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Friday, November 16, 2012

Ohio plays football, so does the west coast and Louisiana, honoring FCS week, and unnecessary Johnny Football references

The state of Ohio has eight FBS programs, second only to Texas (where Johnny Football lives). Ohio has more rosters to fill than recruiting hotbeds California and Florida. Of the seven teams playing this week, only Miami has a losing record, and even Miami has an 11% chance of becoming bowl eligible. (Akron is terrible, but they have the week off. Akron lost to UMass, but still managed to score 26 on Tennessee; yeah, Dooley should be getting his resume ready.)

Five teams in Ohio had two or fewer losses before games started this week (like Johnny Football's Aggies, who have two losses), but only one of those five (Cincinnati vs. Rutgers) is favored (by the model and in Vegas). Cincinnati is the only team in the state favored against a team from another state.

The SEC elite minus LSU take a collective breath after several weeks of intense action. In honor of FCS week, I've ranked this week's SEC opponents from top to bottom. The best chance for an FCS win comes from Samford (12.6%) against Kentucky - not that Samford is good, but Kentucky is really, really bad. Johnny Football and crew get this week's top FCS opponent, but, with Johnny Football playing quarterback, they have a 97% chance of winning.

Opponent Team Pr
LSU vs. Mississippi 16.6%
Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee 32.4%
Mississippi St. vs. Arkansas 29.9%
Mississippi vs. LSU 83.4%
Tennessee vs. Vanderbilt 67.6%
Arkansas vs. Mississippi St. 70.1%
Syracuse vs. Missouri 60.6%
Sam Houston St. vs. Texas A&M 96.7%
Ga. Southern vs. Georgia 98.6%
Wofford vs. South Carolina 99.2%
Samford vs. Kentucky 87.4%
Jacksonville St. vs. Florida 99.5%
Western Caro. vs. Alabama 100.0%
Alabama A&M vs. Auburn 98.2%

With the SEC in FCS week, the voices coming from the various boxes in my house are trying to convince me that Oregon v. Stanford is worth watching (and that Johnny Football should win the Heisman, but they don't need to convince me of that). Let's consider the facts here: 1) Oregon is favored by three TDs in Vegas and 18 by the model, 2a) Oregon beat Stanford by 22 and 21 the last two seasons, 2b) Mariota>Thomas and Luck>everyone (except Johnny Football, of course), 3) Oregon's uniforms are "flat" (I've been told about 700 times in the last two weeks that this is important, so it must be important).

On the flip side, Stanford is allowing 2 yards/rush this season and is #2 nationally in Run D efficiency. Stanford allows only 59 rushing yards per game and 17 points per game. Cal made it clear that the Oregon run game can be slowed, and when you do that they can throw the ball around just fine, but Stanford might be able to slow the run without 10 men in the box. Stanford won't score enough points to win, but we will get to see what the Oregon offense does against a legit defense (Alabama has the nation's most effective run defense). That makes it worth watching.

Staying in the Pac-12, mostly because I have to, USC will "travel" to UCLA this weekend. If USC wins, the Pac-12 South can continue what is quickly becoming the proud tradition of the divisional representative having at least three losses in conference. Whoever wins, the South will continue another proud tradition of their representative getting stomped by Oregon in the championship game.

ULM beat Arkansas, lost to Auburn in OT, and lost to La-Lafayette, who lost to Florida in OT, who beat LSU, who beat South Carolina and Texas A&M (Johnny Football's team), who beat Louisiana Tech by 2 and Alabama by 5. Tulane did have the worst offense in the history of the world for the first half of the season, but have scored 20 or more in five straight games, only to allow Memphis to score 37. Louisiana is a strange, strange place. And Utah State is leaving Cache Valley, another very strange place, to play Louisiana Tech. This game opened at LaTech -3 and is now Utah State -3, and the model says the line still needs to move to Utah State -7. Chuckie Keeton should do his best Johnny Football impression and Utah State should win. Either way, I expect something very weird to happen

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