Play middle this week for Sam

Nov 9, 2004 7:26 AM

This past week singled the passing of a Las Vegas sports legend, Sam Brown.

Commonly known as "Spinner," Sam was the greatest earner and middle guy that ever stomped this city’s sports books. Sam lived a full life into his 90s. If a game fell on the side or middle, you could bet your house Sam was involved in some way.

I would just like tell one story just to show how popular Sam was in his day. In the late ’70s and all through the ’80s when Sam was going strong, he would always watch the Monday night football game at his regular table facing the TV at Piero’s Italian Restaurant on Convention Center drive.

This one night I was sitting with Sam when the great fighter Roberto Duran meekly walks up to him with a signed Duran baseball cap that said, "Sam Brown, you No. 1, Roberto Duran."

Need I say any more.

Now to the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers, in beating the Eagles on Sunday, became the first team in league history to conquer undefeated teams with at least six wins in back-to back weeks. Next week, the Steelers visit Cleveland to face their own nemesis. If they can get by the Browns, well, we will have to wait and see.

I know there are a lot of people out here from my home town of Steubenville, Ohio. All are huge fans of our high school football team the "Mighty Big Red.’’ Our school finished its second straight undefeated season. A "Big" congrad to Reno and his team.

Maybe it will rub off on our picks this week.

Saturday, Nov. 13

Akron (PK) at Ohio: The host Bobcats have shown little offense of late, managing no more than 17 points in each of their last five games. Ohio just did eek out a win over lowly Central Florida last week, 17-16. The Zips have won and covered their last four and come off a huge 31-28 win over Marshall last week. AKRON.

Texas Tech (+2½) at Texas A&M: Tech is 9-1 ATS against A&M the last 10 times meetings. The Aggies could also be down after losing to Baylor two weeks ago and then falling in all out battle last week at home to Oklahoma. TEXAS TECH.

Texas (-20) at Kansas: These two have met four times with the Longhorns winning and covering each one. Texas, off a huge comeback win last week against Oklahoma State, is sitting on a 10-1 season. The Horns only need wins over Kansas and Texas A&M, and still has a shot at the national title. TEXAS.

Pitt (+11½) at Notre Dame: The Irish, off a big 17-13 win at Tennessee, still thinking of a top bowl game. The Domers have won and covered the last three in the series and are 5-1 ATS in the past six. Look for the Irish defense to shut Pitt down. NOTRE DAME.

Marshall (+9½) at Bowling Green: BG is a scoring machine, averaging 48.8 points in the last six games. We just don’t see BG stopped by the Thundering Herd, who yielded 31 to Akron last week. B. GREEN.

Alabama (+8½) at LSU: The Crimson Tide became bowl eligible with last week’s 30-14 win over Mississippi State. Alabama has a very good defense that will be sky high for this revenge match with the Tigers. Look for a close game. ALABAMA.

Last week: 2-2

Season: 37-35

Now, for the NFL.

Sunday, Nov. 14

Panthers (+1) at 49ers (41):Carolina has lost six straight and much in need of a win. Panthers have owned the 49ers over the years, going 11-3 ATS in the last 14 meetings. PANTHERS.

Monday, Nov. 15

Eagles (-6) at Cowboys (41½): Eagles are 9-2 ATS against the Cowboys in their last 11 matchups. Eagles winning streak ended in Pittsburgh last week just as the Patriots got theirs snapped. Pats came back to crush the Rams the following week and Philly will do the same to the underachieving Cowgirls. EAGLES.

Last week: 1-1

Season: 9-11