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When the Quarterback is not a Playmaker
For years and years, I've been emphasizing the importance of focusing on PLAYMAKERS and GAMEBREAKERS when you handicap games. In the NFL, that's traditionally meant placing a top priority on the quarterback position. In this Sunday's conference championship games, that's going to be a little tricky.
Sure, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is one of the greatest to ever play the position. And, he came through for us last week, as my top selection was on the Pats (-) over Tennessee in a 35-14 blowout that was 35-7 until a late garbage time TD. But, the other three QBs on the field this week have question marks surrounding them in terms of true championship moxie.
BLAKE BORTLES of Jacksonville is just as likely to make a big play for his opponent as he is for the Jaguars! He only completed 14 passes in the upset of Pittsburgh last week. The Jags won because of a great rushing attack and a defense that scored a touchdown on his own. Entering the season, he was about the least likely "veteran" starting quarterback you could imagine reaching the Super Bowl.
Finding College Hoop Upsets in Conference Play
I have to say that this is one of the easiest college basketball seasons I've ever seen for finding upsets. All the top teams have vulnerabilities that can be exploited. The next level of teams are so good that they can get hot and beat anybody on any give night. And, even some of the cellar dwellers are capable of putting things together for 40 minutes.
Duke is loaded, but they already have outright losses as double-digit favorites to Boston College and NC State. Michigan State seemed like a lock for a #1 seed. Suddenly, they're getting bullied by Ohio State and Michigan, while barely getting by Rutgers laying more than 20 points. What happened to Arizona State? What happened to A LOT of teams?! Look at how many traditional powers are barely in the top 25 or are unranked.
I'm not going to talk specifics about this week or particular teams right now, because I need to protect my edge for my clients. I can talk generally about what to look for. And, once the line has caught up to some of the current slumpers, I'll review what happened in future articles.
*First, you need to be ready to go against teams who rank outside the top 50 in defensive efficiency. Too many teams aren't going all out on that side of the floor this season. Nobody has an offense that can overcome what its own soft defense is allowing every time out. Fading favorites with shaky defenses is one of the smartest things you can do this season. Some teams just get out of the way if you drive to the basket. Others are slow to guard the arc.
Blount and Long brought winning ways to the Eagles
PHILADELPHIA (AP) When Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount joined the Philadelphia Eagles after winning a Super Bowl in New England, both players envisioned another title run with a team on the rise.
Florida State's Taggart completes staff with 5 additions
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) Florida State coach Willie Taggart has completed his coaching staff with the announcement of five new hires on Friday, including an offensive coordinator.