Here is a quick review of last week’s Mythical Picks:
I liked Cincy +3.5 against Louisville. Louisville won by only 3. Mmm!
I liked Arkansas -6 over Ole Miss. Arkansas lost straight up. Blech!
I liked Maryland/BC Under 47. The game stayed Under. Mmm!
I liked BYU +2.5 over Ga Tech. BYU won by 24 points. Mmm!
I liked TCU +7.5 against Ok. St. Not even close. Blech!
I liked Texas Tech +7.5 against K-St. K-St. won by 31 points. Blech!
I liked Florida/Georgia Under 49. The game total was 26. Mmm!
I liked Georgia +6.5 against Florida. Georgia won outright. Double Mmm!
I liked Texas A&M -15 over Auburn. Aggies won by 42. Mmm!
I liked Notre Dame +10 over Oklahoma. The Irish won outright. Mmm!
I liked Oregon St. -4.5 over Washington. Huskies won the game. Blech!
That menu of picks yielded 7 wins and 4 losses, which would have been profitable – in a mythical sense of course – at the windows of a sportsbook in Las Vegas. Notwithstanding the success of last week, no one should anticipate similar positive results from this week’s selections.
To be more blunt about it, only a dumb person would take any information contained herein and use it as even a small part of a decision process regarding which side to back in a real wager on an NCAA football game this weekend. How dumb would such a person have to be? Well, he would probably also think that a rash decision was a diagnosis made by a dermatologist.
The Linfield College Wildcats were tied 10-10 at halftime against Northwest Conference rival, Willamette University. In a two-and-a-half minute span of the 3rd quarter, the Wildcats scored 3 TDs to put the game on ice. That win was Linfield’s 22nd consecutive victory at home and it takes Linfield to a 7-0 record and puts them in position to win their conference giving them an automatic slot in the Division III football championship tournament. This weekend, Linfield packs its bags for a trip to Tacoma, WA and a date with the as-yet-winless Puget Sound Loggers. Puget Sound is 0-7 for this year and only once has it lost by less than 20 points. Go Wildcats!
The Big Ten champion is going to the Rose Bowl this year; there is no way on this planet or any other planet in the known universe whereby this year’s Big Ten champ will be in the BCS Championship Game. As of this morning, Nebraska and Michigan lead the Legends Division with Northwestern trailing by half a game. One of those three teams will be in the Big Ten Championship Game for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl.
Over in the Leaders Division, the top two teams are Ohio State and Penn State – neither of which will be allowed to participate in a bowl game come December/January this season. That leaves Wisconsin as the leader in terms of eligibility for the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl in the Leaders Division. The other three teams – Indiana, Purdue and Illinois – just pain stink. Here is the problem:
Wisconsin’s record this morning is 6-3 overall.
Last week, they lost their starting QB to a broken collarbone and he will be out for the rest of the year. After he left the game early in the 3rd quarter, the Badgers amassed the grand total of 29 yards of offense for the rest of the game against Michigan State and lost in OT.
Wisconsin faces Indiana this week and is favored to win that game. Then, they host unbeaten Ohio State and finally, travel to play Penn State in Happy Valley.
Wisconsin might have 5 losses going into the Big Ten Championship Game and could represent the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl with 5 losses.
The Rose Bowl likes to call itself “The Granddaddy of them all.” Well, if Wisconsin winds up there with its 8-5 record the slogan for this particular game should be:
“This ain’t your Granddaddy’s Rose Bowl”
Alabama has won 21 of its last 22 games; its only loss was to LSU. In each of those 21 wins, Alabama has won by 16 or more points. That is called domination given the schedule they play in the SEC. This week, Alabama and LSU meet again…
Going into last week’s game, the Florida defense had been winning games for the Gators because the Florida offense had been “nothing special” to say the least. Last week, it was the Georgia defense that stood up and won the game for the Dawgs forcing 6 turnovers. Given the Florida offense, there is no way for that team to win if it turns the ball over 6 times – unless it is against a Division 1-AA cupcake opponent.
Texas A&M beat Auburn 63-21 last week and some observers said that the game might not have been that close. Consider the level to which Auburn football has fallen:
The last time a team scored more than 63 points on an Auburn football team was in 1917.
The coach of that team (Georgia Tech) was John Heisman.
By the way, John Heisman is also the coach who oversaw the Georgia Tech win against Cumberland College in 1916 by a score of 222-0. The best player in college football is awarded the Heisman Trophy. There is no way that anyone would associate John Heisman’s name with a sportsmanship award.
Auburn faces a pathetic New Mexico State team this week as its Homecoming Game and they are a heavy favorite. A win would bring their record to 2-7 for the year with conference games against Georgia and Alabama sandwiching another cupcake game against Alabama A&M.
Quick Quiz: No peeking. In what city is Alabama A&M located? Answer below.
Thus, the likely outcome for the 2012 Auburn football team is an overall record of 3-9 with an 0-8 SEC record and wins over:
La-Monroe (in OT)
New Mexico State
Answer to the Quick Quiz: Alabama A&M is in Normal, Alabama, which is right next door to Huntsville AL.
Not only did Notre Dame beat Oklahoma by 17 points last week, they did so in Norman, OK and they never trailed in the game. That was an impressive win.
The word “prescience” means accurate foresight or an accurate anticipation of future events. Well, the folks who finally got around to establishing a college football playoff system of four teams to start in 2014 did not demonstrate “prescience” because 2012 might just be a perfect year for a four-team playoff. While it is by no means a certainty, consider the possibility of:
An undefeated Alabama team
An undefeated Kansas State team
An undefeated Notre Dame team
An undefeated Oregon team.
Seed those four teams however you like and you would have three very interesting college football playoff games.
Before anyone out there sends me a note telling me that Louisville is also undefeated as of this moment, let me say as clearly as I can that – having seen Louisville play – they may be undefeated, but they are not close to the level of excellence thus far demonstrated by the four teams above. In fact, there are plenty of teams with a loss or two that I think are markedly better than Louisville.
The Ponderosa Spread Games:
Last week the favorites covered in 5 of the 8 Ponderosa Spread Games.
Alabama, Florida State, Oregon, Utah State and Vandy covered.
La-Monroe, La-Tech and Stanford did not cover.
That brings the season cumulative record for favorites covering to 28-29-1.
This week, we have 6 Ponderosa spread Games.
Stanford – 28 at Colorado (51): Colorado is a bad football team that seems incapable of playing defense.
Texas State at Utah State – 25.5 (51.5): Remember, Utah State beat both Utah and BYU earlier this year.
Illinois at Ohio State – 27.5 (51.5): Illinois is a bad football team.
UMass at Northern Illinois – 34.5 (56.5): Northern Illinois is not a great team but UMass (first year at Division 1-A) is pretty bad.
Texas-San Antonio at La Tech – 32 (73): La Tech certainly can score points quickly…
Hawaii at Fresno State – 33.5 (60.5): Fresno State is not a “monster” by any means so this line speaks volumes about the Hawaii team.
The SHOE Teams:
There are four schools that are competing at the Division 1-A level for the first time this year and a couple of them are “struggling” to say the least. I am torn here between the idea of using the SHOE Tournament to determine the truly worst team in the country in a given year and the idea that a first-year football program might need a year’s reprieve from that kind of ignominy.
At the moment, there are a bunch of really bad teams that are “established football programs” which means that I can fill out an 8-team field of bad teams without having to stretch the definition of bad. I do not need the likes of a UMass – for example – to make the SHOE Tournament field wretched.
Therefore, unless I hear loud cries to the contrary, I shall limit the SHOE Tournament to “established programs” for this year. As of this week, here are 12 teams that are vying for an entry:
Akron: Team is 1-8 with its lone win coming over Morgan State – not to be confused with Morganna the Kissing Bandit.
Army: Team is 1-7. Surely, these guys will do better on a battlefield than on a football field, right?
Buffalo: Team is 1-7 with its lone win coming over Morgan State – is there an echo in here?
Colorado: Team is 1-7 and has lost two games by 55 or more points.
E. Michigan: Team is 1-7 and its only win was over Army (see above).
Hawaii: Team is 1-6 with its lone win coming over Lamar and it has lost 4 games by 38 points or more.
Idaho: Team is 1-7 with the only win coming over New Mexico State. Their coach has already been fired.
Memphis: Team is 1-7 and only two of its losses have been one-score games.
New Mexico State: Team is 1-7 with its win over Sacramento State coming in August. Since then its narrowest loss was by 8 points to Idaho (see above).
So. Mississippi: Team is 0-8 and only twice have they been within one score of the opponent.
UAB: Team is 1-7 and in those 7 losses they have only held the opponent under 30 points one time. UAB faces So. Mississippi this week (see above).
UNLV: Team is 1-8 against a weak schedule.
Games of Interest:
(Thurs Nite): Va Tech – 1.5 at Miami (57): Ten years ago, this game might have matched up a pair of Top Ten Teams. Now it matches up two teams with porous defenses. I like this game to go Over.
Missouri at Florida – 16 (41.5): Here are two teams with “mediocre-at-best” offenses and Florida has an excellent defense. This game will be low-scoring so my inclination is to take all those points but in this game, I can see Missouri struggling to achieve double-digits. Just a hunch, but I think Florida will be out for blood this week after losing to Georgia last week so I’ll take Florida and lay the points.
Texas A&M – 7 at Mississippi State (59): I know that Mississippi State was trounced last week by Alabama but the Bulldogs are still a good team with a 7-1 record and a defense that has held 5 opponents to 14 points or less. I have liked and supported Texas A&M several times this year but I am not sure I like them as a full TD favorite on the road against another good SEC team. I like Mississippi State plus the points here.
Air Force – 7.5 at Army (61): Army is on the SHOE Tournament watch list but they have two huge rivalry games in the five weeks – - this one and then the Army/Navy game on December 8. Air Force has already lost to Navy so a loss here guarantees they will not win the Commander-in-chief Trophy for this year. Both teams run the ball more than they throw it and both defenses see a lot of rushing plays during practice. As a hunch, I’ll take this game Under.
Memphis at Marshall – 20 (66): This is a Sesame Street Game brought to you by the letter “M”. Two conflicting rules of thumb apply here:
Never take a truly awful team (Memphis) on the road.
Never take a below average team and give away 3 TDs.
This is a game where you simply note the score on the crawl on the bottom of your TV screen and nod your head because you were smart enough not to wager on it.
TCU at West Virginia – 6 (68): West Virginia was way over-hyped earlier this season and now it seems as if most folks are dismissing them as stumblebums. Their defense is not good at all, but they can still score on offense and they have had a bye week to prep for this game. Meanwhile TCU is on the road for a second straight week and is staring down the barrel of a four game stretch that looks like this:
at West Virginia
vs. K- State
I think the Mountaineers can outrun the Horned Frogs in Morgantown this week. I like West Virginia to win and cover at home.
Nebraska – 1.5 at Michigan State (44.5): I think this will be a very low scoring game – - first one to 14 points wins? I like this game Under.
Ole Miss at Georgia – 14 (61): After a defensive confrontation with Florida last week, the Bulldogs have a shot at a defense that should allow them to move the ball more easily. Similarly, the Georgia defense will face a slightly higher-octane offense this week than last. The Bulldogs hold the tiebreaker over Florida in the SEC East but another conference loss would put them in a bad way. I like Georgia to win and cover here.
Texas at Texas Tech – 7 (67): Both teams are 6-2 this year; but when I have seen Texas Tech play, they have looked significantly better than the Texas teams I have seen play. The Longhorns do not excel at pass defense; Baylor, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and West Virginia showed that to be true. Texas Tech is not the best passing team I have seen this year, but they are very good. I like Texas Tech to win and cover.
Oregon – 8.5 at USC (70): Clearly, this is one of the two best games of the weekend. Here is what you know about this game; Oregon will play fast and has loads of speed at every position on offense. Here is what you cannot know about this game; which USC team will show up? USC has 2 losses this year; they have to know they are not going to the BCS Championship Game but they can still aspire to play in the Rose Bowl if they win out. Oregon probably has its sights set a bit higher than that. I think a motivated USC team shows up Saturday and keeps Oregon on its toes – and its foot on the gas. I like this game Over.
Alabama – 8 at LSU (41): Here is the other top game of the weekend. Alabama is the best team I have seen this year; LSU would be their equal if LSU’s offense were all the way up to “average”. I will not give more than a TD to LSU at home unless they are playing the Green Bay Packers. I like this game Under.
Arizona State at Oregon State – 4 (54.5): Oregon State wins with its defense and Arizona State’s offense should not be confused with Oregon’s offense. I like this game Under.
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………