Kentucky at Texas A&M: 3 Key Matchups

Kentucky (5-0) is off its best start since the 2014 team started 38-0.  There is an excitement around this team that is usually only seen in March.  Coach John Calipari seems optimistic about this season, even moreso than usual.   The Aggies have played a brutal schedule and sleepwalked their way to a victory over hapless Arkansas last week.  This will be a fascinating matchup in front of over 100,000 fans at Kyle Field on Saturday night.  The crowd might be somewhat intimidating to Kentucky since their on campus stadium Rupp Arena seats only 24,500.

The teams are similar in that they both want to control the ball.  The Aggies do this by running the ball and moving the chains.  Kentucky uses more of a four corner approach to limit possessions by the other team.

Now, let’s take a look at the three key matchups for Saturday night’s game:

 

Aggie Safeties vs Ashton Hagans

Hagans is a good but inexperienced passer.  The Aggie safeties will be cheating up to stop the run.  If Hagans is truly an elite playmaker, one who can make those around him better, then he should have some opportunities for some length of the court passes and cutting big men.  If Hagans tries to do it all himself, then Kentucky could be in for a long game.  He needs to distribute the ball.

 

Daylon Mack vs Reid Travis

Travis transferred from Stanford after earning all Pac 12 honors.  Mack is having by far his best season controlling the middle of the offensive line and getting penetration.  If Travis can use his hands and utilize his quick feet, he can keep Mack from becoming too much of a force in the paint.

 

Kellen Mond vs PJ Washington

While there is no doubt that Mond has improved greatly since his freshman campaign, he didn’t look particularly sharp in the last two games against Alabama and Arkansas.  He had two turnovers in each game.  If PJ Washington can force Mond into an unfavorable assist to turnover ratio, Kentucky will have a chance to win this game.

 

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Why Has Texas A&M Lost 5 Straight to Alabama?

Alabama probably let Texas A&M win the 1968 Cotton Bowl, but it still counts as a win. In 1985 Alabama won in Birmingham. In 1988, Alabama pussied out because a tropical storm was in Mexico. They came later in the season after their Jay Barker type quarterback was healthy and Bucky Richardson was out for the season.

Texas A&M boat raced Alabama 56-19 in College Station in 2009 and then split the two Johnny games.

Kenny Hill was seen on the sideline coaching the TCU quarterbacks on Saturday night against Ohio State. After watching him play against Alabama, you’d have to wonder why he was out there coaching. What was he saying? Why was he hired as a graduate coach?

That brings us to what really happened in that 2014 game. The Aggies and Tide entered that contest tied at 3 wins apiece in the all time series.  2014 wasn’t all Kenny’s fault. Sure, he wasn’t a student of the game, but neither was Johnny. Hill started off the season nice against the likes of South Carolina and SMU. He was kind of a happy go lucky kid. And he tried to do things right in Tuscaloosa, but some things were out of his control. He didn’t get any sleep the night before the game.

You see, Kenny’s girlfriend and her family traveled to Tuscaloosa that weekend. They were staying in a different hotel than the team. The parents had gone to bed, but Kenny’s girlfriend and her sister went to the hotel gym to work out. Kenny called his girlfriend and she left the gym to go back to her room to talk to Kenny. Her little sister, we’ll call her Beth, finished her workout. Kenny’s girlfriend talked to Kenny for a while and then she took a shower. When she got out of the shower, her sister still wasn’t back. She was only 12 years old. Where could she have gone?

Kenny’s girlfriend didn’t want to wake up her parents, so she called Kenny, in tears. Kenny was asleep already and dreaming of check down passes against a fierce Alabama pass rush, but he groggily answered the phone. When he heard the fear in his girlfriend’s voice, he knew he had to do something. So, he snuck out of his hotel room and went over to her hotel to try to track down the missing sister.

They used the find my iphone ap and ubered across town to some nice condos not too far from Bryant-Denny stadium.

They knocked on the door of the condo that seemed to be the correct one according to the app.

A goofy looking man answered the door. He was dressed like a cartoon fire fighter. Kenny took charge of the situation: “Sir, is Beth here? We tracked her phone to this location.”

The man started to mutter some weak denials, but they heard muffled shrieks from the background. Kenny pushed the man aside and raced into the condo. He found Beth in the back bedroom. The bedroom was full of dresses for young girls and barbie dolls and easy bake ovens and things like that. Kenny’s girlfriend rushed over to her sister and gave her a big hug.

The man came in the room demanding what right Kenny had for busting into his apartment.

“We are trying to get my girlfriend’s sister back,” Kenny said. “What are you doing, kidnapping her?”

“No,” said the man, “I picked her up at a hotel. I was trying to get lucky. Who are you, anyway?”

“I’m Kenny Hill, quarterback for Texas A&M. Who are you? I need to call the police on you for kidnapping.”

The man looked stunned. First, he just couldn’t believe that Kenny Hill was a quarterback.  He also didn’t want people interrupting his date.  His voice started to get louder: “I’m the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Go ahead and call the police, I’ll just have you arrested.”

Well, Kenny Hill did call the police. And it didn’t go well for him. They came out and seemed really focused on causing trouble for Kenny. They took him down to the Tuscaloosa police station and questioned him most of the night. They made him drink coffee to stay awake. Finally, they forced him and his girlfriend sign a statement that they had all been personal guests of Roy Moore at his house and nothing funny was going on.

Kenny got back to his hotel room at dawn. He didn’t sleep a wink that night. He never told anyone what happened until the Roy Moore resignation in 2016. Kenny’s girlfriend’s parents never knew what happened. Beth is okay. Kenny got there before any funny business happened.

So, that explains the 2014 game. The Aggies fought harder the next two years, but lost in the second half as a dark cloud hung over the team. But last year, the first season playing Alabama after Roy Moore resigned from the bench, the Kevin Sumlin led Aggies and Kellen Mond played the Crimson Tide to a one score game.

Look for the Aggies to be in a position to win the game this weekend.  Without the Roy Moore curse, they should be able to duplicate 2012’s game.

Week 3 Betting Guide

As we move on to week 3, we are starting to get a better idea of what teams are all about. We have an overall weak slate of games this week, but there’s money to be made out there.

Nebraska +3.5 at Miami

The play: Miami

Why? First of all, this is a worthless game that few people will watch. But some twenty years ago, these were the best programs in the country. I doubt either program will ever match those glory teams, but this game provides a spark of interest when considering the history. Golden is likely out at the end of the year and will be replaced by Charlie Strong. Nebraska is still reeling after giving a game away to BYU. Which team will not show up the most? Nebraska.

Miami 31
Nebraska 24

South Carolina +17 at Georgia

The play: South Carolina

Why? It’s obvious South Carolina is on the decline. Georgia is sort of holding steady as a good but not great team. The Cocks still have something in the tank, and the Old Ball Coach will have his players giving maximum effort today. It won’t be enough to win the game, but it’ll be enough to scare some people in Athens.

Georgia 16
South Carolina 14

Texas Tech +11.5 at Arkansas

The play: Arkansas

Why? Let’s face it, Bret Bielema is an idiot. Everyone knows it. His team looks to have regressed from last year’s last place team. Still, the opponent this week, Texas Tech, is downright awful. Toledo could get off the field on defense last week, but Texas Tech just doesn’t have the athletes Toledo does.

Arkansas 38
Texas Tech 10


California -6.5 at Texas

The play: California

Why? Have you seen Texas play this year? They are awful. Last year these teams both sported losing records. Cal may not win another game this year after this weekend. Texas will win a few due to a weak schedule. This is a double play.

California 41
Texas 13

Florida -3.5 at Kentucky

The play? Kentucky

Why? Why not? Florida might be on the road back to being a dominant program. Kentucky is on the road to be a respectable program. There is something to be said for momentum, and Kentucky is riding high after sneaking up on South Carolina.

Kentucky 21
Florida 20

SMU +37 at TCU

The play: SMU

Why? TCU has looked unimpressive thus far. They aren’t a deep team, they’ve suffered some key injuries and their quarterback seems to have regressed. SMU has shown some spark for the first time in years and Chad Morris has them heading in the right direction. Do I think SMU wins this game? No, but I think they are capable of winning this game.

TCU 35
SMU 34


Ole Miss at Alabama Over/Under – 53

The pick: The Under

Why? There are still questions about both of these teams on the offensive side of the ball. There are no questions on the defensive side of the ball.

Ole Miss 10
Alabama 9

Week 2 Locks of the Week

Week two is here. Now, after we’ve seen everyone, we have a better idea where to put our money. Everyone pull out your wallets and make some money. HSJ is over .500 for the year at 5-4.

Here are the locks of the week:

Oregon State +14.5 at Michigan

The play: Oregon State

Why? These teams are actually very similar. Michigan has a little bit more talent and is playing at home, but the line is way out of wack. Both teams are breaking in new coaches.

Michigan 21
Oregon State 20

Houston +13.5 at Louisville

The play: Houston

Why? One thing Houston does is hire good coaches: John Jenkins, Kevin Sumlin, Art Briles. Houston starts to show something on the field and their coach goes on to make millions. Tom Herman will probably take over for Charlie Strong after this season. Louisville didn’t look good last week against an Auburn team that was trying to hand them the game.

Louisville 34
Houston 28

UTEP +20.5 at Texas Tech

The Play: UTEP

Why? This has little to do with UTEP and a lot to do with Texas Tech. Texas Tech looked to have less talent than Sam Houston State last week. UTEP is better than Sam Houston. Take UTEP and the points.

Texas Tech 42
UTEP 35

Minnesota -5 at Colorado State

The Play: Colorado State

Why? Minnesota looked disinterested last week at home, so going on the road should further cloud their interest factor. Colorado State has players still trying to impress the coach. This game is a coin flip.

Colorado State 21
Minnesota 17

Washington State +3.5 at Rutgers

The play: Rutgers

Why? Washington State is the worst team in the PAC 12. They are worse than Colorado.

Rutgers 34
Washington State 30

Georgia -21.5 at Vanderbilt

The Play? Georgia

Why? Vanderbilt was awful last week. They just don’t have the horses. Georgia can name the score.

Georgia 52
Vandy 9


Fresno State +30.5 at Ole Miss

The play: Fresno State

Why? This game won’t really be competitive. We at HSJ just don’t believe Ole Miss has enough offense to cover the spread against these Central Valley boys.

Mississippi 27
Fresno St 3

Iowa -3 at Iowa State

The play: Iowa

Why? The difference in the athletes on these two teams is significant. Iowa passes the eyeball test. Iowa State doesn’t. In fact, Iowa State looks like a Pop Warner team wearing USC colored uniforms.

Iowa 28
Iowa State 13

Oklahoma -2 at Tennessee

The play: Tennessee

Why? Tennessee has better players. The talent level is similar in the skill positions, but up front, Tennessee has more bodies. OU is probably a better coached team at this point, which makes this game interesting. Tennessee will probably come back to win late. If this game had an extra quarter, Tennessee would win going away.

Tennessee 28
Oklahoma 20

Oregon +3.5 at Michigan State

The play: Michigan State

Why? Oregon is dead. Put a fork in them.

Michigan State 31
Oregon 16

Rice +14 at Texas

The play: Rice

Why? If you saw Texas play last week, you wonder how they can score at all. Rice will be able to move the ball against Texas and can win outright if they win the turnover battle.

Rice 20
Texas 13

LSU -4 at Mississippi State

The play: Mississippi State

LSU will miss John Chavis and they aren’t as talented up front as they have been in recent years. Prescott and company will be able to score some points for the Bulldogs. LSU cancelling its game last week will hurt as well.

Mississippi State 42
LSU 17

College Football Betting Guide Week 1

Week one is almost here. Everyone pull out your wallets and put your money on your favorite college football team.

Here are the locks of the week:

Washington +13 at Boise

The play: Washington

Why? Boise has fallen off from their statue of liberty days. The blue field is fading. Their discipline problems are shipped off to fake Christian schools.

Boise 30
Washington 24

Stanford -11.5 at Northwestern

The play: Stanford

Why? Northwestern players tried to unionize. When you have stuff like that going on, it’s a distraction. Do you have defensive linemen cornering punters in the locker room asking for their union dues for protection? HSJ is not high on Stanford this year, but Northwestern will be a mess all year.

Stanford 35
Northwestern 3

Louisville +10.5 at Auburn

The play: Auburn

Why? Bobby Petrino is a pretty good coach. He has some baggage similar to Charlie Strong and Clint Hurtt, but he will have Louisville scoring some points. We’ll see what Will Muschamp can do on that side of the ball for Auburn. The problem is Louisville is void of talent on the defensive side of the ball, so Auburn should be able to score at will.

Auburn 52
Louisville 28


Virginia +19 at UCLA

The play: Virginia

Why? Last year, with UCLA boasting a preseason All American quarterback, Virginia physically manhandled the Bruins. The PAC 12 has a reputation for soft teams outside of Stanford and Utah. This year, with a true freshman under center, expect the Bruin offense to look about like it did last against Virginia.

UCLA 12
Virginia 9

BYU +7 at Nebraska

The play: Virginia

Why? Here are a couple of fascinating teams. BYU plays games on weird days all season because they aren’t in a conference. Nebraska’s former coach looked like a penis. I think Nebraska should improve once they get into their conference schedule, but BYU boasting a roster of 23 year old men always has a little bit of an advantage in week one games.

BYU 28
Nebraska 27


Bowling Green +22 at Tennessee

The play: Bowling Green

Why? Rocky Top is back. Vols fans will be rocking. There’s true excitement pulsating through UT nation. However, they don’t cover.

Tennessee 35
Bowling green 21

Texas A&M -3.5 vs Arizona State

The play: Texas A&M

Why? Again, PAC 12 schools just aren’t physical. While the east coast media is predicting a high scoring affair, this game will play out differently. Both of these teams gave up their share of big plays last year, but this game will resemble more of a 1970’s run heavy battle.

Texas A&M 20
Arizona St 10

Texas +9.5 at Notre Dame

The play: Notre Dame

Why? Notre Dame is starting a shitload of juniors and seniors. Texas lost most of their defense off last year’s team and still do not have a quarterback or an offensive line. This is a mismatch, especially in a week one game.

Notre Dame 49
Texas 0

Alabama -12 vs Wisconsin

The play: Wisconsin

Why? I don’t expect this game to ever really be in doubt, but Alabama is in trouble on offense. While they boast perhaps the SEC’s top defense, they may have the SEC’s worst offense. Amari Cooper in Oakland will really hinder the Tide. Wisconsin will be able to get a few first downs via the run, but won’t be able to put together more than one long scoring drive.

Alabama 19
Wisconsin 10


Virginia Tech +13.5 at Ohio State

The play: Virginia Tech

Why? Last year, Virginia Tech took Ohio State behind the barn and left a bloody half mauled Buckeye in a pile of tattoos and Youngstown street trash. This year, Ohio State will be ready. However, there’s an old saying, “If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.” Team derision over the quarterback situation will play out negatively just as Northwestern’s union situation.

Virginia Tech 35
Ohio State 24