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Stardust Invitational Handicapping Tournament...By Buzz Daly

Stardust Invitational Handicapping Tournament

Round Two, Week 11

QUARTERFINALS: Round Two, Week Three

Lance Zierlein, a sports talk radio show host in Houston, faced off Friday Night vs. Rudy Ruettiger, about whom the movie .Rudy. was based, in a quarter finals round of the single-elimination Stardust Invitational Handicapping Tournament in the sportsbook of the .Dust.

Zierlein, whose show is aired 5:30-9 a.m. over Sports Radio 601 AM, said he started .capping games when he was 19 and attending Tulane University. He said he had a great tutor who taught him the fundamentals and subtleties of handicapping.

Ruettiger grew up in Illinois, the third of 14 kids, and dreamed of playing varsity football at Notre Dame. He exceeded his dream by a large margin. Rudy had a 27-second career on the field, but it resulted in a sack of the quarterback for Georgia Tech. A poignant and moving film was made about Rudy.s perseverance, which made him semi-famous today.

Here are their plays.

Lance Zierlein

Duke . 3½ vs. North Carolina. By taking the hook, we are not getting the best of the numbers, Both teams are an unimpressive 0-7 vs. common opponents. But a closer look reveals the Blue Devils lost by only a 16.4 point margin whereas the Tar Heels lost by an average of 24.5 points to the same seven teams. Duke is ready to play, it hasn.t quit. N.C. has given up.

LSU -9 vs. Mississippi. The Tigers lost to Ole Miss last year, but used the defeat as a springboard to beat other teams and get a bowl bid. This season, LSU is 4-1 at home; Mississippi is 1-3 vs. the number on the road. LSU.s strong running game will take advantage of the weak Mississippi defense. The Tigers are emotionally ready for this game.

South Carolina +4 at Clemson. Gamecock Coach Lou Holtz will be ready to play. SC has played the tougher schedule and is in a tougher conference. A win here makes the team bowl eligible. The dog is 11-2 the last 13 in this series. Clemson has been most unimpressive lately. Carolina is a live dog.

TCU -8½ at East Carolina. Everyone is on this side, and why not? East Carolina has a pathetic defense. Sometimes everyone is right, and this is one of those games. TCU steamrolls over EC and does it with defense.

Alabama -10½ vs. Auburn. .Bama is the second best team in the country and coach Franchione is one of the top three coaches. This is Alabama.s bowl game, as it is on probation this year and next. The Crimson Tide is fired up and the line is not enough to get a cover for Auburn.

Hawaii -4 vs. Cincinnati. When teams go to Hawaii, most treat it like a bowl game, and they see the sights and enjoy themselves. This number is a little high, but Cincinnati is on vacation and gets beat by a touchdown.

Best bet: Ohio State -4 vs. Michigan. Wolverines got manhandled by Iowa at home, whereas the Buckeyes have held five teams to single digits. They have shut down many good offenses; this will be just one more. Forget about John Cooper, he.s gone. This is a different Ohio State team, with a different attitude.

Rudy Ruettiger

St. Louis Rams -4 at Washington. Mark Bulger and Kurt Warner are terrific QBs. Moreover, Bulger sat in Rudy.s condo and they watched the movie Rudy together.

Michigan +4 at Ohio State. Look for the Buckeyes to fold under pressure. Michigan will rise to the occasion because this team always shows up for big games.

USC -5½ at UCLA. The Trojans have to win this game, and then face Notre Dame next week. Of all the rivalry matchups, this is the big game of the week.

Washington -8½ at Washington State. The home team will put up a good fight, and it will be a terrific game, but the Huskies will prevail.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3 vs. Green Bay. There is something special about Coach Jon Gruden. How do you beat him? Green Bay won.t.

New Orleans -6 vs. Cleveland Browns. The Saints are a hot team with an appetite to win.

Best Bet. Notre Dame -28½ vs. Rutgers. Just can.t see Rutgers competing with the Irish. ND is coming off two bad games. As they get ready for USC, they have noticed their own mistakes and are prepared for Rutgers.

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