Miss St. gets Zook the hook at Florida

Oct 26, 2004 5:37 AM

Off the mark might be a more accuracy title.

Houston and UConn were the latest apparent wins to turn sour in a year that headed south weeks ago. But my problems are nothing compared to Ron Zook, the soon to be ex-coach of the Florida Gators.

Do you think Steve Spurrier would have lost to Mississippi State in the Bulldogs’ current condition? The 38-31 stunner capped a laundry list of problems that sealed Zook’s fate. One has to wonder how Zook’s mindset will be this week as a lame duck coach for the clash with Georgia in Jacksonville.

The other big loser in our mind was Texas Tech, which again could not produce a win over a team the Raiders can’t bully. Texas not only matched the Tech firepower, but made the three-point spot look like a joke in a 51-21 win in Lubbock.

Our GamingToday rankings remain rock solid, with every team in the top 10 winning for the second straight week. And, Washington held on to the No. 1 rating in the Dirty Dozen with a convincing 38-0 loss to national No. 1 Southern Cal. The Huskies threw a scare into the Trojans, trailing just 10-0 at half. But USC wound up easily covering the 30.

Favorites and underdogs were again roughly 50-50, with the better teams holding a slight edge. The results offered nothing to suggest that one side or the other is preferable in trying to beat the house.

So we trudge on to another week in the colleges. We’ll get to the NFL later.

Arizona St (+14½) at Cal: The Sun Devils will attempt to turn this into the OK Corral, but Cal will comfortably capture this apparent Rose Bowl berth. Walter could throw 70 passes for ASU with four picks. Stephens may toss 15-20 and not miss a pass. If Keith Jackson says the G-Bears are the most efficient team in college football over the past five years, that’s proof enough. CAL.

Army (-2½) at E. Carolina: The Black Knights have had two weeks off and have shown in games with Cincinnati and TCU that they can hang with the C-USA elite. ECU is not among that group. ARMY.

Auburn (-17) at Ole Miss: The Tigers are on a major role and Eli Manning isn’t around to stop the noise. RB "Cadillac" Williams moves up to a Porsche. AUBURN.

N. Illinois (-20) at Ball St.: NIU racked up 652 yards and a season-high 59 points last week against Western Michigan to reach 5-0 in the MAC for just the third time in school history. Ball State is ranked No. 6 in the Dirty Dozen. N.ILLINOIS.

B. Green (-31½) at E. Mich: A carbon copy of the NIU game. Bowling Green is ripping the MAC have-nots. EMU is a slot above Ball State at No. 5 in the Dirty Dozen. An easy decision. B. GREEN.

Duke (+18) at Wake Forest is in the strange role of double-digit favorite, a difficult spot for a hard-luck team. Duke doesn’t win ACC games, but is a reliable cover. The Blue Devils stayed within the number vs Georgia Tech and Virginia. Should do the same here. DUKE.

N. Mexico (+3) at Colo St.: The Rams have posted back to back wins since switching to Caleb, the second coming of Bradlee Van Pelt at QB. Los Lobos can be had on the road. COLORADO ST.

Last week: 2-4

Season: 18-29-1

Now, for the NFL.

Ravens (+7½) at Eagles: Second of the two-game suspension for Jamal Lewis will hurt a lot more than the first. Baltimore isn’t at home and the opponent isn’t the inept Bills. McNabb and T.O. wear down the "other" Lewis. EAGLES.

Falcons (+6) at Broncos: The Chiefs exposed Atlanta as a 5-1 fraud. If Vick couldn’t kick Chiefs butts, he’s in for a mile high migraine. BRONCOS.

Raiders (+5½) at Chargers: San Diego is finally home after two solid cross-country efforts against Atlanta and Carolina. The Raiders lost to New Orleans in another mistake filled effort. Where’s Tui? CHARGERS.

Last week: 1-2

Season: 14-9-1