Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Thoughts on Opening Win Totals

Vegas has put out their opening win totals for each teams' regular season wins. Not surprisingly, Florida leads the pack with 11 (more on that below) and Washington State brings up the rear with 3.

I was somewhat expecting an 11.5 Florida number from Vegas considering they have UF picked by double digits in every game currently. Vegas will never predict a team go undefeated because, well, how would you bet the over? These guys are smarter than you think and there is a reason casinos get bigger and more numerous, but there are always pockets of opportunity.

Lets start with the "Overs" I like:
Alabama - 9.5
Ga Tech - 8.5
Georgia - 8
FSU - 7.5
NC State - 7
Duke - 3.5
USC - 10
Oklahoma - 9.5


Now to the "Unders"
Auburn - 6.5
West Virginia - 8.5
Texas Tech - 8
Penn State - 9.5
Purdue - 5.5

To give a rough overview on Vegas does this, they set a W/L odds on each game for each team. Even though a team may be favored to win every game, their odds are not 100% to win that game. The odds of winning each game are averaged out on a scale of 12 to get a win total.

Onto the Conference Championships Odds...
Florida is listed at 1/2 and that isn't a bad bet. For value, the one I especially like is Alabama at 9/2. The Tide may not be better than Florida, but they have enough talent to stay with them and maybe they catch a break or two. Ole Miss is 9/2 also, but I don't like them nearly as much against Florida.

Over in the ACC, Va Tech is the favorite at 5/2. Both Clemson and FSU are 4/1, but if you are going to chose one, I like FSU. My best value bet is Georgia Tech at 6/1. I think the winner is coming from the Coastal this year and GT gets VT at home during the regular season. NC State and North Carolina aren't bad bets at 8/1 either.

National Championship...
Florida is the favorite at 2/1, but what is interesting is that Oklahoma (9/2) is favored over Texas (11/2) even though Texas has a higher win total (10.5) and better odds to win the Big 12 (13/10). And Mack Brown has shown he can win the big game lately; Bob Stoops has not.

Outside of Florida and Texas, I think Alabama has very good value at 15/1.

You can check out the odds and win totals here (from VegasInsider.com).

What are you thoughts? See any good value out there?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ranking The Toughest SEC Stadiums

A few days ago I ranked the ACC stadiums, now it is the SEC's turn. The last eight seasons home record was used just like for the ACC. On average, the SEC wins about two thirds of their home games and are underdogs just under twice per year.

12. Vanderbilt - Vanderbilt Stadium

00-08 Record: 20-38 (.345)

FBS Rank: 116
Games as Underdog: 32

08 Home Record: 4-3


The Commodores fall into the Duke category with a stadium that people say is tough to win at, but the data doesn't back that up. Even as an underdog 32 times, Vandy has lost 38 times at home. Vandy lacks a true home crowd as many times the fans are at least 1/3 opposition.


11. Mississippi State - Davis Wade Stadium

00-08 Record: 25-31 (.446)

FBS Rank: 104

Games as Underdog: 31

08 Home Record: 4-2


The Bulldogs surprised me a little with their overall record close to 50%. The cowbells can get very loud, just ask Florida who has had considerable trouble in Starkville lately.


10. Kentucky - Commonwealth Stadium

00-08 Record: 29-31 (.483)

FBS Rank: 98

Games as Underdog: 29

08 Home Record: 4-3

The Bluegrass state turns UK's Commonwealth Stadium blue on football saturdays with a fan base that does not show total bias to its highly successful basketball program. Kentucky can be very cold road trip in November for warm weather teams. Rich Brooks has lifted the program to new heights including a home win over then #1 LSU in 2007.


9. Ole Miss - Vaught Hemmingway Stadium

00-08 Record: 36-24 (.600)

FBS Rank: 70

Games as Underdog: 17

08 Home Record: 5-2


The real attraction at Ole Miss is tailgating in The Grove. The Rebels have won a respectable 60% of their games in Oxford since 2000. But oddsmakers have Ole Miss rated a little too high with 24 losses in only 17 times as an underdog. Oh well, at least there are some pretty girls hanging out before, during, and after.


8. South Carolina - Williams Brice Stadium

00-08 Record: 39-22 (.639)

FBS Rank: 56

Games as Underdog: 22

08 Home Record: 5-2


They may have the best entrance in the SEC, but the Gamecocks have been very average at home this decade. But you have to give the Gamecock fans credit because they pack this stadium full every year with hopes of finally obtaining that elusive SEC title.

7. Alabama - Bryant-Denny Stadium

00-08 Record: 43-21 (.672)

FBS Rank: 50

Games as Underdog: 12

08 Home Record: 7-0


This will be the first controversial stat in the list and I agree; this record is largely because of the Mike Dubose and Mike Shula tenures. Nick Saban has brought a new attitude to Tuscaloosa as evidenced by his undefeated home mark in 2008. Bryant-Denny Stadium is sure to rise in the coming years with Saban stalking the home sideline.


6. Arkansas - Reynolds Razorback Stadium

00-08 Record: 45-20 (.692)

FBS Rank: 42

Games as Underdog: 18

08 Home Record: 4-3


Expect to hear the Callling of the Hogs at least once or twice every five minutes when you visit Fayetteville. The Razorbacks have been very steady at home over the years and should be improving over last year as Bobby Petrino enters year two at the helm.

5. Tennessee - Neyland Stadium

00-08 Record: 45-16 (.738)

FBS Rank: 35
Games as Underdog: 9

08 Home Record: 4-3


The Volunteer Navy lines up outside the largest stadium in the SEC on the banks of the Tennessee River for home games. Expect to hear Rocky Top with any remotely good play for UT. The Vols have suffered a little bit as of late in a stadium that only the Florida Gators could win in during most of Philip Fulmers' years. New coach Lane Kiffin looks to return Neyland to a house of horrors for opponents.


4. Auburn - Jordan-Hare Stadium

00-08 Record: 51-13 (.797)

FBS Rank: 15

Games as Underdog: 6

08 Home Record: 4-3


Auburn ranks 15th nationally, but that is good for just fourth in the SEC. The Eagle flight is hard to beat as a non-team entrance in college football. New head coach Gene Chizik has his work cut out for him to reach the heights of his predecessor though.


3. Georgia - Sanford Stadium

00-08 Record: 47-10 (.825)

FBS Rank: 11
Games as Underdog: 3

08 Home Record: 4-2


UGA has played the least number of homes games in the SEC over the last eight seasons, losing a home game to the Fla-Ga series every other year. But the Bulldogs have been underdogs just three times in those 57 games and lost only 10. Georgia is the only team to have a better record on the road than at home since 2000; watch out Oklahoma State!


2. LSU - Tiger Stadium aka Death Valley

00-08 Record: 54-10 (.844)

FBS Rank: 10

Games as Underdog: 5

08 Home Record: 5-3


Tiger Stadium on a Saturday night is one of the top college football road trips. And the Tigers have not disappointed their faithful very much lately with an SEC leading 54 homes. A late, game winning touchdown throw vs Auburn in 1988 registered seismic activity on the Universities Richter Scale. 2008 was a hiccup year for LSU and I look for them improve in '09.



1. Florida - Ben Hill Griffin Stadium aka The Swamp

00-08 Record: 49-9 (.845)

FBS Rank: 9

Games as Underdog: 1

08 Home Record: 6-1


Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, coined The Swamp by Steve Spurrier, is no surprise at #1 on the list. Florida has been an underdog just once since 2000. The stadium has had many SEC and National Championship races decided on its surface, including numerous classics with rival FSU. Urban Meyer does not look to be letting up on opponents any time soon either so expect The Swamp to stay here a while.


What are your thoughts on the toughest stadiums in the SEC?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ranking ACC Stadiums

Camp is just about three weeks away for most teams so we have some time to squeeze in a few more lists to get you through the Summer.

When teams say a stadium is "tough to win in", the team they are playing usually has a good amount to do with the validity of that statement. Today, I am going to rank the toughest stadiums in the ACC using overall home records over the last eight seasons.

12. Duke - Wallace Wade Stadium
2000-2008 Home Record: 10-44 (.185)
FBS Rank: 120
Games as Underdog: 43

Some say Duke is tough to win at because there is a small crowd and very little energy in the stadium, but opponents still come out with a victory over 80% of the time. Duke ranks dead last in FBS in home winning percentage since 2000. A bright spot was Duke 43% home winning percentage in 2008 under first year coach David Cutcliffe.


11. North Carolina - Kenan Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 28-28 (.500)
FBS Rank: 94
Games as Underdog: 26

The Tar Heels may have the prettiest setting in the ACC, but only manage to win half of the time lately. UNC was an underdog just under half of the time too so the oddsmakers have them pegged pretty well. Butch Davis went 5-2 at home in his second season last year so things are looking up.

10. Wake Forest - BB & T Field
00-08 Home Record: 30-26 (.536)
FBS Rank: 85
Games as Underdog: 21

The Demon Deacons have done some damage in the ACC the past few years but are below average for the conference in Winston Salem. Wake has lost five more times than they were underdogs, but did post a 5-2 record last year.

9. NC State - Carter-Finley Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 36-24 (.600)
FBS Rank: 72
Games as Underdog: 20

The Wolfpack were a menace under Chuck Amato especially when Philip Rivers was around. Now Tom O'Brien is trying to rebuild a program who has made major renovations to their stadium over the last few years. The Wolfpack need to improve on a 4-3 record last year to move up.

8. Georgia Tech - Bobby Dodd Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 39-18 (.684)
FBS Rank: 43
Games as Underdog: 13

The Yellow Jackets play in FBS' oldest stadium and it has been pretty good to them over the years. This is also one of the few BCS stadiums in a major urban area. One area of concern is the 18 home losses vs 13 times as an underdog. Paul Johnson went 6-1 at home in year one.

7. Clemson - Memorial Stadium aka "Death Valley"
00-08 Home Record: 44-16 (.733)
FBS Rank: 37
Games as Underdog: 13

Clemson's Death Valley may be the loudest stadium in the ACC. Players rub Howard's Rock and run down the hill for their entrance. Despite some up and down seasons as of late, the Tigers have won roughly three out of every four home games. Clemson was a respectable 5-2 last season.


6. Virginia - Scott Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 42-15 (.737)
FBS Rank: 36
Games as Underdog: 23

The first surprise on the list to many is in Charlottesville. The most remarkable stat about UVA is their 23 games as an underdog with just 15 losses; this difference is tops in the nation. However, the Cavs went just 4-3 in 2008 at home.

5. Florida State - Doak Campbell Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 42-14 (.750)
FBS Rank: 29
Games as Underdog: 4

Once impossible to win at, Doak Campbell has slipped in stature along with the Seminoles. Attesting to the former dominance is evidenced by FSU being an underdog just four times at home in the last eight seasons. But FSU has lost 14 times and that 10 game difference is second nationally.

4. Maryland - Byrd Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 43-14 (.754)
FBS Rank: 27
Games as Underdog: 18

This was the biggest surprise to me, but Maryland's record at home is very, very good. Even in an average year like 2008, the Terps still went 6-1 in College Park. Upon Ralph Friedgen's arrival, Maryland experienced a few undefeated seasons at home.

3. Boston College - Alumni Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 45-12 (.789)
FBS Rank: 19
Games as Underdog: 9

BC, a relative newcomer to the ACC, shouldn't be too much of a surprise here as they have played in the last two ACC Championship Games. The Eagles went 5-2 in Chesnut Hill last season.

2. Miami - Land Shark Stadium/Orange Bowl
00-08 Home Record: 46-11 (.807)
FBS Rank: 13
Games as Underdog: 3

The Hurricanes recently moved out of their long time home into the Miami Dolphins facility. In the 80s and early 90s Miami was impossible to beat at home winning 58 straight at one point. Times are not as good as they used to be and Miami went just 4-2 last season. But their success early in the decade vaults them near the top.

1. Virginia Tech - Lane Stadium
00-08 Home Record: 52-9 (.852)
FBS Rank: 8
Games as Underdog: 3

No surprise here with the Metallica entrance spelling doom for most visitors. Nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Lane Stadium was very kind to the Hokies in 2008 as they went undefeated at home.
General thoughts on the rankings-
On average, the ACC went 38-19 (.664) at home over the past eight seasons and was underdogs twice per year. I thought about different ways of ranking the stadiums - just use 2008 record, use the current coaches home record, use ATS data, etc. Using just last season is too small a data point. ATS data is good, but punishes really good teams who are often favored. The current coaches record I think could be a suitable replacement for my data but coaches have varying tenures so you are not pulling the same number of data points for each.

I found overall record was the best indicator because even if a stadium is tough to win in, its overall record is the biggest determinant. I have heard coaches and players say Duke is tough to play because of the small crowd and lack of energy, but the record does not back this up. Certain stadiums like Clemson's may be louder, but BC's much smaller home field has been tougher to win at than the Tigers.


Obviously with certain teams on the upswing and others on the downswing, this ranking is by no means a reflection of what teams' home records will be this year.

What are your thoughts on what are the toughest stadiums in the ACC?

Friday, July 17, 2009

STOP THE PRESSES!

Tony Barnhart, aka Mr College Football, tell us that the SEC had 3 unanimous selections by the coaches to first team all-conference - LSU T Ciron Black, Alabama WR Julio Jones, and Tennessee S Eric Berry. Oh ok. Nice info. Hey, wait a second. WHERE IS TEBOW? Coaches were not allowed to vote for their own players so it wasn't Ole Miss' Houston Nutt voting for Jevan Snead.


Here is my list of candidates:
1. Lane Kiffin
Lane has shown a disdain for everything Gator (except his wife). This may be just another shot across the bow to Urban Meyer. September 19 is going to be fun.

2. Mark Richt
Could Richt be continuing the antics he started against Florida he started in 2007 with the favor returned by Meyer in 2008? Richt seems like a nice guy on the outside, but he has does have that killer instinct that has given him 2 SEC Championships.

3. Nick Saban
Nick is still fuming that Alabama lost the SEC Championship Game and a chance at a BCS Championship. I think Saban respects Tebow, but that doesn't mean he likes him.


4. Les Miles
Les has been know to do crazy things in his time. Maybe he thinks the Gators rubbed it in a litle too much in last year's 51-21 loss.

5. Steve Spurrier
Spurrier might have voted for himself seeing that was the first Heisman QB winner from Florida. Some say the Ol' Ball Coach has lost his touch, but tell him that.

Who do you think it was?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Lucky 7 Links For Thursday

ACC News
Tommy Bowden did not step down on his own will?!? Shocking!. Next it will come out that Tommy Tuberville was fired at Auburn.

State Fans Nation (one of the best NC State blogs out there) makes the case against Clemson in the Atlantic Division. And therefore, pumps up the Pack's chances in a wide open division.

The Legacyx4 breaks down ACC teams are how many plays it took them to score a TD in 2008. I was definitely surprised to see Miami near the top. VT near the bottom didn't surprise too much considering they get a decent amount of points off defense and special teams.

Tomahawk Nation
did a roast of Bobby Bowden. It is about as funny as you would think.

SEC News
ESPN's Chris Low puts out his all East and all West team for this year. Kinda a cop out so he could get Nick Saban and Urban Meyer as coaches.

We all know Tennessee holds the current NCAA record for most consecutive defeats of a team (Kentucky), but did you know UT players like to party in Lexington too?

CollegeGameBalls breaks down the last five years in terms of wins and losses. You guessed it USC is #1. Va Tech is at #5 followed by LSU (6) and Florida (7) and Georgia at #9. Boston College ranks 12th in wins and Tulsa, Navy, and Hawaii all have more wins than FSU.

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Monday, July 13, 2009

10 Links For Tuesday: 5 ACC Stories, 5 SEC Stories

SEC News
ESPN has hired former Georgia greats Matt Stinchcomb and David Pollack for their expanded SEC coverage this season. I don't get the logic behind Pollack. He is on here in Atlanta doing a afternoon show and sounds very unpolished. Maybe ESPN was listening too much to his counterpart Mike Bell and has mistaken Pollack for being a genius in comparison.

Orlando Sentinel back again with the 10 most powerful people in the SEC. Interesting that Nick Saban is above Florida AD Jeremy Foley and Urban Meyer. Paul Finebaum makes an appearance at number nine, but I am sure he is pissed that Tim Tebow beat him out (5).

Tony Barnhart asks if anyone can stay with Florida in the East. If the Gators come to play 12 Saturdays next fall, I say 'No'.

Is South Carolina headed up or down in year five of Spurrier in Columbia? Funny how Stephen Garcia is listed as a reason South Carolina will better and worse.

Sporting News ranks their top coaches. Urban Meyer is #1. Nick Saban #2. Les Miles and Frank Beamer are in the top. Paul Johnson, Butch Davis, and Tom O'Brien make their "Five with sights on the top five" list. I ranked the coaches in the ACC and SEC a little while ago.

ACC News
Mr. College Football, aka Tony Barnhart, asks if GT can stay with VT in the ACC.

Tony elegantly points out that it may the other teams, not VT, that trip Georgia Tech up.
With a three-game stretch against Clemson (Sept. 10), at Miami (Sept. 17) and North Carolina (Sept. 26), we’ll find out about the defense.
Five reasons Clemson may be better in '09 and five reasons why they may be worse.

ACC Football doesn't sell like SEC Football though Commissioner John Swofford hopes it will.

Caulton Tudor gives the ACC coaching hot seat a dust off.

ESPN has announced their Thursday night Football schedule and it has a distinct ACC flair.



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Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thoughts on Early College Football Lines

The Golden Nugget has some early lines for the football season. Some observations on games of interest. Link

1003 GEORGIA
1004 OKLAHOMA ST. -3
Okie St is basically getting the home field points in the opener. I am assuming Vegas knows Richt's road record?!?!

1007 VIRG. TECH @ATLANTA GA
1008 ALABAMA -4
People are going to jump all over Alabama at -4. No one outside the ACC respects the ACC.

1027 USC -6½
1028 OHIO ST.
I like tOSU at +6.5 to USC with a new QB on the road for the first time. Not sure if that is enough to get the Buckeyes the outright win.

1031 GEORGIA TECH
1032 MIAMI (FL) -4
At first this one seems like a head scratcher, but lets investigate more. This will be GT's second Thurs game in a row and on the road. Tough to win back to back Thursday games.

1037 TENNESSEE
1038 FLORIDA -27
Depends on what mood Urban Meyer is in that day. He may wake up feeling great and sympathetic. He may not.

1061 ARIZONA ST.
1062 GEORGIA -14
I really like UGA on this line. The Sun Devils are annually overrated. Their women are not.

source: SI.com

1091 AUBURN
1092 TENNESSEE -6
This may be the only game where the total and spread are the exact same.

1107 ALABAMA
1108 MISSISSIPPI -3
Ole Miss getting the home spread, but not any more.

1101 FLORIDA -11
1102 LSU
Florida -11 @ LSU..WOW that seems like a lot for Saturday night in Baton Rouge.

1123 OKLAHOMA @DALLAS TX
1124 TEXAS -3
Early edge to Texas in a neutral site game.

1127 VIRGINIA TECH
1128 GEORGIA TECH -6
Seems a little high right now, considering GT is underdog to Miami and FSU. GT getting 2-3 points besides the home field.

1141 BOSTON COLLEGE
1142 NOTRE DAME -7
Outside of USC and Pitt(huh?), looks like ND will be favored in every game. Here comes the national title talk. Meanwhile, Utah has had two undefeated seasons since ND's last national championship.

1157 GEORGIA @JACKSONVL, FL
1158 FLORIDA -16
I could see this one being -6 or -26. Again, depends on Meyer's motivation.

1217 FLORIDA ST.
1218 FLORIDA -20
That wouldn't be a very nice way to send Bobby out.


1219 GEORGIA
1220 GEORGIA TECH -1
Basically saying on a neutral site that UGA wins.

1225 CLEMSON PICK
1226 SOUTH CAROLINA
Looks spot on to me.

What are your thoughts?

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Thursday, July 9, 2009

Links To Distract You From Work On A Friday

The Junkyard Blawg over at the AJC has a poll up asking UGA fans who the best player ever is. Is there even a question it is Herschel Walker?
Link

The GT Blog at the AJC takes a look at ACC Basketball after all the draft day decisions came in. Mark Bradley also chimes in with an early top 10 for next year appeasing some of his readers by putting GT at #10. Seems like just a throw in at #10.
Link

Tony Barnhart at the AJC takes a look at the ACC Atlantic today. I value Tony's opinion about as highly as anyone who covers college football.
Link

UGA joins the secondary violation train. Don't worry, it is kinda like the conga line at a wedding party. Everybody is doing it and they think you are not having fun if you don't (a quick google search yields multiple schools).

I found it interesting that Matthew Stafford was part of one violation for NFL tickets because I stood right next to the future #1 draft pick at the 2008 Masters at the 12th teebox. Hardly anyone recognized him despite the throngs of UGA fans. But it brings up an interesting point because Stafford would have technically had to pay for those tickets while his classmate in Business 101 could get them scot free.

Link

And GoGamecocks.com asks if all secondary violations are the same?

The guys over at BC Interruption discuss how scared ACC teams should be of new HC Frank Spaziani. Spaz is a longtime DC at BC but is their third HC in the last four years.
Link

Here is your daily Urban Meyer to Notre Dame rumor. This time suggesting that Meyer is concerned with Nick Saban's talent stocking at Alabama. Uh, I think Meyer is doing just fine at Florida and if the two stay at their respective schools for the next 5 years, I think the Gators will win just as many SEC titles than Alabama. And Meyer would be stupid to leave Florida for Notre Dame.
Link

Augusta Chronicle profiles Georgia, Georgia Tech, South Carolina, and Clemson's chances according to the major preseason magazines.
Link

Fanblogs asks if there is a really a debate for the SEC vs Big 12? I say no and the SEC proved it last bowl season.
Link

Gator Sports Nation profiles three games that could sink Florida's title hopes. I definitely agree with #1 (UGA), but Miss State at #2 leaves me perplexed. I don't think Dan Mullen has a chance in his first year in Starkville with the lowest number of returning starters in the SEC and a new offensive scheme already void of talent.
Link

10 Questions with ACC Commish John Swofford
Link

The Gainesville Times discusses what college football means in the South. Basically everything.
Link

Chris Low of ESPN ranks SEC stadiums
Link

A Navy Blog, The Birddog, has a great write up breaking down Paul Johnson's spread, triple option offense. Despite rumors of its demise, I think GT gets better at running it in year two than defenses do stopping it.
Link

Here is a list of major infractions by school. Congratulations to SMU (given) and Arizona State (are the girls there not good enough to get kids on campus?)
Link

the Ohio State University football program has reported 375 violations to the NCAA since 2000, the most of any school. Keep it classy Tressel. By the way, whatever happened with Maurice Clarett's allegations?
Link

Phil Steele has some interesting tidbits about college football over the last five years (and all time).
Link

Vanderbilt Baseball makes a huge hire getting Arizona State's recruiting coordinator.
Link

The Wall Strett Journal profiles the best baseball schools for turning out talent. Miami and Kentucky are mentioned prominently. That's right, Kentucky.
Link

Miami is leaning on the upperclassmen in '09. They need to with Randy Shannon feeling a little bit of heat after two subpar seasons for the Canes.
Link

The Orlando Sentinel ranks the 10 (actually 20) most powerful people in the ACC. Duke and North Carolina are represented well.
Link

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