FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER
Hello Football Fans,
We're in the middle of the NFL playoffs, but I've thrown in some other tidbits.
The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL
I have already sent out my bowl summary by conference, and I choose to nearly ignore the ugly National Championship game.
Alabama won the title for the second straight year, and an SEC team has won the national title seven straight years. The Crimson Tide was just lucky to get into the game. Those OU Ducks let most of the country down by losing at home to Stanford. The SEC is dominating, and it is nauseating, to put it mildly.
On a more interesting note, one of the six BCS computers still had Notre Dame ranked #1 ….. after they got crushed by the Tide 42-14. The BCS computer formulas cannot take into account margin of victory. We have one more year of the BCS, and then for the 2014 season it will be a 4-team playoff with a selection committee to choose the four semi-finalists.
FINAL COLLEGE POLLS
Following are the final Associated Press and USA Today polls after all of the bowl games were completed January 7th:
TEAM AP USA
Alabama 1 1
Oregon 2 2
Ohio State 3 NR-ineligible
Notre Dame 4 3
Texas A&M T5 T5
Georgia T5 4
Stanford 7 T5
South Carolina 8 7
Florida 9 10
Florida State 10 8
Clemson 11 9
Kansas State 12 11
Louisville 13 13
LSU 14 12
Oklahoma 15 15
Utah State 16 17
Northwestern 17 16
Boise State 18 14
Texas 19 18
Oregon State 20 19
San Jose State 21 21
Northern Illinois 22 24
Vanderbilt 23 20
Michigan 24 26
Nebraska 25 23
Baylor 26 28
Penn State 27 NR-ineligible
Cincinnati 28 22
Oklahoma State 29 29
Tulsa 30 25
COLLEGE BOWL GAMES
I will forego a synopsis of the exciting and key bowl games (even though Craig would appreciate it) in the interest of finishing more pressing business at hand. Please accept my numerical analysis ATS as a unique way of summarizing the bowl season. I know the “point spread differential” is skewed by the results of a few games, but it gives one unique perspective anyway.
COLLEGE BOWL GAMES (35 games total)
Cumulative percentages for bowl games:
ATS Record Straight-Up
FAVORITES 17-17-1 (50.0%) 23-12 (65.7%)
Amazing; exactly 50% of ‘dogs and favorites covered ATS
By Conference See my summary sent out Tuesday, January 8th.
And below is a written summary of the results, and footnotes:
CONFERENCE USA did the best ATS, beating the point spread by an average of 18.3 points (five teams in bowl games), and posting a 4-1 record ATS. SMU covered ATS by 45 points, which helped the conference’s average immensely. Four of the five C-USA teams were underdogs, but they were also 4-1 straight up.
On the bottom was the Mountain West, with its five bowl teams losing ATS by an average of 15.7 points, skewed by the same game that catapulted C-USA to the top, as Fresno State lost to SMU 43-10 as a 12-point favorite.
The Big East performed the best of all BCS conferences using the “point spread differential. Both Syracuse and Louisville covered the spread by over 20 points.
The worst BCS conference was the 10-team Big XII; 3 of the 5 bowl entrants lost as favorites. Oklahoma State and Baylor blew out their opponents, and still the conference overall in 9 bowls games did poorly.
For BCS conferences, the best performances came from the ACC with a 4-2 record ATS and the Big 10 with a 4-2-1 record ATS (all seven teams were underdogs, by average of 7.9 points). The worst performance came from the Big XII with a 3-6 record ATS.
The SEC had nine teams in bowl games, all of whom were favored (by an average of 6.6 points).
They finished with a 5-4 record ATS and 6-3 SU.
OTHER COLLEGE MINUTIA
FCS TITLE GAME
#1 NORTH DAKOTA STATE vs. SAM HOUSTON STATE
The game was tied 10-10 at halftime, and Sam Houston rambled for a 41-yard TD run early in the 3rd quarter…… “not so fast my friends”. A holding penalty negated the score and the next play was an interception. The momentum turned from there, and the ND State Bison won the national FCS title for the second straight year over SMS, 39-13.
NFL PLAYOFFS - WILD CARD WEEKEND
#5 Seattle -2h won at #4 Washington, 24-14. The ‘Skins QB Robert Griffin had knee surgery soon thereafter, and the controversy over the condition of fields rose again. Vikings’ RB Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and MCL on the same field in Week #16 last year. RG3 had both his ACL and LCL repaired. The Seahawks’ sacks leader, DE Chris Clemons, also tore up his knee in the game and is out for the season. Seattle must now travel across country again to face Atlanta on Sunday, a daunting task historically for a West Coast team to travel over 3 time zones in back-to-back weeks. Rookie QB Russell Wilson and Company just may be the team to win in consecutive weeks under these circumstances. Atlanta is looking for its first playoff win under head coach Mike Smith, who is in his fifth year with the Falcons.
#3 Green Bay -7h (-10h after QB news) beat visiting #6 Minnesota, a team without their starting QB. Vikings’ backup QB Joe Webb started out OK, but it was soon obvious that he had been sitting on the bench too long to make good connections with his WR’s. The Packers won 24-10, and will play at San Francisco later today.
#3 Houston -4h won an ugly game over visiting #6 Cincinnati, 19-13, to cover ATS by 1½ points, and now travels to New England to face the Patriots in the AFC Conference semifinal.
#4 Baltimore -7 beat visiting upstart #5 Indianapolis, 24-9, to advance to the AFC Conference semifinal at Denver. LB Ray Lewis came back from injury to play and announced his retirement to be effective after the season is over. He played a great game, and is an emotional leader for the defense; we’ll see how his 38-year old body bounces back this week in the frigid weather projected for the Mile High city this weekend.
NFL PLAYOFF SEEDINGS
NFC PLAYOFF SEEDINGS MATHCUPS
#1 Atlanta (13-3) Hosts SEATTLE
#2 San Francisco (11-4-1) Hosts GREEN BAY
#3 Green Bay (11-5) Beat MIN 24-10
#4 Washington (10-6) Lost with injured QB
#5 Seattle (10-6) Won at WSH 24-14
#6 Minnesota (10-6) Starting QB was out in loss
AFC PLAYOFF SEEDINGS MATCHUPS
#1 Denver (13-3) Hosts BALTIMORE
#2 New England (12-4) Hosts HOUSTON
#3 Houston (12-4) Shaky win vs. CIN, 19-13
#4 Baltimore (10-6) Beat INDY 24-9
#5 Indianapolis (11-5) Couldn’t find the end zone
#6 Cincinnati (10-6) Lost in weak performance
#3 GB +3 at #2 SF
#4 BAL +8h at #1 DEN
#5 SEA +2h at #1 ATL
#3 HOU +9 at #2 NE
Coaching and general manager (GM) changes are still up in the air for many NFL teams.
Cleveland has hired its new coach – Rob Chudzinski, who was the offensive coordinator (OC) for Carolina the last two years. He had been the OC for the Browns in 2007-2008 under then-coach Romeo Crennel, and the team posted a 10-6 record in 2007. Rob grew up in Toledo, OH and was a Browns’ fan.
Jacksonville has fired its head coach, Mike Mularkey, after only one season. The search for a replacement is ongoing. The team also rejected the idea that QB/FB/TE/H-Back/Slash Tim Tebow may play for the Jaguars in 2013.
San Diego has hired a new GM, Tom Telesco, who comes recently from the Indianapolis Colts. So there is a chance that the Chargers may hire Bruce Arians as their next head coach; he was the interim coach for Indy this year and had a good working relationship with Telesco.
The NY Jets fired their GM but decided to keep Rex Ryan as their head coach. The Jets appear to be struggling to find a person willing to come into that particular situation right now.
NON-FOOTBALL SPORTS UPDATES
A collective bargaining agreement has been reached, and the NHL hockey season is getting started soon. There will be a 48-game schedule. The finals will be played in July, as it will play out. Unbelievable (these sports negotiators are working under the same time constraints as Congress – little or no regard for deadlines).
As previously mentioned, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemons (and others) were up for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame this year, subject to the baseball writers voting them in. Nobody made it in this year, in an obvious protest against steroid and other performance-enhancing drug use. It was only the second time in four decades that Cooperstown got a blank. It was the 8th time overall, since inception in 1936, that the BBWAA voters failed to elect even a single player into the Hall.
Candidates must get 75% of the votes to be elected into the Hall. In his first year of eligibility, Craig Biggio topped the list of 37 candidates with 68.2% of the 569 voters in his favor, 39 votes short of induction. First-year eligible Mike Piazza received 57.8%, under suspicion of drug use (although nothing was really substantiated).
Other first-time eligibles: Bonds got only 36.2% of the votes and Clemons got 37.6%. Sammy Sosa received a mere 12.5%. They have 14 more years to make it to Cooperstown, NY.
Leading the holdovers in voting, Jack Morris got favor from 67.7% of the voters, and he will make his final ballot appearance next year, when Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Frank Thomas will be eligible for the first time.
FFHL RESULTS – WEEK SEVENTEEN
In the first week of our playoffs, overall we FFHL’ers performed miserably with a record of 26-50-8 (35.7%) ATS. In college bowl games, we made 53 picks, and ended up with a horrendous record of 15-30-8 ATS (35.8%). In the NFL we made 31 picks with an equally ugly result of 11-20-0 ATS (35.5%).
Out of our 31 NFL picks, we collectively selected only 7 underdogs, and these ‘dog picks were 3-4 ATS (42.9%). Out of our 53 college picks, we selected also only 7 underdogs and were also only 3-4-0 ATS (42.9%).
FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
Listed below is a breakdown of our 53 college bowl picks for the first week of our playoffs.
Team For-Against Result / Unsolicited comments
Stanford -6 vs. Wisconsin 8-0 TIE, Cardinal won Rose Bowl 20-14
Georgia -8 vs. Nebraska 5-0 WIN, Big Red blows lead, loses 45-31
Florida -13h vs. Louisville 4-0 LOSS, Gators were no show in loss, 33-23
Oregon St -3h vs. Texas 4-0 LOSS, UT ‘Horns prevails in 4th quarter, 31-27
S. Carolina -6 vs. Michigan 4-1 LOSS, G’cocks won only 33-28 to not cover by 1
Florida St -12h vs. N. Illinois 4-3 WIN, Seminoles prevail in 4th quarter, 31-10
LSU -4h vs. Clemson 3-0 LOSS, Clemson wins outright 25-24
TCU -2h vs. Michigan St 3-0 LOSS, Spartans come back in 2nd half, win 17-16
W.Virginia -3h vs. Syracuse 3-0 LOSS, Orangemen blow out WVU, 38-14
Iowa State -1 vs. Tulsa 2-0 LOSS, Tulsa wins outright 31-17
USC -8h vs. Georgia Tech 2-1 LOSS, GA Tech wins outright 21-7
Vanderbilt -7 vs. NC State 1-0 WIN, Commodores win 38-24 to cover by 7
Arizona St -13h vs. Navy 1-0 WIN, Sun Devils ground Navy, 62-28
Oklahoma St -17 vs. Purdue 1-1 COWBOYS out-drink Boilermakers, 58-14
Miss. St -1h vs. N’Western 1-1 WILDCATS win bowl game after 60+ years
NFL PLAYOFF TOTALS (after wild card weekend)
(Cumulative percentages for playoffs only)
FAVORITES 4-0-0 (100.0%) 4-0-0 (100.0%)
HOME TEAMS 3-1-0 (75.0%) 3-1-0 (75.0%)
FFHL PLAYOFFS – SEMIFINALS WEEK #17
FFHL PLAYOFF SEMIFINALS
Division A winner KRAUT faced Division B winner THE ROUNDERS.
Kraut was sour, posting a record of only 1-5-1 ATS for the week, but The Rounders had an even worse week and went 0-6-1 ATS to lose and fall into the Consolation Bowl. Mike the Kraut moved into the Fantastic Bowl to play for the FFHL title.
In the other semifinal, BILLY THE BRIT outlasted three other opponents with a 3-3-1 record ATS, with 1-800-OPPOSITE falling just short at 3-4 ATS, followed by the two teams with home field advantage (that did them no good), FILTER KING and KID RUST both posting 2-4-1 records ATS. Bill moves into the Fantastic Bowl final, and the other three fall down into the Consolation Bowl.
The six non-playoff teams faced each other in this BFD Semifinal Week #17, and the best three moved on to the BFD Bowl. Yo Mama posted 4-2-1 ATS for the best record of the week, followed by Fugitive and Moore Money & Son at 3-3-1 ATS to move into the BFD Bowl.
FFHL2 “THE DEUCE” POINT STANDINGS
We still have ONE week to go for the points title.
MOORE MONEY & SON 184.0 1st place points in Week #17 to nearly clinch
THE ROUNDERS 152.5 Negative points in Week#17;2nd place shaky
KID RUST 151.0 Sniffing at 2nd place
BILLY THE BRIT 140.5 Hanging on to money spot for now
1-800-OPPOSITE 139.0 Only 1.5 points out of the money
THE FUGITIVE 129.5 (No wonder you're always on the lam - Ed)
WILD MAN 107.5
FILTER KING 107.0
YO MAMA 103.0
MIGHTY DUCK 99.5
BEST WINNING PERCENTAGES ATS
We FFHL handicappers have each selected 126 games ATS, seven picks each week for 18 weeks. It has been a tough year, based on the first six weeks of “luck” not going our way.
TOP OF THE HEAP THE ROUNDERS 67.5 wins 53.6% ATS
(above the magical 52.4% break-even barrier)
NEXT TIER MOORE MONEY 65.0 wins 51.6% ATS
(above 50%) BILLY THE BRIT 63.5 wins 50.4% ATS
STRAGGLERS and KRAUT 61.0 wins 48.4% ATS
STRUGGLERS 1-800-OPPOSITE 61.0 wins 48.4% ATS
KID RUST 60.5 wins 48.0% ATS
FUGITIVE 60.0 wins 47.6% ATS
MIGHTY DUCK 59.0 wins 46.8% ATS
HAWKEYE 59.0 wins 46.8% ATS
WILD MAN 58.5 wins 46.4% ATS
FILTER KING 58.5 wins 46.4% ATS
YO MAMA 57.5 wins 45.6% ATS
Overall, we have 731.0 wins out of 1512 picks, or a win percentage ATS of 48.3%.
In college, we are 47.0% on 779 picks and in the NFL we are 49.7% on 733 picks.
We rank our picks from #1 to #7 each week. Overall, we are only 45.1% ATS on our #1 picks. Our worst pick is #6 (44.9% ATS) and our best is Pick #3 (51.6% ATS).