Broadsword calling Danny Boy: Auburn at Cal (+ six and the hook); ECU brings home the Big House bacon as Barton rolls | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Out on the road for forty days
    Last night in Little Rock put me in a haze
    Sweet, sweet Connie, doin' her act
    She had the whole show and that's a natural fact
    Up all night with Freddie King
    I got to tell you, poker's his thing
    Booze and ladies, keep me right
    As long as we can make it to the show tonight

    We're an American band
    We're an American band
    We're comin' to your town
    We'll help you party it down
    We're an American band

    Four young chiquitas in Omaha
    Waitin' for the band to return from the show
    Feelin' good, feelin' right, it's Saturday night
    The hotel detective, he was outta sight
    Now these fine ladies, they had a plan
    They was out to meet the boys in the band
    They said, "Come on dudes, let's get it on"
    And we proceeded to tear that hotel down
- Don Brewer

The Bishop holds court as ECU delivers the mail. Carter-Finley Stadium -- nineteen-eighty something: Above.     Click image to enlarge.

    The ACC expansion vote to incorporate Stanford, Cal and SMU into the league may show short-term dollar profit for current members, but in the long run the decision will cost the game more than it wants to pay. Should results from this action ultimately trigger the departure of Clemson, Florida State and Carolina, the ensuing maelstrom will break the conference.

    Classic in-state and regional rivalries are the heart of college football. The massive conference re-alignment programme destroys these ancient match ups and robs the game of its history and tradition. Between the transfer portal and conference realignment, more of the game is decided now in the boardroom than on the gridiron.

    Next season Cal (California) moves to the ACC and Saturday represents their last PAC-12 After Dark game. This week Auburn makes the very rare west coast appearance, only their fourth all time, when they visit California Memorial Stadium for the venue's centennial kickoff.

    We are in a good grid with Minnesota and ECU delivering the goods Week One. We sit 2-0 in this spot and up three units. There is a temptation to be on several games this week to include State College plus seven and the hook in the Raleigh rain versus Notre Dame and Texas over Alabama with the Horns catching the same points. However in terms of focus, publishing schedules and -- most importantly -- winning quam, best to go with the scoped rifle approach.

    One shot. One kill.

    Minnesota was a good call but lucky to win the game outright on the money line; those who laid the points had no chance as they were behind the whole game. A miracle TD catch for the ages on fourth down allowed the natural form to run its proper course.

    (In the epic Barton College -- Chowan contest of skill and science the Bulldogs romped 41-0. The game was not as close as the final score would indicate.)

    ECU dominated in terms of the point spread in a game we started mentioning in this space back in March. Michigan was laying anywhere between 34 and 36 and won 30-3. The ECU defence is quite real and we will look for further spots this season to go with them again. Marshall this weekend not one of them.

    The Thundering Herd opened as a one point choice for Saturday's Ficklen match up and was quickly steamed straight to the key number of three. This is not a good indicator for the Purple and Gold.

    Head coach Justin Wilcox in his seventh season at Cal sports a losing record and a programme building attitude. He has managed to somehow keep the Bears competitive in a PAC 12 where they are usually near the bottom of the standings. Now national powerhouse Auburn comes to town with aspirations of a championship season.

    To make matters even more iffy, starting transfer QB Sam Jackson was injured last week and is questionable for the game. His replacement Ben Finley is adequate; think in terms of your basic anonymous Penn State QB that just wins.

    Coach Wilcox is about defence and the portal has been good to the Bears. Their line play can hang with the Auburn interior. The disadvantage is in matching up with the speed the Tigers bring to the table.

    Auburn is a great programme with a strong squad as always but an inability to stop the run makes them a tough team to take laying almost a touchdown on the road. Especially after a cross country trip that sees them playing at 10.30 EDT. Auburn utilises a speed up no-huddle offence and when it does go three and out, a tired rush defence is right back on the field.

    Cal will be the team controlling tempo. Throw in the Gold Out on a nationally televised game and a Berkeley crowd tie-died and fried since Friday night and you have quite the raucous atmosphere.

    This is a strong spot and our call here is CAL (plus six and the hook) for one unit. You will learn a great deal about handicapping college football with this one, it won't be close.

CAL BEARS    41  •  War Damn Eagle    24

    And all those stories about how the stadium is built directly over the Hayward Fault Line and steadily shifting, in tectonic terms, each year should not be of concern. The cracks in the North Tunnel expansion joints and northern stairwells have absolutely no impact on the contest from a handicapping perspective; both teams share the same risk.

    However, remember that under Las Vegas rules an uncompleted game must reach the five minute mark of the fourth quarter to be official in terms of the window. And yes, that means an Over totals ticket that has already gone over is still No Action if the game does not reach the five minute mark of the fourth quarter.

    Just remember the 1989 World Series. Anything can happen at anytime

    And remember Jimmy Buffet. Not like you will ever forget him.
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