SMU mauls Fresno State at the Hawaii Bowl
Bowl games are funny things and in many instances you can throw handicapping right out the window. Some teams are happy to playing after Thanksgiving and some would rather be home. It was crystal clear who was in paradise on a business trip last night as SMU stomped two-touchdown favorite Fresno State. At 6-6 and with four losses by three touchdowns or more, many wondered the Mustangs were even Bowling. Fresno State didn’t have to wonder long. June Jones returned to the islands where he coached for nine years with a game plan and a fired up team and put a beating on the heavy favorites. After a scoreless first period, SMU kicked it into gear with 22 second quarter points and never looked back. It was a complete team effort from the Stangs who rushed the ball for 181 yards, passed for 212, and held Fresno State to -12 yards rushing for the game. Six-foot-eight defensive end Margus Hunt forced two fumbles and sacked Bulldog quarterback Derek Carr for a safety to lead the way. It was Jones second win in the Hawaii Bowl having beaten Nevada 45-10 here three years ago, also as a two touchdown dog.
The Bowls resume Wednesday with Central Michigan facing Western Kentucky in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl at Fords Field in Detroit. The Hilltoppers are 5 1/2 point favorites over the Chippewas. The total has been bet down a point to 57 1/2.
NFL News and Notes
Most of the Monday’s news came from the injury wire and the return of head coach Chuck Pagano to the Colts
Pagano returned to work on Monday for the first time since he was diagnosed with leukemia on September 26th. Pagano has undergone several rounds of chemotherapy and his cancer is in remission. The entire city of Indianapolis and the Colts team have ridden the catch phrase “Chuck Strong” to a 10-3 record and a playoff berth under interim coach Bruce Ariens.
Pittsburg tight end Heath Miller will undergo knee surgery and is out for the season. Miller sustained injuries to all three major ligaments …. the anterior cruciate, medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his right knee. In 15 games this season, Miller has a team-best 71 catches for 816 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s likely will be named the Steelers’ team MVP later this week.
Eagle quarterback Nick Fowles broke his hand in Sunday’s 27-20 loss to Washington and will be replaced in Week 17 by Michael Vick. Only just recently cleared to play, Vick has not played a down since suffering a concussion November 11th.
ESPN discusses the fantasy ramifications of a desperation start using Michael Vick.
NBA Christmas Day quintuple header
It’s all NBA all today with a monster five game card that starts at 12:00 Noon EST. In the opener, Brooklyn entertains the Boston. The Nets are giving three with the total set at 185. The Knicks take on the Lakers at the Staples center at 3:00 PM EST. The Lakers are 4-point favorites with the total locked in at 210 1/2. This will be the first time that the two leading scorers in the league (Kobe and Carmelo) will meet on Christmas Day. At 5:30 PM EST, the Miami Heat take on the Oklahoma City Thunder in their first meeting since last year’s NBA final. The Heat are -3 at home, the total 205. At 8:05 PM EST, the Bulls entertain the Houston Rockets. Chicago is -4.5 with the total 197. In the 10:30 PM EST finale, Denver takes on the white-hot Clippers. LA is -7 with the total is holding steady at 201 1/2. The Clippers have won 13 straight and lead the league in point differential.
NHL comic relief from Chris Chelios and Coach Jules
If you are jonesing for hockey, here is a little clip from the 2002 ESPY’s that should put a smile on your face.
(NBA) OKC/Miami Under 205.5 (Tuesday, December 25, 5:30 PM EST)
Free Pick record in December: 9-14