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Predictors had a rough week in Week 9 – I would complain about our correct team percentage of just 60.7%, except that Vegas went 60.6% and Sagarin 60.4%. So we were all in the same boat: lots of upsets.
But there were eighteen games that we felt confident enough in to stick our neck out against the spread. Overall, we went just under fifty percent, but on the games we felt we could stake our flag in the ground over, we won ten and lost eight:
WINNERS: VIrginia (-9, won by 10); Iowa (+6.5, lost by six); Minnesota (+2.5, won by seven); Tulane (+2, won by seven); FIU (-4, won by 21); MTSU (-4, won by 34); Louisiana Tech (+3.5, won by eight); Army (+2, won by 15); Wyoming (+1.5, won by 13). Georgia State (+3.5, lost by three). Notice three of those are by one or half a point! We lucked out – thank you, Lord!
LOSERS: Virginia Tech (-3, lost by 21); TCU (-13.5, lost by one); Washington (-12, lost by two); Florida (+7, lost by 19); South Carolina (-8.5, won by three); Connecticut (+4, lost by five); UNLV (+2.5, lost by 13); and Appalachian State (-8.5, lost by 20) ~ some of those outcomes were hard to believe! Kansas over TCU? San Jose winning? App St losing? And except for the UConn loss to Massachusetts, none of my losses were close.
Off-topic for a moment:
The only person who looks at all decent coming out of the Maryland Board of Regents debacle this week – with the exception of the students and parents who stood on their soapbox and ranted at the decision, and would have kept ranting until something changed – was university president Wallace Loh, who expressed his disagreement upfront with the insistence on keeping head coach Durkin after the death of a player on his watch, and when the public pressure proved to be on his side, he stood up to the Board, defied their command and fired Durkin the next day. He has the “power” of impending retirement at the end of the school year looming, which alleviates some of the stress of possibly being fired himself.
Here’s a quick, non-ethical argument against keeping this coaching staff: every single competing recruiter will just walk into a recruit’s living room and plop down that Board of Regents report. Maryland would never get another football recruit again. (And if I have to lay out the ethical argument for ridding your college of this particular coach and staff, you’ve got more important things to do – like re-reading your New Testament.)
This Week’s best bets…
YES! I’ll TAKE that bet! category:
Florida State at North Carolina State (- 7). Not enough: ELO-FF says it’s a nine-point spread, and it feels like FSU will be lucky to stay in the game at all.
Michigan State (- 1.5) at Maryland. Even before this debacle, the Spartans were a touchdown better than the Terrapins. If you’re thinking they’ll play an “inspired” game this week, think about it: for whom are they playing this game? The school? The interim coach? Their dead teammate? (They’ve played for him all season.).
Penn State (+ 10) at Michigan. The Wolverines will win this game, but Trace McSorley won’t let them get too far behind.
Iowa (+2.5) at Purdue. We (and Sagarin) think the Hawkeyes will win outright.
Temple at UCF (- 10). Temple’s having a great season, but they’re a 5-3 team and NOT one riding a 20-game winning streak striving for a windmill-tilting CFP bid. Central wins this running away.
Marshall (- 3) at Southern Miss. Marshall’s a class above the Golden Eagles this season. ELO-FF has this at eight points.
Air Force at Army (-7). Do you believe that Army can do as well at home against Air Force as Boise State did on the road? I do. Army has been consistently underrated all season long.
Texas State at Georgia State (- 6). Two factors play into this prediction: GSU is better than they were expected to be, and has also been underrated all year. The second factor is that Texas State sucks.
WHOA! RETHINK THIS category:
Boston College at Virginia Tech (+2). We have numbers suggesting we should take BC. Can you see the Eagles winning AT VaTech? I’m not sure I can, either.
Syracuse at Wake Forest (+5). The Orangemen are playing well; they were supposed to have two wins at this point, but instead they have two losses. Can Wake stay within a touchdown? Our numbers say so… I don’t see it.
Nebraska at Ohio State (- 20.5). Our numbers show the Buckeyes clearing this number easily – but Alabama’s taught us this year that games expected to be blowouts don’t adhere to point spreads: playing the back-ups is more important.
West Virginia at Texas (- 2). I think this is the “Texas effect”, where bettors love the Longhorns. (Or USC, or Boise, or…) We have this as a toss-up. But that’s not a comfortable feeling in terms of leaving my money with someone on that belief.
Navy at Cincinnati (-13). This sounds easy: nobody grasps how good the Bearcats are this year, and nobody seems to understand Navy really isn’t very good this season. And thennnnnnnnnnn our numbers came out Cincy – 10, suggesting to bet on Navy. The heck with that.
Alabama at LSU (+14). A team currently seeded in the top four in the country, as a two-touchdown underdog at home? How can you POSSIBLY pass that up? The answer? Because it’s Ala-freak’n-Bama. No bet from us on any of these.
Our top ranked teams as of Week 9
- Alabama (rating of – 3, 8-0)
- Clemson (rating of 2, 8-0)
- Oklahoma (rating of 7, 7-1).
- (tie) Michigan and Ohio State (both rating of 10, both 7-1)
- (tie) LSU and Georgia (both rating of 11, both 7-1)
- Utah (rating of 12, 6-2)
- Penn State (rating of 13, 6-2)
- Notre Dame (rating of 14, 8-0)
- Washington (rating of 15, 6-3)
- (tie) Iowa and West Virginia (rating of 16, 6-2/6-1).
Group of Five
- Central Florida (rating of 17, 7-0)
- Fresno State (rating of 19, 7-1)
- Boise State (rating of 22, 6-2)
- (tie) Utah State and Houston (rating of 24, both 7-1)
- Army-West Point (rating of 25, 6-2).
- Appalachian State (rating of 26, 5-2)
- (tie) Cincinnati and Memphis (rating of 29, 7-1 / 4-4)
- (tie) South Florida (30, 7-1) — Temple (30, 5-3) — North Texas (30, 7-2) — San Diego State (30, 6-2).
FCS (tier 1)
- North Dakota State (rating of 18, 8-0)
- South Dakota State (rating of 27, 5-2)
- James Madison (rating of 28, 6-2)
- (tie) Illinois State and Northern Iowa (rating of 32, 5-3 / 4-4)
- Western Illinois (rating of 36, 4-4)
- (tie) Kennesaw St and Jacksonville St (rating of 37, 7-1 / 6-2)
- Eastern Washington (rating of 38, 6-2)
- (tie) Weber State and UC Davis (rating of 39, 6-2 / 7-1)
Historically Black Colleges
- North Carolina A&T (rating 51, 6-2)
- Tennessee State (rating of 56, 3-3)
- Alcorn State (rating 58, 7-2)
- Florida A&M (rating of 60, 6-2)
- Southern U (rating of 61, 5-3).