Sunday, October 2, 2016

FOOTBALL NEWS AFTER WEEK THREE

FROM THE DESK OF THE “FUGITIVE” COMMISSIONER

Hello Football Fans,
It was another wacky week in the NFL; over 50% of the favorites lost their games outright. 


In college the Top 25 rankings are still in a state of flux.  There are several big games this weekend, including a PAC-12 North early-season showdown on Friday night, and then AP#3 vs. AP#5 in an ACC match-up on Saturday.

Enjoy,

The Fugitive Commissioner

NFL

BELIEVE IT OR NOT
In the last ten years, there have been 49 teams that started the NFL season with a 0-3 record. NONE of them have made the playoffs.
This year, the following teams are winless after three weeks:
CLEVELAND, JACKSONVILLE, CHICAGO, and NEW ORLEANS

On the positive side, what are the chances of the 3-0 teams making the playoffs? Courtesy of www.playoffstatus.com and applying a strength-of-schedule analysis to the still-unbeaten teams, following are their percentage chances of making the playoffs and percentage chances of reaching/winning the Super Bowl:

                                                                 Playoffs                             Super Bowl
                      MINNESOTA                       78%                                 23% / 13%
                      NEW ENGLAND                 75%                                 21% / 12%
                      DENVER                              70%                                 19% / 11%
                      BALTIMORE                        67%                                 15% / 8%
                      PHILADELPHIA                  63%                                 17% / 9%

It is interesting to note that www.playoffstatus.com still gives the win-less teams a percentage chance to make the playoffs, even though it hasn’t actually happened historically in the last ten years:
CLE 8%, JAX 9%, CHI 9%, and NOR 10% to make the playoffs

NFL UNDERDOG WINNERS

There were NINE underdogs that won outright in 16 NFL games (56.3%).
(It would have been easier to discuss the SEVEN games in which the favorites won their games outright-BAL, MIA, GB, SEA, KC, IND, DAL.)

On Thursday night, New England (+1) hosted the HOU Texans with 3rd-string QB Jacoby Brissett starting in place of the suspended Tom Brady and the injured backup Jimmy Garoppolo (shoulder). Brissett was the first rookie to start for the NE Patriots since Drew Bledsoe in 1993.
Amazingly, this game wasn’t even close. Houston’s offense didn’t even advance past midfield until the 4th quarter. The super-human Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick won his 226th career regular season game, tying GB Packers’ legend Curly Lambeau for 4th on the all-time list. Under Belichick, New England is now an almost inconceivable 77-0 at home when leading at halftime (NE 10, HOU 0 at half). The Patriots are 28-2 in Gillette Stadium in their last 30 games (including the playoffs).
FINAL: NE 27, HOU 0

Question: If New England can win like this with a rookie 3rd-string QB, does this diminish the legacy of Tom Brady, who is maybe just “another guy”, a “system guy” under the mad-genius (albeit cheating) head coach Belichick?

NEXT WEEK: 3rd-string QB Brissett was injured (thumb) in Thursday’s game; the team does not have any healthy QB’s on the roster right now (emergency QB is WR Julian Edelman). Buffalo and HC Rex Ryan are licking their chops as they get ready to travel to New England for next Sunday’s game (but don’t get too excited, Bills’ fans; Belichick is still the coach).

Minnesota (+7) won at Carolina, 22-10. CAR Panthers’ QB Cam Newton threw 3 interceptions and was sacked eight times.
The MIN Vikings generated only 35 yards of offense in the first half, but were only behind 10-8 (safety and punt return for TD) and the defense shut out Carolina in the 2nd half (a team that had averaged 40 points per game at home in its last seven games).

Denver (+3) won at Cincinnati, 29-17. The CIN Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton threw 4 interceptions. DEN Broncos’ QB Trevor Siemian was the first QB in NFL history to throw for over 300 yards (312) and 4 TD’s with 0 interceptions in his first career road start.

Buffalo (+4) beat visiting Arizona, 33-18.
The AZ Cardinals’ QB Carson Palmer threw 4 interceptions.

NOTE: The quarterbacks were recklessly letting it fly in several games (see above), but the dubious honor for the week goes to NY Jets’ QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw 6 interceptions in his team’s loss at Kansas City, 24-3.

Washington (+4) beat the host NY Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, 29-27.
The WSH ‘Skins took their first lead of the game in mid-3rd quarter, 23-21, and then the lead changed twice on an exchange of FG’s to end the third period with Washington ahead, 26-24. The Giants recaptured the lead 27-26 in mid-4th quarter, but squandered two potential TD chances with interceptions by QB Eli Manning in NYG territory. The ‘Skins kicked the game-winning FG with 2 minutes remaining in the game. Both Washington FG drives in the 4th quarter ate up over six minutes each (15-play and 10-play drives).
Washington won the turnover battle, 3-1.

Oakland (+1h) won at Tennessee, 17-10.
The OAK Raiders were ahead 17-3 at halftime, fueled by two TEN Titans’ turnovers and a Raider 91-yard TD drive late in the 2nd quarter. For the game, Tennessee lost the turnover battle 3-1.
NFL ALL-TIME RECORD:
OAK Raiders’ Sebastian Janikowski kicked a 52-yard FG in the Raiders’ win over the Titans; the 38-year-old kicker now has 53 field goals of 50 yards or longer in his career, passing former DET Lions’ kicker Jason Hanson for the most 50-yard field goals in an NFL career.

The LA Rams (+5h) won at Tampa Bay, 37-32.
The demise of The Lambs and HC Jeff Fisher is not imminent; the Los Angeles collapse had been prematurely speculated after the Rams’ humbling defeat at San Francisco in Week #1 (28-0). The Rams are now sporting a 2-1 record, tied for the division lead with Seattle, and one game ahead of preseason NFC West favorite Arizona.

Philadelphia (+3h) put a whoopin’ on visiting Pittsburgh, 34-3. (Hahahaha -Ed)
The PHI Eagles’ rookie QB Carson Wentz has looked great; he hasn’t throw an interception in his brief NFL career (102 pass attempts in three games).

Atlanta (+3) won at New Orleans, 45-32. The NOR Saints’ defense looked horrible on TV; the ATL Falcons rushed for 217 yards from scrimmage, and I’m told that 155 of those yards were gained before contact. Atlanta’s defense couldn’t have been much better, as the Falcons gave up 442 total yards from scrimmage as compared to 474 total yards given up by the Saints. The determining factor in the game (as is the case in most games) was turnovers: New Orleans lost that battle, 2-0. Saints’ HC Sean Payton is on the hot seat.

“NOT QUITE” AN UPSET (just reporting on one of these games this week)
San Diego (+2h) was ahead 22-20 at Indianapolis after kicking the go-ahead FG with 7½ minutes remaining in the game and still held the same slim lead with just 2½ minutes to go; the IND Colts had one more chance to work into FG range and win the game, starting from their own 17-yard line…struggling, 4th-and-7 at the 2-minute warning and TV timeout…critical play and the Colts barely picked up the first down to stay alive at their own 28. Two plays later, a quick slant pass over the middle turned into a 63-yard TD with 1:17 showing on the clock. On the ensuing possession, the SD Chargers completed a pass on the second play from scrimmage for 18 yards…. he’s rumblin’ and ….FUMBLIN’; Indy forced and recovered the fumble and ran out the clock.
FINAL: IND 26, SD 22 (and the Colts covered ATS by 1½ points)



COLLEGE QUICKIE SUMMARY of 3rd week BIG GAMES

Except for the Michigan State loss to AP#11 Wisconsin, the AP Top 10 teams all won their games straight up (SU) this week (Ohio State was on a bye week), and the Top 10 was 7-2 ATS (MSU and Washington didn’t cover).

The AP#11 through AP#25 ranked teams were 7-4 both SU and ATS.
Combined, that means the Top 25 was 15-5 SU and 14-6 ATS.

These stats are “distorted” somewhat because three SEC Conference match-ups were between ranked teams (SEC bias in polls; 8 SEC teams were ranked in the Top 25 before last weekend’s results). See below.

AP#11 Wisconsin (+5) at AP#8 Michigan State
The visiting WI Badgers dominated this game and won 30-6.
Wisconsin moved up three spots to AP#8.
The MSU Spartans dropped nine spots to AP#17.
The Badgers have started the tough part of their schedule; following is their October slate of games:
Road game at AP#4 Michigan on Saturday, October 1st, then a “bye” week, a home game vs. AP#2 Ohio State, a road game vs. Iowa, and a home game vs. AP#15 Nebraska on October 29th.

And, following are the results of the three games matching up Top 25 teams in the hyped-up SEC:

AP#12 Georgia (+7h) at AP#23 Mississippi
Ole Miss finally held onto a big lead and smoked the over-rated UGA Bulldogs, 45-14.
The Rebels moved up seven spots to AP#16.
Georgia dropped thirteen spots to AP#25.

AP#19 Florida (+6h) at AP#14 Tennessee
The FL Gators were ahead 21-3 at halftime and were still hanging on after three quarters, leading 21-17, but couldn’t prevail as the TENN Volunteers snapped an 11-game losing streak in this series.
FINAL: TENN 38, FL 28 (and Tennessee covered ATS as well)
The TENN Vols moved up three spots to AP#11.
Florida dropped four spots to AP#23.

AP#17 Arkansas (+6) vs. AP#10 Texas A&M at Cowboys Stadium
Razorbacks were hanging in there, tied 17-17 at halftime, but the TX A&M Aggies pulled away in the 3rd quarter and led by at least two TD’s for the remainder of the game.
FINAL: TXAM 45, ARK 24
Texas A&M moved up one spot to AP#9.
Arkansas dropped three spots to AP#20.

SEC BIAS
And the SEC perpetuates itself, as only one of the eight ranked SEC teams dropped out of the Top 25 (LSU). What has Georgia accomplished? They barely beat unranked FCS Nicholls 26-24 at home and barely won at Missouri 28-27, and then got blown out last weekend.
What about Florida? Their wins have been against UMass, Kentucky, and North Texas.
And what about Arkansas? They barely beat non-Power 5 Louisiana Tech at home, 21-20, and lost by three TD’s last weekend at a neutral site. The Razorbacks at least won on the road vs. AP#21 TCU, 41-38. Whatever.

COLLEGE UNDERDOG WINNERS (FBS)

There were TWELVE underdogs that won outright in 52 FBS vs. FBS games (23%).

SHOCKER OF THE WEEK
Duke (+19h) won at Notre Dame, 38-35.
Give me a call if you want me to put the hex on a team. I was the only handicapper in our pool to select the ND Tarnished Domers ATS.
Are you kidding me? Duke had lost to Wake Forest and Northwestern.
The ND Irish jumped out to a 14-0 lead by mid-1st quarter, but the DUKE Blue Devils woke up and were ahead 28-21 by halftime. Notre Dame retook the lead, 35-28 on a TD with 8 minutes remaining in the game, but Duke once again took advantage of an Irish turnover and prevailed. Notre Dame lost the costly turnover battle, 3-1.

SEC BATTLE OF TIGERS
Auburn (+3h) beat visiting AP#18 LSU, 18-13.
The Louisiana State Tigers were leading 13-12 after three quarters, but the Auburn Tigers kicked their 5th and 6th field goals of the game to take an 18-13 lead. On the last play of the game, LSU scored a TD to win …. Not so fast, my friends…official review….time had run out before the snap and the touchdown was nullified.
After the game, LSU head coach Les Miles and OC Cam Cameron were fired. Defensive line coach Ed Orgeron (formerly interim HC for USC) will be the interim head coach for the remainder of the 2016 season.

Colorado (+10h) won at Oregon, 41-38.
The COL Buffaloes were ahead 26-17 at halftime but had lost the lead by the end of the 3rd quarter, 38-33. Colorado retook the lead after a TD drive with 9 minutes remaining in the game, after which the OU Ducks started a potential game-winning TD drive that stalled with an interception on 1st-and-goal from the Colorado 7-yard line with less than 2 minutes on the clock.

AP#11 Wisconsin (+5) won convincingly at AP#8 Michigan State, 30-6.
Eastern Michigan (+3) beat visiting Wyoming, 27-24.
Virginia (+3) beat visiting Central Michigan, 49-35.
Buffalo (+14) beat visiting Army, 23-20, in overtime.
Syracuse (+3) won at Connecticut, 31-24.
Wake Forest (+7) won at Indiana, 33-28.
North Texas (+7h) won at Rice, 42-35 in double OT.
Idaho (+15) won at UNLV, 33-30, in OT.
Vanderbilt (+8) won at Western Kentucky, 31-30, in OT.

“NOT QUITE” AN UPSET:
USC (+3) was ahead 24-10 in mid-3rd quarter on Friday night at Utah, but the Utes scored two TD’s in the 4th quarter including the game-winner on an 18-yard pass with 16 seconds remaining in regulation (score 30-27), and then kicked the PAT to cover ATS by one point.
FINAL: UTAH 31, USC 27

Miami of Ohio (+17) was a heavy underdog at Cincinnati in the 121st “Victory Bell” rivalry game. The teams have faced off almost every year since 1909, missing only 1943 and 1944 during WWII. It is currently the longest-running series in college football. The MIA Redhawks were ahead after three quarters, 20-17, but the CIN Bearcats finally prevailed in the final period.
FINAL: CIN 27, MIA.OH 20 (but Miami.OH has now covered ATS 4 straight years in this series)

Pittsburgh (+6h) at North Carolina
The PITT Panthers were ahead 33-23 after three quarters and still led 36-30 after scoring a TD with 5½ minutes remaining in the game, but the UNC Tar Heels engineered a 17-play, 63-yard drive that ended with the game-winning TD on 3rd-and-goal from the Pitt 2-yard line with only 0:02 showing on the clock.
FINAL: UNC 37, PIT 36
The game stats were virtually identical for the two teams (including turnovers 1-1).

Arizona (+12) at AP#9 Washington
Both teams held a 7-point lead during the game, but neither team was ahead by more than a TD. Arizona lost the turnover battle 3-1, but the U-Dub Huskies were unable to capitalize in a mediocre performance. The game was tied 14-14 at halftime and 28-28 at the end of regulation play, after which favored Washington prevailed in overtime.
FINAL: WSH 35, AZ 28 (OT)

STANGE TWISTS” AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
Just a few, handicappers; there are too many close games ATS to be able to track all of the bizarre and strange twists.

“**it” happened again, that bizarre twist of fate against the spread:
AP#7 Stanford (-3) traveled to Los Angeles to face UCLA in the Rose Bowl. The host Bruins were ahead 10-6 after three quarters, covering ATS by seven. But the STAN Cardinal grabbed the lead on a TD with only 24 seconds remaining in the game and were now ahead 16-13 (a TIE against the spread). The Bruins returned the ensuing kickoff to the UCLA 23-yard line, then completed a pass to the 47, then an incomplete pass, leaving only 4 seconds on the clock and just enough time for a Hail Mary try. QB Josh Rosen drops back to pass….fumble… Stanford runs it back for a TD to end the game. FINAL: STAN 22, UCLA 13, and the Cardinal covered ATS (unbelievable, really)

Could it get any more bizarre than that Stanford-UCLA game? YES.
Arizona State (-4) hosted visiting California, an entertaining game coming down the stretch. The CAL Bears led 24-10 at halftime, but the ASU Sun Devils scored a TD with 6:21 remaining in the game to tie it, 34-34, after which California threw two interceptions leading to a FG and Pick 6 TD for Arizona State, who held a 44-34 lead with 3 minutes to go. CAL responded with a long TD drive to cut the lead to 44-41 with 1 minute remaining on the clock (CAL now covering ATS). But when the CAL Bad News Bears tried the onside kick, it failed miserably and the ASU Sun Devils ran it back for the clinching TD and they also shockingly covered ATS.
FINAL: ASU 51, CAL 41

And here’s an “over/under” bet:
Tulane (-5) was favored at home over UL-Lafayette by 5 points and the “over/under” was a 47-point total. In a low-scoring game, the scoreboard showed a 16-16 tie after regulation play (easily “under” the total by 15 points). But after four overtime periods and 48 additional points in the extra periods, the game went hugely “over” by 32 points.
FINAL: TULANE 41, ULL 39 (4OT)

FBS AP POLL UPDATE

With one exception, all of the AP Top 10 won straight up last weekend (8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS; Ohio State had a bye week). The lone loser was #8 Michigan State, who got spanked at home by AP#11 Wisconsin, 30-6, and dropped to AP#17. Meanwhile, the WI Badgers moved up to AP#8.

With a loss at Auburn, #18 LSU dropped out of the Top 25.
On a “bye” week, AP#25 Oklahoma dropped out of the AP Top 25.

With road wins over mediocre opponents, previously unranked TCU and Boise State moved into the Top 25 at #21 and #24, respectively.

The first place votes in the AP Poll were exactly the same as last week:
AP#1 Alabama 50 of 61 votes [Ohio State 4; Louisville 6, Michigan 1]. In the Coaches’ Poll, the ALA Crimson Tide got 61 of the 64 first-place votes [Ohio State 2, Clemson 1].

AP POLL TOP 15
(I’m dropping off #15 through #25 for now; too many SEC also-rans)

AP Top 15             AP
TEAMS            Rankings       Comments
Alabama            #1 (50)        Cupcake at home this weekend
Ohio St              #2 (4)          Cupcake at home this weekend
Louisville          #3 (6)          Tough test at #5 Clemson on Saturday
Michigan           #4 (1)          Home vs. #8 Wisconsin this Saturday
Clemson            #5                Hosting “hot” Louisville and QB Lamar Jackson
Houston            #6                 Cupcake at home this weekend (Thursday)
Stanford            #7                Tough test at #10 Washington on Friday
Wisconsin         #8                Traveling to Big House to face #4 Michigan
Texas A&M      #9                Road game at “soft” SEC East foe S. Carolina
Washington       #10              Hosting #7 Stanford in key PAC-12 North contest
Tennessee         #11              Road game at “soft” SEC East AP#25 Georgia
Florida State    #12              Hosting formerly ranked UNC on Saturday
Baylor              #13              Road game at Big XII bottom feeder Iowa State
Miami.FL         #14              Road game at GA Tech on Saturday
Nebraska          #15              Cupcake at home this weekend

FCS#1 North Dakota State has enough AP Poll votes to be ranked #28 overall in the FBS.

UPSETS” -- FCS beats FBS

IDENTICAL SCORES

FBS Northern Illinois lost at home to FCS#13 Western Illinois, 28-23. Western IL moved up to FCS#8 and now must play at FCS#16 South Dakota State on Saturday.

FBS Arkansas State lost at home to unranked FCS Central Arkansas, 28-23.

NOT QUITE

South Alabama barely beat visiting Nicholls, 41-40. If you will recall, the Nicholls Colonels barely lost at SEC Georgia on September 10th, 26-24. Next up for Nicholls: hosting FCS#22 McNeese State on Saturday.

FCS vs. FCS

FCS#6 Montana lost at Cal Poly-SLO, 42-41, and dropped to FCS#11. Cal Poly jumped into the poll at FCS#18 (Hawkeye’s tuition money is going to good use).

FCS#8 William & Mary lost to visiting Elon, 27-10, and dropped to FCS#17.

FCS#12 Illinois State lost at Indiana State, 34-31, and dropped to FCS#20 and has to play at FCS#1 ND State this Saturday.

FCS#21 Colgate lost at FCS#9 Richmond, 38-31. Colgate dropped to FCS#25 and the Richmond Spiders moved up two spots to FCS#7.

FCS#24 Stony Brook lost to visiting Sacred Heart, 38-10, and dropped out of the Top 25.

FCS#25 Northern Arizona lost to visiting FCS#5 Eastern Washington, 50-35. NAU dropped out of the Top 25; the EWU Eagles maintained their position in the poll.

FCS#25 Portland State lost at Southern Utah, 45-31; SUU moved into the Top 25 at FCS#24 and now must play at FCS#11 Montana on Saturday.

THE NEW TOP 12
(I wanted to get the UNI Panthers on the list)

FCS Top 12                      Coaches’
TEAMS                            Rankings      Comments

ND State                               #1 Unanimous top spot; FBS AP#27
Sam Houston State               #2
Chattanooga                         #3
Jacksonville State                #4
Eastern Washington              #5
James Madison                    #6
Richmond                            #7
Western Illinois                  #8T
Charleston Southern           #8T
The Citadel                        #10
Montana                             #11
Northern Iowa                   #12 Hosts Southern Illinois on Saturday

FFHL RESULTS – WEEK THREE

Overall, we FFHL’ers we beat the “house” fractionally, posting a 43-38-3 record ATS (53.0%). In college games, we were a stellar 34-18-0 ATS (65.4%) but in the wacky NFL games we were a lousy 9-20-3 ATS (32.8%).
We once again bet heavily on the favorites, picking only 13 underdogs out of 84 total picks (71 favorites). Results: We were 6-7-0 ATS on underdog picks (NFL 3-2 ATS; college 3-5-0 ATS).

FFHL LOP-SIDED and CONTESTED PICKS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
Listed below is a breakdown of some of our significant picks.

                                        ATS Picks
Team                              For-Against  Result / Unsolicited comments

AZ Cardinals -4 at BUF          5-0     LOSS, Buffalo won outright 33-18
GB Packers -7 vs. DET          3-0     TIE, Green Bay was ahead 31-3 in 1st half;
                                                          ended up winning only 34-27 over Lions
CAR Panthers -7 vs. MIN       3-0     LOSS, Minnesota won outright 22-10
OAK Raiders +1h at TEN      3-0     WIN, Oakland won outright 17-10
KC Chiefs -3 vs. NYJ            2-1     WIN, Jets commit 8 turnovers in 24-3 loss

Stanford -3 at UCLA              6-0     WIN, miraculous cover ATS at end of game
Louisville -27 at Marshall     4-0     WIN, Cards’ win 59-28 to cover by 4 points
Michigan -18h vs. Penn St     3-0     WIN, dominating Wolverines’ victory, 49-10
FSU -5h at USF                     3-1     WIN, Seminoles prevail 55-35 to cover “easily”
Oregon -10h vs. Colorado     2-1     LOSS, as COL Buffs win outright, 41-38

ACCUMULATED RECORDS AGAINST THE SPREAD (ATS)
NFL – the 3rd week:

                                                              ATS                               STRAIGHT-UP
                                                            Record                                  Record

                FAVORITES                 5-10-1 (34.4%)                         7-9 (43.8%)
              HOME TEAMS               7-8-1 (46.9%)                          9-7 (56.2%)

NFL – cumulative results 2016:

                                                              ATS                              STRAIGHT-UP
                                                           Record                                  Record

                FAVORITES                17-28-3 (38.6%)                   26-22 (54.2%)
            HOME TEAMS               24-21-3 (53.1%)                   26-22 (54.2%)

The favorites are not doing well ATS so far (38.6%); and the favorites have only won 54.2% of their games outright (SU).

COLLEGE – the 4th week:

                                                             ATS                               STRAIGHT-UP
                                                           Record                                  Record

                FAVORITES                30-22-0 (57.7%)                    40-12 (76.9%)
             HOME TEAMS              24-26-0 (48.0%)                    25-25 (50.0%)

There were two neutral site games (TX A&M vs. ARK and BYU vs. VA.Tk).

COLLEGE – CUMULATIVE RESULTS 2016:

                                                            ATS                                 STRAIGHT-UP
                                                          Record                                     Record

            FAVORITES              103-87-4 (54.1%)                         156-38 (80.4%)
         HOME TEAMS             86-92-4 (48.4%)                          113-69 (62.1%)

COLLEGE CATCH-UP and OTHER MINUTIA

Last Thursday night, AP#5 Clemson (-10) won at Georgia Tech, 26-7, to snap a 5-game losing streak in this series. The CU Tigers held the GA Tech Yellow Jackets to 124 yards from scrimmage, while they racked up 442 yards.

San Diego State’s RB Donnel Pumphrey has racked up some impressive stats this season, rushing for 599 yards (and an impressive 8.2 yards per carry) in the Aztecs’ first three games (“bye” last weekend). For his career, he has now rushed for 52 TD’s and 4,871 yards (29th on all-time list). SDSU currently has a 13-game winning streak, second only to Alabama (16 games), and is ranked AP#19.

Under HC Urban Meyer, Ohio State is 19-0 in true road games. It’s just too bad Iowa cannot play those Buckeyes in Iowa City this year, which would allow the Hawkeyes to break that streak (just kidding, man). The Black and Gold team has a lot of improving to do.

The Army West Point football team started this season 3-0, the first time the team had done so since 1996, posting a 10-3 record that year. The team has had only one winning season since then. The honeymoon may be over; they lost in overtime, 23-20, on the road to the mediocre Buffalo Bulls last weekend as a two-touchdown favorite.

I glossed over the NEB Cornhusker victory over visiting Oregon two weeks ago (sorry, Jim and Kathy). Nebraska won only by three points, 35-32, and was fortunate to do so. The OU Ducks tried for the “two-point” conversion after all five of their TD’s and were successful on only one of the five. In four years as the leader of the Ducks, HC Mark Helfrich has converted the 2-point PAT a dismal 10 of 28 times (36%). Prior to Helfrich, former HC Chip Kelly (now SF 49’ers HC) was successful on 20 of 26 (77%).

After three weeks of college games, there were still 37 unbeaten FBS teams (28.9%), whereas there were only 9 winless FBS teams (7.0%). That’s a huge discrepancy; it can be partially explained because most FBS teams schedule an FCS opponent or other FBS “cupcake” early in the season to get warmed up for the looming conference schedule.

After this last weekend (the 4th week of games), following are the updated numbers:
UNDEFEATED TEAMS: 27 (fifteen are 4-0, twelve are 3-0)
WINLESS TEAMS: 6 (all six are non-Power 5 teams)

Florida International HC Ron Turner was fired over the weekend in his 4th year with the team; he had accumulated a 10-30 record with the FIU Panthers. Turner had been the head coach at Illinois from 1997-2004.

NFL NEWS and MINUTIA

INJURY UPDATES (probably missed a few)
Are you keeping up with all of the injuries? I haven’t dedicated the time to do a great job with this, but following are a few key injuries and updates of previous injuries (“IR” means “injured reserve” and a player is out for at least 8 weeks):

SAN DIEGO
LB Manti Te’o tore his Achilles on Sunday and is out for the year.
The Chargers had previously lost WR Keenan Allen (ACL knee injury) and RB Danny Woodhead (torn ACL) for the year.

CLEVELAND
The Browns top two QB’s are out – RGIII (broken shoulder bone) and Josh McCown (shoulder). The passing game has been further disrupted; rookie 1st round draft pick WR Corey Coleman broke his hand in practice and is out 4-6 weeks; previously suspended WR Josh Gordon is still scheduled to return in Week #5.

CHICAGO
QB Jay Cutler injured his throwing thumb and is supposedly “day-to-day”, but he could be holding a clipboard for 2-3 weeks. RB Jeremy Langford injured his ankle in Week #3 and is out 4-6 weeks. WR Kevin White is still struggling to get back to 100%. On defense, LB Lamarr Houston is out for the year (torn ACL), LB Danny Trevathan had thumb surgery and is out 2-3 weeks, and DT Eddie Goldman is out about 3-4 weeks with a high ankle sprain.

MINNESOTA
QB Teddy Bridgewater is out for the season with a badly damaged knee. RB Adrian Peterson is out for 3-4 months with a damaged knee (torn meniscus and maybe LCL) and cannot be replaced easily. Left tackle Ryan Kalil was placed on IR with a hip injury (#4 overall pick in 2012) and will be replaced by C.J. Clemmings (4th round pick in 2015). Left guard Alex Boone suffered a hip injury, but after initial concerns, should be OK. Starting DT Sharrif Floyd (2013 1st round draft pick) had knee surgery last week and will be out about six weeks.

DETROIT
RB Ameer Abdullah was put on IR with a foot injury and is likely out for the season. DE Ziggy Ansah (#5 overall pick in 2013) suffered a high ankle sprain in Week #2 and I’m guessing he’s out 3-4 weeks.

HOUSTON
LB Brian Cushing (torn MCL) is out about four more weeks and OLT Duane Brown (quad injury in 2015 Week #17, still not full recovery) has not been able to make the active roster this year.

SEATTLE
Seahawks’ RB Thomas Rawls appears to be out 2-3 weeks with a cracked leg bone. Also, QB Russell Wilson was already fighting through a “high ankle sprain” and now has a sprained MCL and may be out in Week #4 (but he’s hopeful to play on Sunday).
Tampa Bay RB Doug Martin is out three weeks with an injured hamstring.
Indianapolis WR Donte Moncrief is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured scapula (shoulder).

TEN Titans’ OG Chance Warmack (#10 overall pick in 2013 draft) is likely out for the year after finger surgery.

CAR Panthers’ RB Jonathan Stewart is out 2-4 weeks with an injured hamstring.

NOR Saints’ CB P.J. Williams has been put on IR with a concussion.

DAL Cowboys’ OLT La’El Collins has been put on IR with a torn ligament in his toe; Collins needs surgery and he’s out at least 8-10 weeks.

SF 49’ers OL Anthony Davis formally retired at age 26; he was a 1st round draft pick in 2010 and started 71 of 72 games at right tackle. Then he got hurt in 2014 and started only 7 games that season. He took a hiatus in 2015 (concussion concerns) and tried to make a comeback this year, but he suffered a concussion in practice after 2016 Week #1.

WSH ‘Skins safety DeAngelo Hall tore his ACL and is out for the year.

MIA Dolphins’ OC Mike Pouncey (hip injury) is most likely out for his team’s Week #4 game, mainly because Miami plays on Thursday night this week.

NY Giants’ WR Odell Beckham Jr. cries too much on the sidelines (hissy fit in Week #3); QB Eli Manning became his psychologist during the game. WSH ‘Skins CB Josh Norman must have gotten inside his head. Actually, Beckham had a pretty good game on the field against Norman in the much-anticipated matchup after last year’s out-of-control confrontation between these two players.

LOOKING AHEAD – selected games, not the full slate
COLLEGE FOOTBALL - FFHL WEEK #4 (college FB’s 5th week)


Thursday      Kansas (+28h) at Texas Tech       The “over/under” is 80 points!
Sept 29th     UConn (+28) at AP#6 Houston

Friday         Toledo (+4) at BYU
Sept 30th    BIG GAME:
                  AP#7 Stanford (+3) at AP#10 Washington
                  (key PAC-12 North battle for division title)

Saturday    BIG GAME:
Oct 1st      AP#3 Louisville (-1h) at AP#5 Clemson Wow!!
OTHERS:
                 AP#11 Tennessee (-3h) at AP#25 Georgia      Key SEC East game
                 North Carolina (+11) at AP#12 Florida State
                 Oklahoma (-3h) at AP#21 TCU
                 Western Michigan (-3h) at Central Michigan
                 Navy (+7h) at Air Force
                Wyoming (+6h) at Colorado State                       “Border War” since 1946
                Akron (-7) at Kent State                                      Schools are 12 miles apart
                Notre Dame (-10h) vs. Syracuse                         at neutral NYJ/NYG stadium

NFL WEEK #4 – SELECTED GAMES
Thursday      Miami (+7) at Cincinnati
Sept 29th

Sunday        Divisional Matchups:
Oct 2nd        Indianapolis (-2h) vs. Jacksonville                in LONDON, ENGLAND
                    Buffalo (+4h) at New England                       Patriots’ QB this week?
                   Carolina (-3) at Atlanta
                   Detroit (-2h) at Chicago
                   Tennessee (+6h) at Houston
                   LA Rams (+8) at Arizona

                  Other potential thrillers:
                  Kansas City (+5h) at Pittsburgh
                  Seattle (+1) at NY Jets                                    SEA QB Wilson is banged up
                  Oakland (+3) at Baltimore
                 Dallas (-2h) at San Francisco
                 New Orleans (+3h) at San Diego                     QB Drew Brees returns to SD

Monday   NY Giants (+4) at Minnesota
Oct 3rd

FOOTBALL QUIZ QUESTIONS

QUESTION #1: What are we not having this week?

ANSWER: A football quiz question. Sorry, Krueg; none this week.

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