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College Football Lines




Saban still not satisfied
2013-04-22

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. Spring practice is finished for Alabama, and coach Nick Saban is less than satisfied with his team, as usual.

It really wasnt because of those nine turnovers in Saturdays spring game, either. Saban said some Crimson Tide players are too comfortable with their circumstances, but he notes that he found cause for discontent at springs end for each of the three national championship teams in the past four years.

Unabashed praise just isnt his spring thing.

I spoke to a bunch of different alumni groups [Saturday] and they all want me to make a comparison between this years team and last years team and the team before that and the team before that, Saban said after the A-Day game. I wasnt happy with any of those teams at this point.

If I was happy with them, we wouldnt have summer conditioning, we would not have fall camp, we wouldnt have 30 practices to get ready for our first game against Virginia Tech. Wed just pack it in and say, All right, lets go to Atlanta and play the game. Were not there yet.

Bama has more than four months before that opener in the Georgia Dome to get there.

AJ McCarron completed 19 of 30 passes for 223 yards and a 40-yard touchdown to Kenny Bell but also was intercepted twice before an announced crowd of 78,315. McCarrons White team won 17-14 against the Crimson, led by the first-team defense.

The offenses combined for six interceptions and three lost fumbles, mistakes that Saban said werent characteristic of the spring as a whole. He roamed the field surveying the action in slacks and a sports coat.

The biggest thing that I was concerned about is how would the team go out there, he said. What would be their energy, their enthusiasm and their attention to detail. Mental intensity. I dont think that there were enough guys that answered that question in a positive way to my liking. But Im never satisfied.

T.J. Yeldon had 69 yards rushing, 60 receiving and scored the winning touchdown on a 7-yard run with 1:04 left to earn MVP honors of the spring game for the second consecutive year. The 1,000-yard rusher is set to replace potential first-round NFL draft pick Eddie Lacy.

McCarron set up the winning score with a 50-yard pass to Christion Jones, who played both receiver and cornerback as he has all spring.

Alec Morris led a drive down to the White 11 in the final minute but threw two incompletions to end the game while going for the win instead of the tie. The winners get a steak dinner and the losers beans and weenies.

Its unclear what the menu would be for a draw.

Alabama played seven quarterbacks and kept with the coaches plan to get a bunch of reserves in the game in the third quarter.

Blake Sims, last years No. 2 quarterback, completed 5 of 10 passes for 52 yards but was intercepted by Nick Perry on each of the first two drives. Early enrollee Cooper Bateman, a highly recruited freshman, had two of his three attempts picked off.

McCarron cautions against making too much of those mistakes.

Its just like playing in an all-star game, he said. You dont get in a rhythm. Its not a real game, but its fun. Its fun to go out there and try to make plays happen and get to do some trick plays and stuff.

McCarron had an interception returned 86 yards for a touchdown by safety Vinnie Sunseri on the final play before halftime and chased him all the way to the goal line. Since he was in a black, non-contact jersey, McCarron only needed to get two hands on him.

AJ almost caught me, Sunseri said. I never would have heard the end of that.

Like their coach, Sunseri & Co. left spring with high ambitions and standards going into next season.

Were trying to be an unbelievable team, Sunseri said. With coach Saban there, hes definitely going to let us know when we mess up. Thats what we need. Weve got a great leader. Weve got a great quarterback. And weve got a lot of guys that are surrounding him trying to do something special.




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CFB: BCS Championship Game: TEXAS vs. ALABAMA (8:10 PM ET, FOX)
2010-01-07

Only one of the last five BCS Championship games was decided by single digits. That game was also the last time the title contest was held in Pasadena. Texas is hoping for an encore performance of that magical night, a 41-38 upset of USC behind quarterback Vince Young. It’s Colt McCoy’s turn now, as he plays his final game for the Longhorns. They are the underdog though, of 3.5-points according to Sportsbook.com. The line has generated heavy action, and over 80% of it has come in on Alabama, according to the BETTING TRENDS page.

He is undefeated in bowl games, part of a five-game bowl winning streak for head coach Mack Brown’s club. Alabama hopes to make the SEC proud by giving the league its sixth title game SU and ATS victory versus no defeats. The Crimson Tide are just 3-5 SU and 2-6 ATS in their L8 bowl games, though. They are 5.5-point favorites and the chalk has won two straight title games, snapping a stretch of five straight upsets.

Alabama and Texas have racked up quite a few trophies during the past month. Both teams desperately want to add one more.

In a star-studded, powerhouse matchup of unbeaten teams, the top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 2 Longhorns meet for the BCS championship at the Rose Bowl on Thursday night.

While fellow undefeated teams TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State may have felt slighted by being shut out of the title game, the BCS could not have delivered a more high-profile matchup. Coach Nick Saban's Tide feature Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram and six first-team All-Americans, while Mack Brown's Longhorns rely on star quarterback Colt McCoy and an equally loaded roster.

Texas (13-0) is seeking its second BCS championship in five years.

Texas, though, faces a daunting task against Alabama (13-0), which dominated defending BCS champion Florida 32-13 in the SEC title game Dec. 5, snapping the then-No. 1 Gators' 22-game winning streak.

No Tide player had more success this season than Ingram, who rushed for a school-record 1,542 yards and 15 touchdowns. The sophomore ran for 113 yards and three scores against Florida to help him claim college football's highest individual honor - the first Heisman for an Alabama player.

Ingram is hoping to lead Alabama to its first national title since 1992.

While the Tide try to pound Texas into submission with a ground game that ranks 12th nationally with 215.8 yards per game, their focus on defense will be McCoy.

The senior, who returned to school this year with hopes of winning a national championship, threw for 3,512 yards and 27 touchdowns while completing 70.5 percent of his passes. The Maxwell Award winner as the nation's best all-around player, who also won the Walter Camp player of the year award, McCoy directs a passing attack that was tied for 14th in the nation with 279.7 yards a game.

McCoy's top target is receiver Jordan Shipley, who had 106 catches for 1,363 yards and 11 scores, though Malcolm Williams, James Kirkendoll and Dan Butler all contributed at least 445 yards receiving.

McCoy also was Texas' second-leading rusher with 348 yards behind Tre' Newton (513), and Cody Johnson rushed for 12 touchdowns. The Longhorns' deep and versatile attack, though, should get its stiffest test of the season from an imposing Alabama defense.
Paced by Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain, the Tide were No. 1 in the country in scoring defense at 11.0 points per game and second in total defense at 241.8 yards a contest. McClain piled up a team-high 101 tackles - 12 1/2 for a loss - along with four sacks and two interceptions.

Alabama boasts a formidable secondary, led by Javier Arenas (12 tackles for loss, five sacks) and Mark Barron (seven interceptions). Sophomore defensive end Marcell Dareus recorded a team-high 6 1/2 of the Tide's 31 sacks.

Defense isn't exactly a weak spot for the Longhorns, either. They ranked first in the country with 62.9 rushing yards allowed per contest and third with 251.8 yards given up per game.

That could put pressure on Alabama's efficient quarterback, Greg McElroy, to come up with a big performance. The junior, who passed for 2,450 yards with 17 touchdowns and four interceptions, faces a Texas team allowing 188.9 yards per game through the air - 23rd in the nation.

The Longhorns topped the Football Bowl Subdivision with 24 interceptions, led by junior Earl Thomas with eight - tied for second in the country - and fellow safety Blake Gideon with five. Texas forced those INTs in part because of a pass rush that racked up 41 sacks, paced by Sam Acho (nine) and Lamarr Houston (seven).

The Longhorns, of course, barely made it to Pasadena, narrowly avoiding an upset by Nebraska in the Big 12 championship game with a 13-12 victory Dec. 5. Hunter Lawrence kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired after McCoy and Texas nearly allowed the clock to run out on an incomplete pass on the previous play.

A 2008 loss to Texas Tech, coming on an improbable touchdown pass with 1 second left, likely kept the Longhorns from playing for the championship.

Texas did not handle Nebraska's fierce pass rush well, allowing McCoy to be sacked nine times, and Brown hinted at lineup changes after what he saw as a team-wide subpar performance against the Cornhuskers - especially with Alabama's formidable pass rush up next.

Alabama has played in an NCAA-record 57 bowl games and is tied with USC for the most wins with 31. Texas has the second-most bowl appearances with 49.

The Longhorns have dominated the Tide in eight meetings, going 7-0-1. The last matchup came in the 1982 Cotton Bowl, a 14-12 Texas win.

StatFox Steve has this to say about the game: Ask yourself this…throughout this entire season, was there ever a point where you said: Alabama is clearly this year’s national champion? Now sure the Tide has looked dominant at points, but there were also several times where their offense looked like a middle of the pack unit. Texas certainly never had that problem up until the Big 12 championship game. The key is the Longhorns still won, thus setting up a battle of unbeaten teams. In that sense, is one team clearly better than the other here? I say no, and in a game of such high stakes, laying the points with the lesser offensive club just doesn’t make sense. The StatFox Outplay Factor Ratings show Texas at +28.5, Alabama at +22.7. The wrong team may be favored.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP GAME Series Trend: It’s no secret that the SEC is in search of its fourth straight national title. What people might not know, however, is that SEC teams have never lost in the BCS Championship game in five tries overall, three times pulling the upset as underdogs. The OVER is 4-1 in the last five title games. If the Big 12 has anything going in its favor, and Texas in particular, it’s that the last time this game was played in Pasadena was the famed Texas win over USC in ’05.




CFB: Capital One Bowl - LSU vs. PENN STATE (1:00 PM ET, ABC)
2010-01-04

Perhaps the best matchup of the New Year’s Day bowl games, LSU & Penn State bring plenty of talent, particularly on the defensive side of the ball, into their Capital One Bowl matchup. Penn State is the favorite, minus-2 points according to Sportsbook.com, but more bettors seem to be interested in the total going under the posted number of 43.5.

Penn State has gone 7-3 in bowl games since 1995, but two of those three losses came in the Capital One (formerly Florida Citrus) Bowl series. In fact, the Nittany Lions scored just 15 points in those two games. They’ll look to bust out offensively, or at least simply outscore LSU, in the 2010 game, which should be defensive oriented. Penn State yielded just 11.8 points per game, en route to a 10-2 SU and 6-6 ATS record. LSU was 9-3, allowing just 16.0 points per game. The Tigers will also be looking to extend a run of overall success in bowl games, as they boast a 10-2 SU and 9-3 ATS record since 1995. Under head coach Les Miles, the Tigers are 15-6 ATS in games versus non-conference foes. Penn State was a perfect 4-0 SU and ATS on the road this year.

On the surface, Penn State (10-2) versus LSU (9-3) would seem like a premier bowl matchup. However, despite both teams’ lofty records, the reality is that neither of these teams were serious factors in their respective conference races. Combined, they were 0-4 against BCS conference foes and more interestingly, their offenses generated just 8.8 points per game in those matchups. Essentially, against quality opposition, both of these offenses shut down. There are also two very simple, yet powerful, trends that point to this one staying under the total of 44. Head coach Joe Paterno and Penn State are 92-69 going UNDER the total since 1992. Finally, if you would’ve blindly bet the UNDER on all Penn State and LSU games this year, you’d have some extra holiday spending money (15-7, +7.3 Units). I’ll call for that trend to continue.

Top FoxSheets.com ATS Trend
PENN ST is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games vs. good defensive teams who give up 17 or less points/game since 1992. The average score was PENN ST 16.6, OPPONENT 24.3 - (Rating = 1*)

Top FoxSheets.com Total Super Situation
Play Under - All teams where the total is between 42.5 and 49 (PENN ST) - with a good defense - allowing 315 or less total yards/game, after gaining 475 or more total yards in their previous game. (87-46 over the last 10 seasons.) (65.4%, +36.4 units. Rating = 2*)

CAPITAL ONE BOWL Series Trend: Georgia beat Michigan State last January in the Capital One Bowl to snap a 4-game upset winning streak by the Big Ten in the series. The last two times Penn State appeared in this game, they only scored 15 points combined, losing SU & ATS both times. Three of the L4 games have gone UNDER the total.