Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend Of 10/12/13

So, how did last week’s Mythical Picks turn out…?

    I liked W.Va/Baylor OVER 68.5. Total score was 115. Yea!

    I liked Utah +5.5 against UCLA. Utah lost by 7. Boo!

    I liked Ball St +5.5 against UVa. Ball St. won by 3 TDs. Yea!

    I liked Maryland +15.5 against Fla St. Maryland lost by 63. Boo!

    I liked Miami -5 over Ga Tech. Miami won by 15. Yea!

    I liked Nebraska -9 over Illinois. Nebraska won by 20. Yea!

    I liked Georgia -10.5 over Tennessee. UGa won by 3. Boo!

    I liked Arkansas +12 against Florida. Not enough points. Boo!

    I liked TCU/Oklahoma UNDER 48.5. Total was 37. Yea!

    I liked Ok St – 14 over K-St. OK St. won by only 4. Boo!

    I liked Wash St./Cal OVER 64.5. Total was 66. Yea!

    I liked Stanford -7 over Washington. Stanford won by 3. Boo!

    I liked Ariz St/Notre Dame OVER 59.5. Total was 71. Yea!

    I liked Ohio St/ N’western OVER 59. Total was 70. Yea!

    I liked Penn St/Indiana UNDER 63.5. Total was 68. Boo!

The record for last week was 8-7. Putting that in perspective, flipping a coin could have given the same result without deviating from expectations a whole lot. At the same time, that would have been a mythically profitable week. Glass half-full … glass half-empty? In either case, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Notwithstanding the marginal profitability last week, it would be stupid for anyone to consider using any information here as the basis for making a real wager involving actual money on a real college football game this weekend. How stupid would such a person have to be?

    He would probably take a scarf back to the store to return it because it was too tight.

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats extended their record to 4-0 last week with another shutout win over Pacific Lutheran by a score of 29-0. The game was close for 3 quarters but Linfield blew it open with 22 points in the 4th quarter. In four games this year, Linfield has outscored its opponents 197-35. Linfield has this week off to prepare for a game on 19 October on the road against Whitworth in Spokane Washington. Go Wildcats!

Bob Molinaro picked up on a report that I had missed and his comment here from the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot is right on target:

“Notre Dame football coach Brian Kelly’s got some alumni and students upset with him after he prevented Irish players from standing in front of the student section to sing the alma mater following the loss to Oklahoma. It was Notre Dame’s first home loss in 11 games, so fans were caught off guard by the new ‘protocol’ (Kelly’s word) that mandates players report directly to the locker room after a defeat. It’s the work of a control freak. The power that’s gone to Kelly’s head has made him tone deaf.”

Tony Kornheiser has often referred to Notre Dame as “The University of Football in America”. If “football tradition” does not trump some kind of “coach’s protocol” there, then there is no such thing as “football tradition”.

Texas eked out a win by a single point over Iowa State last week amidst some controversial officiating. Well, at least it was a win for the Longhorns and that has to give beleaguered Mack Brown a smidgen of relief as he stares down the barrel of the Red River Rivalry game against Oklahoma this week. He may not want to get too comfortable because it appears as if QB, David Ash will not play in that game and that Case McCoy (Colt’s younger brother) will be under center on Saturday.

BYU beat Utah St. 31-14 last week but the loss was made all the worse for the Aggies because their QB, Chuckie Keeton, suffered a season-ending knee injury in the game.

Florida State demolished Maryland by a score of 63-0. The previous week, Maryland had beaten West Virginia by 37-0. Dan Daly, formerly with the Washington Times, had this note on Facebook:

“Definition of vertigo: A 100-point swing from a 37-0 win over West Virginia to a 63-0 loss to Florida State.”

The game was a major-league quality ass-kicking. Jameis Winston completed over 70% of his passes for 393 yards and 5 TDs. Granted, Maryland lost its starting QB in the first quarter, but that did not affect the winner and the loser of this game. By the way, recall that Maryland was ranked in the Top 25 at kickoff time for this game…

Indiana beat Penn St. 44-24. The reason that is noteworthy is that Indiana had never beaten Penn St. before. Indiana’s record in this series now stands at 1-16.

I mentioned last week that current offensive football trends/concepts seem to have bypassed Virginia football. Last week the Cavaliers scored 27 points, which is a step forward for the team. Unfortunately, the Virginia defense that had played well earlier this year was a no-show last week and yielded 48 points to Ball St.

Michigan St. beat Iowa 26-14 and the Spartans accumulated 412 yards on offense. That may not sound like much, but consider:

    The only other time this year that Michigan St. has had more than 400 yards of offense, the opponent was Div. 1-AA Youngstown St.

Texas Tech beat Kansas 54-20 last week to run their record to 5-0. The bad news was that their starting QB, Baker Mayfield, had to leave the game and was on the sideline with crutches as the game ended. There are two things I want to note regarding these two teams:

    Texas Tech’s defense has played well this year. Last year, Tech gave up about 32 points-per-game; this year they are in the 14 points-per-game range. Only once have they given up more than 20 points this year; that was in the opening game when SMU scored 23 points.

    Kansas’ offense was AWOL last week amassing a total of 273 yards on 80 offensive plays. That is less than 3.5 yards per snap; that stinks. Charlie Weis’ credential as a coach is his offensive acumen. Something is very wrong here…

Last week, I pointed out that the SHOE Committee was watching Miami (Oh) because they were averaging just under 9 points per game. Well, the Redhawks stayed true to form last week losing to Central Michigan by a score of 21-9. For the record, Central Michigan was also on the SHOE Committee radar so that loss by Miami (Oh) is a bad one indeed. Head coach, Dan Treadwell, was given his walking papers on Monday after this loss and the Athletic Director must have been looking at the stats because he fired the offensive coordinator too.

In other games that had the attention of the SHOE Committee:

    N. Mexico St lost to N. Mexico 66-17.

    So. Miss lost to Florida Int’l 24-23 – at home as a 17-point favorite no less.

    Temple lost to Louisville 30-7.

    W. Michigan lost to Toledo 47-20 – running their record to 0-6.

Miami (FL) beat Georgia Tech 45-30 but Tech led early on. Miami scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to make the margin comfortable.

Clemson beat Syracuse 49-14. Clemson QB, Tajh Boyd, threw for 455 yards and 5 TDs. Not a bad day at the office…

Oklahoma St. beat K-State 33-29. Given the loss to W. Virginia last week and this narrow win at home, maybe it is time to think about the high esteem that was given to the Cowboys earlier this year?

Florida beat Arkansas 30-10. The surprise here is that Florida scored 30 points. Well, to be fair, there was a Pick Six involved there…

Oklahoma beat TCU 20-17 last week in a defensive game. Here is a stat I ran across:

    Two weeks ago against Notre Dame, Oklahoma held the Irish to “three-and-out” on the Irish’s last 3 possessions.

    Last week, against TCU, Oklahoma held the Horned Frogs to “three and out” on the Frogs’ first 7 possessions.

Folks, ten consecutive “three and outs” is impressive at any level of football… By the way, TCU did not record a first down in the first half of last week’s game.

Baylor beat W. Virginia 73-42. Baylor had 8 rushing TDs in the game and amassed a Big-12 record for total offense in the game with 864 yards. (468 of those yards came on the ground!) Baylor has scored more than 60 points in all four of its games this year – and has been at or over 70 points in the last 3. The NCAA record for consecutive games over 60 points is held by Oklahoma in 2008. Baylor visits K-State this week …

Oregon beat Colorado last week 57-16. At one point, Colorado led 10-8. Hi ho!! Oregon visits Washington this week for a rivalry game that is as big for these two schools as the rivalries they have with in-state schools.

Here is a college football player with a great name – and in this case a particularly appropriate name. Wave Ryder is a safety for Navy. I could not make that up…

The Ponderosa Spread Games:

Last week we had 6 Ponderosa Spread games and the favorites covered in 3 of the 6 games.

Baylor, Fresno St. and Oregon covered.

Alabama, Bowling Green and Louisville did not cover.

The cumulative record for favorites covering in Ponderosa spread games this year now stands at 25-26.

This week we have 6 Ponderosa Spread games:

BC at Clemson – 25 (63): This line opened at 21 and has climbed all week long.

Colorado at Arizona St. – 25 (66.5): Colorado had plenty of difficulty with Oregon’s high-octane offense last week and gets to do it again this week.

Cal at UCLA – 25 (73): UCLA has revenge going for them here after taking a beating at Cal last year.

Alabama – 27.5 at Kentucky (52.5): If I do “word association” here, the word I come up with first is “mismatch”.

Idaho at Arkansas St – 24.5 (59.5): Idaho is a potential SHOE team. Against Division 1-A opponents, Ark. St. has given up 36 points per game this year. Oh swell…

Kansas at TCU – 25 (45.5): Recall that TCU could not make a first down in the first half last week against Oklahoma and they are a Ponderosa Spread favorite here…

The SHOE Tournament Teams:

In this slot next week, we will have a dozen teams listed that are viable entrants in this Tournament of Ignominy. Stay tuned…

Games of Interest:

(Fri Nite) Temple at Cincy – 21 (51): Temple is winless and pathetic. Cincy’s record is a deceptive 3-2 because 2 of the wins came at the expense of Northwestern St. and Miami (Oh) [see above]. Cincy also lost to a not-good South Florida team last week. Under no circumstances should anyone wager on this game. Watch it without a wager on it just so you may marvel at the ineptitude levels on display here.

Oklahoma vs. Texas – 13.5 (57) [in Dallas]: I know this is a rivalry game and that they are often very close games. Nevertheless, I really believe that Oklahoma is the significantly better team here – particularly on defense. If Texas loses by 3 TDs, Mack Brown will start getting calls from real estate agents offering to list his house. I think there is a good chance of that happening. Recall that the last two results for the “Red River Rivalry” had OU winning by scores of 55-17 and 63-21. I’ll take Oklahoma and lay the points.

Pitt at Va Tech – 9 (42.5): Looking at the total line here, you would conclude that these are two outstanding defensive teams or two really inept offensive teams. The two offenses are indeed bad but the Va Tech defense is not bad. I cannot take Pitt on the road; I’ll take Va Tech to win and cover.

Miami (Oh) at UMass – 4 (44.5): Yes, UMass is favored in this game. Moreover, the spread has moved steadily up this week having opened at 2.5 points. Might both of these teams be on the first SHOE Tournament candidates list next week?

E. Michigan at Army – 8 (54.5): Here are two more bad teams playing each other. The NCAA schedule-maker is trying to make it easy on the SHOE Committee…?

Virginia at Maryland – 7.5 (44): Will Maryland be angry after losing 63-0 last week to Fla St. or will they be shell-shocked? Last year without QB, CJ Brown, Maryland was awful; Brown is not playing here. Virginia has plenty of issues with its offense and sometimes with its defense too. The DC area had almost 2 inches of rain yesterday and it is supposed to rain all day today and into tomorrow, so this might be a “Mud Bowl Game”. Do not bet on this game but it is of interest just to see how the Terps deal with last week’s shellacking.

S. Florida at UConn – 5 (41): Again, two dreadful teams are matched up here. The lines have been all over the place. The spread opened at 6 and has been dropping; you can find it at 4.5 points in a couple of places. The Total Line opened at 45 and has been dropping all week long; you can find it at 40.5 at one sportsbook. UConn has a new interim coach and they are at home. South Florida showed some defense last week against Cincy but their offense is anemic. Do not bet on this game – unless someone offers you a bet as to whether the game will be ugly. If so, take UGLY…

Texas A&M – 5.5 at Ole Miss (75.5): The Total Line here opened the week at 70 and shot up to this level in about 24 hours. Maybe bettors figure this is the week that Ole Miss proves that it can “put up points on anybody”? After all, it is not as if the Aggies beat you with tough defense… I like this game to go OVER.

Iowa St at Texas Tech – 14.5 (56): Will Iowa St be angry or deflated after losing “controversially” to Texas at home last week? I am guessing deflated because a trip to Lubbock, TX is not one that will generate any interest let alone any adrenaline. I’ll take Texas Tech and lay the points here.

New Mexico at Wyoming – 15.5 (68): Here are two offensive teams and Wyoming is coming off a bye-week. I like this game to go OVER.

Stanford – 9 at Utah (55): Stanford plays tough defense; so does Utah. In their game against UCLA last week, Utah threw 6 INTs. If they do that here, they will be blown out by 4 TDs or more. My guess is that they play a bit more carefully this week so I like this game to stay UNDER.

Missouri at Georgia – 8 (64): Georgia has bunch of injuries to deal with but remember this is the team that beat LSU just a couple weeks ago. Missouri is still “finding its way” in the SEC. Do not bet on this game but watch it to see how Georgia fills in for its missing players – particularly at RB.

Baylor – 17.5 at K-State (74): That line is a huge compliment to the K-State defense considering that Baylor has scored 70+ points by itself in its last 3 games. This is Baylor’s first road game of the year and even though this year’s K-State team is not up to last year’s standard, K-state represents a big step up from the likes of Wofford, Buffalo and La-Monroe. Purely a hunch, I’ll take this game to stay UNDER.

Florida at LSU – 6.5 (48.5): When two good teams play each other, it is usually worth the time to tune in – notwithstanding the fact that Florida’s offense is pathetic. The Gators scored 24 points against Toledo and Kentucky and only 16 against Miami. LSU’s defense is better than those three defenses. Moreover, LSU can play offense this year and can score points. The Tigers have had 30+ points in all 6 games this season; that is not the kind of LSU football that has prevailed in the past several years. Last week, Florida’s defense limited Arkansas to 10 points; last week, LSU’s offense scorched Mississippi State with 59 points. The pressure will be on the Florida defense all day long. I think LSU is the better team here so I’ll take them to win and cover at home.

Oregon – 14.5 at Washington (76.5): The Total Line here opened the week at 70, jumped up near this level overnight and then rose during the week. This ought to be a great game to watch. Here you have two highly accomplished “up-tempo” offenses. Actually, the adjective “frenetic” is probably more descriptive here. The Washington defense is clearly the best one that Oregon has seen this year and the Oregon offense is clearly the best one that Washington has seen this year. If you like the “revenge factor”, Washington has it here. Oregon has won the last nine meetings between these two teams and the closest of those nine games was 17 points. Ouch! I like Washington at home plus the points here.

Northwestern at Wisconsin – 10 (58): Northwestern played a tough game last week against Ohio State and Wisconsin had the day off to rest and prepare for this week’s game. I think Wisconsin has the better team to start with but when you add those advantages… I’ll take Wisconsin and lay the points.

Michigan – 3 at Penn State (50.5): These two teams have plenty of football history going for them. Neither one this year has been anything close to “consistent”. Do not bet on this game – even if you are an alum of one of the schools.

S. Carolina – 6 at Arkansas (51): The Total Line opened at 48.5 and is as high as 52 at one sportsbook. South Carolina begins a three-game road trip here; visits to Tennessee and Missouri come next. I think defense rules the day here and I like this game to stay UNDER.

Syracuse at NC State – 7 (54): I know Clemson blew the doors off Syracuse last week, but NC State is not in Clemson’s class. State’s 3 wins this year have been over La Tech, Richmond (Div. 1-AA) and C. Michigan (a possible SHOE team). I’ll take Syracuse plus the points here.

Boise St – 7 at Utah St (51): Utah St. lost their QB, Chuckie Keeton, last week so their offense will need to be more conservative this week against Boise St. In addition, the Utah St. defense – not a bad unit to be sure – will need to “step up”. This year’s Boise St. team is not as good as in recent years so I am not happy to take them on the road against a good defense. I’ll take Utah St. plus the points.

Oregon St. at Washington St. – 1 (62.5): If you like to watch teams run the football, find another game to watch. Absent a monsoon, the ball will be in the air most of the time in this game; that is the way these teams roll. I like this game to go OVER.

Finally, here is an observation by Brad Rock in the Deseret News that is particularly relevant here:

“The Air Force Academy canceled its weekly football press conference last Tuesday due to the government shutdown.

“Question: Is there also a way the government can stop coaches from saying, ‘I’d need to look at the film’?”

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

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  • Doug  On October 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

    There was a time in the not too distant past (last year) when everyone disrespected the ACC football programs. It’s only half a season, but there seems little doubt that FSU and Miami are back from their period of mediocrity. And Clemson seems just as strong. With Louisville joining after this season to replace Maryland, it would appear the conference is almost on a par with everyone except the SEC. FSU’s overwhelming win against Maryland was a real eye opener.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 13, 2013 at 12:02 am


      Agree that the ACC is improving as a football conference although I might temper my enthusiasm just a bit. I agree that FSU looks to be poised to be good for a while and that Miami is on the way back to relevancy. Clemson is good this year but Clemson has a tendency to be – well – Clemson. I like Tajh Boyd a lot, but please let me wait a bit longer before I tattoo an orange tiger paw on my cheek. Louisville looks good against the competition that is it playing in the “remnants of the Big East”

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