Coaching So Important for Handicappers

Coaching So Important for Handicappers


It's interesting that a game matching two new head coaches wraps up the first week of college football action. It was a weekend where my personal evaluation of coaches played a very big role in my 5-0 BOARD SWEEP that kicked off the 2011 season.

Before talking about Al Golden (formerly of Temple, now of Miami) taking on Randy Edsall (formerly of Connecticut, now of Maryland) in Monday's ESPN game…let me review my thoughts on coaches from this past weekend.

PINNACLE PLAY: LSU (+3.5) over Oregon…WINNER
Chip Kelly of Oregon is used to being the hunter. Now he's the hunted. The pressure's are much different on a head coach in that situation. It's easy to rise up from out of nowhere and catch people flat footed. Now, everyone's had a year to study his offense. The very best defenses in the nation in particular will be keyed up to make a name for themselves against Oregon. LSU ranked 12th in the nation on defense last year despite playing a tough schedule. They were going to be ready. And, they were. Coach Kelly didn't have any aces up his sleeve once it was clear LSU wasn't going to be outplayed or intimidated. The wrong team was favored.

NO LIMIT PLAY: Houston (-2.5) over UCLA…WINNER
This was very much a vote against Rick Neuheisel. I have a soft spot in my heart for any football coach who got in trouble betting on March Madness brackets. Betting should be legal everywhere! But, I think the evidence is clear right now that Neuheisel isn't going to turn things around at UCLA. The players don't believe in him. There's been high turnover with assistants because the school didn't want to eat his contract. Case Keenum's return was going to motivate Houston…in a game being played in humid Southwest conditions in mid-afternoon. No way Coach Neuheisel was going to get the best out of his team here. If you watched the game, you know it was more one-sided than the final score made it sound.

BILLIONAIRE PLAY: Boise State (-3) over Georgia…WINNER
I talked a couple of times this summer about Mark Richt being on the hot seat in Georgia. You could see why this past Saturday Night. He's in over his head in the biggest games. Chris Petersen of Boise State is just the opposite. He's really upgraded that program from one that used gimmickry and trickeration to beat people to one that can match up physically with almost anyone in the country. They proved that last year against Virginia Tech, and left no doubt vs. Georgia.

MILLIONAIRE PLAY: Hawaii (-6.5) over Colorado…WINNER
The key here was Jon Embree of Colorado. It's too early to know for sure how good or bad he's going to be (though he's very probably an upgrade over his predecessor). But, having to play your first game of the year…on the road…AT HAWAII…is a very tough challenge for any new coach. That's a long trip. The game is at sea level when you train at altitude. The weather is humid when you're used to drier conditions. And, you're kids are thinking too much about the beach when your opponents are focused on beating you! The Buffaloes did make a game of it for awhile in the second half, which may speak well for what Embree might accomplish down the road. It was going to take a fantastic coaching effort for Colorado to cover this one. Few new coaches are capable of that high a level in their debut.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND SPECIAL BONUS: East Carolina (+21) at South Carolina…WINNER
I knew I had to step in here when South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier benched his veteran starting quarterback late in the week. Stephen Garcia may have his issues. But, his teammates know he leaves everything on the field. Spurrier's move didn't go over well with the full roster. That was enough to give me the edge I needed against the number. You probably noticed that East Carolina jumped out to a big early lead. South Carolina came storming back once Garcia was put back in the lineup. If Spurrier doesn't make a horrible late week decision, this isn't a play for me. Recognizing a coaching error turned a 4-0 week into a 5-0 week for my clients.

I can't tell you here who I'll be playing in Monday's Miami-Maryland game. I have to protect that information for my clients. But, I can tell you that what I know about head coaches Golden and Edsall is once again going to loom very large. In fact, it's the single biggest factor in the play. There, I've said enough!

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I want to thank all of you who signed up with me this past weekend for all the big winners. I hope you'll check in before kickoff Monday Night so you can once again go to W.A.R. alongside WAYNE ALLYN ROOT!

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