Tag Archives: N.C. State

Beating Vegas: Bowl Locks, Pt.3

Independence Bowl (played in Shreveport, Louisiana) on Dec. 27th

Southern Mississippi +15 versus Florida State

At the start of the season, Florida State was looked upon as a National Title contender.  Now at season’s end, they look like an average program, whose coach has abandoned them for Texas A&M.  .  . Most thought Jimbo Fisher would be a “lifer” at Florida State and the move to the Aggies shocked just about everyone, but now the Seminoles must gather the pieces and try to wrap up this forgettable season with a bowl win.  During the season, Florida State had a knack for losing to the good teams and beating / barely beating the below average squads.  They racked up three wins in a row to finish off the season, but those blowout wins came against competition like Delaware State, Louisiana-Monroe and Florida. . . The early injury to quarterback Deondre Francois pretty much de-railed their season early, but gave experience to James Blackman.  Blackman’s play this year has been pretty inconsistent throwing 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.  He should find some spots to do damage though in this match up against Southern Miss because the Eagles give up 13 yards a catch which is the second worse in Conference USA.  But defense is not the calling card for Southern Miss, it’s their offense, led by running back Ito Smith who is averaging 5.7 yards a carry and has rushed for over 1300 yards.  Although Ito is the focal point, quarterback Kwadra Griggs has done well in keeping his mistakes to a minimum (15 touchdowns and 2 interceptions).  Florida State will be without their best defensive players, most notably safety Derwin James – as they are preparing for the NFL draft, making things a little easier for this offense to work.  Florida State is waiting for this season to end, and with a lame-duck coach, the players are already thinking about what their fates will be next season.  As for Southern Miss, a win against Florida State does wonders for this program.  No matter the current state of the Seminoles.

The Pick: Southern Miss +15

Foster Farms Bowl (played in Santa Clara, California) on Dec. 27th

Purdue +3 versus Arizona

Jobs were saved and life had been reignited into the Arizona Wildcats football program all because of one young man: Khalil Tate.  As the team’s quarterback, he ran for over 1300 yards and averages 10 yards a carry.  His running back mate J.J. Taylor has added in over 800 rushing yards of his own (6 yards per carry).    Arizona finished behind only Army and Navy in total rushing yards this season, but were number one in the country in yards per rush with 6.8.  The points total in this game has an over/under at 65.5 – Arizona has only gone under that number twice this year while Purdue did not go over that total once all year.  Purdue is 6-6 but has been playing below-average all year long.  They had a three game skid in the middle of the season, where they played Wisconsin tough but lost, and then loss to Rutgers (14-12) and Nebraska (25-24) in back to back weeks.  They finished the season off strong with a road win in Iowa and the victory over their rival, Indiana.  Purdue is very balanced on offense – nothing crazy, but very modest and respectable (4.4 yards per carry; and completing 59% of their passes).  This bodes well for the Boilermakers who are playing a very high powered, yet one dimensional offense in Arizona – but the Arizona Wildcats are just pitiful on defense (hence most of their came totals going over 65.5 points).  The Boilermakers have a good run defense that only allows 3.6 yards a rush and because Tate isn’t half the threat throwing the ball as he is running with it – Purdue can bring more help in from their secondary to slow down this rush attack.

The Pick: Purdue +3

Sun Bowl (played in El Paso, Texas) on December 29th

N.C. State -6.5 versus Arizona State


Nobody knows why Arizona State fired head coach Todd Graham who finished the season with a 7-5 record.  Graham is a pretty good coach that recruits well and gets the most out of the players he gets, but he was fired and replaced by ESPN personality and former football coach, Herm Edwards.  Edwards hasn’t coached a football game in nearly 20 years, but here he is, head coach of a college football team.  Arizona State, stood in the middle of the Pac-12 this year with 31 points per game, completion percentage of over 61% and averaging more than four yards a carry.  The problem for the Sun Devils was on the defense end, where they couldn’t do much to stop the pass or the run and gave up 31 points per game. . . N.C. State has been a favorite for “Beating Vegas” the last two years.  The Wolfpack are just well coached and do everything on the field above-average, pretty consistently.  Quarterback Ryan Finley has thrown for over 3200 yards this year, but more impressive than  that, he has only six interceptions in 450 pass attempts this year. Running back Nyheim Hines rushing for over 1000 yards this year and has been a very well kept secret in college football this year.  After their bye-week, the Wolfpack lost a tough back to back at Notre Dame and then a loss at home to Clemson (which they had a chance to take the win).  They then had a another tough two games ahead of them against Boston College and Wake Forest, only beating Boston College in that run.  . .  The bottom line is, N.C. State isn’t a team that takes anything for granted and they play smart and well coached football for the entire four quarters.  Most of the players on Arizona State only know Herm Edwards as the crazy old guy on ESPN who has some pretty funny sound-bites.

The Pick: N.C. State -6.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely!

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Beating Vegas: Entry Four

Every week during the football season, “The Heartthrob” G.W. Gras will be giving out his college and professional football “best bets” against the spread.  The wise guys in Vegas live comfortably – it’s time we all get on their level.

Judging Last Week:  The Seattle Seahawks’ lack of an offense was the reason they failed to cover against the lowly Lions last week.  Penn State won – but looked terrible doing it against a hapless Army squad.

N.C. State (PK) at Virginia Tech


N.C. State let us down with a loss to Louisville last week, but this is their chance to get the positive momentum going back in their direction.  Virginia Tech is trying to avoid their third loss in a row after losing to East Carolina and in a “tough game to watch” lost to Pitt.   VA Tech is second to last in the ACC Conference in points allowed per game with 24.2 and they’ve given up the most yards per carry in the ACC at 5.1.   This is a far cry from the defensive teams, that worked great special teams and executed with speed on the offensive end.  This is a down year for the Hokies and people are questioning if it’s time for head coach Frank Beamer to end his stay at Tech.  N.C. State’s well balanced offense which bangs out nearly forty points a game might prove to be more than a handful for the Hokies.   Senior quarterback Jacoby Brisset is quietly having an impressive season so far throwing at a 70% completion rate.

The Pick: N.C. State

Baylor (-44) at Kansas

These big spreads are scary to look at and for Kansas, Baylor should be very scary to look at.  Talk about two teams going in completely different directions – yikes.  Coach Art Briles has constructed one of the best offensive programs in college football and he is ruthless when it comes to taking advantage of lesser opponents.  Kansas is downright dreadful football.  The Jayhawks are win-less so far this season – that includes a loss to the South Dakota State Jack Rabbits out of the Missouri Conference (it’s okay to shake your head at that).  If it wasn’t enough that their offense is a train wreck, the Jayhawks defense is equally as bad.  Baylor running back Shock Linwood is averaging 9.4 yards a carry and Kansas’ defense allow 5.4 yards a carry.  Baylor might have 44 points scored by the middle of the second quarter.

The Pick: Baylor -44

TCU (-9) at Kansas State


This is a situation where the numbers do not tell the whole story.  The Kansas State Wildcats defense has allowed an impressive 18 points per contest, which is second best in the Big 12 Conference.  Look at who the Wildcats have played and the truth is revealed as to why.   Kansas State opened up with wins against South Dakota and UTSA for a combined score of 64-3.  The following two games they gave up thirty three points in a win against Louisiana Tech and 34 points in a loss to Oklahoma State.  Looking at TCU though, outside of their season opener against Minnesota, the competition hasn’t been up to par either.  When discussing TCU though, not many opposing defenses can keep up to par with the Horned Frogs offense.  They have put up at least fifty points on the board in their last three outings and their Heisman candidate quarterback Trevone Boykin already has 19 touchdown passes and 1800 passing yards.  Kansas State is coached well and may make TCU work in the first half, but in the second half expect TCU to just runaway with this one.

The Pick: TCU -9

New Mexico State  (+43.5) at Ole Miss

Ole Miss looked like they were firing on all cylinders until they ended up getting stomped out in the Swamp by the Florida Gators.   The last three weeks have been emotionally charged for the Rebels.  It started with upsetting the Crimson Tide in Alabama, followed by the typical “let-down” game where they came out with a win against a scrappy Vanderbilt team; and then of course – last week.  Bleh.  Ole Miss has had one of the best recruiting classes the last two years and the depth chart shows it.  In all truth, it won’t surprise anyone to see a one-loss Ole Miss team be  a threat at the end of the season to reach the college football playoff.  The receiving core of Adeboyejo, Core and of course Treadwell have been meshing well with former Clemson transfer quarterback Chad Kelly and this game against New Mexico State is a great tune-up game before they take on the rest of the SEC.   New Mexico State is no where near the level of Ole Miss – any team that loses to Georgia State is one who can lose every week.  This is another one of those big spreads but this is a weekend where there won’t be many upsets.

The Pick: Ole Miss -43.5


If You Must:  Anytime you get a team flying coast to coast, the home team is usually the way to go.  And right now it’s a bad 49ers team flying three-thousands miles to play a Giants team that is feeling really good about themselves right now.  The Niners put up a little bit of a fight against Green Bay, but they won’t do that this week.  Shane Vereen and Larry Donnell will be the players to watch as the Giants cover -6.5 pretty easily.

Teaser of The Week: (four gamer) Patriots +3, Michigan State -2, TCU +3 and North Western +19.5

Good Luck and Wager Wisely.

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio