Friday Night Lights: Navy at Central Michigan

Published on Oct. 12, 2012, at 1:10 a.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

Well, at least we can bet on it. There’s no need to create a lead paragraph that attempts to fire up college football fans for this week’s edition of Friday Night Lights.

In short, it’s a total scrub game. If you aren’t making a wager on the game, there’s no reason to watch Central Michigan host Navy on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on ESPN2.

As of Thursday afternoon, most books were listing Central Michigan (2-3 straight up, 1-4 against the spread) as a two-point favorite with a total of 60. Gamblers can take the Midshipmen to win outright for a plus-105 payout (risk $100 to win $105).

Navy (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) is coming off its best performance of the season, winning 28-21 at Air Force as a nine-point road underdog. Trey Miller was the catalyst with 18 carries for 110 yards. He also completed all three of his passes for 19 yards.

Navy got the winning points in extraordinary fashion. QB Keenan Reynolds fumbled the center exchange on a play from the Air Force one yard line. Moments later, offensive guard Jake Zuzek recovered in the end zone to give Navy the lead.

The Midshipmen defense got a stop to seal the victory.

Ken Niumatalolo’s squad got its other win in Week 4, trouncing VMI 41-3 as a 37-point home favorite. Navy’s losses have come against Notre Dame (50-10), at Penn St. (34-7) and vs. San Jose St. (12-0).

Navy annually has one of the country’s best ground attacks and this year is no exception. The Midshipmen rank 16th in the nation in rushing with an average of 232.4 yards per game.

CMU opened the season with a 38-27 win over SE Missouri St. Next, the Chippewas lost 41-7 at Michigan St. as 18-point underdogs.

Following an open date in Week 3, Dan Enos’s team went into Big Ten country and emerged with a stunning 32-31 upset victory at Iowa as a 14 ½-point underdog. Since then, however, the Chippewas have lost their first two MAC games 55-24 at No. Illinois and 50-35 at Toledo.

CMU is led by junior RB Zurlon Tipton, who has rushed for a team-high 447 yards and six touchdowns. Tipton is averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Senior QB Ryan Radcliff, who had a 25/16 touchdown-to-interception ratio last year, has nine TD passes compared to six interceptions this season.

As a road underdog during Niumatalolo’s five-year tenure, Navy has compiled an 11-6 spread record. Meanwhile, CMU has limped to an abysmal 1-6 ATS mark in seven games as a home favorite under Dan Enos.

The ‘over’ has hit in three straight CMU games and is 3-0-1 overall for the Chippewas. The ‘under’ has cashed in three consecutive games for Navy and is 3-1 overall.

These teams last met two years ago when Navy collected a 38-37 home win, but CMU took the money as a 14-point underdog. The 75 combined points went ‘over’ the 54 ½-point total.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

–Enos has an 8-21 SU record in his three years as the CMU head coach.

–Alabama has been tabbed as an enormous 21-point favorite at Missouri. Since 2008, the Crimson Tide has cashed tickets at a 12-5 ATS clip as a road ‘chalk.’

–Arkansas was dealt a pair of crushing losses this week with senior linebackers Alonzo Highsmith and Tenarius Wright going down with season-ending injuries. Highsmith, the Razorbacks’ leading tackler, broke his foot in last week’s 24-7 win at Auburn. Wright is scheduled to have shoulder surgery soon. The Hogs are favored by 18 at home vs. Kentucky.

–After hip surgery this week, Tennessee’s Derek Dooley will coach from the press box Saturday at Mississippi St. The Volunteers are three-point underdogs at unbeaten Mississippi St. The Bulldogs are 7-5 ATS as home favorites under Dan Mullen, while the Vols are 3-4 ATS as road underdogs on Dooley’s watch.

–Ole Miss will be looking to snap its 16-game losing streak against SEC foes when it hosts Auburn on Saturday as a 5 ½-point favorite. The Tigers are 3-7 ATS as road underdogs during Gene Chizik’s tenure.

–I hated hearing the news of Beano Cook passing away in his sleep Wednesday night at the age of 81. Cook, the legendary broadcaster, was one of the good guys. RIP, Beano (1931-2012).

–LSU will play host to South Carolina on Saturday night as a three-point home favorite. In home favorite spots during Les Miles’s eight-year tenure, the Tigers have posted an abysmal 18-28-1 spread record. On the flip side, South Carolina is 12-8-1 ATS as a road underdog under Steve Spurrier.

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