Nice to see the old Drew Brees make an appearance in the Georgia Dome last night, tossing a career-high five interceptions in a 23-13 loss to the Falcons. For those of us Chargers fans who had to endure the first couple of years of Brees’ career—when the future superstar was so bad that the was benched for the corpse known as Doug Flutie—that scene looked all too familiar. Thanks to Brees’ ineptness, the Saints only managed one touchdown and two field goals, keeping the game way under the total and giving me a four-star winner—my third winner in four plays this week.
Now let’s cap the week with yet another under play in football, this time on the college gridiron. Why go low when UCLA has topped the total in five straight games—including a 35-17 loss to Stanford just six days ago? Two words: Mother Nature. There’s an 80 percent chance of rain in Palo Alto tonight. Not only will a soggy turf seriously negate UCLA’s speed advantage, but it almost certainly means Stanford coach David Shaw will hand a conservative game plan to freshman quarterback Kevin Hogan, who has been starting the past four weeks.
As for last week’s matchup in Los Angeles, the 52 combined points was a bit of a fluke. First of all, 31 of those points were scored in the first half, and the last 16 minutes of the game were scoreless. Secondly, Stanford got its fifth and final touchdown on an 11-yard fumble recovery. Take that away, and the final score (28-17) is right about on tonight’s total—and that was played in ideal conditions; this won’t be.
Lastly, Stanford’s defense is truly something special. Despite playing in the mostly high-flying Pac-12, the Cardinals have held nine of 12 opponents to 17 points or less (including limiting Oregon to just 14 points in Eugene); the only teams to top 17 points against Stanford were Arizona (48), Notre Dame (20, in overtime) and Oregon State (23). And even though last week’s UCLA contest crept over the total by a couple of points, the under is still 8-4 for Stanford this year and 8-3 in the last 11 meetings in this rivalry.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆
Thursday’s Result: Saints-Falcons UNDER 55.5 (win)