Let me begin by revisiting last week’s Mythical Picks:
I liked Pitt/UNC UNDER 67.5. Total score was 75. Boo!
I liked Wake Forest +17 against NC State. Not enough points. Boo!
I liked Ohio St. -14 over Minnesota. State won by only 7. Boo!
I liked Nebraska/Wisconsin UNDER 57. Total was 83. Boo!
I liked Clemson/Ga Tech UNDER 61. Total was 34. Yea!
I liked Duke -4.5 over Va Tech. Duke lost the game. Boo!
I liked Utah +8 against Stanford. Utah won in Double OT. Yea!
I liked LSU +1.5 against Arkansas. LSU lost by 17. Boo!
I liked LSU/Arkansas UNDER 48.5. Total was 17. Yea!
I liked Georgia -2 over Auburn. Georgia won by 27. Yea!
I liked S. Carolina/Florida OVER 57.5. Total was 43. Boo!
I liked Fla St/Miami OVER 61.5. Total was 56. Boo!
I liked Missouri +4.5 against Texas A&M. Mizou won the game. Yea!
I liked Arizona St. -9 over Oregon St. ASU lost the game by 8. Boo!
I liked Miss St./Alabama UNDER 52. Total was 45. Yea!
I liked Miss St. +9 against Alabama. Bama won by only 5. Double Yea!
I liked Texas -2.5 over Ok St. Texas won by 21. Yea!
I liked Mich. St. -11 over Maryland. State won by 22. Yea!
Last week was a bland week in a plain vanilla season of NCAA Mythical Picking. Last week the picks were 9-9-0. The cumulative record for the year stands at 91-91-1. About the only thing to say about those numbers is
Noting that the season record would be mythically in the red due to the vig on each wager, no one should be tempted to read further and take any wagering advice here seriously. For those who might find it hard to resist temptation, let me spell it out.
Anyone dumb enough to take wagering advice from anything written here is also dumb enough to think that holding an ice cream cone in either hand gives you a balanced diet.
Last week, the Linfield College Wildcats won the Northwest Conference championship with a 59-0 win over Pacific University. As conference champions, Linfield will participate in the Division III football championship tournament starting this weekend. The Wildcats will host Chapman University – winners of the Southern California Collegiate Athletic Conference. Chapman brings the same 8-1 season record to the field that Linfield brings. Go Wildcats!
Earlier this week, there was a report of a shooting on the Florida State University campus. It is unlikely that any football players were involved in any way with the incident given that it occurred at the university library.
Brady Hoke has had some difficult times as the head coach at Michigan and more than a few folks believe the school will wish him well in all of his future endeavors rather soon. Nevertheless, I have to give Hoke major props for the way he handled an incident this week.
Frank Clark was a starting defensive end for Michigan and one of its more productive defensive linemen. Hoke dismissed Clark from the team after Clark was arrested on domestic violence charges. Hoke did not wait for the judicial processes to meander to a solution; he looked at the arrest and the statements of eye witnesses and issued the dismissal. Here is his statement:
“Frank Clark has been dismissed for violating team rules from the Michigan football program. This is a tragic situation. Our student-athletes will be held accountable when their actions fail to meet the standard we have at Michigan. There is a legal process that will occur and we respect that process.”
Good on Brady Hoke. Clark has his right to his day in court; Clark does not have the right to be involved in college football up until the time of his day in court. That participation is a privilege and said privilege is granted by the school – and by extension the coach.
Michigan is 5-5 with 2 games still to play. The best they can hope for is a minor bowl game and that may be insufficient for the folks in Ann Arbor to keep Hoke in his job. However, if he does lose the job, he still gets “character points” from me for this action.
Florida dropped the first shoe in the Major College Coaching Game of Musical Chairs for the winter. Florida announced that Will Muschamp will not be back in Gainesville next year. Here are some of the major schools that may be looking for new football leadership at the end of the year.
Florida – definitely
Michigan – probably
Illinois – almost assuredly
Kansas – probably
Virginia – 50/50
SMU – definitely but is this a major program any more?
Last week, things got interesting in the ACC Coastal Division. Georgia Tech dominated Clemson 28-6. It ended its conference season with 2 losses; Tech’s only remaining game is against Georgia the weekend after Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, Duke lost to Va Tech last week 17-16. That was Duke’s second ACC loss but that did not end their conference schedule and it added interest to last night’s Duke/UNC game, which Duke lost 45-20. I believe that cements Georgia Tech as the Coastal Division Champion and the team that will take on Florida State in the ACC Championship Game in December.
NC State beat Wake Forest last week 42-13 making the Wolfpack eligible for a minor bowl game. Last week, I had Wake Forest on my “watch list” for the SHOE Tournament. I received two e-mails from folks who thought that was too harsh. Let me present some stats here because – here is something called foreshadowing – Wake is on the list again this week…
Wake Forest as a team has amassed a total of 341 yards rushing in 10 games this year. [Aside: More than 200 individual players have rushed for more yards than that.]
Wake’s passing offense is 112th in the country.
Wake ranks 126th (out of 128 teams) in total points scored. They only beat out E. Michigan and SMU both of whom are shoo-ins for the SHOE Tournament.
Combine those numbers with the fact that one of their two wins this year came at the expense of Gardner-Webb and you have a team that clearly is in contention for seeding in the SHOE Tournament.
Florida State remained undefeated coming from behind to beat Miami 30-26. As has been the case more than occasionally this year, Florida State played lethargically at first and then rallied late to win the game. Miami led at halftime 23-10.
The only other undefeated team in the country, Marshall, ran its record to 10-0 last week with a comfortable 41-14 win over Rice.
Ohio State beat Minnesota 31-24. The game was not that close; Ohio State was clearly the better team on the field. The game was played in the snow and Ohio State turned the ball over 3 times leading to all the Minnesota TDs. The fact that it was snowing in Minneapolis in November is not a shock. What is shocking is that the Minnesota Vikings actually considered for a while building a new stadium without a roof. Do those folks ever look out the window…?
Wisconsin pummeled Nebraska 59-24. Wisconsin is always tough at home but that does not explain a 5 TD margin here. Wisconsin RB, Melvin Gordon had a record-setting day; he rushed for 408 yards on 25 carries (16.3 yards per attempt) and broke the NCAA record for most rushing yards in a game previously held by LaDanian Tomlinson. Gordon sat out the entire 4th quarter; Wisconsin amassed a total of 581 yards rushing for the day.
They say that timing is everything. Western Kentucky RB, Leon Allen, had a pretty good day last week running the ball too. He gained 345 yards in a win over Army. Given Melvin Gordon’s performance, Leon Allen’s day hardly got a mention…
Penn State beat Temple 30-13 but only led 6-3 at the half. That win makes Penn State bowl eligible. Temple needs to find one more win to “go bowling”. The Owls have this week off and then play Cincy and Tulane after Thanksgiving.
Northwestern beat Notre dame 43-40 in OT. Obviously, there was not a lot of tackling in that game but it was also not an artistic game either. Both teams turned the ball over 4 times in the game.
Cincy beat E. Carolina last week 54-46. Obvioulsy not a lot of tackling in this game either…
Arkansas shut out LSU 17-0 last week. That was the first SEC win for Bret Bielema in 13 tries as head coach there. Arkansas’ last SEC win was back in October 2012 when John L. Smith was the coach. This was a dominating win for the Razorbacks; they held LSU to 124 yards total offense.
Missouri beat Texas A&M 34-27. Mizzou has the SEC East title – and a ticket to the SEC Championship Game – on its racket. All it has to do is beat Tennessee on the road this week and then beat Arkansas at home the day after Thanksgiving.
Georgia hopes Mizzou loses one of those remaining games because Georgia is a game behind Missouri in the SEC East race but holds the tiebreaker over the Tigers. Georgia’s conference schedule is completed. They finished up SEC play last week with a 34-7 win over Auburn. Question:
Where has that version of the Georgia defense been all season?
Alabama beat Mississippi State 25-20 in a great defensive game by both teams. It was a great game to watch having nothing to do with the fact that the outcome gave me two wins in the Mythical Picks for last week. This game marked the fifth time that a Nick Saban coached team beat the team that was ranked #1 in the country at the kickoff. Mississippi State had the #1 ranked offense in the SEC coming into the game; they are indeed a good football team. Nevertheless, here is how six consecutive possessions for the Bulldogs went:
Safety, Interception, Punt, Punt, Punt, Punt
Alabama can play some “D”…
TCU beat Kansas 34-30 after trailing at halftime. A win is a win … but there are zero style points for the College Football Playoff Selection Committee to consider here.
Elsewhere in the Big 12, Texas achieved bowl eligibility with a handy win over Oklahoma State by a score of 28-7. The Texas defense continues to show well; they recorded 7 sacks in that game.
Navy beat Georgia Southern 52-19; Ga Southern was 8-2 coming into that game. Navy needs one more win for bowl eligibility. They have two more chances to get that 6th win against S. Alabama the day after Thanksgiving or against Army on 13 December.
Fact: Colorado State is 9-1 as of today with a game this week against New Mexico.
Fact: Air Force is 8-2 as of today with a game this week at San Diego State.
Fact: Colorado State and Air Force play each other on the day after Thanksgiving.
Fact: Air Force and Colorado State are both in Colorado Springs.
Who knew back in August that Colorado Springs was to become an epicenter of college football for 2014?
In Ivy League action last week, Cornell beat Columbia 30-27. Neither team had won a game prior to this one; Cornell managed to get off the schneid. 5,734 hardy souls witnessed this struggle in NYC.
Out west, Utah beat Stanford 20-17. Utah is 7-3 against a difficult schedule. They have had 3 OT games this year and 6 of their games have been decided by 6 points or less. Utah deserves a nice bowl game for this season.
Oregon St. beat Arizona St 35-27. Arizona State had been ranked highly after beating Notre Dame a couple of weeks ago but with the Irish’s loss to Northwestern this week and the ASU loss here, their chances for a berth in the playoff bracket are about as good as slipping a pork chop past a hungry dog. But there may be some good news in this loss for Arizona state from a larger perspective:
PAC-12 South just got very interesting. Four teams – USC, UCL A, Arizona and Arizona St. – are all bunched together at the top of that division.
USC and UCLA play each other; Arizona and Arizona St. play each other.
Big rivalry games with stakes bigger than just the rivalry should make for interesting football.
And in some bottom-of-the-barrel acton:
W. Michigan 51 E. Michigan 7: It was 48-0 at the half.
Troy 34 Idaho 17: Idaho was at home for this; they are now 1-9.
USF 14 SMU 13: SMU is now 0-9 and almost ruined their perfect season here. SMU led 13-0 in the 4th quarter but found a way to give up two 4th quarter TDs – the last one with less than a minute to play – to come from ahead and lose the game.
The Ponderosa Spread Games:
Last week we had 3 Ponderosa Spread Games. The favorites covered in only 1 of the 3 games.
W. Michigan covered.
BYU and TCU did not cover.
That brings the season cumulative record for favorites covering Ponderosa Spreads to 33-30-1.
This week, we have 8 Ponderosa Spread Games:
S. Alabama at S. Carolina – 24.5 (56): Tuning up for Clemson…
Vandy at Mississippi St – 30.5 (53): Hey, it is a conference game not a scheduling abomination.
Indiana at Ohio St. – 34.5 (65.5): Another conference game…
Kansas at Oklahoma – 25 (53): Another conference game…
Oklahoma St. at Baylor – 28.5 (67.5): I do not usually make Mythical Picks in Ponderosa Spread Games. However, Baylor needs “style points” for the Selection Committee and Ok. St.’s defense is not geared to stop Baylor. Ok State is 117th in the country in pass defense; Baylor is 3rd in the country in passing offense. I like this game to go OVER.
Colorado at Oregon – 32.5 (72.5): Yet another conference game…
Georgia State at Clemson – 41 (57): Why bother? Who scheduled this one? Tuning up for S. Carolina… If you think Ga State can win, you can get +32,500 on the money line.
SMU at UCF – 28.5 (47): This too is a conference game…
The SHOE Tournament Teams:
This week I will focus on 10 teams for the 8 slots in the final SHOE Tournament to determine the single worst team in Division 1-A college football for the year. I will once again list them alphabetically – but I will mark the two teams that would not make the field if this were my final vote.
E. Michigan 2-8
Georgia State 1-9
Kent St. 1-9
Miami (Oh) 2-9
Troy 3-8 * not in the SHOE Tournament for now
UNLV 2-9 * not in the SHOE Tournament for now
Wake Forest 2-8
In putrid game action this weekend:
E. Michigan is a 17-point underdog at Ball State and to be clear, Ball State is not a good team.
Wake Forest is a 15-point underdog to Va Tech.
Tulsa is a 21-point underdog at Houston.
Georgia State is a 41-point underdog at Clemson (see above).
SMU is a 28.5-point underdog to UCF (see above).
Games of Interest:
Va Tech – 15 at Wake Forest (39): The only thing that would make this game less watchable than it already is would be a driving rainstorm. This is a game of interest for SHOE Tournament consideration only. Do not watch it; do not bet on it.
Miami – 6 at Virginia (48): I smell a let-down for Miami after Florida State came from way back to beat them last week. I’ll take Virginia at home plus the points.
Missouri at Tennessee – 3.5 (49): Missouri is 8-2 while Tennessee is 5-5. However, statistically, these teams are not that far apart. Tennessee is the better passing team; Missouri is the better running team. Make this a venue call; I’ll take Tennessee to win and cover. Lots of folks in Athens, GA hope I am right on this one…
Rutgers at Michigan St. – 22 (57): When Rutgers plays against the upper echelon of the Big 10, they get hammered. Michigan St. is an upper echelon team. Hence… Moreover, the game is in East Lansing. I’ll take Michigan St. and lay the points.
Minnesota at Nebraska – 10.5 (56.5): Will Nebraska simply roll over and play dead after what Wisconsin did to them last week (see above) or will Nebraska come out breathing fire? Frankly, I think it will be somewhere in the middle of that range and I think that Minnesota will do what it always tries to do and that is run the ball straight at the Nebraska defense. The clock will run; this will be a quick game. I like the game to stay UNDER and I like Minnesota plus the points.
Maryland at Michigan – 5 (42.5): If Michigan wants to go to a bowl game, they need this win. If it does not come here, the only other chance is against Ohio State and that looks mighty unlikely. I know the bet I want and so I went looking for justification and found these trends:
Michigan is 4-1 to go UNDER in its last 5 home games
Maryland is 4-1 to go UNDER in its last 5 road games.
I like the game to stay UNDER.
BC at Florida State – 17 (56.5): Interesting statistical matchups here:
BC rushes for 264 yards per game (12th best in the country)
Fla St. allows 139.7 yards per game (36th best in the country.
Fla St. throws for 318 yards per game (11th best in the country)
BC allows 226.9 yards per game (66th best in the country.
I think Florida State is the better team by far and it seems as if Florida State is better equipped to stop what BC does best as compared to BC stopping what Florida State does best. I like Florida State at home to win and cover.
Texas Tech at Iowa St. – 1.5 (69.5): These are Big 12 bottom-feeders and neither one plays much defense at all. Iowa St. ranks 117th in the country in points allowed giving up 37.8 points per game. However, Texas Tech can “top” that ranking 126th in the country in points allowed giving up 41.6 points per game. I like the game to go OVER.
Ole Miss – 3.5 at Arkansas (45): Short and simple… This will be a low-scoring game. I like the game to stay UNDER and I like Arkansas at home plus the points.
Arizona at Utah – 4 (54.5): Another one that is short and simple… This will be a low-scoring game. I like the game to stay UNDER. I am tempted by Arizona plus the points but will not pull the trigger there.
USC at UCLA – 4 (61): This is an important PAC-12 South Division game in addition to being a long-standing intense rivalry. I do not know why UCLA is the better team here so I’ll take USC plus the points in what I would have expected to be a “pick ‘em” game.
Finally, here is a closing thought courtesy of Brad Dickson of the Omaha World-Herald regarding a “side wager” on last week’s Nebraska/Wisconsin game:
“If Nebraska beats Wisconsin, Rep. Paul Ryan owes Senator-elect Ben Sasse some smoked Gouda cheese. If Wisconsin wins, Sasse has to give Ryan some Lucky Brand beef jerky. There’s a group opposed to this wager; I believe they’re called ‘nutritionists.’ “
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………