When the college football schedules were officially released, it is a terrific time to go through the various leagues and forecast what the potentially lucrative spots are to profit from. The factors may include revenge, scheduling and look-aheads. Here is ten specific dates on the calendar which are worthy of consideration for wagers.
South Carolina at N. C. State
North Carolina State closed the 2008 regular season with four wins to earn bowl berth, before falling 29-23 to an equally hot Rutgers club in the Papajohns.com bowl. Coach Tom O’Brien’s disciplined style started to take root and 15 starters are coming back from last year’s turnaround squad. The Wolfpack were embarrassed 34-0 at South Carolina last year and have return engagement in Raleigh this go-round. The Gamecocks lost a number of talented defenders and last year’s offense was a mess, rushing for just 94.1 yards per game. This matchup will once again be on ESPN and coach Steve Spurrier is only 7-7 ATS in non-conference games and has usual early date with Georgia next on Sept. 12. South Carolina is 2-7-1 ATS facing non-conference foes before the Bulldogs. Motivated Wolfpack do the job.
Texas Tech at Texas
The first month of the season has only one game that truly matters to returning Texas players, Texas Tech. The Red Raiders kept the Longhorns out of the BCS title game in 2008 and its payback time. Senior QB Colt McCoy has a veteran offensive line and experienced receiving corps, led by Jordan Shipley. Normally coach Mike Leach’s offense does not slow down much when new signal caller is brought in, however expected starter Taylor Potts will be starting on the road for the first time in Austin on a Saturday night, after facing softies North Dakota and Rice. The home team is 8-3 ATS in last 11, add one more W to that total with team in burnt orange burning in-state rival.
South Florida at Florida State
South Florida returns its two stars; quarterback Matt Grothe and defensive lineman George Selvie. Coach Jim Leavitt has been scheduling softer since joining the Big East and has three milk cartons (Wofford, @ West. Ky. and Charleston Southern) before facing Florida State. Even with quality players like Grothe and Selvie, the lack of big time competition will hurt USF at Tallahassee. The Seminoles will have already played Miami-Fl. and at BYU and be better prepared. Florida State isn’t about to let an in-state squad build reputation at their expense and buries the Bulls with skill and depth.
Wake Florida at Clemson
More than anything, this is nefarious scheduling slot for Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons suffered four ACC losses last season and their first three conference games are against teams they lost to. The last one is a home game against Maryland, whom they were white-washed by 24-0 last season at College Park. Clemson on the other hand will be off a bye and should be ready after losing as a favorite last year 12-7 at Wake Forest. With the visitor 2-6-2 ATS the last decade, emotionally worn-out Wake doesn’t fire against rested foe.
Oregon State at USC
The line on this Pac-10 clash probably won’t be fair, however it might not matter. By the end of October, the quarterback will be well-situated, behind a stellar offensive line for perennial power USC and pursuing revenge will be utmost on the Trojans mind after last season’s debacle. Oregon State has holes to fill on the defensive and offensive lines and though the Beavers should be settled, the wave of emotion will be too much to overcome. The visitor is 3-8 ATS and coach Pete Carroll will have his Cheshire cat grin after encounter.
Houston at Tulsa
The Tulsa offense won’t be as potent as the last several seasons, nevertheless the defense brought back eight starters and they have long memories. The Golden Hurricane started 8-0 in 2008 and had BCS talk swirling around them until they lost at Arkansas 30-23. Two weeks later, still afflicted with pang of first loss, Tulsa ran into hot Houston club who hung 70 points on them, in 40-point loss. (That’s 7 followed by zero) The Cougars are favored to end Tulsa’s claim to C-USA West title this campaign, however they are off huge Southern Miss home game and are stymied by rare November Hurricane in Oklahoma.
Utah at TCU
Utah grabbed all the headlines in the Mountain West Conference in 2008, with perfect 13-0 season. The Utes won three games by three points or less last season and arguably the toughest was against TCU, who led almost the entire way. The Horned Frogs did everything right, but could not stop Utah on their final deciding drive in 13-10 loss. TCU is the host this campaign and the core players that led to 11-2 season return. With Utah looking for its road legs after three straight home games, the Horned Frogs will be well prepared and are 17-7-1 as single digit conference favorites at Amon G. Cater Stadium.
Penn State at Michigan State
Penn State will start the season as the #6 team in The Edge, but not too far down the line is Michigan State at 20th. Third year coach Mark Dantonio has upgraded the talent at East Lansing to where the Spartans will have legitimate chance to finish second in the Big Ten, if the cards fall their way. Dantonio is a very serious type and expects his players not to accept losing. Michigan State was pummeled at Penn State 49-18 as 16.5-point underdogs and set up to be home dogs this time around. With excess provocation and the home team 9-3 ATS, expect Sparty to retake the Land Grant Trophy in 2009.
Rutgers at Louisville
The last Thursday night game of last season was memorable for Rutgers and an absolute nightmare for Louisville. The Scarlet Knights crushed the Cardinals 63-14, out-gaining them 671 to 318. Many are not that optimistic about Louisville’s chances of regaining recent past glory, yet if coach Steve Kragthorpe expects to be coaching beyond this season at present location, he needs his team to watch film of last season for this day after Thanksgiving contest. If the Big East plays out as presumed, Rutgers might take the ‘Ville for granted, looking ahead to season ending encounter at home against West Virginia.
Rice at Houston
The Cougars may have a tough time in Tulsa, but this offensive juggernaut has some dishing out to do them selves. Houston only needed to win at fellow city disputant Rice, for right to play in C-USA title game, instead was blasted 56-42, in a game that wasn’t that close. Quarterback Case Keenum is dynamic and the Cougars should be right back in same position this time on home turf. Rice loses all its important offensive weapons and these Owls are not going to be noted for defense. Houston may use 70+ point calling card again versus Rice. The home team is 7-3 ATS.