here's one vote for "John Beilein's head in a Futurama jar"
Hoke doesn't know what day it is, but he knows it's GAME DAY.
2013 athlete Jourdan Lewis excelled at cornerback, receiver, and kick returner for state champ Cass Tech in 2011, and his junior highlight tape (above) is just starting to make the rounds online. I had the chance to see him play a few times this past fall, and despite being teammates with 2012 Michigan commits Terry Richardson and Royce Jenkins-Stone, he was often the best player on the field for the Technicians.
Lewis, who is ranked as a four-star and the #232 overall player in the class of 2013 by 247Sports, currently holds one D-I scholarship offer—Toledo—but he's drawing interest from big-name schools such as Michigan, Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. I got the chance to talk to him over the break, and here's a full transcript of the interview:
ACE: First of all, congratulations on winning the state title. Can you take me through how the season played out for you, how you thought you did personally, how the team did overall, and how it felt to win a state title?
JOURDAN: Well, I think I did great for my junior year. I got some great momentum going into my senior year. It just feels really good to win the state championship.
ACE: I know you were playing a lot of defensive back and receiver, as well as returning kicks. How do you think that helped your development?
JOURDAN: I think it's a great help to play different positions because of the versatility factor and just to fit in to a program.
ACE: Do you have a preference of where you want to play in college, or is that to be determined?
JOURDAN: I don't know yet. I really don't know.
ACE: You had to step it up a bit towards the end of the year when your teammate, Terry Richardson, went down and was injured as you guys were playing at the end of the season and into the playoffs. Did that have a big effect on you, going from the number two corner to the number one corner?
JOURDAN: You know, I didn't really think of it like that, I just had to contribute to my team a little bit more.
ACE: At Cass, you obviously have a lot of talent winning the state title, and you got to play with Terry and Royce and Ruben Lile and a whole bunch of Division I prospects. What do those guys tell you about the recruiting process, and are Royce and Terry trying to point you in a particular direction at all considering where they're going to school?
JOURDAN: No, not at this point right now. They're all telling me to take it slow and just enjoy the moment. They know I'm just a junior right now, and I've got plenty of time to figure out where I'm going to school.
ACE: With your recruitment, I know you've got the Toledo offer in hand and you're in contact with a lot of schools. Which schools have you been in contact with the most right now?
JOURDAN: Well I haven't really been in contact with coaches, but I've been getting a whole bunch of letters from Michigan, Michigan State, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi State.
ACE: Out of those schools, is there a particular school that stands out? Do you have a list of favorites, or is it still too early for that?
JOURDAN: It's early, but Michigan is going to be at the top, definitely.
ACE: How would a Michigan offer affect your recruitment in terms of a potential timeline? How would that change the outlook of your recruitment?
JOURDAN: I really wouldn't know right now. I'm just trying to hear from coaches.
ACE: Do you have any plans for any junior days or summer camps for the offseason?
JOURDAN: No, not yet right now, but I know I'm going to Michigan's junior day.
ACE: For people who are maybe unfamiliar with your game, what would you say are your main strengths, and what are you trying to improve upon for your senior year and the next level?
JOURDAN: My ability to make plays and my elusiveness, and my vision I guess. Also my enthusiasm to play the game, my heart. I think I'm going to need to get stronger and I'm trying to get quicker, too.
The late great William F. Buckley Jr. once said that he'd rather be governed by the first 2000 names in the Boston phone book rather than the 2000 members of the Harvard faculty.
For my part, I'd prefer to be governed by anybody, rather than the the editors and columnists of the New York Times. Today's example: Business columnist Joe Nocera. Who has written this lengthy Times Sunday Magazine commentary on "Let's Start Paying College Athletes."
Nocera is a relative newcomer to the Times; within just weeks of his arrival this year, he had written a wildly intemperate column in which he compared "Tea Party Republicans" with terrorists, and wrote that they "have waged jihad on the American people," with a further suggestion that they "can put aside their suicide vests." Nocera's rhetoric didn't raise an eyebrow among his Times editors, apparently, who published it. But the public blowback was such that Nocera soon apologized, writing:
- The words I chose were intemperate and offensive to many, and I've been roundly criticized. I was a hypocrite, the critics said, for using such language when on other occasions I've called for a more civil politics. In the cool light of day, I agree with them. I apologize.
Joe Nocera was born and raised in that hotbed of college football, Providence, Rhode Island. And his college degree was earned at that traditional football powerhouse, Boston University. That extensive background in college football explains why Nocera apparently never interviewed any college football coaches or administrators. In any event, he didn't quote any.
Joe Nocera essentially starts with that kernel of truth that underlies most Times editorials, before they go completely haywire. It is the notion -- one that I agree with -- that increasingly, college football players, as well as players in men's college basketball, are distanced from the rest of the student body in terms of being real "student-athletes." That's no doubt true, and in fact Nocera later gets to a very good quote from former University of Michigan President James Duderstadt which underscores that point; "Most sports can be justified as part of what a university does. But big-time football and men’s basketball are clearly commercial entertainment and have been pulled away from the fundamental purpose of a university."
So what solution has Joe Nocera given us? A five-point plan, that is so insane on its face that if one were not careful, one could easily get caught up in the details of the plan's workings, and lose sight of the fact that the plan isn't even remotely intended to, or capable of, remedying the basic problem outlined in the previous paragraph. In a word, what Joe Nocera proposes is a college football operation that appears to be NFL-Lite, and would, beyond any doubt, set college football on a path to erasing any serious connection between colleges and football apart from marketing snazzy apparel. Joe Nocera is the boldest idiot since, well, Tom Friedman.
The Nocera plan (I commend it in all its glorious detail in the linked article) is basically this:
- Allow colleges to pay players. Pay would be in the neighborhood of 40k-60k, for reasons outlined below. Minimum salary of 25k per player.
- Nationwide team caps. About $3 million for football, and about $650,000 for basketball. Nocera wants this to sound tantalizingly cheap, and it is.
- Extended scholarships ~ possible six years. Every player who stays in school as an eligible athlete for four years, would be given whatever scholarship assistance he needed for two additional years, to complete a degree.
- Lifetime health insurance.
- A college football players' union, to assure legaliziation of the pay-and-cap scheme, and to admminister benefits, etc.
When you read the article, you'd be tempted to think, "Who the hell came up with this idea?" And you eventually find out; it is the people whom Joe Nocera has been talking to. Lawyers, and their litigation experts, who are now beginning some hig-profile lawsuits against the NCAA and the larger world of college sports. Nocera's wife, he reveals, works for one of the law firms who have worked on the leading case. Nocera never once quotes anybody like a Lloyd Carr, or David Brandon, or any other big-time college coach or administrator. He does quote such uninterested personages as Leigh Steinberg, and some of the paid experts in the current litigation. And naturally, he mentions Penn State, Ohio State and Miami. As if there is some cognizable thread running through all three situations.
The illustration that leads off the article is a doozy. There is a composite photo of leading college coaches with the stat-healdine that the combined 2011 salaries of the 15 highest-paid football coaches was $53.4 million. That composite is counterposed with one of college football players (including one Dilithium-powered QB) with the headline-stat that the combined salaries of the 13,877 Div.-I football players was (you'll never guess) $0 dollars. This is such laughable propaganda; God forbid the Times showing any interest in the 2011 salaries of the 15 highest-paid University Presidents (you know, the guys like Lee Bollinger who write Op-Eds for the Times on the side) or the total amount paid by universities for all of the of the collegiate grants-in-aid and other benefits for all of those football players. [Edit - There is a sidebar-graphic in the Times Magazine, featuring a bunch of eye-popping multi-million-dollar numbers that are supposed to impress us. I gather, what really pisses off the Times is something like 'income inequality' in college athletics. A millionaires' tax, perhaps? Anyway, attention is owed one item of substance given my comments just above. The Times cites the total amount paid in tuition scholarships for the Texas team ($3+million) as being less than Mack Brown's annual ($5+million) salary. Mack Brown is of course the single highest-paid coach in the country, by quite a lot. And University of Texas tuition is one of the cheapest in the country. A better example of a cherry-picked statistic is hard to imagine.]
I could go on and on. You can't go more than a couple of paragraphs at a time without encountering some complete howler, from a guy who's never spent a day as a college coach or an athletic director, and who seems to be largely disinterested in interviewing any of them. The lawyers and the economist-experts are more interesting to Nocera. Anyway, I leave it to you. I shudder to think that in the months and years to come, this garbage might become the go-to article for everybody (Occupy the Rose Bowl, apparently) who thinks that what we really need to do to fix things as they are is to pay college football players, certify a union for them and, naturally, give them all tax lawyers. I can't wait until the College Football Players Association hires a lobbyist and they begin making campaign donations to their new political action committee.
Brian has talked about Va. Tech's base D briefly, but I'd like to talk about it more in-depth. The "G" defense, as it is known, was the base D for the high school team for which I was a varsity assistant for 9 years, including the last year as defensive coordinator. I say this not to try and impress you, but to let you know that I have a good knowledge of the defense.
The defense was built to stop 2-back, 1-TE formation offense (also known as "21 personnel"), especially in the run game. Refer again to the diagram of "G" against the Pro formation:
The corners are the only "pass first" players on the defense, so if the offense runs a regular run play (i.e., where the entire OL run blocks and the play is a run), the defense has 9 defenders in the box to defend the run.
The defensive alignment pre-snap looks like Cover 3 or Cover 1 (aka man-free). The base coverage of the "G" defense is "robber" coverage, in which the underneath and inside defenders play a "robber" technique. The corners start a 7 yards deep and the free starts 11 yards deep over the strong B gap. Late in the QB's cadence, the corners will slowly backpedal inside and 9 yards deep, while the free safety will creep toward the line of scrimmage from 11 to 9 yards.
The free safety will read the EMLOS (End Man on the Line Of Scrimmage) to passing strength (the side of the formation with more receivers) for run/pass. If it is a run, he is to front the ball (get in a direct vertical line with it), then play the ball inside-out, while staying inside the ILB (Backer or Mike) to which the ball is being run.
If it is a pass, he is to read the release of #2 strong. If #2 is vertical (any route where #2 hasn't broken off by 7 yards, inluding deep outs, digs, hooks, etc.) the free plays him man. If #2 goes to the flat, the free "robs" #1 to that side, mostly expecting a 12-15 yard curl route or deep in route. If #2 runs a shallow cross, the free "robs" #1 to that other side, mostly expecting a dig. In either robber situation, if #1 runs a post, the free has deep help from the corner.
The advantage of playing against a pro set is that the EMLOS and the #2 receiver are the same player: the TE.
The Rover and Whip key the EMLOS. Against the run they are primary force players. Against the pass they are to "buzz flat, run wheel," which means they sprint to take away a quick hitch, out, or slant. If the receiver in the flat turns it up on a wheel, the Rover/Whip will carry him man-to-man, allowing the corner to be an inside leverage, deep half player.
The Backer robs #3 strong and has the same rules as the free: #3 vertical = man, #3 flat = rob #1 strong, #3 shallow = rob #1 weak. If #3 stays in to pass black, the Backer will play any shallow cross or checkdown.
The Mike robs #2 weak, and his rules are similar: #2w vertical = man, #2w flat = rob #1 weak, #2w shallow = rob #1 strong. If #2 weak stays in to pass block, the Mike will drop to the weak curl zone.
I hope to write another diary discussing the weaknesses of the G defense with robber coverage.
So far only two Big Ten teams have played in bowl games; between now and the next Upset Watch, on Tuesday, January 3rd, seven Big Ten teams will have played in bowl games, leaving only Michigan left to play.
For those of you keeping track, SEC teams are 1-0 (Mississippi State). Big 12 teams are 4-1 (Missouri, Texas, Baylor, and Oklahoma won; Iowa State lost). MAC teams are 3-1 in bowl games (Temple, Ohio University, and Toledo won; Western Michigan lost). Conference USA teams are 2-1 (Marshall and Southern Miss won; Tulsa lost). ACC teams are 2-2 (North Carolina and Wake Forest lost; North Carolina State and Florida State won). Independent teams are 1-1 (Notre Dame lost; BYU won). Big East teams are 1-1 (Louisville lost; Rutgers won). Big Ten teams are 1-1 (Purdue won; Iowa lost). Sun Belt teams are 1-1 (Louisiana-Lafayette won, Florida International lost). Mountain West teams are 2-3 (Wyoming, San Diego State, and Air Force lost; TCU and Boise State won). PAC-12 teams are 0-3 (Arizona State, California, and Washington). WAC teams are 0-3 (Utah State, Louisiana Tech, and Nevada).
During the regular season, the Upset Watch reviewed picks from the previous week, noted the bad picks, and pointed out a few games to give the underdog some credit in, even if it was only in Vegas. It also looked at one or two sure-fire favorites (two when Michigan wasn’t playing).
Because this is the bowl season (and our last hurrah for the 2011-2012 regular season), we’ll cover each of the bowl games, splitting them up by week.
As a reminder, the Michigan game will be covered on the January 3rd posting.
Be sure to check out my website, Before Visiting the Sportsbook, throughout the week, for more content.
Texas (8-5) -3.0 California (7-6). Result: Texas 21 California 10 [Props to wolver767 and Lord Maker for correctly predicting Texas would cover].
Florida State (9-4) -2.5 Notre Dame (8-5). Result: Florida State 18 Notre Dame 14 [Props to One Inch Woody and Lord Maker for correctly predicting Florida State would cover].
Baylor (10-3) -9.0 Washington (7-6). Result: Baylor 67 Washington 56 [Props to wolver767, One Inch Woody, Lord Maker, and Trebor for correctly predicting Baylor would cover].
Brigham Young (10-3) -1.0 Tulsa (8-5). Result: Brigham Young 24 Tulsa 21 [Props to One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Brigham Young would cover].
Toledo (9-4) -1.0 Air Force (7-6). Result: Toledo 42 Air Force 41.
Louisville (7-6) +3.0 North Carolina State (8-5). Result: North Carolina State 31 Louisville 24 [Props to One Inch Woody and jamiemac for correctly predicting North Carolina State would cover].
Iowa State (6-7) +2.5 Rutgers (9-4). Result: Rutgers 27 Iowa State 13 [Props to Trebor for correctly predicting Rutgers would cover].
Mississippi State (7-6) -6.5 Wake Forest (6-7). Result: Mississippi State 23 Wake Forest 17 Mississippi State (6-6) [Props to One Inch Woody for correctly predicting Wake Forest would cover].
Iowa (7-5) +16.0 Oklahoma (9-3). Result: Oklahoma 31 Iowa 14 [Props to Lord Maker for correctly predicting Oklahoma would cover].
Six bowl games that take place between now and the next watch will have a top 25 team playing in them. An ACC/SEC matchup ends the games for 2011, with Virginia and (#25) Auburn meeting in the Chick-fil-A Bowl (7:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN 3D/ESPN3). The TicketCity Bowl kicks off the January bowl games, with at large choice (#19) Houston meeting (#22) Penn State (12:00 PM EST/ESPNU/ESPN3). A pair of early afternoon games involve Big Ten/SEC matchups; (#17) Michigan State looks to get Coach Mark Dantonio’s first bowl win as head coach; Michigan State’s last bowl win was in 2001, under then Coach Bobby Williams. The Spartans will meet (#16) Georgia in the Outback Bowl (1:00 PM EST/ABC). (#20) Nebraska will play in their first bowl game as a Big Ten member, meeting (#9) South Carolina in the Capital One Bowl (1:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN 3D/ESPN3). In the Granddaddy of them all, (#10) Wisconsin will make their second straight trip to Pasadena, facing (#5) Oregon, who will be in their second straight BCS bowl game (5:00 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3). Wrapping up the January 2nd bowl games, once considered national title contenders, (#3) Oklahoma State will meet (#4) Stanford in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl (8:30 PM EST/ESPN/ESPN3).
Northwestern (6-6) +11.0 Texas A&M (6-6) (@ Houston, TX). The Aggies are 7th in total offense (21st rushing, 18th passing); Northwestern is 31st (36th rushing, 35th passing). Texas A&M is 66th in total defense (13th rushing, 113th passing); the Wildcats are 80th (90th rushing, 58th passing). These teams have never met. Texas A&M is 13-19 all time in bowl games (0-5 SU in last 5; 0-5 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Northwestern is 1-8 all time in bowl games (0-5 SU in last 5; 3-1-1 ATS in last 5; 3-1-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Northwestern Coach Pat Fitzgerald is 40-35 (31-40 ATS, 20-18 ATS underdog); Texas A&M Coach Tim DeRuyter is 0-0 (0-0 ATS, 0-0 ATS favorite). Texas A&M is 3-8 ATS as a favorite this year (3-9 overall ATS); Northwestern is 3-4 ATS as an underdog this year (5-7 overall ATS). Northwestern’s last bowl game was the 2010 TicketCity Bowl, a 45-38 loss to Texas Tech; Texas A&M’s last bowl game was the 2010 Cotton Bowl, a 41-24 loss to LSU. Take Northwestern to cover the points.
Utah (7-5) +3.5 Georgia Tech (8-4) (@ El Paso, TX). The Yellow Jackets are 17th in total offense (3rd rushing, 112th passing); Utah is 110th (82nd rushing, 99th passing). Georgia Tech is 45th in total defense (70th rushing, 30th passing); the Utes are 29th (7th rushing, 89th passing). These teams have never met. Georgia Tech is 22-17 all time in bowl games (0-5 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 0-3 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Utah is 12-4 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 2-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Utah Coach Kyle Whittingham is 64-25 (44-41-2 ATS, 12-10-0 ATS underdog); Georgia Tech Coach Paul Johnson is 79-47 (67-49-2 ATS, 28-28-1 ATS favorite). Georgia Tech is 4-3-1 ATS as a favorite this year (5-6-1 overall ATS); Utah is 3-3 ATS as an underdog this year (5-7 overall ATS). Georgia Tech’s last bowl game was the 2010 Independence Bowl, a 14-7 loss to Air Force; Utah’s last bowl game was the 2010 Las Vegas Bowl, a 26-3 loss to Boise State. Take Utah to cover the points.
Vanderbilt (6-6) -1.5 Cincinnati (9-3) (@ Memphis, TN). The Bearcats are 56th in total offense (37th rushing, 70th passing); Vanderbilt is 97th (47th rushing, 98th passing). Cincinnati is 46th in total defense (6th rushing, 105th passing); the Commodores are 19th (27th rushing, 33rd passing). Vanderbilt leads the series 4-3, with a 34-24 victory over Vanderbilt in 1994, 17-7 in 1993, 13-9 in 1977, and 32-0 in 1934. Cincinnati defeated Vanderbilt 33-7 in 1976, 6-0 in 1899, and 10-0 in 1898. Vanderbilt is 2-1-1 all time in bowl games (1-1 ATS; 0-1 ATS as a favorite). Cincinnati is 5-6 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Cincinnati Coach Butch Jones is 40-24 (31-28-3 ATS, 9-12 ATS underdog); Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin is 6-6 (9-3 ATS, 4-0 ATS favorite). Vanderbilt is 4-0 ATS as a favorite this year (9-3 overall ATS); Cincinnati is 1-2 ATS as an underdog this year (6-5-1 overall ATS). Vanderbilt’s last bowl game was the 2008 Music City Bowl, in Memphis, a 16-14 win over Boston College; Cincinnati’s last bowl game was the 2009 Sugar Bowl, a 51-24 loss to Florida. Take Vanderbilt to cover the points.
Illinois (6-6) -1.5 UCLA (6-7) (@ San Francisco, CA). The Fighting Illini are 86th in total offense (42nd rushing, 91st passing); UCLA is 62nd (30th rushing, 81st passing). Illinois is 7th in total defense (42nd rushing, 4th passing); the Bruins are 91st (96th rushing, 68th passing). UCLA leads the series 6-5, with a 35-17 victory over Illinois in 2004, 6-3 in 2003, 6-3 in 1991 (Sun Bowl), 45-9 in 1984 (Rose Bowl), 18-14 in 1958, and 16-6 in 1957. Illinois defeated UCLA 26-7 in 1964, 18-12 in 1963, 27-13 in 1951, 14-6 in 1950, and 45-14 in 1947 (Rose Bowl). Illinois is 7-9 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 1-0 ATS as a favorite in last 5). UCLA is 14-15-1 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 1-0 ATS as an underdog in last 5). UCLA Coach Mike Johnson is 0-0 (0-0-0 ATS, 0-0-0 ATS underdog); Illinois Coach Vic Koenning is 4-19 (10-10-1 ATS, 0-0 ATS favorite) since 2001. Illinois is 3-7 ATS as a favorite this year (5-7 overall ATS); UCLA is 4-6 ATS as an underdog this year (5-8 overall ATS). Illinois’s last bowl game was the 2010 Texas Bowl, a 38-14 win over Baylor; UCLA’s last bowl game was the 2009 EagleBank Bowl, a 30-21 win over Temple. Take Illinois to cover the points.
Virginia (8-4) +3.0 Auburn (7-5) (@ Atlanta, GA). The Cavaliers are 51st in total offense (53rd rushing, 62nd passing); Auburn is 104th (38th rushing, 106th passing). Virginia is 30th in total defense (34th rushing, 50th passing); the Tigers are 78th (99th rushing, 45th passing). The series is tied 1-1, with Virginia defeating Auburn 19-0 in 1998 and Auburn defeating Virginia 28-17 in 1997. Auburn is 21-13-2 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 2-2 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Virginia is 7-10 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 4-1 ATS in last 5; 3-0 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Virginia Coach Mike London is 12-12 (10-12-2 ATS, 6-7-0 ATS underdog); Auburn Coach Gene Chizik is 34-29 (31-29 ATS, 12-13 ATS favorite). Auburn is 1-3 ATS as a favorite this year (4-8 overall ATS); Virginia is 3-2 ATS as an underdog this year (5-6-1 overall ATS). Auburn’s last bowl game was the 2010 BCS National Championship, a 22-19 win over Oregon; Virginia’s last bowl game was the 2007 Gator Bowl, a 31-28 loss to Texas Tech. Take Virginia to cover the points, and win.
Penn State (9-3) +9.0 Houston (12-1) (@ Dallas, TX). The Cougars are 1st in total offense (62nd rushing, 1st passing); Penn State is 94th (54th rushing, 96th passing). Houston is 64th in total defense (77th rushing, 38th passing); the Nittany Lions are 10th (48th rushing, 5th passing). Penn State leads the series 2-0, with a 31-14 victory over Houston in 1977 and 24-7 in 1964. Penn State is 27-14-2 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 2-2 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Houston is 8-11-1 all time in bowl games (1-4 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 1-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Penn State Coach Tom Bradley is 1-2 (1-1-1 ATS, 1-1-1 ATS underdog); Houston Coach Tony Levine is 0-0 (0-0 ATS, 0-0 ATS favorite). Houston is 10-3 ATS as a favorite this year (10-3 overall ATS); Penn State is 1-2-1 ATS as an underdog this year (3-8-1 overall ATS). Penn State’s last bowl game was the 2010 Outback Bowl, a 37-24 loss to Florida; Houston’s last bowl game was the 2009 Armed Forces Bowl, a 47-20 loss to Air Force. Take Penn State to cover the points.
Georgia (10-3) -2.0 Michigan State (10-3) (@ Tampa, FL). The Spartans are 60th in total offense (76th rushing, 44th passing); Georgia is 39th (41st rushing, 49th passing). Michigan State is 5th in total defense (12th rushing, 11th passing); the Bulldogs are 3rd (9th rushing, 7th passing). Georgia leads the series 2-0, with a 24-12 victory over Michigan State in 2009 (Capital One Bowl) and 34-27 in 1989 (Gator Bowl). Georgia is 26-17-3 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 4-1 ATS in last 5; 3-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Michigan State is 7-14 all time in bowl games (0-5 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 1-4 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio is 61-39 (49-44-4 ATS, 17-9-1 ATS underdog); Georgia Coach Mark Richt is 106-37 (69-64-4 ATS, 47-43-2 ATS favorite). Georgia is 8-2 ATS as a favorite this year (8-4-1 overall ATS); Michigan State is 3-2 ATS as an underdog this year (9-4 overall ATS). Michigan State’s last bowl game was the 2010 Capital One Bowl, a 49-7 loss to Alabama; Georgia’s last bowl game was the 2010 Liberty Bowl, a 10-6 loss to UCF. Take Georgia to cover the points.
South Carolina (10-2) +1.0 Nebraska (9-3) (@ Orlando, FL). The Cornhuskers are 59th in total offense (13th rushing, 103rd passing); South Carolina is 74th (26th rushing, 97th passing). Nebraska is 36th in total defense (66th rushing, 17th passing); the Gamecocks are 4th (45th rushing, 2nd passing). Nebraska leads the series 3-0, with a 30-21 victory over South Carolina in 1987, 27-24 in 1986, and 28-6 in 1964. South Carolina is 4-12 all time in bowl games (1-4 SU in last 5; 1-4 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Nebraska is 24-23 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 1-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Nebraska Coach Bo Pelini is 39-15 (27-25-1 ATS, 24-21-1 ATS favorite); South Carolina Coach Steve Spurrier is 64-37 (52-42-3 ATS, 21-21-2 ATS underdog) since 2001. South Carolina is 0-1 ATS as an underdog this year (5-6-1 overall ATS); Nebraska is 4-5-1 ATS as a favorite this year (4-7-1 overall ATS). South Carolina’s last bowl game was the 2010 Chick-fil-A Bowl, a 26-17 loss to Florida State; Nebraska’s last bowl game was the 2010 Holiday Bowl, a 19-7 loss to Washington. Take South Carolina to cover the points, and win.
Ohio (6-6) +2.0 Florida (6-6) (@ Jacksonville, FL). The Buckeyes are 107th in total offense (27th rushing, 116th passing); Florida is 102nd (75th rushing, 87th passing). Ohio is 24th in total defense (52nd rushing, 15th passing); the Gators are 9th (40th rushing, 9th passing). Florida leads the series 1-0, with a 41-14 victory over Ohio in 2007 (BCS National Championship). Florida is 19-19 all time in bowl games (4-1 SU in last 5; 4-1 ATS in last 5; 3-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Ohio is 20-22 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 2-1 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Ohio Coach Luke Fickell is 6-6 (6-6 ATS, 4-1 ATS underdog); Florida Coach Will Muschamp is 6-6 (4-8 ATS, 4-3 ATS favorite). Florida is 4-3 ATS as a favorite this year (4-8 overall ATS); Ohio is 4-1 ATS as an underdog this year (6-6 overall ATS). Florida’s last bowl game was the 2010 Outback Bowl, a 37-24 win over Penn State; Ohio’s last bowl game was the 2010 Sugar Bowl, a 31-26 win over Arkansas. Take Ohio to cover the points.
Oregon (11-2) -5.5 Wisconsin (11-2) (@ Pasadena, CA). The Badgers are 15th in total offense (10th rushing, 63rd passing); Oregon is 6th (5th rushing, 68th passing). Wisconsin is 8th in total defense (47th rushing, 3rd passing); the Ducks are 60th (46th rushing, 82nd passing). Wisconsin leads the series 3-1 with a 27-23 victory over Oregon in 2000, 22-19 in 1978, and 22-10 in 1977. Oregon defeated Wisconsin 31-28 in 2001. Oregon is 9-15 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 2-3 ATS in last 5; 0-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Wisconsin is 11-11 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 3-2 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Wisconsin Coach Bret Bielema is 60-18 (39-34-1 ATS, 6-8 ATS underdog); Oregon Coach Chip Kelly is 33-6 (21-16-2 ATS, 18-13-2 ATS favorite). Oregon is 5-6-1 ATS as a favorite this year (6-6-1 overall ATS); Wisconsin is 0-0 ATS as an underdog this year (7-6 overall ATS). Oregon’s last bowl game was the 2010 BCS National Championship, a 22-19 loss to Auburn; Wisconsin’s last bowl game was the 2010 Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, a 21-19 loss to TCU. Take Oregon to cover the points.
Stanford (11-1) +4.0 Oklahoma State (11-1) (@ Glendale, AZ). The Cardinal are 11th in total offense (22nd rushing, 26th passing); Oklahoma State is 3rd (43rd rushing, 2nd passing). Stanford is 25th in total defense (5th rushing, 78th passing); the Cowboys are 107th (84th rushing, 102nd passing). These teams have never met. Oklahoma State is 13-8 all time in bowl games (3-2 SU in last 5; 3-2 ATS in last 5; 3-1 ATS as a favorite in last 5). Stanford is 10-11-1 all time in bowl games (2-3 SU in last 5; 4-1 ATS in last 5; 3-0 ATS as an underdog in last 5). Stanford Coach David Shaw is 11-1 (9-3 ATS, 0-0-0 ATS underdog); Oklahoma State Coach Mike Gundy is 58-30 (50-32-3 ATS, 33-14-1 ATS favorite). Oklahoma State is 8-3 ATS as a favorite this year (9-3 overall ATS); Stanford is 0-0 ATS as an underdog this year (9-3 overall ATS). Oklahoma State’s last bowl game was the 2010 Alamo Bowl, a 36-10 win over Arizona; Stanford’s last bowl game was the 2010 Orange Bowl, a 40-12 win over Virginia Tech. Take Stanford to cover the points.
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Happy New Year. Go Blue!