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Kevin O’Neill’s Sports & Gaming News
NFL Behemoths & A College Football Futures Play
By Kevin O’Neill
Remember when West Virginia was desperate for Bob Huggins to coach there a couple of years back and had to “settle” for John Beilein? Things change, don’t they?
Plenty to sink our teeth into this week, including NFL exhibition info and a college football futures play. First let’s talk about the tragic death of Thomas Herrion, the 330-pounder who was trying to make a career for himself in the NFL with the 49ers before dying suddenly following a preseason game in Denver.
You hear that the lifespan for NFL players is around 55 years old, a shocking number considering that one avoids any sort of infant or childhood disease or illness to get to be 21 years old or so just to play in the league. If that number is accurate (and who knows it is junk science from someone with an agenda, but it rings true), don’t count on it going down any time soon. Why? The players are absolutely huge and getting bigger all the time.
An AP story this week says, “the Broncos have routinely had some of the smallest offensive linemen in the league, but even at that, they average about 312 pounds”. The linemen are a lot heavier than those from the era where the life expectancy is so short. Remarkably, the 1986 Chicago Bears had only one offensive lineman heavier than 260 pounds fueling their punishing running game.
It would be tough to get numbers on this, but it seems like there are a lot more lineman who balloon up to 400 pounds after their career is over than there are guys like Mark May, who slimmed down to about 220 following his playing career. It is tough to see how there would be any turning back from the increase in player size, as there will never be a college or NFL coach who will find his job more secure by having his players be healthier after they stop playing the game.
The NFL is anti-gambling, right? Well, it used to be. Now that the league has a chance to profit from “fantasy football” operations you can’t get away from the promotion of games of chance, both on their web site and their TV network. Bob Costas dislike of gambling is more principled and his poker bashing on his HBO show this week is not without precedent. Costas’ anti-gambling stance is understandable, as Costas has frequently referenced the fact that his dad had a gambling problem that was a negative influence on the family growing up.
We gave you our reasons for not betting the NFL exhibition season a couple of weeks ago, mentioning that it was purely information based and if you don’t move within 5 minutes of the coach’s press conference you miss the value. Well, the guys who are watching the press conferences are not exactly building their bankroll for the regular season, as big line moves in preseason ball are getting beat up a bit. Has NFL coaching intention gone from the avenue of the wise guys to the dominion of the squares?
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With Chad Pennington and Eli Manning, will New York prove to be the home of the young, talented, sore-armed NFL quarterback? The focus on Manning’s apparently minor injury is illuminating as to how NYC-centric the national media is. Somehow it seems unlikely that a QB of similar status in New Orleans, Tempe, or Seattle would be drawing this kind of national attention for missing an exhibition game.
Last week we had a writeup in this space of Nebraska to win the Big 12 North at something better than 3-1 odds. A reader wrote in to tell us that he got nearly 10-1. As you would suspect, he bet Nebraska to win the Big 12 Championship game, which our writeup clearly predicts they will lose. His reaction when his mistake was pointed out? Naturally, he blames the sports book.
In researching the football season there seems to be a lot of buzz about Boston College as they join the ACC. They are, after all, the only team in college football to have won 5 consecutive bowl games. The problem is that those bowl games were the Continental Tire, San Francisco, Motor City (twice), and Aloha. It seems like BC should have found a way the past five years to at least slip into the Big East’s Gator Bowl slot, but they couldn’t get that done. BC has lost each of the past two years to ACC also ran Wake Forest, who is 7-14 against the rest of Division 1-A. They also lost the past two years to Syracuse by a combined 82-31, with each of those games rescuing Syracuse from a losing record.
Rather than trust the media, I trust the view of Eagles coach Tom O’Brien, who despite his ACC pedigree (long time George Welsh assistant at Virginia) was poised to take the Washington job had it been offered to him. BC under 6½ wins is available at substantial plus-money and under 7 at closer to even money may be an option for you as well.
Have a great week. Good luck and be careful.
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