GREG GAMBLE’S 2008 PIGSKIN PICKS: 43-27 ATS...62%
NFL 14-12 - NCAA 16-9 - Teasers 13-6 - Happiness 70-0
C. MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS (+3.5) @ N. ILLINOIS HUSKIES
Waking-up and expecting to see a line close to even, what is it about gambling-addicted cats like myself that cannot rejoice the unexpected points and would rather loath in the nervousness of how this could possibly be true? That being said, after polishing off a bloody & some Theraflu this morning, my mood changed as I remembered I’m 16 games ova .500 on the gridiron and one handsome MFer!
The (7-2) Chippewas are undefeated in the MAC, coming off a Bye Week, and will be getting Jr. QB Dan “Do-Everything” LeFevour back in the mix tonight (’07: passing - 3652 yards, 27 TD, 13 INT – rushing - 1122 yards 19 TD). While LeFevour opened the season in similar fashion and looked solid in road tests against Georgia & Purdue, he’s been slowed by an ankle injury of late missing two of the last three games. On a positive note, many of my insiders told me LeFevour could’ve started on Nov 1st at Indiana, but with a break in the MAC schedule and an off week to follow, Coach Butch Jones decided to save his superstar for their stretch run in conference.
In LeFevour's absence, the Chippewas made the trip to Bloomington and left with a victory, confident they could play without their superstar, and proved to have an extremely solid back-up signal caller if needed (Sr. QB Brian Brunner at Indiana: 35-53 485 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT). While Brunner was exceptional, it definitely helps when you have stars on the outside in the sure-handed Antonio Brown (102 catches as a Fr. last year) and 6-5 Jr. Bryan Anderson (career: 209 rec & 20 TD), as well as, three other playmakers totaling 72 catches & 5 TD.
On the ground, while C. Michigan hasn’t put-up big numbers, their spread offense does a wonderful job of setting-up plenty of short-yard opportunities so the majority of attempts have been against a stacked-line. Sr. Ontario Sneed (5-11, 205) seems like he’s been a Chippewa for years, and while his career and parts of this season have been slowed by injuries, the duel-threat should look sharp tonight with the additional rest (Sneed’s 2005 & 2006 stats combined: 1829 rushing yrds & 12 TD – 103 receptions & 10 TD). Throw-in the fact both LeFevour & Sneed have somewhat of a homecoming tonight, and I expect the veteran-leaden offense to come-out fast & focused.
As for the Huskies D under new headmaster Jerry Kill, while they were considered one of the best in MAC, last Wednesday Night they were hammered on national TV by Ball St. (45-14). While not the same runner as LeFevour, Cardinal QB Nate Davis easily spread the ball around to his playmakers and was able to open things up even more with his mobility. The Huskies specialty is their pass-rush, but just like the crafty Nate Davis, watch for LeFevour to neutralize their push by rolling-out and dropping the ball off to his RBs.
Now before u head to the bank & close ur savings account...
I have more info on 2night's cold contest with the Huskies!
Now before you head to the bank and close out your savings account, I do need to mention how porous the Chippewas secondary has been. Luck for us, three weeks ago Fr. QB Chandler Harnish became Coach Kill’s permanent starter as injuries & lackluster play sidelined the two cats in-front of him. While he’s extremely mobile with decent arm strength, his accuracy has been shaky and he doesn’t have anybody on the outside to make a plays. Considering their only other playmaker is banged-up Fr. RB Me’co Brown (last week 3 carries for 3 yards), I just don’t see how they can keep pace on the scoreboard.
And finally, Do you know what the combined records are of the teams the Huskies have beaten…11-38…did you get that, am a clear enough for ya…11 and f*cking 38! For all the talk the D is outstanding, the offense has shown improvement, and they have home-field advantage, this is a bad Northern squad facing a rested and hungry Chipps squad with too much offensive talent.
Final Score: CHIPPEWAS 34 HUSKIES 23