Saturday, October 04, 2003

College Football Weekend Preview

I hope none of my newly found college football fans have been scared off by the case of Baseball Fever that has enveloped Eisenberg Sports. It's certainly kept me busy. But I've had the Weekend Preview in the back of my mind all week, and now we'll give it the attention it deserves.

If you noticed College Football at all this week, it was probably Miami's two-point win over West Virginia. But there were two other games that also deserved some attention:

Houston 27 East Carolina 13
Utah 17 Oregon 13

You might have noticed the Oregon score, because they were ranked in the top 20. But what do they have in common? Lots.

- Both Houston and Utah are Eisenberg's College Football (ECF) Championship Contenders.
- Both Houston and Utah were playing non-ECF eligible opponents.
- Both Houston and Utah were projected to be in tight games (Houston was a 2-point favorite, Utah was a 3-point underdog).
- Both Houston and Utah scored impressive victories.

If it walks like a betting angle and talks like a betting angle, is it a betting angle? Well, maybe. I had noticed this last year, when The ECF was essentially Emails to Ray, but it seemed to me to be happening over and over. And if you think about it, it makes some sense. An ECF-eligible team is almost by definition playing well, where as a non-ECF-eligible opponent must have thrown a lemon out there somewhere.

There are 25 matchups this week of ECF and non-ECF teams. Want to guess how many times the ECF team is favored? That's right - 25. Well, Oregon St is even money at Cal, but we'll count it. Let's do the home favorites first. They are listed in order from closest pointspread to largest difference.

Home Favorites

Texas Tech -5 Texas A&M
Texas -6.5 KSU
Cincinnati -8 SMiss
Memphis -9.5 UAB
Georgia -12 Bama
Purdue -13.5 Illinois
Mich St -16.5 Indiana
N Illinois -21.5 Ohio
Nebraska -27 Troy St
Bowling Green -28.5 C Mich
Wash St -29.5 Arizona
TCU -30.5 Army
Ok St -34 La-Lafayette

Some big matchups in Texas. I've always liked teasing home teams that were 6 to 8.5-point favorites. The rationale behind that is you're taking a team that is a clear favorite at home and making it so they only have to win by a field goal, a very common outcome. If you add in the ECF component, it would seem to only help. We'll keep an eye on this the rest of the season.

Here are the road ECF favorites against non-ECF teams:

Oreg St even Cal
Tennessee -1 Auburn
Wisconsin -1.5 Penn St
Washington -1.5 UCLA
NC St -6.5 Ga Tech
Virginia -8 UNC
Boise St (I'd love to call them BSU, but no one would know what the hell I meant) -8 La Tech
Clemson -8 Maryland
Minn -12 Northwestern
Oklahoma -21 Iowa St

So let's see what happens. Will ECF teams cover a higher percentage of the time? Should be interesting to see. Also, remember that any of the home ECF teams that lose will now be eliminated.

Now, in a classic case of Burying the Headline, here are the Playoff Games between ECF teams!

Michigan at Iowa - The Blue are a 3.5-point favorite. This would have been a highly-hyped matchup had Iowa not fallen last weekend. I think the line is pretty accurate. College teams don't recover from losses as quickly as pro teams. But Iowa is still at home, and Michigan really hasn't proven anything yet, either. A tossup.

UNLV at Nevada - The Battle For Nevada is also an ECF Playoff Game! I love it. UNLV is a 5.5-point favorite. The Rebels have already gone into Madison and beaten the Badgers, so it's hard to see this as a difficult road match. Speaking of the Badgers, if they run off 7 wins in a row and get ranked in the top 10, that would give the Rebels the key ECF component, a victory over a Top Ten team. I like UNLV in this one.

Games Between Two ECF-Eligible Teams

Va Tech at Rutgers - Goodbye Scarlet Knights. But 27.5 points? Don't be surprised if Rutgers makes a game of it.

Louisville at USF - The Cardinals are favored by 2.5. Could this be the biggest game in the history of the Bulls? It shouldn't matter. We'll go with the more traditional football "power", Louisville.

The Weekend Wrapup will be either Sunday Morning (before the Sox game, if there is one) or Monday night (after Yom Kippur). I may also have some more baseball stuff throughout the day. Enjoy the games everyone.

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