College Football Notes and Labor Day Preview
Go ahead ... you can take LSU head coach Ed Orgeron off that "hot seat" already.
The embattled boss-man of the Bayou Bengals was all smiles following Sunday night's rollicking - and never/ever in doubt - 33-17 win against 3-point favorite Miami in Arlington as RB Nick Brossette rumbled loose for 125 yards and a pair of touchdowns and kicker Cole Tracy boomed four field goals including a neat 54-yarder that pretty much symbolized the kind of night it was for #25 (and movin' on up) LSU. Yup, everything worked A-OK for the cajun' kids.
Tonight, it's ... #20 VIRGINIA TECH at #19 FLORIDA STATE - 8 p.m., ESPN
Okay, so we wrap up a busy weekend of college football in the Sunshine State this evening ... but will the host Florida State Seminoles be feeling warm and fuzzy when all's said and done?
Last year the 'Noles staggered out of the starting gate with a 24-7 loss to Alabama that included the season-ending knee injury to QB Deondre Francois. Now, Francois is counting on a bounce-back re-start of his college career - remember he beat out soph James Blackman and frosh Bailey Hockman for the starting job -- but the real key here might be Florida State's first-year head coach Willie Taggart: Will the former one-and-done head coach at Oregon (see 7-6 and a bowl loss to Boise State) allow Francois to cut it loose or will he ask RB Cam Akers (1,024 yards rushing last year) to be the centerpiece against this Virginia Tech defense that last year allowed 28-or-more points in three of the team's final five games?
If the Techsters are gonna strike up the upset tune here, then Hokie QB Josh Jackson (2,991 yards passing and 20 aerial scores last year as a freshman) must show he can throw it accurately while on the run 'cause we expect the Sems to throw the kitchen sink at 'em. Last year Jackson thrived late in a season-opening win against West Virginia ... is there more week one magic in his right arm here?
Spread Stats - Florida State finished last year at 0-7-1 ATS (against the spread) in ACC games and that included a crummy 0-5-1 spread log when in the betting favorite's role. On the flip side, Virginia Tech's failed to cover five of its last seven ACC season openers dating back to 2011.
In other NCAA Football Week One Notes / Recaps ... Let's zip 'round the land and touch on a few other Top 25 winners in the first week of play:
So much for sportsmanship when it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes: In last Saturday's 77-41 winner against 39-point underdog Oregon State, there were the Big 10 bully Buckeyes scoring three TDs in the final quarter in order to cover the bloated price tag. Sure, covering the number is the name of the game but Ohio State really put the pedal to the floor to cover and after all the Urban Meyer-related news this past summer, well, the 'Eyes have another reason for folks to hate 'em this year ...
#9 Auburn didn't exactly play radiant ball in its 21-16 win/cover versus 1.5-point pup Washington - the Tigers missed a pair of field goals and blundered away a couple of other red-zone opportunities - but the bottom line is the War Eagle "D" stifled the Huskies when they got down deep and badgered QB Jake Browning at every turn. Did either of these teams resemble a "national championship-type" squad? Not exactly but Auburn may well have needed that "W" to make a playoff case for itself later in the year ...
Finally, Notre Dame made things a little scarier than necessary in its aforementioned win/cover against Michigan but Brian Kelly's defense surrendered just one offensive TD and recently named starting QB Brandon Wimbush (170 yards passing / 59 yards rushing and one scoring strike) did enough to keep the Irish ahead all game long in that much-anticipated showdown. Hey, did you know that Michigan is now a rotten 1-6 against the odds in non-Big 10 games while dating back to late in the 2016 season?
NFL WEEK 1
Ready, set ... go! The NFL 2018 campaign gets into high gear with Thursday's Falcons vs. Eagles clash and the word's out that Super Bowl MVP QB Nick Foles will start for Philly ... but have you noticed the price tag's come down to Philly minus 2.5 points here? Could be that folks think the Eagles' sluggish preseason will carry into the regular season - for what it's worth, the Eagles went 0-4 versus the vig this past summer - and there's growing sentiment that this Falcons' team could be a super-power in the NFC South. Note Atlanta's coming off a 3-7 spread season away while Philadelphia has covered seven of its last 10 season-opening affairs.