Friday, November 23, 2012




College football is in turmoil after last weekend, and Irish fans have crawled out from various cracks and crevices.  And, this upcoming week has some great games as the regular season winds down.
In the NFL, each team has now played 10 games and all teams have had their bye week.
Once again, I had to cut this short and left out summaries on some pretty good games last weekend.  Hope you saw some of the action.
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

PS I have a quiz question this week, but it's not football.

Check out the shake-up in college football this week.

November 21, 2012


Check out the shake-up in college football this week.

The Luck ‘O the Irish is in full bloom, and their next and final regular season opponent will not be playing its injured starting QB.  USC’s Matt Barkley has a sprained shoulder. The Irish have a date in Southern California against the Trojans this Saturday, and with a win will be unbeaten in the regular season.

There were four undefeated teams in the FBS heading into last weekend’s games, but two went down in flames - #1 Kansas State and #2 Oregon State.  The ONLY remaining unbeaten team eligible for post-season play is Notre Dame – unbelievable.  It was the second week in a row in which the top-ranked team lost.  And, I’m told it was the first time since 2007 that both the #1 and #2 teams lost in the same weekend.


The first column is the updated Bowl Championship Subdivision rankings (games through November 17th).  The second column is the current Associated Press Poll, the third column is the computer rankings component of the BCS rankings (average of six), and the fourth column is last week’s BCS rankings.           

                                       Current         Current BCS   BCS Rankings
BCS TOP 25              BCS    AP       Computers      Last Week      
Notre Dame    11-0     1          1          1                      3          Irish at USC on Saturday
Alabama         10-1     2          2          3                      4          Hosts Auburn on Saturday
Georgia           10-1     3          3          6                      5          Hosts GA Tech on Sat.
Florida            10-1     4          6          2                      6          at FSU on Saturday
Oregon           10-1     5          5          7                      2          at Oregon St. on Saturday
Kansas State   10-1     6          7          4                      1          Home vs. Texas Dec. 1st
LSU                9-2       7          8          8                      7          at Arkansas on Friday
Stanford          9-2       8          11        5                      13        Plays at UCLA on Saturday
Texas A&M    9-2       9          9          10                    8          Hosts Mizzu on Saturday
Florida State   10-1     10        10        17                    10        ‘Noles host Gators on Sat.
Clemson         10-1     11        12        15                    11        Tigers host Gamecocks Sat.
South Carolina 9-2      12        13        11                    9          at Clemson on Saturday
Oklahoma        8-2      13        14        9                      12        Hosts OK.St, then at TCU
Nebraska         9-2      14        17        T12                  14        Finishes at Iowa
Oregon State   8-2       15        16        T12                  16        Hosts Oregon on Saturday
Texas               8-2       16        18        14                    15        Finishes vs. TCU & at KSU
UCLA             9-2       17        15        16                    17        Hosts Stanford on Saturday
Rutgers            9-1       18        21        21                    22        Hosts Louisville Thu.-11/29
Michigan          8-3       19        20        19                    21        at Ohio State on Saturday
Louisville          9-1       20        19        26                    19        at Rutgers on Thursday 11/29
Oklahoma St    7-3       21        22        18                    24        at OKL Sat., then at Baylor
Boise St           9-2       22        NR       30                    NR
Kent State       10-1      23        23        22                    NR
Arizona             7-4       24       NR       20                    NR
Washington       7-4       25        NR       23                    25       
Northern ILL               NR       24        NR                   NR
Utah State                   NR       25        NR                   NR
Ohio State       11-0     NE       4          NE                   NE       Moved from #6 to #4 in AP;
                                                                                                Hosts Michigan on Sat.
USC                7-4       NR       NR       T17                  18        Hosts #1 Notre Dame on Sat.
LA Tech          9-2       NR       NR       23                    20       
Texas Tech      7-4       NR       NR       T20                  23       
Mississippi St. 8-3       NR       NR       NR                   NR      


Notre Dame is the near-unanimous #1.  All six BCS computers rank the Irish at the top, and all of the human polls rank the Golden Domers #1 (although some voters within the human polls rank other teams #1; see below).

The computers have Florida at #2, but the Gators have a tough road game at Florida State this weekend.  Five of the six metal midgets have FL #2, with the other computer ranking them #6.

The computers are giving very little credit to once-beaten BCS #10 Florida State, as the Seminoles are ranked #17, with the best computer ranking them #15, and one computer not even ranking them in the Top 25 (wow, that’s harsh on the ACC).  FSU beat ACC’s Clemson, who is ranked #15 by the computers (best ranking #11, worst ranking #23).  The ACC is playing for respectability, and the rankings will change dramatically if FSU can get a win in The Swamp over its in-state rival Florida and Clemson can beat SEC’s South Carolina.

The results of last week have created a shake-up that really stinks, as now an SEC team is likely to get into the NCAA title game, and it will be the winner of the SEC Championship game between Alabama and Georgia.  And if Notre Dame loses at USC, it could be another disastrous year in which two SEC teams play for the championship.  That would be disgusting, just as it was disgusting last year.
I can barely wait until the 2014 season, when we will finally have a four-team playoff.

The human polls all have the same Top 3 rankings (with the #1 votes in parentheses):

                                    AP Poll           USA Today     Harris

NOTRE DAME          #1 (60)            #1 (56)            #1 (107)
ALABAMA                #2 (0)              #2 (2)              #2 ( 8 )
GEORGIA                   #3 (0)              #3 (1)              #3 ( 0 )
OHIO ST                     #4                    NE                   NE
OREGON                    #5                    #4                    #4
FLORIDA                   #6                    #6                    #5                   
KANSAS ST               #7                    #8                    #7
FLORIDA ST              #10                  #5                    #6


In college games this week, 15 underdogs won their games outright out of 54 games, or 27.8%.

On Friday night, Florida International +2 won at Florida Atlantic, 34-24.

Rutgers +6 won at Cincinnati, 10-3, to remain in the Top 25.

Memphis +9h won handily at UAB, 46-9.

Eastern Michigan +13h surprisingly won at Western Michigan, 29-23.

UCLA +3h beat USC at the Rose Bowl, 38-28.  With the win the Bruins clinched the PAC-12 South division.  It was the first win over the Trojans since 2006.

Temple +3h won at Army, 63-32.

Kent State +2h won at Bowling Green, 31-24, to remain in the Top 25 and clinch the MAC East division.

Rice +4 beat visiting SMU, 36-14.

San Jose State +3 beat visiting BYU, 20-14.

Arizona +3 won at Utah, 34-24, as the Wildcats scored 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.

Syracuse +5h won at Missouri, 31-27.

Ohio State +2h won at Wisconsin, 21-14 in overtime, to stay undefeated for the year.

Northwestern +7 won at Michigan State, 23-20.

Baylor +13 beat visiting #1 Kansas State going away, 52-24.
Stanford +20h won in overtime at #2 Oregon, 17-14.


BCS Automatic Qualifier “AQ” Conferences

SOUTH           UCLA clinched division title with win over USC last Saturday
NORTH           Stanford clinches division title with win at UCLA next weekend; Oregon still lurks after home loss to the Cardinal last Saturday, but must win at Oregon State on Saturday to have a chance.

EAST  GEORGIA has clinched the division title
WEST Alabama (6-1) just needs to beat Auburn at home Nov. 24th to clinch.
            Texas A&M (5-2) would win tiebreaker if the Tide loses to cupcake. 

BIG XII          Kansas State (7-1) holds tiebreaker over Oklahoma (6-1) and Texas and Oklahoma State are 5-2.  KSU plays the UT ‘Horns Dec 1st; the OU Sooners host rival Okie State on Saturday and play at TCU Dec 1st.

BIG EAST      Rutgers (5-0) remained unbeaten in the conference after winning at Cincinnati (3-2).  Louisville is 4-1 and meets up with Rutgers on Thursday, November 29th to determine the conference champion and the automatic qualifier for a BCS Bowl.

LEGENDS      Nebraska just needs to beat Iowa to reach the title game
LEADERS      Undefeated Ohio State (6-0) has clinched the division title, which I understand they are eligible to win.  However, the Buckeyes cannot advance to the conference championship game, since they are ineligible for post-season play.  WISCONSIN at 4-3 in the division will go to Indianapolis to play for the B1G title.  Penn State is 4-2 in the division, but is also ineligible for participation beyond the regular season.

ATLANTIC     FLORIDA STATE (7-1) clinched a berth in the title game with a win at Maryland last Saturday, 41-14.  The Seminoles hold the tiebreaker over Clemson (7-1).
COASTAL      Still up for grabs; GA.Tech is 5-3, MIA.FL and UNC are 4-3.


WAC   UTAH STATE won at LA Tech last Saturday, 48-41 in overtime, to become the conference champion.  The Aggies could get into a BCS bowl game, but are only eligible if they are ranked in the Top 16 of the final BCS standings.

SUN BELT     Arkansas State (6-1) hosts Middle Tennessee State (5-1) on Dec 1st

EAST  Central Florida (6-1) holds the tiebreaker over East Carolina (6-1), beating the Pirates earlier in the year 40-20
WEST TULSA (7-0) clinched the division title with a 23-21 win over UCF last Saturday

EAST  KENT STATE clinched the division title with a 31-24 win at Bowling Green last Saturday
WEST NORTHERN ILLINOIS has clinched the division title

MW     SDSU (6-1), Fresno State (6-1), and Boise State (6-1) have all beaten each other, so I haven’t figured out the tiebreaker yet.  Let’s see how the last few games shake out.


In the pro games this week, only ONE underdog won outright (straight up) out of 14 games, or 7.1%. 

The NY J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets won at St. Louis, 27-13, as a 3½ point underdog.

Three favorites won in overtime:
Dallas -7 beat visiting Cleveland, 23-20.
Tampa Bay -1 won at Carolina, 27-21, after being down 21-10 in the 4th quarter.
Houston -14h beat visiting Jacksonville, 43-37.

Green Bay -3h finally took the lead with a TD late in the 4th quarter, 21-20 (not covering ATS), but then got the ball back and kicked a late “insurance” FG to win 24-20 and cover by ½ point in Detroit.

Baltimore -3h was ahead at Pittsburgh 13-7, but allowed a 4th quarter Steelers’ FG to win only 13-10 and not cover ATS by the hook.

Denver -7 was ahead of visiting San Diego 24-9 in mid-3rd quarter and 30-16 after kicking a FG with 4 minutes remaining in the game, but the Chargers scored a TD with 1:20 on the clock to only lose by seven and got a “tie” ATS.


There are six weeks remaining in the NFL regular season.  All teams have now played 10 games.
Of the eight divisions in the NFL, FOUR of the division leaders are ahead by three games over their closest foes.  Unless something amazing happens, those 4 teams will win their division and make the playoffs [NE, HOU, DEN, ATL].

NFC WEST                 SAN FRANCISCO (7-2-1) has a 1 ½ game lead over Seattle (6-4)

NFC NORTH  CHICAGO and GREEN BAY (7-3) are one game ahead of Minnesota (6-4)

NFC SOUTH              ATLANTA (9-1) has a 3-game lead over Tampa Bay (6-4)

NFC EAST                  NY GIANTS (6-4) have a 1-game lead over Dallas (5-5)

AFC WEST                 DENVER (7-3) is up three games on San Diego (4-6)

AFC NORTH              BALTIMORE (8-2) has a 2-game lead over Pittsburgh (6-4)

AFC SOUTH              HOUSTON (9-1) has a 3-game lead over Indianapolis (6-4)

AFC EAST      NEW ENGLAND (7-3) has a 3-game lead over the other three contenders in the division – NYJ, MIA, BUF at 4-6.

Assuming the division leaders win their respective divisions by year end, following are the most likely potential Wild Card playoff teams (only two teams get into the playoffs in each conference):

Either Chicago or Green Bay, the one not winning the NFC North division title
Minnesota, Tampa Bay, and Seattle at 6-4
Dallas and New Orleans at 5-5

Pittsburgh and Indianapolis at 6-4
Cincinnati at 5-5
Five teams at 4-6: NYJ, MIA, BUF, TEN, SD


Overall, we FFHL’ers got beat up by the college upsets and posted a mediocre record of 39-41-4 (48.8%) ATS this week.  In college, we were a soft 21-27-1 ATS (43.9%) but in the NFL we were a decent 18-14-3 ATS (55.7%).

Out of our 84 picks, we collectively selected only 11 underdogs.  In the NFL, we selected only two underdogs out of 35 picks, going 1-1 ATS.  Out of our 49 college picks, we selected only 9 underdogs, going 6-3-0 ATS (66.7%).

After our horrendous start to the season, we FFHL’ers have rebounded and are now after 12 weeks cumulatively 48.0% ATS with 484 wins out of 1008 picks (1/2 win for a tie ATS).  In college, we have 278.5 wins ATS out of 597 picks, or  46.6%; and, in the NFL we have 205.5 wins ATS out of 411 picks, or exactly 50.0%.
We also rank our picks from #1 (“strongest”) to #7 (“weakest”) each week.  Cumulatively, our Pick #1 and Pick #6 are the worst at 44.1% ATS, while our #7 pick is the best at 52.1% ATS.


Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks. 

                                    ATS Picks
Team                           For-Against    Result / Unsolicited comments

GB Pack -3h at Detroit           6-0       WIN, lucky cover by ½ pt with 24-20 win
CIN Bengals -3h at KC           4-0       WIN, Bengals win easily 28-6
STL Rams -3h vs. NYJ           4-0       LOSS, Jets upset Lambs 27-13
DAL Cowboys -7 vs. CLE      4-0       LOSS, ‘Boys just lucky to win OT game, 23-20
NOR Saints -5 at OAK           3-0       WIN, New Orleans wins easily 38-17
DEN Broncos -7 vs. SD          3-0       TIE, Chargers score late to lose only 30-23
HOU Texans -14h vs. JAX     2-1       LOSS, Houston lucky to win, prevail in OT 43-37

Kansas St -13 at Baylor          7-0       LOSS, Bears crush #1 KSU, 52-24
OKLA St -10 vs. TX Tech      3-0       WIN, Cowboys win easily, 59-21
UW Huskies -20h at COL      3-0       WIN, U-Dub drubs Buffs, 38-3
NEB ‘Huskers -20 vs MINN  3-0       WIN, Big Red wins 38-14, covers by 4
OREG Ducks -20h vs STAN  3-1       LOSS, Stanford upsets host OU, 17-14 in OT
OH.St +2h at WISC -2h          2-2       OHIO ST wins 21-14 in OT to stay unbeaten

In the 12th week of college games:
                                                ATS Record               

FAVORITES               23-30-1  (43.5%)       
HOME TEAMS          27-26-1  (50.9%)       
            TOP 25                        8-9-0     (47.1%)        
            TOP 10                        1-4-0     (20.0%)        

Cumulative percentages through 12 weeks:
                                                ATS Record
FAVORITES               295-311-6  (48.7%)   
HOME TEAMS          290-310-1  (48.3%)   
TOP 25                        114-133-4  (46.2%)   
TOP 10                        44-46-2  (48.9%)       

NFL ALL GAMES – for the 11th week:

ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               8-5-1  (60.7%)            13-1  (92.9%)
            HOME TEAMS          5-8-1  (39.3%)                        8-6-0  (57.1%)

Cumulative percentages through 11 weeks:

ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               70-85-4  (45.3%)        103-55-1  (65.1%)
            HOME TEAMS          67-87-4  (43.7%)        91-66-1  (57.9%)

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate

IT’S “RIVALRY” WEEK, with some other GREAT MATCHUPS mixed in

Tuesday          Akron +18h at Toledo                        FINAL: TOL 35, AKR 23

Thursday         TCU +7h at Texas

Friday             Ohio U. +9h at #23 Kent State
                        #7 LSU -12 at Arkansas
                        #14 Nebraska -15h at Iowa
                        West Virginia -1h at Iowa State
                        Washington -12h at Washington State
                        Ball State -7 at Miami of Ohio
                        Syracuse -7 at Temple

Saturday          BIG GAMES
                        #1 Notre Dame -5 at USC      (Trojan QB Redshirt Fr. Max Wittek)
                        #19 Michigan +3h at AP#4 Ohio State                     
                        #5 Oregon -9h at #15 Oregon State
                        #8 Stanford -2 at #17 UCLA
                        #21 Oklahoma State +7 at #13 Oklahoma
                        #4 Florida +7h at #10 Florida State   SEC higher ranked team is ‘dog
                        #12 South Carolina +3h at #11 Clemson

                        OTHER RIVALRY GAMES:
                        Mississippi State +1 at Mississippi
                        Illinois +19 at Northwestern
                        Virginia +9h at Virginia Tech
                        Georgia Tech +13h at Georgia
                        Texas Tech +3 at Baylor
                        Auburn +31 at #2 Alabama
                        Indiana +6 at Purdue
                        #18 Rutgers +2 at Pittsburgh
                        Kentucky +13 at Tennessee


BYE WEEKS:            NONE; no more bye weeks this year
                                    Sixteen-game slates for the final six weeks

Thursday -                  Houston -3h at Detroit
Thanksgiving              Washington +3h at Dallas
                                    New England -7 at NY Jets

Sunday            Divisional Matchups:
Pittsburgh at Cleveland
Tennessee -3h at Jacksonville
Denver -10 at Kansas City
Minnesota at Chicago
Atlanta -1 at Tampa Bay
St. Louis +2h at Arizona

San Francisco at New Orleans
Green Bay +3 at NY Giants

Monday          Carolina at Philadelphia                     (can’t wait)


Who holds the NCAA Basketball all-time single-game scoring record?
Hint: It happened last night in Division III.

Jack Taylor of Grinnell College, in Grinnell, Iowa, a school with about 1,600 students.  He scored 138 points in a 40-minute regulation college game in which he played 36 minutes.  I’ll do the math… that’s over 3.8 points every minute he was in the game.  He was 52 of 108 from the floor (27 of 71 from 3-point range) and made 7 of 10 free throws.  He scored 80 of his points in the 2nd half – whoa!

Grinnell’s opponent was Faith Baptist Bible College, and their David Larson scored a measly 70 points on 34 of 44 shooting.  The final score was 179-104.

The previous record was held by Rio Grande’s Bevo Francis in 1954 [113 points].
The only other player to hit the century mark was Furman’s Frank Selvy [100 points], also in 1954.
And in the NBA, you probably already know that only one person has scored 100 points in a single game, and that was Wilt Chamberlain in 1962 (before the 3-point shot, which he wouldn’t have been able to make anyway).

So why and how did this record get obliterated?
Grinnell’s basketball players were not doing well on the court with a conventional system, and the attendance was horrific. So 22 years ago, Coach David Arseneault created his Grinnell System, a pumped-up version of the more famous Paul Westphal’s Loyola Marymount offense.
The system has thrived under several basic tenets:
1.  The first shot is the best shot, no matter if it’s from 5 or 25 feet (preferably 25 feet)
2.  Take as many 3-pointers as possible
3.  Defensively, giving up an uncontested layup is better than forcing a shot-clock
4.The ball-handler is double-teamed at all times.

In order to operate this system effectively, the players get exhausted quickly and bench substitutions are more similar to hockey substitutions – five in, five out, every few minutes.  But in last night’s victory, Jack Taylor stayed in most of the game, while the substitutes were more like “four in, four out”.

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