Good morning. With football season rapidly approaching - Media Day is just over a month out - the fine folks at casinos around the hemisphere are throwing out more and more opening week betting lines. This is a positive development! Aside: In case you weren’t aware of the widening gulf between Pac-12 football and its Power Five brethren, it is the only major conference that has reduced the event to one single day.
Anyway, we won’t let the lack of leadership at the top of the conference get us down today. It’s time to look at some opening week betting lines!
New Mexico State Aggies at Washington State Cougars (-34): The Aggies are bad. Real, real bad. One thing going for them is that they’re tied in the national championships category with the Texas A&M Aggies in the years since the Nazis invaded Poland. The Cougs seem to have shaken the opening day blues.
Early lean: NMSU
Arizona Wildcats (-11.5) at Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: Week Zero game! And it’s not even the best one! This is so great! Anyway, I don’t know anything about Hawaii, but I’m pretty sure Arizona isn’t very good.
Early lean: Rainbows
UCLA Bruins at Cincinnati Bearcats (-3.5): Seems like just a year ago that UCLA lost to Cincy as 17-point home favorites. Wait, that was just a year ago. Amazingly, that wasn’t even Chip Kelly’s most embarrassing college head coaching debut!
Early lean: Bearcats
Early lean: Herm’s Helmets
Utah Utes (-6.5) at BYU Cougars: The last time BYU won this game, Reid Forrest was in Seattle capping his stellar WSU career, logging seven more punts than WSU scored points. I was somewhat surprised by the length of the current streak. With one exception, the final score over those eight games has been within a touchdown.
Early lean: BYU
Early lean: I’m a moron so CSU
Oklahoma State Cowboys (-16.5) at Oregon State Beavers: Pretty cool that OSU got the other OSU to sign up for a home/road matchup. Hopefully the Power Five teams that are signed up to play in Pullman end up doing so. Anyway, Oklahoma State almost always has a good team. Oregon State almost always has a bad team.
Early lean: Mullet
Northwestern Wildcats at Stanford Cardinal (-6.5): I know Stanford keeps winning 8-9 games per season, but are they really that good? They could very well win nine again this year, but I think they’ll struggle in the first few games.
Early lean: Northwestern
Oregon Ducks vs. Auburn Tigers (-2.5): Auburn opened as a 6.5-point favorite, and the line has plummeted four full points. That makes sense because, ok that makes no sense. So anyway it’s Pac-12 against SEC sooooooo, yeah.
Early lean: Aubie
Fresno State Bulldogs at USC Trojans (-13): Once again, this line has shifted radically since it opened at USC-9.5. Not sure what so many gamblers see in USC, but as always, they have the clear talent advantage. You’re probably aware that said talent advantage hasn’t mattered much lately.
Early lean: Fresno
We’re getting closer!
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This Week in Parenting
So as I’ve mentioned before, both boys are involved in scouting. One of the cool things about the scouting organization over here is an activity called Historic Trails. There are several historic sites and trails that the organization maps out around Europe, and the scouts have to visit a series of checkpoints throughout the area. The pamphlets come with descriptions of each checkpoint, along with historical significance. We’d done Bastogne and Normandy already. Prague has one, too, so around city we walked. When the scouts finish, they get a patch.
I had the boys read the history of Prague when we got home, and it mentioned the Warsaw Pact. We asked the 10 year-old what the Warsaw Pact was. He nailed it. Now, maybe most 10 year-olds know about that little piece of history but, this exact subject came up on a Teachers Edition of Final Jeopardy a couple months back, and only one of the three teachers (!!!) knew about it. I’ll admit that I was stunned when he answered without hesitation.
Additionally, you’re aware that last week was Father’s Day. My two boys drew up homemade cards. I present them here, and challenge you to identify which card was the 10 year-old’s, and which was the 7 year-old’s. If you’re a regular reader of this segment, you almost certainly know.
Best beer I had this week: Prague was quite the productive beer city, and featured an array of styles if you looked hard enough past the standard European lagers. My favorite was Pivovar Raven’s Black Label #3. It was so good that I brought two magnum bottles home.
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Two articles today, both compelling in their own way.
‘Start finding me, boys’ — inside the rescue of Lt. Col. Dave Goldfein
High above Serbia, Lt. Col. Dave Goldfein’s F-16 has just been hit by a surface-to-air missile. His breathing accelerates as warning alerts blare, but with an even voice he informs his wingmen of his trajectory as the Fighting Falcon goes down.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Where Is It? - The Atlantic
Five years ago, the flight vanished into the Indian Ocean. Officials on land know more about why than they dare to say.