Thursday, November 14, 2013



Hello Football Fans,

The NFL playoff picture is still fuzzy, with 7 weeks remaining in the regular season.

In college, there is still confusion at the top of the rankings.

There has been a Tebow sighting, but don't get too excited.


The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


We now have only six undefeated teams in college football, after BCS#3 Oregon lost at Stanford last Thursday night, 26-20.  The Associated Press top four teams are all in contention for the NCAA title game.  But the other two unbeaten teams are BCS#14 Fresno State and BCS#15 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 if the team ends up in the Top 14 in the final BCS rankings.  The other non-AQ team is not guaranteed anything.  Anyway, two of the Top 4 unbeatens will be disappointed if there are no losses by those teams for the rest of the regular season.  The conference title games will present an additional challenge for Alabama (SEC), Florida State (ACC), and Ohio State (Big 10).  Only Baylor avoids a conference title game, but the Bears have a tough schedule coming down the stretch.

Last weekend, #1 Alabama smoked visiting LSU, 38-17, solidifying their position at the top.
#2 FSU had no trouble with also-ran Wake Forest, winning on the road 59-3, and easily retaining the second spot.
#4 Ohio State was idle, and with the Oregon loss, moved up to #3.
#5 Stanford moved up only one spot after beating #3 Oregon at home.
#6 Baylor won at home convincingly over then-BCS#14 Oklahoma, 41-12, but also moved up only one spot to #5, with the one-loss SU Cardinal still ahead of the Bears.


In FBS college games last weekend, 11 underdogs won their games outright out of 50 games, or 22.0% (last week 26.4%).

To repeat myself, Stanford +10h beat visiting Oregon, 26-20.  The Cardinal led 26-0 after kicking a FG with 11:40 remaining in the 4th quarter, but the Ducks finally got on the board by blocking a Stanford FG attempt and running it back for a TD.  The ensuing onside kick failed.  The Ducks scored another TD with 5 minutes to go on a 4th-and-goal pass, and the ensuing onside kick was successful and led to their third TD of the quarter with only 2 minutes remaining in regulation.  The ensuing onside kick failed, and Stanford ran out the clock.
Stanford’s home winning streak stands at 14.
Oregon lost the turnover battle, 2-0, including a key fumble at the Stanford 2-yard line in the 2nd quarter.

Virginia Tech +6h won convincingly at Miami of Florida, 42-24.  VA Tech won the turnover battle, zero to 2, and outgained the Hurricanes from scrimmage 549-352.

Syracuse +5 won at Maryland, 20-3.  The losing Terrapins lost the turnover battle 4-2, and didn’t score any points until 1 minute left in the 3rd quarter.

Vanderbilt +10 won at Florida, 34-17, exposing the mediocre strength of the SEC Conference (Doh!).

Eastern Michigan +2h beat visiting Western Michigan, 35-32 in overtime with their new head coach.  Former HC Ron English was fired for “inappropriate language” that included a homophobic slur during a film session with players (there has to be more to this story; the coach’s 11-46 record at E. Michigan probably didn’t help his cause).  EMU scored a TD with 51 seconds remaining in regulation and converted the 2-point PAT to tie the game at 32.

Kansas State +2 walloped Texas Tech on the road, 49-26.

Nebraska +6 won at Michigan, 17-13, and the Wolverines NCAA-best current home winning streak was snapped.  The Cornhuskers took an early 10-0 lead, but Michigan captured the lead with eight minutes left in the game, 13-10.  The ‘Huskers responded with the winning TD with 2 minutes on the clock to win.  The ‘Ganders (Michigan) won the turnover battle zero to 2, but generated only 175 yards from scrimmage (vs. 273 for Big Red).

Pittsburgh +4 won at Notre Dame, 28-21, knocking the Irish out of the Top 25.  ND lost the turnover battle, 3 to zero.

Arkansas State +3h won at Louisiana-Monroe, 42-14.  The game was tied 14-14 at halftime.

UCLA +1h won at Arizona, 31-26.

San Diego State +7 won at San Jose State, 34-30, as the Aztecs came back to outscore SJ State 22-7 in the 4th quarter.

Utah +6h was ahead of visiting Arizona State 19-7 after three quarters, but could not close the deal as ASU scored 13 unanswered points in the 4th quarter to win, 20-19.

Iowa State +7 was ahead of visiting TCU until the Horned Frogs scored the winning TD with 38 seconds remaining in the game.

Texas -6 dodged another bullet and won at West Virginia, 47-40 in overtime to cover ATS by 1 point.  The Longhorns remain unbeaten in Big XII conference play.

COLLEGE POLLS as of November 10, 2013

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

BCS RANK           SU             RANK
TEAM             RECORD        AP Poll           Comments

#1 Alabama           9-0             #1 (56)             Plays at Auburn Nov. 30; then SEC title gm
#2 Florida St         9-0             #2 (3)               Plays at Florida on Nov. 30; then ACC title
#3 Ohio State        9-0             #3                    Plays at MICH Nov 30; then Big 10 title gm
#4 Stanford           8-1             #5                    Plays at USC Saturday
#5 Baylor              8-0             #4                    Hosts Texas Tech this Saturday
#6 Oregon             8-1             #6                    Lost at Stanford last Saturday, 26-20
#7 Auburn             9-1             #7                    Hosts Georgia this Saturday
#8 Clemson           8-1             #8                    Plays at South Carolina on Nov 30th
#9 Missouri           9-1             #9                    Hosts Texas A&M on Nov 30th
#10 S.Carolina       7-2             #11                   Hosts Clemson on Nov 30th
#11 TX A&M        8-2             #10                  Plays at LSU Nov 23rd& at Mizzu Nov 30
#12 Okla. State      7-1             #12                  Plays at Texas this Saturday
#13 UCLA            7-2              #13                  Plays home vs. UW & ASU, then at USC
#14 Fresno State   9-0              #16                  Hosts N.Mexico & then at SJ State
#15 N. Illinois       9-0              #20                  Hosts Ball St, then at Toledo, home W.Mich
#16 Michigan St    8-1             #14                  Plays at NEB Sat.; then Big 10 title gm?
#17 Central FL      7-1             #15                 
#18 Oklahoma       7-2             #22                  Lost badly at Baylor last Saturday, 41-12
#19 Arizona St      7-2             #21                  Lost at Stanford 42-28 & to ND 37-34
#20 Louisville        8-1             #19                  Lost to UCF 38-35 at home mid-October
#21 LSU               7-3             #18                  Lost badly at Alabama last Saturday, 38-17
#22 Wisconsin       7-2             #17                 
#23 Miami.FL        7-2             #24                  Lost at home to VA Tech last Sat., 42-24
#24 Texas             7-2             #23                  Hosts Oklahoma State this Saturday
#25 Georgia          6-3             #25                  Plays at Auburn this Saturday

With the loss at Stanford last weekend, Oregon is out of the national championship picture at this point and dropped to BCS#6.  One-loss Stanford is ranked #4, ahead of undefeated #5 Baylor.
The computer average has Stanford #3, ahead of two unbeaten teams – Baylor and Ohio State.

With losses last weekend, Texas Tech and Notre Dame dropped out of the BCS Top 25.  Texas and Georgia move into the Top 25, and are ranked #24 and #25.

According to the BCS averages, #1 Alabama at .9958 and #2 Florida State at .9619 are clearly ahead of the other contenders.  #3 Ohio State at .8926 is going to need a big upset at the top to get into the NCAA title game (their plight caused by cupcake schedule).  My guess is that #5 Baylor will leapfrog Ohio State and #4 Stanford anyway, assuming that the Bears can win out with a tough schedule (TexasTech at neutral site, at Oklahoma State, at TCU, home vs. Texas).  And then Baylor would still also need a loss by either ‘Bama or FSU to get into the title game in all likelihood.

The AP Poll and BCS Rankings have the exact same Top 25 teams, with slightly different ordering.
First place votes in the human polls:
USA                Harris
                                    AP Poll           Today              Interactive      

Alabama                         56                    58                    105
Florida State                     3                      4                      0
Ohio State/Others             0                      0                      0

The six computers:
The metal midgets’ average has the same Top 10 teams as the overall BCS rankings, in slightly different order.  This week, four of the six computers have Alabama #1 (the other two FSU); last week 5 of the 6 computers had FSU ranked #1.  The computer portion of the BCS rankings has Stanford at #3, followed by #4 Ohio State and #5 Baylor.
BCS#19 Arizona State is ranked #12 by the computers.  I guess the machines didn’t factor in the Sun Devils’ gift win at home versus Wisconsin on a bad non-call by Big 12 officials in the desert heat.  BCS#22 Wisconsin is ranked #18 by the computers; the Badgers only other loss was at Ohio State.


In pro games this week, EIGHT underdogs won their games outright out of 14 games, or 57.1% (last week 46.2%).  I didn’t stutter – the favorites collectively lost more games than they won last weekend.

St. Louis +9 won convincingly at Indianapolis, 38-8.  The Rams led 28-0 at halftime, fueled by touchdowns on a 45-yard fumble return by DE Chris Long, a 98-yard punt return by rookie first-round WR Tavon Austin and a 57-yard TD pass from backup QB Kellen Clemens to Austin.  The Rams scored on their first drive of the 2nd half, this time on an 81-yard TD pass to Austin.  Statistics can be deceiving, as the Colts actually outgained STL from scrimmage, 406-372.  But Indy had 5 turnovers, to only 1 for the Rams.

Jacksonville +13 won at Tennessee, 29-27, to get its first win of the season.  Titans’ QB Jake Locker was lost for the season with a foot injury in the first half of the game.

On Thursday night, Minnesota +1 beat visiting Washington, 34-27.  The Vikings were behind 24-14 at halftime, took the lead and then held on with a goal-line stand.  The ‘Skins threw three incomplete passes from the Vikings’ 4-yard line to not tie the game at the end of regulation.  Washington outgained the Vikes from scrimmage, 433-307.

Philadelphia +1h won at Green Bay, 27-13.  The Packers started backup QB Seneca Wallace (Aaron Rodgers is out for a few more weeks), and he got knocked out of the game in the first quarter (groin).  Third-string QB Scott Tolzien finished up.  For the Eagles, QB Michael Vick was also out, but former backup and probably future full-time starter Nick Foles performed well again this week (7 TD passes in 3 quarters last week at Oakland).

Baltimore +1h beat visiting Cincinnati, but it wasn’t easy.  The Ravens led 17-0 at halftime, but the Bengals charged back in the 2nd half and threw up a successful “Hail Mary” pass at the end of regulation for the desperation 51-yard TD to send the game into overtime.  The home team prevailed in OT. 
Cincinnati outgained the Ravens from scrimmage, 364-189; turnovers were even at 3 each.  I didn’t see the game, but it must have been sloppy.

Detroit +1 held on for another close win, this time at Chicago, 21-19.  The Bears drove 66 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown to get within 2 points with 40 seconds remaining in regulation, but their 2-point conversion pass was incomplete…but wait… penalty…Da Bears get a second chance to tie the score…the rushing attempt is stuffed—no good.  The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the NFC North division leader Lions and the game was over.

Carolina +6h traveled across the country and won at San Francisco, 10-9.  The 49’ers were ahead 9-0 on three field goals in the first half, but generated only 151 yards of offense from scrimmage.  The Panthers won their fifth game in a row.

On Monday night, Tampa Bay +1 beat visiting Miami 22-19.  The Buccaneers got their first win of the season, and are “off the schneid” (to coin a baseball term).

Arizona -2h beat visiting Houston, 27-24 and covered ATS by the hook.
Denver -6h won at San Diego, 28-20, and covered ATS by 1½ points.


Undefeated teams: KANSAS CITY, playing at Denver this Sunday
Winless teams:  NONE!!! Tampa Bay and JAX both won this week

NFC East:       Mediocre DAL & PHI at 5-5 have 1.5-game lead over NYG & WSH
NFC North:     LIONS, then Packers & Bears, Oh My!
DET takes 1-game lead over CHI & GB with win in Chicago
NFC South:     Two-team race: New Orleans (7-2) has 1-game lead over Carolina
NFC West:      Seattle (9-1) has 2-game lead over SF (6-3); AZ is lurking at 5-4.
AFC East:       NE (7-2) leads by 2 games over NY Jets (5-4); MIA (4-5) is being bullied.
AFC North:     CIN (6-4) still has a 1½-game lead over CLE & BAL (4-5), even after losing its last two games in overtime
AFC South:     Indy (6-3) retained its 2-game lead over TENN (4-5), even with an ugly loss at home, as the Titans lost at home to previously winless JAX
AFC West:      KC (9-0) has a tenuous 1-game lead over DEN (8-1), but plays in Denver this Sunday and is an 8-point underdog; SD is limping at 4-5.


The following chart shows how the odds to win the Super Bowl have changed from the preseason to last week (per through  Note that this is one week behind, because I don’t get the update until Thursday of the next week.

                        Nov 3rd            ODDS             ODDS             ODDS
TEAM             Record             Nov 6th           Oct. 10th          Preseason        Comment

DEN                 7-1                   3.3                   2.5                    6                    QB wounded
SEA                  8-1                   5                      5.5                   8.5                  Lookin’ good
SF                    6-2                   7.5                    9                      6                    Lost Sunday
NE                    7-2                   9                      12                    10                   Smoke/mirrors
NOR                 6-2                   9                      6.5                   18                   Beat DAL Sun.
IND                  6-2                   12                    18                    40                   Lost to STL
KC                   9-0                   12                    20                    50                    Undefeated
GB                   5-3                   14                    12                    12                    2 QB’s out
CIN                 6-3                   18                    20                    25                    Lost in OT again
DAL                5-4                   25                    33                    25                    Lost Sunday
CAR                5-3                   28                    150                  66                    Big win in SF
CHI                 5-3                   33                    40                    25                    Lost to DET
DET                5-3                   33                    50                    40                    Big win in CHI
PHI                 4-5                   66                    66                    50                    Won Sunday
MIA                4-4                   75                    66                    40                    Lost to TB
NYG               2-6                   75                    150                  25                    Won again Sun.
SD                  4-4                   75                    100                  50                    Lost to DEN
TEN                4-4                   100                  100                  150                  Bad loss to JAX
BAL                3-5                   100                  33                    28                    Won Sun. in OT
NYJ                5-4                   100                  75                    125                  Wild card spot?
WSH               3-5                   100                  66                    33                    Stock is down
HOU                2-6                   150                  40                    16                    Texans dead!
AZ                   4-4                   200                  100                  125                  Won Sunday
CLE                 4-5                   200                  66                    150                  Faint hopes alive
PIT                  2-6                   250                  150                  28                    Faint hopes alive
OAK                3-5                   500                  250                  250                  Lost Sunday
ATL                 2-6                   500                  66                    12                    Falcons dead!
BUF                 3-6                   750                  300                  150                  Bills dead!
STL                 3-6                   1000                200                  40                    Big win Sun.
MIN                1-7                   1000                150                  40                    Won Thursday
TB                   0-8                   none                500                  50                    Won Monday
JAX                 0-8                   none                none                300                  Won Sunday


This week, we FFHL’ers collectively performed like monkeys as we posted 42-42-0 (50.0% ATS).  In college, we were 32-27-0 (54.2% ATS), but in the NFL we struggled again at 10-15-0 (40.0% ATS).

For the season, we are collectively 48.9% ATS, including 52.1% in college and a putrid 43.1% ATS in the NFL.


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

                                    ATS Picks
Team                           For-Against    Result / Unsolicited comments

IND Colts -9 vs. STL              3-0       LOSS, head-butted by Rams 38-8
SF 49’ers -6h vs. CAR            3-2       LOSS, Carolina won outright, 10-9
CIN Bengals -1h at BAL          2-1       LOSS, Cincy lost in OT, 20-17
SEA ‘Hawks -5 at ATL           2-0       WIN, cross-country road win, 33-10
TEN Titans -13 vs. JAX         2-0       LOSS, Jaguars get 1st victory, 29-27

Missouri -13h at Kentucky      8-0       WIN, Tigers tame ‘Cats, 31-3
Auburn -7h at Tennessee        4-0       WIN, Tigers ambush Vols, 55-23
Florida -10 vs. Vanderbilt        3-0       LOSS, outright Commodores win, 34-17
UCF -10h vs. Houston           3-1       LOSS, Central FL wins only 19-14
Wyoming +9h vs. Fresno       3-1       LOSS, FSU Bulldogs lasso Cowboys, 48-10
Wisconsin -8 vs. BYU            3-1       WIN, Badgers win 27-17 to cover ATS by 2 points
Arizona St. -6h at Utah          3-2       LOSS, Devils won only 20-19 to not cover ATS
Alabama -12h vs. LSU           2-2       TIDE wins handily at home, 38-17 to cover by 8h

In the 11th week of college games:
                                                ATS                             Straight-up
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               25-25-0  (50.0%)        39-11  (78.0%)  
HOME TEAMS          26-24-0  (52.0%)        29-21 (58.0%)
AP TOP 10                  6-2-0     (75.0%)         6-2     (75.0%)

Cumulative percentages through eleven weeks:

                                                ATS                             Straight-up
                                                Record                        Record
FAVORITES               259-255-10  (50.4%)           419-105 (80.0%)       
HOME TEAMS           253-248-10  (50.5%)           306-205 (59.9%)
AP TOP 10                   44-38-4    (53.5%)              70-16  (81.4%)

NFL – 10th week:
ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               5-9-0  (35.7%)                        6-8-0  (42.9%)           
            HOME TEAMS          6-8-0  (42.9%)                        7-7-0  (50.0%)
Wow, less than half of the favorites won their matchup this week, ignoring the point spread.  And only half of the home teams won their games outright.

Cumulative percentages through ten weeks:

ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               70-75-2  (48.3%)        96-51-0  (65.3%)       
            HOME TEAMS          78-65-2  (54.5%)        87-58-0  (60.0%)

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate

Tuesday          Ohio U +8 at Bowling Green FINAL:  B.GRN 49, OHIO 0 
                        Buffalo +6 at Toledo              FINAL:  TOL 51, BUF 41

Wednesday     Ball State +9 at #15 Northern Illinois                        NIU is unbeaten
                        Miami of Ohio +18 at Kent State

Thursday         Georgia Tech +10h at #8 Clemson
                        Marshall -13 at Tulsa

Friday             Washington +2h at #13 UCLA

Saturday          Big XII – #12 Oklahoma State -3 at #24 Texas
SEC: #25 Georgia +3H at #7 Auburn
                        Other interesting matchups:
                        #4 Stanford -4 at USC                       
                        Florida +12h at #10 South Carolina
                        California +2 at Colorado      Bad News Bears vs. Bad Buffs
                        Texas Tech +26h vs. #5 Baylor at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX
                        Utah +26 at #6 Oregon
                        #16 Michigan State -6 at Nebraska


BYE WEEKS:            DAL, STL

Thursday        Indianapolis -2h at Tennessee                Both teams are coming off                                                                                                 ugly losses
Sunday            Divisional Matchups:
                        NY Jets +1 at Buffalo                         NYJ won 1st meeting 27-20
                        Cleveland +5h at Cincinnati                 CLE won 1st meeting 17-6
                        Atlanta -2 at Tampa Bay                     ATL won 1st meeting 31-23
                        Washington +3h at Philadelphia           PHI won 1st meeting 33-27
                        Kansas City +7h at Denver             Undefeated team is big ‘dog
                        Other interesting games:
                        San Francisco +3 at New Orleans

Monday          New England +2h at Carolina

FOOTBALL and other sports MINUTIA

With all of the quarterbacks getting injured, you’d think Tim Tebow would be getting a call from an NFL team for at least a tryout.  But it hasn’t happened yet.  Tebow has recently hired a TV agent just in case no QB job arises.  He should be broadcasting next year, maybe with the SEC Network.

Green Bay – Aaron Rodgers is out right now, with backup Seneca Wallace out for the year and being injured early in their game last Sunday.  Scott Tolzien is the Packers starting QB for now.
Tennessee – Jake Locker was injured in the 1st half last weekend and is out for the year.  Ryan Fitzpatrick takes over.
Chicago – Jay Cutler is injured again (1st groin, now ankle) and backup Josh McCown has filled in adequately.
Philadelphia – Michael Vick is still injured (what’s new), and backup Nick Foles has performed well and may earn the starting job even with Vick healthy.
Houston – Matt Schaub, starter at the beginning of the year, is benched.  Case Keenum is running the offense now.
Buffalo – Rookie E.J. Manuel is back as the starter after coming back from injury. 
St. Louis – Starter Sam Bradford is injured and out for the year.  Kellen Clemens has taken the offense’s reins.
Minnesota – signed Josh Freeman, starter for Tampa Bay at the beginning of the year, and he promptly got a concussion.  Starter Christian Ponder and backup Matt Cassel have both started games, with no clear favorite.
Tampa Bay – dumped starter Josh Freeman and gave the job to rookie Mike Glennon.
Jacksonville – Starter Blaine Gabbert (strained hamstring) is out, but Jags fans think he stinks anyway, so backup Chad Henne is starting now and won at Tennessee last Sunday.  Gabbert could be dumped at year end, or earlier.
Washington – Sophomore RGIII is still upright.
Oakland – it appears to be just a matter of time before Terrelle Pryor’s time runs out, as his passing skills are suspect.


QUESTION #1:  At home last Thursday night, Stanford upset Oregon 26-20 to keep its current home winning streak alive at 14 games.  That is the 2nd longest streak going into this weekend’s games.  Which team has a longer current home winning streak?

South Carolina has a 15-game home winning streak still alive.
Michigan had a 19-game home streak going until its loss in the Big House last Saturday to visiting Nebraska.

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