First, how did last week’s selections fare?
I liked BYU/Utah St. UNDER 52. Total score was 55. Boo!
I liked Ohio St. -7.5 over Maryland. Ohio State won by 28. Yea!
I liked Marshall/ODU OVER 72.5. Total was 70. Boo!
I liked Va Tech -1.5 over UNC. Va Tech won by 17. Yea!
I liked Wisconsin -7.5 over N’western. Wisconsin lost. Boo!
I liked Wisc/N’western OVER 47. Total was 34. Double Boo!
I liked S. Carolina -5 over Kentucky. S. Carolina lost. Boo!
I liked Notre Dame +2 against Stanford. Notre Dame won. Yea!
I liked Auburn -7.5 over LSU. Auburn won by 34. Yea!
I liked Oklahoma/TCU UNDER 56.5. Total was 70. Boo!
I liked Tennessee -2 over Florida. Tennessee lost the game. Boo!
I liked Baylor -16 over Texas. Baylor won by 21. Yea!
I liked Ole Miss +6 against Alabama. Ole Miss won the game. Yea!
I liked Ole Miss/Alabama UNDER 51. Total score was 40. Double Yea!
I liked Mississippi St -1.5 over Texas A&M. State won by 17. Yea!
I liked Cal/Wash. St. OVER 75. Total was 119. Yea!
I liked Michigan +3 against Rutgers. Mich only lost by 2. Yea!
I liked NC St./Clemson OVER 67.5. Total was 41. Boo!
I liked Nebraska +7.5 against Mich.St. Nebraska only lost by 5. Yea!
I liked Nevada +3.5 against Boise St. Nevada lost by 5. Boo!
Well, last week was mythically profitable with a record of 11-9-0 thereby bringing the season record to 42-43-0. The objective for this week is to come up with a set of picks that will take the season record over .500 such that it nudges up to the level of “Mythical Profit For The Year.”
Notwithstanding my statement of objectives for this week’s picks, no one should consider any information here as authoritative on the subject of wagering on college football. No one should use anything here to make a decision on how to bet real money on a real college football game this weed – or any other week for that matter. Anyone dumb enough to do that probably thinks that Sherlock Holmes is the apartment building at 34th Street and 7th Avenue.
The Linfield College Wildcats won their first conference game of the year last week and took their season record to 3-0 as they chase a 59th consecutive winning season in football by beating Pacific Lutheran 41-14. This week, Linfield will play its first home game of the year hosting George Fox University. Fox brings an 0-3 record to the game having allowed an average of 38 points per game in those losing efforts. Go Wildcats!
Sometimes I make picks and get them right for all the wrong reasons; sometimes I make picks and simply get them wrong. Every once in a while, I get them right for the right reason. Consider last week when I said:
Cal at Washington St. – 3 (75): Get IBM Watson on the case; keeping track of the scores here might take a super-computer. Cal plays next to no defense; Washington State just wants to get the ball back so it can run offensive plays. I like the game to go OVER.
At the end of the third quarter, Washington St. led this cavalcade of points by a score of 52-41. In the third quarter alone, these teams scored 56 points (4 TDs each). The fourth quarter produced a meager 26 points. Wash St. QB, Connor Halliday set an NCAA record throwing for 734 yards in the game (breaking the record of 716 yards in a game held by David Klingler). Washington State had a chance to win at the end; they missed a 19-yard field goal with 10 seconds left on the clock.
Even with that lack of defense, Cal is now 4-1 and that loss was to Arizona when Arizona scored 36 points in the 4th quarter and ended the game with a Hail Mary completion. The Bears have given up 115 points in their last 2 games – and they won both games!
The other game I got right last week for the right reason was this:
LSU at Auburn – 7.5 (56.5): Not a bad match-up here… Be forewarned, this will be a match-up pick. LSU had to rally to beat Wisconsin (a good running team) and they rallied but could not catch Mississippi State (a good running team). Auburn runs the ball better than either of those other foes and this game is in Auburn while the ones I mentioned here were on a neutral field or in Baton Rouge. I like Auburn to win and cover.
Indeed, Auburn ran the ball at will against LSU averaging 6.1 yards per rush and totaling 263 yards on the ground. What I did not anticipate was the degree of success Auburn’s defense would have in the game preventing LSU from converting even one of LSU’s thirteen third-down situations.
Every once in a while, college football has one of those “Holy Mackerel Weekends” where upsets abound and good teams go down. Last week teams ranked in the Top Eight lost more often than they won. Moreover, it is not because these top teams were all playing one another such that some had to lose; all of them just lost games to teams ranked lower than they were. It was a wild weekend…
#2 Oregon lost to Arizona in Oregon. This happened last Thursday night and set the tone for the whole weekend.
#3 Alabama fell to Ole Miss at Mississippi. Alabama led 17-10 at the end of the third quarter and coughed up a hairball in the 4th quarter. That is not characteristic of Alabama teams but Bo Wallace and Ole Miss earned this win.
#4 Oklahoma lost to TCU at Fort Worth. This game was tied at the end of the first, second and third quarters; TCU pulled it out in the fourth quarter.
#6 Texas A&M lost to Mississippi St. at Starkeville. Aggies QB, Kenny Hill threw 3 INTs. State’s QB, Dak Prescott, produced 5 TDs (2 TD passes and 3 rushing TDs). There were 1095 yards of total offense in this game.
#8 UCLA lost to Utah in LA. Utah dominated with a solid running game and a pressure defense that produced 10 sacks in the game.
I mentioned here that there were 1095 yards of offense in the Texas A&M/Mississippi St. game. Compare that to the Florida/Tennessee game where the final score was 10-9 in favor of Florida. Total offense in that game for both teams was 465 yards on 143 snaps (3.25 yards per offensive play). The total yards punting for the two teams were 626 yards – almost half again as much as the total offense on the field. At least the game was close…
Georgia beat Vandy 44-17. This game was not close and it pretty much cemented the image that Vandy is the worst team in the SEC East and probably the worst team in the whole conference. If Georgia can take care of its business, it needs Missouri to lose another conference game for the Dawgs to be part of the SEC Championship Game; Georgia and Missouri meet this week…
NEWS FLASH: In breaking news today, Georgia has suspended Todd Gurley indefinitely for a violation of rules. The story on CBSSports.com says that it is alleged that Gurley was paid money for signing autographs and that at least 500 signed pieces have been authenticated with Gurley’s signature. Supposedly, Gurley received between $8 and $25 per signature.
Kentucky beat South Carolina 45-38. That leaves the Gamecocks’ record at 3-3 (2-3 in the SEC) and it puts Kentucky’s record at 4-1. Who saw all of that coming…?
Florida State beat Wake Forest 43-3 and the game was not nearly that close. Despite the score being tied at 3-3 in the second quarter, it was clear that Wake was totally inept on offense and would be lucky to score a TD on anything other than a Pick Six or a fluke play. The demon Deacons managed to generate a total of 126 yards of offense for the day.
I said last week that North Carolina State’s 4 wins had come against “sacrificial lambs”. Well, Clemson may not be the best team in the country – or even in the ACC – but they are not a sacrificial lamb either. The Tigers manhandled the Wolfpack 41-0 and from the bit of that game I saw, that score represents what was happening on the field. State QB, Jacoby Brisset, was 4-18 passing for a total of 35 yards.
Virginia beat Pitt 24-19. Virginia led at the half 24-3; Pitt rallied in the second half but could not catch up. That is 3 losses in a row for Pitt (Iowa, Akron, Virginia). For the near future, the Pitt schedule looks a lot tougher than the last 3 weeks with games against Va Tech, Ga Tech and Duke on the horizon.
Va Tech beat UNC 34-17 in Chapel Hill. Recalling that East Carolina hung 70 points on UNC earlier this year, you probably need to pay attention to see how hot Coach Larry Fedora’s seat is getting. Remember, some folks thought UNC was a top 25 team back in August. What that really shows is the uselessness of such polling; what it also means is that many UNC fans/boosters will see this season as a big disappointment.
Georgia Tech beat Miami 28 17. Here is how that win came about:
Tech held the ball for 40:45 in the game.
Tech ran the ball 65 times for 318 yards.
Tech converted 9 of 14 third down situations.
Ohio State beat Maryland 52-24. Welcome to the Big 10, Maryland…
Rutgers beat Michigan 26-24. That drops Michigan’s record to 2-4 while Rutgers sports a 5-1 record.
Northwestern beat Wisconsin 20-14 last week notwithstanding Badgers RB, Melvyn Gordon rushing for 259 yards. Apparently, Northwestern’s domination of Penn State in State College two weeks ago was not an accident.
Michigan State led Nebraska 27-3 at the end of the third quarter but Nebraska did not quit; the Huskers got 19 points in the fourth quarter; that made it close – and produced a back-door cover for Mythical Picks above – but it did not get the win.
Baylor beat Texas 28-7. The Texas defense played well here; that unit deserved better support from its offensive brethren.
Arizona St. beat USC 38-34 with a Hail Mary pass on the final play of the game. This is becoming a staple in the PAC-12 this year. These teams combined to score 34 points in the 4th quarter. What happened to the defenses?
Speaking of defensive lapses, Boise St. beat Nevada 51-46 last week…
Notre Dame beat Stanford 17-14 in game dominated by defense. The Irish scored the winning TD with a minute to play.
Here is how some bad teams fared last week:
E. Carolina beat SMU 45-22. That score is sort of an indictment of the E. Carolina defense. In their four previous games, SMU had scored a total of 12 points.
Northern Illinois beat Kent St. 17-14. N. Illinois is now 4-1 on the season but only managed to beat an 0-5 Kent St. team by a field goal. The Huskies only have a MAC schedule ahead of them meaning they should have a gaudy record by the end of November.
Miami (Oh) is a really bad team. They trailed UMass 41-14 in the second quarter and 41-21 at halftime. Miami had the longest losing streak in Div. 1-A college football; it would have seemed that the streak would survive… Not to worry, though; UMass would be consistent and allow another 21 points in the second half and that would be enough to give Miami a win because UMass was shut out in the second half. Both teams are awful but consider this game situation:
In the final seconds of the game, UMass with no time outs – trailing by 1 point – completed a pass to the Miami 6 yardline. Rather than spiking the ball to kick a chip-shot field goal, UMass ran a play for the end zone, which did not get there and time expired. That piles stupidity on top of incompetence.
The Ponderosa Spread Games:
Last week we had 5 Ponderosa Spread Games and the favorites did not cover in any of them.
E. Carolina, Florida State, Georgia, Northern Illinois and West Virginia did not cover.
That 0-5-0 record makes the season record for favorites covering Ponderosa Spreads to 26-21-1.
This week we have only 3 Ponderosa Spread Games:
Illinois at Wisconsin – 26.5 (58): After losing last week, Wisconsin might just be in a bad mood and Illinois is a mediocre team. It could get ugly…
Idaho at Georgia Southern – 24.5 (64.5): Here is a rivalry that goes all the way back to a week before Wednesday…
Middle Tennessee St. at Marshall – 24.5 (69.5): Marshall still hopes to be the outsider who crashes the Big Boy Party come bowl season…
There is a plethora of games with single digit spreads this week meaning good teams face good teams, mediocre teams face mediocre teams and bad teams face bad teams. I can feel the harmony of the universe washing over me…
I did get an e-mail from my friend in Houston who is a follower/keeper of sports stats and trivia. He alerted me to a betting line out there for a game that I did not find.
Houston Baptist University at Central Arkansas – 46:
The amazing thing here is the money line quote. Central Arkansas is at – 235,000 on the money line. That means you would need to place $235,000 in the hands of the guy at the betting window in Vegas to get a ticket that would be worth $235,100 if Central Arkansas wins and would be worth squadoosh if Central Arkansas loses. As my friend said, can’t believe anyone would take Central Ark on the money line.
Games of Interest:
Oklahoma – 14 vs. Texas (47) (neutral site game): Oklahoma’s defensive unit had a bad day last week against TCU and it cost Oklahoma its undefeated status. The Texas offense is hardly the strength of the team so an angry OU defense is not something that offense should wish for. In big rivalry games like this one, I do not like double-digit spreads; but in this case, I think it is justified. I do not think Texas is going to score a lot here; and even though Texas has a stingy defense – remember they held Baylor to 28 points last week – I do not think it can hold OU to only a couple of scores. I’ll take Oklahoma and lay the points.
Michigan St. – 20.5 at Purdue (51): Purdue likes to run the football but I doubt they will have much – if any – success doing that against Michigan St. This looks like a classic mismatch. I’ll take Michigan St. to win and cover.
Northwestern at Minnesota – 4 (43.5): Northwestern has beaten Penn St and Wisconsin in the last two weeks. Meanwhile Minnesota has only faced one solid team all year (TCU) and the Gophers lost that game by 23 points. Minnesota will run the ball all day long unless they are stopped; they rank 124th in the country in passing offense with an average of 113.2 yards per game. That Total Line seems awfully low to me; I like this game to go OVER.
Tulsa at Temple – 17 (58.5): Assuming there are no throngs of Tulsa fans who descend on Philadelphia for this game, you should be able to count the house by the end of the first quarter…
UMass at Kent St. – 2 (no line): Both teams are 0-5. Neither team is any good. The only way this game could be worse would be for there to be a driving rainstorm from start to finish.
Florida St. – 22.5 at Syracuse (53): Florida State is undefeated this year but last week’s shellacking of Wake Forest is the only time the Seminoles have covered a spread this year. They are clearly a better team than Syracuse but are they more than 3 TDs better? Purely a hunch but I think this is where Florida State wakes up and plays the way it should have been playing to date. I like Florida State to win and cover and I like the game to go OVER because I think Florida State’s score will be in the mid-40s.
Duke at Georgia Tech – 3 (57.5): Like Minnesota, Georgia Tech will run the ball all day on the triple option. Duke had a week off to prepare to stop that attack but no one seems to have figured out a good way to do that so far this year. Tech averages 297.2 yards per game rushing (12th in the country) but only 132.6 yards per game passing (122nd in the country). Duke can expect to see running play after running play here. Make this a venue call; I’ll take Tech to win and cover.
Buffalo – 14 at E. Michigan (57.5): Do not be fooled by Buffalo’s 3 wins this year. The vanquished teams have been Duquesne, Norfolk St and Miami (Oh). Buffalo is not a good team. Yet, they are a 2 TD favorite on the road here, which should tell you all you need to know about E. Michigan…
Bowling Green at Ohio “pick ‘em” (66): If you tell me to “pick ‘em” in a game this meaningless, my “pick” will be to ignore the game completely…
W. Virginia – 6 at Texas Tech (74): W. Virginia has a long journey to get to this venue; the team charter flight will be the only Morgantown to Lubbock non-stop flight this month. Will W. Virginia find a defense in time to load it onto this flight? It has not brought much of defense to the field this year giving up 25.8 points per game to teams that include powerhouses such as Towson, Maryland and Kansas. Having said that, Texas Tech’s defense is even worse; the Red Raiders give up 40 points per game (120th in the country) and have only held one opponent under 30 points. I like this game to go OVER.
TCU at Baylor – 8 (68): There have been huge line moves for this game. The spread opened at 11 points; the Total Line opened at 62.5 points. Both teams are undefeated this year. TCU beat Oklahoma last week; Baylor beat Texas last week. TCU’s defense has been stingy this year giving up only 13.5 points per game; with the Total Line at 68, that is a tip of the hat to the Baylor offense. I like the game to stay UNDER.
Auburn – 3 at Mississippi St. (63.5): If I had told you in August that this game would be the biggest game of the day and that it might be one of the more important games of the entire season, you would have laughed. Well, I did not say that so you were spared the laugh; but this is the best game of the weekend and an important game nationally. Both teams can run the ball well; both teams can throw when they need to. Both defenses are competent. Make this a venue call; I like Mississippi State plus the points at home.
Alabama – 8.5 at Arkansas (55.5): Yes, I see that Alabama is the road team here. Nevertheless, Alabama cannot afford to lose another game and they have to be smarting from their loss to Ole Miss last week. I think Bama wins big here. I like Alabama to win and cover.
LSU at Florida – 1 (47.5): Neither team is performing this year the way they have performed in recent years. Florida’s defense should hold LSU’s offense in check. Florida’s offense seems to find ways to hold itself in check. With little conviction, I’ll take this game to stay UNDER.
Oregon – 2.5 at UCLA (71): Both teams lost last week; neither looked particularly good in doing so. Both QBs have been pummeled by opposing defenses this year. It would be a great prop bet to have an OVER/UNDER line on total sacks in this game. I will be watching this game but not wagering on it…
USC – 3 at Arizona (67.5): Arizona is the undefeated team in this matchup at 5-0. USC has two losses this year including one in conference (last week to Arizona St.). Arizona throws the ball well averaging 350 yards per game and scoring 39.8 points per game. HOW-EVAH, the Wildcats also give up 26.6 points per game meaning they are 75th in the country in scoring defense. I like this game to go OVER.
Georgia – 3 at Missouri (60): With Todd Gurley suspended (see above), I would not bet on this game with your money…
UNC at Notre Dame – 16.5 (64): Given the way UNC has played defense this year, Notre Dame might score in the 60s all by themselves. I like the game to go OVER.
Ole Miss at Texas A&M – 2.5 (64): Here are two more teams that score a lot and neither team brings a shut-down defensive unit to the field. I like this game to go OVER.
Penn St. at Michigan “pick ‘em” (41.5): I think Penn state is the better team here. Therefore, I’ll take Penn State simply to win this game.
Old Dominion at UTEP – 3 (67): Air traffic controllers will do a double take when the charter flight here files for a non-stop between Norfolk, VA to El Paso, TX. Other than that observation, I got nothing else to say about this game…
UConn at Tulane – 3 (45): Neither team is any good here. Pay attention to other games this week…
Finally, let me close these college mythical picks with a line attributed to former Florida coach Charlie Pell. He had been asked what kind of player he looked for in recruiting…
“I want players to think as positively as the 85-year-old man who married a 25-year-old woman and bought a five-bedroom house next to the elementary school.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………