Tuesday, November 3, 2015

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK EIGHT

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

The College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee came out with its first set of rankings earlier today.  The results don't really mean much yet, since there are some big games coming up (FSU at Clemson, LSU at Alabama, etc.), but take a look anyway.


In the NFL, there are still 4 undefeated teams after Week #8.  Ouch, there were some ugly injuries over the weekend.

Hope you enjoy reading some or all of the accumulated info for the week.

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL


COLLEGE

I may have been too hasty in calling Michigan’s bumbled punt attempt “The Debacle of the Year” two weeks ago. I believe this week’s shocking finish (including botched officials’ calls) between Miami of Florida and Duke may have trumped the Michigan State win over the Wolverines.

SHOCKER (and debacle) OF THE “YEAR” (Version 2.0)
Miami of Florida, an eleven-point underdog, had just fired their head coach Al Golden after last week’s humiliating home loss to Clemson, 58-0. The Hurricanes and interim coach Larry Scott had to travel to AP#22 Duke. The underdog MIA ‘Canes led 14-3 at halftime and were still ahead 24-12 after kicking a FG with only six minutes remaining in regulation play. However, the Duke Blue Devils put together two long TD drives including the go-ahead score with only SIX SECONDS to go, now leading 27-24.

Of course you know this wasn’t the end, even with only 6 measly ticks of the clock to go before Duke would celebrate its victory.

Duke squibbed the kickoff down to Miami’s 25-yard line and the miracle play was underway. A lateral here, a lateral there, and the ball was not being advanced; in fact, the ball was back to the ‘Canes own 3-yard line. But Miami kept the ball moving and after EIGHT laterals and a lot of juking and jiving and blocking (some legal) and lack of tackling by Duke special teamers, the Hurricanes scored the winning TD after 49 seconds had elapsed.

Controversy: It took the officials nine minutes to review the play before announcing that the kickoff return for a TD would be allowed. A “block-in-the-back” penalty had been called on Miami during the run-back; but after discussion by the officials, it was determined that the block was from the side. Also, a Miami player with the ball was extremely close to having his knee touch the ground while still in possession of the ball (before he lateraled the ball to someone else). Video replay was presumably inconclusive, and the call on the field stood -- TD.
Side note: if the penalty wouldn’t have been picked up, it would have been Miami’s 24th penalty of the game; instead, they had “only” 23 penalties for an astounding 194 yards (vs. Duke’s 5 penalties for 41 yards).
UPDATE: On Monday, the ACC Conference issued 2-game suspensions to the on-field officiating crew, the replay official, and the replay communicator for not overturning the ruling on the field (runner’s knee clearly touched the ground while still in possession of the ball, according to subsequent scrutiny by the ACC), for failure to penalize Miami for an illegal block in the back (near the action, I might add), and for failing to explain why a different “illegal block” penalty flag was picked up, and for failing to penalize a Miami player for leaving the bench area and entering the field prior to the end of the play (and, near the player who scored the winning TD).

This incredible finish brought out all of the comparisons to the California-Stanford game back in 1982 when the Cal Bears ran back a kickoff for the winning touchdown while lateraling and weaving through the Stanford band members, who were already prematurely celebrating victory on the field while the kickoff return was still ongoing and live (and eventually successful, after which a trombone player in the end zone got run over by the ball carrier). Some of you out there remember this one – it was only 33 years ago.

FBS ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS

This week NINE underdogs won outright in 52 FBS games for an upset rate of 17.3% (20.0% last week), including the shocker of the “year” in Durham, NC.

Miami.FL (+11) won at AP#22 Duke, 30-27 (see above).

OTHER VICTORIOUS UNDERDOGS

On Thursday night, Oregon (+2h) won in triple overtime at Arizona State, 61-55.

On Friday night, Connecticut (+7) beat visiting East Carolina, 31-13.

Virginia (+6) beat visiting Georgia Tech, 27-21, just one week after the GA Tech Yellowjackets upset Florida State on a blocked FG attempt for the winning TD on the last play of the game.

Purdue (+8) beat visiting Nebraska, 55-45. Where is Bo Pelini when you need him? The Blackshirts were humbled in West Lafayette, IN.

History:
Blackshirts” refers to the first-string defensive unit of the Cornhuskers football team.
The term dates back to the early 1960’s and refers to the black practice jerseys that Nebraska's first-string defenders began to wear during practice. The NCAA had changed the rules which permitted two-platoon football teams (different players dedicated to offense and defense), and ‘Huskers HC Bob Devaney desired to have the two squads visually distinguishable during practice by having the two units wear different colors.

Iowa State (+5h) got revenge on visiting Texas, winning 24-0 after getting ripped off by an officials’ call in their last meeting in Ames, IA.

New Mexico State (+7) beat visiting Idaho, 55-48 in overtime.

Florida Atlantic (+2h) beat visiting Florida International, 31-17.

North Texas (+7) beat visiting UTSA (Texas-San Antonio), 30-23.

NOT QUITE (double-digit underdogs almost prevail)

AP#21 Temple (+10h) tied the game 17-17 after scoring a TD on the AP#9 Notre Dame defense with 11 minutes remaining in the game. The host TU Owls later took the lead 20-17 on a 36-yard FG with 4:45 on the clock. The ND Irish responded with the winning TD pass with 2 minutes left.
FINAL: ND 24, TEMP 20
Temple was playing its first-ever game as a ranked team against another ranked team.

Washington State (+10h) was ahead of visiting AP#8 Stanford 22-10 in mid-3rd quarter, but the Cardinal scored 17 unanswered points including the go-ahead TD early in the fourth quarter – score 27-22 Stanford. The WSU Cougars responded with a TD, but the 2-point conversion failed – score 28-27 WSU with eight minutes remaining in the game. Stanford recaptured the lead on a FG with 2 minutes to go – score 30-28 Stanford. Not surrendering yet, WA State marched into FG range; on the last play of the game, the 43-yard FG try was … “no good”.
FINAL: STAN 30, WSU 28
WA State outgained Stanford from scrimmage, 442-312 (turnovers were 2-2).
WSU kicker Eric Powell made five FG’s in the rainy, windy conditions for the game.

Colorado (+22h) at AP#24 UCLA
The COL Buffaloes hadn’t beaten a ranked team on the road since 2002, but the Buffs were confident after having won their first PAC-12 conference game since 2013 last week at Oregon State.
Host UCLA jumped out to a 21-3 lead in the 2nd quarter and was still ahead 28-13 in mid-third quarter, but Colorado scored 17 unanswered points including a 33-yard fumble return for a TD and then the go-ahead TD to take the lead 31-28 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. After blowing the big lead, the Bruins finally prevailed with the winning TD.
FINAL: UCLA 35, COL 31
Colorado ran 114 plays from scrimmage – whoa! (UCLA only ran 59 plays)
Colorado controlled the ball for over 41 minutes in the game (UCLA less than 19 min.).
Colorado outgained the Bruins 554 yards to 400 yards from scrimmage.
Turnovers were even at 2-2.

AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

Southern California (-5h) at California
CAL scored early in the game to take its first lead versus the USC Trojans since 2007. Nevertheless, the Trojans scored two TD’s in 23 seconds during the third quarter, including a Pick 6, to take a 24-7 lead. USC had to hold on; the Cal Bears scored two more TD’s, but the Trojans slipped in an “insurance” FG which allowed them to cover ATS by ½ point. USC won the turnover battle, 3-0.
FINAL: USC 27, CAL 21
In the FFHL, 1-800-OPPOSITE picked up a win ATS and Mighty Duck got burned.

AP#19 Mississippi (-7) at Auburn
Ole Miss took a 20-13 lead after scoring a TD at the end of the 3rd quarter, held Auburn to two short FG’s early in the 4th quarter, and still held a tenuous 20-19 lead. The Rebels scored a TD with 10 minutes remaining in the game to extend the lead to eight points and then held off AUB Tiger threats after that to win and also cover ATS by 1 point.
FINAL: MISS 27, AUB 19
Filter King of the FFHL eked out a win ATS in the pool with his Ole Miss pick.

FFHL’S TOMMY BOY DISGUSTED WITH IOWA HAWKEYES
Tommy Boy, son of FFHL’s Filter King, selected Iowa against the spread as his #1 Pick this week. The Hawkeyes were favored by 17½ points against visiting Maryland.

Iowa (-17h) scored late in the 3rd quarter to take a 21-0 lead (now covering ATS for the first time in the game), but most of the scoring was still to come in the final stanza. The MD Terrapins scored early in the 4th quarter to trail only 21-7 (Iowa now not covering ATS). The UI Hawkeyes responded on a 49-yard FG with 11 minutes remaining in the game; score 24-7 (Iowa still not quite covering ATS by ½ point). The chances of Iowa covering the spread were getting slim when Maryland marched down the field again, looking at another potential score to get within 10 points. “Not so fast, my friends” – an 88-yard interception return for a TD by the Hawkeye defense changed the whole complexion of the game and Iowa was now ahead 31-7 with 7½ minutes to go (and more importantly, the Hawks were covering ATS by 6½ points). “Not so fast, my Hawkeye brethren” - Maryland ran back the ensuing kickoff 105 yards to paydirt, trailing 31-13 (Iowa still covering ATS). But hold on -- after a successful 2-point conversion, Maryland was behind “only” 31-15 and now the Terrapins were covering ATS. That ended the scoring, and Iowa bettors were disappointed if not disgusted.
FINAL: IOWA 31, MD 15
Tommy Boy lost his Iowa pick ATS and was disgusted. Mighty Duck also got burned on this one.

With the home win, Iowa is now 8-0 on the season (they’re 4-3 ATS), so we Iowa Hawk fans are anything but disgusted with our team right now, as expectations were not particularly high in the preseason. I’m cautiously optimistic. Following is Iowa’s schedule for the next four weeks to finish out the regular season:

Nov 7th at Indiana (Hoosiers coming off a bye week)
Nov 14th Minnesota
Nov 21st Purdue
Nov 27th at Nebraska the day after Thanksgiving (‘Huskers coming off a bye week)


And possibly, if all goes well and the Hawks win the Big 10 West Division:
Dec 5th at Indianapolis vs. Big 10 East Champ (Ohio St, Mich. St, or Michigan)

How has Iowa fared against those three teams from the East in the last five years?
2014: did not play any of them
2013: Lost at #4 OH.St 34-24; home loss to MSU, 26-14; home win over Mich, 24-21
2012: Won at MSU 19-16 (2OT); lost at #23 Michigan 42-17
2011: Home loss to #13 MSU, 37-21; home win over #13 Michigan, 24-16
2010: Home loss to #8 OH.St, 20-17 (Iowa was ranked #21)
Home win over #5 MSU, 37-6 (Iowa was ranked #18)
Road win at Michigan, 38-28 (Iowa was ranked #15)

COLLEGE FBS RANKINGS

The CFP selection committee came out with its initial (and preliminary) set of rankings earlier today. The group will create rankings seven times this year, finishing up with the final rankings on December 6th, the only one that really matters.

TEAM (record) AP Rank Comment
#1 Clemson (8-0) #3 Hosts FSU this Saturday
#2 LSU (7-0) #4 Tigers play at Alabama on Saturday
#3 Ohio State (8-0) #1 Hosts Mich St 11/21, at Mich 11/28
#4 Alabama (7-1) #7 Home game vs. LSU on Saturday
#5 Notre Dame (7-1) #8 Plays at Pittsburgh on Saturday; at Stanford 11/28
#6 Baylor (7-0) #2 Tough schedule ahead: OKL, at OK.St, at TCU
#7 Michigan St. (8-0) #6 Plays at Ohio State on Nov 21st
#8 TCU (8-0) #5 Tough schedule ahead: at OK.St, at OKL, Baylor
#9 Iowa (8-0) #10 Toughest game left would be Big 10 title game
#10 Florida (7-1) #11 Hosts FSU on Nov 28th
#11 Stanford (7-1) #9 Finishes with 3 home games: Oregon, Cal, ND
#12 Utah (7-1) #13 Hosts UCLA on Nov 21st
#13 Memphis (8-0) #15 TOP GROUP OF FIVE team; beat Ole Miss
Tough schedule: at Temple, at HOU back-2-back
#14 Oklahoma St (8-0) #12 Hosts TCU on Saturday;
Hosts Baylor & Oklahoma on 11/21 & 11/28
#15 Oklahoma (7-1) #14 Tough finish: at Baylor, TCU, at Okie State
#16 Florida State (7-1) #17 Plays at Clemson on Saturday
#17 Michigan (6-2) #16 Hosts Ohio State on Nov 28th
#18 Mississippi (7-2) #19 Hosts LSU Nov 21st, plays at Miss St Nov 28th
#19 Texas A&M (6-2) #25
#20 Mississippi St (6-2) #24
#21 Northwestern (6-2) #29 Not ranked in AP Top 25; beat Stanford
#22 Temple (7-1) #23 American Conf. (AAC); hosts Memphis Nov 21st
#23 UCLA (6-2) #22
#24 Toledo (7-0) #20 MAC Conf.; plays three Tuesday games in a row
#25 Houston (8-0) #18 AAC; hosts Memphis Nov 14th
COMMENTS:
As you can see above, there are too many critical games still to be played to get excited about the initial CFP rankings.
Let’s take a look at the initial CFP rankings from last year, and then compare to how the Final Four shook out.

2014 Initial 2014 FINAL
Oct 28th Dec 5th

#1 Mississippi St #1 Alabama
#2 FSU #2 Oregon
#3 Auburn #3 Florida State
#4 Mississippi #4 Ohio State
#5 Oregon
#6 Alabama
#16 Ohio State

Only one team from the initial Top 4 made it into the playoffs. Enough said…for now.

THE 12-MEMBER CFP COMMITTEE

Chairman Jeff Long AD at University of Arkansas (SEC connection)
Barry Alvarez AD at University of Wisconsin (Big 10 connection)
Mike Gould Former Superintendent of US Air Force Academy
Kirby Hocutt AD at Texas Tech (Big XII connection);
replaced Oliver Luck (former W.VA AD), who resigned
after taking job with the NCAA in December 2014.
Tom Jernstedt Former NCAA Executive VP
Bobby Johnson Replaced Archie Manning, who resigned;
Former HC at Vanderbilt (2002-2010; SEC connection)
Tom Osborne Former HC and AD at Nebraska (Big XII connection)
Dan Radakovich AD at Clemson University (ACC connection)
Condoleezza Rice Stanford Univ. professor; former US Secretary of State
Mike Tranghese Former Commissioner of the defunct Big East Conference
Steve Wieberg Former college football reporter for USA Today
Tyrone Willingham Former HC at Washington, Notre Dame, and Stanford

Last week, USC Athletic Director Pat Haden stepped down from his role as one of 13 members on the College Football Playoff selection committee, citing health reasons and major ongoing changes at USC as factors for the decision.
"I am reluctant to step down, but my doctors advised me to reduce my traveling. With the weekly CFP meetings about to start and the travel commitment involved, I had to make this difficult decision. I feel it is in the best interest of the CFP and also of USC, with our current football coaching change and our upcoming Coliseum renovation."


ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL DETAIL

In the latest Top 25 rankings, there are 11 undefeated teams including the Top 6 ranked teams. AP#21 Temple lost a heartbreaker against AP#9 Notre Dame to fall from the unbeaten ranks.

Three teams in last week’s Top 25 lost over the weekend, and two of them fell out of the Top 25:

RANKED NEW-
TEAM RESULTS RANKING

#21 Temple Lost to visiting #9 Notre Dame, 24-20 #23
#22 Duke Lost Shocker of Year vs. Miami, 30-27 OUT
#23 Pittsburgh Lost to UNC as 1-point ‘dog, 26-19 OUT

That means two teams moved INTO the Top 25:
New #21 North Carolina
New #25 Texas A&M

The breakout of votes for the #1 ranking in the polls (with last week’s #1 votes in parentheses):

AP# Rank & Ranking in
TEAM AP Poll Coaches Poll Coaches Poll

#1 Ohio State 39 (39) 48 (49) #1 Unbeaten
#2 Baylor 6 (7) 9 (10) #2 Unbeaten
#3 Clemson 6 (6) 2 (1) #5 Unbeaten
#4 LSU 5 (5) 1 (1) #4 Unbeaten
#5 TCU 4 (3) 4 (2) #3 Unbeaten
#6 Michigan State 0 (0) 0 (0) #6 Unbeaten
#7 Alabama 1 (1) 0 (0) #7 One home loss to Ole Miss
#8 Notre Dame 0 (0) 0 (0) #9 One loss at Clemson
#9 Stanford 0 (0) 0 (0) #8 One loss at Northwestern
#10 Iowa 0 (0) 0 (0) #11 Unbeaten
#11 Florida 0 (0) 0 (0) #12 One loss at LSU
#12 Oklahoma State 0 (0) 0 (0) #10 Unbeaten

The other undefeated teams: #15 Memphis, #18 Houston, and #20 Toledo.





NFL

The Denver Broncos shut down the visiting GB Packers on Sunday night, winning 29-10 to remain unbeaten and giving Green Bay its first loss of the season. The other unbeaten teams won their matchups last weekend, so there are still FOUR undefeated teams after Week #8 (but only ONE in the National Football Conference).


NFC SOUTH:
CAROLINA (7-0) beat visiting Indianapolis on Monday night (barely) in overtime, 29-26, and the Panthers increased their lead to 1½ games over fading ATLANTA (6-2), who lost at home to Tampa Bay on Sunday. Carolina won their first seven games of the NFL season for the first time in franchise history.

AFC EAST:
NEW ENGLAND (7-0) extended its lead over the NY Jets (4-3) to 3 games after beating Miami 36-7 on Thursday night and then watching the Jets get thumped at Oakland, 34-20. Buffalo and Miami are one game behind the Jets at 3-4.

AFC NORTH:
CINCINNATI (7-0) extended its lead over Pittsburgh (4-4) to 3.5 games after beating the Steelers in Pittsburgh, 16-10 with Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger back in the lineup (but losing RB Le’Veon Bell during the game – torn MCL, out for the year). The CIN Bengals won their first seven games of the NFL season for the first time in franchise history.

AFC WEST
DENVER (7-0) beat visiting Green Bay on Sunday night, 29-10, and still has a big 3-game lead over Oakland (4-3), who won at home over the NY Jets.


THE OTHER DIVISIONS

NFC NORTH:
GREEN BAY (6-1) is now only 1 game ahead of Minnesota (5-2), who was fortunate to win at Chicago, 23-20 on Sunday after trailing 20-13 with five minutes remaining in the game.

The Hapless AFC SOUTH (all teams below .500):
The mediocre Indianapolis Colts (3-5) lost on Monday night at Carolina, 29-26, to fall into a tie for the division lead with mediocre Houston (3-5), who beat visiting AFC South foe Tennessee (1-6) on Sunday, 20-6. Jacksonville (2-5) is only ½ game out of the division lead as the Jaguars regrouped last weekend during their bye week.

The Not-Quite-As-Hapless NFC EAST (no teams above .500):
The NY Football Giants (4-4) retained the division lead, even with a 52-49 loss at New Orleans on Sunday (see ATS section below).
Philadelphia and Washington were both idle and with 3-4 records are only ½ game out of the division lead after Week #8. Cellar dweller Dallas (2-5) has lost five straight games without QB Tony Romo in the lineup, but the Cowboys are still only 1½ games behind the Gnats.

NFC WEST
Arizona (6-2) won on Sunday at Cleveland, 34-20, to maintain its 1.5-game lead over the STL Rams (4-3), who beat up on visiting San Francisco for a 27-6 victory. The SEA Seahawks (4-4) are two games out of the division lead after eking out a win in Dallas on Sunday, 13-12, kicking a 24-yard FG with one minute left in the game to win (but not cover ATS).

NFL ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS

FIVE underdogs won outright in 14 NFL games this week for an upset rate of 35.7% (21.4% the previous week).

Minnesota (+1) won at Chicago, 23-20, to break a seven-game losing streak at Soldier Field dating back to 2007. The Vikings had just won their first NFC North divisional road game since 2012 last week in Detroit.
The CHI Bears grabbed a 20-13 lead after scoring a TD with only five minutes remaining in regulation play, but Minnesota responded immediately and marched 84 yards in 7 plays to tie the game with 1:49 on the clock. The Bears had another chance, but were stopped on downs and had to punt (dropped pass by RB). The Vikings moved 48 yards into FG range on four plays and Blair Walsh was good from 36 yards out on the last play of the game for the victory.

Tampa Bay (+7) won at Atlanta in overtime, 23-20. The Buccaneers got out to a big lead, 20-3, with the help of four ATL Falcons’ turnovers and 11 penalties for 124 yards, but Atlanta stormed back and forced overtime, tied 20-20. Tampa Bay got the ball first and marched 68 yards on 15 plays but had to settle for a short field goal, giving the Atlanta offense a chance. But after the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons could only generate 22 yards in five plays and were stopped on downs.

Cincinnati (+1) won at Pittsburgh, 16-10. The CIN Bengals trailed 10-6 after three quarters; however, aided by two interceptions off of Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter, Cincinnati scored its first TD of the game with 3 minutes remaining in the game and then an “insurance” FG with 1:47 on the clock to take a six-point lead. The Steelers drove to the Cincinnati 16-yard line with 4 seconds left, but Big Ben’s final pass went out of the end zone to end their threat.


Oakland (+3) beat the visiting NY Jets, 34-20. Raiders’ QB Derek Carr threw for 333 yards and 4 TD’s and his team is in the thick of the AFC playoff race with a 4-3 record (tied for fourth best record in the American Conference with the Jets). Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was injured early in the game (torn left thumb ligament); backup Geno Smith filled in but was not a difference-maker in Oakland (and he’s also injured; bruised shoulder). Both QB’s are supposedly “day-to-day”.

Denver (+2h) beat visiting Green Bay on Sunday, 29-10. The Broncos defense held Packers’ QB Aaron Rodgers to 77 passing yards for the game – end of story.

AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)

New Orleans was favored by 3 points over the visiting NY Giants, and the game ended up in a TIE against the spread.

The NOR Saints (-3) were ahead 42-28 after three quarters, but lost the lead in the fourth quarter after the Gnats scored three unanswered TD’s (Rob Ryan’s defense was struggling). New Orleans responded like a good Arena Football League team and scored the tying TD with only 36 seconds remaining in regulation play (49-49). After the ensuing kickoff, the Giants were only able to burn off 16 seconds of clock (2 incomplete passes, two Saints’ timeouts) and were forced to punt. New Orleans returned the punt 24 yards and got an extra 15 yards on a facemask penalty, placing the ball at the Giants’ 32-yard line … into FG range… with five seconds to go. The 50-yard FG kick was “GOOD” as regulation time expired.
FINAL: NOR 52, NYG 49

NOR Saints’ Drew Brees threw SEVEN touchdown passes (tied the all-time NFL record) and racked up 511 passing yards on 40 completions in 50 attempts (80%). NY Giants’ QB Eli Manning threw six TD passes.
An all-time NFL record was broken – 13 touchdown passes in a single game.

The betting “over/under” for total points was 49; both teams reached that number. The total points scored were 101 (that is, 52 points “OVER” the total), and it was the 3rd highest point total for a single game in NFL history.
The Giants scored 49 points and lost, only the 2nd time in NFL history that dubious feat (49 or more points) had been accomplished by a losing team.

MORE COLLEGE

FCS UPDATE and
FCS TOP 25 RANKINGS

RESULTS for Top 25 matchups:

Coastal Carolina, ranked FCS#1 all year, lost at FCS#19 Charleston Southern, 33-25. CCU dropped to #8 and CSU moved up to #13.

FCS#2 Jacksonville State pummeled visiting #14 Eastern Kentucky, 34-0, and took over the #1 spot, while EKU dropped to FCS#19.
FCS#3 Illinois State beat visiting #23 Indiana State, 27-24, to move into the FCS #2 spot, and ISU dropped out of the Top 25. Just for the record Hawk fans: Iowa won its home opener 31-14 over Illinois State.

FCS#12 Portland State beat visiting #17 Montana, 35-16, to move up three spots to FCS#9, while Montana dropped five spots to #22.

FCS#15 William & Mary beat visiting #9 James Madison, 44-41, and moved up three spots to #12, while JMU dropped five spots to FCS#14.

FCS#16 Harvard eked out a home victory over FCS#22 Dartmouth, 14-13, to remain undefeated for the year. The Crimson moved up one spot to #15, while Dartmouth dropped out of the Top 25.

Other Top 25 teams:

FCS#18 Montana State lost at North Dakota, 44-38, and dropped six spots to #24.

FCS#21 Northern Iowa beat visiting South Dakota, 20-7, and the UNI Panthers evened their record for the year to 4-4 and moved up to FCS#20.

FCS #24 Southern Utah beat visiting Cal Poly-SLO, 54-37, and moved up six spots to FCS#18.

The breakout of #1 rankings in the FCS Coaches Poll are listed below (with the #1 votes for the prior week in parentheses):

#1 Jacksonville State (7-1) 23 (8)
#2 Illinois State (7-1) 3 (3)
#3 Chattanooga (7-1)
#4 Eastern Washington (6-2)
#5T North Dakota State (6-2)
#5T McNeese State (8-0)
#7 Richmond (7-1)
#8 Coastal Carolina (7-1) 0 (15)
#9T Portland State (7-1)
#9T Sam Houston State (6-2)

Others:
#11 South Dakota State (6-2)
#12 William & Mary (6-2)
#13 Charleston Southern (7-1)
#14 James Madison (7-2)
#15 Harvard (7-0)
#18 Southern Utah (6-2)
#19 Eastern Kentucky (5-3)
#20 Northern Iowa (4-4)
#21 Youngstown State (4-4) Won at Western Illinois, 23-21
#22T Montana (4-4)
#24 Montana State (4-4)


FFHL RESULTS – WEEK EIGHT

Overall, we FFHL’ers ended up barely over .500 with a record of 42-39-3 ATS (51.8%). In the NFL, we posted a monkey-like record of 14-14-3 ATS (50.0%); in college we were a bit better at 28-25-0 ATS (52.8%).

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

Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks.
We had seven contrary picks in college out of 53 total picks.
We had seven contrary picks in the NFL out of 31 total picks.

ATS Picks
Team For-Against Result / Unsolicited comments

AZ Cardinals -6 at CLE 5-0 WIN, Arizona wins 34-20 to cover by 8
GB Packers -2h at DEN 4-1 LOSS, Broncos’ defense smothers Pack
SEA Seahawks -6 at DAL 3-0 LOSS, Seattle wins only by 1 point, 13-12
CIN Bengals +1 at PIT 2-1 WIN, Cincinnati pulls out a win, 16-10
ATL Falcons -7 vs. TB 2-1 LOSS, Atlanta turnovers cause loss, 23-20 in OT
NOR Saints -3 vs. NYG 2-1 TIE, New Orleans wins by three, 52-49
MIN Vikings +1 at CHI 2-1 WIN, Minnesota victory at end of game, 23-20

Clemson -10 at NC State 6-0 WIN, CU Tigers win 56-41 to cover by 5
Texas -5h at Iowa State 4-0 LOSS, ISU Cyclones stomp the ‘Horns, 24-0
Houston -12h vs. Vandy 4-1 WIN, AP#18 HOU Cougars win handily, 34-0
Michigan -13 at MINN 3-0 LOSS, ‘Ganders win only 29-26 to not cover by 10
GA Tech -6 at Virginia 3-0 LOSS, ‘Jackets lose outright to Cavaliers, 27-21
Notre Dame -10h at Temple 3-1 LOSS, Irish barely win over Owls, 24-20
Stanford -10h at WA State 3-2 LOSS, Cardinal wins only 30-28 to not cover by 8h
Marshall -17 at Charlotte 2-1 WIN, Herd wins 24-10 to cover by 7 points

COLLEGE
This week – FFHL Week #8:
ATS STRAIGHT-UP
Record Record

FAVORITES 29-23-0 (55.8%) 43-9 (82.7%)
HOME TEAMS 23-28-0 (45.1%) 28-23 (54.9%)

COLLEGE
CUMULATIVE after nine weeks:

ATS STRAIGHT-UP
Record Record

FAVORITES 233-228-9 (50.5%) 376-94 (80.0%)
HOME TEAMS 214-237-7 (47.5%) 277-181 (60.5%)

The favorites cumulatively just went over .500 ATS for the first time this year; the home teams are still lagging and are well below .500 year-to-date ATS.

NFL
In the 8th week:
ATS STRAIGHT-UP
Record Record

FAVORITES 5-8-1 (39.3%) 9-5 (64.3%)
HOME TEAMS 7-5-1 (57.7%) 9-4 (69.2%)

Note: four teams had “byes”, and one game was in London

NFL
CUMULATIVE after eight weeks:

ATS STRAIGHT-UP
Record Record

FAVORITES 52-61-6 (46.2%) 77-42 (64.7%)
HOME TEAMS 55-55-6 (50.0%) 67-49 (57.8%)

The home teams are now exactly 50% ATS for the year, just like the bookmakers want it.
The favorites are lagging year-to-date ATS (3.8% below “expected” 50% mark).

FOOTBALL NEWS and MINUTIA

Tennessee Titans’ HC Ken Whisenhunt has been fired going into Week #9. The interim HC will be Mike Mularkey, previously the head coach of the BUF Bills and JAX Jaguars and most recently the assistant HC/TE coach in Tennessee.

The Indianapolis Colts have fired offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton heading into their Week #9 matchup at home against Denver on Sunday.

NFL INJURIES

Miami Dolphins’ DE Cameron Wake is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon.

PIT Steelers RB Le’Veon Bell is out for the year with a torn MCL.

SD Chargers’ WR Keenan Allen is out for the year with a lacerated kidney (that sounds so much worse than a “mundane” torn knee ligament).

Aging BAL Ravens’ WR Steve Smith Sr. is out for the year with a torn Achilles tendon, and it may be the end of his career. He eventually wants to retire as a Carolina Panther, where he played for 13 years.

Seattle kick returner/WR Ricardo Lockett is out for the year with a neck injury requiring surgery.

SF 49’ers RB Reggie Bush is out for the year with a torn ACL (slipped on concrete at Edward Jones Stadium in St. Louis; needs to be fixed—the dangerous area and Bush’s knee).

NY Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick tore a thumb ligament on his non-throwing hand and is considered day-to-day (pain tolerance issue; will have surgery after the season). Uh-oh Jets’ fans, it may be time to bring in backup Geno Smith, who is also day-to-day with a bruised shoulder.

NFL TRADE DEADLINE
Although there was some speculation, not much happened at this year’s trade deadline with one exception.
San Francisco traded TE Vernon Davis and a 7th round draft pick in 2016 to the Denver Broncos for two 6th round picks, one in 2016 and one in 2017. Denver tight ends have caught only 23 passes this season, which is ranked 28th in the league.
NOTE:
Just before the trade deadline this afternoon, Denver tried to construct another trade, this time with Cleveland for All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas. The Broncos were offering their 2016 first round draft pick, but the Browns wanted more and the deal didn’t get done.

COLLEGE

University of Minnesota HC Jerry Kill was forced to retire immediately due to health reasons. He didn’t coach last weekend’s game vs. Michigan, but his spirit likely lived within the players. The Gophers (+13) nearly pulled off the upset – behind 29-26 with one play remaining in the game from the ‘Ganders 1-yard line, and passing up the opportunity for a tying FG, Minnesota was unable to punch it in for the winning TD.

Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett was cited with a misdemeanor for operating a vehicle while impaired (alcohol related) and was suspended for one game by HC Urban Meyer (home game vs. Minnesota on Saturday; Cardale Jones will start in his place).


FUMBLED PUNT STILL HAUNTS MICHIGAN
From the October 29th Waterloo Courier via a resident Hawk fan from Oelwein, Iowa:
"A Lansing, MI taxidermist is honoring MSU's [Spartans] stunning football victory over Michigan on the blocked punt return, with dead, stuffed chipmunks wearing team helmets and a referee signaling touchdown. The display includes a scoreboard, and is for sale for $1,500."

NON-FOOTBALL NEWS

Thoroughbred American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown winner, won the final race of his career in the Breeders Cup Classic at Keeneland Race Track on Saturday, October 31st. He won by 6½ lengths, giving him the distinction of being the only horse to win the so-called “Grand Slam” (Triple Crown plus Classic). American Pharoah is the only horse to ever have had the chance to complete the Grand Slam, because the Breeders Cup started in 1984 and the last Triple Crown winner before Pharoah was Affirmed in 1978.

American Pharoah had 11 career starts and raced at 9 different tracks (loss in his first race as a 2-year old, placing fifth; one loss this summer on August 29th after the Triple Crown races-lost by ¾ length; nine wins, including the really important 3-year old races and the Classic to wrap up his racing career; now he can have some fun going to stud).

The last five Triple Crown winners have won their final race before retiring.



LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate
COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #9 (college FB’s 10th week)

Tuesday Northern Illinois (+7) at AP#20 Toledo
Nov 3rd

Wednesday Ohio U. (+21) at Bowling Green
Nov 4th

Thursday AP#25 Mississippi St (-8) at Missouri
Nov 5th AP#2 Baylor (-17) at Kansas State BU Bears’ QB out for year
Nevada (-4h) at Fresno State
Ball State (+14h) at Western Michigan
Buffalo (-2h) at Kent State
Arkansas State (+10h) at Appalachian State

Friday BYU (-12h) at San Jose State
Nov 6th AP#23 Temple (-13) at SMU
Rice (-6h) at UTEP


Saturday TOP 25 MATCHUPS
Nov 7th AP#4 LSU (+6h) at AP#7 Alabama
AP#5 TCU (-5) at AP#12 Oklahoma State
AP#17 Florida State (+12h) at AP#3 Clemson

Other ranked teams in action:
AP#6 Michigan State (-5) at Nebraska
AP#10 Iowa (-6h) at Indiana
Minnesota (+23h) at AP#1 Ohio State Buckeye QB will be C. Jones
AP#13 Utah (+1h) at Washington
AP#9 Stanford (-16h) at Colorado
AP#22 UCLA (-17h) at Oregon State
Iowa State (+25h) at AP#14 Oklahoma
AP#8 Notre Dame (-8) at Pittsburgh
Duke (+8) at AP#21 North Carolina
Cincinnati (+8h) at AP#18 Houston
Navy (+8) at AP#15 Memphis

Others:
Arizona (+17h) at USC
California (+4h) at Oregon
Army (+17) at Air Force
Colorado State (no line yet) at Wyoming

Tuesday AP#20 Toledo (no line yet) at Central Michigan
Nov 10th

NFL WEEK #9 – SELECTED GAMES

BYE WEEKS: AZ, BAL, DET, HOU, KC, SEA

Thursday Cleveland (+11) at Cincinnati Browns’ QB Manziel to start
Nov 5th

Sunday Divisional Matchups:
Nov 8th Miami (+3) at Buffalo
Philadelphia (-2h) at Dallas Cowboys’ starting QB Cassel
Others:
Oakland (+4h) at Pittsburgh
Green Bay (-2h) at Carolina
St. Louis (+2h) at Minnesota
Denver (-4h) at Indianapolis
Monday Chicago (+3h) at San Diego
Nov 9th
FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTION

QUESTION #1: New Orleans QB Drew Brees threw seven TD passes and racked up over 500 yards passing during the game last Sunday against the New York Giants. Only one other QB in NFL history has accomplished that feat. Who is he?
HINT #1: It was prior to the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, and he’s relatively well-known, a Hall of Famer.
HINT #2: If you get his real first and middle name correct, you are kicked out of the FFHL pool. Seriously, this is a hint.






ANSWER #1:
Yelberton Abraham (Y.A.) Tittle in 1962, who did it at age 36 (coincidentally, Brees is 36 years old).
Tittle was drafted #6 overall in 1948 and played for the Baltimore Colts (1948-1950), San Francisco 49’ers (1951-1960), and the NY Giants (1961-1964).
Tittle was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 with an impressive resume.


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