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22 posts from December 2011

December 01, 2011

Two Gentlemen from Miramar, a rainy night in Georgia

One down.

You can bet a bucket of bullion coins that when quarterback Geno Smith and wide receiver Stedman Bailey came out of Miramar High and went to West Virginia, they never thought they'd eventually be pulling FIU toward a bowl across the state to the joy of FIU fans. But, Thursday night, Bailey's diving 26-yard catch of Smith's fourth-and-10 pass with six seconds left set up a 28-yard zeroes-on-the-clock field goal as West Virginia dumped South Florida 30-27.

South Florida's not bowl eligible. So, if favored Cincinnati dumps UConn Saturday and Syracuse beats Pittsburgh, FIU's likely to head for the Beef O'Brady's St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 20. That might happen even if just the former happens.

Let's see what the bettors and (legal) bookies say about Saturday. Cincinnati opened a 9 1/2-point favorite and that's remained 9 to 9 1/2 in Vegas, and dropped to 9 offshore. Translation: the vast majority of bettors like Cincinnati to win straight up, but they're evenly split on the spread.

Pitt opened a 13-point favorite, but is down to 10 or 10.5 most places in Vegas, down to 10 offshore. Bettors jumped on the Syracuse side of a pudgy early line but there's clearly not a lot of regard for the college of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Larry Csonka, Floyd Little and Joe Morris.

The Beef O'Brady's Bowl official Twitter account tweeted after Thursday's game, "Wow, could that game have been any closer? What a game! One step closer FIU fans, one step closer."


Meanwhile, the Golden Panthers rained bricks on Atlanta -- 24.1 percent from the field, four of 24 (16.7 percent) from three-point range in a 73-47 loss at Georgia State.

DeJuan Wright had 17, but on five-of-15 shooting. Phil Taylor had 12 points. Domique Ferguson grabbed 12 rebounds. Obviously, there were a lot of those on the offensive end for FIU.

FIU trailed only 27-21 at halftime and a Wright tap-in got FIU within two at 27-25 early in the second half. But after a Jeremy Allen layup with 10:25 left, FIU got only one more field goal, a Gilles Dierickx jumper with 1:14 left. In between, Georgia State ballooned a 46-38 lead into 73-45.

Saturday, FIU faces Alabama State in one of two December home games and the only one before going to the Lumberjack E-Tech Classic in Nacogdoches, Texas, Dec. 10 and 11 against Texas Wesleyan and Stephen F. Austin; Maryland, Dec. 14; and Dayton, Dec. 17.


Women's ball routs Lynn, some bowl odds & ends

FIU crushed Lynn 68-30 at The Bank Wednesday night. Finda Mansare poured in 20 points, Fanni Hutlassa threw in 17 points, her sixth straight double figure game, and Jerica Coley, a double-figure scorer in every game this season, put in 14. Coley distributed a career-high eight assists.

Three numbers that sum up the game: t22.9, Lynn's shooting percentage from the field; 88.9, FIU's free throw shooting percentage; 7, Lynn's free throws taken. FIU's 4-3 this season.


As the Pac. 12's biggest underachieving program, UCLA, fired its coach with a conference championship game left in another disappointing season, it then turned around to ask the College Sports Cardinals in Indianapolis for special dispensation to they could remain bowl eligible. Hearing the nasal voice of a Beverly Hills housewife pleading with with the soccer coach of her clumsy son: "Let us play in a bowl even if the Oregon Nikes go swooshinng by us for about 600 yards of offense and 50 points. We know we'd be 6-7, but aren't we only playing in Oregon because certain other LA schools in a much worse neighborhood on NCAA sanctions? So our loss to that school that gets talent we can't seem to shouldn't count."

The logic goes something like that. Never known to ignore a hard luck plea on which one of its partners can make a buck, the NCAA granted UCLA's waiver. So the 31-point underdogs can lose by 31 Saturday and still take its Los Angeles media and money to the Kraft Fights Hunger Bowl. This would mean next to nothing if it didn't bump a school with a winning record out of a trip somewhere. Say, a school that doesn't have a long tradition of winning football, doesn't have a big name and doesn't travel well if it involves schlepping north of the Panhandle.

The WAC's sending Louisiana Tech to the Poinsetta Bowl in San Diego. Utah State's taking the WAC spot in Boise at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. If Beef O'Brady's expects to get a Conference USA team, perhaps C-USA's Armed Forces Bowl slot opposite BYU could be open. Dallas on Dec. 30...could be worse.

Speaking of the preferred landing spot for FIU fans, No. 23 West Virginia (8-3, 4-2 in the Big East) is at South Florida (5-6, 1-5) tonight, 8 p.m., on ESPN. You probably know the situation, but if you're new around here, drawn by the Beef O'Brady's Bowl giving this blog some pub yesterday for using a Charlie the Dog cartoon -- not for the first or last time in my life, thank you, Chuck Jones -- here's the deal: West Virginia wins, South Florida's not bowl eligible, one less Big East team to fill the Big East's slots. If South Florida wins, the Bulls are bowl eligible and you better believe the Beef O'Brady's folks would love them some Bulls.

Here's the drama for FIU fans: West Virginia tends to have trouble with South Florida and have lost the last two times in Tampa. The bookies put the Mountaineers as a 1-point favorite.


Reportedly, Dunwoody High defensive end Chris Hale is now verbally committed to FIU.



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