"He's a hard worker, and he watched me and Tim (Hardaway Jr.) and Nik (Stauksas) put work in to become (first-round picks), and I'm just happy he's getting better," Burke said. "It's great for the program, too. It shows what type of program the University of Michigan is and the direction it continues to go in."
I got too caught up in watching that first game on DVR and have no time to really put much time into this next one. That sure was a quirky end to that first one, but I'll take it. The Alamo Bowl is updated at the top of the Diary for easier access.
Alamo Bowl, San Antonio, 8 pm
Northwester vs Missouri. Lines, Missou -14, O/U 67
The creative folks are calling this the Prose Bowl becuase of both school's Journalism pedigrees. Whatever.
I am going to take a stab that Northwestern hangs within the two touchdon number in this one. I dont like Missouri's defense. They've given up 24 or more points seven times this season. The Wildcats have a senior laden offense and Bacher can take advantage of the nation's 81st worst pass defense.
The Tigers are good, but have never been as good this year as they were last. They dont run the ball as well as they need to and that might hurt them a bit today. Dont sleep on NW's D. Its solid, well coached and play the pass well. They will hold their own on enough third and longs tonight to stay in the ballgame and keep Chase Daniel from turning this into his personal video game.
NW's players goals this season was to finally win a bowl game. Their season has pointed to this moment. The Tigers, meanwhile, wanted to play in a BCS game when the season started. The season spun out of control, and while they have redemption on their mind, I feel the Wildcats have an intangible motivation edge in this one.
This just feels like a game where we have a disinterested favorite in the Tigers. They have a lot of key players who are returning to the Texas, their native state, and that lends itself to a bit of a distracted team. It might be the second quarter before some guys realize the game is on.
Besides, remember one of the rules we are leaning on: Underdogs after Christmas, but before New Year's Day. You profit by doing that, especially by focusing on those catching between 7 and 16.5 points. Those guys are 63-35-1 ATS since 1990, 3-1 ATS this season. Might as well ride that bandwagon out the rest of the calendar year.
The Pick: NW +14.....1 Unit....yeah, after the sweat fest of the first game, lets take it down a notch on this one. Tyrelle Sutton looks to be a go, which is great news for Wildcat backers. Also, this line has grown from 12.5 to 14 since yesterday. The public and late money is on the Tigers. I faded this movement in all three Saturday games and went 2-1. We'll see how this one goes tonight.
Papa Johns Bowls, Birmingham, 3 pm
North Carolina St vs Rutgers. Lines, Rutgers -7, O/U 57
If we ever get a playoff system, I hope they keep some of the bowls as an undercard. Hey, the NCAA Tournament has the NIT after all. Anyway, these two teams playing this afternoon gives us a good example of why the Bowl System can not be discarded altogether. Neither Rutgers, nor NCST would be anywhere near a playoff spot. But, both ended the season playing as well as most anybody else in the country. What's more, is both teams climbed out of embarrasing early season holes, rallied and ripped off winning streaks to close the season. The end result? Surprising bowl bids. It would be a pity if we lose the bowl system and teams like Rutgers and NCST dont have a place to go to reward the fantastic conclusions of their seasons.
Anyway, enough of the preaching. Let's get into this game. I hope you have your DVR set and wont miss this one at work. This will be a barnburner. I expect it to be one of the best bowl games this season. Both clubs were playing at such a high level to close the season that anything else other than a classic would be a letdown.
Rutgers closed the year with a six-game winning streak. During the run, Rutgers woodshedded USF and Pitt and scored more than 40 ppg. Not to be outdone, NCST won their final four games in a row and beat all five of their in state rivals this season. They've covered the spread in seven straight games. The Pack covered every single ACC game this season en route to a 9-2 ATS record, one of the best in the country. This is a club that won me a lot of cash since the end of September.
Despite Rutgers own hot streak, I am not getting off my very own NCST Wolfpack bandwagon.
Already this bowl season, we've seen ACC teams Wake Forest, UNC and Miami look good and cover the spread. In the Pack, we have a team that beat all three of those teams by a combined 45 points in the month of November. NCST played 10 bowl teams this year and went 8-2 ATS in those contests. Rutgers, meanwhile, only went 3-5 ATS in their games against fellow bowlers this year. That alone would have me on the TD underdog in this one.
But, on the field, there is much to like about NCST, even though statistically they dont appear as strong as Rutgers. QB Russel Wilson is the real deal. He's a redshirt freshmen and the minute the team gave the QB position to him, this team has been on fire. They're covered the spread in each of his starts. He's a dual threat and will get between 250-300 yards of total offense today. He's tossed 16 TDs to just 1 INT and has at least 2 TD passes in five straight games. What's more is the threat of Wilson has really opened up the running game. They have a thunder and lightning type combo of Andre Brown and Jamelle Eugene and the duo has combined to average more than 5 yards per carry since Wilson became the QB. I am sure there will be some rust due to the layoff, but I expect Wilson, Brown and Eugene to eventually get it going and march up and down the field against an undersized and not very impressive Rutgers defense.
In their 7-game cover streak, the Pack are averaging 28.85 ppg, against athletic and powerful defenses like Florida St, BC, Maryland, Miami and UNC.
Of course, Rutgers will do some offensive damage in this one. After 3.5 years of head scratching inconsistency, Knight QB Mike Teel finally found his groove. As Rutgers won six in a row, Teel and his awesome set of wideouts (I like Kenny Britt and Tanquean Underwood. They've got NFL written all over him) have combined for 20 TDs passes. He has many critics--myself included-- but at least he's ending his tenure on a high note and no other QB has led the program to as many bowl games as he has.
Nevertheless, I think the run ends today. First, lets look at the key TO stat. The Pack never turn it over and rank 15th nationally in TO margin. Rutgers has always had problems holding onto the ball and are on the fringe of being in the bottom third nationally in the TO margin category. I still dont trust Teel. He can be a turnover machine and is not the most accurate QB out there.
Neither defenses are that great, but the Pack have more play makers on that side of the ball. That will help create turnovers and a bad throw or two out of Teel. The best pass rusher in this game in NCST's Willie Young. And, the best overall defender on the field will be NCST's LB Nate Irving. Much is made of Wilson's insertion into the lineup as turning around the Pack, but dont forget Wilson missed most of the first half of the season with an injury. Folks, this guy is a stud. He's a dual threat defender, stuffing the run for a TFL on one play and getting a pass deflection on the next. Watch for him to bait Teel into an INT right into his arms that will sway momentum in this game.
The ACC is a better conference than the Big East. I'll take the team from the ACC getting a TD head start against a Big East team anyday of the week. Espcially one with a first team all league QB on its roster. The ACC is 4-0 ATS in bowls this year. Really as long as an ACC team is not going against one of the elite teams in the country, I'll take that team getting points all the time.
Also, there is the Tom OBrien factor. He won his final 8 bowl games as head coach at BC. He's getting his postseason chance in Raliegh, and I like his proven ability to get it done in the bowl games.
Teel and his wideouts will land a haymaker or two. But, the Pack will survive that. Teams have run all year on Rutgers. The tailback combo, plus the legs of Wilson, will account for 200 yards on the ground. Plus, Wilson will match Teel's TD throws if his streak of at least 2 TD passes in a game is any indication. The Pack will finish +2 in the TO department. I expect them to win this game, but I will gladly take the +7 points and put them in my pocket in case I need them.
The Pack have covered as an underdog against ECU, FSU, BC, Maryland, Wake, UNC and Miami. All of those clubs would beat Rutgers on a neutral field. The wrong team is favored in this one.
The Pick: NCST +7......4 Units.....I am going to steal a poker reference in this one: I am going 'All In' with this game and am risking all the Units won so far during bowl season. Near as I can tell, its a coin flip. The spread should be a Pick 'Em. How confident am I? You know those polls where you select which team to cover and then rank them confidence-like. This would be my 34 game. The ND game would have been my 33 game and it won easily. Here's hoping for a repeat.
The Pick: Over 56......1 Unit.....Adding a small play over. I cant see anything smaller than a 31-27 final score. I expect both teams in get into the 30s. This will be one of the better games in bowl season
I will add a writeup on the Missouri/Northwestern Alamo Bowl later in the day.
As alumni and fans of the University of Michigan football program, we demand a clear explanation of the significance of a Uniqname. It seems that Uniqnames have taken on an increased level of importance in the day and age of the Internet Stalker, and the public information available on the Umich directory will decide the fates of not one man, not one team, not even one program - but the fates of many lazy, pimple-faced, cyberspace inhabitants as well. I hope you do not cower under the weight of such intense pressure.
Does getting a Uniqname mean that someone is enrolled? Or does it simply mean that they might want to play football at the University of Michigan and the opportunity to Bind or Unbind could excite a star football player into committing to our great program?
We want to know!
As the steward of this public university - and a slave to the Freedom of Information Act - we require an answer from you at once. We will not leave our computers until we get one (or on January 3rd, whichever comes first), and you don't want a bunch of scoliosis lawsuits on your hands.
Magnus and the MGoBlog Community
P.S. Or if you can just tell us whether William Campbell is enrolled, you can forget about the rest of this letter. Thanks.
Ok, lets do this quickly before more rankings show up tomorrow:
#11 Michigan in the GLI. First night, we handily beat Michigan Tech, in a good game for the defense. Hogan records a shutout, but, I was there, and there were very few shots that caused us Michigan fans to go “oooh!” after good saves. Michigan State beats North Dakota in a stunner, setting up this year’s third Michigan/Michigan State match.
Next night, in front of a slightly pro-Michigan crowd, we destroyed Little Brother 5-1. Game was awesome, I was thrilled to be there. Louie for Hobey! Two more for the season sweep.
#9 Cornell plays in the Florida College Classic. Beat St. Cloud State night 1, Colgate beats Maine, setting up a Sunday night match.
In which I can’t figure out exactly what happened. The Live Stats site says 2-2 at the end of 5 minutes of overtime, and I can’t imagine a tourney can end in a tie. And I want to post this.
Hockey’s holiday break sort of ends next week. We don’t play, but, more teams play than have played all at once in some time.
Everything goes according to plan, except a BYU game that wasn’t played. Monday night, #24/NR Michigan beat Florida Gulf Coast (although, apparently we were fairly lethargic about it), then take Christmas off. Here’s a list of the rest of the games (Ranks: Media/Coaches’):
NR/#24 Memphis over Drexel
#21/#22 Baylor over Hartford
NR/#25 Marquette over NC State
BYU v. Western Oregon- Postponed to Jan 6th due to inclement weather
#20/#17 Arizona State over Idaho State
#23/#23 Minnesota over Southeastern Louisiana
#19/#19 Louisville over UAB
NR/#25 Marquette over Presbyterian
#23/#23 Minnesota over High Point
See you tomorrow with some rankings and some plans for your week.
Independence Bowl, Shreveport LA, 8:15 pm
Northern Illinois vs Louisiana Tech. Lines, LT -2, O/U 47. Moneyline (to win) for LT, -135
Why would you watch an NFL Division Title Game (SD vs Denver) when there is a bowl game on, especially one that could finally give us the elusive answer of which conference produces the less fraudulent bowl team, the MAC or the WAC. Truth seekers have looked high and low for this answer and they may get some tangible evidence tonight when Northern Illinois swaps paint with Louisiana Tech.
That can't hold a candle to deciding an AFC West Champion, or, as I like to call it, Colt Fodder for next weekend. Besides, if you're reading this, aren't you obligated to be watching the Mazie and Blue icers skate in the GLI Final? Its a presitigoous hockey tournament.....against Sparty.....the boys need you, so tune in. It's 1-1 at the first intermission right now.
Typically, the Independence Bowl is a Big 12 vs SEC matchup, which would provide an interesting undercard in advance of the showdon for all their marbles between these leagues respective conferences. They've been the best leagues all season, but ironically neither were able to qualify enough teams for their slots after placing two into the BCS. Blame Auburn, Tennessee, Colorado and Texas AM for regressing in 2008 and making this classic clash between the Huskies and the....ah.....wait a second.....crap, I dont even know La Tech's nickname. Give me a second while I look that one up.
Alright. I'm back. Thanks for cutting me some time there. The Bulldogs, eh? Gun to my head, I would have said Broncos. Dodged a bullet there, I suppose.
Kidding aside, history suggests this game will at least be close and not decided until late. Nine of the last Independence Bowls have been decided by 7 points or less. These two clubs have combined to play a dozen games this season decided by a score or less. NIU always seems to play close games. And, they typically lose those contests. NIU is 8-16 SU in games decided by a TD or less, 2-4 in those types of games this season. The Bulldogs, meanwhile, are 5-3 in those games in the two-season tenure of coach Derek Dooley (the son of UGA legend Vince Dooley), 3-2 this year.
Throw in the fact that LT will be playing this game in fron of a home state crowd, and I like their chances to pull the win. Enough, at least, to risk a one unit wager that the program's historic identities in close games will stay consistent.
The Bulldogs are playing better coming into this game. NIU lost 3 of their last 4 and lost all five of their games this year to fellow 2008 bowlers. LT had a four game winning streak in November, averaging 35 ppg. They did lose their finale, 35-31 to Nevada, but playing Nevada is a harder chore than going against NIU. Going back to mid October, this team has scored more than 32 ppg.
I doubt NIU can keep up for four quarters. Their D has some nice stats, but the teams with relatie offensive acumen, like CMU, WMU, Ball St and Navy have been able to call their shots and drive the ball at will versus this D. LT has the better rushing offense and better rushing defense. Thats a recipe for success.
I am going to promote another little know, mid major running back to look out for tonight. Last week, in the debut diary, I touted Gantrell Johnson, the sparkplug looking, dreadlock wearing tailback for CSU. I said he would be the most fun player to watch in that mid major slug fest. He delivered with almost 400 yards from scrimmage. I made a fatal error, however, when I bet against him. I wont make that mistake here.
Watch out for LT tailback Daniel Porter. Expect him to be the best player on the field today. He has 100 yard games in five of his last seven games as he emerged as a first teamm All-WAC performer. He's shifty, elusive, and dangerous in space, but he has enough power to also run in between the tackles. He's a complete back and reminds me of a more physically formed out Jacquizz Rodgers, the waterbug for Oregon State that nearly dragged the Beavers to Pasadena. Porter will be the Bowl MVP for LT. He'll rip off 150 yards and a couple of scores will the Bulldogs nail down a hard fought 24-17 victory.
The Pick: Louisiana Tech to win on the ML, -135, 1 Unit......the Independence Bowl historically gives us close games. So, after UM bodychecks MSU to a bloody pulp and hoists the GLI Trophy, turn the dial and watch the second half
The Bentley Historical Library recently began to provide individuals with limited access to several new additions to its collection of football lore. The very first documents examined substantiated the century-old rumors about Ole' Blue. Now is the time to unite and resurrect his spirit. [Notes and citations have been omitted to improve readability.]
In the summer of 1901, Fielding H. Yost walked onto Depot Street, took his first deep breath of Ann Arbor air, grasped the handle of his valise a little tighter, and ran up the hill to coach football, build an athletic campus, and remain forever. On the south side of the street a rather nondescript dog of undeterminable heritage and insignificant parents, new to town but already known as Ole' Blue to the regulars at the depot, roused himself from the shade of a small elm tree and trotted along behind Yost. Unaware that he was leading a small parade, Yost quickly reached Ola Svenson's boarding house where he had previously engaged rooms to serve him until he could make permanent living arrangements.
Ole' Blue continued on, cutting through backyards and under a fence to State Street and then down the hill to Ferry Field where he began to search for a bed. Close to the railroad tracks, near where Revelli Hall is now, he found an old, small outbuilding that was too good to demolish, but too ramshackle to use. Inside were two tackling dummies unused for several years with their stuffing hemorrhaging over the floor and mouse droppings in the corners. Ole' Blue settled in.
Yost hurried up and put the final polish on his new "Spread Wedge" offense, rounded up his players, and began football practice. Ole' Blue never missed a minute. The players said that he was the best manager a team ever had. He ran all the wind sprints, retrieved errant drop kicks, and faithfully returned practice punts. He provided a comforting presence to injured players. His animal instincts were unerring in his applications of various combinations of tough love and sympathy to those whose spirits were in need of bolstering. He could remove a hangdog look from a quarterback's face in an instant through the simple demonstration of his love for the game of football. The players considered him one of them.
The 1901 Michigan team was undefeated, outscoring its opponents 550-0, the beginning of a remarkable 55-1-1 record for the first five years of the new century. Yost was the toast of the town. Even the Detroit newspapers praised him. The players, however, began to feel that their achievements outran their abilities. They sensed that extraordinary help was coming from someplace and that Ole' Blue was the source. They reached the conclusion that Ole' Blue possessed special powers, and he was using them to help the Michigan football team, a conclusion they kept among themselves.
Ole' Blue soldiered on, living on half-eaten hot dogs and opened cans of condiments, until November of 1914. Finally, cataracts causing every day to look cloudy, arthritis making every step painful, and the ache of a three loss season undiminished in his heart, Ole' Blue quietly passed away in his tackling dummy bed during an early season snow. Jim Raynsford, the team captain, discovered his chilled body the next day. He gathered as many of the players as he could find and, in the early dark of late November, they wrapped Ole' Blue in a maize and blue "M" blanket and quietly buried him in the east end of Ferry Field. John McNamara, a reserve quarterback from St. Ignace and a fine tenor, sang "Auld Lang Syne."
Early the next morning, Billy Van Orden, a young newspaper boy, was cutting the corner of Division and Hoover when he saw a shack on the south side of Hoover suddenly burst into flames. "I was just walking across Wines Field. There was nothing, then poof, the whole shebang was burning," Van Orden said. The Detroit Times was delivered a little late that morning. The Ann Arbor Fire Department didn't even uncoil the hoses, for there was nothing but embers left by the time it arrived. The two old tackling dummies, however, smoldered for several days, creating a pall of smoke over Ferry Field.
Michigan was 4-3-1 the next season. Perhaps the team spent more time looking at a slightly uneven patch of grass near the east end zone than they did listening to Coach Yost. However, as time passed, the players began to understand it was the spirit of Ole' Blue that had helped them, not the dog himself, and the ship righted itself. In 1916 they were 7-2.
In 1919 a small group of former football players, led by Willie Heston and Adolph Schultz, paid to have a monument erected in the east end of the field near the patch of slightly uneven sod. Ole' Blue's name was not publicly connected with the project for understandable reasons. The slightly modified monument, now embellished with several veiling brass plaques, remains to this day. The Athletic Department still plants more flowers around it than anywhere else.
Now is the time for Michigan fans to do their part to help the football team. This winter before spring practice begins, Ole' Blue's spirit must be resurrected and refocused along the stadium-Schembechler Hall axis. There is no need to disturb the present monument or the corporal remains. Only the spirit needs an additional place to center itself. A bronze statue, one that ages to a fine patina but shines where rubbed, set upon a concrete base outside the tunnel entrance will serve the purpose well.
The cost will be minimal. The base can be made with concrete "spillage" from the stadium construction. The statue will cost real money, but a bronze casting of a "non-descript dog of undeterminable heritage" will not be prohibitively expensive. If it looks like a dog big enough to carry a football, it will represent Ole' Blue. An appeal to letter winners and blog posters should easily provide the necessary funds.
The Athletic Department cannot be expected to initially embrace this project. A statue of a dog outside the tunnel entance, no matter how vital, is going to require a little snake oil to gain approval. The place to attack is, as always, the weakest link, the Bureau of Game Day Experience, the people who bring us Key Plays on the scoreboards and Rawk Music on the speakers.
Now, in our team's time of immeidate need, it not the time to promote critical thinking or require a precise vocabulary. The pitch should be: this is a statue of a dog that inspired Fielding Yost's "Point-A-Minute" teams of a century ago; it is much like the honorary captains who brought history and tradition to this year's games; this statue will fit into the stadium area just like the "American Eagle" at the southwest entrance does; it will enhance the game day experience of all patrons, especially the older, wealthier ones. Period. There is no need to confuse anyone with talk about a statue with juju.
Renderings will need to be made showing three-year-olds in their fathers' arms, petting the puppy, seven-year-olds sitting on the back of the statue with big smiles on their faces, young lovers with arms entwined having their pictures taken while leaning against the statue, and old blue hairs sitting on the base to gather their energy before climbing the steps.
Additionally, it can be proposed that real dogs, as living symbols of Ole' Blue, become part of the team's Victors Walk from the busses to the stadium. For one game, a dog can come from the animal shelter ready to be adopted; for another, a winner from the Ann Arbor Kennel Club can show its stuff; and another from an elementary school essay contest on "Why my dog should . . . ." Naturally, Regents, Presidents, Athletics Directors, and Football Coaches would always be welcome with their dogs.
A project endorsed by PETA, the SPCA, the AKC, and Ann Arbor Schools that also demonstrates diversity among dogs, appeals to all ages, sucks up to administrators, and costs the Athletic Department nothing while enhancing the Game Day Experience for all should be a slam dunk.
Finally, it is fair to ask if this will really do any good. It will. As evidence, consider football players who also lettered in track. Ron Kramer, Butch Woolfolk, and Braylon Edwards are random examples from different eras of what can happen when football players spend time on Ferry Field and are heavily exposed to the spirit of Ole' Blue. No one can prove that their springtime proximity to the final resting spot of Ole' Blue enhanced their football prowess, but after a team goes 3-9, no straw should be left ungrasped.
Champs Sports Bowl, Orlando, 430pm
Wisconsin vs Florida St. Lines, FSU -7, O/U 51
Doing a new Diary for the other two games today. I'll update in a couple of hours with a look at the Cal-Miami game. The Wisco game starts soon, so I'll do a quick post. Writing with a distracted eye on UNC-WVA, so excuse me in advance for any random swearing.
Revolution Destination 2009
Since UM will be in strong Champs Sports Bowl contention, I figure a quick history of the bowl is in order.
Originally called the Blockbuster Bowl, the first contest was played between Penn St and Florida St in a much ballyhooed matchup of Paterno and Bowden. FSU won 24-17 and the excitement generated from that game helped put the bowl on the New Year's Day menu by its third year.
By 1995, it was back as a December game. After flirtations with new monikers Carquest, Micron PC and Tangerine, the bowl got its current name in 2004. So, dont necessarily go printing UM Champs Sports Bowl shirts just yet. It may have a different name, but I expect to see all you in Orlando anyway.
Its always had an ACC flair to it with a team from that league in this game for the last 13 seasons. The ACC is 8-5 in that span and are on a five game winning streak. The ACC-Big 10 agreement in this game is two years old with Maryland thumping Purdue in 2006 and Boston College squeaking by MSU in 2007.
My favorite Champs Sports Bowl MVP of all time is Glen Foley, who won the award on New Year's Day 1994 leading his team to a victory over Virginia. Ten months later Foley was in South Bend putting a fatal dagger in ND's last legit title contender. They've been returning to glory ever since.
Another interesting factoid is Penn St's game on New Year's Day 1993, a loss to Standford, was its last game before joining the Big 10. Losing to a Pac 10 team in a bowl game? And, you thought you would never fit in. Tsk, tsk.
Wisconsin specialzes in being overlooked as a bowl opponent only to play their butts off and impress. The Badgers are 6-3 ATS as a Bowl Underdog with 5 outright wins. I will awlays put a small amount of coin on Wisco in this role.
Is there that big of a difference between these programs? The Badgers probably have as many pro prospects as the Noles. This is not 1998 anymore down in Tallahasee. I would not trade PJ Hill, Jonathon Clay and Zach Brown for FSU's top 2 tailbacks.
The QB situation is 'meh' on both sides, but I like Sherer, who steadied the team down the stretch as it climbed out of a hole, more than I like Ponder, who has thrown as many TD as INTs this season. Wisco has been up and down all season on Defense, but they've been more consistent against the pass and feel their secondary will force Ponder into a couple of mistakes. Consider this: Ponder had a 6-0 TD/INT ratio in the two games this season against FCS schools, but a 6-13 ratio in his games against Division 1 foes. The Badgers are in the top 25 in passing efficiency D. This will come into play tonight.
Wisco will be for a slugfest against the FSU D. But, the Badgers have been able to get Hill and Clay both going in every game this season. They can do that enough tonight to control parts of the game. Wisco's O-Line is loaded with talent, but has played up and down all season. But, Bowl Season is for redeption and I see a good game out of this unit keeping the intense rush of FSU at bay enough to allo Sherer time to get to his top targets Garrett Graham and David Gilreath.
I could see a shootout, but I am ignoring the Over/Under total. I have not done well on those during the college season. 51 points seem kind of high. I think both teams are going to run, run, run the football with a lot of success. Time could slip away fast, limiting possessions in this one. When I have the Over, I hate those games. Besides, Wisco will look to force one of those games anyway, and I am all for that.
The Pick: Wisco +7.....1 Unit.....So, if the Badgers win does that help Michigan's RPI? Late action drove this all the way up to +7, so this game now fits into the underdog trend spotlighted in last night's FAU-CMU game. If their bowl history is any indication, the Badgers will hang around all night and have a chance to win this one in the fourth quarter.
Update: The FSU punter is driving me to drink. Well, that and Brett Bielema's continued vomitting in key moments. Where was the review on that Defensive score by the Noles....we need to start adding in the Bielema factor when looking at Wisco games.....late FSU score to make it 14-3 at the half
Emerald Bowl, San Francisco, 8pm
Miami Fla vs California. Lines, Cal -10.5, O/U 51
Wow, did late money come in on this game or what. Actually all the money might be on Cal with this one as the line grew from -5 at the opening bell to -10.5 a couple hours before kickoff. Yes, Miami has some suspensions since this game was announced, but the line factored that and in settled in at -8.5 for most of Christmas Week. It was at -9 less than 24 hours ago. Perhaps WVA backers are angrily chasing with the heavy favorite tonight? I dont think thats a wise strategy come bowl season.
Call me crazy, but I always like to be on the side of the book. We dont see too many cash poor bookies out there and those sports books in Vegas are getting more and more plush each day.
Overall, this has the makings of a huge day for bookies. There was enough action of WVA during bowl season to lift the line to -2 and even -2.5 so they won there. In addition to the movement of the Cal-Miami game, the FSU-Wisco line grew a full point to -7 in the day leading up to the game. As it turns out, I am on the side of the books in all three games today. I feel comfortable with that.
Why do people think Cal will destroy Miami today? I just dont see it. Some of the better Pac 10 teams really shredded this Cal D and with Jacory Harris, Graig Copper and Javaris James, the Canes will be able to move the football throughout the day. MSU put up 31 points vs Cal in the season opener, why cant the U duplicate that? They'll come close.
Get to know some of these young Cane defenders, all fresmen: DT Marcus Forston, DE Marcus Robinson and LB Sean Spence. These guys will form a fierce defense that will get Miami back to playing for the league title.
This young team hit a wall to close the season. They'll be rejuvenated with the initial rest of bowl season. They might not win the game. Indeed, the turnover situation scares me in this one, but I think even that can survive a 10-point cushion. Cal might create enough turnovers to get the win, but Miami very well could get enough of their own to notch a cover.
The Pick: Miami +10.5, 1 Unit. Miami might be downgraded here because of those back to back losses to end the season to Ga Tech and NCST. But, Cal would have lost to those squads as well. I am a believer in the ACC and would take a team from that league at +Double Digits against anyone in the Pac that doesn't call the Colisuem home.