Sunday, January 29, 2006

Kobe Bryant scores 81 on Jan. 22, 2006

Have you seen this? Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in NBA basketball on Jan. 22, 2006. See ESPN.com - NBA . The 81 points were the second highest individual point total ever scored in NBA competition, with the record of 100 points held by Wilt (the Stilt) Chamberlain in the Philadelphia Warriors game against the New York Knicks at Hershey, Pennsylvania, on March 2, 1962.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Seattle 34 Carolina 14 -Super Bowl XLPrediction

Carolina's sputtering offense definitey missed their top runner, DeShaun Foster, whereas NFL MVP Shaun Alexander returned from last week's concussion to run for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, as the Seahawk defense forced four turnovers (three Panthers passes and one fumble), controlled the ball for 42 minutes and won convincingly again on their home fied.

The Seahawk defense was so dominant that except for a 59 yard punt return by Steve Smith in the 2nd quarter, the Panther offense managed a touchdown only in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter to add a cosmetic touchdown to an otherwise already embarassing 34-7 score, to make the final Seattle 34 Panthers 14.

As we predicted prior to the playoffs:

"The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger (a fellow blogger) are our sentimental favorites, but they would have to play a lot better in the playoffs than they did during the season.... Right now the Seattle Seahawks, who beat Indianapolis 28-13 in their second last game, look quite strong...."

So its Seattle vs. Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL
and the Steelers are the early 3-point favorites to win.

This game put us 8-2 in calling the playoff winners and 7-3 against the spread.

Here is our prediction: Super Bowl XL will be decided by the turnovers. Matt Hasselbeck is a fine quarterback but we regard Ben Roethlisberger to be the NFL's best QB. If Big Ben is in form and if the net turnovers between the teams are even, we think the Steelers should win.

The offenses are good. The defenses are good. At the moment, these teams are the best, so we see a close game. We call the game Pittsburgh 27 Seattle 23, i.e. given the current spread, we see the Steelers to beat the spread.
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Steelers Advance to the Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Steelers 34 Denver Broncos 17

The Steelers are in the Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger had a superb game on 21 of 29 passing completions for 275 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

In addition, Big Ben ran for a four yard score to make the game 33-17 and out of reach for Denver.

The Broncos, who trailed 24-3 at the half, put up a valiant effort in the second half as Jake Plummer rallied the Broncos, but it was not enough.

This game puts us 8-1 in calling the winners of the NFL playoff games and 7-2 against the spread.

There are two games left. The Carolina - Seattle game today and Super Bowl XL on February 5.

Of course, we also have the Pro Bowl on February 12.
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Monday, January 16, 2006

NFL Conference Championship Game Predictions 2006

Who will make it to Super Bowl XL?

The conference championships next weekend will match

Pittsburgh against Denver in the AFC title game (the Broncos are favored by 3)
and
Carolina against Seattle in the NFC title game (the Seahawks are favored by 4)

The Steelers are 11-7 against the spread this year and Denver is 12-4-1 against the spread.
Both Denver and Seattle are undefeated at home this year with 8-0 records.

Yet, we rank all four teams about even and think the underdogs have a good chance to win.

The margin of victory of Denver's win over New England is deceptive, because the Patriots were in many ways the stronger team on offense but lost because of too many turnovers. We think that Pittsburgh is stronger than the Broncos, but Denver's home edge is important.

Nevertheles, we think the Steelers have the best NFL quarterback and because of Bettis's fumble to almost lose a sure win (the Steelers just had to knee the ball four times rather than run to capture the sure win) we think Bettis will run strongly against Denver to atone for his blunder and we call it for the Steelers 27-24.

We predicted that Carolina is the dark horse in this race to the Super Bowl and that John Fox is the man to watch. However, who could predict that top Carolina running back DeShaun Foster woud break his leg. He was replaced by Nick Goings. Will that make a big difference?

At the same time, NFL MVP Shaun Alexander suffered a concussion in the last game, and concussions simply do not heal that quickly, so that we will regard Alexander to be not at full strength even if he is allowed to play, which he perhaps should not be.

We rank these two teams even, which should normally give the Seahawks the advantage through the home field. However, Carolina made it to the Super Bowl two years ago in exactly this same position and lost to the Patriots in the closing seconds. We think the Panthers will return and call it Carolina 34 Seattle 33.
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Carolina Panthers win over the Chicago Bears 29-21

We called the game for Carolina 24-14 and the Panthers won 29-21. This puts us at 7-1 in calling the NFL playoff game winners thus far and 6-2 against the spread.

As expected the Panthers put up some good offensive numbers but had trouble getting the ball into the end zone at times, resulting in 3 field goals by John Kasay which were the difference in the game as each team scored 3 TDs, although Carolina put up 434 net yards rushing and passing as opposed to only 282 for Chicago.

Carolina punted five times and Chicago 7.

Jake Delhomme completed 24 of 33 passes for 311 yards, with half of the completions going to Steve Smith, the league yardage reception leader, for 218 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Roethlisberger Tackle lifts Steelers to 21-18 Victory over the Colts

Pittsburgh nearly blew a 21-3 lead and needed a game-saving open field tackle in the 4th quarter by their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on a fumble recovery by Indianapolis to save the Steelers victory over the Colts 21-18. Indianapolis scored 15 unanswered 4th quarter points while Pittsburgh nearly fumbled the game away in the last minute.

Yahoo Sports writes:

"After Pittsburgh's ferocious defense sacked a befuddled Peyton Manning twice, taking the ball on downs at the Colts 2 with just more than a minute left, Bettis fumbled when hit by Cato June. Nick Harper ... grabbed the ball and headed toward a highly improbable winning touchdown.

But Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, brilliant all game with his arm and head, tumbled, reached out a hand and made a saving tackle at the Indy 42
."

Well, fellow blogger Roethlisberger is our favorite NFL player, so here's a hat tip to the Steelers and their heads-up quarterback.

The Colts were favored by 9.5 so that in predicting a 31-27 Steeler win we called the winner of this game and also beat the spread, making our playoff record 6-1 in calling the winners and 5-2 against the spread.
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Seattle and Denver win their Divisional Playoff Games

We were mildly surprised that Seattle, favored by 9, beat the spread. We had picked the Seahawks 27-23 and they won against Washington 20-10, although the game was potentialy closer than that. In the final quarter the Seahawks Josh Scobee fumbled the kickoff and kicker John Hall recovered the ball, but then subsequently missed a 36-yard field-goal attempt that could have cut the Seattle lead to four. But as it was, that was the ball game, in a contest which saw Seattle gain 334 net yards to the Redskins 289. In a statistic that we always watch and which often - but not always - shows the true relative strengths of the teams, Seattle punted 5 times and Washington punted 7 times.

Denver was favored by 3 over the Patriots and we picked it Broncos 34 and New Engand 27, as Denver won 27-13.
What can one say about this game? The following statistics tell it all.
New Engand 420 yards rushing and passing - 5 turnovers
Denver 286 yards rushing and passing - 1 turnover
New England punted only 3 times and Denver 6 times.
In spite of the two touchdown difference in score, Denver was lucky to win and they will be playing a potentially better offensive team in either the Steelers or the Colts in the next round. Denver has lost in the playoffs to Indy the last two years by a combined score of 90-34.

We are now 5-1 in calling the winners and 4-2 against the spread in the playoff games.
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Monday, January 09, 2006

Upcoming NFL Divisional Playoff Games - Predictions

Our predictions on the upcoming NFL Divisional Playoff Games, based on the analysis further below, are:

Seattle 27 Washington 23
Denver 34 Patriots 27
Pittsburgh 31 Indianapolis 27
Carolina 24 Chicago 14

Here are the details:

Saturday, January 14
4:30 p.m. Washington (11-6) at Seattle (13-3)
8:00 p.m. New England (11-6) at Denver (13-3)

Sunday, January 15
1:00 p.m. Pittsburgh (12-5) at Indianapolis (14-2)
4:30 p.m. Carolina (12-5) at Chicago (11-5)

The betting line (which may differ slightly here and there) is currently:
Seattle is favored by 9 over Washington
Denver is favored by 3 over New England
Indianapolis is favored by 9.5 over Pittsburgh
Chicago is favored by 3 over Carolina

To determine how good the predicted spreads are, one should ask what the odds are that all four of these spreads will occur? Of course, they will not occur. Now, which ones are MOST LIKELY not to occur.

We find ourselves in a unique position of saying that ALL FOUR are unlikely based on our analysis of the average win differential (AWinD) and the average loss differential (ALossD)

Seattle is favored by 9 over Washington

In the current season, Seattle has lost three games by margins of 12, 3, 6 - average loss by 6, so that on average, if they were to lose, it would be by about 6.

In the current season, the Seahawks have won by 3, 25, 6, 32, 3, 14, 15, 2, 3, 42, 38, 4, 15 or an average win of 15.5, but per game it has been either a clear win or a close score. When it was close, they won by 3, 6, 3, 2, 3, 4 and when it was not close, they won by 25, 32, 14, 15, 42, 38 and 15. A number like nine is just not there. NINE is just not likely. Possible of course, but not likely, at least, based on the current season stats. Seattle will either win big or it will be close.

On the other hand, the Redskins won by 2, 1, 3, 35, 7, 15, 4, 28, 15, 11, 7. That is an average of about 11, and without the blowout win by 35, it is an average of about 9.
At the same time, the Redskins lost by 2, 7, 36, 1, 3, 6. If the Redskins are to lose, their average is about 9, but if we throw out that one loss by 36 to the Giants (later avenged) they lose by an average of only 4, i.e. very close.

So then one must consider whether the game is likely to be a blow-out or close.
Early in the season Seattle lost to the Redskins by 3, 20-17 IN OVERTIME, and the total net offense of both teams was almost equal so that the likelihood that Seattle will blow out Washington scorewise is small, based on a study of that game.

Based on the above average figures, if Seattle is to win, it will win by about 15 or by 4, or it will lose by about 6.

Hence, we would take the Redskins and the spread, predicting however a Seattle win by 4, 27-23.

Denver is favored by 3 over New England

Denver has won by 3, 20, 13, 2, 8, 28, 14, 27, 3, 2, 11, 19, 16 - average win by ca. 12.8
Denver has lost by 14, 1, 4 - average loss by about 6.3
The Patriots have won by 10, 3, 3, 5, 7, 7, 13, 28, 28, 10, 25 - average win by 12.6
The Patriots have lost by 10, 24, 8, 19, 10, 2 - average loss by 12.1

Both teams have similar average win differentials but the Patriots have the greater loss differential, an average loss of neary 6 points more. This would suggest a Denver win by about 6 points, so we call it Denver 34 and the Patriots 27.

Indianapolis is favored by 9.5 over Pittsburgh

Indianapolis has won by 17, 7, 7, 21, 25, 17, 18, 19, 14, 8, 19, 32, 8, 4 - average win by 15.5
Indianapolis has lost by 9, 15 - average loss by 12
Pittsburgh has won by 27, 20, 2, 14, 1, 10, 13, 12, 15, 41, 14, 14 - average win by 15.25 Pittsburgh has lost by 3, 6, 3, 19, 7 - average loss by 7.6

We think that the Pittsburgh defense may be the difference and call it for the Steelers by the difference of their losses, which is about 4 points, so that our prediction is Steelers 31 and Colts 27.

Chicago is favored by 3 over Carolina

Chicago has won by 32, 25, 4, 6, 3, 8, 10, 3, 8, 13, 7 - average win by 10.8
Chicago has lost by 2, 17, 10, 12, 24 - average loss by 13
Carolina has won by 10, 3, 4, 1, 25, 20, 27, 4, 18, 17, 33, 23 - average win by 15.4
Carolina has lost by 3, 3, 10, 10, 4 - average loss by 6

Note how all the "best" teams have average differntial wins by scores running at about 15.5 points on average. This is really quite remarkable and means that Carolina is to be put in the same quality class of play as Seattle, Indianapolis, and Pittsburgh, (with Denver and the Patriots somewhat below this level) and it seems fairly clear that one of the quartet of teams formed by the Seahawks, Colts, Steelers and Carolina will win the Super Bowl this year. In fact, Carolina probably has the best overall record by differential score overall and must be regarded as the dark-horse favorite win the Super Bowl in our book.

We split the difference of the average Carolina win 15.4 and the average Chicago loss by 3 and call it a two touchdown win for Carolina 24-14.
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NFL Wild Card Playoff Game Results 2006

We Called 3 of 4 Wild Card Playoff Games Correctly

Except for our unfortunate and erroneous call in favor of the Jaguars 24-17 over New England (see the previous posting), we called the other three wild card playoff games correctly, having predicted a Carolina win over New York 31-24, a Pittsburgh win over Cincinnati 31-27, and a Washington win over Tampa Bay 31-27. The Patriots were favored by 7.5 and won 28-3, the Giants were favored by 2.5 but the Panthers won 23-0, the Steelers were favored by 3 and won 31-17, and the Buccaneers were favored by 2.5 but the Redskins won 17-10.

That makes us 3-1 in calling the game winners and 3-1 against the spread in the NFL football playoff games thus far.

The name of the game for the wild card games was defense, as numerous teams had difficulty getting their offense moving.

Washington won in spite of only 120 yards total offense and "held" Tampa Bay to 243 yards.

The Carolina Panthers allowed the Giants to put only zeros on the board, New York's first playoff shutout in 20 years, as Carolina held New York to 41 yards rushing and only 91 net yards through the air. DeShaun Foster alone accounted for 151 yards on the ground for Carolina.

The Jaguar QBs were sacked 6 times and had 189 net yards passing and 59 rushing, while the Patriots had 87 yards rushing and 205 net yards passing. In spite of more first downs by the Jaguars than the Patriots, Jacksonville could not get the ball in the zone for even a single TD and New England won, although the statistics show a much closer game than the score indicates. Jacksonville was simply outcoached (see our previous posting).

This was the Steelers first road win since 1989 in the playoffs. The Steelers victory over the Bengals must however be taken with a bit of caution, as Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer was knocked out of the game on the first play with a torn knee ligament, which forced the Bengals to go with backup QB Jon Kitna, who actually held his own, going 24 of 40 for 197 yards.

It was the Cincinnati defense which collapsed, frittering away a 17-7 lead and allowing Pittsburgh 24 unanswered points, mostly due to the throwing of Ben Roethlisberger, who went 14 of 19 completions for 208 yards and 3 TDs. Steelers receiver Hines Ward said that the "intangibles" that Roethlisberger brings to the game as QB make the difference.

It must also be noted that the Steelers took control of the game 28-17 with a trick play as Antwaan Randle El took a direct snap, ran right, then turned and threw the ball back to Roethlisberger who hit wide open Cedric Wilson for the 43-yard touchdown reception.

Although the above trick play may have worked, we just hope that Pitt coach Bill Cowher does not start out the second half with a failed onside kick as he did in the Steelers last game against the Colts, which was a loss.
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Sunday, January 08, 2006

Playoffs Reveal the Best Coaches

What playoffs do is to reveal the best coaches and that is why some teams always seem to win in the playoffs and others lose. Joe Gibbs is a winner of no fewer than three Super Bowl titles. This coach knows how to win and how to do it even against obviously stronger teams, as in the Redskins improbable 17-10 win over Tampa Bay, where Washington generated a record-low 120 yards offense, and still won. That's coaching, even if it is also accompanied by some luck, as in the Washington game. We quote Darrell K Royal:

"Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity."

At Charles Robinson's Read and React: Packing it in, Yahoo! Sports
January 7, 2006, reader Joseph of Philadelphia asks:

"Why all the talk of Jack Del Rio leaving the Jacksonville Jaguars when he still has two years left on his contract?"

to which Robinson replies:

"He's not happy about being one of the lowest-paid coaches in the NFL."

Our comment is:

To judge by the Jaguars' 28-3 loss to the Patriots, his salary might not only be too high but we wonder if this coach has the knack to win the big ones. We were amazed to see Del Rio starting Leftwich at quarterback. Rather than going with quarterback David Garrard in the playoffs who went 5-1 as a starter ever since starting quarterback Byron Leftwich broke his ankle, Del Rio now suddenly started an allegedly healthy Leftwich again (never known for his mobility to begin with), rusty as the devil and not having played the last half of the season, resulting in a game in which Leftwich was sacked left and right and where the Jaguars did not score a single touchdown, coming closest in fact when Garrard was put in the game in the 4th quarter.

Del Rio is quoted as follows by Vic Ketchman, jaguars.com senior editor, for his decision:

"The first thing I want to do is see Byron move. He seems pretty confident he'll be out there for practice on Wednesday ... When he's able to practice long enough to show me he can lead this offense the way he was leading it before the injury, yeah, he'll be the quarterback."

Now that's bad coaching, and nothing more. Del Rio does not appear to even begin to understand any of the other factors involved in this decision.

The first rule of life is that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Don't get greedy. You don't start a rusty quarterback - even if allegedly a better passer - in the playoffs if you want to win, at least, not by our play book.

By doing so, you damage your own faith in and the self-confidence of the established quarterback himself who has been winning ever since taking up the starting job. You invariably change the team's style of play by having a different man at the helm, which invariably leads to different timing, different play-calling, etc. You force an entire team to be rethinking their play rhythms mentally at a time when they should be concentrating on the strengths which have been gained during the season.

In addition, Del Rio played right into the Patriots strength on defense, giving them a less athletic, less mobile QB to pounce on, and New England did just that, sacking him four times, usually in critical situations. Leftwich in over three quarters of play did not throw for one TD, none.

A really smart coach would have stayed with Garrard and with the established rhythms of the team for at least the first half. If Garrard had been unable to move the team in let us say the first half, then one might have decided on a switch for the second half, where a QB replacement might then have worked as a motivator, rather than as a detractor to team play.

Del Rio had a big decision to make and he made the wrong one. By that decision, the Jaguars were preprogrammed to lose and the Patriots were the gleeful opportunists.
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Friday, January 06, 2006

New Year's Tribute to those Fighting For Freedom in the World

The college football bowl season is over and it is time to return to the "real world" and to pay tribute to those fighting to bring freedom to that world.

See Until We Meet Again.

May all of these lands one day also have football and bowl games rather than senseless battles and killing.

Hat Tip to "Caw, Caw".
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NFL Draft NFL Playoffs 2006 Wild Card Games

VINCE YOUNG and the NFL DRAFT

Will Vince Young opt for the NFL Draft now? - see Pro Football Weekly, or About.com where James Adler also has a Mock NFL Draft.

WHAT'S COMING IN THE NFL DRAFT

See e.g. NFL Draft Scout, Draft Insiders, Great Blue North Draft Report, WhatIfSports Discussion Forum.

NFL PLAYOFFS WILD CARD GAME PREDICTIONS

Here are our calls on the Wild Card games coming up in the NFL playoffs:

John Fox will be worth as much against the Giants as he once was for them.
We call it Carolina 31 New York 24

The Steelers are on a roll and the Bengals are looking for their early season form.
We call it Pittsburgh 37 Cincinnati 27

Jacksonville trailed in 9 of the 12 games they eventually won, which does not speak of great team strength, but does speak of a tremendous willpower to win. The Jaguars beat Seattle to open the season. Of their 4 losses, they lost twice by a touchdown to Indianapolis (10-3, the Colts scored all 10 in the 4th quarter, and 26-18, three lost fumbles by the Jaguars), once by 3 to St. Louis (blocked punt for a TD by the Rams) and once by 13 to Denver. The Jaguar defense is strong and their offense has been improving. That may or may not be enough against the Patriots, who generally rise to the occasion in the playoffs. The fact that Leftwich is now available at QB for the Jaguars after a long injury might prove to be a disadvantage, as backup David Garrard is 5-1 since taking over. Such shifts at the helm may not be helpful at playoff time. That the Patriots are going to be ready for the playoffs is shown by Doug Flutie's recent drop kick conversion, the first in 64 years in pro football - the last was in 1941. The message of that kick to us is: look out, the Patriots are coming (or going). We will not be surprised at either outcome, and if Jacksonville wins, they have got a good shot at the Super Bowl.
We call it Jacksonville 24 New England 17

After losing to the Buccaneers in November, Washington won its last five games, as the Redskins have a tremendous turn-around this season and are beginning to follow the winning tradition of old and new coach Joe Gibbs. Tampa Bay also has a remarkable turn-around this year, but their improvement will probably not be enough to duplicate their November win.
We call it Washington 31 Tampa Bay 27

Who will win the Super Bowl? The Pittsburgh Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger (a fellow blogger) are our sentimental favorites, but they would have to play a lot better in the playoffs than they did during the season. Big Ben still has a sore thumb and is definitely not throwing up to par. Right now the Seattle Seahawks, who beat Indianapolis 28-13 in their second last game, look quite strong, as do the defeated Colts, who are the Super Bowl favorites on paper. The Seahawks season-ending loss to Green Bay is irrelevant, since back-ups were allowed to play extensively in order not to bang up the first stringers. A team that looks dangerous to us is Denver, who had a starting season blowout loss to Miami and then barely lost two close games to the New York Giants and to Kansas City, closing out the season with four straight wins. The Chicago Bears have the NFL's best scoring defense, but not the offense to go with it.

The playoffs have their own rules, so no team can be counted out.

HAIL FLUTIE

We mentioned Doug Flutie above, which recalls the famous "Hail Flutie" play, which is still remembered today, as related by Gerard Phelan, who caught a last second 48-yard "Hail Mary" pass from Flutie to allow Boston College to beat the Miami of Florida Hurricanes in what was also labeled the "Miracle in Miami" on November 23, 1984:

"That play has lived with me almost every day since it happened.... It's remarkable. Rarely a day goes by when someone does not bring it up. It's a great thing to be associated with... because whenever anybody talks about it they are always smiling. I'm lucky to be a part of it."

Gee, perhaps we need more "Miracles in Miami" for mankind in general... stories which are told which bring a smile to every face.
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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Result - Rose Bowl - Texas 41 USC 38

Texas 41 USC 38. It was a great game.

With 26 seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter and Texas faced with a 4th and 5 do or die situation at the USC 9-yard line, Vince Young scored on a 9-yard touchdown run to win the game and to cap a stunningly superb performance in which he ran for 200 yards on 19 carries with 3TDs (Reggie Bush and LenDale White together rushed 33 times for 206 yards total, with White scoring 3 TDs and Bush one). Vince also passed for 267 yards on 30 of 40 completions, with no TDs and no interceptions.

The Heisman winners of USC showed their stuff as Matt Leinart passed for 365 yards on 29 of 40 completions with one TD and one interception. Reggie Bush had 82 yards on 13 carries rushing, hauled in 6 passes for 95 yards and added 102 yards on five kick returns, giving him 279 yards total offense.

Both teams were pretty even rushing and passing as the Trojans rolled up 595 yards and the Longhorns 583 yards. Both teams punted only twice each, so it was an offensive contest from the opening whistle.

The Trojans were down 23-17 in the 3rd quarter but staged a 2nd half rally which was typical for their season, opening up a 38-26 lead with 6:42 left to play in the 4th quarter. Against any other team in the country, that would have been the ball game, but Vince Young brought the Longhorns back with two rushing touchdowns in the closing minutes to wrap up the game for Texas.

In the last analysis, the game could have gone either way and it was a fitting end to great seasons for both teams, both of which can hold their heads up high, win or lose.

We called the game 42 to 35 for Texas, thus missing the total score by only two and beating the spread, which was 7.5 in favor of USC when we made our call. We thus finished the bowl season predictions by calling the winners 15-14 and were 16-12-1 against the spread (there were 28 division I-A bowl games and we also called the Mount Union win in the Stagg Bowl). It was definitely not our best year for prognostications, but we called most of the big games correctly.

We hope for another exciting year in the 2006 NCAA college football season, starting nine months from now.
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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Result - Orange Bowl

Penn State beat Florida State 26-23 in the 3rd overtime after the game had been tied 16-16 at the end of regulation play. The Nittany Lions had been favored over the Seminoles by 8.5 at the time we made our predictions and actualy went off 10 point favorites, so that we called the winner and beat the spread, as our prediction was a 35-28 Penn State win. This makes us 15-12-1 against the spread in bowl games and 14-14 in calling the game winners.

There is now only one bowl game left, Texas vs. USC, and we hope it's a good one.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Comparative Football Scores Can Give Ridiculous Results

Comparative scores are useful if one looks at enough of them, but if one blindly follows this path, it can give ridiculous results:

Here is an example:

West Virginia beat Georgia 38-35
Virginia Tech beat West Virginia 34-17
makes them 18 points better than Georgia
Miama of Florida beat Virginia Tech 27-7
makes them 38 points better than Georgia
LSU beat Miami of Florida 40-3
makes then 75 points better than Georgia
BUT
Georgia beat LSU 34-14 in the SEC champsionship game
making that team on that day 95 points better than the Georgia team that played in the bowl game.

And here is yet another set of score comparisons,
with the upcoming Texas - USC national championship game in mind:

Texas beat Colorado 70-3 makes Texas 67 points better than Colorado
Colorado beat Missouri 41-12 makes Texas 96 points better than Missouri
Missouri beat South Carolina 38-31 makes Texas 103 points better than South Carolina
South Carolina beat Florida 30-22 makes Texas 111 points better than Florida
Florida beat Florida State 34-7 make Texas 138 points better than Florida State
Florida State beat Boston College 28-17 makes Texas 149 points better than BC
Boston College beat BYU 20-3 makes Texas 166 points better than BYU
BYU beat Wyoming 35-21 makes Texas 180 points better than Wyoming
Wyoming beat Mississippi 24-14 makes Texas 190 points better than Mississippi
Mississippi beat Memphis 10-6 makes Texas 194 points better than Memphis
Memphis beat Houston 35-20 makes Texas 209 points better than Houston
Houston beat Tulsa 30-23 makes Texas 216 points better than Tulsa
Tulsa beat Fresno State 31-24 makes Texas 223 points better than Fresno State
Fresno State lost by 8 to USC makes Texas a 215 point favorite over USC

And here is a comparative series regarding the game of Penn State vs. Florida State:

Penn State beat Purdue 33-15 makes Penn State 18 points better than Purdue
Purdue beat Arizona 31-24 makes Penn State 25 points better than Arizona
Arizona beat UCLA 52-14 makes Penn State 63 points better than UCLA
UCLA beat Oklahoma 41-24 makes Penn State 80 points better than Oklahoma
Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State 42-14 makes Penn State 108 points better than Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State beat Texas Tech 24-17 makes Penn State 115 points better than Texas Tech
Texas Tech beat Texas &M 56-17 makes Penn State 154 points better than Texas A&M
Texas A&M beat SMU 66-8 makes Penn State 212 points better than SMU
SMU beat TCU 21-10 makes Penn State 223 points better than TCU
TCU beat Utah 23-20 makes Penn State 226 points better than Utah
Utah beat Georgia Tech 38-10 makes Penn State 254 points better than Georgia Tech
Georgia Tech beat Clemson 10-9 makes Penn State 255 points better than Clemson
Clemson beat Florida State 35-14 makes Penn State 276 points better than Florida State
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Results - Fiesta Bowl (Tostitos), Sugar Bowl (Nokia)

We predicted the Fiesta Bowl (Tostitos) outcome as Ohio State 28 Notre Dame 21 and the Buckeyes won 34 to 20, mostly through the air, and the difference verifying our comparative score analysis with respect to their games against Michigan State.

We predicted the Sugar Bowl (Nokia) score to be Georgia 28 West Virginia 24 but West Virginia surprised nearly everyone by running for nearly 400 yards and beating the Bulldogs 38 to 35. The Mountaineers profited from a terrific start and led Georgia 28-0 with only a half minute gone in the second quarter. After that, Georgia had to play catch-up football, narrowing the score to 31-28 in the 3rd quarter, but it was not enough in the end as both teams scored final touchdowns.

Ohio State was favored by 3.5 and Georgia by 8.5 at the time that we made our calls.
Those two bowl game results now make us 14-12-1 against the spread and 13-14 in calling the winners with two games to go. We can no longer go under .500 on our calls against the spread but we would have to call the winner in both of the last two bowl games to go above .500 on those calls this year.
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Results - Cotton Bowl, Outback Bowl, Gator Bowl, Capital One Bowl

In the Cotton Bowl (AT&T) we called it Texas Tech 28 Alabama 24. Texas Tech was favored by 2.5 but Alabama won by 13-10 on a field goal with 5 seconds to play.
This makes us 11-10-1 against the spread and 10-12 in calling the winners.

In the Outback Bowl we called it Florida 35 Iowa 28. Florida was favored by 3 and won 31-24 after Iowa rallied for 17 unanswered 4th quarter points in a game that was pretty even statistically, except that Iowa had more passing yardage and less rushing yardage than the Gators.
This makes us 12-10-1 against the spread and 11-12 in calling the winners.

In the Gator Bowl (Toyota) we called it Virginia Tech 37 Louisville 35. Virginia Tech was favored by 7.5 at the time we made our predictions and won this game 35-24 after being behind the entire game but then scoring 22 4th quarter points against a Louisville team that had to go with a backup quarterback who threw three interceptions in the game.
This makes us 12-11-1 against the spread and 12-12 in calling the winners.

In the Capital One Bowl we called it Auburn 41 Wisconsin 21 and Auburn was favored by 10. In a shocker, the Badgers rolled over Auburn 24-10, rolling up 535 rushing and passing yards to only 207 for Auburn who simply could not move the ball against Wisconsin, which was remarkable, as Auburn had the SECs top offense. The outgoing Badger coach, Barry Alvarez, thus leaves Wisconsin as a winner, which he would have anyway, win or lose in this game, after guiding the Badgers for 16 years.

This makes us 12-12-1 against the spread and 12-13 in calling the winners with four games to go. We now hope we will break .500.
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Monday, January 02, 2006

Reposting of College Bowl Football Predictions

Here are our college football bowl predictions for the 2005-2006 bowl season.
We have our reasons for our choices, but in the end, only the score counts.

Dec. 17 Stagg Bowl: Mount Union 28 UW-Whitewater 24 (Update: The game result was Mount Union 35 UW-Whitewater 28)
Dec. 20 New Orleans Bowl: Southern Miss 31 Arkansas State 20 (Update: It was 10:10 at halftime when we posted this post, sorry to be so late with the predictions.)
Dec. 21 GMAC Bowl: Toledo 35 UTEP 27
Dec. 22 Las Vegas Bowl (Poineer PureVision): Cal 48 BYU 40
Dec. 22 Poinsettia Bowl (SD County Credit Union): Colorado State 30 Navy 27
Dec. 23 Fort Worth Bowl: Kansas 42 Houston 28
Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl (Sheraton): Nevada 27 Central Florida 24
Dec. 26 Motor City Bowl: Akron 24 Memphis 21
Dec. 27 Champs Sports Bowl: Colorado 31 Clemson 28
Dec. 27 Insight Bowl: ASU 37 Rutgers 21
Dec. 28 MPC Computers Bowl: Boise State 37 Boston College 26
Dec. 28 Alamo Bowl: Nebraska 24 Michigan 21
Dec. 29 Emerald Bowl: Georgia Tech 31 Utah 28
Dec. 29 Holiday Bowl (Pacific Life): Oklahoma 31 Oregon 24
Dec. 30 Music City Bowl (Gaylord Hotels): Minnesota 27 Virginia 21
Dec. 30 Sun Bowl (Vitalis): Northwestern 47 UCLA 44
Dec. 30 Independence Bowl: Missouri 34 South Carolina 27
Dec. 30 Peach Bowl (Chick-fil-A): Miami of Florida 21 LSU 17
Dec. 31 Meineke Car Care Bowl: South Florida 31 North Caroina State 24
Dec. 31 Liberty Bowl (AutoZone): Fresno State 35 Tulsa 31
Dec. 31 Houston Bowl (EV1.net): Iowa State 34 TCU 30
Jan. 02 Cotton Bowl (AT&T): Texas Tech 28 Alabama 24
Jan. 02 Outback Bowl: Florida 35 Iowa 28
Jan. 02 Gator Bowl (Toyota): Virginia Tech 37 Louisville 35
Jan. 02 Capital One Bowl: Auburn 41 Wisconsin 21
Jan. 02 Fiesta Bowl (Tostitos): Ohio State 28 Notre Dame 21
Jan. 02 Sugar Bowl (Nokia): Georgia 28 West Virginia 24
Jan. 03 Orange Bowl (FedEx):Penn State 35 Florida State 28
Jan. 04 Rose Bowl (Citi): Texas 42 USC 35

We have not done well this season at all on our football prognostications so whatever you do, do NOT rely on these predictions to make any football wagers of any kind. The above predictions are made just for fun. May the best team - on the field on the day of the game - win.
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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Results - Meineke Bowl, Houston Bowl, Liberty Bowl

After South Florida went scoreless in the first half against N.C. State, we thought that it was likely that they would not score in the second half either, and they did not, as N.C. State won 14-0. We initially thought the Bulls might win this one. This game puts us at 10-9 in calling game winners and 9-9-1 against the spread.

The TCU Horned Frogs were able to move the ball in the air and Iowa State continued to have problems in winning the close ones, losing to TCU 27-24. We had predicted a Cyclone win. We are thus 10-10 in calling game winners and 10-9-1 against the spread, as TCU was favored by 4. The Big 12 is now 4-2 in bowl games.

Fresno State continued its downward tumble, losing its fourth straight game 31-24 to Tulsa. They were favored by 7 and we called it 35-31, beating the spread, where we are now 11-9-1. But we did not call the winner, where we are now 10-11.

The great thing about the New Year for all of us is that it might bring a change of our prognosticating and other fortunes. Eight games remain.

Happy New Year!
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