Thu Sep 03 10:50am EDT
The Doc Saturday crew peruses the weekly lines and pulls out a few shockers.
Chris Brown: Central Michigan (+13.5) over Arizona.
I like Arizona, I really do. I like what Mike Stoops has done, and within a few years, offensive coordinator Sonny Dykes (son of former Texas Tech legend Spike Dykes and protege of fellow Texas Tech legend, Captain Leach), will be a head coach for a D-1 program somewhere. But, while this game is at Arizona, I cannot justify the nearly two-touchdown spread; in fact, I think the Chippewas will win it outright. CMU has won eight games in each of coach Butch Jones's first two seasons, but more importantly they return 17 starters, none more important than Tim Tebow-lite, quarterback Dan LeFevour. LeFevour is a tough, gritty kid, and this is just the type of win over a BCS program to jumpstart his senior year. More importantly, Arizona should take a step back after losing a lot of talent from last year's squad, and I think that regression will begin in week one.
Matt Hinton: Cincinnati (+5) over Rutgers (Monday).
The line on this one goes as high as 6.5 on some sites, a pretty strong diss to the defending Big East champs. Yes, the Bearcats lose 10 starters from a solid defense that anchored the best team in school history, but Rutgers' losses on offense -- goodbye, leading passer and receiver in school history -- are about as substantial. The Knights also flopped at home last Labor Day, in a loss to Fresno State that looked worse and worse as the year wore on. Put it this way: Cincy returns a substantial percentage of its offense, including the best quarterback in the conference, and Brian Kelly has yet to fall short of expectations in any season as a head coach. Rutgers' offense isn't in very good position out of the gate to exploit the turnover on the other side.
Doug Gillett: Georgia (+4.5) over Oklahoma State.
I realize I'm jinxing my team eight ways from Sunday by even allowing this to cross my mind. But even if the Zac Robinson rumors have no legs, OSU has been experiencing an inordinate amount of personnel turmoil over the last few weeks, and even a Cowboy defense at full strength would be tasked with bouncing back from last year's 94th-in-the-nation performance. As good a coordinator as Bill Young may be, I'm not sure he can yank the handbrake and pull a 180 with that unit in the span of a single game. Georgia's defense didn't play so well themselves during the second half of last season, but the talent and experience are there, and given Mark Richt's sterling record in opponents' home stadiums, I put my faith behind Georgia to make the necessary adjustments and pull out a close win in Stillwater.
Holly Anderson: Miami, Ohio (+15) over Kentucky
Can these be flatly irrational? I'll take the Redhawks over Kentucky, because apparently Dick's Sporting Goods in Lexington doesn't carry Tennessee gear, and to quote a dear Vawl partisan buddy, "After 24 [losses to Tennessee] in a row, you have lost the right to be a [jerk] about it."
Louisiana Tech (+13.5) over Auburn.
Because the Bulldogs are one of those pesky, sneaky upset types to begin with (they knocked off Mississippi State in last year's opener en route to their first bowl win in 30 years) and Auburn is such a completely unknown quantity at this point.
Nevada (+14.5) over Notre Dame.
Because I really like getting emails telling me I'm a religious bigot (despite my Catholic background) for not liking their football team. Keep 'em coming, beautiful people.