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College Football Notes
by Scott Spreitzer - 10/31/2005
Hokie Power: If you had any doubts about how good this Virginia Tech defense is, they've been erased the last two games. The Hokies dominated Maryland and Boston College the last two, scoring another defensive touchdown against BC on an interception. Boston College only gained 27 yards on the ground. The Hokies had 492 total yards as Virginia Tech QB Marcus Vick completed 22 of 28 passes for 280 yards. They still will need some breaks out of their control if a USC/Virginia Tech National title game were to take place. Their biggest test takes place this Saturday, hosting No. 6 Miami. Both teams have talented, speedy defenses, so points will be tough to come by. Also, the underdog is 8-2 against the spread their last 10 meetings.
Mythical Title Game: USC/Texas is in the cards, of course, with the Trojans currently a 6Â½ point favorite if they meet. A few weeks ago before Texas ripped Oklahoma, the line on that game was USC 11Â½, so the Texas defense and QB Vince Young have gained a lot of respect. For the record, you can wager on other potential title game matchups, with USC a 12Â½ point favorite over Virginia Tech and Texas a 6-point chalk over the Hokies.
Whoa, Nellie! As Keith Jackson would say, "We've got a barn-burner here." Out in the Mountain West, Colorado State's wild comeback at New Mexico, 35-25, suddenly makes this weekend's game between TCU and CSU a showdown. TCU is 5-0 in the Mountain West, with the Rams at 4-1, with first place at stake. Sonny Lubick had his ice-bucket bath and game ball signed by the players Friday for his 100th career victory at Colorado State. "That was one gallant effort," Lubick said. "That was a great win for us." The Rams, in the eighth game of the season, also found a place-kicker in walk-on Jason Smith, who booted four field goals, included a 41-yarder into the wind. Colorado State had a minus-12 turnover margin last season, but is +9 this year. Now comes a big one at TCU. The teams didn't meet last year because TCU is in its first year of MWC play. Even with the big win, Colorado State is still 2-7 SU, 4-5 ATS its last 9 road games.
Mr. Holland's Opus: Colorado State QB Justin Holland got heavy praise in the upset over New Mexico. "He's the most efficient quarterback in the league right now," New Mexico coach Rocky Long said. Holland is averaging 281.3 yards per game on 63 percent accuracy, with 20 touchdown passes and eight interceptions. His efficiency rating is 161.5, but in MWC play it's 179.5, because of 13 touchdown passes and just three interceptions. He was 20-of-26 for 312 yards, 2 TDs, no picks against New Mexico.
Badgers' Role Reversal: College football teams often change from year to year because of graduation losses. Never is this more evident than with Wisconsin. The Badgers are 8-1 SU, 6-2 ATS after a win over Illinois Saturday. A year ago they had a great defense and a plodding, conservative offense. Wisconsin lost its best run-stuffers to the NFL, and this year's team is allowing 175 rushing yards per game! They may be 8-1 overall, but notice a bad Illinois team (0-5 in the conference) had 538 total yards and 261 rush yards! The Badgers are 6-3 "over" the total. Wisconsin has a key showdown Saturday for first place in the Big 10 with Penn State. The Badgers are 6-2 ATS the last 8 meetings.
Texas A&M/Texas Tech: In the Big 12, a couple of electric quarterbacks meet Saturday in pass-happy Cody Hodges and Reggie McNeal. Texas Tech is 11-4 against the number the last 15 meetings.In another Big 12 tilt, Nebraska faces Kansas. The Huskers have won 36 in a row against the Jayhawks, going 28-8 ATS!
Whoa Nellie, Part II: What is it about the MAC this season? Last week we witnessed a rarity, a 25-point home favorite (Bowling Green) LOSING the game, 45-14 to Western Michigan! And this week, Ball State was a 25-point dog at Northern Illinois and won easily, 31-17.
Dawg with No Bite! How important is quarterback play? Only the most important position on the field. Georgia lost senior QB D.J. Shockley and the Bulldogs suffered their first defeat Saturday. Junior QB Joe Tereshinski III was forced to step in and was 8-of-21 for 100 yards, one INT against the ferocious Gator defense. Meanwhile, Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore passed for 438 yards leading a Beaver attack that rolled up 638 yards against Arizona. Yet, he threw 6 interceptions in the stunning 29-27 loss to Arizona.
One More Down: Did you see Air Force go for it on fourth down early in the BYU game? They got it, making the Falcons 14-for-16 on fourth down conversions this season! As sensational as that is, that's still "only" third-best in the nation!
Game of the Century? Not Even Game of the Day: Oklahoma's victory at Nebraska was the first time the Sooners have won in Lincoln since 1987. That 1987 game was memorable because the two teams were undefeated and ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the country, and the first time that had happened since the famous 1971 meeting (also No. 1 versus 2), a thriller won by the Huskers 35-31. However, Saturday's game was also the first time both Nebraska and Oklahoma were not ranked in the Top 20 since 1961!