Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend of 10/19/13

Did someone ask how last week’s Mythical Picks turned out?

    I liked Oklahoma -13.5 over Texas. Texas won outright by 16. Boo!

    I liked Va Tech -9 over Pitt. Tech won by 10. Yea!

    I liked Texas A&M/Ole Miss OVER 75.5. Total was 79. Yea!

    I liked Texas Tech -14.5 over Iowa St. Tech won by 7. Boo!

    I liked New Mexico/Wyoming OVER 68. Total was 69. Yea!

    I liked Stanford/Utah UNDER 55. Total was 48. Yea!

    I liked Baylor/K-St. UNDER 74. Total was 60. Yea!

    I liked LSU -6.5 over Florida. LSU won by 11. Yea!

    I liked Washington +14.5 against Oregon. Not enough points. Boo!

    I liked Wisconsin -10 over N’western. Wisconsin won by 29. Yea!

    I liked S. Carolina/Arkansas UNDER 51. Game went OVER. Boo!

    I liked Syracuse +7 against NC State. Syracuse won outright. Yea!

    I liked Utah St. +7 against Boise St. Not enough points. Boo!

    I liked Oregon St./Wash St. OVER 62.5. Total was 76. Yea!

Well, I am glad someone asked because last week was a mythically profitable week with a record of 9-5. Those of you who also peruse my NFL Mythical Picks already know that last week’s NFL picks turned out disastrously.

Lest anyone look at these results from last week and mistakenly project that this week’s Mythical Picks will turn out the same way, let me offer the standard disclaimer. There is no “inside information” that goes into making these picks. Only a dolt would use any information here as the basis for making a wager on an actual college football game this weekend where said wager involves actual negotiable currency. Anyone that stupid might also believe that he/she could prevail in a staring contest with Mount Rushmore.

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats had last week off; this week they travel to Spokane to take on Whitworth College. If Linfield wins, that will extend their record to 5-0 and guarantee the Wildcats their 58th consecutive winning season in football; in Division III, the season is only 9 games long. Whitworth brings a 2-4 record to the game but those 4 losses have all come in the last 4 games. Linfield has shut out its last two opponents. Go Wildcats!

Clemson looked sluggish beating BC 24-14 last week but they extended their record to 6-0. Perchance, they were looking ahead to this week’s game against similarly undefeated Florida State – who had the week off. This is an unusual college football game because both of these two conditions apply:

    1. These are two of the very best teams in the country. And…

    2. Both of these teams are in the ACC.

In college basketball, it is not unusual to see those kinds of powerhouse matchups between two ACC teams; in football, I presume that it has happened before – but I cannot recall when it happened. Might this portend a time in the future where the ACC is one of the powerhouse conferences in the country or is this game simply one of those fortuitous circumstances that happen once in a while? We will not know the answer to that question on Sunday morning, but we will know then which of these teams was the better one for this year and which one might be a participant in the BCS Championship Game in January.

In another ACC contest last week, Syracuse defeated NC State by 2 TDs in Raleigh. I only managed to see part of the 3rd quarter and the early part of the 4th quarter when the game was still in doubt. If what I saw there was NC State’s ability to perform with a sense of urgency or focus on winning, then NC State is not a good football team.

Va Tech beat Pitt 19-9. The Pitt offense is – well – offensive.

Speaking of the ACC, can anyone explain what has happened to UNC? They were a good team last year and projected to improve this year; some folks said they might win 9 games this year. Well, they have opened up at 1-4 and they gave up 55 points at home to East Carolina. I do not understand…

In addition, Virginia is another ACC team that seems to have taken a step backwards. This was another team that folks mentioned as “on the rise”. Well, Virginia has lost its last three games to run their record to 2-4 and looking at their schedule, things do not appear rosy in Charlottesville:

    vs. Duke
    vs. Georgia Tech
    vs. Clemson
    at UNC
    at Miami
    vs. Va Tech

That has the potential to be an 8-loss season for the Cavaliers.

Last weekend featured upsets in college football. Seven of the AP’s Top 25 teams lost last week – some to unranked teams. The upset victims were Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Stanford and Washington.

Every year there seem to be “BCS Cinderella Teams”; they are from lesser conferences but seem to be really good or they are upstart teams in bigger conferences. This year’s Cinderella Teams are:

    Texas Tech – they are 6-0 and ranked 16th this week

    Fresno St. – they are 5-0 and ranked 17th this week.

Rather than argue foolishly about which was the “biggest upset of the week”, let me just comment on the three “big ones”:

    Texas was a 2 TD underdog to Oklahoma and I did not think they had a shot in the game. The Longhorns’ defense had been a sieve all season long but the defense showed up at the Cotton Bowl last weekend and swarmed all over the Sooners. Hopefully, this will stifle the “Mack Brown’s Gotta Go” crowd through the rest of the season. Texas dominated the game offensively too; they outgained the Sooners by 167 yards on the day.

    Utah beat Stanford 27-21. It looked to me that Utah was significantly faster than Stanford at about every position. Stanford had the ball 3rd and 2 at the Utah 6-yardline with less than a minute to play and Utah held. The game was indeed as close as it appeared; Stanford gained 389 yards of offense, Utah gained 415. Losing to an unranked team likely kills Stanford’s chances for the BCS Championship Game – unless there do not happen to be any undefeated teams out there come Selection Time. Having said that, it is not a certainty that Stanford will finish the year with only this loss; here is the rest of their schedule:

      vs. UCLA
      at Oregon St.
      vs. Oregon
      at USC
      vs. Cal
      vs. Notre Dame

    Missouri beat Georgia 41-26; that is Georgia’s second loss of the year. Missouri remained undefeated but lost QB, James Franklin for 5-8 weeks with a separated shoulder. If he is available in 5 weeks – that would be a BYE week for Missouri – it means the Tigers will need to play four games without their starting QB. The schedule is not set up for that – except for the string of home games:

      vs. Florida
      vs. S. Carolina
      vs. Tennessee
      at Kentucky

    Then with Franklin presumably back, Missouri travels to Ole Miss and ends its regular season at home against Texas A&M.

One other observation about Missouri… They have 2 WRs who are big and both of them can catch anything that comes close to them.

Texas A&M beat Ole Miss 41-38; the 4th quarter had enough scoring to make the scoreboard look like a pinball machine. At the end of the 3rd quarter, the Aggies led 21-17; then, apparently, both defenses decided to leave the building; how else might you explain 41 total points in the 4th quarter? The Texas A&M defense is giving up almost 500 yards per game this season and that is highly unimpressive.

LSU beat Florida 17-6. Florida’s offense is non-existent but Florida’s defense is very good and very quick.

S. Carolina steamrollered Arkansas 52-7; the Gamecocks held the ball for more than 43 minutes in this game. Arkansas simply cannot throw the football; their passing stats for the day were:

    4-13 for 30 yards and 1 INT.

USC beat Arizona 38-31. For one week at least, USC has a new coach and produced a different result on the field; they scored points.

Texas Tech beat Iowa State by a TD last week; that win makes the Red Raiders bowl-eligible with a 6-0 record. However, their schedule is not an easy one from here to the end of the season:

    at W. Virginia
    at Oklahoma
    vs. Oklahoma St.
    vs. K-state
    vs. Baylor
    at Texas

Baylor beat K-State 35-25 last week. This is the first time this year that Baylor failed to score 60 points in a game. Imagine that; a real college football defense was able to keep Baylor “in check”. Who would have ever thunk it? K-State actually outgained Baylor in this game and forced 6 punts in the course of the game.

In Big 10 action, Michigan and Penn State took 4 OTs to decide that Penn State would take the victory 43-40.

Wisconsin bludgeoned Northwestern by 29 points. If you want to understand what happened in that game consider that Wisconsin gained 529 yards while Northwestern gained only 242. Ka-beesh?

Nebraska pounded Purdue 44-7. Purdue is a bad team. Their only win this season was against Division 1-AA Indiana State. Against their 5 Division 1-A opponents, they have surrendered 213 points while scoring only 72.

Here are two college football players – on the same team no less – with perfectly appropriate names.

    Jeremy Runner is a RB at Grambling State and

    Kimani Rush is a DL on the same team.

The Ponderosa Spread Games:

Last week we had 6 Ponderosa Spread Games; the favorites covered in 3 of them.

Alabama, Arizona St. and UCLA covered.

Arkansas St. Clemson and TCU did not cover.

That brings the cumulative record for the season for favorites covering Ponderosa Spreads to 28-29.

This week we again have 6 Ponderosa Spread Games:

Purdue at Michigan St. – 27 (42.5): Michigan St. does not have a good offense and yet they are a 27-point favorite over Purdue. Michigan St. has an excellent defense. I would not be surprised if they hold Purdue to single-digits.

Washington St at Oregon – 39 (74): Washington St. gave up 52 points to Oregon St. last week; by that measure, Oregon should be good for at least 60 points here.

Arkansas at Alabama – 27.5 (48.5): Arkansas could not do anything against the S. Carolina defense last week; now they visit Alabama. How nice for them?

Iowa St. at Baylor – 33 (77): The Cyclones give up 34 points per game and Baylor is all about offense…

Oklahoma – 24 at Kansas (49.5): Oklahoma ought to be mad about last week’s spanking by Texas and here is a bad team upon whom they can vent their anger.

UNLV at Fresno St. – 24 (73.5): I tell you; Fresno St. is a good team…

The SHOE Teams:

Just to remind folks about my imaginary SHOE Tournament… My idea would identify the worst team in college football for a season in direct competition on the field. I would select 8 horrible teams and seed them in a tournament to start after Thanksgiving; the format is that the winner of any of the games gets to stop playing; the losers have to go on and finally there is one team that has been worse than the other seven horrible teams at the outset.

That final loser of the SHOE Tournament would be THE SHOE Team – where SHOE stands for:

    Steaming Heap Of Excrement

There is still plenty of football to be played and so I will not name only 8 teams at this point of the season. Rather I will present a dozen or so SHOE Tournament Candidates each week until the end of the season. Here is the first set of 17 stinky teams in alphabetical order so that there is no implication of a ranking of any kind:

    Air Force (1-6 and the win came over Colgate)
    Akron (1-6 but they played Michigan close at Michigan)
    E. Michigan (1-5)
    Florida International (1-5 and the win was over So. Mississippi)
    Hawaii (0-6)
    Idaho (1-6 and that win was at home over Temple)
    Kansas (2-3 but wins are over La Tech and S. Dakota)
    Kentucky (1-5 and the lone win was over Miami (Oh))
    Miami (Oh) (0-6 and averaging less than 10 points per game)
    New Mexico State (0-6 with some really ugly losses)
    Purdue (1-5 and see above)
    So. Mississippi (0-5 and they lost to Florida International)
    Temple (0-6 and they lost to Idaho)
    UConn (0-5)
    UMass (1-5 and that lone win was over Miami (Oh))
    UTEP (1-5)
    W. Michigan (0-7)

Games of Interest:

(Fri Nite) UCF at Louisville – 12.5 (53): UCF is 4-1 going into this game with a nice win at Penn State and with their one loss coming at the hands of South Carolina by a field goal. Louisville is undefeated at 6-0 but 3 of their wins are over teams on the SHOE Tournament list above (Kentucky, Fla. Int’l and Temple). I think this game will feature more defense than offense. I’ll take UCF plus the points and I like the game to stay UNDER.

Army at Temple – 2.5 (59): Army is not a great team by any stretch of the imagination but they do have 3 wins this year and would just love to play in a bowl game later on. That means they “need this game” against a SHOE Candidate. That is the storyline that makes this game interesting; nothing in the known universe could make this game worthy of a wager.

Ball St. – 19 at W. Michigan (58): Ball St. is 6-1 so far but before you get excited, they have beaten a rather sorry field. Their signature win was over Virginia; the loss was a surprising one against North Texas. The size of the spread here reflects just how bad W. Michigan is. Do not bet on this game!

Florida State – 3 at Clemson (64): Here is THE best game of the day and it features two really good QBs. Clemson’s Tajh Boyd has made a few jaw-dropping plays every time I have seen him; Jameis Winston is only a freshman but he too is an amazing talent. I do not think either defense can stop the opposing offense. I will not be surprised to see either team win this game so I will avoid playing the spread; however, I like this game to go OVER.

Texas Tech – 6 at W. Virginia (56.5): I have no idea which version of the W. Virginia team might show up here; I doubt the coaching staff is in the know either. Tech’s offense is going to show up because it has in every game so far this year. I like Tech but being on the road with the distinct possibility of chilly weather gives me pause. The spread opened the week at 9.5 points and has dropped all the way to this level; perhaps others are similarly fearful of adverse weather conditions? Therefore, I’ll take the game to go OVER.

Minnesota at Northwestern – 12.5 (54): One school of thought would have Northwestern ready to put it all back in gear after two straight losses to Ohio St. and then to Wisconsin. After all, Minnesota is hardly in the same category as those two teams. On the other hand, Minnesota had a BYE week and Northwestern did not; perhaps those two pounding losses in the last two weeks will have a carryover effect on Northwestern this week. This is purely a hunch, but that line looks fat to me; I’ll take Minnesota plus the points.

UConn at Cincy – 14 (46): UConn is a bad team; it is on the SHOE Candidates list above. At the same time, do not be fooled by Cincy’s 4-2 record. The four wins come over a Division 1-AA school and three over teams on that same SHOE Candidates list above. One of its two losses was to USF – a truly mediocre squad. Do not wager on this game. If you have to watch it, think of it as the football version of a Three Stooges feature. That might keep you from gouging out your eyes.

Colorado St at Wyoming – 6.5 (66.5): Wyoming can score. Only once this year have they been held to less than 34 points in a game. Colorado State has two wins this year; one over Division 1-AA Cal Poly and the other over SHOE Candidate, UTEP. Against real teams, Colorado State gives up points – usually 30 or more in a game. I like Wyoming to win and cover here and I like this game to go OVER.

Auburn at Texas A&M – 13 (73.5): If you are a fan of “line moves” this game will interest you. The Total Line opened at 64, jumped immediately to the high 60s and has kept on rising from there. The spread opened at 14 points and has been moving down all week; one sportsbook has it at 12.5 points this morning. Auburn is 5-1 but the only real “big boy team” they faced was LSU and that is the loss on their record. I do not like either way of betting on this game so I will pass – but it will be interesting to see how the game turns out given the line movements.

Indiana at Michigan – 8 (68): Here is another game where the line moved. The spread opened at 12 points and has been dropping all week. One book dropped it to 7.5 points this morning. I see this as a venue call. I like Michigan to win and cover at home.

Iowa at Ohio St. – 18 (55.5): Iowa’s 4-2 record is a mirage. Of their four victims, would you consider Minnesota or Iowa St. to be the best of the lot? It does not matter which team you choose because the conclusion is the same; that is a sorry lot of teams the Hawkeyes beat. Ohio State is not a sorry team. I like Ohio State at home to win and cover.

S. Carolina – 7.5 at Tennessee (54.5): Georgia and Florida now have losses in the SEC East; after this game, the Gamecocks travel to Missouri and host Florida in mid-November. Wins in this game and in those two games would put S. Carolina in position to win the SEC East. I do not think that S. Carolina can dominate offensively as they did last week over Arkansas but I do believe their defense can control Tennessee. I like this game to stay UNDER.

Florida – 3 at Missouri (44): Florida cannot afford another SEC loss; Missouri needs to figure out how to stay undefeated with their starting QB in street clothes. Their best chance is to play defense against Florida’s pathetic offense (Gators rank 102nd nationally in scoring) and look for short fields on offense. I like this game to stay UNDER.

LSU – 8 at Ole Miss (60): Ole Miss is better at home than on the road by a good margin. Nonetheless, I do not think they are of the same caliber as LSU. I like LSU to win and cover – even on the road.

Akron – 7.5 at Miami (Oh) (45): Both teams are on the SHOE Candidates list above and one of them is favored on the road by more than a TD. Let me quote The Robot from the 1960s TV show, Lost in Space:

    “Danger, Will Robinson. Danger!”

Under no circumstances would I wager on this contest – but I do wonder if these teams are able to combine for 45 points in a mere 60-minute game…

UCLA at Stanford – 6 (53): The question here is how Stanford will react to their upset loss to Utah last week. I think they will be focused and vengeful. UCLA might not be as focused here because they know they still have Oregon, Washington and USC on their dance card. I like Stanford to win and cover.

USC at Notre Dame – 3 (51): This game opened as a “pick ‘em” and the spread has risen all week long. This game will be better to watch than to bet on.

Utah at Arizona – 4 (58.5): I know that Utah has lost to Oregon St. and to UCLA this year but they sure did look alive and well against Stanford last week. Purely a hunch, but I think Utah is a team on the rise so I’ll take them plus the points here.

Georgia – 7 at Vandy (62): Lotsa line movement here too. The Total Line opened at 67 and has dropped all week; the spread opened at 9.5 and it too has been dropping. Georgia has so many injuries, their training room must resemble a M*A*S*H unit. Neither defense is anything to write home about and Vandy has had a week to figure out ways to exploit the Georgia defense. I think there will a lot of scoring here. I like the game to go OVER.

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

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Comments

  • Doug  On October 18, 2013 at 5:52 am

    To your question about UNC, I was never on their bandwagon. They had a bad defense last year and lost their two best defenders to the NFL. On offense they are one dimensional and without Eric Ebron would probably be a SHOE team. The NCAA probation has hurt the Heels recruiting, but I think they are still adjusting to a new system under Fedora. I know the locals here in NC are certainly hoping this will improve. They played with passion last night, but Miami, in the end, was simply too good.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

      Doug:

      I obviously underestimated what the loss of Williams and Bernard meant to UNC last year.

  • Doug  On October 18, 2013 at 5:54 am

    When was an ACC game like FSU vs. Clemson this big? Well, last year, when these same two teams met when they were both in the Top 10 would be a start. But SBNation has a list: http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2013/10/17/4844906/fsu-clemson-acc-football-game

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 18, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Doug:

      I never had the sense last year that many folks seriously thought FSU and/or Clemson might be the best team in the country or that either one might have a shot at the BCS Championship Game. Yes, they were ranked teams and played each other but I suspect that has happened a lot. The game this weekend between FSU and Clemson has higher stakes than the one last year did.

      • Doug  On October 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

        I agree about neither team having a BCS title shot last year. I still think the ACC is a a long shot for the championship until I see it.

        • The Sports Curmudgeon  On October 21, 2013 at 12:44 pm

          Doug:

          Florida State has a serious chance to be in the BCS Championship Game this year. Not a sure thing, but they will be in the mix…

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