Wednesday, December 2, 2015

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK TWELVE

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER 

Hello Football Fans,

COLLEGE: The conference title games are coming up this weekend, and then the final CFP playoff results will be determined soon thereafter.

Photo credit - Chad Bush, no relation as known
In the NFL, there are only five weeks remaining in the regular season.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner of the FFHL

COLLEGE 
 
It was difficult to keep up with all of the action last weekend. 
Following are the results of the Thanksgiving Weekend rivalry games and other critical games. 
 
BIG 10 CONFERENCE 
 
AP#6 Michigan State (-11, favored) handily beat visiting Penn State, 55-16, to finish Big 10 play tied with Ohio State; the Spartans hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over OSU and captured the Big 10 East title (earning a trip to Indianapolis to play Iowa). 
 
AP#8 Ohio State (+1, underdog) won convincingly at AP#12 Michigan, 42-13, but the OSU Buckeyes still didn’t make it into the Big 10 title game because Michigan State won its regular season finale. 
 
AP#3 Iowa (-1) won at Nebraska, 28-20, to remain undefeated on the season and capture the “Heroes Trophy”. 
 

HAWK STATS: 
The UI Hawkeyes traveled to Lincoln, NE in 2013 and won 38-17; before that, Iowa hadn’t won at Nebraska since 1943, and hadn’t beaten the Cornhuskers in any location since 1981. 
 
BIG XII CONFERENCE 
 
Bedlam”: 


AP#5 Oklahoma (-6) won convincingly at AP#9 Oklahoma State, 58-23, and clinched the outright conference title; the Sooners are the only team with one loss in the Big XII. 
 
AP#15 TCU (+1h) beat visiting AP# 7 Baylor, 28-21 in overtime; both the Horned Frogs and Bears now have two losses. 
 
SEC 
 
The “Iron Bowl” 
AP#2 Alabama (-14) won at Auburn, 29-13, to clinch the SEC West title and earn a spot in the SEC title game in Atlanta vs. Florida. 
 
The Fugitive Fumes: 
The end of the Alabama game was a disgusting display of the Tide trying to run up the score to make themselves look better in the eyes of the CFP Committee.  Ahead 22-13 on the Auburn 25-yard line with 30-some seconds remaining in the game, the Crimson Tide didn’t kneel down and gracefully accept victory.  Instead, they chose a running play around the right end and scored a TD as the Auburn defense failed to put up much of an effort (and didn’t touch him).  Plus, the play was a hand-off to Heisman frontrunner Derrick Henry to help pad his stats; he had already rushed 45 times for 246 yards before that carry (pathetic).  And then I hear Paul Finebaum (SEC honk) toutingBama by saying that they won by double digits, making it appear as if this was an impressive win; in fact, the game was quite close.  ALA led only 19-13 after three quarters, and the game was very much in doubt in the 4th quarter. 
PLUS, Alabama (-14) covered against the spread because of this otherwise “meaningless” play and TD with 30 seconds to go. 
 
The “Egg Bowl” 
AP#19 Mississippi (-1) won at AP#23 Mississippi State, 38-27, but the Ole Miss Rebels with two conference losses missed out on an SEC title game berth since Alabama won on Saturday and ended the regular season with only one loss in SEC conference play. 
 
PAC-12 
 
Battle for the Bell” 
Southern California (-3h) beat visiting AP#22 UCLA, 40-21, to secure a spot in the PAC-12 title game vs. Stanford.   
After the game, USC Trojans’ interim head coach Clay Helton was signed to a 5-year contract to become the “permanent” HC. 
 
GROUP OF FIVE” (NON-POWER FIVE CONFERENCES) 
 
 “AMERICAN” CONFERENCE (AAC)  
 
AP#21 Houston (+1) soundly beat visiting AP#16 Navy, 52-31, to become the AAC West division champion and will host the American Conference title game. 
Plus, the UH Cougars right now are the top-ranked non-Power 5 team and undoubtedly will get an automatic major bowl bid with a win over Temple on Saturday. 
 
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (MAC) 
 
Last Tuesday night, Northern Illinois (-13h) was upset at home by Ohio U., 26-21, and hence did not clinch the MAC West Division title.  The NIU Huskies subsequently had to hope for Western Michigan (+8) to beat host Toledo on Friday, in which case they would win the tiebreaker over the other two teams (beat both W.MI and Toledo) and would still earn a berth in the MAC Championship Game. 
RESULTS:  Underdog Western Michigan (+8) did win at AP#24 Toledo, 35-30, on Friday night to allow Northern Illinois to capture the MAC West title. 
KEY MIXED CONFERENCE MATCHUPS 
 
CFP Implications: 
AP#13 Stanford (-3h) beat visiting AP#4 Notre Dame, 38-36, in a wild game with a wild finish that included EIGHT lead changes.  The Cardinal remains in contention for a spot in the CFP playoffs, but needs some help. 
THE GAME: 
The ND Fighting Irish lost its lead for the 3rd time in the game when Stanford scored a TD on the first play of the fourth quarter, trailing 35-29.  But with 7 minutes remaining in the game, Notre Dame went on a 15-play, 88-yard TD drive to recapture the lead, 36-35, with only 30 seconds left on the clock.  


But the Cardinal was able to run five plays and get into field goal range. 45-yard attempt was good on the last play of the game. 
FINAL: STAN 38, ND 36. 
Despite significant injuries during the season (including starting QB), Notre Dame has had an excellent season, but will not be invited to the CFP playoffs because they suffered two losses – both by only two points in true road games, to the #1 and #7 ranked teams in the nation. 
[Commish Comment:  If the Fainting Irish would not have “fainted” (feigned injury) twice to stop the clock in a game vs. Iowa in 1953, I’d probably feel a bit sorry for their 2015 team.] 
 
ACC vs. SEC 
Florida State (-2) won handily at Florida, 27-2 in a Sunshine State rivalry.  The UF Gators have been inept offensively since losing their 1st-string QB to a one-year suspension. 
 
OTHER RIVALRY GAMES 
 
The “Commonwealth Cup” 
Virginia Tech (-3h) won at Virginia, 23-20.  VA Tech Hokies’ HC Frank Beamer won his last regular season game in his 29-year head coaching career in Blacksburg, VA. 
 
Series played every year since 1953: 
AP#11 North Carolina (-6) won at NC State, 45-34, and the UNC Tar Heels kept their CFP playoff aspirations alive; they will get serious consideration with a victory over #1 Clemson in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday in Charlotte, NC. 
 
Land of Lincoln” Trophy 
Northwestern (-3h) beat Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago, 24-14. 
 
Old Oaken Bucket” 
Indiana (-6h) won at Purdue, 54-36. 
 
 

Governor’s Cup” 
Louisville (-4) won at Kentucky, 38-24, overcoming a 24-7 deficit to overwhelm the SEC’s UK Wildcats. 
 
The108th “Apple Cup” 
Washington (-7h) beat visiting Washington State (without starting QB Luke Falk), 45-10.  
 
The Border Line” Trophy 
Arkansas (-14) beat visiting Missouri, 28-3. 
 
Battle for the Wagon Wheel” 
Akron (-10h) beat visiting Kent State, 20-0.  
 
FBS ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS 
 
This week FOURTEEN underdogs won outright in 62 FBS games for an upset rate of 22.6% (22.4% last week).  
 
Some of the upsets were already mentioned above. 
The other underdog winners were: 
 
Last Tuesday night, Ohio U. (+13h) won at Northern Illinois, 26-21, spoiling the NIU Huskiesopportunity to wrap up the MAC West division title early in the week. 
 
On Thanksgiving Day, Texas Tech (+1) won at Texas, 48-45. 
 
On Friday, Miami of Florida (+6) won at Pittsburgh, 29-24. 
 
On Friday, Massachusetts (+6h) won at Buffalo, 31-26. 
 
New Mexico (+9h) beat visiting Air Force, 47-35. 
 
Syracuse (+3) beat visiting Boston College, 20-17. 
 
Cincinnati (+1) won at East Carolina, 19-16. 
 
 
COLLEGE CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES 
 
SEC TITLE GAME:  Dec. 5th at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA 
  1:00 PM (Eastern) 
AP#18 Florida (+17h) vs. AP#2 Alabama 
Not much of a contest “on paper”; Gators would have to win 5-3, or the like 
 
 
PAC-12 TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA 
4:45 PM (Eastern) 
AP#7 Stanford (-4) vs. AP#24 USC 
The Stanford Cardinal has won the Pacific 12 Conference title 2 of the last 3 years. 
This is a 2015 rematch; first meeting: Stanford 41, at USC 31 with USC HC Sarkisian 
Their prior years’ matchups: 
2014:#14 USC 13, at #13 Stanford 10 
2013:at USC 20, #5 Stanford 17 
2012:at #21 Stanford 21, #2 USC 14 
2011:#4 Stanford 56, at #20 USC 48 (3OT) 
2010:at #16 Stanford 37, USC 35 
 
ACC TITLE GAME: Dec. 5th at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC 
  8:00 PM (Eastern) 
AP#1 Clemson (-5) vs. AP#8 North Carolina 
Prior meetings: 
2014:at Clemson 50, UNC 35 
2011:at Clemson 59, UNC 38 
2010:at UNC 21, Clemson 16 
 
BIG 10 TITLE GAME:   December 5th at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis 
8:17 PM (Eastern) 
AP#4 Iowa (+3) vs. AP#6 Michigan State 
HAWK STATS: 
Iowa vs. Michigan State matchups in previous five years: 
2010:at #18 Iowa 37, #5 MSU 6 (UI 8-5; MSU 11-2 for season) 
2011:#13 MSU 37, at Iowa 21 (UI 7-6; MSU 11-3 for season) 
2012: Iowa 19, at #20 MSU 16 (2OT); (UI 4-8; MSU 7-6 for season) 
2013:MSU 26, at Iowa 14(UI 8-5; MSU 13-1 for season) 
2014:did not play;(UI 7-6; MSU 11-2 for season) 
 
BIG XII (no title game): 
Oklahoma (8-1) clinched the outright conference title with a 58-23 win at Oklahoma State (7-2) on Saturday after Baylor (6-2) had lost in double overtime at TCU (7-2) on Friday night, 28-21.  QB injuries derailed both the BU Bears and Horned Frogs this year. 
 
GROUP OF FIVECONFERENCES 
 
AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE (AAC – “AMERICAN”) 
 
AAC TITLE GAME:  Saturday, Dec. 5th  
AP#20 Temple (+6) at AP#17 Houston 
Houston beat visiting Navy on Friday night, 52-31, with QB Greg Ward, Jr. back in the starting lineup to capture the West Division title on a head-to-head tiebreaker with the Midshipmen. 
Temple clinched the East Division with a home victory over UConn on Saturday, 27-3.   
The winner of this AAC title game will most likely get one of the 12 spots in a major bowl game as the highest-ranked non-Power Five conference team. 
 
MOUNTAIN WEST (MW) 
 
MW TITLE GAME:  Saturday, Dec. 5th 
Air Force (+4) at San Diego State 
The SDSU Aztecs went unbeaten in the conference for the first time in school history. 
 
CONFERENCE USA (C-USA) 
 
C-USA TITLE GAME:  Saturday, Dec. 5th 
Southern Mississippi (+7h) at Western Kentucky 
WKU (-10h) beat visiting Marshall on Friday night, 49-28 to clinch the East Division title. 
Southern Miss won at Louisiana Tech on Saturday, 58-24 to clinch the West Division title. 
The USM Golden Eagles must travel to Western Kentucky in Bowling Green, KY (if you’re going to the game, be sure to visit the Corvette manufacturing plant). 
 
MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE (MAC) 
 
MAC TITLE GAME:  Friday, Dec. 4th at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. 
Bowling Green (-12) vs. Northern Illinois 
NIU lost to visiting Ohio U. on Tuesday night, 26-21, but then Western Michigan (6-2) upset host Toledo (6-2) on Friday night, 35-30, to give the NIU Huskies the division title on a head-to-head tiebreaker; Northern Illinois had beaten both the TOL Rockets and WMU Broncos earlier in the season. 
 
SUN BELT CONFERENCE (SBC) 
 
Three teams have a shot at the conference title, as all of them won last weekend. 
Arkansas State (7-0) holds the tiebreaker over Appalachian State (6-1), who holds the tiebreaker over Georgia Southern (6-1).  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 one conference game remaining in their regular seasons. 
 
Note: the SBC consists of 11 teams and does not have a conference title game. 
 
 
COLLEGE FBS RANKINGS 
 
The CFP selection committee released its penultimate (next-to-final) 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 (12-0)               #1    Plays UNC in ACC title game 
#2 Alabama (11-1)              #2     Plays Florida for SEC Title 
#3 Oklahoma (11-1)            #3 
#4 Iowa (12-0)                         #4    Plays Michigan State in Big 10 Title Game 
#5 Michigan St. (11-1)    #5    Plays Iowa in Big 10 title game 
#6 Ohio State (11-1)           #6 
#7 Stanford (10-2)                #7     Plays USC in PAC-12 title game 
#8 Notre Dame (10-2)       #9 
#9 Florida State (10-2)   #10 
#10 N. Carolina (11-1)   #8     Plays Clemson for ACC title 
#11 TCU (10-2)                       #11 
#12 Baylor (9-2)                     #12 
#13 Mississippi (9-3)       #16 
#14 Northwestern (10-2)  #13 
#15 Michigan (9-3)              #19 
#16 Oregon (9-3)                  #15 
#17 Oklahoma St (10-2) #14 
#18 Florida (10-2)                #18   Plays Alabama in SEC title game 
#19 Houston (11-1)             #17   TOP GROUP OF 5 team 
#20 USC (9-3)                         #24    Plays Stanford in PAC-12 title game 
#21 LSU (8-3)                         #23 
#22 Temple (10-2)              #20    Plays at Houston on Saturday 
#23 Navy (9-2)                      #22 
#24 Utah (9-3)                         #21 
#25 Tennessee (8-4)         #32 
 
COMMENTS: 
According to the experts, Oklahoma and the winner of the Big 10 Title Game are going to fill 2 of the 4 playoff spots.  Alabama will get the 3rd spot with a win in the SEC title game, and Clemson will get the 4th spot with a win in the ACC title game. 
If there are upsets in the ACC and SEC, let the fireworks begin. 
 
IMPORTANT: 
The CFP Committee has several guidelines to “obey”, including the following language: 
Conference champions have the advantage over non-champions and independents, providing enough flexibility and discretion to select a non-champion or independent under circumstances where that non-champion or independent is unequivocally one of the four best teams in the country.” 
Interpretation: conference champions will presumably have “priority” over non-champions, so Stanford and/or North Carolina winning their respective conference title games may get them into the playoffs. 
 
 
BLABBER: 
All of the top teams are being scrutinized for weaknesses in their schedules and other flaws…..except Clemson.  I’m not sure why they continue to get top billing without much debate.  The CU Tigers’ toughest road game was unranked Louisville, a slim 20-17 victory.  They had two good home wins – vs. Notre Dame (barely), 24-22 and FSU 23-13.  The rest of their schedule was arguably milk toast.  Whatever; no need to get excited until next week’s final CFP rankings.   
 
ODDS FOR TEAMS TO WIN THE CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP 
 
The Las Vegas SuperBook (www.vegasinsider.com) has posted odds for teams to win the NCAA title (updated as of 12/1/15): 
 
This week            Last week 
 
ALABAMA        11/10 (+110)         3/2 (+150) 
OKLAHOMA        5/2 (+250)          7/1 (+700) 
CLEMSON             6/14/1 
MICHIGAN ST.    10/112/1 
IOWA                    15/120/1 
OHIO STATE        20/120/1 
N. CAROLINA      20/1                       NA 
STANFORD           50/1                      NA 
NOTRE DAME      NA                       8/1 
BAYLOR                NA                       8/1 
 
CHANCES OF GETTING INTO THE CFP PLAYOFFS 
 
FiveThirtyEight.com does statistical analyses on various sports topics, many times based on computer simulations of the remaining games to be played. 
They have projected the chances of college teams qualifying for the CFP playoffs in terms of a percentage: 
 
OKLAHOMA                99% 
ALABAMA                   79% 
CLEMSON                    74% 
MICHIGAN STATE      60% 
IOWA                            39% 
OHIO STATE                22% 
NORTH CAROLINA    16% 
STANFORD                  10% 
 
 
In comparison, ESPN used its Football Power Index (FPI) to calculate which teams had the best chances to win the CFP National Championship, as follows (and for what it’s worth): 
 
Oklahoma      41% 
Alabama        28% 
Clemson        24% 
Iowa                          7% 
 
ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL DETAIL 
 
In the latest AP Top 25 rankings, there are still TWO remaining undefeated teams (Clemson and Iowa both won last weekend). 
TEN teams in last week’s AP Top 25 lost over the weekend, mainly because there were six games that matched up Top 25 teams against each other; four teams fell out of the Top 25: 
 
RANKED                                                                          NEW- 
TEAM                       RESULTS                                         RANKING 
 
#4 Notre Dame         Lost at #13 Stanford, 38-36                 #9 [STAN#7] 
#7 Baylor                 Lost at #15 TCU, 28-21 in 2OT         #12 [TCU#11] 
#9 Okie State           Lost to visiting #5 Oklahoma, 58-23  #14 [OKLA#3] 
#10 Florida              Lost to visiting #14 FSU, 27-2           #18 [FSU#10] 
#12 Michigan           Lost to visiting #8 Ohio State, 42-13 #19 [OSU#6] 
#16 Navy                 Lost at #21 Houston, 52-31                #22 [HOU#17] 
#20 WA State           Lost at Washington, 45-10                          OUT 
#22 UCLA               Lost at USC, 40-21                                     OUT 
#23 Miss State        Lost to visiting #19 Mississippi, 38-27      OUT 
#24 Toledo             Lost to visiting Western Michigan, 35-30    OUT 
 
That means four teams moved INTO the Top 25: 
New #21Utah  
New #23 LSU 
New #24 USC 
New #25 Wisconsin (but not ranked by the CFP) 
 
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    53 (55)           52 (58)            #1 Unbeaten 
#2 Alabama      8 (6)               8 (5)              #2 One home loss to Ole Miss 
#3 Oklahoma    0 (0)               2 (0)              #4 One loss vs. Texas (neutral) 
#4 Iowa            0 (0)               1 (1)              #3 Unbeaten 
 
 
 
 
 
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 could still have reached the 6-win mark before the end of the regular season (12-game regular season): 
 
Thru Wk#11Week #12 
 
TEAM             RECORD     RESULT 
 
South Alabama     5-5           LOSS;    hosts Appalachian State next Saturday 
East Carolina       5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Tulsa                    5-6           WIN;      BOWL ELIGIBLE 
Virginia Tech       5-6           WIN;      BOWL ELIGIBLE 
Indiana                 5-6           WIN;      BOWL ELIGIBLE 
Illinois                 5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Minnesota            5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Nebraska             5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Old Dominion     5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Buffalo                5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
San Jose State     5-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Washington          5-6          WIN;      BOWL ELIGIBLE 
Kentucky             5-6          LOSS;     not bowl eligible 
Missouri             5-6          LOSS;     not bowl eligible 
LA-Lafayette      4-6           LOSS;    not bowl eligible 
Texas                  4-6          LOSS; not bowl eligible 
 
Bottom line: only 75 teams are now bowl-eligible, with South Alabama still having a chance to qualify with six wins.  That leaves at least 4 spots for teams with 5-7 records to get a bowl invitation (if I did the math correctly).  We’ll see how this shakes out next week. 
 
UPDATE: Nebraska (5-7) will accept a bowl invitation, if offered; the Cornhuskers have gone bowling 44 of the last 46 years (missed 2004 & 2007 under HC Bill Callahan). 
Missouri (5-7) will not accept a bowl bid, since they are going through a coaching transition after HC Gary Pinkel retired. 
 
FCS PLAYOFFS 
RESULTS FROM LAST SATURDAY’S GAMES 
 
FCS#15 Fordham (9-2) at FCS#8 Chattanooga (8-3) 
RESULTS: CHAT 50, FORD 20 
The Chattanooga Mocs play at #1-seed Jacksonville State Gamecocks (10-1) 
 
FCS#29 Western Illinois (6-5) at FCS# 30 Dayton (10-1) 
RESULTS: WIU 24, DAYT 7 
The Western Illinois Leathernecks play at #2-seed Illinois State Redbirds (9-2) 
 
FCS#12 South Dakota State (8-3) at FCS#17 Montana (7-4) 
RESULTS: MT 24, SD STATE 17 
The Montana Grizzlies play at #3-seed North Dakota State Bison (9-2) 
 
FCS#16 Southern Utah (8-3) at FCS#10 Sam Houston State (8-3) 
RESULTS: SHSU 42, S.UT 39 
The Sam Houston State Bearkats play at #4-seed McNeese State Cowboys (10-0) 
 
FCS#35 Colgate (7-4) at FCS#28 New Hampshire (7-4) 
RESULTS: COLG 27, NH 20 
The Colgate Raiders play at #5-seed James Madison Dukes (9-2) 
 
FCS#25 Eastern Illinois (7-4) at FCS#14 Northern Iowa (7-4) 
RESULTS: UNI 53, E.ILL 17 
The Northern Iowa Panthers play at #6-seed Portland State Vikings (9-2) 
 
Unranked Duquesne (8-3) at FCS#13 William & Mary (8-3) 
RESULTS: W&M 52, DUQ 49 
The William & Mary Tribe plays at #7-seed Richmond Spiders (8-3) 
 
FCS#18 The Citadel (8-3) at FCS#9 Coastal Carolina (9-2) 
RESULTS: CIT 41, CCU 38 
The Citadel Bulldogs play at #8-seed Charleston Southern Buccaneers (9-2) 
 
NFL 
 
UNBEATEN 
 

After Week #12, there is only one undefeated teamthe Carolina Panthers at 11-0, since the NE Patriots lost at Denver on Sunday night. 


NFL ACTION – UNDERDOG WINNERS 
 
SEVEN underdogs won outright in 16 NFL games this week for an upset rate of 43.8% (42.9% the previous week).   
 
There were two upsets on Thanksgiving Day: 
 
Carolina (+1) won at Dallas, 33-14, and you could question whether this was really an upset.  The DAL Cowboys started QB Tony Romo, which had a huge influence on the betting line, but he was re-injured (broken collarbone again) and is now out for the season. 
 
Chicago (+8h) won at Green Bay, 17-13, and the Packers are in a bit of a funk, having lost 4 of their last five games including home losses to the Bears and Lions. 
 
On Sunday, there were four more upsets: 
 
Minnesota (+1) won at Atlanta, 20-10, to take sole possession of the NFC North division lead and give the Falcons their fourth loss in a row (including three at home) after starting the season 6-1. 


Washington (+2h) beat the visiting NY Giants, 20-14, and now these two teams are tied for the NFC East Division with underwhelming 5-6 records.  The WSH ‘Skins snapped a five-game losing streak in the series with the Gnats. 
 
San Diego (+4) won at Jacksonville, 31-25, snapping a six-game losing streak. 


Denver (+3) beat visiting New England, 30-24 in overtime.  The DEN Broncos started QB Brock Osweiler, as Peyton Manning is wounded and old and may never play another game in the NFL.  The NE Patriots lost another key player on their offense – this time star TE Rob Gronkowski, who is “week-to-week” with a bruised/sprained knee injury. 
 
And on Monday night, the most bizarre ending for an underdog winner this week: 
Baltimore (+3) won at Cleveland, 33-27, on the last play of the game.  The score was tied 27-27 and the CLE Browns got the ball back for one last chance; but they squandered a bunch of time with backup Austin Davis filling in for Josh McCown, who was injured in the third quarter (he’s out for the year with a broken collarbone).  


Johnny “Football” Manziel had been demoted for lying to coaching staff re: partying activities during the Browns’ bye week, so he sat on the bench and watched.  Nonetheless, the Browns still got in position for a 51-yard FG try to win the game on the last play of regulation.  The kick was blocked, picked up by the BAL Ravens and run all the way down the sidelines to paydirt for the unlikely victory without having to go into overtime. 
 
NFL DIVISIONAL STANDINGS 
 
There are only FIVE weeks remaining in the regular season. 
 
AFC 
 
AFC EAST: 
NEW ENGLAND (10-1) has a four-game lead over the NY Jets (6-5); Buffalo (5-6) lost at Kansas City on Sunday, 30-22, to fall out of contention for the division title. 
 
AFC NORTH: 
CINCINNATI (9-2) expanded its lead to three games over (6-5) after the Bengals beat St. Louis on Sunday, 31-7, and the PIT Steelers lost at Seattle, 39-30.  Pittsburgh’s QB Ben Roethlisberger was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter with a concussion, is currently in the protocol, and hopes to be available to play on Sunday. 
AFC WEST 


DENVER (9-2) beat New England on Sunday night, 30-24 in overtime to maintain its three-game lead over the KC Chiefs (6-5), who beat Buffalo on Sunday, 30-22. 
 
AFC SOUTH 
Stunningly, two teams in this division are now over .500. 
The Indianapolis Colts (6-5) and Houston Texans (6-5) are still tied for the division lead after both teams won in Week #12, two games ahead of Jacksonville (4-7).  
 
NFC 
 
NFC SOUTH:
  
CAROLINA (11-0) increased its lead to five games over Atlanta (6-5), who lost for the 4th straight time.  The Panthers have all but wrapped up the division title. 
 
NFC NORTH: 
MINNESOTA (8-3) won at Atlanta on Sunday, 20-10, and Green Bay (7-4) lost on Thanksgiving to Chicago, 17-13, giving the MIN Vikings a tenuous one-game lead in the division.  The CHI Bears (5-6) are suddenly lurking. 
 
NFC WEST 

Arizona (9-2) retained its division lead of three games over the SEA Seahawks (6-5), as both teams won on Sunday in Week #12. 
 
The Hapless NFC EAST (all teams under .500) 
The NY Football Giants (5-6) and Washington (5-6) are now tied for the division lead after the WSH ‘Skins beat the visiting Giants on Sunday, 20-14.   The woeful PHI Eagles (4-7) are only one game out of the division lead, and cellar dweller Dallas (3-8) is only two games out. 
 
NFL PLAYOFF CONTENDERS 
 
With only 5 games remaining in the regular season, following is a snapshot of how the playoff picture looks at this point: 
 
NFC SEEDINGS 


#1 Carolina (11-0) 
#2 Arizona (9-2) 
#3 Minnesota (8-3) 
#4 Washington (5-6) or NY Giants (5-6) 
#5 Green Bay (7-4) 
#6 Seattle (6-5) or Atlanta (6-5) 
Lurking for Wild Card spot: 
Chicago Bears (5-6) 
Tampa Bay Bucs (5-6) 
WSH/NYG loser 
 
AFC SEEDINGS 


#1 New England (10-1) 
#2 Cincinnati (9-2) 
#3 Denver (9-2) 
#4 Indianapolis (6-5) or Houston (6-5) 
#5 & #6 Kansas City (6-5), Pittsburgh (6-5), NY Jets (6-5), and IND/HOU loser 
Lurking: 


Oakland Raiders (5-6) 
Buffalo Bills (5-6) 
 
FFHL RESULTS – WEEK TWELVE 
 
Overall, we FFHL’ers posted a so-so record of 43-41-0 ATS (51.2%).  In college games we were a solid 34-25-0 ATS (57.6%).  But in the NFL, we stunk it up with a record of 9-16-0 ATS (36.0%).    We selected 24 underdogs and posted a decent record of 14-10-0 ATS (58.3%).  With the college ‘dogs, we were 10-5-0 ATS (66.7%) and with NFL ‘dogs we were 4-5-0 ATS (44.4%). 
 
FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS) 
 
Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks.   
We had only four contrary picks in college out of 59 total picks. 
We had five contrary picks in the NFL out of 25 total picks. 
 
 ATS Picks 
Team              For-Against                            Result / Unsolicited comments 
 
Clemson       -17 at S.Carolina               5-0 LOSS, CU Tigers won 37-32 to not cover by 12  
Navy            -1 at Houston                      5-0 LOSS, UH Cougars win outright, 52-31 
Iowa (Pk)         at Nebraska                    4-0WIN, Hawkeyes win 28-20 to cover by 8 
Ohio State   (+1) at Michigan                 4-1WIN, OSU Buckeyes win outright, 42-13 
UCLA         (+3h) at USC                       3-0LOSS, Trojans win outright 40-21 to cover by 22 
Alabama     (-14) at Auburn                    3-0WIN, ‘Bama “runs up score” 29-13, covers by 2 
Oklahoma   (-6) at Okie St                      3-0WIN, OU Sooners win big, 58-23, to cover by 29 
Michigan St (-11) vs Penn St                  2-1WIN, MSU Spartans win big, 55-16, cover by 28 


AZ Cardinals -10h at SF                        4-0LOSS, Arizona won only 19-13 to not cover by 4h 
NE Patriots   (-3) at DEN                       4-0LOSS, Denver wins outright in OT, 30-24 
CAR Panthers (+1) at DAL                    3-0WIN, Carolina wins easily in Dallas, 33-14 
BUF Bills (+5h) at KC                           2-2CHIEFS win 30-22 to cover by 2½ points 
 
 
 
 
COLLEGE 
 
This week – FFHL Week #12: 
ATS                   STRAIGHT-UP 
Record               Record 
 
FAVORITES  36-24-1 (59.8%)      47-14 (77.0%) 
HOME TEAMS  24-35-1 (40.8%) 28-32 (46.7%) 
One neutral site game: Northwestern vs. Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago 
 
COLLEGE - CUMULATIVE after thirteen weeks: 
ATS                   STRAIGHT-UP 
Record               Record 
 
FAVORITES  358-336-13 (51.6%)    556-151 (78.6%) 
HOME TEAMS  311-370-11 (45.7%)  400-292 (57.8%) 
The home teams are still collectively struggling ATS. 
 
NFL 
In the 12th week: 
ATS                   STRAIGHT-UP 
Record              Record 
 
FAVORITES    8-8-0 (50.0%)        9-7 (56.2%) 
HOME TEAMS  10-6-0 (62.5%)   9-7 (56.2%) 
 
NFL - CUMULATIVE after twelve weeks: 
 
ATS                  STRAIGHT-UP 
Record              Record 
 
FAVORITES  75-94-7 (44.6%)    106-70 (60.2%) 
HOME TEAMS  82-84-7 (49.4%)   96-77 (55.5%) 
 
 
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   2-9 
Tennessee   2-9 
San Diego   3-8 
SF               3-8 
Dallas         3-8 
 
THE HEISMAN TROPHY RACE 
After all of the hype during the preseason and regular season, the battle for the Heisman Trophy has pretty much concluded.  Following are the odds for a few of the contenders: 
 
RB Derrick Henry  ALA 1-to-4 odds (-400) Bet $8 to win $2 
QB Deshaun Watson  Clemson 4-to-1 odds (+400) Bet $8 to win $32 
QB Baker Mayfield   Oklahoma 8-to-1 odds 
Former front-runner: 
RB Leonard Fournette  LSU 25-to-1 odds 
 
COLLEGE COACHING CHANGES 
 
Iowa State earlier fired HC Paul Rhoads.  His replacement for 2016 will be the former HC of Toledo, Matt Campbell. 
 
Virginia Tech hired HC Justin Fuentes (formerly HC at Memphis for 4 years) to replace retiring Frank Beamer, the Hokies’ HC for 29 years. 
 
Rutgers fired HC Kyle Flood. 
 
Central Floridas HC George O’Leary retired and the UCF Knights’ next HC will be Scott Frost, most recently the former OC for Oregon (he was a player at Nebraska). 
 
Virginias HC Mike London resigned after six years. 
 
Georgias HC Mark Richt resigned, and will be looking for another head coaching position elsewhere for 2016. 
 
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. 
UPDATE:  The school said it decided to keep Miles during the 3rd quarter of their regular season finale vs. Texas A&M; sounds like subterfuge.  He will be back next year as the HC.  Rumors had LSU looking to hire FSU’s HC Jimbo Fisher or PHI Eagles’ HC Chip Kelly, and when neither of those panned out, it was back to Miles (remember, this is only speculation-not confirmed). 
 
NFL COACHING CHANGES 
 
MIA Dolphins’ offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was fired after the loss at the NY Jets on Sunday.  Ironically, the ‘Phins head coach Joe Philbin was fired after an ugly home loss to the Jets earlier in the year. 
 
 
LOOKING AHEADselected games, not the full slate 
COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #13 (college FB’s 14th week) 
 
Friday MAC CONFERENCE TITLE GAME: 
Dec 4th Bowling Green (-12) vs. N. Illinois in Detroit (DET Lionsstadium) 
 
Saturday CONFERENCE TITLE GAMES: 
Dec 5th Power Five: 
BIG 10: Iowa (+3) vs. Michigan St. in Indianapolis (IND Colts’ home) 
ACC: Clemson (-5) vs. N. Carolina in Charlotte (CAR Panthershome) 
SEC: Alabama (-17h) vs. Florida in Atlanta (ATL Falconshome) 
PAC-12: Stanford (-4) vs. USC in Santa Clara (SF 49’ers home) 
 
Group of Five: 
AAC: AP#20 Temple (+6) at AP#17 Houston 
MW: Air Force (+4) at San Diego State 
C-USA: S. Mississippi (+7h) at Western Kentucky 
 
BIG XII: 
Texas (+20h) at AP#12 Baylor 
West Virginia (-6h) at Kansas State 
 
SUN BELT: 
Appalachian State (-17h) at South Alabama 
Texas State (+25) at Arkansas State 
Georgia State (+21) at Georgia Southern 
Troy (+1) at Louisiana-Lafayette 
New Mexico State (NL) at Louisiana-Monroe 
 
Saturday Navy vs. Army in Philadelphia, PA 
Dec 12th 
 
NFL WEEK #13SELECTED GAMES 
 
BYE WEEKS: NONE for the rest of the regular season 
 
Thursday Green Bay (-3) at Detroit 
Dec 3rd 
 
Sunday Divisional Matchups: 
Dec 6th Cincinnati (NL yet) at Cleveland 
Carolina (-7) at New Orleans 
Arizona (-5h) at St. Louis 
Atlanta (+1h) at Tampa Bay 
Jacksonville (+2h) at Tennessee 
Kansas City (-2h) at Oakland 
Denver (-4) at San Diego 
 
Others: 
Houston (+3) at Buffalo 
NY Jets (-2) at NY Giants home field for both teams 
Indianapolis (NL yet) at Pittsburgh Steelers’ QB Ben ?able 
 
Monday Dallas (+4h) at Washington 
Dec 7th 
 

No comments:

Post a Comment