by Doc - 10/26/2005
The Northwestern Wildcats are certainly the surprise team in the Big Ten this year. Taking this a step further, they are the most surprising team in the country. Once again, the Cats put away another Big Ten opponent, Michigan State, with an all-out offensive explosion. Like the Energizer Bunny, they keep going and going. What amazes me most about this team is that they are able to win games despite not having a strong defense. This unit ranks last in the Big Ten and has to be one of the worst in the country. Much of their success has to be given to QB Brett Basanez, as he has all but locked up 1st Team All Big Ten honors. He has already thrown for 2,181 yards and 12 touchdowns.
This week the Wildcats are at home when they welcome in Michigan to Ryan Field. This game should be a real test for the Cats and we will find out if this team is for real. This is a tough game to handicap, as the Cats have gained confidence and Michigan has played five emotional games in the past five weeks. After beating Iowa on the road last week, I have to wonder if they can rise up again? For Northwestern, the road does not get any easier, as they host Iowa in two weeks followed by a trip to Columbus. If Northwestern can win two of these three games, they will be big time bowling. If am interested in the posted number on Nov. 12 against Ohio State, as the Bucks are one of the few teams in the conference that have a defense capable of shutting down the powerful Cat attack. With revenge on their mind from last season, you can mark my words that Ohio State will destroy Northwestern.
In other Big Ten action this week, one of the most exciting games on paper appears to be Ohio State traveling to Minneapolis. The Gophers had a much needed bye week after a gut wrenching loss to Wisconsin on Oct. 15. That loss came without their starting QB Bryan Cupito, who missed the game because of a shoulder injury. Cupito should be back this weekend and what a difference he makes for this team, as he gives them the ability to throw the ball over the top. I think the Gophers will be ready to play; however, the trends all point to the Buckeyes, as they are 11-5 ATS over the last 16 meetings. They have not lost a game in the Dome since 1981. A win by OSU here and they have a good shot to win the Big Ten title.
Losing is never fun but you have to accept it when it happens, knowing it will turn around, as it always has in the past! No question the past two weeks in college have been the most brutal defeats we have experienced in years. Complaining phone calls is all part of the business and anyone who spends money has that right. In fact I think calls are appropriate, as long as the caller states his name and keeps it in prospective. Believe me we take this job serious; however, sometimes one has to keep a little humor in life before moving forward.
Being full of shit is not part of this work, but it does remind me of a joke I heard years ago. Three flies were traveling south for the winter and during their flight they saw a big pile of shit and pulled in to dine. When leaving, the papa fly was so full he could not get off the pile, looking around; he saw a pitchfork. He felt if he crawled up the fork, he could fly off and get a head start. This did not work, as when he tried to fly off, he went right into the ground and fell splat, dead! The mother fly observed this and decided that she did not eat that much, crawled up the fork, flew, and fell flat, dead! The baby fly knew that he had not eaten that much and crawled up the fork, flew and then fell flat, Dead! Know what the moral of this story is: Do not fly off the handle when you are full of shit. Last two weeks results look like we are full of shit; however, we are not and will come back strong in the next few weeks. You can mark my word on this!
There is a very good chance the Big Ten Game of the Year will go next weekend, Nov. 5. We have a game that sets up beautifully and we will know early in the week if it is a go. If things do not go as we expect, the game will definitely going on Nov. 12.
A tough year for the sportsbooks in College Football. Normally, sportsbooks win 4-5 percent, which is considered normal because of the juice. Anything over this number is gravy; however, this year it has definitely been below that figure. Most of this can be attributed to large favorites covering as teams like Temple, Ball State and Western Michigan have not been able to cover 30-plus pointspreads.
Pro football has been better for the books, as parity has once again risen in the NFL. If you handicap teams based on their performance of a week ago you will certainly find yourself in the poorhouse. You should expect the complete opposite in a team's performance from their last game.
Looking at the NFL schedule this week, a couple of games stand out. Our top selection will be a small home favorite playing with a strong offense. One other game that stands out is our hometown Packers heading east to take on the Bengals. Green Bay has been decimated by injuries, as Ahman Green and Robert Ferguson both went down in their last game against Minnesota. The number is high and I would expect the Bengals to amass a 20-point lead in the game before Favre may put up some numbers against a prevent defense. With all these injuries, Mike Sherman certainly has an excuse not to be fired this season. Despite the before mentioned, the fans in Wisconsin have voiced their opinions about the embattled coach.
Stepping away from football, the Breeders' Cup takes place this Saturday at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY. The races start at 1 p.m. EST and all eight races are televised on NBC. As it stands now, the Breeders' Cup Classic will feature many of the well-known Triple Crown contenders from the past. Sun King, Perfect Drift, Rock Hard Ten and Flower Alley are well known names that fell short in the past, but now have a chance to make amends. The morning line favorite is Saint Liam, who will be ridden by veteran jockey Jerry Bailey. As most of you know, handicapping horse racing is one of my hobbies and after the success of the Belmont Stakes; we will be releasing plays in our member's section. I will be in contact with trainers and owners at the track and I feel confident in success. Weather could also be a factor, as rain is in the forecast for Saturday afternoon. Remember our $100 base bet in the Belmont Stakes would have resulted in $730 in winnings.
For the first time in my 34 years of business we will be releasing the Big Ten Game of the Year as a 10-Unit selection. This is the world famous game that covered an amazing 19 years in a row. As previously mentioned the game is set to go on Saturday, Nov. 5. Sign-up for this selection now and take advantage of our early bird special, which comes with a guarantee that you cannot afford to miss. This special promotion ends Friday, Oct. 28, so be sure to call our main sports office @ (800) 356-9182 or our Las Vegas office @ (866) 238-6696.
That's it for this week and as always Good Luck,