Wednesday, September 8, 2010

College Football Week 2

Who do you think put up these numbers?

2006    2-10
2007    5-7
2008    8-6
2009    5-7

I have to admit, I mistook 2008 to be even worse, but 6 losses is still nothing to tell all the pretty girls about.  Those numbers, of course, belong to Turner Gill in his time at Buffalo, also his only tenure as a head coach. Not that I would have predicted Kansas to lose 6-3 to lowly FCS North Dakota State, but now that they have, I have to ask, why did anyone ever think this was going to work? Keep in mind, Buffalo plays in the MAC and Kansas the Big 12 Conference. That's quite a leap for a winning coach and this guy is not one of those. But hey, I hear he's a super nice man! The search for a new Athletic Director begins immediately. Hopefully the new guy will prefer to have, well...a new guy.

As for the rest of the weekend, there were some pretty fun games, the best of which came last, as Boise State hung in long enough to take another impressive early victory, this time on Monday night against Virginia Tech in Landover, Maryland. Boise State always seems to touch on people's emotions in one way or another. Their conference is simply awful, although I suppose after this summer, the remedy for this problem is just around the corner. That said, people I talk to generally either quite enjoy Boise State and the underdog aspect of their improbable rise to college football domination or just the opposite and really, really hate them for that very reason, forever wishing that they would just stop making us have to evaluate whether a great team that waltzes through a pathetic conference should be given the opportunity to win the same National Championship of teams that play vigorous conference schedules, yet very well might not be as good a team. It's a good question, and the only way to prevent this dilemma is a tournament format, of which I sometimes wonder if we have made any progress toward achieving at all. I tend to like Boise State, as well as the Mountain West teams that they will soon join. They almost always fair well against the big boys and I like that every time they do it's a chilling reminder to those in charge that their system has been broken for a very long time.

OK, let's get to my rankings for this week; it is eerily similar to last week's and I will explain myself after. The only team knocked out of it is Ole Miss, who lost to FCS Jacksonville State. That gets Ole Miss closer to Lawrence than it does the Top 25.

1 Alabama  (1-0)
2 Texas  (1-0)
3 Florida  (1-0)
4 Boise State  (1-0)
5 Ohio State  (1-0)
6 TCU  (1-0)
7 Iowa  (1-0)
8 Penn State  (1-0)
9 Virginia Tech  (0-1)
10 Oregon  (1-0)
11 BYU  (1-0)
12 Georgia Tech  (1-0)
13 Nebraska  (1-0)
14 Wisconsin  (1-0)
15 LSU  (1-0)
16 Utah  (1-0)
17 Pittsburgh  (0-1)
18 Miami (FL)  (1-0)
19 Texas Tech  (1-0)
20 USC  (1-0)
21 Central Michigan  (1-0)
22 Clemson  (1-0)
23 West Virginia  (1-0)
24 Fresno State  (1-0)
25 Cincinnati  (0-1)

Notice first, that three teams, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati all lost games this week and yet all remain ranked in some capacity. This is completely different then the process that I used last year. And the thing is, I've decided that it really doesn't matter. Want all undefeated teams here? Fine. Bump the 3 that lost, and add in...say...Kansas State, Michigan and Missouri at 23-25. Think that losing to other ranked teams is nothing to be ashamed of? I agree and this is represented by my rankings above. However, what has really been established as of yet? Not much. Actually, most teams are yet to play anybody of any significance, and some haven't even played yet at all. So I've decided that about the right amount of time to have expected a team to already have demonstrated their merit, at least to some extent, is about 3 weeks. Next week, I'll do something similar to this, but then after week 3...the whole thing gets reshuffled. Stay tuned.

The gambling thing was far more interesting.
Utah was a push
My winners: FAU, Rice, Oregon State, LSU and Boise State
My Losers: Middle Tennessee, Western Michigan, Missouri and Louisiana-Lafayette

In the end, somewhere in the depths of my colorful imagination, I figuratively walked into a Las Vegas Casino and slapped down $985, unevenly distributed between 10 games. And had I gone to collect, I would have ended up winning $5.50 after the juice. That's a lot of work to win $5.50, but since I'm not actually gambling anything at all, and instead trying to come up with the best way to go about it, let's have a few different running balances, in hopes that the best approach to my system reveals itself.

The first option to track seems obvious to me. I bet $985 on 10 games, so why not bet $1000 and set each game at a flat rate of $100 per game. Now, my system is set up to spend more on the games that my numbers deviate, to a higher degree, from Vegas, so I would prefer not to select this option if making actual bets, but again, I am not actually betting anything, so let's track it as well. I won 5 games, lost 4, subtract the standard 10% juice from the winners and I would have wound up winning $50 had I opted for the flat rate last week.

The final option to track is a suspicion that I already had going in, and at least to this point, it would have served me well to obey my intuition a little more closely. Perhaps, I felt, that the larger the spread of the game, the less I can come anywhere near trying to project the margins of victory. This may very well be a theory that the "professional" gamblers abide by for the most part as well, but I have no evidence of that, it's just a hunch. Regardless, betting according to this hunch is difficult, but it's clear that to do so I will have to set a point spread at which I suspend betting on and beyond that total. I think 3 touchdowns is generally a good number to establish total domination in a given game, so I will therefore set the mark at 21 points and above. Last week, there were 3 games that fit this criteria: Michigan State/Western Michigan, Texas/Rice and Georgia/Louisiana-Lafayette. I picked all 3 underdogs to hold up under the spread, but only Rice obliged. Had I eliminated these 3 games, as I suspected I should have, I would have had quite a nice day of gambling and ended up +$251 after the juice.

Speaking of the Michigan State/Western Michigan game, someone I am close to actually decided to put my system into play, betting a small sum of money on 2 of my teams, but real bets nonetheless. What's interesting about this is that while I had the spread set at Western Michigan +23, this person actually got the bet in at +24, which was the exact result of the game, ending for them in a push in what was a loss for me. Of course, it's pure speculation, but perhaps I would have been able to take advantage of the very same push, had I placed actual money on the game as well. And that would have been huge. My measly $5.50 would have turned into $205.50 if given this extra point. But I didn't, so we won't count it as such. My tab to start off:

My system as is: +$5.50
The flat $100 per game rate: +$50
Betting only on spreads of 20 points or less: +$251

I will reveal more of what is behind my game and rate selection in the future. For now, have a great week and here are this coming weekend's selections:

FAU +28 vs Michigan State   $260
Georgia +3 vs South Carolina   $120
California -8.5 vs Colorado   $15
Arkansas State +2 vs Louisiana-Lafayette   $20
Ohio State -9 vs Miami (FL)   $20
BYU pickem vs Air Force   $70
Troy +13 vs Oklahoma State   $130
Rice +2.5 vs North Texas   $125
Penn State +12 vs Alabama   $100

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