Saturday, October 29, 2011

College Football Prediction Results for Week 9 2011 FBS by SportPundit

College Football Prediction Results for Week 9 2011 FBS by SportPundit
(results periodically updated as scores come in -- predictions based on our Week 8 ratings)

What a Week! Joe Paterno notched his 409th victory and became the winningest head coach in Division I FBS history, while Week 9 turned out to be the Week of Chaos in 2011, as a host of upsets and near upsets made this the most exciting week of the college football season. Three teams in the top 12 of the AP Poll did not play. Of the remaining 9 of the top 12, FOUR lost, including two previously unbeaten teams, Kansas State and Clemson.

The losses by poll-ranked teams were (Nebraska (13) over Michigan State (9) 24-3, Missouri over Texas A&M (16) 38-31 in overtime, Iowa State over Texas Tech (19) 41-7 (!) Ohio State over Wisconsin (12) 33-29, Oklahoma (11) over Kansas State (10) 58-17 and Georgia Tech over Clemson (6) 31-17.

Poll-ranked teams who struggled to survive the weekend in games that could have gone either way were Arkansas (8) over Vanderbilt 31-28, Virginia Tech (15) over Duke 14-10, Oregon (7) over Washington State, Penn State (21) over Illinois 10-7, West Virginia (25) over Rutgers 41-31, Georgia (22) over Florida 24-20, South Carolina (14) over Tennessee 14-3 and Stanford (4) over USC in three overtimes 56-48.

In addition, previously one-win Minnesota stunned Iowa 22-21 in spite of 252 yards rushing by Iowa's Marcus Coker.

As a Husker alum I am especially happy for Nebraska, who will move into the Top 10 the coming week since a number of teams will be moved down in the rankings due to their losses, and, as a Stanford alum, I am especially happy for the still unbeaten Cardinal retaining a chance at the national title.

After the first 9 Weeks, SportPundit is 493-133 in calling the winner and 219-210-8 against the spread.
In Week 9 SportPundit was 40-14 in calling the winner and 27-26 against the spread.

In Week 8 SportPundit was 29-21 in calling the winner and 22-26 against the spread. 
In Week 7, SportPundit was 33-17 in calling the winner and 20-30 against the spread.
In Week 6, SportPundit was 41-11 in calling the winner and 32-20 against the spread.
 
In Week 5, Sportpundit was 37-18 in calling the winner and 26-27 against the spread. 
In Week 4, SportPundit was 47-13 in calling the winner and 21-25-2 against the spread.
In Week 3, SportPundit was 44-18 in calling the winner and 26-19-3 against the spread.
In Week 2, SportPundit was 57-8 in calling the winner and 24-19-1 against the spread.
In Week 1, SportPundit was 65-13 in calling the winner and 20-18-2 against the spread. 

Caveat emptor. Buyer beware! We make no guarantees or warranties of accuracy and we disclaim any and all liability for anyone using our stats, rankings and ratings, and/or predictions for any purpose! We do this in good fun. May the best team win.

The spread -- unless linked for any specific game to another source -- this week was taken from the "line" found at the College Football Prediction Tracker, Monday, October 24, 2011, 10:08 AM. That line is updated during the week, often changing point spreads, but we pay no attention to that, unless a game has no line initially, in which case we take the later posted line. Our predictions are independent of the line, unless we call the same point spread, in which case we generally then take the home team since home teams statistically win 60% of all games.

We take numerous stats from
cfbstats.com. If you are financially able, please consider making a donation of dollars there to Marty, who does a great job of providing free football stats to the nation, not just to us. We have contributed.

The SportPundit college football game prediction results for Week 9 2011 in FBS play are as follows (see our previous postings for more details about our yards per play system):

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
  • Florida International (FIU) (now 5-3) was favored at home by 6.5 points over Troy (now 2-5).
    SportPundit called it: 34-21 for FIU.
    Once again we start behind the eight-ball against the spread in our predictions as the in-week televized games continue to go against the stats. The Trojans awakened from their lethargy to tie the Golden Panthers in regulation time 20-20, only to lose 23-20 in overtime to a Florida International team that should have won this game easily. FIU outgained Troy 521 to 299 yards but lost 3 fumbles and had one pass intercepted, once again showing that turnovers are critical, but also pointing to possible coaching deficits in ball management training.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 1-0 in calling the winner and 0-1 against the spread.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 
  • Pittsburgh (now 4-4) was favored at home by 10.5 points over Connecticut (now 3-5).SportPundit called it: 24-17 for Pittsburgh.
    The Panthers lost their top running back Ray Graham to a knee injury after just 4 plays, but thankfully for Pitt, head coach Todd Graham abandoned the non-optimal split quarterbacking system he used in the previous week's 26-14 loss to Utah and went the whole game with QB Tino Sunseri, who threw for 2 touchdowns on 29 of 42 pass completions for 419 yards, the most by a Pitt QB since the year 2003. UConn was not ready for that. The Huskies were outgained 529 to 316 total net yards, as the Panthers won 35-20. It was the first time this year that Pitt's offense showed positive signs of Graham's high octane system and it was high time for that to keep the natives from becoming restless. 
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 2-0 in calling the winner and 0-2 against the spread.
Thursday, October 27, 2011
  • Miami of Florida (now 4-4) was favored at home by 13.5 points over Virginia (now 5-3).
    SportPundit called it: 28-23 for Miami of Florida.
    The Cavaliers, who upset Georgia Tech two weeks ago 24-21 but lost to NC State 28-14 last week, did it again this week by upsetting Miami of Florida 28-21 behind top coaching by Virginia head coach Mike London and his staff. As AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds writes: "A fake field goal. A halfback option for a touchdown. A 53-yard catch-and-run on a screen for a score, and 78-yard reception by a running back who slipped out wide for another." Good coaching is the reason that London won the national championship at FCS Richmond before being hired by the Cavaliers and is one reason that Virginia fans can look happily into the future. As Vince Lombardi said "winning is a habit". Once people become winners, they do what it takes to stay winners.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 2-1 in calling the winner and 1-2 against the spread.
  • Houston (now 8-0) was favored at home by 27 points over Rice (now 2-6) .
    SportPundit called it: 60-24 for Houston.
    What a game! Weather makes a difference in football. Incredibly, Rice led this game 17-7 with 49 seconds left in the first quarter, and then the rain let up. After that, it was Armageddon under the arm of Case Keenum in a game that set several records. The Cougars ultimately won 73-34, leading 66-34 at the end of the 3rd quarter, as Case Keenum completed 24 of 37 passes for 534 yards and 9 (nine) touchdowns, with 1 interception. As reported by Kristie Rieken, AP Sports Writer, at Rival.com Yahoo Sports!, the 5th TD set an NCAA FBS record for career touchdown passes, previously held by former Texas Tech QB Graham Harrell, who had 134. Keenum now has 139 TD passes and with Houston now at 8-0, he still a few games to go to break former Hawaii QB Tim Chang's FBS record of 17,072 total passing yards. Keenum only needs 267 yards, and their next game is UAB, which currently ranks 108th in pass defense, according to cfbstats.com. Patrick Edwards caught seven passes for 318 yards and 5 TDs. On its side of the ball, Tyler Smith ran for 170 and 2 TDs, one for 97 yards, a Rice record. Houston's Tyron Carrier scored a 100-yard return TD on the opening kickoff to tie the NCAA record of former Clemson great C.J. Spiller for career TD kickoff returns at 7. Will he break that record in coming games? It all depends on how many chances he gets.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 3-1 in calling the winner and 2-2 against the spread.
Friday, October 28, 2011
  • TCU (now 6-2) was favored at home by 14 points over BYU (now 6-3).
    SportPundit called it:
    31-20 for TCU.
    The Horned Frogs beat the Cougars 38-28 in a game in which TCU obtained a quick and substantial lead based on three BYU special teams punt gaffes. Those three errors explain why BYU could outgain TCU 354 to 283 yards on the field and still be behind by a large margin most of the game, closing that margin with a TD late in the 4th quarter.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 4-1 in calling the winner and 3-2 against the spread.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
  • Nebraska (now 7-1) was favored at home by 4 points over Michigan State (now 6-2)
    SportPundit called it: 24-23 for Nebraska.
    We correctly gauged the Nebraska offense in this 24-3 win against the Spartans, but who could imagine the Husker defense coming out of nowhere to hold Michigan State without a touchdown and to a lone field goal obtained after a Spartan interception of Taylor Martinez. The Spartan defense held the Cornhuskers to 270 net yards but it was the Blackshirts who won the game, holding Michigan State to a mere 187 total yards and Kirk Cousins to 11 of 27 completions for a mere 86 yards, no TDs and 1 interception. The yards per play stats show the defensive nature of this ball game, as the Big Red averaged 3.8 yards per play on offense and Michigan State 3.3 yards per play on offense. Rex Burkhead carried 37 times for 127 yards and 2 TDs and caught 2 passes for 29 yards and 1 TD for the Huskers. It was a signature win for Nebraska over a team ranked in the top 10, something the Cornhuskers had not been able to achieve in the least ten years.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 5-1 in calling the winner and 3-3 against the spread.

  • Marshall (now 4-5) was favored at home by 7 points over UAB (now 1-7)
    SportPundit called it: 21-13 for Marshall.
    The Thundering Herd led 38-0 at halftime and blew the Blazers away 59-14, as A.J. Graham threw for 5 touchdowns on 19 of 27 pass completions for 239 yards.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 6-1 in calling the winner and 4-3 against the spread.

  • Central Michigan (now 3-6) was favored on the road by 10 points over Akron (now 1-7)
    SportPundit called it: 34-20 for Central Michigan.
    The surprisingly weak Chippewas held a 23-9 lead in the 4th quarter, but the Zips closed the gap and went for a failed 2 point conversion, losing 23-22. For such a gutsy call, Akron would have deserved to win this game.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 7-1 in calling the winner and 4-4 against the spread.

  • Florida State (now 5-3) was favored at home by 18 points over North Carolina State (NC State) (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 37-21 for Florida State.
    The Seminoles scored an expected amount of points but a shutout of the Wolfpack, who had been averaging 31.4 points per game, was totally unexpected, as Florida State won 34-0, outgaining NC State 444 to 166 yards. E.J. Manuel completed 25 of 34 passes for 321 yards, 2 TDs and 1 interception.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 8-1 in calling the winner and 4-5 against the spread.

  • Northwestern (now 3-5) was favored on the road by 10 points over Indiana (now 1-8)
    SportPundit called it: 24-23 for Indiana.
    Indiana true freshman QB Tre Roberson started out correctly by rushing for the game's first touchdown, and finished the game with 22 rushes for 121 yards and 1 TD plus 14 of 26 passes for 169 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception, as Stephen Houston added 151 yards and 2 TDs on 19 carries, but it was not enough as the Wildcats pounced on the Hoosiers 59-38, outgaining Indiana 616 to 488 yards, punting only once, as Dan Persa completed 16 of 20 passes for 263 yards and 3 TDs, and Kain Colter added 2 TDs on 2 of 3 passes for 38 yards, plus 6 receptions for 115 yards. Drake Dunsmore caught 7 passes for 114 yards and 4 touchdowns, an enviable TD percentage.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 8-2 in calling the winner and 4-6 against the spread.

  • Michigan (now 7-1) was favored at home by 13.5 points over Purdue (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 41-24 for Michigan.
    The Wolverines beat the Boilermakers 36-14 as Fitzgerald Toussaint carried 20 times for 170 yards and 2 TDs, while Denard Robinson gained 63 yards on 15 carries for 1 TD. Robinson also completed 9 of 14 passes for 170 yards.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 9-2 in calling the winner and 5-6 against the spread.

  • Louisville (now 4-4) was favored at home by 3.5 points over Syracuse (now 5-3)
    SportPundit called it: 22-21 for Syracuse.
    The same Orange team that powered past West Virginia last week lost surprisingly by 17 to Louisville, as the Cardinals topped Syracuse 27-10. Teddy Bridgewater completed 17 of 24 passes for 198 yards and 2 TDs for Louisville.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 9-3 in calling the winner and 5-7 against the spread.

  • Texas A&M (now 5-3) was favored at home by 11.5 points over Missouri (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 33-27 for Texas A&M.
    The Tigers disappointed last week by losing at home to Oklahoma State 45-24 but made up for it this week by downing the Aggies 38-31 in overtime as Henry Josey ran for 162 yards and 1 TD and Tiger QB James Franklin scored twice on 24 carries for 97 yards and completed 16 of 24 passes for 198 yards and 2 TDs. For Texas A&M Ryan Tannehill was 35 of 53 through the air for 317 yards and 3 TDs. The Aggies had 3 turnovers to only 1 for Missouri and that was the difference.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 9-4 in calling the winner and 6-7 against the spread.

  • Arkansas (now 7-1) was favored on the road by 10 points over Vanderbilt (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 27-21 for Arkansas.
    The Razorbacks came back from a 21-7 deficit and were lucky to come away with a 31-28 victory against an inspired Vandy team, as the Commodores missed a tying 27-yard chip shot field goal with 19 seconds left to play.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 10-4 in calling the winner and 7-7 against the spread.

  • Virginia Tech (now 8-1) was favored on the road by 15.5 points over Duke (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 37-17 for Virginia Tech.
    The Hokies did not score in the second half but also held Duke to only 3 points after the intermission to hold on to a narrow defense-oriented 14-10 victory in a game marked by 2 Virginia Tech turnovers and 4 turnovers by the Blue Devils.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 11-4 in calling the winner and 7-8 against the spread.

  • Bowling Green (now 4-5) was favored on the road by 5 points over Kent State (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 20-7 for Bowling Green.
    The Golden Flashes went into this game with the worst yards per play offense in FBS football at 2.8 ypp and had scored only 7 touchdowns in seven games, but pulled off an improbable 27-15 win over the fumble fingers Falcons, who outgained Kent State 450 to 319 total net yards, but played sloppy football and turned the ball over 4 times, missed two field goals, and made other miscues. Kamar Jorden rushed for 203 yards on 12 carries for Bowling Green.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 11-5 in calling the winner and 7-9 against the spread.

  • Western Michigan (now 5-4) was favored at home by 12 points over Ball State (now 5-4)
    SportPundit called it: 38-27 for Western Michigan.
    The Broncos won the offensive slugfest against the Cardinals 600 to 548 in total net yards and 45-35 on the scoreboard. Alex Carder threw for 448 yards and 3 TDs for Western Michigan, but also threw three picks. Keith Wenning threw for 330 yards and 3 TDs for Ball State, with 2 interceptions.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 12-5 in calling the winner and 8-9 against the spread.

  • Air Force (now 4-4) was favored on the road by 30.5 points over New Mexico (now 0-8)
    SportPundit called it: 49-7 for Air Force.
    The Falcons beat the Lobos 42-0, completing 2 of 3 passes for 26 yards. Obviously this was a rushing victory as Air Force put the ball on the ground 61 times for 335 yards. Mike DeWitt scored 4 touchdowns.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 13-5 in calling the winner and 9-9 against the spread.

  • Oregon (now 7-1) was favored at home by 35 points over Washington State (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 43-14 for Oregon.
    The Ducks led by only 15-10 at halftime and had to work hard to beat the Cougars 43-28, as Washington State's QB Marshall Lobbestael completed 28 of 48 passes for 337 yards and 1 TD but had 2 interceptions, with the Cougars outgaining Oregon 462 to 454 yards. Darron Thomas returned from a knee injury as Oregon quarterback but threw two picks and was replaced by Bryan Bennett in the second half. LaMichael James also returned to the Ducks lineup after two games and his dislocated elbow, gaining 53 yards on 13 carries.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 14-5 in calling the winner and 10-9 against the spread.
  • Maryland (now 2-6) was favored at home by 7.5 points over Boston College (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 35-27 for Maryland.
    The final score was 28-17 for the Eagles. The Terps were 9-4 last year and have now already lost six games under new head coach Randy Edsall, not the scenario envisioned by Maryland administrators. Boston College finally beat an FBS team this season but must win its remaining games (Florida State, North Carolina State, Notre Dame and Miami of Florida)  to become eligible for its 13th straight bowl game. That would be an even greater miracle than Hail Flutie.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 14-6 in calling the winner and 10-10 against the spread.

  • Penn State (now 8-1) was favored at home by 6 points over Illinois (now 6-3)
    SportPundit called it: 17-16 for Penn State.
    Joe Paterno notched his 409th victory and became the winningest head coach in Division I FBS history, passing Eddie Robinson, as Illinois kicker Derek Dimke hit the right upright on his 42-yard field goal attempt as time expired. THAT is destiny. The Nittany Lions continued to peck and scratch their way through their schedule, squeaking by their opponents with top defense and minimal offense, as Penn State beat the Illini 10-7 on  two 4th quarter scores, the TD enabled by a pass interference call. Illinois outgained Penn State 286 to 209 in total net yards.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 15-6 in calling the winner and 11-10 against the spread.
  • Oklahoma (now 7-1) was favored at home by 14 points over Kansas State (now 7-1)
    SportPundit called it: 31-30 for Oklahoma.
    The Sooners bounced back from their upset at the hands of Texas Tech to absolutely stomp the Wildcats 58-17 with 35 unanswered points in the second half. Kansas State simply could not keep up with the Oklahoma depth and talent but put up a gritty battle in the first half, trailing only 23-17 at intermission.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 16-6 in calling the winner and 11-11 against the spread.

  • Miami of Ohio (now 3-5) was favored at home by 7 points over Buffalo (now 2-7)
    SportPundit called it: 24-23 for Miami of Ohio.
    The RedHawks exploded for 41 points in beating the Bulls 41-13, as Zac Dysert threw for 5 touchdowns.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 17-6 in calling the winner and 11-12 against the spread.

  • Iowa (now 5-3) was favored on the road by 16 points over Minnesota (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 34-17 for Iowa.
    The Golden Gophers stunned the Hawkeyes 22-21 in spite of 252 yards rushing by Iowa's Marcus Coker. MarQueis Gray threw for 193 yards and 1 TD for Minnesota and aded 62 yards and 1 TD rushing.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 17-7 in calling the winner and 11-13 against the spread.

  • North Carolina (now 6-3) was favored at home by 7.5 points over Wake Forest (now 5-3)
    SportPundit called it: 30-21 for North Carolina.
    The Tar Heels recovered from their 59-38 thumping by Clemson last week to subdue Wake Forest 49-24 behind 338 yards passing and 3 TD passes by Bryn Renner.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 18-7 in calling the winner and 12-13 against the spread.

  • West Virginia (now 6-2) was favored on the road by 6.5 points over Rutgers (now 5-3)
    SportPundit called it: 31-17 for West Virginia.
    The Mountaineers overcame terrible ice rain weather and a 31-21 halftime deficit to outjoust the Scarlet Knights 41-31.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 19-7 in calling the winner and 13-13 against the spread.

  • Oklahoma State (now 8-0) was favored on the road by 16 points over Baylor (now 4-3)
    SportPundit called it: 36-35 for Baylor.
    Consider that Baylor NEVER punted once in this game and still lost. The Cowboys clobbered the Bears 59-24 in spite of the fact that Baylor outgained them 622 to 601 yards, as Baylor coughed up the ball five times on 3 fumbles and 2 interceptions. Robert Griffin of the Bears was 33 of 50 passing for 425 yards, 1 TD, but threw 2 picks. Brandon Weeden was 24 of 36 for 274 yrds, 3 TDs, and no interceptions. The Cowboys won the rushing battle as Joseph Randle had 152 yards and 4 TDs and Herschel Sims added 104 yards and 1 TD. Jeremy Smith carried the ball only 3 times but picked up 77 yards. Justin Blackmon had 13 receptions for 172 yards and 2 TDs for Oklahoma State, while Terrance Williams had 8 catches for 154 yards and 1 TD, Kendall Wright 11 catches for 117 yards and Lanear Sampson 6 catches for 82 yards. Without the turnovers, the game would have looked much different. Coaches have to learn to train good ball management to their players.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 19-8 in calling the winner and 13-14 against the spread.

  • Fordham (now 1-7) was at Army (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 38-14 for Army.
    Army also NEVER punted in their game, but the Black knights routed FCS Fordham 55-0, leading the Rams 42-0 at halftime. The Black Knights rushed for 514 yards, with 159 of those by Raymond Maples.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 20-8 in calling the winner and 13-14 against the spread.

  • East Carolina (now 4-4) was favored at home by 16.5 points over Tulane (now 2-7)
    SportPundit called it: 27-24 for East Carolina.
    The Pirates' record-setting passer Dominique Davis RAN for two TDs and 43 yards, while completing 29 of 46 passes for 329 yards, 1 TD and 1 interception in a 34-13 win over the Green Wave. Davis in last week's game against Navy set 2 NCAA records for consecutive pass completions at 26 for one game and 36 for two games.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 21-8 in calling the winner and 13-15 against the spread.

  • Louisiana Monroe (LA Monroe, ULM) (now 2-6) was favored at home by 5 points over Western Kentucky (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 28-27 for Western Kentucky.
    The Hilltoppers picked up their 4th straight win in beating the WarHawks 31-28 in overtime after blowing a 20-7 lead in a 4th quarter in which 22 points were scored in the final minute. Bobby Rainey picked up 104 yards and 1 TD on 30 carries, and Kawaun Jakes of Western Kentucky completed 13 of 22 passes for 2 TDs. LA Monroe's Kolton Browning completed 29 of 59 passes for 365 yards and 2 TDs. Both had one interception.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 22-8 in calling the winner and 14-15 against the spread.

  • Notre Dame (now 5-3) was favored at home by 18.5 points over Navy (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 40-24 for Notre Dame.
    The Fighting Irish rolled over the Midshipmen 56-14 as Tommy Rees was 16 of 22 passing for 1 TD and 1 interception. Jonas Gray ran for 3 TDs and Cierre Wood for 2 TDs.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 23-8 in calling the winner and 14-16 against the spread.

  • Tulsa (now 5-3) was favored at home by 3 points over SMU (now 6-2)
    SportPundit called it: 31-27 for SMU.
    SMU was throttled for the second straight game as the Golden Hurricane led already 38-7, the final score, in the 3rd quarter, as Tulsa intercepted four passes by Mustang quarterback J.J. McDermott.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 23-9 in calling the winner and 14-17 against the spread.

  • Georgia (now 6-2) was favored on the road by 2.5 points over Florida (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 24-23 for Florida.
    The Bulldogs upended the Gators 24-20, to the BCS delight of Boise State, who beat Georgia earlier in the season, and who profits in the BCS standings every time Georgia knocks off an SEC opponent. Florida was held to 226 total net yards and minus 19 yards rushing on 22 carries.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 23-10 in calling the winner and 14-18 against the spread.

  • Central Florida (UCF) (now 4-4) was favored at home by 29.5 points over Memphis (now 2-7)
    SportPundit called it: 40-7 for UCF.
    The UCF Knights blanked Memphis 41-0.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 24-10 in calling the winner and 15-18 against the spread.

  • Louisiana Tech (now 4-4) was favored at home by 7.5 points over San Jose State (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 27-23 for Louisiana Tech.
    The Bulldogs beat the Spartans 38-28, intercepting 4 Matt Faulkner passes and recovering 1 fumble. Faulkner was otherwise 33 of 49 for 327 yards but all the completions in the world will do you no good if you can not keep the other team from making immensely costly picks.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 25-10 in calling the winner and 15-19 against the spread.

  • Hawaii (now 5-3) was favored on the road by 8.5 points over Idaho (now 1-7)
    SportPundit called it: 38-23 for Hawaii.
    The Warriors squeaked by the Vandals 16-14 on a last-minute field goal.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 26-10 in calling the winner and 15-20 against the spread.

  • Colorado State (now 3-5) was favored on the road by 2.5 points over UNLV (now 2-5)
    SportPundit called it: 28-23 for Colorado State.
    The Rebels beat the Rams 38-35 in a game with eight lead changes, as Colorado State outgained UNLV 480 to 361 yards but lost the turnover battle 3-1 and thus the game.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 26-11 in calling the winner and 15-21 against the spread.

  • Arizona State (now 6-2) was favored at home by 31 points over Colorado (now 1-8)
    SportPundit called it: 40-21 for Arizona State.
    ASU led 31-7 at the half as the Sun Devils walloped the Buffaloes 48-14. Colorado under Jon Embree remains a winless conference cellar-dweller in their new Pac 12 Conference. Brock Osweiler was 18 for 28 for 307 yards and 2 TDs for Arizona State and Cameron Marshall rushed 15 times for 114 yards and 3 touchdowns. Colorado turned over three fumbles and had 2 passes intercepted.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 27-11 in calling the winner and 15-22 against the spread.

  • Arkansas State (now 6-2) was favored at home by 16 points over North Texas (now 3-6)
    SportPundit called it: 38-21 for Arkansas State.
    The Red Wolves beat the Mean Green 37-14 after running up a 31-0 halftime advantage. Ryan Alpin threw for 3 TDs and 1 interception on 28 of 42 pass completions for 322 yards, and added 69 yards rushing on 8 carries.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 28-11 in calling the winner and 16-22 against the spread.

  • California (now 4-4) was favored on the road by 6 points over UCLA (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 41-21 for California.
    UCLA beat Cal 31-14 in a surprise win as the Bruin defense picked off 4 of Zach Maynard's passes. Kevin Prince rushed for 163 yards for UCLA and Derrick Coleman for 80 yards and 3 TDs.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 28-12 in calling the winner and 16-23 against the spread.

  • Mississippi State (now 4-4) was favored on the road by 10.5 points over Kentucky (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 30-17 for Mississippi State.
    The Bulldogs topped the Wildcats 28-16 in a defensive struggle.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 29-12 in calling the winner and 17-23 against the spread.

  • Auburn (now 6-3) was favored at home by 10.5 points over Mississippi (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 35-17 Auburn.
    The Tigers won over Ole Miss 41-23 as Clint Moseley completed 12 of 15 passes for 160 yards and four touchdowns, two of those to Philip Lutzenkirchen, and Michael Dyer rushed 27 times for 177 yards and 1 TD.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 30-12 in calling the winner and 18-23 against the spread.

  • Utah (now 4-4) was favored at home by 5 points over Oregon State (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 24-14 for Utah.
    Utah picked up its first ever Pac 12 Conference win by beating the Beavers 27-8 as John White ran for 205 yards and 1 touchdown on  335 carries. Sean Mannion for Oregon State threw 3 interceptions as the Beavers turned the ball over 4 times.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 31-12 in calling the winner and 19-23 against the spread.

  • Texas (now 5-2) was favored at home by 27.5 points over Kansas (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 44-21 for Texas.
    That the Jayhawks ranked last in total defense in FBS was known, so that it was clear that Texas would put points on the board. The 43-0 shutout was a surprise, however, as the Longhorns limited Kansas to only 46 total net yards.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 32-12 in calling the winner and 19-24 against the spread.

  • Texas Tech (now 4-3) was favored at home by 15 points over Iowa State (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 35-24 for Texas Tech.
    This was easily the most surprising result of the day. Freshman redshirt quarterback Jared Barnett played in only two previous games, but for all we know he may the Heisman Trophy winner 4 years down the road, judging by the impact he had on the Iowa State Cyclones in this game, as Iowa State throttled 15-point favorite Texas Tech 41-7, the same team that the previous week had knocked off the then coaches' poll Nr. 1 Oklahoma Sooners and broken the 39-game unbeaten streak they had on their home turf. James White added 138 yards rushing, Duran Hollis had 101 yards and Barnett himself ran for 92 yards. Iowa State outgained the shell-shocked Red Raiders 512 to 290 yards in a superb performance on both sides of the ball, holding Red Raider QB Seth Doege to 16 of 32 pass completions for a mere 171 yards, intercepting two. Suddenly, the Cyclones look like a very dangerous opponent rushing and passing for the teams remaining on their schedule (Kansas, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, Kansas State). Look out.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 32-13 in calling the winner and 20-24 against the spread.

  • South Carolina (now 7-1) was favored on the road by 4.5 points over Tennessee (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 30-17 for South Carolina.
    The Gamecocks endured over Tennessee 14-3 in a game marked by a lot of top defense. Brandon Wilds got his first start in place of the injured South Carolina Heisman Trophy candidate Marcus Lattimore and gained 137 yards on  28 carries. The Vol offense was weak and timid and the Tennessee coaches apparently learned nothing from the Gamecocks' 59-38 loss to Clemson the previous weak. Tennessee did not score a touchdown against a defense that gave up 59 points the week before. Terrible. We have relatives in Rocky Top and this is not the kind of football that Tennessee used to play in the good old days. The Volunteers need to find coaches who play football aggressively and not like scared rabbits. We do not mean to be impolite, but somebody should tell them that is not the football the fans want to see.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 33-13 in calling the winner and 21-24 against the spread.

  • Middle Tennessee State (now 2-5) was favored at home by 3 points over Louisiana Lafayette (LA Lafayette, ULL) (now 7-2)
    SportPundit called it: 27-26 for Louisiana Lafayette.
    The Ragin' Cajuns recovered from their remarkable loss the previous week to Western Kentucky by smacking the Blue Raiders 45-20, as Alonzo Harris ran 33 times for 189 yards and 2 TDs.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 34-13 in calling the winner and 22-24 against the spread.

  • Nevada (now 5-3) was favored on the road by 15 points over New Mexico State (now 3-5)
    SportPundit called it: 31-27 for Nevada.
    The Wolf Pack topped the Aggies 48-34, as QB Cody Fajardo ran for 4 TDs on 13 carries and 60 yards, completing also 19 of 29 passes for 283 yards. Matt Christian of New Mexico State was 20 of 44 for 432 yards and 3 TDs by air but was also intercepted 3 times.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 35-13 in calling the winner and 23-24 against the spread.

  • Stanford (now 8-0) was favored on the road by 8.5 points over USC (Southern Cal) (now 6-2)
    SportPundit called it: 36-27 for Stanford.
    We ranked Stanford #1 in the nation in our preseason rankings and the Cardinal still has a shot at the national championship after downing USC 56-48 in 3 overtimes in a tremendous game we saw on ESPN, as both teams put on a great football performance. Stanford's Andrew Luck completed 29 of 40 passes for 330 yards and 3 TDs and was intercepted once. The Trojan's Matt Barkley completed 28 of 45 passes for 284 yards and 3 TDs and was also intercepted once. Stepfan Taylor ran for 99 yards and 2 TDs and Griff Whalen caught 6 passes for 102 yards and Ty Montgomery 5 passes for 87 yards for the Cardinal, while Curtis McNeal ran 20 times for 145 yards and 2 TDs and Marqise Lee caught 7 passes for 94 yards and Robert Woods 8 passes for 89 yards for USC. Stanford outgained Southern Cal 516 to 432 yards total offense, but averaged less on yards per play, 6.4 to 5.9, which is a cause for concern. The Cardinal kicking game is also quite weak, and 91 penalties were assessed against them. Stanford still needs tremendous improvement to challenge for the national title.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 36-13 in calling the winner and 23-25 against the spread.

  • Wisconsin (now 6-2) was favored on the road by 7.5 points over Ohio State (now 5-3)
    SportPundit called it: 24-23 for Ohio State.
    The Buckeyes took revenge for last year's loss to Wisconsin, which knocked them out of the #1 spot in the rankings, and beat the Badgers 33-29 this year on a 40-yard TD pass from Braxton Miller to Devin Smith with 43 seconds to play, after having squandered a 26-14 lead with 5:28 left in the 4th quarter (that's how they lost to Nebraska and they need to fix that). Wisconsin on the other hand has to fix their game-ending defense too, having now lost about the same way 2 weeks in a row on a last minute pass. The Badger's  Russell Wilson completed 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards and 3 TDs but Ohio State stuffed the Wisconsin rushing attack, allowing only 89 net yards rushing. For the Buckeyes, Dan Herron rushed 33 times for 160 yards, as Ohio State outgained Wisconsin 357 to 342 yards. Both of these teams are top 20 teams by recent play.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 37-13 in calling the winner and 24-25 against the spread.

  • Clemson (now 8-1) was favored on the road by 4.5 points over Georgia Tech (now 7-2)
    SportPundit called it: 36-35 for Georgia Tech.
    The Clemson Tigers finally fell this season, losing 31-17 to Georgia Tech to end an amazing and unexpected victory streak this season. The Yellow Jackets piled up 383 net yards rushing and outgained Clemson 443 to 399 yards total offense. Tevin Washington rushed 27 times for 176 yards and 1 TD for Georgia Tech, while the Tigers' Sammy Watkins rushed 10 times for 159 yards and 1 TD. Clemson lost the turnover battled 4-2.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 38-13 in calling the winner and 25-25 against the spread.

  • Southern Miss (now 7-1) was favored on the road by 10 points over UTEP (now 4-4)
    SportPundit called it: 36-27 for Southern Miss.
    The Golden Eagles were victorious over UTEP 31-13, outgaining the Miners 540 to 262 total net yards.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 39-13 in calling the winner and 25-26 against the spread.

  • San Diego State (now 4-3) was favored at home by 15.5 points over Wyoming (now 5-2)
    SportPundit called it: 30-24 for San Diego State.
    The Cowboys upset the Aztecs 30-27, as Brett Smith threw 25 of 36 completions for 341 yards and 2 TDs. Ronnie Hilllman ran for 224 yards and 2 TDs on 25 carries for San Diego State.
    This Week 9 SportPundit is 39-14 in calling the winner and 26-26 against the spread.

  • Washington (now 6-2) was favored at home by 7 points over Arizona (now 2-6)
    SportPundit called it: 43-31 for Washington.
    The Huskies won 42-31 as Chris Polk rushed 34 times for 144 yards and 4 touchdowns and caught 4 passes for 100 yards and 1 TD.
    This Week 9 SportPundit was 40-14 in calling the winner and 27-26 against the spread.



The Storybook Ending is Complete as the St. Louis Cardinals Win Game 7 of the 2011 World Series against the Texas Rangers 6-2


The Cards win World Series, beat Texas 6-2 in Game 7
is the headline of the game recap
by Ben Walker, AP Baseball Writers, via Yahoo! Sports.

It was all anti-climactic when compared to the incomparable Cardinal win in Game 6.
Hats off to the Texas Rangers too, who showed that they will be a force to reckon with for years to come.

More than ever after the improbable St. Louis road to this championship, everyone now understands more than ever the far-reaching wisdom of baseball legend Yogi Berra's famous quip:

"It ain't over 'til its over."

It's over now and the St. Louis Cardinals are holders of their 11th World Series title.

50 Years of Husker Football: Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer Dirk Chatelain Identifies Defining Watershed Moments in Cornhusker Fortunes


Nebraska Cornhusker football fans have a reputation for being among the best college football fans in the nation, a reputation gained perhaps in part because many fans are knowledgeable about Husker football.

Dirk Chatelain, Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer, is surely among the most knowledgeable, and he has written a nice piece in which he identifies defining watershed moments for the Big Red over the last 50 years at 10-year intervals, starting in 1961, when Bob Devaney replaced Bill Jennings as head football coach -- see NU's fortunes changed after Stuntz-to-Crouch; time again?

The period from 2001 to 2011 has been the worst football decade in that half-century as Nebraska is a dismal 1-20 against teams ranked in the top 15. The old faith is there but the results are not, as the Huskers have beat the betting spread only twice in the last 14 games, just as an example of the cleft between hope and reality.

Indeed, after Osborne retired from coaching, not only did the coaching level drop, but so also did the general talent-level of Husker football players, with notable -- rare -- exceptions such as Ndamukong Suh.

Nebraska fell out of the elite football ranks when the last classes that Osborne had recruited, graduated. Since then, Nebraska fans have engaged in a lot of wishful thinking, little of which has come to fruition. No longer a champion.

According to Chatelain, a defining new 10-year-interval moment is now due in 2011, and he thinks it might be the Michigan State game. (Maybe it already happened in the great comeback in the Ohio State game?)

I personally think that Chatelain's idea is commendable, but perhaps expecting a win over a powerful Michigan State team is more wishful thinking, as Nebraska simply does not have the overall talent and depth in its personnel that it used to have in Osborne days. Objectively, the Spartans surely have more talent.

In the days of Osborne, Nebraska was the Goliath who physically wore down opposing teams. Since then, the Huskers are more like David, battling the Goliaths of other teams, and they are still looking for their slingshot and stone.

I say that, sadly, but objectively, as a Husker fan and alum.

Baseball Cardinals World Series 2011 Game 6 Win: The Best Ever?


Over at Yahoo! Sports Major League Baseball 2011 World Series, Jeff Passan has written a beauty about this game at Cardinals' Game 6 win could be best ever.

Friday, October 28, 2011

It's Official: West Virginia to Join Big 12 Conference


At the New York Times, Pete Thamel writes in West Virginia Accepts Big 12’s Invitation that it is official now that West Virginia will join the Big 12 Conference to replace Missouri, which will be departing fror the SEC.

See also Community - CBSSports.com.

The Greatest Baseball Game Ever?: Game 6 of the World Series 2011


We saw this game on ESPN.

It was a game for the ages, certainly the most exciting, indeed, unbelievable baseball game we have ever seen.

Thomas Boswell wrote at the Washington Post:
"Time will decide. Because time will be needed to digest the feast of heroism, comedy, strategy and virtually insane comebacks that turned Busch Stadium into a theater of continuous disbelief here in Game 6 of the World Series. But it’s possible that we just saw the most preposterous, fabulous, thrilling and all-around unbelievable World Series game of this generation."
Dave Sheinin also has the story at The Washington Post in 2011 World Series Game 6: St. Louis Cardinals beat Texas Rangers, force Game 7 on David Freese homer in 11th where he writes:
"[T]Cardinals had a 10-9 win that pushed their never-say-die narrative into another realm, the realm of the absurd and unbelievable."
Take a look at those game accounts to get a feeling for what happened.

NCAA Approves Multi-Year Scholarhips and Spending Money Stipends for College Athletes: Collective Sanctions Stupidly Imposed for Academics


As reported via the Associated Press in various sources including The Washington Post, NCAA approves scholarship changes, tougher academic standards at busy board meeting.

Nick Mordowanec in the Yahoo! Sports Contributor Network comments on what has been done at Fan Opinion: NCAA Stipend Misses the Mark on What Athletes Really Deserve.

The "scandal-plagued" NCAA is under the gun and will stay under the gun until they do what they are supposed to do, which is to govern college athletics in a sane and sensible fashion.

The "spending money" stipend is a step in the right direction -- and only a small first step -- in making sure that exploited and uncompensated athletes are not playing primarily to put millions of dollars into the pockets of universities, administrators, coaches, and other bigwigs, while at the same time the athletes themselves are forced to live on bare bones budgets.

As a Stanford Law School graduate we also ask the NCAA point blank whether they have any people on their Board of Directors or on their advising staff who went to law school and whether these staff or the law firms that advise them have anybody on their rolls who understand the essential principles of law and punishment.

As written by Nich Mardowanec:
"The NCAA's Division I Board of Directors announced that schools will now have the option to offer a $2,000 stipend to their athletes in an effort to cover the cost of attending a college institution. Along with that news, the Board announced an increase which will take place in 2012-13 in regards to the Academic Progress Rate (APR), a system which determines whether schools are eligible for postseason play in terms of academic progress and grade point average."
If you mention the word "collectivism" in America, 90% of the population have a nervous breakdown, yet why then is "collectivist" punishment at the level of American college athletics permissible?

We simply do not understand the legal thinking -- if any -- behind such measures.

If an athlete is a straight A student and playing on a college athletic team, why should his or her entire team's eligibility for postseason play, including the straight A student's eligibility, be dependent on whether this or that team-mate has gotten the right grades on his examinations?

WHERE is the logical connection and what is the LEGAL rationale behind such absurd sanctions?

Sanctions in law are carried out on the principle of fault.
For the general cause of punishment and deterrence (principally),
we apply sanctions AGAINST THE GUILTY
because we want to have an effect on THEIR behavior.

Laws address the law-abiding citizen and say that if you DO THIS or THAT, you will be punished.
If you DO NOT DO THIS or THAT, you will not be punished.
Hence, if we punish the INNOCENT, it as an ERROR.

Punishing the innocent is a no-no in American law, unless you are in the NCAA.
Then it is permitted??

The idea that people give up their individual rights if they become members of a team or an organization is totally at odds with basic principles of American law. Group responsibility and punishment are Communistic, where the INDIVIDUAL is nothing and the COLLECTIVE GROUP is everything.

If a member of a Church in America does not pay his or her individual income taxes, does this make the entire congregation liable for those taxes, or by analogy, does that non-payment make the Church or its members liable for punishments?

Of course not. People would be up in arms. So why are collective sanctions permitted by the NCAA?

COACHES who use ineligible players should be punished.

INDIVIDUAL PLAYERS who do not meet academic standards should be susceptible to ineligibility rules.

College ADMINISTRATORS, COACHES, etc. who violate the rules or who do not implement proper measures to obtain collegiate athletic compliance with the rules should be fined and/or fired.

That is the concept of individual responsibility for one's actions in American law.

Punishing ENTIRE TEAMS or entire SCHOOLS or their entire FAN BASE or DONORS is just pure and simple idiocy because it punishes great numbers of innocent well-meaning people, especially the fans -- all purely for the sake of organizations like the NCAA to be able to flex their muscles.

That has to stop.

Miracle Worker Bill Snyder: A Portrait by Dan Wetzel at Rivals.com Yahoo! Sports


Even if the talent-rich Oklahoma Sooner football team, playing on their home field, were to beat the Kansas State Wildcats this weekend, a result which is by no means clear at the moment, it still would not tarnish the legend that attaches to Bill Snyder's name in football circles for being able to forge surprisingly good football teams out of the thinnest of player material far from the madding crowd in the Great Plains of the USA.

Dan Wetzel has a nicely written portrait of Kansas State head football coach Bill Snyder at Rivals.com Yahoo! Sports College Football in Snyder again making miracles at Kansas State.

To understand what Snyder has achieved at Kansas State (twice), you have to know what was there before he arrived - it is a story of Phoenix rising from the ashes.

See Bill Snyder

.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

U.S. Politics Enters Conference Realignment

Big interests, big money, big players.

What do people expect? Nice letters to the hopeless NCAA?

See Pete Thamel at the New York Times College Football page
in Big 12 May Admit Louisville, Not West Virginia.

The Last "Amateur" in College Sports is the NCAA : Collegiate Athletics as A Broken System: Player Petition Seeks Rights for Athletes


Jim Litke, AP Sports Columnist, reports inter alia via SF Gate on the story of a college player who did not have enough to eat but was fined by the NCAA for subsequently receiving an impermissible bag of "gratuitous" groceries.

All the while the NCAA, the BCS and college administrators and their henchmen are raking in millions. Collegiate sports are a microcosm of the inequality of the current American economy.

Litke properly labels the NCAA the "last amateur left in college sports".

We have not been ranting and raving about the NCAA for years for nothing. It is a self-serving sports monopolist that should be replaced by something more suitable to collegiate athletics.

Read Litke's full column for the whole story.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

College Football Predictions for Week 9 2011 FBS by SportPundit -- Is the Halloween Weekend the Week of Chaos for Upsets?

College Football Predictions for Week 9 2011 FBS by SportPundit
(predictions based on our Week 8 ratings)

After the first 8 Weeks, SportPundit is 453-119 in calling the winner and 191-184-8 against the spread.
In Week 8 SportPundit was 29-21 in calling the winner and 22-26 against the spread.
In Week 7, SportPundit was 33-17 in calling the winner and 20-30 against the spread.
In Week 6, SportPundit was 41-11 in calling the winner and 32-20 against the spread.
 
In Week 5, Sportpundit was 37-18 in calling the winner and 26-27 against the spread.
In Week 4, SportPundit was 47-13 in calling the winner and 21-25-2 against the spread. 
In Week 3, SportPundit was 44-18 in calling the winner and 26-19-3 against the spread.
In Week 2, SportPundit was 57-8 in calling the winner and 24-19-1 against the spread.
In Week 1, SportPundit was 65-13 in calling the winner and 20-18-2 against the spread. 

Caveat emptor. Buyer beware! We make no guarantees or warranties of accuracy and we disclaim any and all liability for anyone using our stats, rankings and ratings, and/or predictions for any purpose! We do this in good fun. May the best team win.

The spread -- unless linked for any specific game to another source -- this week was taken from the "line" found at the College Football Prediction Tracker, Monday, October 24, 2011, 10:08 AM. That line is updated during the week, often changing point spreads, but we pay no attention to that, unless a game has no line initially, in which case we take the later posted line. Our predictions are independent of the line, unless we call the same point spread, in which case we generally then take the home team since home teams statistically win 60% of all games.

The SportPundit college football game predictions for Week 9 2011 in FBS play are as follows (see our previous postings for more details about our yards per play system):

Tuesday, October 25, 2011
  • Florida International (FIU) (4-3) is favored at home by 6.5 points over Troy (2-4).
    This was supposed to be the battle for the Sun Belt title, but the young Troy team has been a disappointment this year, winning only 2 games by a combined 4 points, while FIU also has been struggling.
    SportPundit calls it:
    34-21 for FIU.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011 
  • Pittsburgh (3-4) is favored at home by 10.5 points over Connecticut (3-4).
    The Panthers need to recover from the 26-14 home loss to Utah. Both teams suffer from anemic offenses so a lower-scoring game is possible.

    SportPundit calls it:
    24-17 for Pittsburgh.
Thursday, October 27, 2011 [amended scores for predictions, 25 October]
  • Miami of Florida (4-3) is favored at home by 13.5 points over Virginia (4-3).
    Last year the Hurricanes were shocked on the road 24-19 by the Cavaliers. That is unlikely to happen this year as Miami seems to be finding itself again this season in recent games.
    SportPundit calls it:
    28-23 for Miami of Florida.
  • Houston (7-0) is favored at home by 27 points over Rice (now 2-5) .
    SportPundit calls it: 60-24 for Houston.
    This year Rice has lost no game by more than 25 points, once to Baylor and once to Texas, both on the road. Will the high-octane Houston offense behind record-setting QB Case Keenum score more than its defense allows to the tune of a 4 TD or more advantage?
Friday, October 28, 2011 [amended score for prediction, 25 October]
  • TCU (5-2) is favored at home by 14 points over BYU (6-2).
    SportPundit calls it:
    31-20 for TCU.
    After a nip-and-tuck loss to Texas 17-16 and a blowout loss to Utah 54-10, the Cougars are on a roll with 5 straight wins. The Horned Frogs have won 2 in a row after a surprising loss to SMU. TCU has won the last 3 games against BYU convincingly. TCU seems to be vulnerable against high-octane passing offenses, but Brigham Young has only an average passing attack, ranked 59th nationally out of 120 teams, whereas Baylor and SMU rank 7th and 12th nationally passing (those are the two TCU losses this year).
Saturday, October 29, 2011 [amended score for prediction, 25 October]
  • Nebraska (6-1) is favored at home by 4 points over Michigan State (6-1)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-23 for Nebraska.
    The spread in favor of the Huskers is a surprise to this observer in view of the Spartan win over Wisconsin, a team that rolled over the Cornhuskers. Our stats favor the Spartans by 6 points minus the home field advantage, which for a Husker win, has to be a touchdown. The Big Red have beaten the spread only once twice in the last 14 games. As a Nebraska alum, I would have preferred Michigan State to be favored so that one could at least call an unlikely upset by NU. During my student days, the Michigan State basketball team came into Nebraska ranked number one in the country and were upset by the Huskers, so that there is upset precedent, even if it was basketball and not football. Nebraska has always had good relations with Michigan State. After all, it was former head coach, national championship team head and Hall-of-Famer Duffy Daugherty of Michigan State who recommended to then Chancellor Clilfford Hardin that Bob Devaney be hired as head Nebraska football coach, which ushered in the incomparable Devaney-Osborne football era in Huskerland. So, we are not going to predict against the Big Red, nor do we wish any ill will toward Michigan State, but a win by Nebraska against this defensively strong Spartan team will surprise us.

  • Marshall (3-5) is favored at home by 7 points over UAB (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 21-13 for Marshall.
    The Blazers dropped out of the ranks of the winless by shocking UCF 26-24 last week on a 40-yard field goal with 21 seconds left in the game. Marshall has impressive victories over Southern Miss (six turnovers) and Louisville under its belt but has otherwise been unimpressive with an anemic offense (14 TDs) that incredibly has produced more TDs than the non-offense of UAB (only 8 TDs in 7 games).

  • Central Michigan (2-6) is favored on the road by 10 points over Akron (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 34-20 for Central Michigan.
    The Chippewas are shadows of their former selves so nothing is certain against the normally harmless Zips.

  • Florida State (4-3) is favored at home by 18 points over North Carolina State (NC State) (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 37-21 for Florida State.
    Last year NC State won this game at home 28-24. The Seminoles have been a disappointment this season in losing at Clemson and Wake Forest, though their loss against Oklahoma was expected. The return of senior tailback Jermaine Thomas could be a key element in Florida State getting their 3rd straight win. The Wolfpack won their first game against an FBS opponent this season by beating Virginia 28-14 last week. NC State is scoring 31.4 points per game but their defense has been allowing 27.9 points per game. By contrast, the Seminoles are averaging 35.9 points per game and permitting 19.3 points.

  • Northwestern (2-5) is favored on the road by 10 points over Indiana (1-7)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-23 for Indiana.
    Each team this year is entering this game with 5 straight losses. Last year the Wildcats won this game at Indiana 20-17. The Hoosiers have yet to beat an FBS opponent this year so homecoming might be the day. Northwestern had an opening game 24-17 win over Boston College for its only FBS win. The Wildcats have played well in the first half and then fallen apart in the second. Our stats favor Northwestern by 7 minus the home field advantage makes 4. True freshman Tre Roberson started the Indiana game against Iowa at quarterback -- the first such QB in Hoosier history -- and may make this game an upset result.

  • Michigan (6-1) is favored at home by 13.5 points over Purdue (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 41-24 for Michigan.
    The Boilermakers lost to unheralded Rice early in the season but have improved in the course of the season, losing a close one at Penn State 23-18 and beating then poll-ranked Illinois at home 21-14 last week. Our stats favor Michigan by 9 plus the home field advantage, but one must remember that Purdue has looked good against teams with weak offenses but were blown out by Notre Dame 38-10, so we think the Wolverines will score more against the Boilermakers.

  • Louisville (3-4) is favored at home by 3.5 points over Syracuse (5-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 22-21 for Syracuse.
    Our stats favor the Orange by 2 points minus the home field advantage of the Cardinals, which may not be great given their dearth of offense. The Orangemen beat poll-ranked West Virginia soundly last week while Louisville squeaked by Rutgers at home 16-14, a team that beat Syracuse 19-16 at home, which, minus the home field advantages, makes Syracuse 1 point better. The Cardinals have a tough defense but their offense has scored only 13 TDs this season, averaging 16.3 points on offense to 17.1 points for opponents. Syracuse is averaging 29.9 points to 26.7 for opponents.

  • Texas A&M (5-2) is favored at home by 11.5 points over Missouri (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 33-27 for Texas A&M.
    The Tigers disappointed last week by losing at home to Oklahoma State 45-24 for their 4th loss of the year and do not appear to be a dangerous match for the poll-ranked Aggies, who are on a 3-game winning streak after wins over Texas Tech 45-40, Baylor 55-28 and Iowa State 33-17. Our stats favor Texas A&M by 3 plus the home field advantage.

  • Arkansas (6-1) is favored on the road by 10 points over Vanderbilt (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 27-21 for Arkansas.
    The Razorbacks have lost only one game this year, 38-14 at Alabama, so that minus the home field advantage, Alabama would be seen as 3 touchdowns better than Arkansas. Only Penn State has lost to the Crimson Tide by fewer points, 16, 27-11. Our rating system by yards per play minus schedule difficulty and losses rates Alabama at 3.0 rating points and Arkansas at 0.3 rating points (ratings made independent of any actual score), so that the ratings of both teams appear accurate. Alabama beat Vanderbilt at home by 34, or a net win of 31 points after home field deduction, which would be ca. 4.4 rating points. In fact, our ypp system rates Vanderbilt at -1.0 rating points, a 4 rating-point difference to Alabama and a 1.3 rating-point difference to Arkansas, so that also here there is basic confirmation of our ratings, which are made without considering margin of victory. Hence our stats rate the Razorbacks 9 points better than Vandy minus the home field advantage.

  • Virginia Tech (7-1) is favored on the road by 15.5 points over Duke (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 37-17 for Virginia Tech.
    The Hokies are 7-1 but their 23-3 loss to Clemson clouds the picture. Our stats favor Virginia Tech against the Blue Devils by 23 points minus the home field advantage.

  • Bowling Green (4-4) is favored on the road by 5 points over Kent State (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 20-7 for Bowling Green.
    The Falcons have been surprisingly strong in their last two home games, losing by a touchdown to Toledo and beating favored Temple by a field goal, after being blitzed on the road in the two games prior to that by Western Michigan and West Virginia. The Golden Flashes have -- by far -- the worst yards per play offense in FBS football at 2.8 ypp and have scored only 7 touchdowns in seven games with their only win coming against FCS South Alabama 33-25. In their 6 games against FBS teams, Kent State has averaged 7 points per game. To win this game, Kent State would have to score once and hold Bowling Green scoreless or to a field goal. That is unlikely as the Falcons are averaging 27.4 points per game.

  • Western Michigan (4-4) is favored at home by 12 points over Ball State (5-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 38-27 for Western Michigan.
    Last year Western Michigan on the road beat Ball State 45-16. This year, after barely losing 23-20 to Illinois and then beating Connecticut and Bowling Green, the Broncos disintegrated on the road, being blown out by Northern Illinois 51-22 and losing last weekend to Eastern Michigan 14-10. Western Michigan returns home to face an improving Ball State team that is coming of wins over Ohio 23-20 on the road and Central Michigan 31-27 at home. The Cardinals even beat Big Ten Indiana 27-20 in their opener this year, but were blown out by Oklahoma 62-6 and Temple the week thereafter 42-0. Our stats favor the Broncos by 8 points plus the home field advantage, putting us at 11. We make our prediction erring on the side of the team currently playing the better football.


  • Air Force (3-4) is favored on the road by 30.5 points over New Mexico (0-7)
    SportPundit calls it: 49-7 for Air Force.
    Head coach Locksley is gone. The New Mexico football program is a mess that interim head coach George Barlow is trying to start to correct. Last year Air Force won this game at home 48-23. In recent games this season the Falcons have been hobbled my multiple injuries to starting players and have lost their last three games to Notre Dame 59-33, San Diego State 41-27 and Boise State 37-26. New Mexico is last in FBS in rushing defense and now face the nation's 2nd-ranked rushing offense in the Air Force, which explains the large betting spread. Our stats favor Air Force by 24 minus the home field advantage of the winless Lobos who are coming off a 69-0 thrashing on the road at TCU. Hence, a score here like 49-7 would surprise no one.

  • Oregon (6-1) is favored at home by 35 points over Washington State (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 43-14 for Oregon.
    Our stats favor the Ducks by 26 plus the home field advantage makes 29. LaMichael James and Darron Thomas may still not be ready to play -- which no one knows for sure since Oregon releases no injury reports. Cliff Harris has been suspended again. The Cougars disappointed last week by the large margin of their 44-21 loss to Oregon State. Earlier in the season, Washington State lost to Stanford 44-14 so that a large margin of victory for Oregon is possible in any case.
  • Maryland (2-5) is favored at home by 7.5 points over Boston College (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 35-27 for Maryland.
    This is a game of teams whose visions of glory this season have all but vanished. The Terps were 9-4 last year but have already lost five games under new head coach Randy Edsall. Boston College has not beaten an FBS team this season and has almost no chance of making its 13th straight bowl game because it would have to win its last five games to become bowl eligible, an unlikely prospect for this year's no-offense team. Our stats favor Maryland by 6 plus the home field advantage makes 9.

  • Penn State (7-1) is favored at home by 6 points over Illinois (6-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 17-16 for Penn State.
    The Nittany Lions have lost only to Alabama this year (27-11) and have followed their staunch defense to seven wins, none of which are impressive, but are wins nevertheless. The Illini won their first six games and then saw their offense stymied by the Buckeyes 17-7 and the Boilermakers 21-14. The Penn State defense is even better, so that the problem will be for Illinois to score points and to win, even if their own defense is also very strong. Our stats favor Illinois by 1.5 points minus the Penn State home field advantage.
  • Oklahoma (6-1) is favored at home by 14 points over Kansas State (7-0)
    SportPundit calls it: 31-30 for Oklahoma.
    The secret success formula of top head coach Bill Snyder is partly unraveled by Dave Skretta, AP Sports Writers, at Yahoo! Rivals.com in pointing out how Snyder has adapted his offense and defense to fit his talent-thin team -- and that kind of adjustment is the mark of a great coach -- adapting what he does to the football players he has. Many head coaches are unable to do that and have only "their" system, for which they then try to recruit suitable players to fit into that system. Some years they have those players, and some years not. Great coaches win with all kinds of player material, even less talented players, by adapting to what they have. Just remember John Wooden of UCLA winning the 1964 NCAA national basketball championship with no starter taller than 6'5" (star Gail Goodrich was 6'1"). He designed his style of play around his team. That is why the Wildcats are still undefeated ... but still are seen as underdogs by two touchdowns against the Sooners, who have maybe twice the talent. But football is a team game and you have to know how to put it all together. As Snyder is quoted for the Kansas State team "It's just a combination of things." Our stats favor Oklahoma by 11 plus the home field advantage makes 14. After 7 straight wins we don't think this tenacious K-State team is going to be awed by Oklahoma, so we are expecting a worthy battle.

  • Miami of Ohio (2-5) is favored at home by 7 points over Buffalo (2-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-23 for Miami of Ohio.
    Our stats favor Buffalo by 1.5 minus the home field advantage.

  • Iowa (5-2) is favored on the road by 16 points over Minnesota (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 34-17 for Iowa.
    Our stats favor the Hawkeyes by 20 minus the Minnesota home field advantage makes 17.

  • North Carolina (5-3) is favored at home by 7.5 points over Wake Forest (5-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 30-21 for North Carolina.
    Our stats favor the Tar Heels by 6 plus the home field advantage makes 9. North Carolina was humbled last week in a 59-38 loss to Clemson due to six turnovers, so this is still a very strong team. The Demon Deacons can point to a 35-30 win over Florida State this season, although last week's victory 24-23 over Duke was another thing.

  • West Virginia (5-2) is favored on the road by 6.5 points over Rutgers (5-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 31-17 for West Virginia.
    The SportPundit Rankings and Ratings After Week 8 of Play favor the Mountaineers by 17 minus the home field advantage of the Scarlet knights makes 14.

  • Oklahoma State (6-1) is favored on the road by 16 points over Baylor (4-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 36-35 for Baylor.
    Get out the calculators as two high-octane offenses meet. Our stats rate these two teams about even with Baylor having the more potent offense and the Cowboys the better, if only average, defense. Baylor has a good chance to upset Oklahoma State in this game.

  • Fordham (1-6) is at Army (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 38-14 for Army.
    Army should have no trouble with FCS Fordham.

  • East Carolina (3-4) is favored at home by 16.5 points over Tulane (2-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 27-24 for East Carolina.
    Bob Toledo, the head coach of The Green Wave has just resigned, and Mark Hutson, former Oklahoma Sooner All-American, the Tulane offensive coordinator, will take over as interim coach. Tulane has a very weak team but a passable pass defense with a fast secondary that might keep the Pirates' record-setting Dominique Davis in check. Davis in last week's game against Navy set 2 NCAA records for consecutive pass completions at 26 for one game and 36 for two games. Our stats rate these two teams as even so we go with the home field advantage.

  • Louisiana Monroe (LA Monroe, ULM) (2-5) is favored at home by 5 points over Western Kentucky (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 28-27 for Western Kentucky.
    The Hilltoppers were 2-10 last year and have already topped that with three straight wins behind the running of Bobby Rainey. The Warhawks fell to North Texas 38-21 after having beaten Troy 38-10 on the road the previous week. Our stats favor LA Monroe by 4 plus the home field advantage makes 7, but the Hilltoppers seem to have found a taste for winning, beating higher-ranked teams than ULM, so we go with Western Kentucky here.

  • Notre Dame (4-3) is favored at home by 18.5 points over Navy (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 40-24 for Notre Dame.
    The Fighting Irish repeated their South Florida debacle with lost turnover malaise against USC last week, while Navy was the brunt of NCAA passing records set by East Carolina's quarterback Davis against them. Our stats favor Notre Dame by 13 plus the home field advantage makes 16.

  • Tulsa (4-3) is favored at home by 3 points over SMU (5-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 31-27 for SMU.
    Our stats favor the Mustangs by 8 minus the home field advantage of the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa has won its last three against weak competition while SMU followed 5 straight wins with an offensively inexplicable loss to Southern Miss 27-3.

  • Georgia (5-2) is favored on the road 2.5 points over Florida (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-23 for Florida.
    Our stats favor the Bulldogs by 3 points, minus the home field advantage makes this game a toss-up. Last year Florida was also at home and won 34-31. The Gators last lost to Georgia 42-30 at Georgia in 2007 and have not lost at home to Georgia in recent memory.

  • Central Florida (UCF) (3-4) is favored at home by 29.5 points over Memphis (2-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 40-7 for UCF.
    The UCF Knights finished 2010 with an 11-3 record and a 10-6 win over SEC Georgia in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Midway through this season, UCF has already dropped 4 games, the last inexcusably to a much weaker UAB team, essentially trashing this season. UCF can hardly fail to beat Memphis but the damage has been done. There is always next year.

  • Louisiana Tech (3-4) is favored at home by 7.5 points over San Jose State (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 27-23 for Louisiana Tech.
    Our stats rate the Bulldogs 1.5 points better than the Spartans plus the home field advantage. San Jose State has been showing marked signs of improvement in recent games, beating Hawaii last week 28-27 in spite of six turnovers, a team that beat Louisiana Tech 44-26.

  • Hawaii (4-3) is favored on the road by 8.5 points over Idaho (1-6)
    SportPundit calls it: 38-23 for Hawaii.
    Our stats favor the Warriors by 18 minus the Vandals home field advantage makes 15.

  • Colorado State (3-4) is favored on the road by 2.5 points over UNLV (1-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 28-23 for Colorado State.
    The Rams are 8 points better than UNLV by our stats, minus the home field advantage makes 5.

  • Arizona State (5-2) is favored at home by 31 points over Colorado (1-7)
    SportPundit calls it: 40-21 for Arizona State.
    Colorado under Jon Embree is in a rebuilding season as the Buffs are winless conference cellar dwellers in their new Pac 12 Conference and have been outscored by an average of 26.5 points in their 4 road losses this year. Perhaps the many player injuries are a tribute to trying too hard. To win, you sometimes just have to go out and simply enjoy the game, win or lose, especially in sunny Arizona. Our stats favor the Sun Devils by 16 plus the home field advantage makes 19.

  • Arkansas State (5-2) is favored at home by 16 points over North Texas (3-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 38-21 for Arkansas State.
    The Red Wolves and the Mean Green are both in a state of improvement this year, current conference leader Arkansas State under head coach Hugh Freeze and steadily improving North Texas under Dan McCarney, who has the right attitude in his saying that "We're trying to get better every day...." That's the only way to do it. You do not get better -- suddenly. It is a process. There still appears to be a fairly large gap between these two teams in our yards per play stats, which favor Arkansas by 24 points plus the home field advantage, though we think North Texas is better than that.

  • California (4-3) is favored on the road by 6 points over UCLA (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 41-21 for California.
    Cal last lost to UCLA in 2007 and has otherwise beaten the Bruins by 19 points or more since 2008. Our stats this year favor Cal by 3.5 points minus the home field advantage of UCLA would ordinarily make it close.  but there are issues. In addition to some other suspensions, four wide receivers from UCLA are suspended for their part in a brawl against Arizona late in the first half last week. Backup QB Richard Brehaut broke his leg two games ago, and there are other injuries.

  • Mississippi State (3-4) is favored on the road by 10.5 points over Kentucky (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 30-17 for Mississippi State.
    Our stats favor the Bulldogs by 15 minus the home field advantage.

  • Auburn (5-3) is favored at home by 10.5 points over Mississippi (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 35-17 Auburn.
    Our stats favor the Tigers by 15 plus the home field advantage.

  • Utah (3-4) is favored at home by 5 points over Oregon State (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-14 for Utah.
    Our stats favor the Utes by 7 plus the home field advantage.

  • Texas (4-2) is favored at home by 27.5 points over Kansas (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 44-21 for Texas.
    The Jayhawks rank last in total defense in FBS so the only teams that they are likely to beat, indeed, can beat, are those with weak offenses. The Longhorns need to get out of nostalgia mode and adapt their football to the modern game. Our stats favor Texas by 20 plus the home field advantage.

  • Texas Tech (5-2) is favored at home by 15 points over Iowa State (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 35-24 for Texas Tech.
    Our stats favor the Red Raiders by 8 plus the home field advantage.

  • South Carolina (6-1) is favored on the road by 4.5 points over Tennessee (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 30-17 for South Carolina.
    The SportPundit Rankings and Ratings After Week 8 of Play favor the Gamecocks by 16 minus the home field advantage of the Volunteers makes 13.

  • Middle Tennessee State (2-4) is favored at home by 3 points over Louisiana Lafayette (LA Lafayette, ULL) (6-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 27-26 for Louisiana Lafayette.
    Our stats favor the Ragin' Cajuns by 3 minus the home field advantage of the Blue Raiders, so it could be close.

  • Nevada (4-3) is favored on the road by 15 points over New Mexico State (3-4)
    SportPundit calls it: 31-27 for Nevada.
    Our stats favor the Wolf Pack by 7 minus the home field advantage makes 4.

  • Stanford (7-0) is favored on the road by 8.5 points over USC (Southern Cal) (6-1)
    SportPundit calls it: 36-27 for Stanford.
    We ranked Stanford #1 in the nation in our preseason rankings, but as a Stanford alum I worry about this game on the road against USC more than about any game on the Cardinal schedule. USC lost by only 37-35 at Stanford last year with a team that lost 4 games during the regular season. This year the Trojans have only one loss and seem to be improving. Southern Cal head coach Lane Kiffin says about the balanced and physically robust Stanford team: "This is arguably the best team in the country". Thankfully, Stanford has a blitzing defense that partly neutralizes USC QB Matt Barkley's improved passing effectiveness. Heisman Trophy favorite Andrew Luck is so well defended by his offensive line that sacks, even by the strong USC defense, are improbable. Stanford has 41 TDs this year to only 11 by the opposition. The same stats for USC are 24 and 19. If Stanford wins this game, balance will be the key. Our stats favor the Cardinal by 12 minus the home field advantage, makes 9.

  • Wisconsin (6-1) is favored on the road by 7.5 points over Ohio State (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 24-23 for Ohio State.
    Last year Wisconsin beat Ohio State in Madison 31-18 to knock the Buckeyes from the #1 spot in the polls. How much confidence have the Badgers lost due to their totally unnecessary "Hail Mary" loss to Michigan State last week? On paper, this game looks like a cakewalk for Wisconsin, which is favored over the Buckeyes via our stats by 22 points, minus the home field advantage. On the other hand, Ohio State has recovered from its collapse against Nebraska by beating previously unbeaten Illinois 17-7 on the road. The Badger loss to Michigan State has breathed new life into the battle for the Big Ten conference championship. In the Leaders Division, Penn State plays Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin to finish its season and with its weak offense will unlikely remain undefeated in conference, so that Ohio State has a chance to win the division. In the Legends Division, Michigan State could fall to Nebraska this week -- the Huskers are favored (incredibly so, in our opinion), which would send that division into topsy turvy also, although the conference-undefeated Spartans currently hold the upper hand, with an easier schedule following the Nebraska game. In any case, we can not see Wisconsin beating Ohio State in Columbus.

  • Clemson (8-0) is favored on the road by 4.5 points over Georgia Tech (6-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 36-35 for Georgia Tech.
    The Clemson Tigers continue to amaze in their victory streak, putting up mediocre yards per play stats on defense but still winning. Chad Morris on offense is the difference. This is a local battle between two schools just down the road from each other in Georgia (Interstate 85) with more rural Clemson facing big city Atlanta. Clemson had trouble with the triple option of Wofford earlier in the season so that this game against the triple option play style of Georgia Tech could be close. Our stats favor the Yellow Jackets by seven plus the home field advantage, but we will be surprised if Clemson does not win this one. To win, Georgia Tech will also have to activate its passing game, otherwise it is too one-sided.

  • Southern Miss (6-1) is favored on the road by 10 points over UTEP (4-3)
    SportPundit calls it: 36-27 for Southern Miss.
    After losing inexplicably to Marshall in the second game of the season, the Golden Eagles are beginning to live up the preseason hype and have now won five in a row, including an impressive 27-3 victory over SMU last week, a team to which the Miners lost this season 28-17. UTEP is sometimes unpredictable and our stats rate Southern Miss 12 points better than the Miners, minus the UTEP home field advantage.

  • San Diego State (4-2) is favored at home by 15.5 points over Wyoming (4-2)
    SportPundit calls it: 30-24 for San Diego State.
    Our stats favor the Aztecs by 3 points plus the home field advantage.

  • Washington (5-2) is favored at home by 7 points over Arizona (2-5)
    SportPundit calls it: 43-31 for Washington.
    Our stats favors the Huskies by 9 plus the home field advantage.

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