Doc's College Football Insider: Week 8
by Drew Mangione and Jordan Adams - 10/18/2006
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. 22 Boston College at Florida State (-4), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 13 Georgia Tech at No. 12 Clemson (-7.5), 7:45 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: If you don't know that Miami has 13 players suspended for its game at Duke this weekend, then we thank you for making Doc's Sports College Football Insider your only source of information…Fans may want Al Groh out in Virginia, but it appears the 2-5 Cavaliers will give the former NFL boss at least one more season. Under Groh, Virginia is 3-2 SU (4-1 ATS) against this week's opponent, the North Carolina Tarheels, who won last year's game 7-5 as a 1-point favorite…North Carolina State coach Chuck Amato said quarterback Daniel Evans, who suffered a concussion at an unknown point in last weekend's loss to Wake Forest, has been cleared to practice and is "very probable" to lead the Wolfpack into Maryland on Saturday…Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan missed practice early in the week and will be a game time decision. Media darling Steve Aponavicius, the left-footed walk-on kicker with only soccer experience prior to going 4-4 on two FGs and two PATs, will keep his kicking duties with Ryan Ohliger (7-11 FGs, three missed PATs) coming off suspension for his involvement in a bar fight…According to coach Bobby Bowden, barring a "miracle," Florida State freshman tight end Brandon Warren, who is the team's second leading receiver, and sophomore linebacker Geno Hayes, the team's second leading tackler, will miss Saturday's game against BC with a hamstring and sprained knee ligaments, respectively…In the last 10 Clemson/Georgia Tech showdowns, nine were decided by less than a touchdown and seven by a field goal or less.
Key Games: No. 6 Louisville (-16.5) at Syracuse, noon, Saturday
No. 19 Rutgers at Pittsburgh (-6.5), 5:45 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: West Virginia has won 13 straight, during which the team went 10-2 ATS. However, those two ATS defeats came in the last three weeks to Eastern Carolina (+21) and Syracuse (+24.5). The Mountaineers, which lead the country with 328.3 rushing yards per game, are 22-point favorites this week against Connecticut, which ranks 105 of 119 Division I teams in stopping the rush…Louisville junior tight end Scott Kuhn, who missed last week's 23-17 win at Cincinnati with a broken bone in his hand, is expected to play this week for a Cardinal team that has lost two straight ATS. Quarterback Brian Brohm saying his undefeated No. 6-ranked squad has "lost a little bit of our edge from the beginning of the season. We can't hold anything back. We just have to get fired up and ready to play. We need to get that edge back, and I think we will."…Pittsburgh is 8-2 SU, but just 4-6 ATS versus Rutgers in their last 10 meetings with Scarlet Knights wins last year and in 1998. The Panthers are on the outside of the top 25 looking in (10 pts behind No. 25 Wake Forest) and expect to have defensive end Chris McKillop (shoulder) and kick returner Lowell Robinson (neck), who were banged up last week, along with defensive tackle Mick Williams, who has missed four weeks with a shoulder injury. The Scarlet Knights run and stop the run, ranking 16th in rushing offense with 194.2 yards per game and 10th in rushing defense at 80.3 yards per game. Pittsburgh is in the middle of the pack getting 157.9 rushing yards per game (41st) and allowing 114.4 yards per game (39th).
Key Games: Mississippi at No. 15 Arkansas (-17.5), 12:30 p.m., Saturday
Mississippi State at Georgia (-18.5), 1 p.m., Saturday
Alabama at No. 7 Tennessee (-10.5), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Georgia Bulldog junior running back Thomas Brown, the team's second leading rusher with 256 yards, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the team's 24-22 loss to Vanderbilt. Fifth-year senior Joe Tereshinski III appears to have lost his job after two losses to freshman Matthew Stafford, who leads the team in passing yards with 582 over the team's seven games and started in wins over UAB, Colorado and Mississippi…Alabama lost its two road games this year-Arkansas, Florida-but covered spreads of 2.5 and 16.5. Crimson Tide sophomore running back Jimmy Johns, the team's second leading rusher, is day-to-day with an ankle injury, as is the team's leading receiver, junior Keith Brown, who hurt his knee.
Key Games: No. 18 Boise State (-20.5) at Idaho, 5:05 p.m., Saturday
Hawaii (-18.5) at New Mexico State, 8 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Boise State is 8-2 SU in the team's last 10 against Idaho, including 7 straight, and 7-3 ATS, including a 70-35 victory last year. The Broncos are 5-1-1 in their last 7 games following an ATS loss and the Vandals are 1-5 ATS in their last six games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more…The NFL talk is getting louder in conversations about Hawaii junior quarterback Colt Brennan who has thrived in June Jones's wide open offense completing 73.1 percent of his passes for 2,271 yards and 23 touchdowns. The 6-3 Brennan, who was a high school teammate of Matt Leinart in Laguna Beach, has said he isn't going to rush a jump to the next level, despite being on pace for almost 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns to follow his 4,000 yard, 35 touchdown sophomore season. Like the Arizona Cardinals QB, Brennan will graduate next fall and will be able to enjoy college with a light schedule.
Key Games: No. 5 Texas (-6.5) at No. 17 Nebraska, 12:00 p.m., Saturday
Kansas State at No. 24 Missouri, 2:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Nebraska hosts Texas as the two look to hand the other its first conference loss. The Longhorns have won five of the last six meetings…Coming off its first loss of the year, Missouri is at home against 4-3 Kansas State. The Tigers have lost the last ten games to the Wildcats…Kansas and Baylor face off as they each look to get over .500. The Bears are 5-1 ATS against teams with a losing record…Texas Tech gave Colorado its first win of the year last week. Iowa State is just 2-6 ATS in their last eight games overall…Oklahoma plays its first game in '06 without Adrian Peterson, but is home against 1-6 Colorado. The Buffs have not won against the Sooners since 1999.
Key Games: No. 21 Wisconsin (-6) at Purdue, 12:00 p.m., Saturday
Iowa at No. 2 Michigan, 3:30 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: The No. 1 Buckeyes get an easier game when they host Indiana. Installed as over four touchdown favorites, Ohio State is 8-1 ATS in their last nine games at the Horseshoe…6-1 Wisconsin continues to fly under the radar with the likes of OSU and UM undefeated. The Badgers have still yet to miss against the number, going 5-0-1 ATS this year…The Spartans look to turn its season around and get back to .500 with a victory in Evanston this weekend. Michigan States owes Northwestern for last year's blowout in which the Wildcats won 49-14…4-3 Penn State needs to keep winning to make sure that a bowl game is a lock. The Nittany Lions are 7-2 ATS in their last nine at home. Michigan looks to stay on its unbeaten path, as they get closer to its game at Ohio State. Iowa is 5-2 but have done poorly ATS, posting a 1-5 mark this season.
Key Games: Washington at No. 11 California (-23), 3:30 p.m., Saturday
No. 16 Oregon (-3.5) at Washington State, 5:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: UCLA gets its toughest test of the year when they head to South Bend to face Notre Dame. Still without Ben Olsen, backup quarterback Patrick Cowan steps in to face an Irish defense that has not turned around last year's poor showing, giving up 24 points a game…Washington must go into Berkley without starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback. Cal boasts one of the best offenses in the country, scoring over 36 points a game…Stanford has yet to win a game this year and will be without starting quarterback Trent Edwards for the remainder of the year. Arizona State is desperate for a win, as they have yet to win in conference so far at 0-3...The Ducks continue its open spread attack when they face Washington State. Oregon is 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 road games…Oregon State looks for its second straight road win, this time at Arizona. Last week the Beavers defeated Washington and will look to knock off Arizona in Tuscan.
Key Games: Rice at Central Florida (-5.5), 4:00 p.m., Saturday
UTEP at Houston (-6), 7:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: East Carolina failed to cover its first spread of the year last week against Tulsa. This week they host SMU. The Pirates won the team's only meeting last year, 24-17…Rice and Central Florida hook up, both looking to get back into the C-USA race. Rice knocked off then 2-0 UAB last Saturday, and now the East division race is wide open…Marshall travels to UAB, but it's the Thundering Herd that have not covered a spread all year, going 0-5…UTEP heads into Houston to clash with Kevin Kolb and the Cougars. The Miners have struggled against the number, only covering three of their last 11 games…Tulsa continues to do well in their conference title defense. The Golden Hurricane have won five of its first six games this year and look to improve to 4-0 in conference play when they face Memphis on Saturday night.
Key Games: Utah (-6) at New Mexico, 9:00 p.m., Thursday
UNLV at BYU (-28.5), 3:00 p.m., Saturday
Conference Notes: Thursday night kicks off the MWC schedule when Utah visits New Mexico. The Lobos are just 2-8 ATS in their last ten games at home…1-5 UNLV gets tough road test when they take on high powered BYU. The Cougars are scoring over 33 a game and have covered five of their six games this season…Colorado State looks to rebound after blowing a 21-3 halftime lead on the road to Air Force. Wyoming manhandled Utah at home last Saturday and gets the Rams this weekend. The underdog is 7-3 ATS in the last ten meetings between these two teams…Air Force faces winless San Diego State. First year Chuck Long has yet to win a game with the Aztecs and hold a 0-5 record ATS.