November is so cool, with all the #MACtion going on mid-week leaving no evening un-footballed! Listened to some interesting and not-so-wonderful games on the radio (I always like listening to the home-town radio broadcasts, even for the pros – the Giants crew was hilarious and amazing Monday night!) with Ohio routing Buffalo, strangely, and NIU was out-pointed by Miami-Ohio despite the Huskies out-playing them significantly.
But with just two weeks left before championship week, let’s take a look at a handful of games where our ELO-Following Football rating system (and our common sense) puts our money where our mouth is. (After eleven weeks, we are 50-48 with these predictions, or 51%. Not great, not wonderful. But decent.) Overall, we’ve picked 74.6% winners correctly (Vegas is at 74.0%), although they gained ground on us when we hit about the same on the FBS games, but the ELO-FF predictions for the FCS games that Vegas didn’t touch were only about 50/50. Against the spread (ATS), we’re currently at 52.2% for the season. (Bill Connelly of SBNation, who runs the S&P system there, always says “50% is meh, and 54% is spectacular”. I don’t know if that’s a high enough threshold or not.)
Here are our choices for Week 12:
BOSTON COLLEGE (-1.5) at Florida State. We see the Eagles as NINE point favorites.
Miami-Florida at VIRGINIA TECH (+4). The Hurricanes aren’t better than the Hokies any more. VaTech should win outright.
NORTHWESTERN (-2.5) at Minnesota. Pat Fitzgerald isn’t going to let the purple people sit back and bask in the glow of their B1G West title.
TCU (+1) at Baylor. They’re not great this year, but they’re better than Baylor!
ARIZONA STATE (+4) at Oregon. We actually have them -4 rather than plus 4! Oregon’s good at home, but if ASU can avoid letting Autzen Stadium freak them out – and Herm Edwards should be up to that – they’ll be fine.
UTAH (-7) at Colorado. Colorado’s given up and the players are simply waiting for their coach to get fired. Utah has a New Year’s Six bowl in sight. The Utes should handle this rivalry game easily.
MISSOURI (-6) at Tennessee. Same deal here. Mizzou is on a roll – Tennessee is holding on for dear life. Take the Tigers.
Arkansas at MISSISSIPPI STATE (-20). This is a worrysome bet for me, but I think they’ll handle the weakened Razorbacks with ease, and twenty points is going to be the halftime margin, not the end number.
OLE MISS (+2.5) at Vanderbilt. This one amazes me. I love Vandy, but Ole Miss should never be the underdog here.
Cincinnati at UCF (-7.5). Again, the Cats are a great story, but UCF is a level above, especially at home in a crucial game. There’s a reason they have such a long winning streak – they know how to handle a challenge like a division title game.
Louisiana Tech at SOUTHERN MISS (+2.5). I’m taking our ELO-FF system’s word for this one, to be honest – the Golden Eagles are favored by our system.
San Diego State at FRESNO STATE (-15). Fresno State is better than you think right at this moment; just because Boise beat them (barely) on the blue turf doesn’t speak poorly of the Bulldogs. San Diego State is worse than everyone thinks, it seems – they lose to teams like UNLV, and they can’t stay with the good teams like Fresno and Utah State. It’ll be more than fifteen points.
AIR FORCE (+2.5) at Wyoming. Again, I’m trusting the system: we’re coming up Air Force by one. And from what I’ve seen of both teams, that’s about right in my mind, too.
UL-Monroe at ARKANSAS STATE (- 8.5). The Red Wolves at home should handle ULM with ease, and certainly by much more than one touchdown.
Finally, TONIGHT! TULANE (+10.5) at Houston. The Cougars are not the team we hoped that they’d be. Tulane is figuring out who they are now. Houston might win, but it won’t be easy, and it won’t be eleven points or more.
Here are a couple of games we WON’T risk sticking our necks out on, and we’ll explain why…
We looked at taking UNLV over Hawaii (- 6.5), but we just don’t trust that their win last week wasn’t just a “one-off”… South Alabama was much closer to ULL than the +17 spread, but I can easily picture them getting blown away by that much…Bragging here, but I did have both Ohio and WMU winning their games this week….I like SMU to keep it close to Memphis, until I think about it too much…Neither UConn nor ECU are any good. Favoring East Carolina by 17 is too much for ANY bad team to cover – but then maybe… There’s NO WAY I would ever wager on those 40-50 point spread games in the SEC this week – We’ve got ‘Bama by 61 points over the Citadel, but that would simply depend on how many back-ups play, and when. I would actually bet that Saban will keep it reasonable out of respect for his opponent… Finally, we thought about taking Michigan State (-2) over Nebraska, and Notre Dame (-10) over Syracuse. But the opponents are playing too well to risk it. The faves will win; I just don’t know by how much!