Wednesday, November 25, 2015

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK ELEVEN

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,

COLLEGE: Rivalry games, matchups to decide conference division winners, and ranked teams facing each other in critical games to determine the four playoff teams.  You've got it all this THANKSGIVING WEEKEND.


In the NFL, we have three games on Thursday for continuous viewing throughout the day.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

Thanksgiving Weekend is RIVALRY WEEK in college football. And there are critical games that will determine conference divisional winners, not to mention those games that will significantly shape the CFP playoff picture. Lots of big games to watch this weekend; see listings near bottom of letter before Quiz Questions.

COLLEGE

The number of undefeated teams is now down to TWO:
CFP#1 CLEMSON (-29h) beat visiting Wake Forest, 33-13.


CFP#5 IOWA (-21) beat visiting Purdue, 40-20.

THREE previously unbeaten teams lost on Saturday:
CFP#3 OHIO STATE (-13) lost at home to CFP#9 Michigan State, 17-14
CFP#6 OKLAHOMA STATE (-1) lost at home to CFP#10 Baylor, 45-35
CFP#19 HOUSTON lost at UConn, 20-17.

It has been difficult for even the top teams in the nation to keep a healthy quarterback on the field, although many of the backups have done quite well. It’s hard to keep up with the attrition, but here are a few examples:

BAYLOR lost starting junior QB Seth Russell for the season at the end of October, and then backup freshman Jarrett Stidham performed well until he was injured. 3rd-stringer Chris Johnson stepped up, and has continued to fill in when Stidham is out (back, ankle).

TCU senior starting QB Trevone Boykin, one of the preseason frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy, has been battling an ankle injury. He did not play in the Oklahoma game last weekend. Replacing Boykin in the starting lineup was redshirt freshman Foster Sawyer, who started fast but then struggled. He was replaced by senior Bram Kohlhausen, who nearly finished off a big Horned Frogs comeback at Oklahoma (two-point conversion to win the game failed and Sooners prevailed 30-29). Boykin may be back for the big game with Baylor this weekend.

OKLAHOMA starting sophomore QB Baker Mayfield was knocked out of last week’s game (concussion) in the first half against TCU. His replacement was junior Trevor Knight. Mayfield is questionable for a key game this week at Oklahoma State, but has passed several concussion protocols.

NOTRE DAME lost its starting QB sophomore Malik Zaire for the season (early, in mid-September before their Clemson loss), but some pundits say backup redshirt freshman QB DeShone Kizer is better than Zaire.

MICHIGAN STATE QB Connor Cook was injured and did not play in the Spartans’ upset win over Ohio State in Columbus, OH in Week #11. Junior backup QB Tyler O’Connor “managed the game” adequately in attempting only 12 passes (7 completions for 89 yards) and 25 yards rushing on 8 attempts.

FLORIDA QB Will Grier (a redshirt freshman; #3 nationally ranked QB out of high school) was caught by the NCAA for a positive performance-enhancing drug test in mid-October and was suspended for one year (not eligible to return until October of 2016). Since then, the Gators have struggled; they lost at LSU, and then barely won against the weakest of opponents (including Vanderbilt and Florida Atlantic at home). Sophomore backup QB Treon Harris took over, but is not of the same caliber as Grier (it appears from results on the field).

WASHINGTON STATE QB Luke Falk is questionable this week in the Apple Cup rivalry at Washington on Friday.

OREGON QB Vernon Adams Jr., a transfer from EWU in 2015, was injured early in a Week #4 game (in late September) and the Ducks were downed big-time at home by Utah, 62-20, with junior backup Jeff Lockie taking over at QB. The Ducks struggled and the damage to their record was done, but now Adams is back and on track; last weekend at home vs. USC he was 20 of 25 for 407 yards passing, 6 TD’s and 1 INT and led his team to a 48-28 victory.

FBS ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS
This week THIRTEEN underdogs won outright in 58 FBS games for an upset rate of 22.4% (25.9% last week).

FIRST LOSSES OF THE SEASON

AP#9 Michigan State (+13) won at previously undefeated AP#2 Ohio State, 17-14. The Buckeyes’ 23-game winning streak was snapped. MSU outgained the Buckeyes from scrimmage, 294-132, and won the war despite losing the turnover battle, 2-0. Ohio State generated only five first downs in the game.

AP#10 Baylor (+1) won at previously undefeated AP#4 Oklahoma State, 45-35.
Connecticut (+5) beat visiting and previously undefeated AP#13 Houston, 20-17.

UPSET WINS RESULT IN TOP 25 RANKING

Last Tuesday night, Toledo (+7) won at Bowling Green, 44-28, and with the win moved up into the AP Top 25.

Mississippi State (+3h) won at Arkansas, 51-50. Behind 42-31 after three quarters, the MSU Bulldogs fought back to claim victory and moved into the AP Top 25.

Temple (+1h) beat visiting Memphis, 31-12, and moved into the AP Top 25.

UCLA (+2) won at AP#18 Utah, 17-9. The Bruins moved into the AP Top 25, and the Utes dropped out of the rankings.

OTHER UNDERDOG WINNERS

Last Friday night, South Florida (+2h) beat visiting Cincinnati, 65-27.

Last Friday night, Air Force (+12) won at Boise State, 37-30.

Indiana (+3) won at Maryland, 47-28.

Miami of Ohio (+10) won at UMass, 20-13.

New Mexico State (+16) won at Louisiana-Lafayette, 37-34.

AP#20 Northwestern (+10h) won at AP#21 Wisconsin, 13-7, knocking the UW Badgers out of the AP Top 25.

“NOT QUITE”

Iowa State (+6) made this list for the second straight week. After blowing a big lead at home vs. Oklahoma State the previous week, the ISU Cyclones blew a 35-14 halftime lead at Kansas State in Week #11 and lost 38-35 (did not score in 2nd half). Head coach Paul Rhodes was fired after the game; he posted a record of 32-54 in seven seasons with the Cyclones.

COLLEGE CONFERENCE RACES

BIG 10 WEST:

Iowa (7-0) clinched the division title with a 40-20 win over Purdue on Saturday.

BIG 10 EAST:

One of Ohio State (6-1), Michigan State (6-1) and Michigan (6-1) will win the division title.
Ohio State plays at Michigan in the regular season finale; the loser is eliminated.
However, MICHIGAN STATE holds the tiebreaker over both the Buckeyes and Wolverines, so the Spartans just need a home win vs. Penn State in their regular season finale to win the division.

BIG 10 TITLE GAME: December 5th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

ACC ATLANTIC:
Clemson (7-0) has clinched.

ACC COASTAL:
North Carolina (7-0) clinched the division title with a 30-27 overtime win at VA Tech on Saturday.

ACC TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC.

SEC EAST:
Florida (7-1) has clinched. The Gators looked mediocre at best in a 20-14 overtime home win over 31-point underdog Florida Atlantic on Saturday.

SEC WEST:
Alabama (6-1) has nearly clinched, but Ole Miss (5-2) could still win the division with a win against Mississippi State and a Crimson Tide loss at Auburn in the Iron Bowl. [Mississippi has the head-to-head tiebreaker over ‘Bama; we can hope].

SEC TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA.

PAC-12 NORTH:
Stanford (8-1) wrapped up the division title with a 35-22 home win over CAL.

PAC-12 SOUTH:
USC and UCLA are tied with 5-3 records and will play each other on Saturday at the LA Coliseum to determine the division winner. The Bruins won at Utah 17-9 last Saturday night to eliminate the Utes from contention.

PAC-12 TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA.

BIG XII:
Three teams still have a shot.
Oklahoma (7-1) Road game at OK State to finish
Baylor (6-1) Road game at TCU; then home vs. Texas
OK State (7-1) Home game vs. Oklahoma to finish

The OK Sooners own the head-to-head tiebreaker over Baylor, having beaten the Bears on the road in Waco, 44-34.
The BU Bears own the tiebreaker over the OK State Cowboys, having won at Stillwater, OK on Saturday night, 45-35.
With a one-point loss at Oklahoma on Saturday night, 30-29, TCU (6-2) was eliminated from contention for the conference title.

Oklahoma will win the conference with a victory at OK State this Saturday.
If Oklahoma State wins, then Baylor would captures the conference title with two wins to finish its regular season; otherwise, the OSU Cowboys will win the Big XII.
Note: there is no conference title game; each team plays the other nine teams in the conference during the regular season.

GROUP OF FIVE CONFERENCES
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (AAC – “AMERICAN”)

AAC WEST:
Navy (7-0) plays at Houston (6-1) on Friday to determine the division winner.

AAC EAST:
To clinch the division title, Temple (6-1) needs either a home victory over UConn on Saturday or a South Florida (5-2) loss at Central Florida on Thanksgiving Day.
AAC TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th, a home game for the division winner with the best conference record.

MOUNTAIN WEST (MW)

MW MOUNTAIN
Air Force (6-1) clinched the division title after upsetting the Boise State Broncos (4-3) in Boise, ID last Friday night.

MW WEST
San Diego State (7-0) clinched the division title over weak competition (NEV, SJ.ST, UNLV, Fresno, Hawaii). The SDSU Aztecs went unbeaten in the conference for the first time in school history.

MW TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at the home field of the “higher-ranked” division winner;
A composite poll will be used to determine the host team, with the higher-ranked school earning the home field advantage.

MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (MAC)

MAC EAST
Bowling Green (6-1) has clinched the division title.

MAC WEST
Four teams still have a shot.
Northern Illinois (6-1) hosts East Division’s Ohio U. tonight (Tuesday).
Toledo (6-1) hosts Western Michigan (5-2).
Central Michigan (5-2) hosts Eastern Michigan (0-7) on Friday night.

The Northern Illinois Huskies hold the tiebreaker over Toledo, having beaten the Rockets in Toledo, OH three weeks ago, 32-27.

MAC TITLE GAME: Friday, Dec. 4th at Ford Field in Detroit, MI.

CONFERENCE USA (C-USA)

C-USA EAST
Marshall (6-1) plays at Western Kentucky (7-0) on Friday night to determine the division winner.

C-USA WEST
Southern Mississippi (6-1) plays at Louisiana Tech (6-1) on Saturday to determine the division winner.

C-USA TITLE GAME: Saturday, Dec. 5th at home field of division winner with the best conference record.

SUN BELT CONFERENCE (SBC)

Three teams have a shot at the conference title. The SBC consists of 11 teams and does not have a conference title game.
Arkansas State (6-0) holds the tiebreaker over Appalachian State (5-1), who holds the tiebreaker over Georgia Southern (5-1). But ARK State and GA Southern don’t play each other this year, so I’m not sure what the next tiebreaker would be.
All three teams have two games remaining in their regular seasons.

COLLEGE FBS RANKINGS

The CFP selection committee released its third set of rankings on Tuesday night. Once again, the final rankings on December 6th will be the only ones that matter.

TEAM (record)              AP Rank Comment

#1 Clemson (11-0)            #1 Plays at soft S.CAR; then UNC in ACC title game
#2 Alabama (10-1)           #2 Plays at Auburn & with win plays FL for SEC Title
#3 Oklahoma (10-1)         #5 Plays at Okie State on Saturday
#4 Iowa (11-0)                 #3 Plays at Nebraska in regular season finale on Friday
#5 Michigan St. (10-1)     #6 Hosts Penn State on Saturday; controls destiny
#6 Notre Dame (10-1)      #4 Plays at Stanford on Saturday
#7 Baylor (9-1)                #7 Plays at TCU on Friday
#8 Ohio State (10-1)        #8 Plays at Michigan on Saturday
#9 Stanford (9-2)             #13 Hosts Notre Dame on Saturday
#10 Michigan (9-2)          #12 Hosts Ohio State on Saturday
#11 Oklahoma St (10-1)   #9 Hosts Oklahoma on Saturday
#12 Florida (10-1)           #10 Hosts #14 FSU on Saturday
#13 Florida State (9-2)    #14 Plays at Florida on Saturday
#14 N. Carolina (10-1)    #11 Plays at NC St. on Sat.; then Clemson for ACC title
#15 Navy (9-1)                #16 TOP GROUP OF 5 team; plays at HOU Friday
#16 Northwestern (9-2)   #17
#17 Oregon (8-3)             #18
#18 Mississippi (8-3)      #19 Plays at Miss. St on Saturday
#19 TCU (9-2)                 #15 Hosts Baylor on Friday
#20 Washington St. (8-3) #20
#21 Miss. State (8-3)       #23
#22 UCLA (8-3)              #22 Plays at USC on Saturday
#23 Utah (8-3)                 #26
#24 Toledo (9-1)             #24
#25 Temple (9-2)            #25

COMMENTS:
There are so many critical games this weekend that I am going to stifle myself until the turkey has settled.

ODDS FOR TEAMS TO WIN THE CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

The Las Vegas SuperBook has posted odds for teams to win the NCAA title (as of 11/23/15):

ALABAMA 3/2
CLEMSON 4/1
OKLAHOMA 7/1
BAYLOR 8/1
NOTRE DAME 8/1
MICHIGAN ST. 12/1
IOWA 20/1
OHIO STATE 20/1

ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL DETAIL
In the latest AP Top 25 rankings, there are only TWO remaining undefeated teams (after Ohio State, Oklahoma State, and Houston lost last weekend).

EIGHT teams in last week’s AP Top 25 lost over the weekend (for the 3rd week in a row), and four of them fell out of the Top 25:

RANKED                                                                         NEW-
TEAM     RESULTS                                                         RANKING
#2 Ohio State Lost to visiting #9 Mich.St, 17-14           #8 [MSU #6]
#4 Oklahoma State Lost to visiting #10 Baylor, 45-35   #9 [Baylor #7]
#11 TCU Lost at #7 Oklahoma, 30-29                            #15 [OKLA #5]
#13 Houston Lost at unranked UConn, 20-17                  #21
#17 LSU Lost at #25 Ole Miss, 38-17                            OUT [MISS #19]
#18 Utah Lost to visiting UCLA, 17-9                            OUT [UCLA #22]
#21 Wisconsin Lost to visiting #20 Northwestern, 13-7 OUT [NW #17]
#22 USC Lost at #23 Oregon, 48-28                               OUT [OREG #18]

That means four teams moved INTO the Top 25:
New #22 UCLA (8-3)
New #23 Mississippi State (8-3)
New #24 Toledo (9-1)
New #25 Temple (9-2)

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 Clemson     55 (34)   58 (28)                 #1 Unbeaten
#2 Alabama       6 (4)      5 (4)                    #2 One home loss to Ole Miss
#3 Iowa             0 (0)      1 (0)                    #3 Unbeaten
#4 Notre Dame  0 (0)      0 (0)                    #4 One loss at #1 Clemson
#5 Oklahoma     0 (0)      0 (0)                    #5 One loss vs. Texas (neutral)
#6 Michigan State 0 (0)  0 (0)                    #6 One loss at Nebraska
#7 Baylor          0 (0)      0 (0)                    #7 One home loss to Oklahoma
#8 Ohio State    0 (23)    0 (32)                  #8 One home loss to Mich. State
#9 Oklahoma State 0 (0) 0 (0)                    #10 One home loss to Baylor
#10 Florida       0 (0)      0 (0)                    #9 One loss at LSU
#11 North Carolina 0 (0) 0 (0)                   #11 One loss to S.CAR (neutral)


#12 Michigan    0 (0)      0 (0)                    #T12 Two losses: Mich.St, at Utah
#13 Stanford     0 (0)       0 (0)                   #T12 Two losses: at NW, OREG

COLLEGE BOWL GAMES

After Week #11, there were still only 71 teams that had become bowl-eligible (six or more qualifying wins). With 80 teams needed to fill all of the bowl spots (41 bowl games including the CFP Final), there is a real threat that one or more teams with a 5-7 record will receive a bowl invitation (if less than nine of the teams below don’t get six wins).

The following 16 teams can still reach the 6-win mark before the end of the regular season (12-game regular season):

TEAM                  RECORD
East Carolina          5-6
Tulsa                       5-6
Virginia Tech          5-6
Indiana                    5-6
Illinois                    5-6
Minnesota               5-6
Nebraska                5-6
Old Dominion        5-6
Buffalo                   5-6
San Jose State        5-6
Washington            5-6
Kentucky                5-6
Missouri                5-6
South Alabama      5-5
LA-Lafayette         4-6
Texas                    4-6

FCS PLAYOFFS

The Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) playoffs begin this Saturday, November 28th. Twenty-four teams qualified for the postseason tournament. The eight seeded playoff teams get a bye week; the other 16 teams play in Round 1, with the winners earning the right to face one of the seeded teams in Round 2.

Note that the FCS Coaches Poll Rankings are different than the seedings for the playoffs.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

FCS#15 Fordham (9-2) at FCS#8 Chattanooga (8-3)
Winner faces #1 seed Jacksonville State (10-1), ranked FCS#1 [only loss at Auburn]

FCS#29 Western Illinois (6-5) at FCS# 30 Dayton (10-1)
Winner faces #2 seed Illinois State (9-2), ranked FCS#4 [was 2014 runner-up in playoffs]

FCS#12 South Dakota State (8-3) at FCS#17 Montana (7-4)
Winner faces #3 seed North Dakota State (9-2), ranked FCS#3 [4-time FCS champion]

FCS#16 Southern Utah (8-3) at FCS#10 Sam Houston State (8-3)
Winner faces #4 seed McNeese State (10-0), ranked FCS#2 [only unbeaten FCS team; the MSU Cowboys had LSU on their schedule, but game was cancelled-bad weather]

FCS#35 Colgate (7-4) at FCS#28 New Hampshire (7-4)
Winner faces #5 seed James Madison (9-2), ranked FCS#6 [beat FBS SMU 48-45]

FCS#25 Eastern Illinois (7-4) at FCS#14 Northern Iowa (7-4)
Winner faces #6 seed Portland State (9-2), ranked FCS#5 [beat FBS WA.St & N.Texas]

Unranked Duquesne (8-3) at FCS#13 William & Mary (8-3)
Winner faces #7 seed Richmond (8-3), ranked FCS#11 [no FBS wins]

FCS#18 The Citadel (8-3) at FCS#9 Coastal Carolina (9-2)
Winner faces #8 seed Charleston Southern (9-2), ranked FCS#7 [no FBS wins]

FCS RESULTS FROM LAST WEEKEND

FCS#4 Coastal Carolina lost at unranked Liberty, 24-21, and dropped five spots in the pre-playoff rankings; the CCU Chanticleers missed out on a “bye” week in the playoffs.

FCS#5 South Dakota State lost at Western Illinois, 30-24, and dropped seven spots in the pre-playoff rankings. The SDSU Jackrabbits also missed out on a playoff “bye” week.

FCS#7 William & Mary lost to visiting FCS#16 Richmond, 20-9, and dropped six spots in the pre-playoff rankings. The W&M Tribe missed out on a playoff “bye” week.

FCS#13 North Carolina A&T lost to visiting NC Central, 21-16, and didn’t get an invitation to the playoffs.

FCS#19 Eastern Washington lost to visiting FCS#11 Portland State, 34-31, and the EWU Eagles missed out on their chance for the playoffs.

FCS#20 Northern Arizona lost at FCS#18 Southern Utah, 49-41, and also failed to get a spot in the playoffs.

FCS#25 Central Arkansas lost to visiting FCS#12 Sam Houston State, 42-13, and failed to get a spot in the playoffs.

FCS#15 Northern Iowa beat visiting Southern Illinois, 49-28, and the UNI Panthers with the win secured a spot in the playoffs.

FCS RANKINGS PRIOR TO PLAYOFFS

PLAYOFF
SEEDING
#1 Jacksonville State (10-1)         #1           Only loss (barely) at FBS Auburn, 31-24
#2 McNeese State (10-0)              #4
#3 North Dakota State (9-2)         #3
#4 Illinois State (9-2)                   #2
#5 Portland State (9-2)                 #6
#6 James Madison (9-2)               #5
#7 Charleston Southern (9-2)       #8
#8 Chattanooga (8-3)                   Not seeded
#9 Coastal Carolina (9-2)           Not seeded
#10 Sam Houston State (8-3)      Not seeded
#11 Richmond (8-3)                    #7
#12 South Dakota State (8-3)      Not seeded
#13 William & Mary (8-3)         Not seeded
#14 Northern Iowa (7-4)            Not seeded
#15 Fordham (9-2)                     Not seeded
#16 Southern Utah (8-3)             Not seeded
#17 Montana (7-4)                     Not seeded
#18 The Citadel (8-3)                Not seeded

#19 through #24 didn’t make the playoffs:
Harvard (9-1), North Carolina A&T (9-2), Bethune-Cookman (9-2), Dartmouth (9-1), Northern Arizona (7-4), and Grambling State (8-2)

Other playoff teams:
#25 Eastern Illinois (7-4)         Not seeded
#28 New Hampshire (7-4)       Not seeded
#29 Western Illinois (6-5)        Not seeded
#30 Dayton (10-1)                    Not seeded
#35 Colgate (7-4)                     Not seeded

NFL

UNBEATENS
After Week #11, there are still TWO undefeated teams (NE and CAR at 10-0).

NFL ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS
SIX underdogs won outright in 14 NFL games this week for an upset rate of 42.9% (71.4% the previous week).

Detroit (+1h) beat visiting Oakland, 18-13.
Dallas (+1) won at Miami, 24-14, with Cowboys’ QB Tony Romo back in the lineup.
Indianapolis (+6) won at Atlanta, 24-21.
Green Bay (+1) won at Minnesota, 30-13.
Tampa Bay (+6) won at Philadelphia, 45-17.
Denver (+1) won at Chicago, 17-15, with the Broncos’ QB Manning out of action.

NFL DIVISIONAL STANDINGS
AFC

AFC EAST:


NEW ENGLAND (10-0) extended its lead over the NY Jets (5-5) and Buffalo (5-5) to four games after the Patriots beat the visiting Bills on Monday night, 20-13. The Bills and Jets are currently tied for the 2nd wild card spot with Kansas City and Indianapolis/Houston.

AFC NORTH:
CINCINNATI (8-2) saw its lead shrink to 2 games over idle Pittsburgh (6-4) after the Bengals lost on Sunday night at Arizona, 34-31. The PIT Steelers currently hold the first wild card spot in the AFC.

AFC WEST
DENVER (8-2) won at Chicago on Sunday, 17-15, with QB Brock Osweiler subbing for the injured Peyton Manning. The Broncos maintained their big 3-game lead in the division over the KC Chiefs (5-5), who won handily at San Diego, 33-3.

The Hapless AFC SOUTH (no teams over .500):
The mediocre Indianapolis Colts (5-5) and the mediocre Houston Texans (5-5) are now tied for the division lead after both teams won in Week #11. Jacksonville (4-6) is only one game back after beating Tennessee 19-13 on Thursday night.

NFC

NFC SOUTH:
CAROLINA (10-0) beat Washington 44-16, and the Panthers increased their lead to four games over Atlanta (6-4), who lost for the 4th straight time. However, the slumping Falcons currently hold one of the two wild card spots in the NFC.

NFC NORTH:
GREEN BAY (7-3) and MINNESOTA (7-3) are tied for the division lead after the Packers won on the road over the Vikings on Sunday, 30-13.

The Hapless NFC EAST (no team over .500)
The NY Football Giants (5-5) increased its division lead during a “bye” week to one full game over Philadelphia (4-6), who lost at home to Tampa Bay, 45-17. Also lurking is Washington (4-6), but they also lost at Carolina to not reach the .500 mark for the season. Cellar dweller Dallas (3-7) is still only 2 games behind the NYG after QB Tony Romo came back from injury and led his team to victory on Sunday at Miami.

NFC WEST


Arizona (8-2) retained its division lead of three games over the SEA Seahawks (5-5), as both teams won at home on Sunday of Week #11.

FFHL RESULTS – WEEK ELEVEN

Overall, we FFHL’ers posted a decent record of 45-36-3 ATS (55.4%). But in the NFL, we stunk it up with a record of 11-16-3 ATS (41.7%, better than last week). In college games we were a solid 34-20-0 ATS (63.0%). We selected 23 underdogs and posted a stellar record of 17-6-0 ATS (73.9%). With the college ‘dogs, we were 11-4-0 ATS (73.3%) and with NFL ‘dogs we were 6-2-0 ATS (75.0%). That means our “favorites” picks were not that great again at 28-30-3 ATS (48.4%).

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

Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks.
We had only three contrary picks in college out of 54 total picks.
We had six contrary picks in the NFL out of 30 total picks.

                                              ATS Picks
Team                                     For-Against                    Result / Unsolicited comments
OAK Raiders -1h at DET        5-0                    LOSS, Detroit wins outright, 18-13
AZ Cardinals -4 vs. CIN         4-2                    LOSS, Arizona wins only 34-31 to not cover by 1
NE Patriots -7 vs. BUF           3-0                    TIE, New England won 20-13 to tie ATS
CHI Bears -1 vs. DEN            3-1                    LOSS, Denver wins outright, 17-15
CAR Panthers -7 vs. WSH      2-1                   WIN, Carolina blows out Washington, 44-16
Navy -12 at Tulsa                    6-0                   WIN, Midshipmen win 44-21 to cover by 11
Michigan -4 at Penn State        7-1                   WIN, Wolverines win 28-16 to cover by 8
Michigan St +13 at OH ST      5-0                   WIN, Spartans upset host OSU Buckeyes, 17-14
Arkansas -3h vs. Miss. St.      3-0                    LOSS, ARK Razorbacks lose outright, 51-50

COLLEGE

This week – FFHL Week #11:

                                           ATS               STRAIGHT-UP
                                       Record                 Record

FAVORITES               34-24-0 (58.6%)   45-13 (77.6%)
HOME TEAMS         26-31-0 (45.6%)    32-25 (56.1%)

There was one neutral site game: Notre Dame vs. Boston College at Fenway Park

COLLEGE
CUMULATIVE after twelve weeks:

                                   ATS                        STRAIGHT-UP
                                Record                         Record

FAVORITES      322-312-12 (50.8%)      509-137 (78.8%)
HOME TEAMS 287-335-10 (46.2%)      372-260 (58.9%)

NFL
In the 11th week:

                                      ATS                    STRAIGHT-UP
                                   Record                     Record

FAVORITES           6-7-1 (46.4%)            8-6 (57.1%)
HOME TEAMS     6-7-1 (46.4%)            8-6 (57.1%)

Note: four teams had “byes”

NFL
CUMULATIVE after eleven weeks:

                                   ATS                     STRAIGHT-UP
                                Record                     Record

FAVORITES       67-86-7 (44.1%)        97-63 (60.6%)
HOME TEAMS 72-78-7 (48.1%)         87-70 (55.4%)

FOOTBALL NEWS and MINUTIA

NFL – RACE FOR THE #1 OVERALL DRAFT PICK

The #1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft is still up for grabs.
Here is the latest list of contenders:
Cleveland    2-8
San Diego    2-8
Tennessee    2-8
SF                3-7
Baltimore    3-7
Detroit         3-7
Dallas         3-7

COLLEGE COACHING CHANGES
Syracuse fired its head coach Scott Shafer after the Orangemen’s loss at NC State last Saturday. He will finish out the season vs. Boston College.
The heat seems to be heavily on Louisiana State HC Les Miles, who reportedly gets a $15 million buyout if the LSU Tigers decide to let him go. Stay tuned.

NFL MINUTIA
BAL Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco torn his ACL and MCL and is out for the season. Baltimore just picked up Jimmy Clausen, who had been cut earlier in the week by the CHI Bears (so they could retain rookie practice squad QB David Fales, who was promoted to the active roster). Baltimore’s OC is former Bears’ HC Marc Trestman, hence the connection with Clausen. The Ravens’ starter for Week #12 will be former backup Matt Schaub.

The undefeated CAR Panthers get some good news. DE Charles Johnson comes off the IR to the active roster for Week #12.

CIN Bengals lost CB Darqueze Dennard for the year after he suffered a shoulder injury in last week’s game at Arizona. It was his first career start, having replaced an injured Adam “Pacman” Jones.

HOU Texans QB Brian Hoyer will return as the starter in Week #12; he had suffered a concussion in Week #10. Backup T.J. Yates won two games for Houston while Hoyer recovered. Good choice? HC Bill O’Brien may be second-guessed on this decision if the Texans start losing again.

DEN Broncos’ backup QB Brock Osweiler is going to start in Week #12 vs. New England. Peyton Manning is either still recovering from injuries, and/or is over the hill.


CLE Browns QB Johnny Manziel was promoted to starting QB for the remainder of the season heading into their bye week. Last weekend, he went out “partying” and was videotaped in an unflattering (maybe inebriated) state, although it appeared to be no big deal on the surface. But HC Mike Pettine again saw a lack of leadership characteristics (I’m extrapolating here) and has already demoted him to 3rd string. Josh McCown will start in Week #12, and the backup will be Austin Davis.

OAK Raiders DE Aldon Smith has been suspended from the NFL for one year through mid-November of 2016.

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate

COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #12 (college FB’s 13th week)

Tuesday Ohio U. (+13h) at Northern Illinois
Nov 24th Bowling Green (-23) at Ball State

Thursday Texas Tech (+1h) at Texas
Nov 26th South Florida (no line yet) at Central Florida
TURKEY
DAY

Friday AP#3 Iowa (-1h) at Nebraska Hawks 6-day rest; ‘Huskers 13-day rest
Nov 27th Oregon State (+34h) at AP#18 Oregon
AP#20 Washington State (NL) at Washington WSU QB? Playing for “Apple Cup”
AP#7 Baylor (no line yet) at AP#15 TCU Both QB situations??
AP# 5 Oklahoma (-6h) at AP#9 Oklahoma State “Bedlam” game
Miami.FL (+6) at Pittsburgh
AP#16 Navy (NL) at Houston for AAC West Title; HOU QB??
Tulsa (-6) at Tulane
Boise State (-7h) at San Jose State
Western Michigan (+8) at Toledo
Eastern Michigan (+24) at Central Michigan
Kent State (+10h) at Akron
Massachusetts (+6h) at Buffalo
Marshall (+10h) at Western Kentucky
Troy (+1) at Georgia State

Saturday TOP 25 MATCHUPS:
Nov 28th AP#8 Ohio State (Pick’em) at AP#12 Michigan
AP#4 Notre Dame (+4) at AP#13 Stanford
AP#14 Florida State (-1h) at AP#10 Florida

Other ranked teams in action:
AP#2 Alabama (-13h) at Auburn Iron Bowl
Mississippi (-1) at AP#23 Mississippi State
AP#1 Clemson (-17) at South Carolina
Penn State (no line yet) at AP#6 Michigan State MSU QB ??
AP#17 Northwestern (-3h) vs. Illinois Neutral site Chicago
                                                                               at Bears’ Soldier Field
AP#22 UCLA (+3h) at USC
Colorado (+16h) at USAToday#25 Utah
AP#11 North Carolina (-6) at North Carolina State

Others:
Georgia (-5) at Georgia Tech
Vanderbilt (+17) at Tennessee
Louisville (-4) at Kentucky
Kansas State (-20) at Kansas
Duke (-4) at Wake Forest
Virginia Tech (-3h) at Virginia
BYU (-3) at Utah State
UTEP (+2h) at North Texas
Texas A&M (+5h) at LSU

NFL WEEK #12 – SELECTED GAMES

BYE WEEKS: NONE for the rest of the regular season
Thursday Philadelphia (-1) at Detroit
Nov 27th Carolina (-1) at Dallas
TURKEY Chicago (+9) at Green Bay
DAY

Sunday Divisional Matchups:

Nov 29th Miami (+3h) at NY Jets
NY Giants (-2h) at Washington
Arizona (-10) at San Francisco

Others:
Minnesota (+2) at Atlanta
Buffalo (+4) at Kansas City
Pittsburgh (+4) at Seattle
New England (-3) at Denver

Monday Baltimore (+2h) at Cleveland Ravens’ QB Flacco is out for year;
Nov 30th Browns’ QB Manziel was demoted

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1: Kansas City Chiefs’ nose tackle Dontari Poe scored an offensive touchdown on a one-yard run from scrimmage in San Diego last Sunday and broke the record for the heaviest player in NFL history to rush for a TD (and score an offensive TD). He is listed at 346 pounds. Whose record did he break?

BONUS: Who was the heaviest player in NFL history to score any type of TD? In this case, it was a defensive player getting two interceptions for touchdowns (i.e., “Pick 6”).


ANSWER #1:
The loveable William “The Refrigerator” Perry, who was listed at 335 pounds (may have actually been a few doughnuts heavier than that). He scored three offensive TD’s during the Chicago Bears’ 1985 Super Bowl season.

BONUS:
Defensive tackle Sam Adams was listed at 350 pounds, and picked off a pass in 1998 while playing with the Seattle Seahawks and ran it back 25 yards for a TD. In 2003 while playing with the Buffalo Bills, he had another “Pick 6” for a 37-yard TD.

Right behind Adams was the SD Chargers’ defensive tackle Jamal Williams, listed at 348 pounds, who recorded a Pick 6 TD in his rookie season in 1998.

This year, the Baylor Bears have a senior tight end that is listed at 6’7”, 410 pounds. His name is LaQuan McGowan, and he could be a future NFL record-breaker in this category.






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