Week 7 Primer
Published on Friday, 10/14/16, at 6:29 p.m. Eastern.
–Jerod Evans has a 15/1 touchdown-to-interception ratio while leading Va. Tech to a 4-1 record. He’s also second on Justin Fuente’s team in rushing with 258 yards and two TDs for a 4.2 yards-per-carry average. The Hokies have 40/1 odds to win the CFP at the Westgate SuperBook. When you look at their schedule, it’s not unreasonable to see them winning out in the rest of their regular-season games. This just in: Fuente can coach.
–Northwestern owns a 23-15 spread record as a road underdog during Pat Fitzgerald’s tenure. The Wildcats are 6.5-point ‘dogs at Michigan St., which is looking to avoid a fourth consecutive loss for the first time since 2006. The Spartans have never lost four in a row on Mark Dantonio’s watch.
–Southern Cal’s leading rusher Justin Davis is ‘out’ at Arizona due to a high-ankle sprain sustained in last week’s 21-17 non-covering home win over Colorado. Ronald Jones will get the start at RB in place of Davis, who has rushed for 476 yards with a 6.4 YPC average.
–If you look at the Big 12 standings, you’ll see Iowa St. with a 1-5 record. However, if you dig a little deeper, you can see that Matt Campbell has the Cyclones improving. In fact, they’ve been a serious money maker for our purposes. Campbell’s bunch has covered the number in four consecutive games and the ‘over’ has hit in all four of those contests as well. ISU took Baylor and Oklahoma St. to the wire the last two weeks, nearly winning outright and easily taking the cash as a double-digit underdog in both games. The Cyclones are 14-point underdogs Saturday at Texas.
–Nebraska’s best WR Jordan Westerkamp is ‘doubtful’ at Indiana. Westerkamp, who had team-highs in catches (65), receiving yards (918) and TD grabs (7) last season, has 13 receptions for 228 yards and five TDs through five games this year. The Cornhuskers will likely be without starting TE Cethan Carter as well. Carter, who has 10 catches for 101 yards and one TD, is ‘doubtful’ with an elbow injury. Mike Riley’s team was a 3.5-point road ‘chalk’ at IU as of Friday afternoon.
–Indiana All-American OG Dan Feeney is ‘questionable’ vs. Nebraska (concussion).
–USF’s Quinton Flowers has 1,317 passing yards and an 11/3 TD-INT ratio. Also, the Bulls QB has 498 rushing yards and four TDs while averaging 6.4 YPC. USF takes on UConn in Tampa as a 20-point home favorite.
–Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner has been ruled ‘out’ this week at Maryland.
–Stanford star RB Christian McCaffrey is ‘questionable’ at Notre Dame.
–Only one team remains unscathed for our purposes and that would be Colorado with its 6-0 spread record. The Buffs are double-digit favorites vs. Arizona St.
–Speaking of the 5-1 Sun Devils, they’ve won all seven of their games against Colorado by 14 points or more. They’ve only been double-digit ‘dogs three times during Todd Graham’s five-year tenure, winning outright in two of those spots. ASU is beat up at the QB position with its No. 2 and No. 3 QBs sidelined with injuries. However, starter Manny Wilkins, who missed last week’s win over UCLA, practiced Thursday and was upgraded to ‘probable.’
–The worst ATS squads are Oregon (0-5-1 ATS) and FAU (0-6 ATS).
–Wisconsin hasn’t been a home underdog since beating top-ranked Ohio St. 31-18 as a 3.5-point ‘dog in 2010. The Badgers are 10.5-point puppies vs. Ohio St. at Camp Randall tomorrow night. They’ve had two weeks to get ready for the Buckeyes after dropping a 14-7 decision at Michigan.
–What a wild-as-hell Coaching Carousel we have looming in December. LSU is the only definitive opening (of note, that is), but I’ll go ahead and say that Texas and Purdue are already shopping for new coaches. The likely openings include Vanderbilt, Ga. Tech, Kansas St. and Oregon. Other potential gigs that might become available are Southern Cal, Kentucky, Auburn, Penn St. and Mississippi St. Tom Herman is likely the No. 1 choice for both LSU and Texas, so we should add Houston to the likely list. Despite his unfathomable lack of understanding for the concept of clock management, Les Miles can still recruit and motivate with the best of ’em, and he’ll be a major candidate for a number of the quality jobs that become available. I won’t be surprised if Miles ends up at Houston. Gus Malzahn has Auburn playing better here recently, but that had better continue because no school in the country has a quicker pink-slip trigger than Auburn. I’ll throw out two more wild-card possibilities: Mike Gundy and Bob Stoops. I don’t see either coach getting fired, but I wouldn’t be shocked if one or both looks to make a move somewhere else.
–The ‘over’ has hit in five straight for the Pitt Panthers, who are short favorites at Virginia. The total is 61.5 points. Pitt will be without senior LB Mike Caprara, who will miss his second straight game. In four games this year, Caprara has nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, one QB hurry and one pass broken up.
–Florida has limped to a 2-6 spread record in eight games as a double-digit ‘chalk’ on Jim McElwain’s watch. The Gators are 13.5-point home favorites vs. Missouri. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. Eastern on The SEC Network.
–Best play of Week 6: Malik Foreman’s forced fumble just one yard and a split second before Texas A&M’s freshman RB Trayveon Williams was going to be in the end zone for a game-clinching 71-yard TD run. Foreman batted the ball out of Williams’s unsuspecting hands and through the back of the end zone. The resulting touchback allowed Tennessee to force overtime when Josh Dobbs found Alvin Kamara for an 18-yard TD pass with less than a minute remaining. The Aggies eventually won 45-38 in double OT, but Foreman’s sensational play nearly sparked the Vols to a fifth comeback win from a double-digit deficit this year.
–Texas Tech junior QB Patrick Mahomes is just downright nasty. He leads the nation in passing yards even though many of his competitors for that honor haven’t had an open date yet like the Red Raiders have. Mahomes has completed 72.8 percent of his passes for 2,274 yards with a 20/4 TD-INT ratio. He also has seven rushing scores. Texas Tech is a short home ‘dog vs. West Va.
–The ‘under’ cashed in South Carolina’s first five games. Another thunder ‘under’ appeared poised to cash last week when Georgia held a 21-7 advantage over South Carolina with less than two minutes remaining. The total had closed at 41.5 points at most books. The Gamecocks scored with 1:40 remaining to trim the deficit to 21-14. Then on the ensuing onside kick, a high bounce caused the South Carolina players to run past the ball, allowing Terry Godwin to catch the ball and dart 43 yards for a touchdown on the kickoff return. The subsequent extra point made for a 28-14 final with the 42 combined points slipping ‘over’ the tally. The unusual play, which we actually saw play out in the exact same way to impact the side and total in the California at Arizona St. game two weeks ago, allowed UGA backers to also cash as an 8.5-point road favorite. Nevertheless, expect more ‘unders’ from Will Muschamp’s team.
—My Alabama at Tennessee preview over at VegasInsider.com.
—My take on the SEC games this weekend as published at SECCountry.com. One correction: The stat I gave about Butch Jones being 2-0 ATS as a double-digit ‘dog should have read 2-0 ATS as a double-digit home ‘dog.
–Former Florida QB Will Grier has finally spoken out on his Year in PED Purgatory, as told to Matt Hayes of Bleacher Report.
–Any reason not to decorate the Week 7 Primer with a little Emily Ratajkowski action? I didn’t think so…