Highlighted by the Washington Redskins' walk-off defensive touchdown, there were a lot of bad gambling beats last weekend.
On the college side, Florida converting a fourth-and-1 pass for a spread-covering touchdowns counted as a bad beat.
A last-second touchdown pushed the Nevada-Fresno State game over last week. A game-ending fumble recovery that became a meaningless TD allowed La. Monroe (which was favored by 7.5) to beat Coastal Carolina 51-43. Oklahoma State, last week, cost us with a seven-point win while giving up eight. Hey it happens. That's why it's called gambling and Vegas passes out free drinks and offers five-star meals for $8.99.
But, even with a 2-3 mark last weekend, we're 16-10 against the number. Entertaining, yes. But more like a fun action movie. Think Transformers.
We want to be Maximus.
Miami-Florida State under 48.5. FSU has issues at quarterback. Miami defensively has the best young front seven in college football. Now know, there's a real chance that Mark Richt's Hurricanes could be joined on the panhandle by tropical storm Nate this weekend. I think Miami wins this game, but let's be honest, how seriously have the Canes been tested. This one screams tight, conservative, 21-17 finish in sloppy conditions. Both of these teams are littered with future NFL players, especially on defense.
North Carolina State plus-3.5 over Louisville. Those of you who follow the picks on a regular basis know that we buck the traditional play of most regular gamblers and play mostly favorites. Among our rules is the maxim that never pick an underdog unless you believe they are going to win the game. We feel that N.C. State is the better, more complete team and they are at home. Also know this: N.C. State's strength — an NFL-laden defensive front — goes against Louisville's offensive line, which is clearly the Cards' biggest weakness. Yes, please.
Navy minus-7 over Air Force. The Middies are at home, and who better to be prepared for the Air Force option than a Navy defense that sees it on a fairly regular basis. This rivalry has been pretty even through the 2000s — Navy has a 10-7 edge since the turn of the century — but the home team has dominated recently, winning six of the last eight. (We also have a
Marshall minus-14 over UNC-Charlotte. This is this week's pick-a-loser game. Marshall may not be in the Jim Donnan glory days, but the Thundering Herd play hard, are 3-1 overall and 4-0 against the number. UNC Charlotte is bagel-and-5, and that includes a 28-zip home loss to Georgia State and a loss to North Carolina A&T. Two touchdowns is a great price for Marshall, even on the road. (Yes, we'll buy the half to guard against the backdoor cover that seems to have haunted a lot of us lately.)
Penn State minus-14 over Northwestern. The Nittany Lions have style-points motivation. This is a new kickoff (11 a.m. Central), which will help tame the Northwestern home crowd. Plus, add in the fact that Northwestern had Wisconsin last week, meaning Pat Fitzgerald's defense really couldn't spend any extra time on this high-powered Penn State bunch and Saquan Barkley. This one screams 49-14.
Bonus pick (so we can have five in the paper): Idaho minus-7 over Louisiana-LaFayette. Yes, buy the half here, and here's why. We like Idaho's quarterback. We know LaFayette's quarterback is doubtful. We also know — and this is a regular spot of interest for us — that the travel and change of conditions, really help the home team in games between mid-majors.
Last week: 2-3 against the spread (40 percent)
This season: 16-10 against the spread (61.5 percent)
SEC items of interest
First down. How does Butch Jones lose the bye week? It's a fair question, right? After escaping the opener with Georgia Tech and finding a way to lose against Florida and finding a way to make a win over UMass feel like a loss, Jones will try to pull a loss out of his headset even when his team doesn't play. Of course, that's not possible — does sarcasm fall under the fake news category coach? — but we know the lack of frustration will be a welcome reprieve for every UT fan in your life.
Second down. The Alabama juggernaut. How good is Alabama in the eyes of the nation? Texas A&M is 4-1 and is a second-half brain cramp in the opener from being 5-0 and ranked. And still the Tide is going to College Station, Texas and is favored by 26.5 points. (Side note: After last week's 66-3 Alabama win over Ole Miss and Tennessee's 41-0 loss to Georgia, just so you know, Vegas has made Alabama an early 35-point favorite over the Vols.) It's also fair to wonder if Vegas thinks Alabama is that good or the rest of the SEC is that bad.
Third down. Can Georgia continue to roll? After three games, what did we know about Georgia? We thought it was a nice all be it sloppy at times win at Notre Dame that turned into a bucket list moment for Red-and-Black-clad fans all over the country. Then UGA dropped poundings on Mississippi State and Tennessee, and now Georgia has moved into the top 10 nationally.
Fourth down. Florida-LSU, a great match-up in name only. Man, when we think back in recent memory of the Gators and the Bengal Tigers, we envision the fourth-down attempts from Les Miles, Tebow powering through a front seven that had 14 NFL players, tough defense filled with future Pro Bowlers and close games that could swing the balance of divisional races because LSU and Florida were always good. Now? Man, this has the presume excitement of an insurance seminar. LSU lost to Troy after getting blitzed by Mississippi State, which has been blitzed by Georgia and Auburn since. Florida found some offensive rhythm with Luke Del Rio, but lost De Rio for the season with a shoulder injury. Not sure how many points will be scored in this one. And worse, yet, not sure how many viewers will stick with this one either.
Cam said what
Cam Newton continued to put his stylish shoe in his mouth.
This time insulting a female reporter by saying something very condescending that was along the lines of "it's funny to hear a female talk about routes."
Yes, his word choice was poor. Yes, his body language did not help it. Yes, he likely should have apologized for it, especially since buckets man, we are more sensitive today than ever.
But it was disrespectful, and in the work place that is not tolerate.
Or is it? Yes, this one is different because it is attached to the 'isms' that instantly send our collective outrage meter skyward.
And that's a good thing. We should be, as a civilized society, trying to find ways to fight and curb and hopefully end racism and sexism and whatever isms are out there.
And yes, women have had a hard time breaking into covering sports, and it's been an uphill battle for acceptance. Look up the name Lisa Olsen and some of the pioneers of the profession, and the stories are certainly stuff that no one should have to put up in the workplace.
But can we ask this without getting into trouble (we're not sure, but here goes): Athletes and coaches disrespect reporters of all ages, creeds, colors and sexes almost on a daily basis. We get lied to. We get talked down to. We get scoffed at and lectured and glared toward.
This is not complaining. Loved my job covering sports and embraced against tough questions.
And this is not taking up for Cam per se, because dude has certainly had his fair share of news conference stumbles and stupid comments.
And the word 'funny' had a certain connotation of disrespect to the female. But in a man-oriented world, if he has said that to a guy — because the whole 'you didn't play the game' angle has always been a trump card elite athletes have use — we wouldn't have blinked an eye.
Which in turn begs the question, wouldn't any person in a minority in any line of work reach true equality if they are treated the same — with the respect and the disrespect — that their colleagues get.
That doesn't make it right. It makes it universal.
This and that
— OK, UNC gets a commit from one of the five-stars involved in the FBI investigation. Interesting.
— As a Dodgers fan, I am scared to death of Arizona. That is all.
— Nineteen nominees, including nine first-time nominees for the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame include some big names such as Bon Jovi, the Cars, Dire Straits, Depeche Mode, LL Cool J, and Rage against the Machine and many others.
We need mailbag questions today because we are headed out of town.
Side note: When did fall break for school kids become a thing? Whatever.
As for today, man cool day in history.
Harry Truman made the first presidential address televised from the White House on this day in 1947.
The Beatles' released their first record, "Love Me Do" today in 1962.
The first Bond movie — Dr. No — was released today in 1962.
Monty Python's Flying Circus premiered on BBC on this day in 1969.
Ray Kroc was born on this day in 1902. He founded McDonald's
Patrick Roy is 52. Kaye Winslet is 42 today.
Steve Jobs died on this day in 2011. Rodney Dangerfield died on this day in 2004.
Let's go, in honor of the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame nominees and the Beatles, with the Rushmore of rock groups of all time.