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College FB Spread Notes

   by Al McMordie - 09/21/2006

The anticipation was worth the wait. College football is in full swing and, as always, there have already been surprises, upsets, blowouts and thrillers. None was more thrilling than Oregon on Saturday, coming back from the dead in the last minute and a half to stun Oklahoma, 34-33. Several teams have even played consecutive overtime games (Buffalo, Boston College), a betting trend that is going to be interesting to follow. The world of football is as rough and violent as a Clint Eastward western. With that in mind, here’s a quick look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly from college football’s early season action.

The Good: Nevada, Louisville and Missouri offenses. A lot of folks wondered what Missouri would do without QB Brad Smith, who went to the NFL after four years as the Tigers starting quarterback. Well they are even better! Missouri (3-0) has been impressive, averaging over 223 yards rushing AND passing per game! The key is sophomore QB Chase Daniel. Head coach Gary Pinkel took some criticism last season for throwing Daniel into a few games, but it has already paid dividends. Daniel accounted for 332 yards of total offense in their 34-7 win over Mississippi. He just threw a fourth quarter touchdown to bail out Missouri in a 27-17 win over New Mexico Saturday. The team totaled 396 yards.

Nevada doesn’t get a lot of ink, but Chris Ault’s Pistol offense is unique and effective. The Wolfpack is 2-1 against the spread, losing at Fresno State and Arizona State before an easy win over Colorado State. The offense is balanced and has plenty of experience, led by QB Jeff Rowe. In their win Saturday Rowe completed 19 of 22 passes. By the way, Nevada plays at home this weekend and they are 12-2 SU, 11-2 ATS their last 14 home games.

Of course, no one has a more explosive offense than Louisville. Coach Bobby Petrino was interviewed by the Oakland Raiders this past offseason and word is he turned them down. Can you blame him? The Cardinals (3-0 SU/ATS) averaged 43 points and over 188 yards rushing and 293 passing per game last season and are even better this year. Louisville leads the nation with 563 yards of offense per game and an average of 50 points. They are off a huge win over No. 17 Miami on Saturday 31-7. The only tough game on the schedule remaining is West Virginia at home. The only concern is that they’ve already lost star RB Mike Bush for the season (ankle) and Saturday lost junior QB Brian Brohm for 4-6 weeks with a broken finger. Freshman quarterback Hunter Cantwell gets the nod for now. By the way, Louisville is 19-8 against the spread the last 27 games!

The Bad: Colorado and Florida State offenses. The Clemson Tigers limited FSU to 204 yards of total offense Saturday. FSU's running game entered the Atlantic Coast Conference showdown as the offense's Achilles' heel, and the offense looked lost as the Seminoles used all three of their first-half timeouts in the first 8:43 of the first quarter! Quarterback Drew Weatherford, under constant pressure most of the game, could only muster 102 yards passing, and finished 11 of 19 with no interceptions, getting sacked four times.

Colorado has a new coach in Dan Hawkins, who worked with that devastating Boise offense the last few years. It’s clear you need talent on the field to run the playbook, because the Buffaloes have been awful. Colorado (0-3 SU/0-3 ATS) is averaging 7.7 points. And they didn't face great defenses, either, losing to Montana State, Colorado State and losing 21-3 at home to Arizona State Saturday. Colorado had an incredible 147 yards of TOTAL offense in its 14-10 loss to CSU.

The Ugly: The Florida Atlantic and Buffalo schedules, and Temple. Florida Atlantic has a positively brutal schedule. Florida Atlantic (0-3 SU, 0-2 ATS) opened at Clemson, a 54-6 loss, lost at Kansas State 54-0, and lost Saturday at Oklahoma State 45-8. Great for frequent flyer miles, sure, but hell on a football team. Head coach Howard Schnellenberger's offense is struggling under junior QB Sean Clayton, a former transfer from Michigan State, and he passed for just 112 yards against Clemson. The team is getting outscored by a 49-5 average. Florida Atlantic is also 1-11 SU, 3-9 ATS its last 12 as a dog.

Buffalo is 1-13 SU/5-9 ATS on the road the last two years and this week they play at Auburn! Who scheduled that one? Temple (0-3 SU, 0-2 ATS) is simply the worst football team in the country. The Owls are being outscored after three games by an average of 44-1! That’s not a typo. They lost in overtime at Buffalo (scoring 3 points), then got annihilated vs. Louisville and Minnesota by 62-0 scores. Temple still hasn't scored a touchdown this season. Temple is 0-14 SU, 4-9 ATS their last 14 games. Good luck, as always...Al McMordie.

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