Sharing and comparing my method for trying to beat the spread

I live in the Midwest which is Big Ten country. Once conference play starts virtually every Big Ten game is televised in my region and I commit myself to try and watch all of them. I have three televisions set up as some games are being played at the same time. I have no bias or affiliation to any Big Ten team as I am a lifelong Notre Dame fan (I include ND games in my viewing schedule as well). My comments and reports are qualified only by my love of the game and an extreme commitment to watching and following Big Ten football.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


WHAT HAPPENED
 
Purdue and Michigan St were added to the list of teams that are virtually eliminated from the conference race. Both had high expectations coming into the season, so staying motivated may become an issue. Michigan may have something to say about this, but it appears as though the top two teams in the conference are banned from postseason play.
Ohio St 29  Purdue 22  OT
Purdue stayed with the Buckeyes to the end, surprising everyone including myself as I predicted a 49 to 30 Ohio St victory. Ohio St came out flat and the Boilermakers played like the Purdue team I was looking for the past two weeks, particularly on the defensive line. Buckeyes QB Braxton Miller was taken to the hospital with a head or neck injury. At least that’s what was reported. No way for me to know, but from the couch there appeared to be something wrong with Miller before he was injured. Maybe it was just the Purdue defense, but Miller seemed to be a little off of his game as he was making some uncharacteristic mistakes.
Wisconsin 38  Minnesota 13
I predicted a 38 to 20 Badger victory so it appears as though this game went as I expected. I don’t have access to ESPNU so I was unable to watch. In the last couple of weeks of the season there may be a few conference games that aren’t televised, but it’s rare for me to get shut out in October.
Nebraska 29  Northwestern 28
I figured this game to be close as I predicted a 37 to 35 Northwestern victory. Nebraska turned in a slightly better defensive performance than I expected and Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian hasn’t been as sharp the last couple of games as he was earlier in the year. The game could have gone either way as both teams were far from perfect. Northwestern had its chances as they benefited from three Nebraska turnovers and had a 28 to 13 lead midway through the fourth quarter. In the end it was the Wildcats’ weak secondary that allowed the Huskers to pull out the win.
Michigan 12  Michigan St 10
I wasn’t too far off on this game as I predicted Michigan to win 20 to 10. As anticipated, this game was a defensive slugfest. The Michigan St defense kept Michigan’s leading rusher QB Denard Robinson bottled up throughout most of the game, forcing the Wolverines to go to their passing game. And with Robinson that’s never a good thing. But for the second game in a row the Spartan offense failed to produce more than one touchdown as the O-line continues to struggle. This was due in large part to a Michigan defense that is proving to be one of the best in the conference. It will be interesting to see how Michigan St performs the rest of the season as they are now virtually eliminated from the conference title race.
Penn St 38  Iowa 14
I predicted Penn St to win this game, 20 to 13. I don’t think anyone expected to see the Nittany Lions come into Kinnick Stadium and dominate the way they did. This game wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. I’d write some details here, but there aren’t any. Penn St just flat out thumped the Hawkeyes. Rung by rung this team and QB Matt McGloin has climbed its way to possibly (we’ll find out this Saturday) the top of this conference.
Navy 31  Indiana 30
This game was not televised so I was unable to watch. And that’s fine with me.
 

KNEW IT ALL ALONG
- Penn St would be among the top teams in this conference. OK so not “all along”, but my previous posts (starting with 9-11) will testify that I was one of the first to spot this team. 

DIDN’T SEE IT COMING
- Purdue, especially the defense, would turn in their best performance, albeit a losing one, since the second week of the season. 

 

CRYSTAL BALL 

WEEK OF 10-27-2012 

INDIANA
34
ILLINOIS
28
NORTHWESTERN
29
IOWA
24
MICHIGAN
31
NEBRASKA
29
WISCONSIN
10
MICHIGAN ST
10
OT
PURDUE
31
MINNESOTA
24
PENN ST
30
OHIO ST
22
NOTRE DAME
20
OKLAHOMA
20
OT

 

EXTRA POINT
 
LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
Wisconsin Athletics director Barry Alvarez would like college football to form a division that’s more exclusive than the current format. According to Tom Fornelli at cbssports.com the former Badger HC recently said “I’d like to see a league -- Southeast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10 -- and have your own rules. Have rules that you know what the hell they are and that you could actually follow them, and let them have it. We’ve got a lot of rules and there’re a lot of haves and have-nots, and you’re making rules to make the have-nots happy. Let the guys who can afford it go do -- the guys that are filling those big stadiums; the leagues that have the big TV contracts. Let them go. That’s nothing against those other guys. But you can’t let that group hold the entire group back.”
I’m not sure what rules Alvarez is talking about, but I have no problem with the current division of 124 FBS schools. I do have a problem, however, with the discrimination that occurs within the division. This whole “BCS-non-BCS” thing, or as Alvarez puts it, “haves and have-nots”, has got to stop. It’s obvious that the have-nots are mistreated and that any shot at the title or a big money bowl appearance will be impeded as much as possible by the haves. So with that in mind, I’ve got to go along with Alvarez for whom I give credit for coming out and telling it like it is. The players on the “non-BCS” teams work just as hard as the “BCS” teams’ players and they should have a legitimate hope of winning a championship. If that’s not going to happen in the FBS, then a separate division with a separate title would be the solution.
But I would have one caveat for Alvarez and the rest of the “haves”.  No more using the “have-nots” as a punching bag. No more charging full admission for a home game that amounts to nothing more than an exhibition designed to create the illusion that your team is better than it actually is. In other words, instead of opening up the season at home against UNLV, Northern Illinois, or Akron, haul your team down to Baton Rouge or over to Norman or Los Angeles. I think a “super league” (as Alvarez calls it), with the stipulation that the teams can only play each other, would be great for college football. Certainly more entertaining and the smaller field would go a long way towards determining a true champion.
The question is, even with the lure of less revenue sharing, would such a condition have some schools backtracking on the idea since it will come with the price of facing a tougher schedule and possibly having to give up a couple of non-conference home games?

 

ATS  

My Crystal Ball predictions for last Saturday were pretty good. I didn’t gain much ground, however, as my competition did well also. The spreads were as follows: Iowa by 2, Michigan by 9.5, Wisconsin by 16, Nebraska by 6.5, Ohio St by 18.5. If you click the “ATS” tab at the top of this page you will see that everyone was at least 50% in all categories except the most difficult “within 7” category. I and two others were 2-3 in that category while the rest were 3-2. I turned in the best performance in the all-important “play” category as I went 2-0 with Northwestern and Penn St. With the exception of Wildcat and Cardinal, who did not have any qualifying selections, everyone else came out ahead as well. Horned Frog was 3-1 with Penn St, Wisconsin, and Northwestern as his winners, Ohio St his loser. Hawkeye, Boilermaker, and Wolverine were all 2-1 with Hawkeye taking Penn St and Wisconsin as winners, Ohio St his loser. Boilermaker won with Wisconsin and Northwestern and lost with Ohio St, while Wolverine won with Northwestern and Purdue, and lost with Minnesota. Wolverine is the only one who has a winning record for the season in the “play” category. In fact, Wolverine is the man to catch right now as he leads in all of the season total categories except for “closest” where he trails the top position by the slimmest of margins. His 55% in the “within 7” category is exceptional. In fact my number of 40% isn’t bad but it’s only good for fourth place among this group. 

 

 KIS RANKINGS  

This week’s rankings (see the tab at the top of this page) have Florida placed at the top after their home victory over 6-2 South Carolina. Oregon cracked the top ten as they took a rare road trip and beat a 4-2 Arizona St team. The debatable issue in this week’s ranking concerns how a team can be ranked higher than a team it lost to despite having an equal or worse record. Although they lost at home to Oklahoma, Texas Tech is ranked one spot higher than the Sooners. Texas A&M, after losing at home to 6-1 LSU (ranked #11), sits two spots higher with an inferior record (4-2). The difference, of course, is the OPP% column. Just as the KIS system rewards for playing opponents that win, it punishes for playing losers. While the WIN% column is ultimately the most important, Oklahoma’s victory over a 0-6 Kansas team did little to help their cause. LSU has added some solid opponents to their schedule in recent weeks, but the first four teams on their schedule are a combined 6-20 in BCS play. Texas A&M’s 0.73 OPP% ranks sixth overall and is the best among teams with a winning record. The argument against the KIS rankings would be that a team should never be ranked lower than a team it has beaten. This is not unheard of though, as it does occur in other rankings as is evidenced by USC’s higher ranking than Stanford in the BCS standings. And of course it often occurs in (and out of) conference play whenever a team with an inferior record upsets a top ranked team. The argument for the KIS rankings would be that LSU’s game against Idaho, or Oklahoma’s game against Kansas are essentially like taking a week off while everyone else is earning their victories. Making strength of schedule an important component in a team’s ranking will promote the scheduling of competitive games in the future and therefore be good for college football. The fans won’t have to endure as many of the lopsided matchups we now see in the non-conference portion of the season. So the question is – does the OPP% need to be diluted?
Certainly something to consider, but for now I’m going to stick with the way it is and see how it plays out. I still think this system is valid in a lot of ways, which I will detail in future posts. 

                                     Top 10 OPP%
 
KIS rank
OPP%
W
L
1
Iowa State
19
0.80
3
3
2
Washington
40
0.76
2
4
3
Tennessee
47
0.76
2
4
4
South Florida
57
0.75
1
5
5
Missouri
50
0.74
2
4
6
Texas A&M
9
0.73
4
2
7
West Virginia
16
0.70
4
2
8
Stanford
12
0.69
5
2
9
Nebraska
15
0.67
4
2
10
Texas Tech
7
0.66
5
1

 

 
 

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