Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK ELEVEN


FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

NFL - six more weeks in regular season, with the last four teams taking their 'bye' week this weekend (Week #12).

College - some big games this week, and many more big matchups during Thanksgiving weekend to pretty much wind up the regular season.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL, on the lam from the gambling police

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

We still have six undefeated teams in college football, since the only loss by a Top 10 team last weekend was Stanford, who already had one loss prior to Saturday’s loss at USC, 20-17.   The Associated Press Poll top four teams are all undefeated and all in contention for the NCAA title game.  The other two unbeaten teams are BCS#15 Fresno State and BCS#16 Northern Illinois, who are both non-automatic qualifier (non-AQ) schools.  One of these two teams can get an automatic BCS Bowl bid, but only under certain conditions, as follows:

If either:
        The highest-ranked non-AQ team is ranked in the Top 12, or
        The highest-ranked non-AQ team is ranked in the Top 16 of the final BCS Standings, AND its ranking is higher than that of a champion of an AQ conference (SEC, Big 10, Big XII, Pac-12, ACC, American-AAC) that has an annual automatic berth in one of the BCS bowls.
The other (lower-ranked) non-AQ team is not guaranteed anything, but could get an at-large BCS bowl bid.

As of today, the lowest-ranked AQ conference leader is BCS#18 Central Florida of the AAC-“American” conference.  Both Fresno and N. Illinois are better than UCF, so the higher ranked of those two teams would get an automatic berth (but once again, there’s a lot of football still to be played).

THE BCS TOP 4
Last weekend, #1 Alabama (-23h) played a lackluster game at Mississippi State and won only 20-7.  The Tide plays an FCS school this week, and then plays at BCS#6 Auburn.
#2 FSU (-38) had a QB controversy all week (he’s potentially in legal trouble for sexual assault), but it didn’t seem to bother him on the field, as Florida State beat Syracuse 59-3.
#3 Ohio State (-32h) won handily at Illinois, 60-35, but is far behind the top two teams in BCS average ranking and needs a loss at the top to get into the title game.
#4 Baylor (-27h) impressively beat Texas Tech at neutral site Cowboys Stadium, 63-34, but is also far behind the top two teams in BCS average ranking.  The Bears still have to play #10 Oklahoma State and #20 Oklahoma; with victories in both of these games, they will likely leapfrog Ohio State, but probably not over FSU or Alabama.

FBS ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS

In FBS college games last weekend, only 9 underdogs won their games outright out of 50 games, or 18.0% (last week 22.0%).

Southern California +4 beat visiting then-#4 Stanford, 20-17, on a 47-yard FG with 19 seconds remaining in the game.  After a slow start under then-HC Lane Kiffin, the Trojans have won 5 of 6 with interim head coach Ed Orgeron.  Stanford had won in their last three trips to the LA Coliseum.

Washington State +11 won at Arizona, 24-17.

Kansas +6h beat visiting Big XII foe West Virginia, 31-19, and the Jayhawks broke their string of consecutive conference losses at a whopping 27 games.

Michigan +3 won at Northwestern, 27-19 in triple overtime.  The Wolverines were behind 9-3 after three quarters, but kicked two FG’s in the 4th quarter including the game-typing 44-yard kick on the last play of regulation (tied at 9-9, three field goals by each team).  Both teams scored a TD in the first OT period, and then both kicked FG’s in the 2nd overtime before the ‘Ganders prevailed.
I missed watching this game, so this is watered down, but here’s a snip-it anyway:
It was a chaotic finish at the end of regulation on the tying field goal.
With only 12 seconds remaining on a still-running clock, the Michigan field goal unit sprinted onto the field, set up in the nick of time, and nailed the FG as time expired.  It was a play that HC Brady Hoke said might have been the best he's ever witnessed.
"The last play of regulation is a play that a lot of teams may not follow through and be successful," he said. "That tells you about the discipline of these guys playing together. How they got on the field. How the guys that weren't on that team got off the field. It might be the best single play I've ever seen."
Whatever; Northwestern lost its sixth straight game after starting the season 4-0.

Nevada +7h handily beat visiting San Jose State, 38-16.

Duke +3h beat visiting then-#23 Miami of Florida, 48-30, to knock the Hurricanes out of the Top 25.  The Blue Devils (8-2 and 4-2 ACC) now lead the Atlantic Coast Coastal Division and are ranked #25 in the AP Poll.

Maryland +16h won at Virginia Tech in overtime, 27-24.

Cincinnati +1 demolished host Rutgers, 52-17.

North Carolina +1 won at Pittsburgh, 34-27, holding on after a furious Panther comeback in the 4th quarter.

NOT QUITE

In a seesaw battle, Temple +16h was ahead of visiting #17 Central Florida 36-29 on a TD and 2-point conversion to come from behind for the FIFTH time in the game with 2:04 remaining in the 4th quarter.  UCF staged an amazing comeback of its own with an acrobatic 30-yard TD catch in the endzone by WR J.J. Worton (10 rec., 179 yards, 3 TD’s) with 1:06 on the clock to tie the game, and then the Knights kicked the winning 23-yard FG as time expired.
FINAL: UCF 39, Temple 36.

Houston +15h was leading host #20 Louisville at halftime, 13-10, but the Cardinals used RB Dominique Brown and his offensive line in the 2nd half to gain control of the game.
FINAL: LOUIS 20, HOU 13, but the Cougars covered ATS again (Houston is 8-1 ATS for the year).

On Wednesday night and on the road, Ball State +7 was tied with #15 and unbeaten Northern Illinois, 27-27, after three quarters, but the Huskies dominated the final stanza to win handily, 48-27.

AGAINST THE SPREAD

2nd MIRACLE COVER ATS OF THE YEAR

The Ohio State cover ATS back on October 5th was probably more unbelievable than this week’s miraculous cover, but this week’s game was more spectacular from the standpoint of the SEC standings and Top 10 rankings.

Auburn -3 hosted Georgia and was ahead in the 4th quarter by 20 points, 37-17, after kicking a FG with 12½ minutes remaining in the game.  The visiting Bulldogs then scored three TD’s including the go-ahead score with 1:49 on the clock on a 4th-and-goal QB run from the Auburn 5-yard line (official review was inconclusive, so call on the field stood).  UGA was leading 38-37.  On the ensuing final drive, Auburn was unable to generate any offense and was facing 4th and 18 from their own 27-yard line, threw up a desperation pass in the middle of the field, and instead of knocking the ball down, a Bulldog defender tried to catch the ball and another GA defender tipped the ball up in the air, into the waiting arms of the streaking (not that kind of streaking) Auburn receiver, and he ran unabated to paydirt for the winning TD with only 25 seconds left.
FINAL: AUB 43, GA 38, and the Tigers not only won but covered ATS.

Five of us FFHL’ers benefitted from that game: Mighty Duck’s #1 pick, Tommy Boy’s #2 pick, Kid Rust, Wild Man, and Filter King.  And, coincidentally, none of their head-to-head opponents (five) for the week picked that game.   The only two teams not directly affected by this game, Fugitive and Hawkeye, both had a “bye” week.  Strange.
As a direct result of this one “strange twist”(the Auburn cover ATS), Kraut and Opposite both lost their FFHL matchups for the week. And Yo Mama also would have lost, but survived when his opponent’s New England pick on Monday night went bad on a controversial call in the end zone on the last play of the game.

OTHER STRANGE TWISTS ATS

Oregon -26 was ahead of visiting Utah, 44-14, and covering ATS in the 4th quarter, but the Ducks allowed one last meaningless touchdown by the Utes with six minutes remaining in the game to not cover ATS.
FINAL: OREG 44, UTAH 21, and the Utes covered ATS by 3 points.
Four of us FFHL’ers got burned on this one.

At neutral site Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX, Baylor -27h was winning handily over Texas Tech, 56-34, in the fourth quarter (but not covering ATS).  The Bears continued firing bullets and scored one last TD in the fourth quarter as “insurance” and covered ATS by a mere 1½ points.
FINAL: BAYL 63, TX.TK 34, a 29-point victory by the Good News Bears.
Five of us FFHL’ers got somewhat lucky on this one.

San Diego State -4 won at Hawaii, 28-21, but it took an overtime period to prevail.  SDSU never led in regulation play, but scored the tying TD with 2½ minutes remaining in the 4th quarter to extend the game into OT.
The Aztecs got the “lucky” cover ATS by 3 points.

COLLEGE POLLS as of November 17, 2013

Following is a comparison of the latest BCS poll and AP rankings.

BCS RANK         SU                    RANK
TEAM           RECORD           AP Poll         Comments

#1 Alabama        10-0               #1 (55)        Plays at Auburn Nov. 30; then SEC title gm
#2 Florida St      10-0               #2 (5)          Plays at Florida on Nov. 30; then ACC title
#3 Ohio State     10-0               #4               Plays at MICH Nov 30; then Big 10 title gm
#4 Baylor             9-0               #3               Plays at Oklahoma State on Saturday
#5 Oregon            9-1              #5                PAC-12 title game vs. Arizona State???
#6 Auburn          10-1              #6                Lucky Tigers host Alabama on Nov. 30th
#7 Clemson          9-1              #7                Plays at South Carolina on Nov 30th
#8 Missouri          9-1              #8                Hosts Texas A&M on Nov 30th
#9 Stanford          8-2             #10               Lost at USC to drop out of NCAA title race
#10 Okla. State     9-1             #11               Hosts Baylor this Sat. & Oklahoma Dec 7
#11 S.Carolina      8-2             #12               Hosts Clemson on Nov 30th
#12 TX A&M       8-2              #9               Plays at LSU Sat., then at Mizzu Nov 30
#13 Michigan St    9-1            #13               Plays at NW Sat.; then Big 10 title gm?
#14 UCLA            8-2            #14               Plays home ASU Sat., then at USC Nov 30
#15 Fresno State   9-0            #15               Hosts New Mexico Sat. & then at SJ State
#16 N. Illinois      10-0           #20               Plays at Toledo Wed., then MAC title gm
#17 Arizona St      8-2            #19               Plays at UCLA Sat; South Div title on line
#18 Central FL      8-1            #17               Barely won at Temple last weekend, 39-36
#19 Wisconsin      8-2            #16               Plays at #25 Minnesota this Saturday
#20 Oklahoma       8-2           #22               Plays at Oklahoma State on Dec 7th
#21 Louisville        9-1           #21               Needs two losses by UCF to be relevant
#22 LSU               7-3           #18               Hosts #12 Texas A&M on Saturday
#23 USC               8-3           #23               Hosts UCLA on Nov. 30th
#24 Mississippi      7-3           #24               Hosts #8 Missouri on Saturday
#25 Minnesota       8-2           #26 (Duke is AP#25) Gophers host Wisconsin on Sat.

With the loss at USC last weekend, Stanford is out of the national championship picture and dropped to BCS#9.

With losses last weekend, Miami of Florida, Texas, and Georgia dropped out of the BCS Top 25; USC, Ole Miss, and Minnesota moved into the BCS Top 25.

According to the BCS averages, #1 Alabama at .9914 and #2 Florida State at .9661 are still clearly ahead of the other contenders.  #3 Ohio State and #4 Baylor are virtually tied with each other (BCS averages .8869 vs. .8856), which is irrelevant for now as they are both far away from the most important Top 2.

The AP Poll and BCS Rankings have the exact same Top 24 teams, with slightly different ordering.

First place votes in the human polls (last week’s results in parentheses):

USA             Harris
Team                      AP Poll         Today           Interactive    

Alabama                 55 (56)                   56 (58)                   100 (105)
Florida State             5  (3)                      6  (4)                        5     (0)
Ohio State/Others      0  (0)                     0  (0)                        0     (0)

(I believe the total number of votes changes when someone votes for a tie at the top, as is the case this week in the AP Poll.)

The six computers:
The metal midgets’ average has the same Top 9 teams as the overall BCS rankings, in slightly different order.  This week, three of the six computers have Alabama #1 (the other three FSU); last week 4 of the 6 computers had Alabama ranked #1.  The computer portion of the BCS rankings has those two teams tied for first, with Baylor and one-loss Auburn tied for third.  Ohio State comes in at #5, followed by Oregon at #6.
In a disparity from the overall BCS rankings, two-loss Arizona State is ranked #11 by the computers, and Northern Illinois is #12, both ahead on overall BCS#10 Oklahoma State.  This should get “cleaned up” Saturday.

COLLEGE BOWL GAMES – A PREVIEW

There are 35 bowl games this year, including four BCS Bowls plus the BCS National Championship Game.  That’s 70 teams that will be playing in the post-season, leaving another 55 teams that will not get a bowl invitation (the 126th FBS school Old Dominion is in transition from FCS and is not eligible this year).

As of now, 65 teams have become bowl eligible; 35 schools have been eliminated already.  That leaves 25 teams still with a chance to become bowl eligible, and here they are (generally, six FBS wins are required):

TEAM                     RECORD      CONFERENCE      
SMU                          4-5               American
Rutgers                      5-4               American
Memphis                    3-6               American
Syracuse                    5-5               ACC
Wake Forest               4-6               ACC
North Carolina            5-5               ACC
Pittsburgh                  5-5               ACC
Indiana                      4-6               Big 10
Northwestern             4-6               Big 10
Florida Atlantic           4-6               C-USA
UT-San Antonio          5-5               C-USA
Louisiana Tech           4-6               C-USA
Central Michigan        4-6               MAC
San Jose State            5-5               MW
UNLV                        5-5               MW
Colorado State            6-5               MW
Wyoming                   4-6               MW
Washington State        5-5               PAC-12
Utah                          4-6               PAC-12
Florida                       4-6               SEC
Tennessee                  4-6               SEC
Mississippi State         4-6               SEC
Louisiana-Monroe       5-5               Sun Belt
Troy                          5-6               Sun Belt
South Alabama            3-6               Sun Belt

If more than five of these teams become bowl eligible before the end of the regular season, there will be more bowl eligible teams than spots to fill, and eligible team(s) will unfortunately be left at home for the post-season.
Updates will be forthcoming in the next few weeks as the regular season winds down.

NFL

HIGHLIGHT GAME - KANSAS CITY (9-0) AT DENVER (8-1)
The last time two teams with great records faced each other this late in the season was 1969, when the 11-0 Los Angeles Rams faced the 10-1 Minnesota Vikings.
KC came into this game with the lowest number of points given up at this stage of a season since 1977, and the Chiefs have not surrendered more than 17 points in any game this year.
Denver came into this game having scored the most points in NFL history at this stage of an NFL season (and QB Manning with 33 TD passes so far, on pace to obliterate the existing record for TD passes in a season).
Trivia question:  Since 2011, which two quarterbacks are #1 and #2 in win percentage for their teams?  Of course it is the two signal callers that faced each other in this game - #1 Peyton Manning (84% win percentage for Indy and Denver) and #2 Alex Smith (83.2% for SF and KC).
And, did you know that neither the Chiefs nor the Broncos had beaten a team with a winning record (through ten weeks) this year?

Denver, favored by 8 points, beat visiting Kansas City, 27-17, to cover ATS by 2 points.
After kicking a FG 2½ minutes into the game, the Broncos never trailed, and outgained the previously undefeated Chiefs 427-344.  Broncos’ QB Manning completed 24 of 40 passes for 323 yards (1 TD and no INT’s).  He was playing on a gimpy right ankle, gained zero yards rushing on one attempt, and was pretty much untouched the whole game (nice job by offensive line).  In contrast, Chiefs’ QB Alex Smith was 21 of 45 for 230 (2 TD’s, no INT’s, 52 yards rushing on 5 attempts).
The two teams play each other again at Arrowhead Stadium (Kenny’s “Sea of Red”) on December 1st.

NFL WEEK #11 – UNDERDOG WINNERS

In pro games this week, only FOUR underdogs won their games outright out of 15 games, or 26.7% (last week was an unusual 57.1%). 

Oakland +7 won at Houston, 28-23, with QB Matt McGloin leading the Raiders’ offense.  McGloin was the first walk-on since 1949 to start at Penn State (2010-2012).  He went undrafted this year, but beat out 2013 4th round draft pick Tyler Wilson (ARK) for the 3rd string QB spot and had moved into the Raiders’ backup role by NFL Week #5.

Pittsburgh +2h beat visiting Detroit, 37-27.  The Lions scored 27 points in the 2nd quarter to lead at halftime, 27-20, and still led 27-23 until the Steelers scored two late 4th quarter touchdowns, the go-ahead score with 4:46 left in the game and then an “insurance” TD at 2:29.  Detroit lost the turnover battle, 3-0.

Tampa Bay +1 beat visiting Atlanta, 41-28, and the game was over early as the Buccaneers were ahead 38-13 after three quarters.  Now after consecutive wins, rumors of mutiny by the players to get off of HC Greg Shiano’s ship have subsided.  Just guessing, but Shiano may have gotten a few brownie points from his players when he allowed Bucs’ offensive tackle Donald Penn to catch a 1-yard TD pass in his 100th NFL game (two weeks ago, Monday night vs. Miami, Tampa’s first win of the season).
And in case you missed it:
During a break in the action on the field immediately before Penn’s TD reception, the stadium Jumbo-tron was showing TB Bucs’ highlights from prior weeks that included video of that same tackle-eligible play being successful.  The coaching staff decided to call the play anyway, and it worked.

Miami +1h beat visiting San Diego, 20-16, despite distractions regarding the harassment case and the complete disruption to their offensive line.

AGAINST THE SPREAD
Out of 15 games last week, three games ended in a TIE against the spread.

On Thursday night, Indianapolis -3 won at Tennessee, 30-27, to take a commanding three-game lead in the AFC South.  The Titans were ahead 17-6 but couldn’t hold onto the lead.

Baltimore +3 lost in overtime at Chicago, 23-20.  In a game suspended for nearly two hours due to heavy rains, the visiting Ravens were never behind in the game until the Bears scored a TD in the 4th quarter to go ahead 20-17, but BAL kicked the game-tying FG with 3 seconds remaining in regulation.  In the overtime period CHI kicked a 38-yard game winning FG with 8:41 showing on the clock.
FINAL: CHI 23, BAL 20.

San Francisco +3 lost at New Orleans, 23-20.  Leading 20-14 after kicking a FG in the 4th quarter, the Niners gave up three unanswered field goals including the game-winner on the last play of the game set up by a controversial “roughing the QB” penalty when a 49’ers defender hit Saints’ QB Drew Brees in the chest with his forearm and it slid up into his neck area as the diminutive QB was falling to the ground.

NFL AFTER WEEK #11

Undefeated teams: NONE, after KC lost at Denver on Sunday night
Winless teams:  NONE

Check this out:
There are still six teams that are undefeated at home: NOR, SEA, NE, CIN, DEN, and KC.  Jacksonville hasn’t won a game at home this year (0-5), and Philadelphia won its first home game last Sunday to break its 10-game home losing streak.

There are still three teams that have not won a game on the road yet this year: TB, ATL, and MIN, although the Vikes won their “home” game in London.  All AFC teams have won a road game, even JAX).


NFC East:     PHI at 6-5 leads a mediocre division by ½ game over DAL (5-5);
                    The NYG are still alive at 4-6, and even WSH at 3-7 is only 2.5 back
NFC North:   DET and CHI are tied for the lead at 6-4, with GB only 1 game back
NFC South:   Great 2-team race: NOR (8-2) has a 1-game lead over Carolina (7-3)
NFC West:    Seattle (10-1) has 3.5-game lead over SF and AZ at 6-4.
AFC East:     NE (7-3) leads by 2 games over the NY Jets and MIA at 5-5.
AFC North:   CIN (6-4) has a 2½-game lead over other three: CLE, PIT & BAL (4-6)
AFC South:   Indy (7-3) increased lead to 3 games over TEN (4-6) after win over Titans
AFC West:    KC and DEN (9-1) lead the division by five games over SD & OAK (4-6)

NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

This statistic is one week old, but it is still somewhat relevant, as most teams have already had their bye week.  Teams that start the season 6-4 have a 63% chance (roughly a 2 in 3 chance) of making the playoffs, historically.  Teams starting 5-5 have only a 29% chance (1 in 3 or 4), and teams starting 4-6 have only a 7% chance (1 in 14).

And some additional statistical minutia:

In the AFC, only five of the 16 teams are above .500, with two teams at 5-5, and the other nine are below .500.  However, there are eight teams at 5-5 or 4-6, making the wild card race exciting.

In the NFC, nine of the 16 teams are between records of 6-4 to 4-6, making the wild card race still interesting with six games to go.

Following are the playoff seedings based on the current standings, and of course this is tentative because there are still six weeks remaining in the regular season.

NFC SEEDINGS (projected)                            AFC SEEDINGS (projected)
#1      Seattle (10-1)                                         #1      Denver (9-1)
#2      New Orleans (8-2)                                 #2      Indianapolis (7-3)
#3      Detroit (6-4)                                          #3      New England (7-3)
#4      Philadelphia (6-5)                                   #4      Cincinnati (7-4)
#5      Carolina (7-3)                                        #5      Kansas City (9-1)
#6      San Francisco (6-4)                               #6      NY Jets (5-5)

#3 seeds will play #6-seeds in wild card weekend
#4 seeds will play #5-seeds in wild card weekend
#1 and #2 seeds will get a Bye week in the first week of the playoffs

As of right now, very tentatively, following are the teams very much in contention for the Wild Card spots (#5 and #6 seeds), in addition to the teams listed above:

NFC
AZ Cardinals (6-4)
CHI Bears (6-4), and of course in contention for division title and #3 or #4 seed
DAL Cowboys (5-5), and only ½ game out of first place for the division title
GB Packers (5-5), and only 1 game behind for the division title

AFC
MIA Dolphins (5-5)
OAK Raiders, TEN Titans, PIT Steelers, BAL Ravens, CLE Browns, and SD Chargers, all currently sporting 4-6 records.

FFHL RESULTS – WEEK ELEVEN

This week, we FFHL’ers collectively performed well as we posted 45-32-7 (57.7% ATS).  In college, we were a stellar 35-20-0 (63.6% ATS), but in the NFL we struggled again at 10-12-7 (46.6% ATS).

For the season, we improved with a good week picking college games and are now collectively 49.7% ATS, including 53.1% in college and a still ugly 43.4% ATS in the NFL.

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

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

                              ATS Picks
Team                      For-Against   Result / Unsolicited comments

NOR Saints -3 vs. SF                   6-0     TIE, late Saints FG to win 23-20
KC Chiefs +8 at DEN                   3-0     LOSS, Broncos win 27-17 to cover by 2
SD Chargers -1h at MIA               3-0     LOSS, Dolphins win outright, 20-16
DET Lions -2h at PIT                   3-0     LOSS, Steelers win outright, 37-27
PHI Eagles -4h vs. WSH               2-1     WIN, Philly gets 1st home win, 24-16

Baylor -27h vs. TX Tech             5-0     WIN at Cowboys Stadium, 63-34
Auburn -3 vs. Georgia                 5-0     WIN, miraculous cover ATS, 43-38
Houston +15h at Louisville           4-0     WIN, favored Cardinals win only 20-13
Oregon -26 vs. Utah                    4-0     LOSS, Ducks win “only” 44-21
Okie State -3 at Texas                  4-1     WIN, Cowboys win big in TX, 38-13
W. Virginia -6h at Kansas             3-0     LOSS, Kansas wins in Big XII, 31-19
UCF -16h at Temple                    3-0     LOSS, big comeback just to win 39-36
USC +4 vs. Stanford                   3-0     WIN, Trojans upset visiting Cardinal, 20-17
Alabama -23h at Miss. St.            3-0     LOSS, Tide wins only 20-7 to not cover ATS
Michigan St -5h at Nebraska        3-0     WIN, Spartans win in Lincoln, 41-28

COLLEGE
In the 12th week of college games:
                                        ATS                        Straight-up
                                        Record                   Record

FAVORITES                  30-20-0  (60.0%)      41-9  (82.0%)  
HOME TEAMS              32-17-0  (65.3%)     32-17 (65.3%)
          AP TOP 10             4-5-0     (44.4%)     8-1     (88.9%)
The favorites and home teams did very well ATS this week, which generally bodes well for us FFHL handicappers.  And sure enough, in the FFHL we were 63.6% this week.
Just to give a little perspective, however, if Auburn had not won their game with a poor defensive play by Georgia that gave the Tigers the win, our win percentage ATS in college would have been only 54.5% for the week.

COLLEGE
Cumulative percentages through twelve weeks:

                                        ATS                        Straight-up
                                        Record                             Record
                   
FAVORITES           289-275-10  (50.3%)         460-114 (80.1%)    
HOME TEAMS        285-265-10  (51.8%)         338-222 (60.4%)
AP TOP 10             48-43-4    (52.6%)   78-17  (82.1%)
The against-the-spread records are regressing toward the mean (50%), just as we would expect, and just as the bookmakers hope.  The bookies don’t generally want any patterns (except the “house” always winning).

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NFL – 11th week:
ATS                        STRAIGHT-UP
                                        Record                   Record

FAVORITES              8-4-3  (63.3%)               11-4-0  (73.3%)      
HOME TEAMS        10-2-3  (76.7%)               12-3-0  (80.0%)

NFL
Cumulative percentages through eleven weeks:

ATS                        STRAIGHT-UP
                                        Record                   Record

FAVORITES           78-79-5  (49.7%)     107-55-0  (66.0%)  
          HOME TEAMS        88-67-5  (56.6%)     99-61-0  (61.9%)

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate
COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #12

Tuesday       Kent State +6 at Ohio U.
                    Buffalo -24h at Miami of Ohio
                   
Wednesday   #16 Northern Illinois -2h at Toledo

Thursday      Rutgers +17 at #18 Central Florida
                    UNLV +1 at Air Force
                    Rice -19 at Alabama-Birmingham          

Friday           Navy +1h at San Jose State

Saturday       #12 Texas A&M +4h at #22 LSU
#4 Baylor -10 at #10 Oklahoma State
#17 Arizona State -2h at #14 UCLA
#8 Missouri -2h at #24 Mississippi         
#19 Wisconsin -15h at #25 Minnesota    Badgers have won 9 straight vs. MIN Gophers
Other interesting matchups:
                    BYU -1 at Notre Dame
                    Vanderbilt +3 at Tennessee                   Nashville, TN vs. Knoxville, TN
                    Illinois -7 at Purdue
                    Michigan +6 at Iowa
                    AP#25 Duke -5h at Wake Forest  Durham, NC vs. Winston-Salem, NC
                    Pittsburgh -1 at Syracuse
                    #5 Oregon -20h at Arizona
                    California +31h at #9 Stanford                Bears’ final game of year
                    Washington at Oregon State (no line yet)
                    Memphis +24h at #21 Louisville
                    Boise State -7 at SDSU
                    Colorado State +7 at Utah State
                    East Carolina -6h at NC State                Greenville, NC vs. Raleigh, NC
                    Texas-San Antonio +7h at North Texas
                   
FCS Chattanooga at #1 Alabama                    A 3rd “bye” week for Tide
FCS Coastal Carolina at #11 South Carolina     A 3rd “bye” week for ‘Cocks
FCS GA Southern at Florida                          3rd bye week for another SEC team
FCS Citadel at #7 Clemson                            3rd “bye” week for ACC team
        Idaho +57 at #2 Florida State                

NFL WEEK #12 – SELECTED GAMES

BYE WEEKS:                    BUF, CIN, PHI, SEA

Thursday      New Orleans -8 at Atlanta

Sunday         Divisional Matchups:
                    Pittsburgh +2h at Cleveland
                    Minnesota +5 at Green Bay                   Packers’ still 3rd string QB
                    San Diego +5 at Kansas City                 KC coming off big game in Denver
                    Jacksonville +10 at Houston
                    Dallas +2h at NY Giants
                                       
                    Other interesting games:
                    Denver -2h at New England                   Denver plays KC again next week
                    Indianapolis +2h at Arizona                    HC Pagano vs. HC Arians
                    NY Jets +4 at Baltimore                        Wild card implications?

Monday        San Francisco -5 at Washington

FOOTBALL MINUTIA

NEW RUNNING BACK
UCLA has been experimenting with one of its true freshman linebackers, using him as a two-way player by inserting him into the offense at running back.
Bruins’ coaches had planned all along to use LB Myles Jack on offense at some time in the future.
Two weeks ago, on Saturday night at Arizona they got around to doing it, with spectacular results.  The freshman linebacker rushed for 120 yards on his first six carries of the season, including a 66-yard touchdown that helped UCLA (+1) beat Arizona 31-26.  "I thought they were jokin' about it the whole year," Jack said, "but they finally just threw me back there and I just followed my blockers and everything worked out."
On defense, Jack had eight tackles and recovered a Wildcat fumble in the UCLA end zone as the Bruins won in Tucson for the first time since 2003.
And make no mistake about it, Jack considers himself a defensive player.
"I like to hit people," he said, "rather than be hit. That's more my mentality, but whatever the team wants me to do, I'm with it."
Note: UCLA covered ATS by 2.5 points.

This last weekend, UCLA (-2h) hosted Washington on Friday night, and Myles Jack played a significant role on offense again, rushing for four touchdowns (13 carries, 59 yards) in a 41-31 victory over the UW Huskies (and five tackles at linebacker).

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1:  Last Sunday, Washington LB London Fletcher played in his 250th straight NFL game.  There are three players ahead of him.  Can you name all three?
HINT: You may be able to get two of the three (both famous names, a QB and DL), but the third guy is a punter and holds the all-time record at 352 consecutive games played in.
FFHL’ers, if you get all three you are kicked out of the league.

ANSWER #1:
Punter Jeff Feagles holds the record at 352 straight games played.
Second is QB Brett Favre (299) and third is DE Jim Marshall (282).
Fletcher started in his 209th straight game last Sunday, giving him the all-time NFL record for consecutive starts by a linebacker.  After coming into the league undrafted, he is now in his 16th NFL season and won a Super Bowl with the Rams in 1999.  He also played for the BUF Bills and is in his 7th year with the WSH ‘Skins.

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