College Season About To Start

Middle Tennessee Without Starting QB Against Minnesota
Betting Line Shifts 6 Points Golden Gophers' Way

Kansas State Will Run, Run And Run Against UCLA
Wildcats Now 3-Point Favorites After Opening As +2 'Dog

Virginia Tech, Boise State, North Carolina, LSU
All Have National Championship Hopes But Two
Of Them Will Be Out Of Race By Next Monday

By Kelso Sturgeon

The 2010 college football season is here and kicks off Thursday night with seven games highlighted by two nationally televised ESPN affairs-Southern Miss at South Carolina and Southern California at Hawaii. The two biggest games of the opening weekend match LSU and North Carolina at Atlanta's Georgia Dome Saturday night on ABC while Virginia Tech and Boise State square off Monday night at Fed-Ex Field in Washington, DC, on ESPN.

The NFL will close out its pre-season Thursday night with all 32 teams in action, or at least going through the motions. The only thing one can say about Week IV of the pre-season is that the Dallas Cowboys, one of the team's favored to get to the Super Bowl, appear to be a real mess, as do the Carolina Panthers.

From the standpoint of bettors, one must make a note that Middle Tennessee State, which hoped to kick off its promising season in high gear Thursday night against Minnesota, will be without starting quarterback Dwight Dasher, a double-threat who last season completed 219-of-399 passes for 2,789 yards and 23 touchdowns, with 14 interceptions last season, and led the team in rushing with 1,154 yards and 13 more touchdowns. He has been suspended pending an investigation for alleged financial indiscretions.

Dasher will be replaced by sophomore Logan Kilgore who led Bakersfield College in California to a 10-2 season as a freshman last year, passing for 2,512 yards and 22 touchdowns. He has been at Middle Tennessee since last semester and does know the system and will be aided by a solid 1-2 punch at running back and four return offensive linemen from last year's 10-3 team that beat Southern Miss, 42-32, in the New Orleans Bowl.

Dasher's loss caused a dramatic line move on this game as MTSU went from being a 3-point favorite to being a 3-point underdog, a shift of six points.

Success Begins With Game Plan And K-State Has One

Smart football coaches repeatedly analyze their talent and adapt both their offensive and game plans to it. Success begins with knowing what one's players can do and then figuring out a way to use them to get it done. Ego-driven coaches go the other direction, install their own system and then go nuts because it does not work, failing to realize the system is fine but the players don't fit it.

There is no greater example of this kind of foolishness and arrogance than Michigan's Rich Rodriguez who has gone 8-16 in his first two seasons in Ann Arbor and is close to destroying one of the finest football programs in the country.

When arriving in Ann Arbor, he aggressively took charge and told the players he was changing everything to his way, despite the fact the Wolverines were coming off a 9-4 season which had followed an 11-2 year. He also let it be known he was not certain quarterback Ryan Mallett might not fit into his plans and the latter transferred to Arkansas where he is one of two or three leading candidates to win the Heisman Trophy This season.

While Michigan was struggling to a 5-7 season in 2009, Mallett was lighting it up for the Razorbacks, passing for 3,624 yards and 30 touchdowns, with just seven interceptions.

You get the point.

Kansas State's Bill Snyder has no ego and is smart enough to make do with what he has, and what he has in the second year of his second tenure in Manhattan is the talent to run one of the strongest running games in the country-and he will.

Snyder announced today that his starting quarterback will be an improved but unspectacular senior, Carson Coffman who started the first four games last season, completing 71-of-117 passes for 860 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions.

The talent says Kansas State will again focus its attention on its running game-and that is precisely what fans and bettors can expect this season.

Kansas State, which opens at home against UCLA Saturday, has one of the best running backs in the country in senior Daniel Thomas who led the Big 12 in rushing last season with 1,265 yards and 11 touchdowns. Making room for the elusive 6-2, 228-pound Thomas will be sophomore fullback Braden Wilson-and absolute bull-and four returning starters from an offensive line that permitted the Wildcats to have the 36th (of 120) best rushing game in the country, averaging 179.9 yards per game.

This means bettors must understand Kansas State will (1) try to control the pace of the game with its power-packed running game, (2) methodically ground out the yardage and (3) in the process limit the opposition's chances to score.

UCLA opened as a 2-point favorite in this game and Kansas State is now the -2.5 choice.

The lesson to be learned here is that coaches who are smart enough to build their game plans to fit the talent are going to pull a lot of surprises again this season. Now, it is up to us to find them.

Season Over Almost Before It Begins

The Bowl Championship Series (BCS)-the slack-jawed insiders cartel that determines which two teams get to play for the NCAA championship each year-will be exposed again on the opening weekend of the season when LSU and North Carolina and Virginia Tech and Boise State meet on neutral fields.

All four teams have the talent to win the national championship but after Saturday's LSU-North Carolina game from the Georgia Dome and Monday night's battle from Washington's Fed-Ex Field between Boise State and Virginia Tech two will basically be dismissed and take a plunge in their national rankings.


Because the BCS focuses its attention on unbeaten teams and tries to shun the rest-unless you happen to be a 13-0 Utah from a non-BCS conference-a loss immediatly puts one on the back-burner.

The LSU-North Carolina showdown opened as a pick'em affair and after a few days of studying the number, the line moved to the Tar Heels -1. The betting then swung it the other way and, now, LSU is a 1.5-point favorite in most places. The Palms in Las Vegas has opened itself up to a "middle", making the Tigers -3.0.

Boise State opened as a 2.5-point favorite over Virginia Tech and has remained there.

The upside for bettors in all of this is the fact each of the four teams know the score and will fire their best shots to win in order to stay front-and-center in the race to the title.

Opening With 25-Unit Play Thursday, 100-Units Saturday

I am half-past ready for the opening of the college season and will be kicking it off with a 25-unit play on Thursday night, plus releasing the nationally televised Southern Miss at South Carolina and Southern California at Hawaii games as part of a special package I kicked off Saturday with my winning 50-unit NFL Pre-Season Game of the Year.

I won my 50-unit Pre-Season Game of the Year as Jacksonville (-2.5) beat Tampa Bay, 19-13, in a game that should not have been as close as the final score. I will be releasing another 50-unit NFL play Thursday night as the pre-season comes to a close.

My first 100-unit game of the college season should get all the cash on Saturday, and in blowout fashion. The game can be purchased individually for $50, or you can get it free as part of your Best Bets Club season package.

Here is a rundown of what you get with membership in my Best Bets Club.

Sign Up For Early Bird Football With All Its Bonuses

As I do each season I am offering my Early Bird Football Special for just $199, charged to your major credit card.

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5.      My 50-Unit NFL Pre-Season Game of the Year. (Already Won)
6.      My 200-Unit College Game of the Year.
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8.      My 100-Unit College Kickoff Special
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