What to look for in this weekends college and NFL games

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football

UCLA @ #2 Oregon (Thursday) – The question here is which UCLA team will show up. If its the one that went to Texas and thumped them 34-12, this could be a real game. If it is the one that folded like a cheap suit at home against Stanford and lost 35-0, then you can be in bed by 10 PM. UCLA is better but they have not seen a RB with the speed of James. Some strange things happen on ESPN on a night game. This could be a Gotcha game with the always tough visit to USC coming up next week. But I think the Ducks win but it could be close.

#7 Michigan State @ Northwestern – NW may be 5-1 but they are a fraud. MSU wins easily.

Purdue @ #10 Ohio StatePurdue is a fraud at 4-2 despite being 2-0 in the league. OSU remembers a loss last year against the Boilers and will take out their frustrations on the improved but still not effective Purdue D.

Iowa State @ #18 Texas – Texas has two weeks to get their team ready for the tough games against #22 Kansas State and #14 Oklahoma State back to back. Texas has no problem with IS.

The Biggest games of the week

#1 Oklahoma @ #11 Missouri – The key to this game is the O of Missouri being able to run the ball. Their running game has been almost non-existent but they will need offensive balance against the Sooners. If they can not run the Sooner D line will be playing toss with Tiger QB Gabbert. Missu can’t run and the Sooners win.

#6 LSU @ #4 Auburn – Most people are looking at the running game of Auburn (6th overall) vs the D of LSU (11th in points allowed) but that is not the key. To win LSU has to be able to pass the ball. QB Jefferson threw for only 104 yards at home last week against McNeese State. He will have to do better because Auburn will do their best to keep control of Jefferson and keep him in the pocket. Auburn has played by far the tougher schedule and should win this game.

#13 Wisconsin @ #15 Iowa – After beating Ohio State last week, the Badgers have to go on the road to play a very solid Iowa team. The Badgers play much better at home. Iowa wins this game is a real slug-fest.

#16 Nebraska @ 14 Oklahoma State – The Husker O had been averaging almost 500 yards per game. Last week drops by WRs cost them the win and led to pulling Freshman QB Martinez. While the Husker O depends primarily on rushing (4th) they need to be more balanced to beat Ok St. The Huskers need to score often to keep up with an outstanding OK St. O which is 3rd in passing and 2nd in scoring. Ok St. has run up those numbers against some pretty weak competition. Even so, the pass D of the Huskers will be challenged. I predict Nebraska will win in a mild upset.

NFL Key games:

Steelers (4-1) -3 @ Dolphins (3-2) – The top ranked Steeler D (1 in scoring and rushing) will clamp down on the running game of the Fish. That will put pressure on QB Henne to throw against the only weakness of the Steelers (24th against the pass). Henne is steadily improving but the Dolphin O line is beat up a bit and that is not good against the Steelers front 7. The Dolphins are getting better but the Steelers are for real. Pittsburgh wins and covers.

Eagles (4-2) @ Titans (4-2) -3 – It looks like Titan QB Young will be able to play but Eagle QB Vick is still out. The Eagles looked very good in beating a solid Falcon team last week while the Titans blew out the Jags. The key is the Eagle D stopping the running game of the Titans. Young is going to have to run because the Eagle D did very well stopping the powerful running game of the Falcons. I don’t bet on Monday night winners so for the sake of argument I’ll take the points.

Cowboys (1-4) -3.5 @ Giants (4-2) – The Cowboys are playing like Cowgirls. This team is a loss or 2 away from imploding. Vegas thinks the desperation of the Boys is worth a TD. I don’t. The Giant D line is beginning to get back to their form and are really putting pressure on QBs. Boys QB Romo doesn’t handle pressure well. I’ll take the points and say thanks.

Best Bet: Pats +3 @ Chargers

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What did we learn from this weekends games?

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football

College football

I didn’t do quite as well this past week in predicting winners in college football. This past week I went 5-3 so now have a total of 10-4.

#1 Alabama went down hard to #19 South Carolina. SC beat a top 3 team for the first time in the history of the school. They key was shutting down 2009 Heisman winner RB Ingram. The win by SC went against everything we have seen from the team for several years.

#2 Ohio State got some shocking news this week. Yesterday ESPN “BCS guru” Edwards projects that the BCS computer system shows OSU is the 10th highest rated team which is at the bottom of the undefeated group. According to him, the BCS formula would put Boise St., Oregon, TCU and Oklahoma ahead of the Buckeyes at this point in the season despite OSU being #1 in the human poll.

#3 Oregon didn’t quite put up the 50 points I predicted but did score 43 in the win over Washington St. The Oregon D showed some vulnerability to the pass and the Duck O lost WR James Rogers for the season. With all the weapons the Ducks have that should not hurt too badly but we will see.

#8 Auburn struggled on D against an aggressive 0-2 SEC Kentucky team. Ky QB Hartline went 23-28 for 220 yards and a TD. Auburn will have to do much better than that if they expect to beat Arkansas or Alabama.

Unranked Oregon State is finally starting to look like the 22nd ranked team it was projected to be in the preseason poll. As I predicted, it went to #9 Arizona and won the game 29-27. The Beavers made plays when they needed them most and were 10-15 on 3rd down conversions. Arizona was 6-11.

Two of the best games of the week pitted top 25 teams against each other in Florida. #12 LSU beat #14 Florida in a come back win scoring on the last play of the game 33-29. It took a fake field goal to convert their last 3rd down and put the Tigers in a position to score the final TD with 6 seconds left.

In Miami #23 Florida State overwhelmed the #13 Hurricanes 45-17. Miami did not look prepared for the game. It looked lethargic and uninterested.

The Pros:

For a detailed analysis of the pro game check out NFLDraftDog.com News Notes and Rumors.

The Monday night game:

The Vikings came into New York really needing a win and left without it. Frankly, I think QB Farve has arm problems. It has affected his accuracy more than velocity. Next week is Desperation Bowl between a 1-3 Dallas team and the 1-3 Vikings. The loser of that game will be virtually out of the playoffs.

Cowboys: With both the current coach Phillips and the Coach in waiting Garett on the hot seat, it is hard to predict what Owner Jerry Jones will do if the Boys go to 1-4. The Boys have never replaced a coach in the middle of a season, but JJ has made a lot of noise about wanting to be a home team for the Super Bowl which will be in Dallas this year.

Vikings: The Vikes are in better shape than the Boys for a couple of reason. First, they are in the NFC North which has been weaker than most other divisions prior to this season. At least they are not in the basement because Detroit is also in that division. Second, the Vike D is much better than the Boys D and plays more consistently. The problem has been the O in general and QB Farve in particular. He has turned the ball over WAY too much and that has led to the losses. The running game which struggles in the last half of 09 has been better this season despite losing RB Taylor in free-agency.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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What to look for in this weekends games.

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football

Baseball playoffs

We would like to thank the Rays, Twins and Reds for stopping by in the playoffs. Please pick up your parting gifts as you leave. The series will be between the Yankees and the Phillies.

College Football

#1 Alabama @ #19 South Carolina – The ol’ Ball Coach will wish he still had the talent from his Florida days. Bama wins

#2 Ohio State v. Indiana – Forget about the injuries on O, you and I could score the Indiana D if you were having a bad game. The OSU D stops a good Indy O and OSU wins.

#3 Oregon @ Washington St. – Oregon runs up 50+ points and makes a case for jumping over OSU into 2nd.

#8 Auburn @ Kentucky – Auburn QB Cam Newton passes a bad Ky D silly. Auburn wins big.

#9 Arizona vs. Oregon St. – Az had a major letdown after a big win over Iowa and squeaked by Cal. They had better not have a let down here because the Beavers are tough. They have lost 2 games to top 6 teams.

#11 Arkansas @ Texas A&M – Ark is banged up after getting thumped by #1 Bama. The week off should help. TAM lost a tough game last week against Oklahoma St. Arkansas should win but this could be close.

#12 LSU @ #14 Florida – This should be the game of the week. Both teams have serious flaws but play hard. LSU has to keep the turnovers down. I think Florida wins close in a minor upset.

#23 Florida St. @ #13 Miami – FSU looked bad against the only tough team they have played Oklahoma. Miami played close against #2 Ohio St and got a nice win last week against a good Clemson team. Miami wins.

NFL

Ravens -7 vs. Broncos – The Ravens are for real but could have a let down (and some injuries) from the win last week over Pit. Ravens should win and cover the spread.

Bucks @ Bengals -7 – The Bengals are better than they looked against the Browns last week. They win and cover with the running game leading the way.

Browns @ Falcons -3 – The Browns winning streak ends at 1. Falcons cover easily.

BEST BET – Saints -6 @ Cards – A change of QBs by the Cards won’t help. Saints cover easily.

BIG GAME OF THE WEEK – Vikings @ Jets -4 This is a must win for both. The Vikes are the better team but are not playing like it. The game will boil down to the play of the of the QBs. Farve will be pressured and is not having the season he did last year. The addition of WR Moss will help next week but not that much this week. The Jets had better cover Moss on the fly pattern or they will get burned. The key to the Jets is the play of QB Sanchez. As he develops, the team will get better. The Jets will not have the running game they enjoyed last week because of the Vike’s DTs the Williams brothers.

The Vikes need it more and win a close game.

That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits http://fryingpansports.com. His first non-fiction work is at the publisher now and he has also published several novels on

and edits .

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