Saturday, August 30, 2003

Saturday! Saturday!

Time for my alter ego! if you're a baseball fan only and you've stumbled here today, rest assured that I'll have plenty of baseball stuff come Monday. Today, my friends, it is all College Football, and the first real weekend of the Eisenberg College Football (ECF) Championship! If at this point you have no idea what I'm talking about click here: ECF Rules

One of the things about the ECF Rules that I love is that it takes many common notions and turns them on their head. Take today's biggest matchup, USC at Auburn. When you hear (or heard) the Gameday crew talk about Trojans-Tigers, the common theme will be what an absolutely ridiculous home opener this is for USC. Playing a top 10 team on the road to open! It could ruin their whole year! It's not fair! And you know what? They're right. It's not fair. Many, many schools will not play an out-of-conference road game with anywhere near this level of difficulty the entire season. Almost no one would be favored at Auburn. USC not winning at Auburn today, assuming a reasonably close game, does not prove anything about who the better team is over the long haul.

But with the ECF, all the pressure rests on Auburn, not USC. The ECF allows for losing one or two close games on the road, but lose a home game and you're done. Dead. Kaput. Well, there's the Three Weeks Rule that could save Auburn if they drop this one, but that means that they would have to play perfect the rest of the way, not a likely scenario for anyone, never mind an SEC team.

These are the home teams, like Auburn, that are favored by a touchdown or less:

Auburn over USC
Cal over S. Miss.
Colorado St over Colorado
Houston over Rice

And Nebraska is 7.5 over Oklahoma State. All of these teams have to be very careful.

Here are the teams that are underdogs at home. All of these teams are in big trouble:

Clemson against Georgia
West Virginia against Wisconsin
Illinois against Missouri
Vanderbilt against Mississippi
Kansas against Northwestern
Baylor against UAB
North Carolina against Florida State
Mississippi State against Oregon
Tulane against TCU

And in even bigger trouble, here are the teams that are underdogs by 17 or more on the road:

Temple at Penn State
C Mich at Michigan
Tulsa at Minnesota
Fresno State at Tennessee
San Jose St at Florida
SMU at Tezas Tech
UTEP at Arizona
UCF at Virginia Tech
Idaho at Washington State
LA-Lafayette at South Carolina
Arkansas State at Texas A&M
Troy State at Kansas State
UL-Monroe at LSU

So keep an eye on the scoreboard today. The ECF Race has begun!

Here are some short opinions of games I would consider investing in, if it were legal, or games that I have special interest in some other way:

At Alabama -15 South Florida
When I lived in Tampa, I had an apartment down the street from USF, and I know that in a parallel universe I have season tickets to see the Bulls. This game would be the biggest win in the school's history, and at 15 points it is not deemed impossible by the oddsmakers. Bama's off-season troubles are well-documented, and I'm sure their players are ready to hit, But do they know USF is a not a puff team, but a team on the rise? I doubt it. I'd pass on this one, but if I had to, I'd take USF.

At Florida -24 San Jose State
I'm a Gator fan - the team I rooted for in Tampa because the Bulls weren't playing football yet- and I'm bracing for a difficult year. I absolutely hate games for anyone where you haven't played yet, but your opponents have. Ron Zook has a lot to prove, but they need a little time to shake things out, so I can see SJ State giving them a game. I'd pass on this one too, but I'd probably take the points before I gave them.

At Cal -3.5 S Miss
Again, Cal has played, S Miss hasn't. I like Cal here to cover the short points at home.

At Baylor +8.5 UAB
Has there ever been a team that's had an off-season like Baylor? Beating any Big 12 team would be a coup for UAB, but they ain't THAT good, and they're walking into a hornet's nest. Those Baylor kids, under brand new head coach Guy Morriss, will play like their lives depended on it today. Take the points.

Washington +9 at Ohio State
The Buckeyes are the team to beat, and Ohio State doesn't run up scores. You know the Huskies have talking about this one all summer. Take the points.

At Mississippi State +4.5 Oregon
Why would the Ducks want to open in the SEC? Take the points.

Wisconsin -3 at West Virginia
In another fictional world, I've got 75-1 on Wisconsin winning the Sugar Bowl. Go Badgers!

Editor's Note: A lot more effort has been put into the ECF rules than the picks against the spread. The picks are for fun, not my Locks of The Week, or some other Scam name.

Tomorrow, I'll have an update on the standings, and previews of those games. Yeah, there's games tomorrow too!

Dave's Email


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