Friday, June 20, 2014

OFFSEASON FOOTBALL TRIVIA


FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

Since there is not much football news out there right now,  attached are a few tidbits for you to chew on - NFL and  college.

There’s not much good football info and happenings these days, with all due disrespect to relatively boring futbol.  So let me just throw out some stuff I’ve been accumulating since my last letter.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

(Disclaimer - All opinions about futbol are Commissioner's and do not reflect any staff - ED) 

NFL DIVISIONAL PREDICTIONS AND ODDS


In late May 2014, Nevada oddsmaker firm CG Technolgy came out with point spreads on every NFL regular season game through Week #16 (15 games for each team).  Assuming that the favorite wins every game, I then guesstimated which teams would win in Week #17 and came up with each teams’ expected record for the season – the first column “ODDS”.  The second column is The Fugitive’s preliminary projections based on a scan of the schedule for each team, and then going with my hunches on some of the intangibles.  The 3rd column shows the percentage chances for each team to make the playoffs (based on the odds posted by CG Technology in early June; “N/A” means no odds were posted for a team).

ODDS            Fugitive          Playoffs

AFC EAST
NE Patriots              13-3     12-4                81.5%
MIA Dolphins            7-9       9-7                25.0%
NY Jets                     4-12     6-10              N/A
BUF Bills                   6-10     6-10              N/A

AFC NORTH
PIT Steelers  10-6      9-7                45.5%
CIN Bengals   9-7    10-6               42.6%
BAL Ravens   8-8    10-6               38.5%
CLE Browns   4-12    4-12              N/A

AFC SOUTH
IND Colts       11-5    10-6                63.6%
HOU Texans   8-8      5-11              30.8%
TEN Titans      5-11    7-9                N/A
JAX Jaguars   1-15    3-13              N/A

AFC WEST
DEN Broncos           14-2    11-5                80.0%
KC Chiefs                  8-8      8-8                22.2%
SD Chargers              6-10      7-9              22.2%
OAK Raiders              1-15      3-13              N/A

ODDS           Fugitive          Playoffs
NFC EAST
PHI Eagles                10-6    10-6                52.4%
DAL Cowboys            8-8      7-9                29.4%
NY Giants                   8-8      8-8                29.4%
WSH ‘Skins                7-9      7-9                N/A

NFC NORTH
GB Packers        13-3    10-6                63.0%
DET Lions         10-6    10-6                28.6%
CHI Bears            8-8      8-8                28.6%
MIN Vikings         5-11    7-9                N/A

NFC SOUTH
NOR Saints             10-6    10-6                59.2%
CAR Panthers            9-7      9-7                30.3%
ATL Falcons              8-8      7-9                31.3%
TB Buccaneers          4-12    5-11              N/A

NFC WEST
SEA Seahawks        15-1    12-4                71.4%
SF 49’ers                14-2    13-3                67.7%
AZ Cardinals              7-9      7-9                N/A
STL Rams                 5-11    7-9                N/A

Not surprisingly, the odds favor the teams that won their divisions last year, except that New Orleans is favored to win the NFC South this year over last year’s division winner Carolina, and Pittsburgh is a slight favorite over last year’s AFC North winner Cincinnati.  And my early predictions pretty much match up with the odds, so I’ll have to rethink and revise before the season starts.  If you will recall, most prognosticators last year picked Houston to win the AFC South, and they ended up 2-14.  Also, Atlanta had won the NFC South in 2012, and most pundits had them winning that division or contending with New Orleans (with their HC back) in 2013; the Falcons posted a 4-12 record.  There are once again going to be a few surprises this year, I suspect.



COLLEGE RANKINGS


The first column below shows the odds (posted as of late May by oddsmaker Bovada through www.AL.com) for these college teams to make the new 4-team College Football Playoff (CFP).  The teams will be determined by a 13-member selection committee (more on that in August), similar to the procedure used in college basketball to determine which teams are in the NCAA Tournament.  The second column shows the odds to win the CFP and the NCAA national title, with the previous odds reported a month earlier in parentheses.


To make         To win
CFP                TITLE

FSU                0.3 to 1           4.5 to 1 (4 to 1)          The Seminoles are the defending champion
Oregon                       0.9 to 1           8 to 1 (5 to 1)             QB Mariota and Ducks are PAC-12 favorite
Ohio State     1 to 1              9 to 1 (10 to 1)                       Big 10 conference favorite
Alabama        1.25 to 1         6 to 1 (6 to 1)             “Must” win conference to get into CFP
Auburn          1.75 to 1         9 to 1 (12 to 1)                       Tigers made it to title game last year
Oklahoma     1.75 to 1         12 to 1 (12 to 1)         Big XII favorite
LSU                2 to 1              16 to 1 (N/A)
Michigan State         2.25 to 1         N/A
UCLA             2.4 to 1           N/A

COLLEGE FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES – 2014

The new location for the College Football Hall of Fame is Atlanta, GA.  Construction of the new facility will be completed soon and is scheduled to open to the public in the fall of 2014.  The old location was South Bend, IN.

Following are the 16 inductees for 2014:
Mike Belloti (former Oregon coach)
Dre’ Bly (UNC)
Tony Boselli (USC)
Dave Butz (Purdue)
Shane Conlan (Penn State)
Joe Hamilton (Georgia Tech)
John Huard (Maine)
Jerry Moore (former Appalachian State coach)
Darrin Nelson (Stanford)
Willie Roaf (Louisiana Tech)
John Sciarra (UCLA)
Sterling Sharpe (South Carolina)
Leonard Smith (McNeese State)
Derrick Thomas (Alabama) -- long overdue; he’s already a Pro FB Hall of Famer
LaDanian Tomlinson (TCU)
Wesley Walls (Mississippi)

Left out this year: Ricky Williams, Eric Crouch, Brian Bosworth.


MINUTIA

Since the Cleveland Browns traded up to select QB Johnny Manziel with the 22nd pick of the NFL draft, betting on the Browns has increased.  One example was at the MGM Sportsbook, where a “four figure” wager on the Browns to win the Super Bowl dropped the odds from 100-1 to 30-1.  Manziel is looking more and more like he will be the starter in Week #1 over Brian Hoyer.
More Manziel: did you know that Johnny “Football” was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 28th round of the MLB baseball draft in early June?  The Friars would play him at shortstop, just in case his football career doesn’t work out well.

More on the NFL Draft:
The 2015 NFL Draft will not be held at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and it will likely be held earlier than Mother’s Day next year (since nobody liked the dates of the 2014 draft).  The league is expected to make a decision on exact dates and location by the end of the summer.

Injuries:
Atlanta’s LB Sean Witherspoon is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon.
Dallas MLB Sean Lee is out for the year with a torn ACL.  His replacement may be rookie 4th round draft pick Anthony Hitchens (Iowa), who played at weak-side LB last year.

CAP SPACE
As of early June, some teams had plenty of money to spend on upgrading their rosters before the season starts; others had very little cap space.
Teams with over $20 million in cap space:  JAX, CLE, CIN, NYJ
Teams with over $10 million in cap space:  PHI, TEN, MIA, GB, IND, TB, HOU, OAK
Teams with less than $5 million in cap space:  STL, BAL, KC, SD, WSH, NYG, NOR, SF, DET, and Pittsburgh with only $144,551 available (before LaMarr Woodley adjustment).

Did you know?
The average college football game takes 10 minutes longer to play than just five years ago (12 minutes if the game is televised).  The average time for each conference (I didn’t get a number for the PAC-12), from slowest to quickest:
Big XII                        3 hours, 25 minutes
SEC                3:20
ACC               3:19
AAC                3:19
Big 10             3:14

SPORTS QUOTES (oldies, but goodies)
“I have a lifetime contract.  That means I can’t be fired during the third quarter if we’re ahead and moving the ball.”  Lou Holtz, while Arkansas football coach, who later “moved on” to Minnesota, then Notre Dame and finally South Carolina.

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1:  Heading into the 2014 college football season, there are only 4 head coaches in the FBS that will be coaching at the same school since the turn of the century (before Year 2000).  Can you name at least three of them?
HINT:  Three of them are from the “Big Five” conferences (SEC, Big 10, Big XII, ACC, PAC-12, Notre Dame).  The fourth one is from a Sun Belt Conference school.

QUESTION #2:  Since the NFL realigned the divisions in 2002 to create eight 4-team divisions, which is the only division to never have produced a Super Bowl winner in those 12 years?


ANSWER #1:
Kirk Ferentz (Iowa; going into 16th year)
Bob Stoops (Oklahoma; going into 16th year)
Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech; going into 28th year)
Larry Blakeney (Troy; going into 24th year)
No longer on this list: Mack Brown, former HC at Texas

ANSWER #2:
The AFC West.  In 2002, Seattle was moved from the AFC West to the NFC West.  Since then, Seattle has won NINE playoff games.  All four teams in the realigned AFC West have won only a combined TEN playoff games.

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