Wednesday, October 15, 2008

College Football Game Prognostications and Results - 2008 Season - Week 8

NOTICE: SPRS (Sport Pundit Rating System) Name Change to YPPSYS (tm) viz. YPP-SYS (tm) We have discovered that confusion might be remotely possible between our SPRS college football prediction system and something called Thompson SPRS which we noted for the first time on October 12, 2008 at The Prediction Tracker summaries but which we have been unable to find online. When we first named our SPRS system, there was no Google conflict, otherwise we would have chosen a different name. In order to identify our system as a separate system, and since we have no reason to be bound to our original name if confusion of any kind is possible, we are changing the SPRS name today from SPRS System to YPPSYS (or YPP-SYS ), which means "Yards Per Play System", a change which we will implement as an update paragraph on the relevant older pages explaining our original SPRS. There is no online conflict for this name and we hereby trademark the names YPPSYS viz. YPP-SYS as acronyms used by us for our college football prediction system, a rating, ranking and prediction system which was previously called SPRS by us, based on net average yards per play advantage (NAYPPA). We do this particularly since our system this year is beating nearly all the systems listed at The Prediction Tracker and we want no confusion.

College Football Game Predictions and Results - 2008 Season - Week 8 (week and weekend of Saturday, October 18, 2008)

The odds used below are those posted at the College Football Prediction Tracker on Monday, October 13, 2008. The unique system used for game prognostications is SPRS [name changed to YPPSYS - see above] which uses primarily our own derived NAYPPA system (based on yards per play stats from cfbstats.com) plus the Massey Ratings strength of schedule (SoS) for making college football predictions, although we handle SoS differently here than for a full season. We use the Massey SchP, which is the strength of schedule thus far this year, not that for the whole year. In addition, thus far this year, for Division I-A FBS football, the median (of 120 teams) net yards per play gained on offense is 5.4 whereas the median net yards per play allowed on defense is 5.2. In the year 2007 those medians were 5.4 and 5.3 respectively for the full season. Unless otherwise noted, the stats in parentheses give the net average yards per play gained on offense and net average yards per play allowed on defense thus far this football season. Each point of YPPSYS rating advantage = 9 points on the scoreboard (see the 2007 final rankings). We do this all in good fun and disclaim any and all liability for any reliance of any kind on our prognostications. May the best team win.

New Update: Up to now we have calculated the home field advantage as being about 3 points on average. Scott Albrecht at College Football by the Numbers confirms that the average home field advantage is "about 3 to 3.5 points" - but that is the average! Scott has calculated the home field advantage (HFA) for Division I-A (FBS) teams over the last ten years (1997-2007) for each team and has found great differences, giving much larger specific HFA for teams like Hawaii (12.62 points) - Aloha!, Boise State (10.79 points) - Blue Turf - or Oregon State (10.42 points) - and HFA will be a major factor as to why USC has lost their last two games to the Beavers at Reser Stadium. As a result, for this set of predictions, we are going to use Scott Albrecht's HFA calculations (here abbreviated as "SAHFA") as a newly adjusted variable in our prognostications, applying the points that his calculations provide, rather than using our standard 3-point home field advantage variable.

The ranks of the unbeatens in Division I-A (FBS) football have thinned out considerably by this now 8th upcoming week of college football, with only Texas (6-0), Penn State (7-0), Alabama (6-0), Boise State (5-0), Oklahoma State (6-0), Texas Tech (6-0), Utah (7-0), BYU (6-0), Ball State (7-0), and Tulsa (6-0) remaining.

After seven weeks and after last Saturday's win over Oklahoma, Texas is now ranked #1 in both the AP and USA Today coaches' polls. Here is what we wrote at SportPundit about Texas to start out this 2008 college football season:

"TEXAS LONGHORNS
Rivals.com Preseason Countdown: No. 15 Texas

SPRS [name changed to YPPSYS] ranked Texas 14th at the end of last season but there is no way in our thinking to rank them behind Texas Tech to start this season. New defensive coordinator and linebacker coach Will Muschamp has been brought from Auburn by Mack Brown and signed for a salary making him the highest paid assistant coach in the Big 12. We think he will make a difference for Texas, who we expect to be in the Top 10 in the nation by the time the season is over. Indeed, they may even have a good crack at the national championship. Don't mess with Texas."

OK. Here are our Week 8 predictions, based on our YPPSYS (Yards Per Play System) (tm), using the odds as posted at The Prediction Tracker (or, in the case of games not posted there, at Yahoo Odds) on Monday, October 13, 2008.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Florida State (6.1, 3.7, SoS=95) is favored on the road by 11 1/2 points at North Carolina State (4.4, 6.1, SoS=19). SAHFA for North Carolina State = 0.94 points.
The only team that is going to beat the strong defense of the Seminoles is a team that plays better defense in their particular game matchup, as Wake Forest did earlier in the year in handing Florida State its only loss of this season. North Carolina State has one of the worst defenses in the nation, combined with a weak offense, and in our opinion thus has little chance to win this game.
Our call this week is: 31-3 for Florida State.

Brigham Young (6.4, 4.5, SoS=113) is favored on the road by 1 1/2 points at TCU (5.0, 3.7, SoS=81). SAHFA for TCU = 2.58 points.
Including the home field advantage, our YPPSYS stats show this game as dead even. This well be a good test for the actual strength of both teams. BYU is riding the nation's longest winning streak at 16 games and has been playing superb defensive football this year. The Cougars have not allowed a TD in 3 of their 6 games. But it is TCU which leads the nation in defensive stats and even Oklahoma only gained 25 yards rushing against the Horned Frogs in the Sooners 35-10 win. As the Oklahoma game showed, TCU is weaker against a strong passing attack, which BYU has, although that passing attack is weaker than Oklahoma's by about two TDs, which also makes this game look even, for which reason we go with the home team, by a point.
Our call this week is: 17-16 for TCU.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hawaii (5.3, 5.3, SoS=12) is a 26-point underdog at Boise State (6.5, 4.4, SoS=103).
Hawaii is a balanced team offensively and defensively and the Warriors have played a much tougher schedule than the Broncos, so that a 26-point spread seems like a lot to us in this game. The SAHFA for Boise State is 10.79 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Boise State

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Texas Tech (7.6, 5.0, SoS=94) is favored on the road by 21 points at Texas A&M (5.5, 5.7, SoS=69). The SAHFA for Texas A&M is 5.14 points.
Our call this week is: 38-21 for Texas Tech.

Vanderbilt (4.4, 4.6, SoS=66) is an underdog by 15 points at Georgia (6.5, 4.6, SoS=21). The SAHFA for Georgia is a minus -0.25 points.
The low HFA is probably because Georgia seldom plays much beyond 300 miles from its home stadium.
Our call this week is: 37-14 for Georgia.

LSU (6.2, 4.9, SoS=80) is favored on the road by 3 1/2 points at South Carolina (5.1, 4.1, SoS=41). South Carolina has an SAHFA of 3.20 points.
Our stats would make South Carolina a 4 point favorite.
Our call this week is: 24-20 for South Carolina

Syracuse (4.9, 6.2, SoS=13) is an underdog by 24 points at South Florida (5.9, 4.2, SoS=60). South Flordia has an SAHFA of 3.83 points.
Our stats favor South Florida by 26 points.
Our call this week is: 33-7 for South Florida.

Wake Forest (4.4, 4.4, SoS=8) at Maryland (5.9, 5.4, SoS=78) had an opening line of 1 1/2 points favoring Wake Forest but is currently at 0 points. Maryland enjoys an SAHFA of 6.57 points.
Our call this week is: 20-17 for Maryland

Purdue (5.1, 5.3, SoS=14) is an underdog by 4 points at Northwestern (5.1, 4.6, SoS=46). Northwestern enjoys a 3.41 point SAHFA.
Our call this week is: 24-20 for Northwestern

East Carolina (5.1, 5.5, SoS=44) is favored at home by 8 1/2 points over Memphis (5.9, 6.2, SoS=117). East Carolina has a SAHFA of 0.96 points. Our stats come out as favoring East Carolina by 9 points.
Our call this week is: 33-24 for East Carolina

Rutgers (5.0, 5.3, SoS=55) at Connecticut (5.4, 5.1, SoS=42) started out with Rutgers as a 3.5 point favorite but the line is currently 0 points. Connecticut has a minus -0.53 points home advantage.
Our call this week is: 27-21 for Connecticut

Bowling Green (5.1, 5.2, SoS=40) is favored at home by 9 1/2 points over Miami of Ohio (4.5, 5.4, SoS=99). Bowling Green enjoys a SAHFA of 6.72 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Bowling Green

Clemson (5.8, 4.7, SoS=47) is favored by 2 points at home over Georgia Tech (6.2, 3.8, SoS=61). Clemson has a SAHFA of 1.50 points.
Coach Tommy Bowden of Clemson has been fired in midseason, which certainly gives the psychological edge to Georgia Tech.
Our call this week is: 27-17 for Georgia Tech

Central Michigan (5.2, 6.0, SoS=96) is favored at home by 3 points over Western Michigan (6.2, 5.1, SoS=119). Central Michigan has a SAHFA of 5.91 points.
Our call this week is: 30-21 for Western Michigan

Iowa (5.9, 4.4, SoS=22) is favored at home by 3 1/2 points over Wisconsin (5.5, 5.0, SoS=37). Iowa has a SAHFA of 4.07 points.
Our call this week is: 28-14 for Iowa

Nebraska (6.4, 5.9, SoS=2) is favored on the road by 6 points at Iowa State (5.1, 6.0, SoS=84). SAHFA for Iowa State = 2.80 points.
After opening with five home games, the Huskers are on the road for the second straight week, visiting against the Cyclones, whose defense is just as bad as that of the Cornhuskers. The Huskers rank tied for 100th with Minnesota and Iowa State is 102nd. If the Nebraska coaching staff allows QB Joe Ganz to play HIS game and fill the air with footballs, which is what he is really good at, the Huskers will win handily. If offensive coordinator Watson continues his course of futility - to try to run the ball without having the personnel for it, which has cost Nebraska two of the last three games - then we hope this is Watson's last season at Nebraska - and this could be a lost game as well. Mitch Sherman has quoted Watson as follows: ""Honestly, we want to hammer people in big running groups," Watson said, "but that's probably not our personality. I've been down this road before. You find out your identity, and then you start evolving from there. We've found out a lot about ourselves in the past two weeks. I'd like our (identity) to be rushing the football, but you've got to play to your personnel."" That identity crisis should all have been taken care of already before the season started, not now in mid-season. Of course you play with the personnel you have - that is what coaching is all about. Good coaches can do it, mediocre coaches can not. That the Huskers had no running game to speak of was clear from the very beginning. Also clear was that the Huskers had a terrific passing QB ins Ganz, so why are they not using him for that to the hilt? Right now the Husker stats are worse than last year:
2008 140.2 yards rushing 270.4 yards passing 410.6 yards total offense
2007 144.4 yards rushing 323.8 yards passing 468.2 yards total offense
That is NOT the change that the fans expected from Pelini as head coach.
If Nebraskans want a strong running attack for their team, they FIRST have to recruit the players for it, not vice versa. Right now the Huskers have a great passing QB who they are not unleashing. That is stupidity. Our stats show the Huskers as an 18-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 38-20 for Nebraska.

Oklahoma (6.7, 4.2, SoS=36) is favored at home by 18 points over Kansas (6.0, 4.7, SoS=67). Oklahoma has a SAHFA of 1.19 points.
Our call this week is: 39-24 for Oklahoma

Akron (5.3, 5.6, SoS=91) is favored on the road by 3 points at Eastern Michigan (5.4, 5.8, SoS=110). Eastern Michigan has a SAHFA of 1.78 points.
This game is a toss-up, as our stats give Akron a bare 1-point advantage, but Akron has been strong on the road.
Our call this week is: 24-23 for Akron

Colorado State (5.3, 5.6, SoS=38) is the underdog by 23 points at Utah (5.4, 4.3, SoS=70). Utah has a SAHFA of 2.20 points.
Our call this week is: 27-14 for Utah

Oklahoma State (7.2, 5.1, SoS=92) is favored at home by 16.5 points over Baylor (6.1, 4.7, SoS=31). The opening line was 18.5. The Cowboys enjoy an SAHFA of 5.12 points.
Baylor is not the doormat that it was in past seasons and the Cowboys have to be very careful not to get ambushed, since the Baylor stats in terms of their strength of schedule, are nearly as good as those of the Cowboys. Our stats show the Cowboys as 5-point favorites, which is their home field advantage.
Our call this week is: 35-30 for Oklahoma State.

Southern Miss (5.5, 5.7, SoS=77) is a 3 1/2 point underdog on the road at Rice (5.8, 6.7, SoS=58). Rice has a SAHFA of 4.24 points. Our stats make Rice a 2-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 38-36 for Rice.

Alabama (5.9, 4.2, SoS=43) is favored at home by 13.5 points over Mississippi (6.2, 4.9, SoS=18). The SAHFA of the Crimson Tide is a minus figure of -0.87 points.
Both teams have had a two-week layoff, which probably helps the Rebels, who have a thinner talent pool, so the rest should do them good. By our YPPSYS stats, the Alabama NAYPPA advantage is only .4 x 9 which is 3.6 points minus the Alabama home field advantage of minus 0.87 points = 2.7 points . Subtract 2.5 points (4.3-2.8) for the fact that Mississippi has faced the tougher overall schedule thus far this year and we have a dead even game, according to the stats. In such cases, we go with the home team by 1 point, but a Rebel upset win is easily possible.
Our call this week is: 24-23 for Alabama.

USC (6.6, 3.6, SoS=4) is favored on the road by 42 points at Washington State (4.0, 6.6, SoS=25). The Cougars have a SAHFA of 3.54 points.
In terms of yards per play allowed on defense, USC leads the nation. As for this game, we would normally say get our your calculator, but USC is so good that they need not run up the score on this injury-plagued team, so you have to be careful about calling gigantic spreads. Coach Pete Carroll will probably play a lot of reserves most of the game to give his top players a rest. Our stats give USC a 50-point edge and that could be the score after 2 or 3 quarters.
Our call this week is: 56-6 for USC.

Ohio State (5.1, 4.3, SoS=57) is favored on the road by 3 1/2 points at Michigan State (5.3, 5.3, SoS=34). The Spartans have a hefty SAHFA of 5.95 points.
NAYPPA gives Ohio State an advantage of 7.2 points (.8 x 9). Michigan State gets 5.95 points through the home field advantage and their tougher schedule is worth 2.3 points (5.7-3.4). Our stats thus give the edge to Michigan State by one point. We don't really believe it, but we will go with the stats.
Our call this week is: 21-20 for Michigan State.

North Carolina (5.7, 5.0, SoS=16) is favored by 5 1/2 points at Virginia (4.6, 5.2, SoS=5). Virginia holds a 3.12 point SAHFA advantage.
Our stats thus make North Carolina favored by 9 points. Nevertheless, the Cavaliers have been playing superbly recently, so this is a tough game to call in terms of the actual trend, though we stick with the stats.
Our call this week is: 30-21 for North Carolina.

Pittsburgh (4.9, 4.8, SoS=45) is favored by 3 1/2 points at Navy (6.3, 5.7, SoS=26).
Navy has the worst home field advantage record of any team, a minus SAHFA of -5.49 points, making them a 1-point favorite by the stats.
Our call this week is: 27-26 for Navy

Middle Tennessee State (4.6, 5.3, SoS=72) is the underdog by 14.5 points at Louisville (5.7, 4.6, SoS=82). Louisville has a SAHFA of 0.59.
Our stats make Louisville the favorite by 14.6 points.
Our call this week is: 31-16 for Louisville.

Miami of Florida (4.6, 4.3, SoS=54) is favored on the road by 5 points at Duke (4.5, 5.4, SoS=1). Duke has a SAHFA of 0.29 points.
Our stats make Miami of Florida the favorite by 4 points.
Our call this week is: 21-17 for Miami of Florida

Army (4.5, 5.5, SoS=120) is an underdog by 10 1/2 points at Buffalo (5.3, 5.8, SoS=20). Buffalo has a SAHFA of 4.87 points.
Our call this week is: 34-14 for Buffalo

Marshall (5.1, 5.6, SoS=98) is favored on the road by 3 points at UAB (5.8, 7.1, SoS=114). UAB has a SAHFA of 6.15 points.
Our stats favor Marshall by 2.65 points, so we go with 2 points
Our call this week is: 30-28 for Marshall

UCLA (4.5, 5.3, SoS=62) is favored at home by 2.5 points over Stanford (5.3, 5.4, SoS=17). UCLA has a SAHFA of 3.34 points.
Our call this week is: 27-20 for Stanford

Northern Illinois (5.6, 4.6, SoS=129) is favored at home 7 1/2 points over Toledo (5.0, 5.4, SoS=74). Northern Illinois has a SAHFA of 6.56 points.
Our call this week is: 24-22 for Northern Illinois

Nevada (6.7, 6.0, SoS=73) is favored at home by 19 1/2 points over Utah State (4.7, 5.8, SoS=27). Nevada has a SAHFA of 6.90 points. Our stats favor Nevada by 18.5 points.
Our call this week is: 39-20 for Nevada

Penn State (6.9, 4.0, SoS=93) is favored at home by 23 1/2 points over Michigan (4.5, 4.8, SoS=49). The Nittany Lions have a SAHFA of 4.20 points.
On paper, the Wolverines have no chance to win this game and by our stats rank as nearly 29-point underdogs.
Our call this week is: 36-7 for Penn State

New Mexico (4.6, 5.4, SoS=32) is favored at home by 14 1/2 points over San Diego State (4.7, 5.6, SoS=51). New Mexico has a SAHFA of 2.62 points.
Our call this week is: 26-20 for New Mexico

Colorado (4.4, 5.2, SoS=10) is favored at home by 2 1/2 points over Kansas State (6.1, 5.8, SoS=101). Colorado has a SAHFA of only 2.89 points, which surprises us, since the thin air of the mountains has always been thought to be a greater Buff advantage. Our stats favor the Buffaloes by 2 points.
Our call this week is: 28-26 for Colorado

Kentucky (4.6, 4.4, SoS=68) is favored at home by 10 1/2 points over Arkansas (5.4, 5.5, SoS=11). Kentucky has a SAHFA of 2.64 points.
Kentucky was a great disappointment to us in its loss to South Carolina and the Arkansas win over Auburn shows that the Razorbacks are a match for good defensive teams, which the Wildcats are. Our stats make Arkansas the favorite by less than half a point.
Our call this week is: 17-16 for Arkansas

Western Kentucky (4.5, 5.4, SoS=39) is favored at home by 1 point over Florida Atlantic (5.3, 5.6, SoS=23).
Our call this week is: 21-20 for Florida Atlantic

Oregon State (5.9, 4.8, SoS=3) is favored on the road by 14 points at Washington (4.4, 7.2, SoS=6). Washington has a SAHFA of 2.19 points.
Our call this week is: 50-17 for Oregon State

Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) (7.6, 6.3, SoS=136) is favored at home by 4.5 points over Arkansas State (7.0, 5.0, SoS=150). ULL has a SAHFA of 3.66 points. Our stats favor Arkansas State by a little more than a point.
Our call this week is: 41-40 for Arkansas State

Louisiana Tech (4.7, 6.0, SoS=29) is favored at home by 20 points over Idaho (4.9, 6.9, SoS=118). Louisiana Tech has a SAHFA of 6.33, so our stats favor the Bulldogs by 22.
Our call this week is: 45-23 for Louisiana Tech

Louisiana-Monroe (ULM) (5.2, 7.0, SoS=132) is favored at home by 18 1/2 points over North Texas (5.1, 7.1, SoS=48). ULM has a SAHFA of 0.15 points.
Our call this week is: 30-24 for North Texas

Tennessee (5.0, 4.2, SoS=75) is favored at home by 8 1/2 points over Mississippi State (4.4, 4.9, SoS=28). Tennessee has a SAHFA of 2.03 points. Our stats give Tennessee a 9-point edge.
Our call this week is: 23-14 for Tennessee

Troy State (5.5, 4.7, SoS=88) is favored at home by 7 points over Florida International (4.1, 4.8, SoS=64). Troy has a SAHFA of 4.03 points.
Our call this week is: 28-13 for Troy

Texas (6.5, 4.8, SoS=35) is favored at home by 7 points over Missouri (7.9, 4.9, SoS=56). Texas has a SAHFA of 2.47 points.
Texas has a slight edge on defense and Missouri an edge on offense. Our stats give Mizzou the prediction edge by 7.
Our call this week is: 41-34 for Missouri.

Boston College (5.5, 4.2, SoS=115) is favored at home by 2 1/2 points over Virginia Tech (5.5, 4.6, SoS=9). Boston College has a SAHFA of 2.65.
Our call this week is: 21-17 for Virginia Tech

San Jose State (4.8, 4.5, SoS=83) is favored on the road by 2 points at New Mexico State (6.5, 5.6, SoS=97). New Mexico State has a SAHFA of 4.21.
Our call this week is: 28-20 for New Mexico State

Tulsa (8.2, 6.0, SoS=124) is favored at home by 17 1/2 points over UTEP (5.4, 6.3, SoS=76). Tulsa has a SAHFA of 3.64. Our stats give Tulsa the edge by 27 points.
How do you NOT rank unbeaten Tulsa, as the AP poll does not?
- 9th-ranked BYU (AP poll) beat New Mexico 21-3, but the Golden Hurricane beat the Lobos 56-14. By the Massey Ratings strength of schedule, the BYU and Tulsa schedules thus far this season are ranked about the same, 116th and 120th.
- 22nd-ranked and once beaten Vanderbilt beat Rice 38-21, whereas No. 1 ranked Texas beat the Owls 52-10. Tulsa beat the Owls 63-28.
- Central Arkansas is ranked 14th in the FCS coaches poll and has only one loss this season, 62-34 to the Golden Hurricane.
- Tulsa beat UAB 45-22, whereas South Carolina beat the Blazers only 26-13.
- On the other hand, Tulsa just barely beat SMU 37-31 last weekend, but the team of June Jones is improving, so this may not be as bad a win as it now looks.

UTEP does well against teams with rugged defenses, but this will not help them against Tulsa. UTEP itself has one of the worst defenses in Division I football and should be picked apart by Tulsa's high-powered offense. We predict that the Golden Hurricane will outdo the Texas 42-13 victory over the Miners.
Our call this week is: 47-20 for Tulsa

Illinois (6.4, 5.4, SoS=52) is favored at home by 16 1/2 points over Indiana (5.9, 5.2, SoS=33). Illinois has a SAHFA of 0.06. By our stats, Illinois is only a 1-point favorite.
Our call this week is: 31-30 for Illinois

Houston (6.8, 5.6, SoS=85) is favored on the road by 12 points at Southern Methodist (SMU) (5.8, 6.7, SoS=63). SMU has a SAHFA of 4.11.
The opening line here was 14 points, but SMU's close game against Tulsa has perhaps made people cautious. Our stats make Houston a favorite by 12.6 points.
Our call this week is: 44-31 for Houston

California (6.2, 4.0, SoS=24) at Arizona (6.0, 4.4, SoS=107) is currently seen as 0 points. Arizona has a minus SAHFA of -0.15 points.
Our call this week is: 28-14 for Cal

Crossposted to LawPundit.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

College Football Game Prognostications and Results - 2008 Season - Week 7

UPDATE NOTICE:
SPRS (Sport Pundit Rating System) Name Change to YPPSYS (tm) viz. YPP-SYS (tm)

We have discovered that confusion might be remotely possible between our SPRS college football prediction system and something called Thompson SPRS which we noted for the first time today (October 12, 2008) at The Prediction Tracker summaries but which we have been unable to find online. When we first named our SPRS system, there was no Google conflict, otherwise we would have chosen a different name.

In order to identify our system as a separate system, and since we have no reason to be bound to our original name if confusion of any kind is possible, we are changing the SPRS name today from SPRS System to YPPSYS (or YPP-SYS ), which means "Yards Per Play System", a change which we will implement as an update paragraph on the relevant older pages explaining our original SPRS. There is no online conflict for this name and we hereby trademark the names YPPSYS viz. YPP-SYS as acronyms used by us for our college football prediction system, a rating, ranking and prediction system which was previously called SPRS by us, based on net average yards per play advantage (NAYPPA).

We do this particularly since our system this year is beating nearly all the systems listed at The Prediction Tracker and we want no confusion.

Update, Sunday, October 12, 2008 - do not forget, this is the day we also celebrate the official modern-day founding of America by Christopher Columbus, though we know in the meantime that the Scandinavian Vikings were there before he was, and their accounts may even have spurred Columbus on, though nobody knows for sure.

You have to love college football, a game in which any team can beat any other team on a given day, and this was such a given day, as numerous upsets marked a tremendous football weekend. This week, we were 39-12 in calling the game winner and 26-24 against the spread. For the season we are 414-114 in calling the game winner and 153-142-4 against the spread.

College Football Game Predictions and Results - 2008 Season - Week 7 (week and weekend of Saturday, October 11, 2008)

The odds used below are those posted at the College Football Prediction Tracker on Wednesday, October 8, 2008. The unique system used for game prognostications is SPRS, which uses primarily our own derived NAYPPA system (based on yards per play stats from cfbstats.com) plus the Massey Ratings strength of schedule (SoS) for making college football predictions, although we handle SoS differently here than for a full season. Thus far this year, for Division I-A FBS football, the median (of 120 teams) net yards per play gained on offense is 5.5 whereas the median net yards per play allowed on defense is 5.3. In the year 2007 those medians were 5.4 and 5.3 respectively for the full season. Unless otherwise noted, the stats in parentheses give the net average yards per play gained on offense and net average yards per play allowed on defense thus far this football season. Each point of SPRS rating advantage = 9 points on the scoreboard (see the 2007 final rankings). We do this all in good fun and disclaim any and all liability for any reliance of any kind on our prognostications. May the best team win.

Tuesday, October 7

Result: Troy 30 (5.7, 4.6, Sos=84), Florida Atlantic (5.4, 5.7, Sos=33) 17
We posted our predictions too late for this game. Troy, by our stats, would have had a NAYPPA advantage of 1.4 x 9 = 13 points minus the home field advantage for Florida Atlantic = 3 points minus another ca. 5 points for a weaker schedule. Florida Atlantic would have been docked 4 points for having two more losses and another point for a weak defense, so that we would have favored Troy by about 10 points.

Thursday, October 9

Clemson (6.3, 4.8, NAYPPA=1.5, SoS=63) is a 2 point underdog at Wake Forest (4.5, 4.6, NAYPPA=-.1, SoS=9). Our stats analysis gives Clemson a .4 x 9 advantage = 3 to 4 points.
We call it: 21-17 for Clemson.
Wake Forest remains one of the wonder teams of college football and continues to keep winning by opportunistic play in spite of what appears to be an average team. Clemson continues to disappoint as its allegedly potent offense was throttled fully.
Result: Wake Forest won 12-7
This week, we are thus far 0-1 in calling the game winner and 0-1 against the spread.

UAB (6.1, 6.9, SoS=111) is the underdog by 18.5 points at Houston (6.6, 5.8, SoS=51).
We call it: 44-21 for Houston.
Houston had a NAYPPA of 7.7 to 4.5 = 3.2 yards per play in this game which translates into about 28 points.
Result: Houston won 45-20.
This week, we are thus far 1-1 in calling the game winner and 1-1 against the spread.

Friday, October 10

Louisville (5.8, 4.3, SoS=56) is favored by 6.5 points at Memphis (6.0, 6.3, SoS=117).
We call it: 43-24 for Louisville.
Result: Louisville won 35-28, although Memphis put up 481 yards total offense to the Cardinals only 299.
This week, we are thus far 2-1 in calling the game winner and 2-1 against the spread.

Saturday, October 11

Texas (6.6, 4.5, SoS=64) is a 6.5 point underdog vs. Oklahoma (6.8, 3.8, SoS=76).
The game takes place in Dallas, so the normal home field rule does not apply. Last year, Oklahoma beat Texas in Dallas 28-21 and Texas beat TCU 34-13, whereas Oklahoma beat TCU 35-10 this year. In 2008, Texas has been constantly improving under new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, called Coach Champ by his players. As written by Jimmy Burch at the Star-Telegram.com:
"The fifth-ranked Longhorns (5-0, 1-0 in Big 12) head into Saturday’s showdown with No. 1 Oklahoma (5-0, 1-0) as the NCAA leader in sacks (3.8 per game). Texas also ranks fourth in scoring defense (11.4 points per game), more than two touchdowns better than last season’s pace (25.3 average)."
THAT's what we call top coaching, and the Oklahoma offense can be sure to meet up against maximum pressure this game. The Texas offense in turn has also been strong this year, with three of its five games thus far this season decided by the same score of 52-10.
We call it: 31-27 for Oklahoma.
Result: The Longhorns upset the Sooners 45-35 in a game which was pretty even in terms of stats, with Texas putting up 438 yards of total offense to Oklahoma's 430, although the Sooners had the edge in yards per play by 6.6 to 6.2, which would indicate they should have won by 4, as we predicted. The turning point in the game was questionable coaching by Sooner head coach Bob Stoops, as Oklahoma, leading 28-27, failed to execute on a needless fake punt at midfield, which turned the tables. There was no need at that time to resort to trickery.
This week, we are thus far 2-2 in calling the game winner and 3-1 against the spread.

Iowa (5.9, 4.4, SoS=24) is favored by 5.5 points at Indiana (6.1, 5.0, SoS=58).
We call it: 24-21 for Iowa.
Result: The Hawkyes clobbered the Hoosiers 45-9,
This week, we are thus far 3-2 in calling the game winner and 3-2 against the spread.

Toledo (5.1, 5.5, SoS=66) is the underdog by 17 points at Michigan (4.5, 4.9, SoS=7).
We call it: 28-20 for Michigan.
Result: Appalachian State was no fluke. 13-10 for Toledo? Our stats were correct in showing that the difference between these two teams was not that great. Michigan has hit depths that no one thought possible, as it lost to a team that the previous week had been shut out 31-0 by Ball State and had even lost to Florida International 35-16, a team that was 1-11 last year.
This week, we are thus far 3-3 in calling the game winner and 4-2 against the spread.

East Carolina (5.3, 5.3, SoS=48) is favored by 5.5 points at Virginia (4.3, 5.5, SoS=3).
We call it: 21-20 for Virginia.
Result: After a disastrous season start, Virginia has returned with a vengeance, as the Cavaliers knocked off Maryland last week and topped East Carolina 35-20 this week.
This week, we are thus far 4-3 in calling the game winner and 5-2 against the spread.

Syracuse (5.1, 6.3, SoS=8) is a 24 point underdog at West Virginia (5.6, 4.4, SoS=68).
We call it: 36-17 for West Virginia.
Result: The Mountaineers won 17-6 and were lucky to win as the Orange put up more yardage.
This week, we are thus far 5-3 in calling the game winner and 6-2 against the spread.

Minnesota (5.4, 5.6, SoS=95) is the underdog by 12 points at Illinois (6.2, 5.5, SoS=20).
We call it: 38-20 for Illinois.
Result: The Golden Gophers, 1-11 last year, continued a fantastic recovery season under 2nd-year head coach Tim Brewster, as they beat the Illini 27-20 to go 6-1 on the year, with the only loss being to Ohio State.
This week, we are thus far 5-4 in calling the game winner and 6-3 against the spread.

Rutgers (5.2, 5.3, SoS=73) is the underdog by 7.5 points at Cincinnati (6.0, 5.0, SoS=83).
We call it: 31-21 for Cincinnati.
Result: Cincinnati won 13-10.
This week, we are thus far 6-4 in calling the game winner and 6-4 against the spread.

Colorado (4.6, 5.1, SoS=21) is the underdog by 14 points at Kansas (6.1, 4.9, SoS=80).
We call it: 34-21 for Kansas.
Result: Kansas beat Colorado 30-14.
This week, we are thus far 7-4 in calling the game winner and 6-5 against the spread.

South Carolina (5.1, 4.3, SoS=19) at Kentucky (4.8, 4.3, SoS=86) has a line of 0 points
Kentucky has given up no more than 17 points this year, to Alabama. South Carolina has twice given up 24 points. Do the Gamecocks have the offense to beat the Wildcats at home?
We call it: 17-14 for Kentucky.
Result: South Carolina rightly beat Kentucky 24-17, holding a 4.6 to 3.3 yards per play advantage = 1.3 x 9 = 12 points minus the home field advantage = 9 points.
This week, we are thus far 7-5 in calling the game winner and 6-6 against the spread.

Eastern Michigan (5.5, 5.9, SoS=112) at Army (4.4, 5.7, SoS=96) has a line of 0 points
Normally, we would favor Eastern Michigan, but Army may have found itself in a stunning 44-13 win over Tulane last week, breaking a 10-game losing streak.
We call it: 31-30 for Army.
Result: Army won 17-13.
This week, we are thus far 8-5 in calling the game winner and 7-6 against the spread.

Utah (5.7, 4.4, SoS=41) is favored by 23.5 points at Wyoming (4.1, 4.9, SoS=82).
We call it: 27-7 for Utah.
Result: Utah won 40-7 in spite of gaining 4 yards less total offense, as the Cowboys turned the ball over 5 times.
This week, we are thus far 9-5 in calling the game winner and 7-7 against the spread.

Kansas State (6.1, 5.5, SoS=105) is favored by 3.5 points at Texas A&M (5.1, 5.6, SoS=85).
We call it: 31-26 for Kansas State.
Result: K-State won 44-30 in spite of being outgained 544 to 455 in total offense.
This week, we are thus far 10-5 in calling the game winner and 8-7 against the spread.

Vanderbilt (4.7, 4.9, SoS=32) is favored by 3 points at Mississippi State (4.6, 5.2, SoS=25).
Our stats would call this game even. We are not sure we understand why unbeaten Vanderbilt, who beat Rice 38-21 is ranked 13th, and Tulsa, who beat Rice 63-28 is unranked, but the pollsters will have their conference ? reasons.
We call it: 21-20 for Mississippi State
Result: Mississippi State won 17-14 as the Bulldogs held Vandy to 106 total net yards.
This week, we are thus far 11-5 in calling the game winner and 9-7 against the spread.

Ohio (5.4, 5.3, SoS=70) is favored by 2 points at Kent State (5.4, 5.9, SoS=97).
We call it: 23-17 for Ohio.
Result: Ohio beat Kent State 26-19.
This week, we are thus far 12-5 in calling the game winner and 10-7 against the spread.

Nebraska (6.5, 5.5, SoS=6) is a 20 point underdog at Texas Tech (7.5, 4.8, SoS=108)
By the stats, the Huskers should only be about 10-point underdogs, but with their leaky secondary and poor defense, combined with a sputtering offense and bad playcalling through an inept offensive system, Nebraska could get blown away easily. As an alumnus, I remain unjustifiably optimistic about the thus far disappointing Huskers in the hopes that Pelini can start to get his team to play intelligent football. The offense has to keep moving to keep the weak defensive unit off the field. How about offering the offensive coordinator job to Gus Malzahn?
We call it: 41-31 for Texas Tech.
Result: We are quite proud of the Huskers, who played a great game and lost in overtime to the 7th ranked Red Raiders 37-31 in overtime. It is never fun to lose, but the Huskers at least were competitive and could have won this game. The balance this year of 3 losses hides the fact that two were close games that Nebraska could have won. In coming years, under Pelini tutelage, they will win those games.
This week, we are thus far 13-5 in calling the game winner and 11-7 against the spread.

Arizona State (5.7, 4.8, SoS=11) is a 27.5 point underdog at USC (6.8, 3.7, SoS=4).
We call it: 40-17 for USC.
Result: USC won 28-0. The Sun Devils have serious problems on offense, not scoring a single point, as starting QB Rudy Cartpenter played injured before limping off the field and as the backup QB went a disastrous 4 for 17 passing with two interceptions. Arizona State has the 3rd highest undergraduate enrollment in the United States of any university, just behind Ohio State and Florida. It should be possible to find someone on campus who can throw the ball.
This week, we are thus far 14-5 in calling the game winner and 11-8 against the spread.

Tennessee (5.0, 3.9, SoS=99) is the underdog by 12.5 points at Georgia (6.8, 4.6, SoS=13).
We call it: 41-20 for Georgia.
Result: Georgia beat Tennessee 26-14 as the Vols sturggled against the more powerful Bulldogs, who themselves too often had to settle for field goals (4) where they should have made TDs.
This week, we are thus far 15-5 in calling the game winner and 11-9 against the spread.

Purdue (5.4, 5.5, SoS=43) is a 19.5 point underdog at Ohio State (5.3, 4.4, SoS=62).
We call it: 27-17 for the Buckeyes.
Result: Ohio State won 16-3.
This week, we are thus far 16-5 in calling the game winner and 12-9 against the spread.

Notre Dame (5.4, 5.4, SoS=35) is a 7.5 point underdog at North Carolina (5.8, 4.8, SoS=17).
We call it: 31-17 for North Carolina.
Result: North Carolina beat the Irish 29-24. Notre Dame should have won this game but turned the ball over 4 times while outgaining the Tar Heels 482 to 323 yards total offense.
This week, we are thus far 17-5 in calling the game winner and 12-10 against the spread.

Michigan State (5.4, 5.4, SoS=49) is favored by 1.5 points at Northwestern (5.1, 4.6, SoS=72).
We call it: 24-20 for Northwestern.
Result: How bad is the on-field coaching at Northwestern? Pretty awful. After closing the game score to 24-14 to start out the first half, the Wildcats went for an onside kick (??), but lost the ball on their own 32 yard line and Michigan State went in for the 31-14 score. That was the ball game. Bad coaching is also when a trailing team late in the game goes for field goals rather than going for TDs and the possible win. Northwestern gained 459 yards total offense to the Spartan's 297 but also turned the ball over 3 times, in addition to terrible playcalling by the coaching staff. When you lose by 17, 37-20 in spite of vastly superior offensive stats, it is time to review a team's entire coaching strategy on the field.
This week, we are thus far 17-6 in calling the game winner and 12-11 against the spread.

TCU (5.1, 3.9, SoS=90) is favored by 15.5 points at Colorado State (5.6, 5.9, SoS=47).
We call it: 24-17 for TCU.
Result: TCU won 13-7.
This week, we are thus far 18-6 in calling the game winner and 13-11 against the spread.

Gardner-Webb (SoS=217) at Georgia Tech (6.7, 3.9, SoS=12).
We call it: 52-10 for Georgia Tech.
Result: The Yellow Jackets escaped with a 13-10 win as the Yellow Jackets went with their 3rd-string QB in a game which shows just how important the QB is, as Georgia Tech should otherwise not have had any trouble against the otherwise outmatched Runnin' Bulldogs.
This week, we are thus far 19-6 in calling the game winner and 13-11 against the spread.

Western Michigan (6.4, 5.2, SoS=128) is the underdog by 1.5 points at Buffalo (5.5, 6.0, SoS=15).
We call it: 34-31 for Western Michigan.
Result: In a heartbreaker for Buffalo, Westerm Michigan scored 22 points in the 4th quarter and then won in overtime 34-28.
This week, we are thus far 20-6 in calling the game winner and 14-11 against the spread.

UCF (4.3, 5.4, SoS=92) is the underdog by 16.5 points at Miami (FL) (4.9, 4.9, SoS=42).
We call it: 32-14 for the Hurricanes.
Result: The Hurricanes held UCF to 78 total net yards but could not muster much offense themselves to win 20-14, as the Knights scored on a 61-yard interception and a 90-yard kickoff return to keep the game close. Indeed, UCF had a 1st and 10 at the Miami 42 with 3:15 to play, but could not get the ball into the end zone.
This week, we are thus far 21-6 in calling the game winner and 14-12 against the spread.

Temple (4.4, 5.0, SoS=44) is the underdog by 8.5 points at Central Michigan (5.3, 6.3, SoS=78).
We call it: 28-24 for Temple.
Result: Central Michigan won 24-14, with a 37-yard TD in the last minute to finish out a game which was otherwise quite close.
This week, we are thus far 21-7 in calling the game winner and 14-13 against the spread.

Miami (OH) (4.4, 5.4, SoS=40) is a 10.5 point underdog at Northern Illinois (5.6, 4.6, SoS=125).
We call it: 35-21 for Northern Illinois.
Result: Northern Illinois won 17-13.
This week, we are thus far 22-7 in calling the game winner and 14-14 against the spread.

New Mexico State (6.6, 5.2, SoS=101) is a 19.5 point underdog at Nevada (6.6, 5.9, SoS=52).
Our stats make this game nearly even, so we go with the home team.
We call it: 38-36 for Nevada.
Result: New Mexico State won 48-45 in an evenly matched game.
This week, we are thus far 23-7 in calling the game winner and 15-14 against the spread.

Arkansas (5.4, 5.9, SoS=30) is the underdog by 19 points at Auburn (4.4, 3.9, SoS=77).
We call it: 17-10 for Auburn.
Result: Arkansas won 25-22.
This week, we are thus far 23-8 in calling the game winner and 16-14 against the spread.

Arizona (6.0, 3.9, SoS=127) is favored by 6 points at Stanford (5.2, 5.3, SoS=18).
Our stats favor Arizona by 7, but, as an alumnus, we go here with the Cardinal at home.
We call it: 24-23 for Stanford.
Result: Stanford won 24-23 on a last-minute TD and PAT, EXACTLY the score we predicted. Hey, as a Stanford Law School grad, maybe we have that extra sensory wire, as the Cardinal rightly won, outgaining the Wildcats 420 to 330.
This week, we are thus far 24-8 in calling the game winner and 17-14 against the spread.

New Mexico (4.7, 5.3, SoS=54) is the underdog by 23.5 points at Brigham Young (6.5, 4.6, SoS=116).
Our stats favor BYU by 20.
We call it: 27-7 for BYU.
Result: The superb BYU defense again prevailed, allowing only a field goal and winning 21-3.
This week, we are thus far 25-8 in calling the game winner and 18-14 against the spread.

Bowling Green (4.9, 5.3, SoS=29) is favored by 2 points at Akron (5.4, 5.5, SoS=75).
Our stats make this game nearly even, so we go with the home team.
We call it: 28-27 for Akron.
Result: Bowling Green trailed 33-20 in the 4th quarter but put up 17 unanswered points to win 37-33. Such reversals happen when one team plays to protect a lead rather than to increase it. In other words, it is sheer coaching weakness.
This week, we are thus far 25-9 in calling the game winner and 18-15 against the spread.

Washington State (4.2, 6.3, SoS=53) is a 29.5 point underdog at Oregon State (5.5, 5.3, SoS=1).
We call it: 38-10 for Oregon State.
Result: Oregon State ran over Washington State in the second half, turning a 24-13 halftime lead into a 66-13 victory.
This week, we are thus far 26-9 in calling the game winner and 18-16 against the spread.

Ball State (7.0, 5.3, SoS=104) is favored by 15.5 points at Western Kentucky (4.4, 5.3, SoS=61).
We call it: 31-14 for Ball State.
Result: BAll State won 24-17.
This week, we are thus far 27-9 in calling the game winner and 19-16 against the spread.

Iowa State (5.3, 6.1, SoS=87) is the underdog by 4.5 points at Baylor (6.2, 4.8, SoS=16).
We call it: 36-7 for Baylor.
Result: The 38-10 win by Baylor showcases the SPRS prediction system, predicting a much higher win by Baylor than the official line.
This week, we are thus far 28-9 in calling the game winner and 20-16 against the spread.

Louisiana-Lafayette (ULL) (7.4, 6.2, SoS=122) is favored by 21.5 points at North Texas (4.8, 6.8, SoS=23).
We call it: 40-14 for Louisiana-Lafayette.
Result: ULL won 59-30 in a high-scoring affair.
This week, we are thus far 29-9 in calling the game winner and 21-16 against the spread.

Louisiana-Monroe (5.1, 7.1, SoS=135) is a 12.5 point underdog at Arkansas State (7.1, 4.9, SoS=143).
We call it: 47-7 for Arkansas State.
Result: The Red Wolves frittered away a 37-14 lead in the 4th quarter, always a sign of poor coaching, to win 37-29 against the Warhawks.
This week, we are thus far 30-9 in calling the game winner and 21-17 against the spread.

Middle Tennessee State (4.8, 5.4, SoS=65) is the underdog by 1 point at Florida International (3.9, 5.1, SoS=67).
We call it: 24-21 for Middle Tennessee State.
Result: Florida International (1-11 last year) continued its unexpected surge this season winning 31-21 to go to 3-3 this season on its 3rd consecutive win.
This week, we are thus far 30-10 in calling the game winner and 21-18 against the spread.

Utah State (5.1, 5.9, SoS=22) is a 14.5 point underdog at San Jose State (4.7, 4.8, SoS=89).
We call it: 24-20 for San Jose State.
Result: San Jose State won 30-7.
This week, we are thus far 31-10 in calling the game winner and 21-19 against the spread.

Oklahoma State (7.6, 4.8, SoS=115) is a 14 point underdog at Missouri (8.2, 4.8, SoS=50).
Cowboy head coach Mike Gundy may be starting to live up to the expectations of big Cowboy philanthropist T. Boone Pickens, as Oklahoma State is 5-0 and averaging over 52 points per game on offense.
We call it: 48-35 for Missouri.
Result: Oklahoma State upset Missouri 28-23 as Chase Daniel threw 3 interceptions in the 2nd half.
This week, we are thus far 31-11 in calling the game winner and 22-19 against the spread.

LSU (6.6, 4.2, SoS=107) is the underdog by 6 points at Florida (6.3, 4.4, SoS=69).
We call it: 27-24 for Florida.
Result: Florida ended any chance of an LSU national championship repeat by a blowout 51-21 score. The net average yards per play advantage, 7.7 to 4.8 =2.9 confirms that the score is legitimate.
This week, we are thus far 32-11 in calling the game winner and 22-20 against the spread.

Penn State (7.1, 3.9, SoS=74) is favored by 5 points at Wisconsin (5.7, 4.9, SoS=37).
We call it: 21-14 for Penn State.
Result: Who will beat Penn State in the regular season this year? Maybe no one. The Nittany Lions beat Wisconsin 48-7.
This week, we are thus far 33-11 in calling the game winner and 23-20 against the spread.

Boise State (6.8, 4.5, SoS=102) is favored by 11 points at Southern Miss (5.7, 5.7, SoS=94).
We call it: 35-17 for Boise State.
Result: In a strange game in which the scoring was all confined to the 2nd quarter, Boise State won 24-7.
This week, we are thus far 34-11 in calling the game winner and 24-20 against the spread.

Tulsa (8.3, 5.8, SoS=120) is favored by 24.5 points at Southern Methodist (SMU) (5.5, 6.6, SoS=88).
We call it: 52-21 for Tulsa.
Result: Tulsa had to come from behind to win 37-31 in spite of putting up 602 yards total offense, as the Golden Hurricane was plagued by 3 turnovers against an improving SMU team under new head coach June Jones.
This week, we are thus far 35-11 in calling the game winner and 24-21 against the spread.

Tulane (5.4, 5.0, SoS=103) is a 4.5 point underdog at UTEP (5.2, 6.2, SoS=60).
We call it: 28-21 for Tulane.
Result: UTEP beat Tulane 24-21 on a late 4th-quarter TD for 68 yards.
This week, we are thus far 35-12 in calling the game winner and 24-22 against the spread.

Air Force (4.8, 4.8, SoS=45) is favored by 10.5 points at San Diego State (5.1, 5.6, SoS=59).
We call it: 21-17 for Air Force.
Result: The Aztecs saw a 10-7 first half lead evaporate as the Falcons won 35-10 on a strong 2nd half showing.
This week, we are thus far 36-12 in calling the game winner and 24-23 against the spread.

Idaho (4.7, 6.9, SoS=114) is the underdog by 34 points at Fresno State (6.5, 5.8, SoS=98).
We call it: 35-14 for Fresno State.
Result: The Bulldogs won 45-32.
This week, we are thus far 37-12 in calling the game winner and 25-23 against the spread.

UCLA (4.5, 5.2, SoS=81) is an 18.5 point underdog at Oregon (6.0, 4.9, SoS=55).
We call it: 38-14 for Oregon.
Result: Oregon won 31-24.
This week, we are thus far 38-12 in calling the game winner and 25-24 against the spread.

Sunday, October 12

Louisiana Tech (4.7, 6.0, SoS=57) is the underdog by 7.5 points at Hawaii (5.1, 5.4, SoS=31)
We call it: 37-23 for Hawaii.
Result: Hawaii won 24-14.
This week, we were thus 39-12 in calling the game winner and 26-24 against the spread.

Crossposted to LawPundit.

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