Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend Of 10/5/13

First, a review of last week’s Mythical Picks…

    I liked So. Miss/Boise St. OVER 56. Total was 67. Yea!

    I liked Utah St -9.5 over San Jose St. Utah St. covered. Yea!

    I liked Utah St/San Jose St. UNDER 62. Total was 52. Double Yea!

    I liked UVa/Pitt OVER 51. Not even close. Boo!

    I liked Fla St. -21.5 over BC. FSU won by only 14. Boo!

    I liked SMU +19 against TCU. Not enough points. Boo!

    I liked Iowa over Minnesota “pick’em”. Iowa won by 16. Yea!

    I liked LSU/Georgia OVER 61.5. Total was 85. Yea!

    I liked Arizona/Washington OVER 64. Game stayed Under. Boo!

    I liked Ole Miss/Alabama OVER 55. Not even close. Boo!

    I liked USC +6 against Ariz. St. Not enough points. Boo!

    I liked Oklahoma/Notre Dame UNDER 49. Total was 56. Boo!

    I liked S. Carolina -7 over UCF. Carolina won by only 3. Boo!

    I liked Wash St. +10 against Stanford. Not even close. Boo!

    I liked Ok St -18 over W. Va. Ok St lost outright by 9. Boo!

    I liked Wisconsin/Ohio St. UNDER 54. Total was 55. Boo!

Well, last week’s college mythical picks stunk like a cheese factory in August after being closed for a three-day weekend. The final tally was a putrescent 5-11. Even if I tried to “beg off” the Washington/Arizona pick of OVER 64 because the game was played in the equivalent of a monsoon, the list here is pretty miserable

Based on the evidence above, I doubt that anyone intelligent enough to tune into the commentary that accompanies these Mythical Picks would be remotely tempted to use the information here as a basis for making a wager on an actual college football game if the stakes of that wager was actual coin of the realm. Nonetheless, just to be sure …

    Anyone dumb enough to do that is also too dumb to grasp the reason why child pornographers are tried as adults in court.

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats traveled across 3 times zones to play Case Western Reserve in Cleveland at 1:00 EDT last week. I mentioned last week that some NFL teams find this to be a daunting task. I got an e-mail from a long-term reader in Houston, TX who is in the “sports forecasting business” (rather successfully, let me add) telling me that in the sports forecasting business, a game such as that is referred to as an “NBC game”. That name has nothing to do with the NBC Television Network; rather “NBC” is an acronym for ‘Negative Body Clock” game. The players from the west have to get up 3 hours earlier than they are used to getting up on their “biological clocks”. If a player normally got up at 7:00 AM to get to the stadium and get ready for a 1:00 PM game at home, he would be getting up at the equivalent of 4:00 AM in the Eastern Time Zone in order to make the game on his normal game prep schedule.

I mention all of this because Linfield seemingly had little difficulty with the time change/jet lag problem. The Wildcats won 45-0 stretching their record to 3-0 in their pursuit of their 58th consecutive winning season in football. The Linfield defense definitely showed up to play in this game holding Case Western Reserve to 89 yards of total offense and only 5 yards rushing for the game. Linfield begins Northwest Conference play next weekend at home against Pacific Lutheran. The Lutes bring their 3-0 record to McMinnville, OR for this game. Go Wildcats!

Recall that the Fresno St/Colorado game had to be postponed a couple of weeks ago because of the major floods that hit Boulder Colorado. Well, the schools have not been able to come up with a way to reschedule that game and so it has been canceled. Colorado has gone shopping for a “fill-in opponent” at the last minute and came up with the Charleston Southern Buccaneers who will visit Boulder on October 19. Charleston Southern is a Division 1-AA school playing in the Big South Conference with the likes of Liberty, Presbyterian and VMI. Even though the Buccaneers are 5-0 as of this morning, they look like a team playing a game just for a payday here.

Colorado risked bowl eligibility by scheduling this game because NCAA rules say that a team seeking bowl eligibility can only have one of its wins toward bowl-eligibility against Division 1-AA competition. The problem here is that Colorado has already beaten Central Arkansas this year so they needed an NCAA waiver before scheduling this game. The NCAA did not move at a glacial pace on that request and granted it to Colorado allowing that game to happen.

Rather than focus on that game for October 19, allow me to point you to another game on that same Saturday that should be more compelling. On that day, Florida State will visit Clemson for an important ACC match-up. Rather than spending more than a single synapse worrying about Colorado/Charleston Southern on that day, I will be focusing much more attention to a QB battle between Tajh Boyd of Clemson and Jameis Winston of Florida State.

Someone on the coaching staff at UVa seems not to have gotten the memo that this is an era of “Offensive Football”. Virginia is 2-2 for the year but the team has yet to score 20 points in a game against a Division 1-A opponent. In three games against that level of competition, the Cavaliers have scored a total of 32 points. That is simply not going to get the job done the way college football is played in 2013. Of the 126 teams playing Division 1-A football, UVa ranks 112th in yards per game.

As anemic as those stats appear, consider that Florida International University has an 0-4 record as of today and the Panthers have been shut out in 2 of those 4 games. Their total scoring for all four games is 23 points. Being as polite as I can, that just stinks! This week, FIU hops on a plane and travels to Hattiesburg, MS to take on the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi. In this Stink-o-Rama Game Of The Week, FIU opposes a team that went 0-12 last year and has opened the 2013 season with 4 more losses by a combined margin of 124 points. The spread on that game is 17 points; check below to see which of these squads is the favorite…Trust me, the SHOE Committee will be checking out this “struggle”.

Miami (OH) is also 0-4 on the season and has only once been closer than 34 points to its opponents; their total scoring for their 4 games is a pathetic 35 points. If you are looking for why that may be the case, consider this stat I ran across:

    Miami has had 51 third down situations in their 4 games.

    They have converted only 5 of them.

The SHOE Committee is watching – particularly their next 3 games against bad opponents such as:

    Central Michigan

The SHOE Committee noted last week that Idaho squeaked out a win 26-24 over Temple last week in Idaho. It was Idaho’s first win bringing their record to 1-4. It was also the first game this year when Idaho’s opponent scored fewer than 40 points. Temple is now 0-4. Looking ahead, the only games on their schedule that look “winnable” are against Army and UConn later this year.

In another game the SHOE Committee had to consider, San Diego St. prevailed over New Mexico St. 26-16. This was the San Diego State’s first win; their record is now 1-3. New Mexico St is now 0-5; this 10-point loss was their closest game of the season; the combined score for those five losses is 227-78. Yowza!

UNLV had been under the SHOE Committee microscope at the beginning of the season but the Rebels go to a bye week with a 3-game win streak on the ledger. This is an example why there should not be polls of any importance before the season is halfway done – as is the practice of the SHOE Committee by the way.

Buffalo is not a good football team by any means but last week the Bulls trampled UConn 41-12. That means the Huskies have lost badly to Buffalo and to Division 1-AA Towson this year in amassing an 0-4 record. That had to be a major part of the reason why Paul Pasqueloni was relieved of his duties as head coach this week. UConn has USF next week after a bye week and later games against SMU and Temple. Other than those 3 games, UConn looks over-matched for the rest of its schedule. Good luck to interim coach, TJ Weist.

East Carolina went to Chapel Hill to play UNC and pounded the Tar Heels 55-31. This was not a result based on fluke plays or turnovers or anything of the like. E. Carolina snapped the ball 101 times on offense; they gained 603 yards on offense and they had 36 first downs. This was an out and out ass-kicking.

Purdue was a most polite host when Northern Illinois came to call last weekend. N. Illinois left town with a 55-24 win and it was historic for the Huskies. By beating Purdue, this marked the first time in history that N. Illinois had beaten two teams from the Big 10 in the same season; they beat Iowa early on this year. Last year, N. Illinois won the MAC and was impressive enough to get an invitation to the BCS Orange Bowl to face Florida State. Can they do something like that two years in a row?

West Virginia won an important game at home over Oklahoma St. last week. The Mountaineers record is 3-2 as of this morning but before Oklahoma St. the wins were over William and Mary (Division 1-AA) and Georgia St. (first year in Division 1-A). In two games against Division 1-A competition, West Virginia had scored a total of 7 points. Last weekend, they changed QBs and found ways to score points beating a team that many thought would win the Big 12 comfortably by a score of 30-21. The Mountaineers visit Baylor this week; that game should be a test for their defensive unit.

Like West Virginia, Tennessee won last week raising their season record to 3-2; but the Tennessee victory was not nearly so impressive. Going into the game last week against S. Alabama – the only resemblance to Alabama is the state in which the institute resides – Tennessee’s season looked like this:

    First two weeks they beat up on Austin Peay (Division 1-AA) and Kentucky (perennial patsy) by a combined score of 97-20.

    Next two weeks playing big boys Oregon and Florida, Tennessee came out on the short end of a combined score of 90-31.

Against S. Alabama, Tennessee prevailed 31-24 but S. Alabama had a 4th and goal situation with about a minute and a half left in the game. This was a nail-biter and not an impressive win.

Florida St. trailed BC 14-3 at the end of the first quarter in what would have been a major upset last weekend. However, the universe righted itself and the Seminoles came back to win by 2 TDs in the end.

How could you not like the LSU/Georgia game – unless you are an LSU alum? The game was a series of great highlight plays by both teams and the final score 44-41 reflected that. Both QBs played extremely well and there were lots of plays made by more than a few guys who are going to be earning big bucks in the NFL somewhere down the road. If LSU manages to beat Alabama and if Georgia stays on track, these teams could reprise this game in the SEC Championship Game in December.

Oklahoma used turnovers – including a Pick Six – to take a 14-0 lead over Notre Dame in the first 5 minutes last week and maintained that margin to win 35-21. I thought the announcers were calling the OU QB “Black Bell” and I wondered how I had missed that as a great name for a football player. However, a screen graphic soon showed me that his name is actually “Blake Bell”. Too bad…

Alabama shut out Ole Miss 25-0. Prior to the game, the Ole Miss QB ran his mouth saying that he thought Ole Miss had better WRs than Texas A&M and that since A&M had scored 42 points on Alabama, Ole Miss could score too. He went so far as to say:

“We can put up points on anybody.”


Ohio State beat Wisconsin 31-24. Wisconsin had some gaudy rushing stats coming into this game; the Badgers averaged 350 yards per game and 8 yards per carry on the against the likes of UMass, Tennessee Tech, Arizona St. and Purdue. Ohio St. plays big-boy defense, however, and Wisconsin only managed 105 yards rushing and 3.9 yards per carry. In addition, Wisconsin only converted 3 of 12 third down situations. Oh, by the way, Urban Meyer remains undefeated at Ohio St…

Oregon led Cal 34-0 midway through the 2nd quarter and it was 55-10 as the 4th quarter began. This organized ass-kicking started with Cal losing the ball on fumbles on its first 4 possessions. I doubt that was in the game plan.

The Arizona St/Notre Dame game this week provides the possibility for some history. Arizona St. beat USC last week. If they win this week, they will become the first team to beat USC and Notre Dame in successive weekends. According to a note on, twelve teams have had the opportunity to do this in the past.

Another interesting game for this weekend is undefeated Maryland at undefeated Florida State. The Terps have had two weeks to prepare for this game and Florida State represents a giant step up in terms of opponents for Maryland whose 4-0 record comes over:

    Florida International (SHOE candidate)
    Old Dominion (exempted from SHOE because first year as Division 1-A)
    UConn (just fired its coach)
    W.Virginia (prior to its QB change – see above)

Here is a college football player with a great name. Shadrach Abrokwah is a RB at UMass. I checked out the roster and did not find any other players named Meshach or Abednego.

The Ponderosa Spread Games:

Last week the favorites covered in all five of the Ponderosa Spread games.

Boise St., Clemson, Illinois, N. Carolina St. and Oregon covered.

The season record for favorites covering in Ponderosa spread games now stands at 22-23.

This week we have 6 Ponderosa Spread games:

Louisville – 33.5 at Temple (58): Not the biggest mismatch of the day because…

Georgia St. at Alabama – 55.5 (59.5): Note the Spread and Total line here. For both to be correct, Georgia State can only score a safety or a field goal in the game.

Oregon – 38.5 at Colorado (70): The Total line opened the week at 76 and dropped to this level very quickly. No, I have no idea why…

Fresno St. – 26 at Idaho (65): Idaho is bad [see above] but Fresno St. led Hawaii 21-3 at the half and 42-17 after 3 quarters and had to hold on to win 42-37. I would rather not wager on either squad here.

UMass at Bowling Green – 25.5 (51): The Total line opened the week at 47 and shot up to this level immediately. No, I have no idea why…

West Virginia at Baylor – 27.5 (68.5): Baylor can and will score; Baylor can and will allow West Virginia to score. I like this game to go OVER.

Games of Interest:

(Thurs Nite) UCLA – 5.5 at Utah (60): UCLA is 3-0 and has had two weeks to prep for this game. Two of UCLA’s three opponents (Nevada and New Mexico St) are not in Utah’s class. Meanwhile Utah has been playing against Utah St., Oregon St. and BYU. I think that line is fat so I’ll take Utah at home with the points.

Michigan St. at Iowa “pick ‘em” (39): I put this game here as a game of interest even though I cannot find a sportsbook anywhere that has the game as “pick ‘em” this morning. About half of the sportsbooks I check have Michigan St as a favorite of a point or a point-and-a-half. The other half has Iowa as a favorite of a point or a point-and-a half. If you like high scoring football and high-octane offenses, do not watch this game.

C. Michigan – 3.5 at Miami (Oh) (47): The SHOE Committee cares about the outcome here; you should not…

Ball St. at Virginia – 5.5 (48.5): Virginia’s offensive problems are spelled out above. I do not think Ball St. is a great team by any stretch of the imagination, but I do not want to take Virginia and have to lay points. For mythical purposes only, I’ll take Ball St. plus the points.

Maryland at Florida St. – 15.5 (57): This line opened at 17.5 points and has been dropping all week long. This is a big step up in class for Maryland but they have had 2 weeks to prepare for the game. I really like Jameis Winston but that line looks fat to me. I’ll take Maryland plus the points.

Georgia Tech at Miami – 5 (55.5): Purely as a venue call, I like Miami to win and cover at home.

Illinois at Nebraska – 9 (65): This is the first Big 10 game for Illinois. I do not think that Nebraska’s defense is something to be feared, but I cannot see Illinois putting up 40+ points here as they did against the likes of S. Illinois, Cincy or Miami (Oh). Nebraska has already seen UCLA and Wyoming – two good offensive teams. I think Nebraska is the better team and they are at home. I’ll take Nebraska and lay the points.

Georgia – 10.5 at Tennessee (63.5): I think Georgia is the significantly better team here. I know they will suffer some degree of letdown after their win over LSU last weekend but unless they are somnambulant, they should win comfortably here. I’ll take Georgia – on the road – and lay the points.

Arkansas at Florida – 12 (43): The Florida defense is fearsome; the Florida offense is almost non-existent. If the Gators are going to cover that spread, it is going to take special teams and defensive plays to give the offense a short field and/or for the special teams/defense to score on their own. This will be a low scoring game and that is a lot of points to be had. I’ll take Arkansas – on the road – plus the points.

LSU – 9.5 at Mississippi St. (54.5): Mississippi St. is a lot better at home than on the road. Given the loss last week to Georgia, LSU might come out snorting fire or come out flat as a tire for this game. Mississippi St. has had 2 weeks to prepare for this game but LSU represents a huge step up in class in terms of an opponent. Too many intangibles here to give this game wagering interest but it might be fun to watch.

TCU at Oklahoma – 10.5 (48.5): I think Oklahoma’s defense will stifle TCU’s offense here. I think TCU’s defense will keep Oklahoma’s offense from running amok. I like this game UNDER.

Kansas St. at Oklahoma St – 14 (57.5): The Total line opened the week at 64 and plummeted to this level very quickly. Oklahoma St. should be angry after last week’s loss to W. Virginia and this K-State team is not of the same caliber as the K-State teams of the past couple of years. I smell a shellacking here. I’ll take Ok. St. and lay the points.

Wash. St – 2 at Cal (64.5): Both coaches here love to throw the football. If the game stays close, there might not be more than a total of 20 running plays called in the game. I like this game OVER.

Washington at Stanford – 7 (52.5): Here are two good defenses that lead two good teams. This is one of the top games of the week. If you like the “revenge angle”, Stanford has it based on a loss to Washington last year. Given the venue, I’ll take Stanford and lay the points.

Ole Miss – 3 at Auburn (56): We shall see if indeed Ole Miss can put up points on anybody here. The Rebels should be smarting from the shutout last week; if that offense is for real, they ought to move the ball well against Auburn. However, Auburn has had two weeks to prepare for this game and a week to study what Alabama did to shut out Ole Miss. I am tempted to take the game to go OVER, but I’ll pass – even for mythical purposes.

Florida International at So. Mississippi – 17 (46.5): Do not bet on this game; do not watch this game. It is a game of interest because So. Mississippi has lost 16 games in a row and they are a three-score favorite over Florida International. Oh my… [/Dick Enberg]

Arizona St – 6 vs. Notre Dame (59.5) in Arlington, TX: the total line for this game opened at 57 and has climbed steadily to this level; I would not be surprised to see it a tad higher by kickoff time. Arizona St. can score; there is no doubt about that and they will score against the Irish here. Arizona St. does not stop opponents well at all; Notre Dame will score against the Sun Devils here. I’ll take this game to go OVER.

Ohio St. – 7 at Northwestern (59): I think both teams will be able to score points in bunches here. Northwestern’s helter-skelter offense is not what Ohio St. saw last week versus Wisconsin. I like this game to go OVER.

Penn State – 3 at Indiana (63.5): The Total line here opened at 58 and shot up to this level. I think the original line was much closer to right than this one. I like this game to stay UNDER.

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

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  • Doug  On October 4, 2013 at 6:03 am

    Your remarks about UNC are right on. The Tar Heels played last week end the same kind of game they played last year against Georgia Tech. UNC annually recruits the best players in NC and still seems unable to play at a high level consistently. On the other hand, East Carolina signs only the players UNC and NC State pass up. Is it bad coaching or bad judgement that keeps UNC down?

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 4, 2013 at 11:05 am


      I am not nearly close enough to the ins and outs of the UNC football program to form an opinion with regard to your question. However, what ECU did to UNC last week in Chapel Hill no less ought to be extremely embarrassing for the coaches and the players.

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