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Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:42 AM

The first night of college football is 111 days away and opening night in the National Football League 118 days out but the work to get ready for the coming season is underway. At this writing, Alabama is the 5-2 favorite to win its third straight national championship and its fourth in the past five years while the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers the 5-1 co-favorites to win the Super Bowl.

The first night of college football will fall on Thursday, August 29, and will be highlighted by two nationally televised (ESPN) games, North Carolina at South Carolina and Mississippi at Vanderbilt. The NFL begins the following Thursday night, September 5, with the Denver Broncos hosting the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens on NBC.

Baltimore should actually be opening at home, but finds itself in Denver as an 8.5-point underdog because of a scheduling conflict with the Baltimore Orioles. While the Ravens and the Orioles do not share the same stadium, they do share the same parking lots and the move was made to eliminate the chaos.

It may seem to some far too early to be handicapping the coming football season but my answer to them is a simple one-I have to analyze in depth 123 college teams and 32 NFL teams and I am already behind schedule. Winning is not an accident; it requires months of preparation.

Handicapping college football is a detailed matter of talent while the NFL is far more complicated than that. When I say talent in reference to the college game, I do not mean it in the same way it resonates with most fans and bettors who speak of it almost in passing, really not understanding what it is, what it means and what result it will produce.

By the way, that number would include Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops who said this week the Big 12 was a better football conference than the Southeastern Conference and that the nation's attraction to the power of the SEC is nothing more than propaganda.

Pretty strong stuff to say about a conference that has won seven straight national championships and has had but one team lose in the game and that was in 2012 with Alabama of the SEC met LSU of the SEC for the BCS title. In other words, the only team to lose in a championship game was beaten, 21-0, but by a fellow conference member.

Stoops Understanding Of Talent Is Superficial

It is not my intention to bash Stoops but his statement about the Big 12 vs. the SEC shows he is among those who do not understand the talent issue.

Winning at the highest level is all about the depth of blue-chip talent each team has recruited and accumulated over the past four seasons and it is the single factor that will accurately reveal whether a team is capable of playing with success its entire 12-game schedule. What is not known to the average football fan or bettor is the fact less than 20 of the 123 NCAA Division I-A teams is equipped to go the distance. The rest will be able to perform at peak efficiency for from three to five games and then begin a slow state of decline.

Midway through each season, the strong will get stronger and the weak weaker. Again, the category into which each team falls will be determined by the blue-chip depth it has on its depth chart. The top teams will be four or five players deep while the rest will be two players deep, with a few three deep at some positions. One only has to do the math to see where this is going.

Alabama's success at the highest level of the game is no mirage and certainly speaks the truth. To say it is simply propaganda is foolish, if not ignorant.

For the record, over the past four recruiting classes-from 2010 to 2013-Alabama has according to the agencies that rate players coming out of high school has recruited 98 players rated as blue-chip, 5-star, 4-star and 3-star types. Oklahoma has 91, but that does not reveal the difference between these two teams.

In breaking down Alabama's recruits in the four-year time frame, the Crimson Tide has landed:

A total of 11 Five-star players.
A total of 56 Four-star players.
A total of 31 Three-star players.

In breaking down Oklahoma's recruits in the same time frame, the Sooners have landed:

A total of 3 Five 5-star players.
A total of 41 Four-star players.
A total of 48 Three-star players.

While on the surface the figures appear to be somewhat equal, they are not. Alabama has 67 players rated five and four stars while Oklahoma has 44. This difference at the highest levels on the depth chart makes Alabama a champion and leaves teams such as Oklahoma on the outside looking in.

The only two exceptions to this are Bill Snyder at Kansas State and Chris Peterson at Boise State. Both are true geniuses of finding and landing exceptional players overlooked by most schools.  Both compete at the highest level of the game and their records speak for themselves. Snyder is 170-85-1 in 21 season at Kansas State while Peterson is 84-8 in eight at Boise State.

I hopefully have planted some seeds here, i.e. that the level of talent a team has will determine its future. This is an important discussion and will be continued here in my Monday afternoon column. I promise you will not want to miss it, since it gets right to the basics of winning.

The Saturday Betting Menu

(All Games Available On This Website And Toll Free At 1-800-755-2255) All Major Credit Cards Accepted

50-Unit NBA Playoff Winner Tops 2-0 Saturday
The NBA playoffs continue tonight with two games-the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Memphis Grizzlies (On ESPN) and the New York Knicks at the Indiana Pacers (ABC)-and one of these teams grades out as a 50-unit winner and I will be releasing it as just that. Get this standout 50-unit NBA winner, plus a 10-unit play on the second game, for just $50, charged to your major credit card and build your bankroll for a big weekend. For the record both series are tied 1-1.

25-Unit Baseball Blowout Game Of Week Wins Today
I have found the perfect spot on the Saturday baseball schedule to win a giant play on a team  that grades out as a blowout winner and that means I intend to win my Chairman's Baseball Investment Club 25-unit blowout game of The Week today. This is the classic power vs. weakness situation and I expect to win this one rather easily and, as usual, the price is right. You can win it with me for just $20, charged to your major credit card. Better yet, get on board for the entire Chairman's Club season and play right through the World Series in October for just $399. If you prefer a trial run, you can sign up for a month's worth of action for just $119. Get on board and start winning the big games today.

15-Unit Baseball Underdog Highlights 3-0 Baseball Saturday
My Best Bets Baseball Investment Club has been on quite a run and the winning continues today with a 3-game package that will be highlighted by a 15-unit play on an underdog that grades out as a solid and dominating winner. Get this underdog play, plus two additional unit-rated games, for just $15, charged to your major credit card. Better yet, get on board for the entire season for just $199 and play daily right through the World Series.

The Sunday Betting Menu

Get The Cash Sunday With Knockout 25-Unit 2-Team Parlay
I have been very successful with my 25-unit 2-team baseball parlays this season and am going for another one today. I have found two outstanding plays on today's  schedule and they grade out so closely in their ability to win that I am releasing both of them as 10-unit plays and then am tying them up in a 5-unit parlay. This is an opportunity to go 3-0 with these games and make a major score and you can do it for just $15, charged to your major credit card. Better yet, get on board for the entire season for just $199 and play daily right through the World Series with my Best Bets Baseball Investment Club releases.

25-Unit Solid Gold Power Play Wins Big Sunday
My Chairman's Baseball Investment Club  is going for the money again today with a knockout 25-unit solid gold power play on a team that grades out with better than a 90% chance to win and, as a bonus, is being offered to the betting public at a very nice price. Win this standout play for just $20, charged to your major credit card.

50-Unit NBA Playoffs Side/Total Parlay Cashes Sunday
There is just one game on the NBA playoffs schedule today-the San Antonio Spurs at the Golden State Warriors-and the circumstances surrounding this contest, which will be televised nationally on ABC-meet all the requirements for a 50-unit side/total parlay. I am releasing a 20-unit play on the side, a 20-unit play on the total and then tying these bets up in a 10-unit parlay-and I am confident I will get the money. Win it all today for just $25, charged to your major credit card.

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