Gamecocks can’t back up talk

Nov 2, 2004 4:09 AM

The alma mater comes through again. It takes a South Carolina grad to know that you should never take the Gamecocks against an elite SEC school.

Tennessee opened as a one-point favorite and then the money came pouring in on the chickens. The game finally closed with Carolina a 1½-point favorite. Maybe people were buying into the Lou Holtz jive. Maybe it was the black jerseys (S.C. seems to switch each year between black and red).

Or, perhaps they know my good country lawyer Sherwin back in Georgetown, S.C., who has been a diehard Gamecock all his life. Anyway, Tennessee won by 14. Wish all the games could be that easy. Too bad I didn’t graduate from the other 100-plus Division I schools.

Looking back at the overall slate, it was another excellent early showing for the underdogs. The doggies were 15-5 at one stretch before the favorites began coming on in the late afternoon. Thanks to a perfect 4-0 ATS result in the added games, the favorites closed the day even at 23-23.

Most people would say the North Carolina win over previously unbeaten Miami was the biggest surprise, but my choice went to the Baylor stunner against Texas A&M. The visiting Âí­Aggies brought a six-game winning streak into Waco and were 5-2 ATS. Baylor’s starting QB was injured. The 35-34 OT victory for the Bears was something we never saw coming.

Arizona State and Purdue looked like teams going into the tank. On the other end, Utah and California continue to roll and wait for the shot at a BCS bowl. Finally, kudos to Mike Price at UTEP. Price has turned a perennial have-not into a team on a 6-0 ATS run with an excellent shot at a 9-2 SU season.

You think Alabama would change its mind on Price now?

By the way, my website picks were a solid 5-2 and I was 7-2 ATS in our weekly office contest. So why can’t I have a winning week in the paper? Not enough South Carolina games, I suppose.

Saturday, Nov. 6

S. Florida (+17) at UAB: Nothing like Wednesday night football in Birmingham. The host Blazers get happy against a Dirty Dozen team. UAB.

Utah State (+6) at UL-Monroe: State making the long trip to the Bayou with an awful 1-7 ATS mark. We’re banking on 1-8. MONROE.

La. Tech (+6½) at Hawaii: You can bet June Jones is going to read the riot act in Hawaiian after a 69-3 pounding at Boise State. Guess what? Louisiana Tech can throw the ball too. The shock won’t wear off in a week. LA. TECH.

Wash. St. (+13½) at UCLA: We knew the Bruins could score, but blanking Stanford was impressive to say the least. State is getting worse by the week. UCLA.

Va. Tech (-10½) at N. Carolina: Great spot for the Hokies, with extra rest and facing the Heels off the improbable upset of Miami last week. Getting emotionally up for the Gobblers would be quite a task in partying Chapel Hill. VA. TECH.

Clemson (+17) at Miami, Fla.: The Tigers have good vibes about the Orange Bowl, winning their only national championship there against Nebraska nearly a generation ago. Miami will be angry coming off the UNC shocker, but the Tigers are on a similar roll to last year when they finished strong to save Bowden’s job. CLEMSON.

Last week: 3-4

Season: 21-33-1

Turning to the NFL.

Sunday, Nov. 7:

Jets (-1½) at Bills: Buffalo off best offensive effort of the season last week against Arizona. The Jets, prior to Monday, had not scored more than 20 in any game. Bills lost 16-14 in New York. McGahee is now part of the game plan and it’s colder. BUFFALO.

Saints (+6) at Chargers: How about Drew Brees for Comeback Player of the Year? Philip Rivers isn’t too pleased. Marty ball is working. A few Saints turnover work nicely here. Chargers on too much of a roll to back off now. SAN DIEGO.

Texans (+5½) at Broncos: Teams in different directions. Now it’s Houston over .500 and feeling a mile high. The Denver defense was ripped by Cincinnati and Atlanta. QB David Carr is rock steady. HOUSTON.

Last week: 1-2

Season: 15-11-1