Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend of 12/7/13

First things first; how did the Mythical Picks turn out last week?

    I liked Texas -4 over Texas Tech. Texas won by 25. Yea!

    I liked Iowa/Nebraska UNDER 48. Total score was 55. Boo!

    I liked E. Carolina/Marshall OVER 64. Total score was 87. Yea!

    I liked Fresno St/San Jose St OVER 71. It was OVER at halftime. Yea!

    I liked Wash St +16 against Washington. State covered. Yea!

    I liked Oregon -21.5 over Oregon St. Oregon won by only 1. Boo!

    I liked Ohio St -15 over Michigan. Ohio St. won by only 1. Boo!

    I liked Maryland/NC State UNDER 51. Total score was 62. Boo!

    I liked Duke/UNC OVER 60. Total score was 52. Boo!

    I liked Ga Tech +3 against Georgia. Tech lost by 6. Boo!

    I liked Mizzou/Texas A&M OVER 66.5. Total score was 49. Boo!

    I liked Alabama -10.5 over Auburn. Alabama lost the game. Boo!

    I liked Baylor/TCU UNDER 64.5. Total score was 79. Boo!

    I liked K-State -16.5 over Kansas. K-State won by 21. Yea!

    I liked Clemson/S. Carolina OVER 58. Total score was 48. Boo!

    I liked USC -3.5 over UCLA. USC got steamrollered. Boo!

    I liked Notre Dame +14.5 against Stanford. Stanford won by 7. Yea!

    I liked Notre Dame/Stanford UNDER 49. Total score was 47. Double Yea!!

    I liked Arizona +13 against Arizona St. Not even close. Boo!

Well that was a horrendous week of picking with a record of 7 – 12. That drops the cumulative record for the year to 82-89-3. No matter how you try to portray that one, the result is ugly!

Clearly no one would look at last week’s results and be tempted to use any information here as the basis for making a real wager involving real money on a real NCAA football game this weekend. Only a dumbass would do that – only someone dumb enough to think that Socrates was a hand puppet.

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats extended their season another week winning a Division III playoff game against Hampden-Sydney by a score of 31-21. The Wildcats trailed at halftime 21-3 and shut out the visitors in the second half to win the game. Holding Linfield to 31 points is an accomplishment; the Wildcats led Division III in scoring at 53.7 points per game at kickoff. Linfield is 11-0 on the season and they take their show on the road this week to play Wisconsin-Whitewater who sports a 12-0 record this year. The winner of this game will go to the Division III semi-finals game. Go Wildcats!

Duke Coach, David Cutcliffe, won the Walter Camp Coach of the Year honors this year. If you want to review his qualifications for that award consider that Duke – yes, Duke – won the Coastal Division title in the ACC this year and will face Florida State this weekend for the ACC Championship. Let me explain just how important the stakes in that game are…

    If by some clear and present Divine intervention Duke were to win that game against Florida State, David Cutcliffe would become the odds-on favorite to replace Pope Francis when His Holiness leaves the scene.

Dwight Perry had this comment in the Seattle Times pertinent to the Auburn victory over Alabama last week:

“Auburn AD Jay Jacobs told ESPN that if the SEC champion doesn’t get to play in the upcoming BCS title game, ‘it would be, quite frankly, unAmerican.’

“Somewhere, J. Edgar Hoover’s body just went on full spin cycle.”

Auburn will play Missouri in the SEC Championship Game this weekend in what should be called “The Cat Fight”. The Auburn Tigers are playing the Missouri Tigers – while of course the LSU Bengal Tigers will be watching the game on TV. The SEC has good football teams but a paucity of mascots for its teams.

    If Mississippi State (the Bulldogs) were to play Georgia (the Bulldogs) in the SEC Championship Game, do you think they might call it the “Michael Vick Bowl”?

    Probably not…

Last night Louisville beat Cincy 31-24 in a game that potentially had meaning in the AAC standings. Cincy was 9-2 entering that game and had beaten exactly no one of consequence; they have two losses this year against a schedule of cadavers. Their AAC Conference games were a joke:


      [Aside: The combined record for those four powerhouses above was 9-36.]


Their out of conference games involved the likes of:

    Purdue (SHOE Team)
    Miami (Oh) (The #1 Seed in SHOE Tournament below)
    Northwestern State (Division 1-AA)
    Illinois (Loser of 20 consecutive Big 10 games until a couple of weeks ago).

Nevertheless, against that schedule, Cincy had 2 losses going into last night’s game. That fact alone should make it illegal for them to be on television anywhere in the civilized world.

Louisville and Cincy play each year and the winner gets possession of “The Keg of Nails”. Why would anyone play hard just to lug around a keg of nails for a year?

Last week, Texas dominated Texas Tech 41-16. That makes 5 losses in a row for Texas Tech after winning their first 7 games.

Mississippi State became bowl-eligible with their 17-10 win over Ole Miss.

Nebraska rolled over and played dead against Iowa to the tune of 38-17.

Washington won the Apple Bowl game over in-state rival Washington State by a score of 27-17.

San José St. gave Fresno St. its first loss of the season 62-52. The Over/Under line for the game was 71; the game was OVER at halftime when the score was 42-41 with San José St. in the lead. I can never recall betting a game to go OVER and to have the game actually OVER at the half; I am sure it has happened before but never on one of my wagers.

Florida State beat the bejeepers out of Florida by a score of 37-7. So much for the idea that the intense rivalry associated with this game would keep in competitive…

Ohio State beat Michigan 42-41. Other than Wisconsin, unranked Michigan was the strongest opponent on Ohio State’s schedule. Some MAC teams probably had a tougher strength of schedule…

By the way, unranked Penn State beat Wisconsin at Wisconsin last week 31-24 even though Wisconsin was a Ponderosa Spread favorite.

Michigan State beat Minnesota 14-3 as a scrimmage for their game against Ohio State this weekend for the Big 10 Championship. There are lots of people in SEC Country who have no idea where Michigan State is located or what the school colors might be; but as of today, these folks are rooting hard for Michigan State to beat Ohio State because that could assure that an SEC team gets into the final BCS Championship Game. I would be willing to wager that there are thousands of SEC fanboys who would be shocked to learn that the venerated Nick Saban once was the head coach at Michigan State somewhere up there next to Alaska…

Syracuse beat BC 34-31 making Syracuse bowl-eligible this year.

    Be still, my beating heart…

Va Tech beat Virginia 16-6 and neither team scored in the second half of the game. I’ll bet the fans in the stands were emotionally drained at the end of that one…

Auburn beat Alabama with a second consecutive miracle finish to the game. Rank the unlikely endings here:

    Ricochet catch for a long TD on the last play of the Georgia game

    Return of missed Alabama field goal for a TD with no time left on the clock

You say that Auburn’s luck has to run out sometime so why not this weekend against Missouri? I say, where is that written in stone…?

Iowa State won their 3rd game of the year beating West Virginia 52-44 in triple overtime. Tell me again how West Virginia managed to beat Oklahoma State back in September…

South Carolina beat Clemson 31-17. Here is a stat I ran across somewhere:

    These teams have played 111 times. This was the first time that both teams had been ranked in the Top 10.

UCLA beat USC 35-14. So much for that 5-game winning streak under interim coach Ed Orgeron. And so much for Ed Orgeron getting the permanent gig at USC. The Trojans hired Steve Sarkissian away from Washington this week.

In results that involve the detritus of college football teams:

    Ball St 55 Miami (Oh) 14. Well, Miami did get 2 TDs here…
    C. Michigan 42 E. Michigan 10
    Ohio 51 UMass 23 This is an offensive eruption for UMass…
    So. Mississippi 62 UAB 27. That breaks the Eagles’ 23-game losing streak
    Hawaii 49 Army 42. Hawaii wins its first game of the year.
    New Mex St. 24 Idaho 16
    Mid Tenn St. 48 UTEP 16
    Indiana 56 Purdue 36

To keep up the running feature of college football players with interesting names, let me ask you to imagine that you are the guy who does the radio play-by-play for your home team and Wyoming is coming to visit. An hour before the game, you are going over the roster for Wyoming to familiarize yourself with the names and you see that the Cowboys have 3 linebackers named:

    Mark Nzeocha
    Nehemie Kankolongo
    Siaosi Hala’api’api

Here is the thought-bubble over your head at that time:

    “Please Lord, do not have all of them in on the same tackle…”

The Ponderosa Spread Games:

Last week, there were 7 Ponderosa Spread Games and the favorites covered in only 2 of those games.

Ball St. and Florida St. covered.

Boise St., Florida Atlantic, LSU, UCF and Wisconsin did not cover. As noted above, Wisconsin lost outright…

That brings the cumulative record for favorites covering Ponderosa Spreads to 61-51-3.

This week, we have only 1 Ponderosa Spread Game:

Duke vs. Florida State – 28 (62): Florida State is ranked #1 in the country for the first time in a long time and a win here puts it in the BCS Championship Game. I really cannot see Duke making a game of it here. I’ll take the game to go OVER because I think there is a real chance that Florida State could put the total score over the number here. Since I think that could happen, I’ll also take Florida State and lay the humongous spread.

The SHOE Teams:

Ever since I started doing this imaginary tournament, it has been relatively easy to identify the worst 6 teams in the country and then only to worry about the last two entries in the SHOE Tournament. Frankly, this year it has been difficult because there are at least a dozen – and maybe as many as 15 – teams I could put in this small field. Instead of yielding to the temptation of expanding my imaginary tournament to 16 teams, here are my Final Eight candidates to be the 2013 SHOE Team – the Steaming Heap Of Excrement Team:

1st Seed: Miami (Oh): They are 0-12 and their average margin of defeat is 26 points per game against weak competition.

2nd Seed: UMass: They are 1-11 and their win came over Miami (Oh)…

3rd Seed: Idaho: They are 1-11 with an average margin of defeat of 28.5 points per game. They give up more points per game than any other Division 1-A team.

4th Seed: New Mexico State: They are 2-10 with wins over Idaho and a Division 1-AA team.

5th Seed: So. Mississippi: They are 1-11. They have Alabama on their schedule next year. Who thought that was a good idea?

6th Seed: Hawaii: They are 1-11. Only one opponent failed to score 30 points against Hawaii this year.

7th Seed: W. Michigan: They are 1-11. Their win was over UMass by one point.

8th Seed: Purdue: They are 1-11. Their win came against a Division 1-AA team and their average margin of defeat is 23 points.

Let the games begin. Win and you can go home. Lose and you have to play again next week…

Games of Interest:

(Fri Nite) Bowling Green vs. N. Illinois – 4.5 (58.5): The winner here is the MAC Champion. That distinction is sort of like being the tallest dwarf. Northern Illinois is 12-0 coming into this game while Bowling Green is only 9-3. However, Bowling Green has the 5th best scoring defense in the country this year giving up less than 14 points per game. Jordan Lynch is not likely to run roughshod over Bowling Green’s defense. If N. Illinois wins, they will probably be in a BCS Bowl game (Fiesta Bowl?) again this year. They lost handily to Florida State last year in a similar situation. Just a hunch, but I’ll take Bowling Green plus the points here.

Memphis vs. UConn “pick ‘em” (43): Such a bad game to end the season between two bad teams. I do not want to “pick ‘em” in this game under any circumstances. Do not watch this; do not wager on this; if you ignore them, they may just dry up and blow away.

Texas at Baylor – 15.5 (72): Theoretically, Texas can still be the Big 12 Champion. Theoretically, a butterfly could emerge from my ass (hence the name “butt-erfly”) and communicate to all the medical care givers in the world just how to cure all forms of cancer on the planet. Hey, it could happen… That line is fat so I will take Texas with the points and I like the game to go OVER because I think the Total Score could be as high as 90.

Oklahoma at Oklahoma St. – 10 (57): Ok St. has beaten Baylor and Texas in its last two games and beaten both of them handily. I do not think OU can keep up here but that spread is too big for my liking. I’ll take the game to stay UNDER in weather conditions where the wind chill is expected to hover around 10 degrees.

Marshall – 6.5 at Rice (60.5): The winner here is the C-USA Champion. Seriously. The winner gets the prize of playing in the Liberty Bowl game in Memphis later this month. Oh, joy… Marshall sports a truly balanced offense:

    They are 21st in the country in rushing (220 yards per game)
    They are 21st in the country in passing (293 yards per game)

Rice runs the ball slightly better than Marshall; but in passing offense, Rice shows a weakness ranking 105thin the country with only 181 yards per game. I like this game to go OVER. I also like Marshall to win and cover – but not as much as the Total pick.

Missouri vs. Auburn – 2 (58.5): Say hello to the SEC Champion when the final whistle sounds. Neither team was projected to be in this game back in August but both of them are here and both are here deservedly. Last year, Auburn was 0-8 in SEC play; Missouri was much better at 2-6. The key to this game is going to be Missouri’s ability to contain Auburn’s running game; if they can hold Auburn under 200 yards rushing, they have more than a legit shot to win the game. I like Mizzou plus the points here. And just for giggles, I’ll also take the game to go OVER.

Stanford at Arizona St. – 3 (56): The winner here is the PAC-12 Champion and will play in the Rose Bowl Game on New Year’s Day. If Arizona State wins, this will be their first Rose Bowl Game since 1997. For 2013, we ought to rename the PAC-12 Conference and call it the Hannibal Lechter Conference. The teams there just feasted on each other such that the best teams in the conference have 2 losses on the year. Earlier, Stanford beat Arizona St. handily but they had a couple of blocked punts to make that win look more lopsided than it actually was. Oh, and that game was at Stanford… Arizona St. has been on a tear recently and I think they have the edge in this game. I like Arizona St. to win and cover at home.

Ohio State – 5.5 vs. Michigan State (51.5): The winner here is the Big 10 Champion. The key question in the minds of everyone who loves college football is:

    Will the Champion be a Leader or a Legend?

Michigan State wins with its defense – particularly its rush defense. If you think I am kidding, consider that the Spartans have held 6 of their 12 opponents to single digits this year; they give up only 11.8 points per game. Ohio State scores points and sets up most of the scoring with a prolific rushing attack. I’ll take Michigan State plus the points and I’ll take this game to go Over.

Utah State at Fresno State – 3 (60.5): Fresno State’s first loss of the year last week takes a bit of the sheen off this game. Nonetheless, the winner here will be the Mountain West Champion. Fresno is the offensive juggernaut; Utah State just stops the opposition. I like this game to stay UNDER.

Dwight Perry had this item about the Utah State football team in the Seattle Times earlier this week:

“Gushed Utah State football coach Matt Wells, in praise of running back Joey DeMartino: ‘The kid just oozes guts, and sometimes it’s not pretty.’

“As an added note, the Aggies boast the only game films rated R for graphic violence.”

This will be the final extensive edition of NCAA Mythical Picks for the year. Next week, there will be the Army/Navy game and nothing else – save perhaps for a few comments on some of the truly useless bowl game pairings. As in previous years, I will not even pretend to care enough about almost all of the bowl games to worry about making Mythical Picks for those games. There may be one or two games that provide sufficient interest that they might merit a comment in one of the daily rants; we shall see.

Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll do these again next year.

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

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  • Price  On December 6, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I like the term “bejeepers” particularly when it applies to FSU beating the dreaded Gators (finally). On the other hand, my under graduate school, NMSU, remains at the bottom of the SHOE list. I seem to remember they were pretty much in a SHOE list when I was there.

    • The Sports Curmudgeon  On December 6, 2013 at 10:20 am


      You hit a “football high note” attending Florida State. You hit a couple of “low notes” with New Mexico State and Temple. And your experiences ought to tell you something about why that is the case.

      Imagine you are a highly recruited football player coming out of high school. Your objective is play football and not to worry too much about classes and majors ans all that stuff. You visit NM State in Las Cruces, Temple in North Philly and Florida State in Tallahassee. Forget the school and the coach and the program; what is your geographical preference?

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