NCAAF: School Is Back In Session
NCAAF: School Is Back In Session
School Is Back In Session
by Lenny Del Genio
Rested vs. Unrested
For the second straight week, our theory of taking rested vs. unrested teams produced mediocre results as the teams coming off a bye went just 5-7 ATS vs. their adversaries on Saturday. After back-to-back weeks that produced a 14-7 (67%) ATS record three and four weeks ago, our little system has slipped to just 24-19 ATS or 56%. Still, that's not half bad, pardon the pun. Also, prior to last Saturday's results, we had seen rested teams that were favored by ten points or more at the betting window go a perfect 8-0 against the pointspread. That rationale took a hit as well this past weekend as Georgia and Arkansas State both failed to cover games that they should have cashed in. For the record, San Jose State (-13.5) clobbered Utah State to push this trend to 9-2 ATS the L3 weeks.
Due to some of the mediocre results, now might be the time to jump right back in and put the rested vs. unrested theory back to work. With that being said, here is a list of this week's rested vs. unrested opponents. Be sure to take note of those DD faves!
Washington (+14) vs. Oregon State
California (-2.5) at Arizona
Duke (+4.5) vs. Miami FL
South Florida (-24) vs. Syracuse
UConn (-1) at Rutgers
UNLV (+4.5) vs. Air Force
Rice (-3) vs. Southern Miss
Marshall (-3) at UAB
As predicted last week, the number of remaining unbeatens in the land was cut drastically by 33% from 15 to just 10. Of course, going into the weekend, we knew at least two would fall as the Big 12 featured a pair of matchups of undefeated teams (Oklahoma vs. Texas and OK State at Missouri). What was a surprise is which teams stayed perfect as both underdogs in those games won outright. The Big 12 still leads the way with three remaining unbeatens, but what is really intriguing is that five of the remaining seven unbeaten teams come from non-BCS conferences (BYU, Utah, Boise State, Tulsa and Ball State). BYU and Utah will play 11/22 in Salt Lake City with the MWC Title and possible BCS Bowl berth hanging in the balance. Still, we could have as many as four non-BCS schools finishing unbeaten, which would be the worst nightmare ever for the powers-that-be in college football. Yet, in order to qualify, a non-BCS school must finish in the Top 12 in the polls. For the BYU-Utah winner, that won't be a problem. #15 Boise State is knocking on the door. Ball State (see later on) is off this week and is only at #24 currently. Tulsa remains unranked, but is tops in the coveted "Others Receiving Votes" category in both major polls. Alabama and Penn State, ranked #2 and #3 respectively in the country, are the remaining two unbeatens and we really have nothing interesting to say about either this week.
Here is what the remaining ten undefeated teams in college football have on tap for the next four weeks:
Alabama: (10/18) vs. Ole Miss, (10/25) at Tennessee, (11/1) vs. Arkansas State, (11/8) at LSU
Texas: (10/18) vs. Missouri, (10/25) vs. Oklahoma State, (11/1) at Texas Tech, (11/8) vs. Baylor
Texas Tech: (10/18) at Texas A&M, (10/25) at Kansas, (11/1) vs. Texas, (11/8) vs. Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State: (10/18) vs. Baylor, (10/25) at Texas, (11/1) vs. Iowa State, (11/8) at Texas Tech
Penn State: (10/18) vs. Michigan, (10/25) at Ohio State, (11/1) BYE, (11/8) at Iowa
BYU: (10/16) at TCU (Thurs), (10/25) UNLV, (11/1) at Colorado State, (11/8) San Diego State
Utah: (10/18) Colorado State, (10/25) BYE, (11/1) at New Mexico, (11/6) vs. TCU (Thurs)
Boise State: (10/17) vs. Hawaii (Fri), (10/24) at San Jose St (Fri), (11/1) at New Mexico St, (11/8) vs. Utah St
Ball State: (10/18) BYE, (10/25) vs. Eastern Michigan, (11/1) BYE, (11/5) vs. Northern Illinois (Wed)
Tulsa: (10/18) UTEP, (10/26) Central Florida (Sun), (11/1) at Arkansas, (11/8) BYE
Let's spotlight the Big 12 here, for obvious reasons. All three remaining unbeatens will play another over the next four weeks as #1 Texas continues with a daunting schedule of Oklahoma, then Missouri, then OK State, then Texas Tech. All five of these teams were unbeaten as of last week! Here's an interesting tidbit for Saturday's game with Missouri. The Tigers have done a great job at eradicating long road losing streaks vs. various conference opponents the last two years under Gary Pinkel, as last year they won at Colorado for the first time since 1997 and Kansas State for the first time since 1989 (Thanks to Larry Ness for both of those!). Just two weeks ago, we had Mizzou as our 20* Primetime Bailout selection over Nebraska and all they did there was win 52-17, their first victory in Lincoln in thirty years.
However, that is nothing compared to the history the Tigers are faced with this week against Texas. Missouri has not beaten Texas in Austin since a 10-0 shutout all the way back in 1896! Think Chase Daniel might be switching back to his regular number this week?
Five Fun Facts
Here's a little more College Football for you........
1. By our tally, there are just three teams in the country at 5-0 ATS or better this season. Amazingly, that same triumverate has also combined to go undefeated Straight Up as well (19-0 SU/17-0 ATS)! We're talking about Texas (6-0 SU/ATS), Ball State (7-0 SU/6-0 ATS) and Oklahoma State (6-0 SU/5-0 ATS). Covering the spread in EVERY game can prove to be a daunting task, so now might be the time to start looking to go against these teams. Unfortunately, you will have to wait to do so with Ball State, who is off this week. In a weird scheduling quirk, the Cardinals finish the season with another Bye after next week's game with Eastern Michigan, then four consecutive Tues/Wed games. As previously mentioned numerous times in this article, Texas and OK State will play one another on 11/1, so someone obviously won't cover there.
2. At the other end of the spectrum, we have Washington State. Wazzu is about as bad as it gets in the six BCS conferences this year as they are a sad 0-6 SU/ATS vs. FBS competition in 2008. Even more pathetic is that when you throw out a 48-9 win over FCS Portland State, the Cougars are being outscored on average of 51.1 to 10.5. Ouch! They are 42.5 points dogs (at home!) to USC this week, a spot the Trojans lost outright in last year to Stanford at the Coliseum. Three times this year, WSU has surrendered 63+ points.
3. We know that playing CFB Totals isn't nearly as popular as playing NFL Totals, but that just might change after this "Fun Fact." Rice has gone Over the total in 26 of their last 30 games. Seriously. And it's not like David Baliff's team is being underestimated by the oddsmakers. Already this season, the Owls have soared above totals of 70, 67, 58, 67.5 and most recently a ridiculous 79.5 against Tulsa (lost 63-28). The only game they went Under was a loss to Texas where they allowed 52 points (scored only 10!). In two home games this season, Rice is averaging 66.5 PPG. They host Southern Miss this week and are a part of our rested vs. unrested teams discussion (see above).
4. We lied before when we said we had nothing interesting to share about Penn State this week. On Saturday, HC Joe Paterno will be trying to erase the longest losing skid to one team of his entire coaching career when his Nittany Lions host Michigan. The Wolverines have beaten PSU nine straight times, but don't bank on #10 as they are monster 23.5-point dogs in Happy Valley. Can't remember the last time the Maize and Blue were getting that many points from the oddsmakers.
5. One team with even less history on its side this week (although not as little as Missouri) is North Carolina, who plays at Virginia on Saturday. Our ATS research on the "South's Oldest Rivalry" extends only back to 1992 and shows that Butch Davis' Tar Heels are 0-8 ATS in Charlottesville over that time frame. Overall, they have lost 13 straight times there.
Last week, we extended class to include some NFL handicapping strategies. Hopefully, you stayed after as both proved profitable on Sunday.
First, double-digit favorites continued their miserable 2008 campaign as both Washington (-13.5) and Minnesota (-12) failed to cover and the Redskins lost outright (We had the Rams as our NFL Sunday Shocker - now 5-0 ALL TIME!). DD Favorites are now just 1-9 ATS this season with four of those chalk teams losing outright. Take note of a pair of double-digit favorites this week: the Giants and Tampa Bay.
Secondly, West Coast teams making that cross-country trek to the East Coast remain another group to stay away from. Oakland was blasted 34-7 by New Orleans in Week Six as these early starts for West Coast teams has now produced a 1-7 pointspread mark. Note this week that San Francisco is at the Giants, but that would contradict with our concept of playing against DD favorites, so not sure what to make of that game.
Thirdly, how about the fact that there are only four teams in the league with one loss or less? That would be Tennessee, Buffalo, the Giants and Pittsburgh. The Titans are not only the lone perfect team SU, but ATS as well, with a 5-0 record both ways.
One final note is that all 32 teams have now covered at least one game following winning tickets by St. Louis and Detroit on Sunday. We mentioned this in our Sunday Shocker writeup on the Rams, but there were only ten occasions last year when a team failed to cover the spread in five consecutive games. Nine times it happened during the regular season and all nine times that team came out and covered the next time out. What was the other time you ask? That would be the Patriots in the Super Bowl, where they became the only team to fail at the betting window six straight games.