First, a check to see how last week’s picks came out:
I liked Marshall/Fla Int’l OVER 55.5. Total score was 58. Yea!
I liked Iowa/Maryland OVER 48.5. Total was 69. Yea!
I liked Baylor/W. Va OVER 80. Total was 69. Boo!
I liked Duke -3 over UVa. Duke won by 7. Yea!
I liked Ga Tech “pick” over UNC. Tech lost. Boo!
I liked Georgia -3.5 over Arkansas. Georgia won by 13. Yea!
I liked Stanford/Ariz UNDER 54.5. Total was 36. Yea!
I liked Wash/Oregon OVER 64.5. Total was 65. Yea!
I liked UCLA -7 over Cal. UCLA won by 2. Boo!
I liked Texas A&M/Alabama UNDER 64. Total was 59. Yea!
I liked Tex A&M +13.5 against Bama. Aggies lost by 59. Boo!
I liked BC +5 against Clemson. BC lost by only 4. Yea!
I liked K-State +7 against Oklahoma. K-State won the game. Yea!
I liked Ole Miss -16 over Tennessee. Ole Miss won by 31. Yea!
I liked Mizzou +5.5 against Florida. Mizzou won by 29. Yea!
I liked Nebraska -6.5 over N’western. Nebraska won by 21. Yea!
I liked Kentucky +11 against LSU. Ky lost by 38. Boo!
Last week turned out to be an outstanding week for Mythical Picks with a record of 12-5-0. That brings the cumulative record to 57-59-0. The season is not at a mythically profitable level, but at least a .500 record is within grasping distance.
Notwithstanding last week’s banner results, no one should use any information here as the basis for deciding which side to back in a real wager on an actual college football game this weekend should such a wager involve actual money. Here is what I would have to say to anyone stupid enough even to contemplate such action:
People say you’re nobody’s fool – – but not to worry. One of these days, someone will adopt you.
The Linfield College Wildcats assured themselves of their 59th consecutive winning season in football last Saturday with a shellacking of Whitworth University by a score of 65-13. Whitworth brought a potent offense to this game averaging 478.5 yards per game; last week they gained only 264 yards. This week, Linfield goes back on the road to play Lewis and Clark. The Pioneers are having a miserable season to date; their record is 0-6; they have been outscored 249 – 55. Go Wildcats!
Well, there is not going to be an undefeated champion coming out of the Big 12 this year. Baylor went to West Virginia last week and laid a giant egg losing by 2 TDs. Making things even worse, the Bears threw for 224 yards in the game and they were penalized 215 yards in the game. Can you spell “lack of discipline”?
Before you ask, no that is not an NCAA record. The ignominy of being the most heavily penalized team ever in a single game belongs to Arizona State in 1961 when they surrendered 238 yards to penalty flags in a game.
The game officials were more than busy in this game because West Virginia managed to draw 14 penalty flags themselves for a total of 138 yards. You just know that game had to be fun to watch…
There are only three major undefeated teams in the country as of today – Florida State, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. Since Mississippi State and Ole Miss play each other in the Egg Bowl later this year, one of them will have at least one loss on their record come time for the College Football Playoff brackets to come out.
Before someone chastises me for slighting Marshall University, I do know that they too are undefeated. Nevertheless, given their schedule, they are not going to be in the College Football Playoff bracket of four teams unless they are undefeated and every other contending team has 3 losses. Picking the toughest opponent on the Marshall schedule is like trying to pick the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs.
[Aside: Marshall QB, Rakeem Cato, broke an NCAA record last week when he threw a TD pass in his 39th consecutive game. The previous record holder was Russell Wilson. Consider that as Fact #278643 Not Worth Remembering…]
Strength of schedule – or lack thereof – could wind up hurting Baylor a lot come bracket selection time. Their out of conference schedule might be embarrassing for a mediocre program. One that aspires to play at the top of the national rankings should play someone out of conference a bit more notable than SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo.
Kansas State beat Oklahoma 31-30 and did it by making few if any mistakes while the Sooners kept shooting themselves in the foot until finally they could not just “walk it off”. Here is a sampling of Oklahoma ineptitude last week:
Threw a Pick Six
Had a PAT blocked
Missed 2 field goals from inside 25 yards
Had one of its passes intercepted in the K-state end zone.
K-State has only one loss this year but has a difficult schedule ahead. They still have road games at Baylor, TCU and West Virginia.
TCU is another Big 12 team with only 1 loss; they took care of business last week against Oklahoma State 42-9. TCU’s out of conference schedule is nothing to crow about either with the likes of SMU, Minnesota and Samford on it. No, that is not Stanford; that is Samford…
Speaking indirectly of Minnesota, the Golden Gophers are bowl-eligible after a win over Purdue last week. Purdue led 31-20 at the half but Minnesota rallied to win 39-38.
Michigan State shut out Indiana in the first half and breezed to a 56-17 victory.
Ohio State also won by a 56-17 score over Rutgers. Ohio State and Michigan State will square off on Nov 8 in East Lansing.
Nebraska (6-1 just like Ohio State and Michigan State) beat Northwestern handily 38-17 last week. However, their one loss came at the hands of Michigan State a couple of weeks ago.
Duke is bowl-eligible. The Blue Devils won their 6th game of the year last week with a 20-13 win over Virginia. UVa won the stat sheet competition gaining 465 yards to Duke’s 334 yards. However, the standings only reflect wins and losses and not stat sheet entries.
Clemson beat BC 17-13. If you look at the stats for that game, you might wonder how it stayed that close:
Clemson had 22 first downs; BC had 11
Clemson was 10 for 21 converting 3rd downs; BC was 2 for 14
Clemson ran 81 offensive plays; BC ran 56.
Louisville beat NC State 30-18. The Louisville defense is very fast and very good; they do not just hit hard; they tackle well. The team speed even extends to the interior defensive linemen who screen graphics said weigh 315 lbs. In addition to size, those guys can really move!
UNC beat Georgia Tech 48-43. Even when the Tar Heels win a game, they give up a whole bunch of points…
Florida State retained its undefeated status and a place at or near the top of the college football rankings by beating Notre Dame 31-27. If you saw the game, you realize that these are two very good teams who played a full 60 minutes of quality football. It does not help matters at all to try to demean either team for anything they did in that game; it was all good…
Alabama spanked Texas A&M 59-0. That is the first time a Kevin Sumlin coached team has ever been shut out in a game. I saw much of the game and it was clear to me that the Aggies’ defense is simply not very good; Alabama did whatever it needed to do whenever it needed to do it. Here are some metrics:
Alabama 30 had first downs; A&M had 8
Alabama was 9 for 15 converting 3rd downs; A&M was 2-13
Alabama had 602 yards offense; A&M had 172
Alabama rushed for 298 yards; A&M rushed for 31.
Both teams played disciplined football; there were only 2 penalties in the entire game. Both were called on A&M for a total of 6 yards. Alabama was “penalty-free”.
Missouri shut out Florida in the first half; the score was 42-0 in the 3rd quarter; Florida scored 2 meaningless TDs late in the game to make the final score 42-13. The Gators turned the ball over 6 times in the game; how miserable is that? If you look at the stat sheet and then at the scoreboard, you will do a double take:
Mizzou QB, Matty Mauk was 6-18 for 20 yards for 0 TDs and 1 INT
He was the winning QB.
Mizzou gained only 119 yards on offense for the game.
Per espn.com, in the last 10 years teams that held opponents to less than 120 yards in a game are 147-2.
Last week, Florida became one of that “2”.
The Ole Miss defense is really good. Last week they throttled Tennessee and the Rebels won the game handily 34-3.
LSU squashed Kentucky 41-3. I said last week that I thought Kentucky was the team on the upswing while LSU was on a downswing; that is why I took Kentucky plus 11 points. Boy, was I ever wrong on that game…
Georgia led Arkansas 38-6 at the half; no one would have blamed Arkansas if they had just mailed it in during the second half. But the Razorbacks rallied to make the final score a respectable 45-32. That deficit was just too much to overcome against a good Georgia team.
If I have counted correctly, PAC-12 road teams are 16-7 this year. No, I do not have an explanation for that. UCLA helped that stat along beating Cal 36-34. Those are two teams that I cannot figure out from week to week.
Oregon led Washington 28-6 at halftime and breezed to a 45-20 victory. The Ducks gained 554 yards while the Huskies only managed 317. Royce Freeman scored 4 TDs in the game.
The surprise of the PAC-12 this year has to be Utah; the Utes are 5-1 now coming off a win over Oregon State last week, but they are entering a difficult 5 game stretch in the schedule:
Vs. USC (this week)
At Arizona State
The Utes lost a 1-point game to Washington State a few weeks ago. That loss looks curiouser and curiouser. Brad Rock had this item in the Deseret News about the Utes:
“The Utes moved above .500 in the Pac-12 for the first time in history with their win against Oregon State, despite getting only 315 total yards.”
Some of the bad teams played last week too and here are a few “highlight scores”:
UMass 36 E. Michigan 14 (two in a row for UMass!)
Appalachian St. 56 Troy 14 (call it The Bottom Feeder Bowl?)
Kent St. 39 Army 17 (Kent St won its first game of the year)
Idaho 29 New Mexico St 17 (Idaho won its first game of the year)
Cincy 41 SMU 3 (SMU is now the only winless team in Division 1-A)
Rhetorical question of the week:
Where else but in intercollegiate athletics could Idaho be in the Sun Belt Conference?
The Ponderosa Spread Games:
Last week, there were no Ponderosa Spread Games.
Therefore, the record for favorites covering in such games remains at 27-23-1.
This week, we have 4 Ponderosa spread Games
Vandy at Missouri – 24 (42): Vandy is not a good team. Missouri was shut out two weeks ago and then stomped Florida last week (see above). If you can find a pattern to handicap this game with a 24-point spread, you are a better person than I am.
UAB at Arkansas – 26.5 (66): Arkansas has lost 16 straight SEC games; UAB is not an SEC team – by a longshot…
Memphis – 24 at SMU (49): This game will be ugly at best…
Fla Atlantic at Marshall – 28 (69): Here is another mediocre opponent on the Marshall schedule that will not help Marshall get serious consideration for the playoff bracket at the end of the season even if they are undefeated. (see above)
Games of Interest:
(Fri Nite) Oregon – 17 at Cal (79.5): I just cannot put any faith in the Cal defense against a team that emphasizes offense like Oregon. That is a lot of points to lay, but I think Oregon is simply the better team by a lot. I like Oregon to win and cover – even on the road.
South Carolina at Auburn – 18.5 (66): The spread opened here at 16 points and jumped to this level in less than 24 hours. South Carolina is all but eliminated in the SEC East race; Auburn is not in the driver’s seat in the SEC West but they are a lot more “involved” than is South Carolina. Purely a hunch, but I like this game to stay UNDER because I am not sure S. Carolina is going to score a lot.
Mississippi St. – 15 at Kentucky (59.5): This is a national game on CBS this weekend. I doubt that these two schools ever played in a featured national telecast for a college football game since national coverage for college games debuted in the 1950s. Kentucky is an improved team and is 5-0 at home this year; nonetheless, I cannot see Kentucky’s offense doing a lot of business here. So once again, I’ll take the game to stay UNDER.
UNC at UVa – 7 (47): Given what we have learned about academic shenanigans at UNC for the last couple of decades, one has to wonder why this game is sanctioned by the NCAA. After all, academic pursuits are at the core of the mythical “student-athlete”. Is Mark Emmert in a coma?
Ga Tech at Pitt – 3 (55.5): Pitt is likely to run the ball at Ga Tech and Tech is likely to run the ball outside against Pitt. That means the clock should keep running and that is why I like the game to stay UNDER.
Maryland at Wisconsin – 10.5 (56.5): Based on what I have seen of the Maryland defense this year, I do not see them stopping Wisconsin’s running game routinely. I like Wisconsin to win and cover at home.
Rutgers at Nebraska – 19 (60.5): Rutgers gives up 261.6 yards per game on the ground (97th in the country). Nebraska likes to run the ball and produces 293.6 yards rushing per game (7th in the country). I do not see any way out of the box for Rutgers here; I like Nebraska at home to win and cover.
Kent St. at Miami (Oh) – 7 (53): Just making sure you are paying attention. Please do not watch this game or wager on this game.
Alabama – 17 at Tennessee (47): Call this the Lane Kiffin “Homecoming” Game if you actually think that Lane Kiffin could buy a house and settle down peacefully anywhere in greater Knoxville. Tennessee managed only 3 points against Ole Miss last week; this year’s Alabama defense is not as good as the Alabama defenses of the past couple of seasons, but it is still awfully good. If Tennessee can manage to get into double digits, the game might go OVER. I do not think that is likely to happen this week, so I’ll take the game to stay UNDER.
Michigan at Michigan St. – 17 (48.5): This game is not nearly as big a game as it has been in previous seasons – – that is unless you are Brady Hoke and realize:
A. A win at Michigan St. would probably take the heat off sufficiently that you will get another season in Ann Arbor before the axe falls.
B. A blowout loss to Michigan St. this week is a good signal to your wife to start packing the china and the glassware.
Michigan had last week off; if there is any fire left in the boiler, it ought to show us what Michigan has to offer in this game. I think there are only embers in that boiler and that Michigan will be stopped cold. I like the game to stay UNDER.
Ole Miss – 3.5 at LSU (45.5): I like Ole Miss; I really do. Nevertheless, playing LSU in Baton Rouge is tough sledding; the newly expanded stadium there seats 102,000 rabid fans who do know how to make noise. I’ll take LSU plus the points.
USC – 1 at Utah (52.5): This is the PAC-12 “upstart” against the PAC-12 “establishment”. Make this a venue call; I’ll take Utah plus the point.
Texas at K-State – 9.5 (48.5): K-State looked awfully efficient against Oklahoma last week while Texas eked out a 48-45 win over Iowa State. I like K-State to win and cover here.
Ohio St. – 14 at Penn St. (52): I see a lot of offense in this game and lots of scoring. Penn State gave up 29 points to Northwestern in State College, PA; Ohio State should go north of that number. I like this game to go OVER.
Arizona St. – 3 at Washington (62.5): On average, Arizona St produces 165 yards per game more offense than Washington does. The two defenses are comparable. I think that 165-yard offensive advantage can propel the Sun Devils to cover here. I like Arizona St. to win and cover and I like the game to stay UNDER.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………