Sunday, September 9, 2012



Hello Football Fans,
Hope you all enjoyed the opening of the football season.  I watched the Iowa game, which for the most part wasn't very pleasant, but the final outcome makes up for it.  Clemson-Auburn was a good game, but the hype on Alabama-Michigan evaporated soon after kickoff.
Anyway, I had to cut the letter short this week, but I've included a few interesting tidbits that you may have missed.
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

Many NCAA Division 1-A schools schedule patsies to get the year started right, but some times the best-laid plans go awry.
There are 105 FBS vs. FCS matchups scheduled this year, with 35 of those games having been played last weekend.
Phil Steele had projected that there would be 3, and maybe up to 7 FCS teams beating FBS schools for the whole season.  Already this weekend there were FOUR FCS winners.

[Handicappers, please note that there are generally no lines posted by sportsbooks for these games].

“UPSETS” -- FCS (Division 1-AA) beats FBS (Division 1-A)

FCS #7 Eastern Washington soundly won at Idaho, 20-3.  EWU won the FCS Championship in 2010.

FCS #27 McNeese State won at Middle Tennessee State, 27-21.  MSU has 16 returning starters, and made news last month when former LSU CB Tyrann Mathieu reportedly considered enrolling with the Louisiana school.  [Update: Mathieu is enrolling at LSU for this year, has gone to drug rehab, and will be out of football for this season].

FCS #4 Youngstown State soundly beat the Big East’s University of Pittsburgh, 31-17.  The YSU Penguins never trailed.  The PIT Panthers had six players suspended for the game, but previously injured star RB Ray Graham did play.

FCS #38 Tennessee-Martin beat Memphis, 20-17.


FBS Florida Atlantic scored a TD in the 4th quarter to beat FCS unranked Wagner, 7-3.

FBS Wake Forest kicked a FG in the 4th quarter to beat FCS #39 Liberty, 20-17.

FBS Maryland scored a TD in the 4th quarter to beat FCS #34 William & Mary, 7-6.

FBS #12 Wisconsin was ahead 19-0 in the 1st half and still led 26-7 after a TD early in the 4th quarter before FCS #15 Northern Iowa scored 2 unanswered TD’s and threatened again toward the end of the game.  FINAL: WISC 26, UNI 21.
There were zero turnovers in the game.

FBS Indiana held off a late threat to beat FCS #33 Indiana State, 24-17.

OK, let’s move on to the start of meaningful football games for the FFHL.
Betting lines are almost always posted for FBS vs. FBS games.


In the 13 Thursday, Friday, Sunday and Monday games, there were no underdog winners.
On Saturday, there were 6 upsets in 28 games.
Overall, only 14.6% of the underdogs won their games outright (6 of 41).

Texas-San Antonio +6h won at South Alabama, 33-31, in a battle of two new FBS schools.

Texas State +36h (another new FBS school, in the WAC this year), an underdog by 36-1/2 points, won at Houston, 30-13.  TSU never trailed and led 27-10 at halftime.
This kind of huge upset occurs historically about 1% of the time (that is, only 6 other times in 596 games over the prior 15 years with a point spread of more than 31).

Colorado State +6h beat rival Colorado in Denver, 22-17.  The Buffalos led 14-3, but muffed a punt just before halftime that led to a Rams’ TD, and CSU was back into contention.  Halftime: 14-9 Colorado.
Colorado kicked a FG early in the 4th quarter to lead 17-16, but the underdog Rams retaliated with a 48-yard FG at 6:39 and then kicked a 32-yard insurance FG at 2:56.
FINAL: CSU 22, COL 17 (Eric celebrates in Fort Collins)

Nevada +11 won at California, 31-24.  The Wolfpack never trailed, but after leading 21-7 midway through the 3rd quarter, the CAL Bears tied the game on a TD with 8 minutes to go in the final stanza.  Nevada scored the game-winning TD inside of 1 minute to play.
This was the first game on Cal-Berkeley’s home field in 21 months, as Memorial Stadium went through a $321 million seismic retrofit and renovation last year.  An earthquake fault runs almost directly between the two goal posts (underground, wise guy).

Iowa State +2 beat visiting Tulsa, 38-23.

Ohio U. +5 won at Penn State, 24-14.  It was an emotional day for PSU, and the Nittany Lions led 14-3 at halftime.  But the Bobcats did all of the scoring in the 2nd half and won the turnover battle (3-0), scoring a TD with 3 minutes remaining in the contest to ice the game.

FBS upsets? – “NOT QUITE”

Minnesota -8h needed three overtime periods to win at UNLV, 30-27.

Stanford -25 held off San Jose State at home to prevail, 20-17.

Arizona -11 needed overtime to beat visiting Toledo, 24-17.

Iowa -10 needed all nine unanswered points in the 4th quarter including the game-winning TD with 3:35 remaining to beat Northern Illinois in Chicago’s Soldier Field.


Northwestern -1h was ahead 35-13 in mid-3rd quarter, but host Syracuse scored 4 unanswered TD’s to lead 41-35 before the Wildcats scored the game-winning TD (and extra point kick) with a minute remaining in regulation.
FINAL: NW 42, SYR 41, but Northwestern failed to cover against the spread (ATS) by the hook (1/2 point).  The Orangemen had made a 2-point conversion on its final go-ahead TD with 3:40 left, which ultimately was the difference ATS.


Overall, we FFHL’ers started out the year with incredibly bad “luck” at 25-59-0 (29.8%) ATS this week.
We selected 25 underdogs out of 84 picks, and those ‘dogs were much better (relative to our overall crummy results) at 12-13 ATS, or 48.0% ATS.  That means we performed pathetically with our “favorites” picks, a 22.0% win percentage.

Our #1 picks for this week were the worst at 1-11, or 8.3% ATS.

In this college-only first week:

                                        ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                        Record                         Record

FAVORITES                 18-23-0  (43.9%)           35-6  (85.4%)         
HOME TEAMS            16-20-0  (44.4%)           32-4  (88.9%)


                                          ATS Picks
Team           For-Against        Result / Unsolicited comments

S.CAR-6h at Vandy               8-1     LOSS, Gamecocks win only 17-13
Oregon -37h vs. Ark.St          7-0     LOSS, Ducks up 50-3 in 1st half, backed off
Stanford -25 vs. San Jose       5-0     LOSS, Cardinal barely won game, 20-17
Oklahoma -31 at UTEP          4-0     LOSS, Sooners lackluster win only 24-7
Alabama -13h v. Mich            4-3     WIN, ‘Bama blew out game early, 41-14
Mich St -7 vs. Boise               4-2     LOSS, Sparty won only 17-13
USC -42h vs. Hawaii              4-1     LOSS, Trojans back off & win only 49-10
SDSU +14h at UWash.           2-2     SDSU Aztecs lose to UW only 21-12 to cover

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate

Thursday      Sept 6th        Pittsburgh +4 at Cincinnati
Friday          Sept 7th        Utah -7h at Utah State
Saturday      Sept 8th
                                         Iowa State +4 at Iowa
                                         Texas Tech -17h at Texas State
                                         USC -27h vs. Syracuse in neutral East Rutherford, NJ                   
                                         Florida +1h at Texas A&M (first SEC game for Aggies)
                                         Nebraska -5h at UCLA
                                         Georgia -3h at Missouri (first SEC game for Tigers)
                                         Purdue +14 at Notre Dame

Wednesday                       Kickoff 2012
Sept 5th                            Dallas +3h (underdog) at NY Giants -3h (favorite)

Sunday                             Early Divisional Matchups:
Sept 9th                           Buffalo +2h at NY Jets                          
                                        Seattle -2h at Arizona
                                        Carolina -2h at Tampa Bay
Other interesting matchups:

                              Pittsburgh +2h at Denver (last year’s playoff rematch)
                 San Francisco +4h at Green Bay (#2 & #1 seeds from last year’s playoffs)

Monday Double Header      Cincinnati +6 at Baltimore (7PM Eastern)
Sept 10th                            San Diego +1 at Oakland (10:15PM Eastern)


NFL teams had to cut their rosters from 90 players to 75 players by August 27th, and then this last week the rosters had to be pared down to only 53 players (by Friday, August 31st).  The media tries to make a big deal out of some of the cuts, but I don’t think there were any big surprises in key positions.  However, teams will be working on their depth charts and upgrading their rosters for role players and backups.

I haven’t really been keeping up with significant player transactions, but Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew reported to camp over the weekend and will be playing Week #1 as the 3rd down back behind starter Rashad Jennings.

Holdout WR Mike Wallace finally reported to the PIT Steelers last week.

Seattle’s starting QB last year was Tarvaris Jackson; he was traded to Buffalo to be the Bills’ backup QB to Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Detroit’s RB Jahvid Best was put on the PUP list (physically unable to perform – that’s from a football perspective), meaning that he will be out for the first six games of the season.  His concussion issues linger from a nasty injury he suffered in college.


Even with 3-day weekend, I ran out of time and do not have a stumper for you this week.
Sorry, Krueg.

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