A Deeper Look - Scouting The Mid-Majors (Free Picks Inside)
by Strike Point Sports - 09/20/2007
Back by popular demand, this season it will be a bit different. Each week we'll delve into some of college football's smaller conferences and focus and breakdown more obscure match-up that are off the radar for most beyond the Top 25. Here's what we have going on this week:
Texas A&M +3 at Miami - Thursday, 7:30 pm EST
Normally we like to focus on games with at least one school from a smaller conference, however this is a very intriguing non-conference match-up between the Big 12 and ACC. The Aggies come in ranked and 3-0, and Miami is 2-1 but has won both its games in the Orange Bowl.
While sophomore quarterback Stephen McGee is the leader of the TAMU offense, the rushing partnership of Jovorskie Lane and Mike Goodson is the main reason with this unit has scored 139 points in their first three games this season. Certainly a strong Canes defense will be their toughest test, but after seeing what Oklahoma could do, the Aggies have to feel good about their chances to score.
Inconsistent quarterback play is the main focus for Miami's struggles dating back to last season. The Hurricanes have athletes all over the field but Kyle Wright continues to prove he is not the answer for Randy Shannon's group. With that said, he remains the starter over Kirby Freeman.
Prediction: Texas A&M 24, Miami 20
New Mexico State +17 at Auburn - Saturday, 7 pm EST
War Eagle has fizzled. Auburn has definitely taken steps back with head coach Tommy Tuberville and their offense is at a standstill after benching starting quarterback Brandon Cox after two early interceptions last Saturday in a home loss to Mississippi State.
Back-up Kodi Burns entered in relief, however he was just as ineffective. So with that said, how in the world are the Tigers laying two touchdowns and a field goal? They have barely reached 20 in just two of their three games, and with a talented passing attack coming in lead by the Aggies' Chase Holbrook, don't expect Auburn to be pitching a shutout.
The Tigers are just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games, while New Mexico State is 4-1-1 against the number in their last six non-conference match-ups.
Prediction: Auburn 27, New Mexico 17
Rice +38.5 at Texas - Saturday, 7 pm EST
For as highly ranked as the Top 10 Longhorns are, they have certainly disappointed this season. Colt McCoy has regressed to some extent in his sophomore season, and the Texas defense has not been lights out like in past years.
And while Rice quite possibly has the worst passing defense in the nation, this is a ton of points to leave alone. The Owls have their own quarterback in Chase Clement who is capable of making plays throughout the game. While he too has not looked like his 2006 form, the dual threat that he possesses can allow him run and pass to attack against the 'Horns' speed.
Considering the road Owls are nearly getting 40 points, Texas will probably have to strike for 50 just to have a chance to cover. Their defense hasn't exactly been lights out, so who knows, maybe a 60 spot is necessary to cover. And seeing that the Longhorns have scored 40 or more in just two of their last 10 games, it's not likely to cash in this one.
Prediction: Texas 49, Rice 20