Monday, November 26, 2012

FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher Discusses Georgia Tech Prep Without Star Lineman

"As [Jimbo] Fisher noted, this won't be easy. [Tank] Carradine was very good. He'll be on the All-ACC first team.His replacements will consist of Giorgio Newberry and Mario Edwards Jr., both of whom were highly rated recruits, but who have not been standout players on their second and first years, respectively. Florida took advantage of them Saturday, and they'll have to show more discipline against Georgia Tech."

Tomahawk Nation: Florida State defensive end Tank Carradine tears ACL: Who replaces him?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Matt Barkley Is Good For College Football

I know it helped Barkley's family was ok with or without a NFL paycheck, but something tells me he will be successful in the pros and beyond because of this experience.

Barkley and the Trojans thought they had a shot at the Heisman Trophy and the national title. They'll get neither, yet they're still having fun.

"It didn't turn out the way I planned," Barkley said. "But I think over these last four years, and especially this year, I've learned so much. (I've) grown, matured a lot since last year I really think, and that will prepare me for the next level and for later in life. I don't regret it one bit."

Barkley: I'm not sorry I stayed at USC


SEC Domination of College Football Revealed


2012 November 23 18 7 57
30FPS: You, too, can be on the SEC Academic Honor Roll:

ESPN Showed This In The Clemson South Carolina Game

FCC! FCC!


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Orange Bowl or Bust For Georgia Tech?


According to Jerry Palm of NCAA Tournament brackets and RPIs, Georgia Tech will have to beat Florida State in the ACC Championship Game or their season will be over.



The Yellow Jackets thought they were bowl eligible after beating Duke last week to get to six wins, but a loss to Georgia today couple with 70 teams now being bowl eligible means GT will not get into a bowl at 6-7.

Wins by Rice, Purdue, Ole Miss, and West Virginia push the Yellow Jackets out of the bowl bids unless Georgia Tech can pull off a monumental upset of FSU.


Georgia vs Georgia Tech Recruiting Rankings Make Bulldogs Win No Surprise

UGA's wins on National Signing Day Makes wins in November easy
UGA defeated the Yellow Jackets 42-10 on Saturday for their fourth straight win in the series, and it could have been a lot worse since the Bulldogs pulled their starters for the last 10 minutes of the game.

Georgia scored easily on their first possession after getting to midfield on the opening kickoff return.

The Jackets responded with a drive down to the one yard line before fumbling having the ball ripped out of their players' hand after carrying two defender for several yards. Georgia Tech would not get any closer than this Saturday.

But the outcome of this game was decided back in February, the last four February's in fact.

I could have coached UGA today and won.

 I am not taking anything away from Mark Richt (still don't understand why UGA fans want to fire this guy every year), but it is a fact I could have been on the headset and beaten Georgia Tech today.

Over the last four years Georgia's recruiting classes have ranked 6th, 15th, 5th, and 12th by Rivals.com.  Over the same period, Georgia Tech's have ranked 49th, 43rd, 41st, and 56th.

That is a huge talent disparity that even a coach as good at X's and O's as Paul Johnson cannot close.  

Georgia vs Georgia Tech Recruiting Rankings Last 5 Years From Rivals.com


School 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 5 yr avg 4 yr avg Weighted" Avg
Georgia 7 6 15 5 12 9.0 9.4 8.9
Georgia Tech 49 49 43 41 56 47.6 47.3 46.5

I have used what I am calling a "weighted" average to incorporate all five classes which could still be on the respective rosters.  It gives 11 "points" among the five classes - 1 for 2008, 4 for 2009, 3 for 2010, 2 for 2011, and 1 for 2012.  The rankings for the Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets don't change much with this ranking either.

Georgia Tech has many reasons why it does not recruit at a level near what Georgia does - some self inflicted, some note.  

Paul Johnson likes to dismiss recruiting rankings whenever they are brought up, but on Saturday they were staring him right in the face (and bodyslamming his recruited players to the ground in the process).

Yellow Jacket fans should save their angst for losses to other schools and in other sports to Georgia. 

Until Georgia Tech can close this talent disparity, results like Saturday's will continue against UGA on the gridiron.  

UGA vs Georgia Tech Prop Bets

As of Friday night, Sportsbook.ag has eight prop bets up for the Georgia - Georgia Tech game.

The most tempting bet to me is the "Will Either Team Score in the First 5 Minutes?" I would take Yes on this one considering the way the Yellow Jackets have been moving the ball recently and how poorly their defense has been all season combined with a powerful and underrated Bulldogs offense.

However, I normally stay away from prop bets. Do you like any of these bets?


Friday, November 23, 2012

Rivalry Week ATS Picks: Notre Dame Survives USC To Advance To BCS Championship Game

The Song Girls may not have much to cheer about vs Notre Dame
Two straight 2-3 ATS weeks have not deterred me with a season mark of 22-12-1 still going strong. I should have gone with my "other games to watch" where I was 3-1.

Rivalry week presents some new dynamics into games, but we have also at least 10 games of data to go off so motivation can take a team only so far. Don't be fooled into an "Auburn can win this one because they want to ruin Alabama's season" mentality. The Tigers simply do not have the talent nor the coaching to beat the Tide Saturday (though maybe they can cover 33 points? - I will leave that up to you).

On to this week's picks hoping to improve on my 65% winning percentage.

Northwestern -19 vs Illinois 12ET

The Wildcats have largely been good to me posting an ATS and SU win last week at Michigan State. All of my metrics have Northwestern covering by at least 19 and most have the spread even higher.

While Pat Fitzgerald's club has not done quite as well recently, they still have an overwhelming advantage over Illinois. The Illini have a putrid 12.5 yards per point on defense, one of the worst of BCS conference teams. Their offense is not much better average just 302 yards and 17 ppg.

You might as well take the Illini opponent plus anything these days.


Utah State -37.5 vs Idaho 3ET

I have not watched either of these teams play more than a quarter, but the statistics tell me this is a 45+ point win for the Aggies who are a rising program in the soon to be defunct WAC.

Nobody wanted Idaho in conference realignment and apparently their players don't want to play much competitive football this year standing at 1-10 coming into Saturday.

Vanderbilt -10 at Wake Forest 3:30ET

This is one of those lines I wished I had grabbed at opening when it was 8.5.  I was wrong about Vanderbilt as it looks like they will finish 8-4 on the season.

Yes, the Demon Deacons are playing for a bowl bid, but they simply do not have the same talent as Vandy. The Commodores have struggled a little bit away from home this season, but those opponents were much stiffer the Wake.

FSU -7 vs Florida 3:30ET

A second ACC vs SEC matchup, but this one I have marked up for the Atlantic Coast Conference. The fact that FSU is a touchdown favorite against a team ranked #4 in the BCS tells you something is wrong with that system.

Both teams have awesome defenses, but the Seminoles offense is decidedly better and that is before a hobbled Jeff Driskel takes the field for the Gators.

Notre Dame -5 at USC 8ET

Everything is laid out in front of the Irish to play for the BCS Championship Game if they can take care of the Trojans.  

Name the best team USC has beaten all season?  Is it Arizona State?  Washington?  The Irish have beaten Michigan, Oklahoma, Stanford who are all markedly better.

Southern Cal is starting their backup after former Heisman candidate Matt Barkley was injured in a bruising loss to cross-town rival UCLA.  The Trojans were being blown out early one but came back against a sub par Bruin defense.  There will not be any opportunity to come back against this Notre Dame defense who has recruited the South, specifically ACC states, to build a top notch unit.

No Sports Illustrated jinx here as a rookie QB up against a tough defense is a good combination for a cover by the Irish. 


Other Games To Watch:

Fresno State -16 vs Air Force 3:30ET
The Bulldogs are quietly putting together an 8-3 season in their first year without Pat Hill as head coach.  Their three losses are to Oregon on the road, Tulsa on the road and Boise State on the road; all very respectable games.

Tennessee -13.5 vs Kentucky 12:20ET
The Volunteers only have themselves to play for after their head coach Derek Dooley was fired this week.  That my be enough as this group of Seniors wants to get the taste of losing to Kentucky last year out of their mouths.  Plus, Joker Philips is still coaching for the Wildcats and that may be a good thing for UT.

Duke +6.5 vs Miami 12:30ET
The Hurricanes announced on Monday a self-imposed post season ban.  Last year they did this hours before their final regular season game against Boston College and got smoked by the Eagles.  Announcing five days prior allowed the Miami players to let reality sink in that this is their last game this season. Still you have to wonder how fragile their psyche is especially since a win against Duke would have put them in the ACC Championship Game.  


Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Should The ACC Do If Maryland Leaves For The Big 10?

Maryland and their crazy uniforms may be on their way to the B1G

When conference pangea began with addition of Nebraska to the B1G, I started wondering how the ACC might counteract the move. The two teams the ACC added were #3 and #4 on my list.

Multiple sources are reporting the University of Maryland is in serious discussions with the B1G about becoming the 13th member of the conference. If the Terps join, Rutgers would become number 14.

The price for the Terps to leave would be hefty as $50 Million based on the recent exit fee change after Notre Dame joined the league in all sports except football a few months. Maryland, along with FSU, voted against the increase from $25 Million.

Adding fuel to the fire is Under Armour CEO and Maryland alum Kevin Plank selling $64.5M worth of stock this week.  Would he use his wealth to pay the buyout?

The B1G has its reasons for wanting Maryland, mainly the DC television market, more recruiting territory, and a AAU member school. The same apply for Rutgers.

The Terrapins wanting to leave is a little more curious considering the school has had to drop sports in recent years due to budget constraints.

Would the B1G members be willing to pay part of the buyout when it is not certain the two additions would actually increase each team's payout?

But if the original ACC member does leave what should the ACC do?

1) Convince Notre Dame to join as a full member

This is by far the best option, if the ACC can pull it off.

The Irish have their big toe in the league already competing in every sport except football at the very latest in 2014-2015 if not sooner.

Getting the Irish to agree to full membership was probably easier when they were struggling on the football field and in the TV ratings. A season like this one will add fuel to the idea ND can still make it is as an Independent.

The ACC could use an unequal revenue sharing platform like the Big 12 did with Texas, but I don't think John Swofford is that desperate nor stupid. Agreements like this are a recipe for disaster.

The announcement of the ACC going back to an 8 game conference schedule definitely helps since Notre Dame will want to continue playing Navy, USC, and Stanford every season.

Convincing the Irish to play just three more ACC games would Swofford's biggest coup yet.


2) Cincinnati

UPDATED 11/27: Source Cincinnati making push to join ACC

The Bearcats have a solid basketball program and have one of the best futures in football of the remaining Big Eat due to recruiting in the state of Ohio.

Of the next three likely schools in the Big East, the Bearcats rank the highest in the US News and World Report. Louisville and South Florida rank 160th and 163rd respectively taking them out of consideration.

But at only at 139th that would put U of C 33 spots behind the lowest ranked school. Also, Cincy would be in a non-contiguous state a first for the league.

3) Navy

The Midshipmen recently accepted a bid to join the Big East, but they are certainly aren't beholden to it.

Navy has been a respectable football program the last 10 years beating Wake Forest and Duke. All time the Middies are a 36-39-4 against ACC teams.

The Annapolis school would add nothing in basketball though and likely finish at the bottom of the league every year.

Maybe the ACC gets creative making a football only deal with the Midshipmen?

4) Vanderbilt

The Commodores would not leave the SEC for money where they can make a lot. They would only leave for a chance to compete for a BCS bowl bid.  The Commodores have won 55 percent of their games vs ACC compared to just 25% in the SEC.

Academically, Vandy is a great fit for the ACC where they would rank second behind only Duke at 17th nationally.   The ACC has seven other schools in the top 50 whereas Vanderbilt is the only SEC school with that honor. 

James Franklin can talk all he wants about competing in the best conference in the country but an 8-4 season like this one is about as best he can ever hope for. Barring disasters for Florida and UGA, Vanderbilt will never play in an SEC Championship Game and a BCS bowl. 

They could have that chance in the ACC.

5) Penn State

Hear me out on this one.

Before the Nittany Lions joined the Big 10 they were Independent and when it looked like they were going to join a conference Joe Paterno wanted to create an East Coast league with the ACC and others.

The money in the B1G is greater, but geographically and rivalry wise Penn State aligns more with the ACC.  Plus they would get into much more fertile and more importantly growing recruiting grounds.  Pennsylvania used to put out a ton of BCS prospects but population shift has caused Penn State to look elsewhere.

It would be the classic buy low, sell high scenario for the ACC with Penn State in serious trouble for the next 5-7 years but one I think could benefit the league more than a UConn addition.  

6) UConn

The ACC is not going to grab a program that will suddenly change its football fortunes. The league needs to focus on a school that can compete academically and athletically. The Big East has been the poaching ground as of late and UConn would seem like the next school in line if Rutgers does in fact go to the B1G.

The Huskies rank 63rd nationally which would put them 10th of 14 full members in a future ACC without Maryland.

UConn allows for a contiguous state to be added and a top notch basketball program, but the Huskies have been very, very mediocre in football and would probably hurt the leagues reputation.

An addition of UConn to the ACC would be very meh, but may be out of necessity.

Honestly, if Maryland leaves this is where I see the ACC ultimately settling for a 14th football team.  Sigh. 


Friday, November 16, 2012

November 17 ATS College Football Picks: 69% on the Season

The Vols turned up the heat in this rivalry with last year's locker room celebration/Zimbio.com
Last week was my first losing week in the last six going 2-3 ATS.

Despite the sub .500 week, my record is still a beaming 20-9-1 (69%) on the season.

Onto this week's picks:

Northwestern +7 at Michigan State 12ET

The Wildcats lost an absolute heart breaker last week in Ann Arbor which they had no business losing on a tipped hail mary.  QB Kain Colter is a little banged up but expected to play.

The Spartans defense gets a lot of credit, but the Wildcats are not that far off.  Pat Fitzgerald's team has a respectable 16.6 yards per point average to Michigan State's 17.7.  Where Northwestern has a decided advantage is on offense where they are much more efficient.

Even though this game is in East Lansing, the road won't face the Wildcats who have actually played better away from Evanston.  This game always reminds of my biggest win ever in Vegas in 2005 when I took Northwestern as +13.5 underdog and they won outright 49-14.  I had seen the Randy Walker coached team the previous week at Purdue and came away very impressed.  But I digress....

FSU -31 at Maryland 12ET

I am going against my stats in this one which has this line pegged right at 31.  This pick is completely off feel.

The Terps just lost their top running back this week and still have a LB at QB so they can't pass and now can't run very well.  Plus, the Seminoles defense is one of the best in the nation at yards per pay allowed.  I could see this unit scoring at least once defensive and creating several more turnovers in Maryland territory for easy scores.

The only hesitation if Jimbo Fisher pulls starters early to prep for Florida next week. 

Clemson -17 vs NC State 3:30ET

This will be a revenge game for the Tigers who were stomped 37-13 last year in Raleigh without Sammy Watkins.

The Wolfpack are on shaky ground and so is there coach with rumors he will be released at the end of the season (who does NC State think it is firing a coach who is 5-1 vs UNC and three straight bowls?).  They may come out playing for their coach, but they may lay an egg like they did against Virginia two weeks - didn't see that one coming.  

I think Dabo Swinney's club gets up early on offense and gives their mediocre defense a chance to play against a one-dimensional NC State offense playing catchup the rest of the way.

Vanderbilt -3.5 vs Tennessee 7ET

Derek Dooley's time is short in Knoxville.  James Franklin wants you to think his time in Nashville is just beginning.  One team clearly has more talent, the other clearly has a better coach.

The Commodores finally have something they have always lacked: a competitive SEC defense giving up a point every 18.8 yards (that's really good for those who don't follow yds/point).

Franklin will be sure to drill into his player's head the Vols locker room celebration after beating his team a year ago.  Normally, I don't buy into the motivation angle, it may be just what the Commodores need to push a coach out the door for good. 

All of my metrics point to a Vandy win by at least a touchdown so I feel safe taking the field goal plus spread at home.

Oklahoma -10 at West Virginia 7ET

Taking the Sooners in a road game at night is risky business considering their history, but taking anything from West Virginia after September has been costly for bettors.

The Mountaineers stopping Oklahoma's offense from scoring at least 35 would be a Jesco White type miracle.  Throw in a solid defense from Bob Stoops' team who has plenty of film to review on how to slow the once thought impenetrable Geno Smith and QB and I think Oklahoma could win this game going away.

Other Games to keep an eye on:
Georgia Tech -13 vs Duke
This could be for the Coastal Division title.  The Yellow Jackets have been playing much better lately and getting some much needed defensive help.  The Blue Devils had a week off to prep but that didn't seem to help UNC much last week.


Indiana +17 at Penn State
The Hoosiers have actually played better on the road than at home this season.

Boston College +10 vs Virginia Tech
Not really sure by my stats love BC in this game.  I am not brave enough to take them though.

UCLA +3.5 vs USC
Same as BC, above the stats love UCLA.  But if the Trojans want this one they have it.


Monday, November 12, 2012

Why An Athletic Director At Georgia Tech Would Leave For Clemson

Radakovich trades a gold blazer for an orange one/TimesUnion.com
Dan Radakovich made it a monthly habit of communicating with his fan base during his "The Good Word" column.

Last week was his last as his tenure at Georgia Tech ends on November 15.  After a two week vacation, he will take over as Athletic Director 2.5 hours up I-85 in Clemson.

Radakovich acknowledged this rivalry with the Tigers in his newsletter this week:
"Tech and Clemson will compete frequently and I look forward to those competitions. In this business, it is always more enjoyable to compete with folks whom you respect."

His time in Atlanta can be described as mostly positive  (tons of facility upgrades, largely solid coaching hires) but with a huge blemish (NCAA stripping 2009 ACC title).

The reasons why he left for Clemson are fairly obvious.

1.  Clemson does not have better programs than Georgia Tech, but it is easier to win big.

The Yellow Jackets have a 50-26-2 all-time advantage in the football series.  Most of that series advantage was built prior to Tech's joining the ACC but the Yellow Jackets have certainly held their own in conference play.

But the Tigers have a much bigger stadium with 30k more seats to sell and they fill them up a lot better than GT normally does.  Bigger, fuller football stadiums means more revenue in the future which means Radakovich can do his magic with facilities to give Clemson an SEC type setup.

When you have a 55k capacity and a tepid fan base ceilings are in place.  No ceiling exists at Clemson as to what they can do.

2. It is much easier to recruit at Clemson - recruit players and coaches.

US News and World Report ranks Georgia Tech 36th nationally in their latest rankings.  Clemson comes in at number 68.  Incoming freshman at Tech had an average SAT score of 1340 while the Tigers gave admission to SAT scores of 1217 on average.  On the new 2400 scale the disparity is even greater, Clemson's average is 1800 to GT's 1983.

The Yellow Jackets offer about 25-30 major programs, of which half are Engineering compared to Clemson's normal state university allocation with nearly every major under the Palmetto tree.

It is harder to get into school at Atlanta and they offer less majors.  Throw in new APR requirements and Georgia Tech has its work cut out to say the least in recruiting players to compete at the BCS level.

And when it is harder to recruit players, it is harder to recruit coaches.

3. While his coaching hires have won, his biggest hire is showing signs of weakness. 

An AD never wants to fire the coach he hires, especially when it is a football coach.  Paul Johnson is having a rough year in his fifth season, including a 21 point loss to MTSU, still needing another win to become bowl eligible.  He was 20-7 after his first two seasons, but is just 19-17 since.  The Yellow Jackets are likely staring at another loss to in state rival Georgia, which would be their 4th in a row under Johnson.  

The second most important hire, but a ways down the list, is basketball coach.  It is way too early to draw conclusions on Brian Gregory.  He has recruited well, but he also has a big hole to dig out and his track record at Dayton was mixed.

When head coaches fire coordinators, their leash is shortened.  The same holds true when you move up the chain of command for Athletic Directors and their reports.

Unless Johnson starts to turn around the program, the fan base is going to dwindle which means less people in the seats and less athletic revenue.  Even if Gregory continues his upward trend he will need a raise to be kept around.  To give you an idea how little Gregory and his staff are paid, which has a lot to do with how cash strapped GT is, last season NC State paid its ASSISTANTS more than the ENTIRE Tech staff (this info is from a bball insider I trust).

Radakovich walks into a much better coaching situation at Clemson.

Dabo Swinney appears to be heading up and Brad Brownell looks to be solid.

But even if they falter, the new AD didn't hire them so it is much easier to fire.  And those 30k additional football seats give you the money to fire head coaches.  This is where the SEC has such a huge advantage.  They can fire a mediocre coach at any time because of the football money pouring in.

Update 12/23: Georgia Tech football attendance was down 9% this season while Clemson was up 3% giving more credence to what may have to be tough decision the next Yellow Jacket AD will have to make about the future of the football program.  

4. If you got a 15% raise to go to an easier job there is you wouldn't take it?

This needs no discussion.  I don't care what social workers or teachers think. Radakovich was well paid at Georgia Tech, but is getting over $700k per at Clemson.

And yes, Georgia Tech fans, it is tough to have someone move to a rival school but Dan Radakovich left Yellow Jacket the program in much better shape than he found it.  

Summarizing Mike Leach's First Season at Washington State In One Play

2012 November 11 1 21 0
From Mocksession

The 5 Most Underachieving College Football Programs

Texas has every advantage possible in college football/365austin.com
The Texas AM win over Alabama prompted me to wonder how I would list underachieving programs I have had in my head for some time.

Until Saturday, I would have ranked TAMU very high on this list, maybe even number one.  But when you go into Alabama's place, lead the entire game, and beat a team some thought could compete in the NFL you are not underachieving any more.

Here are the five most underachieving programs playing FBS football.

1. Texas Longhorns

That's right. The Aggies former rivals are number one on my list.

You will not find a better job in college football.  Let us count the ways the Longhorn job is the best in the country: 1) You are the flagship university in the richest recruiting state in the country 2) You are in one of the best cities in America - big enough to have everything, small enough to avoid major crime and traffic 3) Your coeds can stack up with anyone and Natalie Portman goes to your games. 4) Your academics are good enough to offer a very attractive degree, but not so tough you can't hide kids who simply meet NCAA requirements in easy majors. 5) You have your own television network to give your program maximum exposure.

No disadvantages exist at Texas.

Yet despite all these advantages, the Longhorns have won four national championships in their history.  This is the same number as Minnesota.  Alabama has 9 in the national poll era (or 14 if you ask them) and rival Oklahoma has 7.  The Sooners have far fewer advantages than the Longhorns yet have been much more successful historically and recently. 

2. UCLA Bruins

Your campus is literally in Hollywood. Rolls Royce drive by your campus and it is not because of an NCAA violation.  Some of your best coeds appear in Playboy.  Your campus has palm trees and 70 degree weather almost every day.

And you have 1 national title and your last Pac 12 title was in 1998.  Washington State and Oregon State have won titles more recently than that.

California produces 300+ plus FBS players per season and most of those are from your backyards in Southern California. 

3. Arizona State Sun Devils

18 years olds are impressed by women.  You will not find many better looking campuses than the one in Tempe (just make sure Alt+Tab is ready).

Maybe the players are TOO distracted by the eye candy walking around.

You have never won a national title and won only three Pac 12 titles.  Washington State located in Pullman, Washington (read: hairy women) has won more.  Cal (read: stinky, hippy women) has won 11 more titles than you.   

4. Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears

It is fairly simple as to why Ole Miss has been an underachievement in football.  Their fans care more about the party than they do the football game.

The tailgating in The Grove is second to none.  They redshirt Miss America's.

The state of Mississippi produces the second most NFL players per capita.

Ole Miss has never played in the SEC Championship Game, the only team in the Western Division not to (TAMU doesn't count).  They have one more conference title than Georgia Tech who last played in the league in 1963. 

5. Illinois Fighting Illini

My first move out of the sun belt takes us to Illinois.  The Illini share their state with Northwestern, but the Wildcats boast a smaller student population that comes from all over and moves all over after graduation so you are pretty much alone.

While it is not Dade County, the Chicago area produces really good talent.  And yes Notre Dame is going to get its fair share, but the Illini also let Michigan and SEC schools also cherry pick their back yard.

The Illini do have 15 B1G titles, but more than half of those were won before WWII. 

The clincher for Illinois on this list? Even my wife said they are never good.


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nick Saban Press Conference After Alabama Loses To Texas AM

We may not have an SEC team in the BCS Championship Game this season.  Maybe the Mayans were right?

From Al.com

November 10 College Football ATS Picks: 18-6-1 This Season

Ole Miss is favored, but I like Vandy to cover in Oxford (Source:Rivals.com)
Last week was ANOTHER winning week, the fifth in a row, bringing my season total to 18-6-1.

Sure, I have had some luck in games like UNCvNC State, but most have really not been that close.  And I have taken small spreads and big spreads.

This week, admittedly, was a little harder to find value on the board and I am relying much more on my stats than actual viewing of these teams since most are out of the Southeast. 

Here are this week's picks:

Arizona -29 vs Colorado  1:30ET

The Buffaloes are one of the worst BCS league teams (remember they did beat Washington State, more on that later) in recent history.  Jon Embree's team in painfully inept on offense needing 18.2 yards per point (ypp), one of the worst in FBS.  That stat has gotten worse as of late - in their last three games Colorado is 33.4 ypp.

While Arizona does not have a good defense (14.2 ypp), I have zero confidence in the Buffs to keep pace with a high powered Wildcat offense.  All of my stats point to a cover for Rich Rodriguez's club.

Oklahoma State -10 vs West Virginia  3:30ET

I have made a pretty decent living off betting against West Virginia this year and I am stepping up again.  I am not going to say defenses have "figured out" Dana Holgorsen's system because that is just not true.  What they have done is figured out how to get the Mountaineers out of their rhythm on offense.

Despite the loss of Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon, this Cowboys offense is actually more explosive than last year.  WVU's defense is a good unit to play if you want to be explosive.

The caveat to all this would be if Wes Lunt does not play for Okie State.  He left last week's game with Kansas State after suffering a concussion.  Mike Gundy would be down to his third QB after losing former starter JW Walsh earlier in the season. 

Navy -2 at Troy  3:30ET

The Midshipmen are bowl eligible after missing out last season.  True freshman Keenan Reynolds has steered their offense to another solid year on the ground.  Surprisingly, Troy has not been a very good home team and has struggled in their last three games - two conference and a road game at Tennessee.

A lesser Navy team defeated the Trojans by 28 last year.

Vanderbilt +2.5 at Ole Miss  7ET

The Rebels have been improving in their first year under Hugh Freeze, but they run into a surging Vanderbilt team looking to become bowl eligible for the second straight season.

I think an underrated part of this game is the uprising occurring on the Oxford campus on Election Night.  This events comes on the heels of the documentary "Ghosts of Ole Miss" describing the unrest during Integration.  These events could not have helped the focus on a predominantly black football team.

But even ignoring these off field activities, I think Vandy is the better football team.

UCLA -16.5 at Washington State  10:30ET

The Bruins have been a hard team to understand this season and this is by far the most nerve wracking of my picks.  But Mike Leach just ousted his best player WR Marquis Wilson and their appears to be a mutiny near in Pullman by the players or the coaches.

Who would have thought Jim Mora would be the one who looked to be in control of his team in November?

Other games to keep an eye on:
For one reason or another something spooked me off these games, but if you have a strong feeling by all means go ahead with these picks.

North Carolina -7 vs Georgia Tech  12:30ET
This line opened at -5.5 but got all the way up to -8.5 before settling at 7. UNC is coming off a bye which has shown to be a big help in beating GT and Larry Fedora's hurry up offense will give Tech's defense fits.  But Paul Johnson has saved a lot of his best games for the Tar Heels winning three straight.

Stanford -4 vs Oregon State  3ET
I feel like the Beavers are slowly coming back to reality here making it tougher and tougher to win games each week.  But on the other hand Stanford's win over USC looks less impressive by the week.

Penn State +8 vs Nebraska 3:30ET
The Nittany Lions helped me to my 4-1 ATS record last week and the stats favor them again this week, but they lost a few key players to injury last week including DT Jordan Hill which makes me nervous playing a good team like Nebraska.

Kansas State -6.5 at TCU 7:00 ET
Me and many others have rode the Wildcats to ATS wins all season, but Collin Klein's concussion last week puts enough doubt in my mind to stay away this week.

Notre Dame -19 at Boston College 8:00 ET
The Eagles score a prime time, nation wide telecast with a 2-6 record.  That is what playing and undefeated Notre Dame gets you and why the ACC's contract with them will help the league.

But I digress.  I think the Irish played hungover from the Oklahoma win last week which I almost called.  The only thing holding me back is the history in this series where BC has knocked off much better ND teams in the past - 1993 and 2002 come to mind. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

ACC Football Achieves A Complete Circle

A complete circle of ineptitude.

Allow me to illustrate.

On September 22nd, FSU defeated Clemson in a highly anticipated matchup of the two best teams in the league.  After November 3rd those two teams clearly remain as the top two in the league.

But they are not immune to the ACC Circle of Sucktitude.

So it goes like this:
Clemson lost to FSU, who lost to NC State, who lost to Virginia (which I certainly didn't foresee), who lost to Duke, who lost to Virginia Tech, who lost to Miami, who lost to North Carolina, who lost to Wake Forest, who lost to Maryland, who lost to Boston College, who lost to Georgia Tech, who lost to....CLEMSON. 

The ACC Championship Game will very likely have a participant with three conference losses this season unless Duke or Miami runs the table (they both can't as they still play each other). 

That's right, Duke controls its destiny in the ACC race.

Good news is basketball season starts this weekend.


Friday, November 2, 2012

November 3 ATS Picks: NC State vs Virginia, Tulsa vs Arkansas and More

Coming off ANOTHER winning week at 4-1 and now 14-5-1 the last four weeks here are my ATS picks for this week.

Cincinnati -4.5 vs Syracuse 12 ET


The Bearcats were caught looking ahead to Louisville two weeks ago when they lost to Toledo.  Last week against the Cardinals they nearly beat them at Papa Johns Stadium before falling by three in OT.

Butch Jones is a good coach who could be in line for a B1G job after this season (Purdue?).  The Bearcats are undefeated at home this season in what is turning into a nice home field advantage at Nippert Stadium.
 

Tulsa +9.5 at Arkansas 12:20 ET

The Golden Hurricane are coming off a bye week and facing a Razorbacks team who lost to Ole Miss last week.   Their QB Cody Green missed their last game against Rice but is expected to play this week.

This line started as -7.5 and has moved to -9.  Just the way I like it.  Vegas has grown from a little town in the desert to a worldwide destination (you would not believe how many foreigners LOVE Vegas!) for a reason. 

Still this game is BY FAR the one I am most worried about tomorrow because the Razorbacks have been playing better lately and their tougher schedule makes it difficult to compare the two teams stats.

But Sagarin likes it too, so I will got out on a small limb here and say Arkansas wins but doesn't cover 9.5.

NC State -10.5 vs Virginia 12:30 ET

Virginia is an AWFUL football team.  They have lost six games in a row after starting 0-2 including a 36 points loss at Georgia Tech, a 25 point loss at Duke, and a home loss to Louisiana Tech. 

The only thing I worry about in this game is how the Wolfpack will respond to the gut wrenching (but ATS winning for me) loss to hated rival UNC last week.  State had won five in a row and looked to nearly have six until a terrible fourth quarter. 

Virginia's offense is terrible this season needing 19 yards for every point, one of the worst in FBS.
Tom O'Brien is about as even keeled as they come and I don't he lets his team mope too much.

Ohio State -27.5 vs Illinois 3:30 ET

Big spread for the Buckeyes to cover especially when their defense has been suspect this year, but I think Urban Meyer's club got over a big hump last week with a relatively dominating performance at Penn State.

Illinois is bad.  Getting blown out by Indiana IN FOOTBALL bad.

Each one of my metrics has the Buckeyes covering and their offense should explode against a bad Illini defense put in bad spots by their anemic offense.

Penn State +3.5 at Purdue 3:30 ET

Bettors are telling you these two teams are essentially a draw on a neutral field.  Are we putting too much stock in the Boilermakers closes losses to Notre Dame and Ohio State while overlooking the blowout losses to lesser teams like Michigan and Minnesota?

The only way I see Penn State winning by less than a TD is if they are starting to run out of gas with a depleted roster deflated after a loss to Ohio State last week. 

The Nittany Lions defense is by far the best unit on the field and they carry the day for Bill O'Brien.

Other games I will check out this weekend:
These are games where I see a decided advantage but for one reason or another just don't feel confident enough to make an ATS selection.  If you REALLY like one of these sides then have at it.

Troy +18.5 at Tennessee
The schedule disparity makes it too difficult to call for the ATS win by the Trojans.

New Mexico State +22.5 at Auburn
Will the Tigers' psyche allow them to beat any FBS team by this much?

Ole Miss +14 at Georgia
The Bulldogs have played to their competition this season and cannot match last week's intensity in a win over Florida.

Kansas State -9.5 vs Oklahoma State
The Wildcats have been good to me this year taking them the last two weeks.  I wonder when their bubble will pop?

Pitt +16.5 at Notre Dame
The Panthers have quietly been playing much better after a disastrous start and we can see how much Wisconsin misses Paul Chryst.  But this assault charge on their best player Ray Graham worries me too much.