Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, October 13, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Hey, we're quite sure that you've noticed ...There's been a handful of College Football Games on the Saturday docket that's really moved on the Las Vegas line and so let's get into some of 'em right here and right now:
The Ole Miss Rebels have climbed from a 3 ½-point betting favorite to being a 6-point choice against SEC rival Auburn as the Tigers' swoon has convinced the betting public that "this year is over" for them.
On the flip side, Ole Miss impressed handicappers with last week's 30-27 loss-but-cover against Texas A&M plus folks have noticed how Ole Miss has covered its last three games in a row. The Rebs could wind up laying a full TD or more by kickoff ...
BYU has grown from a 3 ½-point opening line favorite to minus 6 in its home game against Oregon State and it's no secret that Beavers' slinger Sean Mannion is out for the next several weeks. No doubt he's the key figure for an Oregon State offense that's averaged 28 points a game in Pac-12 affairs against UCLA, Arizona and Washington State plus you chuck into the mix the fact BYU's defense has been stout and should be tough on a new signal-caller. The question we have is BYU's offense good enough to be laying a TD against the nation's 10th-ranked team with or without Mannion ...
inally, interesting to see that West Virginia (5-0) is being bet against late in the week in its Big 12 road game at Texas Tech.
Okay, so maybe the public's thought process here is the Mountaineers just won in upset fashion at Texas last weekend in a 48-45 thriller and may suffer a letdown but note this game was West Virginia -5 ½ and it's down to 3 points in some locales. We'll soon see if the "smart money" was so smart after all.
Now, here's the marquee matchups on this Saturday's busy College Football card:
#3 SOUTH CAROLINA (6-0) at #9 LSU (5-1) - 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Is this the year the "ole ball coach" wins the SEC and gets to play in a national championship game?
Don't look now but these South Carolina Gamecocks - led by their nearly 70-year-old (and still feisty) head coach Steve Spurrier -- have been absolutely dominant thus far with the club's six years coming by a per-game average of 25.8 ppg ... now that deserves a wow!
The Gamecocks merely dominated Georgia 35-7 last week - it's hard to believe now that Carolina was only favored by a single point in that one! - as DE Jadeveon Clowney and his defensive friends were all over the joint but better believe the whole speed of this game will be ratcheted up by a hungry LSU squad that lost at Florida last week and gained only 200 offensive yards in the process.
LSU slinger Zach Mettenberger completed just 11-of-25 passes for 158 yards and one INT against the Gators and the question is when do the Bayou Bengals get to see the "real" Mettenberger at work?
Did You Know? - The SC Gamecocks have covered their last five consecutive games this year following that season-opening spread loss to Vanderbilt.
#17 STANFORD (4-1) at #7 NOTRE DAME (5-0) - 3:30 p.m. ET, NBC
The good news for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is this: They matter again!
The bad news? If they're not careful, Brian Kelly's club could get picked off in any one of its next three games - that's here against Stanford, home to BYU and than at Oklahoma - and so let's hold off on all that BCS Championship Game talk for now, okay?
Consider that Notre Dame's defense - starring LB Manti Te'o - has held its last three foes (Michigan State, Michigan and Miami) to a combined 12 points but now they have to deal with a born-again Stanford QB Josh Nunes who threw for 360 yards and two TDs (along with three rushing scores) in a wild/gut-wrenching 54-48 OT win against Arizona last weekend. If Nunes is feeling more confident, who can blame him but note Stamford here will be without one of his top targets as WR Ty Montgomery (18 catches) has a lower body injury.
Did You Know? - Notre Dame is a dead-even but vig-losing 10-10-3 ATS (against the spread) as betting favorites under third-year head coach Brian Kelly and that includes chalk covers this year against Navy, Michigan and Miami.
#5 WEST VIRGINIA (5-0) at TEXAS TECH (4-1) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC regional
Let's just say the WVU Mountaineers loved their first-ever Big 12 road game as last week's aforementioned triumph at Texas was fun stuff all the way around as QB Geno Smith aired four scoring strikes and the nation's second-ranked passing game (now averaging a haughty 407 yards a game) made plenty of big plays even though the 'Neers wound up throwing for "only" 268 yards in that clash.
Now, West Virginia looks to maul a Texas Tech team that figures to have trouble handling that one-two wide receiver tandem of Tavon Austin (10 catches for 102 yards last week) and Stedman Bailey (8 receptions worth 75 yards against Texas).
If you're wondering what's a good/sound strategy here for T-Tech, it's this: Control the ball with a short, ball-control passing game directed by QB Seth Doege (1,392 yards passing with 15 TDs and 6 INTs) and let RB Kenny Williams - averaging 6.2 yards a pop - dent the interior of the West Virginia defense with lots of draws/traps. Maybe you can keep Mr. Smith off the field for 40 minutes of game clock here, you never know!
Did You Know? - West Virginia's covered six of its last eight away games while dating back to the start of last year.
#15 TEXAS (4-1) at #13 OKLAHOMA (3-1) - 12 p.m. ET, ABC
Gotta believe the OU Sooners will be feeling pretty good about themselves following last weekend's 41-20 win at 4 ½-point pup Texas Tech with Bob Stoops' crew boasting the country's ninth-ranked passing defense (allowing just 160.5 aerial yards per game) and so let's see if Texas QB David Ash - a Heisman Trophy candidate on some lists these days - has success against Oklahoma's stop unit here.
Hey, Oklahoma will be dealing with a slinger that sports 11 TDs and just 1 INT (and a snazzy QB Rating of 180.1) while the flip side of this Red River Rivalry Game story is Sooners QB Landry Jones already has thrown for 1,037 yards with 7 TDs and 2 INTs and it seems he learned his lesson well about ball security deep in his own end (see Kansas State fumble a few weeks back).
Did You Know? - The team laying points is 6-3-1 spreadwise in the last 10 games in this rivalry tilt and that includes the Sooners' 55-17 win/cover last year as 11-point favorites.
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