Fourth Down and Inches
by Doc - 11/14/2007
Not too much to say about last week, losing six games in college football for our worst performance of the season on Saturday. Our only defense is that we lost three starting quarterbacks in three of our selections. The three quarterbacks that went down were ASU's Carpenter, FSU's Weatherford, and Michigan's Henne. All three of these players are a huge part of each team's offense and the squad as a whole is just not the same without them. One has to expect this as football is a violent sport. However, when it does occur, you are really behind the eight ball. Those of you that have talked with me know that I always say that, "Injuries are one of the most overrated factors in handicapping football." But that applies to 21 of the 22 positions of the field with the quarterback being the one position that can really make a difference.
This week is one of my favorite weekends for football handicapping. For many teams this will be their last game at home and many of the team's seniors respond in a big way. Many people wonder if this really is a factor in the outcome of games? In most cases it is not. However, I also consider this when making my selections each week. The coaches and underclassman want to send the seniors out on a positive note and will give a little extra to ensure that happens.
One game that really falls into that category is the Old Oaken Bucket match-up when Purdue heads to Bloomington. The Hoosier seniors have had a rough ride and lost their coach early this year. Throughout adversity, this team has played well and is already bowl eligible. They are playing at home against their rival and will honor the 1967 team that made it to the Rose Bowl. I look for the Hoosiers to give a good effort and it looks very attractive since they are an underdog.
Another home team in a similar situation is Notre Dame. After the Irish lost to Navy, I announced that I would not use the Irish as a selection again this season, but here I am about to do it. The Irish host Duke and are only a 5 ½-point favorite. One has to take a serious look at the Irish because they need this win after such a dismal season. I am still not sure if I will use it as a selection, but this is one of the worst teams in the country for the last two decades and Notre Dame has too much pride to suffer yet another defeat.
One other college game that I would like to comment on is a game that I classify as, "It's just plain time." This game features Boston College heading to Death Valley to take on Clemson. The Tigers have lost to the Eagles the past two years in overtime. Last year they lost 34-33 in double overtime and in 2005 they lost 16-13. The 2005 loss featured a devastating triple overtime loss to Miami the week before this loss. This Clemson team has remained below the radar and has quietly put together a rock solid 8-2 season and has won four straight games with none of them being close. The Tigers will shut down the BC running game and have the skill players in the defensive backfield to cause problems for QB Ryan. Although this game may be a public play, it is just plain time for the homer to get it done, public play or not.
One of the biggest betting games of the season is the annual battle between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines. Ohio State will invade Ann Arbor as a rare road favorite, mainly due to the inconsistent play for the Wolverines offense. You would be broke trying to guess whether Henne or Hart will play because Michigan does not release much information about their injured. If they would both play, Michigan would be my choice, but without them they will likely suffer their fourth loss of the season and Lloyd Carr will be resigning. The winner of this game will go to the Rose Bowl and if Michigan can accomplish that after their 0-2 start, that would be a remarkable achievement. That being said, the Big Ten is way down this year and may be the worst of the six BSC conferences.
In the pay-for-play league, we finally picked up units hitting 67 percent of our selections last week. We are now officially on the Green Bay bandwagon, as this team continues to improve and appears to be the clear-cut winner in the NFC North. They dominated for 60 minutes against Minnesota and showed that they belong in the Super Bowl mix for representing the NFC. That being said, they have two tough road games comes up starting with Detroit on Thanksgiving then playing Dallas the following Thursday. If Green Bay can win one of those games, they will all but ensure themselves the all-important bye when the playoffs come rolling around. We really like the NFL card again this week, focusing in on a couple of East Coast games.
As the regular season in football is winding down, the college basketball season has just begun. This will be my 34th year of handicapping the college hardwood and we have already gotten off to a fantastic start, going 3-0 the first two days picking up +11 units. We expect another profitable year and would love to have you along for the ride. You can check out our packages listed on Doc's home page.
Unlike other sports, home court takes on a life of its own in college hoops. Year in and year out, teams continue to play much better when playing at home. Be careful when you play big favorites on the road and don't be afraid to lay a little when is team is playing in their friendly confines. Since we are in the heart of Big Ten country, many of our selections will focus on these teams. Who is my choice to win the Big Ten? That would be the Indiana Hoosiers, as they still have a beast in the middle, D.J. White, and they had an outstanding recruiting class.
This will be our last full card of the season and would love to have you along for the winning ride, as we get back on track and finish it out with a bang.
Best of Luck this week,