Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Wild January 5, 2005 in NCAA College Basketball

January 5, 2005 was a wild day in NCAA College Basketball, marked by unbeaten and 23rd-ranked West Virginia's phenomenal 84-46 loss to once-beaten and unranked Villanova. But the Mountaineers were not the only ones to be seemingly shooting at baskets with lids on them.

Unbeaten and unranked Boston College (12-0) upset 9th-ranked UConn 75-70. UConn led 37-30 at the half but let the game slip away when play resumed.

Unranked Georgetown handed 12th-ranked Pitt its second straight loss 67-64.

15th-ranked Iowa lost to the Michigan 65-63, although the Wolverines squandered away a big 44-30 halftime lead.

16th-ranked Louisville went down to Houston 70-67.

18th-ranked Alabama was thrashed by Vanderbilt 70-56.

Other games went more according to expectations:

1st-ranked Illinois beat a good Ohio State team 84-65, pretty much matching its average 20+ scoring margin this season for its 15-0 record. Who is going to beat this Illini team? Then 25th-ranked and unbeaten Gonzaga (now 21st-ranked) lost to the Illini 89-72 (Gonzaga has losses only to Illinois and Missouri, the latter the only team to come within less than 12 points of the Illini, losing by 70-64). Then 1st-ranked and unbeaten Wake Forest lost 89-72 (it is still the only loss for the 12-1 team). Then 17th-ranked and unbeaten Cincinnati (11-1) lost 67-45 on New Year's Eve. At the moment,

Unbeaten 2nd-ranked Kansas escaped with 65-60 win over the previously unbeaten but unranked and unheralded Texas A&M Aggies after being up only 61-60 with 17 seconds to play.

5th-ranked Duke won 59-46 against a plucky Princeton team.

7th-ranked Syracuse beat St. John's 79-65

8th-ranked Kentucky beat South Carolina 79-75 after trailing 41-35 at the half.

19th-ranked Michigan State soundly defeated Penn State 84-58.

22nd-ranked Mississippi State showed Auburn that its basketball team is in a completely different league than its football team, as Auburn lost 90-53.

25th-ranked George Washington beat LaSalle 71-42.

TEAMS we think belong in the top 25 of the rankings but who are still not ranked: Boston College, Oklahoma and New Mexico. After their win over UConn, BC should move up considerably, whereas New Mexico still needs some wins over quality opposition to get there. Oklahoma has only two close road losses, to two superb teams, Duke (after leading the Blue Devils by 11 at the half) and Washington, and in our opinion should be ranked in the top 10. But of course, the remaining season will give us more information about who belongs where.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

NCAA 2004 / 2005 College Football Bowl Prediction Results

In our NCAA college football bowl predictions for 2004/2005 we went 19-9 in calling winners and were 20-8 against the spread. Seven of our called wins were "upsets".
Nevertheless the season ended on a sour note as the Okies played like absolute out-of-shape beginners and were demolished 55-19 by USC in the title game. This is the second blowout in a row for Oklahoma, so that the Sooners must do something terribly wrong in preparing for these games in the long gameless period between the end of the season and the bowl game. Given that end result, it surely would have been a better game with defensively strong Auburn as the Trojan opponent. Here are our prediction results.

WYNDHAM NEW ORLEANS BOWL - Southern Mississippi was favored by 5.5 over North Texas. We called it for Southern Miss 35 to 28.
Southern Miss won 31-10 so that we called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 1-0 for calling winners and 1-0 against the spread.

CHAMPS SPORTS BOWL - Georgia Tech (6-5) was favored by 4.5 over Syracuse (6-5).
We called it Georgia Tech 33 Boston College 27.
Georgia Tech won 51-14 so that we called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 2-0 for calling winners and 2-0 against the spread.

GMAC BOWL - Bowling Green (8-3) was favored by 4.5 over Memphis (8-3).
We called it for the Falcons over the Tigers 44-37.
Bowling Green won 52-35 so that we called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 3-0 for calling winners and 3-0 against the spread.

PLAINS CAPITAL FORT WORTH BOWL - Cincinnati (6-5) was favored by 2 over Marshall (6-5). We gave the advantage to Marshall 31-30 but Cincinnati won 32-14. We did not pick the winner and lost to the spread.
Our running bowl score is 3-1 for calling winners and 3-1 against the spread.

PIONEER PUREVISION LAS VEGAS BOWL - UCLA (6-5) was favored by 12.5 over Wyoming (6-5) We called it UCLA 32 Wyoming 30 but Wyoming upset the Bruins 24-21. We did not pick the winner but beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 3-2 for calling winners and 4-1 against the spread.


SHERATON HAWAII BOWL - Hawaii was favored by 3.5 over UAB. We called Hawaii winning over UAB 44-35. The Rainbow Warriors won 59-40.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 4-2 for calling winners and 5-1 against the spread.

MPC COMPUTERS BOWL - Virginia (8-3) was favored by 5.5 over Fresno State (8-3). We called an upset for the Bulldogs 38-35 and they won 37-34.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 5-2 for calling winners and 6-1 against the spread.

MOTOR CITY BOWL - Toledo (9-3) was favored by 3.5 over Connecticut (7-4). We called it 40-30 for the Rockets, who lost 39-10.
We did not call the winner and did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 5-3 for calling winners and 6-2 against the spread.

INDEPENDENCE BOWL - Miami of Ohio (8-4) was favored by 3 over Iowa State (6-5). We thought the Cyclones would manage this one and called it Iowa State 37 Miami of Ohio 26. Iowa State won 17-13.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 6-3 for calling winners and 7-2 against the spread.

INSIGHT BOWL - Oregon State (6-5) was favored by 3.5 over Notre Dame(6-5). We called it for the Beavers 40-19, and they beat the Irish 38-21.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 7-3 for calling winners and 8-2 against the spread.

EV1.net HOUSTON BOWL - Colorado (7-5) was favored by 3 over UTEP (8-3). We called it for the Buffaloes 37-26, and Colorado won 33-28.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 8-3 for calling winners and 9-2 against the spread.

MASTERCARD ALAMO BOWL - Oklahoma State (7-4) was favored by 3.5 over Ohio State (7-4). We expected a close game and called it for the Cowboys 36-33 who were blown out by the Buckeyes 33-7.
We did not call the winner but beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 8-4 for calling winners and 10-2 against the spread.

CONTINENTAL TIRE BOWL - North Carolina (6-5) was favored by 3 over Boston College (8-3). We called it for the Eagles over the Tarheels 24-21 and B.C. won 37-24.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 9-4 for calling winners and 11-2 against the spread.

EMERALD BOWL - New Mexico (7-4) was favored by 2.5 over Navy (9-2). We thought the Midshipmen had a chance and called it Navy 27 New Mexico 24. Navy won 34-19.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 10-4 for calling winners and 12-2 against the spread.

PACIFIC LIFE HOLIDAY BOWL - California (10-1) was favored by 11.5 over Texas Tech (7-4). We called an upset for Texas Tech 52-49 and the Red Raiders beat Cal 45-31.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 11-4 for calling winners and 13-2 against the spread.

SILICON VALLEY BOWL - Northern Illinois (8-3) and Troy State (7-4) were seen as even. We called it for Northern Illinois 21-20 who won 34-21.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 12-4 for calling winners and 14-2 against the spread.

GAYLORDS HOTELS MUSIC CITY BOWL - Alabama (6-5) was favored by 3.5 over Minnesota (6-5). We gave the edge to Minnesota 21 to 17 and they won 20-16.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 13-4 for calling winners and 15-2 against the spread.

VITALIS SUN BOWL - Purdue (7-4) was favored by 7.5 over Arizona State (9-2). We called it Purdue 30 Arizona State 20 but the Sun Devils came out on top 27-23.
We failed to call the winner and did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 13-5 for calling winners and 15-3 against the spread.

AUTO ZONE LIBERTY BOWL - Louisville (10-1) was favored by 14 over Boise State (11-0). We called it Boise State 52 and Louisville 51 but Louisville won 44-40.
We failed to call the winner but beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 13-6 for calling winners and 16-3 against the spread.

CHICK-FIL-A PEACH BOWL - Miami of Florida (8-3) was favored by 3 over Florida (7-4). We called it for Miami of Florida 38-27 and the Hurricanes prevailed 27-10.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 14-6 for calling winners and 17-3 against the spread.

OUTBACK BOWL - Georgia (9-2) was favored by 6.5 over Wisconsin (9-2). We called it Georgia 35 Wisconsin 20 and Georgia won 24-21.
We called the winner but did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 15-6 for calling winners and 17-4 against the spread.

SBC COTTON BOWL - Texas A&M (7-4) was favored by 3 over Tennessee (9-3). We called it for Texas A&M 39-28 but Tennessee rolled 38-7.
We failed to call the winner and did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 15-7 for calling winners and 17-5 against the spread.

TOYOTA GATOR BOWL - Florida State (8-3) was favored by 8.5 over West Virginia (8-3). We went with West Virginia 35-34 but the Seminoles won 30-18.
We failed to call the winner and did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 15-8 for calling winners and 17-6 against the spread.

CAPITAL ONE BOWL - LSU was favored by 6.5 over Iowa. We called it for Iowa 24-23, who won 30-25.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 16-8 for calling winners and 18-6 against the spread.

ROSE BOWL - Texas (10-1) wass favored by 6 over Michigan (9-2). We called it for Texas 34 Michigan 24, and Texas squeeked out a close one 38-37.
We called the winner but did not beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 17-8 for calling winners and 18-7 against the spread.

TOSTITOS FIESTA BOWL - Utah (11-0) was favored by 16 over Pittsburgh. We called it Utah 55 Pitt 24 and the Utes won 35-7.
We called the winner and beat the spread.
Our running bowl score is 18-8 for calling winners and 19-7 against the spread.

NOKIA SUGAR BOWL (January 3, 2005, 8 p.m.)
Auburn (12-0) was favored by 6.5 over Virginia Tech (10-2). We called it for Auburn 14-10 and Auburn won 16-13.

FEDEX ORANGE BOWL (January 4, 2005, 8 p.m.)
USC (12-0) is favored by 3 over Oklahoma (12-0). The Massey ratings see the USC offense as better than that of OU but the defenses are ranked 1 an 2 in the nation by Massey, with OU's Nr. 1 defense surely in large part due to the addition of Bo Pelini to the coaching staff, who the Nebraska Cornhuskers were too stupid too keep last year. Oklahoma blew it last year but we think that the OU defense can shut USC down sufficiently and it has enough of an offense with White and Petersen to win. We call it OU 28 USC 24.

Interesting is the won-loss performance of the various conferences in bowl games:

ACC (3-2 in bowl games)
Auburn 16 Virginia Tech 13
Florida State 30 West Virginia 18
Miami (FL) 27 Florida 10
Fresno State 37 Virginia 34
Georgia Tech 51 Syracuse 14

Big 12 (4-3 in bowl games)
USC 55 Oklahoma 19
Colorado 33 UTEP 28
Iowa State 17 Miami (OH) 13
Texas 38 Michigan 37
Texas Tech 45 California 31
Tennessee 38 Texas A&M 7
Ohio State 33 Oklahoma State 7

Big East (2-3 in bowl games)
Boston College 37 North Carolina 24
Utah 35 Pittsburgh 7
Florida State 30 West Virginia 18
Georgia Tech 51 Syracuse 14
Connecticut 39 Toledo 10

Big 10 (3-3 in bowl games)
Iowa beat LSU 30-25
Texas 38 Michigan 37
Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
Ohio State 33 Oklahoma State 7
Arizona State 27 Purdue 23
Minnesota 20 Alabama 16

Conference USA (3-2 in bowl games)
Louisville 44 Boise State 40
Bowling Green 52 Memphis 35
Hawaii 59 UAB 40
Cincinnati 32 Marshall 14
Southern Miss 31 North Texas 10

Independents (1-0 in bowl games)
Navy 34 New Mexico 19

Mid-American (2-3 in bowl games)
Iowa State 17 Miami (OH) 13
Cincinnati 32 Marshall 14
Northern Illinois 34 Troy 21
Connecticut 39 Toledo 10
Bowling Green 52 Memphis 35

Mountain West (2-1 in bowl games)
Utah 35 Pitt 7
Navy 34 New Mexico 19
Wyoming 24 UCLA 21

Pac 10 (3-2 in bowl games)
USC 55 Oklahoma 19
Texas Tech 45 Cal 31
Arizona State 27 Purdue 23
Oregon State 38 Notre Dame 21
Wyoming 24 UCLA 21

SEC (3-3 in bowl games)
Auburn 16 Virginia Tech 13
Tennessee 38 Texas A&M 7
Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
Miami (FL) 27 Florida 10
Iowa 30 LSU 25
Minnesota 20 Alabama 16

WAC (2-2 in bowl games)
Louisville 44 Boise State 40
Colorado 33 UTEP 28
Fresno State 37 Virginia 34
Hawaii 59 UAB 40´

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Stewart Mandel: Orange Bowl Blog

It's a sign of the times.

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated, whose columns we much enjoy reading (in spite of the fact that we often disagree with him) has a mini-blog on this year's Orange Bowl.

See Stewart Mandel: Orange Bowl Blog

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