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Thursday Night College Football Pick: South Florida @ Pittsburgh

The undefeated South Florida Bulls (4-0) travel to take on the Pittsburgh Panthers (2-2) this Thursday night. It's a battle between Big East schools and should be an entertaining matchup.

South Florida opened up the season as a 10.5 underdog at Notre Dame, when they sprung the upset, 23-20. They have since played three home games, rolling over Ball State, Florida A&M, and UTEP. The Bulls are 3-1 ATS, the lone non-cover was their last game, against UTEP, when they were a 30 point favorite, and won by 28.

Pitt won their first two games of the year, beating Buffalo and Maine. The next two were against tougher competition, ending in losses against Iowa and Notre Dame. They held a lead in both games going into the 4th quarter, but could not hold on.The Notre Dame loss was the only game this year in which they covered the spread.

The Skip Holtz coached Bulls are the better team, with more high-level skill players. QB BJ Daniels has thrown for 1071 yards in the first 4 games, while throwing 8 TDs vs just 1 pick. South Florida's offense has averaged 45.5 pts a game, which ranks 10th in the country. Defensively, they are giving up just 17 PPG, ranking them 23rd overall.

They are well coached, stacked with big-time players, and come in loaded with the confidence that a 4-0 start & a #16 ranking will bring.

Pitt has played tough in their last 2 games, even tough they ended in heartbreaking losses. At home, they should rally the troops again, and play their best game. Im sure the coaches will be preaching that they need to play a full 60 minutes, as well as letting the team know that their season is pretty much on the line ...

Pitt is led by QB Tino Sunseri, who has thrown for 823 yards, while completing 65.3 percent of his passes. But he has thrown for just 4 TDs, and that has been offset by 4 INTs. Pitt's rushing game has not been stellar either, averaging 148 yards a game, ranking them 61st in the nation.

Its a tough call. South Florida is the better team, and they are red hot. But Pittsburgh arguably has more to play for, and they are getting points at home.

It reminds me of last Friday's ESPN game, when Central Florida was clearly the better team, but BYU found a way to eke out the win at home.

South Florida is currently a 3 point favorite. They opened at -2, and the line has varied throughout the week, seemingly by the hour, between 2.5 and 3.

In the final analysis, the Bulls are the more balanced team. They are better coached. They have the better QB.

So ... in a game that will probably be decided by a couple of big plays, turnovers, and key penalties, I will roll with the more solid squad. Even on the road, even laying points ...

The Pick:

This is a lean, but I will take the Bulls to go 5-0 and cover the field goal spread.

**** Take South Florida, -3


The stock market looks like another major downturn is looming. When that happens, companies with high P/E multiples often fall the hardest.

Today, Amazon (AMZN) released a new tablet device that will compete with Apple's iPad. Amazon's device has a much lower price point, but is not really on par w/ the iPad in many ways.

Amazon's stock surged today on their new device, the "Fire."  However, after todays move up, the company's P/E is now over 100. A company can only justify such a lofty multiple when their future growth is expected to be exceptional.

I do not believe Amazon's future growth will justify this outrageous multiple. I do not think the Fire will be a resounding success. And I don't think the economy is going to improve in the near future. In fact, it is about to get worse.

Bottom line, if you own AMZN stock, take today's pop as a gift and sell. For those (like me) willing to take a more aggressive approach, AMZN can be shorted, and puts can be bought. That is, you can bet that AMZN is likely to fall. And, in my opinion, it is ready to fall hard.







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