Football Friday – Lite 11/11/22

The New York Times says it has:

“All the news that’s fit to print”

A small 8-page local newspaper might say:

“All the news that fits, we print”

For today’s Football Friday-Lite, the word here in Curmudgeon Central is:

“All the stuff I had time to research fits just fine”

As usual, I begin with a review of last week’s Six-Pack:

  • College = 2-1-0                                                          Season Total = 17-9-0
  • NFL = 2-1-0                                                                Season Total = 14-14-3
  • Money Line Parlays = 1-1                                        Season Total = 5-14
  • Profit/Loss = +$28                                                     Season Total = minus-$378


College Football Commentary:


The Linfield College Wildcats ran their record for 2022 to 8-0 last week with a 65-0 beatdown of Willamette University. The Bearcats took the opening kickoff and had to punt the ball 2 minutes later.  That punt was blocked and returned for a TD, and it only got worse after that.  This weekend, Linfield completes its regular season schedule with a trip to Portland, OR to take on Lewis and Clark – – the college footb all team and not the corpses of the two famous 19th century explorers.  Go Wildcats!

Some happenings in the SEC from last week …

Georgia 27  Tennessee 13:  Tennessee was averaging 49.6 points per game – and then it met up with Georgia’s defense which did not allow the Vols a TD until the 4th quarter.  Tennessee QB, Hendon Hooker was sacked 6 times in the game.  It was not as close as the score might indicate.

LSU 32  Alabama 31:  Alabama’s second loss of the season pretty much assures they will not be part of the CFP this season.  That will be the second time in nine years that has happened.  LSU won on a 2-point conversion at the end of the game; lost in the noise over that bold move is that Alabama tried for 2-point conversions twice earlier in the game and failed on both attempts.

Liberty 21  Arkansas 19:  This was a game in Arkansas and the Razorbacks were a 14.5-point favorite.  Huge Freeze has Liberty playing serious football in 2022…

In ACC action …

Notre Dame 35  Clemson 14:  Clemson was ranked 4th in the first – – and most meaningless – – CFP poll.  Then they went out and lost to Notre Dame by 3 TDs.  By the way, that is the same Notre Dame team that lost at home to Marshall earlier this year.

  • [Aside:  If I wanted to make a wager back in August that both Alabama and Clemson would be virtually eliminated from CFP participation after the first week in November, what sort of odds do you think I might have gotten?]

Florida St. 45  Miami 3:  Back in the summer training camp times, people were salivating over the transfers and the recruits at Miami under new coach Mario Cristobal.  Well, maybe those new players were not as good as they were touted to be – – or maybe there is a coaching deficiency at Miami.  Something is wrong…

Duke 38  BC 31:  The futures bet for “Total Wins” by Duke this year was 3.  The Blue Devils became bowl eligible with this win and there are still games to play.  I said in my college football preview rant that I loved that OVER wager…

Moving along to the Big -12…

TCU 34  Texas Tech 24:  TCU just keeps on winning and is now 9-0.    But the remaining schedule for TCU is hardly a walkover:

  • At Texas (this weekend)
  • At Baylor
  • Vs. Iowa St.
  • Big-12 Championship Game???

Kansas 37  Oklahoma St. 16:    The Cowboys looked like the best team to challenge TCU in the Big-12 but they have laid an egg for two weeks in a row now.  Yes, the Cowboys have their starting QB on the sidelines but what happened to their defense?  They have given up 75 points in the last two games – – not surprisingly, both losses.   By the way, Kansas now has a shot at a winning season in 2022 and if that happens it will be their first winning season in 14 years.  Since that last winning season in 2008:

  • The Jayhawks have had 7 head coaches (counting one interim head coach)
  • Produced a cumulative record of 34-128-0 (counting this year’s 6-3 record)

Baylor 38  Oklahoma 35:  Baylor remains an outsider for the Big-12 Championship Game with this win.  The Sooners’ record falls to 5-4.

            In the Big-10 last week …

Ohio St. 21  Northwestern 7:    Ohio State won – – but did not come close to covering – – over Northwestern in a game dominated by bad weather.

Michigan 52  Rutgers 17:  Michigan struggled early against Rutgers but dominated in the end 52-17.  What do I mean by “dominated”?  Consider:

  • Rutgers total offense = 180 yards
  • Rutgers rushing offense = 14 yards (on 23 carries)
  • Rutgers first downs = 5
  • Rutgers offensive plays = 48  (Michigan ran 80 offensive plays)

Michigan St. 23  Illinois 15:  Looks as if the Illini could not stand prosperity.  Their loss leaves the Big-10 West as up for grabs.  Illinois has 2 conference losses and a game against Michigan still to come.  Four teams in the Big-10 West have 3 conference losses (Iowa, Wisconsin, Purdue and Minnesota).

In the PAC-12 …

Oregon 49  Colorado 10:  Oregon continued to dominate the lower tier of the PAC-12.  Washington comes to visit Oregon this week and then Utah arrives next week before the Ducks close out the season on the road at Oregon St. in the “Civil War” rivalry game.

USC 41  Cal 35:  USC beat Cal by a TD, but the USC defense is almost painful to watch.   I don’t even want to think about what the Total Line for USC vs. Oregon might be if they were to meet in the PAC-12 Championship Game.  It could easily be in the mid-80s.

In other games of interest:

Air Force 13  Army 7:  The Falcons take possession of the Commander-in-Chief Trophy for 2022 having beaten both Army and Navy this season.

UConn 27  UMass 10:  That is 5 wins this year for UConn; they might be bowl eligible.  They have two games left to find a 6th win for the season:

  • Vs. Liberty – – Liberty beat Arkansas last week; this looks bad for the Huskies
  • At Army – – UConn’s chance for an invite to the “Poulin Weed-Eater Bowl”

Rice 37  UTEP 30:  That is Rice’s 5th win for the year as they look for a chance to go to a bowl game.  Here is what is left for the Owls:

  • At W. Kentucky
  • Vs. Texas-San Antonio
  • At North Texas

Here are the teams on my SHOE Tournament radar this week – – presented by their records so far:

  • Akron, Colorado Northwestern UMass and USF are all 1-8 so far in 2022
  • Hawaii and UNC-Charlotte are both 2-8 so far in 2022
  • Arkansas St., BC, Colorado St., New Mexico and Northern Illinois are all 2-7 so far in 2022.

Here is the “race” for the Brothel Defense Award for 2022 as of this week:

  • USF allows 39.6 points per game
  • Colorado allows 40.2 points per game
  • UNC-Charlotte allows 42.8 points per game

[Aside:  Please note that the 3 leading contenders for the Brothel Defense Award are also potential participants in the SHOE Tournament…]


College Football Games of Interest This Week:


            There are a handful of important games on the card this week that I have highlighted here as “big games”.

UNC at Wake Forest – 4 (77):  The Tar Heels are undefeated in ACC games and have a two-game lead in the loss column in the ACC Coastal Division; Wake Forest has 3 conference losses and is pretty much out of it in the ACC Atlantic Division.  The interesting thing here is the Total Line; both teams have good offenses and neither team has anything nearly resembling a “shut-down defense”.

Miami at Ga Tech – 2.5 (44):  After last week’s shellacking at the hands of Florida St., the oddsmakers seem to have abandoned Miami.

Kansas at Texas Tech – 3.5 (64):  Kansas is already bowl-eligible at 6-3 but is pretty much out of it regarding the Big-12 race because all the losses are in conference games.  Texas Tech is 4-5 overall and needs to find 2 wins to play in a bowl game.

Purdue at Illinois – 6.5 (45):  The Illini have a one-game lead in the loss column in the Big-10 West and Purdue is one of the teams chasing Illinois.  As noted above, Illinois has a date with Michigan still to weather so Illinois cannot afford a loss here.  This is a big game.

K-State at Baylor – 3 (52):  This is a big game in the Big-12.  Both teams are 4-2 in conference games, and both hope to be part of the Big-12 Championship Game.

Washington at Oregon – 12.5 (73):  The Total Line opened at 70 points and jumped up to near this level almost immediately.  Oregon must win out to have a shot at the CFP; Washington is under no such pressure.

TCU at Texas – 7.5 (65.5):  Texas (along with K-State and Baylor) has a 4-2 record in Big-12 games; TCU is undefeated for the season.  A win for Texas here could produce a huge disruption in the Big-12 dynamic regarding the CFP.  This is a big game; in fact, this is my College Football Game of the Week.

That line looks fat to me – – particularly with that hook on top of a full TD in the spread; give me undefeated TCU plus the points on the road; put it in the Six-Pack.

Texas A&M at Auburn – 2.5 (48.5):  The Aggies continue to find ways to disappoint; Auburn was sufficiently disappointing for the 2022 season that they got their coach fired.  Call this one the Agony Bowl?

Alabama – 11.5 at Ole Miss (65.5):  The Total Line opened at 62.5 and has been trending upward all week.  Ole Miss and LSU each have 1 conference loss; Alabama has 2 conference losses; all three teams are in the SEC West.  This is a big game.  Ole Miss likes to run the ball; Ole Miss has trouble stopping the run so Alabama should run the ball here too.  That makes for the potential of a low scoring game; so, give me the UNDER here; put it in the Six-Pack.

Wisconsin at Iowa – 1 (35):  Both Wisconsin and Iowa are 3-3 in conference games in the Big-10 West; at the moment, they trail Illinois by only 1 game.  The loser here will be virtually eliminated from the Big-10 West race.  This is a big game.

I know that both teams rely on defense and that neither team has an offense that would scare an Ivy League defensive coordinator, but that Total Line is too low; I like the game to go OVER; put it in the Six-Pack.

LSU – 4 at Arkansas (61.5):  this game has a lot more meaning to LSU than it does to Arkansas.  I wonder if that small spread reflects a suspicion by the oddsmakers that LSU could suffer a let-down after the heroic win over Alabama last week …???

Georgia – 16.5 at Mississippi St. (53.5):  The Georgia Bulldogs are ranked #1 in this week’s CFP ranking and want to keep that situation intact.  I doubt that the Mississippi St. Bulldogs will be able to keep pace here.


NFL Commentary


The NFL season is about at the halfway point – – with an odd number of games and BYE weeks for teams spread out over the course of two months it is hard to identify an exact mid-point – – so maybe it is time to look at some playoff extrapolations.  There are 7 slots in each conference so let me look at the NFC first:

  • I am ready to concede the NFC North title to the Vikes.
  • I like the Eagles and Cowboys to come out of the NFC East
  • Someone has to win the NFC South and make the playoffs – – Bucs or Saints?
  • The “eyeball test” tells me that the Niners are the best team in the NFC West.

So that accounts for 5 NFC teams leaving two open slots:

  • I don’t like anyone else in the NFC North to make the playoffs.  In fact, maybe the second-best team there is the Bears and not the Packers.
  • Can the Giants continue to play relatively error-free football?  If so, they can sneak in too.  The Commanders are not out of it but cannot afford to give games away as they did last week against the Vikes.
  • Only one NFC South team will get in – – Bucs or Saints?
  • The Seahawks have a nice lead in the NFC West and even though I think the Niners will catch them, I doubt that either the Rams or the Cards pose much of a threat.
  • So, the NFC playoff question is which two teams of the Giants, Commanders and Seahawks get the nod.

The AFC is more up in the air.

  • I am ready to concede the AFC South title to the Titans.
  • I like the Chiefs to win the AFC West – – but I am not nearly as confident here as I am about the Titans.  I like the Chiefs to get in the playoffs even if they do not win this division.
  • In the AFC North, I like the Ravens to continue their strong play and win that division.
  • In the AFC East, the Bills will win – – IF Josh Allen’s elbow does not derail the train.

So, who might be the other three playoff teams…?

  • As of this morning, give me the Dolphins, Jets and Chargers.
  • Other threats for those playoff positions are the Bengals, Pats – – and the Browns if they can stay close until Deshaun Watson is eligible to play come December and assuming he can play at 80-90% of his capability after about a two-year layoff.
  • And remember – – IF Josh Allen’s elbow has him on the shelf for a while …

Here are some general comments from last week’s NFL results:

Four games last Sunday finished with a 20-17 score.

Vikes beat Commanders 20-17 moving the Vikes to 7-1 for the season – – the only loss was to the Eagles who are 8-0.  The Commanders led 17-10 in the fourth quarter and squandered the lead when QB Taylor Heinicke threw a brutally ugly INT that led to a Vikings’ TD.

Jets beat Buffalo 20-17 moving the Jets to half a game behind the Bills in the AFC East race.  Josh Allen was sacked 5 times in the game.

Chargers beat Falcons 20-17 demoting the Falcons to second place in the NFC South.

Chiefs beat Titans 20-17 in OT in a battle of division leaders.  The Chiefs were 13-point favorites in the game, but it took heroic measures by Patrick Mahomes late in the 4th quarter and then again in OT to pull out this win.

Dolphins beat the Bears 35-32.  The Bears have scored a total of 61 points in their last two games – – and lost both.  Over the last two weeks, the Bears traded away Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith from their defense…

Jags beat Raiders 27-20 after the Raiders ran out to a 17-0 lead in the first half.  Scoring 20 points will not get it done for the Raiders in 2022 because that defense has yet to hold a team under 20 in a game.  Trevor Lawrence was 25 of 31 for 235 yards and 1 TD in the game.

The Lions beat the Packers 15-9.  The Packers outgained the Lions by 135 yards and held the ball for 34:42 in the game.  Normally, that translates to a win, but 3 Packers’ turnovers (all INTs by Aaron Rodgers) gave the Lions their second win of the season and may have doomed the Packers to non-playoff status for 2022.  So, is it now fair to ask:

  • Did Rodgers’ “ayahuasca event” in Peru have another effect beyond giving Rodgers the ability to love his teammates unconditionally?

The Packers are now 3-6 and the rest of their November schedule looks tough:

  • Vs. Cowboys (this week)
  • Vs. Titans
  • At Eagles
  • Packers might be 3-9 when December starts…

The Bucs beat the Rams 16-13 in a snoozer of a game.  Cam Akers was let out of the coaches’ doghouse for this game; he might be returning there after carrying the ball 5 times for 3 yards.  The Rams managed to make only 9 first downs in the entire game.  Absent a miracle, the Rams are toast – – and they had to put QB Matthew Stafford in the concussion protocol this week.


NFL Games This Week:


            There are 4 teams on their BYE Week this week:

  1. Bengals:  They must hope that another week off will get Jamarr Chase back near full capacity.  He is a significant weapon for the Bengals’ offense.
  2. Jets:  I think the Jets’ defense can carry them to the playoffs this year – – but they need to use this time off to coach up Zack Wilson on how to avoid boneheaded plays that produce backbreaking results.
  3. Ravens:  They have a one-game lead in the AFC North and just need to keep on grinding.
  4. Pats:  Their defense is good – – but not good enough to carry a really vanilla offense.  They need to use this week to infuse some life in that offense.

(Sun Morning) Seahawks vs Bucs – 2.5 (44)  [Game is in Munich Germany]:  The Seahawks have won 4 games in a row; the Bucs have looked truly mediocre for the last month despite a win last week over the Rams.  I do not understand this line at all, but I do not want to back Geno Smith against Tom Brady either.  I think the game comes down to something simple:

  • Seahawks like to run the ball to set up their pass game
  • One thing the Bucs do well is stop the run.
  • Ergo …

Jags at Chiefs – 9.5 (51):  This could be a sandwich game for the Chiefs after beating division leading Titans last week and facing their closest AFC West rival – – Chargers – – next week.  The Jags’ record this year is 3-6 but consider:

  • They are +21 in points differential
  • All 6 losses have been by one-score

I do not think there is an upset brewing here, but I do think that line is fat; give me the Jags plus those points; put it in the Six-Pack.

Texans at Giants – 4 (41):  The Total Line opened at 38 and has climbed to this level for no known reason.  The Giants’ offense starts with Saquon Barkley running the football; the Texans have given up 100+ yards in 7 of their 8 games this year.  The Texans’ offense also starts with the run game and the Giants’ run defense is not super-good.  That is why the Total Line opened as low as 38 points and it does not seem to me that much has happened in the last week to add a field goal to the original estimate.

Saints – 1.5 at Steelers (40):  The spread opened as a “pick ‘em game”.  The Saints can still win their division because no one else in their division is particularly good.  That should give them a slight motivational edge over the Steelers who are not going to win their division and should be looking forward to 2023 pretty soon.  When Andy Dalton was with the Bengals, he played the Steelers 16 times and won only 3 of those games.  I gave this game consideration for the Dog-Breath Game of the Week.

Lions at Bears – 2.5 (48):  Had you shown me this week’s schedule in August, I would have predicted this game to be the Dog-Breath Game of the Week, but it will have to take a back seat to one that comes later.  The Bears’ offense has come to life in the last two weeks as Justin Field has been running and passing with great efficiency; they have scored 61 points in the last two games and lost both.  The Lions’ defense gives up almost 30 points per game.  I am so tempted to take the OVER here …

Browns at Dolphins – 3.5 (49.5):  This is an important game for both teams.  The Browns are still within hailing distance of a playoff spot, and they do have Deshaun Watson on tap starting in early December.  They have 5 losses to date and need to avoid another one here.  Meanwhile the Dolphins are tied with the Jets at 6-3 in the AFC East and that puts them only a half-game behind the Bills in that race – – and the Bills might have a QB with a bum elbow.  The Dolphins need to avoid a loss here too.

Vikes at Bills – 3 (43):  This Total Line opened the week at 46 points.  The Josh Allen elbow situation likely drove the number down to this level.   The spread opened at 6 points and has collapsed to this level likely for the same reason.  I cannot make a selection in the game with that level of uncertainty surrounding the key player for the Bills’ offense.

Broncos at Titans – 3 (39):  The Broncos had a BYE Week last week; the Titans hope to have Ryan Tannehill back from injury this week.  Let me be clear; Ryan Tannehill is not a great QB – – but as of this date, he is far more capable than Malik Willis; Tannehill would be a major upgrade here.

Colts at Raiders – 4.5 (41.5):  The spread opened at 6 points and has shrunk as the week progressed.  This is my Dog-Breath Game of the Week for so many reasons:

  • This is Jeff Saturday’s coaching debut at something over the high school level.
  • “Reports say” that some of the Colts’ players are upset with that selection
  • Can the Raiders’ defensive staff get hold of game tape from Hebron Christian Academy games from a few years ago?
  • Rookie QB Sam Ehlinger will have a play-caller who has never called plays before
  • And then – – there is the clown show known as the Las Vegas Raiders’ defense…

I would not trust either team any further than I can throw a piano with my left hand.

Cards at Rams – 1.5 (40.5):  Both teams are stinking out the joint in 2022.  The Rams are a mess; they cannot – – or will not – – run the football and Cooper Kupp is their only pass catcher who gets open more than occasionally.  And – – Matthew Stafford was in concussion protocol this week.  On the other sideline are the Cards whose record is 3-6 and whose defense gives up 27 points per game.  Not a pretty picture here…

Cowboys – 4 at Packers (44.5):  Last night on the Amazon streamcast, Al Michaels was hyping this one as the late afternoon national game and said the question was:

  • Can the Packers save their season here?

The Cowboys are tied with the Giants in the NFC East two games behind the Eagles.  If the Packers lose, they can just “pack it in” so to speak; if the Cowboys lose, they put a playoff slot in jeopardy.

  • Motivation Edge = Cowboys

The Cowboys’ defense ought to be fired up for this game after watching last week’s tape where the Packers scored all of 9 points against the Lions.  I said against the LIONS!

I think this is a blowout game; I’ll take the Cowboys to win and cover on the road as Mike McCarthy wins a revenge game in Green Bay; put it in the Six-Pack.

(Sun Nite) Chargers at Niners – 7 (45):  This is the Game of the Week.  These are both good teams in second place in their division who need to win this game on this date.  I think there are two factors to consider here:

  • The Chargers are on the road for the second straight week while the Niners had a BYE last week.
  • The Niners like to run the ball and they run it well; the Chargers’ defensive weakness is defending the run.

This should be an exciting game where both teams leave everything on the field; I think the Niners prevail here; give me the Niners to win and cover; put it in the Six-Pack.

(Mon Nite) Commanders at Eagles – 11 (44):  The Commanders can still see a path to the playoffs, but a loss here would blur their vision.  Their defense has played well for the last 3 or 4 games and that will have to continue against the Eagles who come to the game with a “mini-BYE” since they played on Thursday last week and on Monday Night this week.  If you like the Commanders to win outright here, they are the longest shot on the board this week on the Money Line at +425.  I’ll pass…

Let me review the Six-Pack here:

  • TCU +7.5 against Texas
  • Alabama/Ole Miss UNDER 65.5
  • Wisconsin/Iowa OVER 35
  • Jags +9.5 against Chiefs
  • Cowboys – 4.5 over Packers
  • Niners – 7 over Chargers

            Here are four Money Line Parlays for this week:

  • Cowboys @ minus-215
  • Dolphins @ minus-175                     To win $130

And …

  • Bears @ minus-145
  • Giants @ minus-225                         To win $144

And …

  • Cowboys
  • Dolphins
  • Bears
  • Giants  Money Lines as above             To win $462

And just for fun…

  • TCU @ +240
  • UNC @+160                                       To win $784

            Finally, let me close today with this item from The Official Dictionary of Sarcasm:

Kafka, Franz:  Czech-born author of the early twentieth century whose nightmarish novels feature tormented souls plagued by personal demons and kept in a suffocating state of repression by an uncaring and dominant government.  ‘The Feel-Good Writer of the Year’ (Prague Morning Herald, 1921)”

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