Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend Of 9/10/16

Last week was a mythically profitable one for Mythical Picks. I made 17 selections and the record for Week 1 was 10-7-0.

The Best Pick for last week was:

    Wisconsin +10 vs. LSU. Wisconsin won the game.

The Worst Pick for last week was:

    Temple – 16 vs. Army. Temple lost by 15 points.

As they say in the TV ads for mutual funds, past performance is not an indicator of future performance. Therefore, I will smile and be happy to have had a good week of Mythical Picks last week – – and get down to the business of making good picks again this week. Assuming that I can …

In any event, no one ought to take anything written here as being informative or insightful with regard to college football games. Even more importantly, no one should use anything here as the basis for making an actual wager on an actual college football game involving real money. Anyone dumb enough to do that probably needs this reminder:

    Do not scratch your watch and wind your butt !

General Comments:

The Linfield College Wildcats begin their football season this weekend. At the moment, Linfield is riding a winning streak that goes all the way back to 1956. For the last 60 consecutive seasons, Linfield has had a winning record in football. Last season they finished the year at 11-1. That loss came in the quarterfinals of the Division III football tournament against St. Thomas (MN).

This week, Linfield will host the Panthers of Chapman University in McMinnville, OR. Last year, Chapman’s record was 4-5. Go Wildcats!

Last week, Clemson beat Auburn for the third consecutive time. It was hardly an artistic performance by either squad; the final score was 19-13. [Note: Clemson was a 7-point favorite and I took them as one of last week’s Mythical Picks. Arrgh…] Clemson lost a couple of defensive players to the NFL as early round selections. Not to worry, this year’s defense allowed only 3.7 yards per offensive play in this game. Clemson has two games on its schedule that could be seriously challenging:

    Clemson has to play Louisville later this year. Louisville opened its season against UNC-Charlotte and beat them 70-14. The score at the half was 56-0. The question here is this

      Is Charlotte that bad or is Louisville that good?
      Or both?

    Clemson has to play Florida State later this year. The Seminoles looked bad for the first 20 minutes against Ole Miss last week. The Seminoles trailed 28-6 in the second quarter and then ran off 30 unanswered points and won the game going away. Yes, Florida State is very good…

Wake Forest was a 17-point favorite against Tulane last week. Wake did win the game but by a score of 7-3. One ought not expect a lot from the Wake Forest offense this year; their longest play of the game was a 16-yard pass completion. Tulane, meanwhile, looked miserable. The Green Wave had the ball for 35 minutes in the game and gained a total of 280 yards.

For those who put any stock at all in “pre-season rankings”, please note that Tennessee was a Top Ten team before anyone teed up to kick off a real game. The Vols needed OT to beat Appalachian State and the Vols trailed at halftime by 10 points.

Vandy led S. Carolina 10-0 at the half and then Vandy coughed up a hairball in the second half as S. Carolina came back to win the game 13-10. It just might be a really long season for both teams here…

I mentioned the Temple/Army game above as my worst pick for last week. Army dominated the game; Army had the ball for 36 minutes; Army had 23 rushing first downs; Army ran the ball for a total of 329 yards. Looks as if the Temple players read too many press clippings from last season …

Florida International led Indiana 13-12 as the 4th quarter of the game began. Then, FIU pulled a disappearing act and lost the game 34-13.

In another El Foldo Game, Mississippi St. led South Alabama 20-7 at the start of the 4th quarter. Mississippi State was a Ponderosa favorite of 28 points in that game. Nonetheless, South Alabama came back and won the game 21-20. As if that were not sufficiently embarrassing, Mississippi State got into position for a chip shot field goal with seconds left to win the game – – and missed the kick. For the record, this is the first time in school history that South Alabama has beaten a team from the so-called “Power Five” conferences.

Northwestern (Big 10) lost at home to Western Michigan (MAC) by a point. Not a good omen there for Northwestern alums…

I said last week that it would be a LONG flight for Rutgers to take to play Washington in a game that would be uninteresting after the first 20 minutes. Well, the score at the half was 34-3 in favor of Washington and the final score was 48-13.

Plenty of Division 1-A teams started the season against Division 1-AA teams and the results were a mixed bag:

    Idaho beat Montana State (Div 1-AA) by a field goal. Hey, it’s a win and Idaho does not have that happen all that often…

    UConn beat Maine (Div 1-AA) by a field goal. For a team that aspires to be invited into the Big 12, that is not a good résumé entry…

    Kansas beat Rhode Island (Div 1-AA) 55-6 and the Kansas students stormed the field. That has to be the most embarrassing field-storming in the history of field-storming… Then again, the last time Kansas won a home football game was back in November of 2014 when they beat Iowa State. And speaking of Iowa State …

    Iowa State lost to Northern Iowa (Div 1-AA) 25-20. Maybe the Big 12 needs to invite 3 new schools into the conference and drop Iowa State?

    Washington St. lost to E. Washington (Div 1-AA) 45-42. This is the second year in a row that Washington St. opened the season with a loss to a Div 1-AA school. Last year, Portland State did the honors. Anyway, Washington St. pulled itself together last year and finished the year at 9-4.

    UVa lost to Richmond (Div 1-AA) 37-20. Yes, the game was as lopsided as the score indicates. Richmond had the ball for almost 40 minutes; Richmond had 524 yards on offense to Virginia’s 302 yards; Richmond held Virginia to 38 yards rushing for the game. UVa has a new coach in Bronco Mendenhall who was very successful at BYU taking them to 11 straight bowl games. This has to be a shock to his nervous system…

Arkansas beat La Tech at home by one point. That is not an impressive performance from an SEC West squad… Arkansas was a Ponderosa favorite of 26 points there.

So. Miss trailed Kentucky 35-17 in the first half. However, the Golden Eagles won the second half 27-0 for a comeback win.

Michigan beat Hawaii 63-3. Recall that the college season opened with a game in Australia where Cal beat Hawaii and scored 51 points in the process. That makes 114 points for opponents against Hawaii so far this year. Just a suggestion here, but maybe the coaches at Hawaii might want to do some tackling drills this week…

With just over 3 minutes to go in the first quarter, San Jose St. and Tulsa were tied 7-7. At the end of the first quarter, San Jose St. trailed 24-7 and the final score was Tulsa 45 and San Jose St. 10.

Penn State unveiled a hurry-up spread offense last week. That had to be a shock to the folks in Happy Valley. The Lions beat Kent State 33-13 which is no big deal. The test for Penn St. comes when Big 10 play commences. I had not realized this until I ran across these stats:

    Penn State lost to Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State by a combined score of 121–42 last year

    Coach, James Franklin, is 0–6 against those schools.

There were some important games in Week 1 matching good teams against one another. Wisconsin and LSU played in Lambeau Field and Wisconsin won the game by 2 points. Frankly, they looked like a much better team. Wisconsin ran 73 plays while LSU ran only 50; Wisconsin gained 349 yards and held LSU to 257. LSU continues to have QB “issues”; Brandon Harris was highly recruited out of high school but he has been erratic at best for LSU. Last week, he was 12-31 for 131 yards AND he threw 2 INTs. Recall last year that LSU “folks” wanted to fire Les Miles and buy him out. Do not be surprised to hear that chorus repeated later this year…

Dwight Perry had this comment about the Wisconsin/LSU game in the Seattle Times last weekend:

“Wisconsin emerged No. 1 in The Princeton Review’s annual rankings of the nation’s top party schools.

“And Badger students probably wrapped up the title for 2017, too, after Saturday’s 16-14 upset of fifth-ranked LSU.”

Georgia beat UNC comfortably but the story in that game was the return of Georgia RB, Nick Chubb. He had surgery to repair a horrific injury last year and spent a lot of time in rehab. People wondered how far back he might be for this season. Well, he carried the ball 32 times last week and gained 222 yards. Chubb is an excellent running back. In his 15 college football games, he has gained 100 yards or more in 14 of them. The one game he did not do that was the one where he suffered that knee injury last year on his first carry of the game.

Alabama looked discombobulated for the first 15-20 minutes of their game against USC. Make no mistake, USC has some good players and great athletes on its squad. However, once Alabama “found itself” the rout was on. The final score was 52-6 and this pair of stats is telling:

    USC ran the ball 30 times for 64 yards
    Alabama ran the ball 45 times for 242 yards

    Takeaways from this game: The game was not close and Alabama’s defense is really good once again.

Oh, I read a report that Joe Namath was “Live-Tweeting” the Alabama/USC game. Question:

    Are you even minimally sorry that you missed out on that commentary?

Brad Rock had this comment on the Alabama/USC game in the Deseret News earlier this week:

“From ‘Lane Kiffin helps Alabama destroy USC program previously destroyed by Lane Kiffin.’”

The Notre Dame/Texas game was about as entertaining a game as you could wish to see. It is a shame that either team had to lose. It took 2 OTs for Texas to prevail.

Ole Miss had a 22-point lead on Florida State and lost by double digits. Yes, Florida State is very good but here are a couple of things the Ole Miss team needs to think about:

    The Ole Miss defense relies on speed. The Ole Miss offense is a hurry-up/tempo offense. By the end of the game, the Ole Miss defenders were gassed. Ole Miss needs to do a bit of clock management when it has the ball.

    One way to do that might be to run the football once in a long while.

    On defense, Ole Miss needs to recruit some defensive backs who can cover opposing pass-catchers.

Florida State defensive lineman, DeMarcus Walker dominated the game with 4.5 sacks and innumerable hurries on the Ole Miss QB.

Oh, Houston went out and did it. They beat Oklahoma by double-digits despite being a 13-point underdog. The win was not a fluke; Houston was the better team on the field. They have an upcoming game against Louisville that will likely be a huge game for both schools. At least for the moment, Houston is in the College Football Playoff discussion.

There will be some interesting matchups and things to look for in the upcoming week.

    1. BC will play UMass. For some reason, UMass dropped out of the MAC to become an independent. I am sure that makes sense to someone at the school but it is not clear to me. BC is not going to run up big scoring totals this year – or just about any year under this coaching regime – but if they are ever going to do so, this is their opportunity.

    2. Penn State will travel to Pitt to renew an old – and bitter – rivalry that has been dormant ever since 2000. However, these schools do have a history; they have met 96 times and Penn State leads the series 50-42-4.

    3. Tennessee will try to look more like a “Top Ten Team” this week against VA Tech. The game will be held at Bristol Motor Speedway – for some reason – and they hope to see 150,000 fans in the seats.

    4. Utah and BYU will renew The Holy War. This is an intense rivalry that was on hiatus for a couple of years. Good to have it back… In the Las Vegas Bowl last year, Utah took a 35-0 lead early on and held on to win the game as BYU came back to make it 35-28. Should be a good game.

    5. Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Ole Miss suffered losses last week that had to hurt. Will these teams be primed to “take it out on someone” this week?

The Ponderosa Games:

There were 9 Ponderosa Games last week and the record for favorites covering was 5-4-0.

Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State and Washington covered

Arkansas, Florida, Iowa and Mississippi State did not cover.

This week we have 15 Ponderosa Spread Games:

UCF at Michigan – 35.5 (53): UCF wants to join the Big 12. They do not want to lose this game by 50 points; that will not impress the Big 12 folks.

E. Michigan at Missouri – 25 (55.5): I saw a little of the Missouri/ W. Virginia game last week. E. Michigan has to be pretty bad to be a 25-point dog to Missouri.

La-Monroe at Oklahoma – 47 (65.5): The oddsmakers clearly think that the Sooners are going to be pissed and will take it out on whomever is in front of them. Remember, Oklahoma has Ohio State next on the schedule; at best this is a tune-up game; at worst, the Sooners may be looking past this game… Forty-seven points is a bushel basket full of points.

Akron at Wisconsin – 24 (47.5): Wisconsin has to avoid a letdown after an emotional win over LSU last week.

Tulsa at Ohio State – 29 (73): Ohio State is capable of scoring 73 points all by itself here.

Troy at Clemson – 36.5 (63): Granted Auburn is a better team than Troy, but Clemson did not look as if should be more than a 5 TD favorite over anyone last week.

UTEP at Texas – 30 (59.5): If Texas suffers a letdown and loses here, whatever Charlie Strong earned in terms of respect last week will be gone in a flash.

Nevada at Notre Dame – 28 (61): Notre Dame also wants to kick some butt this week…

Idaho at Washington – 37 (60): At least Idaho does not have to travel a great distance to get its ass kicked this week.

W. Kentucky at Alabama – 28.5 (61.5): W. Kentucky will put up a better fight than USC did last week.

UVa at Oregon – 24.5 (70.5): UVa lost to Richmond – handily – last week and now travels about 3000 miles to get stomped by Oregon. It is going to be a LONG year in Charlottesville.

Florida Atlantic at Miami (FL) – 24.5 (61.5): Miami is on the road back to elite status, right?

SMU at Baylor – 32 (76): Will the new Baylor coach run up the score the way the old Baylor coach liked to do?

Wyoming at Nebraska – 24.5 (58): Best thing you can say about this game is that it is a “border war”.

UNLV at UCLA – 26 (58.5): Maybe this game will be interesting to someone, somewhere…

Games of Interest:

BC – 16.6 at UMass (40): You will not see many Total Lines for college football as low as 40. So take a moment and look at it. Do not look at the game and do not bet on the game. Just look at that Total Line …

Arkansas at TCU – 7.5 (59.5): Arkansas did not impress last week but Arkansas is not a bad team. TCU is also a good team. This should be a good game. I think the defenses play well here so I’ll take this game to stay UNDER.

Ohio at Kansas – 3 (59.5): Can Kansas win back-to-back home games here? It is an interesting question – – but not interesting enough to get me to watch the game or bet on it.

Penn State at Pitt – 6 (48): The oddmakers think this will be a low scoring affair and I agree. As is my preference, that means I will take Penn State plus the points even on the road in a “rivalry renewal game.”

Northern Illinois at USF – 15 (57): N. Illinois opened the season flying west a long distance to play Wyoming. Next they fly southeast a long distance to play USF. Is the team sponsored by Travelocity?

Wake Forest at Duke – 4.5 (43.5): Wake had its hands full beating Tulane last week and Tulane just isn’t all that good. I like Duke to win and cover at home.

Kentucky at Florida – 16.5 (49): Kentucky got rolled by So. Mississippi last week. I do not think Florida is championship material but I think they are better than So. Miss. I’ll take Florida at home to win and cover.

S. Carolina at Mississippi St – 6.5 (45): It looks to me as if S. Carolina is in a program rebuilding phase. Mississippi State went through that phase several years ago. However, Mississippi State “screwed the pooch” last week against S. Alabama (see above). I think the Mississippi State coaches will have the team frothing at the mouth for this one and in the end talent will out. I’ll take Mississippi State and lay the points.

VA Tech vs Tennessee – 11 (54) Game to be played at Bristol Motor Speedway: This is season #1 for VA Tech in the “post-Frank-Beamer Era” and it may be too much to ask for them to take on a very talented Tennessee team even though Tennessee underwhelmed last week against Appalachian State (see above). I think the Vols’ offense will be primed to show what it can really do. I like this game to go OVER.

Iowa State at Iowa – 15.5 (52): This is always a big rivalry game and Iowa State has surprised the bigger program guys more than once in a while. I am leery about playing the spread here, but I do think that this game will stay UNDER the Total Line.

UNC – 7.5 at Illinois (58): Short and simple here. I think UNC is the better squad and will dominate here. I’ll take UNC on the road and lay the points. I also think this will be an offensive game. I’ll also take the game to go OVER.

BYU at Utah – 3.5 (45): I think this game will go down to the wire and that half-point hook on top of a field-goal spread makes me interested. I will not be shocked if BYU wins outright so I’ll take BYU plus the points here.

Washington St at Boise St – 10.5 (72.5): Time for Washington St. to wake up after another loss to a Div 1-AA team in the opener (see above). It looks as if the “Washington St. formula” is in place again this year – – passing offense, little defense. I know Boise St is tough at home, but that line looks fat to me. I’ll take Washington St plus the points. I also like the game to go OVER.

Texas Tech at Arizona St. – 3 (80): Going on last year’s form, neither team seemed to grasp the concept of “pass defense” and both teams loved to throw the football. However, it is still a bit early in the season to think that both offenses can be sufficiently dialed-in to reach that Total Line. I like the game to stay UNDER.

Cal at San Diego St. – 7 (61.5): If pre-season polls mean anything – – and they most certainly do not – – people think San Diego St. is going to be very good this year. Cal opened in Australia against Hawaii who also get their lunch handed to them by Michigan last week. Hawaii is clearly not going to be very good this year. I will allow the pollsters to influence my thinking here and take San Diego St. to win and cover at home.

Finally, I just admitted to being influenced by the pre-season polls in my last Mythical Pick. Notwithstanding that fact, I am not a fan of pre-season – or even early season – polls/rankings/whatevers. Steelers’ RB, LeVeon Bell seems to agree with me on that point given this recent Tweet of his:

“think in college football, it shouldn’t be anymore preseason ranks…I feel like teams should earn their spot based of the first 4-5 weeks”

Can I get an AMEN ??!!

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

3 thoughts on “Mythical Picks – NCAA – Weekend Of 9/10/16”

  1. Favorite line: At least Idaho does not have to travel a great distance to get its ass kicked this week.

  2. Looking forward to your review of the Oklahoma State v. Central Michigan game. We have the actual winner and the “legal” winner. And, maybe things are not so good at Clemson.

    1. Doug:

      Coaches always say there is no such thing as a “moral victory” in football. Well, as you point out we have a game here with a “winner on the record” and its opponent who won “on the field.”

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