Sunday, November 29, 2009

The College Football Blog: 2009 Season Résumé Rankings (After Week 13)

Season Résumé Rankings After Week 13

1. Alabama 12-0 (1st)
2. Texas 12-0 (2nd)
3. Florida 12-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 12-0 (4th)
5. Cincinnati 11-0 (5th)
6. Boise State 12-0 (6th)
7. Oregon 9-2 (9th)
8. Iowa 10-2 (10th)
9. Ohio State 10-2 (NR)
10. Georgia Tech 10-2 (7th)

Comments: Man, these rankings are so much easier to do than the power rankings and they seem to make a lot more sense. The top 6 teams in my rankings won last weekend and the top 6 spots remained unchanged. After that it got a bit more complicated. Both Georgia Tech and Pitt lost last weekend, meaning there were no longer any 1-loss teams in the FBS. So I had to separate all of the various 2-loss teams to come up with the 7-10 spots in the rankings. Oregon and Iowa moved up 2 spots each this week to replace Tech and Pitt at 7th and 8th respectively. Ohio State jumped into my rankings in the #9 spot as Pitt fell from 8th all the way out of my rankings. The Jackets fell 3 spots in my rankings from 7th to 10th, just barely staying in the top 10. It really wasn’t that hard to choose from among the 2-loss teams. BYU, Houston, Central Michigan, and Pitt were basically eliminated because of their weak conference schedules. Pitt, BYU, and Houston all also had bad losses. Penn State lost to both Ohio State and Iowa at home by double digits and doesn’t really have a great win. So I ended up ranking the resumes of the 2-loss teams in this order: Oregon, Iowa, Ohio State, and GT (7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th).

The College Football Blog: 2009 Power Rankings (After Week 13)

Power Rankings after Week 13

1. Florida 12-0 (2nd)
2. Alabama 12-0 (1st)
3. Texas 12-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 12-0 (4th)
5. Oregon 9-2 (6th)
6. Cincinnati 11-0 (7th)
7. Boise State 12-0 (8th)
8. LSU 9-3 (9th)
9. Georgia Tech 10-2 (5th)
10. Ohio State 10-2 (10th)
11. Iowa 10-2 (11th)
12. Stanford 8-4 (14th)
13. Oregon State 8-3 (NR)
14. Penn State 10-2 (15th)
15. Pittsburgh 9-2 (12th)

Out: Oklahoma State (13th).

Comments: Last week it was easy to make out these rankings. Nothing like rivalry week to muddy the waters. The problem with ranking teams in this way is that it’s so hard to put recent results in a proper perspective. It’s also very hard to keep from using the previous week’s rankings as a key and moving teams up or down based on the latest results. I think this is almost exactly what happens with the human polls. You can start out trying to rank teams based purely on strength, using the evidence on the field to help make more informed decisions, but inevitably you start going “well these guys won so I can’t move them down, these guys lost so I have to move them down a little, these guys lost to this team head to head 5 weeks ago so I have to keep them behind them…” And again I’m struck by how silly it is to try and determine anything of importance using this method. Luckily for me (and everyone else) my rankings mean nothing. So let me explain how I came up with this week’s top 15.

There was a change at the very top of my rankings this week even though all of the top 4 teams won. By the way, the top 4 teams—Florida, Alabama, Texas, and TCU—are a step above the rest of the teams in college football, in my opinion, and that’s really the only thing I feel certain about at this point. I moved Florida back into the #1 spot this week and moved Bama down to 2nd even though both teams won rivalry games to finish the season undefeated. Texas and TCU remained in the #3 and #4 spots respectively this week. The Horns gave up a bunch of points but eventually put away a hated rival on the road to finish the year 12-0. The Frogs rolled over another weak opponent to get to 12-0. Obviously we will learn a lot next Saturday about Alabama and Florida. It might seem unfair to move Bama down after they beat a solid opponent on the road; an opponent with nothing to lose and everything to gain; and an opponent that hates their guts. Florida, on the other hand, was at home, playing a weaker rival; a rival without much direction at this point. I would agree that moving Florida ahead of Bama based solely on this last weekend would be rash. But I am not basing this switch on last weekend alone. I feel that Bama and Florida are the two best teams in the country. They are strong all around, they are well coached, they are tested, and their recent history backs up their results and our assumptions about them. Between the two teams, I have Florida ranked a bit higher at this point. There’s no question that Bama’s defense is top notch, but so is Florida’s defense. Offensively the Gators are not as strong as they were last season but they are still better on offense than Alabama in my opinion. Finally, I feel like the Gators are rising as the season comes to its conclusion, just as they were last year. The Tide seems to have hit its peak earlier in the season, in much the same way as Alabama did last year. So I have the Gators in the top spot and the Tide in the #2 spot heading into their showdown in the Dome this weekend.

After the top 4 there are a number of teams you could rank 5th-9th. Georgia Tech had been my #5 team but they were shocked and out-muscled at home by their rivals from Athens in a glorious upset. Defensively the Jackets were exposed a bit as the Dawgs ran up and down the field on them. On the other hand, GT did lose their QB for a while during the game and Josh Nesbitt may never have been himself after suffering a leg injury. This was Tech’s first poor performance in a number of weeks and I think it was just a bad game for them and not a sign that the rest of their season has been a mirage. So I only dropped them down to 9th. One thing I think you have to look at with this Tech team is the effect that rust can have. Last season they looked completely out of sync in their bowl game against LSU. On Saturday they were off of a bye week and they didn’t look right. In any potential big game if they are coming off of an extended rest it’s going to be a question. Anyway, Oregon was off last week but I moved them up to 5th. Cincinnati and Boise State both took care of business at home to stay undefeated and I moved them up a spot each to 6th and 7th respectively. LSU just barley squeaked by Arkansas at home in OT but I still moved them up a spot to 8th, and I have to admit it’s because of the way they shutdown Tech’s offense in the Peach Bowl last year. If I’m choosing between the Tigers and Jackets for 8th, I have to go with LSU.

The 10-15 spots in my rankings have been changing all season because there’s not much difference between the teams outside of the top 10. Ohio State and Iowa didn’t play last week so they stayed put at 10th and 11th respectively. Pitt was my #12 team but they lost a defensive struggle on the road against rival West Virginia for their 2nd loss of the season. This was a disappointing performance by the Panthers but there just aren’t that many good teams out there so they stayed in my rankings, hanging on to the final slot at #15. Oklahoma State was #13 in my rankings. We all know what happened to the Cowboys this weekend. They were exposed as frauds yet again, getting dominated in Norman by their rivals, 27-0. Okie State fell out of my rankings as you would assume. Stanford fought off Notre Dame to get to 8-4 and they moved up 2 spots in my rankings this week to 12th. Stanford is not that good; especially on defense. But they’ve been in every game and they’re definitely among the tougher teams to stop offensively. The only new team in my rankings this week is Oregon State. I haven’t paid much attention to the Beavers but they’ve been getting it done week in and week out for a while now. Oregon State is one of the few fringe teams who has not yet proven to be unworthy of my rankings. So they get the nod almost by default. Earlier in the year the Beaves beat Stanford but that game was at Corvallis and before Stanford starting hitting its stride. Finally, Penn State moved up a spot from 15th to 14th this week, primarily because there just aren’t many good teams out there. They’ve come up small in their biggest games this year but they’ve at least managed to win all of the other games easily, something many, many other top 15-ish teams out there have failed to do.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The NFL Blog: 2009 Week 12 Betting Lines

Last Week: Vs. Spread (8-8); Straight Up (11-5)
Season: Vs. Spread (75-83-1); Straight Up (102-57)

Week 11 Review: I’m getting back to respectability. I was pretty spot on in the early Sunday games last week, 6-2 ATS, 7-1 straight up. Too bad the rest of the week I was 2-6 ATS, 4-4 straight up.

Week 12 Preview: All of the early games this week add a new wrinkle. Plus, a number of teams are coming off of emotional highs (Raiders, Chiefs, Dolphins, Titans, Lions); while a number of other teams are coming off of serious downers (Panthers, Bengals, Steelers, Texans, Browns). Then there are all of the injuries. It’ll be an interesting week.

Thursday’s Games

Green Bay (-11) @ Detroit
Pick: Packers cover
Comment: If not for the injuries at critical positions for the Lions I’m sure I would be betting on Detroit to beat the spread. The Packers have lost twice on the road this year and they’re 4-8 on the road over the last 2 seasons. A few weeks ago the Pack lost by 10 on the road against the lowly Bucs. And don’t forget that the Packers are banged up too. Aaron Kampman and Al Harris are now gone from a defense that was already just barley hanging together. Problems with the running game and pass protection have plagued Green Bay all year long. However, the Lions will be without their top 2 players on Thursday. Matt Stafford fired 5 TD’s and led the Lions to a thrilling victory last Sunday but in the process he injured his shoulder. Daunte Culpepper is not completely inept but his task will be much harder than it would have been if Calvin Johnson was not also out with an injury. Statistically the Packers are better in almost all of the relevant categories. And Green Bay has dominated this rivalry recently. Earlier this year the Packers whipped the Lions 26-0 at home for their 8th straight win over Detroit. In their last 5 meetings, the Packers have outscored the Lions by an average of 18 points. I’ll be rooting for Detroit but I think it’s going to be another ugly Thanksgiving for Lions fans.

Oakland (+13.5) @ Dallas
Pick: Cowboys win but Raiders beat the spread
Comment: Man, those Raiders can really screw up a parlay. You just never know when they are going to rise up against a complacent opponent. You expect that they’ll lie down and lose by 20 points the way they did in the last few games and then all of the sudden they knock off one of the better teams in the NFL. It’s happened several times over their recent run of futility and it happened again last week against the Bengals. As we know, that doesn’t mean that they won’t play like a minor league team this week. Both teams are playing on short rest but the Raiders are the ones who have to travel. Dallas has struggled in recent weeks, scoring only 7 points in each of their last two games against mediocre competition. The most important factor in this matchup is almost certainly the fact that the Bruce Gradkowski is now playing under center for the Silver and Black. If that doesn’t explain JaMarcus Russell’s situation perfectly than I don’t know what does. The Raiders are 1-3 on the road this year, while the Cowboys are 4-1 at home, and I don’t expect Oakland to win this game, but I think they might stay within 11 or so.

New York Giants (-6) @ Denver
Pick: Giants win but Broncos beat the spread
Comment: While this isn’t quite the marquee matchup we thought it might be in early October when both teams were 5-0, but it’s a lot better than we ever thought it would be in August. This is a huge game for both teams. The Giants snapped their 4 game skid last week but they did it at home, coming off of a bye, against a crippled Falcons team, and they needed overtime to get it done. Denver’s 4 game losing streak is still alive and they absolutely must win this game to save their once promising season. The biggest key for Denver is Kyle Orton. Is he healthy enough to play well? If so, can they keep him healthy for the entire game? It’s not that Orton is that great; it’s that the drop off after Orton is steep. We learned again last week what we already knew: Chris Simms is not a viable option at QB if you’re actually serious about winning the game. It would also really help the Broncos if Brian Dawkins could get back onto the field for this game. The Giants are without Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw, while Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Jacobs are banged up but expected to play. New York can not afford to be without Nicks or Jacobs for a significant part of this game. While both teams are playing on short rest, I think you do have to take into consideration the fact that the Giants have to travel across the country. And then there is that elevation thing. New York is 0-5 in their last 5 games ATS, including 4 games as a favorite. On the other hand, the Broncos have lost 4 straight ATS and they were underdogs in 3 of those games. I think the Broncos will be more competitive this week than they have been during their 4 game losing skid but I think the Giants will pull out the victory in the end.

Sunday’s Early Games

Tampa Bay (+11.5) @ Atlanta
Pick: Falcons cover
Comment: I don’t want to analyze this one too much because I don’t even want to consider the idea that the outcome of this game might be in doubt. The Falcons have to win this game and they really should win it easily in spite of whatever injuries they have. Michael Turner will almost certainly not play and Jerious Norwood’s availability is still up in the air. Regardless, the Falcons should be able to handle the Bucs. The Falcons are 4-0 at home this season (4-0 ATS) and 11-1 at home in the Ryan/Turner/Smith (9-2-1 ATS). Tampa is 0-4 on the road this year but they lost by only 3 at Washington and by only 2 at Miami. The Falcons need to win this game going away, but at least 2 TD’s or so.

Miami (-3.5) @ Buffalo
Pick: Dolphins win but Bills beat the spread
Comment: Last year Miami never had to play in Buffalo. The Dolphins beat the Bills at home but their road game against Buffalo was played on a neutral field in Toronto. That was one of a slew of breaks the Dolphins caught last season on their way to the playoffs, as they have struggled historically in Buffalo. The Bills are trying to get their head coaching situation figured out right now and they enter this game having lost 3 straight, and having already lost 3 games at home this year. The Dolphins will be playing on 10 days of rest but they are without Ronnie Brown. In week 4 the Dolphins dominated the Bills 38-10 in Miami but it’s a different game up in Buffalo. Miami demands respect by never folding and continually fending off adversity. I expect them to win again this week but I like the Bills to stay within a field goal.

Cleveland (+14) @ Cincinnati
Pick: Bengals cover
Comment: While the Browns were suffering through another painful moment at the end of their loss to Detroit last week, the Bengals had an early lead in Oakland and appeared on their way to a commanding lead in the AFC North. But the Bengals turned back into the Bungals later on that afternoon, giving the game away to the Raiders in a major setback. So both of these teams will be coming off of emotional letdowns. The Browns appear in disarray but they were able to hang with the Bengals earlier this season in Cleveland, forcing Cinci into overtime. Amazingly, the Browns have been out-gained in every game this season other than their previous meeting with Cincinnati. Cedric Benson should be back on the field for the Bengals this week and that will be huge. I expect the Bengals to run over the Browns on offense and stifle them defensively. They should win at least 3 scores.

Indianapolis (-3.5) @ Houston
Pick: Colts win but Texans beat the spread
Comment: As bad as Houston’s home loss to the Titans was on Monday, I think they will be very competitive against the Colts this Sunday. A few weeks ago the Texans lost by just 3 to the Colts in Indy. And while the Colts are undefeated and have answered challenges against the Pats and Ravens in the last 2 weeks, it’s not as though they are dominating the competition. 6 of Indy’s 10 wins this season have been by 4 points or less. They’ve won their last 3 games by a combined total of 6 points. The Texans need to rebound from the Monday night disappointment and I think they’ll put a scare in the Colts this week, but at this point I’m just not going to pick Indy to lose.

Carolina (+3) @ New York Jets
Pick: Jets cover
Comment: This is a matchup of pretenders. After a 3-0 start, the Jets are 1-6 in their last 7 games (1-6 ATS), and they have lost 3 straight at home. The Panthers are 4-3 over their last 7 games following an 0-3 start to the season but their loss at home to a crippled Dolphins team was crushing. Carolina will be playing on extra rest but I have a feeling the Jets will come out on top in this one. It’s a field goal spread so I’ll just take the Jets to cover.

Washington (+9) @ Philadelphia
Pick: Eagles cover
Comment: The Redskins played the Cowboys tough last week but they are 0-5 on the road this year and absolutely ravaged by injuries. Philly isn’t exactly healthy either but they have more weapons, they are at home, and they already won by 10 at Washington earlier this year.

Seattle (-3) @ St. Louis
Pick: Seahawks cover
Comment: There’s not much to like about either of these teams. Seattle is 0-5 on the road this year (0-5 ATS). St. Louis is 0-5 at home this season but they have beaten the spread in their last 2 home games. They have won 3 straight ATS and 4 of 5. However, Seattle beat the Rams 28-0 at home in the season opener and that was the Seahawks’ 9th consecutive win over St. Louis. I just can’t bet on the Lams.

Sunday’s Late Games

Kansas City (+13.5) @ San Diego
Pick: Chargers win but Chiefs beat the spread
Comment: The Chiefs played a hard-hitting overtime affair against the Steelers last week but it was worth it, as they pulled out the upset for their 2nd straight win. They have won 3 straight ATS and 5 of their last 6. The Chargers have won their last 5 games, winning 3 straight ATS and 4 of their last 5. Last month the Chargers went to KC and dominated the Chiefs, winning 37-7. Now we will see if the Chiefs can come back and play well on the road following their big win against the defending champs. I think the Chargers will win handedly but I think KC can stay within 12 or so.

Jacksonville (+3) @ San Francisco
Pick: Niners cover
Comment: At some point the Jags are going to show themselves to be complete frauds and their 6-4 record will be exposed as nothing but the natural result of a ridiculously easy schedule. The Jags have won 6 of 8, while the Niners have dropped 5 of 6. Still, I like SF to come out on top in this one. It’s a field goal spread so I’ll take the Niners to cover.

Arizona (+1) @ Tennessee
Pick: Titans cover
Comment: Tennessee is playing like a very capable team again and surprisingly (to me at least) Vince Young is getting it done at quarterback. The Titans have won 4 straight, going 4-0 ATS in those games, and they won their last 2 home games by scores of 30-13 (Jax) and 41-17 (Buf). Arizona has won 6 of 7 (5-2 ATS) and they are a surprising 5-0 on the road this year. Kurt Warner isn’t 100% and it appears that the Cards are going to be careful with injuries the rest of the way, as they know they have the NFC West in their pocket. The Titans, on the other hand, have no room for error. I think the Titans will keep it going this week with a win at home over the Cards.

Chicago (+10.5) @ Minnesota
Pick: Vikings cover
Comment: Jay Cutler has thrown 18 picks; Brett Favre has thrown 3. The Bears cannot run the ball and the Vikings are tough for anyone to run on. Cutler should throw a few more picks, the Viking offense should have plenty of success moving the ball and scoring, and Minnesota should win by at least 2 TD’s.

Sunday Night’s Game

Pittsburgh (+2.5) @ Baltimore
Pick: Ravens cover
Comment: This is a huge game for both teams. It looks like Big Ben will be able to play and that’s bigger than big because they have no offense without him and no backup QB now that Charlie Batch is done. For the second time this year the Steelers have lost back to back games and they are just 3-7 this year ATS. They are 2-3 on the road this year, 1-4 ATS on the road. Last season the Steelers beat the Ravens 3 times. Baltimore is just 2-5 following a 3-0 start and they really need this game badly. The Steelers will be without Troy Polamalu and that may be the thing that allows the Ravens to win this game. The Ravens are at home, they are healthier, and they need this game a little bit more. For these reasons, I’m taking Baltimore to win by a field goal.

Monday Night’s Game

New England (+3) @ New Orleans
Pick: Saints cover
Comment: While this may not be the most important game of the week (the Saints have the NFC South wrapped up and the Patriots are in no real danger of failing to win the AFC East), it is certainly the most interesting and exciting matchup. If the Saints win this game I think it will have to be said that their odds of finishing the regular season undefeated are well above 50-50. After this game, the Saints have a road game against the crippled and offensively challenged Redskins, a tough road game against their rivals in Atlanta, a home game against the Cowboys, a home game against the miserable Bucs, and a road trip to Carolina in the season finale. They could easily win all of those games. So it’s a little interesting that the Patriots—who finished the regular season undefeated just 2 years ago—have perhaps the best chance to keep New Orleans from finishing 16-0. The Pats are more than capable of winning this game but I don’t think they will win a shootout. They’ll have to control the clock and force some turnovers. The Saints will have that raucous crowd on their side and the added advantage of having played a lighter schedule. For these reasons, I’m taking the Saints to win. It’s a field goal spread so I’ll take the home team to cover.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The College Football Blog: 2009 Week 13 Betting Lines

Last Week: Vs. Spread (3-7); Moneyline Upsets (2-3)
Season: Vs. Spread (44-73-3); Moneyline Upsets (9-26)

Week 12 Review: After the ways things had gone the last few weeks, I was almost relieved to have 3 wins against the spread.

Week 13 Preview: Last year at this time I decided to make rivalry week special and blow out the picks in the final big week of the season. I picked 24 games ATS last season and I’m going to do 25 this time. This could get ugly for me. But it should be a beautiful week of college football…at least until Saturday night.


Game 1: Texas (-21) @ Texas A&M
Pick: A&M beats the spread
Comment: This game hasn’t been close that many times in recent years. Texas has won 7 of 10, and all 7 wins have come by at least 11 points. In 2006, Texas was a 14 point favorite at home against the Aggies and A&M knocked the Horns off, 12-7. In 2007, the Aggies were 7 point dogs at home but they upset the Horns for the 2nd year in a row, 38-30. Last season the Horns were favored by 35 at home and they won by 40. Texas should win the game fairly easily, as they have a better offense and an enormous edge defensively. Texas A&M may not stop the Horns all day. It’s hard to know what to make of A&M because their season has had such dramatic swings from week to week. The Aggies have been much better at home. I don’t think there’s much chance of an upset here but 21 points is a fairly big spread. The rivalry, the added pressure on Texas, and the home crowd has me thinking that A&M can stay within 20.


Game 2: Illinois (+20.5) @ Cincinnati
Pick: Cincinnati covers
Comment: Both teams are coming off of byes. Illinois has nothing to play for; Cinci has everything to play for. Illinois will be playing pressure free with a chance for a huge upset. Cincinnati will be playing with a lot of pressure and a win will be expected. The Illini lost their first 6 games against FBS opponents, losing each game by at least 10 points. After back to back wins against Michigan and at Minnesota, Illinois lost at home to NW in their last game. The Bearcats first 8 wins came by at least 8 points; their last 2 wins have come by a combined 5 points. Illinois is 1-3 on the road this year and just 3-7 ATS. The biggest thing for Cinci in my opinion is that they have their senior QB Tony Pike back and healthy enough to play full time. Pike has 17 TD’s and 3 INT this year. The Cats have won 11 straight at home.

Game 3: Northern Illinois (+13) @ Central Michigan
Pick: NIU beats the spread
Comment: Central Mich is the best team in the MAC but this spread seems too big to me. NIU’s 4 losses have all come by 8 points or less, including games at Wisconsin, at Toledo, and at Ohio. They also won at Purdue. CM has won the last 2 meetings but prior to that NIU had won 9 straight. Last year’s game went into OT.

Game 4: Alabama (-10) @ Auburn
Pick: Auburn beats the spread
Comment: I may be getting reeled in by the idea that rivalry games are close. That’s not necessarily the case. Alabama has a major edge in this game defensively. The Tide has bigger things ahead, while the Tigers could turn their season from “pretty good” all the way to “great” with a win. Auburn had a bye last week but Alabama pretty much did too as they played Chattanooga. The Tigers are at home and I think they’ll be inspired. I like Auburn to stay within single digits.

Game 5: Nebraska (-10.5) @ Colorado
Pick: Nebraska covers
Comment: This is a pretty high spread to take with an inconsistent team going on the road. But the Cornhuskers have a huge edge defensively in this game. They should dominate Colorado’s offense. Their have been several upsets in this series recently but I don’t expect one this weekend, or anytime soon for that matter, as long as Hawkins and Son are around.

Game 6: Pittsburgh (+1) @ West Virginia
Pick: Pitt beats the spread
Comment: I love Pitt to win this version of the Back Yard Brawl. Both teams were off last week. West Virginia hasn’t lost at home yet this year but they haven’t really played anyone at home either. I think Pitt will put this game out of reach at some point in the 2nd half.

Game 7: Nevada (+13.5) @ Boise State
Pick: Boise State covers
Comment: After getting off to a dreadful start (3 straight losses by double digits to ND, Colorado State and Missouri), the Wolf Pack has been hot for 2 months, winning 8 straight games, including 7 of those 8 by double digits. The Broncos simply don’t lose at home and they almost never lose in conference, but Nevada could definitely make this one interesting. Boise State has won 9 straight against Nevada but last year’s game was decided by 7 points, and in 07 Nevada took the Broncos to OT on the blue turf before coming up short. This season Boise State is 8-3 ATS, and the Broncos are 38-20 ATS at home this decade. I bet they break it open late.


Game 8: Southern Mississippi (+5.5) @ East Carolina
Pick: Southern Miss beats the spread
Comment: This is almost a toss up. I don’t think Southern Miss will beat EC on the road but I think they could stay within 3 or 4. The Golden Eagles are 1-4 on the road this year, while the Pirates are 4-1 at home. Southern Miss has won 7 of 8 vs. EC, going 7-1 ATS in those 8 games.

Game 9: North Carolina (-5.5) @ North Carolina State
Pick: UNC covers
Comment: I really like the Heels in this one, although there have been several upsets in this series in recent years. UNC has big defensive edge. The Wolfpack has lost 6 of 7 and has already lost by 21 at home to Duke and by 20 at home to Clemson. UNC has won 4 straight and has already won at Connecticut, at VT, and at BC this season. The Heels should definitely win by at least a TD.

Game 10: Clemson (-3) @ South Carolina
Pick: Clemson covers
Comment: In a stunning reversal of the last few years, the Tigers are 8-3 ATS this season. They are better than the Cocks on both sides of the ball. Since an embarrassing loss to Maryland, the Tigers have won 6 straight, going 5-1 ATS over that stretch. South Carolina has lost 3 straight and 4 of 5, and their only win during that stretch was a very, very unimpressive 14-10 win over Vandy at home. The Tigers have won 6 of 7 and 8 of 10 in this series. I don’t think The Ol’ Ball Coach has any more rabbits up his sleeve.

Game 11: Mississippi (-7.5) @ Mississippi State
Pick: Mississippi covers
Comment: Last year’s Egg Bowl was a 45-0 spanking of the Maroon Dogs by Mississippi. Mississippi State is just 1-5 at home this year. Mississippi has won their last 3 games and 5 of their last 6. Mississippi is a much better team than Miss State and should win by double digits.

Game 12: Oklahoma State (+8) @ Oklahoma
Pick: Oklahoma State beats the spread
Comment: Bedlam. I think the Sooners will probably pull this one out but I had to take Okie State with 8 points. The Cowboys pulled off back to back stunning upsets of the Sooners in 2001 and 2002 that really put some juice into a rivalry long dominated by Oklahoma. Since then, however, Oklahoma has won 6 straight, going 5-1 ATS in those games, and they’ve won the each of the last 3 at home by at least 28 points. The Sooners have had some rough games recently but they are just a different team at home. Oklahoma is 1-5 in non-home games this year and 5-0 at home. Okie State is 3-0 on the road this season so far. Both teams have been hit by injuries and attrition but the Cowboys have more left than the Sooners and they will have Zac Robinson back for this one. I think they’ll keep it close.

Game 13: New Mexico (+45) @ TCU
Pick: TCU covers
Comment: This is a huge spread. New Mexico is getting better but they still suck. The Horned Frogs can put up 50 on the Lobos and New Mexico may not score at all. TCU is 8-3 ATS this year while the Lobos are 4-7 ATS. The Horned Frogs have covered in 6 straight games.

Game 14: Missouri (-3) vs. Kansas
Pick: Missouri covers
Comment: This line opened at 3.5 but Mark Mangino ate the half point. It’ll be interesting to see if the Jayhawks play inspired ball for the Fat Man this weekend. Both teams have a key offensive player out this week. Kansas is an awful 2-8 ATS this year but they have pulled off several upsets in the recent history of this Border War. Still, the Jayhawks have dropped 6 straight, 4 of those by at least 14 points, while the Tigers have won 3 of 4, with all 3 wins coming by double digits. Kansas has lost their last 8 ATS. Yikes. Things have gotten ugly in the other Manhattan pretty quickly.

Game 15: Virginia Tech (-16) @ Virginia
Pick: Virginia beats the spread
Comment: This line was originally 13.5 and I was going to take the Hokies but the line moved a lot and I’m just not going to take VT with a huge spread again this year. The Cavaliers are 1-5 at home this year and they’ve lost 5 straight overall. VT has dominated this series recently, winning 9 of 10, including the last 5, going 4-1 ATS in the last 5. The Hokies are clearly better in all areas but I just can’t stand to take them -16, see them build a 21-0 lead, and then watch them end up winning 24-10.

Game 16: Florida State (+24) @ Florida
Pick: Florida covers
Comment: Obviously this is a big spread and Florida hasn’t been great at covering big spreads so far this season. But FSU is lucky to be 6-5. The Noles are 3-8 ATS this season, 0-6 ATS on the road, and they are without their best player, who also happens to be their quarterback. The Gators have won 5 straight over Bobby’s team, winning 3 of the last 4 by at least 30. The Gators should dominate. Noles fans should be relieved if Bowden’s last trip to the Swamp does not end in utter humiliation.

Game 17: Miami (-6.5) @ South Florida
Pick: Miami covers
Comment: I’m not overly impressed with either team. I know the South Florida kids will be fired up for this one but the Canes are pretty tough anywhere in the state of Florida. Both teams are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games. I’ll take Miami by a TD just because I think they are the better team.

Game 18: Arizona (-3) @ Arizona State
Pick: Arizona covers
Comment: I was surprised by this spread at first but there’s actually good reason to think ASU might beat their rivals on Saturday. The Cats are 1-3 on the road, while the Sun Devils are 4-1 ATS at home. Arizona State has won 7 of 10 in this series and they had won 3 straight and 5 of 6 before the losing last year’s game. Despite these things, I have to take Arizona because they are clearly the better team, and with the Rose Bowl dream over with, they have no reason to be focused on anything but beating their in-state rivals.

Game 19: Utah (+7.5) @ BYU
Pick: Utah beats the spread
Comment: The Cougars don’t often lose at home and I’m fairly confident they will beat Utah this weekend but 7.5 points seems like a lot. Utah is actually just 4-7 ATS this year and 1-4 ATS on the road. Those numbers aren’t surprising considering that they’ve been vastly overrated all season. But BYU has not been the team we expected them to be this year either. I think BYU will win but it will be close.

Game 20: Washington State (+24.5) @ Washington
Pick: Washington covers
Comment: First off, let me say that you don’t want to miss this one. The Apple Cup is always memorable. Chances are this one will be wild come the 4th quarter. But you just can’t take Wazu to beat the spread against anyone right now, regardless of the number. How in the hell have the Cougs beaten Washington in 4 of the last 5 years?

Game 21: Tennessee (-3) @ Kentucky
Pick: Tennessee covers
Comment: Kentucky can’t beat Tennessee. That’s been proven over and over. It’s now 24 in a row for the Vols over UK, the longest series winning or losing streak in college football. Until they prove they can beat Tennessee, I’m not betting on the Cats. The Vols are 0-3 on the road this season but Kentucky is just 1-5 ATS at home.

Game 22: Arkansas (+3.5) @ LSU
Pick: LSU covers
Comment: This is a tough one. You know it’s going to come down to the end. And that’s a scary thought for LSU fans at the moment. Arkansas has pulled off back to back upsets in this series but they are 0-3 on the road this year while the Tigers are 5-1 at home. I’ll take LSU by 5 or 6.

Game 23: Notre Dame (+10) @ Stanford
Pick: Notre Dame beats the spread
Comment: This line started at 7. That’s quite a move in just a few days. Stanford is 5-1 at home this year, with their first loss at home coming in heart breaking fashion against Cal last week in the Big Game. That one will still be stinging this weekend and the Irish have won 7 in a row against Stanford. Stanford is 7-4 ATS this year, while ND is just 3-8 ATS. Still, Notre Dame has kept every single game close this season and I think they will again on Saturday, though I expect their winning streak against the Cardinal to come to an end.

Game 24: Georgia (+7.5) @ Georgia Tech
Pick: Georgia Tech covers
Comment: I’m trying to think of the last time I was this hopeless heading into any game. It would probably be in the mid-90’s going into a Florida game. Tech is 7-3 ATS this year and undefeated at home. The Dawgs are 3-8 ATS. I have to admit: I’d be flat out lying if I told you I thought it would ever get like this under Mark Richt.

Game 25: UCLA (+13) @ USC
Pick: UCLA beats the spread
Comment: I’m sure the Trojans will get it done against the other LA team this weekend but USC is not a good bet to cover a big spread right now. USC is a stunning 2-8 ATS this year. The Trojans have won 9 of 10 against UCLA, and again, I’m sure they’ll win for the 10th time in 11 tries on Saturday, but they are just 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games vs. UCLA. USC has won by at least 17 points in their last 4 home games vs. UCLA but this is not the typical Trojan team.

Moneyline Special

Ohio over Temple: In my opinion it’s a bit of a surprise that Ohio is a 2.5 point underdog at home against Temple this Friday. Both of these teams are good and Temple has been fairly dominant in the MAC, winning 9 straight games, going 8-2 ATS, and winning 4 of 5 on the road. Ohio has won 6 of their last 7 games and the Bobcats are 7-2 in their last 9 ATS. But I would take Temple to win this game for sure if not for one very important factor. Bernard Pierce, the star freshman running back for the Owls, is almost certainly out for this game. Pierce has rushed for 1308 yards and 15 TD, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. You can’t just make that up somewhere else, especially not against a good team on the road. Ohio will win.

Wyoming over Colorado State: The Cowboys are 3 point road dogs against the struggling Rams this weekend. CSU started the season 3-0 but since then they have dropped 8 straight and they are 2-8 ATS on the year. They are 2-3 at home, while Wyoming is 2-3 on the road. Wyoming has lost 4 of their last 5 but those losses were at Air Force, at Utah, and against BYU and TCU. The Rams have owned this series, winning 4 of the last 5 and 8 of the last 10, but Wyoming is 7-3 ATS this year and the Cowboys are going to pull off the road upset this weekend.

Duke over Wake Forrest: The Dukies are 4.5 point underdogs at home this Saturday against Wake. I don’t get this one. Sure, Duke is banged up and they’ve lost 3 straight, but Wake has lost 5 in a row and is 0-4 on the road this year. Duke is 5-3-1 ATS this season while the Deacons are just 5-6 ATS. WF has owned this series, winning 9 straight, but 6 of those 9 wins came by 7 points or less, including 4 by 3 points or less. In the last 3 years, Wake has won by a total of 9 points, and last year’s game at WF went into OT. The Dukies will end the streak this weekend and finish 6-6.

Marshall over UTEP: Marshall is a 1.5 point underdog on the road at UTEP this week. UTEP has been one of the most disappointing teams in the country this year. They have lost 4 straight and 5 of 6. They have been beating by Memphis, Tulane, and Rice. Marshall has won twice on the road already this year and they’re coming off of a win over SMU. The Herd should roll.

The College Basketball Blog: 2009-2010 Predictions

I've finally gotten my college basketball predictions finished just in time for Thanksgiving. I predicted the standings of all major and mid-major conferences (I always predict won-loss records for the SEC only). For the low major conferences I picked the winner and listed a few runner-ups for each conference. One thing to keep in mind is that I always assume that the regular season conference champ will also win the conference tournament. While we know it is very likely that at least one conference champ will be upset in their conference tournament and be kept out of the Dance, I never try to predict that sort of thing. It's just a lot easier this way. Like last year I have predicted the 31 conference champs and the 34 at-large bids that make up the field of 65. Once again I predicted the #1 seeds, the Sweet 16, the Elite Eight, the Final Four, the National Final, and the National Champion. This year I'm giving more award predictions. I picked the player of the year for all 31 conferences. In addition, I picked the defensive player of the year, freshman of the year, and coach of the year for all of the major conferences. Finally, I predicted the major national awards and the All-American teams.

2009-2010 College Basketball Predictions

o Conference Champions in bold italics.
o At large bid teams in bold.

High Majors

1. Kentucky (13-3)
2. Tennessee (11-5)
3. South Carolina (10-6)
4. Vanderbilt (9-7)
5. Florida (8-8)
6. Georgia (2-14)
1. Mississippi State (11-5)
T2. Alabama (9-7)
T2. Mississippi (9-7)
4. LSU (6-10)
5. Auburn (5-11)
6. Arkansas (3-13)

1. North Carolina
2. Georgia Tech
3. Maryland
4. Virginia Tech
5. Florida State
6. Duke
7. Clemson
8. Wake Forrest
9. Boston College
10. Virginia
11. Miami
12. North Carolina State

1. Dayton
2. Richmond
3. La Salle
4. Xavier
5. Duquesne
6. Massachusetts
7. Rhode Island
8. St. Bonaventure
9. Temple
10. St. Joseph’s
11. Charlotte
12. St. Louis
13. George Washington
14. Fordham

Big East
1. Villanova
2. West Virginia
3. Connecticut
4. Louisville
5. Notre Dame
6. Cincinnati
7. St. John’s
8. Pittsburgh
9. Georgetown
10. Seaton Hall
11. Syracuse
12. Marquette
13. Rutgers
14. South Florida
15. Providence
16. DePaul

Big Ten
1. Purdue
2. Michigan State
3. Ohio State
4. Michigan
5. Minnesota
6. Illinois
7. Wisconsin
8. Penn State
9. Northwestern
10. Indiana
11. Iowa

1. Kansas
2. Texas
3. Oklahoma
4. Kansas State
5. Oklahoma State
6. Texas A&M
7. Missouri
8. Iowa State
9. Baylor
10. Nebraska
11. Colorado
12. Texas Tech

Conference USA
1. Memphis
2. Tulsa
3. Houston
5. Marshall
6. Central Florida
7. Tulane
8. UAB
9. Southern Mississippi
10. East Carolina
11. SMU
12. Rice

1. Akron
2. Buffalo
3. Miami (OH)
4. Bowling Green
5. Kent State
6. Ohio
1. Northern Illinois
2. Eastern Michigan
3. Central Michigan
4. Ball State
5. Western Michigan
6. Toledo

1. Northern Iowa
2. Creighton
3. Illinois State
4. Wichita State
5. Southern Illinois
6. Bradley
7. Indiana State
8. Missouri State
9. Drake
10. Evansville

1. BYU
3. San Diego State
4. Utah
5. New Mexico
6. TCU
7. Wyoming
8. Colorado State
9. Air Force

1. California
2. Washington
3. Oregon State
4. Arizona
6. Oregon
7. Washington State
8. Arizona State
9. Stanford
10. USC

1. Utah State
2. New Mexico State
3. Idaho
4. Nevada
5. Fresno State
6. Boise State
7. San Jose State
8. Louisiana Tech
9. Hawaii


Big West
1. Long Beach State
2. UC-Santa Barbara
3. UC-Riverside
4. Cal State-Northridge
5. Cal State-Fullerton
6. UC-Davis
7. UC-Irvine
8. Pacific
9. Cal Poly

1. Old Dominion
2. Virginia Commonwealth
3. Northeastern
4. Hofstra
5. George Mason
6. James Madison
7. Drexel
8. UNC-Wilmington
9. Delaware
10. Towson
11. William and Mary
12. Georgia State

1. Butler
2. Wright State
3. Wisconsin-Milwaukee
4. Cleveland State
5. Illinois-Chicago
6. Wisconsin-Green Bay
7. Loyola-Chicago
8. Valparaiso
9. Youngstown State
10. Detroit

1. Western Carolina
2. Appalachian State
3. Samford
4. UNG-Greensboro
5. Elon
6. UT-Chattanooga
1. Wofford
2. Citadel
3. College of Charleston
4. Davidson
5. Furman
6. Georgia Southern

1. North Texas
2. Denver
3. Louisiana-Monroe
4. Louisiana-Lafayette
5. Arkansas-Little Rock
6. Arkansas State
7. New Orleans
1. Western Kentucky
2. Troy
3. Middle Tennessee State
4. Florida Atlantic
5. Florida International
6. South Alabama

1. Gonzaga
2. Portland
3. St. Mary’s
4. San Francisco
5. San Diego
6. Pepperdine
7. Santa Clara
8. Loyola-Marymount

Low Majors

America East
1. Boston
2. Binghamton
3. Vermont

Atlantic Sun
1. Jacksonville
2. Lipscomb
3. Mercer
4. East Tennessee State

Big Sky
1. Weber State
2. Idaho State
3. Montana
4. Montana State
5. Portland State

Big South
1. Radford
2. Winthrop
3. Gardner Webb
4. UNC-Ashville
5. Charleston Southern

1. Cornell
2. Princeton

Metro Atlantic
1. Siena
2. Niagara
3. Rider

1. Morgan State
2. Norfolk State
3. South Carolina State

1. Robert Morris
2. Mount St. Mary’s
3. Quinnipiac

1. Morehead State
2. Murray State
3. Austin Peay

1. Holy Cross
2. Leigh
3. Bucknell
4. Colgate

1. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
2. Sam Houston State
3. UT-San Antonio
1. South Eastern Louisiana

1. Jackson State
2. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
3. Prairie View A&M
4. Alabama State
5. Alabama A&M

1. Oakland
3. South Dakota State
4. Oral Roberts

Conference Champions
ACC: North Carolina
America East: Boston
Atlantic-10: Dayton
Atlantic Sun: Jacksonville
Big Ten: Purdue
Big XII: Kansas
Big East: Villanova
Big Sky: Weber State
Big South: Radford
Big West: Long Beach State
Colonial: Old Dominion
Conference USA: Memphis
Horizon: Butler
Ivy: Cornell
Metro Atlantic: Siena
MAC: Akron
MEAC: Morgan State
MVC: Northern Iowa
Northeast: Robert Morris
OVC: Morehead State
Pac-10: California
Patriot: Holy Cross
SEC: Kentucky
Southern: Wofford
Southland: Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Summit: Oakland
SBC: Western Kentucky
SWAC: Jackson State
WAC: Utah State
WCC: Gonzaga

At Large Tournament Teams
Georgia Tech
Virginia Tech
Florida State
La Salle
West Virginia
Notre Dame
Michigan State
Ohio State
Kansas State
Oklahoma State
Texas A&M
Mississippi State
South Carolina
New Mexico State
Virginia Commonwealth

#1 Seeds
North Carolina

Sweet 16
North Carolina
Georgia Tech
Michigan State
West Virginia
South Carolina
Mississippi State

Elite 8
North Carolina
West Virginia
Mississippi State

Final Four
North Carolina



Conference Player of the Year Award Winners (Majors)
ACC: Ed Davis-F-North Carolina
Big East: Devin Ebanks-F-West Virginia
Big Ten: Evan Turner-G-Ohio State
Big XII: Willie Warren-G-Oklahoma
Conference USA: Aubrey Coleman-G-Houston
Pac-10: Jerome Randle-G-California
SEC: Tyler Smith-F-Tennessee
Atlantic-10: Chris Wright-F-Dayton
MVC: Osiris Eldridge-G/F-Illinois State
MWC: Jimmer Fredette-G-BYU
WAC: Luke Babbitt-F-Nevada
MAC: David Kool-G-Western Michigan

Conference Player of the Year Award Winners (Mid-Majors)
Big West: Kyle Austin-F-UC Riverside
Colonial: Charles Jenkins-G-Hofstra
Horizon League: Gordon Hayward-F-Butler
Southern: Noah Dahlman-F-Wofford
SBC: A.J. Slaughter-G-Western Kentucky
WCC: Dior Lowhorn-F-San Francisco

Conference Player of the Year Award Winners (Low Majors)
America East: D.J. Rivera-F-Binghamton
Atlantic Sun: James Florence-G-Mercer
Big Sky: Anthony Johnson-G-Montana
Big South: Art Parakhouski-C-Radford
Ivy: Ryan Wittman-F-Cornell
Metro Atlantic: Ryan Thompson-G-Rider
MEAC: Michael Deloach-G-Norfolk State
Northeast: Jeremy Goode-G-Mount St. Mary’s
OVC: Kenneth Faried-F/C-Morehead State
Patriot League: R.J. Evans-G-Holy Cross
Southland: Kevin Palmer-G/F-Texas A&M-Corpus Christi
Summit League: Keith Benson-C-Oakland
SWAC: Grant Maxey-F-Jackson State

Conference Defensive Player of the Year Award Winners (Majors)
ACC: Solomon Alabi-C-Florida State
Big East: Hamady Ndiaye-C-Rutgers
Big Ten: JaJuan Johnson-C-Purdue
Big XII: Cole Aldrich-C-Kansas
Conference USA: Jerome Jordan-C-Tulsa
Pac-10: Michael Dunigan-C-Oregon
SEC: Jarvis Varnado-F/C-Mississippi State
Atlantic-10: Andrew Nicholson-F-St. Bonaventure
MVC: Kenny Lawson-C-Creighton
MWC: Djibril Thiam-F-Wyoming
WAC: Dario Hunt-F-Nevada
MAC: Jarrod Jones-F-Ball State

Conference Freshman Player of the Year Award Winners (Majors)
ACC: Derrick Favors-C-Georgia Tech
Big East: Lance Stephenson-F-Cincinnati
Big Ten: Royce White-F-Minnesota
Big XII: Avery Bradley-G-Texas
Conference USA: Hassan Whiteside-F-Marshall
Pac-10: Abdul Gaddy-G-Washington
SEC: John Wall-G-Kentucky
Atlantic-10: Aaric Murray-C-La Salle
MVC: Justin Clark-G-Illinois State
MWC: Kawhi Leonard-F-San Diego State
WAC: Greg Smith-C-Fresno State
MAC: Zeke Marshall-C-Akron

Conference Coach of the Year Award Winners (Majors)
ACC: Roy Williams-North Carolina
Big East: Jay Wright-Villanova
Big Ten: Matt Painter-Purdue
Big XII: Jeff Capel-Oklahoma
Conference USA: Josh Pastner-Memphis
Pac-10: Craig Robinson-Oregon State
SEC: John Calipari-Kentucky
Atlantic-10: John Giannini-La Salle
MVC: Ben Jacobson-Northern Iowa
MWC: Dave Rose-BYU
WAC: David Carter-Nevada
MAC: Keith Dambrot-Akron

National Awards

National Player of the Year: Willie Warren-G-Oklahoma

National Defensive Player of the Year: Jarvis Varnado-F/C-Mississippi State

Freshman Player of the Year: John Wall-G-Kentucky

National Coach of the Year: Josh Pastner-Memphis

1st Team All-American
G- Sherron Collins-Kansas
G- Willie Warren-Oklahoma
C- Craig Brackens-Iowa State
F- Ed Davis-North Carolina
F- Luke Harangody-Notre Dame

2nd Team All-American
G- John Wall-Kentucky
G- Scottie Reynolds-Villanova
F- Stanley Robinson-Connecticut
F- Tyler Smith-Tennessee
C- Cole Aldrich-Kansas

3rd Team All-American
G- Devin Downey-South Carolina
G- Kalin Lucas-Michigan State
G- Evan Turner-Ohio State
F- Devin Ebanks-West Virginia
C- Derrick Favors-Georgia Tech

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The NFL Blog: 2009 Week 11 Power Rankings

Power Rankings After Week 11

1. Indianapolis 10-0 (1st)
2. Minnesota 9-1 (2nd)
3. New Orleans 10-0 (3rd)
4. New England 7-3 (5th)
5. San Diego 7-3 (7th)
6. Cincinnati 7-3 (4th)
7. Pittsburgh 6-4 (6th)
8. Baltimore 5-5 (9th)
9. Arizona 7-3 (10th)
10. Dallas 7-3 (11th)
11. Philadelphia 6-4 (12th)
12. New York Giants 6-4 (15th)
13. Atlanta 5-5 (13th)
14. Tennessee 4-6 (17th)
15. Houston 5-5 (8th)
16. Denver 6-4 (14th)
17. Miami 5-5 (19th)
18. Green Bay 6-4 (21st)
19. San Francisco 4-6 (20th)
20. Carolina 4-6 (16th)
21. New York Jets 4-6 (18th)
22. Jacksonville 6-4 (22nd)
23. Chicago 4-6 (23rd)
24. Kansas City 3-7 (27th)
25. Buffalo 3-7 (24th)
26. Washington 3-7 (26th)
27. Oakland 3-7 (28th)
28. Seattle 3-7 (25th)
29. St. Louis 1-9 (29th)
30. Detroit 2-8 (32nd)
31. Cleveland 1-9 (31st)
32. Tampa Bay 1-9 (30th)

-Previous week’s ranking in parenthesis;

No Change at the Top: Just about everyone’s top 3 teams are the Colts, Saints, and Vikings in some order. My top 3 spots stayed exactly the same this week. If I could move the Colts up any higher I would. They got it done again last week, pulling out a win on the road in Baltimore to stay undefeated. The Vikings and Saints did exactly what they were supposed to do, blowing out weak opponents. So my top 3 remained Indy, Minnesota, New Orleans, in that order.

Moving Up: 4 teams climbed 3 spots in my rankings this week. The Giants snapped their 4 game skid with an overtime victory over the Falcons at home and I bumped them up 3 spots from 15th to 12th. Green Bay hung on to beat the Niners at home but really it was the poor play of teams above the Packers that led me to move them up 3 spots from 21st to 18th. I moved the Titans up 3 spots from 17th to 14th following their huge win at Houston on Monday night, their 4th in a row following the 0-6 start. The Chiefs came up with a huge win over the defending Super Bowl champs at home last week. The OT win earned them a jump of 3 spots in my rankings this week from 27th to 24th.

Going Down: There were also 4 teams that fell at least 3 spots in my rankings this week. The Seahawks were again non-competitive last week, getting crushed by the Vikings in Minnesota. I dropped them 3 spots from 25th to 28th in this week’s rankings. The Jets lost decisively to the Patriots in Foxboro and right now I don’t think they are a very capable team due to the inexperience at the two most important spots: QB and head coach. I moved the Jets down 3 spots in my rankings from 18th to 21st. The Panthers turned into hens again last Thursday, losing at home to a Dolphins team playing without their main offensive cog. I moved Carolina down 4 spots in my rankings, dropping them from 16th to 20th. The team making by far the biggest move in my rankings this week was Houston. Maybe I was overly effected by the fact that they were the last team to lose in week 11 but they flat out peed down their leg against the Titans on Monday night. They had a chance to show that they could take care of business against a team they are supposed to be better than at home in front of the nation, but they fell on their faces. The Texans plummeted in my rankings this week, dropping 7 spots from 8th all the way to 15th.

The Divide: At this point, the biggest divide in the NFL is clearly at the top, where the 3 best teams in the league have elevated themselves into a different class. The Saints, Colts, and Vikings have 1 loss between the; each of the other 29 teams in the NFL has at least 3 losses. There are now only 4 teams out of 32 with less than 3 wins, as the bottom of the NFL has continued to move closer to the middle of the back. After the top 3 teams there is a second trio of teams who we can clearly separate from the rest of the pack. The Patriots, Chargers, and Bengals are not on the same level as the Saints, Vikings, and Colts but they look to be the only teams who might be capable of joining that elite group. Most of the teams in the NFL belong to the next group. From the 7th spot in my rankings through about the 23rd spot is a massive bulge of mediocrity. These teams are seemingly only separated by their respective schedules. Some teams have played relatively difficult schedules such as the Ravens and Falcons. Other teams have played relatively easy schedules such as the Cowboys and Jaguars. But these teams are hard to separate otherwise. The Cowboys may be 7-3 but they are not significantly better right now than the 4-6 Titans. I don’t think you can trust any of the NFC East teams. One of these teams may emerge from the pack and prove to be a contender but right now it isn’t obvious who the best candidate for such a move would be.

The College Football Blog: 2009 Season Résumé Rankings (After Week 12)

Season Résumé Rankings After Week 12

1. Alabama 11-0 (1st)
2. Texas 11-0 (2nd)
3. Florida 11-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 11-0 (4th)
5. Cincinnati 10-0 (5th)
6. Boise State 11-0 (6th)
7. Georgia Tech 10-1 (7th)
8. Pittsburgh 9-1 (8th)
9. Oregon 9-2 (9th)
10. Iowa 10-2 (NR)

Comments: Wow! Maybe it’s just this season but this list was really easy; especially the top 9, which had no changes. Alabama, Florida, and TCU dominated nobodies and Texas rolled over Kansas so I kept the top 4 exactly the same. Boise State’s win over Utah State wasn’t enough to jump idle Cinci so the #5 and #6 spots stayed the same. There are only two 1-loss teams in the country and neither of them played last week, so obviously Tech and Pitt stayed at 7th and 8th respectively. Oregon had a very impressive win, surviving OT to beat Arizona on the road, and staying clearly above the rest of the 2-loss teams. LSU lost for a 3rd time so they had to drop out of the #10 spot. There were a number of two loss teams who could have fit into the 10th spot. After some consideration I went with Iowa. Penn State has lost handedly to both Iowa and Ohio State at home and they don’t really have a good win, so they were eliminated. Ohio State just beat Iowa head to head a few weeks ago but you have to go deeper than that. Ohio State lost at home to a less-than-special USC team and lost on the road to a bad Purdue team. Both Iowa and Ohio State won on the road at Penn State but the Buckeyes don’t really have another good win. Iowa beat Arizona at home, crushed Iowa State, and also beat Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road. Ohio State beat Wisconsin at home and didn’t play Michigan State. Both of Iowa’s losses this season were due in part to the injury to their starting QB. In fact, they when they lost to Ohio State they were playing with an inexperienced backup QB, and they lost on the road in overtime. So I went with Iowa.

The College Football Blog: 2009 Power Rankings (After Week 12)

Power Rankings after Week 12

1. Alabama 11-0 (1st)
2. Florida 11-0 (2nd)
3. Texas 11-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 11-0 (4th)
5. Georgia Tech 10-1 (5th)
6. Oregon 9-2 (7th)
7. Cincinnati 10-0 (8th)
8. Boise State 11-0 (9th)
9. LSU 8-3 (6th)
10. Ohio State 10-2 (10th)
11. Iowa 10-2 (11th)
12. Pittsburgh 9-1 (14th)
13. Oklahoma State 9-2 (15th)
14. Stanford 7-4 (12th)
15. Penn State 10-2 (NR)

Out: Oklahoma (13th).

Comments: These rankings were unusually easy to knock out this week, as almost all of the top teams either won easily over weak opponents or did not play last week. My top 5 stayed exactly the same, as Alabama, Florida, Texas, and TCU had blowout victories over pushovers, and Georgia Tech did not play. LSU was the only team in my top 11 that dropped this week but they didn’t fall as far as I thought they probably would immediately after their loss to Ole Miss. Losing by 2 in Oxford to a good Ole Miss team and nearly pulling off a last second victory isn’t the worst thing in the world. But during the final minute of the game the Tigers were incredibly sloppy with clock management/play calling and I lost a lot of the regard I had for them going into that game. Still, I think they are able to overcome the shoddy coaching to a certain extent and so I only dropped them 3 spots from 6th to 9th. Oregon’s double overtime win at Arizona impressed me. I would have liked to move them up more than 1 spot but I still wouldn’t favor them over any of the teams in my top 5 so I just bumped them up from 7th to 6th. Cincinnati was idle and Boise State rolled another weak opponent but I moved them each up a spot to 7th and 8th respectively. This was due more to me losing faith in LSU than anything else. I kept Ohio State and Iowa at 10th and 11th after they took care of business against a couple of the lesser teams in the Big Ten. Really choosing between Ohio State and Iowa is a complete toss up. I guess I favor the Buckeyes because they have owned that conference for so long now. Stanford had been 12th in my rankings before they were upset by Cal at home in the Big Game last weekend. I still think Stanford is really good and I only dropped them down two spots to 14th. This was their 3rd huge game in a row and they just couldn’t sustain their high level of play, but they were very close to pull that game out anyway. Reluctantly I moved Pitt and Oklahoma State up 2 spots each, even though I still think Stanford might beat either one of them in a head to head contest on a neutral field. I’m still not sure how good the Panthers are but that’s fine because we’ll find out in the next 2 weeks when they play West Virginia and then Cincinnati. Pitt was off last week, while the Cowboys of Oklahoma State were nearly derailed at home by a terrible Colorado team. However, Okie State was playing without their star QB and that had an enormous effect on the game. It wasn’t pretty, but on the other hand, they did prove once again that they could win in spite of crippling injuries. We should find out more about the Pokes this weekend when they play Oklahoma on the road. Speaking of the Sooners, I promise (this time I really mean it) I am done with them for the year. The Sooners were the only team to fall out of my rankings this week. I dropped Oklahoma from 13th to out of the top 15 following their 5th loss of the season, this time getting blown out by Texas Tech. The #15 spot in my rankings has often been taken by default this year and that is certainly the case this week. Penn State jumped back into my rankings this week at 15th after they finished their 10-2 season with a blowout of Michigan State on the road. The Nittany Lions have lost twice at home in convincing fashion this year and they have no real impressive wins, but at least all of their wins have been decisive. A number of teams could have been 15th but I went with Penn State in the end.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The NFL Blog: 2009 Week 11 Betting Lines

Last Week: Vs. Spread (7-8); Straight Up (9-6)
Season: Vs. Spread (67-75-1); Straight Up (91-52)

Week 10 Review: A better weak---slip---week for me but still under .500 ATS.

Week 11 Preview: Finally the bye weeks are over and we get a full slate of games to pick.

Thursday’s Game

Miami (+3) @ Carolina
Pick: Panthers cover
Comment: The Panthers are on a bit of a roll. They are at home and Miami is without Ronnie Brown. Carolina began the year 1-5 ATS but they’ve beaten the spread in their last 3 games. This will be a short week for both teams. The Dolphins are coming off of an unimpressive 2 point win over the Bucs at home. You never know with the Dolphins but I feel better taking the Panthers to win. It’s a field goal spread so I’ll just take Carolina to cover.

Sunday’s Early Games

Indianapolis (+1) @ Baltimore
Pick: Ravens cover
Comment: This might sound incredibly stupid but I just don’t think the Colts are as good as their 9-0 record indicates. They’ve had some impressive performances and they’ve done this sort of thing many times before but I get the feeling they’ve got a loss coming. Just think about some of their wins. They beat a weak Jacksonville team (ignore the 5-4 record) by 2 at home; they won by 4 on the road against a weak Miami team; they beat a weak Seattle team at home; they won on the road against a Tennessee team that started 0-6 and would lose 59-0 the very next week; they crushed a horrible St. Louis team on the road; they won by 4 at home over a decent (at best) Niner team; they beat a solid Houston team by 3 at home; and they escaped with a 1-point victory over the Pats at home last week. You can’t control the teams you play but it’s not like they’re blowing everybody out either. The Ravens have 4 losses but they’ve played a much harder schedule and they’re 9-3 at home over the last 2 seasons. I think Indy’s undefeated season ends this Sunday.

Washington (+11) @ Dallas
Pick: Cowboys win but Redskins beat the spread
Comment: Just when it looked like the Cowboys might actually be better than expected they played an awful game against a reeling Green Bay team. Washington upset the Broncos last week and they shouldn’t be as bad as they have looked most of this season. I like the Cowboys to take care of business but I think the Skins can stay within 10.

Cleveland (+3.5) @ Detroit
Pick: Lions cover
Comment: A couple of terrible teams. I got burned by the Lions a few weeks ago when I picked them to cover at home against the Lams and they lost by 7. But how can you possible bet on the Browns after what they did on Monday night?

San Francisco (+6.5) @ Green Bay
Pick: Packers win but Niners beat the spread
Comment: I don’t think there’s much of a difference between these two teams. The Packers are at home so I’ll take them to win but I don’t think the home field is worth 7 points.

Buffalo (+9) @ Jacksonville
Pick: Jags win but Bills beat the spread
Comment: This was one of the hardest games for me to pick because the Bills have looked so awful recently. They’ve finally gotten rid of Dick Jauron but all that does is give them a head start on finding his replacement. I still maintain that the Jags are one of the worst 5-4 teams in recent memory. I’ll take the Jags to win at home but by 8 or less.

Pittsburgh (-10) @ Kansas City
Pick: Steelers win but Chiefs beat the spread
Comment: This game was also tough for me to pick. Obviously I like the Steelers to win but I’m not sure they’ll win by more than 10 on the road without Troy Polamalu. Of course, the Chiefs won’t have Dwayne Bowe either. But KC is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, while the Steelers are just 3-6 ATS all season. I’m not real confident on this one but I think the Chiefs can stay within single digits.

Seattle (+10.5) @ Minnesota
Pick: Vikings cover
Comment: I like the Vikings at home against any team in the NFL right now and I don’t like the Seahawks on the road at all. Minnesota should win by at least 2 TD’s.

Atlanta (+6.5) @ New York Giants
Pick: Giants cover
Comment: I’m not positive but my guess would be that both Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood will miss this game. With the way Matt Ryan has played lately it will be hard to stay within a TD on the road against a desperate Giants team coming off of a bye.

New Orleans (-11.5) @ Tampa Bay
Pick: Saints cover
Comment: The Saints have been faltering a bit—failing to cover in each of their last 3 games and winning by just 5 against the Rams last week—and I know the Bucs have been less awful lately—winning by 10 against Green Bay two weeks ago and losing by just 2 at Miami last week. Still, I think the Saints should be able to win this by a couple of TD’s.

Sunday’s Late Games

Arizona (-9.5) @ St. Louis
Pick: Cardinals cover
Comment: This could be a dangerous game. The Rams are 3-1 ATS in their last 4 games and the Cardinals always seem to come up with a surprising loss just as you’ve started to forget about the last time. But Arizona is a surprising 4-0 on the road this season and 6-3 ATS this year. I think the Cards should win by double digits.

San Diego (-2.5) @ Denver
Pick: Chargers cover
Comment: still didn’t have a line up for this one and it took me a while to find any sort of line for this one. It’s kind of important in this case because if the line was 6 or something like that I’d probably take the Broncos to beat the spread but regardless of whether or not Kyle Orton plays I still like San Diego to win. I was late jumping on the Denver bandwagon and I’m probably late jumping off. They’ve lost 3 straight, while the Chargers have won 4 in a row. I like the Chargers to win a close game by at least a field goal or so.

New York Jets (+10) @ New England
Pick: Patriots win but Jets beat the spread
Comment: New York has lost 5 of 6 after starting the season 3-0 but their only loss by more than 5 points this season was a 14 point loss in New Orleans. Their other 4 losses have come by a combined 14 points, including 1 loss in OT. The Pats will be trying to shake off the heartbreaker in Indy last Sunday night. I think New England will win fairly easily but not by double digits.

Cincinnati (-9.5) @ Oakland
Pick: Bengals cover
Comment: Betting for or against the Raiders is always tricky because you never know whether they are going to show up or not. Cinci is coming off of a huge win at Pittsburgh and they will most likely be without Cedric Benson. A trip to Oakland has been a trap for some teams but I think Cinci can win by double digits with or without Benson.

Sunday Night’s Game

Philadelphia (-3) @ Chicago
Pick: Eagles cover
Comment: Brian Westbrook may not play but the combination of his constant injury problems and Andy Reid’s inability to maximize his skills has made him a non-factor much of the time anyway. The Bears will be well rested and at home but they’re just not any good.

Monday Night’s Game

Tennessee (+4.5) @ Houston
Pick: Texans cover
Comment: I never thought the Titans were anything close to as bad as they looked through their first 6 games but they dug too deep of a hole. They can’t win every week. Houston has been tough to beat at home in recent years and Vince Young is due to cost Tennessee a game. I like the Texans to win by a TD.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The NFL Blog: 2009 Week 10 Power Rankings

Power Rankings After Week 10

1. Indianapolis 9-0 (2nd)
2. Minnesota 8-1 (3rd)
3. New Orleans 9-0 (1st)
4. Cincinnati 7-2 (6th)
5. New England 6-3 (5th)
6. Pittsburgh 6-3 (4th)
7. San Diego 6-3 (13th)
8. Houston 5-4 (10th)
9. Baltimore 5-4 (11th)
10. Arizona 6-3 (14th)
11. Dallas 6-3 (7th)
12. Philadelphia 5-4 (12th)
13. Atlanta 5-4 (9th)
14. Denver 6-3 (8th)
15. New York Giants 5-4 (15th)
16. Carolina 4-5 (18th)
17. Tennessee 3-6 (19th)
18. New York Jets 4-5 (16th)
19. Miami 4-5 (17th)
20. San Francisco 4-5 (22nd)
21. Green Bay 5-4 (23rd)
22. Jacksonville 5-4 (25th)
23. Chicago 4-5 (21st)
24. Buffalo 3-6 (20th)
25. Seattle 3-6 (24th)
26. Washington 3-6 (26th)
27. Kansas City 2-7 (27th)
28. Oakland 2-7 (28th)
29. St. Louis 1-8 (29th)
30. Tampa Bay 1-8 (30th)
31. Cleveland 1-8 (31st)
32. Detroit 1-8 (32nd)

-Previous week’s ranking in parenthesis;

Change at the Top: Despite the fact that all of the teams in my top 3 from last week won again this week, there was a shakeup at the top of my rankings. I moved New Orleans out of the top spot, this time after a lackluster win over the lowly Rams. The Saints have not won impressively since their big win over the Giants a month ago. I dropped the Saints to 3rd and moved the Colts up from 2nd to 1st after they pulled out a dramatic win over the Patriots at home. I moved the Vikings up a spot from 3rd to 2nd after they took care of business against the Lions.

Moving Up: Only 2 teams made climbs of more than 3 spots this week. I moved the Cardinals up 4 spots from 14th to 10th after their win over the Seahawks at home. Really this was a result of a few solid performances by Arizona and some major faltering by the teams in front of them. The team making the biggest jump in my rankings this week was San Diego, who moved up 6 spots from 13th to 7th following their victory over the Eagles. Again, their big jump was a result of a string of big wins they have put together over the last few weeks, as well as the problems that teams previously ahead of them are having.

Going Down: 4 teams fell at least 4 spots in my rankings this week. I dropped the Cowboys 4 spots from 7th to 11th this week after their pitiful performance in Green Bay. Just when you thought it was safe to think of the Cowboys as contenders, they go out and score 7 points against a team that had just given up 38 to the Bucs the week before. I dropped the Falcons 4 spots from 9th to 13th after their loss at Carolina. It wasn’t just that loss that led me to knock the Falcons down that much. They also suffered a crippling injury to their most important offensive player, Michael Turner. Also, the play of QB Matt Ryan has been increasingly spotty and the defense has been scrambling to keep from breaking all season. The Bills also fell 4 spots in my power rankings this week after they were run over by the Titans. I knocked the Bills down 4 spots from 20th to 24th. The team making the biggest fall in my rankings this week was Denver, who dropped 6 spots from 8th to 14th. The Broncos suffered a 3rd straight loss last week and for the first time they lost to a bad team. Along with the loss at Washington—Denver’s 3rd straight loss by double digits—the Broncos also lost QB Kyle Orton to injury.

The Divide: There are now just 4 teams left with less than 3 losses and they are my top 4 teams. There is still a very clear bottom of the league. The bottom 7 teams in my rankings stayed in place this week.

The College Football Blog: 2009 Week 12 Betting Lines

Last Week: Vs. Spread (1-9); Moneyline Upsets (0-5)
Season: Vs. Spread (41-66-3); Moneyline Upsets (7-23)

Week 11 Review: Honestly, even I have been downright stunned by how awful I’ve done picking games recently. Do you know how hard it is to win only 1 of 20 bets against the spread over a 2 week period. If you accept the idea that spread bets are close to 50-50, the chances are tremendously high that you’re going to win more than 1 of 20 bets even if you just flip a coin.

Week 12 Preview: Preview? How’s about this: I’m fucking terrified.


Game 1: Ohio State (-12.5) @ Michigan
Pick: Ohio State covers
Comment: Big road favorites have fucked me recently. This is also a road game. But how can anyone think Michigan is capable of anything at this point? Michigan has lost 5 straight to Ohio State, last year falling 42-7 in Columbus. Michigan is just 12-10 at home since the start of the 07 season. Ohio State is 16-2 on the road since the start of the 06 season. Ohio State has won 7 games by at least 17 points this year; Michigan has lost 3 of their last 4 by at least 21 points. Michigan played 3 games this year against MAC teams and a team from the FCS. They won all 3 of those games at home by at least 24 points. They have played 8 games against Notre Dame and the Big Ten. They are 2-6 in those games, winning by 4 over ND at home and by 3 over Indiana at home. They have lost 6 of their last 7 games, with the lone win being a 63-6 home win over Delaware State of the FCS. Ohio State has won 8 of 9, the only loss coming at Purdue by 8. 7 of the 8 wins have been by at least 17 points. I’m sorry but there’s just no logical reason to think the Wolverines can stay within 2 TD’s in this game.

Game 2: Oklahoma (-6.5) @ Texas Tech
Pick: Oklahoma covers
Comment: I know what I just wrote about big favorites on the road. And both of these teams have been inconsistent. But I feel better about Oklahoma than I do about Texas Tech. I wish this spread were more like 4.5. Obviously the Red Raiders are a different team at home. They’ve won 19 of their last 22 at home. But one of those losses came a few weeks ago against Texas A&M by the score of 52-30. Oklahoma beat A&M 65-10 last week. Obviously the Sooners are a different team away from home. They’ve won 29 straight at home since the second game of the 05 season, while going 13-7 in true road games over the same time. But even though Oklahoma’s offense has been up and down this year, their defense has been stout basically all season. In 10 games the Sooners have allowed 16 points or less 8 times and allowed more than 21 points only once. Texas Tech’s offense has not been as potent this year but their defense has been about as bad as usual. In 10 games this season they’ve allowed at least 21 points 6 times (2 of the games in which they held the opposition to less than 21 points were against North Dakota and Rice at home). And last week the Red Raiders scored only 17 points against Oklahoma State, snapping a 26 game streak of scoring at least 24 points. I don’t feel strongly about this one but I like the matchup of Oklahoma’s best unit (their defense) going up against Texas Tech’s best unit (offense).

Game 3: Connecticut (+6) @ Notre Dame
Pick: Connecticut beats the spread
Comment: Notre Dame should be able to win a game like this easily but they haven’t done that during Fat Charlie’s tenure. And UConn has fought tooth and nail every game despite adversity. The Huskies have lost 5 of 9 games this year but each of their losses has come by 4 points or less against bowl eligible teams. They’re 2-3 on the road this year with their 3 losses coming to Pitt, West Virginia, and Cincinnati by a total of 9 points. The Irish are now 6-4, 4-2 at home. Of their 6 wins, only 2 have come by more than 7 points. Their 7 point win came in OT against Washington at home. Their 2 wins by more than 7 were against Nevada at home and Washington State at a neutral site. The Huskies are coming off of a bye week, while the Irish are coming off of back to back tough losses to Navy and Pitt. ND’s hopes and dreams are dashed, while UConn is starving for a win to honor their fallen teammate. I like UConn to keep it close.

Game 4: Air Force (+10) @ BYU
Pick: Air Force beats the spread
Comment: BYU has been less dominant than expected the last few years, while AF has been more competitive than expected. The Cougars came into this season with 18 straight wins at home but they’re just 2-2 at home this season. The Cougs have owned the Falcons in recent years and Air Force is just 9-9 on the road over the last 3 years. However, in 11 games this year the Falcons are 7-4, with each of their 4 losses coming by 7 points or less (2 in overtime). They lost to TCU by 3 at home and lost by 7 at Utah in OT. BYU has no shot at a BCS bowl and virtually no shot at winning the Mountain West. They could also be looking ahead to a showdown with Utah. This will be Air Force’s last game and their last chance to finish the deal against one of the powers in the MWC, something they couldn’t do against TCU and Utah. I think AF will keep within single digits.

Game 5: LSU (+3.5) @ Mississippi
Pick: Mississippi covers
Comment: My gut reaction was to take LSU straight up. But LSU is banged up and whoever their QB is he will likely struggle against the Mississippi defense. Mississippi is without Greg Hardy but the defense should be okay without him at home against LSU. On the other side of the ball, Mississippi should be able to hide Jevan Snead by giving the ball to Dexter McCluster and the other backs. Mississippi has been disappointing this year but they are 5-1 at home, with convincing wins over Arkansas and Tennessee, and their only loss coming against Bama. LSU is 3-1 on the road this year, with their only loss coming at Bama, but they also could/should have lost at UGA and at Mississippi State. Mississippi whipped the Tigers last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if LSU won this game but I’m taking Mississippi to win by 4 to 6 points.

Game 6: Penn State (-3.5) @ Michigan State
Pick: Michigan State beats the spread
Comment: The Nittany Lions are just 2-4 in their last 6 at East Lansing. The Spartans have been tough to figure this season. They are just 6-5 and they could easily be 4-7. On the other hand, they could just as easily be 9-2. Penn State is 9-2 this season, with their only losses coming against Iowa and Ohio State, and each of their 9 wins coming by at least 11 points. But they were sloppy at home against Indiana and this is a bigger game for the Spartans than it is for the Lions. I think MSU will have a chance to steal this game late.

Game 7: Cal (+7.5) @ Stanford
Pick: Stanford covers
Comment: This is a perfectly awful spread. Stanford will have to get up for a 3rd straight big game, in this case actually The Big Game. Cal has been up and down as usual. It has to matter that Cal is without Jahvid Best, although the Bears were still able to beat Arizona by 8 without him at home last week. Somewhat surprisingly, Cal is 3-1 on the road this year, but their loss was by 39 at Oregon, and one of their wins was by 2 at ASU. Stanford is 5-0 at home this season and they beat the Bears at home two years ago to snap Cal’s 5 game win streak in the series. I think Cal could keep it close but I just can’t put my faith in them.

Game 8: Kansas State (+16.5) @ Nebraska
Pick: Nebraska covers
Comment: At first glance this seemed like a huge spread to me. Then I started looking at it and the big spread started to seem more and more reasonable. These two teams play every year and KSU has won only 5 times since 1969. Nebraska has won 4 straight, the last two by a combined 70 points. KSU is 0-4 on the road this year and 2-13 on the road over the last 3 years. KSU has already lost at Louisiana-Lafayette and at UCLA this season, and last week they were pounded at home by Missouri, 38-12. Nebraska’s season was turned upside down when they were whipped at home by Texas Tech, 31-10, and then a week later they were shocked at home by Iowa State, 9-7. But that Iowa State game was incredibly fluky, as they turned the ball over 7 times. And their only other loss this year came on the road against Virginia Tech by a point, a game which they gave away. In 10 games, the Cornhuskers have allowed 17 points or less 9 times. Since losing back to back games at home, Nebraska has won by 10 at Baylor, upset Oklahoma 10-3 at home, and beaten Kansas on the road by 14. 16.5 points is a lot but Nebraska should cover.

Game 9: Oregon (-6) @ Arizona
Pick: Arizona beats the spread
Comment: I really like Arizona in this one. The Cats are 12-2 in their last 14 home games, 5-0 at home this season. Their only 2 losses in their last 14 home games have been by 7 to USC and by 2 to Oregon State. Oregon is 6-6 in their last 12 road games, 2-2 on the road this season. The Ducks will probably win but I think it’ll be closer than 6 points.

Game 10: North Carolina (+3.5) @ Boston College
Pick: North Carolina beats the spread
Comment: This spread was bigger than I thought it would be. BC is tough at home. They are 6-0 at home this season and they’ve won 11 of their last 12 home games. In fact, they are 33-5 at home since the start of the 04 season. UNC has been awful on the road this decade, but they are 5-3 on the road over the last 2 seasons, including wins at Rutgers, at Miami, at UConn, and at Virginia Tech. They’re 2-1 on the road this year, with their only loss coming at GT. UNC has disappointed this season but in their last 3 games they have upset VT on the road, beaten UNC by 13 at home, and beaten Miami by 9 at home. BC is coming off of a 4 point win at UVA. BC did have a close call at home earlier this season. Leading by a field goal over WF in OT, the Deacons had a 1st and goal. If Wake couldn’t score a TD to win it, they at least had a chip shot field goal in their pocket to send it to a 2nd overtime. But Riley Skinner dropped the shotgun snap and BC recovered to save themselves. The Heels have never won 4 straight under Butch Davis but Davis is 7-0 against BC, including UNC’s 45-24 win over the Eagles last year. BC may indeed win at home again, but I think this one goes down to the wire.

Moneyline Special

Indiana over Purdue: The hard luck Hoosiers are 3.5 point underdogs at home this weekend against their rivals. Purdue is probably the better team. If you look at Purdue’s season this year, they haven’t been as bad as you’d expect a 4-7 to be. They lost by 2 at Oregon; they lost to ND by 3; they beat Ohio State by 8; they beat Illinois by 10; they beat Michigan on the road; and they lost by 3 to Michigan State. They are 1-3 on the road this year but they won their last road game (over Michigan) to snap an 11 game road losing streak. The Boilermakers have won 10 of 12 against Indiana but they lost in their last trip to Bloomington, 27-24 back in 2007. Compared to most teams from BCS conferences, Indiana’s 11-9 record at home over the last 3 years is pathetic. But for Indiana it’s actually not that bad. And if Purdue has been more competitive than their 4-7 record indicates, certainly the Hoosiers have been better than their 4-7 record indicates. They had a lead late in the 4th quarter at Michigan before losing by 3 with help from some highly questionable officiating. They had a huge lead at Northwestern but choked and lost by a point. They had Iowa on the ropes at the Hawkeyes’ place but fluke plays and more dubious officiating helped Indiana go from way up to way down. They lost by 3 to Wisconsin the next week. Last week they led Penn State 10-0 and they were in the game until a defensive TD broke it open in the 2nd half. And all of these instances, the better team has probably ended up winning, but the Hoosiers have shown no signs of quitting and they deserve a win. They’re at home and they’re playing a team they can beat. You can feel confident they’ll be in it. Maybe this time they can hang on.

SMU over Marshall: SMU is a 3.5 point underdog at Marshall this weekend. The Thundering Herd fucked me over last week. SMU has been shaky and their record on the road in recent years is hideous. Still, SMU has a ton to play for and they are the better team. Go Mustangs!

San Jose State over Hawaii: San Jose State is a 3.5 point dog at home this weekend against Hawaii. Hawaii could easily win this game by 20 points. San Jose State is one of the few teams in the country still winless against FBS opponents. Their only win in 10 games this season has been a 10 point victory at home against Cal Poly. In their last 4 games they’ve been outscored 172-44. Coach Dick Tomey recently announced he will retire after the season. This season has been an utter disaster for the Spartans. On the other hand, they’ve played only 4 home games. In their 4 home games they have lost by 10 to Utah, beaten Cal Poly by 10, lost by 4 to Idaho, and gotten smushed by Nevada, 62-7. Now Hawaii comes to town. The Warriors have struggled away from the island historically. This year they are 1-4 on the road, with their 1 win coming at WAZU. SJS won last year at Hawaii. This is a shot in the dark.

Army over North Texas: Army is a 1.5 point underdog on the road against the Mean Green this weekend. Not much of an upset you say? Clearly you do not grasp how low my standards have fallen over the last few weeks. Is Army favored? No. So it’s an upset.

Louisiana-Lafayette over Louisiana-Monroe: ULL is a 2.5 point dog at home against ULM. They call this the Battle of the Bayou. Traditionally the visiting team wins this one. It’s a toss up and I’m hoping for some luck.

The College Football Blog: 2009 Season Résumé Rankings (After Week 11)

Season Résumé Rankings After Week 11

1. Alabama 10-0 (1st)
2. Texas 10-0 (2nd)
3. Florida 10-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 10-0 (4th)
5. Cincinnati 10-0 (6th)
6. Boise State 10-0 (5th)
7. Georgia Tech 10-1 (7th)
8. Pittsburgh 9-1 (NR)
9. Oregon 8-2 (10th)
10. LSU 8-2 (NR)

Comments: These rankings are easier to do than the regular power rankings and I’m becoming more and more convinced that this is the way to go if you have to have rankings. Alabama is clearly the #1 team because they have the least amount of garbage wins and the most impressive wins. They’ve also won almost all of their games convincingly. Texas and Florida are neck and neck for the 2nd spot. I give Texas the nod because they’ve done a better job blowing out weaker teams. The other 3 undefeated teams are harder to separate because they have so many garbage or semi-garbage wins. TCU has blown away the competition and thus they get the #4 spot. I moved Cinci ahead of Boise State because Cinci got another win over a decent team last week while Boise State won at home against another weak team (regardless of what Idaho’s record is, they’d be double digit underdogs against WV, the team Cinci beat). Amazingly, there are only 2 teams in the country with 1 loss. Tech has played a tougher schedule than Pitt but I moved the Panthers ahead of all the 2-loss teams this week after they beat a solid ND team. It was difficult to fill out the final 2 spots because there were 13 2-loss teams to choose from. It came down to Oregon, LSU, Oklahoma State, Ohio State and Iowa. Ohio State has the worst loss among all of these teams (at Purdue) so they were eliminated. Oklahoma State and Iowa both have bad losses at home (to Houston and Northwestern), while Oregon’s losses were on the road to Boise State and Stanford, and LSU’s losses are against Florida and at Bama. So I went with Oregon and LSU. I went with Oregon ahead of LSU because their wins have been more impressive.

The College Football Blog: 2009 Power Rankings (After Week 11)

Power Rankings after Week 11

1. Alabama 10-0 (2nd)
2. Florida 10-0 (1st)
3. Texas 10-0 (3rd)
4. TCU 10-0 (5th)
5. Georgia Tech 10-1 (6th)
6. LSU 8-2 (4th)
7. Oregon 8-2 (7th)
8. Cincinnati 10-0 (9th)
9. Boise State 10-0 (10th)
10. Ohio State 9-2 (11th)
11. Iowa 9-2 (13th)
12. Stanford 7-3 (NR)
13. Oklahoma 7-4 (14th)
14. Pittsburgh 9-1 (NR)
15. Oklahoma State 8-2 (NR)

Out: USC (8th); Arizona (12th); Penn State (15th).

Comments: It’s hard for me to feel good about this list anymore but I’m going to keep giving it a shot.

Top 3 is now Top 4: I’ve got a new top team this week and I think it’s time we start talking about the top 4 teams behind ahead of the rest and not just the top 3. I moved Alabama up to #1 after they dominated another SEC opponent on the road. I dropped Florida down to #2 after they struggled with another SEC opponent on the road. Bama has just been more impressive against lesser teams than the Gators this year. I kept Texas at #3 after they whipped Baylor on the road. The Longhorns are clearly miles ahead of the competition in the Big XII but it’s hard to figure out how good they are because the competition is so mediocre. Finally, TCU jumped up to 4th in my rankings this week after they shellacked Utah on Saturday night. The Horned Frogs have been downright dominant this season. I really think TCU should be considered a part of the group placed above the rest along with Florida, Alabama, and Texas.

5-10: There were some changes to the middle of my rankings this week, including one of the biggest falls any team has taken in my power rankings all year. I moved GT up 1 spot from 6th to 5th after they blew out Duke on the road to get to 10-1. Their offense has been just about unstoppable this season. I moved LSU out of the top 4 down to #6 this week after a lackluster home win over Louisiana Tech. I don’t know how much this had to do with the Tigers being low on energy after a tough loss to Bama that put a lot of their goals out of reach. Going into that game against the Tide the only thing they couldn’t do was go undefeated. They could still win the National Championship. After the loss to Bama the NC title was gone, the SEC Championship was gone, the SEC West was out reach, and even a BCS bowl seemed very unlikely. So I’m giving them a bit of slack for being a tad flat last week against a weak team at home, without their top running back. I kept Oregon 7th following their win over ASU. Of course the biggest change to my rankings this week concerned the USC Trojans who dropped from 8th all the way out of my top 15 following their humiliating blowout loss to Stanford at home. This one shocked me. I know Stanford has proven to be a good team. I know USC was very banged up. But you can’t be that good if you get blown out at home. Almost no great team or even very good team gets blown out by anybody at home. I can no longer look at this USC team and give them the benefit of the doubt based on former USC teams. They are just not that good. I moved Cinci up a spot to 8th after they hung on to beat West Virginia at home to stay unbeaten. Likewise, Boise State moved up a spot to 9th after they took care of business at home against Idaho. I moved Ohio State up a spot from 11th to 10th after they eked out an overtime win at home against a gutsy Iowa team. I thought the Buckeyes would win a lot easier than they did but what I believed about them going into the game holds true now: they have a very solid defense and a flawed offense.

The Last 5: As usual, the 11-15 spots in my rankings contained the most drastic changes this week, including 3 new teams getting into my top 15. Despite losing their 2nd straight game, I moved Iowa up 2 spots from 13th to 11th after they took Ohio State into overtime on the road without a handful of their best players. They proved a lot to me last week. My #12 team this week is one of three previously unranked teams to jump into my rankings this week. Stanford pulled off an absolute stunner last week, blowing out USC on the road, a week after they blew out Oregon at home. The Cardinal has 3 losses but right now I believe they could hang with any team in the country. Oklahoma has 4 losses but they stomped Texas A&M last week which allowed me to keep them in my top 15 at least one more week. In fact, I bumped them up a spot to 13th. Pitt climbed into my rankings this week at #14 after they took care of Notre Dame to go top 9-1 on the year. In the 15th and final spot in my power rankings this week is Oklahoma State. Really there are a number of teams that could have gone in this spot but I went with the Cowboys. I’m still not sold on them, especially without Dez Bryant, but I feel better about them than the other candidates. Arizona had been #12 but they took a fall out of my rankings this week. I know they were on the road in the conference but it’s not like Cal has been dynamite this season and they were without Jahvid Best. Arizona could have gained credibility with a win at Berkeley but instead they fell back into obscurity. Penn State had been the #15 team in my rankings but they fell out this week after a lackluster win over Indiana at home. They were really only 15th by default last week because I just didn’t feel strongly about any other teams. That changed this week when Pitt and Stanford had impressive wins and PSU couldn’t even dominate Indiana at home.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jakey's Blog: If There Was a College Football Playoff

If Only We Had A Playoff…

Sure, you’ve heard it before, but just imagine if College football turned to a playoff. 8 teams, win three games and you are taking home the crystal ball.

Here are the current BCS Standings:

1. Florida

2. Alabama

3. Texas

4. TCU

5. Cincinatti

6. Boise State

7. Georgia Tech

8. LSU

Here are the projected BCS standings after the conference championships end, in my opinion:

1. Florida

2. Texas

3. TCU

4. Alabama

5. Georgia Tech

6. Boise State

7. LSU

8. Pittsburgh

So let’s imagine these matchups…


1. Florida vs 8. Pittsburgh

Honestly, probably the most boring first round matchup, although we get to see what Bill Stull and Dion Lewis can do versus a top notch defense. Tebow would most likely have a field day and Florida would not have much of a problem advancing to the semifinals. Prediction: Florida – 38, Pittsburgh – 21

2. Texas vs 7. LSU

Colt McCoy faces really only his second tough defense of the year; and he struggled against the first one, Oklahoma. Big 12 gets a chance to prove themselves against the SEC yet again, and if a 7th seeded SEC squad beats Texas in Austin, the big 12 has no excuses. As for me, I think McCoy is better than the credit he’s getting this year and I don’t think LSU’s offense would hold up. Prediction: Texas 31, LSU 24

3. TCU vs 6. Boise

A rematch of the Poinsettia bowl from last year, which TCU came out on top 17-16. TCU has proved themselves three times with wins @ Clemson, @ BYU and vs Utah. The latter were absolutely dominant and the Clemson win is looking more impressive. I don’t really think this would be close, Boise doesn’t have a marquee win yet and TCU looks like they could play with anybody. Prediction: TCU 45, Boise State 21

4. Alabama vs 5. Georgia Tech

In my opinion, this has to be the most intriguing matchup of the first round. ACC against SEC and they are only separated by about two and a half hours. Alabama has struggled as of late, but they looked great against Miss St and obviously they are still undefeated. Tech has won 8 straight since losing to Miami and have averaged 39 points per game since then, scoring over 40 four times. Alabama gets it done in the trenches, but with only a week to prepare for the daunted triple option, could they stop it? Prediction: Georgia Tech 31, Alabama 28


1. Florida vs 5. Georgia Tech

Tech get’s it’s second straight SEC matchup only this one will be tougher. I think Tech could score on Florida like they did against Alabama; but I think Florida could score on Tech more than Alabama could. Josh Nesbitt, Jonathan Dwyer and Demaryius Thomas would keep it close, but Morgan Burnett and Derrick Morgan would have to make big plays on defense to win. Sadly, I think Tebow would exploit the Tech secondary. Prediction: Florida: 38, Georgia Tech 31

2. Texas vs 3. TCU

The matchup of the best two teams in Texas take place and it’s a dream come true for players, coaches, administrations and fans. TCU thinks they’re better than Texas, and Texas says TCU plays in the Mountain West. This one is a back and forth battle, with Dalton playing just as well as McCoy and the TCU defense doing it’s regular thing. It comes down to coaching; Patterson vs Brown… I Take Patterson. Prediction: TCU 27, Texas 24


1. Florida vs 3. TCU

A very intriguing matchup. TCU comes from the MWC, but their defense has SEC speed, and their offense has SEC type playmakers. Tebow has his hands full with Jerry Hughes, Wayne Daniels and Darryl Washington, but he also has the weapons to move the ball. Dalton plays well, but Florida’s defense makes a big stop late. Prediction: Florida 28, TCU 27