Last week’s Mythical Picks were a losing proposition. The record for the week was 5-8-0 taking the season record down to the .500 level at 67-67-4.
The “Best Picks” last week was taking Florida – 2 over Georgia then seeing Florida win by 24 and taking the Texas Tech/Oklahoma St game OVER 79 then seeing the total score hit 123.
The “Worst Pick” last week was the Stanford/Washington St. game. I took Stanford – 10 and that was a loser and I took the game OVER 61 but it stayed under.
If anyone were to look at those summary results above and think it might be a good idea to use any information here as the basis for making a real wager on a real college football game involving real money, that person would have to be mighty stupid. In fact, here is how stupid:
He might go to the library and ask the person at the reference desk where he might find Facebook.
The Linfield College Wildcats went on the road last week and beat conference foe, George Fox by a score of 24-0; that is the first time this year the Wildcats have been held to less than 44 points in a game. That gives Linfield a 7-0 record for the season and a 5-0 record in the Northwest Conference. This week, the Loggers of the University of Puget Sound come to McMinnville, OR to face the Wildcats in an important conference game. The Loggers have a 4-1 conference record with their only conference loss coming against Whitworth. Puget Sound has a stingy defense; in their 4 conference wins, they have only allowed more than 20 points one time. Go Wildcats!
Unless you just awoke from a weeklong coma, you have seen and heard all about the final play of the Miami/Duke game. Calling that play a “blunder” by the game officials is about as polite as one can be. The ACC has acknowledged that there were enough errors made by the officials while the play was in progress and subsequently during an interminable replay review that the conference has suspended that officiating crew. In my younger days, I officiated a lot of sporting events; when I watched that replay, I felt embarrassed for those officials because they got just about everything wrong they could get wrong.
[Aside: That last statement is not as hyperbolic as you might think at first glance. To get something else wrong, one or more of the officials would have to have returned from the replay review without pants and mooned the camera while the other officials crooned “Moon Over Miami”]
The ACC needs in the offseason to consider if they really want those officials ever to do any more games for them. I understand the pervasiveness of “human error” and I fully admit to fallibility in making calls. Nevertheless, the mistakes here were so numerous and so egregious that one has to wonder if the officials knew the rules they were supposed to enforce or if they recognized how badly they had botched the original call(s) and tried to find a way to squirm out of admitting how big a rock they pulled out of their asses.
Ohio State QB, JT Barrett, was arrested for DUI last week; reports had his blood alcohol level at 0.09. While that may seem to be only trivially over the legal limit, consider that Barrett is not yet 21 years old; this is a DUI by a minor. Here is the discipline handed out by Ohio State:
Barrett will be suspended for this week’s game against Minnesota.
Oh, and his scholarship will be revoked for the summer academic session too.
No one will be shocked to learn that the decision authority for this discipline was head coach Urban Meyer. Not the Athletic Director … not the university official who handles student discipline for any other student on campus … not the President of THE Ohio State University. The head football coach decided on the discipline for this offense.
If THE Ohio State University – and its parent company the NCAA – really want to maintain the façade of the amateur student-athlete, how can one argue that revoking a scholarship for a semester is to the benefit of the “student”? If in fact, these players are really “students” first, then the punishment should be far more severe for the “athlete” part of the equation. After all, if the “student” is pursuing educational opportunities in the summer session, there is some chance he might come to recognize the anti-social nature of what he did. It is less likely that he will learn those kinds of lessons running the read-option right on the football field.
[Aside: Just to demonstrate that the punishment handed out here is meager at best, consider that Coach Meyer said specifically that Barrett would continue to be a captain for the team. I’ll drink to that.]
The Old Dominion Monarchs maintained their “perfect” against the spread record last week; in eight games, ODU has failed to cover each time. Last week they lost to W. Kentucky by 25 points and the spread was 24. This week, the Monarchs take their 3-5 record to San Antonio TX to play the Roadrunners of UT-San Antonio with their 1-7 record. I believe I am correct in saying:
This is a rivalry that goes all the way back to – – the Twelfth of Never.
Perhaps in 2050 when I am staring up at grass roots, fans will look back on this game in 2015 as the start of an intense and meaningful rivalry. On the other hand, fans may look back and see this as an eminently forgettable game between two teams that fall on the football spectrum somewhere between “bad” and “really bad”. My guess here is “eminently forgettable”…
Nebraska went into last week’s game against Purdue with a 3-5 record. On one hand, Husker fans could have been encouraged by the fact that all five losses had been very close games; in fact, those 5 losses came at the expense of a total of 13 points; the worst defeat had been by 5 points to BYU in the first game of the season caused by a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game. On the other hand, Husker fans had to be a bit chagrined by the fact that one of those losses came at the hands of Illinois and it had been decades upon decades since Nebraska had lost to Illinois. Last week, the scales had to tip in favor of the “chagrined fans”.
Last week, Nebraska lost to a not-very-good Purdue team by a score of 55-45. The problem here is not that Nebraska allowed 55 points to a mediocre team – although that should not be a point of pride. The problem is that Nebraska rallied furiously in the 4th quarter scoring 29 points to make the score look far more respectable than it was. At the end of the 3rd quarter, Purdue led 42-16. You cannot put enough make-up and lipstick on that pig to make it anything but pure ugly.
Missouri has been struggling to score points with its starting QB on suspension for the last several weeks. Mizzou had last week off and announced that Maty Mauk had been reinstated to the team; no one had Mauk on their “Heisman Watch List” but Mizzou fans had to think this was a step forward. Not so fast my friend… [ /Lee Corso]
Days after his reinstatement Mauk was re-suspended – this time for the rest of the season.
Coach Pinkel never said what Mauk did to earn the original suspension; he maintained all along that his policy was to deal with those sorts of things with the player(s) involved and no one else. That is fine with me; he should handle those sorts of things in whatever way he thinks is most constructive.
Obviously, Coach Pinkel would not say what caused the second suspension. Was it a repeat of the original offense? Was it some new breach of the team rules?
Whatever the case, here is the problem faced by the Missouri offense in the last month:
Up until last night, they lost to Florida, Georgia and Vandy in consecutive weeks scoring a total of 12 points on 4 field goals.
Last night, they actually got a TD in a game against Mississippi St. but still lost 31-13.
The team is 4-5 on the season thanks to three pitty-pat opponents back in September and has BYU, Tennessee and Arkansas left on the schedule. A bowl game invitation will require Mizzou to win two of those three games. In any event, take the UNDER…
Florida just dominated Georgia last week. In a surprise move, Georgia started its 3rd string QB; no one expected that just as – – “No one expected the Spanish Inquisition!” [ /Monty Python] Neither of the QBs higher on the depth chart had been stars earlier this season so maybe the surprise factor Might have had value. Sadly for Georgia fans, it did not; the surprise factor earned Georgia exactly zero points for the first half and a total of 3 points for the game. That is the second game in a row where Georgia has failed to score a TD; the absence of RB, Nick Chubb, has rendered the Georgia offense feeble.
It looks now as if Florida will have to carefully take aim and shoot itself in the foot in such a way as to do maximum damage if it is to lose the SEC East title and play in the SEC Championship Game. Vandy and South Carolina are the only conference games left on the Gators’ schedule.
In the SEC West, Ole Miss beat Auburn last week. That assures Auburn of a losing record in SEC games for the 6th time in the last 8 seasons. Then again, one of those “winning seasons” was a national championship run with Cam Newton at the helm. Talk about feast or famine…
Iowa St. beat Texas last week 24-0; that was the Cyclones’ 3rd win of the year. Prior to shutting out Texas, Iowa St had beaten the University of Northern Iowa (Division 1-AA) and Kansas (a team that is miserable beyond measure). So their win last week poses a very important question for college football fans:
How on Earth – or even in the Milky Way Galaxy – did Texas beat Oklahoma?
Temple – ranked #21 in the country going into the game last week – lost in the final minutes to Notre Dame – ranked #9 in the country going into the game last week. Due to the loss, Temple dropped out of the Top 25 this week and that fact demonstrates the worthlessness of the polls. Think about this for a moment.
If you assume that the rankings are an accurate reflection of which teams are better and worse than other teams, then the #21 team is supposed to lose a game to the #9 team. The ranking says that Notre Dame was supposed to win the game and beat Temple.
So, if that happens, why should Temple drop in the rankings?
Here is why … The folks voting in the polls are pulling their votes out of their ears. The polls mean nothing; the voters do not know which team is the #9 team in the country any more than a politician knows truth from falsehood.
Oklahoma State beat Texas Tech 70-53 last week. That is the second time this year that Texas Tech has scored more than 50 points in a game and lost the game. Maybe – just maybe – the recruiting mavens in Lubbock might go looking for someone who can tackle an opponent this year… The Red Raiders have lost 4 games this year; in those four loses they have given up 55 points (TCU), 63 points (Baylor), 63 points (Oklahoma) and 70 points (Oklahoma State).
In off-the-field college football happenings, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden resigned his position on the Selection Committee for the College Football Playoff. Many folks out west worry that this leaves the PAC-12 without a voice on the Committee; frankly, the only PAC-12 team that will have any prayer of making the College Football Playoff will be the winner of the Stanford/PAC-12 South Champion game; Haden’s presence or absence is not going to make much of difference.
The cynic in me wonders if Haden resigned that position so that he might have more time to focus on his decision as to the next football coach at USC. His last two major hiring decisions have been bad ones indeed:
He hired Steve Sarkisian as the football coach despite some evidence that Sarkisian had a drinking problem and then kept him in that position after an embarrassing public display of “impaired speech and judgement” on the part of the coach.
He hired Andy Enfield as the basketball coach after Enfield caught lightening in a bottle at Florida Gulf Coast University and made the Sweet 16 with a bunch of guys who played “street ball”. Since taking his “street ball” message and style to USC, Enfield has gone 23-41 in two full seasons and only 5-31 in PAC-12 conference games.
Kentucky has a defensive tackle named Cory Johnson. His nickname is “Poop”. I do not know – nor do I want to know – how he came to acquire that nickname.
The Ponderosa Games:
Last week we had 8 Ponderosa Games and the favorites covered in 4 of them. That brings the cumulative record for favorites covering in Ponderosa Games to 28-36-1.
Cincy, Oklahoma, Utah St and W. Kentucky covered.
Appalachian St, Memphis, So. Mississippi and Utah did not cover.
This week we have 6 Ponderosa Games:
Florida Atlantic at W. Kentucky – 24 (68): For what it is worth, W. Kentucky received some votes as a Top 25 team this week. You may be assured that Florida Atlantic did not.
Rutgers at Michigan – 24.5 (51): This is merely a tune-up for Michigan as they look forward to the game against Ohio State on 28 November.
Kansas at Texas – 28.5 (53): Texas is wildly inconsistent from game to game; there is no way to know which Texas team will take the field. Kansas is extremely consistent; they stink every time out.
Iowa St. at Oklahoma – 25 (61): Iowa St. beat Texas; Texas beat Oklahoma. Ergo… The money line on this game has Iowa State as high as +2000.
N. Texas at La Tech – 30 (62.5): Words fail me to express the degree of meaningless here.
Minnesota at Ohio State – 24 (53.5): Guess the loss of the first string QB for Ohio State (see above) is not such a big deal for the oddsmakers…
The SHOE Teams:
The SHOE Tournament Selection Committee (me) was rocked by last week’s results. North Texas AND New Mexico State both won games in the same week. I have no idea when that happened last but I will assert that it has not happened more than a handful of times in this century. Notwithstanding, those shocking results, here are 12 teams (The Dirty Dozen?) under serious consideration for the SHOE Tournament:
E. Michigan 1-8; the win was over Wyoming
Kansas 0-8: cumulative score for the year is 377 – 122
La-Monroe: 1-7; win was over Nicholls St.
Miami (OH): 1-8: win was over Presbyterian; plays E, Mich this week!
New Mexico St. 1-7; cumulative score for the year is 383 – 212
North Texas: 1-7; the win was against UT-San Antonio
SMU: 1-7; win was over N. Texas
UCF 0-9; the record speaks for itself
UMass: 1-7; still have E. Mich and Miami (Oh) to play
UTEP: 3-5; wins over New Mexico St, Incarnate Word and Fla Atlantic
UT-San Antonio: 1-7; the win was over UTEP
Wyoming: 1-8; lost at home to E. Michigan
Games of Interest:
(Fri Nite) Temple – 13 at SMU (51.5): The Total Line opened at 58.5 and plummeted to this level. This is a long trip and a short week for a Temple team that will have to feel some let-down after losing to Notre Dame by 4 points last week in the final minutes. I think SMU is bad enough to lose the game here – see the SHOE considerations above – but that line looks fat. I’ll take SMU plus the points.
Illinois – 5 at Purdue (52.5): This game is interesting because the spread opened as a “pick ‘em game” and now is a 5 point spread. No, I cannot explain why…
Duke at UNC – 7.5 (58): Obviously a big rivalry game and a game that will test the focus and the resolve of the Duke team after last week’s hideous loss to Miami (see above). I do not consider either team to be a juggernaut here but I think UNC is the better team. I’ll take UNC at home to win and cover.
Texas Tech at W. Virginia – 8.5 (80.5): Tech is a horrid defensive team (see above). They rank last in the country in total defense allowing an average of 573 yards per game and 43.4 points per game. By comparison, West Virginia is downright stingy on defense only giving up 28.9 points per game. Offensively, the situation is reversed; Tech is the most prolific offense in the country gaining an average of 604 yards per game and producing 47.3 points per game. West Virginia cannot match that but the do score 32.6 points per game. All of that is prelude to say that I have to take Texas Tech plus points here; they are the best offensive team in the country and the spread gives me more than a TD.
Kentucky at Georgia – 14.5 (58.5): Both teams have lost their #1 RB this year; neither team has s top-shelf QB to change the focus of the offensive attack. Georgia has not scored an offensive TD since playing Tennessee on 10 October. I think this is a low scoring game so I’ll take the game to stay UNDER and I’ll take Kentucky plus the points.
Iowa – 7 at Indiana (60): Iowa has its eye on the Big 10 Championship Game; it is in a solid position in the West Division. Indiana is coming off a Bye Week and is seeking bowl-eligibility. I think there is enough offense here to take the game to go OVER.
Vandy at Florida – 21 (36.5): Florida is going to the SEC Championship Game unless lightning strikes. Vandy does not have the offensive firepower to make the Florida defense sweat. Then again, the Florida offense is not so dominant that it will overwhelm a solid Vandy defense (323 yards per game allowed and 18 points per game). I’ll take Vandy plus 3 TDs worth of points.
E. Michigan at Miami (OH) – 4 (63.5): Two SHOE team possibilities go head to head here. Of course it is a game of interest…
Army at Air Force – 17 (49.5): Short and simple here… That is an awful lot of points for an interservice rivalry game. I do not think Army is a good team by any means, but I’ll take Army plus 17 points here.
NC State – 4 at BC (39): BC can play defense; they give up only 224 yards per game and 13.3 points per game. NC State is without their starting RB for this game. NC State’s defense is good too giving up only 298 yards per game and 21.1 points per game; BC has no offensive players of note. Just for giggles, I’ll take this game to stay UNDER.
Penn State at Northwestern – 2.5 (41): I think this will be a defense-dominated game. I like the game to stay UNDER.
Utah at Washington – 2 (44): I think the wrong team is favored here. I like Utah plus the points.
Arizona at USC – 20 (67): Arizona gives up 453 yards per game on average and 34.2 points per game. This is not one of the great USC teams but they will be able to score points here. I like USC to win and cover at home.
TCU – 4.5 at Oklahoma State (76.5): This is one of the 3 best games of the weekend; both teams arrive with 8-0 records. TCU gains 616 yards per game; Ok St gains a mere 503 yards per game. I see lots of points here so I’ll take the game to go OVER.
Fla State at Clemson – 10.5 (55.5): This is another of the 3 best games of the weekend. These teams are the class of the ACC but only one can be in the ACC Championship Game. I think Clemson is the better team and they are at home. I’ll take Clemson and lay the points.
Navy at Memphis – 7.5 (63.5): I do not think Navy can contain the Memphis air game and I do not think Memphis can contain the Navy ground game. I like this game to go OVER and I like Memphis at home to win and cover.
Wisconsin – 11 at Maryland (48): Wisconsin is having a down year relative to recent Wisconsin teams; however, Maryland is purely awful. I like Wisconsin to win and cover despite being on the road.
LSU at Alabama – 7 (47): This is one of the 3 best games of the week; in fact, I think this is the best game on the card this week. The winner will probably take on Florida in the SEC Championship Game and that winner will be in the College Football Playoff. Leonard Fournette goes against the Alabama Front-7. Here is a stat/trend I ran across this week:
Alabama is 0-5 against the spread in Tuscaloosa this year.
I really think these are two VERY good football teams and I will succumb to temptation here. I’ll take LSU plus the points because I doubt I will see that many points attached to them again this year.
Old Dominion at Texas-San Antonio – 10 (55): Game is of interest for two reasons:
1. ODU is 0-8 against the spread this year. Can they keep it up?
2. Texas-San Antonio is a 1-7 SHOE candidate and are favored by double-digits here. Say what?
Notre Dame – 9 at Pitt (54): Notre Dame cannot afford to lose here – or even to win on a fluke play – if they want to maintain their position as the team “ready to jump into the Top-4 for the CFP. Pitt lives on its defense giving up only 325 yards of offense and 22 points per game. However, the Notre Dame defense gives up only 361 yards of offense and also 22 points per game. So the difference here should come from the difference in the offensive units. Notre Dame averages 130 yards per game more than Pitt and scores 10.5 points per game more. I like Notre Dame to win and cover here.
Arkansas at Ole Miss – 10 (54.5): I do not know where the 55th point in this came will come from so I’ll take the game to stay UNDER.
Michigan St. – 6 at Nebraska (58): Nebraska is a mess; they lose close games and they lose to bad teams. Michigan State is not a bad team so I think they will dominate here. I’ll take State and lay the points.
Finally, here is a comment from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World-Herald relative to Nebraska football this year:
“A list was compiled of college football player arrests the past five years, and Nebraska is tied with Ohio State at 12 apiece. Look for the NU PR department to release the statement: ‘Huskers tied with Buckeyes!’ ”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………