Quick takes from Friday’s college results:
BYU had to make the lengthy trip to the Northeast and did so minus a handful of suspended starters. No problem, as they took advantage of early UConn errors, built a big lead and coasted to the win. Strong showing by Cougs QB Taysom Hill. We’ll find out more about this BYU team next week when they visit Texas. The Huskies will improve as the season progresses under new coach Bob Diaco, and I like the fight this team showed despite being outmanned in this opener.
If it’s not broken, don’t try to fix it. But it appears that’s what new Bowling Green coach Dino Babers is going to insist on doing at Bowling Green. Maybe the Falcons will adapt to the new system, but they sure weren’t good in this opener. Brandon Doughty had a career night for Western Kentucky as the Hilltoppers racked up an amazing 702 yards of offense. Great start for Jeff Brohm as their head coach as well as OC Tyson Helton. I’m eager to see what Western Kentucky does at Illinois next week.
Colorado came out hot against rival Colorado State and had a chance to build a big lead. But the Buffs got only three points out of two good scoring chances and only led by three at halftime. CU caught a big break on a Colorado State turnover early in the third quarter and cashed in to go up 17-7. But from that point on they were manhandled by the Rams. I was really impressed by the young CSU offensive line as they flat out overwhelmed the Buffs at the point of attack after halftime. The only downer is that they dominated to the point there might not be much value next week as the Rams travel to Boise.
UT-San Antonio played a spectacular defensive game against Houston. My sense early was that the Roadrunners might eventually wilt if they could not produce any offense. Instead they got stronger as the game progressed. The UTSA defensive line annihilated Houston’s OL the entire game, and the Cougars folded like an accordion under the pressure. One of the problems with playing that warp speed offense the Cougars utilize is there’s no fall back when it doesn’t go well. UTSA will need to get past the celebration quickly with a very athletic Arizona due up next.
Arizona went bananas against UNLV, shattering some school records en route to a 58-13 win. ‘Zona had too much team speed for the Rebels and I’m not reading much into the final score. UNLV won’t see another team this athletic the rest of the season. As for the Wildcats, I’m saying it’s too early to call them a juggernaut. Let’s see what happens when they run into equally gifted squads, which they will see plenty of in the PAC-12. But make no mistake, Anu Solomon can play some QB and this Arizona entry should be Rich Rodriguez’s best since his move to the desert.
Syracuse needed a touchdown on a fake FG in OT and then had to turn away a deuce for the win by Villanova to avoid getting upset as double digit chalk. Had the Wildcats gotten the stunner, there’s not much doubt who would’ve been the goat. That would be ‘Cuse QB Terrel Hunt, who got thrown out late in the first half for throwing a punch. ‘Nova missed a 25 yard field goal at the end of regulation, so this goes into the books as a really lucky win by the Orange. They’d better get sharper in a hurry or it’s going to be tough ACC sledding for this Syracuse squad.
My Friday was perfect with two college winners and a couple more on the diamond. I’m now at my high water mark for 2014 overall, and the last three months have made for a very healthy summer. Just two days left to grab the six-week special, so if you’re interested, take advantage right away. Easiest way to get rolling is to click on the “buy now” tab, or you can also email me for more info at email@example.com.
Colorado State got there as a free play, and I’ve already got another college game as a comp for today. I’ve got my dance card filled as far as the football is concerned (barring any late info, of course) and the baseball card looks scant right now. But there’s another NFL Week One game that I’m finding appealing, so let’s use that as today’s free play.
09/07 10:00 AM NFL (465) MINNESOTA VIKINGS at (466) ST. LOUIS RAMS
Take: (466) ST. LOUIS RAMS -4
Quarterback A has a career record of 18-30-1 and a career QBR of 79.3. Quarterback B has a career record of 13-13 and a career QB rating of 85.9.
You’ve probably already figured out which QB’s I’m referring to and where I’m going with this. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand that Sam Bradford has a higher ceiling than Shaun Hill. But in terms of actual on the field accomplishments in the NFL, Bradford never did much, and in fact, Hill has assembled a better record as a starter and with a higher QB rating to boot.
Yet the injury to the very unlucky Bradford has made for what I absolutely consider to be a major line adjustment and a knee jerk reaction from early NFL bettors. The Rams were -6.5 favorites as they prepped to host the Vikings in Week One before Bradford went down. Now the number is all the way down to -4 and a whopping percentage of the tickets written thus far have been on the Vikings.
Sorry, I’m not buying this line move at all. I think it’s a massive overreaction and there’s no way I believe Bradford is worth 2.5 points more than Hill. It’s not as though Hill is a raw rookie being forced into action who figures to be overwhelmed by the scenario. Fact is, while Bradford was showing improvement and might have been ready to take a step forward, it’s Hill who owns the better resume on what’s actually taken place.
So my take is that the Rams aren’t measurably worse with Hill under center, and that means we now have a line that I think is out of whack. This St. Louis team looks pretty solid for the most part. They’re going to rely on what already figured to be a workmanlike, run first offense and a defense that has a chance to be one of the better units in the NFL this season.
As for the Vikings, I don’t think they’re any good. I’ve got them as my 26th rated team coming into the new season. The Rams were much higher than that prior to the Bradford injury and I only knocked one point off my offensive power rating when he got hurt.
I originally made the Rams -6.5 for this game, so I definitely now see value with the line having dropped and if it continues to do so, that’s fine with me. I also fully expect a very motivated showing here, as the Rams will be determined to prove to themselves and everyone else they’re still going to be a force too be reckoned with this season. I look at this as an opportunity to fade the public money while also getting what amounts to a bargain at the price. I’m taking the Rams minus the points in this season opener.