. The total wound up a very close call despite statistics that would indicate a clear ‘over’ game as these teams combined for 52 first downs and 103 pass attempts. The first half featured Louisville fumbling in the red zone on three separate possessions however while Purdue also missed a field goal to leave a 14-10 score at halftime. An interception return touchdown helped the scoring pace in the third quarter and with still nine minutes to go in a very tight game the combined score reached 60 as the ‘over’ pace had caught up. Louisville settled for a short field goal to lead by seven to leave overtime a possibility but a productive Purdue drive into Louisville territory ended with an interception. The Boilermakers got another shot forcing a punt but pinned deep into their own territory they failed on downs and the ‘under’ held on.

Nebraska (-14) 43, Arkansas State 36: On back-to-back plays there was a punt return and a kickoff return touchdown in this game for a wild first quarter. Nebraska led by just one at halftime but pulled away with a touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter to lead 41-26, just past the number. Arkansas State settled for a field goal and Nebraska later earned a safety for a 14-point edge, just short of the spread for most on the Huskers. Nebraska was unable to put the game away and Arkansas State connected for a touchdown in the final minute to trail by only seven, securing the underdog cover. Arkansas State was actually a serious threat to score again as they recovered an onside kick and had two throws from the Nebraska 11-yard-line in the final seconds.

Mississippi (-21) 47, South Alabama 27: Ole Miss struggled in the first half of the opener with just a 13-10 edge at the break but Shea Patterson connected on a few big throws in the third quarter while the Rebels also had a kickoff return touchdown to take a 40-13 edge into the final frame. Mississippi scored again in the fourth as the Rebels were well past the favorite spread that dropped from -27 down to -21 by game time with a 34-point advantage. South Alabama cut the deficit to 27 with a 75-yard touchdown drive but another big kickoff return but the Rebels immediately back in scoring range. With Patterson still in the game the Rebels were stuffed however and wound up missing a 45-yard field goal. That gave the Jaguars a golden opportunity for a backdoor cover and they delivered with another touchdown drive mostly on the ground to make the final score and statistics a bit more respectable.

Notre Dame (-20) 49, Temple 16:
The Irish took control of this game quickly and at halftime led 28-10, even with a common spread of -18 before the line took off Saturday afternoon before game time. Notre Dame briefly went up by 25 but Temple answered early in the fourth quarter though with a missed extra-point to push the margin to 19 points. It wound up not mattering as Notre Dame added two more rushing touchdowns in the final six minutes for an even more convincing final number.

Auburn (-34) 41, Georgia Southern 7:
Auburn had three turnovers to struggle to pull away from Georgia Southern with a spread that hovered around the five touchdown mark all week. The Tigers led just 24-7 at halftime and were short of the number with a 34-7 edge heading into the fourth quarter. The Tigers posted a 95-yard touchdown drive in the final frame but it wasn’t quite enough for most with a 34-point final margin. It is hard to find a more lopsided box score with Georgia Southern netting 78 total yards and their only points coming on a fumble return despite the ATS win for the underdog. Auburn reached the 25-yard-line on its final possession but came up empty going for it on 4th down rather than attempting a field goal.

Kentucky (-9) 24, Southern Miss 17: The Wildcats were past a hefty road favorite price with a 14-3 edge at halftime but Southern Miss connected for a big pass play to get within four early in the third quarter. Kentucky used a short field to extend its lead to seven points with a late third quarter field goal and then got the play of the game a few plays later with a fumble return touchdown. That made it a 14-point game heading into the fourth quarter but Southern Miss responded with an 11 play touchdown drive to climb back to within a one score margin. Southern Miss fumbled on its next possession and then opted to punt on its next drive from the Kentucky 45-yard line with just over five minutes to go. Kentucky managed to get a few first downs and burn some clock, shifting the field position and pinning the Golden Eagles deep in their own territory, where they wound up stranded to end the game. Despite the fourth quarter score for the underdog cover Southern Miss had the edge in the statistics.

Alabama (-7) 24, Florida State 7: Technically a late third quarter cover but the biggest game of the week certainly had a misleading final score as Florida State was the more productive offensive team most of the way before a disastrous stretch in the third quarter. Both teams had missed opportunities to score more early but Alabama led just 10-7 at the half and still just 13-7 after Florida State held the Tide to a field goal after a blocked punt put Alabama at the six-yard line. Florida State fumbled on the ensuing kickoff to hand Alabama another red zone opportunity and they cashed in this time with a 1st down touchdown to lead 21-7. Florida State was still a touchdown away from covering but back-to-back interceptions followed and Alabama added another field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the win with the three second half scores for Alabama coming on drives of -1, 11, and 16 yards.

Boise State (-11) 24, Troy 13: With the help of a punt return touchdown Boise State led 14-3 against Troy but the Trojans got back into the game with an interception return touchdown. The Broncos led by just seven going into the fourth quarter and Troy trimmed that edge to just four points with a field goal. Up by 4, Boise State went for it on 4th-and-1 from the Troy 20 yard line and fell short but on the very next play Troy gave the ball back with an interception. Boise State used a short field to connect for a touchdown with just over two minutes to go in the game for a 24-13 edge, slipping by the spread for some with a number that opened at -12 before falling all the way to -10 and climbing to -11 by kickoff.

West Virginia (-5) 31, West Virginia 24: The renewal of this rivalry lived up to the billing Sunday night with a tight game throughout and neither team ever scoring consecutively. West Virginia trailed 10-7 at the half which would have been enough to cover on a spread that fluctuated from +4 to +5. Virginia Tech took a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter on a one-play drive following a great kickoff return but West Virginia hit a big play early in the fourth quarter to knot the score at 24-24. After trading punts Josh Jackson delivered an 82-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown with just over six minutes to go. The Hokies later had a chance to put the game away but a 32-yard field goal was missed and in the final seconds West Virginia quarterback Will Grier had a pair of shots to the end zone but both fell incomplete as the Hokies won and covered despite trailing the Mountaineers in most of the statistics.
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CFB notebook: A&M coach Sumlin draws ire of regent member
September 4, 2017


Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin has faced criticism for late-season implosions, but blowing a 34-point lead and losing to UCLA on Sunday might have been the final straw for a school regent.

Houston attorney Tony Buzbee wrote a lengthy Facebook post after the Aggies blew a 34-point lead and lost 45-44 in the Rose Bowl on Sunday night on a fake spike play by Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen.

On Facebook, Buzbee wrote: "I'm sure I may be criticized for this post but I honestly don't care. I've been on the Board of Regents for the A&M System for almost seven years. During that time, I've not once commented on Kevin Sumlin and his performance during his tenure at our school. I never said a word when he and his agent manipulated a much bigger and longer contract. I said nothing about his arrogance and his mishandling of multiple player controversies. I said nothing when we had multiple awesome recruiting classes, only to see key players leave our school or underperform.

"But tonight I am very disappointed and I have to say this. Kevin Sumlin was out-coached tonight, which isn't new. He recruits well, but can't coach the big games, or the close games. Our players were better tonight. Our players were more talented tonight. But our coaches were dominated on national TV, yet again. I'm only one vote on the Board of Regents but when the time comes my vote will be that Kevin Sumlin needs to GO."

--Florida State coach coach Jimbo Fisher confirmed that quarterback Deondre Francois suffered a torn patellar tendon in Saturday night's loss to top-ranked Alabama and announced that freshman James Blackman will take Francois' place.

Fisher said Francois will undergo surgery Tuesday on his left knee to repair the damage.

The redshirt sophomore was tackled from behind in the final minutes of No. 3 Florida State's 24-7 loss to Alabama in Atlanta. Francois was helped off the field and take to the locker room for evaluation, and the news was not good for the Seminoles.

Francois was 19-of-33 passing for 210 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions against Alabama. Fisher estimated a four- to seven-month recovery time with the possibility of Francois "doing drills and such in spring ball, when he wouldn't get hit anyway."

--Oklahoma cornerback Jordan Parker will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, coach Lincoln Riley announced.

Parker was injured on a special teams play when he was blocking during a punt return early in Saturday's 56-7 win over UTEP. He was unable to put any weight on his leg after the punt and was helped off the field by teammates.

The sophomore started eight games for the Sooners last season. In 10 games overall, he totaled 36 tackles and one fumble recovery. He was considered to be a key part of the team's secondary despite losing the preseason competition to Parnell Motley.

Last spring, Parker missed most of Oklahoma's spring practice with a foot injury. The Sooners will travel to play Ohio State on Saturday night.

--Georgia coach Kirby Smart confirmed that quarterback Jacob Eason will miss this Saturday's game against Notre Dame with a sprained knee ligament.

Smart said there is not a set timetable for Eason's return. He also said the sophomore will not require surgery.

"We expect a full recovery this season," Smart told reporters. "Jacob will be week to week from this point forward. We don't know how long it's going to be."

Freshman Jake Fromm will make his first start at Notre Dame. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in the season opener. Eason was injured on the second play of Georgia's third drive in Saturday's season-opening 31-10 win over Appalachian State. He was injured on a late hit while scrambling out of bounds and finished the game 1 of 3 for 4 yards.

--The season is over after one game for two Alabama outside linebackers.

Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller suffered serious injuries during No. 1 Alabama's opening 24-7 victory over No. 3 Florida State on Saturday night in Atlanta.

Alabama coach Nick Saban confirmed that Lewis, a sophomore, sustained an elbow injury and Miller, a junior, has a torn biceps. Surgery is planned for both players.

Lewis finished with five tackles and Miller finished with three tackles in the season opener. The latest injuries left the Crimson Tide relatively thin at linebacker heading into Saturday's home game against Fresno State. Rashaan Evans (groin) and Anfernee Jennings (sprained ankle) also are slowed by injuries and listed as questionable this week by Saban.
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Public teams help bettors
September 3, 2017


Las Vegas sports books had varied results on the first full weekend of college football, but one thing they were all united with on Saturday night is getting buried by the public with teams like Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma covering the spreads.

"Friday was very solid for us, but Saturday was break even," said Westgate SuperBook VP Jay Kornegay. "We had a big cushion going into the late games and games it all back."

Kornegay sighted Maryland's outright win as a 19-point underdog at Texas as their biggest win of the weekend, but his book couldn't escape the popular public teams covering.

"The two marquee games Saturday both went against us, Michigan and Alabama," he said. "Alabama was our biggest loser since it was the tail end of a lot of parlays."

Over at CG Technology, VP of risk management Jason Simbal didn't have big wins to speak of outside of Purdue covering 25.5 against Louisville.

"It wasn't good at all," he said. "we needed the right underdogs and didn't get any. We we're big losers to Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma and Penn State."

No. 1 Alabama (-7.5) outclassed No. 3 Florida, 24-7, and No. 11 Michigan (-3.5) easily handled a Florida squad, 33-17, in a game where Michigan's defense dominated. Both of Florida's TD's came early of off interceptions. Despite only one starter returning to Michigan's defense, they've got their act together. Look out Big Ten.

When the popular teams all cover together, it's bad news for the books.

EPIC UNLV LOSS
It's a bit ironic that the biggest college football upset from a point-spread perspective would happen against the local Las Vegas team. UNLV was a 45-point favorite against Howard, a team UNLV paid $600,000 as a travel expense fee for visiting Las Vegas. The idea was that UNLV could jump out to a 1-0 record, then win at Idaho and be 2-0 before traveling to Columbus for a date with the Buckeyes.

What they didn't count on is Cam Newton's younger brother, Caylin Newton, being an unstoppable force at QB. Newton started his assault early in the first quarter with a 52-yard TD run to take a 7-0 lead. He'd also score the final TD on a 4-yard run to make it 43-40. UNLV shot themselves in the foot losing three fumbles, but ultimately it was their defense's inability to stop Newton on the ground. He rushed for 190 yards. It's a crushing blow for second year coach Tony Sanchez. Back to the drawing board.

Despite the record setting spread, I still think the biggest upset with a team that matters -- or did -- was Baylor losing 48-45 as 32-point home favorites against Liberty University which was founded by Jerry Falwell in 1971. As part of the celebration for winning, some of the students from the Christian university drove south from Waco to help with the Texas flood victims.

OBSERVATIONS

I really liked Alabama's and Michigan's defense and I also liked what I saw with Colorado's defense in a poorly reffed game against Colorado State.

California scored over 37 ppg the past two seasons with Jared Goff and Davis Webb taking snaps, but what new QB Ross Bowers did Saturday might be most impressive by scoring 35 points, throwing for 363 yards and four TDs in his first career game, and it came at Chapel Hill 2,800 miles away.

Western Michigan said the heck with getting +28, we want the win at USC and they almost got it, but fell short 49-31 in a game that was much closer than the score indicates.

The Texas Longhorns total rating is going to likely be too low for their next few games under new coach Tom Herman. Also, I can't wait for the tuned up Sooners and Ohio State rematch this weekend.
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Georgia QB Eason out against Notre Dame
September 4, 2017


Georgia coach Kirby Smart confirmed Monday that quarterback Jacob Eason will miss this Saturday's game against Notre Dame with a sprained knee ligament.

Smart said there is not a set timetable for Eason's return. He also said the sophomore will not require surgery.

"We expect a full recovery this season," Smart told reporters. "Jacob will be week to week from this point forward. We don't know how long it's going to be."

Freshman Jake Fromm will make his first start at Notre Dame. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown in the season opener.

Eason was injured on the second play of Georgia's third drive in Saturday's season-opening 31-10 win over Appalachian State. He was injured on a late hit while scrambling out of bounds and finished the game 1 of 3 for 4 yards.

Last season, Eason started all but one game. He finished with 2,430 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and a 55.1 completion percentage.

********************

Alabama loses 2 key LBs for the season
September 4, 2017


TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) Alabama's football team had as much to mourn as to celebrate after a huge opening victory.

On the field, linebackers Terrell Lewis and Christian Miller sustained season-ending injuries in the top-ranked Crimson Tide's 24-7 win over No. 3 Florida State . About 24 hours after the game, a son of wide receivers coach Mike Locksley was shot and killed in Maryland.

That left players and coaches with much more on their mind than football on Monday.

''I just feel real bad, just like everyone else,'' said Tide receiver Calvin Ridley, who texted his support to Locksley. ''I just want him to know I love him and I really don't know anything else about it.''

Added coach Nick Saban: ''We'll do everything that we can to support Mike and his family in this time of tragedy.''

Howard County Police said 25-year-old Meiko Locksley was shot in Columbia, Maryland just after 10 p.m. Sunday. Locksley died at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Police didn't release further details.

Locksley is also Alabama's co-offensive coordinator. He spent last season as an offensive analyst and was Maryland's interim head coach for the final six games in 2015. Players were still absorbing the news Monday afternoon.

''I just heard. That's horrible,'' offensive tackle Jonah Williams said. ''I don't have any words. He's in our thoughts and prayers. We're going to do everything we can for him.''

At practice, offensive analyst Chris Weinke worked with the receivers.

On the field, Alabama is already having to do a reboot at linebacker. Miller (biceps) and Lewis (elbow) both play the same outside linebacker spot, and now both need season-ending surgery.

Lewis had five tackles and Miller three against the Seminoles. Both had a tackle for loss.

''But we just rebuild,'' linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said. ''Next guy's up. All the guys who get recruited here are top guys, so it's time for them to grow up.''

Two other starting linebackers also missed the second half with injuries. Rashaan Evans had a groin injury and Anfernee Jennings sprained an ankle. Saban said their injuries are significant but not long-term issues. He said both are questionable going into Saturday's Fresno State game.

Alabama does have a luxury few other programs share. Three of the reserve linebackers are underclassmen who were former five-star recruits: Mack Wilson, Ben Davis and freshman Dylan Moses. Other candidates for increased playing time could include veterans like Jamey Mosley, brother of Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley, and Keith Holcombe.

Five-star defensive end signee LaBryan Ray was practicing at linebacker on Monday also.

Hamilton, himself coming off a knee injury that ended his junior season, said there are a number of players capable of stepping up. He also had a message for Lewis and Miller, both seemingly poised for bigger roles this season.

''I told them I know how it is when you're down,'' Hamilton said. ''You're going to fall by the wayside. People may forget about you or things like this. But let that fuel you, and you can't waste a day with the rehab process.''

***********************

Texas QB Buechele has bruised shoulder
September 4, 2017


AUSTIN, Texas (AP) Texas starting quarterback Shane Buechele bruised his throwing shoulder in a season-opening loss to Maryland and will be held out of practice part of this week.

Buechele passed for 375 yards and finished the game in the 51-41 loss. Coach Tom Herman says Buechele doesn't know when he got hurt but was very sore after the game.

Herman says freshman Sam Ehlinger will get all the snaps with the first-team offense Tuesday. Emergency quarterback Jerrod Heard, a wide receiver, will also take snaps.

Heard was a starting quarterback for the Longhorns in 2015 when Texas went 5-7. He moved to wide receiver last season.

Herman says Buechele will be evaluated this week to see if he can return for Saturday's game against San Jose State (1-1).
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No. 8 Washington regrouping after another sluggish opener
September 4, 2017


SEATTLE (AP) Perhaps it's just the nature of playing the first game on the road, but those games have not come easily for No. 8 Washington in the four seasons under Chris Petersen.

The latest example was last Friday's 30-14 win at Rutgers to open the 2017 campaign. What was expected to be a romp for the Huskies in their first game since losing to Alabama in the national semifinals was instead far closer than expected for a half before Washington pulled away in the final 30 minutes.

It was the fourth time under Petersen that the road opener has been more of a slog than scintillating. His first game at Washington four seasons ago was a 17-16 win at Hawaii. A year later, the Huskies opened the season at Boise State and lost 16-13 in Petersen's return to where his head coaching career started.

And last year, even after a 3-0 start at home, Washington needed overtime to outlast Arizona 35-28 in the desert.

''I don't know if there is a common thread,'' Petersen said Monday. ''You are away from home, for one. Hawaii is always an awkward place. And then you couple that with it being our first year, that was it as much as anything. And then the next year at Boise, we had a lot of young guys playing in that game against a good team. And then go back to Rutgers, like you said, there was a lot of good football played. There really was. I think the strategy, they did a good job of keeping it close.''

If nothing else, the tighter game against Rutgers provides Petersen plenty to work on, with consecutive home games upcoming that should be more of what's become the expectation for the Pac-12 North favorites. The Huskies host Montana on Saturday and face Fresno State on Sept. 16 before opening Pac-12 play on Sept. 23 at Colorado.

The biggest concern to come out of the win over Rutgers was Washington's struggle to run the ball. The Huskies finished with just 84 yards rushing, partly a result of time of possession. Rutgers held the ball for more than 38 minutes and Washington ran just 54 total plays. Last season Washington ran fewer than 60 plays only twice. It was the fewest offensive plays runs by Washington since getting just 45 offensive snaps in a 31-14 loss at Stanford in 2015.

Petersen attributed both the run game issues and the lack of plays to getting just one first down on its first two possessions and having three three-and-outs in the first half.

''We'll win close, low-scoring games, but from our side of it we've got to be more efficient on offense - start faster,'' Petersen said.

Even though he was limited to just seven carries, running back Myles Gaskin was vital as a receiver. Gaskin had five receptions for 79 yards and an 18-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter that gave Washington a 27-7 lead. Gaskin also had five receptions in the Peach Bowl against Alabama.

''I think Myles is just a playmaker. You can ask him to do a lot of things and he can get it done,'' Petersen said.

********************

Meyer: Weber, Dobbins will both play against Oklahoma
September 4, 2017


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Ohio State running back Mike Weber will play against Oklahoma, sharing time with dynamic true freshman J.K. Dobbins.

Weber rushed for over 1,000 yards as a redshirt freshman last season but was hampered by a hamstring injury throughout preseason camp. Still not 100 percent last Thursday, he sat out as Dobbins rambled for 181 yards on 29 carries, showing instincts and judgment beyond his years in a 49-21 win over Indiana.

Coach Urban Meyer said Monday that Weber will play, but he hasn't yet decided how the rotation will work in Saturday's game.

''Mike had a good practice,'' Meyer said. ''He went full speed today.''

Now that Weber is healthy, Meyer has a pleasant conundrum on his hands. Weber earned the starting role, but how does Meyer keep Dobbins on the bench at all?

Center Billy Price said the backs bring different styles to the game and using both just makes the Buckeyes' offense more diverse and harder to solve.

''I think those two complement each other very well, having that 1-2 punch,'' Price said. ''It just adds a little more depth to the running-back room and another threat that defenses have to be aware of.''

Price described Dobbins as ''one of those guys who can get into those crevices and be able to flip things and roll. Mike is that bruiser, he's that guy who can really get in there and if he needs a couple extra yards on maybe third-and-2, run it up the middle.''

LOOKING FOR THE DEEP BALL

Much was made in spring practice and during the preseason about a new focus on the deep passing game and quarterback J.T. Barrett's accuracy, with Meyer saying both would have to be better.

Meyer said he was satisfied with the progress of Barrett, who threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 61 yards and another score against Indiana.

But Barrett was 0 for 3 on long passing attempts, with one perfectly placed throw fluttering through the fingers of Parris Campbell in the end zone. The receptions that were big gainers were of the catch-and-run variety. The Buckeyes' passing game didn't get on track until the second half.

Meyer found himself again defending against criticisms of Barrett's accuracy.

''The accuracy of a quarterback has to do with the timing and relationship he has with the receivers,'' Meyer said. ''If he's expecting to come back to me and the receiver goes there, it looks like the quarterback's fault. And that's what happened. We've had some accuracy issues with J.T., but also the receivers. He's much better now.''

NOT A REVENGE GAME?


Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley downplayed the revenge factor in Saturday's game.

Ohio State went to Oklahoma last year and beat the Sooners 45-24 in a prime-time nationally televised game. Oklahoma is 11-0 since that loss.

''I don't think we'll talk much about the game last year,'' said Riley, the offensive coordinator last year who was bumped up to head coach when Bob Stoops retired. ''I told somebody this morning that I don't think that has much of an effect on it. I think regardless of how the game turned out last year, regardless of who won or lost, this is one of those games that both teams are going to be excited to play. It's going to be a great college football environment, two good football teams going at it.''

NOTES: Oklahoma sophomore cornerback Jordan Parker is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in Saturday's win over UTEP. Riley said he'll likely have surgery. ... Ohio State receiver Eric Glover-Williams is no longer with the team. Meyer said the departure was due to a ''school conduct issue.'' ... Barrett was chosen by the Big Ten as co-player of the week, and Dobbins the freshman of the week.
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Narduzzi puts Pitt players on mute as Penn State looms
September 4, 2017


PITTSBURGH (AP) Pittsburgh wide receiver/return specialist Quadree Henderson learned a year ago that it's probably wise to turn off your Twitter notifications when the Panthers play Penn State.

''If I mention Penn State, my Twitter blows up for 25 hours and there's only 24 hours in a day,'' Henderson said with a laugh. ''I think I'm going to go off social media this week.''

While Henderson was still posting as Pitt (1-0) prepared for a trip to Happy Valley to take on the No. 6 Nittany Lions (1-0) on Saturday, head coach Pat Narduzzi did take one variable out of the equation when he made players and members of his coaching staff off limits to the media in the run-up to the Panthers' most anticipated game of the season.

''All the talk should be about the game and the match-ups, and I think you guys know what you're going to do there,'' Narduzzi said on Monday. ''But it's a big game, it really is. And I want our guys locked in. It's an in-state rivalry, at least for us, and we're going to prepare for it that way.''

Narduzzi instituted a similar blackout before the series renewed last September after a 15-year hiatus and the Panthers responded with a 42-39 victory . The third-year head coach admitted he's a superstitious type but added the reason for the ban isn't due to concerns his players may say something that would end up on a bulletin board somewhere.

''If there's a guy that I would worry about something they'd say, I wouldn't let you have them anyway, so we could control that and I could just give you all the guys that I wouldn't worry about, but no, it has nothing to do with that, either,'' Narduzzi said.

Narduzzi's preference would be to eliminate as many distractions as possible. He's hardly alone. Washington has prohibited players from being interviewed each of the last two falls during the week leading into its annual Apple Cup showdown against Washington State. The Huskies won easily both times.

Though Narduzzi stressed a year ago that every matchup is equally important, he understands that is no longer the case. There is Pitt and Penn State and there are the other 11 games on the Panthers' schedule. The Nittany Lions bring a level of attention that Youngstown State, who took Pitt to overtime before falling 28-21, simply does not. With a roster littered with underclassmen who will play significantly more important roles than they did a year ago, Narduzzi is being careful to create a protective bubble of sorts.

''I can't go in the dorm rooms at night and see what they're doing,'' Narduzzi said. ''They don't let me stay with them during the year, so you're not around them all day. So we try to ground them as far as go to school and then study when you leave here. That's what our guys do. But hopefully they understand how important it is.''

Inside the team room, there is plenty to talk about. Pitt's defense struggled to keep Youngstown State in check in the second half as the Penguins rallied from a 21-point deficit. The offense kept things decidedly vanilla, though Narduzzi allowed that had little to do with quarterback Max Browne getting sacked three times.

''I think maybe we got full in the first half, full of ourselves, thinking, `hey, we're OK,' and that wasn't the case,'' Narduzzi said, who added complacency won't be an issue this week.

Still, Narduzzi downplayed the idea that there is some level of ''hate'' involved on either side, saying ''all rivalries'' are different. Maybe, but Browne - a graduate transfer who knew nothing about Pitt and Penn State while spending four years at USC - is well aware of how he's supposed to feel.

''I know you're supposed to hate them,'' Browne said with a laugh shortly after Pitt survived Youngstown State. ''And now I guess I do hate them.''

***************************

Riley not worried about Nebraska defense
September 4, 2017

Nebraska would seem to have quite a bit of work to do on defense in its second game.

Coordinator Bob Diaco's decision to play soft coverage against Arkansas State's wide receivers led to a plethora of easy first downs last Saturday. Factor in the lack of a consistent pass rush, and it's easy to see why the Huskers gave up 32 first downs and 497 yards as they eked out a 43-36 victory.

Things don't figure to get easier this week, when Nebraska plays at Oregon, which put up 77 points against Southern Utah last week in coach Willie Taggart's debut last Saturday.

The Nebraska defense did perform better in the second half last week, but the unit still had trouble stopping Arkansas State and it was only saved by a nice last-minute defensive stand resulting from solid backend coverage.

Coach Mike Riley maintained at Monday morning's press conference that the Huskers were not surprised by the Arkansas State offensive installations, and he lauded his defensive unit for not giving up many big plays.

"Defensively, we got the two interceptions that were big. Nice tipped ball in the red zone for an interception," he said.

"We anticipated a lot of what they were going to try to do and they did it well for the yards in the game. And part of the plan actually worked out as you would see it unfold. They only had five explosive plays. Their longest run, I think, was 14 yards; their longest pass was 29 yards and that came as the result, really, of a 7-yard hitch that was a missed tackle."

One of the big storylines this week will be Riley's return to the state of Oregon. He was the head coach at Oregon State for 14 years before leaving for Nebraska after the 2014 season.

"It's exciting to do that," he said about going back to the state.

"I'm not all that fired up about the ticket requests I've got coming, but it's all right. It actually is pretty neat. I embrace things like this as pretty unique personal opportunities that are just that, they're personal. This is not about me going back to Oregon. This is about the Nebraska team playing the Ducks, but it is fun for me.

"I've spent a lot of time, and had too many hard times in that stadium, so we're excited to go play and win the game for this 2017 team."

Offensively, quarterback Tanner Lee was fairly sharp last week in his Nebraska debut.

With the exception of the last few drives, when he decided to throw incomplete deep passes that expended little time off the clock, Lee generally made the right decision and showed many of the tangibles that pro scouts were touting during camp. Lee completed 19 of 32 passes for 238 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Mostly, though, the game marked sophomore running back Tre Bryant's explosion onto the Husker scene.

Rushing for 195 yards on 31 carries and two touchdowns, Bryant showed much of the power and one-cut explosion that he demonstrated in practice. And regardless of running back Devine Ozigbo's availability, Bryant figures to the man for the rest of the season.

"Tre looked good, didn't he?" Riley said. "He's quick-footed, he's hard-nosed, he's smart and he's versatile."

************************

Arizona State looking to clean things up after opening win
September 4, 2017


TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) Arizona State did what it was supposed in its opener, knocking off a team from a smaller conference at home.

It was far from perfect.

The Sun Devils beat New Mexico State 37-31, but had trouble protecting quarterback Manny Wilkins, showed their lack of defensive depth may be worse than expected and gave up too many big plays late.

Arizona State faces a bigger challenge against San Diego State on Saturday, so there's plenty to work on this week.

''Lots of good things, but lots of things to get better,'' Arizona State coach Todd Graham said Monday at his weekly news conference. ''The key is to be markedly better in week 2.''

The Sun Devils got off to a good start against New Mexico State offensively, went into a second-quarter lull, then overpowered the Aggies in a stellar third quarter to pull away.

Wilkins was sharp after an injury-plagued 2016 season, beating the Aggies with his arm and his legs. He threw for 300 and two touchdowns, and avoided some of the big hits he took last season.

Wilkins also was accurate downfield - something the Sun Devils lacked last season - connecting on TD passes of 60 and 53 yards.

''We need more of that,'' Graham said.

The Sun Devils ran the ball well despite losing Demario Richard in the first half to a right leg injury. Kalen Ballage carried the load with his running mate out, scoring two touchdowns while running for 79 yards.

But Arizona State had trouble protecting Wilkins at times and there were occasions where he held the ball too long.

Arizona State's defense was good early, but a lack of depth led the coaches to play the starters the entire first half and stuck mostly with 11 players until the game was out of reach.

''We're going to rotate and play people, but part of that is we want to have a mindset of how we play as well,'' Graham said. ''It's not that we don't in anybody or anything like that. Coach (defensive coordinator Phil Bennett) wanted to make a statement with his guys and that's what he did. What's impressive is that I didn't see a lot of fatigue.''

When Arizona State did start substituting, New Mexico State took advantage.

The Sun Devils have had trouble giving up big plays the past couple of seasons and the Aggies were able to reel a few off late in the game, scoring 18 points in the fourth quarter. New Mexico State's Jason Huntley had one of those long plays, taking off on a 50-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter.

''Until you get out there the first time, you don't know how you're going to be,'' Graham said. ''We fit and did some nice things. I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage. We had some mistakes, some mental mistakes and they had that long run late.''

Arizona State's run defense should get a good test this week against San Diego State.

The Aztecs are tailback-driven on offense, led by powerful senior Rashaad Penny. At 5-foot-11, he's a load to bring down and ran for 197 with two touchdowns in a win over UC Davis last week.

San Diego ran for 276 yards as a team and quarterback Christian Chapman threw for 220 yards and a pair of scores in the 38-17 victory.

''They're multiple tight ends, old-school, really,'' Graham said. ''Almost a blend of Stanford and what Boise's done in the past. They're going to ground and pound, play-action pass. Obviously, a big-time challenge for us.''
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Huntley, Utah offense focused on faster start vs BYU
September 4, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) There was a moment of terror for Utah fans Saturday as their worst fears came to life. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Huntley, making his first start, threw an interception to end the first drive of the game on Utah's own 24-yard line.

Huntley's dual-threat ability helped win the job over returning starter and two-time captain Troy Williams, but accuracy and running the offense was an issue in 2016. And there he was with an interception on his third attempt of the game deep in Utah's territory.

The Utes, however, didn't panic because the quarterback didn't. They went onto a 37-16 victory over FCS North Dakota.

''Nothing phases him,'' receiver Darren Carrington said. ''He came right to the sideline and was like, `That play's over with. We're about to go score on the next drive.' It's like it didn't even happen.

''That's definitely what you want in a quarterback.''

Huntley bounced back and showed flashes of why first-year offensive coordinator picked the youngster to lead his fast-paced, pass-first, spread scheme. He threw for 227 yards and a touchdown and ran for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Defenders had to respect the option, which helped Zack Moss get 128 yards rushing and a touchdown. Huntley also connected with Carrington early and often for 10 receptions, 127 yards and a touchdown.

But there were moments where Huntley reverted to bad habits, particularly during that first drive. The first call was a pass, but Huntley bailed early and was brought down for a two-yard loss. Then the interception was thrown into coverage.

''Maybe pressing a little bit early,'' Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. ''But other than that, he settled in and played very well relative to his first start as a (Power 5) quarterback.

''What you saw after those couple series is what he's all about. ... He's going to get better and better as the season wears on as he gets more comfortable and more settled in.''

Starting faster is what Huntley is focused on this week against rival BYU and he believes that's more of a mental thing than physical. He dismissed any notion of nerves being an issue and said it was just a matter of knocking the dust off after not starting a game since high school in 2015.

''We're going to come out fast and execute fast, that's the biggest thing,'' Huntley said. ''It's just a mindset. You can't go out there worried or nothing. You've just got to go out there and perform and execute the plays that are presented to you. That's coming out strong.''

Whittingham noted the team had less live hitting during the preseason than he can ever remember. So there was some early adjustment just getting that feel of all-out football under the lights again.

Huntley finished with a 71.9 completion percentage, but also left some plays on the field. He had Carrington open for a 30-yard touchdown on the second drive of the game, but simply missed.

Those are the early moments Utah wants to capitalize on against BYU.

''We were just anxious to hit somebody out there,'' Carrington said, ''and just to get the speed and the feel of the first game.''

A better start was the talking point on Monday, but there's bound to be some growing pains within a new offense. Utah opened the season with new starters at quarterback, running back, three receiver spots and four of the five positions on the offensive line.

The Utes also kept the calls more basic against a FCS program than what's expected the rest of season.

''I definitely feel like we're growing into it a little bit,'' Carrington said about the offense. ''I feel like we've got it down pat, pretty much. It's such a new offense and there's so much in the offense, you have to grow into it a little bit because none of us had played a game in this offense.''

The Utes will face a bigger test on the road against BYU. The Cougars (1-1) were on the wrong end of a lopsided 27-0 loss to No. 13 LSU, but the defense has been the bright spot. It has allowed an average of 158.5 passing yards in the first two games.

''Our defense is nice because we rely on speed,'' BYU linebacker Matt Hadley said. ''We have gotten as big and strong as we can, but we are also fast.''

********************

Tar Heels' high-scoring attack facing rare uncertainty at QB
September 4, 2017


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) North Carolina's quarterback uncertainty has extended into the season.

Coach Larry Fedora already knew it would be tough to replace No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Mitch Trubisky at quarterback long before the start of a preseason camp that saw the Tar Heels trying to sort through their options. But things didn't get any clearer in a season-opening loss with LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris and redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt never able to keep the offense running in its traditional fast-paced hum.

Fedora wouldn't commit Monday to a starter for Saturday's game against No. 16 Louisville and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, either.

''Based on what you saw Saturday, whether or not that was enough to make a change, I don't know yet,'' Fedora said. ''But we'll see how they handle this week in practice.''

Harris started after winning the preseason battle for the job.

''You can't do it all on one game,'' Fedora said. ''You just, you can't. There's too many things, too many variables. But we'll see. We'll continue to battle it out there and we're going to put the guy on the field that we think can help us win the football game.''

Harris had a mistake-filled afternoon in the 35-30 loss to California. He threw two interceptions - a no-no with Fedora's emphasis on ball security - and missed a wide-open receiver in the end zone with an overthrown ball.

He completed just 7 of 16 passes for 60 yards and ultimately ceded the majority of the second-half work to Surratt, a former Associated Press instate prep player of the year.

''I have no idea,'' Harris said Saturday when asked where he thought the QB competition stood. ''That'd probably be a better question for the head coach.''

Surratt completed 18 of 28 passes, though many were safe calls such as short routes or screens. He threw for 161 yards (5.8 yards per attempt) and a TD while also running for a score on the game's final play with the outcome already determined, but avoided any turnovers.

''I learned just be yourself and do what you do every day in practice,'' Surratt said Saturday. ''That is what Coach Fedora preached to me. I just tried to stay within myself and let the game come to me.''

The Tar Heels got 89 plays and tallied 440 yards, but they never looked much like the fast-paced and efficiently running offensive machine that has been the norm through Fedora's first five seasons with Trubisky, Marquise Williams or Bryn Renner at the start of his tenure.

It's been the thing UNC could lean on to cover a history of shaky defensive performances. But as its offense rotates QBs while replacing its top three receivers and top two tailbacks, the defense repeated past mistakes by surrendering two TDs of at least 50 yards to a team picked to finish last in its Pac-12 division.

The pressure will only increase against the Cardinals and Jackson, who accounted for 485 yards of total offense and two scores in the season-opening win against Purdue.

''It is sometimes hard to do that,'' Fedora said of his team finding a rhythm with the QB rotation. ''The way we practice, both those guys are getting the same amount of reps and they're both working with both groups all the time.

''Would you prefer it was one guy all the time with the 1s and nobody got injured so you could have continuity all the time? Yeah, you'd prefer that. But that's just not what we have right now.''

*************************

Oklahoma St.'s improved running game helps balance offense
September 4, 2017


STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) The last two seasons, No. 10 Oklahoma State has boasted a powerful offense led by Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback Mason Rudolph and preseason All-American receiver James Washington.

Now, if their performance in a Week 1 victory over Tulsa is any indication, the Cowboys' running game looks pretty potent, too.

Rudolph completed 20 of 24 passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns and Washington had six receptions for 145 yards and two TDs. Oklahoma State also racked up 332 yards rushing, with four different runners scoring touchdowns, as the Cowboys cruised to a 59-24 triumph on Saturday.

Sophomore running back Justice Hill, who rushed for 1,142 yards and six touchdowns last year to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors, piled up 132 yards and one TD on just 15 carries (an 8.8-yard average).

It was Oklahoma State's depth that really made a difference, though, as freshman backups J.D. King and L.D. Brown each totaled over 90 yards and scored touchdowns.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy liked the offensive balance and hopes it can continue.

''We're getting back on track for balance and, for me, balance is very important,'' said Gundy, whose team was eighth in the nation in passing offense last year but just 66th in rushing. ''We got good running back play. Obviously, Hill was able to make guys miss in space, which is important. Some young guys that were getting a few reps, I like where they're at, at this time. The balance is going to be important. We're not going to be able to just come out and throw for 500 yards and rush for 75 yards and win games. We're going to have to have balance, for a variety of reasons. I thought, for the first game, our running game worked out pretty well.''

While Hill's performance wasn't much of a surprise considering what he accomplished last season, it was evident that his offseason work in the weight room, which added about 15 pounds to his 5-foot-10 frame, made an impact. He seemed a little more of a physical runner and he made several impressive jukes to make defenders miss tackles.

''I think any time a running back can put on good weight, and it's muscle mass, and it makes him stronger and faster, it's going to be a good thing,'' said OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich of Hill. ''He's done a great job, he loves to compete, he's a tremendous talent. He's just a huge weapon for us offensively and we've got to keep going to him. And he's going to continue to grow (as a player). A very talented young man, he's squared away. He does everything off the field exactly right, and he's just a very mature guy that you love to have on your ballclub.''

Rudolph also appreciated having a strong running game that can help take up some attention from opposing defenses.

''It's been great,'' Rudolph said. ''I kind of wanted to see the freshman guys come out and play, and J.D. answered the bell, as well as L.D. getting the first few snaps of his career. And then Justice, I think you saw it with his added size and weight and make-you-miss capability, he had a great game. All three of those guys. When you can rush for 300 and throw for the same, it's fun and it keeps the defense off-guard.''

Coming into the season, the backup spots behind Hill were a question mark, especially after junior Jeff Carr transferred to Texas A&M-Kingsville, but the freshman duo of King (95 yards on six carries) and Brown (five rushes for 92 yards), certainly raised some eyebrows. Another freshman, Ja'Ron Wilson, carried the ball five times in the fourth quarter, gaining eight yards.

''I liked what I saw from J.D., from a standpoint of thinking he ran physically and protected the ball really well,'' Gundy said. ''Early in your career, those things are really important to prove that you're physical enough to compete at this level and take care of the ball. I thought he did a good job of that. He showed a little bit more burst in the open field than I thought he had.

''L.D. made a couple of plays and showed that he has the chance to run the ball a little bit. I thought we got some good play from those guys.''
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Michigan's Harbaugh sticking with Speight
September 4, 2017


Wilton Speight knows the leash is looming, but at least the Michigan junior quarterback didn't lose his starting gig.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh is sticking with Speight as the starting signal caller against Cincinnati (1-0) on Saturday despite an inauspicious opening performance against Florida in which he got pulled for three possessions in the second quarter.

Speight was just 11 of 25 passing with two interceptions. He also threw one touchdown pass while finishing with 181 yards.

Helping Speight keep the job was the fact that senior John O'Korn guided the club to only three points in his three possessions. Also, Speight played better after he returned from his benching.

Harbaugh, a former quarterback, paid close attention to how Speight responded to the benching. He liked what he saw.

"If you can't handle that type of situation when something goes bad, it's the wrong position to be playing," Harbaugh said at his Monday press conference.

"I thought he did very well. Sometimes that breaks a guy. Sometimes they can bounce back from it the next game. Sometimes they can bounce back from it in the same game. And sometimes they can't."

Speight passed for 2,538 yards, with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions, last season. But he was pushed in fall camp by O'Korn and it only became clear he was retaining the job during the week of the season opener.

In fact, it was a defense loaded with new starters and contributors that fueled Michigan's 33-17 victory over the Gators.

The Wolverines limited Florida to 192 yards and nine first downs while forcing three turnovers and racking up 11 tackles for losses, including six sacks.

Sophomore middle linebacker Devin Bush had two sacks in his first career start. He said the constant chatter about all the standout departures helped fuel the defense.

"I knew there was a lot of talk about how we lost a bunch of guys to the (NFL) and lost a star player (in Jabrill Peppers), so we came out with a chip on our shoulder," Bush said.

Now the Wolverines look to continue to silence such talk when they face the Bearcats.

**************************

Freshman RB Dobbins impresses in Buckeyes' debut
September 4, 2017


The buzz after Ohio State's 49-21 victory over Indiana in last week's season opener was the emergence of freshman running back J.K. Dobbins.

The true freshman from Texas started against the Hoosiers when the coaches decided before the game to sit returning starter Mike Weber because of a lingering hamstring issue unless he was absolutely needed in the game.

They didn't regret the decision to use Dobbins. The powerfully built back carved up the Indiana defense for 181 yards on 29 carries. He didn't get into the end zone, but his long runs set up several scores.

"I wasn't necessarily surprised," Ohio State center Billy Price said. "As a player and a guy who's been blocking for him for a couple weeks now, I know what he can do. We always say give him a little crevice and the kid scoots through and breaks tackles. I'm just very, very happy he's on our side of the ball."

This week, with Weber expected back for the big matchup with No. 7 Oklahoma in Ohio Stadium (8 p.m. ET on ABC), the Buckeyes are excited about the possibility of having not one but two elite runners available. Coach Urban Meyer is, for sure, pondering how to utilize the two.

"I haven't figured that out yet," he said. "They will both play. We haven't figured the exact rotation."

Weber, a 1,000-yard rusher as a redshirt freshman last year, practiced Monday at full speed.

"It gives us a lot of options," quarterback J.T. Barrett said. "They both have the ability to catch the ball. It opens a lot of things up for us. Having those guys rotate and remain explosive."

Dobbins wasn't surprised by his performance in his first college game.

"I felt like I was going to do the things I did," he said. "I practice against the best defense in college football every day."

Barrett also gives Ohio State another running threat in the backfield. He rushed for 61 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in the opener. Antonio Williams added 44 yards on seven carries.

Barrett and the Ohio State offense warmed up after a slow start at Indiana. After the Buckeyes trailed at halftime, they outscored the Hoosiers 36-7, using a run-pass combo in the second half to win going away.

Whether Ohio State can run the ball against Oklahoma like it did against Indiana will be something to watch in the big nonconference matchup between the storied programs.

A year ago in Ohio State's 45-24 blowout win at Oklahoma, Weber accounted for 123 of Ohio State's 291 yards on the ground. The Buckeyes rang up 443 total yards against the Sooners.

Oklahoma hasn't lost since the game against Ohio State last September.

The Sooners weren't tested in their opener last Saturday against Texas-El Paso, rolling to a 56-7 win at home. The defense gave up only 73 yards rushing and 167 total yards against the Miners.

"They're big, very athletic and they're talented up front," Price said. "I think with those guys you have to give them a lot of respect. They're big dudes. Looking forward to a great matchup with them."
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Old 09-06-2017, 11:36 PM
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Notes from this week’s college football, outside top 13 games.

13) Central Michigan needed OT to beat I-AA Rhode Island last week, after CMU blew a 13-0 halftime lead. Since 2014, Chippewas are 7-2 as a road underdog.

12) Western Michigan is 13-3 in last 16 games as a road underdog; they were tied in 4th quarter last week at USC, before losing 49-31. Michigan State is 4-8 in last 12 games as a home favorite.

11) Rutgers is 7-10 vs spread in last 17 games as a home favorite. Eastern Michigan is 7-4 in last 11 games as a road underdog.

10) Old Dominion (-8) beat UMass 36-16 at home LY, outgunning Minutemen 522-406, running ball for 274 yards. UMass is 4-7 in last 11 games as a home underdog.

9) Northwestern is 8-1 in its last nine games with Duke, winning last three by 4-9-11 points. Underdogs covered five of last six series games. Wildcats won their last five visits to Duke.

8) Underdogs covered seven of last eight South Florida-UConn games; USF won 28-20/13-10 in last two visits to the Nutmeg State. Huskies are 5-15 vs spread in last 20 home games.

7) Short week for West Virginia, which lost 31-24 to Va Tech Sunday night. WVU is 11-19 as a home favorite under Holgersen. East Carolina lost to a I-AA team last week and they weren’t even favored at home against them. ECU is 11-19-1 in last 31 games as a road underdog.

6) Boston College is 7-3 in last ten games with Wake Forest; underdogs won last three SU. Average total in last four series games, 27.0. Deacons won two of last three visits to Boston.

5) Underdogs are 6-1-1 vs spread in last eight New Mexico State-New Mexico games; Aggies pulled a 32-31 upset (+12.5) over New Mexico LY, their first win in last five series games. Lobos are 4-7 in last 11 games as a home favorite.

4) Rice won nine of last 11 games with UTEP; favorites covered four of last six series games. Owls are 3-2 in last five visits to El Paso; they were in Australia two weeks ago, losing 62-7 to Stanford. Rice is located in Houston; their routines have obviously been disrupted by Hurricane Harvey.

3) Indiana led Ohio State in 3rd quarter last week but faded late; they’re 6-4 vs spread in last ten road games. Virginia covered nine of its last 12 non-conference games.

2) Since 2013, Navy is 12-7 vs spread as a home favorite; they won last two games with Tulane, 21-14 (-6), 31-14 (-23). Green Wave is 7-9 vs spread in last 16 games as a road underdog.

1) Western Kentucky is 10-14-1 vs spread in last 25 road games, 3-6-1 in last nine non-league games. Illinois snuck by Ball State LW 24-21; Illini is 8-13 vs spread in last 21 home games.
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