College Football Insider - Week Five Trends and Notes
by Drew Mangione and Jordan Adams - 09/27/2006
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: No. 24 Georgia Tech at No. 11 Virginia Tech (-9), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Houston at Miami (Fl.) (-16), 6 p.m., Saturday
Louisiana Tech at No. 18 Clemson (-33), 7 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Virginia Tech starting wide receiver Josh Morgan and defensive end Chris Ellis, both juniors, have been suspended for Saturday's game for violating team rules, which apparently means getting arrested -- and pepper sprayed for good measure -- outside a Blacksburg, Virginia, nightclub for allegedly inciting a crowd, thus obstructing. This is the first of several tough games -- BC, Southern Miss, Clemson and Miami -- for the Hokies, which are 53 weeks removed from drubbing the Yellow Jackets 51-7 against an 11-point line. … Boston College coach Tom O'Brien said junior kicker Ryan Ohliger will retain his kicking duties for Saturday afternoon's game against Maine, despite missing three extra points in the last two games… The over is 3-0-1 in Louisiana Tech's last four games as a road underdog and 4-0 in Clemson's last four games overall. The Bulldogs are 8-22-1 ATS in their last 31 road games and the Tigers have a 13-3 mark ATS in recent night games…The Houston Cougars are off to their best start, 4-0, since Dave Klingler started 8-0 in 1990 and again have a quarterback leading the way. Senior Kevin Kolb leads all active Division I quarterbacks with 766 career completions and 10,348 career yards. The 'Canes gave up 289 yards and two TDs to Louisville's Brian Brohm and Hunter Cantwell. Miami has not done well of late ATS. The Hurricanes are 8-20 ATS at home and 1-5 in their last six September games.
Key Games: No. 23 Rutgers (-3.5) at South Florida, 8 p.m., Friday
Toledo at Pittsburgh (-14), noon, Saturday
Wyoming at Syracuse (-5), 1:30 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Pittsburgh starting defensive end Doug Fulmer is out for the season with a left ankle injury. Junior Chris McKillop will move from left end to the right opposite junior Joe Clermond. The Panthers are 23-2 SU against Toledo and other Mid-American Conference opponents, though one of those losses came in 2003 to the then 10-point favorite Toledo, 35-31, with Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Bruce Gradkowski at the helm…Rutgers is 0-3 ATS in their last three road games as a favorite. The Scarlet Knights are getting caught up in Heisman fever, having promoted fullback Brian Leonard in the preseason and now halfback Ray Rice, who has 604 yards and 9 TDs. The team sent double sided fliers with the team's two possible NFL prospects on each side to voters. South Florida is 1-7 all-time against AP top 25 teams, but that one win came in last year's upset of then-No. 9 Louisville.
Key Games: No. 2 Auburn (-14) at South Carolina, 7:30 p.m., Thursday
Mississippi State at No. 9 Louisiana State University (-32), 12:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 10 Georgia (-17.5) at Mississippi, 9 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: With senior starting quarterback Joe Tereshinski III getting set to come back from a high-ankle sprain in two weeks for Tennessee, Georgia coach Mark Richt said he will make a game-time decision between freshmen Joe Cox (13-18, 201 yards, 2 TDs, 1 Int) and Matthew Stafford (29 of 57, 394 yards, 1 TD, 3 Ints) for Saturday's game against Mississippi. Georgia junior running back Kregg Lumpkin (35 carries, 168 yards, 2TDs) appears to have taken the starting job from junior Thomas Brown. Brown's yards per carry has dropped from 5.0 in 2005 to 2.9 this year on 39 carries, with just 1 TD…Freshman wide receiver Percy Harvin is expected to be close to full speed for Saturday's game against Alabama. Senior defensive tackle Marcus Thomas is still suspended indefinitely for his alleged second substance-abuse violation…Florida State freshman linebacker Marcus Ball is out for the season with a torn ACL in his left knee…Auburn's senior running back Kenny Irons, who transferred out of South Carolina after failing out toward the end of his sophomore year, missed last week's 38-7 win over Buffalo, but is expected to be back for this Saturday's game. Last year, he scored 2 TDs in a 48-7 win.
Key Games: No. 22 Boise State at Utah (-4), 3 p.m., Saturday
Colorado State at Fresno State (-13), 10 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Despite being nationally ranked, the Boise State Broncos are an early underdog against unranked Utah. The Broncos are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four games as an underdog, but the Utes are 0-4 ATS as home favorites with a spread of 3.5 to 10 points. Boise State is 10-0 SU against Mountain West opponents, while the Utes have won three straight SU against ranked opponents and have No. 17 Texas Christian on the schedule for next week.
Key Games: Colorado at Missouri (-14.5), 12:30 p.m., Saturday
Kansas at No. 21 Nebraska (-2), 7:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Hapless 0-4 Colorado visits surprise 4-0 Missouri. The Tigers are 1-6 SU in the last seven games in this series…A Texas two-step goes down in College Station with the Red Raiders playing the Aggies. Texas Tech is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings against A&M…Nebraska looks for revenge against the Jayhawks after they were drubbed 40-15 last year in Kansas…Upstart 3-1 Kansas State visits Baylor, and they every match-up since '98…Just these four conference games are slated for this weekend. The league's top two teams, Texas and Oklahoma, have byes.
Key Games: No. 6 Michigan (-10) at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m., Saturday
No. 1 Ohio State (-6.5) at No. 13 Iowa, 8:05 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Wisconsin looks to rebound after its loss to Michigan. 2-0-1 thus far ATS, the Badgers get struggling Indiana. The Hoosiers have covered the past three meetings, winning two of those games…Michigan State looks for an impressive outing after choking in the fourth quarter to Notre Dame. 1-3 Illinois has allowed at least 38 points in each of the last three meetings to the Spartans…Basketball on turf meets Touchdown Jesus in what could be a big time shootout. The last two meetings have hit the over, 04's meeting being a blowout win by Purdue, 41-16…A pair of 2-2s meet in Happy Valley. Northwestern visits Penn State, with the home team being 7-2 ATS in their last nine meetings…The battle for the Brown Jug takes center stage in the Metrodome. Michigan visits Minnesota and will look to avenge last year's 23-20 home loss…One of the best match-ups of the weekend takes place in Iowa City. The No. 1 Buckeyes visit Iowa. Both are 4-0 but OSU has won nine of the last 10 meetings.
Key Games: No. 14 Oregon (-1) at Arizona State, 3:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 2 USC (-17) at Washington State, 7:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Miserable Stanford faces the Bruins in Westwood. The Cardinal are 0-4 allowing nearly 40 points per game, yet they have covered seven of eight in the series…Surging Washington faces improving Arizona. The Huskies are off to a 3-1 start, and the underdog is 8-0 ATS in their last eight meetings… No. 2 USC might be without star receiver Dwayne Jarrett against Wazzou. USC has cruised in the last three meetings, while the over has hit in the last nine night games for the Cougars…Cal comes off its Berkeley beat down of Arizona State and visits Oregon State. The Beavers upset Cal last year in California and are 28-13-1 ATS over their last 42 home games…The undefeated Ducks head to Tempe to clash with the Sun Devils. Oregon is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 road games.
Key Games: Houston at Miami (-16), 6:00 p.m., Saturday
SMU at Tulane, 7:30 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Rice and Army meet, although it is Rice that comes in without a win this year. At 2-2, head coach Bobby Ross has begun the team's rise out from its recent awful couple of seasons…4-0 Houston has thrived under senior quarterback Kevin Kolb. The Cougars visit Miami fresh out of the top 25 and under .500 at 1-2…Troy continues its tough non-conference schedule. After three straight weeks of road games against Florida State, Georgia Tech and Nebraska, a bit of a lighter program awaits in the form of UAB…SMU and Tulane meet, both looking for a much need win. Tulane is 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 games…Not the start it hoped for, UTEP needs to get back to .500 after its embarrassing loss to New Mexico, 26-13. This time against New Mexico State, they face a team that is 0-8-1 ATS in their last nine games.
Key Games: BYU at No. 15 TCU (-5.5), 6:00 p.m., Thursday
Boise State at Utah (-4), 3:00 p.m. Sunday
Conference Notes: The conference game of the week is scheduled for Thursday night when BYU visits undefeated TCU. The over is set at a much lower 47, considering last year's game finished with 101 points combined…1-3 Wyoming takes a MWC break to visit Syracuse. The Orange have won two in a row after a tough loss at home to Iowa in week two…Air Force hosts New Mexico and have covered the over each of two times this year. The over is 14-2 in Air Force's last 16 conference games…WAC giant Boise State visits Ute country to face Utah. Two of the better mid-majors will vie to continue hopes of an at-large BCS spot…UNLV will play host to Nevada in the second WAC-MWC showcase. The Runnin' Rebels are 5-13 ATS in their last 18 night games.