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Fourth and Inches by Doc
Our two college 6-unit plays split this past weekend as we won with Purdue -5 over Ohio State, and lost with Minnesota -4½ over Iowa.
I was very displeased with Minnesota's effort. The Gophers had 337 yards rushing against Iowa's strength, their defense. RBs Marion Barber III and Lawrence Maroney each had over 100 yards. However, as in past four games, the Gophers defense once again failed. They did hold the Hawkeyes' rushing to the very minimum, however Iowa did have 333 yards in the air. As so many years in the past, the Gophers started the season 5-0 and faltered in the stretch. I look for Mason to make a change at defensive coordinator.
Purdue almost gave their game away. The Boilers led 17-3 at the half. It took QB Orton to bring them back with a late touchdown in the 4th quarter to seal the victory. Purdue is at home this week for their final regular season game of the year. The Boilers are facing rival Indiana this week and I look for QB Orton to have a big game here. But having to lay 20? I'm not sure that's a good bet!
Of course the big question in the Big Ten will be, can Wisconsin come back. The Badger defense simply got fried by Michigan State. If that defense had a weakness (and it has) it was exposed Saturday, that being average linebackers. The Badgers will be on the road this week against Iowa. Wisconsin has always had trouble at Iowa. The playing surface has always been a small reason, but significant enough. This will be a very interesting match up. I like this game because of a major issue one team will face. Very likely this game will be on our selection list.
Talk about getting roasted or toasted or whatever. Someone really got it handed to them. I'm speaking of the big move on Oregon. The line all week on the Oregon-UCLA match up was Oregon by six. Saturday morning the line moved to nine. Someone forgot to tell UCLA what was going on, as the Bruins beat the Ducks straight up. Certainly not a happy day for those who followed the big move.
One of our top scouts, who follows the Mountain West Conference, called me this past Sunday night after the early lines for this week were posted. He informed me about a game he is really in love with and the reasons why. I couldn't agree with him more. This scout has given us a lot of winners over the years in this conference. He has always been especially good in the last week of the season. He seems to have a real handle on which teams are still playing and which ones have packed it in. And yes, he was the one that thought Wyoming was a good play, getting 23 points over Utah last week. The choice was right, however the cowboys had to get two touchdowns in the last 37 seconds of the game to get the victory. Anyway, back to business. I like his reasoning for this Top Selection and I think the line is favorable. Therefore we will be going with a 7-unit play with this selection, our Mountain West Conference Game of the Year. We have never gone with a game in this conference using this many units, but it needs to be done and we will get the victory.
This is the week of all the big rivals and many of them are interstate rivalries. The Michigan - Ohio State game should be a dandy. The Buckeyes are just not the team of the past years, but are always dangerous at home.
I think one of the best state rivalries will be the Auburn-Alabama match up. A lot of folks think this Auburn ball club could be the best team in the land. Might just be, however the Tigers will get a real test here. That 'Bama' defense might just have something to say about the results. Posted as an 8½-point dog, I have to like the Homer here. An over/under hasn't been posted yet. That's the bet I want to make.
I started this business when I was 27 years old. Being in the business for 33 years, it doesn't take a genius to figure out how old I am. What makes me think about this is the opening deer-hunting season this week in Wisconsin. It's a time of the year when buddies get together and try to bag that big buck, or just reminisce about how this one got away or the big shot they made. Most of the stories have been told a dozen times or more. Who cares, it's part of the hunt. Yes, even after 33 years of being in this business, I still head out to the woods opening morning. Yes, a gun in one hand and a radio or small TV in the other. After all these years, getting a deer still comes in second to who wins the Ohio State - Michigan game, etc. Some things never change.
The Basketball season is in full swing. A lot of college teams have their first game under their belt. Even a few surprises already in this young season. As I mentioned last week, we are now taking sign-ups for our Basketball Selections, with the "Early Bird" sign-up in effect.
We have had a few calls inquiring as to what and where is the best publication available. Without question, the best one is "Blue Ribbon College Basketball Yearbook." It can be found at www.blueribbonyearbook.com. It's the best!
How long can the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to win? As of this writing they have won seven straight. Tapped as a 5½-point favorite this week at Cincinnati could test the streak. One has to certainly look at the Dog here.
Just a note on stocks, Navarre and Akamai, a couple of stocks we recommended a couple of years ago, and they are doing great. Navarre hit a year-high today at $17.50 and Akamai is doing well at $13.50. I think Akamai has potential to hit big, the $25 - $50 range, in the next year or two. What would I buy now? Cash Systems (CKW) will see a $2.00 move in the next month.
Sports betting is the best. It certainly keeps the blood flowing, especially when one is having a losing day. It seems like the ultimate 'high' never makes up for emotional gut-wrenching loss. Reminds me of the guy who continued to lose at football, then decided to try basketball and continued to lose at that. After a while his friend told him maybe he should try betting on Hockey. He said, "Bet Hockey? I don't know anything about Hockey."
Two big bets this week that we definitely have a chance to put into the Win column. A total in the Big Ten & Mountain West Conf. GOY!