College Football Insider - Week Four Trends and Notes
by Drew Mangione and Jordan Adams - 09/20/2006
Who's injured? Who's streaking? Who has the advantage in this weekend's games? What tips and trends are out there that could sway your plays? Here's an underground look at what's going down in the World of College Football:
Key Games: Cincinnati at No. 11 Virginia Tech (-26.5), noon, Saturday
North Carolina at No. 19 Clemson (-16.5), noon, Saturday
No. 20 Boston College (-6.5) at North Carolina State, 8 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Georgia Tech's game Thursday night against Virginia is the team's first with just four days rest under head coach Chan Gailey, who normally gives his team a day off each week. Gailey was 1-1 in Thursday games with the Dallas Cowboys, losing his first Thanksgiving showdown to Minnesota, 46-36, in 1998 and winning in 1999 against Miami, 20-0. The home team is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings and the Yellow Jackets are favored by 17 this time around…North Carolina has not won an out-of-state road game (0-13 SU, 6-7 ATS) since a 38-35 win over Arizona State in 2002…Boston College has not started 4-0 since 1999 going into their first ACC road game against the Wolfpack. North Carolina State junior quarterback Marcus Stone was sacked eight times in last year's loss to BC, 30-10. This time around sophomore Daniel Evans will make his first career start. He replaced Stone, who has completed just 48.6 percent of his passes for 351 yards, and completed 8-of-11 passes for 97 yards with 1 TD and 1 Int. in the team's 37-17 loss to Southern Mississippi.
Key Games: Citadel at Pittsburgh (NL), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Howard at Rutgers (NL), 2 p.m., Saturday
Miami (OH) at Syracuse (-6.5), 7 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: All eight Big East schools play this weekend in non-conference match-ups, but just three play at home. The conference is 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in non-conference road games this season…Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt said he expects to see a healthy dose of the option from the Citadel, considering how poorly his team defended against it in their 38-21 loss to Michigan State, which rushed for 334 yards. In two losses this season, the military school has rushed for 277 yards, with quarterback Duran Lawson contributing 76 yards and 333 yards passing…With Miami (Fla.) struggling and coach Larry Coker on the hot seat, Rutgers Scarlet Knights coach Greg Schiano's name is being tossed about, but the former Hurricanes defensive coordinator said he's not paying attention to that. He said he is taking Howard seriously, hoping to avoid becoming the fifth Division I victim to a Division I (AA) team this year…Syracuse finally won last week, breaking its 11-game losing streak SU and extending its win streak ATS to five. The Orangemen are favored for the first time since Oct. 29 of last year against Cincinnati.
Key Games: Colorado at No. 9 Georgia (-26.5), 12:30 p.m., Sunday
Alabama at Arkansas (-1), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Kentucky at No. 5 Florida (-23.5), 7:45 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Georgia Bulldog punt returner Mikey Henderson and No. 1 wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi missed last week's 34-0 trouncing of Alabama-Birmingham with strained hamstrings, but both players indicated they expect to be ready for the underachieving Buffaloes…Florida coach Urban Meyer appears prepared to continue using quarterback Tim Tebow, who rushed for 29 yards on seven carries and didn't throw a pass, along with starter Chris Leak as he did in Saturday night's 21-20 win over Tennessee. The Gators got their first 100-yard rushing performance this season last weekend with senior DeShawn Wynn accomplishing the feat on 22 carries…Auburn tight end Cole Bennett is out indefinitely with a broken ankle suffered in the Tigers 7-3 win over LSU. The Tigers are favored by 42.5 over the Buffalo Bulls (2-0-1 ATS this year).
Key Games: Northwestern at Nevada (-7), 8 p.m., Friday
Hawaii at No. 25 Boise State (-15), 8 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Boise State is 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS against Hawaii. The road-favorite Broncos failed to cover last year when a 426-yard, 4 TD performance from Hawaii quarterback Cole Brennan came up short 44-41. BSU managed a safety and both an interception and blocked kick returned for touchdowns in that game. Brennan this year has completed 68.8 percent of his passes for 5 TDs and 652 yards. The Broncos are 31-11 ATS in the last 42 games on the blue turf…Northwestern is 22-8 ATS in its last 30 games as an underdog of 3.5-10 points, and Nevada is 8-0 in their last eight as a home favorite.
Key Games: No. 8 Louisville (-14) at Kansas State, 12:10 p.m., Saturday
Iowa State at No. 7 Texas (-24.5), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: The Wildcats host No. 8 Louisville a week after the Cardinals blew out the Hurricanes. The 'Ville is 21-8 ATS over their last 29 games…Still searching for his first win at Colorado, head coach Dan Hawkins and his Buffs visit No. 7 Georgia. The Bulldogs have allowed just 12 points over their first three games…Up-and-coming Missouri looks to improve to 4-0 when they host Ohio this Saturday. Tigers' quarterback Chase Daniel is slowly emerging as one of the better unknown players in the country, throwing for 7 touchdowns and just one interception…The Cyclones visit Austin to face defending champ Texas. The 'Horns have won the past four meetings by double digit points…A week after losing to USC in Los Angeles, Nebraska gets pesky Troy in Lincoln. Troy has played Florida State and Georgia Tech this year on the road and has covered both spreads…Trying to put its infamous Oregon 'loss' behind them, the Sooners host Middle Tennessee State in Norman. This is the first meeting between these two schools.
Key Games: No. 24 Penn State at No. 1 Ohio State (-16.5), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 12 Notre Dame (-3.5) at Michigan State, 8:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Michigan gets 3-0 Wisconsin in the Big House a week after trouncing Notre Dame. Since 1999, this match-up has not had a team win by more than a touchdown…With Drew Tate now healthy, the Hawkeyes face a winless Illini team. Illinois has not won in this series since 1999…A shootout is scheduled in West Lafayette when Minnesota plays at Purdue. The Boilermakers have opened the season 3-0 but are 0-2 when it comes to covering the spread…The game of the week in the Big Ten takes place in Columbus when Penn State faces Ohio State. Last year the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes in Happy Valley, so revenge will be on the mind come Saturday…Another big showdown is Notre Dame trying to rebound by taking on the Wolverines' in-state counterpart Michigan State. Spartan quarterback Drew Stanton and Irish signal caller Brady Quinn will match scores all game as two of the better arms in the country will be on display.
Key Games: No. 22 Arizona State at No. 21 California (-8), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Arizona at No. 3 USC (-21), 8 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Rudy Carpenter and Arizona State head into Berkeley to face Cal. Carpenter looks to improve upon his 7-1 record as a starter since taking over for Sam Keller late last season…Despite receiving a brand new stadium this year, the only thing the Cardinal have actually gotten out of the 2006 schedule is a consistent beating. Stanford is 0-3 and has no clue. Washington State looks to open its Pac-10 schedule with a victory…Fresh of a bye week, UCLA takes its 2-0 record into Washington to face Tyrone Willingham and the Huskies. The Bruins have won the past five meetings, covering four of those games…Next on USC's list is Arizona and third year head coach Mike Stoops. The Trojans have scored more than 40 points in the last four meetings against the Wildcats.
Key Games: Tulsa at Navy (-4), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Oklahoma State (-1) at Houston, 9:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Undefeated Houston hosts undefeated Oklahoma State. While both have yet to be challenged against good competition, this high scoring game is likely to going down to the last possession…UAB plays at home against winless Mississippi State. The two haven't played since '04 when UAB won 27-13…ECU gets high powered West Virginia and its unstoppable runner, Steve Slaton. The Mountaineers' top rusher has racked up more than 100 yards in the first half in his last couple games and that doesn't bode well for the Pirates' defense…After getting walloped by Texas last week, Rice gets an angry Florida State team that suffered a home defeat to Clemson last Saturday…Tulsa and Navy, two teams with two very different offense approaches, collide. The Golden Hurricane wants to attack quickly and often, particularly through the air. Navy loves to pound the ball and eat up clock. Nonetheless, this is not a game for the defenses.
Key Games: Air Force at Wyoming (-1), 4:30 p.m., Saturday
Utah (-6.5) at San Diego State, 8:00 p.m. Sunday
Conference Notes: Without quarterback Kevin O'Connell, San Diego State has struggled and can't produce on offense. The Aztecs got shutout on the road in Wisconsin and face a tough task against Utah and its rising young quarterback Brett Ratliff…UTEP goes on the road to face New Mexico, however 2006 has not been kind to Miners' quarterback Jordan Palmer. Mike Price's signal caller has already thrown six interceptions…Air Force plays just its second game of the year this weekend. Two weeks ago they were a two-point conversion away from beating Tennessee in Neyland…BYU will look to rebound at home after losing in double overtime at Boston College last week. Fortunately for the Cougars, they get Utah State…