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Army +8.5 (-110)—Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008, noon
The Air Force Falcons may be 6-2 straight-up compared to just 3-5 for the Army Black Knights, but Army is on a 5-0 against-the-spread run and can give the Falcons fits at home here. In fact, the Cadets have won three of their last four games outright, and the only loss during this stretch was 27-24 in overtime on the road vs. what has become a pretty decent Buffalo team.
These teams are very similar in that both clubs run the ball often and neither has a passing game. Army is averaging an impressive 246.9 rushing yards per contest on 4.5 yards per carry compared to a minuscule 45.4 passing yards. Then again, we see that as a positive for a team getting more than a touchdown, as Army should be able to shorten this game by running a lot of clock.
Air Force is averaging even more rushing yards per game at 291.0, though it averages an identical 4.5 yards per rush as the Black Knights. Keep in mind the Army defense is only allowing 116.5 yards per game on just 3.5 yards per carry, so that may slow the Falcons down somewhat. At the very least, it will take them longer to drive down the field, again killing clock and favoring the underdog.
As long as Army does not turn the ball over much, we fully expect it to be in this game until the end, and an outright home upset would not shock us at all.
College football free pick: Army +8.5 (-110)—courtesy of LT Profits
Miami (Florida) +2.5—Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008, noon
The Miami Hurricanes and the Virgina Cavaliers go head to head in a key ACC matchup between two teams that are currently in top form. After a 0-2 start in conference play, the Canes have come back with impressive successive wins against Wake Forest and Duke. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers have won four straight games, including victories over two top-25 teams.
When these football programs met last year, the Cavaliers mercilessly beat the Canes in their own backyard, down in the Orange Bowl by a 48-0 count. While revenge in college football can sometimes be overstated and overhyped, this is not one of those situations.
The aforementioned loss marked the first time since 1974 that Miami (Fla.), was shut at home. Worse of all, the loss came in front of some of the school's all-time top players. Needless to say, some key boosters were not impressed with how coach Randy Shannon seemed unprepared for that game.
Since then, the head coach has had this date circled on his calender and will have his team more than ready to compete. Wahoos head coach Al Groh knows there is a storm blowing in and will batten down the hatches. Look for a hard-fought affair with the Canes' strength, their defense, ending up being the difference maker.
Final notes and key trends: The underdog has won the last four meetings...The Canes have covered four straight road games.
Projected score: Miami (Fla.) 23, Virginia 20—courtesy of Alex Smart