Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK TWELVE



HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

In college, rivalry week is here and there are three big games with Tigers, Tigers, and Tigers.  Several berths in the conference championship games are up for grabs this week.  There are plenty of great games on both Friday and Saturday.

In the NFL, there are currently six AFC teams with 5-6 records fighting for one playoff spot.  There are three games on Thursday.

Enjoy,

Happy Thanksgiving from The Fugitive Commissioner and Temecula Calendar

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Previously unbeaten Baylor took a beating at Oklahoma State last weekend, leaving only FIVE undefeated teams in college football.  Only three of those teams are in contention for the NCAA title game – ALA, FSU, and OH.St.
The other two unbeaten teams are BCS#14 Northern Illinois and BCS#16 Fresno State, who are both non-automatic qualifier (non-AQ) schools.
To repeat, one of these two teams can get an automatic BCS Bowl bid, but only under certain conditions, as follows:
If either:
n  The highest-ranked non-AQ team is ranked in the Top 12, or
n  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 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#19 Central Florida of the new American Athletic Conference (AAC)- The “American”.  Both Fresno and Northern Illinois are ranked higher than UCF, so the higher ranked of those two non-AQ teams would get an automatic berth.  At this point, that team would be #14 Northern Illinois, who earned a BCS bowl berth last year.  In last week’s BCS rankings, Fresno was ranked ahead of N. Illinois, but the pollsters and computers changed their minds this week.  So we’ll see which team prevails in the final BCS rankings (assuming both stay undefeated through the regular season).

THE BCS TOP 25 MATCHUPS from last weekend

#12 Texas A&M +4h lost badly at #22 LSU, 34-10, and dropped to BCS#21.  LSU moved up to BCS#17.
#4 Baylor -9h lost badly at #10 Oklahoma State, 49-17, and the Bears extended their streak of road losses against ranked opponents to 37 games spanning 22 years.  Baylor dropped to BCS#9, and OSU moved up to BCS#7.
#17 Arizona State -2h jumped out to a huge 35-13 halftime lead and then had to hang on at #14 UCLA to win only 38-33.  ASU moved up to BCS#12, and the Bruins dropped to BCS#22.
#8 Missouri -2h won handily at #24 Mississippi, 24-10, moved up to BCS#5, and controls its own destiny for the SEC East division title.
#19 Wisconsin -16 won at #25 Minnesota, 20-7, and the Badgers moved up to BCS#15.

FBS ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS

In FBS college games last weekend, 12 underdogs won their games outright out of 50 games, or 24.0% (last week only 18.0%).  There were 53 FBS games, but two were “pick’em” games (point spread of zero; no favorite) and one game (UW-OR.ST) had no line posted for us FFHL’ers as of Thursday night; plus, there were some FBS vs. FCS games with no lines.

On Tuesday night, Kent State +6 won convincingly at Ohio U., 44-13.
On Thursday night, UNLV +2 grounded host Air Force, 41-21.
On Friday night in an exciting game, Navy +1h beat San Jose State, 58-52 in triple overtime.  The Midshipmen intercepted a Spartans’ pass in the endzone in the third OT period and then scored the winning TD soon thereafter.

THREE SHOCKERS OF THE WEEK

Florida (4-7) lost at home to FCS Georgia Southern, 26-20, to break its NCAA-leading streak of bowl eligibility at 22 years.

Arizona +20h badly beat visiting then-#5 Oregon, 42-16, to eliminate the Ducks from contention for the PAC-12 title game.  Wildcats’ RB Ka’Deem Carey rushed 48 times (wow!) for 206 yards and 4 TD’s.

#10 Oklahoma State +9h soundly beat visiting then-#4 Baylor, 49-17, to put themselves in prime position to win the Big XII Conference title.  The OSU Cowboys still need a home win vs. Oklahoma on December 7th to earn the Big XII automatic BCS bowl berth.  The BU Bears suffered their first loss of the season, but with help still have a chance to win the Big XII.

AND THE OTHER UPSETS:
Nebraska +1h won at Penn State, 23-20 in overtime, but cannot win the Big Ten Legends division, since a Michigan State (-7) victory at Northwestern, 30-6, earned the Spartans a trip to the Big 10 title game.

Connecticut +8h won at Temple, 28-21, staging a huge comeback after trailing 21-0 at halftime.

Cincinnati +3 won at Houston, 24-17, and the victory keeps the Bearcats in the uphill battle for “The American” Conference title.

Vanderbilt +3 won at Tennessee, 14-10.


Texas-San Antonio +8 won at North Texas, 21-13.

Oklahoma +5 won at Kansas State, 41-31.

San Diego State +5h beat visiting Boise State, 34-31 in overtime.


NOT QUITE

Michigan +6 was ahead 21-7 at intermission in Iowa City, IA, but the Hawkeyes dominated the second half and finally took the lead with 6 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on the game-winning 34-yard FG.  With 2 minutes left, stellar LB Anthony Hitchens forced a Michigan fumble and recovered it to end the final threat by the visitors.
FINAL: IOWA 24, MICH 21.
Iowa (7-4) lost the turnover battle 4-1, but outgained the Wolverines 407-158 from scrimmage.  Iowa’s four losses on the season have been to Northern Illinois, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin, whose combined win-loss record for the year is 41-3 (and that includes the Badgers’ “homer” loss at Arizona State).

UCLA +2 was behind 35-13 at halftime, but staged a huge comeback and nearly took the lead from visiting Arizona State in the 4th quarter.  Behind only 38-33, the Bruins missed a 37-yard FG attempt with 4½ minutes remaining in the game, which later forced them to go for a winning TD instead of a winning FG and their final drive ended quietly.
FINAL: ASU 38, UCLA 33.
With the win, Arizona State clinched the PAC-12 South Division title and will face Stanford in the conference title game.  The winner will get an invitation to this year’s Rose Bowl.

Hawaii +6 lost to visiting Wyoming, 59-56 in overtime.  The game was tied 35-35 at halftime, 42-42 after the third quarter, and 56-56 at the end of regulation
Both teams led by not more than a touchdown until Wyoming scored a TD with 2:52 remaining in the 4th quarter to lead by 8 (covering ATS), but Hawaii retaliated with its own TD and 2-point conversion to tie the game with 1:18 on the clock.
The Cowboys QB Brett Smith threw for 498 yards and 7 TD’s (no INT’s), plus he rushed for 142 yards and 1 TD on 19 carries.  Wyoming outgained the Rainbow Warriors 793-624 from scrimmage (where’s the “D”?), and snapped a 4-game losing streak.
Hawaii (0-11) remained winless on the season, having lost five games by 7 points or less.


CONFERENCE STANDINGS

BCS Automatic Qualifier “AQ” Conferences

PAC-12
SOUTH           ARIZONA STATE (7-1) clinched last Saturday with a win over UCLA; even with a loss this Saturday, ASU holds the tiebreaker over USC (6-2), having beaten the Trojans earlier in the year, 62-41.
NORTH           STANFORD (7-2) clinched the division title when Oregon lost at Arizona last Saturday; the Cardinal holds the tiebreaker over the OU Ducks (6-2), having beaten them earlier in the year, 26-20.
TITLE GAME:           Home game for team with better record at end of regular season.  If ASU beats Arizona in the Territorial Cup on Saturday, the Sun Devils win the tiebreaker and get home field.  If not, Stanford gets the home game.

SEC
EAST              MISSOURI (6-1) will clinch the division title with a home win vs. Texas A&M on Saturday; if the MU Tigers lose, SOUTH CAROLINA (6-2) will win the tiebreaker and go to the title game, having beaten Mizzou earlier in the year.
WEST             AUBURN (6-1) hosts ALABAMA (7-0) in Saturday’s Iron Bowl to determine which team plays in the conference title game
TITLE GAME:           To be played at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA on December 7th

BIG XII          OKLAHOMA STATE (7-1) currently holds the tiebreaker over TEXAS (6-1) and BAYLOR (6-1).  OSU hosts Oklahoma (6-2) and Baylor hosts Texas on December 7th; Texas hosts Texas Tech (4-4) on Thanksgiving.
                        Okie State determines its own fate, and the Big XII Conference winner gets an automatic BCS Bowl berth.
TITLE GAME:           NONE

BIG TEN
LEGENDS      MICHIGAN STATE (7-0) clinched the division title with win at Northwestern last Saturday
LEADERS      OHIO STATE (7-0) clinched the division title, holding the tiebreaker over Wisconsin (6-1)
TITLE GAME:           MSU vs. OSU at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN on December 7th

ACC
ATLANTIC     FLORIDA STATE (8-0) has clinched a berth in the title game; the Seminoles beat runner-up Clemson (7-1) earlier in the year, 51-14.
COASTAL      DUKE (5-2) needs only a win at North Carolina (4-3) to earn the division title; with a Blue Devil loss, it will come down to tiebreakers, as Duke, GEORGIA TECH, VIRGINIA TECH, NORTH CAROLINA and maybe MIAMI of FLORIDA could all end up 5-3 in the division.  VA TECH would win the tiebreaker if they beat Virginia on the road this Saturday.
TITLE GAME:           FSU vs. Coastal Division winner, to be played in Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC, on December 7th, with the winner getting a BCS bowl berth.

“THE AMERICAN”
AAC                CENTRAL FLORIDA (6-0) needs at least one win (and maybe two) in its final two conference games against USF and SMU to clinch the conference title.  LOUISVILLE and CINCINNATI are lurking at 6-1; the Cardinals play at Cincy on December 5th.  The conference champion is an automatic qualifier for a BCS Bowl.
TITLE GAME:           NONE

NON-AUTOMATIC BCS QUALIFIER CONFERENCES (“Non-AQ”)

SUN BELT     LOUISIANA-LAFAYETTE (5-0) has a one-game lead over ARKANSAS STATE (5-1).  The ULL Ragin’ Cajuns still have two conference games to wrap up the regular season (ULM and at S.ALA).  The ASU Red Wolves finish their regular season on Saturday at Western Kentucky.

C-USA           
EAST              EAST CAROLINA and MARSHALL are tied at 6-1.
                        The ECU Pirates play at Marshall on Friday night for the division title.
WEST             RICE (6-1) has a 1-game lead on North Texas, UTSA, and Tulane.
                        The Tulane Green Wave plays at Rice on Saturday.
TITLE GAME:           Home game for better division winner.

MAC              
EAST              BOWLING GREEN and BUFFALO are tied at 6-1.
                        The BGU Falcons play the BU Bulls at neutral site Ralph Wilson Stadium (NFL Buffalo Bills home field) on Friday night.
WEST             NORTHERN ILLINOIS (7-0) has clinched the division title, since the Huskies beat 2nd place Ball State (6-1) earlier in the year and would win the tiebreaker even with an unexpected home loss tonight vs. Western Michigan.
TITLE GAME:           Bowling Green/Buffalo winner vs. Northern ILL at Ford Field, Detroit, MI (NFL Detroit Lions’ home field) on Friday night, December 6th.

MW
WEST             FRESNO STATE (7-0) has clinched the division title, since the Bulldogs beat 2nd place SDSU (6-1) earlier in the year and would win the tiebreaker even with an unexpected loss at San Jose State on Friday night.
Mountain     UTAH STATE (6-1) leads BOISE STATE (5-2) with one week to go, but the BSU Broncos hold the tiebreaker, having beaten the USU Aggies, 34-23, in mid-October.
                        On Saturday, Utah State hosts Wyoming and Boise State hosts New Mexico.

MOUNTAIN WEST
TITLE GAME:           This is the inaugural championship game in the restructured 12-team conference.  The higher-ranked division winner will earn home field advantage; the game will be played on Saturday, December 7th at 8PM Mountain Time.
         
COLLEGE POLLS as of November 24, 2013

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

BCS RANK           SU             RANK
TEAM             RECORD        AP Poll           Comments

#1 Alabama           11-0           #1 (56)             Plays at Auburn on Sat. for SEC West
#2 Florida St         11-0           #2 (4)               Plays at FL on Sat.; then ACC title game
#3 Ohio State        11-0           #3                    Plays at MICH Sat.; then Big 10 title gm
#4 Auburn            10-1           #4                    Tigers host Alabama on Saturday
#5 Missouri          10-1           #5                    Tigers host Texas A&M on Saturday
#6 Clemson          10-1           #6                    Tigers play at South Carolina on Sat.
#7 Okla. State       10-1           #7                    Cowboys host Oklahoma on Dec 7th
#8 Stanford            9-2           #8                    Plays PAC-12 South winner on Dec 7th
#9 Baylor               9-1           #9                    Plays at TCU Sat.; hosts Texas Dec 7th
#10 S.Carolina       9-2            #10                  Gamecocks host Clemson on Saturday
#11 Michigan St   10-1            #11                  Big 10 title game vs. Ohio State on Dec 7th
#12 Arizona St      9-2             #13                  Hosts Arizona on Sat; + Pac-12 title gm?
#13 Oregon          9-2             #12                  Hosts Oregon State on Friday night
#14 N. Illinois      11-0            #18                  Hosts W.Mich Tues.; then MAC title gm
#15 Wisconsin       9-2            #14                  Badgers host Penn State on Saturday
#16 Fresno State  10-0            #16                  Plays finale at San Jose St on  Friday
#17 LSU               8-3             #15                  Highest ranked 3-loss team
#18 Oklahoma       9-2             #20                  Plays at Oklahoma State on Dec 7th
#19 Central FL      9-1             #17                  Two cupcakes to finish regular season
#20 Louisville      10-1             #21                  Plays finale at Cincinnati on Thurs. Dec 5th
#21 TX A&M       8-3             #19                  Plays at Missouri on Saturday
#22 UCLA            9-3             #22                  Bruins play at USC on Saturday
#23 USC               8-3            #23                  Trojans host UCLA on Saturday
#24 Duke              9-2            #24                  Plays at UNC Sat. for ACC Coastal title
#25 Notre Dame    8-3            #25                  Irish plays at Stanford on Saturday

With losses last weekend, Mississippi and Minnesota dropped out of the BCS Top 25; Duke and Notre Dame moved into the BCS Top 25.

The AP Poll has the same Top 11 in the exact same order as the BCS rankings, and also has the same Top 25 teams as the BCS rankings, albeit in slightly different order.

According to the BCS averages, #1 Alabama at .9881 and #2 Florida State at .9697 are still ahead of #3 Ohio State at .9200, but the gap is shrinking.  That is mainly due Baylor’s loss, as votes moved from the previously unbeaten Bears to the OSU Buckeyes.  However, Ohio State most likely will need a loss by either the Crimson Tide or the Seminoles to get into the BCS title game.

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

USA                Harris
Team                           AP Poll           Today              Interactive      

#1 Alabama                56 (55)             56 (56)              99 (100)
#2 Florida State            4  (5)               6  (6)                 5     (5)
#3 Ohio State               0  (0)               0  (0)                 0     (0)

The USA Today and Harris human polls have the same order for the Top 3, but both have Clemson #4 (ranked #6 by the BCS because of the computer rankings).

The six computers:
The metal midgets’ averages are quite different than the overall BCS rankings: 

                                    BCS Rank       Average Rank
Team                           Overall                                      Computers
Alabama                           1                       2          (2 of 6 computers have them #1)
Florida State                     2                       1          (4 of 6 computers have them #1)
Ohio State                        3                       3
Auburn                            4                       4          (highest ranked one-loss team)
Missouri                          5                       5         
Clemson                          6                      10         (computers not liking the CU Tigers)
Oklahoma State                7                        8         
Stanford                          8                        9
Baylor                             9                      11
South Carolina               10                      12
Michigan State               11                      14
Arizona State                 12                        6          (computers favoring the Sun Devils)
Oregon                         13                      15
Northern Illinois             14                       7*
Wisconsin                     15                      13
Fresno State                  16                      17

*All six computers have Northern Illinois ranked in the Top 10; one computer has the Huskies ranked #3 ahead of Ohio State (at #4).  The other five computers have the Buckeyes at #3.

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 56 FBS teams that will not get a bowl invitation (Old Dominion and UTSA are in transition from FCS and are not eligible this year, plus Penn State is banned).

With one game still to play in the regular season (South Alabama two games), 69 teams have become bowl eligible; 45 schools have been eliminated.  That leaves only 12 teams still with a chance to become bowl eligible, and those teams are shown in red (generally, six FBS wins are required):                          

                                    Current            Wk#12
TEAM                         RECORD        Result              STATUS

SMU                           5-5                   WIN               Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Rutgers                       5-5                   LOSS              Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Memphis                     3-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Syracuse                     5-6                   LOSS              Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Wake Forest                4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
North Carolina             6-5                   WIN                BOWL ELIGIBLE
Pittsburgh                   6-5                   WIN                BOWL ELIGIBLE
Indiana                       4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Northwestern              4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Florida Atlantic            5-6                   WIN                Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Louisiana Tech            4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Central Michigan         5-6                   WIN                Still fighting for bowl eligibility
San Jose State             5-6                   LOSS              Still fighting for bowl eligibility
UNLV                        6-5                   WIN                BOWL ELIGIBLE
Colorado State            6-6                   LOSS              Rams need win vs. Air Force Sat.
Wyoming                   5-6                   WIN                Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Washington State        6-5                   WIN                BOWL ELIGIBLE
Utah                          4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Florida                       4-7                   LOSS              Not bowling for 1st time in 23 years
Tennessee                  4-7                   LOSS              Not bowl eligible
Mississippi State        5-6                   WIN                Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Louisiana-Monroe      5-6                   LOSS               Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Troy                         5-6                   Idle                  Still fighting for bowl eligibility
South Alabama           4-6                   WIN                Still fighting for bowl eligibility
Correction from last week:
UT-San Antonio         6-5                   WIN                Not eligible until 2014; in transition
                                                                                    from FCS 2011 to FBS 2012-2013

ODDS TO WIN BCS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

As of 11/20/13, following are the Bovada.lv odds for teams to win the BCS Title game (before last weekend’s games):

Team               Odds    Potential reason for change going into Thanksgiving

Undefeated teams (last week):
Alabama            1/1       Will depend on result of game at #4 Auburn on Saturday
FSU                 8/5        Hinges on whether QB Jameis Winston is charged with crime
Baylor               7/1       With upset loss, these odds are going much higher
Ohio State       10/1       After Baylor loss, odds will get shorter this week

One-loss teams (last week):
Oregon            20/1     After another loss, there is no chance for the Ducks
Auburn            33/1     With a home win vs. ‘Bama next week, odds will be shorter
Missouri          75/1     Tigers still have fighting chance after win at Mississippi
Others with posted odds:
None

HEISMAN TROPHY UPDATE

Check out this continuing evolution of the Heisman race.  There was a wild turn-around after weak performances by several QB’s last weekend.
Here is a comparison of the current Heisman Straw Poll (per Heismanpundit.com, ten anonymous Heisman voters, the most trusted gauge of Heisman voters) and their projections last week and in early October as compared to updated results as of 11/26/13,  (total points based on 3-2-1 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place, and 1st place votes in parentheses):

PLAYER (SCHOOL)                         Today            Nov 19TH       Oct 9TH           

QB Jameis Winston (FSU)                 18 (6)             20  (6)             #3: 11 (1)
RB Andre Williams (BC)                    16 (0)               1         
QB A.J. McCarron (Alabama)              8  (2)              2
QB Jordan Lynch (N. Illinois)              7  (1)              2
QB Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)        4  (0)            18  (2)             #1: 20 (6)       
QB Marcus Mariotta (Oregon)             3  (1)              6  (1)             #2: 15 (2)
QB Bryce Petty (Baylor)                     2  (0)             11  (1)                                    
QB Derek Carr (Fresno State)             1  (0)               0         
DT Aaron Donald (Pittsburgh)            1  (0)               0                                                         
QB Teddy Bridgewater (Louisville)        0                   0                    #5:  3 (1)        
QB Aaron Murray (Georgia)                 0                   0                    #4:  7 (0)        

Final ballots from all Heisman voters are due by December 9th.

Comments:
Top of the List:
Florida State’s Winston may or may not be charged with sexual assault based on a December 2012 incident, a case completely botched by the Tallahassee Police Department.  A decision is expected no earlier than after the ACC title game on December 7th.  The long delay and questionable timing of this mess is just disturbing.
Runner-up:
“Say What?” – Where did this guy come from?  Boston College RB Andre Williams out of the ACC has rushed for 2,073 yards and 16 TD’s so far this year with a 6.5 yards per carry average.  He has rushed for 295, 339, and 263 yards in his last three games (vs. NM.St, NC.St, and Maryland) for an 8.6 yard average per carry.  He has zero receiving yards for the year.
Oh, No!! Third on the list is:
Alabama QB A.J. McCarron is not Heisman material.  He has so much support around him that he just looks good some times.  His girlfriend looks much better – just ask Brent Musburger.  This guy has a great record with his team and is obviously a good leader on the field, but the “best player in college football” – I don’t think so.
Fall from Grace:
Texas A&M QB Johnny “Football” Manziel had a bad game at LSU, and has fallen out of favor after being the favorite in October and still at #2 before last week’s poor performance.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty had a bad game at Oklahoma State last weekend, and has fallen out of favor after being the #3 choice only a week ago.

NFL

NFL WEEK #12 – UNDERDOG WINNERS
In pro games this week, SIX underdogs won their games outright out of 14 games, or 42.9% (last week 26.7%). 

Tampa Bay +8h won at Detroit, 24-21, to get its first road win of the year and third straight upset win for the year.

Jacksonville +10 won ugly at Houston, 13-6, to get its second win of the year, and the Jaguars have tentatively lost their grip on the #1 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

New England +2 beat visiting Denver, 34-31, in overtime after trailing at halftime, 24-0.  With about 3 minutes remaining in the overtime period, the Broncos botched a punt at their own 15-yard line, the Patriots recovered, and set up for the game-winning 31-yard FG.
Patriots’ Coach Bill Belichick stuck his neck out and made a bold call, which turned out to be the right move.  His team won the coin flip for overtime and elected to take “the wind” instead of the ball, giving QB Peyton Manning and the Broncos a chance to take the kickoff and march for a TD to win the game.  But of course the Pats’ defense held and the offense eventually got the winning FG with only 1:56 on the clock.

San Diego +4 won at Kansas City, 41-38, giving the Chiefs their second loss in as many weeks, with another tough test next Sunday vs. Denver.  As the score may indicate, the defenses were not playing very well in this game.

Pittsburgh +1h won at Cleveland, 27-11.

Dallas +2h won at NY Giants, 24-21.  The visiting Cowboys led 21-6 in mid-3rd quarter, but the Giants tied the game on a TD with 4:45 on the clock in the fourth quarter.  Dallas QB Tony Romo then engineered a 14 play, 64-yard drive to get into FG range and eat up the whole clock; the 35-yard kick was good on the last play of the game, and the Giants’ 4-game winning streak was snapped.
The Cowboys are now above .500 and tied with Philadelphia for the NFC East lead, while NYG are all but eliminated from the playoffs.

And you might call this “one-half” of an upset:
Minnesota +5 ended up with a tie at Green Bay, 26-26.  Both teams kicked a FG on their first possession of the extra period, after which neither team could score again as the 15-minute overtime period expired without a victor.  Neither team was thrilled with the result, but the Packers picked up ½ game in the NFC North standings as both Chicago and Detroit lost on Sunday.  The Vikings led 23-7 early in the 4th quarter, but the Pack scored 17 unanswered points including the game-tying FG with 46 seconds remaining in regulation play.

This was the first game to end in a tie with both teams scoring in overtime, based on the new overtime rules instituted last year, which eliminated “sudden death” unless the team winning the coin flip could score a touchdown on its first possession.  Since Green Bay only kicked a FG on their first possession in OT (4 ½ minutes), Minnesota got a chance to score and used 6½ minutes to get into FG range and tie the game with only 3:54 remaining in OT.  There was no scoring after that.
There was a tie game last year, when St. Louis and San Francisco tied, but the new rule didn’t come into play because neither the Rams nor the 49’ers scored in overtime.  Before that, the last tie game was in 2008.

TIE AGAINST THE SPREAD
One game ended in a tie against the spread, as Carolina -4 won at Miami 20-16.  The Dolphins led 16-3 after kicking a FG with 1 minute remaining in the first half.  But the Panthers got into FG range and made a 47-yarder on the last play before halftime.  Miami still led 16-13 when with 4:13 remaining in the game, the Panthers started their game-winning TD drive of 12 plays and 80 yards that included a 4th and 10 conversion on the first series of downs.  The Dolphins got the ball back with 43 seconds and ended up with single coverage on a long pass near the goal line, but #1 WR Mike Wallace could not make the catch as the well-thrown ball slipped through his grasp.
Carolina won its seventh straight game on the season




NFL AFTER WEEK #12

Every team has now played 11 games, with five more games (Weeks #13 through #17) remaining in the regular season (no more “bye” weeks).

NFC East:       PHI and DAL are tied at 6-5, two games ahead of NYG (4-7) after Dallas won at the Meadowlands on Sunday.
                       
NFC North:     DET and CHI are tied for the lead at 6-5, but both teams lost on Sunday and GB tied their game; the Pack is only ½ game back at 5-5-1.

NFC South:     Great 2-team race: NOR (9-2) has a 1-game lead over Carolina (8-3) after both teams won last week.  The Saints and Panthers face each other twice, in Weeks #14 and #16.

NFC West:      Seattle (10-1) has 3-game lead over SF and AZ at 7-4.

AFC East:       NE (8-3) leads by 3 games over the NY Jets and MIA at 5-6.

AFC North:     CIN (7-4) has a 2-game lead over PIT & BAL (5-6).  The Bengals still face both the Steelers (Week #15 road) and Baltimore (Week #17 home).

AFC South:     Indy (7-4) has a 2-game lead over TEN (5-6) after a loss at Arizona and the Titans’ win at Oakland on Sunday.

AFC West:      KC and DEN (9-2) both lost on Sunday, but still lead the division by 4 games over SD (5-6).

NFL PLAYOFF PICTURE

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

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

#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 and SF at 7-4, and maybe both if Carolina slips
Non-division winner between CHI Bears and Detroit (6-5)
Non-division winner between DAL Cowboys and PHI Eagles (6-5)
GB Packers (5-5-1), and only 1/2 game behind for the division title
STL Rams at 5-6

AFC
Strangely enough, there are SIX teams currently at 5-6, fighting for one wild card playoff spot:
MIA Dolphins, TEN Titans, PIT Steelers, BAL Ravens, SD Chargers, and NY Jets, with Tennessee currently holding the tiebreaker for the #6 seed.
In the “slim to none” chances category: BUF, CLE, and OAK are all at 4-7, currently only one game out of playoff spot, but any one of them would have to beat out all six of the teams at 5-6.


FFHL RESULTS – WEEK TWELVE

This week, we FFHL’ers collectively were mediocre at 38-41-5 (48.2% ATS).  In college, we were a monkey-like 25-25-0 (50.0% ATS), but in the NFL we struggled again at 13-16-5 (45.6% ATS).

For the season, we are now collectively 49.5% ATS, including 52.8% in college (702 picks) and a lousy 43.6% ATS in the NFL (390 picks).


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

Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks.  We are getting more contentious as the season progresses.

                                    ATS Picks
Team                           For-Against    Result / Unsolicited comments

CAR Panthers -4 at MIA        5-0       TIE, Carolina wins 20-16
CHI Bears +1 at STL              3-0       LOSS, Rams win big, 42-21
KC Chiefs vs. SD                   3-0       LOSS, Chargers win outright, 41-38
DEN Broncos -2 at NE           3-1       LOSS, big Pats comeback to win 34-31 in OT
DET Lions -8h vs. TB            2-2       LOSS, Bucs win outright, 24-21
CLE Browns -1h vs. PIT        2-2       LOSS, Steelers win outright, 27-11
AZ Cardinals -2h vs. IND       2-1       WIN, Arizona wins big, 40-11

Missouri -2h at Mississippi     4-0       WIN, Tigers win 24-10 to stay in Top 10
Wisconsin -16 at Minnesota    3-1       LOSS, Badgers win only 20-7 to miss by 3 points
Stanford -31h vs. CAL           2-1       WIN, Cardinal leaves no doubt with 63-13 victory
Oklahoma St +9h vs. Baylor   2-1       WIN, outright victory by OSU Cowboys 49-17
Wyoming -6 at Hawaii           2-1       LOSS, Cowboys win only 59-56 in OT to miss by 3
LSU -4h vs. Texas A&M       3-3       TIGERS WIN, with 34-10 victory over Aggies

COLLEGE
In the 13th week of college games:
                                                ATS                             Straight-up
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               26-23-1  (53.0%)        38-12  (76.0%)  
HOME TEAMS          22-29-1  (43.3%)        23-29 (44.2%)
            AP TOP 10                  4-3-0     (57.1%)         5-2     (71.4%)

COLLEGE
Cumulative percentages through thirteen weeks:

                                                ATS                             Straight-up
                                                Record                        Record
                       
FAVORITES               315-298-11  (51.4%)  498-126 (79.8%)       
HOME TEAMS          307-294-11  (51.1%)  361-251 (59.0%)
AP TOP 10                  52-46-4    (52.9%)      83-19  (81.4%)


NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
NFL – 12th week:
ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               5-8-1  (39.3%)                        7-6-1  (53.6%)           
HOME TEAMS          5-8-1  (39.3%)                        4-9-1  (32.1%)

NFL
Cumulative percentages through twelve weeks:

ATS                             STRAIGHT-UP
                                                Record                        Record

FAVORITES               83-87-6  (48.9%)        114-61-1  (65.1%)     
            HOME TEAMS          93-75-6  (55.2%)        103-70-1  (59.5%)



LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate
COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #13

This is a BIG rivalry weekend in college football !!!!

Tuesday          Western Michigan +35 at #14 N. Illinois     
                       
Thursday        Mississippi -3 at Mississippi State                Oxford, MS vs. Starkville, MS
Turkey Day    Texas Tech +4h at Texas                                Lubbock, TX vs. Austin, TX

Black              Iowa +2h at Nebraska
Friday             Miami of FL -3 at Pittsburgh
Oregon St. +21h at #13 Oregon         Corvallis, OR vs. Eugene, OR
                                                            117th Civil War, played every year
                                                            since 1945
WA State +14 at Washington Pullman, WA vs. Seattle, WA
South Florida +27 at #19 UCF           Tampa, FL vs. Orlando, FL
SMU +9h at Houston                          Dallas, TX vs. Houston, TX
#16 Fresno St. -7h at San Jose St.
East Carolina +3 at Marshall
Florida Int’l +28 at Florida ATL        Miami, FL vs. Boca Raton, FL
Toledo -8h at Akron
Miami.OH +34h at Ball State                        Schools are only 76 miles apart
Eastern Michigan +18 at C. Michigan
Bowling Green -2 vs. Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium
Massachusetts +16h at Ohio U.
Texas State +6h at Troy
Arkansas +24h at LSU

Saturday         BIG GAMES:
#1 Alabama -11 at #4 Auburn           Iron Bowl for SEC West title
                        #21 Texas A&M +4h at #5 Missouri            Former Big XII teams meet
                        #6 Clemson +5 at #10 S. Carolina    Clemson, SC vs. Columbia, SC
                        #2 Florida State at Florida                Tallahassee, FL vs. Gainesville, FL
                        #3 Ohio State -14h at Michigan

Other interesting matchups:
                        #9 Baylor -12h at TCU                       Waco, TX vs. Fort Worth, TX
Georgia -3h at Georgia Tech              Athens, GA vs. Atlanta, GA
                        #22 UCLA +3h at #23 USC                LA-Westwood vs. LA
#25 Notre Dame +14 at #8 Stanford
Arizona +11h at #12 Arizona State                Tucson, AZ vs. Tempe, AZ
Tennessee -4 at Kentucky
                        Purdue +20h at Indiana          West Lafayette, IN vs. Bloomington, IN
                                                                        playing for the Old Oaken Bucket
                        Northwestern -3h at Illinois   Evanston, IL vs. Urbana-Champaign, IL
                        Kansas State -16h at Kansas  Manhattan, KS vs. Lawrence, KS
                        Boston College -2h at Syracuse         Former Big East teams meet; played
                                                                                    every year from 1971-2004
                        VA Tech -13 at Virginia        Blacksburg, VA vs. Charlottesville, VA
                        #24 Duke +6h at North Carolina        Durham, NC vs. Chapel Hill, NC
                        BYU -14 at Nevada
                        Air Force +15h at Colorado St      Colorado Springs vs. Fort Collins, CO
                        North Texas -5 at Tulsa          TU Hurricane has won 10 straight in series
                        Louisiana-Monroe +14h at LA-Lafayette      Warhawks vs. Rajin’ Cajuns
                                               
NFL WEEK #13 – SELECTED GAMES

BYE WEEKS:            no more bye weeks for the season

Thursday                    Green Bay +6 at Detroit         12:30PM Eastern
Thanksgiving                          (Lions have lost 9 straight on Turkey Day)
                                    Oakland +9 at Dallas              4:30 PM Eastern
                                    Pittsburgh +3 at Baltimore     8:30 PM Eastern

Sunday            Divisional Matchups:
                        Tampa Bay +8 at Carolina
                        Tennessee +4 at Indianapolis
                        Denver -4h at Kansas City                 Battle for AFC West Div title
                        Chicago +1h at Minnesota
                        Miami +1h at NY Jets
                        St. Louis +8h at San Francisco
                        NY Giants -1 at Washington

                        Other interesting games:
                        Arizona +3h at Philadelphia
                        Cincinnati +1h at San Diego

Monday          New Orleans +5h at Seattle                Battle for #1 seed in NFC

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1:  Last week, there was an FBS team that won its 15th consecutive road game, which is the best active winning streak.  Which team is it?
HINT:  It’s not an AQ conference team.

ANSWER #1:
Northern Illinois -2h won at Toledo 35-17 to extend its current road winning streak, even without its top two receivers for the game.  The NIU Huskies of DeKalb, IL trailed 10-7 at halftime.

No comments:

Post a Comment