- Have ya seen the betting line this week? Basically anywhere from 13 to 13.5 points in favor of Cal. Not sure if you follow betting point spreads, but to think the home team automatically gets three points out of the chute, they are saying that the action is on Cal winning by at least two TD's. I know we see some crazy early-season lines, but even with just one game in the books in which we looked pretty inept for 3/4ths of the game, this seems pretty out there.
To put it in proper context, we have only been this big of a home underdog twice since the turn of the century. In 2004, we got an amazing 24 points against USC, but they still covered in a 42-12 romp in the sleet and rain. But in 2006, we were a 16-pt dog to USC in Pullman, and only lost 28-22. And if you really want to dig in, we are 6-2 against the number in our last eight home games as a home underdog.
But, then again....Vegas seems to know what they are doing, don't they? They aren't in the business of losing money. And truth be told, they aren't saying that 13 or 13.5 is what they actually think Cal is going to win by. They are setting that number where they think they will get a lot of betting action on both sides of the line. So we'll see, but this bears watching as the week rolls on.
- Speaking of Cal, they looked impressive week one, but they aren't exactly USC are they? They did cough up 31 points at home to Michigan State, a Big 10 team that went 7-6 last year and returned only 13 starters, third fewest of any Big 10 team. However, MSU was bringing back their leading rusher and starting QB. But sophomore WR Mark Dell, who went off for over 200 yards receiving, had just 20 catches all of last year. If you are looking for something to feel good about offensively for this week, maybe this bodes well for Brandon Gibson??
- All the NFL stuff shook out over the weekend as final cuts were announced. Bumpus, as we thought, made the practice squad in a move that wasn't a big surprise. We also heard some good things about Jed Collins, and sure enough, he landed with the Eagles practice squad. Finally, MKB made the Jags practice squad.
Not so good for Alex Brink however. He was released, as the Texans are keeping just two QB's, and at last report had NOT been signed to the practice squad. It's too bad, because initially the buzz was pretty positive that he looked like a guy who could have an opportunity to at least stick with Gary Kubiak's west-coast offense in Houston. But it wasn't to be. Hopefully he'll find his place in the NFL, but if not, well, good luck to the "BIG APPLE".
- How about that Rick Neuheisel?? Our own Longball went out on a limb and picked them to win, 28-24, missing by only a point, while I went with the rest of the national media and was convinced Tennessee would smother the Bruins. Sure enough, even though Kevin Craft had a miserable FOUR-INT first half, he played great after halftime and the Bruins snuck one out.
Still, you have to wonder how many of these types of games they can actually survive. Just 29 yards rushing, only 288 yards of total offense, four turnovers and they still win? Maybe there's an issue with Tennessee opening up out west, where they lost for the second consecutive year (remember their loss at Cal last year?).
UCLA didn't escape the game unscathed, losing three big-time seniors in Kahlil Bell, Marcus Everett and Logan Paulson. Basically their best skill-position guys on the team. But yet again, we see that there's actually a reason they play the games! Hardly anyone saw this coming, so, good call Longball.
Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Some quick things to get your week started after the holiday weekend.