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.

Monday, September 1, 2014



The Big Ten went 12-2 in the first week of the season, 7-2 against FBS competition. I’ll give Maryland, Indiana, and Minnesota credit for taking care of business, but after that I have to say “C’mon, man.  Who are ya playing against?” Could say the same about Nebraska and Michigan but at least they scheduled FBS opponents. Should also call out Iowa and Illinois for scheduling a patsy, but can’t give either credit for taking care of business as they both struggled to earn a victory. The first game isn’t a very good barometer of how a team might perform over the course of the season, though. The offenses are always a bit behind and the coaches are still learning about their players. Obviously I couldn’t watch all fourteen games, but I did see quite a few.

More than I expected:
I’ve been critical of the media’s love affair with Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg. I felt he still had to show some “clutch” competitiveness to earn some of the accolades he’s been receiving. He showed us that Saturday. Never been any question about his arm – the kid’s got a cannon -  but now, if you include the final two games of last season, it appears he’s grown into a (as advertised) big time college QB.
Notre Dame QB Everett Golson. Yeah, he was good two seasons ago. But I didn’t see him as the savior Irish fans were proclaiming him to be. If last Saturday is an indication, I was wrong.
Rutgers. I didn’t expect much at all, so…..
The Big Ten.  Despite the soft schedule, I thought at least one team would stumble as a significant favorite.

Less than I expected:
I thought Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner would have looked sharper and more confident throwing the ball now that he’s no longer engaged in a perpetual competition for the starting job. Gotta think there was a lot of off-season emphasis on improving the passing game. But as I said above, game one doesn’t define much.
Illinois. And I didn’t expect much; just a baby step forward from last season. The outcome of this game was in question until nearly the end. First game or not, can’t have that against an FCS opponent.
Northwestern and QB Trevor Siemian. Unlike many other Big Ten opponents this week, Cal is legitimate competition. But even after taking that into account, the Wildcats looked bad on both sides of the ball. I’ve seen Siemian turn in some brilliant performances, but not last Saturday. In fact, not since about mid-way through last season.

In this section I track the results of my Crystal Ball selections that qualify as “plays” ATS (any prediction that differs from the closing line by seven or more points). I’ve also included the results of some unsuspecting prognosticators that I found on line. The standings are based on how many “FTC” dollars are won. For a more detailed explanation of this section, please refer to the “FTC $ Q&A” tab at the top of this post. 

As I said in my last post, things will start off slow in this section until conference play starts as I’m not including any non-conference games this season aside from Notre Dame’s schedule. And I never include predictions from week one.
It appears as though I’ve lost a few contestants from the past two seasons. I didn’t find a post from Chad Godfrey from and the boys from ESPN made predictions on the winners, but didn’t offer final scores. I believe I’ve found some replacements, though. Will have to see if they consistently post throughout the season.

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