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 7, 2015



The Big Ten went 7-6 in the first week of the season, 4-6 against FBS competition, with one game left to play (Ohio St.- Virginia Tech) as of this writing. Not a good record, but as I said in a previous post, this was the most competitive first week schedule I’ve ever seen. Since there were no predictions this week, I’ll use this post to comment on the teams’ first game performance in comparison to my preseason expectations, mentioning the teams in the order from the top -how much they exceeded – to the bottom – how much they fell short of – what I expected. This is not to be confused with a power ranking, mind you. If you feel compelled to verify what my expectations were going in, you can refer these previous posts:  Preseason Predictions (8-25)
                                                                                                                    Pregame Comments (8-30)

More than I expected:
Northwestern knocking off Stanford kicks off this list. After last season’s yo-yo, I didn’t know what to expect from the Wildcats. I will say, however, that part of this could be that Stanford was less than expected.
Iowa. Ok, it was a non-FBS opponent which means either way, the Hawkeyes can’t really win here. But I figured Iowa to struggle and didn’t figure QB C.J. Beathard to look as sharp as he did.
I expected Illinois to beat Kent St. but I sure didn’t expect a 52-3 thumping. I do, however, think Illinois’ stock has gone up with Bill Cubit replacing Tim Beckman as the HC. Probably the only case in college football history where firing an HC the week before the season starts is a positive.
Notre Dame. My Irish looked good in just about every facet of the game. Texas looked bad, though. The Irish were projected to be good, but after last season’s finish I had my apprehensions. They started off strong last season too, so I still do.

As expected:
Despite being favored, I figured Nebraska to lose to BYU. And they did. But it was a fluke so, in a way, the ‘Huskers proved me wrong, which is why I have them at the top of this category, pushing the brink of “more than expected”. QB Tommy Armstrong threw well at times but, as expected, is prone to poor decisions in the passing game.
I knew Minnesota was gonna give TCU a good game. Analysts are saying TCU didn’t live up to expectations but the truth is that Minnesota is better than most are giving the Gophers credit for. But I will say that, after a full season as the starter and an obvious need to improve the passing game, QB Mitch Leidner still throwing knuckleballs is less than expected.
Wisconsin’s loss to Alabama lands in the upper portion of this category even though I called for an Alabama blowout victory. Alabama did win rather easily, but I actually figured the Tide to win by even more. The Badgers’ inability to move the ball on the ground was as expected, but QB Joel Stave’s excellent performance was more than expected.
Purdue losing to Marshall in an evenly matched game was exactly as expected. A couple of years ago the Boilermakers would have gotten thumped.
OK, so I didn’t expect Temple to be good enough to beat anybody, but I am unapologetically proud to say I was one of the few to expect the same ol’, same ‘ol from Penn St. Look for another season of using the O-Line as a scapegoat for a QB who holds the ball too long and has the mobility of a statue, and a coaching staff who is incapable of coming up with an answer to a simple blitz.
Maryland big over Richmond was as expected. So was Rutgers big over Norfolk St. It’s Richmond and Norfolk St. Why would I expect anything less?

Less than expected:
Michigan St. I didn’t get to see this one but I expected a larger margin of victory. But by all accounts the Spartans had this one in control except for a few dicey moments near the end, so maybe this one could go in the “as expected” category.
I thought Michigan would beat Utah. I have the Wolves at the top of this category pushing the edge of “as expected” because Utah is a pretty good team and Michigan didn’t look all that bad. I’ve been a fan of QB Jake Rudock through his career but he was less than expected in this game. In fact, a case could be made that Rudock cost Michigan the game.
I think HC Kevin Wilson is overrated and as long as he is the coach, I don’t think Indiana will be a good overall team. I think Wilson’s teams will put points on the board, but that’s not the same as saying I think they will win many games. But still I thought the Hoosiers would at least be able to easily beat an average FCS team. This game came down to the last play.

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.
This season’s lineup of unsuspecting contestants will be the same as last season’s minus a few: the same three from BTN – Tom Deinhart, Sean Merriman, and Brent Yarina; and three of the four Athlon contestants from last season – Mitch Light, Steve Lassan, and David Fox.
They don’t know what they’re in for. Mostly due to the fact that they’re completely unaware that I’ve included them as my competition, but also due to the fact that I’m due for an excellent season and, consequently, a beatdown of any competition. Unless I’m wrong. 

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