St. Petersburg Bowl: Central Florida Vs. Rutgers, Preview, Picks

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I made some good points in my “Just Picks” newsletter about the St. Petersburg Bowl, presented by Beef ‘O’ Brady’s, and while I could easily find another way to say the same stuff, I think it would just be simpler for everyone if I just gave you the clip, I wanted to go with Rutgers and Tom Savage here, but I see a little problem with that pick and thus I’m going against a pretty good Rutgers team. Central Florida’s rushing attack is better, and they’ve out-rushed many opponents this year, and will probably out-rush the Scarlet Knights. In all four of Rutgers’ losses this year, they’ve been out-gained on the ground. That’s enough for me in what should be a very tight contest. Oh, and the game is being played in St. Petersburg, Florida. That’s just some of it. Here’s more.

I said that Rutgers has struggled when getting out-rushed, this is what I meant: They were out-rushed 5 times in the last 10 games – 3 of those games were straight up losses, and losses ATS as well. They were out-gained on the ground by Pittsburgh, Syracuse, and West Virginia, and all three of those teams got the win. Connecticut and Army also out-gained Rutgers, and while they beat Army fairly easily, UConn probably should have won that game.

I’ve liked Tom Savage all year, he’s done good things with his chances, and his fight has certainly impressed me – but match-ups are important, and I think the Florida Knights have a good chance to upset the Knights of Scarlet color.

Central Florida Knights (+3) vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

NCAA Free Picks: Week 4

Well Alright! I killed my picks last week, breaking through the proverbial wall to collect 12 wins against just 4 losses. That put me 7 games up and over .500 on the season after a tough Week 3 grabbed me by the crab apples. I can’t explain why anyone would put crab apples in their cheeks, except for the single fact that they are indeed better than other things you could put there. However, I can pick 9 college games – here’s what I see coming up this beautiful weekend.

Temple Owls (+29) @ Penn State Nittany Lions: Don’t tell the Nittany Lions, but Temple is a pretty solid football team. No doubt, the Lions are solid, per usual, but Temple isn’t the pushover those ugly uniforms have been in the past. I always worry about very good teams having to play former terrible teams, like Temple, because of the memories of their worthlessness that still resides. It will take a quarter or two, but eventually Penn State will pull away. That being said, it’s hard to pull away by more than 4 touchdowns. I’ll take the Owls.

East Carolina Pirates (-7.5) @ North Carolina State Wolfpack: East Carolina is dealing with a couple injury problems, yes, but they are still much better than a very down Wolfpack group. The Pirates lost one of the fastest players in all of football to the NFL, but their team speed is still much greater than this poor ACC team. Nothing’s worse these days than being a bad team in a bad conference. Look for East Carolina to continue their winning ways with a 21 point win at NC State.

Iowa Hawkeyes (-1) @ Pittsburgh Panthers: This isn’t free money, the Hawkeyes will have to do some work on defense, but I’m pretty sure this one won’t be coming down to the wire. Pittsburgh is just too inconsistent to put the Hawkeyes in a bind. Iowa might not have the hype this season that they’ve had in years’ past, but they always have a solid program. If Pittsburgh has shown me one thing it’s that they are very overrated. They may have a guy I think is the best running back in college football, but they don’t use him very well, and their loss of Jeff Otah is hurting them right now. Take the Hawkeyes to down the Panthers.

Central Michigan Chippewas @ Purdue Boilermakers (-10): Free Money! I really love this game. Purdue is going to put up about 35 against Central Michigan, and there’s nothing the Chips will be able to do about it. Purdue -10 at home against this team looks so lopsided that it worried me at first. Then I decided that the books just miss one from time to time. Hopefully this one doesn’t get me where it counts.

Central Florida Knights (+10.5) @ Boston College Eagles: I actually really believe that the Central Florida Knights are the better team here. Does that make me crazy or delusional? I don’t know, possibly, but let me tell you this, taking a team that I think is better as a 10.5 point dog feels so right, and gets me so excited, that I think I’m going to go make me a big brilliant lunch and put butter on everything! The Knights pull the upset against yet another hapless ACC unit.

Akron Zips (-10) @ Army Black Knights: I never thought I’d ever be taking the Zips as a favorite, let alone a two score fave – but here I am and I like my chances. Army doesn’t have anything going for them except they are tough. They don’t have Air Force’s talent nor do they have Navy’s rushing attack. All they have is a tough game against the freaking Zips on their hands. Take Akron on the road.

Buffalo Bulls (+34.5) @ Missouri Tigers: Sure, the Tigers have won their last two games by a total score of 121-20, but they didn’t face the Bulls! Ha. This one will be much closer. Buffalo is sneaky, and a pretty solid offense should get them points. If they can score 3 touchdowns, which I think should happen, then Missouri will have to put up more than 54 points to cover. I don’t see that happening. It’s tough to bet against the high scoring Tigers, but given the Bulls are a solid group, it makes it easy to do with a coke and a smile.

Arizona Wildcats (-2.5) @ UCLA Bruins: That whole first game upset that put UCLA back on the map seems to be a long time back – and that map, well, they are still on it, but all four edges are burning back to the ashtray it came from. I’m betting on a solid Wildcats attack to come into UCLA and brow beat them into submission. Okay, they’ll at least run all over the Bruins. Arizona played poorly in a trap game last week, as they were certainly looking ahead to their first Pac-10 showdown. Well, now that they saw UCLA get beat 59-0 they probably aren’t as scared. I’m marking that down as a good thing. We’ll see. I thought Arizona was the much better team to start the season, and one UCLA 59-0 showing against BYU didn’t stop me from thinking that.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish @ Michigan State Spartans (-8.5): Don’t be confused, Michigan beat Michigan last week, and the Irish just got credit for the win because they were the team lucky enough to be playing them in Week 3. Now comes Michigan State, and they’ll be ready for one of the Nations most popular and disturbingly overrated college programs. The Spartans passing attack is brutal right now, but they won’t need to throw the ball all that much. Javon Ringer is 10 points better than the Irish. Believe that.

Week 14 College Football Picks Review: 2007

I needed some help in Week 14 after a couple stinkers, and I think I got just that! 4-1! On to the Bowls!

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks

Free Picks: Week 14

Virginia Tech Hokies (-4.5) @ Boston College Eagles: win
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

The Hokies were the better team for the second straight game, and this time they came out of the game with a big win. To think, if they didn’t crumble in the last 4 minutes last time they played BC, they would be playing for the National Championship. I hate the BCS, by the way.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane @ Central Florida Knights (-7.5): win
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

Boy, this was one of the easier picks of the week. Check out my free picks section to see how well I called this game. On the freaking button.

Army Black Knights @ Navy Midshipmen (-14): win
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

While this game was closer than I thought, it was my biggest bet of the week, and I sure am glad it won big for me. I needed the Midshipmen to come out and run all over the Knights, but Army was up to the challenge. However, a couple tough calls and some “fortunate turnovers” (fortunate for me) helped me get a huge win, and a nice 4-1 mark on my last week of the regular season.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+7.5) @ Nevada Wolfpack: loss
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

Well, my lone loss came in a game where I underestimated the Wolfpack’s talent. This was a killing, as the Bulldogs never stood a chance. They lacked the want to win all year long, losing too many close games, but in the end, they came out and put a hurting on the Bulldogs.

Oregon State Beavers (pk) @ Oregon Ducks: win
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

Vegas picked this well, but in the 2nd OT, the stronger team took the Cival War, and could very well end up in a better Bowl situation than their Green instate enemies.

Free College Football Picks Week 14 – 2007

After a tough go around in Week 13, I’m looking for a perfect final week of the College Football pre-bowl season. Enjoy the picks, and make that money! Some conference championships, and the chance to play for all the marbles. Huevos grande!

LUCKY LESTER’S Free NCAA Football Picks

Free Picks: Week 14

Virginia Tech Hokies (-4.5) @ Boston College Eagles:
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

Last time around, the Eagles escaped Virginia Tech by the hair on Matt Ryan’s chinny chin, chin. This time, they won’t be so lucky. The Hokies have to be irked that they somehow crumbled in the final few minutes to lose a game on a deep Matt Ryan touchdown pass to his running back across his body on the opposite side of the field. Virginia Tech dominated that game, and they weren’t even playing as well as they are now. Sean Glennon has been playing inspired football, and the Tech defense is right on cue. Amazingly, these two ACC teams are almost identical. Both are 10-2 SU, 6-5 ATS. 6-1 at home, 4-1 on the road, each team scores 29 a game, and both are 6-5 O/U on the season. Virginia Tech allows less points per game defensively, and that should give them the nod in this game.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane @ Central Florida Knights (-7.5):
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

This Conference USA Championship shouldn’t have much impact on any big Bowl games, but the Central Florida Knights and Tulsa Golden Hurricane are two teams that have put together an impressive conference run and second half of the season. One thing that is difficult about this game; it’s always hard to beat a good team twice in a season. But I think Central will walk away with this win. Both teams have 5 game winning streaks (CF is on a 6 game streak) and both have put up big points along the way. The difference is, Central Florida is winning big and Tulsa has been eeking out close games. Last time these two teams played, Central dominated the game by smashing a rushing attack right down the throats of Tulsa’s defense. The Knights rushed for 170 more yards than the Hurricane. I like that trend to continue in the C-USA finale.

Army Black Knights @ Navy Midshipmen (-14):
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

Two touchdowns is a lot in a rivalry game, but historically, the Midshipmen are used to embarrassing Army’s Black Knights. Last year, the final score was just 26-14, as Army covered the 19 point spread in a Navy win. But in the few years prior to that, this game has been a joke. Navy outscored Army by at least 19 points in every single game from 2002 – 2005. And most of them haven’t been that close. This season, Army couldn’t stop the run if their lives depended on it, as they’ve been outrushed by 100+ yards in 6 of the last 10 games, and they’ve been outrushed by nearly 1,200 yards over the last 6 games. On the other hand, the Midshipmen have been a rushing dynamo, outrushing every team they’ve gone up against in the last 10 contests. They’ve had 195 more rushing yards than their opponents in 5 games this season. They may not pass much, but against Army, they won’t have to. Easy game to call.

Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (+7.5) @ Nevada Wolfpack:
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

The Wolfpack have made a living out of losing close games this season. They lost to San Jose State 24-27 last week. A week before that it was 26-28 against undefeated Hawaii. Earlier in the year it was a 67-69 overtime loss to a very good Boise State team. Fresno State beat them 41-49. And they lost ot Northwestern 31-36. Their only bad loss came to Nebraska, and that was before the Cornhuskers started to suck. Louisiana Tech has had a tough loss or two as well, including a one point overtime loss to Hawaii earlier in the season. But lately, they’ve been piling up wins (3 of their last 4) and they have a chance to get Bowl eligible against Nevada. If anything, that will keep this game close, and taking a fairly equal dog with just over a touchdown, I like my chances.

Oregon State Beavers (pk) @ Oregon Ducks:
(Line: Thursday, 3:00pm EST: Belmont)

The Ducks were Dennis Dixon and Jonathan Stewart. Now they are trying to rely squarely on Stewarts shoulders with Dixon and Dixon’s backup out for this rivalry game against the Beavers. Honestly, the Ducks defense is bad, and offensively they don’t have the confidence at quarterback nor the speed and athleticism to keep defenses honest. The Beavers have won 4 of their last 5 after starting the season slowly. They were expected to compete at the top of the Pac 10 this season before too many road bumps early in the year. I really like their stud running back, Yevenson Bernard. That guy is a beast that keeps on rolling along, and I think he’ll have a huge game against a defense that really doesn’t tackle all that well. Oregon’s on the line, and the Beavers should come out on top on the road. However, something to be aware of, the home team has won each of the last 10 meetings between these programs. But that’s history, and the streak has to end some time.