Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend of 9/29/12

Let me review last week’s selections:

    I liked Boise St./BYU Under 49. The game was Under by 5 TDs. Mmm!

    I liked Baylor/La-Monroe Over 68.5. It went Over by 3 TDs. Mmm!

    I liked TCU – 17 over UVa. TCU covered. Mmm!

    I liked Army +7 against Wake Forest. Army lost by 12. Blech!

    I liked Mizzou/S. Carolina Under 49.5. It was Under. Mmm!

    I liked Wash St. – 20.5 over Colorado. Wash State lost outright. Blech!

    I liked USC – 16 over Cal. USC covered but not by a lot. Mmm!

    I liked LSU/Auburn Under 49. The game was way Under. Mmm!

    I liked Michigan +4.5 against Notre Dame. Michigan lost by 7. Blech!

    I liked K-State/OU Over 58.5. Not even close. Blech!

    I liked Clemson +14.5 against Florida State. Clemson covered. Mmm!

    I liked Utah/Ariz St. Under 50. It stayed Under. Mmm!

    I liked Oregon – 21 over Arizona. Oregon won 49-0. Mmm!

For the week, the record was 9-4, which would have been mythically profitable. In fact, if I were one of those touts on TV trying to sell you my selection services for the rest of this football season, I would yell as loud as I could:

    “My proven record last week was 69.2% winners”.

I prefer to work the other side of the street. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Wagering is gambling and not investing. No one should think that last week’s profitable set of picks will be repeated this week nor should anyone think that any of the picks made here are based on any inside sources. Only a dumbass would use any information here as the basis for making a decision regarding which side to back in a real wager. Here is the way to describe any person who might do that:

    If brains were rain, his nickname would be “Gobi”.

General Comments:

Linfield College had a “bye week” last week in their quest for a 57th consecutive winning season in football. The Wildcats’ record so far stands at 3-0; this week they begin conference play with a road game at Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes come into this game also off a “bye week” and off a victory over Redlands College two weeks ago when Redlands had been ranked 25th in the country in Division III. This will be Homecoming for Pacific Lutheran. Linfield has won the last ten games between these schools. Go Wildcats!

Several coaches and schools in the PAC-12 are at odds with reporters who cover those teams regarding the reporting of injuries that the reporters see at practices. You can immediately guess the positions taken in these spats between football coaches who are monumental control freaks and reporters who think that “public right to know” is part of the Apostle’s Creed. This will flare for a while and then die down as something else becomes more interesting. However, Ron Judd of the Seattle Times did not miss his opportunity to make his feelings known on this matter:

“On the Cover of The Week’s Chutzpah Illustrated: Numerous self-important college football coaches, including [Washington’s] Steve Sarkisian, continue to throw conniption fits anytime a reporter dares ask legit questions about a player injury. Good; all the more time and space for real news, like coach’s obscene salaries and morally bankrupt financial pacts with corporate beelzebubs like Nike.”

Time for a Quick Quiz. This is an open-book exam; feel free to “Google”:

    So far this year, what team is the biggest positive surprise in NCAA football?

      Kansas State
      Notre Dame
      Oregon State
      “Someone else”

    Fifty words or less…

Last week, I mentioned Penn’s football team here when Lafayette intercepted 7 passes in the opening game against Penn. Believe it or not, Penn deserves a mention again this week after losing last week to Villanova. Granted that Penn has not played Villanova every year in the interim, but the last time Penn beat Villanova was in 1911. Here is some of the ambience of 1911:

    Pancho Villa attacked the garrison in Juarez during the Mexican Revolution.

    Italy and the Ottoman Empire were at war. In that war, the first aerial bombardment occurred when an Italian pilot dropped a couple of bombs on troops in Libya.

    Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to reach the South Pole

    It had been only 3 years since the Cubs had won the World Series.

Last week, Penn State continued its domination of Temple on the football field. Last week I said the last time Temple had won a game against Penn State was in 1943. I was incorrect in that statement. The last time Temple beat Penn State was in 1941. That probably means that in the minds of folks in State College, PA, there were two dates in 1941 that should live on in infamy.

Prior to the Florida/Kentucky game last week, former UK QB, Jared Lorenzen (The Hefty Lefty), said that Florida was not all that good and that UK might “shock the world”. The final score was 38-0 with UK on the “zero side of the ledger”. Florida only allowed 60 yards passing in the game and this was the 26th straight win for Florida in this series. Maybe what Lorenzen meant was that UK would “shock the world” with its offensive ineptitude?

Notre Dame is now 4-0 on the season after beating Michigan last weekend 13-6. That makes two big 10 teams in a row that have fallen to the Irish. One other outcome from that game is that Denard Robinson’s hopes for a Heisman Trophy are dead. I last week’s game, he fumbled once inside the Notre Dame 10 yardline and threw 5 INTs. The Notre Dame defense is carrying the day; for the second weekend in a row, they did not give up a TD.

For those of you who are trend followers, here is one to check out:

    Frank Leahy, Ara Parsegian, Dan Devine and Lou Holtz all won national championships at Notre Dame in their third year as head coach.

    This is Brian Kelly’s third year as head coach at Notre Dame.

Georgia toasted Vandy last week 48-3. Georgia is 4-0 and looks to be pretty good this year. They have upcoming games against Florida and South Carolina in the next month that should be good games. Unfortunately, the SEC schedule rotation does not have Georgia playing either Alabama or LSU this year unless they should meet one of them in the SEC Championship Game.

Speaking obliquely about LSU, they beat Auburn 12-10 last week by holding Auburn to 183 yards of total offense for the game. The margin of victory was a safety that happened in the first quarter of the game. Special teams were pretty good in this game too. There were 15 punts in the game by both teams; the total punt return yards for both teams was minus-5 yards.

Meanwhile, Alabama coasted to a 40-7 win over Florida Atlantic. The Tide is undefeated and the only “blemish” on their record is that they have been Ponderosa Spread favorites twice in recent weeks and failed to cover either time.

Arkansas lost at home for the third consecutive week. This time the winner was Rutgers by a 9-point margin. Coach John L. Smith will finish out the year only because it would be a double dose of embarrassment washed down with a large glass of humiliation for the AD to fire him now. Up this week is a road game against Texas A&M…

Central Michigan scored a TD, recovered an onside kick and then kicked a game winning field goal all in the final minute against Iowa. It sure looks to me as if Iowa is living on reputation at the moment; they have not been able to score in earlier games and then they lose to a MAC team once they do manage to put 31 points on the scoreboard. Iowa’s record is 2-2. Their wins have come over Northern Illinois (by one point) and Northern Iowa. I have checked their schedule and can find no other games against “Northern Wherever”.

However, Iowa is only a symptom of what seems to be wrong with the Big 10. There are only two teams in the Big 10 that meet two criteria:

    1. They are undefeated so far this year – and –

    2. They are eligible to go to a bowl game this year.

Those two teams are Minnesota and Northwestern. Oh, swell!

Nebraska hosted Idaho State last week. In that game, Idaho State actually had the ball for more time than did Nebraska. Not to worry, the Cornhuskers made good use of the time they did have the ball and won the game 73-7. This was the 34th consecutive road loss for Idaho State. Who knew that leaving Pocatello was so traumatic?

Brad Dickson of the Omaha World Herald had this comment on that game:

“On Saturday, the Huskers continued moving the ball with Ron Kellogg III in at quarterback. By the fourth quarter, Idaho State players were asking, ‘Isn’t there a Ron Kellogg IV who can play?’ “

Illinois stinks but they are a Big 10 school and nominally play big-boy football. Last week at home, they lost to La-Tech by 4 TDs. That is shameful…

Georgia Tech hosted Miami last week. They fell behind 19-0 in the first quarter but rallied to lead by 2 TDs going into the fourth quarter. Then somehow, they lost the game in OT. I think that rates an “8” on the “choke-o-meter”.

Wake Forest gave up 429 yards rushing to Army last weekend and still won the game by 12 points. That is not commonplace.

Florida State QB, EJ Manuel, threw for 380 yards and rushed for another 102 yards against a decent Clemson defense last week. That is a respectable day’s work. Florida State trailed by 14 early in the game but then scored 28 straight points to take control of the game.

Oregon St. obviously has a good run defense. Earlier this year, they held Wisconsin’s Montee Ball to 61 yards for a game; last week they held UCLA’s Johnathan Franklin to only 45 yards. Both Wisconsin and UCLA were ranked when they played Oregon State.

Colorado scored 3 TDs in the final 7 minutes to beat Washington State by a point. Colorado is the team that had lost to Fresno State by a score of 69-14 the week before. Mike Leach has to get that team to put games away when they have a lead. Two weeks ago, Washington State almost coughed up a lead to UNLV in the final moments of the game.

Colorado is now 1-0 in PAC-12 games meaning that in the South Division they are currently ahead of USC. Trust me, that situation will not continue to obtain…

Oregon just manhandled Arizona last week 49-0. Either Oregon’s defense is a lot better than most folks had given it credit for or Rich Rodriquez’ spread offense took the day off. The Oregon defense forced 4 turnovers and held Arizona scoreless in 6 trips inside the red zone. Arizona came into the game averaging more than 600 yards of offense per game; here they got only 332 yards.

In both the AP and the USA Today college football polls this week, Oregon is at #2 and Florida State is at #4. Frankly, I do not care about polls in September even though I admit that both of these teams look like top shelf teams. However, please make note of the following:

    Neither Oregon nor Florida State has yet to play a game away from home – - even against some of the bunnies they have put on the early season schedule such as Arkansas State, Tennessee Tech, Murray State and Savannah State.

Ponderosa Spread Games:

Last week, only one Ponderosa spread favorite covered the spread; seven favorites did not cover and one game was a Push.

Florida covered.

Alabama, Miami (Oh), Michigan St., Mississippi St., Ohio St. Tennessee and West Virginia failed to cover.

Duke/Memphis was a Push.

Last week’s 1-7-1 record brings the season total for favorites covering to a season record of 11-16-1.

This week we have 7 Ponderosa spread Games.

(Fri Nite): Hawaii at BYU – 27.5 (50): Hawaii makes a long journey here to face a very good defense and Hawaii’s offense is nothing to write home about. Last week, BYU lost a game by a score of 7-6. Even though I rarely make a pick in a Ponderosa Spread Game, I like this game to stay Under.

Ohio – 24 at UMass (54.5): Ohio beat Penn State in its opening game at Penn State. UMass is in its first year at the Division 1-A level and is “struggling”.

Idaho at UNC – 27 (62): There have been big line swings in this game. The line opened at 23.5 and has moved 3.5 points. The Totals Line opened at 57.5 and moved 4.5 points. Middle players are salivating…

Oregon – 30.5 at Washington State (71): I said above that Mike Leach needed to teach his team how to put a game away when they had a lead. I do not think this game will provide him with a “teachable moment”…

Ole Miss at Alabama – 30 (55): This is the third time Alabama is a Ponderosa Spread favorite; they have yet to cover. These lines have moved a lot this week and that is not common for games at the SEC level. The spread opened at 32 and is as low as 29.5 at one sportsbook this morning. The Totals Line opened at 51 and is as high as 55.5 at one sportsbook this morning.

Boise St. – 26 at New Mexico (51): This may not be the biggest spread of the week, but a Boise St. loss here would be a shocker.

Ga Tech – 27.5 at Middle Tennessee State (63): After coughing up a hairball last week against Miami, Ga Tech should be ready to kick some butt here.

Games of Interest:

Towson at LSU (no lines): No comment…

(Thurs Nite) Stanford – 7 at Washington (48): The Totals Line opened the week at 51. I would probably have played the game Over at 51 but now with the line down to 48, I will take the game to go Over.

Penn State at Illinois – 1 (44): Penn State is a football shell; Illinois is just a bad football team. Absent a ton of turnovers resulting in short fields, I do not see 45 points on the scoreboard. I like this game to stay Under.

Minnesota at Iowa – 7 (47): Do you really believe that Minnesota is as good as its 4-0 record would indicate? Do you recognize how mediocre Iowa is? Good. Now, do not wager on this game…

Clemson – 9.5 at BC (61): I know that BC has a history of pulling big upsets at home against ranked teams – - but this year’s BC football team looks nothing like a typical BC football team. Clemson lost to Florida State last week but still scored 37 points. Even on the road, I’ll take Clemson to win and cover here.

Indiana at Northwestern – 11.5 (59): I cannot recall many times when Northwestern has been a double-digit favorite over a team other than “Disco Tech”. I have no faith in Indiana but that spread is scary. Pass on this game unless you are an alum of either school. If you are an alum or either school, you should be smart enough to pass on this game too…

Duke at Wake Forest – 3 (60): Here is another game where you keep your money in your wallet. Can you really bet Duke on the road? Wake may be the blandest 3-1 team in the country. No thank you…

Colorado State at Air Force – 15 (55.5): Look, I recognize that Colorado State is not very good but this year’s Air Force team is not very good either. The only win for Air Force this year came against Idaho State – not exactly a powerhouse team. Last weekend, they lost to a truly mediocre UNLV team – and calling UNLV truly mediocre may be over-rating them. That is a fat line. I’ll hold my nose and take Colorado State plus the points in this cross-town game.

TCU – 16 at SMU (55): Technically, these schools are in different cities, but this is the same as a cross-town rivalry since the schools are only about 30 miles apart. TCU is the better team but it was also the better team last year when SMU won in OT. Normally, I do not think much about the “revenge factor”; but in a rivalry between schools this close to one another, it carries more weight. On a hunch, I’ll take TCU and lay the points.

UCLA – 19 at Colorado (60): I did not think UCLA was as good as it was made out to be going into last week’s game at home against Oregon St. I did not think Colorado was good enough to beat Washington State at home but they went and did it on the road. Neither team is reliable; I’ll pass on this game.

San Jose St. – 3 at Navy (58): I guess I just do not understand this line. San Jose St is traveling 3000 miles to get to Annapolis to play this game. Navy may not be a top-tier program and may not be as good as some recent Navy teams, but this is San Jose St doing that traveling not USC. I think Navy wins outright here so I’ll take them plus the points.

Texas – 2 at Oklahoma St (67): This line has flip-flopped; it opened with Ok. St. as a 2-point favorite. I think that Texas is the better team here because its defense is much better than it has been in recent years. I’ll take Texas on the road and lay the points.

Arkansas at Texas A&M – 14 (64.5): No one would have believed this would be the line on this game back in August. At some point, the Arkansas team that was supposed to be a contender in the SEC West and possibly for the BCS Championship Game will show itself. It may be in this game; it may not. I’ll pass on this wagering opportunity and suggest you do the same…

Ohio State at Michigan State – 3 (42): The Totals Line says it all here. This will be a low-scoring game and in low scoring games, I usually like to take the points. So, I’ll take Ohio State plus the field goal, here.

Tennessee at Georgia – 14 (60.5): Tennessee is a top-shelf SEC wannabe but they can play a little defense. Georgia can play a lot of defense. I like this game to stay Under.

Oregon St. at Arizona – 2.5 (56.5): Oregon St. ha stopped two quality RBs this year [see above] but neither of them ran out of a spread offense the way Arizona does. Arizona found itself stymied by Oregon’s defense in last week’s shutout loss [see above]. Purely as a venue call, I’ll take Arizona and lay the points.

Missouri at Central Florida – 3 (48): This is a “Game of Interest” only in the sense that I do not understand the line. UCF is favored over Missouri? I will look forward to the results here – but not because I have a betting slip with either team’s name on it.

Fla State – 15.5 at USF (55): Florida State finally goes on the road – albeit not exactly to a distant destination. USF brings a 2-2 record to the game and one loss came last week at the hands of Ball State. Florida State needs to keep winning convincingly to keep its “brand” front and center in the minds of the BCS committee. I think Florida State can cover this spread even on the road.

Wisconsin at Nebraska – 11.5 (51): Wisconsin has played poorly this year; Nebraska really only had one stinker of a game (at UCLA). I cannot remember if Wisconsin is a Leader or a Legend, but I am fairly sure they will be a Loser here. I’ll take Nebraska and lay the points.

Houston – 7 at Rice (74): Neither defense is any good. This should be a festival of points. Just a hunch, I’ll take the game to go Over.

Stony Brook at Army – 10.5 (no line): No comment…

Finally, here is another college football observation from Brad Dickson in the Omaha World Herald:

“Mitt Romney just campaigned in Colorado, where he promised that if elected he’d rush emergency disaster relief to the University of Colorado football team.”

But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………

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  • Steve  On September 28, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    I saw Army at Wake Forest last week. One thing I like about seeing Army is that the head coach doesn’t seem to need any state troopers to escort him on and off the field.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 1, 2012 at 9:59 am


      Wow, I am amazed that the Commandant of the Academy would take such a risk and expose the head coach to such danger on a weekly basis… ;)

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